Sunday, 30 August 2015

Farewell Silver Snail

Silver Snail: 1988-2015

On Monday August 4th, 2015 I received some bad news, the kind that really takes you aback. The manager of my favorite comic book shop sent out a notice of closure to their distribution list. I am extremely saddened to learn this news. The Ottawa Silver Snail was without a doubt the best comic book shop in town. I moved to Ottawa in 2008 and immediately adopted the Snail as my `go-to` comic book shop. It wasn't too difficult to make this choice; the shop was organized, the staff friendly, and the stock showed that the manager actually genuinely cared about comics as an art form. I have been across Canada for my work this past year and I`ve truly come to admire the way the Silver Snail kept the shop clean and organized. It may seem like a minor detail, but after visiting no less than 22 shops across the nation (and even some in the US), the Silver Snail in Ottawa was one of the best I've been to, rivaled only by The Beguiling in Toronto. No small feat, let me assure you.
The quirkiness of the place also gave it a peculiar charm. I remember being taken aback when I first noticed the wall of "Kin" behind the cash register. A ton of newspaper clippings taped to the wall with various headlines like “Next of kin” or “Sister loses kin in a car accident”. I asked the manager “What is all of this?” He replied simply “Kin, that’s my name” and cracked a smile. He was not above a good pun, which was excellent news for me since I`m a master of puns.
It was during one of my frequent visits that I met one of my best friends, Helen Anderson, the store’s assistant manager .And as she put her creative energies into starting a Comic book Book Club, I started this blog. Through the Silver Snail, I was able to explore and realize my tastes in comics, learn the language of the art form, and begin exploring manga and historical publications. I began to write again in a critical way, which I had stopped entirely after university. This blog has been instrumental in sorting through my passion for comics and making something good come out of it. And none of these things - whether my friendship with Helen, the book club or even my blog - would have been possible without Kin and the Silver Snail. For this, I am truly grateful.
As I arrived at the store on the first day of their closing sale, I saw a crowd of regular"Snailers". I asked someone where he’d go for his comics now that the Silver Snail was closing. He replied without hesitation: "Nowhere. There IS no other comic book shop within a 150 km radius who deserves my business. Comics are over." “How about you, where will you go now?” I asked another regular. He looked up at me with a smirk: “Pirate Bay”. It was clear in their answers that they were not only encouraging the comics industry, they were encouraging the Snail specifically. Without it, there’s just no point in going anywhere else. If this was any other place, I wouldn’t have believed them, but there was a sincerity to their answers that was incredibly clear to see. This was the end of the line for them.
This is not just a comic shop closing down; it’s an institution. I’d heard of the Snail before I even moved to Ottawa in 2008. I went to my regular shop in Quebec City, Librairie Première Issue, and asked them to remove me from their mailing list. “I’m moving to Ottawa”. The owner of the shop said “Then you should go to the Silver Snail. Kin is a great guy, he taught me a lot about this business when I was starting my own shop”. Even some people who haven’t been there in years remembered the shop fondly. My brother-in-law who now lives in Toronto remembered the shop. “I used to spend so much time there as a kid. Kin was always nice, sitting comfortably behind the counter chatting with customers. I remember he had a bandana and an Hawaiian shirt. He never minded me being in there. It was a great place to get into comics”. Word traveled and the shop made an impression on anyone who went in. I even asked two fellow Snailers to weigh in. Paul Inder and Stephanie Hudson, both friends of mine now residing in Calgary, and not only had they already heard the news, but they had already sent a note to Kin to thank him for all that he'd done.
This industry will crush you. Comics is built on exploitation. It exploits it`s creators, who are forced to sign contracts preventing them to any claim to their intellectual property, which can be worth a significant amount of money in this corporate day and age, more than the pennies they’ll receive for their work. It exploits it’s vendors. One simply has to go read Brian Hibbs` archive of “Tilting at windmills” to understand that the comic shops aren’t selling you books and making a profit. Every comic, floppy or trade paperback is purchased in advance by the shop, and often these books are non-returnable, as is the case with some of the biggest companies, like Marvel and DC. Shop-owners are lied-to repeatedly by these companies (example of Hibbs talking about how the secret wars tie-in are ongoing) and are frequently caught with stacks of unsellable comics that were marketed to them as the next big thing. Comics are a niche market and it's hard to succeed in it in the first place. But it's more than just a difficult market. Even without having to navigate the murky and byzantine waters of the direct market distribution system, comics are hard to explain to the uninitiated. There's a perception that comics are making top dollar right now, but it's only true for a select few. Amazon is underselling every comic shop in North America and most bigger chains like Chapters and Barnes. The collected edition of Sandman Overture, by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams, is going to be released through Amazon before comic book shops; that's how valued comic shops are. 
My long-time friend, Ottawa Comic Book Book Club ringleader and Valkyrie Helen Anderson had this to say about the shop’s closure:
I started going to the Silver Snail in 2007 when I moved to Ottawa for university. I had only ever read Archie comics as a kid, but my best friend was an avid comic reader and looking for a shop to go to in our new city. After finding out that there were two stores in town, we decided to hit them both up one fateful Wednesday (which happens to be new comic book day) and the differences between the two were enormous:
As a non-comic reader at the time, I immediately noticed how welcoming everyone was at the Snail as Dave (the assistant manager at the time), took me around and offered some good starter titles based on my various film and television interests and I left the store that day with my first graphic novel, volume 1 of the Fables series (which I was so sad to see end just the other week).
My friend, who was a long-time comic reader, was pleased with how the store was organized and all of the new issues were out on the back rack in alphabetical order. This may seem like a small, obvious thing, but Niagara Falls' only comic book store (at the time) was notorious for leaving all the new stuff in boxes which you had to dig through, not really knowing where anything was.
Needless to say we left the store pretty pleased.
The second store we hit that day was a bit further down the street and I left with a bad taste in my mouth after being hit on by a staff member. Needless to say, being a woman in this comics industry is difficult, both as readers and as staff. I never went back as a customer, and only later as staff of the Snail to pick up mis-delivered orders.
After a couple years of shopping at the Snail, I was offered a job and after graduating university, I was offered full-time employment as the assistant manager. I have worked at the Silver Snail for 6 years and the manager Kin, the staff and many of our regular customers have become family to me. I can't say I have ever worked at another job where my manager has genuinely cared about my well-being and future. Kin has taken pay-cuts to keep the store running and has offered to take pay-cuts so that his staff could earn a better living.
We all kind of knew that we wouldn't last long after the ownership changeover at the head office in Toronto two years ago but we didn't think it would come this fast. It's been a long running joke amongst staff and many of our regular customers that we were the ugly step-cousin to our Toronto location, but we did the best we could to stay afloat. The Silver Snail has been open for 25 years in Ottawa and now it will become the third Silver Snail that has been closed by the current owner.
I spent the last 6 years loving my job, coworkers and customers and it breaks my heart that I won't be able to spend my time there anymore.
We’ll be sad to see the shop go.

