Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ruminating on the Fate of Daisy Owl

I used to read a webcomic called Daisy Owl. It was a heartwarming and humorous story about an anthropomorphic owl who adopts a pair of runaway genius human-babies from space, and his best friend who is an anthropomorphic grizzly bear. I know it sounds a bit stupid when I describe it that way, but it was witty and entertaining, and, surprisingly, very touching. What I'm trying to say is it was a great comic and I had a great time reading it. I discovered it a year or two ago, not too long before I started my own blog, and read it from start to finish over a period of two or three weeks. The last comic took place after a major story arc wherein Mr. Owl and Steve the Bear rescue the titular Daisy and her little brother Cooper from their evil scientist creators, who kidnapped them and took them to a Space School on the moon. It was a wacky and fun adventure involving a lot of brooms, and when it ended I was so excited to see what trouble Daisy and Cooper would get into next that I could hardly wait for the next update. Then, when I looked at the copyright information at the bottom of the very last comic, I noticed that it had been posted in 2010. To this day, the last thing Daisy and Cooper have ever done was decide to pull a diamond heist (because they were bored, why else?) and rope their adoptive dad who is also an owl into going with them, and that was it. That was the end. It didn't seem like it was going to be the end, but it's been five years with no updates and nothing to suggest that there will ever be an update, and I'm left forever wondering how the diamond heist would turn out. 

I have a sort of pathalogical fear that that Stuff & Nonsense will turn out the same way, and I think it's this fear that drives me to post something every month or so even if I don't have a whole lot to say. I get absolutely terrified if I haven't posted anything in a while that everyone (myself included) will just forget that this little journal exists and I will have completely wasted an opportunity to share with the world things that would otherwise just sit in uncategorized notebooks and be forgotten, or worse, rot away in my brain, unexpressed and bottled up for the rest of my life and never even brought into the world in the first place. When that thought inevitably occurs to me I become painfully aware of my own mortality. When I'm reminded of my own mortality I get all existential and depressed, and then I get mopey and drink a lot of milk. 

Part of the problem is that since I've been trying to focus on fiction and featured artists, I haven't been producing a lot of posts, which makes sense really. When I envisioned the serial stories with illustrations by featured artists, I wanted to crank out a post every month, but that obviously hasn't happened. I put a lot of work into my stories, the artists I've been working with put a lot of work into the illustrations, and when the posts are finally finished, I can't say I'm not proud of the result; Quality takes time, and I know that's the tradeoff. Add in the fact that I'm also holding down a full time job and that my only New Year's resolution was to finish writing my sci-fi epic Far From Home by the end of the year, and it only makes sense that I wouldn't post as much to my blog. But then I remember Daisy Owl, or Bee Power (which doesn't even exist anymore as far as I can tell), or even the ubiquitous HomestarRunner.com, and the next thing I know Jess doesn't have anything to eat her cereal with. 

Websites are not people. Consciously, I know that. I imagine most people do on a conscious level. But when a webcomic or blog goes inactive for that long with no explanation, I always seem to imagine an authorless computer sitting on a desk, the cobwebs that cover it illuminated by the monitor, the homepage of the website burned into it as the abandoned house crumbles to dust all around. I wonder what happened to the author; did they just lose interest in their webcomic, even though it brought joy to so many readers? Did they abandon their blog in favor of a more lucrative career as a VCR repairman? Are they dead? The possibilities are endless, not knowing drives me crazy, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I know for a fact that I wasn't the only person who was legitimately worried when Allie Brosh wrote about her crippling depression on Hyperbole and a Half, then didn't post anything else for several months.
Sometimes I worry that people will wonder what happened to me in a similar manner if I let Stuff & Nonsense go for too long without any updates. Most of the time I just remind myself that Hyperbole and a Half is a much more popular blog than my own and I shouldn't flatter myself in such a way. But by the same token, Stuff & Nonsense recently broke 1200 views, and while a lot of those views probably came from my mother and my sisters, that's still a pretty dang big number and those fine folks can't possibly account for all of it. Generally, my family is aware that I haven't just wandered off like Ambrose Bierce, never to be heard from again, but there are people out there who have read my blog and don't necessarily know that. This is for them:

I'm working hard. Emielle and her ilvi friends are having their backstories written out and their future planned without their knowledge. Cosmia and Bellatrice are being unruly and troublesome for old Mr. Wallace, and you haven't even met Bellatrice yet. Don't worry, you will have met her by the end of the month. But that won't be all you'll be hearing about. Oh no. For the first time since I've been on my own, I have a steady job that I don't hate myself for going to every morning. I'm getting married in about seven months to an awesome lady who has for the most part kept me sane for the past eight years (and who recently started her own blog, which I am shamelessly plugging in the hopes that it'll get her to keep adding to it). I'm completing a novel, which will probably end up being the first of many. I've got short stories and poetry and who knows what else swimming around in my skull just waiting to be put down on paper, and there are even plans of transferring Stuff & Nonsense to an actual website all its own.  

Maybe I've lost focus in the last few months. It's been a busy holiday season aftermath and I've got more responsibilities now than I ever have before, but I've also got a lot to write about. There will be more to come, and that is a promise. Thanks for sticking with me, and as always, thanks for reading.

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