Sunday, 18 November 2018

Just a quick one

I'm heading interstate to catch up with my 3 boys and my folks. I'll continue to write while I'm away but most of the time I'll just be taking it easy and getting my head sorted out. Even though I've been silent on the blog front I have still been writing; it's just that I've not been able to focus as much as I'd like at the moment. So hopefully I'll recharge the batteries and get my head on straight for a bit.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

NaNoWriMo - Days 12 & 13 plus Stan Lee.

New Project: Ladybug the Bear
There was no blog post, or even a Patreon post yesterday, as I pushed myself a bit too much yesterday trying to push through this latest funk. I did work on editing a few poems for the upcoming poetry book, and I wrote a few bits and pieces, but my heart wasn't in it. Not really. Plus I pushed myself physically to the point of pain and exhaustion yesterday, so I felt an early-ish night was a better use of my time than another blog post. I had fully planned to work on my story The Knightly Demon after reading a short twitter story by @rebeccarmix, but exhaustion and pain had me beat; so I put that on hold for today.

I couldn't shake the blahs today. I'm soul tired. I'm trying to do the things that I need for my recovery, look after my daughter, do what needs to be done, and just speed this recovery along but there's no speeding it up. I've been told it's a marathon not a sprint but I tried sprinting. Life doesn't stop just because you're in a period of recovery; bills need paying, there are debts to clear, Xmas is coming, etc and I need to be able to deal with all but I ran out of spoons today.

Recovery Mixed Media Art Project
Still I spent some time on my Recovery Mixed Media Art Project today and I did get some work done on The Knightly Demon so it was still a productive day even if I didn't clear everything that I had planned today. There's so much that I want to talk about that I'm going through, and the poetry is a great start, but there's so much more to say; yet I don't know if people are interested. I know that at times I come across as negative and full of woe and people don't want that. For now I'll just keep pouring it into my poetry - and also into projects such as The Knightly Demon.

That story came out of a place of pain and darkness; more so than the majority of my poetry. It was during one of my darker periods earlier in the year, when the flashbacks, were getting unbearable and I was exhausted and physically in pain. I'd pushed myself for months because we were due to move house (that's a whole story on it's on) and at the last minute we found out we could stay after all. So I was in the shower, just trying to hold on for dear life, feeling like my sanity was slipping away again. The panic attacks were relentless and I was physically in pain from it all. I didn't want my daughter to hear me so I was mentally screaming; not wanting to do anything I'd regret and not wanting my daughter to see me in the state that I was. I was sobbing, as quietly as I could, and in that moment the idea for The Knightly Demon came to me (we can't always control when the muses will visit us). The story popping into my head didn't miraculously make everything better but it proved to be a momentary distraction; just enough for me to switch gears for a few minutes.

I poured what I was feeling into a quick scene, and that helped take the edge off enough for me to work through my plan, and coping strategies. I've revisited the story a few times and shared it with a trusted friend plus my patrons, but I haven't progressed the story further as it requires me to reach back down into that place of pain. And that can be cathartic but also can also trigger relentless flashbacks and anxiety attacks.

But tonight it seemed that the best way to shift the blahs was to work on that story - just enough to shift the blahs, not enough to trigger more flashbacks and panic attacks. It may even work as a short film down the line. So I'm slowly advancing my NaNo total - not as much as I had hoped but even yesterday I still plugged away and produced a few words.

And I can't let today pass without comment about the late great Stan Lee. I had the pleasure of meeting him twice, and gifted him one of my WAHM Bags and some of my choccies. He was sweet, cheeky and flirtatious. I was unable to get a photo but I treasure those brief moments. And his characters have long been a part of my life. He has helped to shape who I am as a person, and as a writer. He is one of the reasons that I'm working on my own superheroes. He lives on in his work, and in the millions of people that he touched over the decades. So many of us have been inspired to follow our paths because of him. Now more than ever I remind myself that despite the obstacles in my path, and the personal demons that I fight, that I'm not too old to make my dreams a reality.