Even as the vultures descend on the stock (myself included), I'm surprised to see there are still many gems on the shelves. A testament to how well Kin kept his stock. It is with bitter disappointment that I will let this shop go. The Silver Snail Ottawa will be remembered fondly for years to come. Not only for us loyal snailers, but for those whose lives were impacted by sequential art, and by Kin fanning the flames of the love of the craft.

The shop has already announced that one of their employees is opening up her own shop: Comet Comics. I'd urge every Ottawa comic enthusiast to check it out. I wish them the best of luck. Working within the confines of such a niche market is difficult, but I have no doubt they'll do well. I believe they'll do a terrific job at keeping the same energy and love for the craft as the Snail.

Farewell Silver Snail!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Book Club Report: A Discussion with Marjorie Liu on Astonishing X-men

As of writing this, same-sex-mariage has been legalized in the US

A constantly beating drum in the comic book industry is the call for more diversity. It's an important issue, both socially and financially. Since different creators bring in new ideas and fresh new stories informed by their individual experiences. Since the conception of the "superhero" comic book, North America has grown increasingly multicultural. There are so many exciting discussions on aboriginal rights, LGBTQ issues, and other topics; it's phenomenal to see it unfolding. Diversity means introducing new creators that bring with them a new point of view, new ideas and stories and their own authorial stamp. It's also important for the mainstream publishers to move toward diversity as well from a financial point of view. The customer base is much broader than the stereotypical young adult white male (although that age category is debatable, and a late 30 to early 50 age range is probably more accurate nowadays). Superhero movies are multi-million dollar blockbuster. People are interested in this topic and when they look to buy comics, if they only see an insular world of white creators and characters, chances are they won't come back. Alienating potential customers in a modern world where you can access any form of entertainment easily and you`re being constantly bombarded by new opportunities for leisure is not financially viable. Diversity of characters, creators and point of view is the way of the future, it may be the only way comics not only survive, but strive.

