Home of random thoughts, misguided musings, wicked words and the men who make them.

Friday, February 24, 2006

So I'm taking a fiction writing class, and our prof mentioned that sometimes writing groups try the challenge of the 55-word short story. The idea is to write a complete short story in 55 words or less. It seemed to me, in addition to the other cool things that go up here, like an interesting idea.

Here's my first shot:

I said, “It’s like two friends on a sinking submarine. When the water reaches the ceiling they’re not friends anymore. Then it’s all about air, and they claw each other’s faces with their wanting it.”

She said, “Yes, it is sort of like that.”

That was pretty much the end. Except one last fuck later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Eternal OceanLad

Well, I've been reading Infiniti's posts here and it has reminded me of a space that I rarely visit anymore. A space that I'm hoping a return to graduate school will help me with. Remembering the eve that began in Fell's alluded to in Infiniti's post reminds me of an intellectual thirst and quest of self discovery that I have largely abandoned.

Part of that is good. It did become a bit masturbatory and a lack of total understanding became an excuse to cease progress. Of course, that excuse was systematic of something else but I digress.

First off, let me say that I was skeptical of the re-launch of IRF especially as a blog. The kind of work and thought that I would put here is not necessarily something that I want for general consumption. Generally, if there's something I'm writing that I want people to read, I've been putting it on '’’Effin. I do now see where this site can be valuable for me and I'm guessing it's getting no traffic so I can be less concerned as to what I'm saying here.

Anyhoo, I've had a few conversations recently that have reminded me of Infinity's take on The Eternal Champion. For those of you not aware, the idea is a series of characters that are, in essence the same character and, at least as I read it, in Infiniti's work, that character is an extension or extrapolation of himself.

Quick aside, I just read the latest trade of Powers, one of my very favorite comics and, along with Daredevil Knights, the best work of an excellent comic writer, Brian Michael Bendis. There's a great interview at the end with Bendis and Oemming, the artist. (For those of you who've read the books but not the interview, it's a good read with some interesting takes on process and such. One of the cool fan-boy moments was learning that the early stories were all based on bands and VH-1. Obviously the Super Group thing was The Fugees and the groupie thing came from I'm With The Band but Retro girl was based loosely on Janis Joplin and the Sell Outs story was based on Journey and Styx. Now back to the action) Bendis quotes another writer and says you should always Wright what you are afraid/unwilling to say. I've always looked at that as a key plank under my Meteor concept which in it's current incarnation is really looking at science vs. religion but was originally conceived as a way to talk about race. Of course, neither has to exclude the other.

Before I get to the meat of this. I've been dicking around with Meteor for years. The last few months I've been doing a lot of notes and a lot of voice attempts. I really think it's a great idea and that's a big part of not touching it. I'm afraid that it's such a good idea that I don't want to muck it up. This is something I will overcome/am overcoming.

Now to the eternal champions of Oceanlandia. There are 3 characters that spring to mind. I recently reread a short story I wrote years ago "about" an ill fated dog sledding adventure. I've had several ideas of ways to use it over the years. The first was to go back and "finish" it. Reading it now, A, I don't think it's as good as I once did and B it is so very bleak.

Reading it, the main character's journey is definitely one I felt I was on. That horrid landscape of immense beauty flooded with hopeless despair is one that I feel I've emerged from. It's a bit frightening to read that and realize where my head was a decade ago. Not sure I want to go back to it. Another idea I've had for it is creating a new "character" again, me, but me now. The original journals that made up the sled story would be the journals of this main characters father. I could expand them, more "literal" stuff, more about survival more about landscape.

Anyway, I'm untracking. The point is, at the time, I never realized how much Paolo was me and looking back, it's an interesting mile post on just how much I have changed. It's tough. I often forget that I'm on a journey. I forget that I am progressing. Recently I've slipped a bit into that frigid arctic, rereading that has reminded me to press on, as Paolo did.

The 2 other characters are more obviously mirrors. Meteor and Prince Alfonz. Both are interesting windows into my self image. On one level, they are hideous. Alfonz is a midget. That's not exactly hideous, but it's not high on peoples hottie list. Meteor is a bit more extreme. He is an enormous monster who's horrible visage elicits terror in all who see him, his tremendous mass leaves a wake of destruction where 'err he treads. This is largely how I see myself and looking at these characters and working with them reminds me how ridiculous these self images are.

On the flip side, both characters, internally are paragons of honor, justice and moral fiber. There is a big part of me that believes that. A big part of me that believes that any one who took the time to get past this "wretched" exterior would be taken aback and socked in the jaw by the golden light of goodness that lies beneath the surface. This too is ridiculous, some of my recent behavior and emotional cowardess/cruelty is highlighting this.

As a writer, this presents a choice, an opportunity; the chance to either continue these characters as is, to construct them as an icon, a goal or to imbue them with flaws, to humanize them. Of course, I now also realize it's an opportunity to rectify my own real world behavior, a task far trickier than the fictional equivalent but one I am about to man-up for and take the first decent step on.


