Christmas is so much more than a day on the calendar. It is a time of magic and wonder in the eyes of many children and adults. But, Christmas is also a state of mind.
It’s as much a day on the calendar as it is a day of presents and games and celebration.
Yesterday was Christmas Eve.
It was also my father’s birthday.
That morning he woke up in a hospital bed waiting for a scheduled date when he will be wheeled into the operating room for open heart surgery. I don’t think it felt like much of a birthday and today probably doesn’t feel like any Christmas that he remembers or imagined.
But, he also taught me that Christmas like everything else is about perspective. Sometimes seeing past the challenges and complications is about changing the way you are looking.
There are other times when the real trick is learning to change where you are setting your sights when you look.
Christmas may not look like we remember and it may not feel like we expect it should, but it still has the ability to remind us that we can rise above the challenges when we remember that the holiday we celebrate is a reflection of the investment we make to experience it.
About the Guy hosting this podcast:
Seth Singleton is a storyteller.
He is the writing team editor at Blue Alchemy Studios and its upcoming release, Planet Rise and a free-agent writer who works by project and contract.
Seth believes that stories are a common thread that connects us all and that everyone has a story to tell.
To send questions and comments or to contact Seth about a writing or podcast project email him at email@example.com
When we left off our conversation with Jack, a time traveler had arrived from the future, only to find he was not far enough in the past. The computers had taken over. The machines created by the computers attend to everything people needed and it made humans weak. Things sounded grim.
A recurring theme in The First Kingdom is the rise and fall of civilizations and the events that eventually bring about their destruction. A desire for immortality is among the motivations that are often driving the creators and innovators.
One solution created is a memory serum that retains the entire scope of a culture’s knowledge. The serum can be used to share this knowledge with the replicants called Humanoids.
The Humanoids were made by a man who had a near-death experience as a child and wanted to stave off death for everyone. At one point, he takes the memory serum to prevent his own inevitable death.
“Art is the glorification of the human body.”
The Fiction We Know is Replicated
Tarzan is not an original story. According to Jack, there are no original stories. Jack in the Jungle and Jack the Lion Tamer were both written by PT Barnum and are the basis for the Tarzan stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Philip Wiley wrote the Gladiator which Jack believes was the inspiration for Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel’s seminal Superman. Jack even shares a personal story about these two co-creators in the first part of our conversation.
People are Steeped in Ambivalence
Jack is exacerbated by people steeped in the same ambivalence. He believes people are terrified and need to hold on to something. Jack has found the god of Einstein and it has allowed him to focus on completing the Beyond the Beyond.
When Jack met Charles Clarence (C.C). Beck, who was the first artist assigned to draw the character of Captain Marvel, originally dubbed Captain Thunder by writer Bill Parker, “He knew I was supposed to do Captain Marvel Jr.”
“He already knew about me from Bulletman and Bulletdog.”
Jack remembers Beck enjoyed designing swords and hilts, and that he was a “Wonderful little gentleman.” Maybe it has to do with his belief that Captain Marvel was better than Superman.
When Jack wrote his own story of a character with immense power he named it The Last Immortal. He then introduced a girl who was dying of cancer and asked, “What can superpowers do against cancer?”
Matt Baker and Mankind
Jack claims that Baker was the best example of an artist making it in the business. Jack made the mistake of pointing this out to Baker, and when it was overheard — “I lost my job when I said he was too good for this… I said he should be working at Playboy.”
“I loved Matt Baker – admired his ability to draw women. He had a bad heart, and he was a beautiful person.”
He is one of the many artists who inspired Jack to pursue his independent opus The First Kingdom.
“The Kingdom is like a silent mention,” he told me. “One day the world will be ready for substance.”
This includes a trial of the fantasy that we create. As Jack points out, “Mankind can’t handle the situation he is born into — it’s the vicissitude. during the trial the judge is Consciousness. Upon the suggestion that they are all fabrications, Consciousness learns she does not have the authority she thought she had
Our conversation is interrupted by sirens, and then Jack responds that he is unlike the fabricators because “I glorify the human body. It’s our temple. The registry of our identity.”
