Shannon Muir's Animated Insights
COMMENTARY - GOING FROM INTERVIEWER TO INTERVIEWEE

The following is an updated version of a post I originally did October 17, 2011, at my former blog SHANNON MUIR’S ANIMATED INSIGHTS: THE BLOG with a new title and updated insights.

Years back, I interviewed professionals in the animation field as part of a regular column I did over at a site called Digital Media FX, where I gave people insight into the varied careers involved for people in animation who did not draw. This came from the fact that I myself, while very much in love with the medium of animation growing up, wasn’t really aware of all the opportunities people who didn’t draw could have provided they had the needed skillset. I knew there could be writers somehow (to this day, not really sure how, as that interest began in the mid 1980s before the prevalence of all the “making of” featurettes and information on the Internet), but I didn’t know what else lay out there. When I moved to Los Angeles in 1996, the first job I worked was as an animation Production Assistant on JUMANJI: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Then I saw the whole pipeline and the possibilities, and my view changed a bit over time.

So here I am in years later, now finding myself on the other side of the interview as a writer and animation professional. I will say that my respect for the people I interviewed certainly went up doing this experience. I do know one interview I did tended to send out Twitter quotes snippets from it, and I lamented in hindsight at not being very “Twitter-quotable”. I’m wordy by nature.

I really enjoy doing interviews, because I believe it is important for people to understand the folks behind the scenes as much as the creation itself. That’s a big motivation behind why I founded my author interview site, Infinite House of Books. As to myself specifically, I look at each interview I get to do as an opportunity to “pay it forward”. If you’ve got a site that does author interviews and you believe my background may be a fit in some way, this is an open invitation to get in touch. I’d be happy to help in any way I can.  Consider visiting my Facebook page to find out more about how to contact me.

COMMENTARY – GOING FROM INTERVIEWER TO INTERVIEWEE was originally published on Muirwords by Shannon Muir

COMMENTARY - THE DEATH OF A VIRTUAL WORLD, THE LIFE OF ANIMATED FANDOMS

This week, I was contacted by someone who wanted to talk to my about my origins as a “fangirl” from VOLTRON thirty years ago. The timing was both intriguing and on the surface not the most opportune. At the same time, I watched the death of a virtual world where I worked for several years in the recent past die. Die does seem like a strange word to use for a connection of code, artwork, and written storyline through NPC conversation and quests, but I think it is appropriate.

Because a show like VOLTRON came out in an era where people could record it on television thanks to the mass release of the VHS, people were able to keep watching the episodes over the years and keep their passion for the show strong even after it stopped airing on television and cable. It also allowed fans to introduce VOLTRON to others, and make new fans, allowing for organic growth and a continued life of the franchise beyond the control of the company that released it; this has now been allowed to foster further by the company releasing the content for purchase and creating subsequent related series (VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION and VOLTRON FORCE). With the advent of the internet, the growth of fan fiction – the “stories that might have been” followed. I happened to be leaving to start my professional career in Los Angeles at this point, and decided to share the notes and story I made as a fan on the Internet up to that point to help the fledgling fan community continue, labeling the stories I had created . That code, which has been updated very little since my professional career, currently lives at http://www.duelingmodems.com/~shan/Voltron.htm (the original source closed down unexpectedly years ago, and fans demanded the website’s return, so I re-hosted it). Interestingly, it was brought to light that only the parts with my Fan Fiction are removed, it could possibly be the new host somehow had issues with that, though interestingly enough all other content exists including the details of my Starmap collaboration with World Events Productions. We have moved now, because of the prevalence of “fan fiction” and most importantly the story of what happened with 50 SHADES OF GREY, that corporations are taking more notice of fan fiction and shutting down anything unauthorized. I always expressed on my pages that I would remove that fan fiction content if ever asked, and I will have to think about whether or not I restore it because there may have been a request somewhere along the line to do so that didn’t reach me or that the hosting provider handled without contacting me. Remember, I am also part of the professional community now, with its own rules and standards that I must stay conscious of. For what it is worth, what I wrote is so outdated now by the direction they chose to go with VOLTRON FORCE; also, it was also meant as a glimpse into the mind of a young woman from nearly thirty years ago and what inspired me to become the woman I am today. The important part here is that the property continues to live on past me, even if I am one of the biggest names in the history of the fandom from what others tell me.

