Thursday, March 24, 2005

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

The current topic 'round these parts seems to be the comings and goings (and threatened goings, and considered goings, and variations on that theme) of high-profile members of the inflation community. I was honored when Indiana Jones noticed I'm one of the old-timers still here. I haven't been producing much lately, but I do take an interest and I do try to keep my Yahoo groups tidy. I'm still active because, well, I want to be active.

But I don't blame anybody for getting burned out, really. It's an unbalanced community with a lot more takers than givers, and the takers, for some reason, turn into harassers quite often. I suppose it's a little like a drug--man, you never thought something could make you feel this good, and you never thought you'd have this kind of access to something so special, so it's tempting to want a whole lot of it at once! That leads people to write begging e-mails or start expecting content that, just a few months prior, was treated more like a gift.

So that makes it hard if, say, you have a few weeks where your mind is really on the inflatable stuff, and you create a lot of pieces or stories in that time, and then...poof, your attention changes or your inspiration runs dry for a bit. People out there expect you to produce at the earlier pace.

I don't think it's fair to expect anything. I look forward to every checkup at DA (and I check it every few days, not daily) when I'm in the mood, and I wonder what little gifts may have been left. Sometimes it's a lot of art that really resonates with me, sometimes not. Sometimes it's a lot of discouraged and discouraging journal entries. There's no telling. And honestly, no course of action is wrong.

Ylandra is one of my favorite artists in the community. I made a smart remark about Poser animations always looking like crap on the Vault back in the day; he sent me his work and boy, were my words tasty when I ate every last one of them. He was busy working on some amazing stuff and then, poof, just disappeared. He said "I need to spend some time in real life doing stuff" and promptly logged out for a long, long time. But then, I think almost a year later, he resurfaced and said "Yeah, the break did me good--I learned a lot of new techniques and played with some fresh ideas." And wow--night and day difference. He wanted to do it again, and it showed in his work.

I say, let people leave. It's healthy to shift focus, to get away from it now and then. This is an unusual and passionate interest, and you should be able to spend time not thinking about it rather than let it consume you. This goes for the givers as well as the takers.

A lot of times when people have left in the last 10 years, they come back reinvigorated. And if they don't return, maybe they've given all they have to give, and we should all just be thankful for that.

Expecting/demanding too much from your artists or yourself will only cause both sides frustration, disappointment, and resentment. In ten years of participating in this community and experiencing all its unusual, ever-changing forms, I've felt a natural flow. Go with it.

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