A Whale of a Day

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor — Permission is granted to post this cartoon on your blog–just please link back to this post! 🙂

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Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm  Comments (6)  
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Bound to Overcome

I’ve had a lot going on in my life, thoughts, and goals just over the past couple of weeks. Not much would show on the surface—but between my ears and behind my eyes, the world is a different place. Maybe because I’m different inside. I know it’s been building for some months now—like the Lord is putting together the puzzle pieces of my life, one day at a time.

This is something I’ve been hoping for, aiming towards, for most of my life. I had an epiphany at age 17, suddenly knew what I wanted to do with my career and life, and started working towards that. A few years (ahem, be polite, don’t run over to my About page) and several setbacks later, I had not progressed very far past those goals. Make that “visibly.” Between the ears and behind the eyes, the world was quite different. But looking at my life from the outside, at a casual glance, not much of that showed through.

For the majority of my young adult years, I lived most of my life inside my head, between my ears, and within a few walls. I was a homeschooled highschooler (personal choice). When I graduated, I was tested at a college level, so I chose to postpone college and dive into the dreams I couldn’t wait to dig at. I spent the next four years living at home with my family, attending business seminars, reading voraciously, and pursuing an advanced art education through studying others’ works and writings. In other words, I homeschooled myself through college, after all.

In the meantime, I was writing. Writing fiction novels and graphic novel scripts. I was drawing, drawing like crazy throughout my days. Doing character design for my graphic novel series, studying comic book publishers so I would know the one I wanted to plug it to. I had my sights set on the independents, because keeping my rights was important to me–I wasn’t writing for the present, I was building the foundation of a future. So I could wait a little, sacrificing present income opportunities in order to invest in a bigger future. For that “income,” I started my own Amway business and did freelance artwork, to tide me over while I wrote. How did that go? Well, let me just say I’m grateful my family let me live at home.

Some of my lack of success was caused by the fact that I was incredibly shy and introverted, trying to build a career in very extroverted fields. But I had that dream—I thrived on inspiration, and let it fuel me forward, even when the shyness made it almost painful to do so. As I look back now on the person I was then, I wonder if I could have made it work, despite my weaknesses? But at the time, I didn’t get the chance.

During my teens and early twenties, my family and I spent ten years as caregivers for my grandparents. My grandmother had dementia, and eventually forgot who we were. My grandfather died unexpectedly from a sudden onset of cancer. There were other hard situations we were overcoming as a family then, too. I learned many things, and grew a lot between the ears, behind the eyes, in those years—things that would never show up in my resume or bank account. They delayed my dreams. But they made me stronger, bolder. Partially because, once you’ve been hurt in certain ways, you stop being afraid of certain things. You lose some sense of self-preservation…you kind of don’t care what happens to you. So you get braver, and bolder.

I moved on with my family (my choice, turned down a graphic design job to do it). I looked at life as a new opportunity—I felt set free from the hurts of the past, and felt I could finally begin achieving my goals for the future. But anyone who thinks they can emerge from an emotionally abusive situation and hit the ground running is deluding themselves. It took a month-long bout with pneumonia and a dance with a nervous breakdown to teach me that.

And yet…I came away from those days, and emerged into a patch of brighter light. Suddenly I was free to return to my dream, and I did, with my whole heart. Back to the writing, back to the drawing. Back to the quibbling freelance work to bring in a bit of income while I lived with my patient family, too; but back to filling my days with creativity and excitement, and plans for a big future.

Enter carbon monoxide poisoning.

This was a setback that not only invaded its presence upon my goal plan, and delayed my dreams yet again; this monster literally stripped me of the ability to achieve my dreams. I forgot my stories. I lost my words. My hands forgot their skill and learned a new weakness, a new tremor that would forever mar my drawing. I was one year away from publishing a fiction novel and was beginning to draw the final draft of a graphic novel when I had to stop, and teach myself how to write and draw all over again.