I’ve seen this phenomenon also occur with JEM, another animated series from the same time period. On top of the cosplay, the fact that it came from a tied in merchandise line also inspired the creation of original clothing for the dolls and related items. This fandom went so far to start an annual convention, which I had the honor of attending the year they held in in Van Nuys. Because my sister and I – though my sister is the active administrator – started one of the first email lists/mailing lists devoted to JEM on the internet, they treated me with a similar amount of respect as the various writers, voice actors, and production personnel in attendance. The battle proved more difficult for this fandom in terms of getting notice, with the episodes being released to DVD in spurts and only in the last couple years being aired on cable television again. Most recently, in what from all reports seems an entire reboot of the premise, a lower-budget live-action movie branded JEM has wrapped and is in post-production. Only time will tell how the introduction of this live-action movie will grow or change this fandom. Still, it lives.

After working for years on various animated series, some of which continue to live on through various fandoms – Kylie and Eduardo from EXTREME GHOSTBUSTERS were embraced by the longer running GHOSTBUSTERS fandom by inclusion in the IDW comic, and INVADER ZIM enjoys a cult status due to being available for viewing and purchase – I made the transition to digital entertainment. I felt then that the industry as a whole to be on a verge of a change, where people would be moved to be the storytellers given tools and options set up for them by others. In many ways, it allowed the same creative freedom as fan ficton, but provide it from the outset. I know other kids MMOs were long out when I came into the field in 2007, yet I was convinced the industry would be leaving traditional animation venues behind and moving into this new way of thinking on a larger scale. We’re closer to doing so, especially with SKYLANDERS and DISNEY INFINITY, but the world I saw in 2007 never really came to be. Visual animation storytelling hasn’t faded, but definitely has changed into shorter and shorter segments. The biggest thing I never stopped to consider was the end of those storytelling tools.

From 2008-2011, I worked in production and later quality assurance roles on Petpet Park, which closed its doors on September 19, 2014. When I found it would be ending, I didn’t just mourn the loss of all the time and effort I and others I worked with put into it. I mourned the loss of all the stories others built in it through the years, if they’d not been transcribed by other means. I mourned the loss of all the stories left to be written, friendships left to be written, and lives to be changed. A couple days before the Park closed its doors for good, I went in for two hours that night, visiting every land and playing every game accessible to me. Most of the later areas were accessible by purchased membership only, but nearly everything I’d worked on I could see one last time. I remembered my own personal stories of bringing each place to be, and the hope and meaning that drove me – the same hope that helped me keep my peace after I was laid off and separated from the project, that my greater hope could continue. Yet now I confronted the stark reality that the core code was owned by others who could be turned off at will; nothing tangible remains for people who never heard of it, or enjoy for years to come. Saying a true and final goodbye to Petpet Park is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my career to date.

I realize I speak in past tense, but in many ways that’s not quite right. The mourning is past and present. Petpet Park is not the only world to close in recent years, there have been others, ones that operated far longer than it did and with higher visibility. The issues with this have yet to fully be addressed and explored, I firmly believe. I need to watch how things evolve and where my place is within the greater conversation. Given all I’ve been through to this point, I think there is something more I will need to do, but I’m not sure what yet.

