Introducing "The Memory Remains"

Mavrik is a aged wizard from a fantasy world. He has fought wars, won riches, negotiated with dragons and bedded queens. He retired to his tower to rest and read and nap whenever he damn well pleased. The only thing still haunting him was a vision of his death gifted by an oracle. A blue skinned, man shaped Golem created to carry out one task . . .his destruction.

He's seen it. Today is the day the horror arrives. But things aren't as easy as they were all those years ago. His emotions get away from him, he can't find the things he should and he keeps getting lost in memories of the past. All the while the Golem marches relentlessly towards the confrontation.

Who has sent the Golem and why now? Will his defenses hold or must Mavrik confront this foretold fate himself? Is the prophecy unavoidable or is the thread of our lives a length of our own twisting?

The answers may be shocking!

This is the project I'm currently neck deep into, a single issue comic book. (no...not a graphic novel, a standard length comic book issue, 22 drawn pages of story) I've written the script and I'm currently working my way through all the other jobs that usually flow from a team of people. That puts me in the roles of Writer, Penciler, Inker, Colorist, and Letterer. (I guess you could add editor to that too...) The process is creatively intoxicating to me.

The story's concept is simple and personal. "The Memory Remains" is the disease of Alzheimer's from the inside.

We all age. We all suffer with age. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are huge issues we don’t have a great handle on as individuals or as a society. It’s an insidious problem that steals from everyone it touches, both the inflicted and those around them. It washes over good memories, mocks rational thought, lacerates control, and bruises love to the point that it sometimes cannot recover.

I've watched the hateful process and outcomes clinically; my earliest job in healthcare was as a CNA in a nursing home.

And I've experienced the creeping horror personally; my grandma Adeline was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in my late 20's. I remember actually feeling some relief at hearing those words. She was one of the most influential people in my young life, but the anxiety and anger that bubbles inside those inflicted is overwhelming. I can only imagine (so far) what my reactions would be as my own mind and memories betrayed me, especially to those I deeply loved. The struggle she must have suffered breaks my heart to think of and I know how those of us on the outside suffered as she lashed out, and compensated, and rationalized, and blamed, and .... and.... and...

I've visited with vets suffering from PTSD who returned from Fallujah to small town midwest America and are still hyper-vigilant, scanning rooftops for the silhouettes of snipers, and sadly I feel the same way sometimes interacting with my own mom. Grandma Addie's diagnosis was a revelation that brought clarity. Suddenly I understood that weird phone conversation and the lecturing letters that reading felt on par with being jabbed by a hundred sharp forks.

Now I analyze conversations with my parents looking for the same signposts. It doesn't work like that, but sometimes I can't help myself. I've spent a lot of time thinking about the disease. If I have one real gift it's the ability to look at issues from all the different facets on the Rubik's Cube. I've placed myself inside the problem and I've lived it on the out.

The ending is unexpected, and maybe a bit shocking, but I hope what I've written is seen as an attempt to treat a tough subject with heartfelt realism.

Along with teaching myself the entire creation process I have yet to figure out the distribution. There are many avenues but I'm not sure all of them are the right way to go. At this time I'm really only considering going grass routes with it. Printing some physical copies and distributing it here via web-based sales and (fingers crossed) through a couple local comic book outlets.

I'll be burning that bridge when I come to it, the other work has to come first. Stay tuned, I'll let you know.

Thank you

Derek Olson

Post-script:  For a long time I stubbornly reserved this blog for it's original intent, a place to document my thoughts and output in woodworking, but lately I've had a lot more time than usual to think about this space in general and what it should reflect about me. It is, afterall, the front face of my creative side I show to the world, why not share all of it.

When I updated the look of the place a while ago I changed the banner above to a new logo and an introductory list that attempted to sum up the numerous interests I pursue, and am sometimes compensated for.  Woodworking will appear here when it is relevant, but moving forward I don't see why I shouldn't embrace all of the whirlwind. It's most interesting to me when disciplines cross paths and share chromosomes so I welcome everyone to a glimpse into my primordial soup.



  1. Looks like a good one, Derek...most all of us over "a certain age" have 1st hand experience with the phenomenon (friends, family, self) and can identify. I will look for it when it's ready...

  2. Good luck with the comic book, Derek, though it sounds like so much more than a comic. So many of us can relate to being on the outside of Alzheimer's and dementia - and we hope it doesn't happen to us. BTW, I love that you brought a little woodworking into your artwork for the book - the staked table, the tool chest, the chair, the dovetailed wall-hanging cabinet and the bookcase. Nice stuff!


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