Starting all over, yet again. When obstacles keep blocking your pathway, over and over, and you have to stop, and start, and stop again, you have a tendency to get tired. When you keep falling face-first into the mud, it gets very hard to see the way ahead. Dreams and faith and hope will carry you far, through many hard times…but Discouragement can be a towering monster. It can overshadow everything. When things get so very dark, the light seems to fade away, and you begin to feel that the darkness is all there is, all there ever will be anymore.

Yet the light is still there—the light of dreams, and hope, and faith. It’s just being obscured for the time being. Somehow, someway, you have to climb up out of the mire and walk past that beast of Discouragement. It’s the only way to see light again. Oh, it tries to walk with you, mark my words—does its very best to keep blocking the light. For me, I actually began doubting the dreams I had held for so many years. I began to doubt the worth of what was between my ears, behind my eyes. And that’s a tough situation, because that was all that I had left in me. Without the dreams? To my eyes, if the dreams weren’t real, then I was nothing.

Enter God.

Not that He wasn’t there the whole time. Until I stand before Him at the end of this life, I probably will not understand the whole meaning behind everything that is in my past. I see glimmers, I get a few things; but some of the “whys” escape me. Somehow I’ve managed to cling to faith through it all. But then again I wonder—is it really so hard to cling to One who is gripping you in an embrace that will never let you go? He’s been there with me the whole time. And now, just when I felt like I couldn’t pick my face up out of the mud one more time, and would lie there and drown in darkness…it’s as if He’s saying, “Let’s turn the lights on.”

I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. Something has changed. Maybe it’s me. Yes, I’ve been working…imagine trying to scale a sheer mountainside by only using your fingernails. Yeah, that’s how I’ve been working the past couple years. So yes, I have all those years of work that must have been building to something. But they never led anywhere, to my thinking.

Until now. Something has changed. Something is different. Between my ears, behind my eyes, it’s been a long journey. It’s been…violating. It doesn’t feel like there’s much of anything left of me inside…just numbness, blankness, tears. Tears that flow easily at times. And fear…the inheritance of so many years of living life in the shadow. Fear that crouches and waits for the merest weakness to show within me…so that it can snatch my new life away from me. And fear upon fear, I am afraid that it has the power to do so.

But then I realize…there are arms around me. Strong, mighty, powerful arms. There is a vengeful love washing over me, shielding me, forgiving me the weaknesses that make me despise myself. Someone is holding me fiercely, saying the He is carrying me on through. Past the mire that threatens to envelop and smother me. Past the dark beast that wants to claim me. Carrying me forward to that beautiful light, which has been there waiting for me all along. He’s taking the emptiness between my ears, behind my eyes, and filling it with glorious things that I never dared to dream of, and can hardly comprehend. The dreams of my future.

And something is telling me that my future, at very long last, is here.

I’m sorry for the long blog post…but I think I’m moving forward on a new journey. And I must have needed to travel light.

Fan Fic – Masters of the Alternate Universe

In digging through old boxes and files, I’m coming up with a lot of fan fiction I wrote in years past. I thought, why not share? 🙂 🙂

The following is a story I wrote in 2002, inspired by the premiere episode of a new cartoon incarnation of “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” This brief series, which aired on Cartoon Network, was an unsung “master”-piece of animation, voiceover acting, and story composition. Episodes are most likely available on DVD, and I’d highly recommend them for viewing. Great for adults and kids alike. And for geeks like me? …Ambrosia.

I was enthused enough to write this story—it follows the outline of events in the premiere episode, but the perspective and words are all mine. I had a blast. Only the hardest of the die-hard geeks (or those who look closely at the IMDB article) will catch the ending references, though. :):)

I invite you to visit the planet Eternia, and take a glimpse into the journal of a genius…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Masters of the Alternate Universe:

THE DUNCAN CHRONICLES

DAY ONE

DAWN:

I, Duncan—Man-at-Arms, advisor to the king, and palace scientist—have decided to henceforth record the activities of my days in this journal, as I have begun work on several inventions that may prove useful, and I wish to keep a standing log of the processes I use and the discoveries I make for further reference.

