ComicsBox 1 | Saga: Chapter Thirty Seven

#NowReading #Saga #ImageComics

NEW STORY ARC! “THE WAR FOR PHANG,” PART ONE. SAGA is back with its most epic storyline yet, and to celebrate, FIONA STAPLES graces this issue with a gorgeous wraparound cover! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. This arc is a self-contained “event” we’ve been building to since our very first issue, so now is the perfect time for readers who love SAGA’s bestselling collections to join our monthly adventures!

Story By: Brian K. Vaughan
Art By: Fiona Staples
Cover By: Fiona Staples
Published: August 31, 2016

See more at: https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/saga-37#sthash.5J48flkb.dpuf

Thinkbook 5 | Untitled

~ This is a #thinkbook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker returns with new brainjuice after a two-week break ~

The last couple of weeks have not been optimal for regular blogging, due in part to my being busy creatively on a couple of projects. That’s a good thing. In that span there’s been so much on my mind I’ve wanted to lay out here in the form of brainjuice leakage that there’s no way to condense (nor remember) it all here for a single entry. I usually don’t do this particular series with much pre-planning or forethought, instead going for a more spontaneous approach, digging back into the deep pockets of my mind to squeeze out the past week’s high or deep thoughts. What usually occurs is a scattershot cranial explosion. Or something.

This week I’ll start by pulling a thought or two that I shared during the week on my Facebook page. First, some bad news.

Local/National News Story of the Week

In reaction to this news story about a deadly new synthetic drug scourging the streets of America, claiming 50 lives nationwide, two from my native state, I wrote:

++ The inventiveness of this kind of stuff seems boundless. It highlights that one of the saddest aspects of the human condition is the inability to cope without chemical assistance. My heart goes out to those who face any kind of existential crisis that leads them down this path. Stay above ground and keep breathing, y’all.

♦ ♦

Legacy News of the Week

In response to the news that Francis Ford Coppola is officially “relaunching” Zoetrope.com with an added new focus on short films, I wrote that Zoetrope.com is the place:

++ Where so many of us writers, editors and small press publishers cut our teeth back in the late 90s and early 00s. Not only did we learn so much about writing, editing and publishing from and with our peers, but the workshop/virtual studio was essentially the forerunner of social media. It’s where we learned how to (and how not to) act online. Big thanks to FFC, of course and a huge shout out to sysop Tom Edgar. Commence the renaissance.

♦ ♦

Political Thought of the Week

++ None of these things that people try to sling at Hillary Clinton can effectively negate the positives about her, especially all her years of public service benefitting women and children. I’d stack up her service record against any of the candidates we had going this cycle NOT named Bernard Sanders.

♦ ♦

Now let the brainjuice tap drip for . . .

Three Random Thoughts

++ A disturbing thing I’ve had to grudgingly but consciously admit to myself is that some days, often many days, I just don’t have the desire to wordsmith. As stated in yesterday’s Notebook 7, I’m always in a creative state. However, productivity surges and wanes to an imperceptible rhythm that a mere mortal writer like myself (i.e. not currently paid to do so) has not yet mastered the ability to perceive and ward off. Nonfiction stuff like social media or blogging, is rarely ever effected, but the kind of creative writing that fiction requires has always arrived from a mysterious well of unknown depth and unknown quantities of resources. Usually, this can be assisted by simply reading a diverse array of things, which I do regularly. But even this past week I slacked on that. #Writer’sPlight

++ Still, due to the inspiration of one of my favorite writers Warren Ellis, whose weekly newsletter Orbital Operations and an online journaling have been one of my primary inspirations here, I want to try to write something here every day without fail, as he is attempting to do for two uninterrupted months on his semi-daily blog Morning.Computer. Ideally this would be the month of September, leading up to and through my birthday weekend holiday. We’ll see if that happens.

