Pics, Skyscrapers and Proof that I'm an Asshole

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Got some CCI pics starting to circulate, some of which feature me. Here are some from Josh’s camera – notice my awesome “Future is bright” pose. Also some from Flippersmack which features my favorite – my shocked expression while staring at Josh’s crotch. Speaking of Flippersmack, starting this Friday my Here’s the Thing… article will be posted to there as well as the DCC blog. Little exposure never hurt nobody. I went ahead and wrote first drafts for the next three: improving your image, how to conduct business behind the booth and when someone’s using in a bad way as opposed to an acceptable way. Should be fun.

Also, I read AdHouse’s Skyscrapers of the Midwest. I dug it, quite a bit, although it seems to hit its stride a lot more in the second issue. I don’t need to give it a glowing review, however, because it comes with the best endorsement any book can get. Robin read it from cover to cover. Robin, who has yet to finish a comic because she finds them juvenile or just plain boring, who has tried to read Fables, Sandman, True Story Swear to God, Trenches, Invincible, Blankets and Maus and has rarely made it past a few pages, read and LIKED Skyscrapers of the Midwest. I’ll be bringing my copies to this Sunday’s DCC jam for whoever wants to borrow it.

Finally, congrats to artist Jason Copland and his wife on their new son, Stewart. He's a cutie.

Story time…


Sophomore year in High School I took my first creative writing course. It was an advanced course and you to apply to get in by writing a couple of creative essays. I was psyched to get in, obviously, and began a year that in retrospect taught me that I am an ugly person inside.

All of our papers were anonymous. With every assignment the class would choose their favorite story and the top three vote-getters would read in front of the class. With my first assignment I went for the cheap shot and wrote about Stephen. It got the most votes and I read it in front of the class. A bunch of people actually cried. And just like that an egotistical monster was born. Months back Chris Fabulous made a comment on this site how “Hitting an emotional note writing about the holocaust is no more of an accomplishment than hitting a home run in tee ball.” Writing a story about my eleven year old cousin dying of AIDS in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know is the same thing.

With every single assignment I was one of the top-two vote-getters. Every poem, short story, essay – didn’t matter. I started really letting myself go, dropping the f-bomb left and right in my stories and just doing really cheap tear-jerkers and excessive dramas. And the teacher loved me and was a bit more lenient with what I could get away with - I actually wrote a one-page short with a detailed rape-description. It was really all shock, no content.

It got so bad that one student wrote a story about how it’s unfair that I can get away with what I’m doing whereas he gets points taking off for cursing because it’s “gratuitous” when he does it. He was a top three vote getter so he got to read it to the whole class. Meanwhile, I was reading a story about a Vietnam-vet that tortures a “gook” for shits and giggles. The story has no moment of redemption; the vet is practically the hero simply for shock value. The punch-line? The kid that wrote about me was Vietnamese and had to follow my story.

And the ego grew.

And then this girl, Melissa, wrote this story about her family. And it was long. And it was safe. And it was boring. It was about twenty pages long. And she was top-three. But she got a bad grade from the teacher which prompted her to write reaction paper after reaction paper which, according to the rules, were also to be read in front of the class.

Our teacher gave her an entire class to read her story followed by discussion – I never got anything close to that. I sat in the back of the class, pissed off that this apparently talent-less hack, never a top-three vote getter, was getting all of this attention.

So I wrote about her. And it was nasty. And not only was it nasty but it made me look like a complete and total asshole. It still will, despite the fact I was a fifteen year old brat when I wrote this, I am still to this day embarrassed by it and embarrassed to show it. Observe what happens when one ego-trips, and his first attempts at competitive writing are highly praised:

Pretty bad, huh? I’m better now, trust me. I have a lot of stories about Creative Writing and joining Patterns, the school’s yearly poetry anthology. I honestly think that Creative Writing courses (and the subsequent workshops and writing groups that followed) combined with that poetry group is the reason my writing turned to shit in college and I ultimately led to revelation that I’m writing about the wrong stuff.

I have nothing against creative writing courses. But from Junior Year in college and on I opted for a mentor. Workshops, classes and group discussions, for me, absolutely destroy my creativity by turning me into a huge, egotistical jerk.


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