Paper Bag Mask
Published October 23rd
At the same moment he catches his teacher giving illegal drugs to a student, Redmond Fairweather loses his friggin’ mind and steals Mr. Street’s prized possession—a stupid wooden sword with round edges that will never, ever cut through anything—“The Whomper.”
Redmond has no idea why he stole the Whomper. He guesses his extreme dislike (okay, hate… so much hate) of the school’s most popular teacher probably has something to do with it. To his surprise and delight, the hottest girl in school, Elodia Cruz, hates him too.
Soon, Redmond’s small band of misfit friends joins up with Elodia and the most popular kids on campus to hold the Whomper for ransom, pull off an elaborate, broad daylight heist to steal something even bigger from Mr. Street, and expose their teacher for the scumbag he really is.
Top ten things most authors/artists secretly do
I shouldn’t share any of what I’m about to share because I will either ruin my existing relationships or ruin it for every other author or artist out there. But, as both a writer and an illustrator, I have to admit I’m qualified to weigh in on this and the world must know.
So, in no particular order:
We are watching you. Constantly and without remorse. The angles of your face, the stutter in your step, it’s all fodder for cataloguing and later use.
We are listening to you. Constantly and without remorse. You may think it’s rude to eavesdrop, but there’s no better time to analyze speech patterns and dialect than when you are not an active participant in a conversation. So, listening, always, is a great tool for writing believable dialogue.
We think everything else sucks. Everything is terrible except the brilliance that pours forth from our hands and minds. What we create is the ultimate, the greatest creation since God made the world, and will probably provide a true North for future generations. Everything else you’ve ever seen or read? Hot garbage.
We think everything we create sucks. There is so much brilliance in the world, and so many brilliant, shiny things. Our things are dull and unknowable and probably crap. Definitely crap. You should go read Moore or Chaucer or crack open a DaVinci art book. Their works are the dulcet tones of the angels themselves. Our creations are the mad warblings of that guy from American Idol who sang “She Bangs.”
Duh, of cours we know William Hung’s name. If there’s an odd, forgotten, seemingly useless bit of trivia that you can’t believe someone would hold in their brain, you best believe we know it. Like we could ever legitimately pretend to not know the name of the guy on American Idol who sang “She Bangs.” You don’t know when this stuff will come in handy. You don’t! Especially in a story.
We make a lot of choices. There are no accidents, there’s nothing in what we create that “just is.” There are only choices; choices made in bringing creations and stories to life that you can’t even imagine. And for every decision made--for every brush stroke or turn or phrase or plot development or character beat--there were probably a dozen or more alternatives considered. How do we know which is the right choice and the right way to go? Trial and error, baby.
We have a lot of accidents, and they’re THE BEST. Okay, I lied. Accidents do happen, but whether we leave them in or not is not happenstance. Accidents--the errant pencil line or misplaced word--can sometimes be incredible windows into another way to go with a thing that we didn’t imagine. The difference between a good author/artist and a bad one? Knowing which mistakes to leave in.
We love food. I don’t know know an author or artist who doesn’t love food who couldn’t eat The Ghost of Christmas Present under the table. Just one of those things.
We hate the word literally. You never use it right!
We feel gratitude on a deep, deep level when you like our stuff. Money is important, but it doesn’t really matter to us as much as you enjoying what we create and telling us about it. We like constructive criticism too (well, like might be overstating it a bit), but you digging what we’re putting down means everything. We love to know that the part of ourselves we put out there for you to examine meant something and was worth the effort. We love connecting with you with through our art, and we chase that feeling all the livelong day.
Brock Heasley is a writer and artist who, to the shock of absolutely no one visiting this site, was a member of such prestigious high school organizations as “The Nerd Herd,” “Last Picked for Teams,” and “They Who Eat Alone.” He is a graduate of California State University Fresno, the creator of the online comic The SuperFogeys, and the award-winning filmmaker behind The Shift.
Brock lives with his wife and three daughters in California where they enjoy Pixar movies, dancing in the living room, and eating breakfast for dinner.
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