It’s dark. Everything is black. In all directions, as far as the eye can see. I panic as I stare out into the void, having no idea where I am or how I got here. Fear overcomes me. That’s when I hear it. A slow but steady, melodic sound. Thump, thump. In the pit of emptiness I’m in, I can’t tell where the sound is coming from, but its rhythmic beat begins to ease me. Thump, thump. A tiny speck of light bursts through the darkness. And then another. Eventually, it is enough that I can make out where I am. Thump, thump. Love is a tricky thing. We become so invested, so attached, that when that love is lost; not just any old love, but the kind of stuff Shakespeare wrote about, we lose ourselves as well. I had been trapped, for god knows how long, in the deep, dark, depths of my own broken heart. I’d still be there, lost and frozen in the darkness if she hadn’t come along. For that, I will always be grateful.
First post of 2015! Last year, for the first time ever, I set a book goal for myself via the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. Last year, I set a goal of 30-35 books and failed miserably by only finishing about 5 or 6. I’m going to attempt the challenge again this year, with more modest goal of 25 books. It should be a bit easier this time around now that I have a Kindle stocked full of books waiting to be read. As of now, I’m currently reading four books: The DC Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O’Neil, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Fool Moon by Jim Butcher, and Horns by Joe Hill. I have a bunch more lined up for when I finish the current batch but very few recent stuff. This where you, my readers come in. I would love some book suggestions from you all. As you can see, I’m mostly into speculative stuff but I’m open to reading anything as long as it’s good. I would also urge you guys to find some free time in your daily lives and use it to read more. I think it’s essential, especially as you get older, you get more and more piled on your plate and think that it’s a waste of time, but I good book can get your imagination flowing, pump up your creative juices, or even just provide an escape from your hectic day to day lives. So get out there and hit up your local bookstore or Amazon and get those pages turning.
I planned on writing about something completely different but as I started to type this post, I came to realize how my writing process has changed and evolved over the years. I first began to take my writing seriously when I took Fiction Writing classes at Columbia College. It was during this period that I first became aware of my process. My method at the time wasn’t anything special. I just sat down at my desk, limited distractions, and opened up a blank document. One issue I had was that I needed complete silence to write so any kind of noise other than the sound of my keys ticking away would be a hindrance.
Over the years things pretty much stayed the same. Whenever it was time to buckle down and write: phone off, TV off, browsers closed. The reason I’m writing this post is because as of this year, I don’t even think I have a process anymore. Earlier this year I invested in a bunch of Moleskine pocket sized journals so I write down any ideas whenever they came to me. I found myself taking one with me wherever I went. Planes, trains, bars, parties, grocery shopping, no matter where I was, if the mood struck me, I found myself reaching into my pocket to jot down a few words. Because of this I now feel I can practically write any and everywhere, distracted or not, as long as I have the urge. Take right now for example. I’m sitting on the couch drinking a Budweiser, with a basketball game on the TV and J. Cole’s new album playing through my headphones. I think the main thing that has changed is the urge. Previously, I only took the time to write when I wanted to. What I do now is different. It’s a necessity, a desire, an insatiable hunger that won’t go away until I get the words out and simply put, I fucking love it.
I’m back once again. Hard to believe it’s been a whole year since I’ve posted. I wrote a couple of things for the blog earlier this year but never got around to posting them. A lot has happened since I’ve last been here. Earlier this year I was in a pretty good spot as far as writing goes. I started visiting my local comic book shop regularly which is something I haven’t done since high school. That, then led me to start contributing articles and reviews to a number of pop culture sites. Which in turn led to me pitching a blog idea to ChicagoNow, a blog site managed by the Chicago Tribune. My pitch was accepted and I was only a couple of steps away from the blog going live when tragedy struck. My grandmother, whom I had been taking care of for the past year, the woman that helped raised me, passed away unexpectedly. This is my first time ever openly discussing it and I’ll keep it brief but long story short, my whole world came crashing down. She was the closest person I had ever lost so I didn’t know how to react. I basically shut down, and for months whenever I sat to write, try as I might, no words would come. I couldn’t even bring myself to come up with a few words for her obituary despite how close we were.
Eventually, I found myself inching closer to normalcy. The pain was still there and still is, I just learned how to manage it better. The words started to flow again and I got back on track. I’m sure if you’ve read my blog, you’ve heard me mention my Santapocalypse project that I’ve been working on for a while now. Andrew (my artist) and I decided to change the format from a one-shot to a miniseries. So with that change, I went back and reworked the entire story. He is currently working on the art for the first issue while I’m scripting the next one and plotting out the rest of the series. Look out for that sometime next year.
Other than that, we have plans to start a YouTube channel next year with vlogs, sketches, reviews, and a web series. Once we get the necessary equipment, we’ll get that going. If anyone has any suggestions for a good but not too expensive camera to record with, let me know in the comments. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for future topics or something they would like to see me write about you can either let me know in the comments or shoot me an e-mail here.
