Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today's random thought (for parents)

(Inspired by the end scene of an episode of How I Met Your Mother)

Be the kind of mom(dad) you would be if you were a single mother(father).

What would you do differently? How much more would the little moments mean? Would you hug more? Tell more bedtime stories? "Spoil" your child more? (by which I mean lots of love and understanding and attention... not the overly permissive never-say-no stuff. I believe saying no is good for a child's development) Play more?

Would you do any of these less?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Avengers gone sexist?

Really, guys? (oh, whoops, sorry... guys AND girls. Or do I need to put 'girls' first so it won't be sexist?)

There's this whole big internet stink about these Avengers t-shirts... the "Be a Hero" for boys and "I Need a Hero" for girls. It makes me so sad that even Huffpost ran an article on this. Can't we all just grow up? Ye gods, and there's even some stupid petition out to get the girls' version pulled from virtual shelves. Isn't it just as sexist to demand the girls' version get taken down but not the boys' version right along with it??

Ok, first of all... it's not even sexist. In the wrong light it can be equally discriminatory to boys AND girls. Which just makes it dumb. OR, here's a shocking thought: maybe it's just a t-shirt with Avengers-appropriate lettering.

Breathe, and hear me out, before you jump to the end to tell me how wrong I am. And understand now that I am something of a feminist, but I am an even more staunch believer in common sense.

Yes, I get where these shirts can be taken that way.  

However! Does anyone ever consider the fact that putting pressure on boys to "be a hero" can be just as damaging as telling girls we "need a hero"? That's the kind of stuff that tells boys from an early age they need to be macho, and girls from an early age that we're weak. BOTH stereotypes are just as damaging. Case and point: the fact that oftentimes the pressure put on boys to be a hero comes in such a way that they end up not learning what a true hero is. And oftentimes, girls are told we need rescue so much that we never stop to look at the person who is "rescuing" them (been there, done that... bought the t-shirt. Ha!), or to consider that maybe we could rescue ourselves... or maybe we don't need rescue in the first place.  And the fact that pressure put on either boys or girls to conform to stereotype (whether it's a good one or a bad one) can be damaging - not always because of the stereotype itself, but definitely always because of the pressure to conform. And... so few people ever look at the fact that sexism hurts both sides...

Ok, and here's my other thought: Ladies, is it so bad a thing to demand a hero? We deserve only the very best!!! Maybe it's not so much about needing a rescue as it is just wanting a man who'll do right by us. That, to me, part of being a hero.

Also... it's a freaking comic book tee. Let me stress again: Comic. Book. Tee.

Also also... there are so many more important issues going on in our world and in my own country that freaking comic book tees maybe being sexist is just a NONISSUE. 

Come on. This is not the playground. We are not having a game of girls vs. boys. Get over it, grow up, and start whining about the things that actually matter. Because those are the ones that need changing. Not the questionable choices of a graphic designer and the t-shirt company that hired them. 

Context: with all the time and money wasted whining about these stupid t-shirts how many people have become homeless? How many freedoms have been taken away?

How many people died?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Starsoul: the Artificer Enigma, excerpt 1


When I started writing in this journal, I never thought my journey would take me this far. I never thought my story would take up so many pages. When I first laid eyes on him, I saw only madness.  I could not have imagined the truths that hid behind his eyes, or that lurked unknown in the depths of my own being. And I did not realize how badly a person could be hurt by another, or how fear and pain begin to wear out after a while, until all you feel is numb…
I feel I must explain myself a bit. I realize this has been done before, and will be done again, and you may not wish to read yet another tale written in this manner. But to fully understand my story, my journey, it must be told this way. It must be read this way. You will read these, the entries from the pages of my journal, the gift from my best friend that was also her last monument, her last memorial. You will read other things, which I added afterward, things I came to understand only later. Even this that you read now was added only here, at the end, and I do not know yet what that ending will be. I have much to relate to you, and it will take many hours to write all my thoughts, to be sure you can understand. It is a tale of wonder, and horror, of bravery and cowardice, of terror and anguish and also joy. Our journey was one of magic, and blood, and love and hate. It was a journey for a chance to touch Eternity. For this, our world, our Myrrdain, had never seen the like of him, or of me for that matter, in those days… and may never see such again.
If this seems disjointed, my reader, forgive me. But I promise all will be made clear in time. It begins, in the beginning, with a story within a story…

