I have been plugging away (very slowly) at new pages for Fragments, my graphic novel that’s been years in the making. The last version I did was pretty close to what I wanted, but not quite. I feel that I’m closer now that I’m working in cool and warm grays and in marker instead of digital. I’ve never been especially fond of or good at digital coloring; maybe with more practice I could get somewhere, but something about the feel of the marker in my hand feels right. I’ve never felt as good about a digital piece as I have about something done traditionally. That’s not to say that I don’t value digital work of course – I would love to put more time and practice into it – but I feel more natural working with markers, pens and paints. I’ll post up some comparisons this weekend of an old page vs. a new page in markers.
I also wanted to mention that I have been working on an outline for a new story called Hollow. Fragments heavily features insomnia/loss of memory, and I think Hollow follows along a similar route but without the fantastical element. Hollow is based on something that happened to me in real life, mixed together with a little bit of everything else.
While I was in college one of my good friends from high school passed away. Well, passed away isn’t really the truth of it. The truth is that he took his own life. The truth is not what I was originally told, and the discovery of this truth was terrible. Originally I was told that he died heroically, saving other people. I can see why friends and family members would want him to be remembered this way, why they would not want to share the truth, but that just makes it harder when the truth finally comes out.
After learning the truth I started experiencing strange things in my apartment in Savannah. My doorbell started ringing randomly; it didn’t have any predictable pattern. It happened in the day and at night, rain or shine. If I went outside to look for ding dong ditchers there was never anyone there. I started to have an inkling in the back of my mind that maybe I was being haunted by my friend; that he felt I should have helped him, answered his calls. I have never been superstitious, so I ignored that feeling. The random ringing started to get annoying after a few weeks, and I eventually removed the doorbell.
But the doorbell didn’t stop ringing. That’s when the sneaking feeling in the back of my mind turned to full blown paranoia. I went outside to talk to the ghost, to ask for a sign. It was raining a lot at the time and I remember getting drenched with rain. Then, after another week or so, my cat decided to mess around with the door to the little closet holding the air conditioning unit. She got her claws stuck in the slats of the door, and I had to rescue her. That’s when I found it; a second doorbell. It was tucked in beside the air conditioning unit.
My house had had two doorbells the entire time. I took out the first one, but the second one was still there. It probably got shorted during one of the frequent storms that pass through the southeastern US, and that’s why it was ringing so randomly.
After I took it out, I never had a problem with the ringing again.
In a way, it was disappointing. On the one hand it was good to know I wasn’t going crazy, but on the other it was sad to have let the ghost go – to come to the finite conclusion that my friend was gone. Hollow is going to deal with these elements, a kind of discussion of coping with suicide. I’m planning on writing it out as a novel, maybe for NaNoWriMo, but I think it would actually end up working better as a comic. We’ll just have to see where this all goes.