Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Terror of The Magnum Opus!

As I break from working on my book/grant proposal, my thoughts turn to creators who have inspired me in different ways.
Today's venture takes two turns, beyond the already posted notes on the human tornado called Ellison.
Next up is Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, the much neglected Shazam and the Monster Society of Evil, and the sporadic but worthwhile RASL. All Jeff's work deals in themes of common beings surviving their roles in large, mythic battles a la Tolkien or Eddison.
Well, turns out there's a documentary on Jeff.

Then there's Terry Moore.
His Strangers in Paradise is now collected in an Omnibus edition. How he managed to do this and keep on schedule with his new book, ECHO, is beyond me, but he did it.
This invites the next issue.
A Magnum Opus can kill you if you let it.
The idea of creating a single work of such weight and import can be such a heavy burden that it renders the work insurmountable. If you let it be that.
I suspect the way through this is twofold.
First, don't try to create something big. Create pieces of the big thing. Just say what you have to say, using the time you have to say it as well as you can. The 2200 pages of Strangers and the 1400 pages of Bone were all done page by page, the only way it can be done.
It took me 6 months to do a page once, and I did 12 pages in 14 hours another time. It takes the time it takes.
Second, while you must keep at it (or in my case, all the various "it"s), you can't punish yourself if you lose pace. Self-recrimination takes time too, and burns up, wastes, energy that could go into the work.

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