The Ottawa Comic-Book Book Club met this month with Marjorie Liu to discuss the first collection of her run on Astonishing X-Men. Our group have different interests in comics: some tend to appreciate structure, design, plot, characters, art or even color. Our regular comic reading habits rarely coincide. Although most of us were familiar with X-Men, few of us understood the minutia underlying their world. Marjorie gracefully accepted to join us for a discussion on X-Men, diversity, marriage, her career, collaborating with other creators and working for Marvel.

What the Book Club was wondering prior to our discussion
Marjorie Liu started the discussion with explaining how she ended up writing for a comic book in the first place. She had originally studied to become a lawyer and even passed the bar, but after she finished school she didn`t feel that practicing law was the right path for her. She wanted to write and so she turned her mind to that. She wrote her first novel, Tiger Eye, a paranormal romance book (and the first of her Dirk Steele series) in about a month in 2005. She became an author, wrote more books and eventually wrote an X-Men novel for Marvel called X-Men: Dark Mirror. Her comic career began in earnest with NYX: No Way Home, then Dark Wolverine, X-23 and Black Widow until she was approached for Astonishing X-Men

Since Astonishing X-Men was well established by that point, she had to use the characters already on the team for her stories. This included Wolverine, Gambit, Iceman, Northstar, Warbird, Karma and Cecilia Reyes. She took a look at the characters and decided that one of the first plot-lines she would work on would be to move the character of Northstar forward. Northstar came out of the closet in the mid 90's in Alpha Flight #104, and had been in a relationship with his partner, Kyle Jinadu, since 2009. Marvel Comics approached this idea enthusiastically and cautiously as they wanted to ensure it would be done properly. Many editorial suggestions and re-writes later, the story was accepted. Although well publicized, she didn't anticipate a good reception to the comic. The issue was anticipated and Marvel did warn her that she would likely receive "minor death threats". There was no backlash and the issue was received favorably. It was not an action packed issue, but a thoughtful, heartfelt and intimate look at the characters involved and the reactions of those around them. Overall, the story of the wedding was well done and well received.

The group really enjoyed the character moments found in this collection. How the characters interacted with each other was a highlight of the book. When Kyle Jinadu and Northstar are unpacking, Kyle requests Northstar uses his speed power to furnish the apartment quickly. When they come back from the fight, Northstar is flying and carrying Kyle in his arms. This makes Kyle feel inadequate as he was caught in the crossfire of a vicious battle earlier and couldn't contribute to it. Those little moments are aplenty for each character in the book and they were very welcome. It was quite refreshing to see so much effort being put into developing these characters and making them feel fleshed out.

We quickly understood that for Marjorie, comic stands at the intersection between prose and screenplay. The process she normally uses for writing books is quite different than for her comics. She has to think about her characters, who they are, what they're saying, what they're thinking and how to express those elements in words. In comics, those same train of elements aren't necessarily conveyed by words, but by a combination of dialog, narration boxes and visuals. The challenge lies in finding the right way to collaborate with an artist to illustrate what you hope to see. Through good communication and collaboration, artists bring their vision of how they see a scene and the team ends up with something that satisfies them both. The strengths of all creators elevating the work of the other. This is a really good way to work with someone.

The inclusion of New York imagery within the books was also a welcome addition. We knew the X-Men were based in New York (or San Francisco now), the town where the action took place rarely seemed to matter. Marjorie and Mike Perkins create a City that feels real. The X-Men are taking a cab after a fight, they're eating a slice of pizza in Greenwich Village pizzeria, a wedding in Central Park. This is New York and it feels lived in. We understand where they are instead of thinking they're in generic location #23. 

