A-to-Z Challenge: Go Places

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Sadly, I could not think of a Decemberists song for my “G” entry, but that doesn’t mean I get to skip.  Just means I have to pick another band.

Today’s entry is “Go Places,” by The New Pornographers.

Micron pen and watercolor.

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Go Places

Yes a heart will always go one step too far
Come the morning and the four corners I see
What the moral of the back story could be
Come with me, go places
And a heart will always stay one day too long
Always hoping for the hot flashes to come
For the glue to dry on our new creation
Come with me, go places
Come head on, full circle
Our arms fill with miracles
Play hearts, kid, they work well
Like classics play aces
Stay with me, go places
Once more for the ages
Yes a heart should always go one step too far
Come the morning and the day winding like dreams
Come the morning every blue shade of green
Come with me, go places
Come head-on, full circle
Our arms fill with miracles
Play hearts, kid, they work well
Like magic, play aces
Stay with me, go places
Once more for the ages
Come one now, come all ye
This story breaks free here
Tales from the back pages
From somewhere, Encida
Deus ex machina
Good morning, Christina
Come head on, full circle
Our path blocked but sure we’ll
Make records, then set them
Make copies, win races
Stay with me, go places
Once more for the ages

 

A-to-Z Challenge: From My Own True Love (Lost at Sea)

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Holy hell, copic markers might be the most forgiving medium I’ve ever worked with.  I am far from technically skilled, but these markers managed to make my sketch look super pretty.

Micron pen (before the finer ones died) and copic marker, obviously.

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From My Own True Love (Lost at Sea)

Four score years
Living down in this rain swept town
Sea salt tears
Swimming round as the rain comes down
Mr Postman, do you have a letter for me?
Mr Postman, do you have a letter for me?
A letter for me
From my own true love
Lost at sea
Lost at sea
Mr Postman, do you have a letter for me?
Mr Postman, do you have a letter for me?
A letter for me
From my own true love
Lost at sea
Lost at sea

A-to-Z Challenge: Engine Driver

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Today was the best day Bear has had in a long time; since the start of quarantine, his mood has been volatile, and he’s become hugely argumentative.  Which is not surprising, nor do I blame him, but dealing with my own internal struggles (quarantine-related and otherwise) coupled with the fact that I am now alone with Bear for the entire day while also trying to work/conduct some classes and tutor him means I, myself, have not always acted or reacted in the most positive way, and the onus for changing this whole dynamic was on me.  I made a very conscientious effort to not lose my temper or raise my voice, and while it was not a perfect day, it did run a lot more smoothly, and we managed to both be very productive.  Bear got all his school work done, a number of enrichment activities, and I got a lot of chores done, as well as my A-to-Z challenge.

Ink and colored pencils.

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The Engine Driver

I’m an engine driver
On a long run, on a long run
Would I work beside her?
She’s a long one, such a long one 

And if you don’t love me, let me go
And if you don’t love me let me go 

I’m a country lineman
On a high line, on a high line
So will be my grandson
There are power lines in our bloodlines 

And if you don’t love me, let me go
And if you don’t love me, let me go 

And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
My bones
My bones 

I’m a money lender
I have fortunes upon fortunes
Take my hand for tender
I am tortured, ever tortured 

And if you don’t love me, let me go
And if you don’t love me, let me go 

And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
I am a writer, I am all that you have home
Home

And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
My bones
My bones 

And if you don’t love me, let me go
(And if you don’t love me, let me go)
And if you don’t love me, let me go

A-to-Z Challenge: Don’t Carry It All

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Today was the first day of official on-line learning for both my district and my son’s.  He had his first virtual “morning meeting,” and followed a schedule posted on ClassDojo, and I spent time communicating with leads to get added to Google Classroom and had my first synchronous Google Meet session with my Algebra 1 class.  After that, I had to handle delivery and exchange of groceries (my father dropped off milk and some treats for Bear, and I returned his hair clippers), lunches, chores, and working Bear through his Scholastic lessons as well as his class lessons.  All in all, I was busy.

This is all to say, I didn’t finish today’s entry.  I’m still going to post this progress shot, and I’ll post a completed shot on Saturday, when I won’t have other A-to-Z art to complete.  Some of the people are still literally nothing but floating heads, no texture has been added to the trees, and shadows and highlights are perfunctory at best.

