a new focus

Well, here we are in May, and things haven’t changed much since I last updated my website.

Mr P is still home, he won’t be going back to work (restaurant) until… June? Which suits me just fine, seeing how my mental health, what’s left of it I mean, is basically down the toilet. So self-care, self-preservation are my number one concern. Me and my own, that’s it.

My PTSD-related vocal cord dysfunction is worse than ever, but fortunately I have little interest in speaking.

I don’t want to leave the house, I don’t want to be around roughly 90% of people. Especially since for some, the very concept of social distancing apparently requires a degree in Engineering.

Most people have no grasp of personal space at the best of times. But then, we live in an age when people have to ask if drinking bleach is a good idea. “Staying home is communism!”

So, misanthropy as a general life principle and attitude is working out great for Mr P and me. Hail Satan. I am the master of my life in spite of everything.

Speaking of misanthropy and social distancing, here are some excellent sources for face masks:

Plague But Make It Fashion (gorgeous, fun, finely crafted masks)

Dandy Serenity (cats and groovy sea creatures on Red Bubble)

And here are more first-rate tools for social distancing: Satanme‘s glorious, scintillating glitter medallions (of course I had to start with disco gold, the Sulfur medallion):

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And here I am modelling it.

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As for me, my focus is all about art and home.

I have fallen head over heels in love with alcohol inks. The perfect medium, in my opinion.

When I did a lot of art many years ago, my subject matter was mainly portraits. Since this whole horrid situation began and I rediscovered art as a relaxation method, I rediscovered it as a passion as well, and surreal, colorful, dreamy worlds with small figures are my subject matter of choice.

Once it was clear that I mainly wanted to create at home, and be home even more than I already was, I felt better. Tranquil, floaty music, incense, art, my 70s home lair… This is what works best for me. The only places I want to frequent (when the batshit calms down months from now) are small local shops, galleries, art gatherings. And local is a key word here.

Ideas for art pieces are coming at me so fast and hard I can barely keep up.

At some point this summer, I’ll have prints available, and original art.

When I began experimenting, I used colored pencils because that’s what I had. Also they’re fun to work with.

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Then I did some research about water color effects on canvas, and that’s when I discovered the wonder of alcohol ink. First, I used Sharpies diluted with a bit of alcohol… A revelation. I adored it. I did a first test painting (8X10) with Hoppy Bun.

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Here is the painting in its new home:

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Of course, my Patreon members got all the news first. They see sketches, illustrations, etc before anyone else does as a rule. Then I share some of it on Instagram and Twitter.

Oh, and while I’m on the topic of having a new focus, after a brief “getting back” on Dreamwidth and Livejournal, I’m done with those platforms. It’s simply not worth the trouble, time, or energy. I have vastly better things to do.

While I waited for my order of alcohol inks to arrive, I did another colored pencil illustration. Strawberry Island, 8X11.5 inches.

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This is the next illustration, which I drew a day or two before my inks arrived. Cherry Balloon.

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Fruit, clouds, mountainous hills, water and cream, sunshine, rainbows, hearts, chocolate, sweets… All of these will be recurring elements in my artwork. As well, structures with many tiny rooms.

My pieces will usually be around 8X10, 10X12, 16X20… Not bigger than that.

By the way, I give you alcohol inks:

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Where has this medium been all my life??

Yesterday, I started to wonder what my Serpent Prince would look like if I devoted some of my surreal worlds to him… And I drew this small figure (sketch book is around 5X7).

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He’ll be getting paintings of his own. I want to paint him pumpkin homes filled with little magical rooms… All sorts of things. Hoppy Bun and Serpent Prince will be my artistic inspirations for the foreseeable future.

I want to create trippy, dreamy, magical, tranquil images.

My other artistic focus: clay. More soon on that. Let’s just say that my little clay bunny has been working his talisman magic on me for a couple of years… Now I’m creating things that give me tremendous joy and satisfaction.

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I write mostly for myself now, and for my Patreon members. New books will be fewer and much farther between. Besides, I said pretty much all I wanted to say in Rascal and Masterful… There is the possibility of short, quirky, first person memoiresque novels. We’ll see. And Mozart… I’ll get back to him and Salieri, perhaps this fall. Possibly.