Cabbing home after a fight

This collection however, was downright confusing and jarring for us to read. Since it begins with issue #48 of a well-established series, it assumes you have a good understanding of who is involved and the background information of the characters. Most of us could recognize Wolverine and Gambit, but we all scratched our head when Warbird is introduced. Particularly since she appears to have killed one of her enemies so those of us who didn't know she was an X-Man assumed immediately she was an enemy. It's not so much an issue of poor storytelling, so much as it's an issue concerning the insular nature of the X-Men in general. You need a PhD in X-Men and a Wikipedia page open before being able to understand the stories being told. As for the jarring feelings, well the collection only tells half a story. Obviously the focus is on Northstar, but the central plot concerns a villain using mind control to get at the X-Men. Why I couldn't tell because the story abruptly ends at what I assumed is a halfway mark. The collection does conclude (or appear to conclude) Northstar character`s arc, but leaves you right in the middle of the main story arc. After the wedding, a cliffhanger happens, then it's a short story from an unrelated comic published 4 years earlier. Then it's the story of Northstar coming out of the closet which features this stupid guy:

The least stereotypical Canadian character ever created

How these issues are collected is not a decision by the creative team, but rather their editorial team. Though we may be cynical, it wasn't hard to understand that this was collected as soon as possible to cash in on the publicity of the wedding issue regardless of whether or not it was narratively coherent. From a business perspective, it make sense, you want to make sure you squeeze out sales while the trend is still fresh because you`ll lose out on those sales the longer you wait. Removed from that context, years after the publication, it's just jarring and kind of obscene. As readers, how can you take this seriously? We all understand that the serialized nature of comic books means that "the story is never really over", but how much can you stretch that elastic before it bursts? We as readers felt the story to be important, but can the same be said of the editorial team? Does this encourage readers at large to pursue the other collected editions? I'm not sure. We're a large group of individuals and our tastes vary. I'm not sure that paying a premium fee for half a story that ends with a guy in a penguin suit, a top hat and a monocle telling you "well if you like this, you gotta buy the next book to see how it ends, huh huh!" is the right way to ensure longevity with sales. No one likes to be taken for a fool. This probably explains why sales of comic books (at least floppies) have been steadily declining. There's only so much insults one can take.

Again, this wasn't something Marjorie or her colleagues had any control over so we couldn't really fault her for it. This did bring us to the topic of creator-owned comics and of the extra liberty this brings about. Marjorie is currently working on a creator owned project for Image Comics called Monstress with Sana Takeda. Monstress takes place in a fantasy 1900's Asia, where mythic beasts roam the land and we'll follow a young girl with a psychic connection to one of those beasts as she is hunted by many who wish to exploit that connection. The release date was still up in the air at the time of our meeting but we were assured it would be "soon, very soon". We could tell Marjorie was eager to talk in depth about this project. The amount of freedom that this allowed her was quite exciting. How long will the series be? How many pages will the first issue have? How will it be collected? Will there be guest artists and who could they possibly be? All of these things will be determined by her, Sana and their colleagues.

And this extra liberty is just something you can't have at a corporate comic publisher. The corporation owns the right to the work, the universe and the characters. At the end of the day, nothing you do belongs to you. And this is a subject we've encountered before in discussion with other comic artists and writers we spoke to. They may be invested in the work they've done, and once they leave, they may want to come back to it later, but there is no guarantee they'll ever be involved in it again. It can be quite frustrating and this seems to be what is pushing a lot of established creators toward owning their own material. It won't always be successful, but it will belong to them and that control, that ownership, is worth a lot more than you can imagine.

A lived in city for the X-Men

On the subject of collaboration, Marjorie mentioned that, although it's always a good thing to know your collaborator's strengths, it's also important to understand your own weaknesses. Being humble and recognizing where your weaknesses lies allowed her to collaborate with colleagues much better. For example, Marjorie mentioned that she will often rely on the artist she works with to create fight sequences. This allows the artists to make better choices concerning the page layout and the action that unfolds. The two of them know where the action is going and what needs to happen, but the fluidity of movement and how exactly the same takes place doesn't rely only the writing of Marjorie, but on a collaborative process where the artists and writer contribute to construct the scene. The results in this comic, for example, is seamless. The action flows nicely from one panel to the next without skipping a beat. Knowing what your collaborators are good at is great, knowing where they can help you can sometimes be even better.

