West Coast Drive

just Being Bob

Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions for the Being Me website. I’m hoping this online space turns into a source of love, curiosity and discovery for the creative genius living inside us all- a safe, fun space where the real you can come out and play. And create. Even if what you make doesn’t end up working. I want to practice dancing with fear and doing it anyway.

(Bob responses follow my BOLD questions).

Imagine we are on a beautiful car ride, sun is perfect, wind feels great. We’re chatting and I am curious to know:

If someone is trying to get your attention, you love to hear the person call or say….

“Bob.” Or, “Hey, Bob.” Or “Yo. Bob.”

What’s a memory you have of the two of us?

Most of them involve singing, either with you or to you. Or about you.

What do you do to pay for your mortgage, transportation and ice cream sandwiches? What’s the best part of doing that? What’s the scariest?

I work for a large post-production company, specifically in their localization department. I’m a Senior Account Manager, which means I lead a team that coordinates the captioning and subtitling of movies and television shows into ALL the languages. The best parts of this are the people I work with. They are a diverse, friendly, and creative bunch.

The scariest parts are the deadlines and dollars at stake, and the fact that so many of the gears of production are out of my hands. I fear failing my company or a client.

What do you do daily that you consider PLAY?

Every day my play is literal and it comes from my kids—two daughters, 6 and 8. They’re both hilarious, even when I don’t want them to be. And I get caught right up in their worlds and play along. Whether I’m the Tickle Monster chasing them around the house, or playing Go Fish with made-up rules, or performing in The Toothbrushing Show (a mirror-based instructional improv hosted by my 8-year-old), they bring the PLAY every day, and I welcome it whenever possible.

What is your creative outlet?

I like to draw. That’s what I do most. Draw and write.

How long have you been doing that?

I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon, but I specifically remember a set of characters I drew in fifth grade. It was a bunch of faces on a page, but they were all unique and detailed. And these were the first characters I drew and thought, “Wow, I actually drew what I was picturing in my head!”

Was there a time when you stopped?

I guess I’ve never really stopped drawing. But I’ve only done it limitedly for an audience. There were stretches where I would draw for a greater purpose—humor magazines and other publications– but I never really stuck to it.

Why not?

I never felt I was good enough. A pretty common excuse for giving up, no?

How did you begin again?

I was introduced to blogging and webcomics. I had a way to self publish, without worrying about if it was good enough to be used or submitted to someone else’s publication. That was a huge breakthrough for me. I had always been drawing/doodling/sketching for me. But now I could do it for me AND put it out there for anyone else that might enjoy it. I’ve been able to do it with more of a purpose without any of the pressure.

Where do you think your ideas come from?

Right now, they come from my kids– and living in general– because my current webcomic is an exaggerated version of my life. Also, nothing inspires me more than someone else’s creativity. And I happen to have a lot of very creative friends.

How do you handle “I’m not good enough” voices? What does that look like? I like to call it the bad roommate. The other you living in your head that is messy and so uptight and loves to tell you everything you are doing wrong. What does your bad roommate say?

I picture my Bad Roommate as this figure lurking around behind me, always there. Sometimes he’ll start shouting at me. Sometimes he’ll just be poking me repeatedly in the back so I don’t forget he’s there. It’s that constant self-doubt. I’ll be honest– I don’t deal with it well. People often say, “Hey, so-and-so is looking for an illustrator for their project,” or “Here’s a link to that art contest I was telling you about.” And I thank them kindly and pass it by. The personal blogging and cartooning has been the best defense against the bad roommate. I don’t have to put myself out there for someone else and be told I’m not good enough. I’m just doing it for me.

What does your dance with fear look like?

It’s pathetic. No rhythm. And fear always leads.

Do you have a story where someone put down your creative work or a story about failure you’d like to share?

I was in a comedy troupe in college. It was full of great talent. We had a lot of fans. After a couple years, and a transition of cast members, we put on a really crappy show. One of the administrators shared her disappointment with me the next day, She said she left at intermission. Man, that hurt. But I knew she was right.

How did you get back up?

I had one more show to perfom with the group before graduating. There were a few of us in this same boat. We threw our all into it. We didn’t want to be leaving the troupe we loved on a crappy note. And we pulled it off with hilarity! I love my college comedy troupe days.

When is the last time your hands were shaky because you were afraid?

The night my first daughter was born. Things were not going as planned. And that’s all I’ll say here. She’s 8 now.

Who do you look to if you need a reminder that you’re ok? Who do you trust?

My wife.

Do you read reviews or comments about your cartoon strip? How does that influence the art?

I have, and it’s been very positive. It doesn’t affect the art, except to encourage me to keep doing it.

Do you have a routine, a practice, a prayer that you say or do before you sit down to

write or draw?

No, nothing I do before I sit down. But when I’m drawing, I always listen to music. My iTunes collection on random.

What do you do when you feel stuck?

I walk away. If I’m sketching out ideas and feeling frustrated, I stop and go for a bike ride, watch TV, play with the kids. And if I’m trying to finalize a cartoon and the drawing just isn’t looking right, I erase it and walk away. Doesn’t have to be long. Five minutes sometimes does the trick. I just need a moment to clear my mind and come at it again.

Being ME drive-thru questions:

What’s better:

To start or To finish? To start. So much potential!

Coffee or Tea? Never coffee.

Sweat pants or Jeans? Jeans.

Sand box or Swings? Swings, baby. Feel that breeze.

Pen or Keyboard? Pen.

Netflix or HBO? Netflix.

Creating or Sleeping? Creating.

What books or website or people do you follow to lift your spirits?

I enjoy The AV Club and their take on pop culture. I’ve been re-enjoying my Calvin and Hobbes collections with my girls. And during this tumultuous election year, I’ve watched a lot of Last Week Tonight and Full Frontal.

Where can we find your creative work?

Right here: exaggeratedlife.wordpress.com

And also right here: superultramegamix.wordpress.com

I know I’ve mostly been referencing my webcomic, but I’m also resurrecting my mix tape flashback blog, where I listen to old mix tapes I’ve held on to and write about the memories they’re associated with and the music itself. I’ve gone a year without anything new… and there’s still at least 20 tapes to get through!

What would you title your memoir?

An Exaggerated Life seems obvious.

And the final question: when is the last time you danced?

I’m dancing right now. (subltle head bobs and toe tapping count as dancing, right?) “The Merchant of Grooves” by 3rd Bass just ended, and now I’m signing off with “Elephant Stone” by The Stones Roses.

Thank you so much for playing with me. And thanks for singing to me on the OHS stage birthday after birthday. It was really special!