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

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Ray Charles

Here’s a picture I drew of Ray Charles and Elmo last weekend in my new sketchbook. I haven’t drawn as much lately. I’m fiddling with a new book, but I still find time to doodle here and there. I hope you’re all doing well. Happy Valentine’s Day.

How I became a sports fan

When I went to college in the late 90s, I wrote for the school newspaper. We only published one issue a month, but I poured all my energy into my articles and editorial columns, obsessively re-writing and polishing them late into the night, while guzzling Surge and eating bacon sandwiches from the gas station. I focused on the school newspaper with such single-minded passion that I neglected all my real classes … and therefore I flunked out.

After the college politely told me to go away, I started working at a potato chip bag factory, helping a man named Big Dan operate a giant machine called a laminator. The job wasn’t very complicated. I spent most of my time cutting sheets of plastic with a dull knife and prying lids off glue barrels. But Big Dan’s moods varied wildly from one minute to the next. Sometimes he danced and sang. Sometimes he burst into fits of rage, screaming at me and showering my face with drops of spittle. Every day, I dreaded Big Dan and his volatile mood swings.

Desperate to escape from the potato chip bag factory, I begged the local newspaper to hire me. I also drove to the surrounding towns, begging the newspapers there for a job. I wanted to write for a living. I told editors I would be happy to sit in a spider-filled basement and type obituaries as long as I could get out of the factory and squirm into the newspaper business.

Finally, an editor in a nearby town (a town I had never visited before my begging tour) said he needed a sportswriter. He asked me if I knew anything about sports. Smiling and fidgeting, I said, “Um, well, no, not really. But I would be happy to learn!”

Thus I began working as a sportswriter in January 2001. I wasn’t just a sportswriter … I was the only sportswriter at this particular newspaper.

I was also the sports photographer and the guy in charge of page layout. I covered the sports page with lots of pictures (big pictures) since my articles were so short and meager. At first, my stories only contained the final score, the names of the players who scored the most points, and a quote from the coach. Whenever I asked the coaches for their thoughts about the last game, I wrote down everything they said. Their terminology baffled me, but I nodded enthusiastically and pretended I knew what they were talking about.

I grew better over time. I learned that “PAT” stood for “point after touchdown.” I learned that a baseball team scores runs, not points. I learned to park my car as far away from the field as possible. I also learned a wide vocabulary of terms from Sports Illustrated and big newspapers which I incorporated into my own articles. For example, when a football team scores a touchdown, it’s better to say they posted a touchdown … or they lit the board … or they chipped away at the other team’s lead. These punchy little expressions fascinated me. The language was far more interesting to me than the games themselves. I never became an expert on sports, but I learned how to sound like one.

I loved and respected the athletes and the coaches and the work they did … but I never truly became a sports fan myself. I did become a devoted fan of the sports language, though.

I don’t work at the newspaper anymore, but I do like to listen to sportscasters on the radio sometimes. When I hear them throw around expressions like “lock horns” and “square off” and “buzzer beater” and “wild card,” it almost makes me want to go back to work at some seedy little newspaper office and bang out stories about games.

But not quite.

***

My new novel, Citizens of Purgatory, is based on some of my ridiculous experiences in the newspaper business. It’s available in paperback on Amazon. You can click here to order a copy.

Weekend sketching

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Here are some drawings I’ve done recently. The first is Suzanne Somers. I drew her last weekend … or was it the weekend before? I can’t remember. Recent events are running together in my mind like oil in a parking lot. Anyway, I know for sure that I drew the second and third pictures this past Saturday. One is a caricature of Emily, a little girl who attends my church. I drew her in her taekwondo uniform. And the picture on the bottom is my new Facebook friend, Lorian Hemingway.

I drew the picture of Lorian Hemingway while spending Saturday night at the Econo Lodge in Rome, Georgia. I can’t explain it … I know it doesn’t make any sense at all … but I enjoy checking into a hotel room (once or twice a year) and drawing all night long, with nothing but the TV and the hum of the air conditioner to keep me company. It’s absolute bliss. In the middle of the night, I walked over to the diner next door (The Huddle House) and ate some greasy food. Then I returned to my room and kept on drawing. And this caricature of Lorian Hemingway is the result.

