Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let's Go Forward - Together.

Okay, so yes - I could be talking about the election.  I've made no secret that I support Obama and tend to lean to the democratic side, but that's not what this blog is about.  So for those of you exhausted by the marathon election season, you can safely keep reading.  No political discourse follows.

It's my birthday today, and this is the time I take stock in my life, both personally and professionally, evaluate the successes and failures and plot a course toward a brighter future.  A lot of people choose this exercise at the coming of the new year, but for me, I've always done it this way.  But the honest truth is, you don't have to wait for New Year's or your birthday or even flag day (one of these days I'm going to have a flag day party that will be something like a toga party where guests come draped in their favorite flag - just saying).  You could even do it today.  There's never a wrong time to start living the life you want to lead, to start being the person you want to be, to start pursuing the dream you want to achieve.

Earlier this evening (I am writing this on the eve of my birthday), I took some time to chat with an aspiring writer about career advice (to the extent that I have any to offer).  For the record, I refer to any writer who has yet to earn money from their work as "aspiring."  In truth, the term simply "writer" could apply.  It's not like the monetary result is necessary to achieve that status.  I do it more to differentiate it from what I call "wannabe writers."  These are people who talk about writing, claim to love writing, but never seem to actually do any writing.  It's an empty title they use to fool themselves in thinking they are something they are not.   Of course, at any time, these wannabe writers could convert into aspiring writers simply by putting their ass in the seat and punching on the keyboard for a spell.  But most of them never have the stomach for it. 

Anyway, as I talked with this aspiring writer, many of my comments could have been bounced back to me with a mirror.  Writing is about forward progress - about working toward something.  Writing is not being afraid that what you create will be crap.  It might.  Chances are, at first, it probably will be.  But that's okay.  Writing is a process.  You can only learn by doing.  That's not to say classes and books and such are not immensely helpful, but the real progress comes from putting the effort onto the page, day after day. 

Writing is a demanding endeavor - without relief.  No matter how much I write, I can always write more.  No matter how much I read, I can always read more.  And those are the two vital staples for any writer - writing and reading.  And don't get lost in any one genre or format.  Read it all - comics, books, magazine articles, short stories, poetry, plays, screenplays, etc.  Like any career worth doing, as a writer you are never done learning.

As of now, I have my first novel, THE LOST SPARK, coming out early in 2013, as well as another creator comic series premiering in April through Aspen Comics.  I'm very excited about both, but right at this moment, I am at that terrifying, yet exciting stage of writing.  For tomorrow, I'll begin my next novel - a completely new concept and world.  It's something I've been developing for quite awhile now, and the time has come to simply begin.  And, I can't think of a better way to speed my birthday than inside a new world of my own creation. 

Of course, I'll probably work in a beer two to celebrate as well.  I mean, writing is thirsty business. 

And, to all you out there hoping or wishing or working toward a dream, I give you my birthday, November 14th.  It's as good a day as any to recharge your battery, strengthen your resolve, and reset your determination.  Let it be your catalyst to reignite that fire in your belly - that drive to work toward something of passion and purpose.  Good luck and keep up the great work. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Marathoners be Damned?

There's a lot going on right now on the East Coast.  The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is heartbreaking to watch.  And while I can't fully grasp the true impact of the storm, I do get a small sense of the devastation and turmoil and frustration from television, but more importantly from friends, colleagues, and family through phone, email, and social media (finally, a real reason for Twitter and Facebook to exist). 

Billions in damage.  Loss of life.  Millions still without power or food or gas.  I was inspired seeing the sense of community erupt nationwide, especially seeing often political foes Obama and Christie working together in unity to do what politicians should be doing everyday - solve problems instead of being problems themselves. 

Now, there is a debate and argument going on about Bloomberg's decision to keep the New York Marathon on schedule.  Some see it as a slap in the face to those still struggling - surely, the resources needed to conduct the event could be put to better and more immediate use for the desperate citizens.  On the other hand, the revenue generated for the event will help businesses affected and bring in taxes and revenue for regions that will be rebuilding and recovering for years to come.  I'm not going to be foolish enough to pretend that I can know the right answer sitting 3,000 miles away in California.

But, it does bring to mind a rather perplexing reality that I find myself struggling with on a  philosophical level.  What are we to our nation?  And to our fellow countrymen and women?  Are we citizens and neighbors or are we consumers?  What is our role in life?  I'll never forget in the days following the attack on 9/11 when all that was asked of us from Bush in terms of response and sacrifice after the attack and the coming conflict was to go about our day - in essence to go shopping.  They wanted us to spend our money so that the economy didn't tank as well.

Now, I am no economist.  Math isn't even really my strong suit (probably one of the reasons I became a writer).  I do acknowledge that there is a necessary connection between our consumption and our well-being.  If I don't buy the clothes and shoes and cars and books and food that others sell and make and distribute, then my fellow citizens in those industries will not have jobs and will themselves be unable to spend their money on food, shelter, cars, and perhaps the books that I write - thus negating my source of income.  I get the cycle that exists.

I guess I just wish it weren't that way.  I wish when a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy occurs, our priority wasn't getting Wall Street back up and running so the financial machine could keep humming.  I wish that came way later - after we made sure that everyone was safe and accounted for. I see the throngs of New Yorkers walking across the bridge, braving the over-crowded subways, and enduring endless lines to board buses.  But they aren't going to see family or check on loved ones.  They are trying to go to work.  We spend so much money on so many stupid and useless things in our lives - as individuals and as a government.  I wish when such things happen, people could focus on their family and safety and shelter and not bringing in that paycheck because its so damn important to our survival.  Again, I sound incredibly naive right now, and I'm not saying that work isn't important.  I guess I just wish our lifestyles weren't such that when something like this happens we can't even spare a few days to cope and recover before having to return to the grind just so we won't end up on the street. 

I have no idea what the answer is, but I yearn for a world where we could exist as people first and consumers second. 


Long Beach Comic Con!

Hey everyone.  Just a quick word to remind you that I'll be attending the Long Beach Comic Con this weekend.  Find out all the info below.

I'll be at the Aspen Booth all weekend, so come and check out all we have to offer.  Plus, it's a great show with a lot of awesome artists on hand. 

See you there!