dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
LJ wanderers: I have a very liberal "friending" policy: if you add me to your reading list, I'll add you to mine.

I try to at least skim every post on my f-list, though I tend to skip posts about dreams and most memes. I don't always click on LJ-cuts (which is why I don't usually use them), and I never play videos. I only comment when I feel like I have something to say, and I don't expect any more then that from people who've added me to their f-list.

Swap-Bot wanderers: Unfortunately, all of my craft-related posts are behind a filter, to avoid cluttering my non-crafty LJ-friends' pages. To see them, you would need an LJ, to get on my friends' list, and to get into the "crafty" filter. Though that's not exactly hard, I will occasionally post some craft pictures here (below the cut) so you can see what I'm up to and into. More pictures are also available on my Flickr account.

Four craft pictures )

Cheers!
dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
If God exists in the spaces between...

... mind the gap.
dreaminghope: (Cherry Blossom)
There are several pictures under the cut.

For my birthday, Russ bought me a gorgeous wool cloak in the colour of my choice; some assembly required. )

Once the loom was warped, I found myself making excuses not to weave. I made soup and Cornish pasties. I re-did our budget. I created an unnecessary purse out of another piece of woven cloth. I figured out how to use Twitter to follow some of my favourite celebrities (hey, I wonder if Ivan E Coyote is on Twitter...).

As long I didn't start weaving, there were no mistakes, no messed up salvages, no tension problems, and no worries about the length of the warp.

As long as I didn't start weaving, the project was still perfect.

It took me two weeks to work up the nerve to make the first shuttle pass. I've now done about four hours of weaving and created the first 35 inches of my cloak. There are already mistakes all through it, but it is its own kind of perfect, and it is started.

Woven fabric so far
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
"Authors are people who never grew out of their imaginary friends." – Andrew Davidson
"Please don't tell me they're imaginary." – Tristan Hughes*

My childhood imaginary friend didn't encourage me to steal cookies. She didn't colour outside of the lines or pull my sister's hair. She never took me on a grand adventure.

My imaginary friend told me to brush my teeth and that I shouldn't read after my bedtime by the street lamp outside my bedroom window. I ignored her on the latter point, but I still have very good teeth.

*Flights of Fantasy, Vancouver International Writers Festival, 2008
dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
In a dream, the ground drops slowly away and you float into the sky, or you launch yourself into the air powerfully, and you glide and soar through the air, and maybe your clothes flap around you or maybe you're naked, and maybe you fly like Superman or flap angel's wings or swim like a fish through the clear air and misty clouds, and it isn't like a trampoline or like the brief flight off the height of a swing's arc because there's no pull down, down to the earth, down to reality, down to the sore feet and the heaviness, and there's flight without fall, and freedom without consequence, and how do we know how to fly anyway?
dreaminghope: (Starry Starry Night)
One day there will be a religion whose principle tenet is that the whole universe only exists while God is watching it. As an extension of this premise, it will come to be understood that bad things happen because God can be distracted.

Theories will abound as to what might distract God, including anger, love, prayer, large groups of emotional people, invocation of His name, power, and fame. The faithful will attempt to do as little as possible to draw God's attention to themselves, for to do otherwise would risk His focus being turned away from the balance of the universe and the very existence of reality.

True proponents of the faith will live quiet, unassuming lives. Sleep is seen as the ultimate act of devotion.

This religion won't go far. The ideal to do as little as possible extends to spreading the word.

And if God can be diverted by mere humans from His sacred task, He won't even notice the handful fewer distractions amongst the teeming billions.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
Whose LJ is it Anyway?

When I was in grade two, I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I curled up on the orange and brown couch in the living room and balanced the big hardcover book from the library in my lap. I read while my Mom was making dinner.

They had just started to cross this queer bridge when a sharp growl made them all look up, and to their horror they saw running toward them two great beasts with bodies like bears and heads like tigers.

"They are the Kalidahs!" said the Cowardly Lion, beginning to tremble.

