I rode my bike up to John Brown’s Farm earlier today, 6.6 miles round trip, and looked at the ski jumps extend up behind that house, as if they grew likes trees out of the house and into the sky. In High School, we used to ride out here for normal meandering “drives” like teenagers do. There was a wedding there today, and I took a look of the above statue, trying to get the best photo that did not cast it in shadow (and failing) and thought about where I’m from, and the history of this place.
The Vonnegut article that is being passed around a lot today, had me asking some basic questions about myself.
…since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in the world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.
These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is to whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful—? And on and on.
Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a sign of respect for your readers, whatever you’re writing. If you scribble away your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead—or, worse, they will simply stop reading you.
So while I was up at the farm this afternoon I thought about everything I’ve ever put here, my project and whether it makes me look like an egomaniac. Is it even any good? Would any of you read it? Or is it more interesting to see me go through the motions? See, I’m terrified of looking like an egomaniac or self-involved, which is why I try to display the things I love and adore and hope somebody else identifies with it also. I don’t think I could have become a teacher if I thought about only myself, because I think teachers have to first come from a place where it’s not about them, it’s about helping others grow. Then I think: I’m writing a whole graphic novel about myself. If that isn’t egomaniacal tendencies surfacing I’m not sure what is. Perhaps this is why I’m doing it—to be more honest with myself, and really to show why comics are so important to me. I do a lot of agonizing. Clearly.
Yesterday, I organized my collection of comic books and pulled out some of the books that I have the fondest memories of, the early memories, and probably the birth of how I read comics, what I like, and how I write them. So this is going to be a bit of an experiment to track back where I come from as a comics reader and writer.
My first notation is to say that The Worst Writer Ever is very much like a Wil Wheaton project, and I would be lying if I said this didn’t accelerate because of Matt’s FF blog. I started thinking about doing this kind of thing a while ago, but never really had the time until I started going through my comics yesterday.
So the first series of annotations that are referenced in The Worst Writer Ever is The Ray, the ongoing series that started after the Joe Harris/Joe Quesada mini-series that brought back the Quality Comics character in the form of his son, a hacker named Ray Terrill.
The series was written by Christopher Priest (a pseudonym for editor James Owsley) and drawn by Howard Porter who would very quickly go on to Morrison’s JLA and then Geoff Johns’ Flash after this series that only lasted twenty-eight issues. The run is probably one of a few complete runs I have. Porter is still one of my favorite artists, and Ray Terrill is one of the characters I wish I could write someday. The reason I fell into this series is not just that the character is extremely cool, but he was also a hacker, which at the time I became obsessed with considering the Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie movie, Hackers.
Starting tomorrow, I’ll start annotating some of my favorite moments in the series. Hope you all like it and thanks for sticking with me on this journey. Hope you don’t get too bored.