To Each their Own

Posted: July 13, 2010 in Life, Musing

I was just praying and working through some ideas I’ve had, and one of them was how I feel like I’m not spending as much time as I’d like to creating. Now there was a lot going on around that about my relationship with God, not replacing the unsure Adventure of the Sacred Romance with Him with a controllable, lesser love, etc. But after He helped me work through how to see my work as an artist in a healthy light, I’m still left with that frustration.

Anyway, that frustration got me to thinking about how I tend to overstretch myself. I got into RPing with my girlfriend over at Ocean of Stars, and I really enjoy it. It helps the creative juices flow and helps me learn more about writing my characters. But, I feel like I get caught in a tug of war between that and my various art projects, and throw in my intimidation, and you get me standing still.

So of course I started to think along my usual route, which is that of “back away from stuff and recommit.” But thing is I’ve tried to do that several times and I think it’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What I need is a way to strike the balance, give the appropriate amount of time to my various endeavors, proportional to their importance. So I’m thinking I need to have a day that’s set aside for things like RPing, gaming, etc., that aren’t strictly “productive” or what have you but that I feel are nontheless important.

I’ve always struggled with prioritizing things. It’s just difficult for me to make things systematic. And yet getting into habits isn’t quite as hard. Maybe if I could find a way to make prioritizing a habit? I dunno; it’s just hard for me to say “okay, from this hour to this hour will be drawing time, from this hour to this hour is talking to girlfriend time, from this hour to this hour is” etc. It’s too routine, too mechanical. And yet having some kind of structure to my day actually makes me feel more free to get things done.

What can I do to make a flexible structure that doesn’t make me feel like I’m trying to control everything? That leaves room for life to happen but still more or less structures my time so that I give to each priority it’s appropriate time?

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I know, on the Internet it’s pictures/video or it didn’t happen. Well fine:

It’s amazing how fast Saturday blasted by;  once I got up there, all the nervousness turned to power and I just…did what I had to do. And did it well. I think we often forget the power of continuous rehearsal, both phsyical and mental, and the simple trust in yourself. Coming with intensity once the game is on makes all the difference — all your practice and rehearsal turns to strength.

Anyway, more posts soon. I’ve got some intimidation to overcome and a webcomic to start and stuff as I recall.

Tomorrow, I go before Kwan Jang Nim Tony Thompson, cofounder of Ernie Reyes’ World Martial Arts, to test for the rank of Sa Bum Nim, that is Third Degree Black Belt, the title of which means “One who is a shining example to those around him.” I do not go alone; many come to support me, and I test next to several candidates for First and Second, and two for Third. All of whom I am proud to share the field of battle with. It is for them, if none else, that I post this.

I am constantly beset by doubt and fear today. Every nerve ending in my body seems to be on edge, the very breath caught in my throat. But I will not be defeated. I will not be crushed. I have trained hard, I have put the work in. Aye, perhaps I might have done more – but that thought shall always be present. Looking back, one can always see where he might have put more effort here, rested more here, gone right instead of left here. I cannot help the past. I cannot change what other people think or say or do. But I can control my attitude.

I am reminded that in The Book of Five Rings, “attitude” is the word used for a sword stance. Our attitudes are not simple things – they are a stance we take against forces that war against our minds, both internal and external. This year, my attitude shall be once of ferocity and courage. Courage does not come to those who know the outcome, or those without fear. Courage comes to those who must face great hardship and the outcome is uncertain, but they cling to faith, and charge forward.

I am reminded of the Pilgrim’s Progress, and now see that his test that lies before me is a living allegory such as this tale:

The Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted; he saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold.

So the Interpreter took Christian, and led him up towards the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his ink-horn be-fore him, to take the names of them that should enter therein; he saw also that in the door-way stood many men in armour to keep it, being re-solved to do to the men that would enter, what hurt and mischief they could.

Now was Christian somewhat in amaze: at last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying,“Set down my name, sir”; the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush towards the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely.

So after he had received and given many wounds to those who attempted to keep him out, he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,

Come in, come in,

Eternal glory thou shalt win!

Set down my name, sir.

Oh, and

Posted: July 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

As to Penny Blood and other artistic shtuff, more on that after I get through with my blackbelt test. These next few days I’m going to be entirely consumed either with it or with trying not to fret about it.