One last note to tie this all together – many in the VOLTRON fandom wonder why I didn’t speak up much during VOLTRON FORCE during the show’s run. It had nothing to do with whether or not I liked the show. As timing would have it, Petpet Park was a Nickelodeon Virtual World at that time (it was sold before it was closed). VOLTRON FORCE aired on Nicktoons. I felt it put me in a difficult position to be both well known fan person of the VOLTRON universe and be an employee of a division of the company actually airing the show, so being quiet was better; I even consulted with the company lawyer on it, though I don’t think he fully understood what I was wrestling with. For some time, I kept my ear to the ground, wondering if somehow a VOLTRON MMO might not end up on our doorstep. If it had, I would have been in a real loyalty struggle between trying to get on that project and staying on Petpet Park! Fortunately, I suppose, it never happened.

Nearly thirty years before this journey began, though only eighteen in the professional arena, I’ve seen a lot of growth and change. I know I will see more. Yet I also know that I have made, and can continue to make, a difference. Sometimes – like right now – it isn’t quite clear how.

COMMENTARY – THE DEATH OF A VIRTUAL WORLD, THE LIFE OF ANIMATED FANDOMS was originally published on Muirwords by Shannon Muir

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - Official Teaser Trailer [HD]

CREATIVE WORDS TO SPREAD THE WORD

Not many people know that at one point a number of years ago, I hosted a writing group at my area church. It didn’t really take off, in large part because of the logistics of how far away I live from my church. The mission was to speak of developing the craft of writing on a general level, both secular and within faith, to convey any message. I tended to come from a perspective of how to speak with integrity standing on your faith in works for a secular or faith market (thereby playing on the multiple meanings of “spreading the word”), versus just using the word to share one’s faith.

For several years I maintained separate hosting at a URL in addition to a blog, and recently decided to retire actively hosting a separate website as a hub for content. The original Blogger blog, which took my old print pamphlets and put them on the web along with added commentary, is still available.

So for now, I encourage anyone looking for Creative Words to Spread the Words to visit http://creativewordstospreadtheword.blogspot.com/. I need to spend a while re-evaluating next steps for where I want to take this idea as a whole, especially since I still own the URL.

Fifth Issue of PRO SE PRESENTS: THE NEWSLETTER Coming Soon

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PRO SE PRESENTS: THE NEWSLETTER’s fifth issue comes out tomorrow! What? Not subscribed yet? Want to see press releases, sneak previews, articles from staff and creators, and more? Then you need to subscribe at http://prose-press.com/pro-se-presents-the-newsletter/! A new issue Every two weeks!

BOOK EXCERPT - BY THE WILLOW BROOK

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The Prequel to THE WILLOWBROOK SAGA contains a Prologue that was originally published on the WILLOWBROOKNOVELS blog as a “Glimpses of Willowbrook” piece that can be read as self contained. This post shows a piece deeper in the story as it features main characters from the text, Mona Williams and Albert Rawlins. Order today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Kobo, Smashwords, and other retailers.

On Valentine’s Day, Albert Rawlins found Mona crying in the alcove by the janitor’s closet.

“Mona?” he asked her. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t get any boys to like me.”

“You can’t make boys like you, dear.”

“But if boys don’t like me, how am I supposed to have a baby?”

Albert Rawlins put his hands on Mona’s shoulders, firmly but gently.

“Mona, look at me, please.”

Mona did as her teacher asked.

“When we talked before, I didn’t think you had any interest in going that path.”

He gestured to the janitor’s closet.

“We can talk more privately in there.”

They entered and Albert locked the door from the inside.

“What’s changed for you, Mona?”

“Mr. Rawlins, I’m looking at what’s going on. More and more fighting goes on every day. Young men are being asked to go join the conflicts. Right now, there aren’t many opportunities for women here, and those who do advanced studies here go into nursing. They’ll be spending time taking care of men that hurt and return.”

“Which you don’t want to do, I take it,” he asked.

“No. I don’t have it in me for that kind of work. If I could get a boy interested in me that loved me, maybe I could be married before he would be asked to the war front, but I don’t have it in me to trick a boy just to be married. Given no one is interested in me that is what it would take to be married.”

Albert reached for Mona and held her to his chest.

