"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." ~Neil Gaiman

The Challenge:
Create one new thing every day in 2011.
The Rules: 10 "freebie" days are allowed, but not encouraged.
The Proof: Weekly updates accounting for each day.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Days One Hundred Sixty Six to One Hundred Seventy Seven: Explosions and Lullabies

I'm squeezing in one more quick post today. Not as many pictures in this one as the last one.

Day 166: Summer reading officially begins at the library, and I spent the afternoon decorating the children's department to go along with the "One World, Many Stories" international theme.

Day 167: Another library project: I designed these things called "shelf talkers," little slips of paper people can fill out recommending a book (they have blanks spaces for title, author, name of person recommending, and a few words about why they liked it) that you then fold and slide under the shelf the book is on so hopefully the book kind of jumps out at people passing by. My branch manager asked me to design and print a bunch so I did.

Day 168: In addition to the original seven on my "Fictional Men of My Dreams" list on Day 149, I added the honorable mentions category you may have read at the bottom. I realized there were more characters I would have added but didn't want to take the time to do a whole long descriptive paragraph on each of them, so I did it that way instead.

Day 169: I wrote a lullaby...

Sleep away, sleep away
Till the coming of day
With eyes closed
You won’t ever know
How the shadows dance and play

Sleep and dream, sleep and dream
Till the world’s lit by sunbeams
If you’re snoring
All is boring
There’s no need for you to scream

Nothing happens when you sleep, love
The whole world shuts down and waits
There’s no ghost flitting beside you
No monsters peering through the cieling grate
And those whispers in the walls
Aren’t worth listening to at all.
So just close your eyes and sleep, love
Sleep away, sleep away.

Day 170: At the library, I helped with an event when one of my coworkers had to go unexpectedly out of town. It was a book club dealing with the Magic Tree House series, particularly the volume Vacation Under A Volcano which talks about Pompeii. I made this volcano shell (the white thing in the top is a small ceramic cup) which we would then make explode with the traditional baking-soda-and-vinegar technique...

Day 171: At the actual book club event, we also made a mosaic craft. In order to show the kids what we were doing, I made an example, a turtle. Unfortunately it never made the trip home with me.

Day 172: I worked on a 13 Days of Halloween project! This one I'm definitely using, so I won't say much, but it was inspired in part by a dream Rebekah told me she had once of us wandering through New York in search of a dwarf that's lord and master of a street corner. I've nicknamed it the "street corner story."

Day 173: I heard about the death of a sibling of some people I used to go to high school with. Even though I didn't know the person who died and hadn't seen this particular family in a long while, it still really made me think about death and loss. I still felt really bad for them. I wrote this poem-ish thing, though from the refrain you can tell I probably meant to make it into a song:

It was always the mad ones that burned at both ends till they sputtered to smoke in the middle.
It was only the mad ones you should ever bother with, because the light in their eyes shone like suns.
There are people too big for this world, so they leave it a bit quicker than we would like.
But we’re all of us the better for their having been here, though we may not understand it at the time.

You have lost something that you cannot find again
Lost something that you can’t get back
And I want there to be some words I could say to you
But no words can express what it is you now lack

It was always the brave ones, the best ones that shone out like stars in the dark — too bright to behold.
It was only these brave ones, these fierce and free ones you should ever hope to know.
There are people too great for this life, so they leave it a bit faster than we would like.
But we’re all of us the better for their having been here, though we may not understand it at the time.
Though we may be too stuck wondering why…

You have lost something that you cannot find again
Lost something that you can’t get back
And I want there to be some words I could say to you
But no words can express what it is you now lack

You have lost something that was never really yours
But the loss of it hurts all the same
And I want there to be some words I could say to you
That could somehow erase all your pain
Till nothing but the empty ache of hope remained…

Be brave and be wary, the world is so scary, but let there be trust in the song
Be bold and be mad, in the end you’ll be glad, for life isn’t terribly long.
‘Cause it’s always the mad ones, the truly alive ones that vanish like ghosts in the dawn.
And the rest of us live even after they’re gone, fierce and fragile as a seedling seeking light
We fight up through the dark, we fight on.

Day 174: I sat down at the piano and worked out chords to go with the "Pinocchio's Lament" song from Day 135. I haven't yet recorded any audio of me singing/playing it but I swear I'll get that up on the blog sometime in the days ahead!

