Yesterday, it felt like I got a lot done.

Today, not so much. I did get a metric crapload of art mailed, and finished a Digger, so it wasn’t a totally unproductive day, it just didn’t have the sense of exhausted accomplishment that I managed yesterday. It suffers by comparison more than in reality.

Tomorrow, book cover! I want to at least finish the background tomorrow, and then I’ll start the figures, one of which will hopefully be a joy to paint and the other one of which will probably make me cry like a lowly worm and curl in fetal position and snivel. But it’ll be okay.

And then there’s…The Item.

The Item was delivered to me at some point during my vacation, and I pulled it from the mailbox, and brought it inside, and turned it over, and saw The Word emblazoned across it, and I dropped The Item as if it were a live mantis shrimp, and did that thing that there isn’t really a word for, where you stick your lower lip out and sigh heavily, so air jets up the sides of your nose and ruffles your bangs if you have any. We need a word for that.

The Word was “Spectrum” and The Item is, of course, the promotional poster for the Spectrum Annual, my own annual futility quest, a compendium of speculative fiction illustration, which I haven’t yet gotten into. Each year, I have the brief internal wrangle–“Would it be better to just let this go and not torture yourself?” and every year I say “Bugger that!” and submit art anyway. Every year, it is rejected. At first, I took this as a challenge to do better, as one is supposed to do, but one can only do that for so long. My well-adjusted artistic-drive-to-improve, to be the best I can be, etc, etc, platitude platitude, ran out a coupla years ago, and we’re frankly down to pure cussedness.

And that’s okay. I was never terribly well-adjusted to begin with, but lord, I can be stubborn. Stubborn is an old friend. I’m not dumb enough to trust to well-adjusted sanity–only crazy people do that!–but stubborn will be there to the bitter end, and occasionally somewhat beyond. (If I am completely wrong in all things, and there is in fact a hell in the conventional sense, I will be the person standing atop the brimstone with my arms folded, as demons gnaw my nether regions, and saying “Regardless, I still think I was right.” I expect to see a number of you there, too.)

And so I grimly unfold the little form and xerox it, and know, without a shadow of doubt, that my art won’t get in again this year–too weird, too furry, too unknown, and yes, damnit, probably not good enough–and yet I do it anyway. Because failure is only failure, but not doing it smacks of defeat.

It ain’t pretty, but that’s art for you.

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