Opportunity: Ales Kot Spares Some CHANGE For Your Two Cents

“Nothing is too beautiful to happen.”

Tomorrow the collected edition of Ales Kot’s psychedelic LA lullaby CHANGE hits store shelves. Originally published in four issues, the series sees some young talent at the top of their abilities, chronicling the sundown of a superficial city. It’s weird. It’s sobering. There’s an apocalyptic sphincter. It’s as much a dream as a nightmare. If it sounds like your bag, it is.

Check out our interview with Kot, along with a preview of CHANGE #1 here.

Change_TP

CHANGE TPB

Story by Ales Kot
Art By Morgan Jeske, Sloane Leong, Jordie Bellaire

Dear Los Angeles: meet apocalypse. You have one day left. Unless, of course, someone decides to save you. https://www.paydayloansnow.co.uk/payday/isit https://www.paydayloansnow.co.uk/payday/ not to get advance pay and but the things you like.

Possible saviors include: a foul-mouthed struggling screenwriter who moonlights as a car thief, an obscenely wealthy rapper, a dying cosmonaut on his way back to Earth and one very deranged little boy.
Good luck.

Ever gracious, Kot wants to put CHANGE into the hands of some thoughtful readers. Don’t call it a contest, but we’d like to present an opportunity for readers interested in checking out the book while doing some soul searching of their own. Kot will mail a free physical copy of the CHANGE trade paperback to the first seven people who respond to the following question with 100+ words in a comment below this post. Seven responders after that will get a free pdf of the first issue.

Here’s the question:

What is alive inside you right now? What is the thing you are afraid to say out loud? Say it however you want; metaphor, straight-up served no-holds-barred description, quote essays, make poetry, do anything in between or out there: I am here to listen.

100 words. Please don’t include your email or mailing address. We’ll contact you through the email address you used to create your account. First seven get the trade, signed and personally dedicated by Ales Kot. The next seven get the pdf of CHANGE #1.

Oh, and if you happen to wander into the Brooklyn environs tomorrow, Kot and writer Charles Soule (Strange Attractors, Swamp Thing) will be in conversation at the wonderful Bergen Street Comics. The details:

Change-Strange-Attractors_BergenSt_poster


Comments

  1. Sometimes, when life is exceptionally stressful, I feel as if there’s a room about the size of a shoe box inside of my chest that contains an angry bee. It flies around aggressively, frequently tapping against the walls. This, of course, makes it nearly impossible to sleep or focus at all on anything. What’s strangest of all is that it’s taken me 30 years to label this feeling as anxiety, something that people all around the world struggle with everyday, rather than a phenomena unique to me. It’s far too common, I find, to assume that what you are feeling is yours alone, and cannot be felt or understood by another person. When, in fact, we all draw from the same well of emotions and often feel things collectively, as a people.

    Thanks for listening.

    Can’t believe I’m the first one.

  2. Inside me is hope and fear in constant struggle: hope for my daughter, fear that I’ve brought her into a horrible, unforgiving world. Hope for my family, fear that my career is holding as back. Hope for the future, fear that there won’t be one.

    • I realize that wasn’t a hundred words, so allow me to elaborate. Every day, I face the question of why am I following a career that makes me miserable (at least 50% of the time) that keeps my family so far from the rest of the family. My wife tells me that she doesn’t resent me for it and that she’s always supportive, but does that change the guilt I feel for it? When all of our sibilings and their children live in one place and we live half the country away, what am I really trying to achieve? And I look at my colleagues – they’re all unhappy. And when my wife and I talk about our daughter’s future, we both hope that she doesn’t choose our career paths. Doesn’t that say it all? But then why am I so afraid to do something that could only make my life better? Why do I think leaving this miserable lifestyle is something to be considered “bold” and “daring”? Why is the unknown worse than the awful-but-known?

