This Writing Life VII

In his recent memoir, a writer/friend tells of a 1982 visit he made with his wife to Berkeley from NYC. “We accompanied Will to the dump, had ice cream with our friends Bob and Adele Levin, did our laundry…” Damn, I thought, if that doesn’t fix my place in the literary firmament? Below the dump, but billed ahead of dirty laundry? If Ernest was recalling a catch-up pernod with Scott and Zelda, he would have featured them more prominently.
It did not help when the touted feature documentary about Dan O’Neill and The Air Pirates, for which I had been interviewed at length, aired only as a 15-minute You Tube video with me on the cutting room floor. If video cutters even have floors.
But I have had my moments. The brightest was an inquiry from a major East Coast publisher. Would I review an Afrofuturist graphic novel by a distinguished creator it was releasing. Now my knowledge of Afrofuturism stops at Sun Ra; of the (impressive) influences on this book the accompanying press release mentioned, I had first hand familiarity with 60 percent; of the (equally impressive) credits of the creator, half that. So, knowing what I knew, I would not have picked me as an obvious candidate to review this work. But I jumped from my socks at the chance. Surprisingly, the people who solicited me were excited too. They “grew up,” one said, reading “The Comics Journal” when my off beat pieces about off beat cartoonists regularly appeared there. I knew I had caught on with youngsters who had grown up to become off beat cartoonists themselves, but I had not considered some of these youngsters had grown up to work for major East Coast publishers.
I also received a request from the mother of one of these cartoonists, asking me to review a new novel by her. And, no doubt impressed by my recent credentializing in the NYT (See: “This Writing Life VI), a fellow in North Jersey, whose daughter is taking a course on UG/ALT comix has asked if he might suggest to her professor I Zoom lecture to it.
I said “Yes,” “Yes,” and “Yes”; but, as I told my friend Budd, “I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.”
“Get past the overwhelmed,” he said, “and get to work!”