I've been spending weeks driving myself crazy thinking about this post. Might as well just get on with it.
I have been working in a Sawmill for 27 years. I hate my job. I have always hated my job, from the day my Dad told me to throw on some clothes I don't mind getting dirty and go t work with him. And yet, 27 years have passed. The Sawmill pays the bills. It puts food on the table. It allows me to make comics, and that part has made the Sawmill worthwhile, because the Comics don't pay for themselves. The Comics don't pay the bills. The Comics have never put food on the table. And that sucks, but that's reality. So, I go to work, and I get beat up and beat down. I fry, I freeze, I bleed. I've twisted my ankles. My asthma makes the winters brutal. My allergies make every season a bear. My body hurts. My muscles hurt. I come home exhausted, and I don't feel like doing anything.
I know, I know, poor me. Blahblahblah.
I've never really bothered looking for a new job. I have a Associate's Degree in General Studies, and I've basically only worked one job all my life... so, I don't exactly have a lot of potential in the job market. My next job will probably be in a factory, or as a burger flipper, or as a janitor. This is reality. And reality is catching up to me fast. It's not just that I'm burnt out on Sawmill; I've moved an hour away from my job. Honestly, the hour drive isn't the problem. It's that the Sawmill gets 12 hours of my day now. Twelve. 8 hours of work, 1 hour of overtime to make ends meet, 1 hour for lunch, and those 2 hours on the road. Throw in the time it takes to get ready in the morning, and the time it takes to get cleaned up and detox after work, and the number quickly turns into 13. That's over half a day doing the thing I hate. What time I've got left is divided between hanging with my Darlin my Darlin, detox, chores, TORC Press, and sleep. I need a change, and so, in the new year, I'm gonna start looking for a new job.
As reality stares me in the face, I do what I always do... I think about how to make TORC Press for Real. This is not reality. After 17 years I know this is not reality. There's no money in comics, and there's certainly no money in TORC Press comics. I know this. And yet, every few years, I try to escape reality.
And why shouldn't I? Isn't escaping reality what I do? I wasn't born to be a Sawmiller. I'm weak as a kitten. My lungs are garbage. I'm allergic to everything. I'm super allergic to Ash Wood (think about that for a minute... I work in a place where every so often a log pops up that completely destroys me!). Also, even though my body is constantly moving like crazy, my mind is not engaged, so my brain runs around in circles driving me crazy.
Mei wants me to find a career. But what was I born to do? What was I built for? What am I good for? I'm messy. I'm disorganized. Numbers make no sense to me at all. Technology is beyond my grasp. Computers? I barely know how to operate the one I'm using to type this nonsese. I have spent years watching my Dad do electric work, and plumbing, and working on machines, and I have learned nothing from any of it. I'm not a people person. I'm not an intellectual. I am, in short, garbage at just about everything.
I'm not a skilled artist. My perspective is weak, my anatomy is suspect, my fundamentals are iffy. I'm not talented. I've been around talented artists. I'm friends with talented artists. I've seen the way people react to talented artists. People don't react to my work like that. That's okay. I'm cool with that. I'm not a genius. If I was a genius, I'd be rich by now. I'm not a great writer. My plots are simplistic or utterly bizarre or both.
Jeez. I hope there's a point to all of this. I mean, what am I built for? What was I born to do?
I was born to create. That's my thing.
Oh, I know. Big whoop. All creators create. That's the point, right?
Except, do they? I've been out here for 17 years, and like I said, I've made a lot of friends (which is weird for me, but whatever). Most of these guys and gals are more talented than I am. They're more skilled than I am. Most of the people I know are just flat out better than I am.
But no one Creates like I do. No. One.
All Artists get ideas, but I get ALL of the ideas. I don't even try. I row the boat out into the water, and the fish jump in. They just do. I sometimes don't even want them, and they come anyway. And this is a rare trait. Again, I've been around long enough, I've talked to enough people, I know that all artists get some ideas, but no one I have ever met gets them with the volume I do. And I'm not saying the ideas I get are great, or even good. I have always worked in quantity, not quality.
But ideas are only part of this gig. I know a fella that gets tons and tons of ideas, almost as many as me. He's a great guy, and he's a strong artist. But he can't do anything with his ideas. They just sit there, piling up. That would kill me. I have to take my ideas and do something with them. I have to put them on paper, and then put them out into the world. I have to. It physically hurts me to go very long without creating. Without building. I take the ideas, all the ideas, and I turn them into cool, crazy, weird things. And this is rare. Most self publishers produce between Zero and One new books a year. I go to shows, and I ask guys, "What you got that's new?" And a lot of times they've got nothing. And that's not a knock. Like I said, there's no money in comics, so everyone has got day jobs. They're scrambling around for gigs. They teach, they do tech gigs. They use their talent and skill to make a living and provide for their families, and when there's a moment to spare, they do a page. Like I said, it's reality. But I always have new books. Always. Maybe it's the years of Sawmill work, maybe it's just how I'm built. But I do my pages. I work hard, and I work fast, and I get my pages done. It's rare that I produce fewer than two comics a year. Most years my average is six. One year, just to prove I could, I published 24 comics in a single year (never doing that again). I create. I was born to create. I was built to create.
And although I've focused on comics, I can create all sorts of stuff. I can paint, I've got some crude animation experience, and I can write.
So why not do what I was born to do? What I was built to do?
I know. Reality.
The way I figure, I can always do reality. Day jobs are day jobs. I'll get a new one, I'll hate it, blahblahblah. But while I'm doing reality, I might as well try to escape reality, right? So, I'm gonna try once again, for the millionth time, to make TORC Press a thing. I'm gonna try lots of stuff. One of the things I'm gonna try is I'm gonna start the Patreon up again. I tried the Patreon before, but I kinda made a mess of it. I tried to use it as a Monthly Subscription service, and that was a mistake. Life got in the way, and I couldn't keep up with the insane schedule I had forced on myself. I pulled the plug, even though I was making some money off of it. I apologized to everyone, and I moved on. The mistake I made was trying to make too much of it. Patreon was designed as a way for fans of an artist to Tip them for their services. But because I'm me, I tried to turn it into something too big. Tried to throw too much out there. So, this time, I'm gonna use the service like it's meant to be used.
Long story short, if you want to help support TORC Press, head on over to www.patreon.com/josephmorris_torcpress
There's three reward teirs with some simple, cool things you get for supporting the cause. I'm gonna be re-posting the original run of Quixote Coyote strips, as well as some other things. In addition, I'll be posting some original content and previews for upcoming work in the Patreon-exclusive feed.
And again, I'm gonna be doing lots of stuff to try to build TORC Press, so you don't need to throw in. But if you wanna, feel free to help out.
I forgot to mention I'm a terrible businessman as well.
Joseph Morris is the Owner and Operator of TORC Press, a Small Press Comics Publisher based out of Central Illinois. He has published over 150 comics.