On Change, and Recent Developments as a Struggling Writer

Casey FezThe job interview went well, today. I go in for round two of interviews, Weds. afternoon. If I *do* get this job– and I like my chances– it’s going to mean, well, changes.

For the past two years or so I’ve managed to make an honest-to-goodness living doing what I love: writing scripts, editing scripts, and working as a voice-over artist. It may not have been crazy abundant, but it’s always been enough to keep the lights on, the rent paid, and the fridge stocked. It was enough.

Now, with work being what it is, I don’t really have a choice but to find full-time ‘regular’ work.

What does that mean, exactly? It means that the work I’ve been doing is going to trickle down into whatever I can make time for, outside the office.

Let me be clear: I do not begrudge the notion of working a desk job. Or at least, I don’t mean to. This is where I am. This is what’s next. So it’s happening.

I could gnash my teeth, pull my hair, and drag my feet as I make my way into an office building. Or I could make the most of it.

Part of that means focusing of positives: like more money, financial security… and a reminder that the last kick-ass (personal) script I wrote was while I was working a full-time job.

My sister Tara pointed out that taking on this new job would mean not needing to do the kind of freelance gigs that spend my creative juices on other people’s projects. I love the work I do… but I haven’t managed to write anything of my own in several months. I haven’t had the time or the energy for it.

I could look back on the past two years and feel like I’ve lost something, or failed. That’s one way of looking at things. I prefer to see the past two years as a lesson, and an example– one I’m exceedingly grateful for. I’ve sold scripts. I’ve recorded audiobooks. I even managed to sneak in VO work as an educational cartoon pirate. So I’ve got that goin’ for me.

I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know I’m going to give it my best damn shot, whatever it is.

I have a lot to be grateful for. So I’m going to keep reminding myself of that… no matter how many times it takes to stick.

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I Feel Like A Damn Fraud

I have no idea what I'm doingI’ve been calling myself a writer, author, and / or screenwriter for a bit now. A friend and mentor instilled in me the view that you can’t really call yourself something until you’ve been paid to do it.

I have gotten my work published. I have sold screenplays. I have also been paid to edit the screenwriting work of others. And in this moment, this one right now, I can’t help feeling like a fraud.

I’ve read books, taken classes, studied the greats. Some days, most days, I feel like yeah, I might actually have a grip on writing– on making something good enough to be shared with others. Then there are times like right now, when I feel like every step I’ve taken to get this far has been a blind stumble in the dark.

I want to get better at my work, I want to be better at what I do, and there are times when it feels like I might be making headway. I’m supposed to be writing a black comedy, right now. The stakes involved– what this script could wind up doing for my career– has me stalled out almost completely. Some scenes of this little bastard have come together beautifully in my head. But there are entire swathes missing, and I know they’re missing, and I don’t know how to fill the gaps right now. (Wonderful word, swathes.)

DAMNATION. I’ve been told before that there are times for everybody when they feel unqualified, or that they don’t know what they’re doing. Okay. Welp, this is where I am right now. Angry at myself, confrontational with myself, and wondering what the hell I can do about it but keep pushing on. Of course we push on. Giving up isn’t an option.

I’m just annoyed and frustrated. And jealous. I recently discovered a writer named Mallory Ortberg, she’s fantastic. Her work is conversational, funny, and so damned sharp. Reading her work, I feel like Salieri– hearing Mozart for the first time. Bugger.

If I can see quality, if I can tell what makes something good, why is it hard to use that same compass and MAKE something? Where is this coming from? Fear of failure? Fear of success?

So yeah. I’m sitting here, feeling frustrated and antsy. I haven’t posted anything here in a few days so I wanted to rectify that. So welcome to this delightful chapter of things. BUGGER.

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So This Happened

Exchange 01

That’s not too weird, is it? I don’t know from weird, all the time.

Exchange02

That… that escalated quickly. But we love your work, Ms. Ortberg!

