The Next Thing Part 4: The Announcement

Lord Esmaya and her dark minions.

Lord Esmaya and her dark minions.

So, you know from Part 1 of this series that I’ve been dying to start a new creative project, but haven’t wanted to start anything new that would take me away from my daughter at this juncture in her life. Probably you can all see where this is going, but if you don’t, I’d love to help you out with an official announcement:

I’m helping my daughter start her own game company.

Is that cool or what? Well, we certainly think it is. And we’re betting that its going to be loads of fun. I mean, even the basic tasks of prototyping, product testing, and refining are made up of playing games.

How many games will she publish? How far will it go? Will she make any money? Will she keep it and grow it, or sell out to a larger company? I have NO idea, but we’re going to run with it, at least for a little while. At least for three or four games. Two will launch together out the gate. A third will follow almost immediately on its heels. There’s a fourth that we’d like to follow with, but there’s plenty of art that needs to be created for that one, so it might take a bit of production time. The fifth we have in development is our favorite, but it will require a lot of art. Oh, so much art. And with mostly just me working on the art in my free time… well… let’s just hope Game Four is ready by the 4th quarter of 2014. I’d be sweating the timeline for sure if it wasn’t for the resurrection of the Modbook this past fall. If I can swing things enough to get hold of one this year, perhaps I can speed things along. If all else fails, we have friends in dark places whom we can always call on. :)

Stick with us, because I’m planning to blog, and let’s be honest, its been almost a decade and a half since I’ve professionally ventured into gaming. We’ll be looking for help from those of you who have knowledge of the creative space in general and especially those in the gaming space who have gone before.

Thanks!

Kathryn Kalisz, Sci\ART Global, llc.: Settling a Matter (I Hope)

To my readers,

The following post is not part of my normal writings, and I feel that most of you will find it quite boring and not worth your time. This is more of a legal document that I am posting to deal with inquiries relating to copyrighted images and files that for some reason, I keep getting roped into, even though I have had nothing to do with it since before the client’s death.

Please feel free to skip the rest of this article.

Sci/ART Illustrations and Copyrights

While I was freelancing, primarily from 2000 to 2006, there were a number of common practices that I followed when dealing with clients and handling artwork created for them. Of these is the practice of maintaining digital backups of everything I’ve done (and oddly, I still receive the occasional request from these clients to resend ‘lost’ artwork, even though I haven’t freelanced in over 5 years). I also follow the standard format for rights ownership, which means that I retain all rights, domestic and international, to any piece of art I have created, except for the purpose for which I created the art, unless I specifically relinquished those rights in our contract. What this means is that, if I created a book cover, the client could use that art as a book cover, and that’s pretty much it. If they try to resell the artwork, turn it into a poster and sell it, make campaign buttons and give it away, or whatever, it would be illegal for them to do so. Most of you who are artists likely understand the way this works, but if you don’t, there’s a general explanation of the whole shebang in the book, Six Figure Freelancing by Kelly James-Enger.

From about 2001 thru 2009, I did a large body of work for my mother-in-law, Kathryn (Kitty) Kalisz. During those years, I worked on illustrations for her book, Understanding Your Color, A Guide to Personal Color Analysis, on every version of her company’s website, on advertising materials, and on the original designs for one of her products, the Personal Books of Color (very nice, high-quality personal swatch books). While doing this work for her, I treated my work as I would with any other freelance client, which means that I have all of these files backed up and that I retain the copyright to all of these items for use in any way other than that for which they were initially commissioned.

Since then, I have been ignoring a very vocal critic who has accused me of everything from sabotage to fraud to sales of copyrighted materials. Generally, I would just ignore such claims (since they are all false) and in fact, I’ve tried SO VERY HARD to stay completely out of this industry, but this person has been at it so long, that her very claims keep dragging me back into it. The real problem is that she claims I’ve sold Kitty’s files, especially her book and swatch book designs, to one of this person’s competitors in Australia. Mostly she does this on her Facebook page, and I really couldn’t care less what she says there, except every time she starts, I find out about it from a number of sources.

