Be a Dragon

e33h0

I love these sayings going around about being yourself. My favorite, naturally, is about being a dragon. Maybe it’s a good idea to just be a dragon rather than yourself. Honestly I don’t advocate hiding from yourself… unless you’re actually a big scary dragon. I’m a big scary dragon and a big scary wolf. This whole post is getting a bit crazy maybe!

I love dragons. The red guy above is one of my soft sculpture dragons. I’ve been making them since I was fourteen. This is a fancier one with beaded wings. Would you be a dragon if you could have scary teeth and beaded wings?

Dragons definitely have an easier time cooking things, but it wouldn’t work well if you prefer a veggie based diet. Roasted veggies anyone?

What would you be if you could be something else? Being a Unicorn is a popular choice, but dragons often have prehensile talons. I like being able to open a door. And I would be a nice dragon… most of the time. If I was a unicorn people would want to touch me, pull out my hair and ride on my back. No one would do any of that to a dragon. So yes. I’ll be a dragon.

What will you be?

“You want me to WAIT!?!?!?”

d6s0g

I am a die hard reader.

I have to force myself to step away from a story until the very end. This means a series really takes a lot of time out of my daily life. I’m raising children so this reading trait is not ideal at the moment. I end up not reading many things because I don’t want to wait, but that would be good because I would break up the reading over years instead of standing over the stove holding a book and stirring. I have the same problem with movies and TV shows. I just watch episode after episode until I realize my husband will be up for work soon and I should at least pretend to be asleep! At least with books I’m a fast reader.

Even my own book keeps expanding leaving my impatient to know the end. A three book series shrank to two and I was happy with that. But recently my characters kept bugging me with storyline that goes beyond the current plans for book two. Okay. Three book series are common. I can do that. Right? Uh oh. They were at it again, those crazy characters. Four books???

Canceled shows that have years of seasons to work through are my gluten free bread and butter. The West Wing can take weeks. The Buffy/Angel world takes even longer to watch. Firefly should take weeks out of my life, not a day or two. At least Farscape got more years before the chopping block caught up.

Seasoned writers have a back log so I can go to the next one without dwelling on the story for years as if I stopped mid-sentence. The first time I drew a line at waiting-for-the-next-one was as a teenager. The Wheel of Time was never going to end. My cousin and I decided to wait until the last predicted one and then read it at the same time. Hah! Has the last one even shown up yet?

With Bujold and her Miles Vorkosigan series I can take my time and not be left anxiously waiting for the next one. I started Harry Potter when book four was coming out so I got a good run of reading in before I ended up waiting… and waiting… and… (sitting on the edge of my seat, biting nails… when… when will I know what happens?)

I need to get better at reading newer authors and being patient for the next book. After all that is what I am asking of my readers. There are good stories I’m missing out on because of this trait.

This is my goal for 2015: I need to find three or four books that will require me to be patient for a year or two after I read them.

Any suggestions?

I recently read The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg. It was well worth it, but didn’t leave me with a cliff hanger so I need a few of precipices followed by THE END-see-you-next-book to teach me a lesson help me practice patience.

What are your reading and viewing quirks? What new series are you waiting on book two of?

 

Do you want some practice of your own?

I guarantee an adequate cliff hanger. Try The GearMaker’s Locket.

final cover

Click here to purchase The GearMaker’s Locket.

 

Insanity Days

cy2nw

 

Some days are utterly crazy. Last school year it was Tuesdays. I called them Insanity Tuesdays. I wasn’t ever home more than a half hour before I had to drag another kid to another appointment, to another activity, to another class… From speech therapy to church activities, it never failed to be Tuesday that things happened to happen.

Life ends up with so many strands to follow that it might as be a bowl of spaghetti squash. Everything gets so busy I’m not sure how I a whole month ends up passing as if it was a day. Even with all the planned appointments and meetings and trips there ends up being messes that show up to make the day more interesting. Raising seven children likely adds to the insanity for me. I do try to treasure the good moments I have with them. This next year I will go from one to three teenagers and so many preteens! Life will be full of new adventures to write about. Or are they misadventures?

