Month: December 2010

What will we make of the New Year?

The year 2011 is only a couple of days away.

Was it not just yesterday that my family and I were eating specially made snacks and watching the Times Square Ball drop on television to usher in 2010? Heck, it was only yesterday that we were all running around worried about Y2K.

So with the New Year this weekend my blog, like so many man others, must provide something to celebrate it. There’s an unwritten rule, (or it’s written on someone’s blog). Should I write an End of the Year Wrap Up, or the proverbial New Years Resolutions? Neither sound very enticing, but stick with me and lets see where this takes us.

What will the New Year bring? More importantly, what will we bring to the New Year?

That really is the question, isn’t it? What are we going to do to make the New Year better than the previous one?

A year ago I had written a novel as part of Nanowrimo. Once completed, I set it aside and wrote the first draft of a second, much better novel. Now, a year later, I am nearly finished with a fourth draft of the novel. In this next year, I WILL finish it, find an agent, and have the novel published. You’ll all buy it, right?

A year ago I was unemployed. I’ve been unemployed for several years. Today I am employed in a short term, part-time job that I thank God for every minute of the day. In the year to come I WILL BE employed in a full time job. My desire is to be working at one of the animation or television studios, preferably as a scriptwriter. Even if I cannot have that, IT MUST be in the Burbank/Glendale area. It must be there so I will be near my fiancée.

Three and half years ago we became engaged. I called her from Ireland to make it official. Now in this coming year, I WILL do everything possible so that we will be married. We will marry in the eyes of God, of family, and friends.

FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY will continue as we celebrate it’s tenth year as a webcomic. I will continue to write the REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST and find a conclusion.

I know not how any of this will be accomplished; with God’s guidance I intend to do everything possible to make them all happen.

Everyone is welcome to help.

Hey, a year ago I could barely manage to post my blog annually, now I have something up practically every week. I even have a regular following. Thank you all.

Have a blessed New Year, may it be everything you make it, and accomplish all you set your mind to.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and to all—Get out of my way!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL and to all—Get out of my way!

As wonderful a time of the year that Christmas is suppose to be, more often than not we hear people grumbling about not finding the right gift for the right people, or standing in line to buy the wind up monkey pocket vacuum because they couldn’t really find anything else. More likely they complain and curse about the parking lots around the shopping malls. “I only came for one thing, and spent an hour looking for a space to park.” So did everyone else, fella.

The other day a woman practically cursed out my mother who was only being nice to let her enter the store first. Thousands of people show up in shopping malls between Thanksgiving and Christmas that never go near those stores the rest of the year and we complain that they’re always in our way. Remember we’re a crowd to someone else.

As terrible as that all is I want you to think of something. Think of a young couple caught up in a crowd far worse then the one you were in today.

They had traveled a distance from their small town until they reached the city. Though the city is where the man’s family came from they may have been there before. The crowds have over flown the city having come from far and wide. To make matters worse none of his family wants to have anything to do with them. His aunt and uncle refuse to recognize them. His cousins would walk on the other side of the street when they approached.

Why was this?

Simple, they’re all offended by the fact that his young wife got knocked up before they were married. She claims the Holy Spirit visited her one night. So his family sees the girl as an adulterous (I chose not to use a stronger word) with a bastard son on the way. A ruin to the entire family.

Because of this none of his family will spare a room or roof for the young couple to spend the night while they’re in the city. They couldn’t even find a corner at the local pub. Someone finally took pity on the pregnant mother and let them spend the night out in the garage.

If it was today, imagine them in the back of the mall parking structure, stuck between SUVS in compact spaces. After all, the animals around them probably belonged to everyone who had traveled to the city for the census.

In the most crowded and dirty of cities a child is born.

So remember that on this Christmas Eve when you’re running out to find that last minute gift, for that aunt you forgot, and must fight the parking lot hordes rushing for the mall. Remember that Joseph and Mary struggled through far worse crowds in far dirtier environments and the gift they brought into the world is far greater than you can get at the mall or online.

On this eve of our savior’s birth, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

God Bless,

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

A Bat-Signal from out of my past

My job working on the Alumni Newsletter for the college I graduated from involves a lot of sitting at the computer and writing (Guess what I’m doing now.) Every so often I get to do a little something fun in researching the stories we may include. Recently I was giving the link to the college library’s archive. It includes photographs from through out the school’s nearly one hundred year history. The archive also provides every single issue of the student newspaper from when it began in 1923 as the Weekly Torch on to becoming The Hornet

Which includes the three years I worked on the paper.

Here’s a bit of trivia. When I attended the college they were just instigating a smoking ban in the student center and cafeteria. Today, they have declared the entire campus smoke free.

So I couldn’t help but to look at all the cartoons and illustrations that I drew for the paper, and the articles I wrote. One of my first editorial cartoons won an award for the school. Only wrote a few news stories, but did contribute multiple times to the Opinion, Entertainment, and Feature pages. I even got the opportunity to have a science fiction story published in the paper.

Not surprisingly I wrote about comic books on numerous occasions. In my memory the greatest of these was when I was given an entire page of the newspaper. The February 3rd issue was still a few months before the original Michael Keaton / Jack Nicholson BATMAN would reach the theaters. But I chose the time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Batman’s creation. (You can work out hold long ago that was, and how old I am, I don’t care.)

Along with talking about the history of the character, and providing a tone introduction in Batman’s own words, you’ll find some other interesting points. To the right of my fully painted image of the Dark Knight, you’ll find an article with a by-line that reads Michael Campbell. Young Mr. Campbell was always the fantasy version of myself that lived inside the DC Universe. What greater correspondent could a newspaper have? In the fictitious article, Michael gets to interview Commissioner James Gordon and meets his wheelchair bound daughter Barbara.

