Turtle Crossing

Well, creative doubts aside, at least I can say that today was not in vain!

While driving back from the grocery store with lunch, I came across not one but TWO quite large (oblong dinner plate) sized turtles attempting to cross Sawmill. I swerved, pulled over, threw on the hazards, and walked back to get ’em, thinking as I went “Oh god, let them not be snappers.”

Fortunately for both me AND the turtles, they were merely large red-eared sliders, meaning that nobody got their fingers bitten off or their shells smooshed under tires.

Kudos to a dozen or so drivers who came around a fairly tight bend, saw the turtles, and swerved or slowed down. (A couple had to do the under-the-middle-of-the-car trick, which was probably as nerve wracking for them as it was for me.) Also, kudos for not hitting ME once I went out to rescue the one in the middle of the road (one was rather more politely trying to climb the curb.)

Neither was pleased, and one tried to pee on me, but I am wise to their chelonian wiles and kept the ungrateful bugger at armslength. May the far side of the road prove to be everything they hoped it would be.

Livin’ the Dream

Thirteen Dragonbreath left.

Neurosis has set in, or possibly necrosis. I stare at the screen and think “No one will like this book. They will hate it. It isn’t whimsical enough. It isn’t Ursula Vernon-esque enough. It’s nothing like Nurk. It will be panned. My existing fan base will hate me. I will have to change my name and move into my parent’s basement (or possibly Kevin’s basement, assuming he can handle the sporadic firebombing from a disappointed populace.) My editor was mad to buy this book. My agent was mad to sell it to her. The jokes are obvious. Children will look at this with beady little eyes and then go get their Gameboys. Their parents will write me disappointed letters, or possibly death threats. It is too late to insert vampire squash in a desperate effort to save the manuscript. The best I can hope for is that it will vanish without a trace, and that if everyone is Very Very Kind, it will become like Highlander 2, and we will all pretend it never ever happened. If not, I will be standing on a street corner with a sign that says “Will Draw Pink Lizards For Food.” Dogs will pee on me.

Etc, etc, ad insecurium.

On one level, I am aware that this is totally normal behavior. And yes, it’s basically a popcorn sort of book–it’s amusing fluff, admittedly with squid, including a cameo by a vampire squid. But that’s okay. I, of all people, am not one to scoff at popcorn books. Yes, if Nurk was a Miyazaki film, Dragonbreath would be a show on Cartoon Network. That’s okay. There is room in the world for both, and anyway, the target audience is a little younger and a bit more male. The book is not without its charm, and I must trust the sanity of my editor in purchasing it.

Unfortunately, this is not the level that matters, so I sit gnawing on my fingernails and drinking vast quantities of tea.

I don’t know if this is what the writer’s life looks like, but it’s what THIS writer’s life looks like, anyway.

And now, back to the grindstone…

I did most of this painting months ago, and tripped over it this afternoon. Since I have no energy to do anything important, finishing it off as a small amusement was about my speed. 

Scent of a Slug

Fourteen Dragonbreath left to go. Pray for me.

Sometimes it’s the little things.

Somewhere in the vague and bleary hours closer to morning than midnight, I realized I was cold. I was curled up on my side, and my brain had just about registered “cold” but was not yet awake enough to process cause-and-effect stuff like “I’m cold because I’ve kicked the blankets off, like I usually do,” or “hey, if I grabbed the blankets and pulled them up, I wouldn’t be cold any more,” or “why the hell does the AC in this apartment not have a function between “off” and “sub-zero, anyway?”

Just as the distant tremors of consciousness were starting up–“Why am I cold? What is the meaning of this cold?” Kevin pulled the blankets up, tucked them around my shoulder,  wrapped his arms around me and snuggled up against my back. Since he promptly began snoring in my ear, I am not sure if this was a hindbrain function on his part, but it made me feel warm and fuzzy, anyway.

Whew! Is it Monday again already?

