creative writing

Handwriting…

It’s ironic that I keep looking around at pens, when the vast majority of my writing these days is done on a keyboard. There’s a pretty straightforward reason for this: sometimes, thoughts come to me so quickly that it is very difficult to write them down before they’re lost — though that was more of an issue when I was younger. Also, despite the fact that typing is by its nature a linear route, it’s still easier to insert and delete records here, than on paper.

Of course, it’s also easier to draw and make notations in the middle of writing, by using pen and paper. I am also not a stranger to multiple ink colors…though it’s easy enough to change a font color on a computer, there’s basically not a lot of point to it, there.

There’s also the fact that ink may not be permanent — but then, file formats go obsolete, too.

One of the reasons I may move back to paper records is the fact that they’re relatively private. I haven’t attempted any creative writing in a long time; it is possible to attribute this to the fact that primarily writing online means that my writing is not only my own. It also means that every typographical error, every ill-thought-out slip of the keys (or of judgment) is public. Writing involves risk-taking; risk-taking involves privacy, and freedom from other people’s criticisms until one is ready to present.

Blogging simply is too public a forum to place such extreme vulnerability. Or maybe I should say that blogging is extremely public, and creative writing needs some degree of nurturing, and in the early stages is helped by some degree of privacy (or incubation, if you’d rather).

I got my first fountain pen, a Pilot Metropolitan, to practice writing in Japanese. While I could resume learning this…I’m far from functionality, but too far in for grammatical drills and repetitions of “konnichi wa” to be alluring. It would be review, and review can be frustrating after you’ve done it over and over, for years. I’ve come far enough that I recognize some of what people are saying on NHK World, but it’s in fragments. A large part of what I’m missing is just vocabulary. That, and knowledge of pitch.

What I need to do is just craft my own approach to learning Japanese. I have enough sources to begin, though now I also have no one to correct me.

I should also back off of the typing and try and write some things out by hand. Like I do here. Just sit down, and write.

After having looked around a bit on the Reader, I’m fairly glad that I haven’t been mindlessly posting pictures of my craft work — controlled openness, is a term I think I’ve read, before, as applies to the craft community. It isn’t easy to do that, online: unless I’m in a protected area, it’s all-or-nothing.

While I’m writing this, I should also mention that it has become more difficult for me to read books. I think it’s because they aren’t animated like my screen. ;)

I’m getting off topic. Last night I was up way too late, and paid for it earlier today. I’ll try and get some rest now. Hopefully, I can touch on this tomorrow.

creative writing, personal, planning, psychology, spirituality, writing

Feeling a little heartsick right now.

I know I should get some rest. What I’ve been doing is scanning WordPress while thinking about one of the first people I fell for — hard. This was never quite requited, in part because I was barely out of my teens when it happened, and the guy I was crushing on was 25 at the time. I mean, it basically would have been cradle-robbing if anything occurred. And I was too **** shy.

This was one of those local rock-stars who every woman in the area (even the lesbian ones), flirted with.

It was hard, for me.

I haven’t gotten in contact with him for a reason I probably shouldn’t share…and I’m wondering if I should use this experience as fodder for fiction. It would enable me to write out my emotions without saying too much that reflects on others.

My main problem at this point is trying to figure out from what time the story is told. It ties in with what I had been talking about before with being unable to distinguish reality from stuff one’s brain creates…I know that if I place the story early on in my protagonist’s life, they won’t have the perspective to know what’s going on. That means the protagonist has to be mature and looking back/reminiscing…but from when?

Also: in my own life, I’m being reminded of what happens when kind people suddenly enter one’s life. I may be dealing with a current crush there, too. I…just don’t know what to do about it when it happens. Or when this later person reminds you of earlier people who had the same trait that drew you…which sounds like an appropriate time to start the story.

Friggin’ bodhisattva magnetism…

creative writing, creativity, design, organization

Resources divided by devotion: goals and priorities

The positive thing about having a blog (one of them) is having a record of what you were thinking before you went off on some flight-of-fancy/distraction and got lost. :) Right now I have a lot of things I want to do, and as always, time is limited. (Sometimes I feel like I should be five different people working all at once to fulfill all the goals I’ve set before myself…)

Sometimes this is a good thing — like when I talk about having long-term goals that I’m working towards (becoming a Librarian, learning Japanese language, learning Web Programming, etc…though it would be a lie to say I really find Web Programming personally interesting; it would more be, “good stuff to know,” not, “fun stuff to learn”). It means that I’m not stagnant, that I have directions to grow into. It also means that it’s okay not to have attained them yet: they’re long-term.

