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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hanging out with Nix Winter

I got my taxes today. Guess what I bought?!

I bought a student copy of Maya. Maya is the software that Benjamin Button, Monster House, Advent Children, that all these movies were made in. It’s also one of the hardest skill sets I’ve ever tried to learn. Modeling in polygons, painting skin in Photoshop... it’s a far cry from learning to model words, tempo, the willful smirk of characters who don’t always do what I want them to do.

Characters aren’t locked into one kind of media though. Alin St. Grenis can be a character in a novel, a character in a comic, a character in anime. He’s a great muse and very loud about his opinions. Great muses are that way, makes a story go much faster.

I love prose, beautiful sentences that flow together like cherry blossom petals floating on the stream of thought. I’ve been writing for a good twenty years. At forty-three, I think I’m getting rather close to what I would have considered ‘old’ when I wasn’t this close to it.

So with my new copy of Maya... when I manage to learn how, I’m going to make Alin walk and talk. He’s going to smile at Jody, just that way, blue eyes dangerous and completely wicked. He’s going to run for his life. I’m going to make his stories move and breath. I haven’t gotten my publisher to agree to publish my anime yet, but then I haven’t finished making it either.

Finding new things and embracing all the lovely things of life is so important. Having that life makes stories, however they’re presented come alive, vibrate with the creator’s own soul. It’s so tempting to just hold on to success though. There was a time when The Pet series was wonderful and best selling. It had just gone to print, with a second publisher. I was going to rule the world. (All perceptions of world domination are subjective.)

It kind of stung a little when sales went down with the economy and my plans didn’t go just as I’d wanted them. I don’t think I’m alone in that though. The last year has seen a lot of changes, a lot of things become more difficult.

In those times, when things aren’t exactly what we might want, it’s even more tempting to hold to the pretty successes of the past that proved my value, proved that I was an awesome person. Increasing age, bad economy, they’re evil twins, but like all evil villains - they’re just misunderstood.

One of my teachers this semester included some interesting information in his introduction to the class. It wasn’t written, it was just him telling us, arms across his chest, that he’s forty now and well, Maya just wasn’t his thing. He doesn’t have enough time to get good at it. I’m forty-three. It’s so hard to go from being very skilled with the tools I use for my art to being inept and slow, to struggling to build my characters and stories in some media that the cool seventeen year old next to me uses as if he’s spilling water.

To take on a brand new medium, is to stay alive. Alive is joyful, emotional, painful sometimes when things aren’t ever going to happen just as we planned. Now, old mediums don’t go away, old dreams don’t erase like they never happened. There are still people who tell stories to audiences for a living. There aren’t very many of them though. There are still people who write great ballads, playwrights who reject film and Hollywood, and poets who caress the human soul with feathery words that most people won’t read.

There is a powerful difference between people who make the most out of being alive and those who get hurt a great deal less frequently. Making the most out of life takes a person into new situations, requires new skill sets, requires new vision sometimes. I can’t say that I like having the odd silver hair, but I can say that pink dye stands out really good on silver. Having lower book sales than I’d projected... it makes me reach for new ways to share and delight my readers. Readers are awesome, btw.

All this chatter and I didn’t even get to tell you about Blue Promises or The Pet. I’ve included a pic of Alix, the cover of Blue Promises. Soon I’m going to have a new free Read out for The Pet. Alix is about to get up to some very wicked things. The Knot Universe (where Blue Promises is set) is going to expand for Yin and other people. So I didn’t tell you much about what was, but I hope I get a chance to know you better, for us all to work together towards whatever bright shiny future we model for ourselves!

Come hang out with me! :)


Nix

www.nixwinter.com

www.myspace.com/nixwinter

4 comments:

Lisa Griffin said...

Love the post, Nix. Hope you learn the new program. :) Good luck with your stories.
hugs,

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Nix,
I feel your pain with the economy in the tank and sales along with it. I just keep looking ahead because it will all balance out.
Maggie Toussaint

Anthology Authors said...

You are never too old to learn. When you are, you may as well be dead. :) The challenge with living in the past is that we miss the present, which means missing opportunities for the future. But all we have is the present. No matter how much we dwell on the past or envision the future, the present is where we live. (Note to self: print this out and live by it. grin)

Excellent, thought-provoking post, Nix. :)

Marci

Katrina Strauss said...

The economy has been a punch in the gut in more ways than one. Like you said, it just means we have to be more creative and inventive. And well, hey, that's what we authors do best, right?

Can't wait to see what you do with the new software! 3D bishies for the win! ;)