“So tell me, Mona, it sounds like you’ve thought quite a bit about this. What is it that you believe having a baby would solve for you?”

“It would give me something to focus on, and my mother too, now that my father is gone doing this important job and could be gone a long time.”

Albert stroked her hair.

“And you’re not ashamed of being an unmarried mother?”

“No. I won’t be alone. There will be other young girls, desperate to get soldiers to marry them before they go, that will be left with a baby but no ring. There will even be some that won’t know who the fathers are, they’re so desperate. I can blend in and be part of the statistics.”

Albert started to undo Mona’s clothing.

“Then what are we waiting for?”

“Wait, Mr. Rawlins. What are you doing? I could have your baby,” she said in a panic, and then suddenly realized the thought wasn’t offensive to her. “No one would have to find out.”

“I know,” Albert replied, reaching down and moving her clothing aside. “I want you to have a child with me. You’re such a special student.”

Mona loved the thought of sharing such a beautiful secret with Albert Rawlins. She did like his eyes. Her baby would be beautiful with Mr. Rawlins’ eyes

Excerpt Copyright 2014 Shannon Muir. All rights reserved. Please feel free to share via the social networks built into the blog, but may not be reposted in whole or in part without permission.

BOOK EXCERPT – BY THE WILLOW BROOK was originally published on The Willowbrook Novels

TRUTH REVEALED SERIES PREQUEL RELEASED!

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The prequel to the TRUTH REVEALED series, SEEDS OF TRUTH, is now available at Amazon and Smashwords with other retailers to follow.

“The series can be somewhat difficult to navigate given that the viewpoints of a lot of information come from the vision perspective of lead character Truth Knox, also known as Firinne,” author Shannon Muir previously explained when the book was announced. “Skipping around with so many viewpoints and characters makes it challenging to convey a lot of needed background information while also trying to keep the plot moving. There is a lot of information not yet revealed about Truth’s mother that is critical for going forward with the remainder of the story. As I started to work on Book 3, I realized that I would need to isolate all that background information because it bogged down trying to move the plot forward. Being relatively new to writing series, I’m learning ways that I can make things better for the readers by the presentation of information. Ultimately what matters is that the readers enjoy the story. I don’t want the style of the story to bog down that enjoyment.”

To that end, SEEDS OF TRUTH – the prequel to the series – is a younger Truth Knox getting a series of visions about her mother’s own growing up and how she became the woman that we meet in Book 1. This story  is really more about Truth’s mother, using the younger girl as its framing sequence. The hope and intent is that by presenting focused flashbacks in a chronological order, while also maintaining Truth’s own chronological age order if this book is read first, that readers will be able to keep focus on the storyline at hand.

“It wasn’t serving the storytelling to keep a lot about Truth’s mother and her family secret,” Muir explained previously.  “Actually, in Book 3, it left a lot more to explain. With young Truth providing a framing sequence of sorts around snippets of her mother’s growing up, we better come to understand Truth’s mother and the family dynamics that are in place throughout the series. I think it will make for a stronger read overall.”

Muir’s goal was to keep readers engaged and able to follow the story’s challenging perspective, she added in a follow-up.

“In a way it is kind of twisted, since the lead character’s nickname is Truth, but in actuality because Truth has issues remembering her own past she’s an unreliable narrator on her own. This makes her memories of the pasts of others the more reliable narration, but a book constantly skipping around to have other people’s pasts from their own biased viewpoints gets to be hard to follow. The goal, is with all these flashbacks in to Truth’s mother’s past out of the way, that the remainder of the story will be less cluttered by having to jump off the main storyline to visions that explain key details to the audience.”

SEEDS OF TRUTH has been released  as an ebook for 99 cents USD. This book can be read without having read any prior book in the series before it, and will be designed to be a good starting point as well as one that fills in the gaps for those who have reads Books 1 and 2.

Between now and September 1st, SEEDS OF TRUTH will be available at Smashwords for FREE with coupon code RX37J.