I will tell you this story, even though with the telling, you may become part of it, and that is not a fate I would wish on any being.  It is likely you will never believe it, but that is your choice and does not make it any less a true story.
There was a star, once.  She burned bright blue-white and she danced the steps of the heavens, and sang the song of Creation.  Her fire was strong and gentle, and her beauty lit the skies with its radiance.  She knew her steps and moved through them perfectly, joyfully, and unafraid.  Her worlds sparkled about her like jewels, draped upon the lovely throat of her light.
She was loved, and did love.  There was a voice that sang to her across the light-years that separated them, and it sang with her.
Because of this, she looked outward from her own light.  Curious, and wondering, her sight searched the galaxy while her body danced its steps.  She saw her brother and sister stars, her fellow dancers, and their jewel-like worlds, and they were all beautiful.
And then her gaze came to the world that held her voice, the voice that sang to her and whispered love to her across the vast, impossible distances.  It called to her.
The world her voice resided upon was a small blue planet, one that cried out in the throes of pain, not unlike childbirth… and yet so unlike!
Pains of war and betrayal, pains of birthing and dying, all radiated out from this small sapphire world and the star reeled back from this flash of insight, this instance of true seeing.  In that moment, she knew what would become of that world.  Pain was new to her spirit; it was a shock she had never felt before.  She did not know it, and did not ever want to know it.  Yet here it was, inescapable and irrefutable.  Her voice lived in a world that was to know such pain…
So, she gathered her strength and looked upon the small blue world again; screams of the dead and dying met her senses, wailing and weeping and gnashing of teeth.  And she felt hatred and scorn, vengeance and rage, all boiling and bubbling out from that beautiful azure globe.  Never had she felt such things, known such things.  Death walked in untold numbers across the dancing-floor… but so too did life.
Her innocence was gone.
This tiny blue planet held the disharmonious seeds of imbalance, of more death than life, of entropy sped up too fast.  ‘Twas not only the death of the body, but of souls, of dreams and hopes – the deaths of a million hearts, succumbing to hopelessness and betrayal.  Entropy seethed across the surface of this planet, her voice’s world.  His world, whose star turned its face away in grief, knowing what was to come, driven to slumber unaware, unable to face what its charges must endure, yet unwilling to snuff them out and start anew.
She saw all this, and knew what would come.  She knew she was close, close to birthing, close to changing… close to dying and living and a new Name.  Almost, she drew back, but he called to her, the voice that loved her, and his world was beautiful…
He asked her to walk with him.
She gave up her breath and body; her light winked out in the heavens and she slept… and chose to forget what she knew of the world to come.  But her fire slept also, carried with her as she changed…
When she awoke, she saw him, her voice that called across the heavens, and knew only joy, unaware and innocent once again.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fox's Stories...

Wellllll... I have promised posts on my writing. I've been spending several days agonizing over which of my stories to start with. After much deliberating... I asked my Dragon. He told me to start with my NaNo attempt for this year. It's his favorite of my years of attempts... and even I have to admit that it's probably one of the best ones.

I am also incredibly sensitive about most of my stories, because I've never actually completed one. I've been writing since '93. There is one series of plotlines that have never coalesced into a cohesive whole, that I began in '93, that I have re-written many times, that has grown and evolved to include 3 generations of characters. I still have not completed one single story even of that series. And I have more than enough material to work with. Somehow, no matter what the story or how long I have worked on it, they always get stuck at some point.

Writing... being a published author... has been my lifelong dream. Isaac Asimov is my greatest literary hero, having had several short sci-fi stories published before he was in his teens. So here I am, almost 30, with nothing published to show for this. In spite of this, I have a lot of faith in my writing. I believe my concepts are solid. I think my style has evolved very well over the years. I believe I'm a pretty decent writer.

So this is kinda a big step for me. I've had my stories posted on FictionPress for a number of years, but they received very little interest. Though I'm pretty certain this is because there are SO many people posting on FicPress that it's fairly hit or miss.

Sooooo.... this is... well, I don't know how much more introduction this really needs. So stay tuned... Warning: this first story is nowhere near finished. So don't hate me when I finish posting and it's incomplete.

