I keep one of my favorite illustrations of June Lusparian on my wall. June is the prototype for Nune Lusparian (in NUNE) BTW.
The picture is of June looking up at the sky and there are tears running down her face. The desert ranch with a shooting range is cutting straight through her body as if she were transparent. Above the sky are hawks flying in a circle—as if they were vultures, when in actually, they are prey to humans that hunt for sport. June has lost hope in the “American dream.” Brokenhearted by a dead-end future—a future she cannot see. I love this image because it is so sad yet beautiful at the same time.
Sometimes I find myself having to explain to others my concept for RB. Without going into great detail, all I can say is that it is like the BREAKFAST CLUB version of AMERICAN BEAUTY—or vice versa. I hate making such trite and reductive comparisons but that is the only way people can get a snapshot of it. Until RB gets made, it is hard to for people to understand that it is its own thing.
The picture I pinned on my wall, entitled “A Good Idea,” is to remind me of the beauty of the story—of how it makes me feel. The entire vision encapsulated into one illustration inspires me—regardless of how difficult the process of finishing the book is.
About four days ago, I got a cut on my lower lip. It was the most perfect cut that if you drew a line down my face, it was dead centered—split right down the middle. I don’t know how it happened. I thought maybe I had really chapped lips. But this was so deep that it bled and cut almost wide opened—running into my inner lip.
The first image that came to mind was an image the illustrator drew for me of June when her lip was cut after a fight. She had an opened wound dead center and split opened. It was this wound that her girlfriend would end up kissing.
And here I was, with this mysterious cut on my lip that was measured as perfectly as the drawing of June.
I hadn’t seen the illustrator for months. I didn’t know if he ditched the project. After three days dealing with my bleeding lip, I decided to call him to see how things were going. He told me that if he doesn’t get called in for a gig on Monday we could get together. I was ecstatic but I wasn’t going to hold my breath. I knew that if a good paying gig came up, RB would be put on the back burner. If I had the money to pay him scale, I would—but I don’t. My novel project budget has been exhausted with only the balance left to pay him once it’s done.
On Sunday, I was wasted after sleeping for only three hours for two days straight. I was determined to pass out for the entire day and not wake up until Monday. But when my head almost hit the pillow, the wound on my mouth started to hurt. And the image of June’s cut lip appeared in my head. I suddenly remembered that I had to follow up on the Monday meeting! I almost totally forgot.
So I texted the illustrator and said, “If Monday is cool let me know. I’m going to bed now (5pm Sunday) and won’t wake up until the next day after 12 pm (Monday).”
Yes, I was going to hibernate for 18 hours.
I said, “Text me a confirmation and I’ll get back to you when I wake up. Don’t worry, I silence my phone when I sleep.”
So I woke up on Monday and found a text saying we were on. And you know what? My lip was no longer hurting—and in fact, it closed and healed.
Now, you can say that that’s pretty normal—for a lip to heal in 24 hours. But the interesting part isn’t how long it took to heal. What was weird was that the cut forced me to confirm Monday and then felt better once things got in motion.
But that’s how connected I am to this project. It’s so real to me that it hurts. And that can be a good thing. We ended up working until 11 at night. Driven to exhaustion, we are still nowhere near the finish line. I don’t know when we’ll meet again.
All I know is the last image got me dreamin.’