Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Text and Fury, Signifying

Back in the dark days when I painted buildings for a living, I had a boss named Roland.

Roland was a character. He tried very hard to be a balanced, thoughtful person, and he just...wasn't. A bad drug experience had fried his nervous system when he was a teen. He spent years meditating, trying to get back some sense of equilibrium--assuming he had any equilibrium to begin with, which as time went on I started to seriously doubt.

Roland was filled with rage. He struggled to control it, but he lost the struggle on nearly a daily basis. His attack on a private contractor who pushed his buttons too much over the course of a job stands out as the most violent altercation I've ever been involved with. I tried to hold him back. He shoved me aside, knocked a five gallon pail of paint over onto a freshly stained hardwood floor, took a swing at the contractor (who, I must admit, I'd fantasized about decking myself--he really was a dick). I'd seen him mad before, but this was something else.

Roland was perpetually pissed off. But he was almost incapable of admitting--or maybe it wasn't admitting, so much as recognizing, what was making him angry.

No, in retrospect, I think it was admitting it that was the problem. His self-image as a zen figure was vitally important to him. Whenever something went wrong on a job--and something always went wrong--he'd clamp down on his fury, try to maintain the image of composure he delusionally believed he'd carefully crafted over years of therapy and meditation.

He'd generally hold it in for about fifteen minutes, after which someone would invariably do something to give him an excuse to go off. What the something was was pretty much irrelevant. It could be something you'd done regularly every thirty seconds since you met him; it just so happened that you'd finally do it once too often shortly after he found out he'd been passed over for a big contract, or someone was refusing to pay the agreed-upon amount. Once he got mad at me for coughing. Another time it was because I and another painter decided to go home after a twelve hour day, rather than staying an additional eight hours to finish a job, as Roland spent the next week repeatedly pointing out he would have (the fact that every time he pushed himself past fourteen or so hours of work he'd lose the next two days following to exhaustion and whacked-out sleeping patterns never registered in his thought processes.)

This post isn't about Roland.

I was angry this afternoon. Really, deeply pissed off.

Why?

Because my webpage isn't the way I want it to be, yet. It hasn't been what I want it to be for months, but today I was almost in tears and emitting throat-shredding yells, so great was my frustration over this relatively insignificant issue. (Tiina wasn't home when this happened--if I absolutely must completely lose my $#%, I'd prefer to do it in private.)

It didn't take long for me to recognize that, of course, I wasn't really upset about the webpage.

I know why I felt--continue to feel--angry and frustrated. There's not a whole lot I can do, no obvious action I can take to effect positive change at the moment. All I can do is acknowledge the emotions and what's causing them and ride things out till my mood improves, taking care to ensure that the people around me know that if I'm more negative than usual, it's not because of anything they've done.

I reckon this puts me a step or two up from Roland. But it still sucks.

***

STONE TO THE NOSEGRIND

Screenplay revision for the Thing My Managers Believe Will Actually Sell This Time No Honestly This Time For Sure is done. Finally. Post-script depression will set in soon. Because I'm not miserable enough as it is.

The artist for my story for the Big Anthology has bigger fish to fry and can't get it done for the deadline for the next volume. I'm scrambling, trying to think of something that the editors and another artist I'd like to work with might go for.

It's really not working. Then again, I've had everything mentally backburnered while I work on the screenplay. Now that that's out of the way, I'm faintly hopeful I'll be able to come up with something that satisfies everyone over the weekend.

***

COMING SOON TO A COMIC SHOP NEAR YOU

Did I mention that Robert Burke Richardson's THE MATRIARCH comic is in the latest Previews catalogue? Because it is. The first 30-some pages of the book can be found online here. Give it a read, and if you like what you see, please go order a copy at your local comic shop. The publisher isn't Marvel or DC, so odds are it won't show up there if you don't.

A

1 comment:

Paul Lavallee said...

Hey Andrew if you need an artist I'm available for some projects. Let me know if your interested. lavallee.paul@hotmail.com