Pablo Valcárcel is based in Madrid where he teaches entrepreneurship, mentors startups and writes speculative fiction. You can follow his musings on mortality, Scrum for writers, and haunting songs on Twitter @awakedreamer.
Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to drawing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?
A: All my drawing is done indoors at the convenience and privacy of my home. I’ll either be creating on the sofa, in bed or at my desk. It mostly has to do with being in a calm and happy state of mind.
Danos Philopoulos‘s image “Escape” is the cover art for our June 2019 issue.
Matthew has lived in seven states and has worked in advertising, film and commercial production, and information management. He has been publishing fiction since 1990. When not writing, he is a musician and sound engineer in Minneapolis, where he lives with his daughter.
Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?
A: Is The Entirety of the Revision Process an acceptable response?
I was famous in my workshops for being a “Blank Page Reviser,” meaning I stripped my stories down to nothing when even the fewest amount of revisions were suggested. Even this story, “The Memory Dresser,” has been rewritten from a blank page at least five times. I thought this strategy demonstrated my dedication, my perfectionism, and a mind brimming with new ideas. While all of those might be true, I feel it also speaks to a deeper truth: revision requires an objective form of self-analysis which is difficult to practice. It means knowing the difference between writing a bad scene and having low self-esteem, or a good scene and an inflated ego.
I think a lot about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, or: “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” For me, this is the crux of the paradox of revising. The more I write, the more keenly aware of my writing deficiencies I become, the less confident my writing becomes, the worse it gets. Essentially, my self-confidence was much higher when I was much worse. This, I don’t think, is fair.
And so I tinker, I dabble, I erase, I re-write and the more I do it, the worse I feel. Yet, here I am. Bulldozing and sawing and reimagining a perfectly acceptable painting of a shed until it looks like a boat, which is not better or worse—just different. Have you seen my boat? I ask. What happened to the shed? they ask. One moment, I say as I begin painting for them a fresh pterodactyl.
But, occasionally, in a moment of unexpected glory, I realize that the pterodactyl, not the shed or the boat, was what I had been trying for so long to create.
Danos is an artist based in Athens, Greece. He has created art and illustrations for children’s books, editorials, and comics, and created stop-motion and 3D animation videos. He has participated in many anthologies, most notably the anthology To End All Wars from Soaring Penguin Press that was nominated in two Eisner awards categories in 2015. In 2017, he completed his MA degree in Design.
Danos Philopoulos‘ image “Escape” is the cover art for our June 2019 issue.