If you saw my last post about the big life-altering decisions that I had to make or not, you would know about my two decisions that could greatly impact my health and physical ability either positively or negatively. I decided against going through what I was offered back when I wrote the aforementioned post.
While I stand by my decision, I'm currently dealing with the fallout of said actions, which has greatly affected my muscles, mobility and my ability to draw. Thus I have been in a major funk since, and have been debating quitting my job, and giving up on the comics and every other aspiration that I've had...which is not me! I don't give up! !
A. Shay Hahn, Chris Chettle, Alfonso Espinos and me!
However, I have recently received a write-up detailing "Range of Motion" and strengthening exercises from one of my newest attendants. So this past Thursday (the 21st), I finally said screw it and set in motion a way to get my mojo back!
This is a two-step process, which is as follows;
1) One of the awesome and amazing people I met at Kitchener Comic Con, is a comic creator named Alfonoso Espinos. Aside from creating comics, he owns a publishing company called StudioComix. He has offered to reprint the second installment of Starkeeper at a lower cost.
This offer came while I was at Retro Rocket Comics and Toys, for a book signing with Alfonso and A. Shay Hahn (Who I've now connected with numerous times at different Cons) This will allow me to drop the retail price to make it more attractive and affordable to potential readers. I've contacted him and set that ball a'rolling,
2) I have come up with the idea of turning subsequent installments of Starkeeper into 4-5 page webcomics and releasing them in a timely fashion. Then at the end of each installment, I will take said installment offline and publish it as a physical book. What do you all think of that?
Having a webcomic in 4-5 page chunks will allow me to progress and get content out to you without feeling overwhelmed or in pain because of my physical "limitations".
Also, I should mention that Aaron Lenk has not only agreed to collaborate with me, but has also started working on the art for the Starkeeper prequel for Runciman Press, New Apts Anthology! Below is a pdf of the first issue of the first installment of Starkeeper Book One, Revelations - in scripted format. Please check it out and let me know your thoughts and whether or not I should go through with this idea, and how long you're willing to wait between releases.
Download the script here!
Hey guys I hope you are well! Sorry I haven't written in forever; life has been pretty freaking crazy for me, which is usually why I go MIA, and drop off the face of the Earth! Life is especially crazy at the moment. I'm facing some wicked stakes (not to be confused with the awesome tale of two witches), and just a few life-altering decisions... no biggie! I'll save said decisions for later posts ...but no, I'm not exaggerating or hyperbolizing, I'm just not good with sharp, pointy objects.
Two of the decisions will have a profound impact on my health and physical ability. However, the odds may or may not be ever in my favour, thus before I say yay or nay to anything, I've decided to go on a quest for some peace of mind. To start my quest, I'm going to reach out to a couple of my fellow indie artists I met at the Toronto Comic Con, and see if they'd be interested in helping me with or taking on the art for my comics. Now, please don't get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ILLUSTRATING MY OWN STUFF, so this isn't me giving up on doing what I love by any means. This is me trying to make sure that if,and I put emphasis on the "if" anything happens, and it turns out the odds are not in my favour, I'll still have a way of being creative, as well as a way of continuing to get awesomeness out to you! I want to do this stuff for a living, you know? I'm really working on making this a reality, and I've been getting amazing opportunities to help me achieve this! I really don't want to drop the ball, so I'm going to start building a team, which was what I have wanted to do for awhile now!
In other news, Jason and I just had our first year anniversary earlier this week! We went to a hotel and a Hedley concert, which was AMAZING, and my very first concert ever!!! A lot has happened this year; lots of tough times and new experiences for the both of us. Jason is the first boyfriend I've ever had, so all this is still kinda new and scary for me, however, I think I've learned a lot, and started to step into my own. I'm not that scared little teen anymore, in some ways I am, but in many ways I'm not.
Anyways, stay tuned for the upcoming posts about my stakes and big decisions. Plus keep an eye out for one about the extremely awkward and uncomfortable yet kinda funny experience I had at work last month!