"Quick!" cried the Scarecrow. "Let us cross over."

So Dorothy went first, holding Toto in her arms, the Tin Woodman followed, and the Scarecrow came next. The Lion, although he was certainly afraid, turned to face the Kalidahs, and then he gave so loud and terrible a roar that Dorothy screamed and the Scarecrow fell over backward, while even the fierce beasts stopped short and looked at him in surprise.

But, seeing they were bigger than the Lion, and remembering that there were two of them and only one of him, the Kalidahs again rushed forward, and the Lion crossed over the tree and turned to see what they would do next. Without stopping an instant the fierce beasts also began to cross the tree. And the Lion said to Dorothy:

"We are lost, for they will surely tear us to pieces with their sharp claws. But stand close behind me, and I will fight them as long as I am alive."


I was so scared for the Lion that I immediately did what I did when something on TV scared me: I closed my eyes and covered my ears with my hands.

I sat there for a moment before I realized that my plan wasn't going to work. I couldn't hide until the scary part was done; the story wouldn't go on without me.

*****

My childhood attempts at diaries were small black notebooks with two stickers stuck to the cover to look like eyes. I started every entry with "Dear Diary", and almost a third of my entries start with "sorry for not writing sooner". Lacking an audience, I imagined one.

I went flipping through my childhood diaries expecting, I think, to see the kind of brutal honesty that kids are known for. When we are young, we're supposed to be too naïve to hide our true feelings; the resulting writing should be a kind of real that adults can't easily achieve.

I did find a peculiar kind of honest: Over the Christmas holidays I misplaced my old cloth purse. It had over $12 in it. I found it in the most oviouse (sic) place and my pride couldn't take it so I hide it in the basement. Of course I couldn't let the money go to waste so now, quite a while later, I am 'smuggling' it with me. (March 8 – 12 years old).

There was also a lot of self-consciousness and self-censorship: Boy, do I have a snoopy good sister! (April 26 – 9 years old).

Though my imaginary audience wasn't motivation enough to write frequently – as evidenced by gaps of months or years between entries – I wrote for the possibility that other people would read my words one day. I wrote who I wanted to be as much as I wrote who I was.

*****

Write. Edit. Proofread. Edit again. Write some more. Edit. Proofread. Post.

Wait.

Wait.

Refresh.

Wait. Refresh. Wait.

A comment!

The story isn't complete until someone reads it.
dreaminghope: (Sexy - Cinnamonsqueak)
Sexual Ethics

"How many people here have sex with the lights on?" the teacher sat cross legged on his desk and looked at us evenly. Some of us looked back at him and raised our hands immediately; others giggled and blushed and either raised hands tentatively or not at all.

We came mostly in pairs – couples – to take a class on "Getting Down and Dirty with Mother Earth – Greener Sex". The teacher was dressed in jeans and an unbleached cotton shirt with a mandarin collar.

"Thank you," he acknowledged our raised hands, "That's the first thing to cut out. Keeping the lights on is an unnecessary waste of electricity. If you want a bit of mood lighting, consider some LED Christmas lights."

I wrote Xmas LEDs instead of lights on my notepad.

"What about candles?" a student by the window asked.

"Well, beeswax might be an acceptable choice, if you aren't vegan, of course, but don't get cheap candles. They're made with petrochemicals."

I wrote beeswax candles? and drew a bumble bee and some flowers.

"But, even better, if you want to be able to see each other, just have sex during the day."

Someone at the back giggled like a middle school student in their first sex ed class.

At the end of the class, the page of my notebook is covered with instructions.

The bedroom: organic cotton sheets, furniture made of sustainably harvested wood, and compact fluorescent bulbs.

Romance: organic and locally grown fruit, organic and locally made wines, and fair trade chocolate (in moderation – shipped from overseas = larger carbon footprint).

Sex play: shower together (save water during foreplay), organic hemp cuffs, modifying second hand clothing for role playing costumes, and sex toys (durable – buy to last – rechargeable batteries).

