Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Everyone has to start somewhere. I began my first blog (Old School Heretic) after I re-read this particular line from Andre Breton; "The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood." Fairly innocuous stuff. For most people. But not for me. I sat back and asked myself what was the best part of my childhood. And I sat. Quietly. For a long time.

I couldn't answer the question. Not easily. Not clearly. Not without stirring up a lot of unpleasantness.

So, like Tyr placing his hand in the wolf's mouth, I stirred things up and went in search of an answer. I dug up all my old artwork that had been packed away, the stuff I had drawn as a kid back when I drew things nearly every waking hour. A lot of it has been lost. Thankfully. But a good bit of it survived. So I sorted it all into piles. One of the larger stacks was stuff I had done in Junior High. The Seventies. I had my first winter without pneumonia back then. One whole winter without getting deathly ill. That was a big thing for me then. Still is, really. I was fortunate to have an incredible teacher take an interest in what I was doing. Mr. Schroeder had me show him all my sketches and doodles. He examined them like they might be hieroglyphs or somehow worth something--my family were fairly outspoken that I was wasting my time. Schroeder did not think that I was wasting my time. He took me to the back of the classroom, showed me the basics of how to use pen & ink, markers, watercolors. That was the high-point of my existence. The happiest time of my life. That would definitely be 'the best part of childhood,' as far as I'm concerned.

I was raised in my grandparent's house, with a folding vinyl door, listening to my grandfather's nightmares every night. I spent nearly every winter confined to my bed with raging fever, fighting to breathe, drenched in sweat, hacking up blood, my lungs increasingly scarred from pneumonia. My heart stopped more than once. They were sure that they had lost me a few times. I still wake-up expecting to be packed in ice or to feel those cold, steel paddles on my chest. There is a good bit of other stuff I used to try very hard to forget or to bury...but you have to take the bad with the good. What happened, happened and I survived. Abuse ends. Eventually. After a fashion. The hateful, hurtful words echo on. And on. But in time it fades, sort of. Becomes less important. Less defining. You never get past it, but you do outlive it, and in my case you get to prove them wrong and go on to live a good life, on my own terms.

I grew up surrounded with other people's regrets and nightmares, on the edge of a swamp, in the clutches of a perpetually bickering old couple who could never fully decide whether they were resigned to having my brother and I around or resentful of our presence. It wasn't like we had too many options. We both tried to run away...but there simply wasn't anywhere to go, and no way to get there. A pointless exercise in futility. So I withdrew into my comics, books and drawing.

Growing up the way I did, my rebellious streak was essential to my personal survival. Being sick so often, getting stuck in my room, sometimes pinned-down in my bed...I began to look upon my time cooped-up in my room as a form of incarceration. I just could never figure out what crime I might have committed to merit the punishment. But it wasn't all bad. I read a lot. Books, books, books...and comic books as well. I was able to scrounge and accumulate quite a collection of dog-eared, ripped or cover-less old comics, often by the grocery bag or box full during the summers when we went to farm auctions. A lot of old farmers really liked comics. I was also able to pick-up all manner of books from the thrift shops when we went into town. We didn't have much. Money was always tight. I did get a small allowance, so I learned early-on how to scrimp and save and wait or do without. Or make it up myself. Maybe it was all those pages and panels of gonzo cosmic art drawn by Jack Kirby that I read while going through a bout of fever, but I started to make up my own stories, drew my own characters, built my own worlds...

My first piece of art sold over summer vacation. I received a check. It wasn't much, but it meant the world to me. My grandparents had to take me to the bank to cash it. I had made money with my scribbling. That changed things. Made it 'real' somehow. The negativity never went away, but they were less sure of themselves. I was also getting taller. Stronger. I didn't get quite as sick, nor as often, any more. They were getting older. The beatings stopped. I finally had my first winter without pneumonia. That was also the year I discovered Tolkein, Moorcock, Zelazny, Heavy Metal (Metal Hurlant), and Dungeons and Dragons...all within a few months of each other.

Old School Heretic arose from some twisted, ugly roots as a way to re-examine and reclaim the good stuff from out of the muck and mire of memory and circumstance. Hereticwerks grew out of that process. For the last couple of years I've systematically mined all of those old drawings, notes, maps and other stuff--the debris of all those years ago. I've re-acquainted myself with it, revised it, reworked it, reclaimed it. I've come to terms with these fragments and figments from out of my past. It hasn't always been so easy, but it has been liberating, and well worth the effort. But I'm done with 'what was,' and 'what might have been,' for now. I'm much more interested in what new things I can come up with from here on out. Moving forward. A fresh start. A new beginning.

I find it slightly funny that here I am writing this, and I'm sick again. I've missed Bujilli, but it couldn't be helped. My health took a nose-dive just after the holidays, but I am getting better. I won't bore you with my revised dietary scheme, nor my renewed exercise schedule, or any of that crap. Suffice it to say I'm back to drawing more regularly. Writing daily. Getting things done. Next week or next month, whenever it works out, Bujilli will return, and so will I.

New stuff.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lithus Will Continue

Lithus Sector will continue, most likely it will resume next week, barring any further complications and/or health issues.