T. E. Sanders was born on the back of a bag of nickels in a dark alley behind an old Rum & Run shop in Grogansville, Texas. The locals say the town well went dry that night and the birds flew out early for the south before the dawn. There’s a long-held belief those statues that appeared in the cemetery the next morning were angels sent to stop the madness turned to stone. Still, others believe they were the husks left behind by muses sacrificing themselves to their newly born God through obscene dancing rituals. Of course, you can believe what you want, but these are clearly all lies.
It is true that Sanders started young, drawing, painting, sculpting, and even playing piano, if one could call figuring out “Mary had a Little Lamb,” one finger at a time, playing piano. He was only four, after all. His life from that point on was a series of blessings and curses, not unlike anyone else’s really, maybe even yours included, dear reader. He was blessed to have a mother that recognized what she called “God-given talents,” and though they rarely had any money, she always made sure little Timmy (he hates that by the way, his friends call him Tim) at the very least had paper and pencils for drawing. And draw he did—all through elementary school, as made evident by his grades. His mother would enter him into art contests, and he would win! It’s a wonder the poor boy’s head didn’t explode from an inflated ego, but he survived.
Then there was puberty. He survived this by first picking up the drums, then the guitar, then songwriting. This time, it was his father’s doing. It was later discovered his father had made a bet with his buddies that “My kid can outplay anybody and everybody within a year.” Although by the end of that year, Tim could not outplay “anybody and everybody,” he did achieve a comfortable level of facility to build upon and is still the bedrock used to forge new music to this day.
It was toward the end of his teens that he started writing short stories. By this point, he had reached a high level of ability with his art and music, especially for his age, but it seemed there was something missing. To hear him tell it, he felt something like a force from deep within the Earth compelling him, like a voice from the very stones themselves; “Take these words and use them to paint stories directly into the mind. There is no higher resolution than imagination.” No one believes it actually happened that way, but suffice it to say, he had a drive to tell stories.
And so it was the boy became an adult, in body if not in mind, and he continued honing the skills of his various creative predilections. So far, so good. As you can see, despite his mysterious birth, Tim wasn’t that much different from many other creative people, except for what would be the next volley of blessings and curses.
He went blind. His daughter was born. Technology fixed his blindness. He discovered filmmaking.
As if there wasn’t already enough going on, he submerged himself in the art of cinema. It could have been the realization of the preciousness of sight when it was taken from him for a time, or it could have been the many lazy afternoons spent watching movies with his tiny daughter when his sight returned. Whatever it was, he went deep and made over 30 short films and a featurette in just a hand-full of years, many of these winning awards and gaining distribution. He was quoted as saying, “Cinema is like someone created an art form to encompass all art forms, and for someone who enjoys doing several of those forms, it’s like the drug and the pusher all in one.” No, he wasn’t known for quippy quotes, but it captured his reasoning. Sanders’ last film was a feature comedy and was one of the most profound trials in bringing art to an audience to date.
Now, years later, after working in various fields of art, both professionally and experimentally, he’s come full circle—back to the basics of story and art, and he has one thing to thank for that; The Pandemic. Covid. The ‘Rona. That damnable plague! While the pandemic lumbered on, Tim broke out his old drawing tools and proverbial writing pad and started on a Sci-fi series of novels, a graphic novel, and several short stories. Had he heard the stones of the Earth calling to him again? Was it the sound of cemetery statues pounding their feet in a tantrum? Dancing muses? Too much Mexican food? It was none of those things… probably. I’m sure if he were here to tell you, he would simply say it was about time to get back to storytelling at its core.
There is no higher resolution than imagination.