[VIDEO BLOG] Luck o’ the Irish

Posted in video on March 17th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Luck o’ the Irish

All this time, I thought I preserved my child-like senses of energy, eagerness, enthusiasm, and wonder, but it turns out I just have a brain disorder.

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Some recent readings: ADHD and Sleep Problems, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and ADHD, Impulsivity Explained, ADHD and Depression, Suffering in Silence: Women with Adult ADHD, ADHD in Older Adults: Is it on Your Radar?

The friend training me had to stop due to injury, but I will be getting back into the gym on my own starting this week. I am looking at more smaller sessions alternating upper and lower body, immediately after my day job, for efficiency. I definitely feel better and more focused when I lift and eat high-protein.

[VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Posted in food, health, video on March 12th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Pay Attention

Baby steps.

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Thursday night, I made my best friend Al a CRAPPY birthday cake! I had Steve bring the cake to a small gathering hosted by Lance, and surprise him.

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

Crappy Birthday Cake

He loved it, and ATE THE POOP! which was crumbled chocolate cake.

As I shared in this week’s vlog, I was diagnosed Monday morning as having a combined-type ADHD (Mayo Clinic) (NIMH) (Wikipedia). I have an appointment with a psychiatrist later this month to discuss medications and, with luck, find something that will help lift the fog that my head is stuck in much of the time. I have also set up monthly sessions with the ADHD therapist to get feedback, and help continue developing strategies to improve my executive function.

The knowledge that I have been attempting to run a marathon with both my shoelaces tied together for most of my life, is both simultaneously frustrating and encouraging. Aside from visual art, I showed promise as a student with the viola, violin, trumpet, and piano, but I quit playing music once I reached higher skill levels that required long sessions of practice I could not maintain. I vaguely remember taking the SAT test in middle school. It was probably this program? “Duke” something was all I could recall. I do remember completely blowing it because I was unable to focus on the preparatory materials at all. I studied French for three and a half years in high school, but as the need to study increased right at the point I started to become conversationally fluent, I gave it up. I attended community college for about six weeks at my parents’ insistence. But outside of high school, I could not even reliably go to class on time, or at all, much less pay attention or complete reading assignments.

As a young child, I was able to coast by and get excellent grades, in spite of all my doodling and daydreaming. That all came crashing down by the time I was a teenager. I will never know what I might have accomplished or done if there had been more awareness of ADHD in girls, and in general, in the early 1980s. I needed compassion and understanding. Instead my parents chose to discipline me, ineffectively, with violence and screaming when I was small, and name-calling, judgement, massive invasions of my privacy and trust, and threats as I got older. They praised with one hand, and struck with the other. It has taken me thirty-nine years to break this addictive cycle, and undo the self-loathing they instilled in me. I am not allowing other people to define me or undermine my sense of self-worth any longer. Now that I have dug to the root problem, I am ready to work with my therapist and psychiatrist to unlock my full potential. I have come far already, with my shoes tied together.

Monthly Spotlight: Lance Ward

Posted in spotlight on March 6th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Monthly Spotlight: Lance Ward

“Monthly spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This month’s spotlight is on friend Lance Ward. In Lance’s own words…

“My name is Lance Ward. I am a cartoonist living in Minnesota. I never went to college or art school. In fact, I spent most of my twenties in and out of group homes and psychiatric wards. Kitchen work helped get me out of the system and gave me a handful of good friends. Other than the occasional newspaper cartoon, I was not a ‘cartoonist.’ I was a line cook, and I was okay with that. Then I met my future wife, and my whole outlook changed. I had something to live for; to strive for. Suddenly, my talent became a commodity that I could trade for the promise of a better future. It wasn’t until I met my wife that I had any focus on my artwork or cartooning, other than ‘Someday, when I’m ready, I am going to become a cartoonist.’ She became my motivation and my inspiration. That was back in 1997. I was 28 years old.”

“Flash forward to 2004. I was now a husband and a Father of three, and I was no closer to a cartooning career than I was back in 1997. But that was about to change. And that change came in the form a major heart attack that would actually kill me as I lay waiting for surgery. I saw the portal and everything. It profoundly changed my life. The subsequent diagnosis of only five years left to live changed my life as well. It sent me into a morose depression that crippled me as much as the three angioplasties crippled my right leg with nerve damage and constant neuropathic pain. The last year of that five year sentence I tried to kill myself, and when that didn’t work, I just lay in bed waiting for my heart to stop.”