Let me begin by listing that I currently have two major projects on my workbench, one more developed than the other. The first, which I began working on several weeks ago, is a mid-sized vehicle, the main function of which is to retrieve

LATE MORNING:

My lovely daughter Teela interrupted me earlier, informing me that the King and Queen requested my presence at breakfast, since there were many matters to discuss in relation to the young Prince’s birthday celebration this evening. I gave my hearty approval to the serving of pudding, as I’m partial to it; and I gave my reluctant support to the idea of asking Man-E-Faces to give an impromptu performance at the celebration. Man-E-Faces is an accomplished warrior and a good friend of long standing, but his act…

Well, no matter. I also stand on record as having slightly disagreed with her majesty the Queen on the subject of Orko. She thinks him to be “delightful,” and a perfect choice for the official entertainer of the evening; but I have my misgivings, since there will, after all, be something as volatile as pudding in the same room with him. We shall see.

But to resume my description of my current projects. The vehicle, as planned, should be able to hold up to two passengers, and is designed for maximum maneuverability. Its focal point will be my latest invention, which will be affixed to the nose of the vehicle. It is a finely controlled and highly sensitive tool which, when operated, will

AFTERNOON:

Yet another interruption; the time had gotten away from me. It was necessary for me to supervise a sparring session between Teela and young Prince Adam. My friend Mekanek joined me in observing the lesson—and, thankfully, our good friend Stratos was also nearby, since our heir to the throne would have fallen sixty feet to the ground if Stratos had not caught him. Adam is adept at operating his hovershield, but his attention span could use a little work, especially when massive statues are rapidly advancing on him from behind.

My Teela tried to warn him, but he took the warning as another of her witticisms, designed to distract him from the “battle.” Teela is a wonderful daughter, and I am proud of her progress in her battle training; but I do wish she would not pick on the King’s son quite as much as she does. Thankfully, Adam does not seem to take offense; rather, he considers it a challenge to prove Teela wrong.

The boy has talent in the arts of defense and battle, there is no denying it—he is truly his father’s son; but he has grown up in an atmosphere of peace and contentment, which has dulled any sense of caution he might otherwise have developed. It disturbs me to see that he gives little thought to the possibility that our kingdom may again face the threat of war someday. His faith is in the Mystic Wall that imprisons our enemies; but he does not know what those enemies are capable of doing.

I have had a growing feeling of apprehension about those very adversaries for some weeks now—it may well be nothing. But still, I would want the Prince to be better prepared.

But that is neither here nor there—I was speaking, before, of my vehicle. The invention that I have fashioned to affix to the

LATE AFTERNOON:

The birthday party looms on the horizon—my presence is required to oversee the last preparations and the arrival of the guests. I will resume my discussion of my projects later this evening.

MIDNIGHT:

Not even I, who had been experiencing feelings of dread for some time now, could have imagined what the remainder of this day would bring.

Keldor has returned—only now, due to his horrible disfigurement, he is calling himself “Skeletor.” He harnessed the power of the Corodite Crystal to break through the Mystic Wall, and led his followers on an attack against the palace. The damage is great—it will take weeks, perhaps even months, to repair. It is only by Heaven’s intervention that no one was seriously wounded, though there were a few injuries among the courtiers and guests.

The battle that followed was intense; I myself was swallowed by a giant flying fish, an experience I would rather not repeat. Skeletor kidnapped the King, and would have killed him, in spite of the valiant efforts of the Heroes—my daughter Teela among them—but for one thing.

It is something that I cannot record, for I am sworn to secrecy; but I may say that the great hero—whom the Sorceress spoke of long ago—has finally emerged to defend Eternia. He rescued the King and even saved the lives of our warriors—“Masters of the Universe, all,” he called us. He truly is a great hero, one of whom I am very proud.

