My first freelance job, as Patchdrury.net has made it’s way out into the world.
I’ve been working on other jobs for a couple of weeks, but this is the first one that’s actually been delivered to the client.
Mainly because they came to me with a very tight deadline. We met on Monday and they wanted the video delivered by Friday.
Greenhouse 17 is a shelter for victims of domestic abuse – the term they use a lot is “intimate partner violence.” It’s a great place that’s doing great work helping people heal and put their lives back together in a safe place, surrounded by support. They are also, I’m told, the only local shelter that allows the people that come there to bring their pets – which I think is just incredible. Keep the family together!
When Greenhouse 17 approached me they already had a concept and a script in place. With most of the work I do, I’ve always been responsible for the whole thing – concept to creation. So this job stretched some very important muscles for me – the ones that allow me to take orders. The ones that allow me to take someon else’s vision and put legs under it. I’m kind of a know-it-all. Kind of a control freak when it comes to what I make. So it’s an invaluable exercise for me to be presented with someone else’s idea and have to make it work.
Luckily, the folks at Greenhouse 17 had a simple, well thought out idea. It was easy and fun to make happen.
Check out the video, then go check out their website and Facebook pages. They do important work. And in light of the cultural conversation around Fifty Shades of Grey and the realities of abuse, they’re a good resource to have on hand.
Sara and I went and saw Fifty Shades of Grey because too many people were telling us not to.
It was dumb. It was joyless emotional slapstick and it wore it’s fan-fiction roots on it’s sleeve.
There was sex but not any more sex than an episode of Game of Thrones.
There were questionable sexual ethics but no more so than an episode of Scandal.
There was dehumanization but far less than in American Sniper from what I’m lead to believe.
So, I’m not sure why this particular movie has become the conservative Christian boogie man. Seemed like business as usual as far as I could tell.
So, I saw it and I’ll also be donating to a shelter for abused women, just because I think it’s a good idea.
You do you as the kids say.
It took me years to learn how to properly cook a burger. I grew up eating burgers in restaurants and at home, but I never mastered the skill. I tend to like my beef on the rarer side. Making a good, medium rare burger can be challenging. There’s a fine line between perfectly cooke and undercooked. I could never walk the line. I sucked at cooking burgers and as a result, hate the process.
It was finally watching a video Sean Brock, the incredible chef behind Husk, that helped me to see that maybe I was approaching it all wrong. Stop trying to eat my burger like I like my steak. Let my burger be a burger. Steer into it’s heritage as greasy diner food.
Once I got my head into the right space, and once I started ripping off Brock’s method, I started to enjoy and excel at cooking hamburgers.
The most genius thing Brock does, the one thing that’s kind off the reservation, is that he grinds up bacon and adds it to his patties. He, like me,loves bacon cheeseburgers, but finds the bacon cumbersome. So simple. So smart.
A theodicy is a working explanation of why there’s evil in the world.
I don’t have one.
I was brought up to believe in an all-powerful, all-good God who loves me. I still believe in God but he’s not the God I believed in at 15 (is yours?). I find it really hard to reconcile the pain and the suffering in the world with a God who can do anything and is the personification of good. If he’s totally above reproach and can do anything then why is there cancer, aids, ALS, war, hunger, genocide, crib death, school shootings, etc?
These are the questions that keep me up at night. These are the questions that eventually sent me to a therapist. These are questions that made it hard for me to work at a church.
And they’re the questions that people have been asking for thousands of years.
I was recently listening to a debate between a couple of atheists and a couple of Jewish Rabbis. It was supposed to be about the afterlife, but it kind of wandered, as you might imagine. By the end there were kind of two debates going on. The atheist were debating against the objective presence of God (a pretty easy thing to do, I think. God doesn’t really do objective, it seems). The rabbis were kind of debating in favor of a nuanced open-mindedness towards the supernatural (also a pretty easy thing to do, I think). After a while they weren’t really talking to each other at all.
One of the rabbis was a man named Bradley Shavit Artson. At one point during the debate he suggested that maybe God wasn’t all powerful. That maybe God was the creator of the universe as we know it, but maybe omnipotence (a word that doesn’t appear in the Hebrew Old Testament – Artson’s Bible) was something we’ve tagged onto him.
For a Kentucky born, church-raised, Christian boy, that’s a pretty subversive thought.
I started trying to imagine a less than all-powerful God. It’s hard to do when that’s not how you’ve been taught.
So, I sought out some of Rabbi Artson’s writings to see if I could learn more about what he believes and how he got there.
The Rabbi is a lot like me, he saw the pain in the world (specifically his son’s diagnosis of autism) and could no longer reconcile it with a God who can supposedly do anything, supposedly is good, but chooses to let bad things happen. He took a year off from praying. He had nothing good to say to God. He did study, though. And in his study he discovered a line of thinking called Process thought. It’s the idea that God is in process. That from the first moment of creation he started redeeming the world and hasn’t stopped. where does that theory come from? How does it somehow justify bad stuff existing in God’s presence?
Process thought says that in the early verses of Genesis, where it says that the earth was “formless and void and chaos was over the deep” that it’s telling us that chaos, evil, darkness, the things that plague us as humans, have always existed. And God’s first recorded act was to push it back, to reshape it, to start the act of creation in opposition to it. And he’s been doing it ever since. Not only that, but that through the covenant he started with Abraham, he has invited us into that work with him. He didn’t create evil. It already existed in some form, and his job is to create good around it and it’s our job too.