The TRUTH REVEALED series is scheduled to conclude in 2015.

TRUTH REVEALED SERIES PREQUEL RELEASED! was originally published on Spontaneous Choices

COMMENTARY - LOOKING BACK AT THE SUMMER OF PRO SE

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This summer, I introduced you to many of the fellow writers I’ve started writing alongside as part of the Creative Contributors of Pro Se Productions, a leader in Genre Fiction (including New Pulp).

If you missed any of the interviews, here’s a complete alphabetical listing by last name.

Phil Athans

Charles Boeckman

Mark Bousquet

Alexander S Brown

Greg Daniel

Shane DeMink

J.H. Fleming

Teel James Glenn

Joel Jenkins

Erick Mertz

Bobby Nash

Jilly Paddock

Steve Ringgenberg

Aaron Smith

Erik Therme

I.A. Watson

Doing this let me get to know my fellow Creative Contributors much better and let me know their unique viewpoints on writing. I also appreciated the level of interest when I asked this as a general inquiry. Participation was totally voluntary, and I thank everyone  who took the time to join in.

In particular, I need to thank Kevin Paul Shaw Broden for introducing me to the work and company of Pro Se. He wasn’t interviewed over the summer, since he had an interview at this site in the past (which his name links to). If I hadn’t heard about Pro Se through him, I wouldn’t have come to submit and be accepted for NEWSHOUNDS. Besides appearing alongside me in NEWSHOUNDS, Kevin’s also had work featured in the anthology  BLACK FEDORA, for which the cover art appears above (with thanks to Tommy Hancock at Pro Se Productions for providing it). BLACK FEDORA features three different people society labels as villians, and although not all three literally wear the fabled hat, they show that – unlike the stunning cover – that being a villian is not all black and white. This book, also featuring stories by B.C. Bell and Philip Drayer Duncan, received a nomination for Best Collection/Anthology for the 2014 New Pulp Awards.

Most of all, thank you, readers, for joining INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS for the Summer of Pro Se… and hopefully you’ve discovered some great new genre fiction reads. If you like anything you learned, please feel free to use the social media links to Facebook, Tweet, use Pinterest to get the word around. Word of mouth means a lot to all writers, and if you liked what you discovered, I’m sure they’d like to hear from you. I know I would as both a site administrator and as a writer.

Is NEWSHOUNDS a one hit appearance for me with Pro Se? Keep an eye out for future commentaries and unravel that mystery for yourself!

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COMMENTARY – LOOKING BACK AT THE SUMMER OF PRO SE was originally published on Infinite House of Books

COMMENTARY - PETER KEEFE: AN AFTERNOON OF REMEMBERANCE

NOTE: This piece originally appeared March 6, 2011, on SHANNON MUIR’S ANIMATED INSIGHTS: THE BLOG. With the 30th anniversary of VOLTRON pending, it seemed appropriate to post again.

Every year, professionals and fans from across animation gather at the Hollywood Heritage Museum (also known as the DeMille-Lansky Barn, since the converted barn served as the first movie studio in Hollywood in 1913) to remember people from all professions across the industry that have passed.  Where possible, they try to find speakers for each individual on the list.  This event is cosponsored by the Animation Guild, ASIFA-Hollywood, and Women in Animation.

Before this year, I’d never attended the event, and I think just heard of it once.  An animation writer I’d met through a well respected mutual friend contacted me and asked if I would speak on behalf of Peter Keefe, whose impact on my life I’ve written in past blogs.  Ever since I came to Los Angeles, I’ve always been at war with the “fan” and “pro” sides of myself.  There were incidents that occurred that made me feel people took me less seriously as a pro because I’d become so well known in the fan community.

That said, I was very honored to be asked, but questioned if there might be someone more appropriate that really knew him.  Assured I’d be a fit, I agreed to go ahead with it, even though also admittedly I’m a nervous public speaker.  I will say from experience it’s easier to moderate panels where other people do the talking than do it myself!

