Monday, 17 September 2012

Ashes to Flame

Community is crucial to survival. Take that staement to its most literal connotation, and it reinforces some of what we know about early humans: that in order to survive we banded together in tribes and hunting parties, and eventually built cities and civilizations. Personally, I'm lost without community; I thrive in the presence of my friends and family. Also, as a storyteller (which all illustrators are, at their core), I appreciate community for the way it births narrative simply by existing. All stories come out of community, interaction, culture, experience, written through the simple act of being around other people. The best stories unite people, make them cry and laugh together. Community and the art of storytelling are forever and irrevocably linked to one another.

There are moments in life that reveal to you in one fell swoop just how important the people around you really are. Like when one morning you discover that someone you thought would be there, if not forever, at least for a long while yet, is no longer a part of your life. Suddenly there's a hole in there your life. You've got this exit wound that bleeding all over the floor and if you were alone you'd be doomed. But you aren't. You have a community, and they'll patch you up; whether it's going out for coffee, or a beer, or rocking a four-player splitscreen Halo Reach session with copious amounts of ice cream, one way or another your community will help you heal. It'd be nice if we could just make like the phoenix of myth and rise from the ashes every time we die. Wouldn't that be easy? No, we are creatures of far more complex constitution; for us there's a healing process. But we've got something the phoenix can't compete with: every time we heal, we become a little stronger. We change, we're different, and we've got some scars, but we come out of our wounds stronger than we were before.

In case you were wondering, I'm dealing with one of those exit wounds. And I've had phoenixes on my mind lately. Like the one below; it's a university phoenix, rising from the ashes of a campus ashtray, haggard, blackened, and looking a little carcinogenic. Today's lesson: don't smoke, it's bad for mythology.

"Why do we fall, Bruce? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up."
- Thomas Wayne, Batman Begins

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