Saturday, June 21, 2014

I, like, had an EPIPHANY or some shit.

Those were pretty much my exact words when I woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago. The Husfriend (aka Three) was dead asleep, and I'm pretty sure I scared him when I just popped up from an almost kinda-sleep and started talking to him. Granted, he's used to my idiosyncrasies, particularly right around bedtime, because of course that's when my brain starts to have ideas.

See, I've been on kind of an anti-creative streak recently. Well, that's not entirely true. My creativity has been booming, but it's been a little spastic. I haven't been able to keep myself on track, which has been a problem of mine since childhood. I'm always been bursting at the seams with stories, images, feelings, and it's difficult to maintain any kind of long-term thought process. That makes "The Legion," my short story/novelette/novella series, pretty special, since I seem to keep coming back to it. It's been evolving since I was sixteen, back when Ren Winde was an amnesiac woman who named herself Lace because she liked the way it sounded, and the formerly background characters -  that were basically one-note people that served the sole purpose of being there to witness Ren's actions - are now fully-fledged individuals with stories and ideas and arcs of their own; hell, some of them are even more interesting to me than Ren is.

Anyway, my epiphany. So I was talking to Husfriend, who is the most supportive person I have ever met in my life, about how I felt unfocused, coupled with the irritation that came with that, considering I also wanted to do a comic book based on a really shitty short story* I'd done in addition to finishing up my third novella in "The Legion," plus a bunch of other artsy crap I had floating around in my head. He listened patiently as I bounced from each frantic concept to the next, and when I was finally done and asked, "What the hell do I do??" he looked at me and said, "Well, you have to figure out which one is the most important thing to you."

I gave him this really blank stare and kinda wanted to scream, "Oh, really? That's all I have to do? Why didn't I think of that before??" I decided that probably wasn't the best approach and actually started thinking about it. Maybe I had been trying too hard to file away everything I wanted to do that I hadn't truly considered that simple response. What was the most important one to me? Seriously?

Just earlier that week, I'd gone over to the comic shop that is right down the road (a five minute walk from our apartment, which makes me oh so happy), and I'd met this comic artist, Josh Blaylock, who had started his own publishing company** and talked with him for about thirty minutes about the business. It was pretty amazing and got me re-interested in doing comics again. I'd flirted with the idea several years before and even had a pretty good idea that I'd wanted to make into a limited release sort of thing. Suddenly, the characters I'd created for the short story started to come alive, talking to me in their own voices, and I got excited. Again. I figured that "The Legion" would be there for me, as it always had been. But it just sat there, tugging at my heartstrings.

Okay, I know this sounds weird. From an outside perspective, I appear to be a lunatic. I think I've talked about it before, so I'll sum it up: it's like the characters in whatever story I create become little avatars inside my head and bother me when they don't like what I'm doing. Case in point: Ren was not at all happy that I was leaving her to work on some other project. I just kept hearing this nagging little voice, that was part-me and part-Ren: "Dear God, you're giving up on me again? For fuck's sake, Juj."

Fast forward a few hours to about, oh, 12:30A. I was barely able to sleep, what with all the noise in my head, but I was slowly falling into my REM patterns thankfully. Then suddenly:

"Um, I could be your comic. DUH."

The opening panel flashed in my mind's eye: focused solely upon Ren's intense eyes, like the cover of my novella. And it all just sort of came together.

"THREE, I, like had an EPIPHANY or some shit."

I'm pretty sure that Husfriend was not awake, but I decided that it was probably a good thing that I just sort of talked it out, even if the only entity that was listening to me was a confused bulldog (that cats were disinterested). I mean, I already had the first two stories done; the hard part (story) was already taken care of. All I had to do was draw it!

Over the past couple of days, I've printed out the first story, "A Million More to Go," and started planning how the pages are going to look. I'm pretty sure a few things are going to change, because ART, but I'm actually really pleased with how things are holding up. I haven't decided if this is going to be available for free via the internet, but I'll worry about that bridge when I am forced to cross it.

Until then, I'm going to remain in the excited part of this: I'm drawing and writing at the same time. Wheee!!!

* The fact that I had limited myself to a short story made it really difficult for me to write an actually good story, since, as usual, the world of the short story expanded and it was nearly impossible to narrow the scope.
** He'd worked as a writer and artist for a major company before, so I wasn't all side-eye at him. I bought one of his books, "Mercy Sparx," and got my very own original sketch from him.
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