…I’ve caught up on all ten chapters of Ursula Vernon’s Digger. Really, I need to stop discovering wonderful webcomics that’ve been running for years; compulsive archive-reading does not mesh well with the amount of sleep required for coping with fashion vendors. Especially the ones who change their retails on 1500+ units, and – whoopsie! – somehow forget to tell the ticket printers before shipping. There are days, in this job, when you seriously consider the ‘Is everyone else crazy? Or is it just me?’ dilemma. Long before noon.
Anyway, Digger. It is one of those media which naturally lends itself to listing off the goodies – Heroic wombats! Vampire vegetables! Oracular slugs! Metaphorical pigeons! Pirate shrews! – but as you can see, in this case we’d be here for a lot longer than it’d take you to just travel to page one and get hooked.
Because you will. Oh, yes, you will. This thing is almost hypnotically addictive, gorgeous art, literate wit and all. What I love most about it, though, is that every single one of the fantastic elements are so firmly grounded – even the Shadowchild. Vernon is not writing fantasy for the sake of it; nor is she being clever for the same reason. Her characters speak from solid convictions about interesting ideas; their damage – and a lot of it is severe – is nonetheless real, their varying degrees of strength in the face of it no more and no less than natural consequence.
Meanwhile. This weekend. In a weird way reading Digger has given me some help with my own fiction-writing blockage…Thinking about starting, that’s OK. Even fun. But actually starting…over the last year I’ve realised that the problem is that it’d mean going to a place of total honesty within. And that in turn means confronting some things that – I don’t – really – want to. Mind, I’m not saying I have any baggage on the scale of Vernon’s characters to deal with. I mean, pretty sure there are no shadows of malevolent goddesses on my brain, or anything.
Just…everybody has an Unknown, and mine and self don’t really get along so well. So following Digger and company as they deal with theirs has been a treat in more ways than one. Perhaps that’s part of what I want to write about – why my subconscious is so insistent I get on with this sci-fi story. It’s a vivid reminder that considering reality does not make one mad, no matter how mad the reality may seem; that in fact confronting one’s fears, doing something active about them – while it may or may not make things easier – is one hell of a lot better than just sitting around brooding. In a way, I’ve been just sitting around inside my head since I was a teenager, and it’s high time I got out and explored a bit.
Right then, this is me, doing something. Sitting down and sketching out my ideas – since, as you may have noticed [/self-deprecating sarcasm] I’m one of those anal types that can’t function unless I know where the story’s going from the outset – and then going back and editing the first few chapters a bit, and then posting them here. And then I have to go on, or I look like an idiot. A pretentious idiot, to boot. And being thought pretentious may be the only thing that bothers me more than being thought crazy.