Sunday, September 20, 2009

Of Faith

Voltaire drawing at Yaffa cafe in New York City in 1996
(photo by Kurt Komoda)

In the early to mid nineties, I spent many nights drinking coffee in all-night cafes in New York City. I normally showed up around midnight and often stayed until eight AM. My most frequented spot was a place called Yaffa Cafe on St. Mark's Place. I would grab a sketchbook to bring along and sometimes I would sketch in it, but mostly I wrote. Sometimes it was a short passage about how I was feeling. Those tended to be what you would now call extremely "Emo" and they were usually about unrequited love. I still cringed a little when I read those. Often I wrote down dreams that I had had and more often than not I'd write down ideas I had for films that I presumed I'd someday make yet somehow never did. One night, I walked into Yaffa. I proceeded to my favorite little table in the corner and I ordered my first of what would be several dozen cups of coffee that night. I opened my sketch book and I began to write a little tale that had popped into my head. It wasn't really a story, it was more of a little imagining, a scene at best. When the sun came up that morning and it was time for me to go, I felt that I had not yet finished my little story. So the next night, I went back and wrote some more. I didn't feel it was quite done at the end of that night either. Several weeks later, I was still writing the story in stream of consciousness style, making it up as I went along.  I guess I would call it a horror/sci-fi story that also doubles as a guidebook to understanding how reality works and maybe even hints at how to control and alter it!  I came to call this tome, "The Nothing". 

Well, at some point after months of scribbling in my sketchbook, and after I'd filled it, bought another one and filled that one too...(and my handwriting is really TINY!)  I came to a realization.  It suddenly seemed silly to me that anyone would publish a novel by me. I mean, I had never really written anything professionally before. I felt that maybe I might be best served spending my time doing something slightly more productive. So the next night, I went to Yaffa cafe but instead of writing the next page of The Nothing I began a new project. I began to draw something that had been in my mind for almost ten years already by then. It was issue number one of what would become the Chi-Chian comic book mini-series. 

I'm glad I made that choice. Creating the world of Chi-chian was and continues to be one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done as an artist. And since it got published, it helped me to be able to publish other works and it helped my career along.  But somewhere in the back of my mind, I always wondered about that half-finished novel, The Nothing. Well, at some point a few months ago, I decided that I would pull out those books, transcribe my tiny handwriting into a computer ( I should have said "Word Processor" for effect) finish that novel and publish it once and for all.

And that's when it hit me that I had no idea where those books were anymore! 

I tore my apartment apart. I even went to New Jersey and searched my mother's basement where I sometimes stash things I have no room for in New York City. They were gone and it was a mystery. Well, today they came back into my possession. At some point very soon I will begin the process of transcribing The Nothing and I may even post it here as I go along.  But I do plan to finally finish it and release it for the world to read.

In the meantime, I sit here and in my hands is one of my  sketchbooks from 1991. It was given to me by the woman who would become my son's mother. The inside front cover bears an inscription from her. It reads,

"To my Dearest Voltaire-

Another Book

Another Saga

Another Day


Another Tale

Another Dream 



I turn the book upside down and leaf through it backwards. I had run out of pages and began to write this way, upside down on the back of pages. I turn to the very last short story in the book. It's titled "Of Faith" and it's dated "11/96".  I leave you with this short piece before I begin my gargantuan task:


He wandered along the edge of the canyon. Dirt, like cinnamon and cayenne fell into the chasm, pushed by his feet. And he stared off at the vast blue sky with its puffy white clouds in all of their promise of futures and distant lands and the incredible beyond.  And he wondered, "Is it me? Can I be the one?". After all, he was young and strong and tan and why not? They know that some, and every so often a bunch,  can fly and catch the wind beneath their arms like wings. And why not him? In fact as a child, did not an eagle land beside him? And once, did not a feather fall from those same blue skies to land straight upon his head so that everyone knew that if some of all are bound to be, certainly it could undoubtedly be he? No? Everyone knows it. Some will fly. No one is quite sure of the exact statistics anymore. Four out of five? One out of fifty? But all have known for centuries; engraved in their mythology it has been for as long as any have known anything. And so the next day with much fuss and ceremony, strapping one eagle feather to each upper arm for flavor, he, with a great running start did find himself, arms spread and undoubtedly off of the cliff and in the air. And for a few brief moments that seemed like all of time he did in fact fly, but all in all what  terror must have seized him as he began to fall downward and eventually and quietly out of site. His mother would mourn, no doubt. And next year more would follow in his path, all too exactly in his path because after all everyone knows that some of all will fly into that vast blue and puffy whiteness.  Only his little sister wondered why no one could name the name of one they personally remembered doing so. Ever.


  1. i love the voice you have in your story- it's got a very heady, dreamlike quality. the metaphors are beautiful.
    i'd say something more helpful/insightful, but it's 5 in the morning and my bed is looking GREAT.
    can't wait to see more stories :)

  2. Quite the journey, my friend.

    Give Marz a growl for me, and I'll see you soon.


