Damn It, Owen: Sidbhatra
I’ve been friends with Owen K.C. Stephens for a long time. We’ve worked together under the auspices of four or five different companies. We’ve been colleagues, collaborators, boss and employee (going either way), advisors (again going either way), and just plain old creative co-conspirators.
These days, Owen is super active online, often tossing out simple prompts and ideas that he doesn’t have time to work on (yet) but that he’d like to see find a place to thrive in the world. I always find these entertaining, and sometimes they click so solidly in my brain that I’m moved to write or sketch out a piece of work just to keep my brain from exploding with the possibilities. I call these “Damn It, Owen!” moments. Yesterday, though, that happened on a bigger scale than ever previously.
It actually started a few weeks ago when, during an online hangout session, Owen brought up the idea of a children’s picture book about a young sphinx on a quest to find her first riddle. I think he was hoping I’d pick up the prompt and run with it . . . and I was tempted to. Unfortunately, my brain (and my work schedule) was too full for me to do more than say something like, “That’s a great idea.” Of course, the idea stuck with me and started percolating in my brain, but I was nowhere on the track to actually doing anything about it. Then yesterday Owen posted this on his Facebook feed:
“I am Sidbhatra, the Oracle of Ankhara.
For any who can answer my riddle, I shall foretell the future.
But… I haven’t found my first riddle yet.
And so I travel the world, with some unusual friends, seeking mysteries worthy of the Oracle of Ankhara.”
That did it. The ideas would no longer stay just in my head. I had to put something down on paper. Or, actually, on digital media. So I pulled out my iPad and sketched out the version of this little sphinx (who now had a name) that had been germinating there.
Generally, once I get a “Damn It, Owen!” drawing done, my brain simmers down and I can get back to whatever project I have on my plate. But in this case, one drawing wasn’t enough. My brain insisted that I do more.
At first, I was afraid it was going to insist that I plot out a whole children’s book, but my brain threw me a curve. Instead, it gave me a comic strip (which is also strange, because these days my brain usually gives me single-panel gags) and demanded that I make it real. Which I did.
Will there be more adventures for Sidbhatra and her unusual friends? That really depends a lot on Owen. I mean, it IS his idea. But given how much my brain seems to like it . . . I’d bet we see more of this plucky little sphinx somewhere down the line.