My extreme extreme gratitude to all those who came out for my art reception–we had upwards of thirty people, I was not left alone in a corner with a pile of cheese, and the art center said that it was a better than usual turnout for these openings. Thanks, guys! (Particularly to the fans who didn’t know me from Adam–my friends I already KNOW I don’t deserve…)

Also! Today is the launch of the book “Playing For Keeps” by my buddy Mur, Podcaster Extraordinaire. Go! Buy a copy! Download the video blog of her adventures for launch day, which I believe includes rambling and disjointed narration by yours truly!

The Murverse

I will be glad when I am done with Dragonbreath–62 done, 18 to go!–but I wonder how long it will be before I can stand the thought of cute narrative art again, or whether I will be painting beautiful meaningless fish for weeks as a kind of balm for a severely chafed narrative Muse.

All I know is that I tend to start these late at night when I should probably be sleeping.

Klimt’s Fish IV 

Dream Theatre

Unexpected stress led to a night of raging nightmares. We hit all the usual themes–the Thing That Won’t Die, no matter how many times you stab it/shoot it/tie it to the railroad tracks*, followed by the late-for-a-class-I-haven’t-taken-all-semester, (that one worked out well, as I explained that I’d been sick and apologized, whereupon the professor hired me to work on his paleontology dig in the playground, where he was disinterring a T-rex.) Unfortunatey the T-rex fell by the wayside as we were attacked by shape-changing cthulhoids that threw fireballs. I didn’t bother to try to fight that one out, I just ran. Even my subconscious knows you don’t mess with Cthulhu.

Oddly enough I got away, skipping the classic being-chased theme of nightmares. That was something, anyway.

By this point it was 4 AM and I woke up in a cold sweat, staggered into the bathroom, (turning all the lights on as I went) staggered back to bed, fell immediately back into anxious dreams, and found myself in an underground set of tunnels, in a large room with a stone pool, fed by an iron grate.

There was a god there. I’m not sure who it was, but he was definitely a god.** He handed me a metal tray and said “Now you must do Tefnut’s job.” ***

“Whuh?” I said, with my usual brilliance.

Brightly colored–things–like beads or jewels or something, but alive–started coming in waves out of the grate. I jumped in the pool and started washing them onto the tray, then dumping them over the lip of the pool onto dry ground. It was important that I get them all out of the water–they were like children or souls or anyway something Symbolically Significant (although probably the fact that I was playing Bejeweled before bed was rather MORE significant.). I remember that I wasn’t panicking, though–just had to get ’em all out of the water, no need to freak out, work quickly and calmly and it’ll all get done.

When it was over, he embraced me, and said a few things that I wish I could bloody well remember–something about strength, and names, and then something about rose and soapwort and grooves, (which probably proves that one should not take this sort of thing particularly seriously, or else that the spirit of the divine is exceedingly concerned with my bathing products) and then I woke up to find both cats on me, doing the you-gonna-feed-us? dance.

Huh. I am being very flippant because it’s easier, but it felt like something, anyway. Haven’t had one like that for awhile.

Weird.

*I hate this one. I know a fair number of people, often women, who cannot fight back against foes in their dreams. I don’t know if it’s a sign of a robust psyche or not that I can fight back just fine, it just doesn’t seem to slow ’em down much. Mind you, all I had was a pair of manicure scissors, which aren’t much in the way of armament…

**And had been hitting the gym quite a lot, too. Human head, though. My brain defaulted to Apollo, but that was probably ‘cos of the abs. Which I suppose would be Horus if we’re sticking to one pantheon instead of mixing and matching. My subconscious mind has no respect for cultural continuity.

***I knew Tefnut was Egyptian, but there memory failed. According to wikipedia, she’s the goddess of water and fertility. (She better not get any ideas on that latter front…)

Art Reception!

Just a reminder, gang, my art show reception is this Friday, from 6-8, at the Jordan Arts Center in Cary. (Harrison & Maynard, under the water tower.)

See original art in person! See the artist looking frazzled and silently wondering whether she will get all her illustrations done on time! Free cheese!