In many ways, I’m actually doing better than I ever have. I’ve dotted the “i”s and drawn a line in the sand. I know exactly what I want to devote myself to, how and where I want to do it. And I won’t apologize for any of it either.

I am living what I wrote about in Masterful.

Live for yourself and for all that you love. Everything falls together for you then. Even if it takes a while, it is eminently worth the growth and struggle. The fruit of epiphany awaits the valiant individual. Those with ears to hear, let them hear.

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quiet professor: now quieter than ever

Last fall, my state of mind was along the lines of, “I don’t think I want to leave the house anymore.”

I made a few efforts to get out of my cozy bubble now and then.

And now…

Well, recent developments have confirmed what I’ve known all my life, which is that the outside world sucks and is best avoided as much as possible.

Mr P and I have been home for almost three weeks, only leaving once to have non-perishable grocery items (especially mental well-being items, such as chips and cake) loaded in the trunk of the car—I’d ordered what we needed on the supermarket’s website.

We didn’t even go in the store and I was anxious. I couldn’t wait to get back home and shut the door.

When I first heard low buzzing sounds about this virus back in February, I thought the whole thing was being blown out of proportion. But by the end of February… my PTSD alarms started blaring, and I began my emergency preparations on the 28th, about two weeks before the shit really hit the fan.

I remember feeling like something of an idiot then as I loaded my cart with necessities; I’d been going around the house, making lists. At the end of February, there was plenty of toilet paper in the stores, and I got roughly three months’ worth. Not a mountain, but not a mere four roll pack either.

I got canned potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, soup, diced tomatoes, and so on… Bags of rice and pasta and frozen chicken and frozen meatballs and frozen vegetables. Toiletries, medication, batteries, Lysol, and all the cat food Potion would need, among other things. Water, beverages. A high stack of mini chocolate bar packs.

I could feel something major was imminent. When you spend your childhood sharpening your sense of danger, you can see it coming well before most other people do.

Mr P was blown away by the efficiency, speed, and meticulousness of my preparations, and applauded what I was doing. Mental illness is a double-edged sword, amirite? I thought of everything. Even so, my stress levels were off the charts and I had trouble breathing due to PTSD-related vocal cord dysfunction, which can mimic asthma (and how fucking perfect is that).

Then, news hit that our Prime Minister’s wife had contracted the virus, and both she and the Prime Minister were in self-isolation.

Suddenly, mayhem broke out in earnest and the stores were swamped. I only briefly went in one of these (and it wasn’t nearly as packed as other places were, because I live in a place that’s more like a town than a city); I ran back out minutes later. People clogging aisles, massive lines, the sounds of laughter… I felt a mixture of acute anxiety and rage because of the clueless obliviousness that encompassed me on all sides.

But I no longer felt like an idiot for having done most of my preparations quite some time before the batshit erupted (if I’d had to deal with the chaos that was going on in stores by mid-March, I would have completely lost my mind). I got a few more items at a smaller, much quieter local store. A few days later, Ontario declared a state of emergency, and to my tremendous relief, Mr P would be home with me until further notice. It’s quite likely he’s going to be here until the middle of May.

I put an indefinite total moratorium on news of any kind, and for the first time in weeks, my chest loosened and I began breathing more easily.

My Leaky Orlando plans are out the window. Not going to happen. I tried, right? Travel is already hard enough on me when things are going well… My desire to travel ever again is pretty much nil at this point.

My life plans are more along the following lines:

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I’ve been writing many updates and sharing thoughts on Patreon. I have very limited amounts of energy these days, and my members are getting it. Every now and then, I post a happy image on Instagram. I haven’t been following Twitter at all, because even when using lists, it’s almost impossible to avoid news.

I’ve been getting tiny snippets of information from select loved ones, and I do know that right now, people aren’t allowed to cross the Ottawa/Outaouais border unless they have a good reason.

Related: extroverts are more of a mystery to me than ever.

Mr P and I are exceedingly happy right here in our home. We have everything we need. We have no interest in socializing. We have our books, music, movies, toys, pastimes. Seclusion.

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As a result of all that’s been happening, I’m having a number of salutary epiphanies.

Such as, I’m sick as fuck of promoting what I write (or attempting to at any rate), of publishing… Masterful has gotten a few great reviews, but getting one’s work out there, especially when said work is unusual, is like speaking during a hurricane—and I have a soft, raspy voice.