++ I am a notorious tinkerer. I tinker and tweak everything. I’m a fine-tuner who believes in continuous improvement. So it’s very possible I may tinker with things here yet again, such as the theme, colors (though I love the stark monochrome), menu layout, etc. So don’t be surprised if you see things looking different around here (if you, ya know, even pay that much attention to that sort of thing).

♦ ♦

I’m going to have to stop it there and continue things later in Lifebook 11 where I focus on something equally communal and personal that happened last night. Right now I have to get ready for a wedding.

Be mindful and good to each other, m’kay?

– BLR

Notebook 7 | The Wayward Mind

~ This is a #notebook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker kinda, sorta admits he’s mentally unwell ~

Last weekend I had a plotting breakthrough on Project: One Shot (formerly Project: Crime Time), the codename for my developing crime comic with my artist partner and best friend Joshua S. Hooten. Finally actual scripting had commenced. The plan was to take Monday off and resume writing on Tuesday. Tuesday became another off day. The rest of the week was compromised by family obligations and work exhaustion from the day job. But the mind stayed active with some fine-tuning of the plot happening in my subconscious.

That’s not the problem. The problem is my mind got more active on character and plot details for the romantic crime-noir novel I’m planning on finally starting in November during NaNoWriMo (codenamed Project: Dame Game, a project featuring an old character of mine in a new story I cooked up this past Spring — details in next week’s Workbook). So even if I had managed to sit at my desk and write this past week, it’s very possible I would have been writing notes for that project rather than the one I should be actively working on (which I’m doing today immediately following this missive).

By week’s end this got me thinking about how the mind is a wayward thing, wild and unbridled, doing whatever the hell it wants and not necessarily what you need it to do, when you need it to. I’ve always conceded that I have what I like to call creative ADD. As a highly active thinker I’ve always been hardwired that way, juggling an insane amount of information and ideas in one sitting than the average bear would. There are definitive pros and cons to it, no doubt. One of the cons is as I get older and more forgetful (hush, you) many ideas become like transient ghosts if I don’t get them jotted down quick, fast and in a hurry. And that’s the other rub — a notebook is not always handy, the ability to stop whatever you’re doing to jot down notes it’s not always an option. In fact, more than often it is not.

The silver lining I suppose is that I am almost always in a creative state of mind and at the end of the day I cherish this overactive gray matter of mine, no matter how wayward it may be at times.

You know that old proverbial saying that writers are slightly insane because they entertain multiple voices in their heads while also muttering to themselves when they think no one else can hear them? Yeah, it’s true.

I’m willing to bet you knew that already, didn’t you?

Reblog: Mandy Ward – The words aren’t there…

The World of The Teigr Princess

I have no words,
No words at all.
No words to share,
No words for all.
For I am White,
And while I long,
For the words to come,
To right my country’s wrongs,
The Words won’t come,
Won’t come at all.
My country oppressed,
It traded in slaves,
It took bonded workers,
To appropriate lands,
To push out autochthons,
And steal their homes.
My country is racist,
It believes it is better,
It believes that those of colour,
Are beneath it,
And it is wrong.
I don’t want to be a part of this,
I don’t want to be any of this.
I want people to be equal,
No matter their Colour,
Sexuality,
Gender,
Religion or Beliefs,
I want the world to realise,
There’s more to life than this.
There’s Love and Fun and Song ,
There’s Peace and Games and Food,
I want my country to apologise,
To…

View original post 54 more words

Lifebook 10 | The Day My Name Changed to Dad

~ In this #lifebook entry on #ruckology Brandon L. Rucker gives a rare glimpse inside his personal life in honor of one momentous life event ~

Twenty-two years ago today my first daughter was born. That huge biological event effectively changed my name to be aka: “Father”, “Da-da”, “Daddy” and “Dad” forever. It’s the first true event in my young adult life at the time (a month from turning 21) to give me a true sense of purpose and direction. A trajectory as well as an anchor. A reason to soar while also providing a gravitational pull to keep me grounded and centered on what is most important.