I had forgotten I had written another article for the page entitled: ROBIN: THE CONSPIRACY OF MURDER about the “Death in the Family” story line and how readers got to decide the fate of Jason Todd. I even quote Denny O’Neil: “It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back.”

Lastly in the bottom corner was the only advisement that helped pay for my Special page. Sadly Adventureland Comics has long gone out of business, but it was a great little store from which I bought my weekly haul of comics and just a few blocks from the college campus.

You can read the page at the Fullerton College Library Archive. Go to Page 6 of the issue.

I’m embarrassed by the mistakes I’m finding, yet am still quite happy proud with how it turned out all these years later. It’s good to remember where we came from to know where we’re at and where we’re headed.

To think that I am still writing about super heroes and comic books after all this time. Wonder what Michael Campbell is doing; I should probably look him up.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity.

Spellchecker can be your friend, but don’t let it be a crutch

I write the above, and this blog, not just to teach those who need to know, but to acknowledge I have made the mistake of relying too heavily on computer spellchecker programs many times.

If you can’t recognize your own faults and learn from them, how can you teach others?

That squiggly red line for spelling mistake, the squiggly green line for grammar, they show up regularly in my work, and I try my best to squash the squiggles. (Squash the Squiggles. Would that have made a better title?)

A great thank you goes out to all who have stuck with me and reading both my blog and my serial ‘Revenge of the Masked Ghost’ for the last several months. Not only because I’m really glad to know you like my work, but that you’ve put up with a ton of mistakes slipping through. (Look there goes a red squiggly now; I just typed ‘miskates’. Interesting sounding word, but wrong.)

Went back and reread my book review as well as the Megamind blog, and I’m embarrassed by how many mistakes were in both of them. Really surprised when a totally wrong word shows up. Spellchecker can’t help with those. Have no excuse for any of it other than to say I write each blog (including this one) rather quickly at the last minute. Shouldn’t do that, I know. I did correct the mistakes in those entries.

I didn’t get hired for a writing assignment recently because the client found spelling mistakes in the writing samples I submitted. He thought I had a lot of good ideas, but couldn’t sit over my shoulder and correct each mistake that came along. Of course, he’s right. Even though there would be an editor on the project it’s her job to fit it into the over all theme and format of the book, not fix each and every wrong spelling or misplaced comma. Those should have been take care of long before it gets to the editor’s desk.

Lesson learned. I’m trying very hard to correct every mistake I can possibly find, though I will invariably miss something.

Sometimes I think the spellchecker is wrong. Is the word ‘correct’ used correctly? Computer says it’s not.

I admit to having a problem with ‘sound-a-likes’ such as ‘then’ and ‘than’. I need to pay more attention to that.

Next lesson. After you’ve squashed the squiggles, print the darn paper out and read it.

Yes, we’re supposed to be a paperless society, but it’s not going to happen. Print it out and take a pencil to it. There’s something even better you can do to find mistakes, read it aloud. It’s embarrassing, sure, but find someplace you can be alone and read to hear your own words. You may even find that the words (even spelled correctly) aren’t the right ones after all. Hearing is far more powerful then sight when it comes to catching problems.

When I’m finished with this blog, I’m going to follow my own instruction and print it and read it aloud.

Lastly, there are people who see bloggers as the new journalists of our society, if so they should at least try to learn the proper style of newspaper and journalistic writing and that includes getting your words spelled right.

I may not go back and correct every mistake in all the blogs I’ve written, but do intend on proofing again each of the chapters of the serial.

Again, thank you for putting up with my bad spelling, because without fixing that I can’t truly say…

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden

Four Names of Professional Creativity

Anxieties, we all have them I know, but…

As I write this, my father is heading to the doctor’s office, five days ahead of his appointment. He’s okay, but has had an odd rhythm to his heart beat for the last couple of weeks. He had a pace maker for several years now and maybe it just needs some adjustment. His regular doc said to see the heart specialist a little sooner just to be certain.

I mention that in starting this blog out of concern for my father. He has supported his son for so many years, far more than what should be expected of him. I love him and the rest of my family very much.

I’m at the point of my life that I should be taking care of my parents, be married and have a family of my own.

But that’s not how things are.

Am not blaming this ‘economic down turn’ or recession, or whatever you call it, for the situation I’m in. I’ve been here a whole lot longer then that. Certainly cannot comparing myself to so many people out there who are suffering far worse.

But I feel guilty not being a better support to my family, or to my fiancée. A fiancée who has been so patient with me, that if it wasn’t for my financial situation I would have married her years ago. Should be at her side constantly, but I’m not and that makes me feel terrible.

I am blessed with the current job I have, but it’s only two days a week and will end in February. I don’t know what I am going to do next.

Also, don’t know what else I can do to find a job that I’m not already doing.

I’d prefer a job at one of the studios, especially in animation, but it doesn’t have to be; “I’ll bring my own broom.” A long-term job does need to be in the Burbank/Glendale area so I can be near my fiancée and she can keep her job once we’re married. Suggestions?

Don’t mean to run down this path again and complain to you all about my problems, I’m just in the mood to write this out as I wait for my dad to get back home with a report from the doc.

You know, as bad as yesterday’s headache was (I see people are regularly reading the blog about my killer headaches), it’s really nothing compared to worrying if your parent’s heart is going to stop.

My dad just got home. The doctor was able to explain to him what the odd rhythm is, and that the pace maker has recorded a whole lot more of them. He also explained why my dad has been feeling them more often recently.

It turns out not to be anything to really be concerned about, thank God. So with the answers provided the anxiety is gone.

But that doesn’t stop me from worrying about him and the rest of my family and praying that I can do more for them.

Thank you Lord.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

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