It’s like The Smiths sang: “Well if I was you I wouldn’t bother.”

I’m through with repeating myself and gesticulating… When (if) I release a book, I’ll say so here, and those who enjoy what I do will know.

I do have a novel brewing in me, something I haven’t discussed yet. My Patreon members will know about it first, should it materialize.

When it comes out, I’ll just say, here it is. Those who are drawn to the kind of work I do will find it, one way or another.

These are the two books I’ve written so far that are the most important to me. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

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I’ve started drawing again.

It’s relaxing and gratifying and enjoyable.

I’m creating surreal, extremely colorful worlds… 70s-esque dream worlds. Here’s a piece that’s still in progress, featuring Hoppy Bun:

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I’ll be doing a lot more of this type of thing. I’ll have prints and postcards for my Patreon members.

When I was a kid, I spent most of my time by myself, drawing or writing.

I had the right idea.

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creativity, variety, serenity

Spring… It’s almost here. Sort of. There are still a few mounds of snow and ice in front of the house, but at least when I come home now, it’s starting to feel a bit less like I’m entering the Bat Cave, North Pole edition.

The weather has stabilized, which has been extremely good for my nerves.

Lately, my levels of creativity have reached all-time highs. Which has also been extremely good for me overall.

One of my macramé wall-hangings has become part of the fabulous décor at one of the best record stores in town, The Record Centre (photos soon). It’ll be displayed next to a rad vintage painting.

This is the macramé in question:

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And the macramé art piece below is now for sale at The Record Centre. If you live in the Capital Region, add some serenity to your home with a lovingly crafted, hand-made macramé, and grab a few excellent records while you’re at it:

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Knots are also symbolic of protection. A home with macramé is a happy home.

In addition, The Record Centre has its own label and produces records you’ll find nowhere else. I’ve been playing the atmospheric, trippy record Water Sine by Nick Schofield non-stop since I acquired it last week.

This week, I experimented with painting my clay figurines and I’ve worked out the best way to do it. Stay tuned for a lot more clay art; my Patreon members will have first dibs on these pieces.

Here’s my first petit lapin bonheur, a good fortune bunny, with its strawberry. I’m keeping this one.

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Petit lapin bonheur quite at home with my vintage toys:

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Each petit lapin will come with a tiny treat.

Here’s another prototype eg; this one I’m keeping as well. It’s so relaxing to look at, and I love its tranquil presence on my desk. I only added glaze to this one. The next batch will feature small rosy cheeks, and the image on the back will add another touch of color.

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Working with cord and clay has infused my life with a great deal of joy. It’s extremely fulfilling. It’s no longer all about writing for me. It’s not the end all be all. The variety of my endeavors has increased my creativity and well-being. I’m not always “in my head” anymore. I do a lot of journal writing of course, but that’s different; my own pleasure is the sole objective. I’ve slowed down as far as publishing books goes. My current goal is to publish a new book every year or every other year. I’m no longer slave-driving myself to produce books, or promote my books (oh how that sucks)…

My existence has many more layers to it now. It’s much better.

Another immensely important level of creativity has been the violin.

Last week, my teacher surprised me by informing me that the show he’d told me about a few months ago was going to happen at the end of April. I kind of thought (hoped, haha) that he’d been too busy to have a show this spring, that it would take place at some hazy, indistinct point in the future… But not only is it happening, he asked me to do the animation (hand out programs and look adorable) as Charlie. I played “Smile” for him again, and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely what you’ll play. We’ll have one white spotlight on you and it’s going to be fantastic.”

That evening, while I was practicing, I began playing a piece from Chaplin’s Sunnyside by ear, from memory. A couple of days later, I searched for the Sunnyside soundtrack online, and discovered that this piece is called “Forgotten” and I’d been playing it exactly note for note. It was a profoundly emotional moment for me.

Then, yesterday, I upgraded my violin, trading in my beginner’s instrument, which I’d had for over twenty years, for a glorious replacement. My old violin was made of plywood (as I learned while chatting with the owner of the music school where I take my lessons); the new one is made of real wood, and it has an exquisite, deep, rich, creamy sound. It has a gorgeous matte finish, and came with a stupendous case. While I waited for Gilles to return with said case, I tuned the violin by ear. Once the instrument was secure in its velvet nest, I embraced the case as it lay on the counter. I was overwhelmed by bliss.

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I ran into my teacher before I made my way back home. I exclaimed, “Come look!!” with grand, excited gestures. He was very impressed when he saw the violin, and his eyebrows shot up when I told him about the Chaplin piece I’d learned to play by ear.

I recently had a lovely meeting with a local artist (DoReMiBraceletsEtc) who fashions unique jewelry from guitar and violin strings. I had a few unused strings (they were in my now old violin case), and she created a beautiful rainbow bracelet for me as we had beverages at Café Mulligan.

She took a photo of it while I held my old violin:

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How neat it that! It’s so well-made, custom-made to fit my little narrow wrist, and I adore the happy rainbow beads.

In other news, I recently gave a tarot reading; it was wonderful. I’ll be giving another one at the end of the month. Reading the tarot is most enjoyable to me, and I look forward to increasing the frequency of my readings.

So, life has been good. Better than ever. More joyfulness soon.

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festive passion

Welcome to the fondue party, fellow mavericks.

Tomorrow is Halloween! And October has been a marvelous, sublimely quiet month. I sent my Patreon members all sorts of fun stuff, and I’ll be working on the October second and third tier Patreon membership envelopes this week; they’ll include Stay Home Vagabond #6.

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Drawing again has been absolutely wonderful, I must say. My Patreon members also received a Mini Poster Print (8.5X11 on 65 lbs stock), with second tier members being sent the “silver sunglasses” edition, and third tier members the “gold sunglasses” edition.

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I will be drawing many more Mini Poster Prints in the coming months, with themes centered around the joys of solitude, being a tomboy, a stay home vagabond…

At the beginning of October, I took some sultry self-portraits featuring my new Killstar inverted pentagram choker and dark purple lipstick.

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I recently ordered a long silver wig, so… More portraits in the near future.

Today, the wonderful Reverend Campbell (Speak of the Devil) read a review I wrote of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s surreal 1932 film Vampyr. Feel free to check it out.

In other news, my violin teacher is putting a show together in March and he’s asked me to dress up as Charlie and perform one of Chaplin’s musical pieces with him. That took my breath away! Hopefully, by then I’ll sound a little less like I’m tormenting a cat or something when I play. As I may have mentioned before, both my teacher and I are massive Chaplin admirers, and my Charlie photographs blew my teacher away. To dress as Charlie again in the context of performance is nerve-wracking and tremendously exciting.

Apart from my Patreon endeavors, November and December will be wholly dedicated to writing Masterful: Severus Snape, a Jar of Cockroaches, and Me (Patreon members will be treated to in progress excerpts, and when it’s completed, they’ll have access to it before anyone else, and their version will be a special edition). I’ll also finally be getting back to Wolfgang: A Fantasy (I’ve been needing to submerge myself in this story again so badly!). Speaking of Wolfgang, Nezumi has been in the completion stages of my costume, and here’s a hint…

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How glorious is this, I ask you?? I’m going to be overcome by bliss when I see it and put it on for the first time, without a single doubt.

In the spirit of Mozart, I’m phenomenally in the mood for the holiday season. It’s going to be a 70stastic holiday extravaganza for two months around here (Baroque is so 70s). I’m putting my trees up as soon as November begins.

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I’ve already ordered most of my bear William’s holiday wardrobe. I want red and green, gold and silver, festive cheer in my seasonal bubble of peace and tranquility…

I’ve never been happier in my life.

I continue to celebrate my life, and myself, as I never have before, and it’s a magnificent breath of fresh air. Take a look at the amazing pyrographic art that my friend R.M. Negroni created for me (do visit his Etsy shop, Funeral Pyre Designs). I commissioned this portrait from him to mark my joining the CoS this year. I placed it in my personal altar cabinet.

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As I said, life is good. I’m very happy that we’re about to enter November, one of my favorite months of the year. I love the stillness, the silence of November. I love the leafless trees, the grey skies, the deep, abiding tranquility of November. It’s extremely inspiring and suited to my temperament. It’s Lair Season.

Writing, burning deliciously scented candles… Yes.

Say cheese.

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