Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shapes of Things

So page 15 of NI3 is FINALLY uploaded.
It only took me what, TWO weeks to get around to it...? I was very proud, having drawn it out as quickly as I did. Oh well. But now it's up, which is what matters.
Backgrounds and effects? Bah, no. Didn't have time, really, to figure out how to do a proper effect, and I wanted it UP already. I will, when I get the time, put in effects. And backgrounds. Oh yes, those, when I've finished this blasted scene. In my mind, I'm already far ahead...
I've been doing more writing too. Ironic that it's all for my classes, but hey- I'm having fun with it. I'll put the rest here as the get finished, but here's the piece I did for a style exercise and turned in to Miner's Ink... I honestly have to say Dr. Ford pushed for the beginning of the last paragraph to be like that. I don't like it so much, but whatever.


Wild Rumpusry, Music, Boardwalks and Chopsticks

High school for me was, as far as I can tell, very different from others’. It wasn’t a building with floors that smelled of cleaning and squeaking shoes and too many people; it was a small collection of borrowed metal portables in a dirt lot, and it smelled of sky and dust, boardwalks and amusement, and if you looked at the portables for too long when it was bright outside your eyes would hurt.

I have never been such a great fan of conformity or being inside for too long, so I took a great liking to going to a school that was primarily outside and full of odd people, both students and teachers. I never knew that it was a socially unacceptable thing either to like “old” bands like Journey and Peter Frampton and declare it on your t-shirts, talk to your teachers about stuff that didn’t involve class, read a lot of books, lie on the boardwalk during lunch, walk around barefoot or eat chocolate pudding with chopsticks.

Starting in ninth grade I accumulated an interesting group of friends, all of whom were younger than me (the kids in my grade generally left me and my best friend, Kenna, alone). We took a particular liking to lying on the boardwalk during lunch, occasionally doing crunches while mumbling “photosynthesis,” dancing the Can-Can for a half-hour before school began to Vanessa Mae’s electric violin piece, “(I) Can, Can (You?),” and loudly singing Monty Python or Weird Al during lunch.

Some my favorite people during those years in the portables were, of course, Kenna, but also the crazy and wonderful Messirs Steel and Olivea. Olivea’s first name is Charles, but I’ve always felt it to be what he would call undignified and awkward, referring to him by name like that, and at some point we’d given him the name of The Olivator anyhow. He was the sort of man to whom everyone had a divine value, good, and purpose, and he would never look at a kid as lesser. Olivea would always dress in a suit and tie- usually a green jacket and brown pants, or blue jacket and pants, and the tie was always something that had a meaning from somewhere in his life; his style of dress always made him look taller than he really was. He wore glasses, which added to the contagious dignity he carried everywhere with himself, and this dignity provided to make his scoldings of misbehaviors a terrifying affair, even when you weren’t its subject. His classroom was green and white, with square patches of random orange carpet in an ocean of green, with an American flag at the front, posters of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. looking in on the class. The gigantic desk carried his projector, a metal bus, several glass angels, a jar full of pencils, and a map, and he only sat behind it when he had to- otherwise, he almost sat inside the rows of fifteen or eighteen students. I can’t remember if it was he or Mr. Steel that figured out that I liked writing and kept encouraging me to do so, but they both badgered me to do better- which drove me crazy, because I always thought I was doing the best I could, and they would pull something else out of me, and I started to get the blue pen “Lincoln hats” of approval drawn on my themes.

Both sparked interests in different books and oddities, such as when we were reading Beowulf in Steel’s 10th grade class and I found it to be a great idea to learn the alphabet for Old English, and Olivea’s War Games found me more interested in war propaganda.

Both had a way, also, of insisting that I not change who I was, that I was a perfectly acceptable character. It was comforting, really, when most everyone else was telling me that I should be like they were and that oddness was akin to some sort of badness. I think they had this effect on everyone, or at least for the people who cared.

Steel was a hyperactive 38-year-old with a mania for baseball, proper grammar and chocolate. A lot of students found him annoying, but I loved him- he too wore a suit, but the colors always matched. He had three earring holes in each ear, hair that was not short but not too long, was himself not very tall, an obsession for Shakespeare, and usually had something to munch on or drink in his hand. One time when he was distracted I planted a cube of Baker’s Chocolate (I like the stuff) on his desk- which, when he noticed it, loudly said “Ooh! Chocolate! …Wait, this isn’t Baker’s Chocolate, is it? Oh well, down the hatch!” and put the whole thing in his mouth. The next minute was spent with a room full of ninth graders stifling giggles while watching him spoon white sugar he had procured from his drawer into his mouth. I found this highly amusing, and he knew instantly who had planted the mischief. It never got in the way of our lengthy discussions about classic rock and topics like “Will Steve Perry ever join Journey again?” , why people don’t do what they love, and if Peter Frampton looks like a woman.

Kenna is someone else entirely. It has been pointed out and agreed upon that we are possibly the oddest pairing of friends, let alone best friends. She is fantastic example of “girlish feminine,” whereas I am the sort that would love to wear cargo shorts and tank tops and sit in a box or a tree, and whose friends have almost always been boys. Kenna is purple- dark purple hair (she’s originally sandy blonde, but no one knows that), purple eyeshadow, purple everything. She sometimes smells like a pomegranate and face-makeup. She has a tremendous patience with everyone, a patience that is demonstrated any time she and I go shopping for any kind of clothes (I hate shopping), a fondness for teaching, and a particular fancy for the Darwin Awards, videos of people doing stupid things, and making people tremendously uncomfortable (but we both love that). During the madness that was high school, we would have interesting escapades where we would blare mariachi or recite potentially disturbing literature during lunch, or switch our Renaissance Faire costumes and I would suddenly turn into the Faire Queen and she into one of the boffers.

At one point we wrote two ballads, both about the popular group that had sprouted up, which I illustrated in some ridiculous fashion. It ended up that I read them aloud during a lunch that was hot, dry, windy and slightly overcast in that unpleasant sort of way, and everyone but the subjects of the Ballads thought they were funny. I think that was the highpoint of my teenage writing stage and when I figured out I could have fun with a writing style outside of what was normally asked of me, because I got to write something witty, use interesting words, and illustrate it.

Now, in college, a hundred miles from my home and those memories, I almost have to write like that. I’m again required to write, and to stretch my mind’s fingers on a mental keyboard in exercises that hone my descriptive abilities and demand I use better, more vivid imagery. It’s amusing to think that one could write so much at New Mexico Tech, where the hard sciences and engineering professions are emphasized. But I suppose it’s not so unusual, really, because I have been finding that artistic and creative, “nerdy” people will end up finding each other, be it in a metal portable in a dirt lot or under the shade of trees with martial artists silently practicing nearby.