The Hero’s Journey

Heroic stories all follow a specific pattern. How can we apply this to how we live life?

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Heroes.

We all have some real ones in our lives. We regularly follow the storylines of fictional ones. But did you know their stories all follow the same pattern? And did you also know that your life follows this pattern, too? What is this amazing pattern, you ask? It’s called the hero’s journey. 


It starts off in the status quo, where our hero lives an ordinary life. Then, our hero has a call to adventure, and somethings stirs our hero to go out and fight the good fight. The hero then gets assistance to prepare for his journey, possibly someone older or wiser than him. He then departs from his normal home or normal way of life, and this is where his journey truly begins. The hero then faces trials, and approaches the end goal, only to face a crisis. Here, the hero stares death in the face, only to come out on the other side more powerful than before. The cycle continues, but rather than continue to explain it in text, I’ll just link you to the amazing TedEd video that goes into detail about all of the specifics.

 

 

In the video, Matthew Winkler tell us that this format doesn’t just apply to our favorite fictional characters. It applies to everyday life. Our hero stories take this form because it’s relatable and describes our own journeys through life and hardship. Right now, you’re probably stuck in that status quo. However, deep inside of you, you hear whispers. A call to adventure. Change can be scary sometimes. Maybe just as scary as slaying that giant monster or chasing down the Joker. We can be scared to take that leap; to become something greater. Let’s answer the call and become who God wants us to be. Find some assistance from someone wiser than you to help you start your journey. Leave your comfort zone and do the right thing. Overcome your fear. 2 Timothy 2:7 says, “For God did not create us with a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Cast off your fear and no longer be inhibited by it. Do the right thing. Answer God’s call. When you stop to rest after your adventure is finished, your status quo might look a good bit different.

Finding Dory and the Meh-ness of Modern Pixar

I grew up watching Pixar movies and loving them, but honestly, I don’t like the direction Pixar is headed in.

I grew up watching Pixar movies and loving them. Movies like The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc., Wall-E, and more were my childhood favorites. Heck, Finding Nemo is my favorite movie of ALL TIME.

But honestly, I don’t like the direction Pixar is headed in. Movies like Finding Dory only reinforce that fear. “Hold on just a minute, Spencer,” you might be saying. “Doesn’t Finding Dory have a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes? How could you not like it?”

It’s pretty easy, actually. The writing was cringey, the characters (except for Gerald, of course) were mostly just lame and unfunny, the animation wasn’t as good as Finding Nemo’s 2003 animation does, and more. Just that opening 10 or 15 minutes made me cringe SO HARD. All in all, it just didn’t work for me. Not even the nostalgia from the first one made me like it any more. So why didn’t it work?

Simple— it didn’t seem natural. Finding Nemo, by no means, needed a sequel. There was no cliffhanger ending or overarching storyline that needed to be wrapped up with a second movie. It’s not a Star Wars-esque story that needs 8 installments to be told. It was a story that wrapped up cleanly and beautifully with the first movie’s end. I’d also submit that it didn’t seem like the writers at Pixar had their hearts in it this time— just their wallets.
Am I worried for modern Pixar? Yes. Is there hope for the future? Also yes. Pixar has still shown that they know how to make a good movie with recent work like Inside Out, and I am super psyched for The Incredibles 2. But seriously, WHY DOES CARS 3 EXIST?!

The Gift of Life and the Fallacy of Abortion

Babies. We all know ’em and love ’em. So why are so many Christians okay with abortion?

Babies. We all know ’em, and who hasn’t seen a baby and said “Aw…” at least once? We’ve all been one  before, and some of us may have even raised one or more of ’em (shout out to you, parents of children).

Yet many of us are fine with abortion. We take that innocent, bundle of joy, and we devalue it to the point to where its life has no meaning. We say it’s not alive or it’s not really a human being until a certain week or sometimes until it is born. There are even people in my sphere of influence, which is generally a Christian one, who are full on “pro-choice.”

Except that choice isn’t ours to make. You may be bearing the child, but God created you and all the processes that led to the child. He is stiching that child in your womb together piece by piece according to Psalm 39, which says:

Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

This isn’t the only verse in the Bible that says something like this. In the creation narrative, in Genesis 1, the Word says:

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

So, if God is handcrafting that baby in your womb, and as Psalm 139 says, we’re fearfully and wonderfully made, and that all God’s works are wonderful. We’re tossing that all away if we say abortion is okay. God decided to create that human in your womb, and he was in the process of knitting it together. So, what right do you have to take that life away? If that fetus is made in the image of God, just like you are, what right do you have to say that a living thing the Creator of the universe made isn’t really alive until you say it is?

Thus, we have now come to abortion’s greatest folly.

The created declares that the Creator is incorrect, that He, in all His infinite knowledge, didn’t create a human being. He created a glob of protoplasm that isn’t a human until the created says so. We pretend that we know more than the Creator, but we are just His creations.

And that’s not cool at all.

About Creative Influences

Every work of art is a congolmeration of influences. Today, I’d like to take time to tell you mine.

Every work of art is a congolmeration of influences, a Katamari of sorts (Google it if you don’t get that reference) of what has impacted the artist. Each writer or artist has many influences. Today, I’d like to take time to tell you mine.

When it comes to what influenced me to start drawing, there’s one show that immediately comes to mind— Batman Beyond.I discovered this show late at night on The Hub (does that channel still exist?) while I was flipping channels in 2014-ish. The art style was dark and cool, the writing was on-point, and the characters were well-developed. I. WAS. HOOKED.

Luckily, the show was on Netflix at the time. I watched the whole thing, and from then on, I knew I wanted to be in the art industry. Batman Beyond was my artistic genesis. It put me on my current path. 2014 was the beginning of my artistic life, as was evidenced by the next piece I credit with my artistic genesis: Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Guardians of the Galaxy was an unexpected addition to my life. I didn’t even know it existed until the day we went to go see it, but I loved it all the same. The characters were amazing in that movie, especially Rocket and Groot. I found myself drawing those two, and it really propelled me forward. The art I produced was nothing special, but here’s a sample:

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My Story

Who am I? As a teenager, I ask myself that question all the time. I’ve been raised in church all my life, but that doesn’t mean I always believed it.

Who am I? As a teenager, I ask myself that question all the time. As a Christian, my identity is rooted in God. I haven’t always thought that way, though. I’ve been raised in church all my life, but that doesn’t mean I always believed it. I grew up as the middle child in a household with four children. I was born super early, at 32 weeks to be exact, and I’ve been told that I looked like an alien as a newborn, as my ears hadn’t fully developed yet. I was super tiny and unexpected to survive or be taken home for a long time. Thanks to God, I defied expectations and survived anyway, even being taken out of the hospital pretty quickly.

I continued to grow, and as a young’un, I grew up watching cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 edition), Sonic X, and others. I’ve loved drawing and cartoons for as long as I can remember, and that love for cartoons began at an early age. My earliest works of art depict the cast of VeggieTales, which was really big when I was growing up. I’ve also always been coming up with narrative stories to tell, which dates back to even before I could write. It wasn’t all peachy, though. When I got to elementary school, I was bullied. People convinced me I was less than they were. My friends left me one by one, leaving me alone. I was a pariah, but I never turned to God for a solution. I sat alone at recess, drawing under a tree. I retreated into a shell, not allowing my parents or anybody else to help me. I had told my teachers about the bullying, but they didn’t care. It wasn’t their job to save my soul and my sanity. They let it continue unabated.

We started homeschooling for middle school, when I plunged into the depths of insecurity and Godlessness. I cast God aside on the inside, but continued to pretend like I still cared at youth groups and in church. As I plunged further and deeper into sin and faithlessness, I began to die inside. This continued for years. I can’t tell you the point exactly when I came back around, as it was more of a slow evolution than an explosive change. I can tell you that it began after I viewed the film God’s Not Dead, which despite its poor writing, had a message that shook me to the core. It told me God was alive, despite what I had come to believe. That is where my evolution began. I also began drawing and coming up with original characters at this time.

Around that same time, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is a severe allergy to gluten. My mom and sister had been diagnosed with it before, and I was next in line. There is no cure for Celiac disease, and it just continues to get worse, giving you worse and worse symptoms. I had muscle spasms, severe stomach pain, and even developed lactose intolerance (which was especially painful, as dairy products and I have a special relationship). For two years, I struggled with this sickness. It severely limited where we could go and what we could do, as even contact with something containing wheat could set us off if we weren’t careful. It defined our lives and put walls around us. Miraculously, I didn’t have to put up with it for long.

In April 2016, my mother and some friends from her small group went to the Azusa revivals in Los Angeles, California. While I won’t relate the full story to you now, she was having an awful reaction to something she had been told was gluten free. She sat in the stands, unable to stand up because of the stomach pain. All of a sudden, the lady on the stage started talking about somebody in the audience with all her symptoms, and said she was going to be healed. She came home and shared this with us. We all got down and sincerely prayed for healing, and it came. Now, my whole family can eat whatever we want. I’ve been enjoying donuts and fried food again. This was a miracle, as there is no cure for Celiac disease. Your condition just continues to degenerate. I thank God constantly for this. We are no longer walled in by this disease and are no longer limited in what we can do.

Throughout all of this, I was getting more involved in art. I had started watching videos by thecartoonblock, or as I’d like to call him, Sensei Burse. Sensei Burse taught me the fundamentals of art, and nowadays I continue to evolve and improve. If somehow you’re reading this Sensei Burse, thanks for your help.

I know this was long, and it’s unfinished, but I can’t help that. I’m talkative and I’ve lived a storied life, even though I’m not an adult yet.