  3. I planned to be cooler than this
    When I was young I would tell myself that I was the shit
    And I would pump the bass in my ’88 Mercedes
    Crazy, thinking that this would impress the ladies
    But maybe, I was just a dick with a loud car
    And now I’m taking sips at a loud bar
    Wishing that they’d turn the music down, gah

    I planned to be smarter than this
    When I was young I would tell myself that I was the shit
    And I would buy books just for looks I would get ’em
    Set ’em on my shelf so it would look like I had read ’em
    But let ’em pile up, barely even touch ’em
    And now the internet’s sayin’ Fuck ’em
    So I ain’t even gonna bother trying to dust ’em

    I planned to be nicer than this
    When I was young I would tell myself that I was the shit
    And I could be a pretty huge dick when I wanted
    So my communication skills got stunted
    Now when I’m confronted
    By a nice person
    All I feel are nerves and my anxiety will worsen and I’m looking for the exit, All I want is a diversion

    I planned to be richer than this
    When I was young I would tell myself that I was the shit
    And I would watch TV, make-believing I was famous
    Head up in the clouds, dream a dream like I’s in Les Mis
    The thing is, my money’s piling up but it’s all debt
    I opened up my savings and it’s all red
    Well, what about your dreams?
    I put ’em all to bed

  4. What’s alive inside me? The manifestation of fear itself: Alive inside me is the memories of my childhood. How I had my innocence stripped away from me, like a dishonoured soldier getting their medals away. You see, I was raped as a child. The memories are hard to remember, because I suppressed them. When I was in grade two it happened multiple times. The memories came flooding back to me when I was in grade seven. The thing that set me off is still vividly in my mind. I came back from a Jr. High dance and thought to myself “I can get a girlfriend now; I could probably have sex… Oh, wait. I already did.” My life took a spiral downwards.

    When I was in senior year of high school, I joined the Canadian Forces. I mostly just went for the money, but then I realized that I wasn’t cut out for the army. It also triggered a lot of flashbacks and body memories in me. I find that very masculine environments don’t suit well for my memories; they remind me of him. I still cannot go to the gym, to this day.

    I told my parents the night I quit, and I immediately was put into therapy. I decided one thing right then and there: I’m confronting him, and I’m not going to be silent. I told the man who did it, the day after I told my parents. I ended up forgiving him, because he broke down. Turns out he suppressed the memories, also. I figured that I do not want anymore negativity, hostility, or overall pain in my life. Case in point: I want to help people.

    The other night I was at a friend’s party, and her boyfriend ended up getting really emotional. Turns out he’s being shipped to Afghanistan, and he hasn’t found out a way to tell his girlfriend. When talking about how sad he was, I brought up that aspect of my past to show him that people can overcome their own personal struggles. I went to use the washroom, came back out, and he started crying. He told me that was raped, also. He didn’t tell his girlfriend, because he was scared. I said to him “The only way it will get any better is if you are honest about it. If you keep it pent up inside, it’s going to manifest and probably kill you. You need to be honest, and you will have a better life in the process.” He then told his girlfriend right then and there. Afterwards I was promised to act godfather of any impending children.

    The manifestation of fear is still inside me, and I fight it every goddamn day. I think Grant Morrison put it best in All-Star Superman, “There’s always a way.”

    • No joke your an amazing person. I don’t normally cry about anything but reading this has tears in my eyes

    • Thank you for your kind words, but I must say that I don’t think there’s really much of anything amazing about it (not to sound contrarian, insulting, or whatever). The reason I’ve kind of adopted this outlook, is because there’s not really any room for another option. I should help my friend, because it’s the right thing to do. I should be honest about what happened, because it’s the best form of therapy for me. At the end of the day, if I go into a slump and feel terrible I need to pull myself out of it. It may be easier said than done, but there is always trying. I mean, what else is there in life? Everyone is trying to do something, trying to change something, trying to achieve something.

      Bottom line: I could either try to and live in the same vein of a Superman, Batman, or whatever and just use my problems to motivate to be a good person, or get stuck in a rut and probably die. I would rather do the former, because the latter almost happened. Trust me when I say that nobody should have to go down that road. So, I guess I think there’s nothing amazing about just surviving and living day to day. I don’t say that trying to make myself look better or anything, I just wholeheartedly feel that.

      Again, thank you for the kind words. I hope you have a wonderful day.

    • You would think that you would be right about there being “no other option” but I’ve seen other people take a very different path in similar circumstances. It takes a lot of courage and strength to live with that and take something positive out of it. I have the utmost respect for it.

  5. I am simultaneously terrified and excited for my future. Trying to learn how to be a dad and better husband while putting everything I can into my career. The balance that seems impossible is sort of working out and i’m not sure how its possible. A strange, nervous jitter in my stomach, and a passive anxiety when I go to bed, at times it feels like some sort of strange magic, where if I stop worrying, and learn to love the slog, stuff just falls into place. Hanging on day to day by a thread, worrying about my student loans, the house my wife wants to buy, and the worry about everything in this world that can possibly hurt my baby boy.

