Happy Birthday, Star Wars (and thanks for all the feels)!

July 13, 2017

In my first blog post I alluded to some... well, let's just call them "issues" over the last year. That wasn't the first time I mentioned something about that online. The first (and only other time) I spoke of it was on May 25th on Twitter.

 

And since I said that I may be using this new blog to discuss some important personal stories from the past year that helped me find my way back to writing and drawing again, I gueeeeeeeeeeeeess I'll follow through and share.

 

So here's what I posted earlier this year...

 

Happy 40th birthday to the movie that awakened the creative life of a young boy in 1977, and continues to do so in 2017.

So, yeah... that might read like hyperbole, but I can assure you that it’s not. Here’s why…

Last year was a rough one for me. After finishing Oddly Normal Book 3, I had something of an emotional crash. I found that I couldn’t draw or write. At all. Weeks and then months went by and I couldn’t create anything. This was not normal for me. Not at all. My creative spigot felt like it had been turned off. Tightly and permanently. And this forced to deal with something that had been brewing inside of me for years. Decades, really.

To anyone who has ever seen me over the last 20 years and asked “are you okay?” No. No I wasn’t.

My creative funk finally forced me to admit that I suffered from severe depression and anxiety and to ask someone for help. Drawing and writing had always been what I leaned on to get through the darkness. But when I couldn’t even do that, I knew I needed help.

Luckily, I have an amazing girlfriend who saw the signs, took my hand and led me toward the help I needed. Thank you, Kate. Thank you for saving my life. I love you.

Kate got me signed up at my local VA (something I had avoided since 20015) and I finally saw the doctors I needed to see. And the doctors confirmed what I already knew: I was suffering from depression and anxiety. And there’s something amazing about knowing you’re on a path to getting help… just that knowledge is enough to make you feel like things are going to get better. Amazing, that.

But even after starting to get help in the form of counseling and medication, I still wasn’t able to draw anything. I still felt creatively powerless. And for me, creativity was my life. It kept me moving forward against the wind. Always. I knew that I needed to do something to help kick-start that part of my life again. It was therapy and medication of another sort that I desperately needed.

So in January of this year, I decided to start drawing Jawas.

People seemed to like my take on those characters from Star Wars, and I enjoyed drawing them. So I thought, “I’ll lean into this. Maybe it will help me get out of my creative funk and get back my creative life.” And sure enough… it did. I spent the next month or so cranking out Jawa drawings and having a blast. Then I started making mock covers to Jawa Adventures and I felt my creative batteries really start to recharge. Even this fake comic book series that I was imagining was enough to help me start seeing a creative future for me again. The pure fun of drawing something I loved was just like being 5 years old again, drawing X-Wing and TIE battles on my school notebook. And it fueled me.

In 1977, Star Wars made me want to draw and write. And it did so again in 2017, just when I needed it.

So Happy 40th birthday, Star Wars. Thanks for being there when I needed you to help me find my way back to a creative life.

 

-Otis

 

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