Archives

Books- lies that reveal truth

I think last night I thanked God in every different way that I could think of for good books. I thanked God for good books, for people who wrote good books, for people who published good books, for the good books that I’ve read, for the good books I haven’t read, and for the good books that I won’t read, for people who wrote good books that weren’t published, that I was born in a time where there were many good books, that I was born into a family that introduced me to many good books…

And the list went on.

Because I’m reading a good book right now.

Oh, not my favorite by far. But it did remind me of times where I have just loved reading and books. The trick is, of course, to find the good book. I’m sure there are many in the world- the trick is finding them in the midst of all the books that aren’t good. But thankfully, I am taking a Young Adult Literature class. And already I have read some good books.

There are no words to describe it, are there? I mean, it’s such a simple little thing- a book, a painting, a movie, a song… but they just do things to you, you know? Words fall short. They are only symbol’s anyway. You can say all the inspiring words you want about books, but those who don’t already get it, won’t. Those kinds of famous quotes exist for people who do get it, but don’t have enough mastery of words to convey it.

 

Sigh.

Here I am, waxing philosophical, and I just wish people cared enough to pay attention to me when I write things like this. Facebook is more of a facade. If people really cared about what was going on, I think they’d do more than ‘like’ my statuses. They’d read posts like this.

See, there are some good books out there that connect you to the world better than Facebook does. I think it was Picasso that said art was lies that revealed truth. Literature is the same way. Lies that reveal truth. Whereas Facebook is a facade.

 

Ack! Time goes by so fast!

Well, I didn’t get a lot of rest last night. I got plenty of sleep. But my dream included a murder mystery (with the detective being Sharpay from High School Musical) and witnessing death by suffocation and drowning. So…. yeah, I do not feel very well rested at all. And I stayed in bed later than I should, hoping to finish my dream on a different note.

On to more pleasent things, Dad wanted to do something with the family yesterday. He usually likes to do something with the family, which is one of the reasons why he’s awesome. He ended up taking us to see Wreck it Ralph. It was especially interesting given Dad’s line of work. Dad knows a lot about arcade games. In fact, when we watched the trailer and saw Cubert, Dad was able to recognize him. None of the rest of us knew who he was. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie (and I positively adored the short at the beginning) and it was good to have that before Jasmine and I leave. You know, in like…. two days.

Time just goes by way too fast these days. Not that I mind going back to school, I love being a student. It’s just… I have stuff I can do here, you know? Like writing.

I told you that I was actually managing to write something didn’t I? I still have trouble coming up with my own story, but this is a fairy tale retelling, so the story is already pretty much set up for me. And so far I’ve managed to get over 14, 000 words in it! Before that, my record for a continuous story was nearly 5,000. Lori promised to read what I have before I leave.

It’s just exciting at last be writing something, you know, since I’ve been dabbing into it for a over two years. I’m not planning on being a writer, I don’t even know if I want my family besides my sisters to read what I’m writing. But it fills a sort of yearning of mine to have something complete written. As I said, my goal is to have a collection of these sort stories which I have written. Just for the sake of having them. Which may seem weird to other people, but I’m not going to apologize for it.

Hopefully, I will be able to get more of that writing done today, before I have to move on to things like… packing and stuff.

I still don’t understand people.

Remember how I was talking about that water-colored-pencil image that I posted on Facebook, and I got a bigger reaction than I was expecting? Well, I added stuff, just like I promised and…. no reaction. Well, one ‘like.’ To me, the image seems so much more… complete, whether it’s a better image or not. I think that’s something.

 

But I had a fun time talking with my sister yesterday. We were talking about stories. And writing. And how I should write a story. I’ve been saying for a while now “I should write a story. But I don’t have a story.” The truth of the matter is, I have been dabbing into creative writing for the past four years, and more heavily in the past two, when I’ve had a laptop. I have entire documents full of things that I’ve started, of little bits and peices here and there, snatches of dialogues, wisps of ideas, descriptions of character. I’ve just never managed to have one, comeplete, continuous, story.

Lori says I should write one. I agree with her. I’ve been working on it. For the past two years. She thinks I just need to stick with something and see it through to the end. Easy for her to say. But I have been working on it, and I am doing better. I’ve come up with a few complete ideas, abiet very short, vague sort of ideas. I’ve mentioned a few on this blog I think. My goal is to, eventually, have a collection of short stories that I can bundle up for Lori to read. But it takes work, like anything does. Especially for me, since I’m not one of those people who seem to just… come up with these sorts of things.

But it will happen. One of these days, I will have a story or two. Even if they’re just retellings of old fairy tales. And that’s one of the things I’ve been doing for the past few days, working on my creative writing. I would get the drive now that I’m about to go to collage and have a lot less time. Oh well, I am happy to have something to work on. Hopefully this will keep up, and I’ll have something to do on Saturdays.

