22 August 2008

And the Award Goes To... (3)

As If You Care. is a sardonic sort of title for a 'blog. I recall that when Friend Younce started it, I was so out-to-lunch on the whole 'blogometric phenomenon that I thought, that's odd; if he disdains the medium, why is he engaging in it? The answer to my question was, of course, that he didn't disdain it at all, and understood it immediately, and saw possibilities for using it to his own ends and by his own means. He just wanted to be funny about it. That's how Dave is. And though it might not be immediately apparent from reading about his awesome family and game theory and distinction-making and his intense appreciation of a vast, ecclectic variety of (sub)pop music, Dave is also a mastermind type with strong creative leanings. This mostly gets expressed through gaming and online collaborations to produce real-world community and more game play, but to my mind, Mr. Younce will always be an aspiring author of fiction. Even if he never publishes a word of it.

I've known Dave since time immemorial. Well, since high school, at any rate. But we weren't exactly friends in high school. We had a few classes together, and were both involved in the theatre department, but the actual friendship didn't really crystalize until after graduation, when I suppose we both thought, Hey, wait a minute. I knew some much cooler people in high school than I've met so far in college. Thus was a really cool collaboration formed. Yet the roots extended back to that final year in the school of high, when even then there was a hint of the underlying creative current that would stick with us through college and missionary assignments and {shudder} adulthood. The photo atop this entry is from a project Dave did in that same time reinterpreting characters from the Sandman comics. At some point we geeks (we happy geeks) were backstage during some show or other discussing some thing or other, and Dave had this wild idea of people preserving their bodies past their normal lifespan by encasing themselves in a sort of radioactive gold. This in turn led to me having the idea of people who exponentially increase their intelligence by training themselves to experience a year's worth of living in a single night's dreaming. We discussed the possible overlap of our ideas, and Dave said, "You should write that."

I still haven't.

However, this kind of idea-swapping and assignment tradition continued as Dave and I reunited in the summer after our freshman years away at college. I didn't know it at the time, but the whole three months were extremely formative for me, as a person and as an artist, and Dave was around for a lot of that, giving me books to read and music to listen to and assignments to complete. It was reciprocal, this creative tête à tête, but of course I remember what I was assigned and absorbed more than what I offered up. Frankly, I remember being challenged by the effort to return in kind when it came to assignments and influences. Dave was, and is, a very focused thinker, yet seemingly without being overly linear, and the result is that he can pound out ideas and improvements upon those ideas while one is still sitting at the keyboard contemplating how you're supposed to punctuate "tête à tête." More recently, Dave has worked to connect me with the gaming community (see 5/12/08 & 5/7/07), which I was resistant to and which probably stands alone as the experience most encouraging to my creative processes since reading the Sandman comics for the first time (also Dave's doing).

Expatriate Younce has moved to jolly ol' England, which is bad for me, but great for As If You Care. Now, in addition to never knowing quite what you'll get when you sign into his 'blog, you also never know when it might be something wicked cool that you wouldn't have thought of today without it, like new random generators, observations on information diagramming or photos of Dave's adorable progeny clambering about on the heath. I'm particularly fond of Dave's five-word movie reviews. If Dave ever does become an author, he will probably remind us of Hemingway in the efficiency of his prose, crossed with a Gaimanesque sense of humor and a Stephensonish complexity of ideas. Dave himself is a big fan of Eco and Pynchon. Mercifully, he does not sound a bit like either. (You could write a respectable epic poem about Dave's efforts to get me to read Gravity's Rainbow. "Don't you understand the amazing things this guy's doing?" "No Dave, I don't.") For all those influences, Dave writes things like, "When I was a young, cynical LDS missionary on the hardscrabble streets of LA, I would often see black plastic bags floating along the ground or in the air, or fluttering helplessly in a tree, and I would daydream of having a Nature-channel special that would follow them around, while a British narrator in hushed tones talked about what they were doing."

And so, this award goes to Dave Younce.


dave said...

Not only did I not remember the thing about the radioactive gold; I STILL can't bring it to mind. But I will hold you on the hook for a tidal lycanthrope story. Oh yes.

And I have your essay on "The Object of Desire" as collateral.

Thanks for writing this. I only work at inspiring you because I find it so inspiring.

Shells said...

Let me just add that he is a fantastic husband and father too. His devotion to his family keeps him a little farther away from his creative juices sometimes, but we all hope he puts something in print one day, either novel, short story, articles, or photography. Or some other medium that none of us know about yet!

Greg said...

So, I'm reading this thinking, "gee, this Dave guy Jeff's writing about looks a bit like Dream of the Endless" and wondering if that was because of my monitor not seeing red anymore...and then...

Thanks for the tip. It sounds like there's a lot to like about Dave's blog...I'm on my way!

Jeff Wills said...

Greg: He's indeed a worthy read, and I hope he's to your liking. Apparently his photography projects work!

Shells: A thousand times yes. He inspires me as a (future) husband and father as well.

Dave: Uh-uh, no you di'n't. There goes my presidential campaign. Younce in '16!