Then there are shorter-term goals…which aren’t really all that pressing, in my case (with the exception of exercise and hygiene), due to the fact that I still live with family (which, I’m finding, a lot of people in my generation do). The longer-term goals kind of automatically should be broken down into shorter-term goals and dispersed among them, but that’s something I haven’t mastered, yet. There’s also the issue of short-term goals being recurrent…meaning I probably should have some sort of schedule for them.

When I was still taking serious classes (from a University, that is), I started Bullet Journaling to try and organize all of this, because I had no choice. It’s not the most intuitive thing for me — I’d rather use an app — but it works. I’m not sure if I’m the type of person to decorate my pages, though. Most of what is valuable online about Bullet Journaling also seems to be looking at other peoples’ layouts…words seem kind of extraneous.

I should probably start out by listing all my long-term goals and all my short-term and recurrent goals. Then I could try and divide them among the weeks and months. Certain things like Japanese language practice and JavaScript practice would highly benefit from this type of order, because I have a habit of starting things and then not finishing them, or beginning and then leaving off for so long that I forget what I learned.

I’m not considering getting back into Japanese language at this moment. I have my reasons. I’m not going further into it than that.

As for the other stuff: beading, fiber arts, sewing, drawing, writing…it’s kind of hard to prioritize among these. Obviously, writing comes in as a big #1, where it comes to what I need to do to stay sane. But what else I really need to do, of these things…it’s not easy to tell. Drawing obviously goes with the writing, in case I want to author a graphic novel. That prioritizes drawing with pencil, fineliner, and marker; also reading graphic novels, and books on how to create graphic novels.

That is, of course, unless I write the thing as literature instead…though sometimes hard elements of the plot come through in my drawings, moreso than in my text. (I have a habit of expressing things I didn’t know I was feeling, through my art.)

Anyhow, the things I can think of that I’m interested in at the moment are lacemaking (how femme can you get, right), sewing, embroidery, and beadwork (including beaded micromacramé). Aside from that are painting (acrylic, watercolor, gouache), sculpture (air-dry clay, silversmithing), printmaking (linocuts), and knitting and crochet. I’ve basically given up on the latter two because they eat up too much of my time with repetitive work, but I have the stuff to restart if I want to. Which…I don’t.

There’s also working on the back end of a website and learning to be my own Full-Stack Developer, which is not what I want to be doing.

Graphic Design and Web Design are something else, though. Interaction Design combined with Graphic Design can be interesting, and I’m generally relatively motivated to work on that. The technical portion…I understand it brings in more money, but the more Computer Science-like and less Design- and Psychology-like it gets, the less interested I am, unfortunately?

The other thing that I can and should be doing is reading, though I know that now — where a person with a smartphone has multimedia at their fingertips — this is not the only reliable — or even all the time the best — way of transmitting information.

I should also note that Web Publishing is only really important for me if I do start up my own business or site online, say for publishing original works of fiction (though I would likely make more money going the traditional route), or selling jewelry. Right now, though…that’s not high on my list, and I say that mostly because I’m not at the level where I can even really consider it. There’s too much back-end work to do that I don’t yet understand…though I keep doing this, and I’ll get there. Long-range goals, right?

Of course, it also happens to be a moving goal…but maybe this is enough to keep me at my JavaScript course. I’m still waiting to get into JQuery and PHP (I need to do that self-starting thing, again) and I know that I’m at the very beginning stages of learning Web Programming. I probably shouldn’t get discouraged just because I didn’t learn it in University (there are going to be lots of things I didn’t learn in University).

If I look at it this way…if I’m going to write — using either a literary format or a sequential art one — it’s worth my time to read, to write, to draw, to learn to digitally edit images, to learn to run a website, and to learn to design and populate a website. Of course, this is missing sound and moving images…but I can only ask so much of myself.

And, okay: I did major in Creative Writing, but I don’t know how much that will actually help me in my life, as versus help me wreck my life by oversharing.

I guess that’s why people fictionalize things. :)

Beyond that…well, that is a lot to take on! Especially considering the content I want to express in my writing. I mean, it could keep me busy, all by itself.