In Dreams come Responsibility II

Telling Stories by Elias Infinity
I'm bombarding my students with process. This has made me reflect on my own process as a storyteller. After writing an idea for a story I do a lot of my work in the sketchbook. Creating very small thumbnail sketches of every aspect of a story/ The images up top or half page sketches of page ideas. Working at this size allows me to look at the overall design and the general movement of the piece. To give the story a sense of flow and consistency. In this piece doorways, directions, and camera angles become important. Also it was in the thumbnail stage(after re-reading some Carl Jung on the structure of the unconscious) that I turned the story into a dream and finishes it with the dreamer waking up. Now I'm finishing the larger drawn pages and working on my scripting. After this week I'll try to put up a finished page a week and see where this story ends up.

The Sorceror Series: Apotheosis

If you see Buddha on the road kill him.

We are what we do, not what we think or believe. I began to understand my primary sense of self through what others expected. Kevin was a construct driven by exterior expectations. So I killed him… in a symbolic sense. Death always allows change. This painting became the symbol of what I aspired to do. It maps out my intentions as opposed to expectations.
The Southwest skyline represents the desert and the mandatory time of solitary contemplation. The Great Blue River represents the life experience. The great black shape is the chest emblem (necessary accessory of any adolescent power fantasy archetype) of Blak Fox, my first enduring creation and the foundation of my multiple personas. It’s the symbol of resistance on its most basic human level: the protection of the self. The turtle is my totem, my friend, my companion, my guide, myself. In many myths the Turtle carries the Universe or World on its back. That’s duty and the acceptance of responsibility. Also the turtle relates to a life changing experience and dream I had after a strange night of revelry in Fell’s Point with SuperOceanLad which involved liquor, pool, and my first encounter with opium in the restroom at Rod’s Bar.
I won’t discuss the particulars so as to protect SOL’s secret identity, but on the ride back home while in an altered state, I remember talking about why I thought I was put on the Earth. All this, while having a vision of the Yggrdasil as I was pissing in front of a gnarled giant tree in front of an old church on Route 40 just as you enter the county. That night I had a dream of the turtle that put everything into perspective and was further reinforced by the meeting of a turtle on my path to the bus stop to go to work. We have been connected ever since.
On the Turtles back sits the ideal of the emerging Sorceror. Existing out of time he manifests multiple arms while seated in the lotus position of meditation. In one hand he holds a silver ball a representation of spiritual life energy (prevalent in The Invisibles by grant Morrison… but I babble about that series too much as it is.) He holds a staff in his hand to aide on his life journey. One hand is raised in the fist of power and defiance and the other hand emulates Buddha touching the earth indicating his preparedness for enlightenment (the things you learn teaching Art appreciation.) Two hands hold the great light, the connection to the One. The sky rises up the spectral face of death, or at least the fear of its impending presence. Fear is the little enemy (Dune by Frank Herbert.) A symbolic attempt at creating a template. A continuance of the Shamans journey.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Sorceror Series: Sweet Haarlem Cafe

And the Universe opened...
Though this painting was probably done before the last one this is were it stands in my narrative. On a trip to Amsterdam, I dragged myself from the Coffee Houses in Amsterdam to visit coffee houses in other cities in Holland. One such city was the namesake of New York's Harlem: Haarlem. The name is pronounced with that hawking nearly Germanic sound that is created with excessive amounts of flim. I know because, high as a kite, I approached the train conductor stood about three inches from his nose and asked at the top of my voice," is this the train to Harlem?" Being nearly a half foot taller than me (I remember this because I was tip toe to yell at him) he very kindly corrected my pronunciation and replied that I was on the right deck, without busting me in the chops. I suppose they are use to zooted American tourists. Of course I didn't know I was being loud but my companion, who was behind me snickering through the whole ordeal, later asked me why I was talking so loud and I admitted cause I was high as fuck!!!!! Anyway we spent a beautiful day in Haarlem and found Cafe Haarlem. I sat to enjoy a tea and a um smoke and my friend took a picture which this painting was inspired by. Sweet Harlem Cafe was a name that came from a script a friend wrote years ago that spoke of a magical place where the black intellectuals and artists hung out in during the Harlem Renaissance. I always loved the idea of the place and it connected to my strange experiences in Holland. The Painting represents a moment of peace and understanding during a very tumultuous time in my life. Once again you see the glowing left hand of the Sorceror(which is connected to the creative side of the brain) and his body melds into the Abyss, the Universe. And there is the Turtle the constant companion, familiar and totem of the Sorceror. But I'll explain that in the next painting.

Next entry will be back to the comic story showing thumbnails and sketches reaching towards the final project.

Until then: A lingua continua (Swahili for the struggle continues)

Oh and I wanna write Kevin L. Patrick in here so search engines may find this place.