Chad in Amsterdam is a comic book series created, produced, and written by Chad Bilyeu. The illustrations, all in black-and-white, are done by several different artists; their styles ranging from minimalist to detailed and often falling somewhere in between realistic and cartoony. In them, Bilyeu documents his various (mis)adventures as an American immigrant in Amsterdam. The result is a witty, hilarious, and honest series of comic strips that depict situations which Amsterdammers may recognize and others may find intriguing. Given that all of these stories are told from Bilyeu’s perspective, even Dutch readers are likely to look at typically Dutch situations from another angle. In this review I’ll cover both issue #1 and #2, so sit back, relax, and let’s have ourselves a look, shall we?
Continue reading “CHAD IN AMSTERDAM #1-2 REVIEW”
“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”
— Rabindranath Tagore
In August 2006, my parents, my sister and I were sitting in the waiting room of an animal shelter. Soon a door opened and one of the workers was practically being dragged along by a small, white-furred dog whose breed will forever remain a mystery. We got up from our seats and the dog immediately started jumping and moving around us, taking in our scent while letting us stroke his head and his back. His name was Cooper and he became our trusty companion for years to come.
While my parents talked to the worker, my sister and I grabbed Cooper’s leash and took him outside. The bright sun warmed the earth on which we walked, and our new buddy’s tail was wagging back and forth, and there was a happy glimmer in his eyes. There was no resistance, no awkwardness, no fear. Our bond was forged organically and instantly, like it was meant to be.
Later, when we were driving back home, Cooper curled up beside me on the backseat of the car, and I knew then and there that I had made a friend for life.
Continue reading “Resolution”
“What if you slept, and what if in your sleep you dreamed, and what if in your dream you went to heaven and there you plucked a strange and beautiful flower, and what if when you awoke you had that flower in your hand? Ah, what then?”
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Sometimes I try to push my finger through the palm of my hand. Every time I do this I question the reality of my surroundings, and the answer to that question depends on whether or not my finger passes through my hand. If it doesn’t, it means that I’m bound by laws of physics and biology; that I’m standing in this three-dimensional place that we refer to as “waking life.” But if my finger does pass through, it means that I could float off the earth if I wanted to, and soar over cities and mountains and valleys and among stars. It means that I could walk through walls or teleport to different locations or run at the speed of light. It means that I could compose symphonies, paint photo-realistic portraits straight from my imagination, or change the color of the sky at will. In other words, when I manage to push my finger through my palm and it comes out of the back of my hand, I know that I’m dreaming, and suddenly anything is possible.
Continue reading “Oneironautics: Exploring Lucid Dreams”
“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”
— Red Haircrow
Beginnings are always the hardest. Sitting at your computer, chasing that perfect opening line across your mindscape, searching, constantly searching. In what lair is it hidden? In what vault is it kept? In what forge is it created? And where are these places located? The mind is a strange realm, indeed; there’s so much uncharted territory that has yet to be discovered. Continue reading “The Writer’s High”
“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Show-don’t-tell is bullshit.
Now, before a lynch mob of angry keyboard warriors attempts to verbally slay me, let’s all calm down and establish a context. Continue reading “Show-Don’t-Tell Is Bullshit!”
“Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.”
— Grant Morrison
All right, David, brings us up to speed:
By now you may have the activity-part of writing down, but maybe you feel you are still missing a kind of you-ness; a recognizable voice with enough originality to stand on its own. You look, and you look, and there seems to be nothing ‘you’ – no truth to speak, no solid ground to kick off from – only mush and mist.
Have you not found your artistic voice yet? Are you uncertain you ever will? You are not alone in having these thoughts.
Today, Casper has two urgent questions for you:
- Is it important for you that you find your voice?
- Why or why not?
Continue reading “Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist – Part 5: Death of Ideas”
“Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.”
— Meg Rosoff
Hark! David Kleinsteuber recounts Chapter the Third!:
“I don’t have the qualities necessary for writing; neither the talent, nor the inner energy, nor the feel for words. As such, I am not a writer, and there’s no point in my trying to write.
Many of us who write or aspire to write have from time to time felt something like this. It’s a not particularly encouraging, blocky kind of thought. So: what to do?
In part 3 of Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist, our editor Casper tackles talent, practice, and the roles they play in your productivity.
Also: are you a writer, or are you someone who writes?”
Continue reading “Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist – Part 4: Choir of Voices”