Day 175: At the library, they asked me to design a poster for a puppet event coming up next month... so I did.

Day 176: This was a weird one. I wrote a blog post about the difference between tact and cowardice, and how I'm able to have friends of such varying political and religious beliefs without offending any or all of them. It took a while to write what I have up there right now, but I'm not completely happy with it and want to change some things. So instead of linking you to the actual post, I'll just excerpt a piece of it here:

When it comes to speaking my mind, I suck. Not exactly.... I mean, I find some way to get what I think out there. Usually it involves this blog or reams of notebook paper or the word processor on my computer. Sometimes it involves a more public forum, something like Twitter or Facebook where family or friends can see what I've written and more easily respond.

This is where it gets sticky.

I have friends who fall all along the political spectrum on all manner of issues. Guns, animal rights, taxes, abortion, creationism vs. evolution, censorship, sex education, gay marriage, the death penalty. You name the issue and I guarantee I've got very good friends as far to each extreme of it as you can go.

How does this work, exactly? I'd like to be able to say that if a serious subject did come up in conversation and tempers started to flare that we'd just back away from it, "agree to disagree." But such an idea implies that I not only have an opinion but am willing to voice it, which is... untrue. In fact, I usually do the exact opposite: I avoid these subjects at all costs.

Of course, people don't necessarily have to talk about these issues all the time. There are plenty of other things we can agree on: television shows, favorite ways to spend a rainy afternoon, best ice cream flavors, amazing books you have to read, etc. But when the subjects do come up, when the times come around when such remarks are only natural... well, I fall back on silence.

Because inevitably if you speak an opinion, someone whom you love and respect is going to disagree and will call you on it. It's awkward and uncomfortable. It often involves arguing back and forth, each trying to prove your point to the other, to get the other person to change their minds. I hate arguing. I try to avoid it at all costs. Thus: silence.

It's not just the arguing. It's that I hate disappointing people, and I feel like if I speak my mind someone will inevitably think
"Oh, she's been brainwashed into that school of thinking..." When you're silent, when you're a blank page, when you're an empty vessel you can navigate throughout your sea of diverse friends and family without ever making waves or causing problems. I call it tact because I don't want to hurt anyone, and I don't want to lose anyone's respect. But I think it's really cowardice because it is rooted in a desperate, panicky kind of fear.

There are times I will speak out: I call out racist and homophobic comments, oppose people who advocate censorship, and even occasionally get the nerve to remind people who gripe about their taxes that without them we wouldn't have schools, roads, and libraries. If asked about guns, I'll tell the truth: they make me really uncomfortable, I never want to have one anywhere near my house, and I would probably have very few problems with hand guns being completely banned in the U.S. I'll often quote Gandalf in
Fellowship of the Ring to explain my stance on the death penalty: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” I will gladly list the reasons that I despise Sarah Palin. I may even revisit the Gandalf quote to tentatively enter a discussion about abortion.

But sometimes there are debates that have me stumped. Maybe it's because they aren't as clear-cut to my mind as these other issues are. I can see very clearly how both sides could see their way of thinking as logical, and why both sides would be offended or disgusted by the views of the other. That's when the tact/cowardice really starts kicking in...

There's more after that, but that's the part where I start to feel like I didn't verbalize what I was actually thinking too well. So I may revisit and revise that at some later date.

Day 177: I made the video to go with the "Salamander Song" you saw on Day 141.

Days One Hundred Fifty Two to One Hundred Sixty Five: Fear, Change, and Lots of Sketches

Diving right in once again...

Day 152: I wrote a poem that I quickly made into a song, but I haven't had a chance to record the melody yet. In the mean time, here are the words:

I like to think I’d be brave
But I think I’d be lying
I like to think I would stand up and save them
Or at the very least die trying

But I am too fearful to say what I think
I am too shaken, too scared…
And if I’m too afraid to live my own life
How could I ever save theirs?

I like to hope I’d be true
But that’s just wishful thinking
I’d like to say that when all this was through
I’d have withstood it proud and unblinking

But I am too cautious to say what I think
And I am too wary to share
If I’m too bewildered to know my own mind
How could I ever change theirs?

I like to think I’d be tough
But I know I’m a failure
I like to hope I’d know when to step up
To be there for those with no savior

But if I’m too fearful to say what I think
And if I’m too distant to care
If I’m too spineless to trust my own heart
How could I ever reach theirs?