Do you ever feel like everyone and everything in your life is on fast forward, while you're just standing still? That's how I'm feeling at the moment. Things with ILC are getting worse (again,) so much so that my apartment has become a revolving door or King's Cross Station. There's no consistency in the PSWs I get - I grow comfortable with certain people, but then months later, they are moved elsewhere. While this isn't my only issue, this one is really weighing on my mind.
In the midst of living near the famed Platform 9 and 3/4, (which sounds MUCH cooler than it is,) my boyfriend just moved to Toronto for his new job. I probably shouldn't be as anxious about Jason's recent transition as I am, but he's my first ever boyfriend, and we've only been together for six months, so ya.. I'm still a little insecure about things, so shoot me...(and by a little, I mean, Grand Canyon size.)
Anyways, in contrast to all these changes, and like I said at the beginning, I feel stuck in the stickest molasses known to man or woman. While my Indiegogo (see my last post,) didn't go as poorly as it could have, it didn't go as well as I hoped, thus Starkeeper and I are still traveling the lovely countryside of Nowhere. In an effort to rectify this, I made the awesome decision to self publish the second issue, but it's bogging me down, and making me feel really stupid! So now I'm either going to belt out Giles' song from the Once More With Feeling episode of Buffy, or try to get into Hogsmeade, or something entirely different. Who knows.
Hey all, so I've been really struggling with what I had to offer lately. Struggling with what I can bring to a long term relationship. I'm a über romantic at heart, you know? I would love to sweep my man off his feet, wrap my arms around him, surprise him just to see him smile, comfort him when he's not feeling up to par, and be there for him in all the ways that an awesome boyfriend is! However, due to my physical disability, my reality is somewhat different, and honestly, it's kinda sucks! I have a lot of fears about not being able to be awesome boyfriend material gained from years of rejection and alienation because of my CP. Plus, people keep telling me about how dating someone can be quite dangerous. He might take advantage of me or he might only be with me solely out of pity. These warnings are an ever-present stampede of wild horses in my mind, which just fuels my anxiety. Though, after reading Shane Burcaw's article about his girlfriend, I realized that I have a whole hell of a lot to offer!
Sure, I will never be a traditional boyfriend, but there is value in unconventionality! Much like my comic art, it isn't traditional, it's different. Different is not bad and/or unattractive, it's just that, different! Even though I knew this intellectually, I never really felt like it was true for me until now! Shane's article has helped me to realize that I have a lot to give my gorgeous boyfriend. I can comfort him when he's down, and make him laugh. I can be a supportive friend, and a great and devious partner-in-crime, it may not be like the movies but hey, this is real and it's my life.
For six years now I've been enjoying Glee, and oftentimes writing about it, and how it has inspired me. This light-hearted, musically themed show constantly reminded me to always be myself, especially when I'm flying solo because I feel super different. My green skin is just too much for a lot of people to handle, but I digress! Glee has also reminded me to keep on going on the days when I really want to give up, and hibernate for a thousand years.
Hey guys, I debated whether to post this vid or not because I was a lot happier when I recorded it. I'm kinda...super bummed out at the moment, so posting something light and cheery feels like a lie right now, but hey, things gotta change someday, right? Yeah, I'll just keep on faking the smiles, and telling myself this elusive and whimsical fairytate called "Someday." Heh.
I'm thinking of splitting Starkeeper: Longing into two more parts, and keep later installments short (about 20-30 pages,) so they're easier for me to draw, and get them out to you guys faster. Thoughts?
