A Friend’s Perspective On Being An Artist

When I was back on the east coast, Patrick and I used to read stories to each other. They were never stories written by other people. They were our own tales set in lands we controlled with characters we fashioned and honed. I can recall evenings where we would sit on his back porch, absorb the starlight, and talk about our characters/worlds and discuss possibilities.

I remember Patrick talking fondly about this man whose life was fraught with challenges. His name is one that very few have heard as of this minute, but hopefully that will change.

When Patrick posted this to Facebook, I wanted to share it with everyone I possibly could. Please… Spread this like wildfire. We, after all, are the media.

 

 

“It takes a special kind of courage to be an artist.

A courage that sees you working in the dark, separated from the world by an invisible barrier that is at once as ephemeral as shadow and deep as the chasm between worlds.

I know what you may think of me, and people like me. I know what you may think of the under-fed over-bearded guy standing on the sidewalk strumming his six-string for pocket change. I expect you wonder when he’ll get a real job. I expect you wonder when I will.

Working a real job, particularly a job you really don’t like isn’t something one ought necessarily be proud of, says this guy. Doesn’t take much courage to surrender to idolatry of consumerism – two weeks of vacations a year, two car garages, black Friday shopping extravaganzas, and quadruple bypasses.

What takes courage is holding that small and proud dream, a tiny seed of hope you pray may one day flower, in your hand for years, willing it to grow while you try to manage the daily affairs of the rest of your life with your one unencumbered hand.

I’ll tell you something – I don’t want to be the one of the millions punching the clock and keeping his head down, never asking questions, never looking up, never realizing there’s an Universe full of the kind of stupefying wonder that can cement the most weakened of resolves, glue together the most broken of hearts. And to paraphrase John Lennon, I’ve got a feeling that I’m not the only one.

Perhaps you’ve dared to look in the deep mysteries of the world and wondered. Perhaps you’ve dared to look in black and unrealized reaches of the human psyche. Perhaps you’ve felt the invisible teeth of a nameless fear in the bloom night, and perhaps you feel that an answer awaits you somewhere down a road you could never quite find.

Well, I don’t pretend to have answers for you, dear compatriot. I’m a writer. It’s not my job to answer questions but to ask them.

But I know a guy that’s walked a bit down that road. His name is Elias Duana. I found him on his knees, half dead and half crazed, outside a ruined house in Tennessee. He looked more spectre than man. Still, I followed this ghost, and I’ve told his story.

I know what you may think of me, but perhaps it’s time that you see what I’m made of. You judge where I belong on a bookshelf, or if I belong in the trash bucket. I won’t take offense either way, for if you choose the latter you will be in good company. Fifty rejection letters might agree with you, so my skin has thickened enough to risk it. I’m ready for the Pepsi challenge because I’m pretty damn well sure that I can best 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight on an even field of battle.

I keep those fifty rejection letters in my bedside nightstand and I look at them every night before I go to bed. I feel the weight of them press into my hand. Sometimes I roll them into a scroll, or shuffle them, or worry them with my hands. But I never fold them or dare to endeavor to tear them even little. I want them to keep well, you see. When I’ve crested the proverbial hill I want to remember all of the times I fell on my journey, dusted myself off, and got back up.

As I perform my nightly ritual with all the gravity of a religious ceremony I often think of one my favorite poems in which E. E. Cummings asks, what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun…or, does it explode?

You tell me. It’ll only cost you a measly three bucks to find out. Book two will cost you four. What can I say, I’m optimistic.

Patrick Siana
Author”

 

Find The Empyrean Chronicle on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook
Book I – Reckoning Buy now on Kindle! Buy now on Nook! (link pending)
Book II – Empyrean Chronicle Buy now on Kindle! Buy now on Nook! (link pending)

Get Glue Let Me Down (and other nonsensical things that happen in my head)

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This past weekend was chock full of sauce (of the awesome variety) and I’m currently powering through with a minimal amount of sleep, but it’s been awhile since I’ve done an update (that is not of the “click here linky link” variety). I’d apologize for the picture, but I was angry that Get Glue wouldn’t let me add that since that is indeed what I am thinking of.