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Thor #1 Lays The Hammer Down [Spoilers]

T01Jason Aaron has been doing remarkable things with Thor: God of Thunder for just over two years. It was a great title, which did intriguing work on Thor’s history, present, and future. The three were woven into one story, and it was a compelling one at that. But that chapter has closed. Following the events of Original Sin, Thor was devastated by some horrible secret… and rendered unworthy. [Spoilers below.]

To its credit, the comic does not pick up immediately on the Moon, where Thor dropped Mjolnir. That’d be too easy.  No, no. Instead we open far beneath the Norwegian sea, where a Roxxon submersible (that damn company) is seemingly off the map. Their coordinates say they should be looking at a nice, flat seabed. Instead, it’s the undersea equivalent of the Swiss Alps, and the thing coming off the terrain is a lot worse than Julie Andrews.

t02On a list of things you don’t want to see at the bottom of the ocean, a GIANT HAND REACHING FOR YOU is probably near the top.  (Appropriately, their jumpsuits are yellow.)   Over at the Roxxon sea base, the lab coats are getting concerned, and decide to release attack sharks to investigate. (Of course all major corporations have attack sharks. Do you not?)  Cue the army of FROST GIANTS, marching across the ground, ready to tear the Roxxon sea base into pieces.

This is our first really big piece of work for the issue. A two-page splash of the Underwater Frosties about to kill dozens (if not hundreds) of Roxxon employees is, well, visually spectacular. It does a grand job of setting up that new stakes are in play, and time is of the essence. Go buy this comic. 

It’s not enough that Jason Aaron’s taking the mythos in an intriguing new direction. It’s not enough that Russell Dauterman gets to go to town drawing some fantastic, impossible creatures and look good doing it. It’s not enough that the vibrant colors from Matthew Wilson complement their work perfectly. No. Thor #1 surprises you.  I find myself wondering what’s going to happen next, and that is a rare feeling, as an avid comic reader. It is worth its weight in dwarven gold.

T03Meanwhile! On the Moon! Thor struggles in vain to lift Mjolnir. His fellow Asgardians watch in sympathy, faces painted with concern. It’s been weeks since Thor lost his touch, and has done nothing in that time but strain trying to budge one of the mightiest weapons in the Marvel universe.  Then his dad shows up.

Odin is unimpressed with yon recap of Original Sin, while the All-Mother watches on in genuine concern. Asgard’s resident ‘Before’ model, Volstagg the Valient, shares that he and damn near every other Asgardian tried to lift Mjolnir, at Thor’s insistence. Odin is in rare form, bringing plenty of  braggadocio to the moon’s crust. Gods. Sometimes they’re jerks.

T04Then, the twist. Even Odin can’t lift Mjolnir. What. While he loses his temper with an inanimate object, Freya offers counsel and comfort to her son. “Worthiness should not be defined by the whims of magic weapons. Rise, my son, and let the hammer be damned. Rise and remember the hero that you are.”   I’m happy to see reason and compassion prevailing over brute shows of force, but I hope that the comic doesn’t suggest that things like reason and compassion are exclusively feminine traits. I am ALL FOR equality of the sexes, and yeah, maybe showing our most masculine characters taking one on the chin is called for. We’ll see how things progress, moving forward.

like seeing Freya standing up as Odin’s equal, as opposed to his companion. When word reaches the Moon of the Frost Giants, Odin wants to return to Asgard. Freya doesn’t hesitate to countermand him. Hell, they speak at the same time.  Her tenure as All-Mother has given her confidence, and it’s glorious. Odin, clearly full of Mysogin-Os (It’s the breakfast of bearded old men! Just as stale, crusty, and unhealthy as it sounds!), warns Freya to mind her place. Ugh.

To her credit, she casts a look back at the hammer, and agrees that she should.  Hrm…  [HOLY CRAP separate theory idea, will have to go in another article. Sorry folks!]