Hi all, as some of you know, things have been a little tough for me lately. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with the ILC stuff, and trying to get the second Starkeeper installment out as soon as possible, whilst trying to find a way to improve the sales and promotion of the first. (I’m currently making a dollar or so a month, but in June, July and August, I didn’t make anything at all. This is why I entered Shell’s essay contest.) With all the things that were overwhelming me at the forefront of my mind, I was really looking forward to a week in Toronto with my family! It was supposed to be fantastic – my mum had it all planned, she bought tickets for us to go see WICKED for my birthday, which is one of my favourite plays. She even booked a hotel room, so that my younger brother and I would have a day or two to rest before we visited the land of Oz. (My brother and I both have Cerebral Palsy, albeit varying forms. Though, neither of us can tolerate sitting in our wheelchairs for long periods of time.) However, what followed was an extremely infuriating and disappointing experience.
We went to see the 1:30 matinee performance of WICKED on the Wednesday, (the 10th,) and I was super pumped until two of the ushers at the Ed Mirvish Theatre kicked my younger brother out! Now, allow me to elaborate, my brother is “nonverbal,” (I hate that term, because he isn’t mute,) with a more severe form of CP. He was making his contented sounds, and even though they weren't loud by any means, the usher thought they were disruptive. However, others in the audience did not; as they approached us during the intermission, and were upset that he was sent out. I could have stayed for the whole performance, but I was/am extremely livid!! You know, WICKED is about embracing differences, but sadly that was lost on some of the Mirvish staff!
We left the theatre – I was so mad and spastic that I could barely talk! Then when we got back to our hotel, my dad filled us in. He said that even before the play began, the one usher was hinting to him that he should take my brother out of the auditorium, which enraged my mum and I further. My parents sent emails to Mirvish explaining the situation when we got home.
The following is the response that my mum received:
“Dear Ms. Campbell,
Thank you for writing, and for your patience as we worked to look into this. We hope you will accept our sincere apologies for this unfortunate experience. Our theatre strives to be hospitable and welcoming to all patrons of all levels of ability. As such, all our staff are trained as per the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarioans with Disabilities Act (AODA). As per this Act, a company (or theatre) may offer alternative measure by which our patrons can enjoy our shows. In the case of the Ed Mirvish Theatre, this alternative measure is the option to enjoy the show from a comfortable location in the lobby, where the production can be viewed from a television monitor. We have been in conversation with the Accessibility Directorate about this particular measure, and they have assured us it is entirely acceptable. While perhaps not perfect, we have found it to be a feasible solution that is sensitive to the abilities and expectations of all our many and various patrons. In the past we have observed that some patrons with disabilities may inadvertently cause a disruption to nearby patrons' enjoyment of the show, and sometimes to the performers themselves. Once this occurs it is at our discretion to ask these patrons to come to our lobby to enjoy the show for a short time on one of our monitors. The Ministry is aware of this alternative measure and is supportive of it. Having said that, we are sincerely sorry for the disruption and inconvenience we caused you and your family. We are happy to offer you a full refund and want you to know that you are always welcome at any of the four Mirvish Theatres.”
This was blatant discrimination on the ushers’ part, which wasn’t recognized and addressed. Instead, Mirvish is making a HUGE generalization about its “patrons with disabilities,” we’re not all loud and inadvertently disruptive, which is an attitudinal barrier right there! They’re trying to justify their generalization by mentioning the AODA. Therefore, I decided to google the act to refresh my memory, because I couldn’t recall any part of said act stating that segregation is an acceptable form of accessibility. In fact, the AODA states the opposite. (Please see the AODA, Part I, section 2.) Furthermore, the act and the OHRC, (the Ontario Human Rights Commission) both favour inclusion, and inclusive design, as well as respect for the individual. (Please see OHRC’s “Applying Human Rights” video and narrative.) Now, the AODA does say that other accommodations may be necessary for some people, and a separate viewing area may well be a good alternative in extreme cases, but my brother’s case wasn’t extreme. I think that this alternative should be an option, not an automatic requirement for those of us with different levels of ability. It should also be offered in a way that is sensitive, and doesn’t discard our dignity.
