Nora enters the city

Here’s one of my illustrations from What’s Left of the Stars. In this scene, Nora has just left her home and entered the city. She does not receive a warm welcome at first.

What’s Left of the Stars is available on Kindle.

Copyright 2019 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.

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What’s Left of the Stars

My new e-book is called What’s Left of the Stars. It’s available on Kindle for 99 cents. It’s a wacky science fiction story for kids. (I’ve been working on this project since last summer. That’s why I haven’t posted much art lately.)

Nora lives in a little house on an asteroid with a cruel, evil man named Mr. Sly. Nora dreams of escaping from him. One morning, a meteor crashes into the roof and destroys the house. Mr. Sly dies, but Nora survives. As the house collapses in a ball of flames, Nora crawls into Mr. Sly’s fancy space car and stares at all the glowing buttons on the dashboard. Terrified but hopeful, Nora flies away in search of a new life.

You can click here to see more.

Copyright © 2019 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.

Summer sketches

I hope you’re having a good year so far. This is my first blog post in a long time. Last summer, I started writing a new book. I just recently finished it and published it on Amazon in April. Anyway, I tend to have a one-track mind. I usually pour all my energy into one project at a time and neglect everything else. This blog is normally the first thing I abandon.

Sorry about that.

Since Starlight Desperado is finally completed and published, I decided to buy a little sketchbook at Dollar General and start drawing again. Here are a couple of pictures I drew the other night. I photographed my sketchbook in the grass. I got the idea from a wonderful artist known as The Crazy Bag Lady. Sadly, my grass is not nearly as pretty as hers.

 

Copyright 2018 Matthew David Curry

Leaving the Nest…

Gary lived in a nest of shredded magazine pages. Every morning and every night, he sat in his nest and stared at a miniature television set with a black and white screen, one he had found in a junk pile. Most of Gary’s knowledge about the world above him came from the television.

His nest was located on a windowsill in the basement of an old, old spaceship. All the ship’s garbage fell into the basement through trap doors in the ceiling. Gary spent his days flying over the garbage piles, searching for scraps of food and interesting pieces of junk. He was always careful to avoid the vulture beetles that ate everything (including metal) in order to make room for more garbage.

Gary didn’t live alone on the windowsill. An octopus human hybrid lived in a cardboard box right beside him. The octopus looked just like any other octopus except he had a human face (with baggy, bloodshot eyes) and breathed oxygen and complained about all of Gary’s soap operas.

One morning, Gary sat in his nest, watching a commercial for a steakhouse located on the top floor of the ship. He wondered what it would be like to eat in a steakhouse, to eat firsthand food rather than dirty old scraps someone else had tossed out.

The octopus slouched in his cardboard box and looked out the window at the stars.

“Hey, Gary, do you see that thing out there?” the octopus asked.

“You mean that giant asteroid?” said Gary. “Yes, I see that. What about it?”

“It’s coming straight toward us,” said the octopus.

“Oh, I’m sure it’s not a problem.”

“Maybe you should go upstairs and mention it to somebody,” the octopus told him, shifting his bloodshot eyes back and forth.

Gary shrugged. “I’m sure they already know.”

“Maybe not. They might not be paying any attention. Everybody’s in a big frenzy. They’re all excited about the debate or something, aren’t they?”

“They’ll see it soon enough,” said Gary, shaking his head and wishing he could enjoy his soap opera in peace. “How could anyone overlook something that size?”

“I don’t know,” the octopus went on. “When you watch the evening news, you get the impression that most of those folks upstairs aren’t too bright. You know what I mean? You may want to just run up there real quick and, you know, mention it to somebody.”

“Not now,” said Gary.

“I think you should.”

Gary cleared his throat. “I may do it later.”

“It might be too late,” said the octopus, peeking out the window.

“Why can’t I sit here in my nest and watch my program?” Gary shouted, flapping his wings and grinding his teeth. “Can you at least let me have that one luxury? Please? Every day of my life is a bland, worthless echo of the one before it. I crawl out of my nest, I fly around this dark room, I find scraps of food for us to eat, I avoid the vicious vulture beetles, and then I return to the windowsill. Television is the only oasis I have. My only other form of recreation is gazing out the window at the black, infinite void and thinking about my futile existence.”

The octopus rolled his eyes. “You’re not going to miss anything, Gary, That show is a re-run, remember? All these people die at the end.”

Gary flapped his wings and screamed, “I’ve never seen this episode before! Why do you have to ruin it for me? Why?”

“Well, now you don’t have to watch it. You know how the thing’s going to end. Now run upstairs and tell somebody about that big space rock.”

“No!” Gary yelled. “Stop harassing me!”

“It’s getting closer. And it has little red patches. Looks like lava on that thing. What about that? A big ball covered in lava is coming at us. And you want to watch soap operas.”

Gary turned away from the miniature television and looked out the window again. He realized the octopus was right. The asteroid was getting closer. And there were red patches on it.

“But how would I get upstairs?” Gary asked, trembling. “The garbage associates hardly ever come down here. The doors are locked most of the time. I couldn’t go upstairs if I wanted to.”

