577 days later…

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Hello, internet.

It’s been 577 days since my last blog post.  Here’s what has happened since then…

  • I got pretty involved with the indie comics scene, connected with some awesome creators, and had a few short one-shots I wrote get published in some small press anthologies.  I really love writing comic scripts and collaborating with artists, colorists, and letterers.  Just a really fun medium to work in.
  • I also started a few other creative projects which, sadly, didn’t come to fruition for one reason or another.  These projects included co-writing a few long-form comic series, joining the “writer’s room” for an audio drama podcast, and landing some small voice acting gigs.  I still have hopes that a few of these will work out, but 2016 seemed to be a rough year for almost everyone.
  • My job situation got to be pretty stressful, resulting in 12+ hour workdays.  That, plus a growing sense of loneliness after living on my own in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, pushed me to start looking for a new job.
  • In June 2016, I came to terms with the fact that I was queer and sank into a months-long depression as I agonized over how my family would respond.
  • I spent most of my free time on a LGBT+ internet forums finding support, making friends, and exploring what it meant for me to be queer yet Christian.
  • I came out as bisexual to my older sister (and brother-in-law) on August 13th, to my brother on September 5th, and to my parents on September 11th.
  • One of the aforementioned internet friendships became my first full-fledged relationship (albeit a long distance one) as I fell for a woman who lived 2,000 miles away.  She supported me through my awful work situation and as I navigated what it meant for me to be out to my family; and I supported her as she struggled with gender dysphoria and the loss of a dear friend from suicide.
  • My uncle passed away.
  • My grandma passed away.
  • My niece was born and I became a first-time aunt.
  • I visited my girlfriend on two separate week-long trips — once in March and again in May.
  • I got a new job in a different city, so I ended up buying and moving into a new house with my sister, brother-in-law, and newborn niece.
  • My girlfriend and I broke up two weeks after I had moved and three weeks before she left for a life-changing surgery out of the country.  We ended things on good terms and with the intention of remaining friends; we still had love for each other, but ultimately wanted different things in life.  But unfortunately, that didn’t spare me from the utter heartbreak at the loss of what we had.
  • I am slowly creeping out of my introvert cave, exploring what this new city has to offer, and feeling a bit more free to live as myself.

All in all, the past year and a half has been an absolute rollercoaster.  There have been amazing highs and devastating lows.  But, hey, that’s life, isn’t it?

It feels good to be back.  I hope to return to posting somewhat frequently, now that things seem to be settling down.

Here’s to the next 577 days!  They may bring joy, they may bring pain; but whatever may come, I’ll just keep moving forward…

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Wise the Simple’s Writing Resolutions for 2016!

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In 2016, I resolve to…

1. Write 22 comic pages per month

Over the past few months, I’ve been learning the art of writing comic book scripts.  I’m currently working with a writing partner and artist (the collaborative project I alluded to back in August) on an original series that we hope to shop around and/or crowdfund sometime next year, as well as a few scripts on my own.

In my early career as an indie comic creator, one great resource has been /r/ComicBookCollabs on Reddit.  The subreddit moderator there posed 22 pages a month as the New Year’s Resolution challenge to the community.  22 pages is the length of an average issue, so fulfilling this task would be comparable to the work one would do on a monthly comic.

I’ve really enjoyed writing comic scripts so far.  As far as resolutions go, this one is great in that I’m actually excited and raring to start!  Should be a fun way to get into a monthly comic mindset, especially with the community accountability through /r/ComicBookCollabs.

2. Write (at least) one blog post per week

I know, I know.  I’m terrible at keeping a steady blog schedule.  Some months I’ll post a bunch, and then I’ll disappear for weeks at a time.   The worst.

So we’ll keep it simple: One blog post a week.  That should be manageable, right?

3. Write “something” every single day

As someone who fancies herself a writer, I’m not very good about writing.  Sure, I do a lot of brainstorming and note-taking and researching and planning.  But the actual creation of content?  The actual sit-down-and-write-ing of it all?  I’m pretty bad at doing that daily.

So, in 2016, I resolve to write “something” every day.  Be it a blog post, a prose piece, a comic script… whatever — I resolve to write every. single. day.

4. Produce and/or share something

The thing about resolutions is that they’re useless without accountability.  I could very well promise to do all of these things and let them slide without anyone knowing.  Especially since (apart from this blog and short responses to prompts on Reddit) I am unpublished as a writer.

So instead of hiding away due to fear of being inadequate, I’m going to start sharing my creations with the public.  While I have high hopes for the comic project I am working on with the aforementioned team, I’ll probably start producing content on my own before that gets off the ground.