    As dark as the future seems, I also feel a sense of irrational optimism. I know that I don’t have the time to follow dreams anymore, but someone I can carve out productive minutes everyday to draw and write, to find time and money for hobbies and have still have fun. Anything seems possible despite the fact that I have more anxiety and worry than anytime before in my life. It’s the strangest sense of balance I’ve ever felt. Maybe I finally figured out how to be an adult?

  6. I’m afraid that right now I’m just treading water, not moving forward with anything or learning anything new.  I’ve tried starting new things, new projects, but I just feel like I’m in the same rut, that I haven’t grown or achieved anything.  I know what I need to do, I know I need to sit down and just work, and that it will come, but the hardest part is just getting started, getting going.
     
    I want to build, I want to make things that are useful, that will give joy and provide support, but if I don’t feel that inside me is that something I can put out?  Or will I be as unhappy with my finished product as I am with the process?

  7. If anybody asks me right now, I will tell them that I am a nihilist. I’m only 16, but I’ve seen the shit that happens. There can’t be some higher force guiding us, some GRAND, MASTER plan! Shit just happens. It’s a sad way of thinking, but it’s what keeps me up at night. That I, along with the other 6 billion people on this planet, partake in the pointless struggle and suffering that occurs in everyday life. No matter how easy or hard our lives are; no matter what great aspirations or pointless lives we lead, we all reach the same finale: death… Now if the person that asked me is still around after all of that, they probably won’t want to have another conversation with me in the foreseeable future. Now, I’m not the kind of person that has to surround himself with tons of people ALL the time, but the struggling gets a bit easier when I keep that to myself. I’m willing to conform to how most people act… to a point. I still have my beliefs, passions, and goals. And as pointless as I’ve made them out to be, they give what we can best perceive as meaning to my pointless life. This was very hastily and sloppily written, but it’s actually been nice. I hope it was worth reading.

    • I feel like I’ve been where you are at the same time in my life. The only thing worth doing is trying to make everything in your life better and be a better person. Maybe it is all pointless but it’s worth it to make it better.

  8. ochsavidare ochsavidare (@ochsavidare) says:

    Fear and anxiety is constantly present inside me. Fear of not being good enough. Anxiety of saying something stupid. Fear of not doing as much as I would like to as I watch the years pass by. Fear of being alone. Anxiety when being around to much people. But inside me is also love. Love for my family and friends and love for my cats. There is also a feeling of not quite belonging to the world, and always being an observer just watching other people live their life. And the constant fear of wasting my youth on things I will regret later in life.

  9. JML (@twitter.com/JoshMLabelle) says:

    I’m only 23 but every day I feel like I’m getting older and forgetting stuff that was important to me when I was younger and I don’t know whether I’m supposed to care or not. Yesterday my girlfriend spotted a grey hair above my temple and as we were not near a mirror I made her pluck it out to show me. Alas, ’twas grey. As a kid my greatest fear was going as bald as my father. From the pictures of him, it looks like he must have gone bald all at once. Until 25 his hair was a thick black mop spilling out in all directions. And then all of a sudden around the time I was born it crept back, a retreating hairline, until he only had two tufts above the ears. I have elaborate strategies for what I will do if this happens to me. Combover. No, that’s the coward’s way. Shave it all off. Yes. Bulletheaded. Smooth. Like a monk. That’s the way.

  10. I like cake. I like it a whole lot.

  11. You guys that got the first seven comments down are lucky. Change is an amazing piece of work.

  12. She got the job. Somehow I knew that she would.

    The remorse and sadness this brings me I have never spoken aloud to anyone.

    A week remains; life ends completely. I want to end my life completely.

    My Portland, my city of comics, my community, my love… my future.

    Rose City yet remains, then… what? Will I ever see her again, my city, my home?

    Will I ever draw again, or is life ended at 33 forever… I made it. I was a discovered talent.

    It took so long. So many projects carried me this far. Have to believe…

    …somehow.

  13. And hey just for fun what’s inside me is a duel between the love and happiness for all the blessings and wonderful things that I have in life while I have a sadness and anger that is fueled by a chemical imbalance and a lot of shitty memories that I work to suppress with medication, love from the people and things around me (DOGS!!!) and a desire to consume as much information and art as is possible.