T05Beneath the sea, as the briny carnage winds down, three remaining Roxxon-ites wonder just where the hell the giants came from.  Malekith takes that as an invitation to step in. So the FG’s are working with Malekith. Not terribly surprised.  Malekith plays villain card #246: Be a Spectacular Butt-Hole and Ask Unfair Questions.  He asks where it is, without explaining what it is, and kills 2 of the last humans before the third swears up and down that he’ll find IT.   That’s just crappy leadership, right there. You can’t give sloppy requests and expect specific results.

Malekith ponders the location of IT, when Thor arrives… on the back of a goat, brandishing Jarnbjorn. To his (and Dauterman’s) credit, he makes it look badass.  He arrives at the boom of the sea and picks a fight with the angry elf.

Things do not go well for Thor.  He’s a match for Malekith, most days. With Mjolnir at his side. Unfortunately, he is no match for Malekith plus two Frost Giants. They grab him and hold him still while Malekith grabs Jarnbjorn, the axe that can cut godflesh, and–

Oh, damn. Damn.

In the pages of Thor: God of Thunder, the elder Thor from millennia in the future is missing his left arm. I assumed it was an injury incurred somewhere far in the future. I was wrong.

Malekith finds whatever he’s looking for, which pleases the Frost Giants. Thor is dropped off the undersea cliff’s edge, drifting into the black with only one arm, trailing blood behind him. Wow. WOW.

Aaaaand back on the moon, a woman whispers “There must always be a Thor,” and bends to lift Mjolnir high.

T06There’s a new Thunder God in town. Her name is Thor.

… I’m stunned. THAT is how you kick off a new chapter in a Marvel Mythos. Holy crap.

Stay tuned for theories about the new Thor, and other reviews.  They’ll be posted to www.caseyjonescaseyjones.com.

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My Second Audiobook Is Now For Sale!!

Wealth & Abundance CoverLadies and Gents, please to regard the newest in a (hopeful) long line of audiobooks to come: Wealth & Abundance: Meditations For Prosperous Living, by Dr. Michael McCain.

It’s a book of Christian meditations on what qualifies as ‘enough’, and how to draw more of what you want into your life. I’m proud to be a part of this production, and I hope you enjoy it.

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My First Audiobook Is Now For Sale

Wrath of the Furies CoverLadies and Gents, I am *proud* to make the following announcement: my first full-length audiobook, Wrath of the Furies, by Robert Southworth, is now for sale. At present, it’s available on Audible.com, and will soon be available through iTunes and Amazon.com as well.

It’s historical fiction, set in Ancient Rome. Intrigue! Romance! A killer without remorse haunts the streets! Lives hang in the balance! There are over a dozen characters (male and female), each with their own voice and personality. I put a lot of work into this, and I hope you enjoy it.

You can listen to a sample below, which is also available on the link above! Spread the word!

 

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Bonus Story – The City In God’s Own Grasp

The ClutchIt was a conundrum, living in the shade of such a marvel. Imagine a hand, reaching out of the Earth itself– frozen, reaching for god knows what. Each knuckle a precipice, each finger a peninsula. The weather changed from one digit to the next. Continue reading

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Bonus Story – The Curious Fate of Jersey McNair

There’s more than one way to pour a man’s life into his work. Jersey McNair had the sour misfortune to learn this in the strangest way yet discovered… for such that attend to such things.

Continue reading

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‘Hannibal’s Next Dish: Shiizakana Tartare [Spoilers]

OmeletBryan Fuller’s masterpiece program is winding to the end of its second season. In terms of Kaiseki, Shiizakana​ can mean items added to the menu. It certainly applies. Spoilers follow. Continue reading

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Bad Times Loom For The Fantastic Four [Spoilers]

FF CoverThis newest series of the Fantastic Four opened with portents of bad times ahead for Marvel’s First Family. They were slammed last issue, and the cracks are starting to show. Spoilers below. Continue reading

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