*crosses fingers*

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Epilogue, Written on my Bones

I was thrilled to discover the other day that my Dragon's dad saved a bagful of deer bones I found and salvaged from a deep, muddy ditch, that I thought I'd lost the first time 'round, living with him. So I have got them calling to me, whispering and singing, wanting me to tell their stories in ink and carving.

I can't wait to get them in my hands.

Soooooooo... now would be the time to open dialogue for custom pieces made from deadfall deer bone... hint hint, nudge nudge...

And for my last Bone trick...

I have been shamelessly advertising my own bony work throughout the party, so I thought I'd set up some fellow artists as my capstone, to give a little back. And these artists deserve it so much more than I! 

I think I'll post links to the coolest Bony treasures (and SUCH treasures, oh I swoon!) I've found through my various and sundry searches, on Pinterest and Etsy (and omgoodness how many cool things pop up on Etsy if you type in "bone"!!!) and others...  Starting with some things that make me wish SO badly I had money, highlights from my Bone treasury on Etsy:

This shop has SO much cool stuff, but these are very near the top of my list.

Also a shop with some super-cool accessories: 

And the last from Etsy:  

And now from Pinterest: Bone Bangle Bracelet

You can see the rest of my Bone Collection on Pinterest if you're interested.

And to top it off, a selection of bonework from deviantART:

Much love, happy Blogoversary Magaly dear, and all you others partying along!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Bone to Pick

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show." -Andrew Wyeth

I thought I'd share a few pix of some of my other bone Art... more because I haven't much time to myself right now to come up with something inspiring and thoughtful and whatnot, than for any other reason. And, I am rather proud of most of my bone work. So, enjoy Fox's Wearable Bone (and antler) Art:

(as always, the bones and antler are either deadfall or sourced respectfully and conscientiously. Additionally, contact the Studio for information on availability or the possibility of custom pieces.)

Antler and Damascus Pendant

Antler and Bone collection: 

With Quartz: 

Dragon Spirals:
Cath Palug:

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fish Bones, Raven Bones

My post today is another of my own creations; a tiny pendant wrapped in silver and painted with Eo - the Salmon.

Salmon were, to the Celts, the totem of wisdom.

Wisdom, and bones... (well, technically antler in this case... but antlers are after all an extension of the skull bones) I think this speaks for itself. 

And a bonus for this post, since we're so close to the end of the party: Morrighan. C'mon, the Raven Goddess and bones? (ok, ok, antler again, sorry!) also self-explanatory. :) This piece, I am both pleased and sorry to say, has been sold... but I can do similar ones. If you're interested...

What do you see when you see Wisdom on a bone? Or the Morrighan?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cut to the Bone

The more important the subject and the closer it cuts to the bone of our hopes and needs, the more we are likely to err in establishing a framework for analysis.
-Stephen Jay Gould

 I see many metaphors here for my life, from making jewelry to trying to fulfill a simple... and not so simple... promise to my eldest daughter. So where are the bare bones? I have so little to work with right now that you'd think it would be easy to find them. But I am so twisted up from the hurts inflicted on me and my man and my children... and the almost total abandonment from people, especially family, I thought cared... added to the physical endangerment also recently inflicted on the three of us... and the fact that I haven't had time to sit down and order my thoughts... that I hardly know where to begin digging anymore, for the bones I had buried to keep them safe. I am not in an environment conducive to digging, and I don't know how to create safe space and time, when one is bumming space in someone else's livingroom.

Constructing a framework is the same process whether one is making a piece of jewelry, or painting a picture, or putting one's life back together. Certain things are necessary. You need materials, and tools. You need some idea of what the finished product is going to look like. And you need time to work on it.

We have few materials, and even fewer tools (and I'm not talking in a jewelry-type sense, or metaphysical, I mean this in a very practical, mundane sense). We have no idea what the finished product will look like, but we do know what we believe it -should- look like. And we have no time to work on it. Our lives for the past two years have been a trade-off; for having a roof over our heads, we had to take care of the people who owned/rented the roof. Which has left us no time for creating our own life.