The day she was born was not one without its stresses and worries. I got The Call while at work at the comic book store about an emergency C-section due to her being breech in utero with, as it turned our, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck as well. Had we waited for the full term and untold hours of labor, things would have turned out quite differently, perhaps tragically. So I tend to think of her as our miracle child. I’d love to be able to say that was the first and last time I cried at the birth of a child, but in this particular reality that would be a lie.

Her mother and I didn’t last together beyond her first 18 months, and though there were certainly calamitous years of many trials and tribulations, not to mention the help of a village, we somehow managed to raise a well-adjusted and healthy child with a promising future.

22 years later, she’s an intelligent, beautiful, driven, independent, hardworking-yet-somehow-still-lazy and stubborn young lady who occasionally acts like she’s between the ages of 17-21. And that’s to be expected because none of us are truly grown up and fully mature prior to the age of 25, especially these days. In her short life she’s been a dancer and ballerina, a dance teacher herself and a voracious student of social issues, politics, the sciences and the arts. She’s also been a big sister to her two younger sisters (on my side) and younger brother (on her mother’s side).

Recently, this past Father’s Day she had posted on her Facebook page the fact that she and I are very close, despite how that may appear to those on the outside. Our closeness is not often verbally stated as she’s an even better poker player than I when it comes to her emotional reservedness. She puts me to shame in that category. I personally had always envisioned an even closer relationship than what we currently have (which would negate some of her natural independence), but that’s not something you can necessarily force if it’s not a natural occurrence. Yet it’s good to know that from her internal point of view we’re close enough.

Oh, I should also mention that she’s also a mother of a highly intelligent, very talkative 3-year old preschooler, which of course makes me a grandpa. Yeah, yeah, let the old man and grandpa jokes commence. After all that’s another one of my aka aliases. Though to be exact, my granddaughter calls me “Pop-pop.”

The toughest part of fatherhood, of being a family man in general, is that nagging need to always protect, even when it’s not even possible to do so. Talk about a overwhelming sense of helplessness and frustration. I recommend fatherhood only to the most emotionally tough and mentally strong because this stuff is not for the unworthy. Trust me on that.

Thinkbook 4 | Noise Reduction

~ This is a #thinkbook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker confronts his problem with  unhealthy distractions ~

I’ve written about it here before, and it’s on my mind quite a bit of late. This need to decrease the volume of external noise. And when a writer mentions external noise he almost always means that of the social kind. More specifically, social media. Considering the fact that I’m current in a rather busy creative place of late, I need to do what I can to minimize distractions of all kinds, but especially social media.

It doesn’t help that by my own inquisitive nature, I am a newsjunkie. It doesn’t help that as a man in his early 40s with a young family, a good chunk of my social life is maintain by the advent of social media. But, just as I can prevent myself from going into town to hang with the locals for a good time, surely I can prevent myself from spending far too much time perusing the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

One option is to simply create a manual situation of turning off automatic notifications on one’s phone during the day. That curbs the frequent prompting of checking the phone via notifications. However, that’s only really effective if you keep busy with other things. If you’re bored or unoccupied you’re going to be tempted. Alternatively, I know some people who have removed social media apps from their phones completely, which would mean to check in they would have to do so whenever they’re at a computer, which would be less frequent when mostly mobile.

Whichever option I choose, I’m going to use that freed up time to write in one of the many notebooks I’m carrying around with me everywhere. A month ago I wrote about the option to use one’s phone for writing. Not ideal, no. But it’s an option. And a while back I described what I like to call my blank page fetish (note: Hello, Blank Page is no more).

So that’s the plan. Ween off of social media some. Put that attention toward writing on my projects wherever possible. Or writing here on this WordPress. Simply a more productive use of one’s time.

Of course no plan of mine ever comes without its inconvenient irony. Looking to decrease external noise, yet, I’ve recently pledged myself to watching more movies. That’s something I used to do more frequently many years ago. Aside from the entertainment factor, movies have always managed to benefit me by getting my mind thinking on story ideas while forcing me to examine narrative and point-of-view options. So, at least that particular external noise is creative noise, right?

