Wednesday, August 15

Write the truth.

I was 20 years old when I bought my first comic. The books I had read prior to then were my brother's and since I was away at school I no longer had access to his stash.

The guy at the store was really helpful. I told him I'd like to read something new, not pick up a series in the middle of an arc. He thought about it for a minute and asked if I liked Kevin Smith movies. I grew up in Jackson, New Jersey - of course I liked Kevin Smith movies. He handed me the first three issues of Marvel Knights Daredevil. My life changed forever. I never saw artwork like this before.  Joe Quesada, Jimmy Palmiotti, and the colorists blew my mind. I'm not even going to try to explain why, they just did. 'Nuff said.

Whenever I felt inspired to draw I would go to a nearby park and copy Q's pencils over and over again. I did this until I graduated. I have no idea what I did with most of my sketches, but I still have my favorite one. It is a copy of the cover to issue 4 seen below.  My park/art/Q/creative time is one of the few peaceful memories I have of my early 20s. I both found and lost myself in his and my art; I deeply cherish those moments to this day.

About four years later I went to my first convention in Philly. I was waiting on line to get Q to sign my copy of NYX #1 when all of a sudden I panicked. Right when I was about to go up to the table I totally chickened out. I told my brother I couldn't do it and ran off. I have no idea why I got so scared, but to this day I swear things wouldn't have ended up the way they did had I spoken to Q then. Nine months later I was hired at Marvel, my office three doors down from his. Fate is a funny thing.

Needless to say I was a freak the first few times I spoke to him. I have no idea if Q remembers any of this, but I do. My face turned redder than usual and my tongue would swell up. I probably drooled. A hot mess was I. Over time my bajiggitiness subsided, but every once in a while I still get a fangirl pang in my heart. I think I always will.

The Marvel holiday party was during my last week working for them in 2007. Q said something to me at the party that, once again, has changed my life forever. He said, "You're a good writer." Say what???  Q thinks I'm a good writer?? Say WHAT??? I was in shock. It meant the world to me to hear him say this. The WORLD.

Q suggested I go to Robert McKee's writing course to learn about the craft of storytelling. This is the weekend seminar I had taken the end of March, the one I missed a portion of because I had bronchitis. The days I could attend were awesome. There were two big points that I took out of it. One, know your characters. Know every single thing about them. And two, write the truth.

I bought McKee's book a few weeks before the seminar, but never got around to reading it.   This was when Krull and I were hooking up, and since he was interested in writing I gave him my copy as a gift because I liked him so much. I guess it was good-writer-karma or something because when I went to buy a new one there were a bunch of autographed copies on the shelves. Each book was signed: "Robert McKee, Write the truth."


I wrote the above post back sometime during 2008 and never published it.  I forgot all about it until this morning when I was cleaning out my draft folder. 

Why am I posting this now?  To write the truth. To inspire myself.  One of my favorite people in the world thought I was a good writer.  Isn't that enough to stop being afraid to try?  Jimmy Palmiotti is another one of my favorite people who has become a great friend as well, the one who opened his home up to me in Florida a few months ago.  Can you imagine if 34 year old me strolled up to 20 year old me drawing in the park at Rutgers and said, "Guess what?  Not only will you work at Marvel, but you'll become friends with Jimmy and Joe?"  First, I would have maniacally laughed thinking I was having an acid flashback. Second, I would have shit my pants. Third, telling myself about the future would have altered the space-time continuum and changed my fate.  I'd now be an obese 34 year old mother of seven wearing a too tight Power Girl costume at conventions being pissed off future me told past me too much and ruined my life...

My fear of failing (or succeeding?) has stunted my creative growth to the point where I've convinced myself I don't want to create at all.  Maybe this is why my biological clock turned on this year.  I believe all human beings want to create, so it's possible that since I've denied myself an artistic outlet, I now want a biological one.

Not sure what to think about all of this yet. To be continued...

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