  14. The best way to deal with nightmares is that my wake up is a fast getaway from them. Even within, as I wish to not be there but I cannot escape and I know, “Its only a dream” doesn’t help. Being chased by some unknown, I can’t shake the torrent of feelings/emotions I’m sure make me toss and turn and I can’t wake up. Is this all there is? Does it have to be this way? Just last night I had to catch a mouse with my bare hand, as I did the thing would squirm and struggle within my grasp, like a finger from inside its belly poking at my grip and I couldn’t let go. I had to hold on to this filthy thing. Who knows where its been. I was not allowed to let go. I’m not afraid of mice, but to have to feel this thing I held was uncomfortable. If dreams and/or nightmares are wishes, then how will I ever stop what is deep, somewhere within? If I could sell it I would. If I could give it away: Take it. Because hours from now, here comes the night once again.

  15. I’d argue there some vacuous space inside me that needs to be filled and I still just don’t know how. I long for creative output but can’t put the pieces together. My dissatisfaction with being cooped up in a cubicle all day (the type of job I used to hopelessly long for) is outweighed by my indecision on what would be a satisfying career path. Am I in the wrong job? Am i just lazy? Have I spent too much time in building my self-image up to appreciate what i do have? How much of my longing is driven by wanting to have as much or more than my peers? I know I have something more to offer but I still can’t figure out what it is. I also questions if it’s healthy to focus so much of my time and attention on fiction, whether it’s movies, comics or novels. I regret how little I get to see my friends these days but I’m also so apt to stay in on a saturday and catch up on my latest unwatched movies and unread books.

  16. Paul Montgomery Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Thanks for the responses, folks! I emailed the first seven at the email address associated with each account. If there are any problems, hit me at my email address.

    We still have a few more pdf’s to give away, so keep at it!

  17. I look at this world, and am disappointed. So much is wrong, so many ignore it, so little is being done to change it. It only gets worse, and worse, and worse. Everyday I hear some new tragedy, and people just consume and crave more of it. WHY? How can we live in this world knowing that millions all over suffer in ways we cannot and will not understand? So I sit dumbfounded, at this world which constantly spins as though I’m the only one who notices. I feel so alone, so often. I’m sad for many reasons, but mainly for this: that this World is cursed, and nothin I can do will ever change it. I wish for it all to end instead of just continuing on this uninterrupted cycle of violence, ignorance, and meaningless race to get ahead. It’s all so sad, it’s funny in a way. Funny that we will never change, and we don’t know this. Events today have happened a thousand times before in the past and yet we don’t realize this. Maybe that’s who we are, all we will ever be. Maybe at the end of days we will cry and beg and thrash and trample on top of each other to keep this planet spinning so that the horrible cycle of living does not end, so that the nightmare does not end. My dreams are nightmares more often than not, nightmares or dreams of a black nothingness, an abyss. And I would choose the abyss if I could, because I can fill it with whatever I choose. In my nightmares, I can only despair and die.

  18. I have this worm inside me; her name is Gee.

    Or more correctly, she was a worm. Back when we first met. It was a pretty awkward introduction. Me staring down at her from between my legs, while she wiggled and echoed from somewhere invisible inside the toilet bowl. I had just been sent home from a summer bible-camp for our church choir. My voice had just broken and the shrill, unpredictable sounds now coming from me had no place in the choir’s bi-lingual harmonies reserved for big events and recording studios. I came home embarrassed, my parent’s god no longer needing my voice.

    My anxiety over the shameful return home had lead to some untimely diarrhea. As I sat there, crapping myself with the bathwater taps turned full, trying to disguise the noise, I looked down to notice the strange looking tail, quickly trying to wipe it off. “Don’t do that,” Gee said.

    It’s a hard thing to swallow, realizing there is this other thing that lives inside you. I blocked her out for years, kept clenching tight and ignoring her calls. Low and humming, traveling up synapses and spinal fluid, reverberating off vital organs. In that naivety, aided by the damp soft darkness of my belly, Gee was able to grow, eventually blossoming into the pit viper she is today. Sometimes, looking in the mirror, I can catch her swimming past some place behind my eyeballs, her dark scales reflecting for a second, in the white lights of my Sclera.