And so the bones are left to lie in their shallow graves, untouched and slowly deteriorating, while those who could help us would rather see us be someone else's problem, and are only too happy to leave it that way.

No one should be forced to try and create a life out of what we've been left to work with. I find myself too often seeing only things we don't have... not because I am gravitating towards the negative by choice, but because the things we DO have are so very few. Until yesterday, we didn't even have our own pillows. I have a 20-yr-old car. We have some clothes and tools and my jewelry materials. And that's pretty much it except for our two computers. Which are so old at this point they wouldn't be worth anything to anyone. I have to scrimp just to keep gas in the car.  The worst part is, the list of the things we don't have that we actually need is really rather short.

My Dragon is ridiculously talented, as well as skilled. I like to believe I have some measure of talent as well.  But with nothing to use those talents and skills on, well...

So these are the bones left, that I have to work with.  So few to sew back together, to regrow a life from. How does one resurrect a framework with so few pieces... this cuts to the bone of everything I hold sacred, and I cannot risk an error in this resurrection.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bone of my Bone

I believe I mentioned in my first post, Down to the Bone, that I use bones and antler in my Art. I find a deep, visceral pleasure in it. Not, perhaps, the same sort of pleasure in using gems and precious metals, but abiding all the same. Bones speak. They whisper and sometimes sing. They tell me what should be painted on their faces and I comply, with brush and ink as best I can.

And, before anyone asks, every piece I use is either deadfall *or* sourced from respectful and conscientious hunters.

This, then, is my Arthur and Guenevere set. It's painted on slices of deer leg bone with India Ink. They are strung on brown cotton cord, and the clasp is copper toned lead-free pewter.

The lettering is Ogham, an ancient Celtic alphabet, for those of you who aren't familiar with it. The spelling of Guenevere is actually Gwenwhyfar, on this piece. If you didn't already know, the story of Arthur is based in a much older Welsh myth, and this spelling is derived from the original. I personally find Gwenhwyfar to be more visually appealing when a written word...

Yes, the story of Arthur and Gwenwhyfar was a sad, tragic one. So why create a couple's set based on them?

Because they shared purpose, and they built something wonderful together, and there's no saying you can't one day change the ending of the story, right?

This piece is for sale, if you're interested. Also, I do custom work very like this, on bone, antler, polyclay, or silver. Comment or message Twinflame Studios' Facebook or email and we can work out details.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Close to the Bone

I see
in your eyes
limpid dark pools
a soul alike
and yet unlike
I feel your heart
thump-thud, thump-thud
I hear your breath
I know the wild
flows in your veins
rich and red
I know your bones
because they are like mine
They are bones of the forest
of the moss
the secret treasures
hidden in leaf and twig
Your bones are my bones
And our hearts flutter
as one
yours in fear
mine in thrill
as you bound away
you know
and I know
our places are fixed
My bones are those
of a being that hunts your kind
for food and shelter and tools and
things to create adornments
So with respect
I salute you, friend
for the gift
of flesh
of blood
and bone.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bones of the Earth

A girl I was
where the world's bones are old
not buried too deep
just waiting for the right hand to grasp
and Her roots reach up to green and ancient crowns
But a child
dancing on the feather fronds
waving on Her skin
Her cold, rich waters ran from springs deep
in the rolling, reaching hills
the girl-child drank deep
of these clear streams
she bathed in light
of summers golden, warm and bountiful
she played til starlight smiled
down upon her slender limbs
she was alone
amongst a crowd
but her friends were the bones of the earth
the green and growing things
they whispered
and sang
she touched the shining treasures
unearthed by the running waters of her home
and it was love
twixt the girl and the sparkling bones
gifted her by the waters
from deep within the Mother she never had
the earth loved her
and she did love

But she grew up
far too soon
and not by choice
she left the waters and the bones
the rolling hills still beckoned
but she heeded not their siren call
and went where she felt she was needed

They call to her still
in whispers and song
and sometimes silent screams
she hears them on her heart
yanking on her strings
she dreams of them
of the love now denied her
and hope still kindles her heart
that the bones might once again
trickle through her fingers

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dry Bones

I had about 5 posts for April's blog party over at Magaly's written up and saved to drafts by the 2nd day. I was nine kinds of excited about being so inspired. I was pleased with my Muse, and proud of myself for actually making the time to type them out and save them, so I wouldn't forget.

