May is my favorite month for several reasons. One, it’s my birthday month. May 19th (write it down). Two, it’s Geek Pride Day on the 25th (grab your towel). And Three. Today. Best holiday ever.
For the month of March, I’m taking part in the awesome Positivity Challenge over at the Personal Excellence blog and thought I would share my thoughts here. Please go and join and do this as well. The more who take part, the more positive energy is put into the world. And the world could always use more positive people.
My new Vibram FiveFingers!
Day 03 Question
What is One Thing That Has Been Frustrating You Lately? How Can You Overcome It?
I’m going to make this short. I’m currently frustrated by several things. One being the state of our house. We moved into this current house last May (almost a year ago), and we’re still not completely unpacked. This is partly my fault since I hate unpacking and I generally don’t get home until it’s time for dinner and freelance work anyway so I procrastinate on it. But it needs to get done and it’s one of my resolutions. Which leads into another resolution. ORGANIZATION! I mentioned a few entries back that my co-worker is helping me get organized. I’m hoping to take what I learn from her and turn it around on my house and try to get it organized as well. It’ll get there. Slowly but surely. One step at a time.
Another thing I’m frustrated with is my inability to pick up a pencil and draw. I get all excited to and then as soon as I open a blank page in my sketchbook, WHAM. Nothing. It’s frustrating. Anyone have any tips on how to get past artist’s block? So far, I’m failing miserably. I’d love some input.
One Positive Thing from Today
The whole day today was kind of wasted because I had a run-in with some shrimp in the early afternoon as we wandered around Sam’s Club trying samples. This wouldn’t be a problem if I was allergic. Which I am. While this absolutely sucks and made me want to shoot myself in the head because of the pain and the whole I-Can’t-Breath issues I was having, it did lead to several positive things.
1) We remembered to pick up Benadryl at the store. We’ve been out for awhile.
2) Because I’m sensitive to Benadryl and its sleepy side effects, I took a 17 hour nap. I think I’m FINALLY caught up on my sleep.
3) It reminded me how absolutely wonderful my girlfriend is. As soon as she realized what was happening, she grabbed my hand, got a big bottle of Benadryl, had it open and made me take some before we even got out of the store. As soon as we got home, I was already mostly out of it, so she put me to bed and took care of all the chores for the day and fed all the animals by herself (which is a huge feat by itself considering all the mouths we feed every night). She is just amazing, that girl.
So while I was pretty much out of it, good things came out of the whole ordeal. That’s positivity.
Oh, and before all that happened, I got to go to REI and pick up my brand new Vibram FiveFingers. Hell yes. So happy to start running again.
The Start of a Career
I keep putting off writing this post. I feel like if I actually put it down, then it’s real. Dumb, I know. Hundreds of thousands of people have already written it down. It happened. It’s over. Steve Jobs, iGenius himself, has left us.
So here’s my story. I was a freshman in high school and there was one iMac in the whole school, in the corner of my home away from home: the art room. It was a huge blue box-y thing and it kind of sucked to work with because the screen kept flickering in and out of different colors. But I was in love with it. Totally different from all the other computers at school. Sleek. Clean. I found it easier to use AND it had art software on it. This was also my introduction to Adobe but it’s not as important right now. What was important was that I had discovered a new way to create art that no one had ever showed me. On that Mac, I taught myself how to scan my artwork and draw and color and quickly took this new-found knowledge to the Photo room where I began teaching some of the other kids how to manipulate photos. I also teamed up with other geeks on learning video and movie software.
What I’m getting at is, I would not be where I am, a digital artist, a cartoonist, a web and graphic designer and social media strategist, if it hadn’t been for that Mac. I wasn’t completely in love with computers until that one. And that one changed my life. So I, much like many people I work with and many people sharing their own stories, have an entire career to thank Steve Jobs for. Oh and Pixar. Holy crap, Pixar. Thank you, Steve, for Macs, iPhones, pretty little gadgets, and some of the best movies in history.
I’m seriously thinking about getting an iDream tattoo somewhere. iDream of [Apple logo]. We’ll see. Thanks for everything, Mr. Jobs. RIP.
When I was in sixth grade, my cousin introduced me to a book series that changed my life. Walking into the library of Phoenix Middle School, I would make a beeline to the bookshelves that lined the wall on the left. Second bookshelf in, second shelf down. I was more familiar with this area than any other and I’m pretty sure I checked those books out more than anyone else.
Redwall by Brian Jacques. The first website I ever created housed my Redwall fanfiction and fanart. I had a page of Redwall quotes and book reviews. That artwork and that “Redwall Story” I wrote were the first things I ever posted online. The first forum I ever took part in was in the ROC (Redwall Online Community) and the very first character I ever RP’d was Mara Treeflyer – a squirrel maiden that lived within the walls of Redwall Abbey.
While the site and fanart and fanfiction dwindled after I went to college, I never stopped reading every book Brian Jacques came out with. The Sable Queen came out last year and I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve stayed up to date with his books since 1997. There is nothing better than curling up with a big blanket, and a dog, and a Redwall book on a rainy afternoon and losing myself to the stories of Martin the Warrior and Constance the Badger and the great hares of Salamandastron.
So when I heard the news yesterday, that one of greatest and most inspirational children’s author that ever walked this earth had passed away, I was dumbfounded. Of any author (other than, perhaps, Tolkien), he has made the biggest impact on my life. That first story, that first artwork, the very first WEBSITE (!) I ever showed anyone other than my family were all based on Redwall. My best friend? I met because of a forum where I posted Redwall-inspired artwork. I most likely wouldn’t be where I am now, a writer and illustrator and web designer, if I hadn’t read the Redwall series and been inspired to take part in the ROC.
I won’t lie. When I heard the news I cried. I felt like a dear, old friend had passed away. His voice lulled me to sleep many times while I listened to my Redwall tapes. No on in the world could speak Mole speech like he could. I remember road trips with my dad while we both listened to the story of Cluny the Scourage. When I was in high school, I took home my first First Place Ribbon in 4N6 with a fun reading of Cluny and Basil Stag Hare. Redwall is entwined in my life.
Brian Jacques, thank you for every word you ever wrote down. Thank you for Cornflower and Jess Squirrel and Gonff. Thank you for Samkin, Triss, Basil and Constance. Thank you for Salamandastron and Mossflower and Loamhedge and, most importantly, for Redwall Abbey, where all the stories are told. And thank you for Benn and Denmark, too. I wish there had been more stories about those two. Thank you for introducing me to some amazing friends who have changed my life and who have made me a better artist and writer. Thank you for the amazing life you shared with us.
“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”
Images from my favorite Redwall illustrator Christopher Denise.