Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
I miss storytelling.

I'm hoping that my grad school program gives me a chance to get back to my storytelling roots, because man, do I miss it. This weekend I read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and, as always following a good read, it rekindled my dreams of creativity. For the last five years, my storytelling creative energy has been shunted into designing webpages and other such things, with a couple of notable exceptions, and I'm feeling the burnout something fierce.

My favorite creators are still Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean, Jonathan Carroll and Jim Henson, and now Joss Whedon and Mike Mignola have been added to the mix. Other favorite creators include Jeff Smith, Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was amazing), Kevin Smith, Umberto Eco, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. I want to take all these guys and throw them in a blender – which is essentially the way creativity works. You consume like crazy and then your output is a blend of all your influences, necessarily colored with your own style.

I see amazing things like Mirrormask coming up on the horizon and it gives me hope that there is a market for the kinds of things that I want to be doing, but when I sit down to actually create it, I feel exhausted. I used to be full of stories, and now I find it difficult at best to muster the energy to put one together. Running your own design consultancy is hard – you wind up worrying about money all the time, you're constantly spending time on projects that you never get paid for, and right now I have a good half-dozen freebie web design projects that I've promised for people that are in serious danger of never happening because every time I fire up BBEdit and start writing code my heart sinks and I start getting frustrated.

Maybe this idea of "I'll do web design so I make a bunch of money and can focus on what I really want to be doing" was a horrible mistake. My hope is that all that time has paid off in getting me into a wonderful grad program, and now I can start to focus on getting back to what I really want to be doing: making worlds. And that the connections and friendships and partnerships I forge in the next two years helps me connect with this in a professional world, so that I can eat and raise a family while doing it, without having to continue doing something else as a day job.

Thank God I got into grad school. I'm so ready for a life change it isn't even funny.

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