Sunday 8th January, 2012

Three Dragon Eggs

Three Dragon Eggs

So. How do you like the first drawing I’ve done “free hand” without a background photo to work from? These are three decorative eggs kept in the house. The little brown striped one is made of agate and started the whole “dragon’s egg” thing off. I gave it to my niece and we’ve been keeping it in a little nest, waiting for it to hatch ever since. The blue egg is ceramic and a Christmas present from Jen this year. The black and grey one is some kind of rock with fossils in. I’ve had it a number of years and I forget exactly what it is. The information was filed away in the back of my brain but got lost at some point with all the moving and changing of jobs that I used to do. At some point, I will be sorting out a better nest (i.e. prettier) to go on the hearth (which doesn’t have a fire, but the thought is still there).

Yes, both Jen and I know it’s all ‘tend, but we like looking to see if they’ve hatched yet, anyway. Like any tall tale, fairy story or imaginary game, it’s the possibilities – the “what if”s – that keep us entertained and coming back. And it is possible to dress it up as a responsible adult thing to encourage. Not only is Jen using her imagination but she is actually learning some grains of truth – just as we do from tall tales, fairy stories and other imaginary games – because a real egg needs particular care and attention to be able to hatch and the closest things to real dragons all come out of eggs. (Fine, I’m reaching a bit far, here.)

And it’s fun. Did I mention that?

Anyway, the picture isn’t perfect and I didn’t work it all out properly but it’s good enough to share. Unlike those short story ideas I thought I’d have a crack at over the holiday period. None of them kept me coming back after the first paragraph. It could, of course, just be that I’m not in the mood to write but that doesn’t explain why the ideas themselves are just not working out. I’ve distracted myself with some reading – some of it research for my Guineveres idea – but really do need to get back in the flow, if only to prove I can. Time to start acting on some of that research, I guess!

Monday 26th December, 2011

Archway

An archway in Valletta, Malta

As per usual, not much to see here. I haven’t gotten around to those bits and pieces whizzing around my head that might make short stories, yet, but I have been doing a bit of reading in preparation for the second section of “The Gens”. Not that I expect to get around to it any time soon, but preparation is good. I also had a bit more of a play at drawing and did the above from a photo (from 2003) taken in Valletta, Malta. The original photo actually has people in it but I was too lazy to attempt putting them in.

I’ve decided to put up one final video for December, although Christmas has technically been and gone and Advent is therefore well over. However, “The Fairytale of New York” can be enjoyed at any time!

Sunday 4th December, 2012

Two Dragons

"Forward, Upward, Onward, Together" - whether we like it or not

Well, to the left is my latest drawing attempt. You may recognise the original photo. The quote underneath is from the Bahamian coat of arms. It seemed appropriate. I don’t think my control is getting that much better – but, then, I’m effectively only putting an hour or week or so. Whether I’ll make anything more of it? It depends on how long my interest keeps up.

In writing, the latest news is that my story Beaumains is now up in the last issue of Crossed Genres [External Link]. While I’m disappointed that the ezine side of things is closing, I hope CG get the success they deserve with the other projects the team are working on. I’m also very proud to be in their last issue – if only because it means they picked me (me!) and I’ve been in an issue each year they published.

A short rugby detour: Yes, I watched Wales v. Australia. A good match and Shane Williams retired from International level with flair. But I think it will be just as interesting to see how the number 10 shirt pans out as how Wales play post-Shane. I would be very disappointed for the longer-serving Stephen Jones to leave the scene due to not being selected rather than through choice, and without the same kind of send off.

So, it’s officially Advent and it’s okay to talk about Christmas within my hearing. Anything before December 1st (except for actually buying the presents as people on my twitter feed know) and I just get grumpy.

Of course, this also means that advent calendars have taken over the world again. You can find the annual, short fiction-y goodness through the TTA Press site [External Link]. I shall be up on Day 8 but every day’s will be good for a coffee break. Let me know of any others that are up and running this year and I’ll pass the details along next catch-up.

And, as I tend to post videos at this time of year, here’s another one. It’s not a Christmas-y one, though. It’s one I found of last year’s SWASH as SWASH 2012 has officially opened for registration. Get your tickets while they’re hot, folks! [External Link]

Sunday 20th November, 2011

Snail on a journey

Sometimes it's the journey that counts

To the left is my “latest” attempt at drawing, based on yet another photo of mine. (One day I may be confident enough to try something freehand. Or not.) It was actually drawn over a week ago but it didn’t really fit with Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, so I didn’t include it last week. That said, today is a Remembrance Day, too, being the Transgender Day of Remembrance (more on Cheryl Morgan’s blog on this page: [External Link]). So it’s still one of the moments when the phrase “it’s the journey that counts” is a load of rubbish because it isn’t the journey to that counts, it’s the destination: equality. Or equal rights if you think equality means being the same as everyone else rather than having access to the same opportunities and the same levels of acceptance.

I hadn’t really thought about this remembrance day until Cheryl mentioned it on Twitter. I’m blind to too much stuff, in this case partly because I have the benefit of, more-or-less, identifying with the biological gender I was born into and not therefore not spending my life in danger just for being me. So, I have to admit I haven’t really put any thought into this week’s mention other than to, well, mention it.

