Sempai!  The Comic Strip!
 
The mostly true tales of the Sempai Gang!
 
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Brace yourself, this is gonna be a long one ...

Konnichiwa,

I'm sorry about just dropping the comic for the weekend. Some of you have asked if I'm alright. I appreciate the concern. I'm fine.

I should have written this for Saturday, rather than waiting until now. But, it's hard to spill my guts publicly, especially when what I'm spilling my guts about is the fact that I'm wanting to back off and seclude. So, I put this off until I felt I could write what I wanted the way I wanted to.

The Promise:

Eight months ago, when I started my strip, Kitsune & I were discussing comic strips we had enjoyed over the years. We both felt that some of our very favorite ones went on too long. It was obvious to us that Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes both wore their authors out. It seemed clear that they reached a point where the joy went out and it became just a job. And they both became increasingly cynical from that point.

Kitsune made me promise him that day that, if the time ever came when I no longer felt the joy of doing the strip, then I would quit.

Relax, it's okay, don't worry, that hasn't happened.

Yet.

And that's the problem. I can feel it coming. I can already tell that the pace I've been pursuing has been eroding the joy I feel at making a new strip every day. I'm sure it shows up in the strips. I figure it must show up in the eratic way I've been doing strips late and missing days. I can only assume that this feeling will grow and my lack of joy will increase.

I don't want that to happen, so I'm going to change the way I do it ... at least for a while.

For eight months, I've tried to keep up a daily comic strip. Kestrel thought I was nuts, some of my friends thought it was a lark, I think most just figured I was biting off more than I realized.

They were all right.

But, I've done it and enjoyed it, and my audience has steadily grown, and my friends and family have been impressed, and it's all been better than I dreamt.

I was even going to do a strip one weekend showing Kestrel saying "A daily strip? Are you nuts?" and then me coming over again and again to use her Mac because it's nicer than mine, and then my coming over becoming a habit. The punch line would be us sitting side-by-side at her two machines, with her saying, "A daily strip. What a great idea!" ^_^

I've really enjoyed doing the strip. I still do. I just don't want the joy to go away. I don't want the fun spirit of the strip to evaporate. I don't want my fatigue to show up in the strip as cynicism.

So, it won't be a daily strip anymore.

At least, not for a while.

For the time being, and for the foreseeable future, I will do strips sporadically. Mostly, I'll do them during the week, because I want the weekends free to spend with Kestrel. (That's the worst part ... interrupting our time together to sit down at the computer for a while. It really gets inconvenient sometimes.) The "Today's Comic" page will become the "Most Recent Comic" page, and the Archive page will begin to have days that link to comics and days that don't link to anything indicating that there were no comics on those days.

In this way, I hope to stave off the day when I no longer wish to do the strip. There are still so many stories to tell! I still haven't introduced anyone outside the old time core group! There are so many more of us, and so many more really great, wacky, fun, silly things I want to share! Things that really happened, and things that we've just teased and joked with each other about. I don't want to quit yet, or those wonderful tales will never get their due.

So, I'm not quitting, I'm not planning on quitting, I'm not wanting to quit. I'm wanting to preserve the fun and the joy for myself, so that I never end up wanting to quit. And that means that things will be different from now on. At least for a little while.

Maybe in a few months, I'll become impatient with the story moving slowly, and I'll decide to go daily again. Maybe my Real Life™ will suddenly become full of large amounts of free time. (Hey, I can dream, right?) Or maybe, it'll be this way for years to come. I don't know. But, I feel I've got to do this.

To those of you who drop by every day and have gotten used to that, I'm sorry, and I hope you'll understand. I'm only doing this because I still want to be doing this eight more months from now. I hope you will continue to drop by every once in a while to catch up on the new strips and see how things are going with my friends & I.

And thanks, once again, for all the many readers who have taken the time to share with me their reactions, their enjoyment and their support as I have traveled through these last eight hectic months of my life! I can't put into words how amazing it feels to get mail from total strangers I may never meet who tell me they've enjoyed what I've done. Thank you, thank you, and thank you so much again!

Tonbo


 
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