Nightmarish dream vision

On the subject of diversity, Marjorie talked to us about her own experience at Marvel. She's always felt welcome and supported by her colleagues. While she recognized that she has worked with a diverse team, mostly at the editorial level, that didn't extend to the level of writer and artists` teams that were around her. The call for diversity has been beating louder and louder across the internet and hopefully publishers are listening (N.B. Although it's hard to tell if they're listening or if they're completely tone-deaf. Only 8 women will be working on the 45 title Marvel relaunch of October 2015). There will never be a time when we'll be able to say we have "enough" diversity. As I mentioned earlier, those new creators bring with them new ideas and stories, it's just hard to ignore the positive outcome both from a story perspective and from a PR perspective. Most members of our book club are women and the idea that comics are a "boys club" is difficult to shake. Marjorie was kind enough to let us know she feels things are moving in the right direction, albeit at much slower pace than anyone wants to admit to.

We were able to have a solid discussion with Marjorie and gain a better understanding of her experience as a writer by the end of our meeting. We learned much about collaborative process, diversity and the process behind the comic book in terms of editorial input. Leaving the meeting, we all had mixed feelings about the book, myself included. Not all of us were sure that we would recommend the book. It was a flawed experience, mostly due to how the book was collected. A cautionary tale perhaps for overeager editors. In any case, we were quite thankful for the time Marjorie took to speak with us. Her eloquence, candor and honesty was quite riveting. We're looking forward to Monstress and her upcoming projects. Some of us have already started reading her novels. Truly the mark of a captivating author.

Looking forward to this

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Jon Vaughn's Schwartz on the Schwartz: What We Are Like On The Inside

Inside My Head

What are we made of? Objectively, we know what a human body contains. We even know the chemical composition of our body. But what about our consciousness? What about our souls? What are they made of? What are we made of? I am not sure if any of us have any answers, but Jon Vaughn tries to explore this in Schwartz on the Schwartz.

Vaughn depicts the outline of human forms in various positions, but the only signifier of humanity is this outline. We recognize what humans look like, but we don’t see them from outside, instead we gaze into what the souls contained in their bodies might look like. Lines twist and turn into abstraction in the outline of the bodies we see. Souls are warped and we observe them, unable to ever grasp what we’re meant to see. We dig deeper and deeper into a depiction of human psyche that is completely wild. We see what looks like cerebral tissue, overlapping flesh and weird shapes. As one tries to unravel the meaning of the book, we are haunted by the mystery that surrounds this oddity. It stayed with me long after I put it down.

The comic, although short, is quite dense. As one tries to unwrap the meaning of this, we get to hold this nicely risographed mini-comic on beige paper with blue and black ink. It really is a neat little book. I doubt I’ll ever see any other comic from Jon Vaughn; I’ve had a hard time finding information on him online apart from his artist resume. In any case, I see an artist with a grasp of perspective and potential to turn into a great comic artist.

A subjective view of a soul

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Laura Ķeniņš: She Wants to Tell Me: Uncertainty and Speechlessness

In social interactions, there are constant and overt reminders of the underlying power structure. Someone who holds the power, a boss or a coach, can speak; you do not have that power, therefore you must ask permission and they may (or may not) grant you permission to speak. As if your opinion doesn't matter, your status isn't high enough or perceived to be too low, and you can't speak "above your station". When it comes to personal interaction, a similar but less rigid structure exists. It is a challenge to determine what one can or cannot say, especially when you're in love. There is an uncertainty to attraction and love as you seek to not only form a bond with a person, but a lasting bond with someone that extends beyond friendship and into intimacy. So there is a huge amount of uncertainty to wade through before you can forge an intimate relationship. Communication is key to get to this point.

In Laura Ķeniņš What She Wants to Tell Me, the protagonists are caught in a situation where that uncertainty can never be properly dispersed. The book opens with our protagonists, finding a severed human ear on the ground of the park. Daina, one of our protagonists, stands over it silently until Monta, our second protagonist, arrives and enquires about the situation. Monta wants to go to the police, but Daina advice against it. Despite this initial disagreement, they are clearly shaken by the discovery and decide to go for to go for drinks to talk and forget about this nasty business. They eventually kiss and Monta falls in love with Daina.

Hovever, despite this attraction and their eventual relationship, they can never talk freely to each other. Monta is uncertain of her own feelings and whether or not she can love another woman, but decides to commit to the relationship anyway. This uncertainty pervades their every interaction. She doesn't know how to express her feelings properly, so she keeps quiet. She expresses her doubt, but never to her partner, the one person who should be able to listen. Daina, however, seems to have a problem with expressing herself altogether. Although she seems more confident in her sexuality, she also appears to have secrets. Whatever they may be, be it related to how the ear got on the ground or not, she never says.