I’m no fool. I’ll always have distractions. The key for creative people is to have healthy ones, the kind from which you can draw positive creative energy. For me that’s represented in the stack of books and movies that await my consumption. And once all that’s consumed I can see myself writing another one of these about how I need to curb my consumption as well.

Ah, the perilous path of the writer can be fraught with booby-traps.

Lifebook 9 | Blood Work / I’m Too Sweet

This is a #lifebook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker shares another poignant life moment ~

So I’m in Day 2 of my four-day weekend. On Day 1 yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment because I am diseased, cursed and doomed with that autoimmune disease they call diabetes. It was a follow on an appointment from three weeks ago when we made an adjustment to my medicinal regimen. You see, apparently I’m just too sweet, like a chocolate cupcake packed with yummy goodness that, if taken in large quantities could just be ultimately detrimental to your health. At least that’s my unique perspective on it. Things were looking good, the doc and her assistants said. My numbers were very improved from earlier in the year, especially compared to those winter months. So we made another tweak to my regimen.

Today I went to have some blood drawn (and also pee into a cup) for my annual lab work to see if I’ve improved my blood cholesterol, see how my lipids are doing and make sure that, in a year’s time, my vitals organs have not come to look like those of a man not in his early 40s. Aside from a “slightly elevated” cholesterol, everything looked pretty good last year.

In fact, this annoying blood disease aside, I’ve always been a very healthy dude, an Iron Man really. Although  I am human with a weakness against highly potent children from time to time, like when my own or those in the fam happen to be carrier hosts of various outbreaks from time to time. But even that’s been a while. We’ll see what this school year brings.

I should hear the results of the blood work next week sometime. Hey, maybe I can hold off on breaking out my bucket list for just a little while longer.

Daybook 8 | Giving Her Whiplash

~ This is a #daybook entry on #ruckology in which Brandon L. Rucker chronicles yet another random day event ~

So yesterday while driving in my car, my 2016 Honda Civic EX Sedan with the lovely wife at my side and we’re listening to the music streaming from my iPod via the Bluetooth feature.

As often is the case I had the pod on shuffle for a random progression of songs. Now you must understand that ever since I was a child I’ve always pursued a variety of styles of music. I am truly one of those people who believes that variety is the spice of life and when it comes to music, music geek that I am, you could say my musical tastes and consumption is all over the map. The wife, my partner in life for 12 years, knows this about me better than anyone. Seriously, playing disparate types of music is something I do almost as much a breathing. She should be more than used to it by now. She should be so well adjusted, jaded even.

Yet, apparently she had a momentary lapse of regarding this because she somehow managed to be taken aback by a certain artist flowing into the next.

The first song was “X-Ray” by THE NOISE, a precursor project featuring Canadian R&B/Soul singer Abel Tesfaye, best known now as THE WEEKND. (A few songs before was “Church” by Atlanta hip-hop superstars OUTKAST.)

So those smooth R&B/Soul sounds flowed directly into “Desolation” by one of my favorite metal bands LAMB OF GOD.

Her words to me, prompted by the abrupt change in genres: “You’re giving me whiplash!”

What can I say? It’s how I roll. Literally.

I guess she forgot her neck brace.

Station ID and Warm Welcome

~ In lieu of the weekly Sunday Thinkbook this week ~

cropped-headshot.jpgThis is #RUCKOLOGY @ brandonrucker dot com. Welcome and thanks for reading.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these kinds of check-ins. The page has picked up quite a few followers in the past year since, that I thought I’d do a quick shout-out to welcome all the new folks here and to thank you all for following.

Brief history about this blog: I finally got around to starting a blog in late 2009 just as I started publishing poetry and short fiction again. Inspired by the semi-daily blogging of British author Warren Ellis (who has now moved on to a weekly newsletter instead), I wanted to have a public forum with which to share my creative exploits and muse about this n’ that. Typical reasons, right? The other main purpose was to have a place where I am forced to perform as a writer on a regular basis because writing publicly forces you to stay sharp and always write well.

