NaPoWriMo Review

And another NaPoWriMo is done. This was my sixth NaPoWriMo. This year wasn’t as successful as other years but it certainly was not the worst. I ended up with 45 new poems across 4 different poetry books. I had intended to write more for Written & Whim so it would be done and ready for publishing soon.

However, life had other plans. An emergency tooth extraction on April 11th made the rest of the month kind of odd as things aren’t healing, recovering as quickly as I would like. Prior to the extraction, I had been more tired than what is typical. I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome so for me to notice this, the exhaustion was WAY intense. I suspect, now, it was due to my body fighting the infection that led to the tooth extraction. Worse than usual exhaustion remains – though not as badly – through recovery. I only have so much energy to give things, anything, in a given day. The infection, the extraction, and the recovery have been consuming most of it.

I had hoped to go to a concert during the month but fatigue vetoed that. I wasn’t a total recluse during the month though. I managed to go to the coffee shop a few times to write even if I didn’t really want to. The days I want to spend the entire day in bed, I force myself to get out even if it is for an hour at the coffee shop and I make myself write. I may go back to bed when I get home but, at least, I did something productive with my day.

I spent Easter with my niece and nephew. On April 6th, I worked a craft & art show. Sadly, the crowd was minimal at best. I sold nothing. My friend sold 2 items. It was very disappointing yet we forge ahead with getting our art out to the people.

I did quite a bit of sewing prior to the show as I constructed more drawstring backpacks out of my fabric stash as well as create an Easter-themed mixed media piece and an Easter-themed mosaic.

I started figuring out how to make things from polymer clay which was prompted by an idea for a mixed media art project but being unable to find the components in order to make it a reality. I need to finish constructing the clay components this coming week so I can start on the project. I also have several mosaics in various states of creation. Working hard to motivate myself to finish them. A few have been languishing, unfinished, for a while.

My hopes for May are:
– Complete most, if not all, of my mixed media art project
– Finish off at least 3 of the 6 mosaics I have in progress
– Finish the sewing project I have sitting on my cutting table
– Finish the clay pot art project I have sitting on my work table
– Finish Written & Whim while making more progress on Doll & Discarnate, Letters & Locks, and Tincture & Thorn
– Finish the healing process of the tooth extraction site
– Have a very successful craft show on May 11th

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The Story of Art

For a while now, I’ve been part of this artistic collective/studio, Patchwork Chicken Studio. Mostly, we sell our art and home goods at local craft and art shows. Recently, we decided to expand our horizons and establish even more of an online presence. For the past two weeks, a lot of work has gone into that while prepping for our first show of the Spring season. Saturday, March 2nd, is the show so it is closing in quickly.

All this work has left me contemplative because marketing/selling my work is something I have always struggled with. I can be very shy and anxious around people I don’t know to begin with then there is the “marketing”… People want a story of why the item should be important, why it is interesting, how did I make it, or why did I make it. The back cover blurb, the source of inspiration, something…

I struggle with this immensely because I often don’t remember (or don’t know) the inspiration, the meaning, the anything of the piece. Saying, “I was sitting there waiting for words to come, as I sipped my coffee, then there were words and, from those words, this poem was birthed,” isn’t much of a story.

Trying to describe my poetry books doesn’t make anything easier because they aren’t 100 poems on a single theme or a few themes that tie into each other, their nature is much like a mosaic – different elements coming together to create a picture left up to personal interpretation as poetry is very subjective to the reader. While poems may mean certain things to its writer, it can mean very different things to its readers.

With my art and other projects posted here, I have attempted to put a story/explanation as to why a piece exists but, again, I struggle. Saying, “Every time I went to the fabric store, this fabric caught my eye so one day, I finally broke down, bought the fabric, and made this bag from it,” is probably lacking.

Most of the mosaic supplies are the same way – “I was wandering through the local craft store, this charm drew my attention, I bought it, it sat in a bin for a time before I put it into a mosaic with other beads that play nicely with it design-wise.”

