Saturday, September 11, 2010

When Will I Learn Misery Doesn't Sell?

In 1971 I tried to sell the following dismal gag cartoons to Boy’s Life. Somehow the editor’s felt poisoned campers and cliff hanging kids weren’t in a nine-year-old subscriber’s best interest.
"You see? I told you earth worm stew would taste good."
"Yes, they're moose tracks, Jimmy. Pretty fresh, too."
"Tell me again how much fun we're having. I keep forgetting."
In 1977 I wrote and illustrated a children’s’ book entitled The Miserable Life of a Sockeye Salmon. What was I thinking? Here are the illustrations; I’ve spared you the maudlin text.

In 1982 I began drawing a 64 page graphic novel wherein the parish of a country priest gets kidnapped and held for ransom. Click here for the world’s first gander at Parish Snatchers. Our now 27 year old son was born at that time and I never took Pastor Amos beyond the first 7 pages. The world’s probably a better place because of it.

I mention these stories because it appears I just don’t learn. I’m currently working on a marriage-building board game for couples set in the Middle Ages: famine, plague, Inquisition, rebellions, leeching, torture, wars, no universal health care. I’m putting the feud in feudalism. A real crowd pleaser, huh?

Somehow I never inherited the “I like paintings of kids with big eyes” gene. Too bad. A velvet Elvis sells. For better or (probably) worse, I’m of the Bambi Meets Godzilla school of entertainment. Irony over tidy, adversity (sometimes) over victory, ambiguity, chaos, and puzzlement over cute.

This being the case, I now put on hold all plans for: 1) an expository essay reflecting on Jean Paul Sartre’s essay On The Viscous, wherein I deal once and for all with my aversion to things sticky, 2) a comic book version of Kierkegaard’s Sickness Unto Death, and 3) a novella wherein Orthodox Priests launch a church in rural Ferndale and marauding iconoclasts wearing Carhartt disrupt the liturgy.

I better stick to cute; it sells, misery does not. Now if only I can make the middle ages cute. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

300+ Free Handouts on Counseling Topics

Follow this link to a library of free handouts used in my counseling/mediation practice which is informed by the values of historic Christianity. I've been selling these on line for a while and am now making them available for no charge. There’s still a charge for the data wheels and books but the handouts are gratis. After 30+ years of helping people work through difficult challenges our inventory of topics has grown. Here are the major headings. Use the site's search engine to track down specific topics of interest. Check ‘em out and load up that shopping cart with freebies!

Yours for better managed conflict, Erik

Affair Recovery
Anger Management
Character Building
Conflict Resolution
Counseling Topics
Difficult People
Family of Origin Topics
Fear and Anxiety
Marriage Topics
Miscellaneous Parenting Topics
Pastoral Topics
Personal Growth
Premarital Topics
Teenager Topics
Theological Topics