Friday was fun. I got to hang out with the Record Club crew for a lovely dinner.

Saturday I got up and went to my parents house to do an enormous amount of laundry (because I was going there and figured I could save $8). Mom and I hung out for a little bit and watched the Seven Year Itch. My aunt had come up to do some paperwork so she joined us when she had finished. My brother arrived and we had a lovely dinner and conversation.

During it, my father made a comment that was mildly apologetic for our dinner conversation. We may have been talking about computer networking, embalming, farts, marijuana or all of the above. I honestly don’t remember. The conversations go quickly, like we’ve got an hour to get rid of $100 in a penny machine at a casino.

That’s the way all of our family dinners have been for as long as I could remember. We were never censored with media and we were always encouraged to ask questions, so our conversations can pass many boundaries, but that’s why I still go to family dinners. No matter what people say, there is an incredibly selfish part of conversation.

If you’re not interested, you are further in your head than you are when you’re by yourself. My family keeps me on my toes. I dig that.

Saturday night I got to meet up with some friends from home and we played board games and carried on conversations and such. I had a fantastic time with them. I forget (often) that human interaction is essential to keeping sane. Even skyping with a friend that is so far away is human interaction, but a computer won’t hug you back and if it does that means it has arms (which also means you should never hug it because it will break your spine).

I got home and slept well. I got up, showered and made an impromptu trip to Boston to visit Matt, Ryan and Richard. You may remember them from my posts about my trip to Boston last April for the Nerdist weekend. This is my first trip to Boston since then so I was really happy to make it. Of course, I have a tendency of leaving there late when I visit with them (because I really don’t want to go) so I didn’t get home until 1:30 in the morning.

Totally worth it. Completely worth it.

How was your weekend?

My Birthday Wishlist

Since my birthday is rapidly approaching, I have decided to compile a list of gifts I would like.

1. One Baby Centaur, housebroken: Think about it! I could teach it to trample my enemies and it could take me riding when I can’t afford gas anymore. Once it gets to an older age of course. I wouldn’t ride a baby centaur. That would be cruel. Maybe I would let my friends kids ride it, but only if they promised to play like kids afterwards. When it’s older, I would brush it’s hair and it would brush mine and I would have made sure to teach it how to style my hair so that it would save me time in the morning.
**Alternate Centaur Idea – A blond centaur in an argyle sweater that looks like Greg Behrendt and cries Skittles. If this were the way you decided to go, I would need a Gryphon in a clown suit [no makeup] that looks like Dave Anthony. I would tape regular podcasts to share in the magical misery (much like an ACTUAL episode of Walking the Room). Gryphon Dave MUST be able to conjure Tim Tams and other various candies.

2. Superpowers: While I am not particular about which superpower there are a few restrictions.
A. I don’t want a power that would make human interaction difficult. If you give me the power of radiation, that would make for a very lonely life and why would you do that to someone, especially if you are giving it as a birthday gift.
B. No bullshit powers. I don’t want the ability to dim lights, the ability to prevent a sneeze, skilled shoveling, or anything mediocre like that. This is a god damned birthday present. Even if you get lightning speed at a discount, you still don’t tell the birthday girl that.

3. A bar. I think I’d be a pretty good bar owner.

4. Cookies (no more of the coconut Girl Scout ones though. I overdosed on those in February.)

5. Enough airline points to be able to travel to wherever I want. Especially Eureeka.

6. Excalibur (and the supreme right to wield it): I wouldn’t use it to conquer a nation. I would use it to make sandwiches. What type of sandwiches? DELICIOUS ONES!

7. A machine or program that would transcribe my thoughts (even when I just want to write profranity over and over again).

8. A book or movie deal. That would be nice.

9. To be the first American to play the Doctor on Doctor Who.

Alright. These are just a few of my completely reasonable requests for birthday presents. Get on it.

Kittens and Carbonite: This Nerd is Irritated.

