In Which Even My Budgie Thought I Was Crazy

My pet budgie had been sick for a really long time: for about a year or so.

She became this little blue cloud sitting in the highest vantage point of her cage: between her mirror and one of her toys. It got to the point where the only time she would chirp would be when she climbed down–still possessed of her surprising agility–and either attacked her cuttlebone or ate from her seed cup.

Even when she was well, she barely ever talked to herself and when she did, it was this quiet, faint little chirp or two. Later on, she would be quietly and excitedly chirping to herself when we covered her cage for the night. She slept so much during the day that she became a nocturnal bird of sorts and she would always “go to sleep” whenever we left her for the night.

Personally, I don’t think she liked me very much. She would sit on my finger but then eventually lean away from me and go back onto her perch. I could never find the right whistle to match her chirping pitch and I suspect she squawked because she hated it when I clapped. It also probably didn’t help that I would threaten to eat her every day like I was some kind of Dread Pirate Roberts with budgie on the menu: with the caveat of “not today.”

That, and I liked to point at her and growl, “You.”

She got used to that after a while: so much so she started to ignore me as most sane sentient pieces of fluff tend to after a while. In fact, our whole owner and pet relationship was pretty much me asking my family how she was doing, occasionally putting her on my finger–which she would entertain the notion for a while–and feeding her her millet when she got too lazy and learned that she could get humans to do more things for her, and later when she got too exhausted and anemic to get for herself.  When she was well, I enjoyed getting her to stretch out her neck and reach for the millet that I would move gradually away from her. Sometimes she would peck at my finger when she realized it was in the way of her food: even though it was the very thing keeping it there for her convenience.

I never said she was smart: in that way anyway.

Towards the end, which had been coming for over a year–because she was too stubborn in general–she vomited up probably about as much as she ate. She was thin and cold underneath her blue puffiness. The heating pad stayed on her cage all the time and only got shut off when it was time for her to sleep or we had to leave the house: because we didn’t want her to get accidentally cooked or incinerated. When she threw up, it was more of an annoyance to her than anything else: just something she had to get out of her way before she could do her birdy things.

For all I sometimes deluded myself into thinking that she was groggy like a drunk in her fluff and hungover enough to just say “leave me alone” to the rest of the world, she really was sick. Even so, whenever she moved she would preen herself and chirp quietly: letting us know that she was still here. She was still here.

The day before Saturday, she sat on my finger. She was exhausted and we stared at each other a bit. Eventually, I just put her back on her perch and left her alone. She ate, she cleaned herself, she talked and sat on my brother’s finger and slept. That bird always loved my brother: she’d kiss his finger and his lips and warble at him in an attempt at communication. She seemed no different and no worse than any other time.

I was in bed when I heard that they found her at her seed cup. She was gone at that point. Unlike our other birds, she wasn’t on the floor gasping or squeaking in pain from cancer or whatever ultimate complications happen when you inbreed budgies for prettiness in cages. She never seemed to be in pain: at least, I hope she never was. She just got tired and tired and, one day, on Saturday, she just stopped.

But more than that, she died pretty much the way she lived: eating.

For all of her simplicity, she knew there was something wrong with her and she just kept going until she couldn’t anymore. There was no complex thought or visible fear: it just was. That night, mostly avoiding the living room and that empty space near the wall where her cage was–as though she were just on vacation or upstairs in my parents’ room as they did some oven-cleaning–I still swear I thought I heard some of the small, quiet chirps that she made at night.

There is one other fact about all of this. When I talk about that wall, I have to mention that this is where all our birds were placed when we moved into this house. In our old house, they used to sit right next to the TV or a window. Essentially, the bird would sit in the corner of this room and watch us from a distance whenever we didn’t visit her. She also rarely ever came out. Some budgies fly around all the time. But not this one. Most of the times she would come out, it would be disastrous. She could fly, but her landing skills sucked. After a while, we didn’t let her come out for fear of her killing herself and  eventually she didn’t even try.

And sometimes I wondered. I wondered what it would be like to have no contact with anyone of your own kind, placed in a cage you never came out of–that became your home–in corner of the room where you had to make yourself heard all the time. I sometimes wondered if her sickness was just physical.

I also realized that, looking at myself, I didn’t have to wonder that much. Over the years, we had a lot in common. Both of us probably felt confined and bothered by people. Sometimes neither of us wanted to wake up and eventually night time became a blessing for us: because no one would bother us and we could do our own thing. We were also both lonely: I’m pretty sure. And we both sat in our cages for so long they became our mostly comfortable homes and we forgot at times that we could fly.

When my second budgie Carni died, I felt a disconnect with the birds that came after him. That affection and tactility was gone or more distant. I felt like I couldn’t get close to any pet like that again, and even though I played with the other two, it wasn’t the same. By the time we got this one, I was in the process of working and eventually moving out. I visited from time to time these past three or so years but I guess it just wasn’t the same for her.

I’m not sure if we are going to get another budgie. They have played a long role in my life. They were the first pet I never had as a child: as my Dad is allergic to everything else. I even made a primitive childhood mythos or a chant for them: ranging from addressing human with “The budgie will eat the world” and “They’re coming for us all!” to the budgie “You will be devoured, it is your destiny!” or even some weird tautologies like “The Budgie’s name is Budgie.” It’s going to take some getting used to not doing that anymore. In retrospect, it’s much the same way some writers will start rhyming all the time just to get into a creative or hyper-mindset. Sometimes I’ve joked that I had “budgie turrets”: if only because I liked to say the word “budgie” so many times. It is such a silly, ridiculous word for a bird with a dotted happy face below their beak: as though they are happy all the time.

Budgies are also very good imitators when they want to be.

It gets to the point where you wonder whether you trained them to be crazy, or if they trained you to be more like them. All of this must sound very weird, I’m sure. I mean, it’s just a bird right? I also never said I didn’t have some issues. But I just want to say that if I ever get another bird again, somehow I will show them that it is okay to fly. I’ll play with them as much as I can and spend more time with them. Or something. Or I will get out of my own cage a lot more often.

I don’t know. Right now, after burying myself in work, all I know is that I will never get the chance to point at Squawkes again and simply accept my craziness for whatever it is. May she be in the largest cage there is: made from the cuttlebones of the sky.

Anonymous

I think I was the only person who was so happy to see her. And I was so happy. So eager.

I was tired, you see. But I wasn’t tired from a life of too much work. I was a writer: a story-maker. Every time I got the chance, I’d sit down in the early morning or late at night and write about the things that mattered to me. I admit, most of the stories I wrote were purely for my own self-gratification: because they were stories I wanted to read and I was the only one who could write them the way I saw them. I’ll also admit that many of them were very personal stories or based on my own experiences.

And–more often than not–the main protagonist was always me.

But whenever I finished what I did, letting the gross black weight drain from the interior of my skull onto paper and screen, I knew I couldn’t go any farther than that. It wasn’t the blank page that stopped me, or the scribbled out words, or even the spectre of a deadline. It was never even the pressure to live up to the shoulders I barely tottered on. I told her, in the end, that my fear was the rejection of the work that is myself.

And so I stopped.

I crawled away from the meta-fictional eyes of the audience. I showed my work to fewer and fewer people and of these people, some of them even turned on me: taking offence to something I could deny no more than my own name.

I was guilty of a very thin skin, and if writers are liars then failed writers are cowards.

Then, after I got a good, real, and sensible job the stories finally died. But the thin skin stretched too far over the moment I crept away from and the ghosts of ideas screamed silently behind my eyes: unrequited and hungry.

So when she came, I was relieved. I was so relieved to finally make the pain stop. I hated myself. I asked her for oblivion. She said no, of course, but this should not have surprised me. I know that she knows that there is somewhere for everyone. I took her pale hand. It was surprisingly warm. She told me there was someone I needed to meet.

I found myself in a great and familiar hall. She was gone and at first I thought I was alone in this great ornate emptiness.

Then, I saw him.

It was horrible. I found myself shaking on the floor in shame. He asked me — if “asking” was the right verb to describe any words that came from his mouth — what I wanted of him. I knew who he was. I wished for death and realized the irony of my thoughts. I asked again for oblivion.

He looked down at me with those terrible, beautifully infinite dark eyes and told me not to lie to him again. People who pass through the Gate of Horn are not allowed to tell lies, he told me.

I remember opening my mouth to speak again when suddenly images, symbols and ideas themselves seemed to burst out from the back of my mind instead. I didn’t understand their language — which was more song than words — yet at the same time I did. He looked at me for a long time. He told me that I was a vessel of the stories and that I had denied them. There was no forgiveness in his tone, but neither was it an angry one. The sheer disappointment in his glittering eye was worse than any fury he was capable of.

Underneath that gaze, I wanted to die again forever.

But he refused me. It was not his place, he said. However, even though my potential in the conscious world was over, my words — if that is what they are in dreams — expressed my wish: my real wish. He compelled me to follow his eyes to … a large series of bookcases ascending into the sky.

I am allowed to stay here indefinitely. Sometimes, I read the books from those shelves. An older thin man with a long nose and spectacles occasionally keeps me company. But most of the time, I am at a desk: writing on thin dream-paper with the black of a raven’s wing. When I’m done, the crane-like man takes my finished papers and stacks them into books that he puts on the shelves: though sometimes he will take the time to make a fine point of correcting my grammar.

Occasionally, he will stop in, look at my “progress,” listen to the ideas singing themselves into the paper, then nod to himself and leave. Sometimes, she comes back and tells me that everything I make is beautiful. I know she has nothing but good things to say about anyone, but coming from her those words are no less special.

Then, sometimes in my room, another woman with golden hair comes to hold me at night and I cry into her arms. Aside from the one who brought me here, she understands me and forgives me the most.

But mostly, I write my stories for a library that doesn’t exist with its shelves sometimes floating in the sky and always filled with imaginary books. It reminds me so much of what I did when I was alive. Sometimes dreamers find their way here and read my books, only to disappear and forget all about them again.

None of them know my name and I continue to write my stories in books of air: happily.

As I Miss the Point: Pixel Girls and Broody Men

I saw Laurie Penny’s article I Was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl through a tweet that Neil Gaiman made: with him questioning whether or not his character Death–in The High Cost of Living–actually fell into that stereotype. I’ve actually heard this term before, in passing, but I think I kept mishearing it as “the manic pixel girl,” or something along those lines. Maybe it was after watching and reading Scott Pilgrim that my brain started to make that reference.

Still, the definition of that term still stands: as a female character created specifically to make some dark, broody, introverted young man open up to life and not that much else. You know: the quixotic help-mate that comes and goes and whose only purpose in life is to help some guy “lighten up.” There are many conceits about this kind of character–this stereotype–that rub me the wrong way. I mean, I can talk about how she isn’t a whole human being, how she probably doesn’t eat, drink, sleep, eliminate in any fashion or probably even menstruate. I can describe how she is more of an elemental than anything material and is more of a shadow or a mirror for a man than anything else: at least when taken to the nth degree.

But I think what really bothers me, as a man and as a human being, is that the Manic Pixie Dream Girl always seems to have a kind of knowledge–inherent in her being–that she gives to the man, and he gives her nothing back in return. It’s insulting, really, to both genders in this dynamic.

I mean, think about it for a few moments. What this dynamic says, as a narrative, is that a brooding, insular man needs some agency outside of themselves to become a full being: that for all of their knowledge and skill, they really aren’t that bright as it were. They are not “naturally happy.” In fact, they are so hopeless that only one kind of woman can give them what they need and not, you know, come to some kind of understanding from personal experience or begin to help themselves. And is this pixie girl so whole and so unselfconsciously perfect that she can’t learn anything from him in return? That maybe he might also know something about life and it is not all about an Apollonian shallow self-centred view of the world in which everything has to be positive all the time, or someone’s view has to be saccharine sweet all the time to the point where they can’t stand the negativity in the world or other people and will either ignore or phase out someone who is “not positive enough” or try to change them?

As Thomas Mann points out in “Tonio Kroger,” some people dance and some people watch people dance and appreciate it for what it is. But I posit that this is no reason for either dancer or watcher to not interact or learn something from each other’s perspectives.

And I think that if I had to really go into this, I would say the following: people cannot fix each other. They can’t. The only way that a person can be “fixed,” whatever that means, is for that person to decide that they want to fix themselves: or to change. That person can ask for help, can accept it as well, but the agency is ultimately with them. Also, what is a “main character?” Is a main character someone who has to be in charge and in control all the time: making everyone else into an extension or a side-character in their own personal odyssey? If so, then it’s just so … tiring. It’s tiring and unrewarding because you are losing out on some experiences when you are like that.