I’m not entirely certain of her intent other than perhaps to besmirch my reputation, but the odd side effect of this is that some people who read these claims have believed her, and have been seeking to have me sell them the files, since they’ve been led to believe I’ve done so already, once. This does lead me to wonder if every time she goes on a rampage if perhaps she also sends a boat load of her potential clients to go and look for her competitors website and products as well? Anyway, even though I would never do such a thing (even though I believe I certainly would be completely within my rights to), it has become quite apparent that my silence has only helped her to damage my reputation in the eyes of at least some, and I’d like to set the matter straight; her latest verbal tirade and the ensuing influx of email over the matter prompting me to finally take the time to write this post. Otherwise, I would be blissfully ignorant of all goings-on in the world of Personal Color Analysis.

So, let’s hit these images one at a time, and I will direct any future inquiries into the matter to this post.

Swatchbooks

Please, once and for all, understand this:

I have not, nor will I ever, sell or give away the files to Kathryn’s Personal Books of Color to anyone. If you want to compete in this space, do what others have already done and figure it out yourselves. I know it can be done as it has already been done several times. In fact, the first set of fully color-accurate swatchbooks was produced the first year Sci\ART was in business by (we suspect) one of Kitty’s students from South America with only two days of training.

Furthermore, I only have the original files, which worked on a printer that isn’t made anymore, and using printer settings that I simply don’t have. My copies of these files would be practically worthless to you. Also, Kitty had them modified over the course of at least 5 years by at least 3 interns. Whatever I have is just version 1 of a system that she improved upon over the course of half a decade.

Website Designs

I honestly have no idea why anyone might want website art for someone else’s company, but again, I won’t sell or give these away. These were made to represent Kitty’s business, and I feel they should stay this way.

Book: Text Files

While I do have backup copies of the text files for the original book edition (the book was created in MS Word, and I had inserted some of the illustrations directly), these are not mine to sell. They are copyright Kathryn Kalisz, and someday, after the estate finally settles, these files and ownership of the book should belong to her daughters.

Book: Cover and Interior Illustrations

Understanding Your Color: A Guide to Personal Color Analysis

Understanding Your Color: A Guide to Personal Color Analysis

While I truly believe that Kitty would have followed the lead of those she admired, Albert Munsell, Johannes Itten, Walter Sargent, and others, and made these illustrations and diagrams available for everyone. In this day and age, this would be called Creative Commons, and while I had considered making these images available in that manner, I have decided against it. The reasons for these are many, but generally relate to the book itself. Half of the interior illustrations I did for Kitty are so common that variations can be found elsewhere or recreated cheaply by any half-decent artist with a copy of Photoshop or Illustrator within an hour, if not in mere minutes. In fact, the concepts for a number of these images were simple re-envisionings of illustrations that already exist (color wheels, color pyramids, electromagnetic spectrum, etc.). However, the ones I created for Kitty’s book all have a common look and theme to them, and I think it would do the book a great disservice if the images in the book become overused or common, rendering it nothing more than clip art in the book itself.

Other illustrations, such as the seasonal wheels, I believe were completely Kitty’s concepts, and I feel should live only in her book. If you wish to present any of the artistic concepts discussed in the book to others, please create your own takes on these diagrams rather than using the ones I created for Kitty.

Finally, the covers for both the Analyst and the Client editions, really don’t belong anywhere other than the cover of this book.

What this means: the illustrations in the book may not be used by ANYONE, for any purpose, including, but not limited to: classes, courses, ebooks, articles, posters, handbills, or ‘for sale’ products of any kind. The only place these may be used is in Kitty’s book, Understanding Your Color, A Guide to Personal Color Analysis, and only in the version originally published by Kitty, currently sitting in the Library of Congress, ISBN #s 0977633411 and 9780977633418. In exception, the cover may be used as a representation of the book itself, for instance, as a product shot for sales or reviews of the publication.

If the book is revised, ALL THREE of Kathryn’s daughters must agree to the revisions, otherwise all interior illustrations that I created and the cover must be omitted from the revised publication.

