Keeping Up the Fight

‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.’

‘At least for a while,’ said Elrond. ‘The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings)

Please note that I’m deep into the audio version of Fellowship of the Ring at the moment. I wonder if I’ll ever stop weeping when Gandalf falls into the depths with the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm. Although I am not of this level of readers, I love that there are such people in the world as these, who discuss many things.

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Mini Stay-Cation

I was definitely due for a little time off. I started out Thursday night by seeing the National Theater Live performance of Julius Caesar in the mall movie theater. Two hours fifteen minutes or so, straight through without intermission. They’d set up their theater so that when you got your ticket you could either be in tiered seating above the performance space or you’d be standing on the same level as the actors, being part of the action as the crowd. Modern setting, Julius was wearing a red baseball style cap, no kidding. And in good Shakespearean fashion it ended with noble speeches over piles of bodies.

Great way to start a vacation.

Saturday I got up pretty early and went to the March for Our Lives in Albany. Very well attended, very inspiring and uplifting speeches from students and old pols alike. I also popped into the Book House to say hi to my NaNoWriMo friends who were doing a meet the author/reading afternoon event for their new publishing company.

I did a lot of little things, I killed a lot of orcs. I found some things like, my calligraphic stash! In a metal lunchbox I’d collaged… maybe in high school or college?

I took this framed piece off the wall thinking to take it out of the little frame it was in and giving it a better home.

But there was a surprise when I turned it over and found this:

I spent quality time with my big cup o’nope this past week and added this to my available avatar/profile photos.

I went out one day and did this (should have tried to get out more to do more of this)

and I practiced my handwriting while trying to learn the gettysburg address.

fooling around digitally

Not as welcoming a surface to work on, glass, but when given the opportunity I try to learn more about sketching etc on an iPad. Here was yesterday’s quick “pencil” sketch. I think it was with the 6B setting. Brush, pencil? It’s all software.

Maybe it’s just been a sort of black and white week.

Tuesday This and That and the Other and Words

Today was my day off and I’m sure I could have found a lot of useful things to do, but oh well. I got some coffee and then I found a place to sit and sat and wrote for a long time. I piled up a lot of words. I was pooped at the end but I got a lot of story told.

Then I came home, and having gotten a new postcard, I sat down to add it to my little pile of postcards and to put a tick by the senders name. I’m not all weepy about getting or not getting cards but it’s always nice to get one and being that I check off my own cards as I send them out I just do the same for the incoming cards. Anyway here are the cards in the pile at the moment:

Monday at work, while waiting for someone to show up for a class, my coworker handed me an iPad Pro and said here, draw something. So I did.

This was the sky I saw tonight.

And finally (see what happens when you spend too much time stringing words together?) awhile ago I bought two of these fine Palamino Blackwing pencil sharpeners. They’re designed to put a looooong point on the working bit of the pencil. The bit that’s known as “the lead”. The second one I bought the nice young woman at the art supply store told me, very excitedly, about how the inside held two more blades. Now I don’t really know where I’d easily get more blades but I’ll worry about that when the time comes and I have to start replacing blades.

However, when emptying the trimmings of my fine pencils (I sharpened all my drawing pencils from HB to 6B the other night) tonight I noticed this message inside. I don’t think it wants me to stop sharpening my pencils… but now I might have to do a little more research.

My Day with Art

I went to The Clark today, having asked for a day off so I could go to the lecture opening the new exhibit there – Drawn from Greatness. There were drawings from the 15th century and up to current times (Pollack, Picasso, Kelly etc). Big selection of the impressionists – two pages of Van Gogh letters (with drawings) and a drawing. Sketchbooks which had belonged to Cezanne and Degas. Lots of ink and wash, watercolor, gouache, chalk, graphite, different papers, techniques. Part of the exhibit was in a different part of the building, So I wandered over.

First couple very interesting. The one behind me, lovely. Next one… hmmm quite interesting. Strangely familiar, a little cartoonish but very skilled and unique style… freaking William Blake. Around the corner from that was a, as the curator noted, “showstopper” by Victor Hugo. Yes THAT Victor Hugo.

I saved getting the catalogue for another visit and perusal. It’s about big enough to be made into a coffee table but it does look very complete. I did come home with this, thinking it would be a good read and good company for my copy of The Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Remember that this time of year The Clark is closed on Mondays! If you end up there by mistake you can wander over to the Williams College Museum of Art and see other interesting things. (Ask me how I know that!)

The Force

What’s happiness? When a totally nerdy, pop-culture iconic movie character says the exact same thing that every freaking thing you’ve ever read or been told by someone speaking to you about writing and art.

There were more than a few times last night that I felt tears well up and that might have been the biggest. I am guilty of reciting the “there is no try” bit. And I’m able to apply that and last night’s messages to more than art-making.

And ain’t that the whole hero’s journey -and the artist’s, to keep going, to learn from everything – success and failure, and to be true to yourself.

Thanks for the reminder. I needed that.

It Doesn’t Suck…

In 2011, a friend encouraged me to check out NaNoWriMo – you should do it! – and I was checking it out, realized I needed a free account to see how it really worked, did that and while I became enamored of all the bar charting and statistical side of the writing process, my go-to word processing and code writing software popped up a message telling me there was an update.

Sure, go ahead and do that, I clicked.

About the time that I sat back thinking – I have no idea what I’d ever write 50,000 words about – BBEdit finished installing and unlike any other update it had done to that point, it opened a new blank window.

I looked at it and began to write. And a few weeks later I had accumulated 50000 words and won!

If I ever get to write a “thank you for your support” page for my book(s), I will be including BBEdit because I just love these guys and their software. It’s easy to use and straightforward. Being a text editor means I don’t get tied up with how it looks, how big the margins and tabs are etc etc. I just write. I can do global search and replace. I can click on a word and see how it’s distributed throughout my document.

Thank you Barebones guys for BBEdit. My novel thanks you. My websites thank you. And I thank you. And I thank you for continuing on with updating this fine software.

And we never had this conversation: