Writing

My life has become a crazy, confusing, chaotic, jumble of a beautiful thing. Everything has changed in the last few months, especially me. In this nameless place, my life-raft remains and sustains writing.

Sometimes all that matters is that you get some words down, even if they’re the wrong words. Write what you want, your secret fantasies, find a way to make them real, make them make sense, build a world around them and live them. Let submerging yourself in them ease the ache of living a life you wouldn’t have built for yourself. Write what you see, what you know, what you want to know. Put every beautiful thing you’ve ever seen into your stories so others see. Explain your pain so that others can feel it, taste it, cry over it. Tell a story and sweep others away with it, take them with you and show you the place you’ve built in your head.

Really you’re doing it for yourself, but readers will thank you. Build a safe space for yourself and others, a blanket fort in the livingroom of beautiful words and thoughts and feeling.

The more we write about magic the more it becomes real, don’t let it fade away. What does your magic look like?

Ask hard questions, of yourself and others. Don’t accept the easy answer! Focus on the answers, let them linger and build something in your mind, an answer or a story. Let them build words, let them build worlds. Do not run from the hard questions because they must exist or they would have never come to you. Be brave and ask, be brave and answer.

Write because it creates. Because it creates you.

When I Write

When I was 20 years old, I was told that some day, I would write love the way people have been trying to capture it for generations.

That statement has become one with my spirit, it isn’t discouraging or overwhelming, it is driving. It is part of the fuel that keeps me writing, that keeps me awake when there is story that need written.

I never had plans of sharing my writing. I can hear the snorts of laughter and incredulity from people who have read my blogs. Yes, I’m more used to the idea now, but writing started as my Emily Dickinson time capsule.

When he said that, it forced me into the light. 13 years later, that thought has grown. More than wanting to write something that makes people feel, I want to write something that lingers. I want 1000 years from now, when we are the ancients and someone is excavating my house, for them to find my tales and feel like the person who first read Homer felt.

I want to write something that adds to what we are as a people.

I was reading a paper for a school assignment called The Sound of Ice by Tyler Lacoma and he said:

“The stories of the Eskimo peoples have collapsed beneath us. Ka-krack. All we have are pieces. Legends and tales were passed down, orally, from family to family until they grew so fragile they now crumble to dust at a glance. It’s hard to explain how this feels, until you understand that these little fairy tales are the lifeblood of a people. Who are the Greeks without grey-eyed Athena and cunning Odysseus? Who are the Norse without grinning Loki and blustering Thor? Something…but less.”

I haven’t even finished the paper (I am so relived to finally be assigned to read something in a class I actually like so far) but I feel the weight of words that feel like a mission statement…. And I wrote a quick short story in Seraphim City, the first in months.

I should be doing homework but this is better.

Taken by Death

i Just saw a posting that said Sir Terry Pratchett was “taken by death.” What a fun visual. It sounds romantic in a way people don’t talk about death, he didn’t die, he was taken, and from his writing I’m going to assume there was a conversation about potatoes and they danced off together… Followed by a trunk with many feet… 

Just for the record, when I die, I want my obituary to say “taken by pterodactyl!” I’m counting on all of you to make this happen.



Men have called me mad…

Has this ever happened to you?

“You live in other worlds?” Laughing mockingly. “What is wrong with you?”

This was a classmates response to me wanting to be a writer in highschool. Annoyed I retorted “No I create other worlds.”

Nowadays almost everyone is a writer of some sort, but there is a special look reserved for the poets and fantasy fiction writers. Yeah we are all weird and fly that geek flag high!

“I AM come of a race noted for vigor of fancy and ardor of passion. Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence — whether much that is glorious- whether all that is profound — does not spring from disease of thought — from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.” Edgar Allan Poe

Jill

My First Comic-Con

From the instant I walked through the front door, I knew I was in a special place. It took less than 30 steps to realized I was out-geeked in every way… And I loved it!

Imagine if you would, combining: a flea market, your local Renaissance Festival , a furry convention, Halloween, an art show, and just for kicks, let’s throw in a few celebrities.

Once beyond those first few steps I was astounded by the sheer number of stuff vendors had to sell. Who knew there were so many types of collectible mini cars or life size busts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters (or at least that’s what I hope those were). My inner introvert gulped twice before I dove head first into the mazes of fun toys. It’s totally cliche but I looked for the Captain American stuff at every table, because he’s awesome and I’d want to be him… (Unlike my sister who wants to marry him! – gay girl/straight girl differences).