Comics by Lance Ward

“Five years came and went. I was now 41 years of age, and it didn’t look like I was going to die any time soon, although it is in the back of my mind every day that my heart could stop at any time. My kids were getting older, and I felt bad for them as I saw other Fathers with their kids playing outside and having fun, while I could do none of that. Fuck it. It was time to use cartooning to tell my story. It was time to use the talent God gave me for something that my children could be proud of. Huge gamble starting a new career at age 41, but I had nothing to lose. I started with one page a day. Three months later I had an autobiographical account of my misery I called ‘Raw Dog’. I could do this. I was capable of following through and finishing a book. It was time to start another. That second book became ‘Klonko’. I shopped ‘Klonko’ around to publishers and was rejected every single time. But I kept going. I would eventually self publish that title. My third book, ‘Stovetop’, was completed three months later. One page a day until I had a solid one-hundred pages. That one would not get rejected, and would lead to much greater things.”

Comics by Lance Ward

“I have since been in ‘The Best American Comics’ twice. In 2014, I was granted an in-print notable mention for my book ‘Kmart Shoes’. In the 2016 edition, they gave me twenty-five pages. It debuted on the NY Times bestseller list at No. 1, and remained on the list for seventeen weeks. I could mention many more accolades, but the milestone I am most proud of is the completion of thirty books; a legacy of ambition for my children to look back on when they feel like life is wearing thin. My latest book, ‘Blood and Drugs’, will debut in September at the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, Maryland.”

“Don’t give up. Great things can be accomplished even late in life. There is always time for change. I say ‘One page a day,’ but you can apply that to anything. Above all, keep going. Stay positive. Change is a given, and eventually things will go your way if you keep at it.”

Jin’s Note: Through Saturday, March 20th, 2019, Lance’s newest book “Blood and Drugs” is available with incentives through a Kickstarter campaign.

Blood and Drugs by Lance Ward

Learn more:
Lance Ward: Award-Winning Artist, Painter, and Comic
Lance Ward @ Facebook

[VIDEO BLOG] The Greatest Gift

Posted in video on March 3rd, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] The Greatest Gift

Thank everyone who helped make 2019 my best birthday ever.

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Posted in health, work on March 3rd, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Cohesion

My evaluation with the ADHD specialist is coming next week. I am hopeful for that. Two weeks ago I scrubbed my bathroom from top to bottom, and threw out a large trash bag of old makeup and other products, and put all my “daily use” makeup together in a box to keep it clean and neat. It is a chicken-and-egg scenario — but I cannot tell whether I am happier because of the clutter, garbage, and superfluous stuff I am throwing out, or whether I am throwing these things out because I am happier. Of course, it does not really matter.

I am not sure how I still have anything left after two years of purging!

I took photographs of my office, the last “disaster” I am fighting to overcome, for the specialist and/or therapist. I have tried many, many times to organize my office, but every time I succeeded, the room spirals back to “piles of paper everywhere” state very quickly. I sincerely suspect this is contributing to the productivity issues — like the noise issues I mentioned before, the mess feels incredibly suffocating and overstimulating. In my reading about ADHD recently I ran across something called the Touch-It-Once Rule, so I have been slowly rewiring my habits to incorporate that behaviour. I am also utilizing a timer to spend about thirty minutes per day sorting papers, and discarding everything that is trash or that I can bear to part with. I have been sketching at my day job in quiet moments and on breaks without any “fidgety” problems.

Last night I sat down with several spiral notebooks that I hand-write scripts and ideas into, taking stock of my entire body of work, and engaging in some “big picture” thinking. The comics feel more manageable laid out this way.

1. Crap I Drew on My Lunch Break – webcomic, book/minis, almost complete
2. A Dollar Late and A Day Short – webcomic, book/mini, almost complete
3. Have Tablet, Will Scribble – webcomic, minis only, ongoing
4. Queen of Assholes – webcomic, TPBs/volumes, ongoing
5. The Book of Al – webcomic, single book, one-shot
6. TBA sketchbook project – poetry/prose, single book, one-shot
7. TBA sketchbook project – comics/drawing, single book, one-shot

Projects number six and seven are unique, in that I want to execute them in a “sketchbook” style. I aim to work on them exclusively outside my office until I reach the publishing stage. I like that an overall theme has emerged among all of my primary projects, including the TBA ones — an exploration of change, growth, connectedness, what it means to be human, and the impermanence of life. Thirty-nine years upon this planet have lead me to this moment, in this place, at this time, but it was my new day job at the beginning of 2019 that has finally sparked the “why.” My days are filled with art, books, and hard but fulfilling work — and making people laugh, smile, or think. I have rarely been poorer, owned less crap, and never felt more whole. I am grateful.

I have had several people lately express their preference to support my work without using Patreon, and over the next few weeks and months, I am going to be shifting focus to my general support page rather than Patreon. At the same time, I have been quite happy with Patreon, myself, and I want to find new ways to value-add for my supporters there in the future. Patreon is still my preferred method of support, as it is very easy for me to manage, much in the way Etsy helps with the store-side of things. But there are options.

This weekend I am preparing my presentation for the school children I will be speaking to soon! If that goes well, I should have some photographs and/or video, along with a trip report, for you later in the week.