Recently, I’ve been spread very thin: between post-production of NUNE and working on a completion of a graphic novel, RED AS BLUE. Switching gears has been taxing for me. I don’t know how actors can be in several shows and play different characters at one time. Even as a writer, it’s very hard to emotionally hop from one roller coaster to another.
Although RED AS BLUE is similar to NUNE, it is about 10 times the intensity of NUNE. The character, June Lusparian (whom Nune Lusparian in NUNE is based on) is very dark—in a complex and magical way. Living inside her head has been very difficult for me—because the child is going through so much existential angst, and so much of it is internalized. For a good week, I felt depressed because June is always depressed.
Collaborating with the illustrator is very hard work. We spend about 10 grueling hours drawing. We’d have falling outs and coming togethers. Collaboration is a bridge you keep having to tear apart and rebuild because it’s like dating: you’re still getting to know each other and how each person works. Now and then, we’d come up with a very transformational piece of artwork that would blow our minds. I’d go home, print it out and post it on the wall—and stare at it for days.
With the help of an illustrator, we’re able to bring out the best in June Lusparian. Even the darkest illustrations of her have the most transformative and relatable qualities. She has a different darkness than teens you’ve read in books or seen in movies. Her’s is a bit more developed and not just one-dimensional; she is a walking reflective glass—opened to the world—yet closed off based on things happening to her and around her.
Her darkness is way before “emo” became a trend. And because the story is centered in the 1980s, her feelings are very much about being a product of her times; of her messed up environment. So she has reason to rebel, to ask, to question authority and rewind the tape based on things she’s been told is “right.”
In NUNE well as RED AS BLUE, I really wanted to show how the potentiality of the youth is highly disregarded, undermined and ignored in society. People will find that trying to corral or control the potentiality of the youth is like holding your hand out to stop a tsunami.
In theory it works very well when you have a slow-leaking IV drip of social programming and mental conditioning…but when the Youth becomes a mother, father, boss, president, or ruler of the world—then you’ll see that you can’t hold back the power yielded to them.
That’s why we have to treat the youth with great respect and to help them prosper in self-expression: because when they become the force that runs the world—they will either be healers or tyrants. The tyranny comes from people who have been oppressed.
In the past—the Lusparian or “dark” personality is something nobody wanted to admit to having. But today, you have people who identify very deeply with that; and I find that very interesting. It’s interesting because people of vast generations—young and old—are much more aware. They have freedom to feel and think what they want. The internet and social networking brought a lot of that out.
The stories I write are about connecting the missing dots in humanity. Often these dots have to do with a forgotten person, identity, or purpose. It’s about bridging the inner and outer world. It’s about the journey of soul and the portrayal of that is usually one that involves treachery. Without treachery, there would not be any desire for freedom. Freedom is always something we need to be spiritually reminded of; because it is too easy to be consigned to self-limitation enforced by self or others.
Freedom is essential to consider in everything that I write and create. Everything has to give people immense hope to freely be who they are.
I have a theory about freedom. And it goes something like this:
Soul is like a bird in a cage. The bird cries every day that it wants to be free. One day the cage is opened and the bird still sits in the cage crying that it wants to be free.
This is how the human mind works. We say we want freedom, we say we want love. We say we want a lot of things. But when we are given the opportunity we cannot see it: even though it is apparent in front of our eyes. We would rather lament that we haven’t found true love, a true job, a true heaven on earth.
So many people think the idea of Freedom is great. But it is only an idea. Just like the idea that the cage is opened. Until you can see that the cage is opened, you cannot step out of it—out of Plato’s cave. You can’t be hit by the pain and anguish of how beautiful it is to face the blinding harshness of the sun. And freedom is the same way: it is painful to own up to it—because it means more power, more responsibility and more awareness.
What I’m leading up to is that when RED AS BLUE goes out into the world, maybe some people will get it. Maybe some people won’t. The ones who do will see that the cage is open. The one’s who don’t might say that RED AS BLUE is another dark dilemma; a Nietzschesqe kind of thing. But for those who get it—I hope the book will be their doorway to total happiness and salvation.