Some moments come along and your world—your life—changes. Something shifts inside and everything’s the same yet somehow different. Sometimes someone comes into your life and helps you to breathe for the first time, to think with clarity and to give you truth and joy.
Often, we never see it coming. But it also happens when we need it the most and, usually, when we don’t realize we need it.
For Joseph Bailey, life has come to a standstill; existence, living, call it what you will, have stopped moving, stopped flowing, stopped growing. Those he knew while growing up seemed to have gone down the right path, creating a so-called normal life. He’s not sure if he followed.
Spending lonely nights writing comic book scripts and hazy afternoons watching cartoons brings him to his knees, and he needs something—maybe even someone—more. One Friday, while at a coffee shop working on a new comic script, Joseph is interrupted when a quirky girl with long black hair and smooth-as-marble gray eyes sits down across from him, seeking sanctuary from her controlling boyfriend, Dan.
Her name is April.
All seems under control even when Dan follows her in to the coffee shop, looking to patch things up. At least, that’s what was supposed to have happened. Once Dan leaves, Joseph figures his work is done and April will be on her way, never to be seen again. Instead, she stays, removes her sweater and orders an apple cider. Just then something slips inside Joseph, something good, right and pure.
Their weekend begins.
From a quiet night in an old railway car to seeking the undertones of humanity at the art gallery, to bringing to light the tender commonalities that we as humans share, April is a story of how a simple chance meeting can hold you and protect you, and give you what the human heart is continuously after—
Without giving the finer details, the bottom line is one thing happened: I crashed.
Crashed and burned.
In some ways I’m still burning.
It was a cumulative thing, years of being a one-man band publishing house and a writer. In my career since 2004 I published over a 100 books for other people plus around 30 of my own never mind some comic projects. Most of them were since 2009. That’s a lot for any person in terms of all the work involved for each project plus all the work the administration and logistics side of things demand. It basically got to the point where I was spending so much time running the business that keeping up with my own writing was difficult.
I’m grateful for the career, to be sure, and have learned many lessons and made many friends along the way, but it became too much.
I realize it was all self-instigated as I wanted a career in this business so badly I was willing to go the distance to get it. I’m like that: willing to move mountains to get what I want. A good trait and bad, depending on how you look at it.
But last year was a turning point. Leading into the summer I buckled down hard and produced a bunch of titles, five of them personal, the bulk of the writing for them being done on top of everything else. I started pulling away from the business before then but after the C4 Comic Con in the fall, it became too much. That’s when I totally burned out. Still tried working through it, but if you’ve ever gone through a burnout, you know how hard it is.
Fast forward to the beginning of February this year and a traumatic personal event happened that rocked my world and led to a three-day panic attack with trouble breathing, violent shaking and a complete meltdown and, well, given the circumstances, I had to shut everything down completely.
Only so much one man can handle.
About a month and a half later is when I restarted some things, having finally got some stuff sorted out, but in the end, what happened was beyond just being overworked.
It cut deep, it got personal, and the only choice given all that happened was an utter pulling of the plug.
I feel bad and I know I let some people down. I’m sorry for that. Was never my intention for things to fall apart. Thought I could handle it all.
I was wrong, and I’m so very sorry.
So here we are, still in recovery mode, trying to get some stuff done from a new perspective and a new stance on the type of work I’m willing to get behind. There’s a spiritual component to all this as I’ve preached on here before, and for years I struggled with the type of material I was putting out. See, I wanted this job so bad I made certain compromises to get it. I’ve been writing since 2000, and having been aiming for a career in the creative field since 1995, first comics then books. The obstacles and trials I’ve been through to make it happen–I could tell you stories. Things finally came to a head in February and I had to make hard choices.
I suppose in the end all this only adds to my writing and publishing experience, having now added “complete shut down” to my resume.
I’m in a rebirth stage right now, still sorting through things, still wrapping up loose ends.
It’s my hope that–because all this book stuff is such a public endeavour–my years of working in the small press and the reputation I’ve built will be enough to help cover this bump in the road.
It’s also my hope this entry has helped those who looked on and wondered what was going on get some clarity as to what happened. I hope those I let down will cut me a break and we could still be friends.
I hope that as time passes and life goes on, we can all look back on this and say, “It was a wild time, but we’re in a better place now.”
Thank you to those who’ve shown support along the way. Thank you to my readers for reading my material. Thank you to my friends in the business who helped make me the writer and publisher I am today.
I did a panel on Time Management at the Central Canada Lit Fest a few weekends ago. While I went over several points and gave suggestions on budgeting one’s time for writing, my main message was simply this: get it done.
That’s it, and that’s the real secret to a writer’s management of their time. It all comes down to actually writing versus humming and hawing about when to do it or how. Just sit down whenever possible, write, and go until the clock runs out or your story is done.
It really is that simple.
So in keeping with that spirit, I’ve set up word count meters on the side of this blog, the aim being to let you follow along as I write each project. Word counts listed are approximate and are not updated in real time. Likewise, final word counts are estimates. I’ll adjust the meters accordingly if it turns out something will be longer or shorter than predicted. I’ll also try to update my progress whenever possible.
You might also notice the listing of three Secret Projects. They pertain to yesterday’s clue about how I want to present this website. That’s all I’m saying for now and I’ll let you speculate on what they could be. I started one of those Secret Projects today.
In other news, I’m still rereading The Axiom-man Saga so it’ll be a while yet before I start writing the new installments. Need something else to keep my hands busy in the mean time hence the new projects.
So it’s just me, the keyboard, some ideas . . . and getting it done.
In light of all that went on with my temporary retirement, there is a lot of aftermath to deal with. Part of it is rebuilding this website, so over the course of the coming weeks you’ll be seeing reposts of old information.
You’ll also be seeing the relisting of some more titles. I’m out of the horror game, but there are still some non-horror titles of mine that haven’t yet been brought back. They’ll be listed here like the others via the Book and Comic Shop link and also on the left sidebar.
As for retooling, there’s a way I want to present this site and there is something going on behind-the-scenes to make that a reality. It’ll be awhile yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.
As per my last post, the project right now is to reread The Axiom-man Saga thus far. It took a few days to get going, but now I’m in the midst of reading the first book. It’s strange reading it as just a reader versus going over it for edits. I admit that the editor side of my brain is looking at ways to tweak this or change that, but then I remember that I’m reading it for the joy of reading it and also to take notes, no other reason. A writer’s work is never done, it seems. The book was also written by a different guy some eight years ago. I was a different man back then with a different writing style.
It is cool, however, to see the character in his infancy, to see him stumble along as he tries to figure out this whole superhero thing. At the time the story takes place, he’s only been at it four months, a time frame that isn’t long enough for someone to be truly adept at being a hero. It’s also neat considering I know where the story goes and is going, and I’m looking at Axiom-man thinking, Man, you have no idea of the scope of things ahead of you, how your universe and the reason for your existence is this huge thing and here you are still getting used to wearing a costume beneath your clothes.
Like the picture shows, I’ve been taking notes, little things that I want to mention in the upcoming four-book arc or things simply for me to keep in mind while writing it. The main points I’m after are mythology-related and certain items that foreshadow where I’m ultimately leading everybody. I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out because the upcoming storyline is meant to wrap up everything that’s come before.
After reading this first book, it’s onto First Night Out, which takes place between the “Four months earlier . . .” segments of Axiom-man and the novel’s main story.
Like last entry, I’m asking for those who’ve read the series to come forward and write reviews. Reviews help spread the word and I’m hoping to grow The Axiom-man Saga in the coming year into something more prominent in the superhero fiction market.
On a side note, I’m tabling at the Winnipeg Comic and Toy Expo this Sunday at the Viscount Gort Hotel in Winnipeg. Hope those in town can come out, say hi, and talk superheroes with me.