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W I D E   A W A K E

Venice: 90291

September 3, 2003

It's been what...two months, maybe two-and-a-half? I'm not sure. It's been a weird couple of months, though, and that's probably the understatement of the day.
There's something almost unexplainable about living on the west coast. The pace is different. The people are different. The scenery is certainly different. If you're not an actor you're a screenwriter, and if you're not a screenwriter your an actor. But this is, afterall, Hollywood, where the Stallones and Willises do their best to keep us, the people, entertained. But being Hollywood, there is a relatively fresh subculture of nonconformity. For as many mainstream individuals one migh trun into, there are just as many unique, independent-thinking folks making their mark. As an artist, it's incredibly uplifting. One would think just being here--being submerged by all of it, that I would be creating with the quickness of flames spreading through a dry Arizona forest. But...

But there is something else. It is not just the west coast ideology--the slowed-down, relaxed way of life (though certainly that is one aspect of it). It's not just that everyday is the same--sunny and warm with a cool breeze and a 5% chance of rain that never falls. But there is something--a kind of undefinable something, that, for me at least, has proven an amazing stumbling block in the creative process. Perhaps it's that there are more, so many many more, distractions. There are more theatres, more clubs, more restaurants, more people, more...everything.

Perhaps I'm overanalyzing.

Perhaps I'm just making excuses for having fallen off the writing boat and into a rough ocean where ideas are often conceived but seldom put on paper (or into desktop databases). But with September now here, I've committed to a new schedule toward a long-term project that I cannot discuss at this moment. Fall is approaching. Di has started teaching again, and I'm determined to return to a balance between my "day" job and the job of writer/artist. I think the secret to staying creative while living in Venice--in Los Angeles--is to remain disciplined. It's not as easy as it sounds, but I genuinely think that's what needs to be done.

As I look through my "in progress" folder I find no fewer than 12 stories in various stages of completion, not including the further adventures of PB and Jay and The Earth/Ryka War series. In addition to prose, I'm about to start up drawing again. I haven't done any series drawing in over two months. Too, too long, but perhaps it's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm a firm believer that an occasional break can be good for the creative soul in each of us. Likewise, I don't believe in coincidences. There is a reason for everything that happens in the cosmos. There is a reason we are in Venice now. There is a reason I haven't drawn or written. There is a reason I've started biking again. There is a reason we're in Venice and not Redondo or Manhattan or Marina del Rey.

All I have to do now is realize what those reasons are.

There is something exceptionally cathartic about writing--even the writing of these silly little words. Especially after having not written for several weeks, I feel like I'm stepping back onto a pitcher's mound I've not been on for a long time. I can almost feel myself digging cleats into the dirt and palming the baseball as I stare toward the narrow eyes of the catcher. All I need do now is throw the ball...

This week's cover image is based on a local map of Venice. With this image sectioned the map into grids with each grid having its own separate style. The point was to demonstrate the diversity of Venice--its people, architecture, history. Every street in Venice has a personality of its own. That's the intent of the image, to render its diversity. The graphic was created using Photoshop 7.0.

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