At some point in the future, I will put thumbnails of the illustrations I am referring to on this post for easy reference.

PLEASE NOTE: I am already tired of talking about this as it has been going on for over two years. I have no wish to discuss it further. Comments on this post will be closed from the outset. If anyone has any reason to talk to me about ANY of this, send me an email that I can forward to my lawyer and he and your lawyer can discuss it on your dime.

The Next Thing Part 3: Its All Just Fun-n-Games

My collection of dice from way-back-when

My collection of dice from way-back-when

My first job as an artist was as an animator was for Funnybone Interactive in 1997. There we made children’s edutainment software. We created lots of digital games based on popular kids properties such as Barbie, Fisher-Price, Jump Start, Blaster as well as many others. So, right away gaming became part of my design repertoire.

In September of 2009, Mashable ran an article discussing On Demand production services. One of those services is The Game Crafter, a company that allows would-be game creators the ability to upload artwork and specs into their system which handles everything involved in game production and sales by taking orders, creating and shipping your physical board or card games on demand, and sending you your profits. I thought, “What a cool idea”, and filed the idea away for some possible future use.

Around the start of 2011, my daughter and I both stayed home sick from work and school. No mind that Dad was sick; in her then 10 year old mind, if Dad is home, it must be a play day. Being tired and miserable, yet wanting to help out my wife, who was now stuck with two patients, I suggested something easy, like working on a board game that she had started earlier in the week. Six hours, several cups of tea, a couple bowls of soup, a handful of cough drops, and many of my art supplies later, we had a working prototype for her idea.

I can’t say it was the funnest game in the world, and after several playings, we had identified a number of areas that needed adjustment and refining, but it helped make the most of a sick day. The core idea of the game itself I felt would be really hard to pitch successfully, but still, what really surprised me was all of the game mechanics she had worked thru with me to make it work. I mean, the game played. It had flow and purpose. Most of this had come from her; I had just helped with some of the rough spots. At dinner, when she mentioned that she wished she could make it ‘real’, I told her that if we could finish ‘fixing’ it, we could probably make real artwork for the game and send it in to the Game Crafter and they would build it for us.

Now, I had in mind that we could build something and just do a one-off; a physical artifact representing to us a father-daughter project. Still, even that would require a lot of work from me on the art front, and 10 year old girls are easily swayed from one thing to the next. So I let it go even though she was really excited when I first mentioned it, figuring that if she was serious, she would persist. And persist, she did. We kept talking about it, and then talking about other game ideas. We’ve worked through basic game concepts in our conversations, and have refined a number of them. We have 5 ideas in the hopper. Some are already in the prototype stage, and others are still just notes in a Moleskine I have that’s dedicated just to our game idea.

Its a fun time to be a dad and a creative entrepreneur.

The Next Thing Part 2: A Gamer is Born

Game Collection and Foam Squares

Game Collection and Foam Squares

My daughter has been making games for as long as I can remember. While I think most kids at one point or another have made up a ‘game’ or two that they then force their parents to play with them, my daugher has done so many, many times. It probably didn’t help that she found my dice collection when she was very young, so she was always asking to borrow a couple for some new game she was designing. Still, I think the first time I really took note that this might be something other than the norm, was the day she recreated Candy Land using the house hallways, rooms, and interlocking foam squares as a life-size game board.

As soon as she had learned to speak, I began playing games with her. One of the earliest games I played with her was a very simplified game of Uno. We also had a number of classis, such as Candy Land, Monopoly Junior and Othello. Then, of course, there’s always the standby card games, Old Maid, War, Go Fish and the like. By the time she headed off for Kindergarten she had long been kicking my butt at normal Uno. By 3rd grade she was easily a match for me at Cribbage. I could go on, but I’m hoping you get my point. Games, especially casual games, are something that we play a lot of, and that she’s pretty good at.