So I went up and gave my well worked over speech, with rewrites up to the almost the last minute, made twenty-five years to the month (maybe even the week) since I received my response back from Head Writer Marc Handler.   I wanted to keep it very balanced between a bio of his work and what happened to me, and not make it look like I was hogging the podium just to talk about me.  I have a big hangup about being perceived liek that.  In addition, the speech was taped, and despite my radio-tv background cameras make me nervous too!  That said, I think it’s good it was captured on tape.  Since it was the ASIFA crew I presume it’s intended for the animation archive library but not completely sure.   Based on all the stories I heard that day I sincerely hope it is.

As I said, I’ve often felt split by my “fan” side and my “professional” side, but after yesterday this is something I no longer feel. Standing in a group of professionals, acknowledging my own transition thanks to Peter’s Keefe’s action from one to the other, brought about a healing and wholeness of its own.  To be asked by pros to speak about an event that happened when I was a fan, and how I am now a pro, thanks to one action of Peter Keefe, brought about a healing and catharsis of its own.

The speech ended with me quoting my favorite VOLTRON line, delivered by Lance: “Every night I used to count the stars… I never dreamed I’d be flying among them.”  Lance is played by Michael Bell, a versatile voice actor whose work I respect immensely.  So I sit down expecting the MC to introduce the next guest when someone else walks up the aisle, the first time two people have spoken on a person.  To my absolute surprise, it is Michael Bell (at which point, while totally caught up in his story of meeting Peter Keefe once at a recording session, am having the ultimate fangirl moment in  my head)!

Michael came back up a couple people later to speak about whom he came to speak about, and was gone by intermission… given we ran two hours over projection that’s to be expected.  He did reach out and give me a friendly high five as he came back down the aisle though, and I thank him for that.  If he hadn’t helped make Lance a character that resonated with me, along with the writers of the show, I wouldn’t have been inspired to write about and create Nina to be his female equal and love interest for my sister and I to then craft stories around.  Then there would never have been anything to try and send to World Events Productions and Peter Keefe, and I probably would not be writing to you right now.  Thank you for coming up, Michael Bell, even though you came to speak for another departed friend.  That meant a lot to me and I think the others there as well.

Again, I say, thank you Peter Keefe - for everything.

COMMENTARY - Remembering VOLTRON Executive Producer Peter Keefe (1953-2010)

NOTE: This piece originally appeared May 29, 2010, on SHANNON MUIR’S ANIMATED INSIGHTS: THE BLOG. With the 30th anniversary of VOLTRON pending, it seemed appropriate to post again.

As word spreads over the Internet of the passing of Peter Keefe, the former Executive Producer at World Events Productions who in the 1980s took two Japanese anime robot properties and created VOLTRON: DEFENDER OF THE UNIVERSE, I’m finally working my way past the shock-like state I’ve been in over it for the past twelve hours.  I thought it would be at least another twenty years before I heard news like this.  You always hope people get to live a long full life, not pass away of throat cancer at 57 as Peter Keefe did.

Peter Keefe is - was - more to me than just the Executive Producer of one of my favorite shows of the past 25 years.  Without him, I very likely might not be in the career I’m in, or at least not gotten there quite the same way. For not only am I Shannon Muir, book author; Shannon Muir, animation writer; Shannon Muir, production person…

… I’m Shannon Muir, one of the best known Internet fans and repositories information of the VOLTRON universe - a resident “loremaster” if you will - whose Denubian Galaxy starmap was considered well researched enough that World Events paid me as a consultant to use it on their (now defunct) voltronforce.com site promoting VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION.

The thing is, if I hadn’t been that VOLTRON fan first, the rest very likely would never have followed.

Over the years, a lot of people have heard my story of how I wrote what would be considered “premises” and sent them off to the VOLTRON offices, to finally get a response from the Head Writer that changed my life.  However, the part of the story that most often went untold is that the Head Writer received those items on the West Coast care of a single executive’s desk in St. Louis.