Maybe I should relegate beadwork and fiber arts to second chair — beadwork (including micromacramé) coming before sewing, lacemaking, etc.? The big reason I even picked up lacemaking is that I could easily work it into my beadwork designs! And sewing…the main reason to do that is to gain some control over what I wear, and to self-soothe.

Right now I’ve got two projects in the works, which are just stalled. I need to get back into them, though I’m still in the process of cutting out one, while the other has not even been marked yet (though I have the pattern). The issue is that the fabric takes up a lot of space, and it’s easy to mark something wrong (or accidentally delete a mark). Plus, I need to clear off the craft table to use a sewing machine.

And beadwork just isn’t relaxing when you’re planning to sell! But like sewing, it gives me more control over what I wear. I didn’t realize that commonality before, but I do, now.

Then, there’s work…I mean, can I keep work, work, and deal with hobbies as hobbies? At least until I get up to the level of running my own website? What is the level of importance of making jewelry, in the scheme of things? If I had a well-paying and stable job, I wouldn’t have to worry about it at all. Maybe I should be putting my efforts more into getting and keeping that stable job, than into making a fall-back option…

…which could very well become my writing, or my work online.

Hmm. I think this is going to take more than one night of consideration…

art media, comics, creative writing, creativity, sequential art, tatting

Stories and creativity

Sorry for being offline for a bit (about a week, for this blog). There’s been some stuff going on…though I don’t trust myself to remember a week’s worth of history, all right now. The good news is that I did complete my Dewey course, fine. Of course, though…the new course also just started, and I’m not particularly in the mood to study, right now. It is the third course of four that I have planned, and should help me if I need to do original cataloging of items in a College or University library (I’m interested in working at a Community College library as an introduction to Academic Libraries).

The other day, a work friend and I were talking about beadwork, particularly bead embroidery and loomwork. I have kind of gotten excited about the prospect of sharing bead-related joys with a friend. I would like to take some beads in to show this person…the thing is that I’m dealing with a number of impulses for media in which to create. I have tatting — which is new to me; beadwork; embroidery; sewing; and markers.

Ah! That’s right! I bought a set of alcohol markers recently. They’re basically artist-quality, though I went through the set and divided the cost into the amount. They’re Blick brand, and work relatively well. They did cost $44 for the set, but there are 24 markers in the set, meaning that each marker is $1.83 — a very good cost for the quality of these, at least if the tips of the brush tips don’t end up breaking off. (Generally, one can buy artist and illustration markers for between $3 and $5 each, open-stock).

The major thing with these is that I need to erase graphite underdrawings before going over them with markers. Otherwise, the graphite smudges. I was using marker paper for my trials, though, which means that the graphite had very little to cling to. Also, it helps when your fineliner has time to dry before you overlay it with marker!

I have a premise for a graphic novel series, though I’m still not sure of the primary conflict and range I should undertake for it. There are a few different stories I have in me: one is about mental illness, one is about intra-family racism, and one is about gender variance.

So…that’s a lot. I don’t think I’ll be able to pack it all into one story. I also don’t think I particularly should try to pack it all into one story, though I could link them all by putting them in the same universe (and have series crossovers or spinoffs). Right now, the story I have foremost on my mind is the one about experiencing mental illness, being unable to distinguish “fantasy” from “reality,” learning how to function, and the sacrifices that come with functionality.

The biggest problem I can see here is people asking how I know what I do; but that’s not really their business. There’s also the issue of what happens if I start to have an impact. I have not seen many books focusing on the inner experience of mental illness, at this point, but then again — after I graduated with my BA, I basically stopped reading fiction.

Ah, I also really want to get back to learning Japanese language. I have been exposed to animations and comics coming out of Japan (the challenge of reading them made them more interesting); also, selected comics like Deadpool or Trinity (though the latter was nonfiction, about the invention of the nuclear bomb).

Anyhow, I think I feel okay with getting back to my study, now. I’m feeling a lot better about it.

beading, beadwork, creative writing, drawing

I’m back?

Hello!

I’m back after about a year-and-a-half hiatus or something?  I was writing a new “About,” page and started to get into how yesterday was spent organizing all of my little bags of Czech 3- and 4-mm beads into transparent vials.  And then most of my seed bead remnants.  And then fitting them into boxes.  But, you know, I didn’t want to spill over into something so quotidian there, so I’m writing about it here.

