I was going through a box of old comics, like you do. Pre-Crisis DC's, 1978 or so. And I remember the Crisis, the first one, when it came out. I was fifteen, sixteen. And I remember the aftermath of the Crisis.
I was at a comic show, not quite a convention, more just a bunch of dealers with longboxes on tables. Byrne had just rebooted Superman and two older fans were talking about it. These guys were comic fans, man - you could tell. Only comic fans could have beards like theirs.
So they're talking about Superman and what was lost - all the crazy kryptonite, his years as Superboy, Kara (*sniff* Kara ...) Krypto (*SOB!* KRYPTO!) Beppo, Comet, Streaky. The Superman Robots. Kandor.
And I'm eavesdropping but I butt in and we all start talking. I love the old stuff I say but I kinda like the new Superman.
One guy looks at me and says "Kid? Forget DC Comics. They're finished. They're broken. This is only the beginning. They're just bring all that crap back but with a 'FRESH NEW SPIN!' And then they'll wipe the slate clean again and do it AGAIN. As many times as they need to. Get ready, Marvel's gonna do it too. Marvel might do it better but I doubt it. They'll just wipe the slate clean and start again. " "Wipe the slate clean and start again." his friend repeated, in a sing-song voice. And they both wandered away, repeating "Wipe the slate clean and start again." And laughing.
I've been, like many of you, battling depression, on and off, all my life, it seems. (Too many commas in that last sentence but there it is.) I don't take medication for it - I won't. (I've seen what anti-depressants have done to people I know and love. I have no faith whatsoever in doctors or the medical establishment - they're all bean-counting Mengeles with a Superiority Complex that's based on the fact that they stuck it out through school.) But now I'm faced with uncertainty. Perhaps I should reassess my opinions.
In an effort to keep this site going, advertise my work, and offer some form of reading enjoyment, I've been thinking of posting the first portion of Nails Jane to this blog over a lengthy span of time. I won't post the entire book, but perhaps enough to wet your appetites.
Therefore, I will begin this endeavor with the book's introduction and Chapter one.
by the Editor
The book you are holding was written out of a desire to create. Like the mythology presented within NAILS JANE, the creation story of this book has less to do with a benevolent Maker bestowing life upon unsuspecting People, and has more to do with the frustration of starting over.
Trista began penning her story many years before its publication, which is not unusual in the world of writing, but the fact demonstrates a commitment to perfection. Though she was never Certain that perfection could ever be achieved, one fact remained constant: an author should write what she or he wants to read.
Can a writer ever really achieve perfection? Beats me. Can a writer set goals and meet objectives? Definitely. The dreamers must be set apart from the artists. It is one thing to say you are a writer because you have good ideas, and quite another to say you are a writer because you have written them down. It's a simple start that can lead anywhere.
So for Trista, the process for writing this book became a search for literature with particular characteristics: multiple narrators, supplemental side stories, and thematic illustrations. Rather than looking in libraries and bookstores, she looked at blank pages and blinking cursors. The final product is something engaging and imaginative.
Did Trista achieve perfection with her novel? Well, if the mythology of this story gives any indication, the only way to find out is to tear the book to shreds and begin again. Of course, that would be silly. Artists are fortunate enough to be gods who can start from scratch without offending previous creations.
At its core, NAILS JANE is rock & roll. The action is visceral, the interludes are beautiful, and each chapter offers a fresh perspective to the story. It delivers a cinematic pace without compromising the poetic details.
I hope you do not ever find yourself on a journey quite like Ati's, but if you do, take time to marvel at and appreciate the wonders of the unknown. You may find it makes the journey less difficult.
“We could have saved the Earth, but we were too damned cheap.”
“You are Atlas,” said a voice.
I heard it in my dream. A voice was all around me, but I saw no one. My dream was hazy and confusing, full of bright images flashing in and out of focus. Like all dreams, everything became choppy nonsense, but the voice remained fluid above it all.
It called me Atlas.
“No,” I corrected. “My name is Ati.”
“You are Atlas,” it insisted. “You carry the world on your shoulders.”
“I carry my own agenda,” I replied.
There was a long silence.
“You won’t for long,” it said. “You carry the world with you. You will die.”
I hurried through the streets of Lansing, Michigan, aware that Gustav had targeted me. He was hard to miss, dressed in a wool vest and a long, black coat. His broad shoulders and massive torso towered over pedestrians. Behind him followed his daughter. She was also dressed in dated plain clothes. We loosely referred to Gustav's people as Puritans because they reflected something from another century. Gustav clearly didn’t belong in the city, and that was not a good sign.
