Wait, What's This About? Oh, that's right. Hanging with winners. I never understood the importance of hanging with a crowd of winners until today. Hints pecked upside my skull throughout the week.
Usually, I default and dodge crowds on the assumption that they're all losers. This has left me morbidly sober and without pleasure (including the fucking kind, something I wince at), with plenty of pain and isolationism to boot. While making a fearless, searching personal inventory of myself, I have realized my "Trust-No-One" approach makes my creative life torturous and unbearable. I've been an in-the-closet artisan for as long as I can remember, after being conditioned (by "peers", naturally) to operate defensively when sharing anything of original and personal measure. Pair this hostility with a preference towards autonomy and you have someone who not only isolates from the rest of the world, but has constructed a convincing (though potentially false) body of evidence about why they should not contribute to it. This stubborn withdrawal runs in the family, which fails to amuse me; it complicates matters.
When Monday rolled along this past week, my day consisted chiefly of sucking dust and blamming the Clocks' "Jeffuary" Flash Flood. I have no intention of letting such rancid shit pass the judgment phase and into the site; they deserve only to lounge within the icy maw of Cocytus for all eternity. And they're fucking persistent, too! Well, that day I decided to change things up a bit. My desk and bed are quite close, so I turned the monitor around and sat against the wall, typing with the keyboard in my lap and the mouse at my side. It was exquisite, partly because I was actually comfortable, partly because nobody else could look over my shoulder (or view the monitor; I prefer whatever privacy I can get while on the computer), and especially because the chairs reserved for use in the room are broken and lopsided, with no back supports. Fucking lummox (with the word "ox" thrown in for good measure!) is too god-damned heavy for most office chairs, and the ones he breaks are the ones I get. I suspect he was the feather that broke my already lopsided driver's seat in my car. These chairs refuse to go away, but if they did they wouldn't really be missed.
The first two days went by and nothing happened... just blamming. It ain't fun. The games released were unplayable, but I needed to get an occasional protection point to augment the voting power, true? Well either way, I felt like I was getting idle, big time. Couldn't stand having to wade through that cesspool daily; it got boring after a while, and nobody submitted material quickly enough for me to blam it to hell. Between takes, I perused the internet for visual aides and references for an upcoming project. Seems all these days, nothing but research goes on. I wanted to change that.
So about two days ago, I drove from my parents' dungeon to a club several towns away. It's not a club you might think of, but consider it a safe haven. There, I committed my whole day into drawing comics. I had the story already in my head and drew plenty of steeple hats in preparation beforehand. Across four hours, I penciled seven rough pages' worth of material. I never expected to do that much, thus I was impressed. Not happy, but impressed.
The comic revolves around Black Mage of 8-Bit Theater. He returns to the old Tower of Wizardry where he slipped up and got kicked out; he finds the tower mysteriously abandoned and direlict as the innards crawl with failed magical experiments. The plot is an "Origin" story both for Black Mage and certain characters from another universe he's about to explore against his better judgment. The story is somewhat modeled after Ian Fleming's James Bond stories (a "Laser Movie" with a simple plot and loads of explosions, expletives, exquisite chicks, and gadgets). Black Mage transcends his lot and exposes his sensitive side far more often than he prefers. Yeah, and White Mage haunts him still... so "Orko in the Striped Trousers" has blue balls underneath. Anything to torture the hapless little fuck, right?
Later that night, I chucked my rent check into the office mailbox and happened upon the open door of a tenant. I visited the old lady therein, who enjoys staying up late, and revealed my affinity to art and writing. We agreed to have her eldest son over for dinner next week. It seems he draws caricatures and a lot of fantasy art on the side. I often feel claustrophobic about asking for help with projects, but we practically penciled this meeting. This reflects a major change in me. Normally I shirk such opportunities for contact with total strangers. Hadn't done this since September 2008, when I encountered the hottest sweetheart in the Bay State. Why I negated further contact with her, I have no fucking clue. Broke down a few months down the road, if that will give you an indication of how far gone I am.