There have been a few moments where I did buy items for specific projects like the beads for the Astrology-themed mosaic because each sign has different colors, elements, and nature ties so I wanted those represented in the designs. Even with those mosaics, the story is lackluster. Beyond the basics of color, element and nature, what else is there to say?

There are people out there who think writers can write anything, tell any story, etc. This is not true. I know fantastic writers that tell great stories through their novels but ask them to tell a story out loud or write a short story or a poem, there will be nothing. As a poet, my work is very fluid and organic. A brief, beautiful, blinding spark of inspiration before it is gone, leaving a glorious design behind. This nature is why I struggle to bring my novels fully into life. Why I struggle to tell stories about those sparks I consumed to make my art. It is profoundly difficult to exhume “ash” and make it talk to you once more.

The reason for this post – and the ones that proceeded it – are to, slowly, push me out of my writing comfort zone into one of stories that require more than a brief spark. Some moments out of my comfort zone are easier than others. Not sure if this moment is easier or harder but I think it might be both.

So yesterday morning, the other artists in Patchwork Chicken Studio thought it would be cool for us to take pictures of our work spaces for the website and Facebook page. While a good idea, I did panic because my worktable was covered in fabric, a small army of thread bits, beads, and other things while I still had 5 projects in progress. I kept losing my scissors even though they were right next to me the entire time. Decided it would probably be worthwhile to clean up my work space before continuing on with the five other projects so I could – shockingly – actually find my scissors right away when needed. Spent about 30 minutes, in early afternoon, making my work space clean and photo ready.

Work Space 1Work Space 2

So beautiful and organized. It actually does look like this normally when I’m not in the state of last-minute creative panic with a ton of projects in progress. I typically work on one mosaic, fabric, or mixed media project at a time, in addition to poetry, so the chaos stays to a minimum.

I did not get back to my projects yesterday so today is going to be a busy one.

My thoughts are feeling better now that I have written this post despite my story dilemma remaining unresolved.

Exhaustion vs. Productivity

Having difficulties in ridding myself of this crud which has been plaguing me since December. Some days are better than others. Then there are days like today where I can work for about 10 minutes before exhaustion makes me dizzy so I am forced to rest for 20-30 minutes before work recommences for 10 minutes more, rinse and repeat. Despite this “work schedule”, I cleared and organized the random pile of items in one of the bookcases and cleaned up & organized two shelves in the hall closet this morning.

Considering that my apartment is fairly clean right now, I’m healthier, than in the past, even with the crud in play. I am impressed with myself. Onset of acute illness (on top of the chronic issues) or a long project usually means my apartment becomes a disaster which takes several days to clean. Today’s cleaning was part of a long-term reorganization project to declutter my personal space rather than post-project cleaning.

Other accomplishments of the past two weeks were completing my cousin’s baby quilt (which was delivered by the postal service yesterday and I hope it was received) and writing 25 poems. I actually remember to post all the desired posts to the blog and social media except one. This may not seem like much of accomplishment to some people but I am notoriously distracted by things so I don’t always remember certain intended tasks even if they are on my to-do list or I keep postponing throughout the day until I end up overlooking them/running out of time.

The baby quilt took much longer than intended. It was frustrating because, at first, I could not figure out why. I eventually realized that the quilt was quite a bit larger the previous baby quilts I had made due to wanting a certain pattern with the squares. I was very fortunate to have enough fabric for the quilt in the end. It was getting kind of dicey with one of the prints. In addition to the baby quilt, my cousin also received two flannel blankets – one I made this week and one I made a few months ago.

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– Not the best pictures, was having lighting & positioning issues – 

Been doing a lot of reading of books. There are some weeks where I read very little then there are times where I binge read like a person who stumbled upon an oasis after weeks wandering the desert. There were several days that involved reading for 10-12 hours, up to 6 books. One of the perks and downsides of being a speed reader is the amount of books I can read in a day (as long as the book is engaging). If you want to know what I’ve been reading, check out my author page at Goodreads.

