This one's long and very personal, but there's something special at the end… View online
PLUGOarts PLUGO: artist • comics • illustration (scbwi)

Hi {name},
Initially, I thought what I'm about to tell you would comprise my April MUSEletter. In March, when I launched my MUSEletter, it included the opening chapter of my autobiographical comic series IMPERFEComics. Since then, you might've wondered why no future chapters appeared. Well... the truth is; my dog actually did eat my homework.

You see, friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages (thanks covid) sent me a leather-bound laser-etched pocket book of their own creation. Each page included pre-ruled comic panel borders. Perfect for what I had in mind, but I didn't consider it was also perfect for what Milo had in mind: a midnight snack.

Talk about a bummer when your own dog is that harsh a critic. I've lived much of my life with dogs, but I can count, on one hand, the number of times I've legitimately used that phrase.

Milo is the most primal of puppies, and his skill for disassembly is a wonder to behold; when properly directed. A combination of boredom and the scent of leather was too hard for him to resist in this case. Upsetting circumstances, but it'd be foolish to take this incident as some cosmic commentary on my efforts as an artist. Still, such things can be an attractive consideration.

It's something I believe all creatives must face at times. Adversity is everywhere and there are plenty of reasons NOT to pursue creative endeavors; on occasion those reasons can be self-created. I've found it's important to be aware of that potential.

When one has a pet, these things happen, you can't hold a grudge. Still; it was a special gift and its loss revealed attachments. So those pages were put in a zip lock bag and lost to the chaos of the art room. There was intermittent talk of what to do with that project, then in early in April that bag resurfaced. The Ms. and I discussed re-binding the book, creating new covers for it. I imagined using epoxy resin and those shreds of paper to create hard clear covers for the book. But, before I could, Milo discovered those bagged pages and decided he wasn't done.

Whether it was boredom, mischief or the lingering sent of leather, who can say. Maybe he really didn't like what I was working on in those pages. In any case, for some pages, the result was nearly confetti.

I was left disheartened about that project. That is, until random chance and greater adversity put that all into perspective.

Sorry if that's gross, it's not pretty and it's been surprisingly painful. It's been just over a month since the cast came off. I still use that brace for dog walks and have begun Physical Therapy.


The healing is slower than I hoped and for someone about 60%/40% ambidextrous, that drop from 40% to 15% (maybe 20% now) has derailed plans, timelines and even travel. I entered 2021 with big ideas and ambitious plans. I'm not yet ready to give up on them, instead I'll just have to work harder to make up the difference.

Throughout a year+ of the COVID-19 crisis I adopted a method of stress-management I called Coping Through Creativity. Some might have notice an increase in my output, Redbubble, Gumroad and this MUSEletter to name examples.

So with the option for manic creativity hampered, let us turned to the tried and true method of psychological salves. . .

Good News & Graditude

Despite the setbacks I've been going on about I also have some good news I'm grateful to share.

  • This May: I was interviewed and now serve as Community Moderator/Event Coordinator for the organization Kids Comics Unite. This is a closed community of industry professionals seeking to develop a public facing presence. It turns out that two decades devoted to building the online community has left me with more transferable skills than I initially thought. Together, we've launched a rebranding campaign with  this Logo-Contest: its $500 prize is just the most obvious reward on offer. I won't enter as I'm part of the judging committee, but I'm hoping some of you will consider it.
  • This June (just last week): I was surprised to find that Publisher's Weekly named authors Ernest Hogan, Stephanie Nina Pitsirlios and myself in their glowing review of the anthology Speculative Fiction For Dreamers. This bit of public acknowledgement was key in giving me the courage to share these recent challenges with you.
  • Over the Weekend: Thanks to the two dexterous hands of my significant other (the amazing Ms. Lea Beck) who set out to restore those comic journal pages Milo shredded. We filmed the reassembly, creating this 1-minute video. Destruction and transformation are essential to creation, so creating this video transformed that feeling of destruction into something new.

Oh and by the way, did you know today (June 8th) is National Best Friends Day? Makes it seems as though I planned the timing of this letter on man's best friend. Not really, but the coincidence makes for a nice meta-theme.


Finally, let me offer you issue #2 of IMPERFEComics. Click below to read This Man's Best Friends.

Click for issue #2
facebook  twitter  pinterest  linkedin  tumblr  youtube  instagram  vimeo 
Modify your subscription    |    View online