Anyway, since the initial emails to and from Mirvish, my parents have sent several emails to various organizations such as the OHRC about this issue. However, I want to do my own part, because I love my brother, and I feel very strongly about this whole situation! I also feel that it is super important that we (people with disabilities) continue to advocate for ourselves, because we are still human after all, and we have the same rights as our “able-bodied” counterparts.
What happened to my brother could happen to anyone. Therefore, I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that no one else is disrespected, and so blatantly discriminated against.
You know, maybe Mirvish employees, and all employees of facilities open to the public should have regular, mandatory sensitivity training workshops – similar to the inclusion workshops that I speak at through Extend-A-Family.
The meeting with my supervisor yesterday, went as well as I had expected it to go...Frustrating as HELL!
The gist of our conversation is as follows; she doesn't understand how having someone I know accompany me to work, or me moving out would help my situation. It wouldn't make it any safer because I'd spasm no matter who I'm with.
"This isn't a staffing issue, Andre," she said, "...We are sending staff with you..."
I acknowledged her points, then I added that I wouldn't have worry about trying to direct someone, and be understood mid spasm if the attendant already knew me and what to do. My supervisor replied to this by suggesting that I take the bus, (MobilityPlus,) if I'm worried about spasming, so I reminded her that I already do.
I went on to say that what happened on Friday, isn't the sole incident behind my desire to move out, it was the last straw - my tipping point. However, a lot more was said yesterday, but I'm getting really anxious again writing just this much, so, long story, short, my supervisor is going to put me back on the waitlist for outreach, (in-house care,) as well as the waitlist for Kiwanis, which is in my hometown. This means that I'll be here for awhile yet, unfortunately, and even though I like living on my own, and having my own place, all this ILC crap is extremely taxing.
God, I hate confrontations, but I am going to fight this, and maybe even get a lawyer.
In a previous post, I mentioned "a few" of the issues that I've been having with ILC, and that I let a heck of a lot slide. I also mentioned how it's a struggle to get an attendant to accompany me to work and book events. Well, listen to this.
I was invited to a day camp to speak to 6-11 year olds about real life superheroes, and the talk itself went really well. However, I wasn't allowed to take any of the Mooregate staff, (the PSWs I see everyday,) so, I went out with someone who didn't know or understand me well so I was practically on my own, and spasmed and almost drove off the curb twice! Next month, I work at Extend-A-Family, and ILC is trying to make get there and back totally on my own, and only have an attendant for the first and last 15 minutes just to set me up, and then get me ready to go back to my apartment.
This is the last straw! I'm not going to jeopardize my safety for anything, hell no! I'm done, and I have a meeting with my supervisor to tell her as much!
Yes, you read that correctly, sometime in the near future, I'm going to become more bionic. I am already sorta bionic with my spinal rods, and hip plate, however, I was talking with my mum this past weekend, and well, long story short, I have decided to get a Baclofen pump... Even though this is my choice, I don't relish the thought of a computerized hockey puck surgically implanted near the base of my spine. I have a lot of mixed feelings, and anxieties surrounding this notion.
For the longest time, I've been fervently against getting a pump because surgeries and I don't do well together, and a doctor said that there's a 75% chance that I could lose my upper-body mobility, which scares the hell out of me! I'm also afraid that if the pump is visible through my skin, I'd seem "more disabled," and...possibly even unattractive to a potential partner, casting director, and/or a talent agent, and ultimately face yet another rejection. Yes, I know this is an incredibly silly and shallow fear, but there it is. Though, every coin, or puck for that matter, has two sides, right?
A Baclofen pump could significantly reduce my spasms, and could help me handle being in my chair for longer periods. Therefore, I'd be able to accomplish lots more without having my body revolt for weeks every time I'm up. It would also help give me the stamina to pursue my dreams like modeling, acting, and falling in love.
So yeah, becoming more bionic has its perks, and really, it all comes down to one question. Do I want to continue to spend 90% of my life in bed? I LOVE my bed - we have an amazing relationship, but sometimes a guy just needs his space, ya know?