Stories, Empathy, etc.

Posted: July 8, 2010 in Life, Musing, Spiritual

Okay, before I get into the musings for tonight, have to say: Brave Little Toaster: best movie ever, period. Just got it as an early birthday present, and man. I missed this movie. It’s so ingeniously done! And such a great story of friendship and heroism. I’unno, I’m a nerd.

Anyway. I’ve been reading The Sacred Romance over the past two days, and my heart is burning in me again. As nerve-wracked as I am for my Third Dan test this Saturday, I’m already starting to look beyond it, at the God who’s romancing my heart. The book is honestly telling me stuff I’ve heard a thousand times before, but I’ve been reading Eldredge for years now. And yet every time I hear it, this message of the wildness of God, the depth and power of love, the danger and adventure of this Story we’re in, it smacks me in face as if I’ve never heard it before.

I find I’m like the prince in the Silver Chair, waking and wondering where I’ve been all this time.

And then tonight happened. My girlfriend went through some serious crap, and the Devil jumped right on it. I was all settled in and ready to chill out, watch a movie, and have a relaxed night and it hit the fan. If I hadn’t been reawakened, God only knows how poorly it all would have went. But I saw the meaning behind the pain she and our mutual friend were in, saw the love that drove it all, and was able to speak to it. More, in the midst of my effort to comfort her and encourage her, God suddenly swelled up in my heart and I poured out His words to her, since she was unable to listen for His voice on her own.

In one night, He brought her courage, broke through our friend’s illusions about happiness, and confirmed that what I simultaneously hope for and fear is true: He’s blessed me with Prophecy.

God above, that scares me. I don’t want to be that guy who pisses everybody off, or worse, shuts people away because I think I’ve got a private line to God. He knows I don’t. But it’s undeniable; when the chips are down, when my loved ones need it, He speaks through me in some capacity or another. It’s a gift made possible by love, by having empathy to other people. I believe empathy and love are the most powerful force in this world. The Hyperion cantos taught me that.

Which brings me to another thing I muse on often that Sacred Romance is bringing to the forefront again – how much and how often God speaks through stories. Of course our hearts are more ready to be brought alive, to learn to understand our own story, be experiencing others. The Dark Tower series and the Hyperion Cantos especially speak to me. I’ll be rereading them for my whole life probably. The power and tenacity of love and dedication, grace for those who have strayed, and the absolute power of empathy. All of these things I see more clearly through that lens.

In fact, tonight it was remembering the concept of Ka-Tet from Dark Tower that triggered much of what I needed to say to my girl tonight.

I think that’s one of the big differences from seeing thins as a collection of principles or rules vs a personal, passionate relationship with God. Anything in my life gives him a chance to talk to me, or me to him.

Anybody out there have thoughts on the matter? I KNOW YOU’RE THERE I SEE THE PAGE VISITS GOING FROM 2 to 4 D<

Turning things over

Posted: July 6, 2010 in Life, Musing

Does anyone else feel like you should get up earlier, becuase you know you’d have more daylight to do things, but can’t stop staying up late for one reason or another? Mine’s usually because I stay up to talk to my girlfriend or roleplay. I miss the days when I would stay up to draw. Which is what I’m wanting to get up and get around to in the mornings now; that and practice for my test and all.

Funny how sometimes the negative feelings we’re trying to avoid motivate us more than the positive ones we want to feel. I avoid the intimidation the artwork gives me and the loneliness I feel by staying up to talk to my girlfriend (not that that’s a bad thing mind you) or surf Wikipedia (now that might be).

Anyway. As implied, I haven’t drawn at all today and I’m a little miffed about that. So I might spend some time doing that rather than going into a really long blog.

I would like to state, however, that used book stores rock. New Rush album for six bucks = heck yes. Also picked up a copy of Sacred Romance for five bucks. If you’ve got a used book store nearby and love reading, DO IT.

Incoming: Penny Blood

Posted: July 5, 2010 in My Art, My Comics
Tags: , , ,

Just making the note that I will officially be starting my first ever webcomic, Penny Blood, hopefully within the month. I’m thinking I’ll be hosting it on comicgenesis. Mum’s the word on most of it, but more details as they come. For now, here’s a sketch of Penny herself. Say hi, Penny!