Still, while it’s neither done nor perfect (hopefully it will be closer to “perfect” when it is done), I’m proud of myself for playing with style.  This is acrylic on a 16” x 20” canvas.

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Here we come to a turning of the season
Witness to the arc towards the sun
The neighbors blessed burden within reason
Becomes a burden borne of all in one
And nobody, nobody knows

Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don’t carry it all don’t carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
But meet this bold and brilliant sun
But this I swear to all
A monument to build beneath the arbors
Upon a cliff that towers towards the trees
But every vessel pitching hard to starboard
Lay it’s head on summer’s freckled knees
And nobody, nobody knows

Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don’t carry it all don’t carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun
This I swear to all, this I swear to all
And there a wreath of trillium and ivy
Laid upon the body of the boy
Lazy will the long come from it’s hiding
Return his quiet certitude to the soil

So raise a glass to turnings of the season
And watch it as it arcs towards the sun
And you must bear your neighbors burden within reason
And your labors will be borne when all is done,
and nobody nobody knows

Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don’t carry it all don’t carry it all
We are all our hands in holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun
And this I swear to all
And this I swear to all
And this I swear to all
To all
To all
To all

 

A-to-Z Challenge: California One

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I didn’t get to post yesterday, but yesterday I decided to play with colored pencils before realizing that 1.) all I had were my son’s colored pencils from Dollar Tree, and 2.) colored pencils take way more skill than I have to be done well.  Ah, well.

I do have to admit, losing the microns and “having” to play with other mediums is actually pretty fun.  Also, I tend to overthink potential subject matter for my projects, and often stagnate because I can’t think of anything “worthy” as a subject, and this is really forcing me to get out of my own head and just make something.

Tried to make this look a bit like what I associate with vintage American illustration.

Also: perspective?  What’s perspective, ha ha?

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Take a long drive with me
On california one, california one
And the road a-winding goes
From golden gate to roaring cliff-side
And the light is softly low as our hearts become sweetly untied
Neath the sun of california one
Take a long draw with me
Of california wine
Of california wine
Take a long draw with me
Of california wine
Of california wine
And the wine, it tastes so sweet
As we lay our eyes to wander
And the sky, it stretches deep
Will we rest our heads to slumber
Neath the vines
Of california wine;
Neath the sun
Of california one?
Annabelle lies, sleeps with quiet eyes
On this sea-drift sun
What can you do?
And if I said, O it’s in your head
On this sea-drift sun
What can you do?
We’re calling all bed wetters and ambulance chasers
Poor picker-pockets, bring ’em in
Come join the youth and beauty brigade
We’re lining up the light-loafere’d
And the bored bench warmers
Castaways and cutouts, fill it up
Come join the youth and beauty brigade
Nothing will stand in our way
I figured I had paid my debt to society
By paying my overdue fines at the mulnoma county library, at the library
They said ‘son, go join up
Go join the youth and beauty brigade’
Nothing will stand in our way

 

A-to-Z Challenge: Billy Liar

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Housekeeping:

I am so much happier with today’s entry than yesterday’s!  I did some reconfiguring of my expectations for the month and really tried to open my mind to the idea of doing a more multi-media A-to-Z, seeing it as an opportunity to try out different things stylistically and in different mediums.  Today I opted for acrylic, which I’ve been trying for a long time to figure out — how it fits into my stylistic repetoire, what I find it useful for, etc.

I don’t think I’ve got it totally figure out, but I’m still happy with today’s effort.

Acrylic paints on a 7” x 14” canvas.

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Billy Liar

Billy Liar’s got his hands in his pockets
Staring over at the neighbor’s, knickers down.
He’s got his knickers down.

So the summer is eternity for you?
Sleeping in until your father’s shaking you down
He’s shaking you down.

And the mailroom shift gets a real short shrift
As you dole out the packages, no-one seems to want you around
All skulking around.

Let your legs loll on the lino
‘Til your sinews spoil
Will you stay here for a while, dear,
‘Til the radio plays something familiar?
Plays something familiar.

All a-drifting, he’s a no-good boy-o
Sent a-fishing for a whalebone corset frame
(His only catch all day)

So he sits and lets the current take him
A gentle breeze will leave his pants in disarray
And at his ankles laid.