***

You’ve been reading an excerpt from The Quality of Life in Outer Space, available on Amazon. Gary is an eagle with a human head. He takes off on a journey to the top floor of the spaceship and struggles to warn the crew about the oncoming asteroid. He learns some shocking secrets along the way. The book is aimed at younger readers, but adults would get a laugh out of it too. The paperback is $5 plus shipping and handling. The Kindle edition is $1.99. You can click here to order.

Lost in Germany

We found an auditorium where a heavy metal band was playing. Thick smoke floated above our heads. Red laser beams flashed in the air. People danced with their eyes closed, waving their arms in slow motion, grasping at imaginary objects with their fingers. I watched them with nervous curiosity.

After the show was over, I stumbled into the street with Greg and Jesse. It was time to return to the youth hostel. We walked down a staircase in the sidewalk, into the concrete labyrinth where the subway trains lived. We boarded a train and rode through the tunnel a few minutes. Then we stepped off and climbed another set of stairs.

When we reached the top of the stairs and looked around, we didn’t recognize the signs and buildings around us. We had gotten off at the wrong stop. We didn’t know where we were. It was almost eleven o’clock. And we couldn’t call our teacher on our cell phones because we didn’t have cell phones. It was 1998.

So we rambled through the streets, asking strangers for directions to the youth hostel where we were staying. Most of them were friendly and polite, but they had never heard of the Jump In Youth Hostel. We even found a black taxi cab parked indiscreetly on the sidewalk, a common practice in Germany. The driver sat behind the wheel, sipping coffee and listening to the radio. We eagerly asked him to take us to the Jump In Youth Hostel, but he shook his head and started pointing, giving us directions in German. None of us understood German well enough to know what he was saying. We mumbled “danke” and walked away, disappointed and discouraged.

We walked through the subway and found a group of policemen playing cards in a small, dirty room with pictures of naked women plastered on the walls. We explained our predicament to them. They also gave us helpful directions in German.

***

You’ve been reading an excerpt from How to Make an Artist Miserable. The Kindle version is free May 19-23. The paperback version is $5 plus shipping and handling as always.

You can click here to order a copy.

Copyright 2015, 2017 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.

Thanks for the lousy Christmas present, Matt Smith

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If you’re not a fan of Doctor Who, this post probably won’t mean anything to you at all. I won’t hold it against you one bit if you don’t read it.

I just learned that Matt Smith will leave the show in this year’s Christmas episode. My heart sank as I read the news earlier today. I didn’t really like him when he started playing The Doctor in 2010. I thought he was a very talented actor, but I didn’t feel like I was watching Doctor Who. I felt like I had accidentally stumbled across a wacky sitcom designed to pay homage to Doctor Who. Somehow, the tone was just wrong. It was too silly, too slapstick. Even the Tardis interior looked like a fun house. Rory, Amy, and River Song were wonderful characters, but I didn’t feel like they belonged in the same universe as Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith, and Martha Jones. (This is just my opinion and it doesn’t really mean much. I know I’m just one of ten thousand people on the internet, rambling and over-analyzing this silly old TV show.)

But I finally accepted Matt Smith as The Doctor after watching The Snowmen this past Christmas. I loved the scene when Clara boldly followed him into the Tardis … and then he turned back very slowly and grinned at her as she looked around, speechless and awestruck. At that moment, something clicked. Matt Smith really did come across as an ancient, mysterious, brilliant, lonely Time Lord. I also loved Hide and Journey to the Centre of the Tardis. I could write 50,000 words about Hide, but I’ll be kind and spare you. (By the way, I’m not saying I hated all the previous episodes. The Doctor’s Wife, written by Neil Gaiman, was a classic. And the cinematography in that episode was some of the most dazzling stuff I’ve ever seen.)

As I was saying, Matt Smith is leaving and I’m disappointed. I ride this same, miserable roller coaster every time the character regenerates. It’s just part of being a Doctor Who fan, I guess. A new actor steps in … and it takes a year or two for me to get comfortable with him playing the role … and then I really begin to like him … and then he steps out … and the whole aggravating process begins all over again.

I still remember the first time I ever saw The Doctor regenerate. I was about ten years old, sitting on the carpet in front of the TV with my face too close to the screen, watching the show on Channel 8, the PBS station in Georgia. The episode was called The Caves of Androzani. At the end, Peter Davison collapsed onto the floor of the Tardis … and wild, psychedelic designs swarmed around his face. Then he transformed into Colin Baker — a posh, dignified man with curly hair. He abruptly sat up and started talking about change.

The next morning, in Sunday School, I asked my friend Joel if he had seen it. Joel nodded emphatically and said, “Yeah! He regenerated!” Joel was much more knowledgeable about Doctor Who than I was. He often explained these concepts to me, telling me all about Daleks and Cybermen and so forth.

Anyway, it’s about to happen again soon. The fiftieth anniversary episode will air on November 23 and then, unfortunately, Matt Smith will appear as The Doctor for the last time on Christmas.

What a lousy present.

 

Click here to download a copy of my novel, Under the Electric Sun.