While I don't have any pics with The Man himself  I have cosplayed 3 of the characters from the Marvel Universe:

I'm in the process of updating/revamping all 3 of these Marvel inspired costumes (and I have a 4th in the works), but I put this collage together as a throwback in tribute to Stan Lee.

Pic 1. 2011. Lady Gambit - Inspired by a challenge from @stewartmckenny. Photo by Stewart.

Pic 2: 2013. Emma Frost - again thanks to Stewart McKenny. Photo by @snaphappyian.

Pic 3. 2014. The Black Queen/Jean Grey. Pic by my daughter. (This was originally a wardrobe cosplay and as since evolved but I still don't have a decent pic).

There are plans in the Melbourne cosplay community to pay tribute to Stan Lee on his birthday in December. If it does take place, and if I can make it, I plan to have the 4th costume ready for then.

Thank you Stan. Rest in Peace. Excelsior!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

NaNoWriMo - Day 11

It's just a quick post today. The writing day started off well when I completed a poem that I started earlier in the year. After sharing this poem I received positive feedback from another friend stating that my words had touched her. I'm more determined then ever to wrangle my demons and complete this first volume of poetry, because it seems my words keep marking a postive mark on people.

I ear-marked a few poems that I could complete today, but after errands I was struck down with one of the worst migraines I'd had in a while, and I zonked out for several hours.

When I'd recovered enough to function I wasn't up to completing anymore poems; that took a level of concentration that was beyond me. I thought that I wouldn't get anything else written today but scenes for "Red Saves Xmas" began niggling at me, while I was playing Terraria. It's not great writing at the moment, as it's only the first draft, but I was able to write a few new scenes for the pantomime; and get a few notes down too.

I'm having a blast writing the pantomime and I can't wait to see this through, right to the stage. I love pantomimes, and the first one that I saw was Red Riding Hood; a Christmas pantomime. I think that's what made me fall in love with the theatre. It's no wonder that the first panto that I'm writing is Red saves Xmas. I remember how excited I was to meet Little Red Riding Hood after the play was finished.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

NaNoWriM02018 - Day 10. (content warning)

Today is one of those days on the calendar that I dread. And no amount of distraction or preparation seems to make it easier to get through. I try to avoid people where I can and not answer the phone unless it's an emergency (although I wasn't entirely successful with that today).

I threw myself into creating fractals today and created a new piece that I love (well actually 2 versions of that piece). Selene - pictured on the left. I tried a couple of new things with this piece and it's one of my favs. I did play around again with rendering a 3D piece but I gave up after a couple of hours; I just didn't have the patience for that. 
However, I did start, and complete a piece that I bought pieces for over a week ago. For months, since playing with fractals, I've wanted to try my hand at nail & string art. It's been years since I last created anything like that; and that was in school. Last week I had so much fun buying the pieces I needed and was thrilled with my crow, that I planned to use as the base. 

But I kept putting the project off; for one reason or another. Today seemed like a good day to at least mark up the back of the board so that I could work out where to place the nails. In the end I completed the piece and it turned out far better than I had hoped it world. Pictured on the right. I added pony beads and that just gave the piece a little something extra. For a first go it went relatively smoothly; even if I did hit my thumb a few times. I hope to see if there are any more crows in stock, otherwise there are alternatives that I am happy to play with.

But writing was eluding me today. A number of poems went through my head, but were gone before I could I could capture them down. I wasn't sure if I'd get much written down at all. But as I went for a walk with my daughter and my dog some ideas for Celestial Arrow came to me, and I've completed the rough outline for another scene that will take place towards the end of the first comic. It's rough yet, but I'll share it here. CONTENT WARNING - sexual assault. 

Celestial Arrow froze. She knew this alley. It had taken few seconds to register because
she'd only seen it from this angle briefly. This was where it had all begun ... and ended too.  

She gave the alley another quick look. But she wasn't seeing it as it was now (and it
hadn't really changed that much since that night); She was back there in the alley on THAT night. She was watching the events of that night, as both herself now, and as herself then.

