Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Snippets #6: April 28 and July 15, 1983

       This is from an April 28, 1983, letter to my brother Don:

"I'm still working with Kevin on our various projects, though it is hard to get in touch with him as he has moved and has no phone now. But I'm probably going to see him sometime this weekend, and of course he'll have a pile of new stuff that he's whipped out. The guy is pro-lific!"

       [One of the things which always impressed me about Kevin -- really from the very first time we inked each other's penciled drawings -- was his amazing energy. He had a fearless approach to drawing, just diving in and doing it. Although we don't hang out any more like we did in those Dover days (and haven't, for many years), I suspect he is still like that, from what I can see, from afar, of his output these days. -- PL]


       This is from a July 15, 1983 letter to my brother Don:

"The best-case scenario that I can come up with is if I start making more money doing my thing so that I could support us both… this of course is contingent on my making some more lucrative contacts. It's sort of difficult, I have found, trying to do that while we are living here, because there is a real sense of transience that works in subtle ways on my feeble mind, and makes me drag my feet when it comes to establishing continuing working relationships with local people -- because, after all, we probably will leave this area for good after Jeannine is finished with school. Now, too, we are sort of at the halfway point, with Jen starting the second half of her graduate school experience, and in some odd way it feels like this year will be a kind of winding down time… after which we will have to move somewhere else and get wound up again. 

Even Mirage Studios is having a hard time getting going; partly for these reasons, but also frankly Kevin has no time: he's working 12 hour days at the lobster restaurant in Ogunquit. I am going to see him this coming Monday, the first time since the wedding. I really hope we can get moving on this thing; I keep seeing a whole mess of possible applications for our collaborative work."

       ["The wedding" referred to here was mine and Jeannine's, held in the back yard of the Dover house the month before. Kevin was a guest.
       It's strange to see these musings about what we might do after Jeannine's time in graduate school was over. My memories of that time was that we followed the most immediately lucrative path, which -- shortly after this letter was written -- would reveal itself when she got an offer to teach in Connecticut. And when I say "lucrative", I mean "most likely to keep our heads above water on a consistent basis". This was not a spendthrift time for us, to say the least. 
       Little did I know at the time of writing this letter that a bit more than a year later we would be in Sharon, Connecticut, cozy and happy in a little log cabin near a lake, and soon to meet a person who would become a big part of Mirage Studios -- Jim Lawson. 
        But an even larger unpredictable event was due to follow this letter before the end of 1983 -- the creation of the TMNT a few  months after Kevin moved into our house. -- PL]


  1. I have a bunch of questions for several of your posts, but will ask them per post to avoid confusion.

    I hope I'm not stepping out of line asking this. When you and Jeanine first got married, was there ever any worry about who would be the "bread winner". What I mean by that is, were you both content with living thrifty lives, in order to pursue careers in art (writing, and illustration)?

    Was there ever a point where you thought "Mirage" will be my last shot? If that doesn't work, I'll have do __fill in the blank__ to make things work?

    1. We understood that our chosen career paths were pretty unlikely to bring great wealth, and in fact I think we both hoped that as some point (hopefully not TOO far in the future), we would achieve an earning level which would allow us to not worry SO much about having enough money to cover monthly expenses... maybe even by a new car.

      There was a time in Dover, during a period when I was really struggling to find illustration work (and feeling bad that Jeannine was shouldering the greater part of the load in financial terms, with her steady employment as a teaching assistant), when I seriously considered looking for a job doing SOMETHING -- stockboy, janitor, you name it -- to start better holding up my end of the deal. It was a thoroughly obnoxious thought, as I had been for several years prior to moving to NH pretty happily self-employed and making my marginal but adequate living drawing stuff, and the thought of going backwards was just... just... ugghhhh. Fortunately, just before I gave in to the seemingly inevitable, my illustration work started picking up a bit... and I dodged that bullet. -- PL