I LOVE MY FR’KIN LITTLE TINY BEADS.

In addition to writing about beadwork (as referenced in that most recent “About” page), I might be doing some writing on drawing, as I’ve started up again…and I’m finding it not as scary as I thought.

I’m not sure if anything about the story that came to my mind the other day will be published here or not — I’m thinking “not,” to keep First Publishing Rights open (and hence not have to self-publish) — but if I get really desperate to have public feedback (and don’t want to get up to go to a Writer’s Workshop; or want to hone my skills before I attempt a Writer’s Workshop), you might see some storytelling.  Premises, likely not in total — that’s for me.  But snapshots.

Sometimes I forget how peaceful little corners of the Internet can be, eh?

creative writing, graphic design, illustration, sequential art

underlying components of good character design vs. good writing

This is just a note to myself as regards the graphic novel issue.

I’m not entirely certain how deeply I should get into this, but I happened to check out a copy of X-Men:  Eternals a while ago.  Attempting to read this made it clear to me why the X-Men movie series was so heavy-handed and apparently one-sided.

I don’t have a great amount of literacy in graphic novels — I can recall reading Bone and Blade of the Immortal; and Generation X before the franchise-wide reboot of the X-Men series (which really ticked me off), plus a couple of more mainstream Japanese things like Fushigi Yugi (which I didn’t particularly enjoy, much as I didn’t enjoy Tenchi Muyo! [though I only saw the latter in anime]) and Neon Genesis Evangelion (which I got into because of the anime).

Then there are the series which I picked up even though I was at the time fairly illiterate in Japanese, like Inu Yasha and Bastard!, along with Yuu Yuu Hakusho (the flame-like banter in which I was not entirely aware of, until I happened to read some of it in English translation), and which I incidentally only got into because of the doujinshi (and because I was at the time learning to read Japanese).

What I’m thinking is that the same traits which can make a person a great character designer can also cripple them when it comes to good writing.  I’m not saying this is true across the board — it’s just something which has come up in specific regard to my own trials with trying to script establishing scenes in “graphic novel” formats, and I see it reflected in what I read going on with X-Men:  Eternals.

If you’re designing a character so that all elements of the character attempt to describe that character in a visual manner, that is fine.  But reality doesn’t work that way.  In reality, the way people look does not always (I would say often does not) relate to who they are.  This may not be quite as easy to see when the makeup of society is more or less homogeneous.

But when you have multiple minority categories in a society, and these minorities have strength in numbers and voices in regard to their own portrayal, it makes it clear that the thoughts which come to someone’s mind because of the way people look is not equivalent to who those people actually are.  This is especially clear if you happen to be one of those minorities and you happen to see how people constantly misread you (in addition to misreading your family).

This is a way in which my own philosophy diverges from what I’ve seen…whether we are looking at older American comics or whether we are looking at the less-complex graphic novel material coming out of Japan.  What people look like is not equivalent to who they are.  Of course there are materials coming out of Japan which acknowledge this (for example, in Legend of Zelda:  The Windwaker, in which the fairy who accompanies you acts like someone who would ordinarily be drawn as a big, tough male character who had the burliness to back up his language — but this is used to [actually, quite delightful] comic effect).

What I’m trying to get across is that in a good piece of writing, it’s very often the case that characters are not one-sided.  Characters are complex and have many different layers.  They’re often not surface-readable — you don’t immediately know what their role is just because you can see what they look like.  In graphic design, and I believe likely in character design, the goal is the opposite:  to be able to look at an image and glean a more or less solid idea of the intended communication fairly immediately, just from the visual elements of the composition.

I am not certain how to reconcile these two perspectives, but I wanted to make a note of the conflict.

creative writing, fine arts, painting, spirituality

watercolor experimentation

I experimented with the Talens Angora watercolors today, as well as with a new set of someone else’s Reeves tube watercolors, and what I found of leftover Winsor and Newton (I think) Cotman watercolors.  I could be wrong though, and at least some of the latter watercolors could have been straight W&N (not the student-grade Cotmans).

EDIT:  All of the W&N colors I was using besides Winsor Blue and Winsor Yellow were Cotmans.

