Idle Hands and All That

July 15th, 2007

Of course, I work in print. If I were one of those artists who could actually draw, I might not be so limited. But when I have no book in the hopper, its manuscript on my desk, or its textfiles on my machine, I usually spend my time online. I divide my attention between reading what others say about book design specifically and design in general and anything I can think of to uncover a publisher I might like to contact about freelance work.

With the television on in the background.

And three or four books on my desk—some combination of what I am currently reading, something I already read but still refer to occasionally, the next thing I think I want to read, and something I may just get around to reading.

Then, too, I have my legal pad out to scribble down anything that occurs to me while all this is going on. I never quite know what I intend to use for a blog entry.

My studio is off the kitchen, my desk angled so that I can see about seven-eighths of the television screen in the kitchen. Generally, I keep it on while I am in my studio, and it really is a surprising pleasure. Much more so than if I sit down in the living room for the purpose of watching some particular program or movie. I never know what will get my attention. In just the last half-hour or so, while I still dodged around from different blogs to publishers’ websites, two things got my attention.

First was a rerun of the original show in the CSI franchise, the one that takes place in Las Vegas. Whatever the murder they investigated was, it somewhere along the line involved a mime and a clown. Another mime, under interrogation spoke of some natural antipathy between clowns and mimes. He said something to the effect that having one of each in the same room is like having a snake and a mongoose at close quarters.

Nice image. In fact, if I could draw or paint, it might be fun to picture something like a cockfight scene, the audience chickens and, maybe, some breed of dogs that fight—only they make up the audience, watching a clown fight a mime.

The second thing that I enjoyed having break into my consciousness was an ad. No idea what the product is. But the ad warned me that I could never know when sludge from my engine would stop my car cold. To demonstrate, the car on the television screen, I guess it was driving merrily along, froze when a mass of what appeared to be oil glop dropped from the sky all over it.

See now why it’s better for me to always have a book to work on?

Entry Filed under: freelancing

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