For anyone who's interested, I just set up a new blog focused around my year of silence. It will be unlocked for anyone to read, so I'll be keeping personal details to a minimum; this journal will remain my personal one, although I realise I don't actually update it as often as might be preferred. I'm trying!
Anyway, if you're hoping for details about the comic, my life, and the people I know, this is a far more likely place, but if you want to know what it's like to pass a year in silence, check out the other one and drop me a note! The more the merrier. I definitely intend for this to be a year of new ways to communicate, not one of isolation.
Happy Lunar / Chinese New Year! We celebrated last night by going out to support the best Chinese restaurant in town, in force. (Next year we'll do an RSVP first - we had about twice as many people as we anticipated and had reserved space for!) Afterward, we went up to the Temple Haus and watched some of the Chinese New Year Gala online, which was fabulous and fun. Talk about inspiring us to think about what we can really achieve with digital imaging and modern technology! It was pretty impressive.
I definitely am glad to leave the Year of the Metal Rabbit behind - here we are, the survivors! The perfect bunnies who got enough work done to stay ahead of the predators, often by the skin of our teeth! Wow, but it was a hard year - good in a lot of ways, but definitely hard.
The new year feels like it's kicking off with a bang already - Madeline had her first day of school on what was also the dark moon and lunar new year. To top it all off, her professor approved her for an independent study for our comic - woot!
The short story is coming along smartly, and our goal is to have the first chapter or so of the big project finished and posted before Denver ComiCon this summer. Our wonderful friend Ben is setting us up with a website as a belated Yuletide gift for Madeline; he's already reserved our domain name, sacredsomething.org, and now we're looking at our options for where to host it before he sets it up for us. In the meantime, I'm trying to get my notes and maps and things together in a way that will let us put up some interesting material in the meantime, to get people interested while we work on the storyboards. Pretty exciting times!
Which December holidays do you celebrate, and why? One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]
I was recently at the post office buying stamps. I bought the Kwanzaa stamps first, then asked for Chanukah stamps, and finished with some for Eid, which were red-and-gold calligraphy. By this time, the postmaster was laughing at me. "You realise these are for Ramadan," he told me as he handed me the Eid stamps. "People will wonder which holiday you're celebrating!"
I just smiled, and took them all. "That's great," I told him. "I celebrate the fact that light comes back in the spring!"
So I went to the midnight showing of the new Narnia movie on Thursday night. I was so excited; they did a pretty great job with the first movie, and a decent one with most of the second (although they did change the plot, which is frustrating). I grew up reading these books; my mom had an old box set which used to belong to my great-great-grandmother Chloe, and she kept them in a glass-fronted cabinet we could only get into with permission (and usually not even then). The older I got, the more I loved them; the fantastic elements that made it so appealing to me as a child were, I realised, only symbols for a deeper story running beneath. And it was not, as many people assume, simply a cut-and-dried allegory for Christianity - in fact, Aslan the lion has just as much in common with Mithra as with Jesus.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, the reader is taken on a journey that raises questions about our assumptions - about the world, how it is and how it should be, and why; about other people, and what makes them worthy of respect, or rights; about colonisation, and sovereignty, and freedom, and loyalty, and what all of that means and creates in the world. Most of all, however, each character must confront their own weakness, their shadow self, in order to triumph over the challenges they face. These are the things I loved about the books as a child, and these are the things that seem to have been deemed completely irrelevant by the script-writers of the new film.
( Who needs spiritual seeking when you can have war? Cut for spoilers.Collapse )
We bought tickets in advance, and although the theatre was supposedly sold out, our group of four and one other guy were the only people who showed up. About a third of the way through the film, the other guy left in disgust. We stayed to the end, but only because we were all hoping it had just been some terrible mistake; by the end of the film, it was a relief to leave the theatre, grieving the utter mutilation of something that inspired me so much as a child. Truly, I cried through most of the film, when I wasn't staring in slack-jawed disbelief. RIP, Dawn Treader; the imposter who wears your face now shares nothing more with you than a hollow semblance.
First, an update on the missing kitten, for those who haven't heard the news lately: we never did find him, but several mornings of pre-dawn cat-watching led to a couple of sightings of him and also of a very similarly-marked but older female cat who we think must be his mama. Our theory: it was her he was crying for in the shed, which is why he hushed and hid whenever anyone opened the door to answer him. It explains a lot of his feral behaviours; also, there is a little wetlands-habitat across the street, where said mama cat hunts on a regular basis, so between that and the lack of large predators in the area and profusion of cat-sized hiding spaces, it's a pretty decent spot to be a feral cat, and there's a small population of them around.
Ayal still has his collar on, which is how we know it was him we spotted once or twice, but we never caught up with him; he's quite skittish, and besides, he's a being of free will.