During the busy times that rain down upon me, I seem to go missing from online sources. This last insanity week lasted for two! Our phone and internet was down 90% of the time which makes an obvious reason for lack of internet presence! I know everyone understands this phenomenon to a degree.

So when I am silent consider me Missing In Insanity Action, but that I will probably rescue myself and show up again with more tales to tell and fun adventures to record.

What do you call your very busy time periods?

“I wanna be JUST like you!”

cc8si

Father and Son Nigerian Dwarf Bucks. Blue eyes, Identical markings and their tails even curl the same direction.

 

Many children have turned to a parent at some point or another and said, “I wanna be just like you.” They copy us and follow our example–until the teenage years when things can go quite opposite! We mimic to learn. We mimic to improve, but eventually we have to start emulating other people and become our own person.

Mimicry or Emulation? This very topic was brought up on The Voice. The judges said that they seek singers who are emulating their favorite singers and styles, not mimicking. Emulation allows for creativity and individuality.

When I was young there weren’t people that I want to just meet and shake their hand (then never wash it again), but there were people who I wanted to work with someday. I wanted to learn from their skills. I wanted to watch them create the magic I loved. Then I wanted to go out into the world and do the same.

A fairy created in a workshop taught by Wendy Froud and Brian Froud.

A fairy created in a workshop taught by Wendy Froud and Brian Froud.

Many years ago I had a rare opportunity to take some workshops from the Froud family. Wendy Froud was the second to top person I wanted to work with as a child. She helped give life to Yoda, Jen and Kira of the Dark Crystal and many fun creatures from Labyrinth. Brian and Wendy Froud are amazing artist in both 2-D and 3-D mediums.

I sat across from Brian and next to Wendy as they guided us through the making of a clay fairy figure. Amazing is just not enough to describe the experience. I learned so much from them in the handful of workshops they did in my region.

Mowquin, the water Fairy. A rod puppet created during a Toby Froud workshop

Mowquin, the water Fairy. A rod puppet created during a Toby Froud workshop

Their son, Toby, is another great artist that I also got to take workshops from. One of my favorite puppets is from the rod-puppet workshop I took from him. I keep waiting for them to do another one in driving distance of my life, but I do have to keep trying to expand my skills from what I learned already from them. I have tons of ideas that mesh my novel writing and puppet work together. Now if only the kids would learn to go to bed at a realistic time!

The top person on my list of people I wanted to work with… He’s not available. Jim Henson taught me many things without me having to meet him. In losing him just before I reached adulthood and headed to The Creature Shop to knock on the door and ask for work, I learned that I had to pace myself. I was prone to overworking and ignoring problems. I wish he hadn’t. I wish he could still be here to enrich our lives with his magic. I regularly watch his works and through them develop my own skills of story telling and puppetry.

I was lucky to get tickets to a showing of Toby Froud’s Lesson’s Learned. They are doing a showing of Labyrinth with it. It is bound to be such fun. I’ve wanted to see his new show since the Kickstarter information about it led me to donating all I could at that moment: Five humble dollars.┬áToby’s friend, Sam Koji Hale, is creating a puppet film called “Monsters of the Sky”. Between the two of these films I feel a resurgence of my dream to create films with puppets that emulate “The StoryTeller” and “The Dark Crystal”. I really hope that getting to see this showing will add to my inspiration that may take years to lead to this dream. I know I’ll talk about it more. My biggest dream was to work for Jim Henson in The Creature Shop. Someday I will live a measure of that dream by creating puppet films of my own.

So the point of all this is that mimicking is okay, but emulation is the goal. Emulate the people you admire and become someone that others will wish to emulate someday.

What do you aspire to be? Who do you emulate to become that future self? What is your biggest dream?

In the beginning…

IMG_5240Born during a severe snowed in week in the Northwest while dancing the line between Chinese New years.A dragon like mom and big sister or a rabbit? Quite the beginning

What is the best beginning you have ever read, watched or heard?

A beginning can make all the difference or it can just be a place to start. We all have our own beginning. We have many beginnings throughout life. But what beginning have we seen, heard, read or watched that moved you or you related to or affected you deeper than others?

