Schlock and our family

Since Howard aired his buffer stresses in his journal this morning and many fans kindly wrote responses in favor of family over schlock, I thought it would be pertinent or at least interesting to share my thoughts on this whole Schlock business.

When Howard first started doodling Schlock I was really glad to see him picking up a new artistic pursuit. I’ve been with Howard when all his creative impulses were dammed up with no outlet and those were some of the darkest times in our marriage. Schlock has been a daily part of our family life for going on five years. Only one of our kids can even remember a time when Daddy didn’t draw Schlock. It may seem strange, but giving up Schlock would be as heart wrenching as giving up one of the kids. And I mean that for both Howard and I. Schlock has sent tendrils throughout our family structure and has become part of it.

We have this lofty dream of having Schlock bring in enough money for Howard to just be a Daddy and a Cartoonist without having to be anything else. We’re a long way from there. Mostly what we have to do is keep on trudging only worrying about the next step because the long view seems impossible to attain. But in theory if we just keep on taking steps and making sure we’re pointed the right direction then we’ll gain our goal eventually.

I honestly don’t know how Howard manages to do all the things that he does and do them so amazingly well. He is one of those people who can pick up almost anything and, given enough time, become superior at doing it. I frequently wish there were more I could do to lighten the burdens he carries.

What makes all the stress worth it here and now is the amazing community that has formed around the existence of Schlock. Several communities actually: The two forums, Nightstar IRC, and now LiveJournal. Through these communities Howard and I have met some wonderful people. All the schlock fans are the voices whose encouragement makes the next step possible even when we are exhausted. It’s been an amazing experience and it ain’t over yet.

4 thoughts on “Schlock and our family”

  1. I am quite releived to hear that Schlock doesn’t subtract from your family life, but instead adds to it.

    While my public response to Howard’s problems is to say “Don’t worry about us readers, family must come first” a more honest (and selfish) repsonse would be “For goodness sake man, what are you doing wasting time on work and family? Draw, man, draw! The world is depending on you!”

    The truth is, if Schlock went on hiatus, I’d still check back every so often while I waited patiently (heh, yeah sure, that’s the right word) for it to return. I’d bet most readers would. A hiatus probably wouldn’t hurt your readership too much. Please don’t tell Howard I said that, though, as I’m not trying to encourage him to do so. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the input from the other side …

    It’s great hearing your side of the story. Most of us fans – bad grammar and all – didn’t know that bit. We see the regular worry-over-buffer and stress stuff, and have to wonder at times how the rest of the family is handling it.

    When Howard writes his Letters, it’s obvious he’s totally besotted with you and completely happy with being a husband and daddy. It’s like his writing glows with this goopy silly happiness. So, it’s sort of hard for us fans to understand, when he ends up being super-busy at work and starting to get stressed, WHY in the WORLD would he be worrying about that stupid buffer when he has family stuff to do! Why stress even more over a buffer, go bounce a smiling baby on your lap for a while, or listen to the older ones talk about what they did that day, cuddle wife, and so on. He’s holding himself to a far, far higher standard than necessary, but now we get a little insight into *why*. Sure, it’s comforting to the readers that there are already 5 weeks’ of strips written, but if it weren’t for the Letters we’d never know if what we’re laughing at that day was written 5 weeks or 5 minutes before it’s posted.

    And it’s not just for alruistic reasons we don’t want to see him ignoring family for the sake of the strip. From a purely selfish viewpoint, we *LIKE* the strip and want it to keep on coming. If the strip starts impacting family, then eventually a choice has to be made, and Schlock is gonna lose that contest, no question. So, a happy Sandra & Happy Tayler Kids means we get more Schlock – yaaaayy!!!!

    So, now it’s just how to get the buffer back up to levels Howard considers acceptable … maybe confiscate the phone line and forego Live Journal updates, IRC, and so on, connecting only to upload as needed? The community you’ve built is strong enough to last weeks without continual input, particularly if we know a happier Howard is going to be one of the results.

    It’s really really cool when someone can make a living doing what they love. Waiting for the Schlock books & merchandise!

  3. Re: See why I like her so much?

    At least she thinks you’re worthy of her, which I would say is probably a start. You lucky… 😀

    Does this mean that Schlock’s a part of the family, though?

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