"It is hard to choose a good lubricant. Avoid petroleum-based ones, of course. There are some commercially made ones that are water-based or made with hemp oil, but simplest of all would be some organic extra virgin olive oil."

Smell like salad dressing, I noted.

"It really comes down to seeking out the most natural products and getting as close to how things used to be, before plastics and chemicals, as we can."

"When did sex get so complicated?" my partner whispered as he looked over my pages of notes: products, ideas, resources, instructions.

"Doing the right thing has always been complicated," I whispered back.

"Sex can be the most natural thing in the world," the teacher said, "if we really work at it."

Fiction inspired by “The Greenpeace Guide to Environmentally-Friendly Sex”.
dreaminghope: (Quiet Gargoyle)
We're having a perfect autumn day. I walked to Main Street and went to an organic and fair trade café where the man behind the counter taste-tested the almond syrup before making my drink. He made my latté backwards – pulled the shots before steaming the milk – but it still tasted lovely. And he poured the milk so that the foam made a swirled heart on top. I drank the heart before putting my travel mug's lid on.

I sit outside of the café at a little ironwork table. I want to write – there's a certain mysticism to The Café as a place to write (or program) – but I end up just reading in the sun.

When I resume my walk, I pull my paisley hat down firmly against the fall breeze. When I get to the corner, I don't start walking at the light but wait until the bus comes to a complete stop. Buses in Vancouver often run red lights, and there'd be something just too silly about someone as bohemian-looking as I – paisley hat, tie-died dress, hemp shoes, naturally worn (out) jean jacket – being killed by public transportation.

There's no one out behind the Ivanhoe yet. I guess anyone drinking at noon on a Friday doesn't want to be out in the golden sun, even for a smoke. It isn't a place for business lunches.

A block down, at the next corner, there's a slick faux-brick condo building, six floors high. The top floor has a larger balcony with a wide cement wall for a railing. Someone has placed a gargoyle on the corner of the rail, overlooking the corner of Main and Prior. He is very easy to spot, but only if you look up; most people don't.

I sit on a short cement wall across the street, where the gargoyle can see me, and that's where I write.

I think about what the gargoyle can see. He can see the daily parade of buses and cars up and down Main Street. He can see the old Italian immigrants heading into the European Deli Warehouse – the import business and warehouse that almost burned down in the rash of arsons in the summer of 2006 – and leaving with their fancy cheeses and French sodas. He can see the sign that says "Welcome to Historic Chinatown" and the graffiti that offers the cryptic comment "I have never been out of love with the mall".

And the gargoyle can see the people who shoot up and who sleep under the underpass across the street. It must be frustrating to be a gargoyle – see it all, and never be able to do anything. It isn't demons we need protecting from anymore, but that's all he knows how to do.

I think about going into the deli warehouse, but entering a dark maze of rooms doesn't appeal, and we have a lot of cheese at home already.

I go home and read science fiction in the sun on my back porch while drinking a glass of red wine, and feel so decadent that it's like there could never be any despair in this beautiful city.
dreaminghope: (Dancing Cat)
Lament of the Conservative Pagan

Pagans are socialists, communists, and more;
We're tree-hugging hippies who'll sleep on the floor.
But I wanna know who made the decree
That Pagans vote Green or for the NDP.

I'm a proud ol' Pagan;
But I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade.

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
Not all Pagans have a leftward sway


They say we're all poly, and maybe that's true,
But I'm not poly 'nough to sleep with you.
They say all Pagans do an alphabet of kink, (b&d, s&m, c&b…)
But hearing about it makes my privates shrink.

I'm a conservative Pagan;
I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade.

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
Not every Pagan is an easy lay


They say we're all flaky, but that's hardly fair,
Some of us are nutty, but see if they care.
History and facts are a terrible bore,
A made up history is much less of a chore.

I'm a conservative Pagan;
I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade.

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
A little studin' and learnin' wouldn't go astray


I'm not saying that your beliefs are bad;
But mine are better and yours are a fad.

