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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Hello, my faithful and beloved reader(s)! I have not meant to fall off the face of the earth, but … eh … life. The awesome Team Beta has awesomely been beta-ing Steel Butterfly, and giving me loads of good feedback and thinky-thoughts for round two. I have meant to mention some of them here, but … eh … life.

Real Life Wins is the unofficial motto (at least, I think it’s unofficial–if I notice it translated into Latin or made into a crest or something I will assume otherwise) of the equally busy fellow who is teaching a group of busy folk here in the D/FW area how to bash people with swords. (“Woefully Unprepared” is my motto. Or, if I have spent too much time on the Facebook, “For Crying Out Loud!” Any Latin-learned amongst you willing to translate these so that I can turn them into family crests, or at least t-shirts, will have my undying gratitude.) (And yes, I am learning … slowly … to bash people with swords. Actually, right now I am just learning how to hold a sword and how to swing it effectively. So slow, my learning. But anyway.)

The point is, my current Overwhelmedness Level is at about an 11. When I returned to a more regularly whelmed state, I will no doubt have both opinions about things and the wherewithal to go on about them. Meanwhile, I apologize for the radio silence, and here’s a picture I drew of my main characters. I plan to color it, but (you know) … eh … life.

Just imagine a beautiful landscape behind them.

Just imagine a beautiful landscape behind them.

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Good Heavens!

So overnight the blog rather … exploded.  A very mild explosion, as these things go: an average post here has about five views; the very excitingly popular ones have sixty.  My Sad Puppies cartoon has three hundred and counting!  Welcome to all newcomers, and thank you for stopping by.  Also thank you for the extremely positive response, showing that my fears of negative reprisals for speaking up were baseless and vain, and for those who shared the cartoon (I’m guessing mostly on the Facebook?), thank you for that too.  I am honored by your company.  *raises a glass* *or actually a teacup* *it’s six a.m. here*

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Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.

It can be no coincidence that the rising of Christ from the tomb corresponds to the greening of nature after the long winter, and even here where winter’s average temperatures are in the mid-50s, the new blossoms springing to life after a season of grey and brown are a delight to the eyes.

After a long hiatus (much more than a season) I am getting back into gardening, in my haphazard and ramshackle way, mostly by guess and by gosh, with frantic googlings when things start to go wrong (what are those teeny tiny red things, and why are they killing my tomatoes?  I have yet to bring a tomato to successful fruition), and this year I am putting in roses.  A popular fantasy author put some flings against roses into the mouth of one of his characters, and I was a little indignant on the poor roses’ behalf.  Is it their fault they are so extravagantly lovely that man has deemed them the best symbol of eternal devotion?  But never mind him.  This year at last our poor drab home will be adorned with roses, roses everywhere I can put them.  I am thinking of climbing roses around the east and west windows, like the cottage in Robin McKinley’s Beauty–although mine are probably not going to grow with supernatural speed and fecundity, alas.

“What do roses do?” the Viking Prince asked.

“What do roses do?” I echoed back at him, as is my (probably quite irritating from his point of view) habit.

He gave it due thought.  “I think they just sit there,” he said.

“Well, yes,” I admitted. “But they also look beautiful…”

“And smell good!”

“And feed the bees…”

“With their nectar! And butterflies!”

“And they glorify God with their loveliness.”  Kind of sententious, I know, but hey, it’s true! God, having made roses, presumably loves them, and the roses, in their plant-y way, love him back.  And do not the green hills, adorned with new blossoms (even the humble dandelions), appear a kind of shout of joy made visible?

And shall we not in this joyful Eastertide (another favorite hymn!) imitate the burgeoning nature around us and glorify God with our best beauties: whether we are magnificent roses, humble dandelions, or prickly blackberries.  Let the joy of God spring forth in our hearts, softening the wintry soil and shooting forth new growth.

As the hymn says:

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green.


Hymn “Now the Green Blade Riseth” is copyright John M.C. Crum. I found the full words here.

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ImageI found the above image on tumblr just now, and it really spoke to me.  (It also spoke to about fifty thousand other people, according to the number of reblogs it has received.)  First, it makes me want to smash some of my pottery and plates just so I can fix them with gold laquer.  Because look how lovely!

