Quarantine sketches.

This time of pandemic has affected so many people in so many ways. Some are weathering it well. Others, not so much. There has been so much loss, pain, financial troubles, emotional suffering, and fear since this all began. I’ve been fortunate and I’m very grateful that my life and mindset are such that I can easily be peaceful, calm, and content during all of it. One of the more obvious benefits is that I have more time to devote to my art and projects. Even going so far as to dive deeper into the stories and settings that are floating around in my head.

With that said I’d like to share with you some of the sketches that I’ve made in the last few weeks…

Sacred Land

Stumbling though the burned out street, the ruined buildings I can barely see through the smoky haze. I struggle to find the peaceful place that I knew not so long ago. But here the trees are charred, the lake’s gone dry, and no birds fly in the darkened sky. You once led me there to the path I sought when you saw that I was so very lost. You became my guide and you took my hand. You showed me the way to my Sacred Land.

I will find it again, I know I’m close. Sometimes there’s a hint of the sweet fresh air. So on  I walk and pick my way though. Bit by bit I remember all you did, all the lessons you left for me learn. You taught me trust and to hold on through the next dark turn. I still hear those words you said or the gentle push that would urge me forward. I grew strong enough to go it without you and still know that I was never truly alone. I remember how you became my guide and you took my hand. That you showed me the way to my Sacred Land.

Holiday Cards!

I’ve got two holiday cards available in the Neon Seed Studios Shop here…

Here they are…
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Steamcat At Christmas

…and…

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Holiday Flyover

Please go check them out! Thanks and Happy Holidays!!

Neon Seed Studios Shop

Why I Think the Tragic Hero is Kind of Selfish.

I’m a romantic at heart. Sometimes I’ve been accused of being downright sappy. I don’t care, though, it is what it is. That being said, I have a thing for the tragic hero. You know, that guy or girl who fights for the love of another but who doesn’t love them back or at least not on the same level. The one who never really pushes the issue but longs to do the right thing by the one he or she loves and sacrifices part or all of themselves in an ultimate act of love for that person. Sometimes the person whose the object of that love even realizes how much the hero loves them through that sacrifice, maybe even to realize that they did indeed love our hero the same way, but now they are gone. It makes for some powerful romantic stories that are bittersweet and tearful. You can feel for the tragic hero because they seem more real.

However, the allure and romance of the tragic hero fades when you play one in real life.

It goes like this. You charge in to save the object of your love or desire from something that hurts them or threatens their happiness and then they fall in love with you out of gratitude. The problem is that it almost never works out that way. And if that person you love does actually become attracted to you it doesn’t last as the true feelings were never there or they find that you’re simply not a good fit for them. You where merely playing into a temporary desire they might have had, whatever that may be. So, you decide (perhaps not consciously) to stick around and be their friend instead and that you’ll be okay with that. But, you still have this level of unrequited love or desire that colors everything you do. That’s when the knight in shining armor becomes the bruised and beaten tragic hero. And not in that romance movie sort of way.

Now, this isn’t to say your feelings of love aren’t genuine or that a true and caring friendship isn’t possible (trust me on that part). However, the real life tragic hero role runs the very serious risk of possibly pushing the other person away, making what could have been an amazing and fulfilling friendship impossible or, and this is even more likely, you will be miserable and do some serious damage to your self-worth. I see the selfishness come in as you could hurt the one you love by constantly, perhaps again unconsciously, be reminding them of the pain THEY felt when they were forced to break your heart. This is especially true if their caring and different level of love is a very real thing. Or perhaps resentment starts building, maybe even getting to a point of exploding, again hurting the one you care so much for. It becomes selfish when your ego tells you to ignore all of that and you listen to it. It tells you can’t give up because that change of heart could be only one more “selfless” act away. It becomes selfish because it’s a lie. A lie your telling yourself and that person that you love. They may even see through it but will stick with you as that good friend because they do love you in the only way they can, and be that friend that they see that you so desperately need and deserve, hoping that you’ll come to grips with it and be happy as they truly wish you to be. Because they truly do care deeply about you.

Take it from me. It’s far, far better when you stop listening to your ego and except that it didn’t work out the way you hoped. Accept that, even though that love didn’t come to pass that maybe, just maybe you’ve gotten something better. Something you needed. You’ve gotten a best friend who will honestly and authentically love you in the best, most meaningful way that they can. So stop playing the tragic hero and play the real hero in your own life story. Or better yet, stop playing anything at all and simply be the authentic you. Be that person they see that you truly are, that person they love. Simply be happy with and love your own magnificent, heroic self. Then you will be truly showing your love for that amazing friend, the one you’ve always wanted to show how much you love them.

