Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

Week 1 Recap— 90-Day Challenge Gone Disney

WARNING: The following text-chat recap of my 90-Day Creative Challenge contains scenes and images of intense Disney-fication. May be too saccharine for more cynical readers. How this element crept into my blog is unknown. Perhaps it is a natural result of bringing together two people who met in an animation studio. I, however, blame Holly and her blog. She is a pernicious influence.

Reader discretion advised.

Holly Myer: Hello!

James Sie: “I will find my way
I can go the distance
I’ll be there someday
If I can be strong
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
To feel like I belong…”
HM: Hercules?

JS: I thought I would freak you out by quoting a Disney song, Ms. Frozen. And, this morning for some reason I could not stop watching youtube videos of this guy named Chris Villain singing Disney. He dressed up as a mermaid and sang “Part of Your World.” I was horrified and yet I could not look away.

HM: Hmmm. Sounds like an incredible person.

JS: As you can see I am making productive use of my time.

HM: How was the first week?

JS: So, my week? Well, I sprang out April 1st full of energy and I got an INCREDIBLE lot done. Felt like all this bottled creative effort was finally shaken and sprayed out. 

By the third day, I was thinking, “Is 90 days over yet?”

HM: Hahaha. Pace yourself! But at least a strong start is a good sign!

JS: I have to say, against my better snarky judgement, that this book is very helpful. It’s having me write around the plot without diving in, like tinkering at the edges, so that I can be open to all possibilities. He keeps talking about holding the story loosely at this point.

HM: I can see the strategy there, to figure out how little things work in that world before you get wrapped up in bigger events.

JS: Exactly. I have to do all these exercises, like imagining the worst day of the antagonist’s life, or the thing that the protagonist loves above all else, or something she has never told anyone…

HM: Those sound like fun assignments!

JS: Fun? Sometimes. Sometimes I get impatient. But it also helps because you’re not thrown into “Write! Write your book NOW!” I’m not allowed to actually write pages until next month. It’s like productive procrastination!

And you? I see from your blog there are lovely pictures popping up, like crocuses in Spring…

HM: The first week went well! I am on track with 7.5 drawings. 

JS:  Nice!

HM: It’s been really interesting trying experiments with color–I’m already moving past the idea of having an outlined/black&white version of each…because I like the colors!

JS: Is it manipulation of photos?

HM: No, I’m drawing on layers on top of a photo, then I remove the photo.

JS: Ah… very cool. And do they pair with your writings?

HM: Some do so far. I’m going through the GIFs I’ve used on the blog, and choosing a frame (or two) to study to create the individual image. Plus, I’ve been going through family photos and using the same technique. It’s a very thoughtful process, looking at all the little details of someone’s face.

JS: How long does each one take?

HM: The more monochrome style takes about an hour, full color takes longer. And with some, I’m adding the background, which adds another 30 minutes.

JS: Wow. You’re really putting the time in! I love the frowning, direct-to-the-camera one. I see a book cover!

HM: Ha, thanks! I’ll take that into serious consideration!

JS: Are you surprised that you have somehow found the time?

HM: Yeah, actually. I spent a lot of quiet time this weekend working. I also tried drawing at Republic of Pie, a local coffee/live music/study hall place I love.

JS: That is a great place– good tables. And good pie.

HM: A caught a lady looking in the reflection of my glasses to see what I was drawing…then the lady started talking to her friend about Marilyn Monroe.

JS: I’m afraid I’m a Starbucks man, myself. Mundane, I know, but habitual.

I HIGHLY recommend Bose noise-canceling ear bud headphones. They are made by magical elves. Costs more than a Luxury Suite at the Venetian, but worth every penny. They tune out most everything. 

HM: I imagine. Perfect music is important to creative work!

JS: Yes. I have found that playing “Da Pacem” by Arvo Part automatically makes my writing sound 200% more compelling.

JS: Are you looking forward to this week? I am terrified of not sustaining.

HM: I’m a little nervous about keeping up with my solid start, yes. But definitely looking forward to more coloring time. I’m four [years-old]. But I get excited to draw, like when I was four. So that’s good.

JS: Very good. And you have images to plaster around and remind you how good it is.

HM: Yes. Thank you. And now, thanks to you, I have “Go the Distance” on repeat.

(the Lucas Grabeel version, obvi.)

JS: Oooh. Sorry. It was meant ironically.
 So, good luck on the week. See you on the flip side!

HM: Thanks. You too!

April 9th, 2014 - Still Life Las Vegas


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