Fair warning that you may choose to step out now and look for a more entertaining way to pass the time elsewhere.
Well, all right... just one picture appropriate to our post -
Moving right along...
Here's a Freebie answer on the 20 July Commemorative Crossword puzzle from the previous post.
Today in 2017, ______ went live with the first meandering ramble and a painting of the Composite Stan Lee. (four words)
The Voice Of ODD! (Exclamation point not used in puzzle answer, but wth)
Yep - Happy Anniversary me!
Astoundingly, it's been a year of fairly consistent posting. I wouldn't have put money on it lasting 10 weeks at the outset. Two primary factors converged to create this ongoing result - Therapy and Kirby.
Kirby first. (ALWAYS, Kirby first.)
As you may well know, Jack Kirby's birthday is next month. Shortly after launching The Voice Of ODD!, the realization that the upcoming birthday would be his centennial slapped me upside the head. Jack was a formative influence in my life, and while contemplating how to celebrate the occasion, the King Kirby 100 was born. One hundred posts on The King over the month of August. That's about 3 1/3 posts each and every day. And, as much as possible, i wanted to avoid little posts highlighting only a single drawing or that sort of thing.
That means that, thanks to Jack Kirby, only ten days after launching the blog i had to develop an obsessive work rhythm and gathering/sorting/indexing habits to match if i had any hope of completing the project.
Had it been anything else, there is a very substantial chance that this blog wouldn't be here any longer. But it was Jack. Not finishing would feel like dishonoring him. I couldn't do that. By the end of the KK100, the work habits were fairly well ingrained and sorting directories began to fill with material for use and reference. Old contacts and curators were reconnected, and access restored to archives i hadn't visited in seeming ages.
And so the method and means were at hand to continue.
But means and method yet require will to drive them, so now we get to Therapy.
No, i'm not in therapy, despite what some of you may be hoping.
Rather, i'm self aware enough to create my own therapies to address some personal shortcomings. (Others i heartily embrace) Regulars know that i am, by nature, what i refer to as a Hermit, though technically/objectively speaking, it's a degree of sociopathy and alienation mixing in happy combination.
A year prior to launching this blog, i became aware of my self-imposed isolation reaching a point of diminishing returns, with incremental negative effects beginning to weigh heavily on the postive benefits. And so a re-connection began, reaching out to many whom i'd not seen or heard from in years. Sparks were good, and it was generally pleasing all around.
It was soft connections, of course. Since i live without a telephone and have no use for social media, i'm simply not directly a part of their world. But still, it was nice to have them there.
And when the isolation turned inwardly destructive, i needed a connection to the outside world. About that time, Snell's 10th Anniversary over at Slay, Monstrobot Of The Deep! was coming up. In the '90s and early in this century, i sometimes existed more in cyberspace than the physical realm. Now (then) both had deteriorated to near non-existence. While a large part is happy with the Being that comes with that Nothingness, i was raised, in part, as a mystic.
Oddly enough, in his comics Dr. Strange (probably Englehardt) once verbalized the first rule for mystics:
For the Physician, he said, it's Heal Thyself. For the Mystic, it's Know Thyself.
(Yeah, that's not the first rule of the physician - that's not what i said, don't get sidetracked)
To Know Thyself. That's not something easily done from within.
Sitting in your living room and looking out the window, all might look fine. But from there, one can't see the shingles pulling loose on the roof, the roots growing through the cement, or any of the myriad of problems which exist. So, one needs must get outside of the house to see and understand it, and one learns to do so. When stepping outside myself to take in the view, i found some very disturbing fractures in the foundation and supports. We often tend to focus on what we're doing and building now, without thought of what we're building upon. Things are going great - everything's looking good as we progress up here without realizing it's crumbling way down there. With the view came the understanding that i needed to establish some ongoing connection with the outside world.