Haven’t quite figured out how I want to start sharing content yet.  Current thoughts are: submitting short prose pieces and/or comic scripts to online publishers or anthologies with open submissions, writing and producing a low-budget audio-drama, or making a webcomic with my mediocre art skills.  I have already started working on all of these possibilities (my fear of inadequacy has not yet overcome the early stage of creative optimism), and hope to get “something” out as an example of my work within the next year.  There’s a high probability that many of these ideas will crash and burn (e.g., while I’ve done some amateur voice acting, I know next to nothing about sound production, so the audio drama thing may be a complete pipe-dream without garnering a lot of extra help), but they all really interest me & pique my creative spirit.  So I’ll keep exploring all my options until something sticks.  If all else fails, I may just start posting short fiction here on the blog.  Guess we’ll see!

5. Read more

I’ve always believed in the idea that to be a creator of good content, you should also be a consumer of it.  This year, I watched a lot of television and movies, listened to a lot of podcasts, and (in the latter months) read quite a few comics.  The amount of book reading I did, however, was unfortunately rather slim.

Books were my first love.  They were my gateway to imagination and creativity, and it saddens me to realize how few novels I actually finished this year.  I constantly buy books; my shelf overflows with each addition to my To-Read list.  I hope this next year I can put a dent in that list.

I’ve really delved into reading comic books this past year, which has been a blast.  I’m currently into a lot of Image and Marvel titles (and signed up for Marvel Unlimited, which is awesome), and hope to read more indie & DC series next year as well.

Since I’m newish to the whole scene, I’ve basically been binging on comic books, and don’t see me slowing down anytime soon.  So I don’t think I’ll put a benchmark goal on that.  In regards to prose novels though… maybe a book a month?  That should be manageable, right?  I know many people put their reading goals way above that, but given the amount of writing I hope to do and my propensity for procrastinating/making poor use of my time, I’ll set the bar at a lower, more reasonable setting for me personally.

So, those are my writing resolutions for 2016!

Hopefully this blog will keep me accountable.  I’ll try to check in every once and awhile to let you know how things are going 🙂 How about you?  Any writing-centric New Year’s Resolutions?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy New Year! 😀

Aside

A Post-Thanksgiving Ramble

Hello all!  My brain is still in vacation-mode coming off of Thanksgiving, so I’ve yet to regain any motivation to write a “real” blog post this week.  I’ll try to put something out in the next few days, but until then, here are some stream-of-consciousness rambles about my extended holiday weekend:

  • I had a wonderful Thanksgiving (and hope you did too!)  Had dinner at my cousin’s place, watched the Bears-Packers game (As a born and raised Cheesehead, it was pretty depressing), and played some Bang! and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.  Overall, it was a great time with my immediate & extended family.  I love them all dearly and was happy to spend time with them all on Thursday!
  • For the next few days, I stayed over at my brother’s apartment in Chicago.  We watched movies, played Rock Band 4, and just lazed around.  It was fantastic 🙂
  • While my brother played DOTA 2 at various points throughout the weekend, I read through several Image comics I had picked up recently:
    • Lazarus (Vol 1-3) – I had only recently heard of Lazarus, but it had been highly recommended and sounded to be right up my alley.  And boy is it!  I’m still very much a comics noob, but this series is already one of my faves.  The worldbuilding is just so great.  I’ll probably do a review of the series thus far after the fourth trade comes out in January as that book will finish up the first main story arc.
    • Saga (Vol 1-3) – I re-read Volumes 1 & 2 to read Volume 3 since it had been awhile since I first picked them up.  Saga is all the rage right now, and justifiably so.  Everything about it is fantastic.  I’ve been taking my time reading this series since I’m so far behind and a trade-waiter anyway 🙂  Can’t wait to get my hands on Volumes 4 and 5.
    • I Kill Giants – I picked up this graphic novel at the recommendation of the Image Comics subreddit. (I haven’t posted anything on that thread as of yet.  But nice try, would-be cyberstalkers!  😛 ) I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I definitely enjoyed it.  A truly unique and interesting read.
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Forever Carlyle from Lazarus  (Art by Michael Lark.  via Greg Rucka’s blog)

  • My siblings, cousins, and some friends have our own Turkey Bowl each Thanksgiving weekend.  We’re all pretty out of shape, but it’s still a lot of fun.  We played on Sunday morning, and as of today (Thursday morning), my leg muscles are still kind of sore.  I seriously need to exercise more 😛
  • Saw two movies in theaters this weekend and both were fairly disappointing.
    • The Good Dinosaur – As far as Pixar films go, this was one of their weakest entries.  It all just seemed so rote and color-by-numbers.  There was apparently a lot of trouble behind the scenes during the movie’s production, and it shows.  Though it tries really hard to convince you that it does, the film just doesn’t have that Pixar heart.  On the positive side, the visuals were stunning, and I liked the hints of the western frontier theme.  Now I wish they had doubled down on that and made a cowboy dinosaur movie.  At least that would’ve been something new instead of the bland film we got instead.
    • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 – aka Speeches: The Movie.  I swear, at least a third of this movie was spent by characters pontificating.  I remember enjoying Part 1, but haven’t rewatched it since.  Still, I imagine Part 2‘s failings could’ve been avoided by keeping Mockingjay as a single film.  But them’s the breaks.  Definitely the weakest of the series, which is a shame since it ended the movie franchise on a low note.
  • Watched the early-released pilot episode of The Expanse and loved it!  I’ll write up a formal review when the show formally debuts on SyFy in a few weeks.  But I just wanted to say that the show does not disappoint.  I loved Leviathan Wakesand the television adaptation seems incredibly faithful and very well produced.  (Also, they included a Belter version of Tighten Up by The Black Keys.  Amazing.)
  • I ate sushi twice this weekend.  I love sushi 🙂

Now I’m back at work, and with this post, gradually easing back into writing.  Alongside making progress on some other creative endeavors, I hope to get some more blog posts out by week’s end.  So until then… See you, space cowboys!