It’s time to be honest. It’s time to be brave.
There may be consequences, I’m aware.
But I’m tired of hiding from my own life
When there’s a big, wide world out there.
When there’s oh so many lives to change,
And such huge hope to share.

Day 153: I started writing, and random things came out. It seems like the beginning of a short story about a crazy, suicidal girl who's just gotten out of rehab and is going to stay with her sister at Thanksgiving. Here's what I have so far:

The most effective way to kill yourself is to live. It's long and drawn out and usually messy, but I'm telling you - it works every time. There are differing opinions on suicide. People talk about it like they know from experience. But it's all a terrible kind of oxymoron: the cowardly act that takes such bravery (and/or desperation) to perform, the peace of death brought on my such a violent deed. You can talk about suicide and you can think about it, but until you're actually in the moment with it you honestly won't understand.

Attempt #1: razor in the bath tub. I only got one wrist before my sister came barging into the bathroom for her hairdryer and ruined the whole thing.

Attempt #2: overdosing on the various medications brought to my bathroom cabinet courtesy of Attempt #1. Two words: stomach pump.

Attempt #3: call it lack of creativity, or just being in general tired of the whole thing, but around this point in time I simply decided that if I couldn't die I'd just stop living. Sleep. I slept constantly. I stopped talking. I wouldn't leave my room. I wouldn't eat. This brought on a regimen of psychologists and psychiatrists, the latter plying me with even more drugs which I enjoyed mixing into various cocktails of alarming effect. Somewhere in the midst of this maelstrom the hallucinations began.

Yes, you're right. Suicide, mental illness, drugs, hallucinations. This is like a very bad three-episode arc on a poorly-written soap opera. It also happens to be my only means of self destruction. Death by life, and all that's left for me to do is dive right in.

My sister Rachel has potted ferns in her kitchen. This is noteworthy not due to the pot, nor even to the fern itself, but to the fact that there is not a sign of dust, nor a fragment of fern frond or bit of stem anywhere to be seen in the room. Not on the windowsill or the floor. Nowhere. In fact, I'm pretty sure not a speck of dust has settled in this kitchen since 1993. My sister is a freak. If I had a kitchen it would be fernless - or it would be littered with fernish debris.

This was inevitable, the fernly perfection of my elder sister. Like Jacob and Esau, except we're girls, and she's the elder sibling, and I didn't sell her my birthright - so actually it's nothing like that. It just seems like she gets all the breaks and I make all the mistakes. Her favorite color is yellow, "because of sunshine," she says. That alone should be enough - proof positive of her Disney-princess perfection. And I, the pointy-eyebrowed, black-robed villain of the scene, have to bite my lip to keep from blurting out that sunlight is, in fact, not yellow, but made up of the entire visible spectrum. Rachel believed in unicorns until she was fifteen. Apparently that one was my fault as well.

I want to keep saying mean, snide things about my sister, but out of all my family she's the first who's actually giving me a chance. After the rehab and the mental institution (soap opera... I know), I'm mostly treated like a dangerous animal or a child. Rachel, however, has actually tried to treat me like a normal human being. So while she provides endless setups for all manner of sarcastic asides, recently I've tried to hold back my barbs, internalize them so as not to offend my only current ally.

Day 154: If I ever got a tattoo (which isn't very likely) it would probably be something very small and simple with symbols that would hold specific meanings to me (oftentimes representing scenes or ideas from some of my favorite stories - the ending of the legend of Pandora, Sam's star in Return of the King, Tolkien's short story 'Leaf By Niggle,' the end of 'Till We Have Faces' to name just a few). The problem is: how to encapsulate such big ideas into small, basic symbols? Here's a brainstorming sheet which very quickly just turned into a doodle page:

Day 155: I was in a doodle mood. Here are some more of my sketches:

Day 156: I drew on a bunch of post-it notes and made a giant face... Weird.

Day 157: I wrote something that's somewhere between a diary entry and a nonfiction essay. Since it took more effort than just pouring my emotions out on a page, I'm counting it as Good Madness. Here's a bit about my experiences with depression:

I think that’s a common misconception about depression. People think there has to have been some major event or tragedy or life change that somehow triggered it. That certainly is the case in a number of instances, but not always. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re depressed until you’ve been in it so long the world doesn’t seem like it could have ever been any other way.

