Been thinking a lot about the term “recluse” this weekend. There is such a negative association with it. But is it such a bad thing? Anyhow, this caught my eye–a short interview with the “reclusive” creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip, Bill Watterson, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Readers became friends with your characters, so understandably, they grieved — and are still grieving — when the strip ended. What would you like to tell them?
BW: This isn’t as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of 10 years, I’d said pretty much everything I had come there to say.
It’s always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip’s popularity and repeated myself for another five, 10 or 20 years, the people now “grieving” for “Calvin and Hobbes” would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I’d be agreeing with them.
I think some of the reason “Calvin and Hobbes” still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it.
I’ve never regretted stopping when I did.
I think this is a rare quality in a writer, columnist, artist, you name it–the ability to leave sooner rather than later, especially when you are a success. I was duly impressed with the visual wonder of Avatar but I would have been that much more impressed if the movie was an hour shorter.