Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hit Critic

(Cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1985. All rights reserved.)
(click on image to englarge)
Hi all,
As you can see this blog continues to be a work in progress. Last night, or rather I should say early this morning, I added "reactions" at the bottom of each post so that you can respond quickly and easily with one click. Notice that the response options are all positive ones, yup I'm a wimp.

Sometimes it takes too much time to make a comment in the blog itself, you have to open (just in case you decide to open one) a Google account if you don't already have one and then each time you enter your comment you have to give additional info and decipher and type in the mystery word. Friends comment through my e-mail which is great, but it looks like no one is reading.

What's weird, is the reality that probably very few people are reading this yet here I am typing away as if I have an audience when in fact it's a fantasy that's all in my head — no wonder why writers are all screwed up. It's not like writing a diary which you guard with your life because, God forbid, you don't want anyone to read - I want that garbage (not me) to stay all locked up safe and sound, thank you very much. Nope, this stuff I'm choosing to put out here.

What drives me to do this?

Scott Adams, (I must add that he's the Dilbert guy so has definitely had his share of attention + the monetary benefits of a successful cartoon empire) whose blog I follow, says he blogs for attention (see The Value of Attention and The Attention Contest) . His theory is that writers write primarily for attention and I think he's right on — we will write (artists will paint, singers will sing, performers will perform...) to get our voices heard about anything, most often (for the vast majority of us) for nothing or virtually nothing.

Can you imagine a surgeon just dying to perform open heart surgery just for the thrill of it or your accountant saying, "Let me at that income tax form. I just loooove digging into the old shoe box, sorting out all those tiny, folded up, crumpled receipts, entering each number in its own little space. Ooooh, no, no, no don't pay me. I do it for the love of numbers!" Neither can I.

But artists...we're a whole different breed.

I used to think I write and draw just for the creative release and satisfaction it gives me, but that's a lie. I'm definitely an attention seeker. I was the kid doing flips and cartwheels in the back yard all the while yelling and waving my arms in the air to get Mom's attention. She was a captive audience (the best kind for a child) who could see me from her vantage point on the other side of the kitchen window while she perpetually did the dishes , "Look, look at me. Look at this. Oh my God, did you seeeeee me do that?"

So, I thought reactions might be a good way to go. Just "click" if you think it's funny, interesting or you like it and it's done, no fuss, no muss and totally anonymous. I know it's all so Sally Fieldish - you like me, you really like me — but humour me. It would be nice to know you're out there but if you are out there and you really don't have any comment that's OK too I'm sure on some level I'm getting the vibe.

Anyway, whoever you are, thanks for reading and have a great one!

About the cartoon: this was inspired by a discussion I had with one of my many employers years ago.

I worked for a natural food store at the time and was in charge of advertising and managed shipping and receiving. One particular customer would always find something wrong with her order. I was about ready to tear my hair out as 98% of the time the order was correct. Eventually I handled her order personally, take the order directly from her over the phone, put it together and deliver it myself; double and triple checking all the steps along the way.

I would have the proof right in my hand but she would change her mind (consciously or subconsciously I don't know) on an item or find something to complain about and complain she did. It seemed that events in her life had to fit her theory that everyone but her was an incompetent.

I'd swallow what I really wanted to say and follow the retail gospel of THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

One day after a particular trying interaction with her, my boss and I began to fantasize about what we really wanted to say to her. She said, "I couldn't say it myself but...wouldn't it be great if you could hire a HIT CRITIC to do it for you? Someone who could just go in there and really blast her. How great would it feel like to be a Hit Critic?"

Years later, after receiving my gazillionth rejection letter from publishers regarding my cartoons, I realized that, if there were such a thing, I'd be the one receiving a visit from an all too enthusiastic Hit Critic.

Fortunately the scenario played out in cartoonland and I got Al to take the hit for me.

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