Connecting with Creators

Have you ever seen the animated show Metalocalypse? Short synopsis; it’s an animated show about the biggest metal band ever, Dethklok, and the fictional world in which they are essentially a world power unto themselves. I used to watch it and believe I have seen the first two seasons in their entirety, but did not view it beyond that. There is really no specific reason why I stopped watching this show, as I remember it to be rather humorous, other than I simply stopped. Honestly, I had not even thought about this program for years until I heard an interview with the original creator of the show.

I was listening to the Nerdist podcast (it’s very entertaining and free) with Brendon Small, the mind who came up with Metalocalypse and many other oddball projects. As I previously mentioned, the cartoon had not been in my thoughts for years, but listening to Brendon discuss his work and the process it took to make his project into a reality was, for lack of better terms, breath taking and inspiring. Frankly, it was so interesting that it made me want to go and find the series to view it completely, currently on season one and considering buying the full show.

Admittedly, the program is interesting and does a pretty good job of holding up even after a few years, but none of that really mattered since I had stopped watching the show anyhow. What brought me back was the connection I felt with Small as he spoke about his creation. It shouldn’t be so surprising, after all, this was the original intent of interviews that used to be done by magazines, television, radio, and most forms of media. The major difference between then and now is the lack of an established system and paradigm.

What I mean is that before there would be publicists, agents, publishers, and studio representatives that would set up an agenda and regulations for how the interviews should go and what could be discussed for how long and in what manner; one of the many reasons why production costs and salaries were so immensely large. These systems made for basically adoration but not much more. However, now there is more ability for creators and artists to interact with people and make some sort of connection and community.

Now, I am not saying that this type of arrangement is always great or even useful, but it is the odd circumstances we have created. Artists now can speak directly to their public without the use of a system in place. It gives a chance for them to reach people that would have been considered outside the right “demographic” by some studio exec. More importantly, it makes the audience actually connect and care about the artist and the work.

I knew this in theory as an abstract in my head, but it did not really materialize until this week, partially because of the Brendon Small podcast and because of another artist interaction. Lynette Noni is a YA author who recently obtained a publishing deal for her first book. Before last week, I had never heard of her or her work and the only reason I learned anything about either is through stumbling upon a post on another blog about her. To make a long story short, I had some questions about her work and process and she responded almost immediately. That kind of concern, response, and interaction makes me have a bit more investment and interest than I previously held and makes me want to buy and read her work.

So, I suppose this long winded almost rant (sometimes I get wordy) is really discussing this new avenue that artists have for engagement. Artists, professional and aspiring of all mediums, now can take more control of their fan base and audience interaction, if they want to. Will this system be abused? Of course, what isn’t. However, I, in my foolish optimism that creeps up every once in awhile, like to think that genuine communities can and will rise to the top and create better art and opportunity. Who knows? It could all still be meaningless (there is my stark pessimism/realism coming back. How I’ve missed/tolerated you).

One last note: apologies for the various links, but I like to promote good stuff so they are there to be clicked, if you so desire.

My Kingdom For Some Java

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Granted, my “kingdom” consists of very little, still I would abdicate it all for a single cup of coffee in the morning. I have been an avid consumer of caffeine for most of my life. Seriously, I started drinking coffee since I was two years old when my tío, Tonio, gave me my first cup. It was mostly milk and sugar with a dash of coffee, but that first sip pretty much ensured my lasting love affair with that sweet black brew.

For some idiotic reason that I no longer recall, I decided to put on hold the longest relationship I have ever had and stop drinking coffee. Today marks 48 hours since my last cup and so far I have been okay. No withdrawal symptoms or odd occurrences yet to speak of and no headaches or hallucinations (was kind of hoping for the last one). I have also not had a single sip of soda since mid January, but that one was not as hard to give up.

I don’t miss the caffeine because it hardly had an effect on me anymore. Honestly, I could gulp down two whole pots of coffee in an hour and then take a nap. This is not hyperbole. It is something I actually did (thank you last minute paper writing) and something I do not recommend except for those who do not fear the dreams induced by massive amounts of java. Lots of vibrating and bunnies. Not really sure why the bunnies were there, but they were. What I do miss, however, is the ritual I have created around a cup of joe. Every morning and evening, a cup of hot, delicious black nectar would be in my hands being slowly savored while I either wrote or read the latest the Internet had to offer. Without this divining rod of sorts, I have found my mornings and evenings seemingly missing an essential element. It is as though my hand is incomplete for these moments because it is not holding, or near, a cup.

