Monday 13 December 2010

A crazy-quilt of a post.

The past couple of weeks have been a fractured blur as the year draws to an alarmingly quick end.  I have wanted to put up a new post here for a while, but haven't found a clear focus for one, so in keeping with the way things have been, this post will be completely scattered and random.

Winter has returned after a brief retreat.  This is the view from my writing-painting-collage-making-thinking-room.  It has been one of the most beautiful winters I can remember.

The other day I was at our local stationary shop - an old time shop run by a lovely woman who wears her hair in a bun and who uses a proper, non-computerized cash register.  (I would put a link to her shop, but there is certainly no Internet presence.)  She always has a beautiful selection of art postcards and I picked these three up.  On the wall next to my writing desk is a collection of prints and maps and quotes, and on the wall in front of my writing desk is an ever changing collection of postcards. 

(Chagal  "Over Witebsk")

(Dulac  "Snow Queen")

(Patten-Wilson  "Winter")

These latest postcards have joined the current group, many of which have to do with seventeenth and eighteenth century London: a couple of views of London, Hogarth's famous "Gin Lane", a page from the "Bill of Mortality: September 1665".  These are bits of  inspiration for a story that I began last year.  It had started life as a young adult historical fantasy, but I realized that it actually wants to be an adult historical fantasy.  So, I printed out what I had, punched holes, put the sheets into a binder, and put it aside to stew while I worked on other things.

I returned to work on a young adult urban fantasy which I had written a very, very bad first draft of a couple of years ago.  Things had been going along just fine, when I realized - just a few days ago - that it actually wants to be a middle grade story and wants really, really badly to be set in the early eighteenth century.  There was a split second when I said, but you can't do that, what about all of the pages which I've already typed?  Luckily, the story didn't give a damn about how many pages I'd typed.  It won me over, and once again I have that wonderful, fluttery-stomach feeling you get when you know you're on the right track with something.  

I brought out my binders and started to look at things anew. 

These notebooks filled with scraps of information and lists of facts and figures about early eighteenth century London came out of storage.  It was very nice to be able to pull them out again.  I had found myself thinking about that time, roughly the first quarter of the eighteenth century, and was missing it.  It's good to go back, and I hope that I can cobble something worthwhile together.   

(Japanese & Florentine papers with ink and acrylic: framed 19x19 cm.)

On the visual front, there's been very little happening apart from completing and finally framing more collages.  This past Friday, we had a group show at the studio where I've been renting a room these past few months.  It was a nice show with a good turnout for a cold, snowy night.  I will, however, be giving my notice there.  The decision to take the studio in the first place was a big one for me (even low rent is still rent), and I'm generally someone who prefers to work in as private quarters as possible, but it seemed like a good opportunity to work with a group of people whom I like.  Unfortunately group dynamics being what they are, and given the history that some of the members share, the weeks before the show were so unpleasantly and unnecessarily stressful, that I've decided it's not the place for me.  

It's funny.  I wasn't going to mention the issue of the studio on the blog, but it's just sort of happened.  This whole blogging thing is still so new and strange, and I haven't quite figured out where my parameters lie. 

I have been enjoying thinking about how to organize my tiny room at home - which I'm very fortunate to have - and shall start streamlining it even further to make it into a multi-multi-multi purpose room. This might be the motivation I need to finally get the piles (plural) of family photos out of the corner, dusted off, and put into albums.  


I did give warning that this might be a crazy sort of a post.


  1. Crazy random posts are the best. I think it gives you more of a feel for the person behind the blog if don't become too 'corporate' and structured. Long live spontaneity!

    Kate :-)

  2. Thanks, Kate! I always feel a bit out of my element with spontaneous: a sure sign that I need to venture further in that direction.

  3. I really enjoyed this post too, it's lovely to be able to wander through what's going on in another life, and there are so many beautiful things to look at too!

  4. HI!

    I just found your blog and it was so wonderful to reminisce through your post about Germany. We spent three years in the Kaiserslautern area with the military. And in our 20+ year marriage it is the place we miss the most. Especially this time of year. Thanks for helping to bring back those wonderful memories!

  5. Thanks for your comment, Claire. It is something to get a glimpse inside of other peoples' lives.

    On this topic, you've probably seen it already, but over on Terri Windling's blog, she's asking once again for people to submit pictures of their work-spaces. I loved this series the first time around and can't wait for this round.

    And I'm really enjoying the latest issue of New Fairy Tales!

    Jinxxxygirl, thanks for stopping by. I had to look up Kaiserslautern - still haven't got the lay of the land. It is really beautiful here in the Winter, and the Christmas Markets add another dimension of magic. I'm glad to have helped to bring back good memories.