Another important creater in my life

So you have heard me talk about various creaters, usually writers, who have been important to me. I think I’ve mentioned Dr. Suess and Graeme Base. Those who brought Disney and Pixar into existance are HUGE in my life. I talked about Lloyd Alexander not too long ago. In the music/video world there are The Piano Guys and Lindsey Stirling and I have enjoyed their work a lot.

Now, I have recently been exploring watercolors. Some of the tones in the demonstrations I saw reminded me of the colors in some of the Calvin and Hobbes works, something I’ve enjoyed a lot over the years. With this thought in mind, I did a wikipedia search of first Calvin and Hobbes and then Bill Waterson (the creater of said comic).

After reading that, I have to say that I think Bill Waterson is… what word can describe it? Mostly, it was reading his comments in retrospect about discontinuing Calvin and Hobbes. He said that he said all he had to say, and if he kept going and repeated himself for another five, ten, twenty years, people wouldn’t be mourning the end of Calvin and Hobbes, they would be cursing a tedius cartoonist. He’s never regretted stopping when he did. And I think that it’s wonderful and amazing that he had that kind of… insight. That he was aware of that. And now I’m grateful that he did stop when he did, even though it is bittersweet and that I dream about reading new Calvin and Hobbes strips (literally, I have dreamt this before). There were other things he did that I respect as well, not allowing merchandicing in order to preserve the spirit of the comic, for instance, and for the way he strived for full paper versions of his comics.

Those comics mean something to me. They were the first comic strips I really read. So I must have first read them when I was… younger than twelve, I’m not sure how much younger though. And it’s fun because as I got older and reread them, I was able to understand the strips I wasn’t able to before and so the strips were still able to entertain me. When I was… thriteen I started writing little comic strips. They weren’t any good. But it was important nonetheless, because in later years I would do more comics/visual novels. So I have to thank Bill Waterson and Calvin and Hobbes for first peaking my interest.

So there’s another to add to the list of important creaters in my life: Bill Waterson, the guy who wrote Calvin and Hobbes. Thank you.

 

 

Quick note about my artwork: Okay, so I’ve been working with the salt glazing. I’ve come to a few conclusions, first of all, I think layering the salt glazing makes it lose a little bit of it’s visual impact. So I’m kinda sad, I feel like I’ve corrupted it. Maybe I’ll do something with it anyway. Yesterday I started a colored doodle, just so that I could work with color on something incredibly simple, yet beautiful, until I come up with a new image to do. I don’t know it I’ll ever finish/post it. I hope to do some brainstorming today. Wish me luck.

 

In which I muse about writing

Yes. I’m writing another post in the same day. You know, I get the feeling I’d write a lot less if I thought I actually had somebody listen to what I was thinking. It’s really not fair, when you have a lot of thoughts going around in your head and you don’t think anyone’s listening.

Well, I was skimming through some blog posts of a favored author, Patricia C Wrede. One of her post begins; “How did you know that you wanted to be a writer? I didn’t. I never, ever wanted to ‘be a writer.’ I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to get these blasted characters out of my head and nailed down on paper so I wouldn’t have to keep thinking about them.” This sentiment I can relate to. As for me, I don’t even know that I want to write neccisarily. I do it anyway to, like she said, get them out of my head. What I would really like to do is create stories. Not neccisarily to write them down, but to have them. I like stories. At least having those characters running around in my head keep  me entertained at night. Actually, it helps me sleep. But never have I quite reached the point of full-length story, or even short story with these characters. It is most frustrating.

What I would like is a small collection of shortstories that I have written that I can keep all to myself somewhere. Since nobody can expect me to be a good writer with little to no experience in the field, I don’t have to be worried about them being espeically well written. I just want to have them.

One of these days, I’m going to get this sort of thing figured out. Art, writing, and whatever other creative hobby strikes my fancy. Us dreamers like to come up with something concrete, you know? It will probably take time to figure things out. By then, I’ll probably be busy with grown-up stuff. Finishing school, raising a family, all that jazz. Which is why I’d like to get things figured out now.

Spasms of geekiness

I blame it on the Heros of Olympus books. I don’t know what everybody else thinks it has going for it, but I definately love the way the Greek God’s were handled in it. Rather than your typical urban fantasy about contemporary life with vampires or fair folk thrown in, these books take the archetypal approach that I really like- and there’s the idea that the Greek Gods travleled with Western Civilization, adapting to those various cultures. Which is why you get those fun mixes of contemporary america mixed in with myth and the culture of ancient empires. Long story short, it was really great that I read these books after my Humanities classes about Western Civilization. And I way prefer that aspect of the books to the whole ‘save the world’ sceanario.

So last night, I was thinking about my Fates. I told you that I created them sort of to be like the Greek Gods. I learned about the Greek Gods when I was in fifth grade. It’s one of the things I most distinctly remember learning in fifth grade. I thought it was so facinating. That fuled a great deal of my love of myths. And of course my mind, that great melting pot, collected other myths over the years, and stories and fairy tales. Archetypal characters were something I enjoy, I’ve always had a soft spot for tricksters. I also had a love of anthropormorphic personifications. This probably stemmed from my love of fairies and nature spirits as a kid, I’m also pretty sure Discworld had a lot to do with that. But at anyrate, over the years all this cooked in my mind, and what I decided I needed were my own set of immortal beings that meddled with the destinies of their mortal wards. So I called them the Fates.

Anyway, I was thinking about these Fates, and I thought about Origin Myths, something we covered in my Heroic Journey class. Some origin myths show similarities to eachother, they call it patternism. There was often ‘order coming out of chaos,’ or it may include a flood or a lot of water, there would aslo many times be a ‘breath of life’ sort of thing- breathing into a clay figure and giving it life. This stood out in my mind particularly, I think it’s because maybe the myth I looked up for a homework assignment included this. But I thought about that, and then about some of my Fates, and I started working out how the Fates helped create worlds.

I wondered if  maybe Fates are not as immortal as their mortal wards think. Perhaps the Fates merely live longer than the worlds they have stewardship over. So Fates have the opportunity to be stewards over many worlds before they die, or their essence is recycled into a different being- like the way archetypes are treated differently in different cultures. Same sort of idea, different take. And so the essence of the Fates changes, giving the idea of immortality.

So then I had to figure out which of the Fates were around at the start of this new fantasy world, and which Fates came later- either born to the First Fates or created from the world itself- from the ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires, fears, and so on from that particular realm and it’s inahbitants.

Unfortunatly, I fell asleep by trying to think it all out, and trying to add in what I had learned from Humanities classes and such, trying to have it all make sense.

Maybe it doesn’t have to all make sense. It’s not like a lot of the Origin Myths really do. A lot of mythology doesn’t make sense. But it is so much fun to play with.

New Image: Celebrating Autumn

 

Such a dissapointment. Maybe that’s not something that you would expect to hear on the completion of the image, but there you have it. Not because it was bad. In fact, the original looks really great. But both the scanner and my camera kept doing wierd things to the red. Besides the fact that my camera’s broken LCD screen makes photographing the image difficult- so many pictures just to make sure everything was centered and in focus. This is a much closer up version of the original, edited as best I could to make it look alright. If you de-noise the image on iPhoto, then it begins to look more like a painting, so I tried to go for the impressionistic look. But naturally by the time I finish this image, it is no longer colorful outside. It is, in fact, cold and wet outside.

Now, the nice thing is that when I finished this project, I could go straight to the next, because I had already drawn it out and began coloring. This is great, I thought, no lag. That time between images when you have to get yourself together and get an idea to work on… I didn’t have to worry about it. I can go from one project to the next. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Maybe because it also has problems. Particularly with this image, where I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ve finished all the parts I did know how to do, so I’m already at a stand still with that project. Still, I like the system of working on two projects at once, so I have something to do when I’m having difficulty with the other one. And I wish I thought of it from the first. Then I might have more done by now. I mean, this image that I’m posting now was supposed to be a replacement for one of my other, lesser images. And it didn’t go quite as I wanted in the end. Ah well.

 

And now for a change of topic. I’ve said I’m one of those people who likes to watch the special features of movies, read the programs for plays, and watch documentaries about or interviews with various artists/musicians/etc. But then there is the other medium, blogs. I don’t read a lot of other people’s blogs- mostly because I don’t know where to look for one that would interest me. But I have been keeping up with one author’s blog, because I sent her an email about her book and she actually replied- with, naturally, a link to her blog. It has been interesting reading a writer’s blog (especailly since my Mom is a writer). Mom suggested another author’s blog- Patricia C. Wrede. I’ve enjoyed her books since I was twelve and reading The Enchanted Forrest Chronicles.

So I looked at her blog. She writes a lot. But while skimming through her posts and reading some of the content I am reminded once again that there is a lot more that goes on in writing (or any other craft, I’m sure) than we suspect. As I have said before, the experience the artist has, and the experience the audiance has are two entirely different things. And sometimes when you get some idea of what the artist goes through (goodness, I wish they wouldn’t use ‘artist’ to cover all of the creative arts, it’s far too misleading), it’s a bit overwhelming. I can’t imagine how they do it. It just seems like a regular day job would be much easier.

Creative people blow my mind.

It all makes it harder for me to figure out where I fit into the picture. But then… maybe I’m worrying about it too much? I am, after all, only twenty. The temptation at this kind of age, is to try to get the rest of your life figured out, because now you are an ‘adult’ and you have to get out there on your own. The problem is that you can’t get it all figured out at once. Things happen that you don’t expect. And then there’s the things you do expect, but can’t plan very well until they start happening- like getting married. Long story short, I really don’t know to what end I am doing all of my creative efforts. But I hope that they contain some value.

 

Oh the irony. Also I learned something yesterday

Well, I’m closing in on the end of my autumn picture. As there is snow blowing past my window. See, this is one of the unfortunate things about the fact that most images take me a couple of days to do. When I started it was all colorful outside. But, alas, my art can’t keep up with the changing of the seasons. Isn’t that a flattering thought.

But if it is any consolation to… myself I guess, I have also started that other idea I talked about yesterday. I don’t know if it’s a keeper yet, but at least the eye looks great.

On a different note, I read a magazine artical on Lloyd Alexander. Apparently he died in 2007. I didn’t know that. One of my favorite authors died and I didn’t know it. The same thing happened with Dianna Wynne Jones. But it was lovely reading about him. And, as always, looking at his face. It is the very picture of Fflewddur Flam. Which is quite the accomplishment, I know of only very few faces that remind me of fictional characters whom I have never seen before. In fact, I’m pretty sure his is the only one. Anyway, I enjoy Lloyd’s books, particularly the Prydain Chronicles. I’m still waiting for somebody to make a live action movie adaption. That would be pretty great. After all, there have been live action adaptions of The Lord of the Rings and Narnia books, so the Prydain Chroncicles ought to be next right? Cheers for high fantasy literature.

 

Concerning Fairy Godfathers

Being your own cheerleader isn’t easy. But I managed to use the guilty conscience trick to get some work done yesterday. As for how the image looks… I can’t really say as of yet. I’m trying something different, and I really don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

I actually took a break from art yesterday to indulge in a little writing. The first thing I played with was the idea of doing A Christmas Carol, starring Wyvren. I mentioned him briefly before, he’s the older brother of Drako and Kimodo- and he’s the Evil Overlord. He conquered the world when he was 15 and is still ruling now, four years later. Anyway, he would be my Scrooge. I’m still not quite sure how I would go about creating a story like that, but then- it’s a comic. I never once in my comic cared about making sense or anything, which is probably the only reason why I have gotten as far as I have in it.

The other thing I toyed with was an idea I cam up with while watching Gargoyles. See, Puck is punished by Oberon, so that he can’t use magic unless it is for the protecting or teaching of Alexander. So it occured to me, Alexander has a Fairy Godfather. Of course. It makes perfect sense; Fairy Godparents exist as a form of punishment for naughty fairies. So I wanted to play with that idea. But the problem is need a story to play with it in. Best case sceanario, for me, would be to create a grandscale fairy tale world, with all of the old favorites. And Murdock (the Fairy Godfather I created for the purpose of enslaving to some fortunate fairy tale princess) would be mixed in amoung Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack the Giant Killer, and others.

But of course… I don’t exactly know how to do that. So I just played with it a bit. *Sigh* I could play with it some more, on the assumption that I will get better at creating stories if I practiced. It’s just… harder to feel like you are getting work done when you are still only able to play around with ideas.

A Christmas Carol

I have an audio version of A Christmas Carol in my itunes. I love it to death. I remember when I first heard it a little less than a year ago. It surprised me. I’d seen a couple of movie adaptions, but they had never been, for me as a child, Christmas entertainment. But I love listening to stories, and the Mormon Channel had a whole radio performance on their website, free for download. And the narrator, oh the narrator, has the most heart-melting voice in the world. It was quite a pleasure to listend.

Even moreso when I realized that the story was actually funny. I had no idea. I haven’t experienced a lot of Dickens, except that of watching the musical Oliver and a few excerpts from his book in English classes- none of which were particularly cheerful. So imagine my surprise when the first thing the book says is; “Marley was dead, to begin with. There can be no doubt whatever about that.” And then proceed to wonder at the expression ‘dead as a doornail.’

It was a strange delight that one gets, to have the most beautiful voice in the world make you laugh. I had to listen to the rest of it. And it was, I declare, a most wonderful story- all the better for the auido performance that was given. It was… funny, as I said before. Funny in ways that, despite being written so long ago, you can still easily understand and enjoy (unlike Shakespeare, who you can enjoy- but not usually before reading the footnotes). But also serious and emotional where it needed to be. The language was… beautiful.

It was such an experience, listening to it. I quite fell in love with it. It was one of those times when you finish reading, or listening, to a book and you feel… different afterwards. Like you just returned from a trip to an immortal realm, and now your back to real life, but it feels different.

That must sound really cheesy or melodramatic. Ah well. I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

Anyway, I was thinking of A Christmas Carol last night, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it. It’s definately something worth sharing.