I can’t tell you how many new hopeful comics writers I meet who have never finished anything in their lives because their intended first project is a hundred-episode epic that creates a whole new universe or three. And I tell them all the same thing: you’re screwed. No-one will want it. Not until you’ve written something short, capable of being produced on a budget, and finished. Your epic may be worldchanging, but no-one will ever know because no publisher will gamble that kind of money on an unknown. And that’s before you get to the vagaries of the attention economy.
And it’s nice being wrong. One of the delights of travel is finding, again and again that all your preconceptions, all the conventional wisdom, everything you thought for sure was right — is, in fact – wrong — or at least, far from a complete picture.
Sometimes songs are postcards from the future. Often I have found that a song reveals something subtle but important about my own life that I was only vaguely aware of while writing, but that became clear as time went on. I wrote “Black Cadillac” six weeks before a rash of deaths began in my family. The day I finished writing it, I played the completed song to myself, as a kind of last run-through to check for rhyme scheme errors and syllable scanning, and a tidal wave of anxiety started rising in my gut. I knew I had given myself a message.