While I haven’t brought any longer-format gaming systems into the home, such as role playing or extended card games, such as Pokemon, I’ve certainly continued to bring in more games overall. From card deck versions of games such as Sorry, Monopoly and Life, to more board games (Blokus and Yahtzee come to mind), we continue to expand the collection. Dominos, dice, whatever, we’ve played a lot. And as she has gotten older and the games we play have gotten more sophisticated, so have the games she has designed. Still, she was always MacGyvering the pieces from paper, cardboard, or pieces from other games we owned.

Why am I telling you this? Give me another week, and I’ll get to the point. I’m excited, she’s excited, and I hope you will be, too.

Joe Kubert, pioneering comics artist and mentor: Sept 18, 1926 – Aug 12, 2012

The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art

A quick sketch I drew of the front entrance while attending the Kubert School in 1992.

I am, and always will be at least in some part, a Kubie. Of all of the schools I have spent time in, I’ve only ever called myself a Kubie. There are far more of us than I think the world suspects. I run into them all the time, and its a certain sort of kinship born of the experience of drafty, wooden-floored classrooms, very small computer labs, and the stories, oh so many stories, of studying under some of the most talented names in comics and finding out just how human these people were. Judy Mates, Barry Bryant, Tex Blaisdell, Kevin O’Hara, Greg Webb, Doug Compton, C.J., Mike Chen and the many others I know I’ve missed, my thanks to you all. You were tough. Sometimes overly so. Still, I learned all I could from all of you and am better for it.

Mostly, thank you, Joe, for bringing such talent together to teach me, giving me a place to learn what I wanted to know and to explore my art with teachers and fellow students who were as excited as I was with the art and creation of comics. You started this all in an era when being a comic artist was looked down upon by the art world at large; when the work you created was considered immature by the world in general. Back before the X-Men were cool, back before comics were sold in mainstream book stores and made into blockbuster movie hits, back when comics were so ashamed of the name ‘comics’ that they called themselves ‘Graphic Novels’ to try and avoid the stigma, you saw that there were those of us who loved the art and built a place where we could find each other and learn.

Your work and effort has not only touched millions in the comics pages you created, but lives on every single day as the students who passed thru your school work, create, and share their art with those around them. Thank you for going the extra mile and giving us a place to call our own.

The Next Thing Part 1: A Fresh Start

Around the bendFor anyone who’s been keeping score, its been almost two and a half years since life around here got so heavy that I dropped almost completely from the web-o-sphere, and a year and a half since I wrote my blog post saying that it might be some time longer before I could start anything new.

Since then, I’ve knowingly taken note of other online presences who have disappeared from time to time due to family responsibilities. A couple of web cartoonists in particular disappeared for quite a while after their first children were born and I can only picture the slow realization they must have had (as I did nearly 12 years ago) of exactly how much your life changes after becoming a parent. Free time? What’s that?

When I was single, I had all the time in the world to accomplish just about anything I wanted. Even after I was married, I still seemed to have quite a bit of time at my disposal. Once my daughter was born, tho, it became almost impossible to find time for personal projects. Interestingly, tho, I didn’t recognize it at first. See, within two weeks of Esmaya being born, the company I was working for went under, and I had to start freelancing, so for the next 5 and a half years, it always SEEMED like I was working on this enormous personal project; I was building my business.

Once I took my current job at ESPN, however, I realized that I had no time to support my freelance clients. Even cutting back didn’t seem to help much. In fact, even just one client can feel like a terrible burden a lot of the time. And the reason is that, any work outside of my day job keeps me away from being a father and husband, which is already the minority of my day, and unless I REALLY want to do the project, it just never feels worth it.

Just to take a moment and put things in perspective. Its not like I don’t have opportunities. In fact, I’m in the enviable position to be working for a company that would pay for my continuing education. And I could probably nail down my next degree on the company dime attending school at night. After much soul searching about this, however, I made the decision to hold off, at least for a couple of years. My daughter is almost 12. Within the next couple of years, she’ll be starting high school, spending less time at home with family and more time out with friends. All sorts of stuff is coming up, and there will be boys, too, no doubt. The last thing I want is to be holed up in my office every night for the next few years after work trying to pass classes while she deals with life.