I need to find James…
I finally reached the rendezvous point at the northwest corner of Washington and Ottawa, and checked my watch. My hand was shaking. Shoving my hand into my pocket, I backed up against a brick wall. Pedestrians passed by, taking no particular notice of me. Laying low was an especially difficult task with Gustav in the area; he preyed on unassuming bystanders. But social immersion was necessary for avoiding Humanoids, who were just as deadly as the Puritans. Running short on time, I found myself in a dangerous dilemma.
Where the hell is James?
One hour until the shuttle left Earth. Gustav crossed the street, dragging the little girl behind him. He was headed right for me. I knew his background, but never met him face to face. His case file was packed with a history of terrorism, arsenal, murder – the list went on. I knew what to expect from Gustav, but I was not ready for him. My assignment for the week was already complete, but it looked like I didn't have a choice. I had to pull an extra shift.
If James and I don't get out of here, we could end up stranded…
Backslider ships arrive at certain places and times, and they don't stay long. Miss the ship and they won't come looking for you. I couldn’t risk that.
“You there!” yelled Gustav.
“Yes?” I turned, smiling politely. I did not let on that I knew who he was, or even that I was troubled. Puritans easily detect fear.
“I would like to invite you to a banquet! My people do not hold these festivities often, but the food is remarkable,” he said. As he spoke, his eye twitched and a pungent odor wafted from his mouth.
A banquet. That’s what they called it. He wore large rubber gloves and matching rubber boots. I assumed that was his clean-up gear. Banquets often got messy.
James hurry up…
I knew what Gustav planned to do if I refused his invite. He would likely attack me, then drag me off. The slightest hesitation on my part might have compelled him to strike me in public. However, Gustav was cautious, and he knew better than to make a scene. He dreaded the attention of Humanoids, just as much as any Backslider did.
Doing Code Year, again, and it's been a while (MONTHS) since I've been practicing coding at all. I'm kinda surprised at how quickly things come back, and how I'm starting to see how different things fit together, and similarities between JS and Java and other languages I've been tinkering with. It still totally BAFFLES me how I'm decent at picking it up; and how I did a programming logic exam the other semester with a migraine and still got an A.
It just seems to make sense to me, for the most part, and I like how tidy and orderly it is.
When I dropped the first load of stuff off over at mom's, there was an interesting thing in the door. One of those churchy pamphlets, entitled "All suffering will end". I dragged my tv in and my insolent sewing machine (I never knew an inanimate object could insult people, but there you go), and laughed.
G.'s lost it, going increasingly violently and abusively senile, talking about how the house will be on fire, alarms, and sirens that ...aren't there, in between periods of brooding in the dark while he smokes, or watching Fox News as loud as he can.
I'm getting stuff to mom's. Service Dog stuff is on hiatus, and I've had to find a new home for my kitty (-I can't believe I'm typing that. But it's true).
This is a horrible, horrible time. And it scares me. Because there is NO logic here. And I don't know what he'll do next.
The plan so far is to just clean and get my shit out. Because it's probaly not that safe for me to be here. And after that I'll have only spotty internet. :(
Keep your fingers crossed for me and the kitties, guys.
I've never much been one for hope. It's something I've usually found too fragile to hold on too, too easily dashed by the recklessness of others (well-meaning or not). It's easier to be wary, to hold onto the more pragmatic approach to things which is: Don't get too caught up in your own ideas, because anything you care about can just as easily go away-- or perhaps worse- hurt you.
But it seems like this service dog thing might be real; and the hole in my heart that was made when my boy Hunter died, might find someone new to settle down into that patch of my life, so I won't be so alone, and at the mercy of the whims of my mind's illness, or the side-effects of my medication (which hunter did not know how to do. He was a good dog, but a couch potato).
I don't think it's real hope. Not the butterflies-and-rainbows type; but something borne out of need. I have to believe that someday this dog will exist and will be waiting for me, because the alternate is an unthinkable horror;-decreased skills in dealing with the world and increased dependence on increasingly dangerous medications.
I'm nowhere near my goal; but I'm closer to it than when I started; and have found the internet has been supportive and helpful, and understanding whereas my own family has had trouble understanding the concept of a service dog for something other than mobility and a pet (But they are slowly getting around that).