You know what story would really intrigue me? Honestly? Something that began like a Pixie Dream Girl meeting a brooding dark young man and she presents this stereotypical face to him. And it isn’t all bad. She and him have fun despite himself and, god forbid, he actually begins to remember or know what happiness feels like. But as this relationship goes on, he notices that she is a human being too: someone who needs to use the restroom, sweats, passes gas, gets tired, gets periods, doesn’t get periods, gets cranky and has her own shit to deal with. And maybe she in turn learns things from him too. Maybe he shows her exactly what he perceives as wrong with this world. Maybe she learns that sometimes it is necessary to sit down and take things in: that there are times when it is appropriate–and healthy–to be solemn and really look at what it is that you are doing. Perhaps she can see that sometimes he just doesn’t want to be the main character anymore and that he just wants to be an interesting side-character–the kind that is generally unplayable, a strange NPC–who can come and go with her as she pleases, or as they do.

Perhaps they can dance in the sun and the night and enjoy being alive together. Maybe they can sit in a peaceful and non-threatening silence. And why does she have to be “simple” and he be “complex.” Why can’t they both–or all–just be intelligent and different as human beings? Why can’t they both be wrong, and be right at the same time? In fact, when it is all over in some form or another, why can’t they both go home at the end of the day changed for having met each other?

Because I tell you right now: whenever you do meet someone, you change them. I don’t mean you force to be what you envision them to be, but even if you don’t teach them new things even something as seemingly superficial as your mannerisms sometimes rub off on each other and get adopted in strange ways. And even if you ever get reduced to the point where all that easy conversation and love becomes stilted and somewhat embarrassing after at least one of you moves on with your lives–when you are just a little sentimental enough to make the person you once loved uncomfortable after … whatever the fuck it was you had–you know that just for one moment you both understood each other and held each other for dear life as human beings. And who knows: it might well happen again.

Maybe there is a film or a story like that which uses these two stereotypes–the Manic Dream Pixie Girl and the Brooding Young Man–and subverts them like that. Or I’m just amalgamating another stereotype and some cliched human dynamics together: like from some romantic comedy. But whatever the case, stories about actual human beings are nice: even when you don’t want to live them.

And I will just end off by stating one thing. Ramona Flowers is not a Manic Dream Pixie Girl. If anything, she is more like a Depressive Dream Pixel Girl: at least in the film. She is too detached and ironic to be manic and, frankly, is just another stereotype. And don’t even get me started on Scott Pilgrim. Sometimes, he doesn’t even have the intelligence going for him.

But I will say this: that just because someone isn’t a main character doesn’t mean that they aren’t–or they can’t already be–a protagonist.

Having to Choose: What to Send and What To Post

There is this one thing that frustrates me from time to time. When I’m not posting articles straight onto Mythic Bios, I am writing stories into the other one: the Other Mythic Bios that I elude to from time to time.

There are stories I make that I really want to show you. There are stories that I want to be seen. But I also want to get published. Very simply: I know that most magazines–at least paying magazines–will not accept stories that have been printed elsewhere in any form. Or if there are such magazines and publications, I don’t know where to find them. It is one of the many things I have to search for at this time.

So basically, there are some stories I have that I need to save in order to send out to publications that may or may not accept them: publications that take time to get back to someone as well. I know that this is just how it goes and I don’t know what the results will ever be, but it can be frustrating.

Especially since I want you guys to see some of these stories.

I realized something else. After I started to truly stop procrastinating and send out my most functional stories, I realized that I didn’t have as many of them as I thought or wanted. I mean, I have stories that I can edit–and good writing is re-writing–and some that I can expand on, but of the ones that I have–the ones that I think are whole so far–I need to actually keep them in reserve.

And I don’t have many people to show them to. Many of my friends are very understandably busy and I can’t share with them as much as I used to. It is very sobering to really appreciate an immediate trusted reader-audience when they are no longer as available.

I also have some works that I am hesitant to even bring out because, frankly, they aren’t ready: in both structural and even psychological terms. I will say though that I am still looking for other comics collaborators in addition to my friend Angela to at least look over what I have planned.

So what it comes down is that I have to choose. A lot of my derivative works–my homages to other creators–go on here because I am not making any profit from them at all, I credit the people that inspire me, and I can show people what I can do–but I also manage to post some stories that I know won’t quite make it in any magazines that I read, but that I still like enough to think they deserve reader-attention and to further illustrate what I am capable of as a writer of fiction.

I have to choose which stories I think might make it in a magazine and which I can afford to hold off on showing a wider audience (at least to those publications that do not allow for simultaneous submissions) and which ones I think will only make it in my realm right here. I do not like having to make that choice, and I am at a place now where I’m beginning to actually pursue another path.

One for thing, I am looking for work and focusing on jobs that can supplement what I’m doing right now. I’m attempting to take the pressure off of constantly feeling the need to send stories out to all kinds of magazines all the time. Also in this way, I’m writing a lot of non-fiction articles and–if you’ve been following so far–I’ve even had one published: with more to come I’m sure. I already have one or two new Sequart articles planned.

It also helps that I have two major writing projects to focus on now: including working on one with the input of a very awesome group of people. I don’t want to say much else about this until more occurs, but it is something I didn’t see coming and I really forward to seeing where it is going to go. If I am full of something, it is definitely ideas. Finally, I’ve been toying with making a collection of stories to make into a printed or electronic book. It’s not the first time I’ve thought about this and I know it won’t be the last either, but it is definitely worth writing here.

And, for the record, I am glad you are all here to see me write my strange, weird hybrid articles that link things together and what elements of my stories and random poetry that make it out onto the Internet. I actually wrote this entire post a while ago, but after reviewing it I’ve realized that for all my frustrations and setbacks, and the collage of rejection letters that I plan to create, I have accomplished a lot and I am in the process of undertaking even more possibilities: and just as you are here for my writing, I hope you will do me the honour of remaining at my side for the rest of this Choose Your Own Adventure I’ve made for my life.

The fact is, you are all awesome. Thank you for reading me.

It’s Not a Bird, It’s Not a Plane, It’s … A Man of Skulls?

So I wasn’t intending on seeing a movie this weekend. In particular, I wasn’t even sure that I was ever going to see this movie: The Man of Steel. It’s been a few weeks since it came out and everyone–including Sequart–seems to have gotten it out of their system. In fact, some of the things I want to note have already been observed by others. I also won’t lie: after waiting so long to see this film, some of it was spoiled for me and I almost didn’t even bother seeing it if only because of that. However, despite the awesome fact that Sequart published the second part of my article–which ironically deals with the superhero trope in another universe and even refers to Superman to some extent–I needed a night out and I promised someone that I would write on this film eventually.

So let’s get to it and I think it is safe to say that–in this case–the letter ‘S’ does not symbolize hope, but it does represent Spoilers.