I started out over on Google’s Blogger, calling the site simply Brandon Rucker Writes. I didn’t get heavily active on it until 2011. Flash forward to 2013 when I finally migrated over to WordPress, importing everything from BRW on Blogger to here. The rest, they say, is history. So over the last few years it’s become a place for great expression of thoughts and ideas, a cognitive download depot or sorts. Something I own that I can stay creative and skew it to my needs.

Admittedly I’m the kind of person who is very progressive-minded and believes in continuous improvement, so I’m constantly adjusting things here because new ideas and approaches never stop arriving in this overactive noggin of mine. At some point in doing this site I got a little category-happy, plus I’m a serial junkie. A glance at the menu down the left side there shows a rather complex navigation. Here are few notes to get you familiar with the haps here.

About – Bio & Publishing Credits

The Books

  • Daybook – a serial of random any day events
  • Lifebook – s serial of random life events worth spotlighting
  • Notebook – a serial of random notes on-the-fly
  • Thinkbook – a serial of weekly brainjuice leakage
  • Workbook – a serial of mostly monthly creative work updates

Got a few new ones coming soon, their titles should be self-evident: Advicebook, Artbook, Cinemabook, Photobook, Showbook (TV) and Quotebook.

The Boxes

  • MusicBox – a serial of me playing virtual DJ/VJ and music geek commentary
  • ComicsBox – A spotlight on notable comics. Debuts this week.

The Journals

If you’ve made it this far, I know what you’re thinking. I know, I see you shaking your head over there. IKR? It’s very likely there’s going to come a time (with any luck) when I’m going to be too busy creatively to maintain regular output here. It will be a good problem to have in the grand scheme of things, though. But seriously, thanks for reading.

Also some linkage if you so desire to follow my exploits abroad:

That about covers it. And by all means, do drop me your linkage as well so I can reciprocate.

So there’s a lot going on and I’ve got plenty on my mind of late, so I may fire off a Thinkbook entry tomorrow. In a couple of hours I’ll be off to see Suicide Squad this evening. Maybe I’ll have a Cinemabook entry on that as well. Again, thanks for your time and attention. Do come back for more.

-BLR

cropped-common-raven-portrait-c2a9-christopher-martin-22.jpg

Daybook 7 | Writing Space

~ This is a #daybook entry on #ruckology In which Brandon L. Rucker chronicles a random event from his day ~

So today I am again writing at the local public library in my small city, a place of refuge and solitude. You may be wondering: “Well, if you’re a writer, don’t you have a study or office at home?” Why, yes, I sure do. And I do spend an inordinate amount of time in it on a daily basis. However, a home office is a very familiar and comfortable place. It’s a very crucial writing space to have, make no mistake, but it can also be a place where every so often you can become too comfortable and complacent. Not to mention there’s just something about home that lends itself to distractions and disruptions. So I’ve come to realize lately that it’s good to regularly escape one’s domicile for a writer’s refuge at a relatively quiet place of study like a public library. There are two big libraries to which I have membership, and one of them has private study rooms in which you can setup your workstation. That’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weekends and today I actually got up early enough to make sure I got the most coveted room in the building, the one that’s always occupied by someone when I arrive, but today was not that day.

I have to say it’s amazing how fast time flies when holed up at the library writing or reading, compared to how slow time passes at the day job during the week. This is just something I need to make a regular habit of doing because at home I get a bit restless and start welcoming distractions, or conversely when I’m locked in inevitably something or someone in my home requires or outright demands my attention. Or more likely the case, absolute silence is not achievable. Still, I am very grateful for my private writing space at home, which prior to three years ago didn’t exist when our family dwelling was a mere two-bedroom apartment. I can’t imagine ever going back to a time where optimal writing space is an elusive thing.

Hopefully all you fellow scribes out there have suitable writing space as well.