And this applies not just to clients or college courses, but to personal projects as well. Start a comic? I MIGHT be able to put out a 24 page issue every year. A podcast? Ack! I did that for a few years, and one thing I learned from it is that getting out even just one episode a month is enough work to keep you from starting ANY side projects if you’re already holding down a day job. Blogs are similar. So, what then? It would have to be something with my family, or at least with my daughter.

And wouldn’t you know it? Something has come up. A very interesting opportunity full of possibility for creative growth on my end, father/dauther time for sure, and possibly, just possibly, fun for everyone else as well. I’ll tell you more in a few weeks, so stay tuned. I’ve got a fresh start and am already underway with the Next Thing. Best of all, it fits in perfectly with the whole Creative Independence mindset. I’ll catch you in a week.

Side note: A few months ago I heard an artist I really like talking about getting a studio outside his home while his kid is still young enough not to care. He’d move the studio back into the house once schooling starts and his son is old enough to appreciate having dad at home. I don’t want to call him wrong, because I don’t rightly know if he is or not. But it stuck in my mind, because I did just the opposite.

Having worked from home the first 5 years and then going outside of the house only after school started, let me give you my take. For five years, I got to watch my daughter grow up in a manner than most fathers don’t. I got to be the one she came home to after running around with mom on shopping days. I got to eat lunch with my wife and child almost daily. I got to take a break at 2:30 or 3:00 on hot days and jump in the pool with her (mom’s not a fan of swimming pools) or go outside after it stopped snowing and build snow men and forts. We became really close. To this day, she still talks about those days with an incredible fondness and tells me often that she misses them. I didn’t do the other thing. I don’t have stats or studies. All I know is that, for me, it was worth the struggle to keep working from home for that part of her life and I’d recommend the effort to anyone who wants to give it a try.

Oops…

So, haven’t been here or there much lately, and decided it was time to do a bit of cleaning, fixing, etc. In the process of updating the templates, I wiped out the images that used to adorn this site and the main CI site… so, enjoy the flowers, mountains or whatever happens to pop up here while I work on coming up with new art. :P

The Faintest Ink…

Have you ever heard a story about how some great invention, technological breakthrough or business started out on the back of a cocktail napkin? There are a bunch of them. Try searching the net for “Famous Napkin Sketches” and see what pops up. You know why it started out on the back of a napkin? The romantic storyteller will tell you that its because inspiration can strike anytime, and the napkin was the only thing available. However, the real reason is because they had a great idea that they didn’t want to lose and they didn’t have a sketchbook or notebook handy.

Its true. If they’d had a sketchbook or notebook, they would have written the idea down in it and it would have been safe in amongst all other other great ideas that came before and would come after. No wondering how to file it. No accidentally tossing it later. And more importantly, its easier to find, because it will be where you ALWAYS put your ideas. Ever lost an idea because you couldn’t find a notebook (or napkin)? I have. Its a bummer.

If you haven’t tried keeping a notebook with you constantly, I recommend it. Try it for a couple of weeks and see what happens.

Some folks use their iPads or iPhone for this purpose. I think those can work OK, and if you find they work great for you, go for it. I use my iPhone at least for lists and written notes, but personally, nothing helps me capture ideas and designs better than a pencil and paper.

I tend to do a lot of sketching in my notes, so I prefer blank-page notebooks. For work, I am currently using a spiral-bound 5.5in x 12in sketchpad (to the right). It folds all the way around and lays flat, so it sits unobtrusively on any conference table. And it goes with me to all of my meetings. I also have found that I like smaller moleskin sketchbooks for personal projects.

If you prefer writing, and unlike me, actually care if your lines are straight, you can always go with a simple composition notebook, journal or something similar.

If you like both (or can’t decide), I have a colleague that uses a notebook that has dots laid out in a grid on the pages. Then, he can use them to line up writing, or ignore them and draw. Another colleague of mine has a journal that has blank pages on one site, and ruled lines on the other.

Whichever style you like, give it a shot. Make it compact enough for you to have with you wherever you go, but large enough to actually be useful. Because remember, as the old chinese proverb goes, “The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory”, and you’re not guaranteed to find a napkin.

