I've been too busy to write about some cool things that I've experienced, recently. I'm taking the next few hours to catch up . . .
Free Comic Book Day
In 2003, I took Ryan and Nolan to Free Comic Book Day at my local comic shop, Comics Factory in Pasadena (Colorado, just West of Hill, if you're ever in the area). It's a great shop, run by people who love comics and really take care of their customers.
FCBD is exactly what it sounds like: a day when you get to choose from a bunch of different comics -- for free -- at your friendly local comic shop. The idea is to get new people interested in reading comics and graphic novels, as well as convincing current readers to give a different book or genre a risk-free try. (Note to industry: how about Free Game Day?)
When I took the kids two years ago, they picked up a bunch of X-Men and Batman and stuff, and were really into comic books for about three weeks before losing interest and returning to Harry Potter (Ryan) and Reading Sucks (Nolan, who has grown into quite the reader in the last 1 months) I, on the other hand, picked up Fables, which is the coolest Vertigo title since Sandman, and found my love of comic books re-kindled. For most of a year, I went into the comic shop twice a month and picked up new books and read them all. I was terribly sad when I had to admit that I couldn't justify the time and money invested, though, and I didn't read much more than a few graphic novels for most of 2005.
So I have a pile of great books from Free Comic Book Day that I think I'm going to read this afternoon, as soon as I finish my writing commitments for today.
Uh-oh. Commence rambling:
I love to watch and read Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I love to play geeky games like Illuminati and Talisman and Frank's Zoo. I love to read comic books, and I wish I had the time to paint 40K armies and go to gaming cons and comic cons and just be a total nerd. I want to go for a hike to Echo Mountain, and I want to go Geocaching. I wish I had time to go out to plays and hear live music and see midnight movies and take my family on trips to see things like Yellowstone and the Smithsonian, or just go to the beach and enjoy one of the reasons we still live in Southern California.
Somewhere in the last couple of years, I've allowed my sense of responsibility and my need to be a good father, husband, and provider completely overwhelm me. I've lost a sense of Balance in my life, and all those cool nerdy things that defined me for so much of my life are struggling to get up there and have the floor, too.
When I went to Free Comic Book Day this year, I felt a connection to some of the happiest days of my life, those days when I sat on the floor at Darin's house and we read Sandman, and Killing Joke, and Dark Knight Returns together. The smell of paper and cardboard and books and that nerd-funk that can't be described reminded me of all the hours I spent in game stores like The Last Grenadier, and the hours I spent at home reading Uncle Albert's and rolling up GURPS characters, just because I could.
I fully realize that an adult with two kids and a mortgage can't have the sort of time and freedom to goof off the way he did when he was a teenager, but I think there has to be some way, even as an adult, to find Balance, and give yourself permission to goof off from time to time. You know that saying, "We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing"? I grok.
Oh, which actually brings up another interesting observation: In On Writing, Stephen King says that you can't expect to be a creative writer if you don't make the time to read. All the really good poker players I know say a similar thing about playing cards: if you don't make time to study your game, and talk with other players who you respect, you can't expect to play your best game. The same thing goes for athletes; they say that Tony Gwynn and Ted Williams took more batting practice than anyone else on their teams, and Michael Jordan spent more time practicing free throws and anyone else on the Bulls. It makes sense, doesn't it?
I wrote earlier today about not having time, and feeling like there isn't enough time for things, and I think the conclusion I've reached from this already-too-long post is that we have to give ourselves permission to make time for the things we really want to do. In my case, I need to have full access to my creative brain. Fear is the enemy of creativity, and I have to just stop being afraid of not providing for my family enough, so, uh, I can write some creative things that will provide for us.
That segues nicely into part three, coming later.