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Have a blessed Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Psalm 95: 1-7a
(English Standard Version)
Let Us Sing Songs of Praise

1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

From Solitude to Collaboration: What a Crazy Month It Has Been

Wow.  What a crazy month it’s been!  Sorry I’ve been gone for so long —  I’ll try not to do it again.

This month-long absence was started out of woe.  If you follow my blog, you likely saw that I had a bit of a bad day near the end of June.  That unfortunately spread to a few weeks of depression.  Not so much the sadness kind as it was just the numbness.  I’m prone to maladaptive daydreaming, and I ended up spending most of the time after work just lying in bed, fantasizing and thinking about nothing of import.

However, some time in the last few weeks, it was as if everything had turned 180 degrees.  I often find solace in geeky obsessions, and during my emotional low-point this month, I had become enthralled with audio drama podcasts.  Though I was determined to be separate from the real world, I found myself immersed in several fictional ones as I listened to these long-form narratives.  Soon, I found myself inspired to do something I hadn’t had the motivation to do in a long time — write!  I started reworking some of my short fiction ideas, and began drafting some new things as well.

Now, I am typically a lone-wolf in most aspects of my life.  But for the first time in my writing “career,” I was interested in finding a writing partner.  I’ve done writing collaborations before, but those were mainly in the sense that we wrote our own separate pieces under a shared framework.  I was interested in working together with someone on a single project.  I figured that since I’m not familiar with certain forms of writing (e.g. scripts for movies, television, comics, and/or audio dramas/radio plays), it would be good to work alongside someone — preferably someone more experienced in these formats than I — who could help me to learn and hone my own craft.

The only problem here was… I had no idea how to find someone like that.

Whether it was through providence or serendipity, I’m not sure.  But one day, out of the blue, I got a private message from a colleague of mine from one of the aforementioned shared world writing collaborations.  He mentioned that he was a fan of my work, and was wondering if I was interested in creating something with him.

Of course I was.  Of course I was!

So here we are now, going into our third week of collaboration, and we have had wonderful brainstorming sessions, the beginnings of some great (if I may say so myself) first draft material, and a very exciting conversation about the involvement of a third-party.  I won’t go too much into it since we are very much in our nascent stage, but this is truly the most excited I’ve been about writing in a while!

As an introvert, I value my alone time.  But sometimes… sometimes I push too hard in one direction.  It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, and even easier to refuse to try to get out of it.  Sometimes I need a kick in the butt, a little push to get me started.  Sure, I may have started off last month at a low-point, but now I’m back on the upswing and looking forward to what’s to come.

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Musical Monday/Coffee Time with Wise the Simple

Hello, friends!  Hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day with loved ones.  Sorry that I’ve been AFK for awhile.  While I drink my morning coffee, here are a few things that have been happening on my side of the blogosphere:

  • I was sick for a few days last week.  I used to never really get sick, but lately my body has been doing this thing where I have a cold for two days and then a lingering cough for weeks.  Not cool, respiratory system…
  • A large portion of my week was dedicated to Ingress.  You see, this past Saturday was the Persepolis Anomaly event in Milwaukee, WI. So this week was dedicated to “farming,” i.e. Hacking high level portals to stock up on inventory for the big battle.  I’ll write up a post about the event to be published some time in the near future.  I currently have a backlog of quite a few posts I have promised you in days long past, but I’m on an Ingress high, so this one will likely come out soonish.
  • I, along with the rest of the entire human population, saw Jurassic World on its opening weekend.  It was enjoyable.  Good, even.  Sure it had story problems and a lot of flaws in character development, but it was still fun.  I wasn’t let down by it or anything — it was exactly how I imagined it would turn out.  All in all, not a great film, but not a horribly bad one either.  It’s an entertaining flick meant to be a popcorn movie and nothing more.
  • Father’s Day was a laid-back affair at the Simple household this year.  We had a cookout, watched some movies and the U.S. Open golf tournament, and just hung out together.  Sometimes big celebrations aren’t necessary — sometimes playing fetch with the family dogs, eating ice cream, and simply chatting to catch up are the elements needed for a great summer day.

And now for some good music to start your week off right —  Jamie Cullum is a jazz-pop pianist and singer-songwriter.  I had the good fortune to see him live in Chicago a few years back, and he is not only an incredible musician, but an amazing performer as well!  Here he is performing a cover of Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” at Jazz à Vienne in 2014: