It's a serious and heartbreaking topic. Orphans. I don't mean kids without parents. I mean those glorious little gems that you, as a creative person, intend to birth into the world so that everyone will know your genius, but for some reason you abandon them on some hard drive or in a back closet where the spiders and CHUDs live.
"Here, kid. Take this bag of Cheetos and some Sunny D. I'll come back for you later..."
But you never do. Maybe you were working on a novel about the rabbits that live on the moon. Maybe you're trimming the hedges in front of your house to look like X-Men characters. Maybe you're building a terrain set for your Warhammer 40K game, but you want it to look like Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel.
Whatever you're working on, I'm assuming that you, at some point, thought it was a great idea. Then ... things got in the way. It's possible that you were distracted enough that it was a long break before you could get back to it and once you did, you didn't even recognize it. You look down at the mass of wires and gyros and synthetic flesh you stole from that lab and think, "No, this was a really dumb idea."
If you're like me - and God help you if you are - you have both a plethora of ideas and you're easily distracted, like that dog in Up. Perhaps you're working on a self-published web comic. You know - the one about that haunted copy of Altered Beast? Then one day you find out about RPG Maker and it's suddenly, "Stop everything! I'm going to make an 80-hour RPG about Yor, Hunter From the Future! (If you are doing that, then hit me up. Let's be best friends.)
Either way, I don't know that you should feel obligated to return to those orphans. Leave them to waste away, like in V For Vendetta. When you return, you may find them stronger. You may find that they've had time to harness their latent psychic abilities and now they're ready to hunt for you, to kill for you. And that's great! It's possible that your brain was working on all of this stuff in the background. Now that you've rediscovered your passion for this project, you have to ask yourself, "Are there other, better ideas I've had in the mean time?"
Of all of your ideas, how do you choose which one to focus your energies on? Which of these little babies do you rescue from the purgatory of your imagination and decide, "No. It's you. You're the one I want the world to know about."
That's my problem. See, I have a completed novel and two novellas sitting on my hard drive. I'm probably going to self-publish them, but that takes time to get it right - promotion, editing, getting a cover, etc. They're so close, closer than many of the other things that are at the forefront right now, but ... are they the best thing for me to be focusing on right now? I have no idea. Sure, you should follow your passion, but some of these things have a shelf life. Some of your half-formed, mutant rejects may have been ready to go when you were working on them, but now they're just not relevant. Then you should probably have the wisdom to just strip them for parts. Take the organs and integrate them into some new, abominable life form or just sell them on the black market. It's up to you.
Me? Right now, I've got a lot dark chambers with these poor, neglected little freakshows just mewling and howling to be released onto the unsuspecting public.
a horror novel
2 horror/comedy novellas
an unfinished graphic novel
a new webseries
a different, spooky webseries
a serialized horror podcast
a new series of thriller novels
more scripts than I can even remember
There's probably more I'm forgetting. I'm sure there are. Maybe I'll stumble across them when I'm cleaning out the proverbial garage and think, "Oh ... Oh, you're still in here? You ... you actually look pretty good. Why don't we get you cleaned up and see what you've got?"
What about you? Any cast aside projects that you need to get back to?
And what do you all want to see from me?
listening: the Dead Kennedys - Bedtime for Democracy
watching: Galaxy of Terror - Bruce Clark
The past three days were, for lack of a better term, bonkers. To put a fine point on it - it was exhausting and fun and exciting and scary. You know ... it was the Modern Rogue. The Modern Rogue, for those of you who don't know, is a show I co-host with Brian Brushwood. It's been compared to Mythbusters, but we certainly don't have the resources or the intelligence of that esteemed show. It's just us on a journey to become the most interesting person in the room. We learn about martial arts, crime, hacking, science, and all sorts of stuff in order to just ... be cool. I don't know if it's working, but we're having a blast. Oh, and we had Macaulay Culkin on the show. Sorry for burying that lede. That's what you're asking, right? How did these two clowns rope Mack into their ill-advised idiocy?
Let's go back several months to what happened over at Cracked.com. Sadly, that site had to let go of some of their best and brightest. A lot of talented writers were left without a venue to push their monstrous agendas onto the unsuspecting internet. So Brian called up one such writer, the inimitable John Cheese. He and John cooked up a plan to give those writers a home, crafting a new written portion for the Modern Rogue. John's wife, Emily, lends a hand by running some of our social media stuff. These two put us in touch with Shawn DePasquale, the Editor-In-Chief of Mack's new comedy site, Bunny Ears. We started talking about collaborations and Mack had but one request - he wanted to blow something up. Of course, we were more than happy to accommodate.
Over the weekend, we shot two episodes with Mack and I have to say, both he and Shawn were personable, funny, and game for whatever antics we proposed. It was a lot of work, but a fantastic time. You'll see the first episode up on the Modern Rogue this Friday.
But more about Bunny Ears. It's hysterical. I know what you're thinking - "But Jason, you're obligated to say that!"
Sure. Fine. You don't trust me. I get it. I understand, but Bunny Ears is legitimately funny. It's the subversive kind of humor that I enjoy and if you've spent any amount of time around me and didn't walk away thinking I was some smarmy degenerate, then you'll get a kick out of their flavor of aberrant behavior, as well.
listening: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross -the Heretics
watching: Lost Highway - David Lynch
Does that ever happen to you? 'Cause it certainly happens to me. Every day, lately! Nothing quite gets the blood pumping like mortal terror. No, it's not because we seem to have found ourselves living in the dystopian, burning-trash-can future we've always heard about. It's because I'm a professional creative-type. Yes, as of recently, I took the plunge and moved on from my 9-to-5.
And it's terrifying.
I'm guessing that most of you know me from Modern Rogue. "Hey, that's the old guy who does moronic stuff with the guy who used to have spiky hair!"
And that's great! But I also write books and movies, as you'll hear me mention ad nauseam. See that thing over there to your right? That picture of the biker gang? That's my book. (Don't be scared. It's only kind of about bikers.)
At lunch the other day, I actually had a friend say, "Now that you've got lots of free time..."
Wait. What? Free time? I have that?
I actually work harder now. I'm constantly thinking about writing, piecing story elements together, or planning the next Modern Rogue. I sleep less. I take fewer breaks. I make considerably less money. But yay! Free time!!
I know - 'you poor thing', right? What I'm saying is, while I'm digging this new lifestyle, I also feel like I'm constantly being chased. And what do I do when I'm chased? I run. And I run until I feel safe. Maybe that's never. If you're going to make this leap (or maybe you already have!), you have to impose some structure on this new free-wheeling lifestyle. No more 6-hour mimosa brunches. No more street-racing on a Tuesday morning. No more impulsive jaunts to Palm Springs with the girls.
You gotta write, my friend.
I'm still trying to figure it out. What's my schedule? Is it three hours of trying to hit screenwriting deadlines? Then an hour of social media? Two hours? Then four more hours of working on the new novel?
Whatever works for you, do it and do it ALL THE TIME. Protect that time. If anything gets in the way of that, bare your teeth and hiss before going back to your laptop. Murder those distractions. Take that distraction and put its head on a spike to serve as a warning to others:
Do not f&*# with me right now. I'm writing.
Every day. No excuses.
Your mileage may vary.
Check back here in the next few days for some more Modern Rogue deliciousness!
listening: Darrow Fletcher - Those Hanging Heartaches
reading: The Amazing Spider-Man: Worldwide Vol. 5 - Dan Slott/Christos Gage/Giuseppe Camuncoli