But second, I would like my heart, my self, to be repaired with gold.  I would like some skilled craftsman to pick up all my broken pieces, and gaze lovingly at each one, and fit them back together with deft hands, and apply the precious gold to all the cracks and seal me back up, undeniably broken, but more lovely than before.

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Dear Friends,

Many of you have asked me (and I’m sure all of you have wondered), quite justifiably, what is going on with your commissions.  Everyone has been unwaveringly kind and polite, for which I am grateful.  I am aware that everyone who has commissioned me has been waiting a long time, many of you a ridiculously long time, and some of you an absurdly and unconscionably long time.  So thank you for your patience.

Most of you probably know that in October of 2010 I had a son, my first.  I had never had any contact with tiny helpless humans before, and had no idea how great an impact the presence of an infant in my life would have.  Whereas before I could work for 8, 12, 14 hours a day if necessary, now I could work for perhaps one.  Or two.  My artistic output was severely curtailed.

(We all know of artists who have children, and it seems to make no difference to how much they can work.  I respectfully suggest that that is because those artists are dudes.)

As my son grew and sleep become something other than a dear memory, I became able to work more hours (than two, remember), and my output increased.  However, I have a huge problem saying no to work, and so 2012 became the year from hell, as I had no time to catch a breath or take a break, and the official set work piled up and piled up and squeezed out any time for commissions I might have had.

Then 2012 became the year from hell in another way.  On July 28, my dad died.

I’m not going to dwell on that here, but it was an unexpected wound, and I am not recovered.  I shoved grief aside in order to keep working, but I have learned that when you ignore something that big, it doesn’t go away, it just gets bigger and bigger.

Oh, I thought I was okay.   (But that’s for another day.)

Then, this year, on June 22, my grandmother (Dad’s mom) died.

I am one of only two people remaining from my dad’s immediate family (I have an aunt in California, his sister), and I wound up in charge of both my dad’s and my grandma’s estates.  Running about taking care of estate business is almost as good for staving off grief as throwing oneself into art.  Better, maybe, because art gives you time to think, and estate business doesn’t.

http://fav.me/d2khk35

This has nothing to do with this post, but it’s the coolest thing that came up when I searched “to do list”

The estate business is not completed.  My official set commitments are not completed (I have two more to go and then I am done with sketch cards for the foreseeable future.  But that’s a different announcement).  My husband and my son need me.  I need to tend to my emotional state before I have a truly spectacular mental breakdown.

What does that mean for your commission?

I will be sending out emails to each individual who has commissioned me, but here’s the gist:

Every commission which has been started, even so much as a preliminary sketch, will get finished.  Sometime.  By the end of the year, I hope.  I know that seems a long time, but it’s the best I can do.  It doesn’t seem very long at all from where I’m sitting.

If your commission has not been started, I would like to offer you a refund.  Please take it, along with my apologies.  Please don’t say, “Oh, I don’t mind waiting, take as long as you need.”  I mind waiting.  It’s like I’m trying to climb the Cliffs of Insanity, and the idea of all the backlogged commissions that I cannot, cannot get to right now, is like a weight tied around my ankle.  I would like to cut the rope.  Refunding everyone who has paid me in advance will let me do that.

(When/if I ever take commissions again, I will not accept advance payments.  That was just a really bad idea.  Sorry, guys.)

In a year, or perhaps two, if you still want to commission me, we can talk about it then.  Again, I know it sounds like a long time.  It really isn’t.  It takes nine months for a child to gestate, and after nine months more he has probably mastered sitting up unaided, and possibly eating.  Maybe making a go at standing up.  My point is, life is full, and time goes fast.

This also means I will not be accepting any new commissions for the foreseeable future.  If and when I do start taking commissions again, I will contact first the unfinished people who accepted refunds, and then the people on the waiting list, and then, only once all of those are done, will I accept commissions from outside those two lists.

I am very sorry to do this, but it is necessary to my emotional health, my family’s well-being, and my general not-going-crazy-ness.  Thank you for your understanding.

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