    Needles to say Gee runs the joint these days. The inside of me at least. Outside, I am still polite, well mannered. I have a comfortable life. I don’t make waves and am left alone happily. But some days, that hissing rings in my ears and my gut tightens as Gee coils herself around my small intestine, squeezing to get my attention, baring her fangs and rattling her tail, spitting venom onto my guts until my IBS sets in and I’m forced to lock myself in the bathroom again, with the taps on full.

    I keep breaking her hold; sometimes by negotiating, other times I make idle threats or drink too much, booze then coffee, more booze. Anything to distract the higher faculties. Anything to keep her from getting my attention. Of course, I could always nut up, reach into the darkness and grab her by the head, make sure to clench her mouth shut as I wrestle her out and toss her off something, maybe a bridge, or into a river far away from my house. Will I ever have the courage, to do what needs to be done? To dig inside, to rip her from me, or can we just go on, me running things outside, gee holding onto the in?

    Is that the life I want to live? And once she’s out, will I finally see, my friend, or my enemy?

  19. There came a time when the old gods died….

    What drives me, what bangs on the walls of my person, is the desire to connect, to create, to experience, to live. I think, to some extent, all of us are still fighting with these outdated and outmoded conceptions of success and achievement, some more than others. This generation of the middle class is one of the first, and largest, ever to realize that simple ‘survival’ is no longer an achievement. For the first time, a huge group of individuals is dissatisfied with simply making ends meat, because for the first time (on a wide scale) that accomplishment is rather mundane. Once, we might have all been happy to keep our heads afloat, put food on the table, live languid lives working at something that gave us direction without giving us meaning.

    No longer.

    And so I struggle with those old gods, struggle to slash and burn and devastate them, so that something new might be forged from their atoms within me. Something modern. Something unique. Something relevant.

    And it’s an ongoing struggle, one that I haven’t come close to winning. And maybe for the first time I’m taking real steps – unsure steps, clumsy steps – off a more secure path, onto something dangerous, a path that could at any moment stop dead, filled with traps, cut-purses, tolls with no promise of forward movement even after they’re paid.

    But for too many years I searched for meaning in vain and instead substituted ‘purpose’. And that was enough, for a while. It isn’t enough anymore. Too many friends have died to that sickness, literally and figuratively.

    So it’s time to move forward. To externalize the internal. To do something that moves the people around me, that moves the people within me.

    And it can be lonely. And it can be scarey. Because that’s death, and life. That’s CHANGE.

    And that’s okay.

    There came a time when the old gods died. Apocalypse or ragnorak, they died in fire and in ice. Violently and silently, swaddled in smiles, dripping with tears. It happened yesterday. It will happen tomorrow. It is happening even now.

    I recommend it. It’s quite a thing.

  20. I was late on this and that’s fine! I actually have all of “Change” already, just thought it would be a fun exercise! Cheers to everyone!

  21. For him, “exile” was the secret word for “journey.”
    -Roberto Bolano

  22. Alive inside me currently is what you get in the day-later aftermath of a manic mental breakdown: passing shades of sadness, with a pinhead of hope left emanating behind in the bottom of your heart. It’s sound rings out suspiciously like The Beatles “Blackbird”.

    I’m the stereotypical unsure 21 year old, and occasionally its unspeakable horror flares up. Like my future is just a painted horizon of clueless shores harboring complacent mediocrity, shores I’ll always be drifting towards; an inevitable shipwreck, in spite of all my wants and desires.

    But, intention without action generates no reaction. So fuck all that can’t do hopelessness.

    I’ll carry into action the weight of my own existence, and go on and change something out there, in the web of lives that make up the world around me.

    I’m positively sure of this; a blackbird told me so.

  23. It can be as weak as a dying worm on a hot sidewalk, or as strong as a collapsing sun, too heavy for space and time. Pure fire without smoke or ash, or dirty, gritty, vile and rank. Dooms infinite or just a dirty joke, all is born from this. My mind, an entity of itself, the flesh that makes it physical. Yet the muse makes the mind’s soul, the power that revs life out of flesh. Fear it for it shows terrible things, yet cherish it for it is what truly makes you one and only. The muse is the God of your imagination. Whether a cruel God of sacrifice and pain, or a pure God of passion and hope it is God none the less. To each their own God, to each their own muse.

  24. What a wonderful idea this was! Too bad I missed it, but it definitely made me want to check out the book.

  25. Ales Kot Ales Kot (@ales_kot) says:

    Thank you for sharing, everyone. I loved listening to you.