This afternoon I put Aral down for a nap. It was a long morning, filled with lots of errands and plenty of adventures. Admittedly, I snoozed a little while calming him down sufficiently that his tiredness could catch up and pin him in slumber. When he wakes in a while he’ll be happy and ready for some new adventures this afternoon.
But I got up from his bed and tiptoed down the stairs, thinking about the next stack of boxes I might unpack, when it occurred to me that I hadn’t written much to this point in the day. So I sat down at my “desk” (a corner of the kitchen actually, carved out to support a laptop) and started scrolling articles mostly to get the juices flowing.
I am constantly amazed at how often we overlook the astounding. Especially in our friends and acquaintances. Being open to the amazing skills and abilities of complete strangers seems to require an unsustainable level of energy. Even the simple act of acknowledgment, focused on friends and family, can be a stretch. “Wow, you’ve got a very special talent,” are words we just don’t say enough. They’re not heard enough. I’m not open enough.
While scrolling I came across this video of three strangers who pick out a tune on a sidewalk. Yeah it’s not going to win a Grammy, but it is good from the get-go and it only gets better as each of these guys lends their talent to the mix.
The first guy, the fella with the guitar, had to be open to the second and third talents that just join. But in maintaining that openness he allowed something new and greater than the original song to emerge from all parts.
Recently I’ve started working on a couple of shelved projects. A friend from our days in eastern Washington approached me and asked if I might have a story idea that would lend itself to graphic novel form. “Yeah, here’s a list,” I said. Since then I’ve been feverishly hammering away at a script for an idea I had plotted out as a novel. Just recently (like yesterday) I was talking to an online publisher about the potential of picking up the Jack Isen series I started late last winter. Zane picked up the manuscript of ON THE LEFT FOOT and started sketching and now my dropbox is filling up with pencils and ink work. Considering that I’ve known Zane since a chance encounter at a coffee shop in 2008 what follows is some sort of amazing stroke of luck.
Zane Kinney has this uncanny ability to read what I’ve written and translate those words into the image I had in my head. That’s one of the goats! It feels to me, as if he was watching over my shoulder while I was dreaming up the story. Looking into my head. Let me tell you, as a writer, this is an amazing feedback loop. Complimentary, self-replicating moments of flow. Each and every time I see something new pop up on my screen I eagerly open up the file to get a better look. “Hey! There’s Umoya.”
For the time being we’re keeping the graphic novel under wraps. Call it NEFARIOUS PROJECT X if you need a name. But know, each and every time I settle the little boy down for the night, I find myself rushing to my laptop to add a page or two of panels to the script. His preliminary sketches are AMAZING. And, ON THE LEFT FOOT is getting revisited, not because I have the time, but because I love to see what Zane is going to draw from that tale too.
Synchronicity is an amazing experience. You know you’ve got it when all participants are saying things like “It has been a great thing for me to play with this. It’s been liberating to be able to chase these ideas around with few strings attached,” and the work becomes a sort of playful experiment around melody and a solid beat.