“You don’t try to reverse the river or get it to jump over a mountain, you harness its flow and energy to gently urge that it join up with other tributaries.” David Byrne
Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think that writing is a lonesome activity. Granted, like many writers I spend a lot of time by myself in a room, working on a computer. Seeing as I maintain my focus best when there’s no-one else around, I often choose to be on my own when I write. However, the writing process isn’t merely comprised of typing words on a page. In fact, there are various important facets to writing that involve other people, and so writing, for me, becomes a game of communication and collaboration. Not only has such collaboration enabled me to write higher quality texts, but I also find it energizing and motivating.
Continue reading “Synergy: Writers and Editors in Collaboration”
“No artist desires to prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything.”Oscar Wilde
Lately I’ve been considering the merits of taking risks in art and what taking artistic risks means to me in the first place. As an artist I believe that I should be able to express whatever I want without restrictions, limitations or objections. That is to say, no imagery, topic or theme should be off the table. I want my art—regardless of the genre I’m working in—to be a vehicle through which I can freely explore emotions, imagery, ideas, philosophy, morality, spirituality, etc. Letting something or someone get in the way of my artistic expression is to diminish the quality of my work, because if I have to adhere to a set of rules that I don’t stand by, I’m not allowing myself to be authentic as an artist. By extension, I can’t be authentic as a person, either, because art is my highest and purest form of expression. So, when I make art I find it useful to be able to not give a shit about rules, conventions, opinions, political correctness, being offensive or being entertaining, as long as I know what I’m doing and, most importantly, why I’m doing it. But such freedom never comes without a price.
Continue reading “Expectations and Confrontations: On Taking Risks in Art”
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!”