For the past few years, Top Cow Productions (a self-contained comic book studio within Image Comics, one of the biggest publishers in the business) has been running an annual Talent Hunt where they select a handful of aspiring writers and artists to produce a couple of one-shot comics set within Top Cow’s extended continuity, which includes comics like Witchblade, The Darkness, Cyber Force and Aphrodite IX. On Thursday, Top Cow announced the winners of the 2016 Talent Hunt… and I’m one of them!
This is a dream come true for me, as you might imagine. The opportunity to have my name on an official, published comic book, to be paid for my skills as a writer and a storyteller, to get to collaborate with the insanely-talented artists that also won this year’s contest… it’s almost overwhelming. And considering the hectic, rough-and-tumble year I’ve had so far, it is a very gratifying turn to have this success fall into my lap.
I don’t know when the finished comic will be out, but I hope that you all will read it and enjoy it whenever it finally hits shelves. For now, I’d just like to thank the whole Top Cow team, particularly Matt Hawkins and Ryan Cady (for providing this opportunity and for choosing my story) and to congratulate my fellow winners, including writers Leon Glaser, Joanna Marsh & Charles Crapo and artists Sara Knaepen, Balasz Valyogos, Mark Whitaker & Marco Renna.
Most of all though, I’d like to thank each and every one of my friends and family for all of their support and encouragement over the past six months and over the years. More than anyone, this of course means my girlfriend Shiran Lugashi, who has inspired me and motivated me like no one else. I love you sweetheart, and I love you all. I wouldn’t be here without you.
Now let’s see what happens next!
Longtime readers of this blog may remember a running feature we did for awhile, Movie Of The Week, where my girlfriend Shiran Lugashi and I would share movies with each other and then write out our thoughts on our old favorites and new experiences. While we eventually put that column to rest, we’ve continued to share films with each other and talk about them in-depth. Which brings us to our new project.
This week was supposed to be a fun, happy time for me. Not only are we only a week away from Christmas, but we’ve finally arrived at the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, my most anticipated movie of the year and the first cinematic look at a post-Battle-of-Endor Star Wars galaxy. This week should be a wonderful, triumphant celebration… but it isn’t. Instead I am anxiously awaiting the results of a biopsy of a mass on my cat’s lymph nodes, and struggling to keep him fed and medicated in the meantime. I can’t be excited about anything, even Star Wars, the way I would have been a week ago. But as it turns out, it is Star Wars itself that may be my saving grace in the middle of all this uncertainty and dread.
In a world that seems increasingly dependent on irony and sarcasm, especially in its humor, Parks and Recreation almost seems like a miracle. More than anything else, the show is built on sincerity and positivity, and the hope that better things are always yet to come. But the show never seemed hokey or corny (or not in a bad way at least). Rather it earned this sunny disposition fully, and felt more aspirational than anything else. More than that, it was also a lovely tribute to the idea of public service, and the commitment to helping your fellow citizens whether they want or care about it. All of this was wonderfully encapsulated in last night’s series finale, which serves not only as a perfect wrap-up of the show’s story, but also a singular distillation of everything that made Parks and Recreation a brilliant and lovely inspiration.
Right from the start, this blog has been meant to help me rediscover my artistic enthusiasm. I needed to figure out exactly what stories I wanted to tell and how, and I figured a more in-depth exploration of the films I like could help me get there. But while the blog has been pretty successful in and of itself, and I do feel a little more clear about what stories I want to tell, I still haven’t figured out a way to actually get myself writing scripts again. It’s a subject that I’ve repeatedly discussed with my girlfriend, and every time she gives me the same advice: just write.
It’s good advice but very difficult to follow, and the more I don’t follow it, the more depressed I usually get. But after our most recent talk, something changed: there was a brief spark of inspiration, right around Thanksgiving, that not only made me feel I could follow Shiran’s advice but could directly address what had been holding me back this whole time. And then of course my life got thrown into chaos for a few weeks, and I haven’t had time to even work on this blog, much less a new script. But with some time to myself over this past weekend, I found my way to two long-awaited pieces of storytelling that spoke both to where I am now and what I hope to say about it: Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George and the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis.
As I’ve discussed and referenced repeatedly on this site, I have a very happy and loving relationship with my girlfriend Shiran. We’ve had some hiccups to go along with all the amazing times, but I have a great deal of faith in our relationship because we both love each other and we are committed to being together. Any issues that might come up are worth working through and moving on from, and I feel that we’ve done a good job of doing just that. So with this experience and perspective on relationships in mind, I will say that I greatly enjoyed Gone Girl, and even respect some of its message about marriage, but that in the end the absurdly cynical approach of David Fincher and Gillian Flynn is something that I will happily disagree with.
One year ago today, I started Creation From Chaos. A lot of major changes have been made in my life since then: new apartment, new job, a cat. Beyond all of that, I am proud of myself for keeping this blog going and not letting up on it. And as far as my initial goal goes, I have begun to rediscover my creativity and enthusiasm for my own writing, and I’m beginning to consider all of the different mediums I can use to explore all of that more fully, and I feel my critical thinking has never been sharper. Overall, it feels like this blog has been a success, and I feel like there is a lot of potential in my future as a writer as a result. I’d like to thank all of you for reading and encouraging all of this, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my work so far.
I’m obviously going to continue with the blog, and hopefully contribute more to the discourse not just around film, but around storytelling in many mediums. Furthermore I’m planning to expand my means of communication and interaction with my (limited) readership: a Twitter feed and maybe a podcast could be in the near future. Besides my work on Creation From Chaos, I’m very optimistic that I will make progress as a storyteller in the near future; ideas for feature scripts, short scripts, comic books and novels are all competing for space in my head, and hopefully one of those will break free of the pack soon.
But with all of that being said, this anniversary is a bittersweet one. It just so happens that the start of this blog also corresponds with the most difficult period in my relationship with my girlfriend Shiran (probably the most difficult period of my life). It’s a time that we both hate to think about, and that we never wish to revisit. But as tough as it is to remember the fight itself, it is reassuring to realize that one year later, we’re still together, and more in love than ever. So for all of my pride in how far my blog has come, I’m even more proud of my relationship and my girlfriend. We weathered that storm a year ago because we decided that, despite the hurt and frustration, we loved each other, and our relationship was something worth fighting for and working on. Not only am I more grateful to still have Shiran in my life, but I am reminded of what it takes to have and hold the things that matter most to you. In that regard, being with Shiran has helped me pursue my aspirations more than any blog ever could, which is yet another thing I can never even begin to repay her for. In remembering the events of last fall though, one thing that is clear is that there is nothing and no one more important to me than Shiran, and no amount of creative success will trump that.
I love you Shiran, thank you for everything!