She tried to scream at them to stop - but not a sound came out of her mouth. Hot rancid 
breath in her face again. The rough, uneven surface was freezing under her hands;
the broken glass biting into her back, as those animals pounded her over and over.  
Who was screaming?
"Goddess make it stop. Please make it stop." 
Were those her screams in the distance? 
She could feel the bile rising up once more, and in stereo with her past self, she emptied the contents of her stomach.

This is rough. One of the issues that I am exploring with Celestial Arrow is PTSD; and I want to convey flashbacks in such a way that the readers have a sense of what it's like for those with PTSD. The Jessica Jones' Netflix series handles PTSD and flashbacks well. So I'll be re-writing this scene several times and working closely with whatever artist will be working on the comic. But I'm happy with this as a first scene. And I'm happy that I have been able to complete another scene. A lot of my work on the comic lately has been character development, outlines, ideas etc. It's been a while since I completed a scene. Some of these scenes are hard to write because they can trigger my own flashbacks. It's another reason why I'm taking my time with the scripts.

So for such a crap day I managed to complete a few things; and now I'm off to start on another craft project that I've been talking about making for about 14 years. 

Friday, 9 November 2018

NaNoWriMo - days 8 and 9

Yesterday I lost several hours due to my asthma getting the better of me, so the first part of the day was mostly getting some extra sleep in. But I did work on sorting through poems to edit for my poetry book. So far, there's only the occasional change needed (sometimes a missed error, but usually it's a style choice). But there's still plenty of material that needs completing too, before I can make the final decision about which poems will be selected for Volume 1.

Still, even after heading back to bed, I wrote at least 800 words with my blog post re: my poetry. I was inspired to write that post after a friend reached out to me to share with me how my latest piece (more a truism than a poem) had resonated with him. It still touches me when people tell me that my poetry is helping them. I can't handle compliments at all, but having people tell me how my words have helped them? Well that's different.

Today I threw myself back into organising my computer files as they are a mess again. I was slowly keeping on top of current work, and wading though the past mess but a few computer dramas, and downloading a lot of new designs files has left my computer and storage drives a huge mess. I can't work with my files in a mess, because then I lose track of what I'm working on and there's a chance that I'll replicate work or lose what I've worked on.

But it was slow going and I barely scratched the surface. Unfortunately I have duplicate files to sort through too, which isn't making it easier. And thanks to all of my new design files my computer is running out of space. Mostly because I haven't set up an efficient system yet; but I'm working on it.

I spent some time working on the script for "Red Saves Xmas"; a pantomime that I plan to produce and direct one day in the near future. I'd put it on the back-burner for a while but with Christmas all around at the moment, my creative juices are flowing again. At the moment I'm working on the basic story, and then I'll go back and flesh it out, before I work on writing the songs needed for the Pantomime. The plan is for me to produce and direct the panto, and then I'll make the script available for others to perform. At this stage I don't know if I'll make it available for free or for a small fee; that isn't relevant at the moment. My youngest son keeps asking for updates too, as he's quite excited about a lot of my work, but especially "Red Saves Xmas". He hopes to perform in the panto one day.

Today I will have managed to hit over the 10 000 mark for this month. Not as much as I thought I'd have written at this stage; but still it's 10 000 + words and that is not to be sneezed at. Who knows what next week will bring.

If you're doing NaNo are you happy with your progress?

Thursday, 8 November 2018

My Poetry.

There is a little of me in a lot of what I write. That's not to say that everything is auto-biographical; but my emotions, experiences, beliefs and more do seep through into my work. But I'm at my most vulnerable and truthful when writing my poetry.

I stopped letting people get close to me after trusting the wrong people and it changed me in so many ways. I stopped being intimate with others and I have cut myself off from the world while I heal from a very nasty breakdown.

But my poetry permits me to be naked, to be vulnerable, and honest. For years I would pour my emotions and experiences into my poetry, and some of it was good. It was raw, it was powerful but it was often naive; and that was because I wasn't using my authentic voice. I'd still sometimes tone things down, or write what I felt I should be writing, or even not be totally honest with myself. That early work I shared online many years ago, and some pieces hit home for others even then. The urge to write poetry remained but I felt that I couldn't get past what was lacking.