That’s the way it was with me. Sure, in hindsight I can try to pin it on a number of different things. I had just graduated from college, and a number of people find that transition from student into adult life to be hard. I was already deeply depressed by the time I quit my job, but being unemployed didn’t help things. Being isolated and feeling useless can only have added to the problem.

But really, there was no sane reason for me to feel this way. I had loving, supportive parents who would have moved mountains to help me. I had friends who cared about me. I had a good life, hobbies, interests, passions. But it all kind of faded, became like white noise, and it was me and the empty house and nothing but time to fill and the notion that, really, I wasn’t much of a person, and that probably there was no reason for me to exist, no excuse for me to be alive any more.

Despair sounds rational when you’re in it. Writing that now, I think,
How could I have ever thought that way? But I did. And it had the ring of truth to it. I was useless. I found no joy in the world around me, and contributed nothing to it. I felt like a literal waste of space.

Day 158: I worked more on recording keyboard and vocals for the "Under the Stairs" wizard rock song.

Day 159: I finished recording on "Under the Stairs," my last addition being a bit of xylophone. You can listen to the song at this link. It's number nine. I went by the wizard rock moniker "Mopey Merope," for lack of a better Harry-Potter-related name.

Day 160: I wrote the following couplet. No idea where it came from, but I kind of love the idea of everybody hating the know-it-all prophet who gets to say "I told you so":

I’d remind you that I warned you once you weren’t meant for this,
but nobody likes listening to prophets reminisce.

Day 161: I had just moved into a new apartment with Melissa, and I was exhausted. Creativity wasn't exactly a high priority when my muscles were screaming at me from moving boxes and there were still ten million things to be unpacked. However, I did find the time to put contact paper liners into my bathroom drawers, so as uncreative as that sounds I'm still counting it since technically it created new, prettier drawers than before...? (Cheating? Maybe. But I was really tired!)

Day 162: I made another one of my silhouette art thingies, this time for Mandy...

Day 163: More sketching, this time on more of a fairy tale theme...

Day 164: I wrote another poem. It has some pretty vague writing in it, and I tried to take my couplet from a couple days ago and squeeze it in there, though I like it better in its original form.

Tell you, I’ll thank you to please leave me be.
Enough of that from you, now. Enough.
Yes please you, I’ll thank you to go now, to flee.
Enough of it from all of you. I’m through.

Isn’t that the way of it, the criss and cross of pain?
Intersecting lines that just as quickly branch astray.
Isn’t love a bullet hole, a jagged tear, blood stain?
Somehow wrong and yet you find you cannot look away.

Tell me, you’ll thank me to save up my pardons.
Not nearly what it needs to be. Not nearly, no it’s not.
Yes, if you’ll have me, I’ll accept. Ice either melts or hardens.
So tell me, is your mind made up, your temper cool or hot?

Isn’t that the way of it, the criss and cross of pain?
Intersecting lines that just as quickly branch astray.
Isn’t love a bullet hole, a jagged tear, blood stain?
Somehow wrong and yet you find you cannot look away.

I could have told you a long while ago that none of this would end up right.
But nobody likes listening to prophets reminisce, and so I’ll toss my thoughts into the endless void of night…

For isn’t that the way of it, the criss and cross of pain?
Intersecting lines that just as quickly branch astray.
Isn’t love a bullet hole, a jagged tear, blood stain?
Somehow wrong and yet you find you cannot look away.

This was always wrong and yet I couldn’t ever tear myself away.

Day 165: I worked on a story I'm nicknaming "Ozymandias." Here's what I came up with...

The first time I ever heard the name Ozymandias was in Mrs. Halligan’s tenth grade English class. I can still recall it clearly. I was seated toward the back of the room in that class, but more importantly I was seated right in front of Justin Barris, who had a habit of putting his feet up on the back of my chair. Unfamiliar with tenth grade boy flirting tactics, I tried scooting my desk away from him, but it was still really distracting.

In poetry sessions, Mrs. Halligan would often have students read the poem aloud before we discussed it as a group. I raised my hand, grateful for any excuse to be out of my seat for a little, but it was quiet Susan McCabe who got called on to read. Seriously, if you ever heard this girl string together more than four words it was something of a miracle. And yet here she was raising her hand to read a poem out loud in front of a classroom full of her peers—volunteering herself for the one activity she usually avoided at all costs. It was pretty unexpected.

It was also a shame. Her voice was reed-thin and lapsed sometimes into whisper. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s best efforts at noble grandeur were squelched in the miserable cadences of a voice almost consistently on the edge of something—probably tears. But even in Susan’s faltering tones, two lines rang out with force and clarity: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

We picked apart the poem as high school English teachers have a wont to do. We talked about Shelley and his life and other works. We talked about time and the inevitability of decay. We even talked about why someone would have a stupid name like Ozymandias (that was Carl Phillips’ brilliant contribution to the discussion). Then Mrs. Halligan tried to wrap things up on a hopeful note by giving some uber-inspirational speech about how we impact each other’s lives. I really am not sure what her point was, as by then I had pretty much stopped listening.

That was the extent to which I knew the name: a shadowy part-statue from an old poem that was read ever-so-forgettably by the school’s resident mute girl.

The second time I heard the name Ozymandias was when the dark-eyed man appeared at my door, tipped his hat at me, and asked if he could come in.

“The name’s Ozymandias,” he said. “You may want to remember that.”

But after that day I’d have no problem with forgetting. That name would come to haunt me beyond the very bounds of Time.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Days One Hundred Forty One to One Hundred Fifty One: Houses and Horcruxes, and Many Songs

Okay, it's official: I'm 98 days behind on documenting my Good Madness. I have been keeping up with it. I have a system where each day I'll jot a brief description of my daily creation on a post-it note, usually 6 or 7 per note. I use these to help with summarizing for this blog. Normally I'll have at most 3 or 4 stuck to my desk awaiting transferral to the blog. This is what I currently have to go through:

Yeah, it's a lot. So I'm just going to dive right in.

Day 141: I was on a definite song kick in here, so I wrote another one I call "Salamander Song" for lack of a better name:

Day 142: Rebekah and Jackson were in town visiting and we went to a sculpture park in uptown Charlotte. I took a number of photos, but I'm counting this one as my Good Madness for the day:

Day 143: I wrote another poem from the point of view of the same character in the 'House Between Worlds' story as Day 132, but it's much less spoilerish (and you probably won't understand all of it out of context anyway):

I tire of the cracks in the cieling and walls.
I tire of walls most of all.
And doorways and door frames
And keyholes and locks.
I tire of floorboards and dust.

There are shadows that move in the corner of my eye
But when I turn to talk to them they disappear.
It is lonely and quiet and terrifyingly blank
This endless stretch of days
I wake and I sleep
And the watch that I keep
Is there every moment, no stopping, no break.

I tire of the carpets and stairways and halls.
I tire of walls most of all.
Of closets and cupboards,
windows and nooks
And the sounds of something moving in the walls.

I tend to hear voices come from other rooms
But when I arrive no one’s there.
It is lonely and quiet and desperately sad
This empty stretch of days
I wake and I sleep
And the watch that I keep
Is so pointless, so foolish, so bleak.

And sometimes at night I swear I see her
And sometimes I dream that it’s a lie
And sometimes I wish that this was just madness
That I was just crazy
That all of this is in my head
Because then at least she’d still be here
Then none of it was true

But I always awake to the same tired sight
No matter the room or the bed.
Of the house all around me,
A place I will never leave.
It’s a prison - boxed in from all sides.

I know that I’m foolish to write this complaint
But I tire of this house all the same:
Weary of this curse,
So sick of this call.
But I tire of walls most of all.

Day 144: At work they asked me to design the poster for our Summer Movie series at the library. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it.

Day 145: I did some recording for the wizard rock song "Under the Stairs" that I'm creating as part of a charity album to raise money for the Harry Potter Alliance. More on that later...

Day 146: I wrote a scene for a potential 13 Days of Halloween story that involves a mysterious copy room that everyone in this otherwise normal-to-the-point-of-being-utterly-boring office building tends to avoid like the plague.

Day 147: I drove up to Raleigh for the day to participate in a NC area wizards meet-up where we had a cookout, wizard rock show, and "horcrux hunt" (geocaching). I even found one of the horcruxes!

In honor of the event, I brought a giant cookie, which I decorated myself:

Day 148: Yet another song, this one of a more eerie nature:

Day 149: Inspired by a post on a blog I enjoy reading called "Forever Young Adult," I wrote this blog post talking about some of the fictional men of my dreams.