For the past decade, I have been convinced that breaking all of those silly internet chain letters from my high school days has been responsible for my bad luck. It had gotten to the point that no matter how good the odds seemed in my favor I just didn’t expect things to go my way, and they never did. Then, this year my luck seemed to change. I was doing pretty well in life but in the back of my mind I was expecting the universe to bitch slap me back into hopelessness.
Of course that didn’t happen. Quite the opposite in fact; my luck actually got better. Leading up to Wizard World Chicago, Canadian artist Stephen Burger hosted a giveaway for his graphic novel Talk on Twitter. I entered for the hell of it but what do you know?I ended up winning, and as fate would have it, he was actually coming to Wizard World Chicago that week and wanted me to meet him there to get my prize. In my mind, whatever streak of good luck I was having had to have ended with that.
Boy, was I wrong.
Two months later, while watching one of my favorite television shows, SyFy’s Fangasm, I learned that they too were having a twitter giveaway. The winner would win a trip to Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles for themselves and a guest, complete with travel and hotel accommodations. According to the official rules, the estimated value of the trip was $4,500. I quickly entered, more so out of habit than hope. I really, really wanted to win but the universe wouldn’t be that generous to me I thought. Especially after having already won a giveaway, also through Twitter, only a few short months ago.
October 17th, 2013. I’ve just dropped my mother and grandmother off for a doctor’s appointment. I’m driving through the heart of downtown Chicago, tired and annoyed when my phone goes off. As unlikely as it was, as impossible as it seemed, I fucking won. My phone immediately falls from my hand and I proceeded to scream my lungs out. Thank god I was alone. I called everyone I could and told them. Eventually deciding to take my close friend and Khaos Factory partner, Andrew with me. I spent the next few weeks in a state of euphoria. It still didn’t seem real to me. Every time the thought of winning the trip crossed my mind, a grin crept over my face and I felt as if I was floating. I don’t think it actually hit me until after I got back from L.A. I was just randomly thinking back on everything when I got overwhelmed by joy. I had to stop myself from bursting into tears.
I’ll make another post later on this week about our trip to L.A. for Comikaze. Be on the lookout for it!
I know I’m a tad late but I finally got some time to post my Wizard World Chicago 2013 pics. Despite my being a geek for pretty much my entire life, I’m ashamed to say that I had never been to a con before this year. I went to my first con, C2E2 earlier this year and immediately fell in love with conventions. I literally ordered my Wizard World tickets the next day lol. Next year, I’ll be hitting the convention scene pretty hard, with a goal to attend at least five, including San Diego Comic-Con (shits expensive so my broke ass might need some donations…or a sugar mama). Anyway, enough talk. Let’s get to the pics! Oh, one more thing. My friends are selfish bastards and made me the “designated cameraman” for the day, so I’m not in any of my own damn pictures. *growls* *angryface*
Anyone who actually knows me or has read the about section of this blog should know that I’m a pretty big geek. It was actually my geekdom that got me on the path to writing in the first place. I’ve always had aspirations of creating comic books but always as an artist first. In elementary school I probably sketched more than I actually did homework and I was determined to keep getting better with the pencil. Going into high school, I informed my counselor of my decision to become an artist and she laid out a schedule for me that involved taking a plethora of art classes during my 4 year stay there.
However, it was during these art classes that I discovered a sad truth. I was not as talented as I thought I was. Many of my peers in these art classes were much more talented than me and often left me feeling self conscious about my own work as it paled in comparison. It was also around this time that I discovered the wonderful world of play-by-post role playing games based on many of the shows, movies, comics, and games I was interested in. At the time, I thought of this as nothing more than a hobby. But the more I got into, the more forums I joined, many of which called for increased writing skills.
It wasn’t until my sophmore year that I discovered that I had actually developed a gift for writing. After completing a short story assignment for my english lit class, my teacher pulled me aside after class to tell me how much he liked my story and that I had a special talent for prose that I should pursue. I took a few creative writing classes afterwards, which strengthened my desire to write. I went into my senior year with a clear goal in mind for my future; to become a writer.
There was only one thing left to decide now; where should I go to college? My first choice (which had nothing to do with writing) had always been the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or U of I for short. I made sure I applied early and that my essay was top notch. The only thing that worried me was that I slacked off most of my time in high school so I only had a 2.5 GPA. And despite my high ACT scores, my GPA ended up being my downfall, as I wasn’t accepted. At that point, I had to start scrambling. I was almost a full semester in my senior year and I was so sure I would be accepted to U of I that I didn’t apply to any other schools. That was when a good friend of mine told me to checkout Columbia College Chicago. I researched their Fiction Writing program and knew this was the school for me. My friend and I decided to attend the open house, where we toured the campus and got to learn more about the program. I was BLOWN AWAY! The rest, as they say, is history.