Being hurt the way that I was and falling to pieces, released something in me; and from that moment I began to pour myself into my writing, and I found my authentic voice. I wrote about the pain, the darkness, the despair - everything that I was feeling was poured into my poetry. I didn't pull punches; although sometimes those steel fists are draped with velvet.

I dug deep, and then I dug deeper again. When the fight became too much, I wrote honestly about it. When the pain was too intense, I used it as fuel. When I hated myself and I hated the world, I didn't throw punches at the wall I thrashed the keyboard pouring out my angst.

My poetry saved me. It helped me to find my way back out from the lowest realms of the bowls of hell. I'm not out of hell yet, but I'm in a different level these days. As a poet I hold a mirror up to myself and I look deep within; exploring my shadows and my darkness. But I also hold that same mirror up to others; I invite them to look deep inside themselves.

It's a risk to be this open and vulnerable, especially given my history. But it pays off for me by helping me to heal. It pays off even more when someone reaches out to me to tell me how much a piece has resonated with them. Some of the poems make people feel uncomfortable; they want hearts and flowers, not broken spirits and mouldy petals. Others want a poem that rhymes, or something high-brow. They don't feel comfortable with my sentence enhancers (expletives) or with the free-verse that I tend to favour. And that's all fine. We all have our own taste. But there are people that look beyond all of that and they see something deeper. They see themselves; their pain. A pain that they don't often have the words to express.

And so they reach out to tell me how cathartic my words are for them. And it's not just friends telling me this; I'm often surprised by how impactful my words are on people that I don't know. So on those days when I worry that I'm being too vulnerable, too raw, or that my style maybe is a bit too obscure, someone reaches across the internet to thank me, to tell me how my words have helped them. As I keep saying while I write for myself, and I couldn't stop anymore than I could cut a hand off, I share in the hopes that my pieces will resonate with others.

One the days when I begin to question whether I should keep going with my poetry, whether I'm just a hack, I remember that my honesty and raw vulnerability has genuinely helped people; and then I keep writing. This morning after a friend spoke to me honestly about my latest completed piece (pictured above), which is less a poem and more a truism, I felt a renewed sence of inspiration and enthusiasm to complete more of the pieces in my files. I need to finish these poems and publish them because I want to reach more people if I can. There'll be days when I'll think that I'm a hack. There will be days when I think people are being polite or are humouring me; that's a part of living with the demons that I do. But if I can stay focussed on those that have reached out to me, their words may just be loud enough to mute the voices of doubt for a while.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

NaNoWriM0 - Day 7

Quote by Katrina Monroe. Pic by me.
Today was another mixed bag. Some highs and lows. But I created some new fractals and edited some older designs, I continued work on the websites, made plans for more changes for the projects that I'm revamping, and I wrote a little more.

I also have 2 new ideas to work on; one is a mash-up of 2 of my favourite faerie tales (The Match Girl and The Tinderbox) although I've yet to work out what kind of ending I will give the story. And the other (Gods amongst us)  will either be incorporated into the Daughters of Artemis comic series or will be used as a stand alone tale. Both ideas were inspired by something that happened while we were out running errands.

And I've set myself a big writing goal for 2020. I have shared that with my Patrons but for now I'm keeping quiet about the particulars so that I don't scare myself off. I've been setting more large writing related goals, and dreaming some pretty big dreams. But if we don't set ourselves some big scary dreams, from time-to-time, we can get too comfortable in the stage that we're in. And while it's vital to my recovery that I have stability and routine, it's also important that I realise that I won't always be like this; I will heal and I'll want some challenges to sink my teeth into. Setting these goals is an important part of my recovery too. Ay ear ago even thinking of anything like this would send me into a deep spiralling panic for days. Now it's just set-off a minor panic attack. Yay! Progress!

Are you setting yourself some goals? Are they big enough to scare you?