As he drifts to sleep with a moan and a weep
He is decked by a Japanese geisha with a garland of pearls
How she twists and twirls!

Let you legs loss on the lino
‘Til your sinews spoil
Will you stay here for a while, dear,
‘Til the radio plays something familiar?
Plays something familiar.

 

A-to-Z Challenge: A Bower Scene

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Some houskeeping first:

I realized at some point last night — because of course I did, any earlier would have been entirely too convenient in these circumstances — that essentially all of my micron pens are running out of ink.  While I intend to do a quick run through our office supply aisle at the grocery store to see if they carry them, I am not venturing, nor sending anyone else out to the grocery store until it is absolutely necessary (as in, until we actually really need more food), so that may not be until this weekend or later.  There’s also a (decent) chance that they won’t carry them, at which point I may try ordering them online, but with everything going on, who knows how long they’ll take to arrive.  So be prepared for micron sketches peppered throughout pencil sketches, colored pencils, watercolors or acrylics, et. (I’m working them out of order, so even though I’m running low today at “A,” micron might still show up much later in the alphabet).

Now, onto the challenge.  I don’t care for this drawing at all; in all honesty, left to my own devices, I wouldn’t even share it.  I wanted a sort of whimsical, storybook sort of illustration, but the loss of my finest tipped microns means this was done with much thicker lines than I would have liked (her face and body I would normally have done in 005, and instead I had to use a 03 and a 05).  The loss of the fine-lining ability of the microns means, given how this drawning turned out, that I’m going to have to rethink some of my ideas for my illustrations.  I got disheartened with this one as soon as I entered the inking stage, and it shows for how I rushed it (basically, as soon as the face turned out like that, I was like, “Welp. No hope for it now,” ha ha).  Not my best start to the challenge.

Still, onward and upward.  So many more chances.

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Thou unconsolable daughter
Said the sister

When wilt thou trouble the water
In the cistern

And what irascible blackguard
Is the father

And when young Margaret’s waistline
Grew wider

The fruit of her amorous entwine
Inside her

And so our heroine withdraws
To the taiga

Blogging A-to-Z Theme Reveal

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I’ve done the A-to-Challenge since 2017, when I started trying to blog in earnest.  That first year, my theme was literally just All About Me, because frankly I had no idea what I wanted my blog to be, or what purpose it served.  The following year, in 2018, I opted to combine Blogging A-to-Z with NaPoWriMo, and wrote a poem in a different form or style everyday (honestly, that was a lot of fun, and I’m still a fan of some of those poems).  2019 saw me trying to make this blog more about life with neurodivergence, so I wrote an A-to-Z about adult ADHD.

This year, armed with a little more knowledge about what the purpose of this blog is — rekindling and nurturing a creative self, however that manifests itself — and eager to push and challenge myself more, it took me a while to decide, but I’ve chosen a theme.

This year’s theme is: sketches inspired by song lyrics.  I’ve decided to try to keep the lyrical choices, so much as I can, to songs by one of my favorite bands (The Decemberists), because their lyrics are, at least to me, amazingly evocative.  I am hoping upon hope I can do them justice.

I am so looking forward to reading/seeing other people’s contributions this year!

31 Day Challenge: Day 14

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14.  If I Won the Lotto…

Hoo, boy, this is a classic question, isn’t it?  It’s a hard one for me, too, because I grew up in relative financial insecurity — I wasn’t poor, per se, but it felt like we were always one disaster away from ruin, you know?  So I grew up with an inate need to sort of hoard money.  I rarely spend, I’m incredibly selective when I do, and I always feel a surge of guilt and regret immediately post-purchase, even if what I’ve bought brings me tremendous joy in the long run.

But if money wasn’t an object, I think the first thing I’d do is buy nicer house outright.  There’s nothing wrong with our house, but I think both Andy and I would rather have a free-standing one-family than the half-duplex we have now.  It wouldn’t be big, but I’d like it to be new — new appliances, new windows, everything up to code.  I’d buy my folks a new house, or — since I honestly think my folks would balk at a gesture quite that big — put first, last, and security on an apartment for them (at nearly 70, they’re thinking of downsizing anyway), and pay for any loss on their house.

