It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
There is something profoundly wrong with people who don’t like Dickens, but even they allow that A Tale of Two Cities has one of the greatest openings in the English language. The Great Gatsby opens well too, and is also one of the rarest of rarities: a spot on perfect movie. AMC has a collection of films called “Essentials,” films from Casablanca to Close Encounters of the Third Kind that everyone should know. They are part of the collective vocabulary. They are required for cultural literacy. In literature there’s the Five Foot Shelf. In music, it’s Synchronicity and The White Album, South Pacific and Into the Woods. If you seek out what’s good in many fields, you feed your imagination and will be a better artist for it.
That’s the positive side. The flip side is also true. Imagine a professional athlete that ate nothing but Big Macs and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. Would any of us be surprised if this guy failed to win the New York marathon? For that matter, would any of us be surprised if he failed to finish and fell down dead at Mile 18? No, of course not. Because this guy who uses his body to do what he does has been pouring poison into it.
If you’re a writer, an artist, a musician, a composer, a creative in any field, then your imagination is the bread and butter machine. Since you’re also a human being, it is the most magical and sacred part of you. That alone is a good enough reason not to flood it with poisons, but I’m talking about something beyond just being human. I am talking about being a creative. The imagination is what stretches beyond the literal and mundane and the goings on in your digestive tract. It is what connects with something higher and better, and channels a little piece of the infinite when you make something that wasn’t there before. If you pollute it with garbage, the result will be the artistic version of that wheezing pathetic “athlete” gasping his way through the race.
No, I do not read comics anymore. It’s more than not giving DC even $2.95 worth of encouragement for something that is truly bad, it is declining to live on a toxic waste dump. It is refusing to take poison into my imagination. Not only is it bad for me, it’s going to be bad for anything I write.
You are what you eat. And drink. We’ve all seen the creative output of the drunk drivers out there, professional and amateur. It’s time for those of us who are not three sheets to the wind to start staging some interventions.
But let’s return to the Best of Times, because there is a new artist to welcome to the Fan Art Gallery, and she’s certainly kept her imagination fueled with the best of raw materials. Check out the beautiful work of Anya Uribe, an absolute master of feminine curves, color and form.
The Virtual Visitor Center is decked out for the holidays. In Second Life, as in Cattitude, as in Real Life, Cartier wraps itself up in a bow for Christmas. More information on the Cat-Tales website, or residents may teleport directly to the Visitor Center.
Random Equinox even has an update for his spinoff fic: Don’t Fear the Z. And as if that wasn’t enough, we had two lovely developments over the Thanksgiving break: The Macy’s parade was good enough to open with Aviator Snoopy, providing yet another opportunity for the slow-witted to realize that the inspiration for the Catwoman abomination–the virtual SIGNATURE of the new direction that failed to grasp anything that defined Catwoman and got absolutely everything wrong–was, in fact, based on a cartoon dog. How symbolic do you want it? They didn’t understand anything at all about Selina, right down to the CAT in Catwoman. A symmetry such as makes the angels weep, if it wasn’t so effing sad. And, finally, the forum’s running gag of Batman’s Black Friday Protocol finally has some artwork: