Basic Instructions and a few thoughts on mentoring

Whacking your way through the banana stalks of life, you may become confused and require assistance. Fortunately, we now have Basic Instructions: Your all-inclusive guide to a life well-lived , which addresses such potentially tricky topics as "How to explain the plan" (code names can be invaluable), "How to apply the laws of physics to a relationship" (entropy dictates that heat and energy will dissipate over time), and "How to be suave" (make sure your compliments are well-worded and vague).

Basic Instructions was first seen in the Seatle Weekly, and creator Scott Meyer is also blogging about "The Adams Experiment":
For those who aren’t already aware, Scott Adams (The creator of Dilbert) has taken an interest in my strip. He e-mailed me out of the blue a couple of months ago to tell me that he liked my work. I wrote back that if he turned out to be one of my comedian buddies jerking me around, “A river of bloody tears (would) flow.” He verified that it was indeed him, and I started groveling.

The teetering edge of making it. As artists we strive for and fear the big break. What does it feel like to have a powerful mentor step in at that moment? "Fan-Freaking-Tastic!!" says Meyer. "And a little terrifying." And he is quick to add, "Yes, I recognize that I am the luckiest guy on Earth."

Mentoring is a delicate balance, however. Not only does that mix require the powerful advocate, it requires a strength of conviction from the mentee, a certainty about who/what/where/why he or she is as an artist. A week after "The Adams Experiment began, there's this pragmatic response from an artist who clearly plans to remain true to himself:
Many readers have expressed that Scott Adams is "ruining" my strip. I'm really touched that so many of you feel strongly enough about my strip to be concerned.

Think of Scott and me as two guys working on a car to see if they can get it to run better. We pop the hood, tinker with the carbeurator (It's an older car -- something with tail fins) then I drive it around the block a few times. If the change makes the car run better, we keep it. If not, we don't.

The point is this, I'm not going to let Scott do anything that will permenantly damage the car. I need to drive it to work tomorrow.

Like I always say, making a living as an artist is a high-diving horse trick. And unfortunately, it doesn't come with instructions.


Thanks for the links! Loved "How to Be Suave"!

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