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Pieces of Me

Digiwrimo.

Yeah, I don’t know either.

I just know that some of the professorial staff at school have casually mentioned (in as friendly a manner a possible) that previous grades might be “pliable” if I don’t support the cause. So, I’m cheerily in! 50,000 words by November 31.

Needless to say, much work to be done.

Actually, this presents an interesting challenge. I’m a busy person. I have a daughter to raise; a full-time job replete with helpless lambs that need to be led. Comic art to draw… a grueling lit class. A brand new Pandaran Monk whining about being Level 12 for weeks now. Some serious, teeth-gnashingly angsty soul-searching to be done; a pile of books and graphic novels dying to be read. When will I find the time? Where’s Doc Brown when you need him?

50,000 by November 31? Whatever. No problem.

Where shall I start?

So, I’m a writer; have been since I was very young. Well, okay, maybe CREATOR is more apropos. While the other kids were out playing games of tag and peeing in the little make-shift tree-trunk that looks like a toilet in the park across the street, I was proudly wielding light-sabers out of garden implements and beating back the dastardly vines of grapes threatening to subjugate the house. I much preferred to spend my time in make-believe worlds, creating story out of nothing. Well, okay, not nothing. Synaptic Metonymy existed for me even back then; I distinctly remember some of those imaginary scenarios feeling a lot like Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Transformers, whatever I was into at the time.

As I grew older, and as the yards grew bigger, my playful pantomimes grew in size from small, space-ship size stagings to large, galaxy-spanning epics. Some of these I even wrote down to track ongoing storylines to make sure I kept them all straight so I would know where to pick up again during the next episode. Part of the fun of acting these imaginary plays was writing down the plots later and creating the dossiers of characters on the page. Quite naturally, this interest in imaginary worlds and comic books led to drawing.

I used to draw a lot. My aunt and cousin once encouraged me by giving me a hard-bound journal with blank paper on which to express myself as a birthday present. I have them to thank for what would be “The World According to Ken. Volume 1.” I filled that puppy up! I didn’t know it at the time, but I now realize I was creating an anthology of my childhood. At first the subjects were stick figures and tracings of things I was into at the time, but increasingly with my own original comic creations and stories. There was much fun to be had! The book entirely captures my style – fast and furious, zipping from story to concept to item, one interest after another page after page. Reading it now is like reading a creative stream-of-consciousness, pure chaos! And delicious to boot! Nothing quite so affirming as conversing with your younger self and seeing how far your skills have come!

I became interested in video games with Atari. My cousin had a 2600. We played the early stuff (not Pong – why when there was Combat, Adventure, and the Empire Strikes Back. Anyone remember Canyon Bomber? The arcades fascinated me, but truthfully, I’m a lackluster gamer – far more interested in the entertainment value than actual competitive achievement. Still, I have fond memories of watching really kick-ass players taking Donkey Kong to town, smoking the MCP Cone in Tron, and spending hours and hours holding off wave after wave of dive-bombing alien insects in Galaga. Video Games are a huge influence on my life, as my long-standing relationship with PC gaming can attest.

When my step-brother, a born computer programmer, got hold of a Tandy back in the mid-80’s and proved he could draw straight lines and objects in BASIC, I was hooked! He had the loose idea of a game that needed some world-building and creative input. Some of my fondest creative memories were spent working together with Scott over the course of long summers, writing scenarios, drafting designs, drawing characters. We would stay up until all hours of the night, eat uncooked Top Ramen noodles for snack, and fall asleep to the original Star Wars.  There’s something about creative pursuit that is purely and utterly absorbing. Over the years, my close friends and I have dabbled in all manner of creative games and projects. Big on our list is Dungeons & Dragons, the funnest part of which is creating the characters and building the world (playing the actual game is okay but the scenarios always bog down in rule minutia).

About the time I hit High School, I fell in love with reading. Sci-fi and fantasy fiction. Stuff like Terry Brooks’ Shannara series and the Dragonlance novels got me started; David and Leigh Eddings’s Belgariad sealed it. Pretty soon I was off on Arrakis with the Atreides or off in the Inner Sphere piloting Battlemechs. It seems there was a much richer, more sophisticated world that I had been missing out on and I was hungry for it. I fell hard and haven’t stopped, though my tastes are much broader and more inclusive nowadays.

Right around this time, I started writing. In my own inimitable style. Bits, fragments, noodlings. The act of creation has always been a bit ephemeral for me. Eddings once said that when you’re inspired, writing is like pulling fire down from heaven and when you’re not, it’s like giving birth to a baby elephant. I’ve never had the native discipline or desire to endure the labor part for very long. I guess I inherently spent so much of my life otherwise laboring (at work or around the house or at relationship or parenting) that when the activity ceased to be absorbing or entertaining, that was generally about it for me. I gave at the office, you know? This reflects most of my body of writing to this point – tons of material, virtually all of it comprised of bits of inspiration that came and went in the span of an hour or two before losing interest. Such is the fate of a Sagittarian writer, I’ve found; our attention spans can be rather distracted at times. I never minded not finishing any of these stories because I enjoyed their creation and always felt like I could come back to them when I wanted to finish them.

Now is that time.

Digiwrimo is truly a great idea. A national movement to get people writing, in touch with their inner-muse, passionate about creating and creating passionately. In our busy lives, it can be difficult to set aside the time for such a task and having that support and inspiration from outside is a phenomenal aid in the endeavor.

So, as usual with my higher education experience, I’m looking to tie all the vines of myself up into the effort. In that spirit, my intention is to use Digiwrimo and the form of this blog, to continue my own personal quest for self-discovery, unearthing the voice of my younger self and honoring the promises I have made over the years to return to my amorphous progeny and finally finish carving the statues begun by almighty inspiration. I intend to select pieces from across the entire body of Ken Cosmology, revising and re-forging them into shorts that my modern sense of self can be proud of. I believe I have cultivated my skill enough and built the disciplinary muscle enough to undertake this endeavor with some amount of success; at least in my own eye.

In any case, I believe I am finally at a place where I’m confident and comfortable with my skill in writing/creating to step into the world on my own. I accept the challenge and raise 50,000.

Let the games begin.

P.S. the sarcasm at the top was purely for comic relief. I am genuinely thrilled to be participating in Digiwrimo and thankful for the wonderful opportunity!

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