That realization timed with a favorite comic blog's anniversary impelled one hand to create this blog while the other reached out to those with whom i'd connected, and informed them of the blog as well. One hand was largely successful, the other ... not so much. If no one is there when i need them, no need to bother them.
So focus shifted more to the blog. While the connection is more one-way, the mental/spiritual benefits are still quite real and, over time, evidently manifest. While i may often seem rather misanthropic from my comments, that's not really the case. I may disdain herd mentality, and be unable to twist and blinker myself to conform/comply with social expectations, but at the core i have a deep love for Humans. It's spackled over at times with hurt and anger that comes with watching an adolescent society acting as adolescents will. One is always left wondering if they'll survive to adulthood.
If one wanted to be cynical, we could even apply what's often called Sturgeon's Law - 98% of Everything is crap.
Oh, but that remaining 2% can be glorious.
Aa-a-and - I might be rambling...
Where was this going?
Hmm... Comments and feedback? That's good social contact, and i do quite enjoy that. (Hi, Everybody!) But the connection i'm referring to is more internal. A sense of connection to the outer world rather than ongoing interaction. With the blog, i find myself writing not just to today, but to the visitors from the future who may find the blog years from now. The biggest single source of traffic to the site is search engines; people out there looking for one odd thing who stumble in and find this place. That's good. That sense of connection is perceivable into the future - connecting now with those yet to come.
That internal sense of connection is global as well. About 2/3 of the site's visitors come from the USA. The other third is wide-spread. Looking at the top posts over at the right, one was pushed to the top by visitors from the Ukraine, one by visitors from Spain, and one by visitors from Facebook. (That's a more foreign land to me than the other two). Top sources of traffic to this site are Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam. There have been others in the top, but the site data only records top ten for the day, week, month, and all time. Others were lost to fluctuations and time. I had thought about including a traffic map at the bottom showing locations of visitors, but i'm loathe to add another tracker to the site merely for personal curiosity.
Anyway, that internal sense of connection proved a good thing for my own mental/emotional/spiritual stability, and so we have Will to drive the Method and Means. Who knew there would be a third crucial reason to continue?
For a long time, i've dealt with mental deterioration - a couple of decades now. It picked up earlier in this decade after incidents with pulmonary embolisms left me running at savagely reduced oxygen levels in my system, complicating already present issues with breakdowns of already atypical neural structures. The left/right interconnections that served so well over my life were burning up. While i still function at a high level, generally speaking, the deterioration is very evident to me. Even little things, like typing and how many corrections i must make now compared to only a few years back. Not to mention the long breaks as my mind wanders away from what i'm doing at the time.
The work on this blog has become a healthy exercise to maintain neural function. It forces me to focus and to keep things working up in the attic which might otherwise fall into disuse and decay. It would be so terribly easy to just slide into viewer zombie state and let those rooms go dark. So let's not do that.
That being the case, this time i suspect The Voice Of ODD! might actually hang around a while, rather than be abandoned within weeks, as seemed likely last year. I'll probably be going back to review my original goals, and perhaps tweaking a few things along the way. The original plan was for less comics, but after a month of Jack Kirby, comics became deeply ingrained in the site's DNA and they're likely to stay the major focus.
I'd planned regular soapbox columns when starting out. Basically just venting opportunities for the old geezer, y'know? Maybe we'll add a regular Hermit/Old Man
Who knows? If i'm feeling particularly inspired and insane (it'll take both), we might even think about starting a running comic on the blog. (Perhaps returning to Mad Science! with Dr. Nick?) Or perhaps an ongoing artwork feature, just to force myself to do some. (You'll have to suffer, but it might be good for me)
Beyond every reason meandered through above, i simply like sharing the odd things i find in my digging through the past. Whatever happens in the times ahead, it's been good this year, and amazing that it's been a year. I hope you've enjoyed bits here and there, and thanks for visiting!
That sounded Human, did it not?
Dancing Anniversary Monkeys by -3- (2018)