We first start off on John Carter … I mean, Krypton. It was refreshing to see Jor-El actually do something: although for someone of the Kryptonian Scientist caste–born, genetically-determined and raised–he certainly knows how to fight in a truly epic sense. He also knows how to ride a flying Boga … I mean, some native Kryptonian flying creature. It is fascinating how they chose to make Krypton far more … vital and detailed than the one from the 1978 movie–which was purely glacial and darkness–but it almost seemed like the fantasy multiverse was weakening around the quadrant of Kryptonian space and that we were seeing at least two realities or narratives trying to coexist at the same time: much like this movie.

File:KryptonMOS.jpg

However, when Jor-El presumably steals, or retrieves, a golden skull endowed with the genetic codex of the entire Kryptonian race: that is where, I feel, the tone or the theme of the entire movie begins to present itself. And it is a fascinating symbol if you really think about it. A skull contains a brain and a mind that, in turn, holds many different perceptions and ideas. However, a naked skull also symbolizes death. It is also really telling that Jor-El infuses this ornamental fragment of a skull–almost a half-mask–to the body of his unauthorized natural born son Kal-El: thus potentially answering the age-old question of whether or not he can interbreed with humans. In any case, this will not be the last time we will see a skull in this movie–a Superman movie–I assure you.

So there is the tone. We have a stratified genetic-caste Kryptonian society that mined its homeworld’s geothermal core so much that it became unstable and it blew the hell up. Moreover, for all of their advanced science and knowledge, the Kryptonians not only seemed to be incompetent enough not to be able to make more ships that can use Phantom energy–yes that Phantom energy: the phantom energy from the Phantom Zone–to go into warp the hell away from Krypton, but apparently they couldn’t even hold their original outward planetary colonies or harvest the geothermal energies of those worlds instead while looking for an alternative. If the genetic caste-system they made was supposed to make their race better, well … eugenics seems to have failed common sense here.

But that is neither here nor there. So after Krypton and its stratified way of life dies with enough destruction not to even ashes, never mind bones, we come to Kal-El on his space ship going all the way to Earth: specifically Earth … where he will be seen as either a monster or a god. And then we fast-forward about thirty-three years Earth time (since it was apparently millennia dead Kryptonian time, which is fair enough) and we see Clark Kent and his various other aliases failing–or almost failing–at remaining incognito on his adopted world.

There are some iconic scenes of an unshaven Clark without his shirt on lifting heavy metal on an oil rig while being set on fire and obviously having nothing happen to him beyond an awesome looking stylized aesthetic effect: of which there are several more throughout the film. Essentially what we are looking at now, in this stage, is someone who isn’t Superman yet–doesn’t know the extent of his abilities or who he is–and yet can’t stop himself from wanting to save everyone.

This compulsive need to save everybody is not only emblematic of Superman, but of all the superheroes that come after him for a time. Even though this need gets mitigated and changed and qualified in different comics and media after Superman’s first appearance in the comics world, it is still there. He wants to save lives, or at least not harm them: even the people who cause him or others pain. In this particular movie, for instance, as we see snippets of his childhood and early life in flashbacks, there were many times he could ended the lives of all the childhood bullies and adult douchebags in his way. In fact, even with his very understanding and compassionate human parents–Martha and Jonathan Kent–I’m quite surprised that he didn’t at least have one temper-tantrum–once–and snap some other kid’s head off. But I guess he wouldn’t be Superman if he had.

… Anyway, I find it refreshing that this film skips the tip-toeing about and actually lets Lois Lane use her deductive reasoning and journalistic skills to pretty figure out who Clark actually is. I actually liked Lois in this film: because unlike other incarnations of her–especially the version of her in the 1978 film–she isn’t really abrasive and at the same time takes very little crap from anyone. At the same time though … while it was refreshing to see her have some active roles in what was going on, she didn’t really get to continue her main role as a reporter after a certain point in the film. It mostly focuses on her burgeoning relationship with the sublime: or Clark, take your pick. And for that matter I do wonder why, later on when the governments of the world are searching for Clark and even after, when they still want to find out who he is–why they simply don’t wiretap or do some reconnaissance on Lois Lane: retracing her steps and finding out more or less what she already knows. Then again, the humans in this film are the ones with the most common sense compared to … the others.

Because guess what? In this film we have General Zod and friends. Yes, when Krypton was dying General Zod exceeded his military authority and attempted a coup of that world. For this attempted coup and murdering Jor-El, Zod and his loyal soldiers were imprisoned in another seemingly cryogenic version of the Phantom Zone for a lengthy “rehabilitation” period: long enough to wake up again in their prison ship and watch Krypton blow up and leave them with essentially, well, nothing.

So, yes. General Zod. What we have here with the good General is a man that was born and bred–engineered–to be of the Kryptonian Warrior caste: although what wars or conflicts the Kryptonians could have been fighting towards their decline–unless they are a really long-lived species–is beyond me. Also, his lack of a sensible deontological imperative in his DNA is rather troubling. He was basically Krypton’s military commander and, like Jor-El, saw the Ruling Council’s decision to drain their geothermal core as rather stupid. But unlike Jor-El–who wanted to send off Krypton’s children in ships to help the race survive–Zod’s solution was to start killing members of the Council and attempt to take over: mostly because, due to his conditioning, that is all he was really mentally capable of doing.

Eventually, after he realizes that Jor-El has stolen the Golden Skull–I mean the Codex–he goes after him and, after Jor-El manages to kick his ass and send Kal-El and the Codex far away, and then he kills him. But eventually the rest of Krypton’s military doesn’t quite like Zod’s decisions and they apprehend him. So what to do they do? They know their world is dying and will blow up relatively soon. Now, the sensible thing to do with Zod would be to execute him and his followers: I mean aside from the fact that they committed treason and death themselves; it would be more merciful to kill them so that when Krypton dies as well they won’t find themselves alone in the cold darkness of space.

So of course the Kryptonians temporarily banish them into the Phantom Zone for “rehabilitative purposes”: you know, to be civilized and merciful.

It is this sort of behaviour that really makes me kind of sympathize with Zod just a bit: because I can only imagine that he has witnessed and even abetted this cultural attitude so many times over before he just got fed up. Even when he tells Jor-El that he wants to decide what “bloodlines” will survive when he builds a new Krypton–there or somewhere else–you have to also understand that he wasn’t really talking genocide at that time. No, Zod was referring to the Kryptonian Genesis Chamber–the one we see much later that somehow is on a ship under Zod’s control–where blank slates of embryos that still seem to await genetic assignment are held. I imagine he was thinking of engineering most of those potential embryos into a larger Warrior Caste, with many more Workers I’m sure.