And then Life comes crashing down. Things have not gone well for the erstwhile adventurers Fox and Dragon. Due to some unfortunate surprises, we are looking at having circumstances go from being merely uncomfortable to downright unpleasant and perhaps nearly unlivable. The only thing offered us is a roof over our heads and food to eat, from someone who can barely afford it. And yes, we're aware that this is a lot more than many people around the globe have. But we have a child with us and two others to think of and work toward a better future for. My life's goal is to create an environment from which my children can forge their own safe, sturdy foundation for their own lives and future. And I cannot do that when I am given nothing but fragments to work with.

The power is out and I'm sitting at Starbucks writing to you now, due to the good graces of my mother who sees fit to make sure I have gas in my car. It is a convenient and comforting way to charge my laptop and my cell phone...

So instead of posting the entry I had planned for my second one, I will write instead about how dry a bone can get, once you've gnawed it to bits and sucked it dry of its marrow. You think that there's no use left of it, and then you remember that primitive peoples have used shards of bone as sewing needles for ages past, and you think that maybe there's some life left in those old bones after all. Just as I hope there's some use left in the bones of what we have to work with. Enough, perhaps, to regrow muscle and veins and organs and skin, to reinvent and resurrect the definition of life, from a few sun-bleached fragments. Rebuilding from the dry bones up, because bones are all we've got left to work with now.

But that's all right, because I am used to working with bones, to making beautiful adornments out of dry, sunbleached bits of nature's leavings. So here goes.

I am minded of Jim Butcher's book Dead Beat, when the character Dresden reanimates the skeleton of the tyrannosaur Sue and goes on a rampage through the midnight streets of Chicago. Not, perhaps, quite the metaphor I was looking for, but the image is a good one nonetheless.

So this is me, with a handful of raggedy bones, on the equally raggedy edge of Life, trying to put them back together again... 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Down to the bone

"That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something." -Meredith Monk

So I saw Magaly's post for her April blog party thing (button link in my sidebar as well) and the quote she used by Thoreau - “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” - as well as some lines from Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, started running through my head over and over. Don't ask me which lines from Women Who Run with the Wolves, because I don't know where my copy is and I don't have them memorized, but it had to do with the old stories of the Bone Woman and learning how to rebuild oneself from the bones up... 

And Magaly mentioned how she searches for inspiration for her AlmaMia novel, how she will "jump on my cyber broom and search for bone fiction, bone poetry, bone magic, bone crafts, bones… " as she put it. So of course I had to turn my nose to the wind and try to catch the scent she was hunting. 

Anyways! So I followed her into the wind with a yip and howl, with my nose and tail up. I hopped onto my search engines and started playing with her words, as above. (by the way, Bing's results sucked. So I switched back to Google for the duration.) I work with bones as part of my Art. They are in fact one of my favorite mediums/materials. And yes, they are both medium and material; if you've never worked with bone as an artist, I don't know if I can explain. Woodworkers and metalworkers will understand, I think, because both wood and metal often work the same way as medium and material - I know, I've used those as well. I make jewelry with bone and antler; I paint runes and an ancient language called Ogham on them, I've done Celtic knotwork. I use India Ink and a fine tip brush, and a lot of patience. Sometimes I have to scrape the bones clean and start over. (there's a metaphor for ya...) Sometimes I just wrap a little wire around the bone and hang it from a pretty piece of something else. One of these days I'll show you a picture of my staff, with its bones and stones, feathers and leathers... *ahem* I so did not mean to make that rhyme. 

Where was I going with this? Oh yes - search engines. I found an Etsy shop with some very simple bone and wire jewelry. I found an article on African bone divination. I'm browsing Pinterest at the moment, and weirdly enough when I put "bone" in the search frame, most of what's popped up so far is referenced more by the color Bone than the actual bone. Although, if you visit my Pinterest, you'll see several new bone-themed pins on my various boards. I discovered a pretty comprehensive basic article here: Dem Bones  that I'm sure I'll use for future reference

So what is is about bones? It's all about visceral metaphor, digging deep and finding treasure...

And then I remember that gemstones are the bones of the earth, and that's a whole 'nother post....