I’m not sure when I’ll post again. I haven’t been drawing as much lately since I’m still learning my new job. But I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying spring. (That is, if it’s spring in your part of the world … for some of you, I think it’s winter right now. Is it? Sorry. Never mind.)

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If you’re interested, you can click here to order my novels from Amazon. The new one is called Citizens of Purgatory. It’s about the misadventures of a struggling young sportswriter in Alabama. The other is Under the Electric Sun, a dark dystopian story aimed at young adults. The star is an electronic raccoon with a bitter outlook on life.

Flo

Here is my drawing of Flo the Progressive Girl. I started it back in 2012 in one of my little black sketchbooks. It’s been collecting dust under my coffee table for a long, long time now. I came across it yesterday while I was showing the sketchbook to Angela. I had kind of forgotten about this drawing. Last night I decided to go back and add some shading and make her hair darker.

Thanks for reading. Have a nice week.

***

Both my novels, Citizens of Purgatory and Under the Electric Sun, are available in paperback now. You can click here to order copies of them. You can also read them on Kindle if you prefer e-books.

More drawings from 2013

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Happy New Year. I hope you’re enjoying 2014 so far. Here are a few more drawings from 2013.

The first one is a picture of my friend Ann Bisky, a writer/blogger I met last year. The second is Piyush Mishra, one of my Word Press friends. The third is Stephanie Abrams, the queen of The Weather Channel.

Then there’s Robert Guillaume, the actor who starred in Benson in the 80s. (I’m going to draw him again later.) The last picture is a nonsensical doodle of Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was in a silly mood when I did that one.

Thanks for reading.

 

Some drawings from 2013

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I’ve taken a break from drawing lately, so I decided to post some pictures I drew earlier this year. The first is a caricature of my blogger friend, Myla Laurel, who lives in Dubai. She takes mouth-watering pictures of food. The second is Spock from Star Trek. (It’s supposed to be the Leonard Nimoy version.) The third is G.E. Gallas, a talented writer/illustrator/blogger.

Like I said, I’ve stepped away from the sketchbook. I wanted to remove the clutter from my mind and spend the rest of the year relaxing. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve reflected on 2013 and kicked around some ideas about what I would like to do in 2014.

I’ve also watched Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas over and over and over again. It’s almost 30 years old now, but I never get tired of it.

***

I’ve tried to get into the habit of visiting the park regularly and walking around the track. Since the park is so close to my home, I don’t bother to drive. I just walk over there — past the old storefront buildings and all the small, quaint houses with Christmas trees twinkling in the windows.

Each time I make my way to the park, my neighbor’s little dog eagerly scampers along behind me. I call the dog Regis, because he reminds me of Regis Philbin, the TV icon. It’s difficult to explain why. I think it’s because of the way he grins. I see the essence of Regis Philbin in his happy little face.

Whenever I walk through town, trudging toward the park, Regis always accompanies me. But he doesn’t move in a straight line, like I do. Instead, he makes one detour after another, waddling away from me and waddling back to me again, exploring each lawn with his twitching nose.

I’m usually deep in thought during these walks, brooding about my job and worrying about life, but Regis is always happy. He’s just a high-speed ball of joy … with the face of a game show host.

Sometimes, I look over and see Regis tinkling on a garden gnome. When this happens, I clap my hands and shout, “Regis! Come away from there at once! You don’t have any business urinating in that person’s yard! Get back here! Right now! I command you!”

And he happily trots back to me, wagging his tail and smiling. I half expect him to say, “Is that your final answer?”

Once we arrive at the park, and I begin to march in circles around the track, Regis continues to come and go, sniffing and peeing everywhere, as if he has some kind of quota. I enjoy his company, even though he makes things more complicated. I’m always afraid his little antics are going to get me in some kind of trouble.

But so far, everything is fine. And if I stick with this regimen, I’ll probably slim down in 2014.

Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas.

(Both of my e-books are available on my Amazon page. One is a science fiction story aimed at young adults. The other is a Southern gothic novel filled with dark humor.)