I will leave my inventions for a later time and go to my rest, which I thoroughly require. I did not sleep well last night—perhaps in foreboding of the events to come; but mostly due to the fact that I spent the entire night dreaming that I was a large robot capable of transforming into a vehicle. But again—that’s neither here nor there.

Oh, and one last note: Orko blew up the pudding.

(10-06-02)
© 2007 by Christine Taylor

 

Trivia Matters

(c) mousewords

 

(c) mousewords

 

The writer Lynn Abbey said, “One of my great passions is the collection of historical trivia.”

Is every writer a researcher? I was home-schooled through High School. I had to struggle to make it through my senior year of history…on time. I would read one blurb about, say, Cardinal Richelieu, and suddenly I’d be off in my own world, crafting a story line inspired by a real-life villain. My history book would be shoved aside, and I’d reach for my handy pad of drawing paper and a pencil. My history lesson for the day wouldn’t get done, but I’d write a few pages of a graphic novel.

It’s the same for me to this day. Even when I’m busy writing a novel, I’m easily distracted when doing research. I have reams of pages and hundreds of computer files filled with little blurbs and minutiae, from every subject under the sun. Each one sparks a fire of imagination in my mind, and sets me thinking away on another planet.

Did you know…

This past spring it was announced that water was detected on planet HD209458b—the first planet outside our solar system to show signs of water

A hyperpolyglot is one who can speak six or more languages fluently

Each file on an NTFS volume is listed as a record in a special file called the Master File Table (MFT)

A fen is a low, flat, swampy land; a bog or marsh

HC Andersen, Cuddle Up, Robbie Burns, Taboo, and Iced Raspberry are all names of roses

“God kveld” is “Good night” in Norwegian

And the infamous Cardinal Richelieu was known as Éminence Rouge, or Red Eminence, from the color of his habit.

I’ve got a million of ’em.

Literally.

 

Tales to Tell…

In here there be many tales to tell, says I…

Tide of Tales ACEO

 

This be me celebration for “Talk Like a Pirate Day”…arrr
They say dead men tell no tales…but live ones be sure to go on about their adventures…

 

Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 10:31 pm  Comments (2)  
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#756—What If??

A while ago I created an ACEO to commemorate the home run ball that broke Hank Aaron’s record. Since I wanted to have the artwork ready to go live as soon as the ball sailed into the air, I painted it a day in advance. Knowing that the Giants would be playing a home game, I was hoping that if Barry Bonds did indeed hit the home run, it would clear the walls of the park and come to rest in McCovey Cove—a happening that they call a “Splash Ball.” Being a fairy tale artist, I thought it would be cute if a mermaid was the one who wound up claiming the ball, while humans buzzed around in their boats, searching for it in the background.

Well, Bonds did in fact hit his home run the following day—but it wasn’t a Splash Ball. So I did what I could and entitled my piece, “#756—What If??” It sold to a collector, and everything was hunky dory. Oddly enough, Bonds’ very next homer sailed into McCovey Cove. I thought to myself, perhaps what this mermaid actually has is home run #757.

Well, in the news today, I see that the real home run ball #756 has been purchased by someone who plans to let the public decide the fate of the item. He has an online poll open, with three choices: 1: Brand the ball with an asterisk; 2: Launch it into space; and 3: Donate it to the Hall of Fame.

Bonds’ home run before that, ball #755, also sold to a person who will let the public decide what he should do with it. His poll has two options: 1: Destroy it; or 2: Donate it to the Hall of Fame.

It seems to me that home runs #755 and #756 have a slightly precarious position. The possibility exists that they might disappear off the face of this earth—literally.

Looks like the mermaid just may have caught the most valuable ball.

Now for the question—what would I vote if I voted? I think I’d use the same mindset I have for politics: I believe that the office of the President of the United States deserves respect, regardless of what one’s feelings toward the person in the office may be.

So I’d say send them to Cooperstown, out of respect for the game itself.

The other alternatives, however, may drastically increase the value of my ACEO.

Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment