#21: Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.

Mike Tyson

This should be an evergreen quote in my repertoire of quotes. Almost at the level of Life finds a way.

(I assume by this point in time that everybody knows that quote, except for toddlers.)

But creators knows what Mike is talking about: everybody has a plan until adversity smacks you upside the head.

Being stymied by lack of time, lack of energy, creative blocks, fear, doubt, judgement – you name it. All punches to the face that creators are well acquainted with. Some of them can knock us down & out.

And yet, we keep getting up and coming back for more.

Maybe not doing things as well as we’d like to. Perhaps making excuses here & there (excuses aren’t inherently bad – we’re not perfect). But we keep grinding away.

Because that thing driving us needs to get out.

Over time we learn how to defend ourselves from some of the punches. Making time, conserving energy, creating space (mental & physical). Quelling doubts (while probably creating new ones), ignoring judgements (or rather, learning whose judgements to avoid).

Most boxers fighting Iron Mike only got one shot (most were knocked out too). Good thing creativity isn’t a one-shot deal; we can get up and go another 12 rounds, over and over again.

We all have different reasons to keep trying, but I believe a lot of it comes down to taste.

Well, taste and masochism.

Because we crazy.


When you don’t have the skill set to actually move people, it becomes sort of a[n] escalation of cheap tricks to move people… It’s not hard to get A Response. But that’s not the same thing as moving people.

Brian MacDonald

Brian MacDonald’s podcast is the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m not even sure which episode this was from, it was just another nugget of wisdom on storytelling that hit home.

A couple of weeks ago Trish & I started watching a movie (so forgettable that I don’t recall the name) and stopped watching after 10 minutes due to some gratuitous violence. I watch & read plenty of violent stuff but you can tell when it’s pointless and has nothing to do with the plot.

That’s what the quote immediately brought to mind but there are more examples I can think of – like the latter seasons of Heroes and Lost (though it can be argued that all of Lost falls into this trap).

This trap also applies to my mythological fight club story, where in one incarnation it had a Big Reveal (which was a darling I ended up killing). And in the current incarnation it ended on a cliffhanger, which my critique partners were nice enough to point out (primarily that it would work for a monthly comic but not a middle grade graphic novel).

If you’re a storyteller, Brian MacDonald’s podcast is GOLD.


What I’ve been working on

My graphic memoir

I got the rough organization done, but I wonder if it should be split into two volumes (roughly 70s & 80s). Or as I see it, Fun and Less Fun as there’s a shift from rosey-glassed childhood to learning how much shit can hurt.

Like I said before, it’s a shit ton of baggage to wade through.

(In other news I got an appointment with a therapist … except not til late next month, because our healthcare system is for-profit bullshit.)

Mythological Fight Club

I read up on mythology every day, looking for new ideas & and angles. Or more accurately, old ideas.

In mythology & religion, there are plenty of examples of later cultures subsuming earlier deities and concepts. The most well-known examples are the Roman deities, most of whom are derived from Greek deities. Zeus becomes Jupiter, Aphrodite becomes Venus, et al.

I’m focusing on the older deities for my story (and generally sticking to BCE vs CE). It’s pretty interesting to find the earlier incarnations of deities, which provides a way to tell familiar stories without simply repeating what’s common knowledge (like telling tales of Heracles’ feats without using Heracles).

I also learned about Zoroastrianism this week, and noticed a lot of concepts that ended up in Judaism & Christianity.

A website redesign

If you’ve been on my website recently (and most people haven’t, no thanks to Google’s fn shadowban), you may have noticed a change in appearance. I got bored of Modern Web Design and want my site to look more like a comic book.

The main change is replicating gutters instead of the Spacious Look of Modern Web Design. I briefly thought about replicating bordered panels but having black borders everywhere with white backgrounds would be too busy, so I’m opting for a dark background that makes content areas look like panels thanks to the gutters and comic-paneled page header.

And I’m trying to add halftones here & there for some texture because I’m also bored of smooth, untextured websites.

I’m not happy with it yet, so the tinkering will continue for awhile. Maybe I’ll give in and literally try to make the page header look like a comic book cover.

The 2poc4life podcast

Now that we have a second episode, I guess we can call it a podcast. And we is my brother Bryan Voliton and myself. We spend some more time talking about what we’re up to and our lives as POC creatives.

Also, we recorded it last week but I totally forgot to mention in last week’s issue :/



What I’ve been reading


Invincible by Robert Kirkman

I just finished (late last night, to be precise) all 144 issues of Invincible (read in 3 giant 1000 page compendiums). I don’t read superhero stuff anymore (the vast majority is beating a dead horse) but every so often something comes along with compelling characters that sucks me in.

Also, Kirkman does a kick-ass job of having a cliffhanger at the end of most issues that made me want to know wtf was going to happen next (this influenced the current cliffhanger ending of Mythological Fight Club).

If you’re bored of most Big Two superhero tales but don’t loathe superheroes themselves, check out Invincible from your local library.

Almost American Girl

A lovely graphic memoir by Robin Ha about her experience in America as a Korean immigrant. This one is doubly relatable to me as she finds her people through comics.

Also, I’m in awe of (and afeared for) immigrants who begin their American lives in more racist places like Alabama.


What I’m watching

Sweet Tooth!!!

Sweet Tooth

I watched the first two episodes of Sweet Tooth on Netflix last night and they were really, really good!

I read the comics a looooong time ago so I don’t remember the story much – which means I can enjoy it without wondering why they chose to do this or that.

What I don’t recall from reading the comics is it being sweet & optimistic. My recollection of the comic is that it was kinda scary, dark and depressing. Or … maybe that was my mindset at the time?

I look forward to watching more Sweet Tooth tonight – it’s really good.


That’s all folks!

Are you gonna watch Sweet Tooth?

Leave a Comment

Already a member? Login here.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.