Finding it hard to believe that January only has a week left to it. Mostly because there were several things I had hoped to accomplish during the month but haven’t even started on. Regardless, things are progressing so I cannot be too heartbroken over the remaining items on my monthly to-do list.

And that is this week’s update. Wishing all much creativity and artistry.

Plans Always Have Other Ideas

When I reflected on what I wanted to accomplish in 2019 and how I would go about it, I thought I had left the end result fairly flexible to allow for bad health days (I have chronic ailments). Just days into January, I learned that it isn’t quite flexible enough but there is progress made in the end. Due to health things, January – thus far – hasn’t been as artistically fulfilling as I would have liked especially with matters not pertaining to poetry.

Currently, I have a baby quilt and two bead mosaics in progress. The baby quilt is on a significant deadline – my cousin is due in March. I am reasonably optimistic to have it completed and mailed to my cousin by the 18th so I can focus on other projects. I intend to have four bead mosaics done and the finishing work accomplished on several little paintings by the end of the month.

I really like the projects in progress. The baby quilt is in a color palette I normally shy away from but it is turning out to be really beautiful. I hope my cousin likes it. One of the mosaics, Maritime Eternity, was a random idea I had one day and I got to try out a new technique of staining with alcohol inks to give new visual appeal to some of the elements. The staining was an immense success – it has really brought the project to another unexpected level. Maritime Eternity is quickly becoming one of my favorite mosaics. The success of the staining has also made me want to try it out on items for future projects.

Altars & Avatars is on track to be published on February 12th. Currently waiting on its front cover so I can put together its advertising. My friend, who did the art for Mourning & Melancholia, has also done the art for Altars & Avatars. The art, based on my very basic idea, looks really amazing so I am excited to get the finished front cover from her soon.

I think that is it for this update. I have nine poems that need to be typed up and a quilt that is most eager for my attention yet I am, presently, ignoring all of them to write this post.

Wishing all much creativity and artistry.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Ends

This NaNoWriMo was different than ones in the past. Rather unproductive despite reaching beyond the word count requirement. The words just didn’t go where I wanted them to. A lot of random bits of line that will never be more than that. Never will have a chance to be poems. Their threads were too short and, now, are lost to the winds of time.

NaNoWriMo 2017 was forced to compete with pre-concert jitters and excitement then post-concert depression (and immense pain courtesy of extremely drunk Children of Bodom fans kicking the back of my legs, constantly pushing me into the rail, etc.) which made for interesting writing times.

I greatly enjoyed seeing Carach Angren for my first metal concert experience. They were phenomenal. Uncured and Lost Society were also quite good considering I had very little familiarity with their work prior to the concert. I have been missing those beautiful spooky Dutch men something fierce though. The entire month’s wardrobe featured a Carach Angren band tee each day. I started the month with two tees and acquired two more at the concert so this has meant frequent laundry but totally worth it.

Onto the writing stats…

Total Word Count: 53432

This translates into 51 poems – 47 for Glyph & Grey, 3 for Mourning & Melancholia, and 1 for Altars & Avatars – and 8 pages’ worth of the “epic poem” that’s been slowly swirling around in my brain. There is a lot of free writing I need to sort through to see if there is more poetry lurking within the lines.

Glyph & Grey is at 67/100, and should be done in the next 2-3 weeks as I’m determined for it to be. I had wanted it to be done by today but that is, clearly, unrealistic. Mourning & Melancholia stands at 8/100. Altars & Avatars is 2/100. I hope to have Mourning & Melancholia done by the end of February. NaPoWriMo in April should bring about the completion of Altars & Avatars and significant progress for the upcoming Written & Whim.

