On being embarrassed by your old work.

I have a friend who’s a comic book artist. A few weeks ago I sent him a message to tell him that my kids were really enjoying one of the books he worked on a few years ago. He told me that’s he’s not really that proud of it anymore. That’s sad, I thought, but we still love it. I could understand it though. He’s working on big stuff now and his life has changed in a lot of ways. He’s not the same man that drew those pictures and while I, who can barely draw a stick figure, am impressed by everything he does, he looks at his old work and sees an inexperienced version of the artist he has become.

That’s the thing, we learn and we grow as people and as artists and the work that we once threw our hearts and souls into begins to look clunky and immature. I deleted mountains of posts from this website when it was redesigned. I didn’t really recognise* the ‘me’ that wrote them. I could agree with a lot of her perspectives but she just didn’t really feel like ‘me’ anymore. She was a different woman, with different life experiences.

My friend has not sought to delete his past work from history. Not that he could if he wanted to. His past work is part of his back catalogue, an ongoing representation of how far he has come. I find myself questioning the choice to remove all of the past from my blog. Which is, ultimately, the better choice? To grow, and embrace all the selves we have been or to draw a line underneath and aim to reinvent? Am I reinventing anything at all? Or am I just the same only older?

Is there any sense in questioning at all? Should we simply embrace each day as a fresh opportunity to do better?

Possibly, the only sane thing to do is honour* all our old selves and all our old works because they have helped us to become who we are now. We should not be ashamed of them. Still not sure if that means we have to share them though.

  • * Seriously, we just don’t use that many zeds in England, or at least we didn’t use to (it feels like America is invading us this time, only they’re doing it by stealth).
  • * Not putting the ‘u’ in it is just lazy.