Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Monday, January 01, 2007

The 2007 "To Do" List

Well, it's the first day of the New Year. Time to make some resolutions – or at least, tidy up my "To Do" list.

But first, while I've kept personal stuff to a minimum on this blog, preferring to concentrate on my creative work and pop culture obsessions, I feel I probably should mention that last week, I was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in my right kidney. Sometime in the next month, after further tests, I'll be going under the knife and having the kidney removed.

I am nervous, as I've never undergone any surgery in my life, and this unexpected and under-insured medical expense means that my already precarious financial situation is not likely to improve any time soon. In that regard, anyway, the future is bleak.

But on every other front, there is hope.

As has been pointed out to me, the kidney is both mostly self-contained and redundant, so there's a good chance that this procedure will be the only treatment necessary to take care of the cancer. Once this is done, with luck, my overall health situation will improve dramatically.

Creatively and professionally, I have more irons in the fire than ever before... and I'm actually optimistic about their prospects, for a change. I have projects in the works for three established indy publishers and several short prose stories that have been bought or commissioned for upcoming anthologies.

Among those projects is the long-delayed and much-anticipated Femme Noir miniseries, the Kolchak miniseries and the Spider short story collection. All three represent personal and creative milestones for me. I've been a Kolchak fan since I was 11 and the show was originally on the air, and while I've been a Spider fan for a somewhat shorter time, it's still been about 15 years.

As for Femme Noir, well, Joe Staton and I have been trying to put this comic book out for nearly seven years... and it's finally coming together after more than a few false starts and unexpected obstacles.

So, to make all that work out, what is it I need "To Do" in 2007?

Well, most of it depends on me developing a more disciplined approach to my work and maintaining my health. It also means that I'll have to get a handle on the bouts of depression and discouragement that have traditionally plagued me. I'll also have to work on my pathetic time-management skills. All of which – I am assured by those wiser than myself – is "Do"-able.

And what do I want "To Do" in 2007?

Read more books. For some reason, in the last two years, I've fallen out of the habit. Not all that long ago, I was reading at least two novels a week, along with a bunch of comic books and magazines. But while I can no longer afford the comics and magazines, I've still got plenty of unread or under-read books in the house, and I really need to delve into them.

Hell, just from the last couple months – between Christmas gifts and a couple of bargain table finds – I've acquired new books by Richard Prather, Richard Stark, Mickey Spillane, Lawrence Block, Stuart M. Kaminsky and Robert E. Howard! What more motivation do I need?

Make more money. I really need to. My freelance career – as I somewhat laughingly refer to it – has not really been what one could call a success. My income over the last two years has been the lowest I've ever had... at least since my voice changed. I'm hopeful that the projects I mentioned above will help open doors at other, better-paying, publishers, but even if they don't, I'm going to have to find some way to bring in more cash. Maybe the time has finally come to set up an eBay store and start selling some of my precious stuff.

And, if I can manage to make more money... I want to read more comic books. Over the last two years, I haven't been able to buy any regular monthly comics, and only a few trade paperback collections (mostly old 60's and 70's stuff). I'd like to get back to collecting at least a couple monthly titles and to try an occasional new indy book. Frankly, I've really been feeling out of the loop.

Hell, I even miss reading Previews – isn't that sad?

So, wish me luck as the new year unfolds before us, and I'll do the same for you (assuming anyone actually reads this blog... and if you do, would it kill you to post a comment once in a while, so I'll know you're out there?).


Glen Davis said...

I don't know how to say this, but you have got to be one of the unhealthiest people I know. And I know a lot of senior citizens.

Good luck on your projects. I hope things turn around for you.

Jon Plante said...

It sounds like you're taking a good first step by being more positive and proactive. Keep stoking those fires, Chris, and get well soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey man, you have a few readers lurking out there. I can relate to the freelance income thing. Ever since the implosion in '95, it's been hard to dig up paying work. I branch out when I can, doing rpg work, selling art on Ebay, writing/illustrating my own books rather than waiting for work from established publishers. I even wrote a prose comedy book in 2005. But, yes, I too am still poor.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you and I hope you have a speedy and complete recovery. I just found the Supernatural Crime site a few months ago and I'm glad you're not abandoning Femme Noir even if the site is discontinued. I'll keep checking your blog to see updates on the comic and your Kolchak work. I've enjoyed the Kolchak books published by Moonstone and I'm sure I'll enjoy yours too.
Have a good, productive, healthy and prosperous 2007!

Meridith said...

I didn't know until this weekend when Bill and Deb came up what was going on with your kidney! Wow....... thankfully they caught it early? Are you going to Inland or EMMC or some other hospital? I know they do a good job at covering expenses for underinsured...Larry had his gall bladder removed back in 2001 and they covered the majority of it as we had no money/no insurance at the time. Anyway good luck I hope it goes quickly/painlessly and you recover fast!

Anonymous said...

Hey, man, I wish you the best of luck with your surgery. Take care, and keep us informed here of what's happening with you.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I am so sorry to hear about your upcoming operation. I do hope things go well with it, and that it does clear up your health issues. I need you out there pushing that Femme Noir series! Here's to hoping your new year will be a great one!