Leave a comment! I want to know what kind of beginnings are the best to everyone else.

Reading and Watching Funk

b3cjs

I’ve experienced a weird phenomenon since April 1st or perhaps a few days earlier than that. I can’t find books or shows or even movies that really are satisfying. Nothing inspires me enough to pull me out of my funk. I’m just restless.

Granted I did have the kids finish school, move two hours away from everything I know, go to Oregon to vend my puppets and promote my book then turn around and go back to Oregon for a family reunion on the beach. Now I’m trying to unpack and get caught up on everything, but still nothing quite satisfies or helps me feel balanced. There is such a stack of books,TV show episodes, and movies that I have in my list of things to finally get to, but even they have not been enough.

Have you ever felt this way?

Add to that my inability to write much of anything for book two of my novel or any of my other books and this may be the biggest funk I’ve been in ever!

b3bvj

This last week I tried another book, but it was too dark for how I feel lately. Moving so far from things I know, I am a bit lost and frustrated. I miss people and routines I’m used to. I drive on roads I have never been on before and don’t understand any directions people give me. (thank goodness for smart phones and GPS!)

I love our new place and am learning roads and meeting people so that frustration will ease with time, but the lost feeling is similar to when I left the West Coast for the first time ever and flew all the way to New England the summer before my college senior year. I had an internship that was required for graduation. I managed to get something like no one had before that allowed me to travel and work with artists from New York who loved the summer theatre in New Hampshire where some got their start. It was an incredible experience and I went back for two more summers, the last two of the very old theatre’s life. So I know this lost feeling will also ease with time.

b3cad

A few days ago I skimmed through my kindle reader, swishing book cover thumbnail images up and down.

Hmmm… What can I read? That? No. That? No way! This?

There it was! It was something that wasn’t dark. It was something that wasn’t going to rip up my emotions. So, yes, I’m part way through book one of The Anne Of Green Gables series! I love the movies. I love the books, but I haven’t read them in ages. Maybe when I’m done I’ll re-watch the movies too. The are eleven books in the e-book collection I got about a year ago so this should fill my spare moments for awhile, perhaps for long enough to get through this funk.

Hopefully the funk ends before new episodes of Doctor Who are available. Definitely I need this funk to end before the next three deliciously enticing episodes of Sherlock! What will I do if I’m not over this funk before the last installment of The Hobbit!?!? (Yes, this warrants multiply exclamations mixed with question marks.)

What do you read when you are in a funk? What do you watch to get out of frustrating gunk?

Comment and share your helpful ideas!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Looking for an adventure to read?

Try The GearMaker’s Locket!

final cover

E-book $2.99 on Amazon

Soft cover $15 on Amazon

 

Whirlwinds

Wow! I hadn’t realized the passage of time. We ended up moving two hours away from everything we know followed by two trips out of state in a row. Only in the last two days have I been able to sit down and think about more than the list of what needs to be done–NOW!

IMG_3526

Two days after we moved I had the first promotional event for my book. I sold three paper copies and had a lot of interest in the e-book. I love that event filled with people being whatever they want to be; faeries, mermaids, lost boys, ogres, pirates, etc. If you can dream it, you can be it when you are in the Realm.

IMG_3634

After that we headed out to a family reunion. My children grumbled and groused as we packed and drove. What could there possibly be to do on the Oregon Coast?! We got there as the sun was setting. They ran through the sand with joy on their faces no matter the age. This may have been the first beach experience for most of my kids. The next day they wouldn’t leave me alone until we went back out to the sandy expanse. The days went by too quickly.

IMG_4014

Now it is time to unpack, organize and get the kids registered for school. Interestingly enough the mascots for the Jr. High and High school are the Whirlwinds and the Tornadoes. Living in the Northwest this holds no local significance. But looking back at the last few months I see my life! Spinning, spinning, spinning around me until it finally settled back down leaving me to figure out which way is up.

IMG_4174

What has thrown your life up in the air? How did you re-balance your days afterwards?

IMG_3694

This beautiful night flyer loved my book! Or maybe just didn’t like being disrupted by my customers.