Sometimes I Am Not Funny

Bonsoir!

I hope you are well dear readers.

I am having a grand, but strange day right now. I have a new hobby. I don’t know if you can call something that has absorbed all my thought for several days a hobby (I tend to obsess over things), but I intend it as a hobby.

When I was small, I loved watching late night television. It was not just any program that interested me, I needed horror. I needed to sink my fangs into something scary–the spookier the better! I’ve mentioned that I wanted to be a mad scientist as a child. I did not explain that this was so I could live i the same world as the monsters I adored from media.

My child brain assumed the horror hosts like the Cryptkeeper of Tales from the Crypt, Big Chuck and Lil John from the show of the same name and the other horror hosts lived in the same world as the monsters. Some of the hosts were monsters themselves (Cryptkeeper, Vampira). I didn’t know how one might become a monster, but I knew that mad scientists were often stars of the show. I knew that they went around creating monsters from nothing. It wasn’t long before I had decided this was my path.

My career choice set, I tried many, many, MANY ways to become a mad scientist. This post is not about those. I might do a post about those adventures later if anyone is interested, but today’s post is not that post. I only mention my childhood obsession to explain my new hobby. I am going to become a horror host. If you don’t know what that is, I am so sorry. Please go google it or watch American Scary on amazon/iTunes/your media provider of choice.

Here are some of the great, legendary horror hosts:

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Zacherley, Shock Theatre
Zacherley, Shock Theatre
Vampira, generally regarded as the 1st Horror Host
Vampira, generally regarded as the 1st Horror Host

Vampira was inspired by Morticia Addams by the way:

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Normal is just an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.

I adore Morticia. I actually adore the entire Addams family, but she has a special place in my black little heart. When I have a finished video up, I will post a link here. Until then I will leave you this experiment of mine to imagine with:

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Hello Ghouls!

This post however is not really on horror hosts or monsters, as I keep saying. I’ll try not to get distracted again (it is hard!). I only mention such things because this post does have to do with a particular kind of monster. The “it’s no good” monster:

Artist Rendering of the It's No Good Monster
Artist Rendering of the impossible to photograph It’s No Good Monster

The it’s no good monster mucks about in creative spaces. It boldly declares that art isn’t good enough. It criticizes the particulars of each piece with distinctive viciousness. It does not sleep; it needs no rest. It is always at the ready wherever and whenever art is being born. To a baby piece of art the art monster can be particularly devastating. Those brave souls who dare to study the art monster have found only one weakness in its vast metallic body: the “magical so what formula“.

It works like this. The it’s no good monster slithers into the room focused on an unsuspecting baby art. The baby art is displayed proudly. It sits, waiting to be seen, trying not to tremble with too much excitement. The It’s no good monster begins to criticize: The lines are wrong. The proportioning is off. The colors are bad. The work is bad. IT’S NO GOOD!

In the past you might have tried to parry words with the it’s no good monster. This is a trap that never works. The it’s no good monster does not care. It ignores your reasoning and attacks the art even more viciously than before. When the it’s no good monster begins to criticize respond with the magical SO WHAT? formula as quickly as possible.

It might look something like this:

I.N.G. Monster: The lines are bad.

Artist: So what?

I.N.G. Monster: The proportioning is off.

Artist: So what?

I.N.G. Monster: The colors are bad.

Artist: So what?

At this point the artist could even throw in an “I like it that way.” or “That’s on purpose” formula in there. The monster will most likely get to its main weapon now.

I.N.G. Monster: IT’S NO GOOD.

Artist: SO WHAT?

The it’s no good monster will have nothing left to respond with, so it’s best at this point to throw in a few “I like it” and “it’s beautiful”. The monster, having been defeated, will slither back to it’s smelly cave. It might try a few more things if it is a particularly nasty beastie, or, it might slither out again in five minutes ready for another round. Stick with the so what? magical formula. The monster cannot really deal with it.

I had my most recent fight with the it’s no good monster yesterday. I made a new comic in Goth Gal, like I do every Friday. It had been a struggle to create a comic that day. I was feeling pretty down and I find it particularly difficult to be funny when I am down. However, I had managed create a comic and to publish it before 7pm–the day was beginning to look up. I stretched and waited for people laugh at it, like it, comment on it–the works.

