FAQ — David B. Clear

Answers to some questions you may have about me

Image by the author (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Who are you?

David.

No, I mean, who are you deep down?

Uh… A squirrel?

Can I see a real picture of you and Fabi?

Sure. Here’s a picture of me, my wife Fabi, and our alter egos:

Somewhere in Cambodia. Image by the author.

You’re not bald?

Not yet.

Then why is your alter ego bald?

For the same reason he’s got noodle arms and legs — it’s easier to draw.

Where do you live?

On a small Mediterranean island.

Could you be more specific?

Yes.

How did you get started on Medium?

It was a simple three-step process:

  • First, I got a PhD. This made me so sick of academia that I felt as if I had made out with a lab rat.
  • Second, I grabbed my wife, strapped a backpack on her, and then dragged her onto a plane, all in the hopes of getting rid of that lingering feeling of rat whiskers under my nose. We landed in Bangkok and then spent 18 months traveling all around South and Southeast Asia.
  • Third, I got back home with no job, but a global pandemic waiting for me. So, stuck at home and bored, I thought to myself, I know what I should do! I should start a blog! Then I discovered Medium. So I started writing there instead.

Feel free to copy this process.

Wait, you traveled around Asia for 18 months?

Yes.

Are you rich?

No, not at all. But I’ve had it better than most people. If I find a carcass, I can just let it be and don’t have to fight a pack of wolves over it. I’ve had the privilege of being born and raised in western countries and the good fortune of never falling into debt. So, me and my wife were able to save enough money for the trip while I was a student and while she worked as a kitchen helper in a hotel.

Also, keep in mind that dollars and Euros go a really long way in many parts of the world, especially if you eat and travel like the locals. It was often cheaper to be abroad than home.

Which countries did you visit?

Here’s a map of our itinerary:

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Screenshot by the author. Created with tripline.

We visited Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka.

What’s your PhD in?

Computer science.

And you used lab rats?

Well, the politically correct term is “grad students.”

Did you always like science?

Yes, as far as I can remember. My favorite subjects in school were physics, biology, chemistry, and maths.

When did you start writing stories?

I think I was about eight. Here are two stories from back then:

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Images by the author.

What language is that?

German.

You speak German?

Yes.

Do you speak any other languages?

I also speak Spanish.

What about comics? When did you start drawing comics?

Maybe a year or two after I started writing. Here’s a comic from back then:

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Images by the author.

Whow! So you’ve been writing comics and stories for almost your entire life?

No. I stopped as a teenager when school, video games, and popping pimples took over all my time. I didn’t start again until late 2019.

What tools do you use to draw?

I currently use an iPad, Apple pencil, and an app called Procreate.

Do you make a living from this?

...

Hello?

C’mon, how much money do you make on Medium?

Sigh… More than I spend on sleep, sunshine, and rainbows.

Aren’t those things free?

Yes.

So you make more than nothing?

Yes.

So how much is that?

Geez, you’re nosy, aren’t you?

C’mon, how much?

Alright, alright. I made $8 in 2019 and about 300 times as much in all of 2020.

And you write every day?

Pretty much.

That’s pitiful. You’d earn more scrubbing toilets. Why do you keep writing on Medium? Are you deluded?

Yes. I am. But it’s also a lot of fun.

Have you considered making money by telling people how to live?

Yes, but there are already plenty of self-help writers out there.

What about your PhD? If you have a PhD in computer science, why don’t you get rich writing software?

I can’t type.

You can’t type?!

That’s right. I’ve got a chronic repetitive strain injury (RSI) that makes it impossible for me to type without pain.

So how do you write your stories?

I use speech-to-text software.

How long does it take you to write a story?

About a dorftitillion hours.

How much is a dorftitillion?

Twice as much as a sporkzifillion.

And how much is that?

Way too long.

What are three random facts about you?

  • I love wearing Crocs. They’re hideously ugly, but they’re the most comfortable shoes I know.
  • As a kid I loved LucasArts adventure games like Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle.
  • Before I became a writer and comic artist, I used to be into photography.
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All photos by the author.

Are you on social media?

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

What’s your favorite food?

Homemade muesli with fresh fruits.

Do you eat meat?

No. A couple of months into my trip around Asia I stopped eating anything that has a face.

Are you a hippie?

No, but my parents were.

What’s the name of your dog?

Goofy.

And the name of your cat?

Cat.

Do they get along?

Yes, most of the time. Although Goofy sometimes chases Cat.

Do you hate me?

What?! No!

Then why didn’t you answer my comment, email, or tweet the other day?

I’m terribly sorry. I probably just missed it. I try to answer whenever someone reaches out to me. Unless you’re a spammer. No replies for spammers!

If I follow you, will you follow me back?

Sigh… Look, I know it’s hard to grow an audience. But randomly following me and other writers is not how this works. As Austin Kleon put it, “Follow me back is the saddest question on the Internet.” Don’t make me sad :_(

Do you have a newsletter?

Yes. It’s called Clear Writing and I share friend links to my stories there. So, if you like my stuff and don’t want to miss any of it, you’re welcome to subscribe.

What do I get if I subscribe to your newsletter?

As I said, links to my stuff, which is mostly stories and comics, and maybe the occasional anecdote or some background information.

No freebies?

I’m not trying to bribe you into signing up. I’m just offering a convenient way to stay in touch with me and my work. But alright, I’ll think fondly of you if you sign up. Is that good enough?

No

:-(

What do you do for fun?

I go on hikes with Goofy and watch Netflix with Fabi. In the summer, I sometimes go snorkeling. I also read. Oh, and I draw cartoons as you know.

What’s your favorite TV show?

I really loved Breaking Bad. I’m also a fan of Rick and Morty, The Walking Dead, and as a kid I loved Little House on the Prarie.

And your favorite book?

Oh, geez… I have a really hard time answering that. There are so many! I love pretty much any book that makes me laugh, teaches me something in a fun way, or that makes me look at the world in a different way. Here are some examples:

Are you funny in real life?

Not really. I’m an introvert. I’m the kind of guy who would sit at a table with you for an hour and not say a word. And then, when I get home, I’d have to lie down to recover from that social interaction.

Can you juggle?

I’m so glad you asked. Yes! I can! Here, look at me:

Me juggling on a balance board.

How can I support you?

Just keep reading my stories and comics :-)

Science fan, cartoonist, PhD, eukaryote. Doesn't eat cats, dogs, nor other animals.

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