This is the ending of one of my most favorite cartoons I read while growing up (well, passing into adulthood). Needless to say, when the ending was announced by Bill Watterson, I was feeling mixed emotions:
I am one of those who has always been accompanied by a comic (one from many genres) at many points in my life, including now. And I say that with a great degree of pride because I feel that this activity, both collecting and reading them, led to an expansive imagination and dreams that push my creative thoughts past their limits. Because I don’t have the amazing drawing talent of many of these tremendous creators, I live vicariously through each of their creations and I love each and every one of them with a multitude of emotions. But no emotion has ever told me that this activity is superfluous, simply because it allows me to keep my sense of wonder alive. To be able to look at the world through the eyes of a child is a supreme joy, and to retain that ability into adulthood is a miracle.
To all of you comic creators (there are too many to list and I mean everyone of you), those I know and those I still haven’t yet met, please know that your creations are appreciated by so many of us. Your visions tell stories new and old, and teach us lessons that are sometimes unexpected but always welcome. Without each and every one of you, this world would be a dimmer place. You are an integral part of the creative world, and have helped many of us onto our own paths of creation through your much-needed works. Don’t ever stop creating!
They’re the start of the story, literally. Of course, I’m partial because I am a writer. Some people see the world in images, and others see it in words. Put together, we get the technicolor world that we live in. You can’t have one without the other – even though some think otherwise. For instance:
Visualize a red apple:
Or conceptualize the apple in words: The vibrant red and yellow orb took on just a few of the colors of a glowing sunset, as glimmers of water droplets meandered down its sides as though the orb was whispering of its tempting juiciness to capture the lucky winner’s taste buds.
Words can hint, and words can describe, and sometimes words can filter the scene so as to kick start the reader’s mind. They shout, they whisper, and sometimes they cry. They draw one inside so that the world comes alive. We writers come in all styles and forms, and write about everything real, make believe, happy or forlorn.
Listen to us, talk to us, argue with us…we welcome it all, because you might be helping us start our next thought.
I was excited to see this Ted Talk by Callie Curry, who is also known as Swoon. She is one of the geniuses (the others being the New Orleans Airlift and many, many more artists and supporters) behind The Music Box. This particular vision started out as a Kickstarter project with the purpose of building musical architecture. With a successful campaign bringing in a lot of support, the work to bring the prototype musical masterpiece ended with a successful launch at the end of October, and is now the foundation for the next phase named Dithyrambalina. The temporary structure will only be around until the end of the year with limited performances scheduled, but from all the talk I’ve been hearing, the final house will be a thing of wonder. It’s already getting quite a bit of coverage in the art world, and is even filtering out to the mainstream world.
If you look at Callie’s extensive artistic history combined with her endless humanitarian efforts, you’ll see a woman who believes that our internal magic can make all of the difference in the world. She tells her favorite story about a homeless man who found one of her street art creations and called it the neighborhood’s secret. If someone was open enough to talk to him, then he showed them the “secret”. The entire neighborhood felt as though someone had left them a precious treasure. I seriously thought that this is so amazing that people can take such joy from an act of creation and build on the positive emotion so that it just kept spreading. And Callie’s following is also growing in recognition, which is to be expected for such a talented and caring artist.
I used a different video of this speech in another article I wrote, but this speech (from The Great Dictator) simply deserves to be shared over and over. It is especially fitting for our times, which are currently moving through a significant upheaval that will change history – hopefully. Though this movie was a comedy, it satirized a dark period in our history that seems to have returned with a different ‘emperor’. That this speech is considered by most who hear it to be among the greatest speeches ever made (even if it was in a movie – not that this should be a factor) makes it something valuable to mankind – especially if we all hear the same words at the same time. Promise comes in many forms, and it’s up to us to see that promise in its purest form. This is one such time.
I just stumbled on one of the last talks of a hero of mine: Douglas Adams. He’s my hero because seriously, who has a mind like his? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and its many successive volumes that took us all on a ride through the universe with his mild-mannered Arthur Dent and his insane posse…well, they were actually Zaphod Beeblebrox’s posse, but it’s all relative, right?
This UCtelevision talk shows Douglas discussing the equally unusual creatures that he encountered during his crazy travel adventures around our own little blue planet with his trademark hilarity and sarcasm. It’s sad to think that we will no longer be able to meet up with his delightful mind, except in his past works. Suffice it to say that I do visit his past works when I need a day off from reality. His visions are simply that powerful, as your mind wafts into the wonders of the universe, turning your brick walls into bouncy trampolines.
Thanks to Ted for linking me to this hilarious talk. And thanks to Douglas for pushing my mind past its limits on more occasions than I care to admit! Actually, no, I’m proud of the paths that he’s helped set me on.
p.s. The last half hour is the most poignant as he warns us of our human nature and how it impacts our lives, the universe, and everything.
Anyone who is looking at original creative works has seen this logo. It signifies that the work is protected by the laws that cover copyright to protect the creator’s work. As a writer who writes original content, I use this on my work as an identifier that I’m the original creator. And yet, I have misgivings when applying this logo for a multitude of reasons.
I write so that I can share my work. Of course, I want to be attributed to my original works, but not to the extent that others cannot build off of it. This is part of the Fair Use Doctrine.