I'm a conservative Pagan;
I am afraid -
I won't be at your Pagan Pride parade

'Cause I'm a conservative Pagan;
Hear what I say:
You don't need to f* on the first of May.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
The streets and sidewalks are covered in cherry blossom petals, like there was a secret parade last night that no one swept up after.

A flock of bike riders play leap-frog with the bus. Every time the bus pulls into a stop, the bikes fly past on the left hand side – about a dozen blue jays, cardinals, canaries – chirping in the sharp voices of bicycle bells. They swoop back to the right, towards the sidewalk. Moments later, the bus driver gives a playful tap on the horn as she passes them again.

Old clichés and over-stretched metaphors are a little more forgivable in the Spring. Even a little madness is acceptable. The poet writes the image; the madman believes the image. The cyclists are birds and the petals are confetti, and I'll be both poet and madman tonight.
dreaminghope: (Waterbaby)
I like steamed broccoli.

When I was a kid, my family traveled a fair amount by car and motor home. We crossed Canada a couple of times; the first time was when I was seven. I couldn’t read in the car (motion sickness), so I would spend hours just day dreaming.

I didn't ask: "Are we there yet?"

Instead: "We're there already?"

At dinner, I would pretend that someone had poisoned my broccoli, but that there was an antidote in it too, so if I ate in exactly the right order – all the florets first, then alternating bites off each end of the stalks so the center of the stalk was the last bite – I would be OK. As I ate, I would imagine my enemies watching and arguing about whether or not I would get it right and whether I knew about the antidote or was just really lucky.

I used to write novels in my head. They were populated by Mary Sues, but I suppose I can be forgiven for that. If anyone is entitled to writing Mary Sues, it is a twelve year old girl. That some of my characters still lean towards wish-fulfillment is… a weakness.

Most of my stories are fleeting, fading away as soon as the day dreaming moment passes. Others stick around to become a part of this LJ (most under the whimsy tag) or to become part of one of my novels.

I tell myself stories to pause the endless list making, the planning and preparing, and the worrying. The stories aren't an escape from reality; they are an escape from another layer of non-reality. The grocery shopping won't go any faster if I rehearse it a hundred times on the way to the store, and my evening tasks won't go any more smoothly if I worry about them the whole way home, so I might as well think about punk princesses and gangster squirrels.

The results from the 3-Day Novel Contest are in, and I didn't place. I'm not surprised, especially given that the winner is a published poet and has written screenplays, and the runner-up placed with his seventh 3-Day Novel. There were 389 completed 3-day novels this year; there was some stiff competition in there.

I wrote three novels in 2006. They are rough and messy and strange, but I'd never written anything so long as any one of them before this year, so I feel accomplished just having their messiness out where other people can see it; out of my head, away from my dinner and neighbourhood bird stories.

I will write at least one novel in 2007, as the three-day novel contest is an irresistible rush. Local folks: Don't plan anything for the Labour Day weekend if you want me to be there, for I will be writing and eating chocolate.

I like to think that one day I will sit down with my rough drafts and make one (or more) of them into a real published book, but that part of the creative process is more like the list-making and planning section of my brain – the part I want to escape when I am story-telling, and the part of my brain that is much over-used in every other part of my life. For now, the story of how I polish the book and see it in print is just like the other stories: in my head.

That's OK, because I like my stories.
dreaminghope: (Bee Faerie)
I'm pimping [livejournal.com profile] coyotewoman because she makes gorgeous dolls and now there are some available on her Etsy Shop. I own one of her beautiful dolls, Lucia ), so I know how beautiful her work is in person.

The picture doesn't fully capture her character. I think Lucia's going to be the subject of my next book - her story is already forming in my head.
dreaminghope: (Working Zoey)
I've been off LJ for most of the last couple of weeks; I'm writing again. I've been inspired, and though I only have 14 pages, I think they are a good 14 pages.

I have what other wanna-be writers dream of: a laptop computer, a Purdy's chocolate gift card, an espresso machine, and a supportive partner who is also a great reader. I don't, however, have a groupie.

