Talking myself into my annual Futility Quest this year…submitting art to Spectrum. I’m not sure what to submit–there’s an illo I did for Mongoose that I’m rather proud of, and “Walking the Frog” was pretty good, but beyond that, I’m stumped. While I’m proud of “The Polar Court” it’s furry, and furry does not seem to get in very easily–same with “Penguin of Arabia.” The giant & fairy piece is also a definite possibility. I think the Weird Fruit may be too weird, although the bighorn pears are tempting.

I only want to send two, maybe three tops, though, because the entry fees ain’t all that cheap. So while the Mongoose illo is definitely in, and I’m leaning towards Walking the Frog, I dunno what to do for the third…Giant and Fairy is probably the most likely of the three to have acceptable subject matter, Polar Court is arguably the most dramatic and elaborate of the lot…I’m torn.

I probably won’t get in–they didn’t like either Sir Bunny or Bad Egg, and those are probably the two pieces I am most proud of so far, but I keep trying because…y’know.

Edit: Links, on request!

Um. Yeah. I had these 6 x 6 clayboard squares, and thought “Hey, I’ve never done a triptych before!” and this sorta came out. It’s a small weirdness, not much more. Might be a Gearworld piece. The jury is often out for awhile on whether things are Gearworld or not.

Occasionally I feel like some sort of historian or anthropologist, perhaps more accurately, trying to put together a clear view of some region I’ve never visited, based on a collection of postcards, not all of which are even from the right region. Except it’s worse than that, because I have to PAINT the bloody postcards as well, and Herodotus I ain’t.

The funny thing is that I could sort of…I dunno…bend Gearworld to my will if I really wanted to. I could start dictating what it is and what it isn’t, and what goes where, and naming places, the way I do Digger’s universe or the continent that “Black Dogs” was set on, or what not. I could dig out graph paper and draw maps. There’s a very distinctive sense that I Am Creating Stuff Now when you do that. I could say “This here is like this and it’s always like this, because I say so.” I could make Gearworld do that if I really wanted to. I think.

But I find myself reluctant to try that, as if that’d wreck something vital about it–it’d become just one of my made up worlds instead of some kind of tenuous link to the murky squishy nether regions of my brain. (I don’t know if it even IS that, mind you, but I’d like to think so.) So I don’t. My work is often silly, frequently even trivial, but Gearworld is something that seems to having something behind it. (This could just be wishful thinking on my part, but I cling to the notion.) So I don’t try to dictate what it is too hard. Even if occasionally it seems like it’d be a lot easier that way.

According to my personal date of death, barring accident, will be Tuesday, Oct. 20th, 2071.

That would put me in the vicinity of 94 years old, which means I would not technically reach middle age for another twenty years. And you know, I can live with that…

People may have seen these already, but just in case, the two latest uploads from the art frenzy…

So far this morning, got a whole bunch of prints set to mail, filled out my Anthrocon Dealer paperwork, and currently working on a “Digger” as I scramble on my backlog.

Despite all this–and despite a commission and a set of book illos and all the remaining Diggers, and a few more commissions that I need to start–I feel oddly at loose ends.

It’s because the Con season is over, of course. When you work for over a month with one singular goal, it tends to consume your brain a bit–when you work from July through November with your brain jumping from Con to Con to Con, it becomes like walking up a really really long staircase when you’re dog-tired–your brain gets so fixed into just one more step and just one more step and just one more step that you trip on a perfectly flat floor when you get to the top, and stand there staring at your feet for ten minutes, because where the hell did the steps go?

I’ve got plenty to do. I have a whole sketchbook of stuff to do if I run out of the stuff I HAVE to do, and James has about sold me on doing a full series of Gearworld pieces with an eye to trying to have an actual physical show at an actual physical gallery (madness! but tempting madness, and I can always try to sell it on-line if it bombs…) But not having that enormous looming goal at the end of the tunnel has me feeling sort of adrift, anyway.

I have, as my dear readers doubtless know, been reaping the vast rewards of years without dental insurance for some time now. Today, I got to reap Yet Another One, as I went in for a cleaning and was introduced to Mr. Periodontal Scaling instead. This is what they do when the tartar has had a chance to really get established, has built bunkers and ramparts and earthworks below the gumline, and is flying the dread flag Gingivitis from the top of a convenient molar. I got off lightly, I suppose–seven years of insurancelessness, and they chiselled it all off in an hour. James, who suffers from Really Really Strong Enamel, never gets cavities, the lucky bastard, but requires a scaling practically routinely as his teeth attempt to armor plate themselves against possible outside attack, and they have to do his in Novocained chunks. Mine just required a lot of wincing, as my gums, alas, have had the approximate texture of blood-filled sponges since I got braces in my youth, an assault upon the oral dignity from which I never quite recovered. (For one thing, I can’t whistle. I know. Anybody can whistle. Mae West, purse your lips, blow, I know. I can’t. I could before I got braces, mind you, just fine–I was no virtuoso, but I could call the dog with the best of ’em. Since the suckers came off, for the last decade, I have been fundamentally unable to whistle. I don’t know why, either.)

The hygenist was very good, very kind, did not scold me. People do that less these days. Maybe it’s that I’m an adult, maybe the standing wave I generate that somehow keeps people from telling me about their religion also works on dentists. Maybe it’s just that the refrain “Well, I haven’t had health insurance for awhile…” is immediately understood in this day and age, and in fact, the response is always one of “Let’s get this all fixed while the insurance lasts, then…” with the silent understanding that one cannot count on insurance to be a constant of existence any longer. A grim reflection on our times, to be sure, but it does mean I don’t get yelled at, so there’s that.

So there was the usual minor discomfort, and sequence of truly vile tastes. My teeth feel all…distinct…now. I do wish they’d put something mentally stimulating on the ceiling. I don’t mean a picture of flowers, or a mobile. That doesn’t work at the gynecologist either. If I am having a car jack rammed into either my mouth or parts further south, a magazine cut-out of a field of tulips is not going to do squat. They need story problems. Logic puzzles. Where’s Waldo. Something to occupy the brain, damnit.

And I got a rotating tooth-brush thing to massage my gums. It is shaped like an astronaut. It was four dollars. The identical adult model was $85. They suggested I just ditch dignity and save myself a lot of money, and being both cheap and basically undignified, I spent a novel few minutes this evening massaging my gums with a small bristly handled spaceman.

And I have nothing else, on reflection, that can possibly compete with that last line, so I’m going’ to bed.