Monday, October 23, 2017

Comic Book Writer, Pat Shand, Says Don’t Let Someone Else Tell Your Story

Please tell us about yourself and what you do?

I’m a writer primarily known for my work in the comic book industry. I currently write Robyn Hood, Grimm Fairy Tales, and Charmed: Season Ten monthly. I also work as a playwright, producer, screenwriter, and college professor. I hope to add novelist to that list soon, but I’m kind of already doing a bit of a juggling act as is.

Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects or events that you are working on?

I’m always working on Robyn Hood in some form or another. It’s a modern version of the Robin Hood legend with a woman, Robyn Locksley, in the title role. She and Marian Quin, a witch who is having a bit of trouble adapting to modern times, are living in New York City. That book along with Grimm Fairy Tales, which is Zenescope Entertainment’s flagship title, and the Charmed comic are sort of an “always on the clock” type thing. Each of those comics releases monthly, so I’m sort of perpetually shifting between those three. I’m also quietly working on a few unannounced creator-owned stories with artists I can’t get enough of in my work-for-hire.

robynhoodcover_seanchen_seanellery_colour

Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body?  

In my industry specifically, no. I’m not the only chubby bearded guy working in comics, that’s for sure. In my life, though? I don’t know if I’d say I feel the pressure to have a perfect body, but I feel a constant battle between wanting to be more in shape/be healthier with the instant gratification of making a less healthy choice. That’s more just being a person, though, than being a writer.

How do you navigate through that terrain?  

With varying success. What I have noticed, though, is that my choices regarding my physical health – eating, in particular – is intrinsically linked to how it’s going with my writing. If I’m overwhelmed, if I think what I’m working on it’s up to snuff, I find that I’m far more likely to succumb to the perpetual anxiety that has been nagging me in recent years, and alleviate that briefly with some crappy food. Conversely, when the words are soaring, when I’m feeling like I’m walking on air and everyone around me is there for the sole purpose of doling out high fives, I find it far easier to go to the gym. So maybe the field and that pressure you mentioned is more linked than I thought.

How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?

I do. For me, it’s not about not judging myself. It’s about how harshly I let that judgment affect me. It’s easy to let yourself get swallowed up in that kind of thing. Writers – creative people as whole – recently I’ve been thinking we’re sort of stuck between Scylla and Charybdis, you know? We go back and forth between “I’m the greatest! I make art for a living and people think I’m good enough to buy it! Yay me!” and “Man, when people figure out how bad I really am at this, I’m screwed. I suck. Boo me.” It’s sort of that perpetual back-and-forth with no in-between. For me, at least, and for too many of the folks I talk to. It’s hard not to fall into the negative side of all that, but when I’m at my best I try to use my self-judgment to assess myself. I know I can do better. I can always do better. It’s just a matter of pushing myself to do so.

What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc.?

I was approached about it, but the reason I agreed was that mental health and awareness of all aspects of mental health is something very, very vitally important to me.

Who were the role models in your life?

My parents. The writers I’ve admired. The people I’ve loved, in every shape of the word. Ellen Page. Andrea Gibson. Russell Brand. Matt Fraction. Tegan and Sara Quin. Joss Whedon.

What do you define as beautiful?

People and the things they create.

How do you define inner beauty?

It’s purely subjective, but I’ve been trying to divorce the people I meet with the narrative I’m inclined to build for them based off of small interactions. Everyone has their own story, and it’s not for me to assume, even though it’s my instinct to take the kernels of what I know and build it into a story.

What is happiness?

Something we spend far too long chasing and not enough time enjoying. Something that’s hard to recognize and easy to idealize. Art.

Would you be willing to take the Real Deal pledge?  Thoughts about that? (http://wearetherealdeal.com/about/the-real-deal-pledge/)

Yes and no. I think it’s a positive thing, but I don’t know if “Try to be a role model” is appropriate for me. I am constantly figuring myself out and I’ve made and make a lot of mistakes. I write. My work is for public consumption and I’ve been open with those who read my work, and have even connected with them on a personal level – but I’m not interested in knowingly portraying myself as a role model for anyone.

Every other bit of this, especially the bit about not judging others or their appearance, I find myself very much in-line with. I do, however, think that befriending folks who aren’t always like-minded can be powerful

How do you manage your stress levels in daily life?  

Sometimes well, sometimes not so much. I have made a lot of mistakes and have spent much time reassessing myself, finding out who I am, all that pretentious stuff. There was an actual cross-country road trip. I’m that guy.

But seriously, I guess I know myself now better than ever… so right now, I’m handling stress well. While I used to lie in bed for full days, each of my limbs weighed down, unable to lift myself out of my depression, now I get up for work. I get up for my cats. When I feel the static pulse of anxiety shake my insides, I try to step back and put my situation in perspective. “Look what you lived through. Look what you came back from.” Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, I put on music and cry a lot.

Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool?  

Wow, solid segue. Yes. Always, constantly.

Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?

I try to think and relax before I speak. I try to get to the core of what I really mean and use my words, as best I can, to represent the truth of what I believe. Even for a writer – hell, maybe especially for a writer, that is hard.

How do you find a work-life balance — as a man, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?

This is a really complicated question for me, especially the first part. I don’t know if I feel balance as a man. I don’t often feel masculine at all, especially recently, but I also don’t feel imbalanced at all as a person. The real balance I struggle with is my profession and my relationships. I always want to spend more time with my girlfriend, talk to my family more and have more patience when I do so, but the nagging desire to finish more work, to keep writing, to get ahead, eats away at that balance. I try, though, and I will try harder.

Other thoughts / reflections?

Don’t let anyone else tell your story.

 

PAT SHAND is a writer best known for his work on Robyn Hood, Angel, and Charmed. He grew up on Long Island, NY and currently lives in San Diego with two cats. He has always wanted to write a generic author bio like this, but he suspects the whole meta thing at the end messed it up. Oh well.

TWITTER: @PatShand

TUMBLR: PatrickShand.tumblr.com

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