My work for sale is different from my work for share, and yet they are both original. Much of my past work for sale was done for a third party and provides them protection, but does nothing for me unless I negotiate it into my contract (typically for my portfolio use). So the law protects my employer for the time period, and allows them the freedom to pursue infringement actions even though they technically weren’t the original creator.
In my eyes, the copyright system no longer serves as adequate protection that allows the original creator to obtain income from that creation. The “middle-man” is now the beneficiary that reaps the rewards at the expense of the hard working creative.
The purity of the creative work is becoming bastardized for the pursuit of profits. The vision is being corrupted by a tainted obsessive view of life-long windfalls, which is the wrong motivation for having original thought. Of course, this is MY opinion.
But when an entire continent is motivated to review the aging and ineffective system, then perhaps it’s time for those of us who use this copyright system to start looking for ways to ensure protection and fairness without having a skewed sense of entitlement for our work. Yes, making an original isn’t easy. We can all testify to this act. But when our individual expectations outweigh the worldwide common good simply because it’s hard work, then it’s way past time to fix this flawed system. Read more »
Korehira Watanabe is only one of 30 master swordsmiths left in Japan. This beautiful documentary short, directed by Takeshi Fukunaga and made By Etsy.tv, tells how he’s followed his love and passion for making swords for over 40 years, even against his family’s wishes. He feels that only recently has one or two of his swords come close to a level near those levels of perfection that are exhibited in the Koto sword of the Heian and Kamakura periods. He also feels that it’s nearly impossible to reach that state of perfection, but he is interested in trying because of his passion to create as well as his need to pass on his knowledge to the next generation.
To him, the modern era has actually hurt the training of a master craftsman because they lose the soul of the work as they attempt to replicate perfection through technical means. A sword made with this approach is like producing an empty vessel. It may look beautiful, but it is empty on the inside. His ultimate goal is to train his disciple to become better than he ever was so that he in turn can train the next generation and keep the craft alive.
Each handcrafted sword contains the soul of Japan and its people, and is a symbolic piece of history that many people want in their homes. A master swordsmaker like Watanabe-san is as much a treasure as his creations, because like the sword, there are so few examples of perfection.
This is also true for an old-world craft which is fading because of modern times. Thank goodness there are many people who choose to keep these fields and these creations alive, because the world would be so much more emptier without them.
I saw these images a while back and was struck by the emotions in such simple lines and sparse shading. You can tell when someone is good when they can make you feel when the work is pared down to its most basic form. Guy Denning manages to create an emotional impact with just some lines and colors. If you look at this site, you’ll see that Guy loves capturing the expressions of humanity at their most emotional. An image like the one above of an #OWS protester generates emotions simply because of the topic. There’s something I always liked about that mask. Perhaps it’s that it makes a mockery of our attempts at regal civility when times call for out-and-out passion? I thought this image was fitting since it is Guy drawing Guy. – found at Colossal and more places than I can remember
And if you want to see Guy live at work, then go visit his YouTube channel. There’s a lot to see.
This has got to be the single sweetest ghouly sculpture that I’ve seen. It’s called “Listening In”. And the awesome thing is that the artist, Greg Brotherton, is in my neck of the woods! Woo hoo. Greg takes the discarded mechanical components of found objects and recreates this wonderful world where Steampunk meets Horror in a sinisterly delicious way. How would you like to have a phone like this? I know that I would. Take a look at his site and see some more fascinating work where he uses motion and scary aesthetics to come up with some really beautiful pieces that puts man and machine together in such a dystopian way. Amazing!
Whatever you do, check out his piece called “Pushed Around”. THAT is…oh wait, did you see “Search Engine”?!? Oh, there’s more…look at “Into The Void”…never mind, check them all out. They are all that insanely wicked! WOW! – found through a Colossal post
Inspiration strikes in a moment of absolute purity. A flawless harmony or the brilliant light from a full moon might be all that it took for creation to take wing.
Sometime in the distant past, one of our ancestors looked outside of the familiar and saw something that sparked a thought. Who knows what that spark of inspiration was, but that’s not the point that I’m trying to make. The spark wasn’t the driving force behind that first creation. Yes, the spark may have been the source, but it wasn’t the fire that stoked the dream. That fire was inside all along, burning in the depths of a soul that was waiting to unleash it. Finally, that something was seen in a new light, and that light was the guide on a wondrous journey of creation. That simple creation then altered the perception of another, and so it continued throughout our timeline. One fire that raced through time, looking for new dreams to ignite. Read more »
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** STOP CENSORSHIP! **
Our censorship fight with the US Congress is far from over, as they continue to attempt to break the Internet with legislations driven by crony capitalism in the US and abroad. Though SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) have been pulled back for now, more continue to follow them. Now, we have to contend with ACTA(more) and TPP(2), which are international attempts to censor and control the Internet for the sake of commerce. And if that's not enough, now there's CISPA (more).
Go to EFF.org to keep up with the legal news that impacts our world and its technology. The greed won't stop, so we have to stay vigilant as well. Especially now that lobbyists are admitting out loud that they expect to be rewarded for their "contributions": Read it on TorrentFreak
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I want to thank all of my visitors who are taking the time to leave such inspiring and thoughtful comments. I'm glad that I'm able to connect with so many of you through my writing. This blog is all about things that drive my creative inspirations, and all of you are part of that inspiration. So, thanks for your support. I look forward to getting to know you better throughout this creative journey.