BRAVE NEW YEAR
(originally published January, 2015)
I haven’t written a personal piece in a while, so like many others, I figured the end of 2014 was as good an occasion as any to reflect on the year and set some thoughts to digital page. 2014 was a big year, full of some of the most important moments in my life thus far. Here are a few.
I got married to my best friend, Cassie, at an awesome ceremony in April! We celebrated together like we never have before and I expect it will go down in our memories as one of the most joyous times of our lives. It was simply a perfect event and whatever I could write here would fail to communicate my deep gratitude toward all of the family, friends, and staff that helped make our wedding truly special. Cassie is my most stalwart supporter, my source of endless love and confidence, and I am thrilled to now be able to call her my wife.
I started a podcast! A Knight Adrift has become so important to me personally that it’s difficult to explain without getting choked up. I’ve long struggled to find something like it – an artistic project I love enough to see it through to the end; that resonates not just with me, but that I think could inspire others. A Knight Adrift has given me personal purpose not just as a writer or storyteller, but as a person. It's the fairy tale I would have wanted to hear when I was a kid (and still do now).
Nothing is perfect, some of my work so far is a little shoddy, and I still have SO MUCH to learn about what the hell I’m doing here, but the characters and world of A Knight Adrift have so many stories to tell that I’ve never been more excited for a creative endeavor. My visual concept of Aveline alone has come a long way in a year. She started as a doodle and has grown into a full-fledged character!
Between the imagining, the writing, the recording, the editing, the art, the marketing, and more, I’ve hurled myself head-first into something that’s at times overwhelming, but so, so satisfying. I recorded over four hours of audio between 11 episodes and managed to develop a bit of a following.
I made podcasting friends whose work I love and have been honored to use in my own. I entered a competition and made it pretty far for a newbie. And I shook hands with one of my creative inspirations and idols in the form of Cecil Baldwin from Welcome to Night Vale. More importantly though, I have planned a tremendous amount for Aveline and her story in 2015 and I hope you stick around to join me on that journey.
I wrote several short stories as gifts for my friends! In case it wasn't clear: this year has been one of tremendous learning. Creating A Knight Adrift was not only a personal revelation in terms of fulfilling my own creative desires, but also in terms of clarifying for me just how important the love of friends truly is. The simple truth is that I still have very far to go, but I would not have made it even this far without the support of those closest to me. These short stories have been my way of saying "thank you for the inspiration," and I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.
From Cassie, I’ve received unending encouragement and a light in the dark. In Matt I’ve found a collaborator (go read his supplement stories and his personal work), much-needed critic, and kindred storyteller. From Meghan, Lindsay, and Oz I’ve received tremendous support, approval, and enthusiasm. From my brother, Brendan, I got a piece of art that opened up my ideas about broader collaboration. From Jaclyn I received a gift of a painting that reminded me darkness can be beautiful. From Feras I was given an awesome piece of art, an abundance of energy, and an assurance that it’s alright to be proud of your work.
I could seriously go on and on. And if I didn't mention you here or yet write you a story as thanks for being awesome, please know that A Knight Adrift would not exist without you. You likely don't even know how important you have been to me, but there's a good chance that a conversation we've had or personality trait of yours has somehow influenced or made its way into the world of Valerius. I'll refrain from mentioning which of you inspire the evil bits.
Anyway, enough of my sappy ramblings. Thank you for listening, reading, looking. Time to move with purpose into 2015... Aveline and I will see you there.