In his book Ignore Everybody, our bible on this little creative journey, Hugh MacLeod writes:
“the pain of making the necessary sacrifices always hurts more than you think it’s going to.”
In fact, if we could equate the creative experience of producing this book to anything, it would be to being pregnant. When you first get the whole baby-making process underway, it’s a lot of pleasure and joy. But after eight months or so–or in our case over two years–you just want to get the heavy baby out into the world. The Ryu/Chun-Li fans who have donated to our project are like the unexpected friendly people who will stand up and give a pregnant lady their seat. And just like pregnancy, boy does the creative process give you mood swings. Somedays you love the whole process and the fans around you. And some days….Grrrr.
It is the mood swings we’ve found we hate the most because they keep us from being completely altruistic with this book. Altruism is something Hugh Macleod recommends:
Frankly, I think you’re better off doing something on the assumption that you will not be rewarded for it, that it will not receive the recognition it deserves, that it will not be worth the time invested in it. The obvious advantage to this angle is, of course, if anything good comes of it, then it’s an added bonus.
We are extremely humbled and grateful to all the wonderful people who have helped us on this project, especially the donators of cash and art. But as we are grateful to them, we must NOT be rude to those people on the Ryu/Chun-Li bus who will happily watch us work, but will not or cannot help. Why? Because we do not know which they actually are: the “will not” or the “cannot”. And we are certainly in no position to judge them.
We’re reminded of a pictures-only story we saw on an English speaking test where a tired old man gets on a crowded train and stands in front of a young man who is sitting down. The young man sees the old man, but does not get up and offer the old man a chance to sit down. So, of course, the young man appears rude and uncaring, and people who see this first part of the story are understandably upset with the young man.
At the end of the story the viewer learns that the young man’s father is confined to a wheelchair and is unable to walk, and the young man did not get up for the old man because the young man felt the old man should be grateful the old man CAN stand on his own while there are others in the world, like the young man’s father, who cannot stand at all.
The moral of this story is a lesson we are still trying to learn: we should never expect help from anyone, even from those we think would be most likely to help us. It doesn’t matter if we are pregnant, old and tired on the bus, or making the Ryu/Chun-Li book of our dreams. We can, of course, always ask for volunteer help as we have done, and we are always humbled and grateful when we get it! But we should NOT be upset at the people who refuse or ignore us when we do.
So, to anyone we have offended on this journey with our quest for art and monetary donations, we offer of deepest heartfelt apologies. The sad truth, but one we are glad we have realised, is: while we are mature enough to give birth to a bouncing baby book that is getting bigger every day, we still need to grow up ourselves!
More next time!