Nothing happened online. Normally I at least get one or two likes. (at the time of this posting there is actually one like, but there wasn’t yesterday.) No one around me got it either. I don’t know why. I thought it was ok. Certainly not as great as some of the comics, but not bad either. Still, everyone has off days. I doubt if there is a single comic in existence that is 100% funny 100% of the time. I’ve realized that this imperfection thing is normal.

Being human is all about contradictions. I am kind, cruel, afraid, courageous, powerful, weak, confident and hesitant all at the same time. And that’s ok. I came across a post today on tumlbr’s post it forward page that said something like “artists can get hung up on the imperfections, but those imperfections are part of what make the masterpiece.” The post was referring to one’s body, but I think it can apply to anything anyone makes. The point is: you can’t let the inevitable imperfections keep you from creating.

Sometimes I feel like it’s no good, but SO WHAT? I did it. I made that thing. I created something that wasn’t there before I put it there. I pushed myself to use my talent, to do something I enjoy, to make art. It does not matter if it’s good or right or near perfect, it matters that I made it. It matters that I keep making it, despite the doubts and fears and it’s no good monsters that I, as an artist, face every day.

Who...me?
Facing Face of Faceness   

Sometimes I am not funny…and that’s ok.

Future Diary

Bon apres-midi!

It is sunny, sunny, SUNNY where I am. This may effect my writing. I shall apologize now for what will inevitably be an overuse of exclamation points, CAPS LOCK and/or bubbly text.

Now that that’s out of the way…on to the show!

The delay in writing here has been due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to: moving, project work and, of course, the artist’s natural self doubt. (More on that last part a little later in this post.)

Moving is HARD. Moving to a home that you love helps soften the blow, but it is exhausting in mind body and soul. The last month has been a Mobius strip of packing, sorting, moving, unpacking, sorting, moving…you get the idea. Now I am basically moved in, but I still have plenty of unpacking/sorting to do. For a more amusing and detailed idea of how it is to move with me, please click here. This will take you to part one of six in “The Moving Saga”, a miniseries in my comic Goth Gal.

In other non-comic related news, you may recall a few months ago I said I was working on a secret thing? Well, secret is out: I applied for an art program and was accepted. Yay! In case you’re scratching your head right now and saying something like “Wait, aren’t you a WRITER?”, yes! I am in fact a writer, but I am also an artist. I feel that I have progressed as far as I can in my own art without some sort of guidance. I want to be able to write and illustrate my own books, especially my children’s books. For this, I need some training…badly. So, come the Fall 2015 semester, yours truly will be attending Graduate school.

It is now that I wish to turn my attention to a little discussion on HOPE. (I told you we would get here.) I hate hope. HATE. Hope far too often has equaled extreme disappointment in my life. Someone once asked me what my hopeful expression was, I couldn’t answer them right then and there because I didn’t really know. So, I thought about something I was hesitantly hopeful about and to my surprise my face morphed into a distrustful mask of skepticism. Oops?

I have since discovered that hope is very important. As children, we have to have hope so powerfully that the mind will twist all of reality to create hope if it has to. For some, this means that abusive parents become the “good” guys while they in turn are transformed into the “bad” guy. See, you have no power over your parents, but you can change yourself to be “better” if you want to fix things. Unfortunately, this screws up a lot of other things. This happened to me. Not fun, I can tell you. The power of hope can be amazing, but also terrifying.

In an effort to provide hope during a period when I had none, I came up with a random idea that I will now share with you. If it helps you, please let me know. Post pictures. Say stuff. TELL SOMEONE! Pass it on to people you love who need some hope. I really want this thing to spread like fire because I find it so helpful for my chronic skepticism.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE THING?!?!?!!?

REALLY?!

OK!

I call it the FUTURE DIARY.

(If that sounds familiar you have awesome taste in anime. Note: this in no way resembles the anime, it’s just the name for the thing. You can sit back down now and not worry that someone is going to try to assassinate you…seriously SIT BACK DOWN.)

Ahem.