The ear doesn't really matter in the end. It is their inability to express themselves that dooms their relationship. Monta wants to tell Daina her feelings. Daina wants to share her secret. Whatever has been left unsaid will remain so.

Laura Ķeniņš art is phenomenal. Everything is done with colored pencils. I had recently read Everywhere Antennas by Julie Delporte, who also uses colored pencils and the contrast between the two artists` styles is quite interesting. Where Delporte used color sparingly, leaving plenty of empty spaces, Keninš fills each pages with vibrant colors. In Keninš book, there is a loose panel structure and each panel is filled with colors. The various colors used throughout are applied with varying levels of opacity to allow her to create lighting and shadow effects everywhere.

Her style also complements the story nicely. The pencils aren't used to add color to a black pencil drawing, but rather they are the basis of the drawing itself. This reduced the clarity of the forms and structures in some instances, but it contributes to the story in that it casts a haze over everything, reducing clarity and adding a small yet efficient layer of uncertainty over everything. Truly well done.

I was not familiar with Keninš' work before and it is a mistake I will correct shortly. Her meaningful examination of communication was stellar and I am looking forward to more thoughtful pieces from her.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Believed Behavior No.2: Never-Ending Self Actualization

How does one improve oneself? As human beings, we always question our own actions and behaviours. We want to be the better version of ourselves. Abraham Maslow described this as "self-actualization"; the desire of humans to become actualized to their full potential, to become all that you can be. In this issue of Believed Behavior, we meet characters who take (or took) active steps to reaching their full potential. Whether it's becoming a poet, realizing that you've made a wrong career choice, becoming an airplane or learning to recognize colours by touching them, these characters are on a quest of self-actualization.

I've talked about Believed Behavior previously and some of what I said still applies. Believed Behavior is a multimedia comics experience. Two issues are out and a third issue is coming out in June 2015. It's a collection of short form comics printed on newsprint as well as an online web platform that allows you to read the comics the way you want. Once you buy Believed Behavior, you get a copy of the physical object and have access to the full issue online. You can grasp at the ephemeral aspect of the comics in two ways that are completely disposable: newsprint and data. 

While the first issue lacked focus in terms of subject matter, the second issue`s focus is much narrower. As I said earlier, we meet characters who are on a quest for self-actualization. This issue features comics from Anya Davidson, Lale Westvind, Lyra Hill, Sophia Foster-Dimino and Michael Deforge. We start with Michael Deforge's story in which a woman has her body surgically altered to become an airplane. She always wanted to fly and blew her trust fund on the surgery. As the story progresses, she finds it's not as fun as she thought it would be: "This is less chill than I imagined". The comic leaves no answer as to her future except these bittersweet moments of loneliness and reconsideration. Then Anya Davidson shows us this weird world of masculine factory workers, where one employee wishes to be a poet. He keeps this close to his heart as he's afraid of what the others will think of it. In the end, it seems that his aspiration to become a poet has no impact on anyone`s lives. Sophia Foster-Dimino's comic is about a young bodyguard hired to escort a monk across the land, during which she quickly realizes that she's not up to the task.

Perhaps the most impressive comic in the package is the one from Lyra Hill in which a blind boy in a neon shop learns to recognize colours with the help of his father. It is quite moving and very well executed, particularly when you consider the really short nature of the comic. Additionally, Lyra Hill also did an artistic performance of the story of Papa Neon, which can be seen on Vimeo. It's quite impressive and ties into the ephemeral themes as well. This performance, much like data, is immaterial. It has happened and will never happen again. We can see it, but we'll never experience it.

The medium of the comics allows you to reflect on the nature of the content. It makes you reflect on the longevity of those moments of self-actualization. Believed Behavior is printed on newsprint. This type of paper is thin, cheap and easily destructible. It's very nature is forgettable and bound to disappear over time, so to are our moments of clarity when we achieve our fullest potential. We evolve, as do our needs and psyche, and we can only achieve our highest potential for so long until we change and need to reach for new goals and a new self-actualization. Can these moments be everlasting? According to both the content and medium of Believed Behavior the question has a clear answer.