Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Trail of Sebastian Red #2

I love it when I can economize and knock off two subjects in one post and this indeed is going to be one of those posts.  I’ll be able to let you in on the background of some of the artwork in the title banner and hopefully give a word of encouragement as well.  Here we go: 

Invariably I will be asked by other writers; “You get a lot of reviews and attention and feedback.  How come I don’t?”  Actually, it’s not that blunt but you get the idea.  My reply is usually the same: “You have no control over that.  It’s strictly up to the readers if they want to inform you about how your work made them feel.  All you can do is continue to produce the best work you can and continue to put it out there.  One day it’ll be appreciated.”

Now I realize that isn’t very helpful to writers anxious to know what others think about their writing.  I freely admit that.  And believe me; I was once in those very shoes.  I was writing in Internet Years about 10 years before anybody outside of other writers contacted me to tell me; “Hey, I really like what you’re doing.”

Yeah, you read that right.  10 mollyfoggin’ years.  I was fortunate that I had guys like Russ AndersonTom Deja, Tim HartinBarry Reese and Tommy Hancock who recognized my alleged talent and were generous enough to provide me with their criticism and feedback.  But yeah, comments from Plain Ol’ Reader Dan or Dora weren’t comin’.  And let’s be honest, every writer gets a thrill out of hearing from a total stranger who took a chance and picked up a book or read a story of theirs and was excited enough by that book or story to take the time and let that writer know.

Now, one day I get this email from somebody I’d never heard of.  A Belgian artist named Alain Valet.  This gentleman informed me that he had read my Sebastian Red story; “Of All the Plagues A Lover Bears” and was inspired by some of the imagery in the story to go ahead and create pieces of art based on the story and here they are:

The two pieces are incorporated into the title banner but they deserve to be seen in entirety so that they can properly be appreciated.  The one at the top is my favorite of the two as it’s actually from the story.  Sebastian Red needs some information from a demon and plays a game of poker with it in order to do so.  But believe me, I love and adore them both.  Mr. Valet and I communicated for a while after that and even briefly discussed the possibility of him illustrating a Sebastian Red story.  But as it happens so often on The Internet, folks fall out of touch.  I haven’t heard from him in a number of years but he has made an indelible impression on me in my development as a writer.

So I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: you just never know who’s going to read your books, your plays or look at your artwork or listen to your music and be moved enough to not only respond and reply to what you did but to create something of their own.  And isn’t that why we all strive to create?  Because somebody wrote, drew, sang or said something that ignited our own creative fire?

If you come away from this post with anything (besides my typical shameless huckstering) I hope it’s this: continue to write, paint, draw, sing, speak, and dance…whatever it is you do.  Because your own Alain Valet is out there.  But he or she can’t speak to you unless you speak to them first.



  1. Wow--what an honor to have inspired such powerful fanart.

    Although M. Valet is unlikely to have been influenced by 1960's American Saturday morning TV, the style reminds me a bit of the old Johnny Smoke PSA:

  2. One of the first stories of yours I read was a Sebastion Red story. Great stuff! What an awesome gift to have an artist do that just because he is excited about the story. That's amazing!

    1. It truly is. And it's something I pray I never take for granted.

  3. Fantastic! I had that happen to me way back during the fan fiction days. There was a guy who liked what I was doing enough that he sent in sketches for just about every character in the series. It was awesome, so I totally get where you're coming from here. To have someone out there read what you've written and turn it in to artwork is the highest of compliments.

    1. I like to rerun this essay every so often because I talk to so many writers who feel discouraged because they don't hear from anybody and so they think that nobody is reading their work. I myself felt that way for a long time but as I say in the essay, you really have no way of knowing who you're reaching or influencing. I often think that the best quality a writer can have is persistence. Oftentimes it's just a matter of hanging in there until things start breaking your way.

    2. I'm glad you do because it's something we all need from time to time. I would imagine even writers like King or Rowling still like to hear a personal missive on what their art means to someone who's read it. You posting those pics on my FB now and then is a good bit of encouragement, too.

    3. And it costs absolutely nothing and only takes a minute to provide somebody with a word of encouragement. You never know when it will come at just the right time to give that person just that extra bit of push to make them want to keep going.



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