I’d buy clothes for my son for the next couple of years, and shoes to grow into.  I’d outfit his room with a dozen bookcases, so we’d never have to donate or give away his favorites, because he hates that.  I’d enroll him in the music lessons he so desperately wants.

I’d feel free to buy myself the expansive, joyously genderqueer wardrobe I want; the mix of femme and mac clothing that I’d ideally curate for myself, and I’d hire a personal trainer — oh, and a maid. I’d take art classes.  I’d take writing workshops.  I’d travel.

I would, honestly, just do a lot of the things I see my friends doing on a regular basis.  There is a stark financial discrepancy between us and most of our friend group, and while I don’t begrudge them what they have, during the rougher moments, it makes it really hard to even log onto Facebook or sit around a table with them while they talk about their European trips or all the couple’s classes their taking together or their theatre excursions.  Aside from the first few purchases and splurges, I think I’d really just allow myself the freedom that a lot my friends already have — the freedom to pursue the passions that matters to me without incurring financial ruin.  That’s basically it.


Day One of semi-lockdown!  I’m still horribly stressed and paranoid about everything, yet strangely also feeling a lot better, again, with the added stress of going to work off my plate, and with knowing all my friends and coworkers are in this together.

It’s later in the day — I took the better part of the day to simply decompress — but I’m about to start some chores, and hopefully having a cleaner house will make me feel better as well.  Spending two weeks locked in with a mess is not the way to go.

Also, I am still 100% on board with doing NaPoWriMo and Blogging A-to-Z.  Either the worst of this will have passed in my area by then, or I’ll still be in lockdown, so I might as well keep busy, and we may as well keep each other company.

It’s Saturday.  Even if you’re on lockdown, please remember — you can still go outside (just remember social distance!)  Ride a bike, take a run, go on a long walk, fly a kite, take a stroll with your dog.  Wave to strangers.  We’re all in this together.

31 Day Blog Challenge (A Warm Up: Day 1)

April is kind of a big month for me on this blog; I generally do two challenges — the 30 Day A-to-Z, and NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month).  In the past, I’ve combined the two, but this year, given that my creative output has been generally pretty steady and I’ve been happy with how I’ve made some time for creativity most days, I’ve decided to be ambitious and complete both challenges separately.  Which isn’t to say that I’ll post two entries a day (though I might; I haven’t worked out all the logistics yet), but that the two challenges will be distinct instead of conflated.

I also realize that while I’ve been exponentially better about my posting habits, I’m not at the post-an-entry-every-day stage (like I had been for a few weeks back in December and January), so I thought I’d ease into daily posting with a 31 Day Challenge in March.

I found this challenge via Some Shananagins, originally posted in March 2015, and given that I had also been thinking that I’d like to do some Getting To Know You/Me type posts, this seemed like a wonderfully happy solution to both of those ambitions.

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Day 1:  Introduction

I’m not sure if the intention was an introduction to the challenge or the blog but since I’ve done the former already, let me do the latter.

I started this blog, many incarnations ago, as a creative writing blog that became a pseudo-parenting blog that became an ADHD blog… ugh.  I just couldn’t quite get a handle on what I wanted this place to be.

I thought back to the halcyon (and, ok, slightly melodramatic) days of LiveJournal, and how novel and refreshing it was to simply have a place to share tidbits of my daily life, goals, progress on said goals, and creative endeavors.  I thought, how great would it be to come back to all the best parts of LiveJournal culture, minus the hormones and the unfortunate emo icons?

So, that’s essentially what I did.  I’m still working to find my genuine voice, and to strike a balance between art-dumping and real-life talk (a lot of that is reliant on how much time I have to sit and reflect, and how productive I’ve been on the creative front), but I feel like I’m getting there.  I’m certainly far happier with this incarnation of the blog than I was with any of the others.

That’s it for today!  I’m not expecting this challenge will constitute the be-and-end of all my blog entries this month, but rather be just a component of them, and I also welcome and encourage people to share their answers to the daily prompts with me.  I love reading about other people’s live, particularly the silly minutiae.  I don’t know why; again, I credit that voyeuristic streak with spending my formative years on LiveJournal.

Sunday night.  Hope you’ve all had a relaxing weekend.  As for me, I’m happily full of home-made empanadas, and looking forward to catching up on a couple of weeks worth of Bob’s Burgers while I go hog over on Pinterest.  Have lovely evenings, all.