Day 150: At the library, our Summer Reading Program was just kicking off, so I designed a sign for the multicultural book display.

Day 151: Yep, you guessed it: yet another song. This one is called "Fool Mistakes." It's a bit emo. I made a video for it using a bunch of shots of a city, even though it doesn't really have anything to do with a city. Oh, logic... so overrated.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Days One Hundred Thirty Two to One Hundred Forty: Fairy Tales and End of Days Fail

If you look at the dates on the entries you'll notice that it's been a while since I last blogged. That doesn't mean I haven't been keeping up with my Good Madness. On the contrary, it's been surprisingly easy to keep up with despite being busier with travel, a heavier work schedule, and an upcoming move. But while it's not too hard for me to actually sit down and create, what has been hard is convincing myself to take the time to chronicle it.

You wouldn't think these blog posts take that long, but they do. Because not only do I type out these explanations, but I also have to upload pictures, embed videos, etc etc. It takes a good one to two hour chunk out of my day, depending on the breadth of material I have to cover. Technically as I am writing this it is day 159. That's 28 days to cover. I'm not going to do it in one blog post... I'm going to break it up into several smaller ones. And you don't have to read it all unless you want to. Because, let's face it: just because I create something every day doesn't mean that every day's creation is any good. Sometimes you surprise yourself. Sometimes amazing things pop up seemingly out of nowhere. But sometimes it's all just garbage. We'll see what this crop holds...

Day 132: I wrote a poem from the point of view of a character (his name is Darius) in the "House Between Worlds" story I'm working on. It contains spoiler-ish material, though, so I won't post it here. (Not yet.)

Day 133: I had a dream about a giant pumpkin, so...

Day 134: There was a fairy tale I wrote when I was younger. Probably around 7 years old. It featured a boy and a girl and a magical golden cape that transports you to another world. The boy and girl had to rescue these weird magical forest creatures from the curse of an evil magician. The original version was probably about 100 words long, written and illustrated on a stapled booklet made of striped green-and-white computer paper from the super-old printers at the hospital my grandmother used to volunteer at. Well, that story's been wandering around in my head a bit lately and I thought it deserved a fuller retelling, so I started work on that and got about halfway through.

Day 135: This was a cool one. I was doing some errands, and a conversation I'd had with somebody about myth came to mind. It made me think of the Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, which, if you're unfamiliar, is basically a cyclical pattern that almost all major stories or myths follow in some sense. The conversation I'd been having with my friend was about the part of the hero's journey where they must descend into the "cave" or "depths" before reemerging to fight the final battle and win the victory. We'd been debating about literal versus figurative examples of this. A figurative example would be a character perhaps descending to emotional depths of despair before rallying and heading toward the climactic scene of the story. One literal example, however, was Pinocchio, who literally descends into the stomach of a whale to save Gepetto. It's only after this that he goes on to achieve his quest of becoming a Real Boy.

Anyway, that's a long discussion and probably put you to sleep unless you're a fan of literature classes. But, the long and short of it is that I was thinking about these two things and started humming, and a song came out. I call it "Pinocchio's Lament," and the idea is that Pinocchio is basically complaining to Jiminy Cricket (his conscience) because the process of becoming Real is difficult and painful and he's beginning to think maybe he should just give up. I'll post the lyrics below. I'm in the process of coming up with a piano accompaniment, then I'll record it as a proper song.

Won't you just
Leave me be?
I'm tired of hurting so much.
And pain's all you get
When you dare to care
I'm tired of hurting so much.

Conscience and consciousness
All of it leads to this
Terrible pain that I feel.
So let the world go on as such
I think it's just too much
To ever expect me to be something real.

Won't you just
Leave me be?
I'm tired of hurting so much.
And pain's all you know
When you try to grow
I'm tired of hurting so much.

Knowing the right and wrong
Won't make a better song
When it's been sad from the start.
Of all of the lies I tell
I lie worst to myself
To think I could ever change my sad splintered heart.

But Jiminy,
You won't give up on me
I'm tired of hurting so much.
But it seems that to feel
is what makes someone Real...
And the best way to heal is to love.