In more recent news, I started 12 organic lemon seeds about 6 weeks ago, and today I moved 7 of the sprouts to new homes in pots to begin their lives as bonsai trees. ^.^ The other 4(5? I can't tell if it's 2 seeds planted too close together, since I had some help at the time, or if it's one seed with 2 shoots) are still a little small, so I left them in their starter-container until I have a chance to go get some bigger vessels. Those in the Know say that a 15-gallon container is a suitable size to grow a fruit-bearing lemon if you follow bonsai techniques only... well... full-sized. So we'll have a few of each; hopefully, once we have our house, we can set them up with some kind of little fountain habitat to keep the humidity up and maybe make it a little indoor meditation spot.
The ones I planted today went mostly into handmade pottery from Madu's mama, who is an excellent potter and was kind enough to let me rummage through her spare pots for suitable bonsai containers. The two biggest and most developed sprouts went into individual containers, and I want to try shaping them differently - one I'll spiral clockwise, the other grow upright and prune into shape. Two more share the next pot up in size, who I would like to spiral together; the remaining three share one big shallow dish, at the centre of which I hope to create a little sacred grove for a miniature altar. Assuming, of course, they all survive and thrive and do what I want them to, lol.
Also, shortly after I finished repotting my lemons, the elder who lives next-door came back from her daily walk and asked me about my gardening efforts this year (her garden is lovely), and I told her about my lemons (since we're moving this summer, and putting in a garden seems a little frivolous). When she found out I'd sprouted them from seeds, she told me she'd done the same with coffee beans some years back, and grown an entire coffee bonsai that flowered and fruited and got quite large before she gave it away to move to Montana. And then, because just knowing that wasn't awesome enough, she went inside and came back out with 5 little coffee cherries she'd saved from her tree for me to try starting. They're in water, soaking, now... wish me luck!
Our baby kitty appears to be missing this morning... our cats have started going outside during the daytime when it's nice, since we have the big meadow behind our house. Ayal had his first big adventure yesterday (which mostly consisted of rolling in the dirt-patch directly outside the door), but he was inside when we left. The door was still open for the older cats though, since my brother was home, so he brought them inside at some point and closed up. My theory is that the baby must have slipped outside in that time, and gotten shut out, especially since he's scared of my brother still. I don't know where to even start though... I've looked high and low in the house, but he's a pretty skilled hider when he wants to be, so the other possibility is that something really scattered him and he's just hunkering somewhere inside the couch or something, but normally he'll come out when I call him - or put out food. I've tried both, and not heard so much as a dingle from his bell, which is usually what gives him away. No one has actually seen him since the door was closed, and he didn't come snuggle me this morning at all.
I'm trying to stay calm, but I'm really worried. Ayal Abibi Achban, come home!
And so another Beltane has passed, and we all made it through - whew! This one was a bit sticky... it's been a rough year for everyone, and none of us were in the best emotional state by the time we got there- lots of stress this spring! Processing through all of that junk and picking out the gems to hold onto for the new year is the whole point of it though, so on we go, and this year promises to hold good things indeed.
We're still doing magick for the new OAO temple house and waiting for it to manifest - a benefactor, an investor, a winning lottery ticket. ^.^ Turns out Schmaus built another house up the hillside, equally beautiful (though not quite as uniquely suited for temple-dom)... there are a couple of people in our community who might buy that piece (13.3 acres) and run the OAO B&B and camping grounds, as well as having prime spots for gardens and orchards and such. Also, since the house has now been on the market for more than a year, the price was lowered 100 grand. Besides, our source on the inside tells us that the real estate agents at the office are already referring to it as "the goth house". >.> So that's a good sign, right?
In the meantime, we've redoubled our efforts to get our shit together this year for real, guys. We have several awesome guests coming to visit us this summer, some of whom positively make me swoon, and besides, if you don't do the work with your magick, then you don't get the carrot. OAO schedule of events is coming out soon - it's a doozy! Lots of exciting things on the docket this year, and we'll be more active than ever with public and private circles, monthly cottage crafts, and more! We're also opening our booth at the people's market this month, and hopefully vending at a couple of extra festivals if we're really on top of things. At the very least, we'll be making an appearance at Hempfest and Love Your Mother Earth, I believe.
T&B Baking is still going strong - has now officially paid our rent for a couple of months running - so send us your good juju and help us stay strong to get used to the new schedule; it's gonna be grueling in the beginning, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. :-D We're gonna be invincible.
Speaking personally, I plan to really focus on the comic this year - Madu and I are taking the full year to design the world from big bang to the space age, so wish us luck, lol. We've made a pretty good start already, and I've already drawn a lot of the initial maps and noted cultural movements, geographical features, etc.; it's just a matter of filling in the gaps in a more deliberate order so it's all consistent. If anyone knows of any good map-making software, let me know (especially if it's free/inexpensive)! I've been on the lookout for a planet-simulation program, but so far I've had no luck locating one worth its salt.
After all of that business, though, I think scripting and design will be pretty quick into storyboards at last!