I'm a word slut. Punctuation, correctly applied, makes me hot. Books are sexy, so those who create them must be too. Writers must have groupies.

Despite my otherwise perfect qualifications, I would make a lousy writer groupie, because I'm an aspiring writer myself. The perfect groupie finds the whole creative process to be completely mysterious, so that increases the sex-appeal. Other creative people just don't have enough blind admiration.

Unfortunately, I don't think I get to have a groupie until I am published. It must come with the fame and fortune that inevitably follows publication, right?
dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
Every year around this time, this part of Vancouver has the Eastside Cultural Crawl, a weekend where artists on my side of town open up their studios and display and sell their work. It is a fun and interesting event. My mother, sister and I spent four hours or so on Sunday visiting all the studios near my house.

Cut for my recollections of art seen )

Besides enjoying an afternoon of gazing at art and sharing impressions with my mother and sister, the Cultural Crawl got me thinking about art and culture.

In Vancouver, a lot of the culture is created on the Eastside - the "poor" side, where all the artists hang out. Besides the individual studios in homes or garages, and the buildings full of studios, we also have community gardens and The Public Dreams Society putting on Illuminares and the Parade of Lost Souls and other events. The concentration of art and culture created on the Eastside means that many of the consumers of the culture are from outside of the community. This can be seen at the Cultural Crawl in particular, where we saw lots of people who obviously don't know Strathcona, my nieghbourhood, at all.

One of the great things about the Eastside's culture generally is that it encourages participation. The Public Dreams Society is particularly great about getting people involved: people make lanterns and pieces of art and they show up in costumes. They drum and dance and parade.

Of course, even in the most active community, not everyone is an active participant; not everyone is equally talented or puts in equal effort. There are also the passive consumers, who come only to consume the culture created by others. In the case of Public Dreams events, the proportion of participants to consumers must remain high in order to preserve the vitality of the event. As the proportion shifts, there's a risk that Eastside culture will become commodified.

The Cultural Crawl has a different feeling. It is about selling art, after all, so we want to attract people from all over the city who are prepared to consume art and culture. The only participation needed is to follow a map from studio to studio, looking, commenting and admiring. You can talk to the artists and connect with neighbours, so there's a community-building aspect, especially for those who actually live in the neighbourhood.

I like the event, but I wish it had more participatory options, so it would be about creating culture and not just encouraging the consumption of it. I imagine a studio dedicated to the consumers creating: sketching and finger painting, maybe a little clay sculpture. An area for musicians to jam in, so once it caught on, people could bring along their instruments. Some places to write. People would leave their creations behind for others to see and be inspired by.

A website could display the results, play the music live, and message boards and blogs could connect all the creators and consumers to each other. The art made could be auctioned off after the weekend, via the website, to pay for the art materials and the web hosting.

I think everyone should create art. Not everyone can make things that anyone else would want to have, nor should they expect to. But participating in the act of creating encourages appreciation for those who create truly beautiful and interesting things. And it means that people participate in some small way in the creation of their community.
dreaminghope: (Novel in 6 Words)
As an explanation of this post, and future ones like it:

As the story goes, Hemingway bet a friend that he could write a novel in six words. He wrote: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never used."

Many authors have tried their pens at this since, as it is an interesting exercise. Telling a story in exactly six words (plus the title, which does allow for some measure of cheating) is a challenge.

I like the discipline involved in reducing plots and characters, setting and conflict, to a couple of carefully selected words. And, punctuation geek that I am, I love that punctuation is so often the hero in such an extremely short story.
dreaminghope: (Faerie Wings)
Thanks to Cin's motivation and inspiration (thank you!), I made my third and now favourite pair of wings yesterday and finished them today. To prevent unnecessary cluttering of your page, they are tucked behind this thoughtful LJ cut )

No one's home right now, so that's why the wings are on the couch. When Russ gets home, I'm getting him to take a picture of them on me for icon-making purposes.

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dreaminghope

February 2014

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