…let me explain.
I once tweeted: If I ever become a master of time management, the universe may fold in upon itself. I apologize in advance, but don’t panic. It’s a big IF.
And it still hasn’t happened. As evidenced by the fact that a) the universe is intact and well and b) this is my first blog post in over a month. Oh and there are no new pages up either.
…let me explain.
A couple of years ago, Nate and I started to talk about working together on a project. Up to that point, our artistic collaborations had mostly included Nate doing the art for posters for shows I had written and/or directed and he even got up on stage a couple of times too – but somewhere along the way we decided, hey, let’s create a graphic novel together! As I’ve said before, once we had the idea it was like the most natural thing in the world – of course we would create a graphic novel together – I had the words, he had the art, let’s do this!
It was exciting and inspiring and we started to talk and plan. I had been scribbling notes about characters and plot for 10 years at that point and I started a fresh notebook, scribbling more feverishly now – the Prologue was really starting to take shape. Nate was sketching away, coming up with basic character design – with me reminding him that Ambria should have green eyes and that the dragon should be a lovely dark purple and orange. You haven’t met the dragon yet, but I think you will like him.
We were starting our collaboration: the fire was lit, the cauldron was just starting to bubble and our Dad was sick. He was terminally ill and listening to our creative chat and brainstorming with that special gleam in his eyes. He felt inspired too, he started to write music for the story – he was always so supportive of our work together. As was Mom and Nate’s wife, Stefanie; all of them very supportive of our creative chatter at family dinners and afternoon visits. We began this journey around the same time we began to walk a long, scary road.
Finally, one day in the fall of 2012, Dad looked at us and told us, quite frankly, that it was time to let the talk and the notes and the dream take off, to make them real. So we jumped in. We bought the domain name, we got hosting and help to set up the site and posted a promotional splash page and we shared each step with Dad. He was so encouraging and he gave us loads of advice about planning and preparing for the work and we had no time to do any of it. Not then.
In December of 2012, right around the same time we started to post the first few pages, Dad had to go in to hospice and on January 19 of 2013, our Dad died. We had to say goodbye and I don’t think either one of us really understands that just yet, what it means for our hearts and our lives. We took a short break to mourn, even though we didn’t know how to possibly do that. I still don’t know how, to be perfectly honest with you.
As we started to try to get on with this strange, new normal, we were offered a really incredible opportunity. Gord Cummings, a friend of Nate’s that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a little through the madness that followed, had secured a table at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. It was coming up that April and he asked if we wanted to join him at the table to promote our work. So we jumped in and it was amazing. It was gogogogo. I had to finish writing the Prologue and then Nate had to MAKE ART! And not just pages, but also the entire book design. And neither of us had ever done anything like it before.
We will forever owe huge thanks to our friends at Maranda Reprographics & Printing for their help, support and encouragement and their vast patience with us as we made our way through this exciting and totally unknown experience.
And then came the 2013 Expo. We had no idea how the book would be received. Nate was worried about the look of it all – and secretly still a bit cranky with me for the floating island spread, but come on – look how amazingly that turned out! I had no clue if anyone would be remotely interested in the story. We both hoped it would be good and it was fantastic. The weekend was more than we ever would have hoped for, if we had had time to actually hope for anything specific.
After the Expo, we took another bit of a breather and started to form the beginning of a plan for how we would proceed. Which was funny, because on the first day of the Expo, Nate had told me that he and Stefanie were expecting their first child. So of course it was the perfect time for us to also plan our creative future!, and we did try. We attended Red & White Calgary Comic and Toy Expo in September and Nate’s art was well received there too. Then in November, we drove down to Lethbridge to attend the first ever Lethbridge Expo which some friends we had met at the Calgary Expo had helped to organize – it was a super fun, whirlwind day. We had a plan for Chapter One and then came life and all its busyness and etceteras and work and blahblahs and then, on December 13, Nate became a Dad and I became an auntie and Grady took control of every minute of everyone’s life. Then Christmas, New Year’s, a sad and beautiful anniversary and then, around February I got word that we had a table for the 2014 Expo if we wanted it. Of course we did, but Chapter One wasn’t quite finished yet…
So we jumped in. Like you do. We met more wonderful people and saw friends from the previous year – it was another great learning experience. Then came the push to complete all the work for the dance show, which was wonderfully successful for Ember Dance Company, woot!
Now, somehow, it’s June 23, 2014.
Up until now, our process has been very reactionary. The goal is to become proactive, to plan and get in to a rhythm, so far it just hasn’t worked out that way. LIFE! It has been a bittersweet few years in our lives. There has been so much sadness, but also so much happiness. Balance.
