“I took on jobs I didn’t think I could do, so I put myself in the position of either doing them or fucking up and dying” – Howard Chaykin
So, yeah. I moved to L.A.
I didn’t do it because I hate Tucson (quite the opposite, actually. I owe more to that city than I’ll ever be able to repay), but I felt like I had reached a plateau. “The Dirty T” is a small town, and even though the comix community is vibrant, talented, and active as all get out, it’s still teeny tiny compared to those in…well…real, actual, human civilization.
There came a point when I started seein’ the exact same faces at every event I was invited to (both behind and in front of the table), and I began to get the sense that folks were startin’ get get as bored as I was.
Plus, #HumbleBrag, living in Tucson was easy. My rent was like, four nickels and a smile a month, I had a weekly comic strip runnin’ in the newspaper, all of the local stores/cons were kind enough to bring me out whenever they had anything goin’ on… I didn’t have to think too hard to make ends meet.
So, as I’m wont to do, I hit the eject button with the urgency of a pedestrian in an Arizona summer pounding on the crosswalk control panel, tryin’ to catch the bus across the street.
I don’t know if there’s a name for what’s wrong with me, but I know exactly what my problem is, and it’s that I hate security. It feels like a trap. It feels like the exact opposite of growth. It feels like a boring chapter in a story that, if I was editing it, I would trim.
So, yeah—here I am. In Los Angeles. With rent that’s literally twice what I paid in Tucson for a place three times the size (which is saying a lot, because my old house was just about the size of a mid-range meth lab), no steady gig to speak of, and no real, logical reason to not end up homeless and super duper dead within six months’ time.
I’m lucky enough to have made the trek with Hannah Partlow, my ultra-talented, mega-babely life partner—but she, like an “adult” (whatever the Heck that is) has a reliable, on-the-grid day job in addition to her various side hustles (which are numerous, and impressive, and for which I’m constantly, nigh-unbearably proud of her).
There’s a good chance that I’ll fail—and not only put myself in financial and physical jeopardy, but endanger Hannah as well (who relies on me to pay half the rent/groceries/etc). Honestly, there’s no logical reason why I shouldn’t.
…but what if I don’t? What if I become the person I always wanted to be, with the career I’ve always wanted to have, and I earn a spot in the world that allows me to not only take care of myself, but also Hannah—and anyone else who ever believed in me beyond reason?
Crazier things have happened, right?
I don’t want to be a successful writer because of the money, or the acclaim, or whatever—I want to be a successful writer because I want access to the tallest soap boxes and the loudest megaphones in the world, so that I can use them to scream out to all the confused, angry, self-hating young people of the world who are just like I was at that age, and tell them that they’re not alone, that’s it’s perfectly okay to not be okay for a little while, and that—if they want to—someday they can grow up to have their own soap boxes and megaphone, and start the whole thing over again.