But first, it's time for spring cleaning! We're moving this summer one way or another - the temple house is too small, and having two households is no longer feasible, so we're on the lookout for a rental if the Schmaus doesn't come through in time. Time to go through everything I own and get rid of the ballast of my life; no more dragging useless baggage around. If we're going to manifest the temple we want, we're going to have to earn it - this is a year for kicking old habits and remembering how young and strong we are still!
(Forgive my optimism. I'm going to need it, because I'm determined to see it through this year.)
So November begins... and NaNoWriMo too! I'm really not ambitious enough to try to write an entire book in a month - but! I have designated a portion of our gigantic project to work on this month. It may still be book-length, in the end, so it's not even really cheating, lol. And it will be fun!
I also have at least 2 other people attempting it this year, so it's good moral support. ^.^ Of course, it's already day 3, and I only have the first sentence or two written... but! today it begins in earnest.
Wish me luck!
So I've been on a writing kick, lately. It's a good thing, other than the fact that it makes me obsessive. When I'm working on a writing project, it's hard for me to pull my thoughts away for any length of time, I find; school and art and absolutely everything else is somehow second priority in my brain. It's hard to balance.
That being said, it's exciting to be inspired and working again; I've been on hiatus from anything serious for way too long. I think I'm going to try NaNoWriMo this year... I don't know what the official rules are (if there are any), but as a concept I like it. My plan is to do my best to compile all my background research and notes between now and then, and try to crank out a rough first draft in November. We'll see where it takes me. I don't expect miracles, but I like the idea of a challenge. And I have a writing-buddy! so I won't be going it alone, hopefully.
The result of this decision is that I realised for good and all that I needed some kind of word processor on my computer. I've been using GoogleDocs since I got my new laptop this year, and it's alright, but I don't trust the interwebs with my data exclusively - and I don't always have access to them. Among other reasons. Anyway, I've spent the last five hours or so researching, downloading, playing with, reading about, and otherwise exploring different freeware, because I started out looking for just a word processor and ended up looking into programs designed for novel creation. Some of the ones out there are pretty kickass - and some of them are even free. I picked 3 to play without of the bunch:
yWriter - designed for functionality, and a writer on a deadline; I think it may be useful for goal-oriented writing, and helping to organise a lot of the background stuff. It has places for input about characters and locations; it's divided by chapter and scene, so you can move the pieces around without having to juggle hefty blocks of text (if you don't want to). Also leaves room for descriptions and tagwords of all kinds, to make cross-referencing as easy as possible.
StorYBook - similar to yWriter, just laid out slightly differently, and with a function that allows you to track more than one plot-strand at a time and see how they're progressing relative to one another or separately that I think may turn out to be really useful, especially since my current project involves switching between 2 different POVs.
SlimList - Not for novel-writing, just for making lists. Still, a useful tool, if you're the kind of person who likes lists. (Lists of names, lists of places, lists of ideas, lists of colours, lists of autumn sensations, lists of references, lists of lists you have yet to make...)
I'm too lazy to link them all right now; after the learning curve of the past few hours, I'm ready to play with my new toys a little bit and not think too hard, lol. But it's good to have a place to start. If you're interested in any, they're easily searched for and free to download. ^.^
Madeline comes home today. In the meantime, I've enjoyed the chance to do things a little differently than I normally would - shaking up the routine, and all that. Friday night, I stayed up until 4 am writing; that was kickass. Last night, I was up again until about 2 watching the Little Mermaid in French with Erin and then just hanging out; after I dropped her off, I came back and read gay faerietales online for another hour or two. I didn't oversleep this morning by much, despite this; it is just now noonish, and I have so far:
-cleaned the living room, including tidying and vacuuming
-fed the pets
-cleaned the kitchen, including tidying, dishes, counters, and sweeping
-swept the bathroom
-done a load of laundry
-had my first cup of tea
-listened to Laura Veirs twice through.
-made the bed
Now, to breakfast.
And, since I've been so productive this morning, that means I can with very little guilt attached spend the next 3.5 hours or so until Madu gets in... writing. Whee.
Randomly? I'm surprised at the lack of interesting and well-written gay faerietales. (I use "gay" in this context as a blanket word for all alternative sexualities, however, particularly with a focus on homosexual or gender-bending, be it noted.) I mean, there are tons of retold faerietales - they're everywhere you look! But, while I've found lots of badly-written gay faerietales, I have not found more than one or two well-written ones. This is... startling, and a little upsetting, but I suppose also good in a way, as that's what I'm working on writing, myself.
However! If any of you know of any good ones, or good places to look for them, or good authors or anything at all to do with retold faerietales, gay or otherwise, I'd love to have the input. It's a really big project, and it's really close to my heart, so I would like to have the best idea possible of the currents of feeling in the culture right now, you know? Not to mention that I enjoy reading them. ^.~ So. Please? Anything you know.