I decided to take a writing break on my birthday and enjoy the day away from my self set demands. That became a couple days for many reasons. We grilled outside one day. I had a major podcast recording to prepare for and then record. Like millions of parents, we’re doing school at home for the foreseeable future. Then there was one other thing I didn’t expect, but I’ll come back to that.
So, I’m 42 now. Officially in my forties. 40 doesn’t seem to count. Then 41 feels like the first year of your forties so it’s brand new. This is “there was no year zero” logic, flawed but still there. Now though 42 is firmly in that world with no escape. Well, the escape would be being in my fifties but that’s a bit mind boggling right now. Probably crazy for my parents to think of such a thing too.
Last year I made a vow to write a comic and find it a home by the time I turned 42. Well, that didn’t happen. For three big reasons. One, I didn’t realize how much I hated being at the job I had then. I had gone as far as I was going to. I had numerous people every day mad at me for doing my job, because they felt my work created more work for them. Blamed for technical issues which were company wide, not just within our store. The list goes on and on. I would come home so upset I didn’t want to do anything. What happy energy I had was reserved for my wife and son. There are ebbs and flows in my creative output which is usually tied to a bout of depression. Relief came in November and I could not have been happier with my new employer. Then reason two came, the Coronavirus shut down of society. It’s tough to sit down and write some days when constantly questioning your finances. Not only my finances and employment but also those of the comic book industry I was looking to enter. It’s a bit difficult to send an unsolicited pitch to an office that is shut down.
Third and final reason is that instead of creating a comic I had to recreate myself and my online presence. I was backed against a wall due to a long story behind the scenes involving the previous site. I took months off of writing. I questioned many options for new blogs, or quitting altogether. Honestly, if it wasn’t for being asked to contribute somewhere else I don’t know how long it would have taken me to return to blogging if at all.
42 has two huge meanings in pop culture. It is Jackie Robinson’s number and retired throughout baseball. As a tribute, 42 appears constantly throughout Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I don’t want this to appear like a joke, so hopefully I choose my words well here. The same spark that happened when little kids first saw Robinson and thought “that could be me one day” is very similar to what Miles Morales does for kids reading comics or watching that movie.
I am of course no where near either of them in terms of my influence. But I do believe somewhere along the way the words I’ve put down will eventually (if it hasn’t already) have an impact on someone.
42 is also the answer. For those unaware, in the classic sci-fi story The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a giant super computer was built to figure out the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. One day the answer came. 42. Then a new more super computer had to be built to discover the Question to Everything. It’s an absurd turn in the story (and yes, ties into Lewis Carroll and a ton of math) but much like “Rowdy” Roddy Piper once said: “just when you think you know the answers, I change the questions”. Just when I think I know where my life and personal schedule is at, everything changes. When I think I know what direction my writing is going, the road in front washed out.
Answers and influence came. I had written enough over the years that people knew who I am. That led to an invite from The Retro Network. My time there led to many posts, appearing on podcasts, creating my own with two of my best friends, coming into contact with new bloggers and podcasters. All of these are things I not only wasn’t doing last year when I turned 41, but I couldn’t even have fathomed they would have happened. These shows and posts spider web out to bring me into contact with others and that new connection grows out to someone else. It’s blogging string theory. Even if we don’t know it, we’re all connected in this microverse of retro, trash, new pop culture commentary microverse.
Then between my birthday and today (told you I would get back to it) I found out about the death of a podcast host and blogger I had only recently discovered. Reggie. Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill came into my life a couple weeks ago thanks to my new (thanks to Retro Network) friend Adam. In depth educational comic book research, and it’s fun too. One random episode and I was hooked. I crave knowledge. I love knowing things. Everything these guys do is a comic book class taught by Dr. Jones before he disappears for one of his adventures. I discover them through a discovery through another one. All of these creators were already out there, just like me, but the great cosmic synapses had yet to form between us.
Imagine my surprise that as soon as I discover this new treasure trove I also learn one of the hosts, Reggie, had suddenly passed. I haven’t been a fan long enough to really comment or say anything special enough but Chris has had tributes up at his own blog.
Earlier this year another blogger that I enjoy fell off radar for awhile. I’ve disappeared for times in the over a decade I’ve been writing. Sometimes all the hours only to get a handful of hits doesn’t seem worth it. Other days I realize how lucky I am. I get to record a podcast with two of my best friends and catch up every week. Another person I consider one of my best friends I met through blogging but we have yet to meet in person. I can see these as examples that there is an influence and we all do matter, but creating these works is such a solitary endeavor it’s difficult to feel any bit of it matters at times.
So my new goal at 42 is to take all of these influences and examples and use them to solve my own questions and answers. If I worry my own blogging and podcasting may not matter, then other creators must feel the same. I’ll be reaching out to them over the next year to talk. Tell me about your blog, tell me something you’re proud of, let’s take a deep dive into your work. Maybe along the way I create some of those new connections as other creators find out about each other.
I’ve asked numerous times why X doesn’t exist in my worlds of pop culture. Why isn’t anyone writing about this? Where are the in depth discussions about that? Why doesn’t someone bring these blogs together? I looked past the answer because I wasn’t asking the right question. Why aren’t YOU doing it, Kevin?
I was listening to an episode of Kevin Smith’s Fatman Beyond podcast. Khary Payton was the guest on episode 274 and he said something that I had to pause and immediately write down:
“Mom, I just feel like there’s somebody that needs to see me that’s in a bigger space than this little room. I think it needs to be projected. There’s somebody that I’m never going to meet. Who I need to tell something to. And they’re going to hear it because I’m telling it. Because I can tell it the way no one else can.”
I don’t know who needs to hear something from me. I don’t know if it’s something I’ve already put out there or if it’s coming in my future and I need to get a lot more writing under me before I get to the point where I can say what that person needs. I don’t have a clue who needs something my 42 year old mind comes up with. I don’t have that answer. But there is this energy, this feeling inside of me that has always pushed to come out. Maybe it won’t even be me that influences someone else. Maybe you meet someone through me. That’s worth it. I don’t have a book or a comic out there yet for the world to read but I have thousands of posts across the internet, many hours of my voice, and millions of words written. At 42 it may be time to think of a legacy. Of what I’ll be leaving behind. My words aren’t Shakespeare or Dickens. I don’t speak as well as Walter Cronkite or James Earl Jones. But they already exist. I’m the only me, and there is someone out there who will find an answer and be influenced by something only I can say.
That’s my new goal.