  3. I love the short story. I have to admit, I kinda saw the ending coming, but then maybe it's just a common frame of mind.

    The most awesome thing though my friend, is that you are flying. You're one of the lucky few to actually have made it as far as having so many of your wonderful creations so well known and loved.

    It must be a lot of fun going through all those old books and reading and remembering all you wrote and drew so long ago. Kind of like opening an old treasure chest/ time capsule. I can imagine some of what you've found has brought about the "what the hell was I thinking?" response too. ;)

    As always, it is a joy to read your blog.

  4. I love digging up my old notebooks, too. :0) I Hope to see this story in its finished version soon, even if that is not really possible. Writing seems to take just this side of forever! I am sure you'll get it flying though.

    Always love reading your blog.

  5. The nothing sounds really interesting, and I loved the short story.

    I found your blog like a month ago. I was waiting for you to write something new. I really like all the things you write, and all the things you do.

    I wish I could be a little like you. I mean, you were really brave picking what you are doing now. It's hard to be an artist, but you followed your dreams...

    I wanted to be a chef... but in my country that's not a job that gives you a good position in life, and I was (I am) afraid of failing... Instead I'm studiying Biotechnologic sciences... I love it too, but I can`t stop thinking I made the easiest choise... of course it's not easy at all, but I'm sure I will have a job and a lot of money when I finish college...

    Sorry about this, maybe you're not interested at all in all I'm saying, but your blog made me think in all this...

    Reading old things is great. You can see how you've progressed since you wrote that... and not just in your writting... in your way of feeling, and thinking, and reacting.

    Well... I stop writing here xD I could follow, but I know you don't have time, and maybe you're not interested in all I've said.

    (Sorry if I made mistakes writting this, my native language is spanish.)

  6. Give up now.
    No, I'm just kidding!! Don't stop. Ever. I love every word you write.
    You were the same age then as I am now... it's kind of warming to know it's not too late for me to start creating (even though I know you've been creating amazing stuff since you were about ten, and there may not actually be ANY hope for me, having not done a thing yet in my whole life).
    I think I'll go get a cup of coffee today :)

  7. My my! You, sir, - I've learned first-hand - know how to talk. And I am certain I'll love anything more you write!

    I'm currently at that stage in my young life where I'm filling up notebooks and sketchbooks and such with boring writing and drawings. I just hope I'll love them when I'm older.

  8. I can only imagine the panic you felt when you thought you had lost them! I am so glad they were found.

  9. I look forward to reading more. The image was amazing!

  10. Missed you at DragonCon, not sure how, but I did.

    Great story. I've been known to fill a notebook or two with poetry or just thoughts.

  11. THis is really cool! I think it was a great idea of yours to bring it back to life!

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  13. Sir,

    Whatever happens--we fly. We all fly. And it's okay.

  14. A new blog! I could sing! Perhaps tomorrow though, cause it's just a little after 4AM my time. ^_-

    That said, I have written a few novels myself and currently I can't help but figure that no one will ever dare publish anything of mine as I am far to dark and strange to ever be a solid investment for those minds who should wish to spin a profit. I have also decided that I of course do not care.

    Like the Marquis De Sade before my time and yours I write because I am compelled too! As such I can no more change the content of my work that I can change the content of my soul.

    That said, I await your novel, good sir!

    Heh, cause to be quite frank, you can self-publish with the best of us and I know it will thrill the minds of the collective darksided masses whenst you finally do so. ^^

    - Nicci

  15. Is it me or, aside for the hair, you haven't changed in all that time?

  16. quitsune, That's because I drink the blood of virgins. ; )

  17. Nicci,

    Have you thought about serializing your novels on a blog or website? I'd bet there would be people who would love to read your writing.


  18. Why am i not surprised by the answer to your youth? :p

  19. i discovered your work a moth ago, and i find you a really interesting person! jaja it must be very fulfilling to be able to get your work published and be able to live of it.
    I order you to be as happy and as contempt an artist can get to be.
    many of us only can dream to achieve what you have.

  20. That means the world coming from you, I am only sorry I did not stop back by this post till now. ^^

    I have considered it, it's just that I grew up in humble means being shipped off from home to home every six months or so with a few exceptions.

    I formed two philosopies as a result:

    a) Everyone will steal your CDs but no one will ever take your vinyl. (Your mix-tapes are a 50/50 shot...^_-)

    b) Book trump all because they are portable. (And no one will ever take them. ^^)

    I really, really want to experience the feeling of holding my own novel in my hands.

    (You could say there is only *one* thing I want more. ^_-)


    Er, anyway, I really want this to be legit.

    I'll wait as long as it takes.

    Thank you, again, so much,

    - Nicci