Peter Keefe.

The fact of the matter is, everything hinged on what Mr. Keefe could have done.  He could have treated my material like they had with a number of the fan kids writing in - such as my first letter sent via my local television station - and just received back yet another letter supposedly signed by the Voltron Force and some promo materials. Mr. Keefe could have just written me back a tiny personal note saying thanks but we’re doing no more episodes; that would have sufficed.

Yet, somehow, for some reason, he did more than that.  Mr. Keefe bothered to send them to his West Coast writer for his review and feedback, which resulted in encouragement that kept me pursuing wanting to be an “animation writer” at the age of 13.  I never found out why he chose to go that route, and I now never will know. Maybe he just didn’t have the time to respond, but if that was the case, where would he have found time to send it?  Maybe he felt that amount of effort deserved extra attention? Like I said, the answers shall forever be a mystery.

The impact, however, is undeniable.  I found out about Mr. Keefe’s passing Friday afternoon (May 28th, 2010) at work, while waiting for some other folks to get their stuff done so we could leave for the long weekend. My fiance’ brought an article in the Hollywood Reporter to my attention, and I opened it up to read the sad news. That moment, my world really felt like it went all out of alignment. Realizing that the desk I sat out, the friends I had outside that door, the fact I had enough credentials to have a second book on animation to just be released in trade paperback, my entire professional career, revolved around the choice of one man who was no longer among the living - it overwhelmed me. I couldn’t hold the tears in.  I just wound up closing my office door, crying a bit, then calling my sister in Washington State who hadn’t heard the news. No one would understand quite like her, or my parents. Though my schoolmates and teachers knew parts of my story after the fact, my family saw me create and struggle and hope before it all became real.

After talking to her, I wiped my eyes, opened the door, and tried to focus that life goes on… and it does for sure. Yet it feels a different place knowing Peter Keefe isn’t in it, although we never met.

I’m going to close with a story I’ve never told before publicly, though it kind of helps make sense to how I feel I think.

Peter Keefe and my paths crossed indirectly in a sense one time years later, about 2005.  The company Peter Keefe later worked at (one of several) called Earthworks Entertainment struck a licensing agreement with Big Dogs Sportswear of Santa Barbara for property development.  I don’t know what exactly became of that.  What I do know is that a reporter from Santa Barbara somehow pieced together that the professional Shannon Muir in Los Angeles and VOLTRON fan Shannon Muir were one in the same and called my Los Angeles apartment. The reporter somehow had the impression that Peter Keefe remained more of a mentor than he in actuality was, and wanted to better profile the person who licensed one of the best loved brands of the Santa Barbara area.  This conversation proved very awkward, not only because I had to correct the reporter’s misconceptions, but I couldn’t figure out how they got them in the first place. I pieced together enough information from the reporter to figure out how to contact Peter Keefe and wrote him a long email, both a thank you but to also let him know about the conversation I’d had with the reporter and the misconceptions tied to it. Unfortunately for Mr. Keefe, I also have a pet peeve that dates back to middle school about other people trying to take all the credit for my successes, which was the impression the reporter left me with - that Peter Keefe was responsible for everything and I for nothing. Also, back then, I saw the Head Writer of VOLTRON as the one who really made a difference, though I recognized Peter Keefe’s role and thanked him for that.  I never heard back.

What I realize, too little too late, it that it’s time to set the record straight.  While ultimately I got where I am based on my own drive and determination, people helping me and encouraging me played a big role… and for years I have portrayed it with the Head Writer as a major role and Peter Keefe as a minor player, because that’s how I felt all those years.  I wanted to be a writer, so I counted the writer’s vocal opinion over the producer’s action. He may never have said a word, but his action of sending my material to the Head Writer spoke volumes.  I didn’t understand that then, but I do now.

Fact of the matter is, both of them played equal parts in that story.  I’m very sorry it took his death to make that clear.

So thank you, Peter Keefe, for everything.