Be a Dragon

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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?

“I wanna be JUST like you!”

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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. Toby’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.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

Really! No Joke! My book is finally out there in the world!

 The GearMaker’s Locket

By Shannon L Reagan

Mechanical prodigy, Copper Rose, discovers a locket while cleaning out her grandmother’s attic. Inside it, gears turn of their own accord. She flips it open to investigate the inner workings and is swept away to a world of airships, huge buildings and massive plant life. She becomes a reluctant guest to Bromin Shere, the cruel leader of half of the land. He claims to be a living machine and he believes she is capable of making more living machines. It’s a life she never imagined. But will she survive?

http://www.amazon.com/The-GearMakers-Locket-GearMaker-Legacy-ebook/dp/B00JE32JIU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396366459&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gearmaker%27s

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I’m so excited that conversations about the characters and story elements are already happening. Today is the first time The GearMaker’s Locket is available to the book reading, adventure loving, steampunk adoring public! I’m also excited that a between-books novella will be available in a few months!

Enjoy this story inspired by a locket belonging to my best friend and thank you for following my adventures here on this blog.

Precious Moments

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Right now we are in the thick of holiday stuff. It gets crazy and can be the most stressful time of year. I try to keep times like this simple or I would go insane, but life demands more anyway.

We have a real tree after two year having a small fake tree. When we went to go get it the tree farm was closed. We went home, found another one and hurried a half hour away in the freezing cold and growing darkness. We ended up meeting a pair of reindeer and got a tree that fits perfectly in our living room.

In our family we plan holiday movie nights. Sometimes we just stick a movie in. Other times we plan ahead with one of the kids picking the movie and the treat and telling everyone days ahead of time. There are days it just doesn’t happen. Don’t-beat-on-your-siblings-or-sass-me-or-we-won’t-have-a-movie-tonight does not always get through to everyone.

As a mother spontaneous tends to be, “Hey, lets have ice cream tonight.” So I’ve had our plans to go to The Hobbit next week in place for months. An unexpected change in a medical appointment has bumped those plans to after Christmas. At least the plans are flexible and fluid in time. If I didn’t plan ahead and make the plans negotiable I would crumble into a little pile of frozen frosty bits.

My greatest desire is to have at least four days in a row that I don’t leave the property once! I can’t wait. I did realize that asking for five days was pushing it. Even four days might be asking too much, but really, I have rarely had an entire day home in months! The joys of moving into the teenage years!

No matter how I plan life really does do what it wants. Our family vehicle, a huge 15 passenger, has broken down twice in the last month and we have been without an oven for about seven weeks. I’ve lost track of how long and I’m not even sure I’ll remember how to cook normal meals after this. There is any number of unknown things that could happen including that white stuff that gums up the entire region some winters. The teachers want all my kids to get caught up on school work before the break, because of course their minds are totally into their school work and not on the fun around the corner. Hah! So I slog onward. Thankfully not in snow.

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But in all this craziness moments happen that allow time to hold still. That I can treasure when I need daily chiropractic care to look up at my part giant children. I will remember that once upon a time they were little. Once upon a time life was simpler. And I can enjoy these precious moments when they happen, too. Since my last child was born I try to do this more than ever before. She will be two in the new year and I will never live through these phases with my own children again. I have no excuse. They will never be little again and this time will be gone in a breath. I want to have these moments forever.

Take a moment to etch a precious memory into your mind during the rest of this year. Maybe we can all look at the time with less worry about the details and more to catch those moments.

Steampunk

Putting out three posts a week has been difficult. With sick family, parent/teacher conferences, cars needing repairs and life in general, days go by and I realize there hasn’t been a post. I am trying to figure out a way to deal with this.

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Our local Steampunk convention was this last week. For years my husband and I have wanted to go, and next year is the year! That is if the convention happens which is up in the air. I was imagining dressing my kids in Steampunk clothing. My one year old Fairy Changeling would be adorable in anything Steampunk! Most of my children are no longer little. Teenagers would need fancier clothes like adults. There are so many things I could do though. Some of my kids could be mechanical beings. Others could carry around some of my puppets. SteamPink loves to go to social events. I make mini-goggles for my puppets. Maybe I could make some baby safe ones for people who bring their infants along to their steampunk adventures. That would be fun.

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SteamPink the hand puppet

I have a fondness for the late 1800’s clothing. The silhouette is so graceful. I even made a Victorian era ballgown for my college graduation (one kid wore a graduation gown that year. That made him unique for a Cornish graduation! The joys of private art colleges.) After five babies, I have modified it for my less svelte figure. I threw a bit of mechanical into it and my own twist on Steampunk faerie wings and it has been my steampunk costume for a few years. I think I need to work on some new ones for future years.

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Puppet goggles

The goggles have been the hardest part of my Steampunk accessories. I am very picky about what goes on my head. I spent years rejecting perfectly good goggles until the day I found the Valkyrie goggles. Part of my blogging problems has involved the failing of my faithful camera. It shouldn’t surprise me since it is older than two of my children. By the end of the month that problem will be solved with a glorious smart phone with a camera stronger than the one I have now. I will get a picture of my lovely Valkyrie goggles and post it around Thanksgiving.

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So keep an eye out over the holidays and send me your favorite stories and photos. I plan to share my cool creations, our family adventures and thoughts about what ever occurs to me. I love your comments so please respond when ever you want.