Let me say right here that the difference is drastic.  Working from a wetted dry pan (not a wetted semi-moist pan), as I did with the Angora watercolors…it really makes the hue of the color one can pick up very light.  A deep shade is just not what I’m going to get out of them, at least with a single application, because I don’t feel like digging the pigment up with the tip of my brush.  Basically, the tablets don’t want to release the pigment into the water — which I suppose is an argument for semi-moist pans (but most of all for tubes).

The Reeves were better in terms of pigment density and ease of use, but I wouldn’t use them for deep shades if I could help it, because their pigment density is less than the W&N.  More comes in a tube, but the value is effectively reduced because most of that extra space seems to be taken up by things that aren’t pigment.

On the other hand, I did try the Reeves Lemon Yellow, which produced a very bright, clean blue-leaning yellow, which faded very brilliantly and seemingly seamlessly to white as the paint ran out on my brush.  I can definitely see the value in getting a pigment which is very light in value in a less-expensive formulation — if you want that gradual fade-to-white and don’t mind a lower concentration of pigment.

With the W&N, I was basically dealing with a very old (as in probably at least a decade old) Winsor Yellow which looked dirty in the tube and basically was quite dark and “muddy” in comparison, when it was applied.  I don’t know if this is because I needed to dilute it a lot more with cleaner water, or if it’s because it’s old and had started to decompose, or if it’s because Winsor Yellow is aiming for a “typical” yellow…but the effect wasn’t all that appealing.

But then with Winsor Red, Blue, and Yellow, I find that the hues seem to be aiming for a “typical”, recognizable red, blue, or yellow which is neutral in its leaning toward color overtones.  The colors which come out of this process are not very appealing to me…and I’m not sure of their practical use in color mixing.

It seems that because (at least, as best I can recall — I couldn’t get the screw-cap off of the Winsor Red) the Winsor primaries are overtone-neutral, this means that they would make a duller shade no matter what they were mixed with.  For example, the Winsor Blue is a little green, a little violet; combined, the two overtones make the color duller (that is, there is the addition of a chromatic grey), and you have that extra overtone in whatever you’re mixing the blue with.  If you want to make green with it, you’ve still got that little bit of violet; and if you want violet out of it, you’ve still got a little bit of green.  So some bit of chromatic grey is unavoidable.

But then, I’m not a professional, so if you’re going to accept this at all, take it with a bit of salt.

I think I’m going to try out the Reeves again when I can — I believe I only used Phthalocyanine Blue (I hope I spelled that correctly) and Lemon Yellow — as when I tried the Phthalo Blue, the color was much less dense than the W&N Ultramarine (anything, you say, would look pale next to Ultramarine).  I didn’t try out the Reeves Ultramarine; at the point that I saw the drastic difference in color density, I backed off and started trying to mix colors with the W&N more.

After I got a bit of the tube paint onto my palette, things seemed to go pretty smoothly, so far as remembering how to use the stuff went.  I just wish I knew how to use less of it and still be effective with it.

So far as brushes went — there are a number of round brushes I have access to, a couple of which I used.  But probably my favorite from this last practice round would have been a 1/2″ flat synthetic brush — I think a very old Jack Richeson — because it allowed me to make a calligraphic line (which the round brushes did not, though I did not try my hardest to vary line width with them, and my hand and arm are still used to drawing [firm pressure], not painting [hovering hand]).  Second favorite would have been my liner, which I picked up a long time ago just because its price was drastically cut and I had visions of using it for inking comics.

I don’t think I’m going to be going the comic route, though.  Not at the moment.  I’m feeling much more fulfilled playing around with colors, and I’ve heard it can be a tricky thing to reproduce colors which one can see in paints or otherwise in the “real world”, in print or on the computer screen.  From my (few) days in Graphic Design, I seem to recall this as well.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t illustrate and paint and draw for personal fulfillment.

And besides — by now I know that doing the visual arts does something in my mind — it helps me connect ideas that I wouldn’t have connected (at least, as quickly) on my own, and it stimulates the drive to write.  There is nothing which says I cannot have a story in my mind and illustrate it (using the term “illustrate” very loosely), and gain personal development from it.  And I suppose I should state to myself that this is not a waste of time, even if I don’t do a graphic novel.  And — it would be a lot of work to both write and illustrate a graphic novel.

There’s got to be some way that the narratives, and the personal development, and the art, are connected.  I just haven’t figured it out, yet.  I suppose that’s where faith helps; when you know there’s something more going on, but your mind isn’t powerful enough to work out just what, yet.