The way it works is pretty simple.

Step One:

Get a bank notebook, journal, sketchbook, or any other blank mass of paper somehow held together. Mine looks like this (yes that is a duplicate of River Song’s notebook–I love you guys!):

If I Could Write As Mysterious as a Cat
If I Could Write As Mysterious as a Cat

Find a pen–any pen will do. Open the notebook and write This is the Future Diary of YOUR NAME. (Feel free to add a tagline.) This notebook is now SACRED. You can only use it for your Future Diary. I wrote in mine like so (drawings are optional):

Warning: Spoilers
Warning: Spoilers

Step Two:

You pick something you are having trouble hoping for. This could be ANYTHING. You could pick a possible promotion, getting accepted somewhere like Grad school, meeting “the one”…the possibilities are endless. You pick a topic.

Step Three:

Pick a random spot in the notebook. As a rule of thumb, I put my larger hopes (i.e.- those things that will probably take longer to fulfill) further back in the notebook and the more everyday style hopes closer to the beginning of the notebook. You can also do these in order if you want. I prefer the randomness thing…obviously.

Pages Waiting to Be Filled
Pages Waiting to Be Filled

Step Four:

This is the most crucial step for the hope process. You must imagine your hope being fulfilled. Imagine how it smells, how it feels, where you are, what you can hear etc. The more detail you can get in there the better. Then you write that down as if it’s already happened, like you would in a normal diary.

NOTE: If you can’t imagine whatever it is, you should pick another hope that you can imagine. For example, I couldn’t hope for grad school, so I didn’t write it down. I could hope for being a world famous author, so I went with that. (Yes, I know…no idea why, but this is how my brain works.)

Step Five:

Keep at it. Keep thinking up hopes and writing them in the notebook. It’s okay if you entry is crazy detailed and then the actual event is quite different. We are not clairvoyant, we are non-hopers trying to hope. (And, if you are clairvoyant, why are you reading this?) You may surprise yourself with the results. I was having a really bad day when I came up with this idea. After I did several entries, I felt like I was on cloud nine. I was seriously dancing around the house. Scary, I know.

Step Six:

Pick a spot for your diary. It is now a SACRED object, it needs a SACRED spot. When you take it down to use it, make sure to put it back so you can always find it. Mine sits before the Great Nameless Owl:

The Great Nameless Owl Guards the Future Diary
The Great Nameless Owl Guards the Future Diary

Step Seven:

GO OUT AND DO THE THINGS! Don’t let the diary be the end, let it be the beginning. Let it inspire you to go accomplish the things you want to, to chase your dreams and fight your fears. In short, write then LIVE. Living is the point here dears. Living is what too many forget to do in modern society. I don’t know who said it, but I once read a quote that went something like: “Don’t live the same day for seventy years and call it a life.”

So, you.

Yes YOU!

GET OUT THERE!

LIVE!

GO MAKE ART!

And I’ll share with you a little something future Madison told present day me:

Thanks Future Madison!
Thanks Future Madison!

So there you are. That’s what I’m doing right now. Feel free to take the idea and experiment like crazy with it until you find what works for you.

I will, from now on, be updating this journal weekly. Every Saturday, you can expect an update from yours truly. Thank you to Problems With Infinity for giving me the motivation to make this a regular thing. If you haven’t checked out her blog you should.

So dare to be hopeful and write your futures the way you want dear readers!

Stormy Seas and Story Skies

Bonjour!

I hope things are going well for you this chilly morning.

I have not abandoned this blog; I have been working on a ton of projects recently. While I don’t mean the literal 1,000 lbs that “a ton” implies, it seems awfully close to it at times.

I have not been working on the novel for a few months now. This is mostly due to my intensely judgmental views of my own work. I tend to write a chapter, then rip it apart, then rewrite the same chapter and repeat. Pretty easy to fall into a depressing malaise if you keep that up for long. I intend to break this malaise starting today. Time to move that plot along with a barbaric YAWP! (Internet high five if you got the reference!)

Yesterday I felt stupid. I did not feel stupid for any sane, rational or even logical reason. I felt stupid because I had created a patreon for one of my projects. See, I decided that the low traffic on the website of said month-old project meant that it didn’t deserve a patreon, or some nonsense like that.