So yes, Zod wasn’t suited for anything outside of military strategy but he was trying to solve the situation as best he could when no one else was really offering anything better or more immediate: except for Jor-El of course. Basically, Zod wanted to protect his ideal of Krypton: which was more or less what he had been created to do.

And there is the issue. You see, Zod and his crew managed to get their hands on some old Kryptonian technology after they went out to see if any of the old colonies survived. One of the most prominent of these is a “world engine”: something that is designed to terraform whole planets. Now, here is what some people might be thinking at this point. Zod needs Kal-El–Clark–because his father gave him the genetic Codex that along with the Genesis Chamber can restore the Kryptonian race.

So General Zod comes to Earth in his ship and asks for its governments to turn Kal-El over to him: no overt threats or anything. General Zod is obviously planning to find an uninhabited world like Mars or even the Moon and use his terraforming engine to make an atmosphere for his people. Then he will use the Codex’s information, with Kal-El’s help, to activate and imprint the embryos in the Genesis Chamber to restore the Kryptonians, gain power from the younger yellow sun and then, you know, make an alliance with the people of Earth and trade resources for knowledge and everything. Because, you know, you’d think that something like this would make sense.

But evidently, the same genetic code that resulted in Zod’s seeming lack of obedience is the same force that lacks an ingrained understanding of knowing his limits and the need for Scientist and Diplomat castes.  Zod’s plan is to take Clark and Lois Lane, not search Lois Lane or Clark, reveal what he did to Jor-El to Clark after giving him a really disturbing vision through potentially some kind of telepathic device, and then explain how he is going to take over Earth and exterminate all humankind to make a new Krypton: presumably because Earth has a more gentle environment than Krypton ever had … though his plan to terraform it using what are essentially sonic booms seems to be kind of at cross-purposes with even that idea.

However, there is also the common sense of the film to consider. It’s interesting how with all that attention focused on a Watchmen, 300, and Sucker Punch stylized sense of violence that director Zack Snyder would have neglected other aesthetic and, dare I say, plot concerns. I mean: there have been other stories that took Superman’s ‘S’ and made it actually look like another kind of symbol. You know: they actually made the symbol more alien looking as it, well, should have been given that it was from Krypton again. Also, the fact that all Kryptonians–including Jor-El and Zod–seem to wear spandex and the House of El ‘S’ symbol is extremely off-putting (and confusing) and a part of my brain kept saying, “Really? Really!?” That sort of thing works for a meta-narrative or a parody: not something that is supposed to be as “serious” as The Man of Steel.

I mean, look, I understand that Snyder and others wanted to get to the Superman bit right away, to say, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s Superman! Look at him! Superman!” but seriously: in addition to the spandex S-wearing Kryptonians, could have at least had a lead-in into the Superman costume instead of having it right there ready-made by Jor-El? I mean, really? Really? And some more lead in into watching Clark discover his powers would have been nice too. I understand they don’t want to go all Smallville, but seriously he must have a damned good learning curve: is all I have to say. It’s almost like a good portion of this movie is, “Look, it’s Superman! See? He has his costume and powers and such! Isn’t that awesome!? And look at how we are adapting him to our world now! See! See!?”

But all snark aside for the moment, even after all that I gave the film the benefit of the doubt. I mean, we have the basic Superman qualities right there in front of us and a lot of the old archetypal elements too. I was also entertained by the interplay and the destruction. When Zod finally started to use his world-engine and it split, under my breath I whispered to myself, “Double jeopardy, Superman.” The depiction of the disorientation that Earth’s environment had on the Kryptonians was impressive too.

But as for the ending … All right. This was what was spoiled for me. But before I go into that, I want to refer everyone back to Zod and Clark’s exchange in the latter’s dreamscape. Do you remember that scene: where Zod is telling Clark all about what happened and what his plans are and, as he does so, Clark is buried by a massive amount of humanoid skulls?

Well, fast forward from there. Clark–now called Superman–destroys the ship with the Genesis Chamber: with all of those blank embryos. Through a joint effort with the military and Lois Lane, he manages to send the rest of Zod’s men back to the Phantom Zone, or purgatory, or whatever you want to call it. Then it is only Zod. Now Zod by this point is actually using what he knows and has adapted–as a Warrior–to Earth’s environment and the powers of its yellow sun.

At this point, Zod has basically lost everything. The Chamber, his people and any hope of restoring the Kryptonians that he claimed to want to protect. Zod has nothing left for him except for, really, what he had always been seeking this entire time. Gone is the self-proclaimed saviour, the grizzled general, and the ends justifies the means warrior. All that is left is a battle-maddened monster: the thing that had been growing inside Zod for far too long. As I said, a lesser man who was not Superman–especially one whose father was killed by this man–would have totally rubbed it in. I also admit that in a very perverse way, I enjoyed the fact that Zod pretty much lost everything he ever claimed to love and all that was left of him was the beast he always was.

In a way, Zod was the real legacy of the original Krypton as depicted in this film: with all of its self-contradictions and an inherent idea of superiority. Superman, on the other hand, is different: in that his birth hadn’t been predetermined and it was “natural.” Also remember that he still holds the Codex inside of his DNA. Here is a man that attempts to do as much as he can, improve himself however he can, and save anyone he can to the best of his abilities. In Superman is the potential for an Apollonian future. A holographic Jor-El takes a great deal of time telling his son that he has the potential to elevate humanity to the stars.

Both Zod and Superman come from a dead world and deaths have shaped them more or less into what they are now. But the irony is that while Zod doesn’t see any potential for a new Krypton without the “pure genetics” of those embryos, Superman may well understand what I believe his father had really been thinking: that by giving him the Codex–the DNA of all Kryptonians–he could interbreed with humanity and make something better and freer than the old Kryptonians. Of course, Zod would never see this–or even accept this–and this is where the end game begins.

You see, Superman took away Zod’s dream. So now, with nothing left to lose, Zod decides he will take Superman’s dream away as well: or taint it as much as possible. As some of the fine people at Sequart have already said, Zod wants to die at this point and, for all of his really poor decisions, he isn’t stupid. He knows the one way he can force Superman to kill him. There is no Kryptonite or magic in this film. There is just brute power. In the end, Zod forces Superman to choose. It’s actually surprising that he doesn’t just kill as many human beings as he can out of sheer spite, or use them as human shields, but the way I figure it Zod is just bloody tired at this point and really just wants to go down fighting and spiritually take his opponent down with him.

So, for the first time in film, we get to see Superman forced into a situation where he has to kill his first villain: punctuated by the crunching sound of General Zod’s neck in his arms.