Day 136: There's a song I wrote a while ago called "A Strange One, She." I'll post the lyrics below. Anyway, the first recording I ever did of it was an eerie, slow kind of song. But driving home at night, I was trying to keep myself awake and started belting it out in this loud rock and roll version. A different melody, and a lot faster paced.... but it sounded cool, so when I got home I recorded it. Haven't made it into a video yet, but when I do I'll post it.

Day 137: At work I made a poster for my "No Passport, No Problem!" event about the USA. Only after I made it did anyone bother to tell me we weren't making full size posters for individual summer reading programs, just flyers. So yeah... an afternoon wasted, but at least I get to count it as my Good Madness for the day.

Day 138: Had a fantastic inspiration for a 13 Days of Halloween story, which includes these words: To be killed by malice or compassion, which hurts the worst? In the end it all comes out the same.

Day 139: I wrote this blog post in response to Carrie Ryan, author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy, coming to speak at our library.

Day 140: The world was supposed to end today, but it didn't. As a joke, I set my clothing out on the lawn to stage my own "rapture."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Days One Hundred Twenty Four to One Hundred Thirty One: Roasting Marshmallows With Martians

Day 124: Today's creation was what I sometimes wish they all could be. It was nearly midnight. I grabbed a notebook and thought "I haven't created anything today." I started writing and didn't stop until four lines of text had bloomed on the page (It seemed instantaneous. I don't really remember actually writing them.) I looked at the four lines and started to read them aloud, but before I had even gotten through the first line I was singing it. And as I kept singing, another stanza appeared, then two more. And that was it. I had a song. I raced to the computer and recorded it before I could forget.

It's really strange. It tells a story, but I don't really know what the story is about. I guess you could interpret it as you wanted. Part of me thinks that this is strongly influenced by having just finished Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin, because the main family in that comes from a stronghold known as Winterfell, and much of the book could be summed up in the line "blood kin with bloodlust all seek the same throne." But other than that, they don't have anything in common. The names (Andorall, Endower) don't show up in the book, and there was no mention of storms. But interpret it as you will. I'm also coupling this entry with Day 131, because that's when I finally got around to adding sound effects at the end and turning it into a video:

Day 125: I made signs for the yard sale I had with Mandy.

Day 126: Borrowing the idea from Melissa, I found a jar and decorated it to give to Mom for Mother's Day. Inside are a bunch of post-it notes with short messages from me, Zach, Laura, and Wes. Here's a (sideways) picture...

Day 127: I wrote a very silly poem...

I would ride a praying mantis
to the city of Atlantis
if it meant I'd get to spend some time with you.
I would go and eat spaghetti
with a very hairy yeti
'cause that's just the sort of thing a friend would do.

Roasting marshmallows with martians,
hunting giant rubber ducks,
learning karate kicks from kangaroos...
These things would be as boring
as a robot's programmed snoring
if I couldn't share them all with you.

So I'll act out famous dramas
with a herd of purple llamas
and I know you'll be there clapping at the end.
Even if those other meanies
squawk like toucans in tankinis,
it won't matter, 'cause I have
you as a friend.

Day 128: I wrote something that included this scene...

They found her once on the floor of a bookstore surrounded by discarded books - heaps and stacks of them, some fallen open with pages fluttering, some with covers bent under, huge lopsided piles and towers leaning under the weight of paper and words. She was crying, which had been part of what attracted the crowd around her in the first place. Coffee drinkers and browsing shoppers pointed and whispered and tried not to look like they were leaning in for a better view.

"What the matter?" one wary bookseller asked, obviously at a loss as to what to do.

What was most terrible of all was that she didn't know. She had been looking for something important, something she couldn't quite name, and it was nowhere to be found.

Day 129: There was a thunderstorm tonight, so I sat down and wrote this:

Once upon a time we dreamed of another world. On nights like this, when lightning lit the whole sky brighter than daylight, with the rain pouring down, a soft rustle in the stuttering dark. We dreamed of another world knowing that surely it must be better than this one. And whether it was magic or the gods or some other force beyond reckoning, our dreams were heard. Those secret hopes we had harbored so long were made real.

We were shown a Door and offered the chance to open it, to step through into another place.

Tell me, and be honest: what else could we have done? What would you have done?

No, don't answer that. I already know. It's the same reason you're still reading these words.

You long as much as we once did to know what will happen next, to discover what awaits in that place just beyond.

