And it’s time.
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Silence Killed the Dinosaurs started out as a whim. It continued as a way to help me cope through the worst of my chronic fatigue syndrome. Now I would like it to be a little more.
I have been thinking about how to write this for a few weeks, and I have made a couple of false starts. It’s all been wrong.
So I’ll start by telling you this:
I have set up a Patreon page to support my writing and illustrating for Silence Killed the Dinosaurs.
For those who don’t know, Patreon is a crowdfunding site designed specially for creators who have a constant output (i.e., writing, art, comics, music, podcasts, etc.). Instead of a big one-off fund-raising goal, patrons opt to pledge a smaller amount (as little as a $1) each month.
Don’t worry, Silence Killed the Dinosaurs will remain free to anyone who wishes to see it.
But if you like my work and think it’s worth a couple of dollars every now and then, please consider becoming my patron. There are some cool extras and rewards available for those of you who do.
If you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) support me that way but would still like to help out, please consider sharing my work around on social media and telling friends about it. I would really appreciate it.
If you don’t want to do that either, we’re still cool. But maybe leave a comment and tell me the picture I did for my Patreon banner is totally kick-arse. Because it is. Go look at it. That thing took me ages to get right.
And now that has been said, I’ll tell you some news:
My chronic fatigue syndrome has improved.
I’m not better, but I am better than I was six months ago. I might improve more over the next six months. I might not. I don’t know.
I am still not well enough to drive, catch a bus or find employment. But I have more energy and fewer migraines. I can help around the house. And, more relevant for you, I can concentrate better and for longer, meaning I can write and draw more.
Maybe I’ll never be well enough work as a librarian like I had planned and studied for before I got sick. But there’s more to me than my university degree and plenty of other things out there. Maybe I could be a professional writer/illustrator.
Which brings me to something else that I want to say but could never get the lead up right (and still can’t):
All this—Silence Killed the Dinosaurs, you guys—saved me.
Maybe that’s a soppy, silly thing to say on the internet, but I don’t care. It’s true. Probably you didn’t mean to. Probably you didn’t even notice. It’s still true. You saved me and it means everything.
I was so sick that I barely left the house. I ached all over all the time. I was too tired to think. On bad days I spent the entire day lying down. On really bad days I would not eat food or drink water until my partner returned from work in the evening because I was unable to stand and go to the kitchen.
But I wrote and I drew. Not always a lot. Not always well. Not at all on bad days. But I never stopped, even when it felt hopeless.
And you guys.
I little while back I wrote about the awkward conversations I have about not ‘doing’ anything. It was written to be entertaining, and I like to think it was, but it didn’t come from an entertaining place. Chronic fatigue syndrome had been getting me down. I felt like I was achieving nothing and that I was worthless.
But then I got heaps of comments from you guys telling me that of course I do something—I do this.
The idea needed some time to simmer. It didn’t just tip me into a new way of thinking and a new way of doing things, but I thought about it a lot over the last couple of months. And then when I visited New Zealand I filled out my occupation on those customs cards. You do two; one for the country you leave before you get on the plane and another for the country you are going to while you are on the plane. Somewhere in the air things clicked into place. I left Australia unemployed, but I arrived in New Zealand a writer.
Putting it down in words like that was weirdly hard to do—especially as there weren’t enough little boxes to fit /illustrator—but I was brave and I did it.
I consider my life saved.
And now I’m going to go do some scary things with it, like putting my work out there and finding new ways to challenge myself creatively. Please hang around while I do it. We’ll tell jokes and I’ll draw dinosaurs. It’ll be fun, I promise.
The last thing I wanted to say was just this:
Comic-me (awkward mid-sentence tangent that shouldn’t be happening two hyphenated words into the story: I have decided to refer to my drawn-self as ‘comic-me’ rather than ‘cartoon-me’ because it can be misread as I am comic, i.e. amusing, and I’m okay with that) is getting a makeover.
You know the classic high school movie makeover scene? That’s the scene where a designated cool-person exchanges a nerd-girl’s glasses for contacts (or just takes them away and leaves the poor nerd-girl to walk into things and get reading-headaches) magically transforming the nerd-girl into a cool-person worthy of having friends and being treated like a human being.
Well, I wear glasses now, so we’re about to do the reverse.
Reverse implies I start cool, put on glasses and get nerdy. In reality I start kind of nerdy, put on glasses and then I stay the same level of nerdy with the same personality and the same questionable social skills, but I feel a bit happier with how I look.
(Which is how successful makeovers work in the real world. I hope all you high-school-movie-screen-writers out there are paying attention.)
Here we go!
I need the glasses because I have moderate astigmatism. My left eye is almost okay, but my right eye isn’t. My right eye is that awful group-project partner you always end up with for university assignments who doesn’t do much, gets in the way, drags down your grade, ends up passing because of all your hard work and is the subject of your pencil-stabbing fantasies for the rest of the semester.
Annoyed is the wrong word.
Wearing my old glasses slots in on my list of everyday things I have an unreasonably intense dislike of just above the term ‘happy snaps’ and a little below folding fitted sheets. There must be some narrow-frame perks that I can’t see (/joke. Get it?) because some people seem to like them. But I would rather not wear glasses at all than wear my old glasses with the narrow frames.
And in fact this is what I did for years. I just didn’t wear them, except for reading. It was a surprisingly successful solution. It even saved me money on blu-rays and granted me immunity from getting carried away about otherwise mediocre video games with awesome graphics.
But sometimes you catch yourself wondering what pores look like.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to realise the answer was to just get different glasses. I worked it out a couple of months ago and immediately went out and picked out the biggest frames I could find in the shop.
And I thought it was time to make the relationship comic-official.