During the week, I posted A Tale of Two Themes, a bit of background on both Shelter From The Storm and Going Home, in that it deals somewhat with the idea of vulnerability due to age. It also has a few more thoughts on cultural identity. I’ve also restarted the editing of 25 Ways to Kill A Werewolf, so expect to see more complaining about that in the future. I’ve been able to restart the project because a) I’ve finished the latest redecorating project and b) my friend has started drip feeding me his notes as he finishes off. So, I’m once again killing werewolves. Does it count as cruelty to keep killing the same 25 over and over until I get it right?

Sunday 30th October, 2011

Ok. So this week I sort of finished one of those short story drafts I mentioned. The flash piece “Going Home” is now available on site. As with any of the other pieces on site, it’s not necessarily its final state but any changes are likely to be small and unannounced – things like noticing typos, and so on – if anything changes at all. I may never come back to it. If you want to make some critiquing commentary about it (whether it works for you, what you got from it, what’s wrong with the nuts and bolts of it), please leave a comment about it with the story. It’ll prompt me to move that much faster on it, if nothing else. And for those who want to know, the title “Going Home” is actually a colloquial phrase for something that is broken and nearing the end of its use. I don’t know how widespread it is, but it’s certainly used by my family in Yorkshire.

Jen

The Littlest Musketeer


To the right is another attempt at with the Wacom Bamboo Touch [External Link] combined with the online editing program Pixlr [External Link]. This is another trace of an existing photo, this time of my niece about a year ago. You may even recognise the uniform (without detail). Not sure the attempt at hair works and my hand needs to get a bit steadier, but it was definitely an interesting way to kill an hour or so. Those of you who know me on Facebook and Google+ may have noticed that I’ve already made the picture available through my profiles.

As for everything else in life (look away now if this minutiae are of no interest):

  • The spare bedroom is about 2/3 nekkid. I expect the walls to be bare by Wednesday and then I have to wrestle some more with the dado rail and the radiator. Only the radiator will be returning.
  • The garden is starting to look a bit tidier but I haven’t tackled the front yard, yet, so the neighbours still think I’m a slattern [Online Etymology Dictionary entry: External Link] (they’re right).
  • I’m still considering creating extra categories for this incarnation website. Ones that would allow me to express opinions without having to lump it in with my obvious interests or these weekly round-ups / diary entries / blatherings. And maybe ones for the drawing and the blacksmithing – if I ever get back to it. I’d quite like to do some stuff on identity (a bit like that rant a couple of weeks back) and I’m thinking it might be time to dust of my environmental thoughts – with allowance for the fact that I work for a waste management company, so some subjects will have to remain strictly off limits. But I am also lazy and quite like my site the way it is.

Happy Halloween for tomorrow. I’m off to work on the other short story.

Sunday 23rd October, 2011

I have a confession. I didn’t get out of bed until the second half of the (Rugby Union) World Cup final. So my first act of the day was to turn on the tv, my second was to see the score and my third was realising I’d just shouted “Come on, you black bastards!” at my tv. I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or Finn. I’d expected to be able to cheer for France. Apparently not. However, it was a good game and France had a decent crack at it. If it’s any consolation, Finn cheered for France – France played in white, Finn can identify white shirts and knows white shirts should hold the ball. Players in any other colour, if he’s paying attention, are to be growled at. With respect to Wales’ battle for third place (which they lost), I watched the first ten minutes of kick-off, went to work late and kept the BBC blow-by-blow page open while I worked. I get the impression it wasn’t a great game. By the time I know the score, however, I’ve lost all desire to watch replays, highlights or even commentary. And that’s probably the last rugby commentary you’ll read from me until February.

(There are other things on the periphery of rugby that I’d quite like to mention, but I haven’t really refined what I want to say properly. Maybe some other time because, unfortunately, the attitudes I’d like to discuss are going nowhere.)

Finn in Rugby Shirt

So, what are the rules again?

In the unrelated-to-rugby news, I got some more parts for one of my Knight Shop [External Link] wasters – as you may have noticed. So far, so good.

I also made a few attempts at using a Wacom Bamboo Touch [External Link] that has come into my possession. I actually bought it for my dad’s Christmas present last year, as he likes to work on his photos. I thought he might find it easier than a mouse. However, he’s decided he doesn’t want it and has given it back. I’m trying to work out if I’ll actually use it for anything. It also opens up a world of opportunity for Christmas present buying. Although I admit to buying films and albums that I would like to see or hear as well, I’ve never considered just out-right buying something I want and waiting for it to come back! You can see my third attempt with it to the left. I’ve basically just traced an existing photo of Finn and coloured it in.

In terms of writing, I’m polishing off a couple of short story drafts. I had intended them both to be posted on the site but one of them has turned into a full-length piece of short fiction rather than a flash. I’m considering what to do with it while avoiding working on 25 Ways to Kill A Werewolf or The Three Guineveres. I’m still waiting for feedback on the first and further work on the latter is on hold until I’ve got that redrafting out the way. Oh, and until I’ve finished redecorating the spare bedroom. I found myself stripping wallpaper on Friday night as something of a distraction technique. With that, the sorting out of the garden for winter and wondering whether to do some serious blogging, I think I’m pretty much distracted.