Yes, if…

An idea I came across recently in the book The Imagineering Workout comes from Martin Sklar, the Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Exec at WD Imagineering.

He brought out that Buzz Price began a practice when answering questions and reporting findings to Walt himself, and that was to start with “Yes, if…” rather than No, because…”

“No, because…” is a deal breaker. It says “there’s a brick wall that we can’t go thru, over, under or around.” Move along, there’s nothing to see here. This idea is DOA, and if it is to survive, then it must be resuscitated by someone with greater vision and/or authority. “No, because…” is negative in perspective, boxing in ideas before they’ve had a chance to run free to see what other places they may lead us. An idea that isn’t free to run cannot lead us to other ideas that we haven’t considered yet. “No, because…” feels to your team like an idea has been rejected.

“Yes, if…” is the language of possibility. It doesn’t promise the world, but it does do a good job of laying out the landscape and highlighting the obstacles that must be overcome in order to achieve the desired outcome. Once the “if…” is laid out, the entire team has the ability to visualize the challenges and begin to formulate solutions to defeat them. Costs can be calculated, risks can be assessed, and THEN decisions can be made. “Yes, if…” can lead to new avenues of thought that can not only help you reach that goal, but completely redefine and improve the entire project. I’ve personally seen a number of cases where “yes, if…” has not only lead to a good solution to the current project, but the solution has in turn benefited other projects simply because the answer improved upon a product, service or process that these other systems depend on.

And the fact is, the more creative your team is, the more they will thrive on answers that start with “yes, if…”

“Yes, if…” won’t guarantee that an action is taken or that a goal is planned, but an idea is more likely to be fully explored than if it had been delivered with a “no, because…”.

The Imagineering Workout can be found here.

This is NOT an affiliate link, because I live in the state of CT, who have made the very questionable move to charge full sales tax on all affiliate programs, and so Amazon and a whole slew of other online businesses have pulled their affiliate programs from this state.

Me and Mine

Me and Mine

I’m a 40 year old married father with a number of interests and hobbies and a bad habit of starting little side projects whether I have time for them or not. When push comes to shove however, spending time with my family and making sure they are taken care of is my number one concern. This responsibility is at the core of many decisions I’ve made thru the years and will continue to be for some time. I call this taking care of Me and Mine. While these decisions are usually straight forward, they are not always the best news for me, personally.

For instance, I can sit here and tell you that drawing every day is the key to continually getting better, yet my current job isn’t a ‘draw every day’ kind of job, and I’ve made the choice to give over my evenings to story time and other family activities.

I can tell you that it takes time, energy and focus to start a new venture, but any working parent will tell you that those qualities are not always the easiest to come by, especially in your off hours, and especially when it feels like everything is falling apart.

I can tell you that writing in your blog, updating your online profiles, and participating in your online communities is a great way to keep yourself top of mind to potential clients or employers, but finding the time to do that means that you are giving up something else. Ultimately, you have to decide how important all of that is to you.

For me, I work on it when I can, but ultimately it takes a back seat to taking care of Me and Mine.

A Year of Recovery

After the violent loss of her mother last year, my wife was understandably distraught, and even then had to contend with her concern over the health and well being of her youngest sister. She continued to ‘run’ her business, but her mind wasn’t in it and her heart followed closely behind. She simply needed more time for herself. Time to think. Time to pray. Time to cry. Time to take care of things that needed taking care of. This meant she needed more of my time as I’ve been doing more around the house and spending more time with our daughter so that mom could have a few more hours not being ‘mom’, because, let’s face it, mom’s don’t think about non-mom stuff very well when they are being mom.

We were living in my mother-in-law’s house, but the bank still owned the lion’s share of the mortgage, and we didn’t want to buy it, so we began planning our exit strategy. This meant many hours of my time over the summer looking for a new home, then once one was found, still more time from all of us in packing and then moving. Also, since this was her mother’s house, there was more work to do after we’d moved out than normal. I think we’re basically done over there for now. We’re still in the process of unpacking and settling in, though much of it is complete. We just finished setting my wife’s office up last weekend. The bathroom is next, and the living room is after that, maybe in March. Painting, staining, etc. There go the weekends.

