REAL TALK: Graphic Novel Manuscripts, Going to the Maghreb…

I am but mad north-northwest Africa…” Jamlet.

Alright, life moves fast and I’ve got to run with it and keep up (I’m just about managing and doing alright) so I’ll keep this short. Here’s a brief update with exciting things. Exciting things need capitals. EXCITING THINGS. YEAH!

I did a doodle promising ‘Big News‘ and posted it on Instagram. I’m here to share this big news and deliver on the hype. The first piece of big news concerns a graphic novel script I’ve been working on for a while. Said graphic novel was originally titled The Wicked Tree Surgeon and somewhere down the line it became If a Tree Falls Alone. I’ve now finished writing it, having spent a while trying not to finish it because, erm: I have a problem with finishing things; I don’t like letting go (attachment issues); I was a bit reluctant to close off a sad story and make it all definitive; perfectionism; your usual artistic insecurities. But then I got bored of having it lying around and a nagging sense of ‘something is incomplete’ so earlier this week I sat down with it and wrote those two weighty words.

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The End. … today I decided it was about time I wrote those words on the graphic novel script I’ve had lying around for a while. Having done that, I guess I can say that, yeah, I’ve written a graphic novel and it’s called ‘If a Tree Falls Alone’… … it’s a bit of a moment ‘cause I’ve been actively avoiding finishing this thing – in part due to perfectionism, artistic doubt and maybe ‘cause of reluctance to close what ended up as a sad, very personal story… … but I’d had enough of that niggling sense that something is incomplete and I want to move on to other projects and adventures. Writing ‘The End.’ is letting go and achieving something (because I’m not good at letting go and I’ve never written something as long and deep as this). Even if it needs a fair bit of editing and an artist to actually illustrate it – even if nothing ever comes of this manuscript – for the moment I’m just chuffed to be able to say: “Yeah! I’ve written a graphic novel!” 😄 … and, hey, now I can move on to writing another one… 🤩

A post shared by James Clayton (@jamazingclayton) on

I will write more about If a Tree Falls Alone at a later date – probably when I’ve returned to edit it up a bit more and when I’m trying to encourage artists to realise my sad little story in order to make in an actual graphic novel. It’s a long way away from being a real, tangible thing but I’m chuffed to be able to say “Yes, I’ve written a script and it’s something I care about and I thought it up, built the world and characters myself and put my heart into it and it’s right here and the story’s finished.” That’s an achievement, so yay!

Otherwise – in real life and not in fiction where I devote my energies to crafting a sequential narrative about a sad tree – I’ve been busy. After a winter that felt too cold and mostly dull, I’ve been occupied with some teaching work in Manchester and a couple of trips down to London. London’s always an adventure and this time it involved, amongst other things, trips to the Petrie Egyptology Museum, the Camera Museum and a pilgrimage to see the Whitechapel Fatberg.

The real reason I went to London, though, was to complete a secret mission at a foreign embassy. Secret mission was get a visa. I got that visa, and now I’m going to Algeria.

That’s the other ‘Big News’. I stumbled upon an opportunity that was too good to miss and now I’m heading out to the city of Oran for a month to teach English there and have a new and different cultural experience. I figure that it’s high time I embraced an adventure outside of my comfort zone (Italy) and I’m psyched to go for it.

This is the beautiful thing about Teaching English as a Foreign Language. The World just opens up if you open up to the World.

More on the Algerian adventure at a later date (because I’m not counting on having much time or internet access). Also more on the graphic novel and more on other things. In the meantime, I’m off to sample the magic of the Maghreb and do some work in Oran. Thanks for reading, take care of yourselves while I’m away and choose love and adventure. Love and adventure are where it’s at and where you are… ❤

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