I don’t know if I believe it. I’m still trying to figure out what I believe. I’m still in the process of taking all the furniture out of the room and putting it back in, piece by piece in a way that is totally feng shui for my soul. But Artson’s thoughts were helpful. They encouraged me to let go of old unproven, unhelpful paradigms. They made me ask questions. And asking questions is never bad. It’s not prideful. It’s not unhealthy, and it doesn’t disqualify you from whatever God’s intentions for humanity are (unless God is a real jerk). So study, read, ask questions. Listen to and talk to Rabbis, priests, and atheists. Learn. Look for God.
I suck at color. Like, really suck. But I want to get better, so I’m practicing. And I’m trying to start somewhere easy (maybe?). My favorite comic book almost ever, Casanova by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon, was originally published with a one color palette. The first mini-series was all in different shades of green. The second was all blues. More recent volumes have expanded their palettes and look great – but I was always kind of struck and charmed by the one color look. So, as I’m writing and drawing a story that’s in the process of being accepted (hopefully – waiting to hear back on a new ending) for Red Stylo, I thought I’d play around with color. I don’t know yet if I’ll submit the pages as black and white or as color, but I’m not totally unhappy with how this page came out.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s involved in working freelance. So far, lots of phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages. Contacting and connecting with everybody I can think of that might be a gateway to new work. So if that’s you, and you haven’t heard from me, expect to.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about is branding. There’s a lot I hate about marketing talk. Just the word, “branding” kinda makes me ill. But if I’m going to put myself out there, I need to create and maintain an image and style that will stick with people.
I’ve got several video jobs lined up. I want to have something I can put at the front or back of video jobs that acts as a signature. This is what I’ve come up with so far:
Where to start…
After a seven year run, full of laughs, accomplishment, friendship, frustration, and the occasional bruise, I am no longer employed at Crossroads Christian Church.
I have worked at two churches in my life. One was a nightmare and one was great. I take the same lesson from both of them, though: I am not cut out for church work. It makes too many demands. It mixes the spiritual and the financial in ways that I am no longer comfortable with. I love Crossroads. I’m pretty iffy on the institutional church as a whole, but I don’t hold the majority of it’s sins against Crossroads. It gets more things right than it gets wrong. My hope is that’s always the case.
Comics for one. I’m currently working on an eight page submission for an anthology (more on that once everything’s approved). I’ve also got plans to print all of my short form work in a collection in time for this year’s Kentucky Fried Zine Fest in the spring. Beyond that, I met with a friend last week and laid plans for a really big national venture. There’s months of work to be done before we announce it, but watch this space.
Comics aren’t a money maker for me yet, so in the mean time I’m trying to do a lot of little things instead of chasing down any one thing (at the advice of a trusted friend). I’m designing and directing a haunted attraction for a local Haunted House owner. I’m dipping my toe in the video freelance pool, I’m putting some of my old video work up for sale on some websites that do that kind of thing. I’m figuring out I might not thrive under a boss, so let’s take a crack at being my own. So, like I said, a lot’s new.
This website, going forward, will be a one stop shop for everything I’m involved in, not just comics. Check out the menu bar up above, there are links to my comic work, my video work, and my social media foot print. The comics and video will be updated regularly.
2014 was the year I started writing and drawing my own comics in earnest. What did I accomplish? Let’s see:
1. I completely wrote, drew, inked,and lettered my very first 90 page story, Monster Truck. There’s a real power to just finishing something. To knowing that you can do something. To getting your first baby out into the world. Clearing your plate for your next, inevitably better work.
2. I submitted and was accepted into a comic anthology. I saw on Tumblr that Mindless Entertainment was taking submissions for a comic anthology their doing called, “Steal The Show.” I worked up a short story and sent it off, and was happily accepted in. The anthology will come out in the spring. It will appear online but there are also attempts being made at a printed version and I think it’s going to be submitted to Comixology. So, that’s very exciting. I also submitted to a couple of other anthologies. One, unfortunately, ended up being cancelled and I’m still waiting to hear from the other one. Finger’s crossed.
3. I connected with collaborators. I wrote a three page story for professional artist and former Robert Kirkman collaborator, Terry Stevens. Terry has sent me some preliminary sketches and I love them. I also adapted a song by Fanged Robot/Robby Cosenza into a short story. Robby, by all accounts, loved it and we’re waiting to get together and talk about what future collaborations may lie ahead.
4. I write and draw every day. I get up at 6:00 and belly up to the board. Besides the 90 page Monster Truck, I’ve completed several short stories (many mentioned above). You can see them all here on the site at www.monstertruckcomic.com/comics. I love making comics and I find it completely exciting and invigorating. I will draw every day of 2016. That’s as close as I came to a New Year’s Resolution this year. By 2016, I will be so much better. At least that’s the plan. What other plans do I have for this year? I plan to have a table at my very first comic convention. I plan to self-publish all of my short stories into a collection. I have a friend that’s trying to get me interviewed on a couple of local comics-related podcast.
The end game is that in a few years I have a reliable fan-base that is willing to pay money for my comics. So, watch this space.