What I’m Worth

2:24 am September 24, 2018. I’ve been awake since 12:30, waking from another dream about being led into an impossibly convoluted death trap by a combination of bad guidance of uncaring companions while driving a vehicle that fails to operate in ridiculous, cartoon-like ways. Then once in this trap I must escape dragging these companions with me as they’re performing some inane and pointless act, oblivious to my plight or the frustrating ways the world is deteriorating around us, preventing any escape.

I sit up and slowly swing my legs over the side of my bed. I’m shaking, my skin feels clammy, like wet cloth clinging to me. And there’s a faintly burning emptiness in my chest and a growing pain at the base of my skull. I realize that my teeth are clenched tight like a twisted down vice, fighting to keep the hole in my chest from opening more. I focus on relaxing my jaw and the muscles in my neck and the growing headache fades to a manageable level. That’s when I feel the smoldering hole at the center of me turn to a flaming pit. My hand goes to my chest in an attempt to grab the flame and extinguish it. Shuddering, I think of you and begin to cry and the tears start putting out the fire. I’ve learned to let the tears come and they fill the hole in my heart. After what seems like a week the shaking dies away. My thoughts are still of you. Are you sleeping well? What you’re dreaming? I try to quiet the voice in my head that wants me to go back to that old familiar dark place that she thinks was so safe. I refuse as politely as possible to not anger her because that’s when she gets mean.

Glancing at the clock I see it’s now almost 2 am. I sigh in resignation and admit to myself that it’s going to be another one of those nights. So, I turn to pacing around my still dark apartment, light doesn’t seems like a pleasant thing right now, and continue the conversation with that voice. Now, it’s my turn to ask the questions.

Speaking out loud to gently yet firmly get the point across that I’m the one who has the floor now I begin with asking, “why does it have to be like this?”

No answer.

Ok… “What is it about me that’s so wrong and so undesirable? What do I still have to change?”

No answer.

“Um… Alright then. Am I simply going to have to accept that I will never have the companion that I know that I deserve? One who is all of the things that she is, or at least the most important things? Do I have to settle for either being alone or being with someone who simply isn’t what I want?”

Still no answer.

Fine. We’ll walk this around the house for a while. We’ve got nowhere pressing to be…

As the questions pour out of me I notice how many of them are same old ones. Many of those that have already been answered as best they can be, or I simply don’t want to accept them right now. Some of them that the answer to seemed vague to me. Call me dense but sometime I need to have it spelled out for me. I start to get angry. Then the voice decides to pipe up again…

“See? That’s why we’re better back in my room,” the voice says. “That’s where the only person is that will tell you everything you need to hear. The only person who will protect you. You’re already falling back on the old ways right now anyway. It’s easier, familiar, and far safer for you!”

I can feel the smile cross her face. It’s not an evil grin by any means as she’s really only trying to protect me. That’s her job. But, that’s the thinking that has always kept me from growing, from being happy. Now her mild smugness has a different effect on me than in the old days. I decide it’s time to address this voice by name.

“Mildred”, I say a bit louder to reinforce to her that it’s still my turn to drive, ” we’re gonna use something that we’ve found works. We’re going to work this and write it out. I know you feel it’s easier wallow in bed and fantasize about how it could be or should be but we’re doing it my way now.”

The lights come on both figuratively and literally. Time to get to work…

3:55 am, I’m sitting at my computer, and I think that I’m coming to the end of morning of tears, pain, realization, remembering, acknowledgement, and working it through. Black Balloon just played and I smile, still thinking of you but without sadness laying under the thoughts. I let my gratitude take it’s turn. I’m once again remembering all of the happiness you’ve helped me discover, the happiness that had always been hiding within me. I again remember the loving friendship you’ve given me the last few years. I again feel the trust that’s built between us. I feel the strength you’ve helped me gain flow back, replacing the tears that filled my heart a few hours ago.  Mildred is quiet now and perhaps I can go back to sleep for a while. I still have work to do and I know I always will. Rough, lonely nights will happen. That’s simply the way life is sometimes, too. The difference is that I now have better tools to work with and better people for me to call friends and family.

4:58 am. I’m sleepy again. And happy that I know a better way. I think of you and that you’ll be waking up soon. I’m hoping that you’re well rested, feeling good, and that your drive in to work will be pleasant. I’m hoping that you know that I’m so grateful for you and all the things you do for me. I’m hoping you’re feeling happy. I’m doing pretty alright…