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Breadcrumbs from the Void #23: The Pressure Cooker | Alex Schumacher

Alex Schumacher

Forgive me, dear readers of Bread Crumbs from the Void. If you are out there asking yourself why this installment may be commencing with my asking for your pardon, it is in fact because I nearly neglected to fulfill my duties. Yes, even your humble columnist is fallible and prone to err time and again. In short, you should not be surprised to learn I fuck things up quite often.

I also apologize in advance as this week’s entry will be rather clipped when compared to some of my more verbose  previous articles.

Moving along, the cause for such mental constipation is that I am currently nipples deep in preparing a pitch for my new graphic novel. You see publishers all but shut down production for the holidays — essentially from Thanksgiving through New Years — and my agent is champing at the bit to deliver this fucker before said operations close for the remainder of the year.

This week you will be getting a front row seat in the eye of the hurricane as short-order deadlines such as my current entanglement tend to entail long nights, sleep deprivation, and a metric shit ton of caffeine. Add each of those ingredients to your central nervous system, shake well, and you have a cocktail which suppresses cognitive functions as well as basic motor skills. Trust me when I say I am in rare god-damn form at the moment. However, this is all in pursuit of the dream and I am certain it will be worth the struggle and strife in the end.


Ok, probably not, but I will continue to produce work since I am empty inside without a project to keep me hard.

Remove the Cause, but not the Symptom

As said before, my current dominatrix is the new graphic novel I have written and for which I am in the process of completing accompanying artwork. Of course I will not divulge too many details as to plot or theme at this stage. I can tell you that it happens to be one of the most deeply personal stories I have ever told in a graphic narrative format. This also happens to be one of the factors which causes my testicles to retreat into my stomach.

I am well aware that my column is basically built around the principle of suck it the fuck up and make shit happen so I want to be clear that such trepidation is not stopping me from breathing life into this new work. On the contrary, I thrive on pressure and am eager for both editors and readers to behold my tale and get their hot little mitts on this book.

Whether the finished product is a piece of shit or not, I am going to be proud of that mutant baby of mine.

Of course this does not mean that I am not without my moments of sheer panic. As a matter of fact this instant, as I fire off this missive four thousand different tabs are open in my head. Each one relaying a task for the book, a chapter which needs to be revised, or the questions which all of those in the creative field are plagued with throughout their lives. These are the questions which prematurely gun down careers before they even have a chance to begin.

These queries include:

  • Why the fuck should anybody give two shits about my work?
  • Who could possibly relate to a story that I would write?
  • How the hell will people find what I do to be engaging?
  • Is anything that I am producing of any quality whatsoever?

It is far too easy to become lost in the weeds with such contemplations, especially when a path littered with failures lay behind you. For instance, my first graphic novel was an utter disappointment and complete flop. To be fair it was given all the marketing and promotion of an acne-riddled harelip call girl with a hunchback and halitosis working for a high-class escort service. Knowing this fact does very little to soften the blow or heal any residual scarring though.

During the days when the words simply will not be conjured or the lines refuse to be rendered on the page the way I intended such harrowing experiences persist, haunting my every waking moment. Urging me to quit. With every rejection and every less-then-favorable review I am beckoned to burn every page I have ever written or drawn and never look back.

But I ask you, faithful readers, what would I do then? What would you do if one day you became fed up with the industry and quit writing cold turkey? Would you find a “real” occupation and merely exist? Would you find happiness in the absence of struggle?

Allow me to clue you in on something I may have failed to mention thus far on this journey with you. The day jobs, the shitty wages, the crooked politicians, the violence, the sorrow, and the darkness of the world are only tolerable because you and I create.

Fuck the rejections.

Fuck the lapses in confidence.

The only thing which is more frightening than putting your work out into the universe is a lack of ability to do so. You have the ability to do so. I am not going to guarantee you that people will enjoy what you do. I will not even guarantee you that your output will be good.

The only thing I can guarantee you is that if you love what you do and bleed on the page, you will find an enjoyment. In this uncertain time and an uncertain world you will find one motherfucking sliver of happiness. So go and gut yourself for the entire world to see.

That is what I am going to do. And I will never stop.

If you would like to hear me elaborate a bit more on my own process, you can find links to a couple of interviews conducted recently with me on my website at: Drop me a line from the contact page if you have any other questions, complaints, or declarations of lust.

Bread Crumbs from the Void will return in two weeks, when I continue with my personal, and obviously enthralling publication trek. Until next time, keep scribbling you freaks.

Stalk Alex online:

Profile 4Alex Schumacher has toiled away in the relative obscurity of minimum-wage jobs and underground comics longer than he cares to admit. Currently he produces the weekly feature Decades of (in)Experience for Antix Press, Bread Crumbs from the Void and The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine, and Mr. Butterchips for Drunk Monkeys. Stalk him at