Our new home is also 20 minutes farther from my work, so I’m losing an additional 40 minutes a day in commute time. On the one hand, that’s kind of laughable, since I was only 10-15 minutes away to begin with, and my 35 minute commute will seem miniscule to many road warriors. On the other hand, 40 additional lost minutes a day (and who wouldn’t hear the term ‘40 minutes’ and not think ‘an hour?) still adds up to more than 3 hours per week I’ve lost from my schedule. I try to make the best of that time, either in quiet contemplation when needed, or by listening to podcasts or Bible literature on my iPod, but still, its less time in my day for ‘doing’.

Water From a Stone…

Mostly I’m bringing this up, because those hours had to come from somewhere, and those of you who know me online might wonder where I’ve gone.

First I disappeared from my blog. Sure, I got a couple posts out, but let’s face it, you haven’t really heard from me in more than half a year other than a random post or two of some art I’ve done. Next I disappeared from our podcast. Bob did a stupendous job, but he carried the last several episodes without me. Finally, I pretty much disappeared from the social net as a whole. I’m not on Twitter, Facebook or even our Linked In group much these days. I keep thinking “I need to get to this”, but I haven’t really had time. In fact, I don’t even check my email every day anymore.

The only ‘personal’ activities I kept were running and reading. Everything else went out the window. I haven’t even found the time to go see Tron, and I’ve been looking forward to that for over a year. The bottom line is that as much as I enjoy these things, none of them stack up to Me and Mine.

Priorities vs. Goals

January is just coming to a close, and like you, I’ve heard a lot lately about New Year’s resolutions, setting goals and the like. I’ve also heard very little about considering priority. I’ve had lots of goals in my life. Some have gone away permanently. Some have been backburnered. Some have evolved along the way. Some still live at the forefront guiding daily decisions. However, no goal continues that doesn’t serve a priority, and for the past year, the only priorities I’ve had have been Me and Mine.

Looking Ahead

My family is my core, and I’m trying to stay healthy to take care of them. Me and Mine. These are my priorities. They are part of the foundation of my strength and what I strive to protect at every turn. The rest of this is all external. A home. A job. Business contacts. Recreation. Its outside of me. Its often fun. Much of it is useful. Some of it is even powerful. Its not core, though. They serve us, but they are not Me and Mine.

Things will likely turn around. In fact, its been said that the first year after a loss is the hardest as you work thru numerous annual events for the first time without you lost loved one. We’ve done them all at least once now, and I already see an easing in. This new home is cozier than the last one by far and carries far fewer memories and a potential for creating many new ones.

As time opens up, I will again decide where to put any extra time I may find. It may be back into this blog. It may be back into the podcast (there are several interviews I would still love to do). It may be back into something entirely new. I’ve recently discovered Mouse Guard, and after moving I’m rereading the many comic books I had stored away and remembering why I loved so many of them. Colleagues such as Chris Oatley and the crew from Art and Story keep me inspired on a regular basis. Something will happen soon, though I’m not sure yet what that will be.

 

What This Has to Do With You.

Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. Many, smarter people have gone thru this before me. Many more will go thru it after me. This is nothing special, remarkable or unique. But, I guess that’s the point. Whether its a lost loved one, or an illness, accident, or setback, everyone at some time has to regroup. When that happens, break it down to the basics; to your core. Never lose sight of that. Sometimes people get so invested in their projects, goals or aspirations that they lose sight of their core, and their decisions become divided as they try to save both. So, here’s a reminder: Its OK to shut down an entire project, even close the doors on your own company if that’s what its going to take to get you and yours thru it, whatever ‘it’ is. I’m not saying you HAVE to. Often you don’t, and obviously I can’t make that call for you, but when you see it yourself, you’ll know.

I’ll take care of Me and Mine, and know that I’ll understand when you take care of You and Yours.