I couldn't find a picture that I really liked of girls in all shapes and sizes, so here's a picture of Bruce Campbell. You're welcome.

Awhile ago I had posted something lamenting on the fact that I get challenged a lot by guys regarding my nerdocity. I have thought in the past that was true, then my twitter feed exploded in nerd chaos yesterday.

Apparently, a female comics fan believes that “being a girl and liking comics is no longer taboo.” She also continued to rant about how batting “your lashes while feigning embarrassment about your adorable nerdiness” seems to be encouraged by titling a blog Has Boobs, Reads Comics. She also states that she would “like to punch her [writer Jill Pantozzi] in her stupid boob.”

Months ago, Team Unicorn was under web attack (not from Peter Parker) for being “too attractive to be geeks.” An enormous controversy/discussion stirred from the female community immersed in everything nerd and it had finally felt like the storm had calmed.

But as I write this, I find myself disappointed (not in Jill). I am more disappointed in the women that feel that this is an issue. I think that with a title like Has Boobs, Reads Comics Jill cuts through the bullshit. If someone doesn’t want to read her review because she is a woman, that’s too bad because she has some incredible insight.

Does the acknowledgement of her lady parts scare away readers? I guess it’s possible. People do things that surprise me on a daily basis. I AM curious as to what the gender ratio is of those reading HBRC. Are some women jealous that another gets paid to read comics and review them for MTV? Is it employment envy or is it more?

Women seem to be the most vocal when it comes to struggling with self-esteem. With “I look so gross today” or “nobody loves me”, it is no surprise that those comments are typically referred to as fishing for a complement. When someone rages about a girl with fantastical interests being too attractive to enjoy something… That is more of an indicator as to how they feel about themselves.

Venting in such a wholly public forum like the internet means you are posting because you want someone to read it (and a sadistic part of you wants the person you’re coming down on to read it as well). Well, blogger that inspired this post… I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that you believe your fandom mentality is the only superior one. I’m sorry that you have had to deal with those fans that you determined to be the “worst customers”. I’m sorry that the majority of views on your site are for such a hateful message towards women that reads like you think that embracing who you are is wrong.

However, I’m not sorry that Jill gets paid to review the comics you have to pay for. I’m proud… and I have never met her. Geek/Nerd Girls UNITE!

Oh and by the way? I prefer Batman to Spiderman. I also have boobs.

Check out some nerdy girls that know their shit.

http://www.thenerdybird.com/
http://www.geekgirlcon.com/
http://geekgirlsnetwork.com/blog/
http://www.geekgirldiva.com/
http://nerdsinbabeland.com/
http://actionflickchick.com/superaction/

D&D Recap in Limerick Form!

For a bunch of years we played D&D every Sunday night. My character was a bard, and when I wrote a recap of the adventure I would write them in limerick form.

I found these in a random journal and couldn’t stop laughing… The players were Jon, Tim, Mel, Gennaro, Patrick and myself.

A Dark and Stormy Knight
*********************
We journeyed across Elsir Vale
but stopped due to boulder sized hail.
When we hid inside
we found Darkling Stride
and all of us went to the jail

Meenlock Prison
*********************
The prison was chock full o’ scary
The wine helped a bit (but just barely)
Oben there joined the crew
Nyla wanted him to
Dark and I pilfered fermented berries

Wizard’s Amulet
**********************
We visited with the Trelains
on return they were not quite the same
Vortigern slew them
then he renewed them
but they wanted to gnaw on our brains.

Vortigern’s Execution
*************************
We witnessed Vortigern’s execution
His hanging was thought the solution
Not to our elation
a reanimation
had us wading knee deep in pollution

The Whispering Woodwind
************************
After the boat fire hit
We followed my dad for a bit
Caught up with Contel,
he gave me a spell
in a flute, though I cannot play it

Boston 2: Electric Boogaloo – SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! I even read it for you too!

Nancy and I ended up back at Leah’s for the night. It was good that we were all exhausted because I was getting to the 24 hour mark with no sleep. Of course, being a light sleeper and an insomniac, I stretched out on the air mattress and stared at the ceiling for a little while. By the time I realized that Nancy had already fallen asleep, I found myself drifting into oblivion.

I woke up several times during the night (like I always do) and tried to pace it out, but instead played a game of “find the squeaky floorboard and avoid it at all costs”. I was able to get a few more thirty minute segments of sleep until about eight and then decided to turn my phone on silent and go through my facebook and twitter feeds. I thought “Hey, I’m up so I might as well send Leah a friend request.” I clicked the add button and not ten seconds later I heard the sound of a smartphone vibrating on a wooden desk. Yep. Great job letting everyone sleep, Ali.

A couple of hours later, the girls were up and we were chatting. Chris got ahold of us and asked us where we wanted to meet. We agreed to meet over at Zaftig’s for brunch and arrived around 12:30. We met up with Chris, Ryan, Casey, Laura, Richard, and the three of us. There was an hour wait so we putzed around through a local comic shop before heading back and finding out that the hour would be longer than 60 minutes. Improbable and inconcievable, no?

We scrapped that place and headed to a Crepe place where we gorged ourselves on deliciousness. We then went somewhere else for coffee and walkies. We continued to be led through the MIT area and ended up at a theatre to take in a showing of Super. Leah had to cut out, so we said our goodbyes and hugged like we’d known each other forever because it kind of felt like we had.

We were there an hour early, so Richard ran the Leonard Maltin game (which was so much fun!) and I taught them the Movie Plot Mashup Game that Slack introduced me to.

What is the Movie Plot Mashup Game? It’s like “Build a Title” except you merge two movie titles together and then create one plot out of the two. You tell everyone the plot and they have to figure out the title of your movie hybrid.

Example: “As a tortured man hangs on a cross, he thinks about his childhood, and how all he wanted was an air rifle for his birthday.”
This movie would be called “The Passion of the Christmas Story”

We watched Super (and I laughed like a bastard during one scene that resulted in everyone cracking up at me because I’m inappropriate) and it was great. It was a dark comedy that ran the emotional gamut for Rainn Wilson. That is pretty much all I will say about it so as to not spoil it for anyone. Definitely not a kids movie.

After the movie I planned to leave, but I didn’t want to so I headed to Jamaica Plain with everyone to meet up with Bonnie and Sam. We seriously could not stop playing the Movie Plot Mashup Game. It should actually be called “Okay, I’ve Got One” because those words were uttered SO MUCH.

Upon arrival in JP, we found an Indian restaurant where we shared dinner and inappropriate stories. These are totally my kind of people. After dinner, there was icecream eaten and Nancy and I had to cut out to grab the T back to where our cars were.

After Nancy got off for the Red Line, these two drunk girls got on the T and one was talking about “stabbing that dumb bitch in the face tomorrow” while the other nodded emphatically and stated “oh hell yeah, she’s totally gettin’ hers”. At one point one of them started talking about their Smith and Wesson and I was thankful when I reached Haymarket. I get up to leave and the girl says “Hey! Hey you! HEY! … Thatsha turtle! Where joo geddit?”. I smiled, thanked her, and told her where I got it as I left. It just goes to show that even the most violent people can enjoy a touch of whimsy.

Let it just be said that the Green Line is the shittiest shit that ever shat out of shittown. It took me a half an hour before I just said “Fuck it” and grabbed the next train. It took me close enough to Fenway that I had 3/4 of a mile to walk to my car. Being the lazy person I am, I had every intention of taking a cab to my car, but the Fenway game had just gotten out so their was a mass exodus of Fenway fucks yoinking all of the cabs on Brookline Ave. So it was a nice walk through light rain. I hopped into my car, drove home, got about a half hour of sleep then headed to work LIKE THE GODDAMNED ROCKSTAR I AM.

And that is the conclusion of my strawberry jam packed weekend o’fun!

As for the Nerdy Dozen that I met this weekend, you guys are my burrito. I thoroughly enjoyed the fuck out of it too.

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