Continuing on with this week, during a luncheon the very next day, they dispatched a friend and me to a grocer to purchase paper goods. While there, I asked if we should also swipe an extra bag of plastic cups. We shrugged it off, but upon noticing the massive line at the hall, waiting to be served, we second-guessed our prior complacency; we realized that purchasing another bag of cups was very necessary, since nobody else did. My cohort figured someone else would have thought to do so, but I never make such assumptions; when you want something done right, do it yourself. Since my philosophy yields results, even exceeds expectations, I rely upon my power to work solo more often than not. Nobody else will make strides like I can, so I imagine (or at least assume).
After driving my mother to the vascular surgeon in the morning, I concluded to myself that my day would suck royally, after shopping through drugstores for the proper non-sulfur topical analgesic designed to alleviate her misery. It turns out we must wait until Monday to pick that up. Such is my morning and early afternoon... I hate to be singled out and then taken for a ride throughout the city with little gas and gigantic worries over when she'll recover.
After running further errands in town, I would finally attend a party. I don't know about you, but I hate crowds, especially the loud kind. This one was mellower than most, bereft of crying episodes and generalized crabbiness... a refreshing change of pace since my mother was nicknamed "Swill Lips" when she used to work in a hat factory. And she thinks I have an attitude. Only when I can't get a word in, maybe. She became quite passive-aggressive with comments about needing a car when she is sick, so she wouldn't need to drag her darling asshole son out through the countryside. I don't like running errands for people at the last minute. If I sound irritated from taking the long way instead of the highway (distance matters not; time does), it is because I am irritated when I am told to take the long way instead of the highway. I don't begrudge sick people, if that's what she was thinking.
I attended a party. That was beyond my comprehension. I never attend parties. Well, I happen to be friends with the hostess. Mingling aside, I hoped to draw more comics there--testing a theory of mine--and also sought to compose an original work for the hostess. I decided upon a Manga form, knowing she gets pissed with anything Anime, but knew well that my efforts would be far different from traditional fare. Unfortunately, even if she might be into such things, my "Floral Fatale" (a play on words--play FFX-2--and an actual nymph who doubles as a character in my BM comic) looked quite sluttish, like a saucy Sailor Moon with a decade's worth of extra age (so said one of the attendees who looked over my shoulder). I sought something more appropriate to impress the hostess with. As for the warm up round (to get the kinks out of my stroke-work and warm the appendages), I composed a teenage virago knee deep and surrounded by Illithids (or mind flayers; play D&D or read H.P. Lovecraft horror stories). I might ink these, perhaps scan them if I can, or have a print shop do it. The drawings got accolades as is, which is always fun to hear. And this is where the strangeness for me truly began.
What I found odd, over the past few weeks, is that I have started drawing in the company of others... in the company of noise that I seem to cancel out. Cry for help? Perhaps. My lack of actual anxiety in these situations stems from various sources. First of all, no matter how bad I think I am (rather, how out of practice), I hold my own as a writer/artist to those who didn't develop their prowess. Some are even amazed that I make such whirls and claims; I have rarely shared these talents to others, pursuing them in secret.
Another source is my anxiety in drawing alone. I'm a recovering xenophobe in the sense that I am addicted and dependent upon solitude to function. Nobody can stay that way forever, of course, especially in creative outlets like writing. It is mythology when a sibilant recluse acquires supreme notoriety after penning but one single mystical treatise. Writing is social and workshops are crucial to success.
As for my skill, I always seem under the curve. I am never sure if things look proper without numerous references. I'm like that. If I eyeball and draw something from my head, it better not involve feet or hands. Poses, proportions, and perspective all constitute one big fat raspberry ringing in my ear every minute while drawing.
So I appreciate feedback. I attended courses at the Worcester Art Museum and reveled that people would double-check my composition, no matter how roughshod, before I pursued it without their perspective. Give me advice before I lay down permanent details or try using a mouse with my god-damned right hand, okay? Nothing feels better than laying down your first nuclear power plant in Sim City, only to find you have to fuckin' bulldoze it. I insist upon feedback.