(rant: I’m not mentioning which project, patreon links, etc. because I am really trying not to beat people over the head with this. This is a journal designed to communicate with the world, not advertise. /end rant)

It took a friend pointing out the logic fail inherent in this thought pattern before I could see it clearly. She said something along the lines of “Well if you don’t put it out there, no one can decide if they like it or not…”. I am butchering her words (sorry dear!), but the idea is there.  It is at this point that I realized this was my self doubt rearing its multifaceted head. My brain immediately travelled in two different directions with this newfound knowledge:

The path of art doubt:

I have always doubted that my art is “good enough”. Always. It’s like the awful feeling that stress testers get right before an exam, except it revolves around your child..er, I mean art. (Yes, my arts are my children.) Don’t ask me who could deem my art worthy. As far as I know there is no benevolent art deity who can give my art the high holy seal of art approval. Even as I sit writing this I have to fight not to give it up as a bad job.

Yet fight I do. I MUST create art. My writing, my drawings, my fashions, my crafts, my single attempt at a floral arrangement, they all come from a need to create. It is this need that keeps me pushing despite the glacier of self doubt that I keep bumping into. I think in some ways all this critical thinking helps the art be better than it might otherwise be, but in other ways it can choke the life out of the thing.

All things in balance.

The path of people doubt:

At the time of writing I have a total of 9 twitter followers. I think there are animals on twitter with higher numbers okay. I really am not good at being social in real life, so it comes as no great shock that I’m not very good at it online. This number has risen to as many as 15 before, but those were the people who click follow so you’ll follow them back. I do NOT do this. I in fact am vehemently against this. To me this defeats the point of twitter, social media etc: connecting with what you actually CONNECT with. If you want to boost your numbers just to boost your numbers, don’t waste your time with me. I don’t play that game. I follow people or companies (or animals) that I genuinely find interesting, or inspiring, or a hundred other ing words.

This disturbing “numbers are all” trend is the same across instagram, tumblr, facebook, google+ and any other social media. This is why spam accounts have become an epidemic on such platforms. When you take the element of connection out of anything with the word social in it, you kill it. What was organic and alive and evolving has become an empty vacuous thing that nobody recognizes anymore.

All of the lovely artists (By artist, I mean anybody who creates anything.) making it and connecting with their fans and creating art is WONDERFUL. I love this stuff. I love that I am able to keep up day to day with people who inspire me, awe me or are just freaking epic. Sadly, it also makes the critic in me compare my own serious lack of connection with those who are killing it. It does not make me jealous that they are successful, it makes me criticize everything I have ever made. Silly right? Recently, I make sure to remind myself that at one point in time everyone who has ever made it (however they, you or anyone else defines “making it”) was an unknown person swimming in the sea of humanity. They failed, they fought, they made art and eventually, after much effort, it worked out.

Most importantly, as a lovely little fish so famously said, they kept swimming.

So keep swimming!

Until next time, dear readers.

Thanks for reading! <(~_~)>

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PS – Also, Goth Gal is a comic that I have been creating for a while in my spare time, but it has only recently been released to the internet. If you like what you see here, please go check her out at gothgal.net

GG
Hey. I’m Goth Gal.

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PPS – Here is an inspirational wallpaper I made a little while ago to inspire more writing (click the image to see the large version):

Dory writing
Dory is AWESOME. I love Disney.

Summer Sounds

Summer
Summer

Hello again. The smells and sounds of Summer are in the air and I am back into the swing of writing. It feels good to have taken a step back from the manuscript to let things air out a bit. I knew I was ready to return when I began inventing characters on my way home one day. I have moved beyond the chapter that was holding me up and I feel confident that I can complete it by my deadline of July 31st. This is a personal deadline of course as I have no publisher just yet. I would love for Harper Collins to publish me, but I know how tricky these things can be.

For now, I shall continue working on my dream until its polished, pretty and ready to be presented.  We’ll see what happens from there. May your dreams come true!

PS – Also, apparently, I posted my 12th post on the 12th of May. 🙂