2020 has been one roller coaster of a year so far, and it’s not even halfway done. It’s like being in a neverending storm. One day it’s cloudy, the next rain, then some sunshine followed by thundershowers. You never know what’s coming, but all you can do is weather the storm. In my attempt to weather the storm I thought I’d start a new ongoing series. Welcome to “Thought Bubbles”, my attempt at a newsletter-style periodical. I’ll do my best to get these done somewhat regularly but no promises, you know how things go. That being said let’s get right to it.
What I’ve Been Up To
With the country on lockdown since mid-March, I’m getting used to being home a lot more than usual, much like everyone else. Luckily I’m a natural homebody, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss being able to do things and go places at my leisure.
It’s been an adjustment working from home but I wonder how long before this all just becomes the norm? One thing is for sure, I don’t miss commuting to and from work one bit. Also, working in your house clothes is the best. The best part about being at home though is that I finally have a little bit more free time. Free time that I’ve used to mostly focus on creative endeavors such as art and writing. Two activities that I find highly cathartic in nature. Something much needed for personal well-being, especially during these strange times.
I’ve managed to receive 2 rejections for short stories in the past month and hope to write and submit one short story a month this year. For whatever reason, I like to keep every rejection notice I receive in a folder for motivation. If anything just to keep track of how much I’ve been writing. I know I haven’t written quite nearly enough prose to be any good yet but I think after I write 100 short stories I’ll start to find my footing. There will always be rejections but the goal is to get the rejection to acceptance ratio down to an acceptable level one day.
I’ve been adding a lot to my list of ideas lately. Partly because I have more time and also because there is a lot going on in the world to ponder. A few question’s and prompts I’ve added to my ideas list are:
- What would a world of equality look like?
- Can equality actually be achieved? If so what would the cost be? If not why?
- Can people actually learn to live together while respecting differences?
- Where do people get their beliefs from and what does it take to change them?
- If you were immortal, would you be more jaded as time went by or more hopeful?
These are just a few of the additions to the idea sheet recently. I find adding open-ended questions usually leads to more questions and ideas. A process that not only helps for writing but also for learning and personal growth.
Well, I finally did it. I made a comic, well 2 to be precise, and I could not be happier. It’s a huge step towards my ultimate goal of having a published comic one day, a goal that seems more tangible now than ever. The comics are short 5-6 page stories. One as a personal project and one as an entry to a short story contest. I think that one of the best ways to learn is by doing, so these comics were my way of learning.
For the past year and a half, I’ve actually been actively trying to learn how to write and make comics. Even after all that I still have so much to learn. The biggest obstacle to making comics in my opinion is money. Who knew it cost so much to make a comic book? As a comic writer that’s something you’ll need to figure out. I think that it’s a great time to be a comic creator though. The industry is on the verge of change and opportunities are all around. A topic for another post perhaps.
I started drawing again for the first time in a long time and it sucked big time. Use it or lose it or so the saying goes and I definitely lost it. Not like I had much skill to begin with but I could draw something half decent while using a picture as a reference from time to time. I’ve spent the last month or so trying to retrain my drawing skills and that meant a lot of drawing lines and circles. The bright side is that learning now is so much easier with online resources. The bad part is that with learning anything there is a lot of suck, and that sometimes takes the fun out of it. I always wanted to be a comic artist. That was THE dream. Although that dream is long gone I still love drawing. It’s a form of creative expression that I’ll always love. The goal now is to just learn to draw better and that’s fine with me.
Finding the balance between drawing to improve and drawing for fun has been a challenge but I finally feel like I’m finding my groove. One of my biggest regrets was stopping drawing, I can’t imagine the progress I could have made if I hadn’t stopped 20 years ago. Looking forward to learning though!
The Reading Pile
In an effort to get better at writing I’ve pushed myself to read a lot more. I’ve already hit my yearly reading goal which was 12 novels. I also managed to read a bunch of graphic novels too. To add to all the reading I’ve also started making annotations on everything I read. Another thing I wish I’d started long ago as I’m finding the notes invaluable. Here’s my list since mid-March. I’ve been spoiled with a lot of great reads lately. For any other readers out there feel free to add me on Goodreads as I’m always on the lookout for some good reading suggestions.
- A Little Hatred – Joe Abercrombie. A must read for any Grim-dark fans.
- Kingdom of Copper – S.A Charkraborty
- Wonderbook – Jeff VanderMeer. Great book on writing.
- Seven Deadly Shadows – Alameda & Matetani
- Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K Jemisin
- V for Vendetta – Alan Moore
- 1602 – Neil Gaiman
- Batman The Dark Night Returns – Frank Miller
- Flame in The Mist – Renee Ahdieh
- Gideon The Ninth – Tamsyn Muir. I was unsure about this book until the end but now I’m definitely reading book 2.
- Murder Falcon – Daniel Warren Johnson
- The Handmaid’s Tale -Margaret Atwood Graphic Novel Adaptation by Renee Nault
- Comic Experience Guide To Writing Comics – Schmidt
- Make Comics Like The Pros – Pak & Lente
What’s On The TV
Caught up on some TV that I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. Some good, some let downs.
- Breaking Bad – All. Binged this series hard. So good.
- Neon Genisis Evangelion – All. This went over my head. Not what I was expecting.
- Better Caul Saul – Season 1 and 2. Not as good as Breaking Bad, maybe just different.
- Castlevania – All. Not bad. Season 3 really stepped up near the end though.
With all that said there are obviously more important things going on right now than what I’ve been up to. The weather outside has changed, both literally and figuratively speaking. There has been a lot of death, a lot of anger, and a lot of hate brought to the forefront. I’ve seen more negativity and toxicity in the digital and physical world now than ever. A lot of hate-talk, shaming, guilting, and finger-pointing. I don’t think that these things do much good for the issues at hand. They build walls and building walls only further the problems. I think people should look at building bridges instead. Hate only furthers hate, violence only begets more violence and the means can never justify the end.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s ok to stop and take a breath. It’s ok to feel angry, sad, or mad. Whatever you’re feeling is ok, it means you have a pulse and you’re human. You can’t help others unless you help yourself first as true change must start from within. Remember that whatever you are doing is enough as long as you’re doing something as every little bit helps. If you don’t know where to start here are some helpful BLM links courtesy of T.S Bazelli.
Never underestimate the power of love, kindness, forgiveness, and compassion and their ability to heal and bring change. Change is coming and I’m hopeful that it will be for the better, it just might take a little longer than we might like. For now, there will still be many stormy, wet days ahead of us but just remember,It can't rain all the time - Eric Draven, The CrowClick To Tweet
Until next time, stay well and stay thoughtful,
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