Strength and conviction are major tenets ruling my body right now. Silent strength and conviction, just like June Lusparian. I’m borrowing all this from her, my heroine in RED AS BLUE.
The novel is coming along nicely. My editor Michael, just combed through the first pass. He is indeed a genius and I am ceaselessly flattered when he makes comments like, “Between us two geniuses, we can make it work.”
I’m working with a man that has surrendered entirely to nature. Everyday I work hard in the city earning my bread, and every day, he works hard on the farm—surrounded by 200 wild horses and eating fresh fruits that look like they dropped from classical oil paintings. Together, we make a great team: because I need his purity of being integrated in the magical forces of creative nature, and he needs me to afford to do what he loves most—to live and to write.
The magic that we both bring to this project alone makes me gratified to the extent that I have no concern of the book’s public acceptance. I will simply be happy that we created something that defies gravity and time.
My relationship to my editor is unusual because it’s one of an intimately connected nature. We end our letters with “Love.” To be honest, I end my letters with the actors with “Love” too. But that’s because I care about my actors. I don’t believe a lot of people have professional relationships where they end letters with Love.
As I write about this inspiring character whom by default is deemed a lost victim of society—I pull my own source of power from her. Writing about defeated characters give me strength because I have to create ways to help them overcome their obstacles, their inner and outer demons and their weaknesses. And when the character rises up, it’s a strange vicarious synergy—because it also elevates me.
It would be wrong for me to say that I bring inspiration to my characters. As they develop a life of their own—they bring inspiration to me. Writing is like bearing children. This cliché did not come from a vacuum but holds its origin from a literal process that writers go through. After you give birth to your character—they develop a life of their own—just like kids. As a writer, you have to eventually let go and let them grow up. The characters begin to write the story, and then they inspire you. They are no longer your creation. True you gave birth to them. But truly, you are only a tool. If a character that comes from the heavens has a message to say—it will stalk out the best avenue and it will use you—if you let it.
This is why the word “Genius” has a dual meaning—one of inspiration and one of a demonic nature. It is like letting a Genie out of the bottle. A writer who is unconscious will let themselves be possessed by demons. They do drugs, get drunk get high and write. They are passive vehicles—inspired by the life force of these demons. The inspiration they get from drugs and alcohol to write is not their own inspiration. Their real inspiration becomes a dependency on substance abuse and allowing their characters to take possession. Sometimes these characters are crazy and drive the writers crazy…literally to the point of self-destruction. A writer who is conscious of his mind and body decides what to invite into his writing. For me, giving birth to characters is a conscious choice. It is never an accident.
Michael understands my vision and this is rare. I consider it a blessing and miracle to come across anyone that gets what I’m trying to do. He’s a musician of the dark side and understands June Lusparian—who is also a musician from the dark side. He gets her completely, and he gets me. Much of the guesswork and legwork of explaining my message is eliminated. This makes room for immense creative flow.
On the artistic front, I am incredibly pleased with the artwork for this graphic novel. Sometimes I feel compelled to just divulge and share everything the artist sends me—but I have to refrain. There is one image however, that I adore, and it’s actually just one master shot. Sometimes less is more and in this case, I decided against having panel or sequential art done for this scene. It’s an image of June being introduced to a cruel mindless world where her friends do nothing but hunt and shoot birds all day in a desert. But June, feeling sorry for the birds, just can’t do it. She just stands there and cries.
Her tear speaks volumes. It doesn’t deserve or need words. When they say a picture is worth a thousand words, I would say it’s the same with just one tear. So it is one tear that I wanted coming down her face.
June’s character is drawn from many characters in my life. An Indigo Child, she was meant to change and rattle the world. But this change can’t happen until her environment breaks and makes minced meat out of her. This is the destiny of a hero. Most people in society don’t understand this. They think a hero is supposed to be strong. Often they do not question how strength is acquired. They figure that positive mental attitude and strength comes without strife or defeat.
But the true hero’s story is born out of mud—like a lotus flower—and only from there does strength exert effulgence with immaculate beauty.
I hope others will see this beauty in June, who exemplifies my own personal experiences, rough sketches of it as well as the friends I knew and loved. A little bit of my Armenian friend, Nare, who was too awake and fragile hence driven to depression, is in June and well as Nune. A little bit of my high school friend, Alisha is in her. Alisha was a teenage saint thirsty for love and couldn’t find it so she always had loads of boyfriends. But one thing she always depended on for salvation was poetry and it was what we both did: we shared poems together. Poetry saved our lives.
It was Alisha who lived in a town that was barren and lifeless like June’s. And it was Alisha who always felt like she was lost in a foreign land she tagged as “Egypt.” I took that Egypt theme and put it into NUNE and I also spread it out like wildfire in RED AS BLUE.
Alisha was a punker, sensitive and cared too much for others yet hated society vehemently. She was a dreamer, loved gypsies and wanted to run away with them. One thing that was cool about her was that she was aware that society was trying to break her. She was deeply intelligent, so much that she could have gone straight to college and skip high school. She shared my letters with her teachers, who were shocked that we both wrote letters with pen and paper. I once sent her a letter that was 120 pages. It baffled her.
When we’d talk, her favorite phrase was, “It ain’t law.” That’s why in RED AS BLUE, June is always saying “It ain’t law.” It’s my special homage to the people in my life that inspired me because of their brazen refusal to give in to needless conformity or to give up the precious thing that is theirs alone. And that is their individuality. That is one thing that law cannot and should never be allowed to touch.
“Above, a red-tail hawk elegantly commands the sky with wings sharp like a katana yielding to kill with patient strength. It has what June wants: freedom of confidence, boldness, and imagination. As the three gaze with chins raised in perfect awe, Garrett raises his rifle.”
– RED AS BLUE, the novel