Not with a bang but a whimper


90 thousand and… something. 83 by my count, 539 by the NaNoWriMo word count. And while I did not finish the draft of the novel, I did come to the end of the first section, and a natural break. Call it Part One: A Coat of Green. M-M F, R (formerly C G) and their merry company will return in Part Two: A Staff of Ash. Added to the 12,000 words I wrote a month or two ago, it gets me past the 100,000 word draft I put on my list of Aspirations for 2008.

There are interesting things in it. Salveagable things. Possibly even some parts that with pruning and research could become a story. Aimee, if/when she gets to read it, has strict instructions to just indicate the parts she likes.

I want to celebrate but I think I would fall over. Maybe I will celebrate by sleeping in until 6am tomorrow. Or doing something with ink.

Not this year’s Christmas Card

Not this year's Christmas card

This was a rough sketch for a Christmas card but I left it too late to finish and have printed in time to send(*coughNaNoWriMocough*). The backup plan involves brayers and presses and using black ink which splashes everywhere when you wash it off the perspex. Especially if I am still wearing office clothes.

In writing, which subsumes… well, obviously not every waking moment, but a lot of them, I am over 81,000 words on the NaNoWriMo project. It is eventful if not cohesive. Bruce Gillespie of Steam Engine Times was very nice about the part of a story that I read at Conflux. I am also accumulating short story ideas to take further when November ends. There are werewolves and masks and ibises and alien anthropologists and archivists and librarians and time travel and tramyard fires and a city which was almost called Edenglassie (that part’s apparently true), and given that I am overdoing NaNoWriMo, working on art, going to life drawing classes, showing up at work, learning to do lino printing, going to the movies and practising writing with my left hand, I will not admit to writing more than the working titles, my favourite of which is about pineapples.

And yes, I know I haven’t done the reviews for last month yet. Two more days to get them done and still be within time!

Oh, Western Wind

Cross-posted from the blog for the 42nd Moleskine Exchange. To see larger images, click on the picture to go to its Flickr page and then click on “all sizes” above the image.

Chensio's Moly - Moly_x_42

Here is my contribution to Chensio‘s moleskine (at last!). I ran with the idea of wind, because it certainly looked like a windy day on those first few pages. I swept the end of the circle of dancers up into the air, added a scattering of numbers blowing apart, a flowing scarf, autumn leaves, a flock of nannies (my favourite part :) and The Goose Girl (from the fairy tale), along with scraps of poems.

Chensio's Moly - Moly_x_42

Here is a close-up of the nannies:

Chensio's Moly - Moly_x_42

And here is a snippet from the all-in work on the back of the pages:

Chensio's Moly - Moly_x_42

Illustration Friday: Opinion

Opinion (colour)

Another scratchboard illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Opinion. It is 5×7 cm (2×2.8 inches), scanned on my mother’s scanner (with which I have a fraught relationship) and coloured in Photoshop. It is a combination of two ideas: someone staying aloof in spite of the opinions of critics, and Kipling’s Cat (which walked by itself, and all places were alike to it).

Here is the black and white version:

Opinion (black and white)

And while I was drawing dogs, which is rare for me, I did a quick scratchboard illustration for I. R. Mcleod’s poem Lone Dog:

Lean Dog

NaNoWriMo Update

Days: 19

Words: 50,042

Average daily word count: 2,634

First word: Marion

50,000th word: could

Primary motivation: spreadsheet

Plot: let’s not talk about that

Back: sore

Reward: Acer Aspire One netbook

NaNoWriMo 2008

(Wordle can be seen larger at Wordle. Chart extracted from my Excel spreadsheet tracking goals, averages etc).

Illustration Friday: Pretend


A lyrebird for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Pretend”. There are two types of lyrebird: the Superb (which has the more lyre-like tail feathers) and the Albert’s, which lives in Queensland and is the one I have seen in the wild when walking at Mt Tamborine. This is an Albert’s lyrebird drawn with markers. I like the way that, enlarged, it looks a bit like a bird on salt-glaze pottery.

Pretend 2

They are astonishing imitators – really strikingly accurate (that’s an Albert’s above and a Superb below it). This is a link to David Attenborough’s by-now-pretty-famous footage of their imitations (on YouTube).

Pretend 3

The fun thing about drawing them is they have this natural balance going on – more like an ornament than a bird. The design work is already done.

Pretend 4

Just going for silhouettes and facial expressions here.

But it isn’t all lyrebirds! I usually go through a dozen or more designs in notebooks and on scrap paper, fall in love with some and discard most of my favourites because of time constraints and the need to sleep occasionally if I am going to finish NaNoWriMo (42,000/50,000 to date, so I probably don’t need to worry to much there yet). As a bonus – and because I know I’m not posting as often this month – here are two sketches that have been messed with in Photoshop.

Little Teapot

I’d like her dress, except for the whole obvious ironing aspect, but the teapot shadow is creeping me out a little.

Pretend 5

And doesn’t everyone sing into fans and pretend to be Judith Durham?

A Tragic Day

In bad news:

  1. Coffee, the only readily available hot non-sweet beverage (excluding tea: I try to avoid paying $3.50 for a teabag and hot water) seems to be having undesirable effects on me – now where am I going to get most of my writing and sketching done? Or how can I get more cafes to make chai lattes with tea leaves instead of syrup (tastes like syrup) or powder (tastes like ants)?
  2. My beautiful cherry-red ikea desk chair is not working out (one of the reasons for working in cafes) and (a) I don’t know where to buy a cheap kneeling chair and (b) I’m worried that if I try to get up from one in a hurry I will cause extensive destruction.
  3. I went for a vigorous walk last night to OfficeWorks to ogle mini pcs. I had pretty much convinced myself I would get an Asus Eeepc. This had taken me many ogling-trips to decide. AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY.
  4. I submitted a short story (“E&tF”) to an anthology and am feeling the loss.
  5. I have written over 30,600 words for NaNoWriMo, one of my favourite characters from the original inspiration is turning into a paranoid psycho (well, several of them are, actually) and at this rate I am not going to know what to do with myself for the end of the month.
  6. I can write 1,667 words in less than 45 minutes which leaves me with no excuses, generally.
  7. I have no story to submit to One Book One Brisbane because “The Splendour Falls”, which was going there next, wasn’t rejected after all but has found a home!!!!