The books are now being carried at two local comic stores here in Calgary: Another Dimension and Alpha Comics, huge gratitude to you guys!! The comic remains free to read online, but you should definitely stop by a brick and mortar shop to support local business owners and other local creators. There is so much to discover in this world of graphic storytelling and Calgary creators contribute a lot of really great work to the medium.
Grady is just over 6 months old now and on his first family vacation with his Mom and Dad. Our busy schedules have slowed down, we are mostly just focusing on our day jobs now, catching up on life, breathing. I have back yard that needs to be tamed, poetry to write, Mass Effect to play and I am also writing a book…
The path is becoming more clear to us, we have learned so much since we first started talking about this project and we are really looking forward to sharing the rest of the story with you. We will be back soon with more information and details about how the journey looks from here. Thank you to all of you who have stopped to chat, who have the site bookmarked, who have picked up a copy of the book – you are wonderful.
Dreamland calls. Sleep well.
Greetings everyone! Wow – it has been a crazy busy few weeks. Expo came and went in a blink and then it was time to polish and write and edit and then edit some more and then polish and write and write and write – Synchronicity is less than a week away!
I saw a recent rehearsal and seriously, if you are local to Calgary – or willing to travel – you really must see this show. The dancers are stunning. The choreography is by turns fun, heartbreaking, powerful and uplifting.
The show is the story of 11 individual characters, strangers, who end up sharing a profound experience together. Each of the 11 characters is featured in a dance and each of those characters also has some words (courtesy of me) and some art (courtesy of Nate) to tell their story. The writing has been recorded and it will play in between each dance piece, while the art is projected on to a screen.
The show opens with a piece I wrote to introduce the concepts and themes of the story we are telling.
I call it Overture.
I am a black and white photograph, a handwritten letter,
I am a four-hour dinner, lingering conversation,
I am lullabies, candlelight, the migration of whales,
I am the love of your life,
I am 6-8 weeks delivery, non-instant breakfast, a hypothesis,
I am Saturday morning cartoons,
a telescope, oxygen; I am nowhere else to be,
I am one more story, saving up, 108 beads,
Sleeping late and slow kisses, I am the sunlight shimmering through wind danced branches;
I am the stories of our ancestors,
An essential pulse and rhythm,
I am comfortable silence, confident solitude; I am your truest voice.
I am lost in concrete, swept up in the flurry, the moan, whisper and heave of life,
It drives you subtly; deafening it grinds you between days and dreams,
Waking before dawn, food inconvenient, time is a commodity, minutes have become rare jewels,
Each with your own circle, you move,
Masters of movement without connection, you move,
Through storms of politely empty greetings, work to be done, places to be and you don’t know what colour her eyes are because you would have to look…
The story begins every day, everywhere,
The days roll seamless…
See me today like you didn’t see me yesterday, see with the eyes you forget you have,
I am that which knows we are one, in blood, in bone,
Lost here, among you,
I am hope.
Tickets are available and if I have my way, they won’t last long so I urge you to get yours right away and avoid being disappointed – just click here: tickets
I hope you are all warm, cozy, done all your shopping and looking forward to feasts and festivities with loved ones!
We have some fun news – which will also serve to explain why things have been pretty quiet around here lately: as of December 13, 2013 at about 8:30 in the morning, Nathan is a Dad. His son, Grady Malcolm Millar, arrived just a wee bit earlier than his due date and has thrown Nate and Stef’s life in to this strange joyfully frustrating delightful cycle of feeding and diapers and no sleep and more feeding — needless to say, the new Mom and Dad are a little bit exhausted. They are really beautiful, though they may not feel it at all right now. It will take a little bit of time for them to learn each other and I imagine it won’t be long before Nate is drawing page after page with the boy balanced expertly on his hip, or shoulders, or knee or drawing table – whatever works, right parents? Mom loves to tell the story of when I was a baby, one of the only ways to calm me down was to put me on my tummy, in front of the speaker and play the “Tapestry” album by Carole King. To this day, it’s one of my favourite albums and I imagine Grady will find an immense comfort in being surrounded by ink and paper and sketchbooks when he is older.
More of Chapter One as soon as humanly possible!
We started Where She Walks last December and it has been an amazing year. It started with the deep pain of losing our Father and it ends now with the joyful (sleepless) arrival of Grady. The wheel turns. Thank you all for your support and encouragement, it means the world to us. Thank you for visiting the site and for reading the story, thank you for all the comments and feedback. However you celebrate this season, may it be happy and bright and filled with love and laughter. We wish you joy, success and dreams come true, now and in the coming new year.
Merry Christmas World.