Cycles – Skywald – dick Giordano
The First Kingdom is 1070 pages. It tells the story of many advanced societies who are brought down by the problems they create.
“When I worked at Skywald,” Jack begins, he developed a jungle character raised by lions, not apes. Jack wanted to give credit to PT Barnum who he admires. Sadly, Barnum was a gifted writer who “took his intelligence to the worst possible places”
So, Jack honored him with the character Zangar.
It was Dick Giordano who visited Jack to make an offer from DC on a new project. Giordano had created the Charlton Comics characters known as the “Action Heroes. He later became the executive editor of DC Comics.
“The only thing interested in was The Imaginator,” Jack said. “(He) Loved the idea, but it never came off and then he died.”
“We are afraid to be original.”
“Society creates its downfall.,” says Jack. “Built-in from the first breath and the pain and carried through trace memories. You cannot get rid of memory. My desire must be rewarded with punishment. It all leads to our own self-destruction.”
“There’s a kind of evil or disassociation,” he continues. “Some people are born without a conscious.”
Hear the rest of the story in the podcast at the top of this post.
Rough Starts can still make for a great conversation.
I don’t feel good. Stomach trouble.
Tara hurt her back when she tried a new workout routine called HIIT. I forget to ask her to explain what this is and means. My best understanding is that it is High-Intensity Interval Training
My stomach, her back, means we are off to a rough start.
But, we both know the remedy. Rest enough and we will regain our health. The body heals itself.
Oh, and I still have a lingering cough, so you hear me opening a cough drop and crinkling a wrapper.
Maybe more than once.
Today we are focusing on change
Tara came up with this topic and I thought it was important that we did it right, which is why I asked her to take the lead.
If I was going to contribute to this idea, I needed to get out of the way enough to see what we were talking about.
When I did, Tara’s purpose and direction led to an amazing discussion. Here are a few of my favorite gems
As we get older our life experience compounds and beliefs will be challenged.
It takes courage to change your beliefs. We all have permission to change our minds anytime we want.
We are often afraid to admit our mind has changed.
Let’s start with an example like nutrition. It’s a challenge to get the right nutrients from the things we crave. Making a choice to do something for our health can be uncomfortable, and it can even make our personal relationships awkward.
Tara reads a great passage from White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPorte that really lends a fresh voice to the discussion.
Many people including ourselves are afraid to change their minds and behaviors because we identify with them.
This is when an inner conflict will arise.
There are other examples:
Career change, quitting a habit
finding a new significant other
trying something new
or giving up something harmful like drinking diet soda and alcohol or smoking.
One thing that can help is something Tara uses called Permission Slips. I love this idea because it is a way to remember that we deserve forgiveness. Tara’s examples describe a series of specific and general notes that allow each of us to be imperfect.
My favorite permission slip is when I need a day to rest. Taking stock of the work I’ve done that week, whether it is physical or emotional and giving myself a day off.
This is a great way to think rationally about what my mind and body need. It can even be a motivation for taking better care of myself. If I want to keep a successful streak going, I need to recharge for the next set of tasks that I want to tackle.
We are allowed to be a walking contradiction
What does that mean?
It means to challenge your beliefs and ask questions all the time.
Where do we start?
Ask the question, Does this Serve Me?
We can also remember that it is okay to disagree.
We don’t have to surrender to our beliefs.
I go on a rant about Joseph Campbell and his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces. It’s a great read that I return to often. At the end of his story, once he has taken the reader on a tour of the worlds belief systems, Campbell returns to the hero of the story, us.
We are the star of the story. We are the son, the daughter, brother, sister, father, mother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, novice and sage.
About Tara Massan
Tara Massan is a Yoga Teacher, Personal Trainer, and Lifestyle Coach. She helps chronically stressed out adults create healthier lifestyles by addressing their obstacles through her 4 Pillars of Health: Mindset-Movement-Nutrition-Rest.
She is also the creator of Be Moved and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, US Weekly and the Huffington Post. She has also contributed to over 20 publications with one purpose: To help others live a healthier life.