NaNoWriMo 2017 – Day 6

It is NaNoWriMo time again. The pure, unadulterated NaNoWriMo. It snuck up on me. Everything has been sneaking up on me lately. Where has 2017 gone? 2017 hasn’t been a good year for a lot of reasons so I’m not sad to see it go but, at the same time, how did I get to this point?

It is Day 6. Day 3 brought a cold to the party which has made things less fun. Still recovering but I ventured out twice to write today. First in the morning to get away from my cat who keeps hindering the writing process and the second in the evening for a write-in. First write-in of this year’s NaNoWriMo for me.

Been doing a lot of free writing in hopes of inspiration for poetry yet are pretty much just bolstering my word count. A few poems have been written toward Glyph & Grey and Mourning & Melancholia. I started an “epic” poem based on an idea that has been stewing in my brain for a while. Maybe it will continue to flesh its self out for a stand-alone project or what is written will just get put into Mourning & Melancholia. I just love the mystery my short writing attention span presents. Not so much but I find a way to make things work.

I have been listening to a lot of Metal while I write especially Avatar and Carach Angren. Okay, mostly Carach Angren.

I am going to see them in concert next week. Immensely, ridiculously excited. My first ever Metal concert, and my first concert in 16 years. I have been a Metalhead since my teens but never felt inclined to go to a concert until I encountered the music of Avatar and Carach Angren. I am going to see Avatar in January 2018 which I am also unbelievably excited about.

I may or may not have listened to Carach Angren’s Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten album a little too much lately. Somehow, some way, a Ouija board and maritime salts worked their way into a poem even though I was listening to Avatar’s ‘For the Swarm’, from the Feathers & Flesh album, at the time.

I have discovered it is challenging to write when I am busy fangirling over tour photos and such. Both bands are on tour right now so there are a lot of photos and concert video to enjoy. Mostly of Avatar since their current tour ends in two days. Carach Angren tour photos and video are just starting to pop up as their tour started on October 31st.

There is a possibility of encountering Carach Angren after their set, according to folks, which I am equally excited and terrified about. Crippling social anxiety means I sometimes say/do stupid things in public. Worried I will make a fool of myself yet I would love to say hi to them in person. Reportedly, they are really awesome guys to meet.

Wow. My fangirling knows no bounds right now. This started out as a post just about NaNoWriMo and my writing progress then turned into a post about my two favorite Metal bands. Accordingly, it is only appropriate to set the feature image of this post with one of my favorite Carach Angren promo photos.

Tuesday Tabellion – The Writing Routine

Questions: What is your writing routine? Do you have a writing space?

Answer: I write in the mornings. Not because I am a morning person – far from it – but because I know I will get distracted by other things as the day progresses and I will forget I need to write. It isn’t uncommon for me to go back to sleep after I’m done writing in the morning because ugh, mornings. Sometimes, I do write in the evenings without issue especially if I am at write-in or I’m struck by a really good idea. I try to write everyday but that rarely happens unless it is NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, or NaPoWriMo. Something about the deadline is very motivating toward me getting my butt out of bed and have focus on writing rather than sleeping. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops writing, either with paper and pen or on my laptop, as I am typically most productive away from home since there are fewer overall distractions. When I write at home, I use to have a desk setup for work/writing purposes but over time, I have found it too restrictive so now, I write on my laptop from a small table next to the sofa or I write in a notebook while lying in bed. When the weather wasn’t unpleasant in recent evenings, I went out with a notebook and wrote at the picnic table that was installed in June at my apartment building. I find that enjoyable and will continue to write there as weather and neighbor usage of the space allows. Anubis does not enjoy this evening writing venture outdoors without him. On the fourth evening of my writing time out there, he discovered my whereabouts. (The bedroom window overlooks the yard space with the table.) He spent the entire hour and a half meowing intermittently and glaring at me – this from a cat who is practically mute. Never had my writing been met with such judgement, disdain, and disapproval. Anubis now just glares at me until I look at him then he meows his displeasure. Sorry, my indoor-only feline overlord.