On October 28th, 2012, Christopher asked me to be his boyfriend officially.
Except he didn’t ask. He said, “I’m going to stop telling people you’re my almost-boyfriend. From now, I’m going to tell people you’re my boyfriend.”
We had stayed overnight in a hotel room, and the next morning, Chris went to Waffle House and brought back breakfast- egg sandwiches and orange juice.
Each year, we celebrate with egg sandwiches and orange juice- not always from Waffle House (I prepared them this year), but we still make it a point to keep the tradition alive.
That November, while staying at what would become my new home, I began reading a book Chris had recently purchased, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This novel has inspired a few movies; I think one has this actual name but tells a different story, while another has a different name but tells Jackson’s story.
The book is written in a style that by today’s standards would be considered dated; moreover, in reading an analysis of it later, I discovered that there’s a distinction between “terror” and “horror” as literary devices; “terror” refers to the experience prior to encountering the scary thing, and “horror” refers to the experience afterwards. Think of it as hearing the monster coming versus seeing the monster and running.
So when my fellow writer and friend Nonnie posted a Time Hop post from 2013 referencing the author Shirley Jackson, I was inspired to write.
Writing is something I’ve begun to slack on over the years, and that’s not a good thing because I love doing it. Most of my “writing” energy is now put into my handwritten journal that I write in Japanese to improve my ability to think and remember Japanese, and even that’s not exactly working out because what I really want to do is draw pictures and write a little Japanese around it to explain what the picture doesn’t, and unfortunately even then I’m way behind in my development as an artist because I don’t consistently draw each day like I need to.
In fact, I went several years without drawing anything, and then I randomly picked up an old notebook and began sketching in it around 2014, just to get a feel for sketching, and I recalled the words of my friend Kali many years ago, words she took from a video of an artist: “Before you can get to your good drawings, you have to get all your bad drawings out.”
And, my friends, this is what has inspired me because somehow, that translated into my brain in a way that other advice has not. Some things in this world feel obvious, but I’ve been perpetually unable to explain them or have them explained to me until someone, somewhere is able to translate.
Anyway, maybe by the time I’m 50 I’ll be able to draw manga and have something published. That’s a life goal of mine. There’s a LOT of things I’ve got to learn and perfect.
Another thing to add is that drawing is hard. Even for professionals, drawing is hard because everything rests on the foundational principles and the so-called “beginner mistakes” that even professionals are susceptible to making.
My biggest hurdle has been that knowledge of realism is necessary to create the cartoony characters, but there’s also a point where too much realism takes away from the fact that we’re illustrating something.
That’s all for now.