FB: WAYS TO MEASURE FOOT SIZE: 1) Paris point 2) barleycorn 3) centimeter 4) number of coronaries induced

With this last villain speech, Flo was venting some of her own frustrations straight onto the page. Guilded Age was her first completed large-scale work. Both of us had pinned plenty of hopes and dreams onto it. Some of those it accomplished, but in other ways, to be brutally honest…it fell far short. It never became any kind of video series or game. It barely made a consistent profit for us, and certainly not a living. Our stories were full of flaws, most of which I’ve documented in the annotations as they’ve come up…the ones I know about and agree with, anyway.

And they paled in comparison to the stories that we once imagined they would be. So when HR rages at the Five, and by extension at Arkerra, for failing to live up to his ideals, he is somewhat also Flo, raging at how all her creations seemed to come out gnarled and wrong compared to her expectations. In Plato’s World of Forms, there is a perfect version of Guilded Age: every joke lands like a shot from Cupid’s quiver, the plot is seamless, the action is as exhausting and exhilarating as the best sex you could ever have, et cetera. It’s better than ours in every way except one…but that one aspect is crucial.

It does not, cannot, actually exist. It assumes a mind-meld, between me and Flo,  between us and the Waltrips, and between the whole team and all of you. It assumes we have infinite knowledge of all the things we care about. It assumes everyone reacts in the same way to a certain joke or dramatic moment. And it assumes we never ever screw up.

The real world thwarts every artist as soon as their paintbrush first taps the canvas. This is the artist’s dilemma. We say “Be dissatisfied! Your work can always be better!” And that’s true. But being dissatisfied for always is not good self-care. You gotta weigh your integrity as an artist against your health as a human. You gotta give it your best shot, try as hard as you can…and then know how to let go. I’d done a few series before this, so I’d had more experience with that issue than Flo…and I’m a pretty chill person in general. She had more frustration to exorcise through HR, and only a few installments left to do so.