It goes without saying that everyone goes through hard times in their lives. Personally I have dealt with a lot of disappointment and frustration this past year. In the midst of all of the questioning and tears there have been a few things that have brought me some measure of comfort during the tough times.
One of the great loves of my life are good stories. I enjoy the story and I enjoy the synergy between writer and artist that the comic book medium provides. It takes me around 10 minutes to read a comic book. It always cheers me up and more importantly it gives me a moment to step back and catch my breath. It helps me calm my brain for a few moments while I read about how Batman or Spider-Man save the city or let my skin crawl as I watch the demons emerge from the forest in the horror comic Wytches. I also appreciate the different art techniques used by the many different artists in comics today. That is what happens when one of your parents is an art teacher.
Another form of art that has helped me get through the year is music. I have always loved music. There is something special about that melodious noise. It is like someone plucked an emotion out of the air and stuck it in a jar. When you open the jar you can take out the emotion and either wrap it around you like a blanket or drive it into your heart like a blade. Music gives us the ability to express emotions and relieve the tension they can cause. One particular album that came out this year that has helped me a lot is “Extremist” by the band Demon Hunter. I love metal and I love the brutal honesty that it can convey. Demon Hunter is made up of a group of guys that were pastor’s kids or grew up in church. Their lyrics and the way they approach life and religion in them connects with me. Their latest album “Extremist” has some songs on it that inspire me to keep moving forward. “I will Fail You” , “Artificial Light” and “Cross to Bear” are my favorite songs on that album.
Finally Brian Welch the guitarist for Korn and his side band Love and Death wrote a book called “Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality” where he shares in short chapters the struggles of his life and how he has worked to overcome them. Once again his honesty is what I enjoy most in the book. His points aren’t all that deep. Don’t expect anything on the level of Kierkegaard or Lewis. Just expect the story of how a guy that loses his temper and does some selfish things finds his way to a measure of peace and learns some life lessons on the journey.
So what works inspire you? What are some escapes that help you relax and decompress?