I have begun drinking tea as a replacement and it works, for the most part. Yet, it still feels slightly off. I miss my old friend, but I am also curious to see how long I can go without him. At this point, I say a week before total mental and/or physical breakdown, but if nothing else I might get an interesting short story out of the experience, so totally worth it, right? The idiot ramblings of a writer…Hopefully, I don’t die from lack of caffeine (that’s not a thing, is it?) and will remember why I chose to do this to myself. Until then, I’ll keep at it and dream of roasted beans yet to be made into succulent, savory perfection.

Day After the Day of Love

So for Americans, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It is a day set aside to commemorate love in all its forms, but more specifically for those involved in a romantic relationship. People make plans and arrangements for luxurious dinners and surprises and lavish their significant others with flowers, chocolates, and gifts.

As for me, I have somehow managed to avoid being in a relationship on February 14th since senior year of high school. This was in no way an intentional action, merely the way circumstances shaped themselves. The last few years have found me in the company of good friends sharing drinks, breaking bread, and finding random ways to spend the night (movies, video games, poker, billiards, etc.). Don’t know if this was a way of either ignoring or acknowledging our mutual single status, but it was still fun.

This was the first time that I spent the day completely alone in quite some time. I spent Valentine’s Day watching movies and eating pizza. I also read a large section of a book. Frankly, it was a great night, though the pizza could have been better, that I really enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to finding someone to share and celebrate Valentine’s Day with, hopefully in the near future. Until then, I will continue to grow, learn, and find amusement and pleasure in whatever experiences I can find and have. I want to be the type of person and have the type of life that the kind of partner I want to have would join me in. I am not quite there yet, but definitely working on it.

So for those who enjoyed yesterday with their significant others; I hope you had a wonderful time and have a healthy relationship. For those who spent the night with friends; I hope you had fun and have a few memories and stories for the future. Finally, for those who were alone, whether by choice or not; I hope you enjoyed the solace of the evening and did something that put a smile on your face.

Also, a few last things: watch, as soon as possible, Much Ado About Nothing by Joss Whedon and In A World, read Paddle your Own Canoe, and remember that Valentine’s candy is now on sale so go get as much as possible.

Obsession

I want to be obsessed. I know, I know, it seems like a ridiculous wish and notion. After all, being obsessed with someone or something is probably a horrible idea. We have all seen the movies and tv shows, heard the songs, and are familiar with the stories of obsession and how they usually end. Still, I want to be enthralled and consumed to the point of exclusion. I want to become so obsessed that I become a hermit ignoring the world around as long as I can be with the object of my passions. I want the world to revolve, evolve, and continue without me leaving me and my beloved alone to get to know one another on a deeper and more intimate level. However, the supple curvature of a well rounded and defined form hold no appeal to me nor the blush of rosy cheeks nor the softness of pink lips (at the moment). I want to become engrossed with this; with writing.

I want to form words into sentences that fill blank pages upon pages with stories and ideas. I want to create rhymes and lines that entertain masses bringing smiles to their faces and tears to their eyes. I want to paint full unique pictures and portraits with the brushes and colors provided by similes and metaphors. I want to weave epics and narratives with the meager tools that I have. I want to be so immersed in writing and words that my right hand becomes deformed and withered to the point that only a pen can fit in it. i want to have early carpal tunnel syndrome due to my hands working so long on my keyboard. I want to arrive at the point where I want to write so badly that I lose friends, family, sleep, and straddle the line of sanity pushing my mind and body to jot down just one more word.

I am afraid that one day I will somehow manage to get to that point. That I will truly lose myself in this obsession and exclude the world.

I am even more frightened that I might never get there. I am unsure which is the worse fate.

Journal

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I recently purchased a notebook to use as a personal journal. I have never kept a physical record of my thoughts and truth be told I never considered owning one before now. It seems a bit silly or juvenile, even now, as though I am trying to rewrite my own personal history as keeping a journal seems like more of an activity one would perform during their teenage years. Furthermore, having both a blog and a physical journal seems rather redundant, so I’ve been trying to figure out why I would want both, especially considering my less than stellar record of timely posting on this blog.

I have yet to come up with a legitimate answer, but the best that I have been able to come up with is simply that I need both. I know, seems indulgent or like a cop out, but hear me out on this one. I believe in the power of words. More so, I honestly believe that words take on a particular strength when they take a physical presence; when they are transferred from thought into speech and writing. This platform allows me the opportunity to give my thoughts weight and to share them with an audience (however small or large it may be) that can hold me accountable to something or someone beyond myself.

However, some ideas do not want to quite yet see the light of day. Some words are not ready to be seen by eyes other than mine. Yet, they still need weight, presence, and physical embodiment. Thus, a personal journal serves a purpose. It is a space for me to express the thoughts and feelings that need to be put down onto paper but do not need to be heard or seen by anyone else. It is my own personal haven created by my soul and hand to be examined and read by an older me who needs the guidance of his past to walk his future.

So, like I said, maybe I got a journal because I need it.