Sunday, September 30, 2007

Up To The Wire

Regardless of what you think about the subject of "free will," there are times when the mechanics of the Universe don't matter to someone living in the moment. Actions and reactions, split second decisions and variables too numerous to mention form a web of activity that would be impossible to track. In those times, everything seems to come down to "now." It might be the final game of the season, a critical operation or a driver trying to avoid an accident- only hindsight will tell you what were really the deciding factors in the outcome and what things only seemed important at the time...

Many things are floating about in my life, and I can bet that you have similar situations going on in yours. Maybe you've been rooting for the Mets like I was, and were upset by their lopsided loss today, ending a great season on a disappointing note. Maybe you have a close friend or family member like I do who is sick and for whom the doctors don't have all the answers. Maybe there are positive things happening- for me, I have seen progress from all fronts on my creative projects this week and it brought me alot of satisfaction. In every case, however, I can only speak for myself and how I reacted in the moments of each of these up and down situations. I know that in every case, there were many things beyond my control which drove the outcomes, bot good and bad, and which will continue to progress those outcomes to their final end...

I used to stress about such things; There was a time when I embraced the Buddist idea that life and actions were locked into a great wheel of Karma, where every action I did affected my future and trapped me into a destiny of my own creation. Luck, when you examine it, is not the same thing as Chance; Luck is the effect of what YOU do- which is why many Mets fans turned their caps inside out in the first inning today at Shea. They saw something bad happening and somehow felt it was THEIR fault... and if it were, then they should also logically be able to turn that wheel back the other way.

What gives me solace in all the roller coaster moments of life is knowing the reality of the Universe is not that way. I really am NOT in control of those things. I didn't "fail" the Mets. I didn't do something which made my friend sick. And I really am not so amazing that I can take the total credit for the projects I work on...

It's all for a higher purpose.

What that is- I have no idea. Someday I will... but not today.

And that's cool with me, because the Guy who IS in control DOES know. And to me, that's all that matters...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dungeons And Dragons

The other day, I heard someone quote the book of Proverbs where it says the following:

"We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall."

To me, there is something comforting in that idea.

About a week ago, I was all but signed on to do another big project; Something for a major publisher which I knew was being moved forward as their "next big thing" type of offering. The artist doing it is extremely tallented, the offer was nice and the material was right up my alley.

Needless to say, I walked away.

While part of me looks at that and thinks, "Wow, Tom, you really ARE a dork," I also know that there is a plan to the Universe that I am not privy to, and for me, this was a necessary step.

I will say this- I second guessed myself all day yesterday and most of today...

Until, that is, I opened my e-mail and got to see the first pencils for the Manga book I'm doing. Seeing that, I think I'm going to be tied up for a bit.

"But," you may ask, "wasn't it a waste of time to persue that other offer?"

Ah! That's where the wisdom comes in.

Sure, things may be directed... But nothing happens until you roll the dice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In With The New

I have been very blessed lately with my creative projects; Every one of them have had very encouraging forward progress as of late. I'll dish more details soon, but I just wanted to give you all a peek at one of the new pages from the upcoming relaunch of KING!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Upbeat On The Beatdown

I was watching a documentary last night about the 1980's punk movement; It followed the careers of everyone in Hardcore, from Bad Brains to Black Flag to dozens of smaller yet important bands which came up and burned out before most people every knew they played their first gig. It was noisy, violent and a crazy trip down memory lane.

One thing it made me think of was the creative balance between going for it all right now and holding something back for later. As one of the members of Minor Threat had put it, "There were two ways of doing it; Some guys looked at what the kids liked and what they wanted, and they did that... and the other group didn't care and tried to provoke the audience and say phffffttt..."It's very tempting when you have good ideas to spill them all out now, and to pack every story with as many of them as you can. It's like JLA or The Avengers when you do that- all the coolest characters running around together, regardless of whether or not it makes good story sense...

The other side of things is- you risk provoking a negative attitude when you hold too much back; It's like waving crack in front of a crack addict and then handing them a pixie stick. Sure, it gets their attention, but the backlash can be rather messy if you aren't ready for it.

Right now, I am stuck between using a great character in a story and saving him for his own book. Sure- we could do a spin-off, but most turn out to be Joni Loves Chachi.

Gruesome thought, isn't it?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

One project I have been involved with for the past few months now is about to come together in a big way. Everyone has their contracts and the artist should be plugging along as we speak. I'm really happy with the script on this one- it's probably the most directly collaborative work I've done with another writer to date, and it was a complete joy to write.

The series is called "Mecha-Manga Bible Heroes," and before you walk away and think, "Tom's gone off his rocker... that sounds ridiculous," I assure you what's inside is going to be some good stuff. The basic concept is- take the characters and the plot of some of the best known Old Testement Bible stories and set them in a Sci-Fi world of robots and aliens. Just like some of the recently modernized versions of Shakespear's plays, by taking a solid, meaningful story and translating it's elements as faithfully as possible into a new setting, we hope to bring out some of the more amazing details that might get missed by today's readers. Plus- it's just alot of fun!

I'll spill the beans about the contents of that first issue soon- the cover is being finalized as I write this and I think when you see it, you'll get the big picture right away. Believe me- it's almost done and worth the wait.

But you know what they say about "almost"...

Monday, September 03, 2007

"Saint Pedro Day"

Pedro was back on the mound today, and he had a great outing; He pitched well- better than his line would even show, because if it were not for a couple of sloppy defensive plays he would have given up only a run in 5 innings. With this effort came a win and Pedro's 3,000th strikeout. All accomplishments to make a Mets fan proud.

What grabbed my attention was what Rick Peterson, the Met's pitching coach, called Pedro's starts. He referred to them as "Saint Pedro Days."

Pedro is an important person to the team, it's true, but what makes his starts an event every time is something intangable; It's more about who he is than just what he does on or off the field. Just by being in the ballpark, he makes his team mates better.

That's something to aspire to- being the guy who brings everyone up. The person who has those qualities of being good at what he does, but who brings it off with class and humilty... that's the guy that everyone needs on their team but few people want to be.

First of all, it takes effort; It does nobody any good for the person who is the main encourager to be the worst and most error prone worker. You have to push yourself towards excellence to be that guy, and not just on one occasion but again and again.

It also takes the right perspective; A person needs to see how far they have to go and use that to drive themselves on, rather than seeing how far they have come. That's real Humility.

I had someone tell me recently that it wasn't "humble" to point out something which was done wrong. I'd disagree. I think it's key to being humble to point out such things in others, but using your own failures as the guide.

From what I know of Pedro, he's always giving advice to other pitchers on his team... not "I do this better than you, so listen," but more like, "I used to do the same thing... here's how I fixed it."

It's hard, but something to work toward.

Happy St. Pedro Day!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Coming "Thing"

It's been a rollercoaster the past few weeks for me; As you know from my blog, both very good and very hard to take things have been happening back to back. Today, however, was a very good one... I got some things done that I had been meaning to, the Mets won their second straight against their arch rivals the Atlanta Braves, and I recieved the news that a project which had been teetering on the edge of not happening has finally been cleared for takeoff. I won't spill the beans just yet until a copy of my contract comes in my mail, but I can say it's going to be a fun one to be a part of.

What I am willing to say is- it's an action packed Sci-Fi book which is based on one of the oldest "underdog" type stories in literature. Honestly- it's going to be a blast!