April 22, 2014
If you loved Calvin & Hobbes half as much as I, you might enjoy this rare interview with its creator, Bill Watterson, from 1989.
And if you’re an aspiring artist of any stripe, this excerpt from the opening of the interview might be helpful. Compared to other roads to success, Watterson’s was fairly short. Yet even he, and his beloved comic strip, had to pass through (at least a little) failure and rejection before finding success.
From the interview:
“Upon graduation in 1980, he became the political cartoonist for The Cincinnati Post, an experience he remembers as relentlessly depressing but mercifully short. Unable to fulfill his editor’s fuzzy notion of what an editorial cartoon should be, Watterson was fired before the end of his first year. For the next five years, Watterson submitted comic strip ideas to the syndicates. Six were developed; six were rejected. United Features Syndicate was the most encouraging, and Watterson’s seventh development contract, this one with UFS, resulted in Calvin and Hobbes. Ironically, UFS declined to distribute it, saying they didn’t think it would sell. Universal Press Syndicate snatched it up and launched it on November 1985.”
Thanks for not giving up, Mr. Watterson.
April 9, 2014
“Do not suffer from loneliness. Go outside. Go away. It’s all the people making you lonely.
Pick a spot on the horizon and head straight for it. Weave your way through a stand of redwoods. Kayak an island chain. Peer over your toes at the edge of a canyon. Go to your favorite place. Again, and again.
This is what you need to do. Not just because it fuels your independence. But because it reminds you you’re a part of something bigger. And although it may not occur to the baffled onlookers who can’t take their eyes off your smiling mud-covered wired-up insane self, it will occur to you:
You’re not the one who’s lonely.”
April 4, 2014
“Parents do not make childhood magical. Abuse and gross neglect can mar it, of course, but for the average child, the magic is something inherent to the age. Seeing the world through innocent eyes is magical. Experiencing winter and playing in the snow as a 5-year-old is magical. Getting lost in your toys on the floor of your family room is magical. Collecting rocks and keeping them in your pockets is magical. Walking with a branch is magical.”
~from “I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical”, by Bunmi Laditan
March 3, 2014
Rather than watch the Oscars yesterday, I went to the theatre and watched all the animated short films nominated for Best Animated Short. (I highly recommend this substitution, though I suppose it’s not an either-or type of thing.)
They were good, no doubt, though my favorite in recent memory is still The Eagleman Stag by Mikey Please. Gorgeous, surreal animation, along with a meditation on the nature of our perception of time that is provocative if a bit unsettling. If you’ve got 8 minutes and 55 seconds….
February 28, 2014
Of all the money that e’er I had
I’ve spent it in good company
And all the harm that e’er I’ve done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To memory now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all.
~from “The Parting Glass”
a traditional folk song from Ireland and Scotland
(Ed Sheeran sings an exquisite version)
February 23, 2014
INT. FITTS HOUSE - RICKY'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER
ON VIDEO: We're in an empty parking lot on a cold, gray day.
Something is floating across from us... it's an empty,
wrinkled, white PLASTIC BAG. We follow it as the wind carries
it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about
violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward,
then letting it float gracefully down to the ground...
Jane and Ricky sit on the bed, watching his WIDE-SCREEN TV.
It was one of those days when it's a
minute away from snowing. And there's
this electricity in the air, you can
almost hear it, right? And this bag was
just... dancing with me. Like a little
kid begging me to play with it. For
fifteen minutes. That's the day I
realized that there was this entire life
behind things, and this incredibly
benevolent force that wanted me to know
there was no reason to be afraid. Ever.
Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it
helps me remember... I need to
~ from American Beauty
February 15, 2014
This is another beautifully evocative and mysterious quotation from Gertrude Stein. Some say she wrote it in reference to her hometown of Oakland, as a comment on the relative lack of culture at the time. Others say it was written in reference to the place where once stood her childhood home, since razed to the ground.
To me it seems best applied to the Future, or to any Goal we set for ourselves in that imaginary timespace. How often do we reach that future, that goal, to find it is not what we anticipated? That it doesn’t fill the heart the way we hoped? That it can be described, if at all, not as the end of one line but as the beginning of some other? Or if, indeed, it truly is the end, the destination, the final resting place, that there is an emptiness to it?
There’s no there there. But maybe that’s okay. It doesn’t mean there’s no there anywhere. It just means the only there is here. Now.
February 6, 2014
“All great and precious things are lonely.”
January 26, 2014
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”