Really, the only other moment that could be any more poignant is if Batman had shot the Joker with a gun.

I mean, for us it is a no-brainer. Zod was threatening innocents and in a scenario of sharp choice we know what most human beings would do. But this is Superman: with his altruistic ideals and his need to save everyone. Essentially, Zod made Superman–for one instant–compromise the ideals that are attributed to him. He infected him with the violence of his own being, the anger and pain engineered into him by Krypton. And even though Zod lost everything, in a way he won. He forced Superman to do what he had been doing during the entire film: he made him choose between lives. So when Superman is crying at the end and Lois is holding him, you know the real thing Superman lost is the idea of his own innocence: of not having ever taken a life in both the film and in other media.

Of course, I know that he has killed others before in the comics but those acts are not emblematic of the character. At the same time, it is very tempting to go back to that vision of him standing in that growing pile of humanoid skulls and wonder if those deaths were to be the result of Zod … or himself. After all, in addition to all those people who inevitably died in Metropolis due to the sheer collateral violence of his battles with the Phantom Zone soldiers, Superman just killed a man. It has set a precedent in at least film. What is to stop him from doing it again? What is to stop him from drowning in that past of the dead?

Will this and was this the only time he will have to be the arbiter of life and death? Remember what happened with this film’s version of Jonathan Kent. Unlike the heart-attack of Jonathan in the 1978 version of the film–the immaculate and moving way in which Superman was taught that for all of his power he still had limitations–this Jonathan forces Clark to choose not to save him from a tornado so that no one else will be able to confirm what he is yet. Essentially, Superman is taught that he has no limits: except those he and those he loves makes on himself. It was a little bit of a clunky lesson compared to the last, but it is something to consider in the context of this film: especially when you look at how Kryptonian society–by its very genetics program–also made choices for others.

And then there is that other question to consider: why was the Codex of all Kryptonian DNA shaped like a golden skull? And whose skull was it? How far into Tomorrow can one go before all they find is death? If you’ve ever read Superman: Red Son, which I highly recommend, you also might really wonder about that too.

There was some concern that Superman as an Apollonian figure of hope and something to aspire to would be dragged into the muck of darkness and humanity. Well, at least this incarnation of him has been. Can he learn to get past this? Most likely. Is he still Superman? Well, many of the humans around him seem to think so. Does any of this change who he is for all time? Certainly not: as far as I am concerned this is just another continuity and there will inevitably be another reboot of him in some media or other somewhere down the line. Can he still provide hope? The answer, I think, is yes.

I appreciated a few elements in this film, but I am ultimately going to give it a 3/5. It’s interesting but there were aspects that needed some improvement, some plot-holes filled, and an actual philosophical story with an occasional bit of action would have been nice too. At the very least, if nothing else, it leaves me with wondering what next the Man of Tomorrow might bring.

Skeletons Have All the Fun

It isn’t even a ten-minute walk from the Velvet to Rainbow Nosferatu’s club, but his chest still aches. He shakes his head and looks up at his handiwork.

The Scrawling is in the back of the office complex closest to the parking lot. A sign with stylized cursive red font over a black background greets him: complete with a skeleton’s hand drawing a hanged stickman on a white skull with a quill. Rainbow Nosferatu spares a glance at the makeshift bike-rack below the steps of the entrance: knowing he will be back for his ride later as he enters his club.

Despite his name, Rainbow Nosferatu finds himself bathed in the familiar dark red light of the remaining candles in their glasses on the tables closest to the door. A large projector screen dominates the dark red club while slide-shows scroll through a variety of images up overhead. He waves at some of the staff as they continue cleaning up for the night. Chairs and tables scrape across the floor without the music that has no doubt stopped for the night. But this doesn’t bother Rainbow Nosferatu. Instead, he closes his eyes for a few moments and basks in the warmth of the place he made with his few friends, very little money and a great deal of love.

The feeling of sunflowers seems to approach him from behind and he actually smiles a bit–for real this time–as he opens his eyes and watches the slide on the screen transition into another page from a public domain 1950s horror comic.

“You know,” he says, looking up at a scene of skeletons rising up from their graves to embrace a screaming blonde-haired woman in a white bridal gown, “Skeletons used to be so cool in the fifties.”

The sense of sunflowers seemed to laugh with its voice, “Probably because some people needed a real proper boning.”

Rainbow Nosferatu shakes his head, “They weren’t just about the sex. No, there was the vengeance too. Artists in those days could only be so … graphic,” he turns to her as she groans, “What? You just did that earlier Marigold. It’s true though. Underneath all that flesh, we just want to possess each other: out of anger and out of passion. Now it’s all about the zombies: eating flesh indiscriminately and not caring about where your meal has been, or what it even tastes like.”

“I don’t know boss,” Marigold grins up at him through twisted red and yellow dreadlocks, “Flesh-eating has at least a few uses I can think of.”

“True,” Rainbow Nosferatu can’t help but smirk at this game of innuendo, “But a skeleton still has their personality. Even without a bit of flesh on them, they still remember who or what wronged them. They remember what life was like when they had it. Revenge or lust, they keep their eye-socket on the prize and they take what they want. They are the bare essence of want.”

“Ah, so you mean to say ‘kids these days,’ huh Rain?” she wraps an arm around his shoulder and hugs him.

“Yeah, those gosh-darned zombie goth kids these days,” he says ruefully and moves to lean his head against hers in order to return her brief half-hug, “Were there many of them since I was last here?”

Marigold smoothes out the ivory dress on her lithe frame, “Nah boss. A few writer-types. One girl asked for something at the juice-bar and I made it for her. There was a dancer or two. Some Tarot-readers. Oh, and some of the Ancients dropped by and asked about you. Not much else though.”

Rainbow Nosferatu sees as much. The juice stall is closed for the night. Marigold made excellent drinks among hostessing and ticket-collecting. Despite what he told Jake earlier about checking on drinking in his club–which was mostly to get away from him anyway–he couldn’t actually afford a liquor license: yet another thing Linda would remind him of …

“Don’t come back until you have your shit together.”

Rainbow Nosferatu suddenly feels tired, “I guess the All-Ages Nights are going the way of the skeletons too,” he looks sadly around the place, his place, “Has Linda …”

“No,” Marigold shakes her head, “I’m sorry, boss, but I didn’t see her come in or down from the loft,” she puts a hand on his shoulder, “Is everything ok Rain?”

He looks at her for a few moments and senses her warmth and concern. He knows that sometimes she can see right through him: through each other without the details, “Is my aura really that blue?”

“Yeah, well,” she shrugs again, “Let me put it to you this way: your aura might as well be singing ‘I hurt myself today’ in Texican drawl.”

“Heh,” he gives her that, knowing that she is trying to make him laugh and feel a bit better, “I thought … Linda and I thought to ourselves: ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to make a Club for All-Ages where you can sit and write, or dance to Dead Can Dance or Sisters of Mercy while reading projected slides of old horror comics and poetry on the screen instead of watching muted TV shows or music videos?’ But we weren’t prepared for the costs. Now things are changing and I guess, in the end, that’s the way things go.”

“I still think it’s a really awesome idea, Rain,” she squeezes his hand.

“Yeah. Me too,” Rainbow Nosferatu sighs, “we had some good times here. But it’s only a matter of time now … before we go the way of Sanctuary.”

“We lasted a while, Rain.”

“A few months now,” he nods, “I guess we have one more at best. Maybe I can get away with using some epic video game boss battle sound-track for the Last Nights!” he somehow manages to wink against his crushing sadness.

“We’ll have a Gothic Tetris face-off,” Marigold says, “with Dark Soundtracks and Fin de Siecle Tequila Shots!”

“Sounds like a date!” Rainbow Nosferatu hears himself say and inwardly winces at the choice of words, “Well, I’m heading off now. See you next week Marigold.”

“See you. Oh, boss, I almost forgot something.”

Rainbow Nosferatu blinks. He can see the sunflower glow around Marigold become subdued with blue, “What is it Marigold?”

She reaches into her bra and takes out a small envelope, “It’s from … Lily.”

Rainbow Nosferatu feels his hands turn clammy.

“Oh,” he says simply, dumbly, staring at the letter in Marigold’s hand, “I’d been trying to get in touch with her for a while now …”

“I know,” Marigold’s eyes look at him with sympathy, “I didn’t open–”

He waves her off as he takes the letter, “Oh I know that, Mari. I appreciate you holding this for me.”

He doesn’t tell her that he’d been sending emails, texts and voice messages to Lily for a month or so now: every once and a while … trying to be unobtrusive. Trying not to be needy … and slowly going crazy inside from not hearing from her. Dark-haired, pallid, thin slight Lily with her love of Neil Gaiman’s Death and the way she listened to his stories whenever they hung out here at The Scrawling. She’d met Linda and they seemed to have gotten along. He and her would hold hands whenever she made it. That was all they really did for a month. It had made him happy to hold that slight pale hand in his own that made his seem so awkward and gangly by comparison.

He remembered her email quite a few nights ago: finally telling him she would get in contact with him soon. He’d almost forgotten that email. Almost.

“You’d never turn pussy down,” he remembers Linda screaming at him during that fight, “In fact, you pride yourself on it.”

He turns away and opens the letter. It is a simple piece of paper with three words written in beautiful cursive writing.

Stop writing me.

Rainbow Nosferatu blinks. Stop. Writing. Me. Each word hits him. Each word is like a punch to the stomach. Three punches to the stomach. Three times. He swallows.

“Rain?”

Marigold walks in front of him and takes the letter. She looks at it. Her subdued aura becomes a burning one of vivid reds, blues and violets, “Oh Rain, I’m …”

“I-it’s ok, Marigold,” he says, quietly, “I guess … in the end, she’s just a kid. She …”

“She’s twenty years old, Rain,” Marigold looks as angry as she feels to him, “She was adult enough to get into it. She knew what she was doing. I did back in the day. And this … this is just totally uncool! I mean … oh Rain, I’m sorry.”

She hugs him again. It takes him a few moments, but he returns her embrace, “It’s okay, Mari,” he gently pushes her away, “I’m … disappointed, I won’t lie. But with Linda and everything, it’s … just as well now. Wow. I’m really not having a good month,” he shakes his head and finds himself tucking the piece of paper into his pants pocket, “Gosh darn zombie goth kids these days I guess,” he smiles weakly, “I need to go.”

“Are you sure? Rain …”

He looks at her: Marigold the bartender, waitress, ticket-collector, dancer, Goth, one of the few that believed sunflowers were happy accidents of God, who knew what obscure movie that paraphrase came from, one of his few friends who he knows that right now–anytime–but especially right now would do anything for him. Anything. He breaks that half-thought and he’s glad his face is painted white enough to cover the red that threatens it.

“I need some time to myself right now. Thank you. Love you, Mari. See you later,” he hugs her one more time and leaves.

He wonders, as he clears the door and down the stairs, what people might think of the streaks of black mascara and white make-up rolling down his face. Maybe they would think he’s some dumb punk kid. Or maybe a clown. That was it. Maybe they’d think he was the Great Pagliacci.

Pagliacci: the Gothic Clown.

Yet These Hands Will Never Hold Anything … Except For Paper and a Pen

I was fully intending to let you all know that I was going to attend–and this time participate in–the 12 Hour Marathon Comic Book Marathon at the Comic Book Lounge and Gallery. However I ended up re-blogging–and blogging–about Pollychromatic’s Be Brave, Be Heard article instead, which was more than worth it seeing as it attempts to create a powerful visual symbol of female identity, voice and survival in the social and cultural climate of this particular era. So at this point, I have already participated in the Marathon and I want to talk about that, and my weekend.

I woke up early Saturday to gather some supplies together and check my email. When I came online, I saw that Julian Darius and Cody Walker published the first part to my article Yet Those Hands Will Never Hold Anything: Emiya Shirou as the Interactive Superhero of Fate/Stay Night on Sequart. You can look up Sequart through the link I just made or on my Blogroll: there are many interesting scholarly articles on themes, character analyses, and the history and influences in and of the comics medium. I have to say that this made my bright hot summer day before trekking out to the TTC and getting to the Lounge.

On the subway ride there, I spent some time writing out some notes as to what kind of story I wanted to sketch out. I am not much of a visual artist, as I’ve probably said before, but I was resolved to make something come from this Marathon. This was not the first time I’d attended, as I recounted in another entry of mine, but I actually made it earlier and prepared to get some work done.

The organizer of this event, Keiren Smith, met me as I came up the stairs and introduced me to the other creators already in attendance and heavily at work. I settled onto the black leather couch next to the washroom, took my shoes off, and took out the lined paper on my clipboard that I was writing stuff on earlier on the subway. I proceeded to make a few notes and create my captions and dialogue before my crude attempts at drawing the images and the panels around them.

Of course, it didn’t work completely as I planned. I was pretty tired from the heat and the fact that I’m not so used to being up and about as early as I had been. I also kept losing my pens. I got to socialize with some people from time to time and met new faces along with a few old ones. I took my entire box of business cards for Mythic Bios with me just in case as well. At first I was torn between socializing and getting this comic done. The comic itself evolved from an idea I came up with in another work not too long ago. Basically, this mo-fo–and I say this fondly–was going to be a first-person comic: where we as readers get to see the protagonist interact with other people and surroundings from his own perspective along with some helpful dialogue and captions along the way.

Yeah. My first comic in ages and I have to be experimental about it: just as the story was intended to be. It is the extension of a world that I began working on four or five years ago and it amazing to realize the point where you centralize a world of your creation so much that it actually extends itself outward: when it becomes the core of a growing reality.

Okay, so after clicking on the Creative Process Category part of this Blog entry just now, I’m going to go into more of what actually happened. Well, it fought me: naturally. I sat there and despite the snippets of quotes and ideas I had on the margins, I was stuck for a little while. I knew I had to make something at least twelve pages and that this would determine what story I would be able to tell. I was also a bit hot and I wanted to talk to people when I wasn’t pleasantly drowsy on the couch.

Finally, an artist I was sitting next to and chatting with, Megan Kearney, suggested the obvious that I was missing: that I should just create thumbnail sketches.

And that was when I began to draw my comic. I thought about my panels and, aside from the occasional rectangular ones, I did mostly three columns of two large square panels. Sometimes they were arranged differently, but most of the time they were just side-by-side patterns. I had to also think of how a first-person perspective would work. I mean, I had seen one before such as in the zombie apocalyptic graphic novel known as Daybreak, but I could only see the complications that my former Master’s thesis supervisor and I once talked about when he was comparing book narratives to comics and film.

But I did show my protagonist in a mirror and came up with a good line there. I also showed his … hands occasionally. Mostly, I was focusing on the narrative in the captions. I already accepted that my drawing would be basic at best, so I focused on the writing and the graphic pauses between visuals and that writing. It’s like what is said about Jeff Smith: in that he wrote and drew Bone as though he were telling a joke.

I also got to watch other artists and some of their creative processes at work. I saw some people with reference books and sketches. Megan herself was doing some water colouring of the project she brought with her. I saw a few people looking at books from the Lounge whom I didn’t get the chance to speak with. And I saw some people doing some very intricate work with paints and small inked cells on paper. Hell, some people were even inking their comics. It was insane and intense: in a lot of good ways.

The number twelve was both intimidating and painfully doable to me. Just twelve pages, I kept telling myself. Eventually, my thumb-sketching became my drawing and I just focused on telling a story. My concentration wasn’t all that great the entire time. Sometimes my mind wandered and I got tired. It became painfully apparent to me after a while, even after I ate the food that I brought akin to breakfast, that I needed to get something to eat or the only thing I would be writing would be ellipses. Sometimes I can power through creating something and then dealing with my body afterwards, but on that summer day on Saturday it was a bad idea.

At one point, at about the beginning of page five, I walked out of the Lounge and down Little Italy to find some more food. It was beautiful out. People were dressed in colourful light clothing and talking and holding hands at outdoor cafes. I admit I’d been watching them outside the window above the couch anyway when I needed to get up. I even walked past Euclid Avenue and realized that the Dragon Lady that I visited with some friends a few years ago had been here. By the time I got past Sneaky Dees, I was feeling nostalgic in this familiar summer setting of everything. Then I ate some food as I came back and talked a bit more with people.

Of course, by then it was too late and I began to realize that I had the beginnings of a headache. Luckily, I brought my regular strength Tylenol with me: just to be sure. Of course, now–for me–I was going to be working with a handicap. My mind was really drifting and I vowed to myself that I was going to at least get to page six of my work before doing anything else: to get halfway done. Neil Gaiman did not succeed in finishing his 24-hour comic, but I could succeed in drawing and writing twelve bloody pages!

Then I somehow got to seven and at that point I had gotten fed up, took some more business cards, talked to some people, and gave them out. Then I browsed the comics because, after all, this was a bloody comics store and it was my duty to do so. At this point, my Second Wind kicked in in a terrifying sort of way. So I sat down and after telling someone else I was going to do this, I did.

The thing is: this story had been in my head for a while that day–with other elements of it being in there for much longer–and I wanted it out. I wanted to finish what I started and have, in my hands, something to be proud of. And then seven pages became eight, and nine … by the time I got to the double digits, I knew I was going to do it. I just began drawing as basically as possible, not really caring about too many inaccuracies such as who was on the left or right, but just getting it out.

It was only after a while, after doing this all on my writing paper, instead of the white blank paper I brought for the purposes of drawing on, that I realized I was actually going to go over twelve pages.

And I did.

I finished my comic with about two minutes to spare before the deadline of 11. I felt … a good kind of tired. I did it. I finished the first part of an entire chapter of a fictional book I created in another world and I finished it more or less how I wanted to. So I talked with Keiren and some other people, and then I walked from College and Clinton in the summer night of Toronto back to Bathurst Station where I took a long ride back to Thornhill.

There was no way I was going to write the full story of that comic in just that night and maybe one day I will continue it, but I did what I set out to do: I drew it up to the point where I mentioned the very last sentence that it possessed in another narrative of mine. That night, I basically went to sleep in my clothes and on top of my blankets. I don’t remember even going to sleep, but I actually woke up pretty well rested all things considered.

The Marathon was a good, constructive day and I’m glad I did this. Oh, and for those who might say “Pictures or it didn’t happen,” I don’t have a scanner and just a camera. Also, my pictures are insanely crude and my writing … somewhat legible. Maybe one day I will show it, but right now I will just leave you with the message that I went out, took an idea with me, fleshed it, and finished it strong.

But I lied. There is actually one more thing I want to say. Aside from thanking Keiren Smith and the Comic Book Lounge for organizing and hosting this event respectively, and all my fellow awesome creators for attending it, I want to add a little tidbit about storytelling. A long time ago, a Creative Writing teacher of mine asked me which story-line of a meta-narrative I was making was either true or false. Nowadays, and after working on this comic–with its own meta-narrative sense–I realized something.

Something that parodies another thing, or subverts it and yet has its own intrinsic world-rules–or writing continuity and rhythm–can be more than just one thing: or one thing or the other. The fact is, for me, I like the idea of a multiplicity of different things happening one space and different dimensions. I like that dynamism. The truth is that all of my stories, even the stories within stories, are real. They are real to me.

And I think that is the thought out of all of this excellence that I am going to leave you all with.

ETA: Towards the end of the night, at the other end of the room people started singing this song parody. And as I worked, I sang along with them.

This is what happens when you put a group of geeky creators together in one space for an extended period of time.