Day 130: Rebekah was in town, and we got together and had fun with makeup. Not the fifth-grade slumber party kind of makeup (or if so, then your fifth grade slumber parties were way cooler than mine were!), but haunted house makeup. I became a zombie under her skilled hands. I'm counting this as my Good Madness, though, because I helped the teensiest bit. I added some blood to my nose, forehead, and a little to the peeling parts on my cheeks. Other than that, all of this is Rebekah's Good Madness. :)

Day 131: I made the Endower Castle video... (see above)

Days One Hundred Seventeen to One Hundred Twenty Three: The British Are Coming

Day 117: The night before this, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman, Ben Folds, and Damian Kulash (from OK Go) locked themselves in a studio for eight hours and attempted to write eight songs as part of a creative experiment in their own. Thus, they called their band "8in8." What actually ended up happening was that they wrote six songs in twelve hours, but still... they were some pretty rad songs. You can hear/buy them all HERE. They put out a call for fan-made music videos for each of the songs, and I made one for "The Problem With Saints." I filmed it all two hours before I had to leave for work, then edited it together that night when I got back, but despite the haste it still came out fairly well.

ALSO, Neil Gaiman saw it and mentioned it on his twitter feed... which made me very happy!

So anyway, here's that video:

(Also, can I just add how weird it felt decapitating the Queen the night before a royal wedding?)

Day 118: This morning was indeed the royal wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton. I woke up super early to watch it, then went to work (a long shift... I was covering for somebody that day). I was in such a royal-wedding-y mood that I made this while at work:

Day 119: While cleaning the church I started humming and came up with a song that, for lack of a better title, I'm currently calling the "Fairy Tale song." I can't find the notebook I wrote it in right now, and the chorus is the only thing I can remember, so I'll just explain what the song is about. The first verse tells the story of the Green Children, which were these two green-skinned children that appeared to come up out of the earth in Woolpit, England in the early Middle Ages. They told a story about how they lived in a land underground where everyone was green-skinned like them and where bells rang and strange lights gleamed. People assumed they were faeries. The boy became sick right away and died, but the girl survived and eventually lost the greenish tint of her skin. The second verse talks about the Cottingley Fairies case, two little girls who claimed to have managed to take pictures of fairies, though it later turned out to be a hoax. The third verse talks about a couple's relationship, with the idea that things aren't working out between the two but that the singer wants to pretend that everything is okay. The chorus hopefully ties all these ideas together: Just because we made it up / Doesn't mean it isn't true. / I've found such joy and wonder / In my time with you. / So come my friend / and pretend with me again / because I'd much rather live in a fairy tale. / Come with me / there's so much that's left to be / For I'd much rather live in a dream.

Day 120: I made a birthday card for Dad's 60th birthday celebration!

Day 121: I created an example of Rangoli, an Indian art form we're using as a craft for Summer Reading this year:

Day 122: I tried and tried to write a story I came up with for 13 Days of Halloween, but nothing good came of it. Seriously, after an hour and a half of working on this, I think I have one usable paragraph, and even that is weak. (So weak I really don't want to share it here!) But I will share this interesting tidbit... I'm not hugely superstitious, but today (day 122) just happened to be May 3. I have a file on my computer of interesting quotes I save, and every in a once in a while I'll go through it looking for something to reference somewhere else. I happened to be glancing through it yesterday and found this quote that mentions May the 3rd:

"... the third of May, when the Devil and his angels were cast out of heaven (and therefore 3rd May is a day on which no important undertaking should be begun and on which it is unpardonable to commit a crime)..."
~The Inner-Hebride and Their Legends, by Otta F. Swire

So I'm just going to go with that and say I was doomed anyway. Or the other alternative: that it was just a bad day.

Day 123: I wrote a poem/nursery rhyme.

Your eyelids are so heavy that the giants in the North
would stagger and would falter at their weight.
Your yawn gapes open oh so wide a Hippogriff could fly inside
So close that drawbridge and shut fast the gate!

You're grumpy as an ogre when you grumble and you yell
You could shame a banshee with your shrieks and cries.
You're as dazed as king or commoner under a fairy's spell
Any wise old crone could see through you're disguise... ("But I'm not tired!")

So like a clumsy baby dragon, let your eyelids flutter and fall
Set swords aside, no need for you to fight.
Rest your head and dream until the dawning of the day
I love you, so sleep tight. Good night, dear knight.