Invisible Influence

A few weeks ago, Kevin Smith almost died from a “massive heart attack” due to a blockage of his LAD artery – also known as the Widow-Maker.

Thankfully, he survived the encounter, even taking the time out from, y’know, recovering from said heart attack in order to tweet about it from his near-miss deathbed. Total Kev Smith move.



If he hadn’t pulled through, this would have marked the first of my personal heroes to have died.

This person who I have never met, but have been a fan of since I was teenager, has helped to shape me in countless ways, just as he has for thousands and thousands of others.

From his clever wordplay and irreverent pop-cultural observations to his commentary on everything through nothing helped to mould the way I view the world, myself, and how I wanted to be. How I wanted to write.

We are all an amalgamation of our experiences and influences. Kevin Smith just happens to be one of mine.

From day one, this guy has always been true to who he is (I mean, the dude is still rocking long shorts and a baseball cap in his forties! I don’t count that as a failure by any means!), always pursuing his artistic truth in what he wrote, as well as how he presented himself and his ideas to the world.
He did it unblinkingly, seemingly unafraid of potential judgement, and was usually the first to rip himself to shreds, saving the haters the time and the target as he stayed true to his ideals and personal voice, whether it was via the written word, film, or the spoken art of podcasts.

The last blog I wrote ended with my referencing Kevin Smith’s ‘Why not?’ mentality.

It’s an important mantra that has resonated with me more than any dollar-store self-help book filled with empty pages meant to inspire you to unlock the ‘secret’ could. Plus it was free.

The sheer positivity of what Smith proposes, the idea of finding a tribe of like-minded people who are willing to support and hold you up rather than needlessly criticise and question your reasons for wanting to even try, is infectious.

It’s important to embrace what inspires you, to wallow in the things that have helped shape and influence who you are – music, movies, novels, podcasts, art, video games, whatever it happens to be. We are never just one thing. We are a blended medley of different experiences that could, potentially, create something new.

So after a little searching online, I jumped at the chance of adding another addition to my office desk. I’ve never bought into the Funko Pop craze – the only figures I owned prior to this were my boys Leo, Raph, Donnie, and Mikey, courtesy of Thea for my birthday  – but this figure acts as a fitting reminder when I’m conflicted or plagued with self-doubt to embrace the ‘Why Not.’

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When I’m struggling to write or questioning whether it will be worth my time or emotional investment, when I really wonder whether I can do this or if it will lead to a happy ending (representation/publication, you pervert. Yeah, you…) despite the sheer amuont of time that passes, and all the highs and lows in between, I’ll give Kev a look and remember his lesson:

If others can, and others do, then why not me?

Why not you?

Embrace those that inspire you, but don’t allow yourself to exist within an echo chamber. You’ll never grow from that controlled, stagnant environment. But when doubters question you or you question your own ability, go back to those people and stories that bolster and reinvigorate your passion, just as Kevin Smith’s invisible influence has with me.


– Steve R / @stevetendo

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