The story of your company, your brand, your vision is the story of you. The story of how you turned a dream into something real and tangible. Anyone can have a dream. Bringing your dream to life is the story of changing the world.
Meet Far I shields
I met Far I Shields at AfroComiCon. That’s when I first heard about Green Team Comics
I was lucky enough to sit down for a conversation with Far I to talk about how this all began, where his characters come from, and how an idea became his life’s mission.
The saxophone and Spiritual Freedom
We started with his introduction to music through piano lessons and moved into the spiritual freedom that came with playing the saxophone while listening to the radio. Instead of trying to play the exact notes of each song, Far I focused on playing along with the rhythm and melody of the songs “of his generation.” It was a moment that ignited a passion for music.
Understanding the spiritual freedom that came from playing his music made it easier for Far I to recognize the transformation he experienced in 2009. A chance conversation, two introductions, and a movie with a message later, and he was ready to put aside real estate renovation and perform songs with a message of change.
The next step was a challenge for Far I to put his energy into a movement of change with a direct impact. After witnessing the impression his mentor could create during one visit, Far I was convinced this was part of his mission. He started a green cleaning company and shared the example of cleaning without chemicals.
Comics with a message
One night, in the late hours when the streetlights have come on and the sky, is dark, Far I’s cleaning equipment came to life. Their qualities and attributes became living breathing characters. Green Team Comics was born in the ether of creation.
The first book The Scope of Time was more of an introduction that was more a story with pictures than a graphic novel. But, The Birth of Sun Ray is a full-scale comic book. It’s the next chapter in Far I’s story of rebirth and transformation. The goal? To leave a legacy of change.
Read this excerpt from Far I’s website for more information about the man behind the mission.
Far I Shields is a musician, artist, and author for global transformation.
His latest Book Release is the Birth of Sun Ray Comic Book available now for firstname.lastname@example.org
Far I Shields is a singer who has been providing musical performances since the age of 7. Now it is time for the creative works of Far I to be shared with the world. The journey begins. Raising the consciousness of human beings on the planet is the number one goal of Far I. Each song, painting, and book can be used as a vehicle for the viewer and listener to enter and transport to their higher selves or a higher state of consciousness.
We will change the world by changing ourselves. The key to each individual having a life-changing moment is to activate our dreams. Messages can be received moment by moment when we tune into the divine broadcast. This is the discovery of the beautiful world within. All aboard!
I saw a drawing that was hanging in the restroom at Sam’s Log Cabin in Albany, Ca.
My wife and I had stopped in for breakfast. After we ordered our meal I used the restroom and saw the drawing of a mythic figure on the wall.
The title The First Kingdom was written at the top. He stood holding a longsword in his right hand, long hair trailing behind him to the cape billowing to his knees. The name Tundran was written at his feet.
At the bottom was the inscription “To the Log Cabin, the best place to eat in California. All the best, Jack Katz.”
When we finished our meals I used the restroom again and took a photo of the drawing.
Back at our table, I asked one of the servers named Eric how the restaurant came by the drawing.
Eric told me Jack lived nearby and came in for breakfast. I gave him my card and asked him to let Jack know that I was interested in a conversation.
Eric later emailed me with the contact information for Jack and his associate Brian Miller. We arranged the date for breakfast and sat down in the back of the Log Cabin for a conversation about Creativity, Synchronicity, Fear, and Romantic Beauty and Human Tragedy.
Jack has dedicated his whole life to drawing and writing. All part of a mission to get his thoughts out to the universe. His work spans numerous waves of comic book development. His paintings are rooted in the early years of 20th century American illustration and art and reach down into the present,
His most enduring accomplishment is the production of the 24-issue graphic novel known as The First Kingdom. Many have said it was the very first independently published graphic novel. It was re-issued in a four-volume set in the spring of 2005.
Today Jack teaches anatomy for figurative art students and continues to work on his comic book projects. He is currently creating a number of publications and videos that present his distinctive ideas of teaching figure drawing.
Anatomy by Jack Katz, Vol. 1 is the first volume of sketches. It is a collection drawn from the decades and illustrated for the advanced figurative art student. It presents the many ways that the dynamic human form can be expressed.
Contact & Support
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