I did another post on the different types of vendors here but I’m pretty sure everyone has experienced all the different types. There was the Bored, the Grouchy/desperate, the Conspiracy Theorist, the once famous, Passionate Collectors, and the comfy. How can you not be entertained by such a group?
The people there were just as fun/funny. This too will be its own post soon.
Then of course there were the celebrities. I was told it was open, but I had no idea it was literally a card table between you and someone you grew up watching.
I told Hilary Banks (Karyn Parsons) that she was much funnier than Carlton on the Fresh Prince. I told Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) of Star Trek Deep Space Nine I loved seeing a strong female character in sic fi and I met Warf (Michael Dorn)!

Warf of Star Trek, of gagh and kapla and smiles that looked more like snarls. Warf of my childhood, where my mother introduced me to her trekkiness and I loved the crap out of Next Generation. I think it was pure luck I didn’t make an ass of myself. I wasn’t star struck but I was definitely excited! He is insanely soft spoken until he want to be.

My only real complaint was that comicon is not for the broke. $20 to get in might not sound like much but that’s 2+hrs of work for me. To get a phone photo with warf would have been an additional $25 and that seemed too much, so instead I shook his hand and wished I were richer… Or maybe that the rest of the world wasn’t in such a hurry to get richer.
All in all, my first comicon experience was awesome. (Don’t bother making the “cherry popping” jokes I’ve already heard them.) and I can’t wait until we have enough created material to have our own table, hopefully next time!
Jill

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Kyla Came Too!

 

Kyla

Kyla

Why fantasy fiction

Why do I love fantasy fiction? How could I not?

It is the one place I know that has consistently embraced the weird! It’s a place of open-armed, all weirdos welcome. Where the odd is celebrated and the bizarre enjoyed. In the stories the heroes can be nobility, or they could be pig herders, scullions, prostitutes, in possession of a more Tookish side, the orphan under the stairs, a farmer in a desert, smugglers in brown coats, the last of their race, school children…and the list is forever, getting more interesting with each tale as it is told. (How many references did you get without looking?)

As a small child I battled with dyslexia, so much so that I could barely read until I was in the 4th grade. Until I worked with an eye doctor who helped me some, reading was torture, ending in tears and frustration. I even think I threw a book once…Once the curse was lifted, I picked up the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the world became a different place. I was transported from my home and found  myself talking to lions and defeating witches. Instantly I became addicted. Some books I wished I could live in, while others were more a place to live an exciting life while using the real world for recovery time.

For a random weirdo who never grew out of their awkward years, the world of fantasy has been my second home. Everyone else who lives here with me are pretty great too. Geeks are fantastic company (unless you get into a debate over which was the better Dr. or which of Buffy’s boyfriends was your favorite), and the best part is that geekiness is contagious!

True story: once a few years ago I was dating a non-geek who thought my Marvel love a silly thing. Day and night she would hassle me about it. Finally, I dragged her with me to see whatever the latest Marvel movie was in theaters. We were walking out of the theater, me glowing with joy and her with a confused look on her face.
“So…I wouldn’t mind seeing that again.”
HA! And another was claimed for all geek kind!

Sure a few geeks are even odd by our standards, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t accepted. It’s hard to be judgmental of someone’s Zelda tattoo if you have a unicorn on your wall. Or someone’s furry costume when you have a Star Trek onesie in your closet.

Beyond that, there is one of my all time favorite quotes:

“Fairy tales are more than true: Not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” G.K. Chesterton.

There is always some hero in fantasy fiction who will best our monsters and save the day, giving nobler thoughts to next generations, because who wouldn’t want to save the world!

Jill

P.S. Here is a teaser of the first page, recently completed of Seraphim City volume 1

Why Kyla

When I finally decided to investigate doing something with my short stories, I had a few requirements for who I wanted to work with.
1) I wanted the artist to be a Pittsburgh local. I figured on a project like this, especially my first, I’d like to work with someone who I could meet for coffee, where we could sit down together easily and really brainstorm together.
2) I wanted to work with a woman. This was not exactly a requirement, but I was hoping. The geek world still seems pretty male dominated and I wanted to bring a female artist with me on this journey so there would be two more female geeks contributing to my favorite genres!

And that was it. Obviously I was hoping for talent, niceness, and flexibility, but having worked with artists before, I knew going in that all these features aren’t always all found in one person. Frequently, artist fall somewhere on the talented/tormented scale, (as the talent rises, so do the chances of narcissism, arrogance, depression, brilliance, and lack of inspiration, in waves, usually all in the same hour).

I was lucky enough to discover Kyla Kemmerer to design our logo and some of the initial story boards. Unfortunately, the demands on her time became to great and she was unable to commit to the project full time. I feel lucky she was able to give some of her time and artwork before the rest of the world discovered her talent!

And from the below logo design, i’m sure you can see as well that she was a good choice.

Jill

The big unveil!

The big unveil!