A Salute to Rockaway

Hey, everyone. By way of a quick update, I’ve been busy hauling artwork to Far Rockaway for the Rockaway Artists Alliance’s A Salute to Rockaway exhibit. I’ve submitted six photos I was pretty proud of from my trips to Rockaway Beach and Fort Tilden. Pieces like Far Shore, Lagan, and POOPDICK. Again, that’s POOPDICK.

The reception will be on the 18th, from 12PM – 4PM. For anyone who would like to attend, here’s more information.

For anyone who would like to drop in for a more casual time while I’m there, I’ll be gallery sitting on the 25th from 2PM – 4PM.

Click here for directions, but keep the following details in mind if you’re using public transportation:

  • The Q35 doesn’t stop at Fort Tilden until it goes back to Brooklyn College / Flatbush Ave. So you’ll either have to take the Rockaway Park bound Q35, get out at the second stop after riding over the Gil Hodges Bridge, and walk West through Riis Park until you find the group of fenced in houses and fields that is Fort Tilden, or ride the 35 until the end of the line, wait for a 35 going back to Brooklyn College, and get off when it stops at Fort Tilden.
  • The last stop on the westbound Q22 is Fort Tilden. You can connect pretty easily to the Q22 from the Shuttle at Broad Channel (via the A train).
  • If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the MTA’s Queens Bus Map.
  • Once in Fort Tilden, there will be a directory pointing to “RAA Galleries” or something similar enough.
The Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) is a non-profit arts organization "comprised of individuals who view the arts as vital to the health of our community."

A Quick Update

I just thought I’d check in with you guys-I haven’t been the best blogger in the universe, I know. This is because my free time = Work, Tutoring, Writing, Editing, Character Design.

Regardless, the latter part of all of that means I’ll be posting new content sooner than later. And in the meantime, at least some new photographs? Eh? Eh?

The Hallucinations Will Not Come

It’s 7 PM and it’s at least 10 degrees hotter in the dining room than it is outside. The dining room, now full of the brain cell-eating tang of very, very strong markers and a cup long emptied of ice water.

Louis is ready to start hallucinating. He feels it’s the next step after the lightheadedness. But it does not come. Of course it doesn’t. Because hallucinating would be an escape.

He looks down at the picture he’s finished inking already-the one he’s attempting to color now, although you couldn’t tell from the fresh square of bleedproof paper beneath it. It’s not even a main character, that’s the thing. Louis will return to this and know that:

a) he cannot post it before posting a finished picture of Lethe, a picture that he hasn’t inked yet.

b) although this character is one of his favorites from the book (and his artist’s favorite overall), he’s still just a side character. A side side character even; he doesn’t make an appearance until around page 140.

c) tragically, although he’s completely ready for Tron, Louis cannot take another Tron: Legacy teaser break and be completely entertained.

And seeing this, Louis decides it’s time to give his world of distractions a little nudge, via text, like so:

“Dude. Will you be on tonight for gaming?”

and

“I know what I’m making for your Can You Smell What the Rock Is Cookin’? party.”

But these do not work. So he pops open Warm Grey #3, and sighs.

But then he looks down at Exelel. Exelel. His artist has done an awesome job and the inking is done. It’s done because Louis did it. And it’s not a hallucination-he’s certain.

But he leans in close to the inked cell anyway. When he’s satisfied that it’s really real, that he did it, he smiles.

Fantasy NYC: Lev Grossman signing at Borders at Columbus Circle

From the start, Lev Grossman, the author of The Magicians was disarmingly awkward.

Well, not from the start. He eased into it, if such a thing is even possible. But still, it was disarming. I’d spent the previous night absorbing the first 100 pages of Grossman’s first fantasy novel and feeling dwarfed by it’s prose. It was real, familiar, and bold, and it almost immediately made me think that I should’ve written something as sharp of wit. A look at his website didn’t improve matters;  it was a clean, grey slab of modern design, solidly professional. So I expected someone stark. Someone completely calculated.
And that’s not at all what I got. Clean cut and fashionable in his blazer / Justice League T-shirt combo, Grossman walked onto the stage and gave us a quick outline of the night that included a 30 second awkward pause after his reading.

It made me feel better. A lot better. This was my first venture in my initiative to hear as many fantasy authors speak as I could, and I hadn’t been excited to find a group of peers who weren’t peers at all. Instead I found someone I could talk to.

Even though, again, I was completely awkward when the chance arose.
“Awesome shirt. Where’d you get it?”

“Online.” I offered no more than that. Aside from an intimidated smile. This is the problem with meeting celebrities I actually admire; I’m sure I’d be comfortable talking to Tori Spelling for hours. Well… not really. But you understand. It was depressing.

But I still got a lot out of the night. If unintentionally, Lev Grossman’s talk about his struggles with his career after college, a major theme in The Magicians, was incredibly inspiring. I told him as much in one of the fleeting moments of lucidity I had when I was directly in front of him. It’s harder than people think, being a writer. Especially an aspiring one. You spend so much time on your own, working on a project that you know might fail, despite how incredibly confident you are about it. You miss events, cancel hanging out with friends, forfeit job opportunities. You watch those friends advance their careers just by going to work. And all the while, you convince yourself that it’s probably easier for other writers. Perhaps others graduated from Columbia, landed a job in publishing, and pumped out their first novels at the same time.

But then you find out that maybe they didn’t. It took Lev Grossman four years to get The Magicians published. And this was after trying to figure out what to do with a degree in Literature for a long time. He’s 35 now. I’m 28. Suddenly, getting published wasn’t something I was struggling to achieve. It became something I’m doing.

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians marries fantasy and reality in a way that shows us the absurd beauty and horror of both. If you haven’t read The Magicians, definitely do so. It will not disappoint, especially after the story repeatedly veers away from being what you expect.

110%

I thought I’d start the day with a Word Press blog. And man, what a day it’s been, sitting at the computer, cycling through page after page of 110% confusion.

It’ll take some time, but I’m going to get a site for my writing career up and running or my name isn’t Louis Santiago.

Which it isn’t, actually. But–I mean–well… I’m gonna do it!