General amazement is good, of course; nice to know I'm not suffering in silence. It may even convince me that I can shove something down the Flash Portal just to see what kind of score I'll get. I'm debating the Art Portal, but I bet cannot scan my 11*14 pieces (i.e. the comics I'm drawing) without aid from a print shop. We passed by one while running errands for my mother; says she knows who runs the place. I'll stop by to see if such services could help.
As for feedback, I get silence at home. It's unsettling in itself. When I try to share ideas or drawings with my brothers, one shrugs and the other strong-arms all artistic direction in our "shared" projects. Helbereth has refused to admit--over a long time--his difficulties in drawing with the mouse. While I never fully comprehended his self-imposed burden, I suggested scanning or digitally photographing image after image of hand-drawn material and tracing them in Flash (either with the bitmap tracer or manually). He stubbornly went his way and eyeballed things. The lengths he went to compose a single shot... well, more often than not, the just scrapped them afterward!
Helbereth also regards me as the writer-artist--yang to his yin--so when I write scripts for scenes, they only sound overcomplicated. Note that word: sound. I tend to value dialog far more then visual gags, since someone has to draw all of those things, and apparently it ain't me doing that shit. As a consquence of Helbereth's stiff position, I kept action scenes decisive and Spartan, and not like that dumb movie, either. What this means is cinematography is limited, with more mug shots and full-body images of characters since we could not properly draw and animate to his perfectionist standard; it taxed his mind. His addiction to MMORPGs notwithstanding, Helbereth produced groovy stuff at a turtle's pace. Flash went from dallying to a screeching halt. I fought with him constantly about it. Were we just lazy, or severely overwhelmed and petrified of failure?
Well, when you are convinced of your superiority, the only way you'll use a tablet is when Mindchamber claims that Claire Redfield is a guy with tits. Seriously. Peruse Helbereth's blog and the comments made. That was the kick in the head that told me he needed a Tablet and fast... more than me, actually. So, I offered him mine. You know where that went. I quickly became frustrated with how Wacom delivers their simplest model slower than molasses pouring out of an ice box... about as fun as hearing day after day about your aunt slowly dying from breast cancer... until she finally dies. I only wanted Hel to borrow the thing, not take it over. He already received my display adapter, since it didn't fit my damned mainframe (literally too small for the package that would enhance it!).
The amount of absurdity I have realized in the new year's scant few days has made me reconsider where I have been for so long. I can actually pull this shit off, perhaps without a hitch, but why don't I? Standards? Laziness? Abject horror? Imagine a whole universe running back and forth in your head but being unable to get the first scene written. That's a horrible fate to subject someone to. I am typically convinced that such things are better left unsaid. It's been programmed. However, over the past week's myriad encounters, I have realized that I could shoot Gaia Kinder or Soleslunes a couple of PMs, or chat with Chronamut on IRC, or fuck Stamper and get AIDS... wait, scratch that. I could hang out with Sabtastic and fantasize real hard about Stamper getting hit by a bus.... Yeah, that's more like it. Hania still wants me to draw a hot babe fucking a corpse, or something. I asked her about one of her tracks. She holds me to that, I think. I ought to get started. Hey... I'm in Newgrounds! I'm a fucking Flash critic... that's got to count for something, right? Well, I understand this place is a community... and like any self-respecting jerk climbing their way out of a deep well, you're all winners in reality.
The truth is, either I get busy getting sucked, or get busy getting fucked. That's a line from a movie. I think. No, I hope. I hope. That's right. Well, in any case, I face the weekend with nothing but drawing and sucking at drawing (ah, whatever), but also some relief: people actually find it fascinating. That's got to be cause for celebration, right? In the meantime, I have to straighten things out with my college, apply for two courses, trudge on in Spring, and reconsider taking another course at the Art Museum (mental notes). The past week's events have positively reinforced me to start sharing my work again.
Maybe in a week, something (or a fuckin' bunch of them) might just be in the Art Portal....