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Returning to Roots

November 2019

When I was growing up, my father would read or make up science fiction stories when I went to bed.  As I got older, I began to read short story anthologies and novels from some of the pioneers of science fiction writing. I was filled with wonder at the fantastic visions of the future. Just like a child’s imagination is unfettered by boundaries, these writers were able to make the unknown their own.

I grew with the writers, following the up and comers with their new approaches, styles, and understandings. More discoveries made for more scientifically accurate writing, and gave the next generation of authors the opportunity to stretch the boundaries of belief even farther. The advances in science however, revealed the folly in some of the earlier ideas that were put forward, making some of the stories that I was so fond of just a little more absurd. While the new technical knowledge gave credibility and possibility to the stories, I missed the early days when any idea was considered  fair game.

I decided to write a series of short stories in the style of the early years of science fiction, where scientific knowledge wasn’t king and imagination drove the author to create something that a young boy could read and dream about travelling to the stars and having fantastical adventures, while falling asleep to the voice of his father… 

(Addendum to post – November 28, 2020)

So, that was a year ago. When I wrote it, I was close to publishing my first book, a book of poetry. I had a few science fiction stories written, but at that point, I don’t think that I was planning on publishing it anytime soon.

While my poems were a therapeutic activity, which I decided to share because I thought that others could relate to many of the themes, or to simply entertain, my science fiction writing was pure imagination. Some of the stories came out fast and furious, others took longer to hone. My stories tend to come to a natural conclusion sooner rather than later (say what you will about my attention span). My early reading memories were of short stories – Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man comes to mind.

Not to leave poetry by the wayside, I included a series of poems I call Found. I envisioned these writings being stumbled upon by a traveler in a post-apocalyptic world. Remind you of the book: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr? As I was writing them, I realized that too.

Here is a sample:

Found

I can feel it seep

Through my boots

         the heat

My skin, it crawls

My hair,

         it falls

The pain, it lingers

Till I can barely feel

         my fingers

Vision is weak and fading fast

I do not know how long

         it will last

Too tired to move, I take a seat

Nothing left to drink

         or eat

So, I leave my body and this note to be found

Beside this shallow grave

          in the rocky ground

And if the horror you can face

Please lay me in my final

         resting place

When I was putting the book together, I couldn’t think of anyone but my dad to thank, so I wrote this dedication: To my father, who gave me the imagination to dream about the stars.

Thanks, Dad.

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What’s in a Name (or a Picture)

One of my favorite radio shows is Under the Influence by Terry O’Reilly. It is on CBC radio, which is Canada’s version of NPR in the USA. As with most shows these days, you can get it on a podcast. What makes it my favorite? I always learn something interesting about the advertising business.

When trying to decide on how I was going to brand myself, I had to think about how I want to be remembered. The title of my book, Lines by Leon, is a reference to the many lines that I have created. Lines of poetry, plotlines in a story, lines in a pencil sketch, and lines of music. The alliteration was a bonus. It was because of that that I choose it for my domain name. I was able to use it for my Twitter account, but not for my Instagram. Why not? It was taken – by a talented artist who had posted a few sketches 3 or 4 years ago, and nothing since. I messaged him (twice), asking if I could use it, since obviously he was not, but I received no response. I was primarily going to use it for my comic, The Miniscules, so I used @theminiscules, but decided later to keep the brand name consistent over all platforms. My only option was lines_by_leon. Not the end of the world, but I dislike wasting underscores.

My logo, taken from my book cover, is from the sketch that I did called Hopes, Dreams, and Wishes:

It represents how elements in our lives may seem out of our control. Often, it may seem that they are at the mercy of the winds but chasing them sure is fun. The original was quite faint on the first scan:

    So, I darkened it up with Photoshop:

I then moved some of the bubbles around to create a longer illustration for my bookmark:

I printed a bunch to give away in my books and for promotional use. I decided to get the original illustration printed in cardstock for framing. I have them for sale on my website.

It still calms me when I look at it.

Sometimes when I sketch, I just wind up doodling. I started to draw some stylized stick figures:

I thought they were quite funny, so I decided to take this one and use it into a mug:

As a musician, I turned to orchestral instruments:

Then cycling:

Pets? Why not:

So, now I have images to market. After researching printing and shipping costs, I decided to go with Zazzle.com. They do all the printing and shipping (and get a better shipping rate for volume). Otherwise I’d have to price my products too high. That’s never good.

How will I be remembered? I’d like to be remembered as a writer and an artist with a sense of humor, and a dreamer still searching for the one bubble that can be caught.

Till next time,

Leon

Lines_by_Leon: Designs & Collections on Zazzle