Love, it don't come easy
What's the deal with all of these Happy Day moments? People are going to forget that I write about gloom, doom, and the living dead.
For many years, I've held fast to the idea that it is increasingly harder to make new friends as one gets older. The gave and take of true friendship, the willingness to have unguarded moments with people tends to go away, I always thought, once you you leave college and start putting on the trappings of adulthood. Then again, maybe I'm just a jerk, and always have been.
Flying in the face of my curmudgeonly beliefs is the fact that some of I've met some of my very closest friends just within the past couple years. Maybe it is because I have more opportunity to meet and spend time with writers and artists (i.e., freaks like me), or because I'm generally a more happy person than I was in previous career-incarnations, such as when I was a manager of various mall-based retail stores (shudder! Much love, clerks of the world! It will all be over in a few weeks!), but I've somehow been more able to make brandy-new friends recently. Plays well with others, that's me. But it is cool, because I really thought I was at an age where I couldn't make new friends anymore, in the same way I can never really enjoy a game of ghost in the graveyard or play in the sandbox with action figures (at least not with kids' my own age, anyhow).
Anyway, one of those friends is a guy by the name of Matthew Dow Smith, one of those scarily talented people who just seem to operate at a higher level of creativity than the rest of us. Matt makes his living as a comic book artist (Hellboy, X-Men, Supernatural), is a phenomenal writer, and can even play bass guitar. He's written for television and done artwork for computer games. He can probably lay a ceramic tile floor, bake better pies than your mom, and do reasonable forgeries of renaissance sculpture as well for all I know. I'm reasonably sure that he can't been his elbows backwards seventy degrees like I can though, so at least I've got that over him.
We met a few years ago at a writing workshop, a first for both of us, and basically were drawn together simply because we each liked the work the other submitted for the workshop. We ended up closing the hotel bar talking, and during our conversation we'd basically led very parallel lives, having grown up reading the same books, liking the same comic books, etc. We had such eerie points of similarity through our lives that I was almost afraid to shake his hand at the end of the night, in case we really were alternate universe doppelgangers whose touch would cause a cosmic cataclysm of universe-shattering proportions.
Luckily, we shook hands without incident, and we've been friends ever since, managing to get together at least a couple times a year for conferences and such even though there's many miles between us. And the workshop where we met ended up being, somewhat circuitously, the launch pad for my writing career, for first real "break" in the business. I can honestly say that might not have happened if I hadn't met Matt. At the very least, it wouldn't have happened in the same way if we hadn't connected like we did. The fact that we have remained friends makes the whole thing that much sweeter.
And sweeter still,today my friend Matt sent me one of the coolest Christmas gifts I've ever received, namely some of his original artwork!! The art features his character Fade, whose adventures began in the Negative Burn comic book and, God willing, will continue in the Fade prose novel that Matt is working on. It is a beautiful and touching gift, and I'm both proud and thrilled to have it.
Want to see it? Go to Matt's website HERE and check it out. That's the picture, right there on the homepage.
Someday, Matt and I hope to collaborate on a graphic novel together. We've got the ideas (crazy ideas! Mad ideas! But they just might work! )we just need that most elusive of commodities--time. Matt is busy drawing the upcoming Mirror's Edge comic for DC/Wildstorm and (God willing) working on the Fade novel, and I've been writing two new novels and editing a third.
Thanks, Matt! Merry Christmas to you, Claire and Sadie! Tell her that was a pretty sweet yeti she sent along for Star!