Yesterday’s Page

I nearly posted this yesterday, then decided not to because I found the words rather dull and boring.

Then I thought, what’s wrong with the dull and boring? Dull and boring happen too . Isn’t the purpose of writing practice to shake out the dull bits and fluff so the pearls can shine through?

Well, I didn’t actually turn things into a poem right then and there – but the basic sentiment was the same. Sketching is about getting your ideas out. They build up; they stack on top of each other. Maybe that great poem or near-perfect line of prose or nifty drawing or your very next novel even is just waiting to be uncovered from beneath the thinnest layer of mediocre. Who can say? Neither you nor I, I’ll bet.

Anyhow, here is the page I chose to publish after deciding not to. Tomorrow is, after all, another page again – we can’t know what might be waiting until we decide to give it a flip.

More RPG stuff

What’s with these pages, the reader might be wondering. I am wondering that myself. I fill up notebooks a lot lately, and what I find afterward as I walk through them “in order” (front of book to back of book) is a picture of things purposefully done out of order, because I tend to skip around a lot subject-wise, and I also often open the book to a random blank page when I’ve got something to say to my future self. I believe that’s what sketchbooks are for- to be sketchy.

I’m not exactly expecting the content to be interesting to anybody else, though I might expect to find my own notes at least somewhat interesting. I am hoping to process what I’ve been doing with the creative energy – to add to the initial inspiration with some additional thoughts. I could probably post sketch pages daily for months at this point, even if I never created anything new. They are piling up. I need a new sketchbook!

Today’s page is some notes to self about a mobile storytelling app I’d love one of my clones to build, once I invent a cloning machine. The app walks the user through the creation of a fictional character, and invites them to combine these characters with characters created by others into a troupe of heroes. Their objectives – their goals and challenges and dreams – are projections of the players’ own. It is one more project on a stack of projects that I would like to someday put into the world, in case they might be of use to others.

A project like this is also a great way to practice software architecture and design. It’s another type of sketching altogether. I love sketchbooks.


Story Starters

Hmm not sure what’s going on here

Sometimes – by that I mean most often – when I decide to sketch something, I have no clue what I’m going to draw. This is almost always how I prefer it, since when I’m done I can try telling stories about whatever it is I just drew, which is fun.

Sometimes I do start with a story and then try drawing the story. Even then, the drawing comes out imperfectly, and further informs the story in its own way – how could it not? Pictures speak a thousand words, so when you decide to take one, or make one, it’s going to speak to you, even if its lines are all squiggly and its background is unclear and its subjects might not know what they’re doing there.

There are the moments before that picture, and the moments to follow – that’s the cool trick of capturing a single frame of time this way- my mind needs to animate it, since we live and grow up in an animated world. We are ourselves animated, and I believe we are animators too, in our minds, and in our motions.

Images of buildings beg questions of who built them, and who lives in them now. Images of cats and mice beg questions about predation or friendship – open mouths speak words we can’t hear, but can readily imagine; are they kind, informative, inane, relevant or off-topic?

Anyway, more of the same – a jpeg and some text, it’s what I have today to give away.

Found and Unfinished Story Bits

Happy Sunday! I found this second part to an unfinished scene between Grand Aunt Bee and the her Grand Niece Maevis. Maeve has been wondering where all her scenes have gone lately, and why I’ve been so busy finding ways to distract myself from her story.

It’s a cliche to say that characters at some point take on a life of their own but in this my first attempt to write a book, I’ve found it to be curiously true. I can’t force the stuff, but when I start typing and sketching or scribbling with them in mind, they seem to know what I should say, and where they should go.

Where do stories come from?

Maevis Morgan is the main character, and I know this because she’s always the one most insistent on getting on with the plot (even though she doesn’t like fiction). Bee on the other hand seems most to understand that things must happen in their own good time.

That said, if I am to say I should like to be a writer someday, I do at some points here and there need to write.

More Maevis and Bee

The girl then thought for a spell
The Grand Aunt giving her time,
As she nearly always did.

The Wimsels, thought Maeve, really were fluttering all about
In that gently illuminated midnight rainbow dance
Beneath the breeze-tusseled trees
Set before a deep blue and silvered sky.

So, so much colour and fuss.
And why should she be there to take it all in,
Through ears and nose and eyes and skin?

Well, the old woman always knew
When the young woman was practicing
the art of being awestruck at her world –

And so they both waited ,
One seeing the other seeing her world
for that first time and in her new way.

She struggled so hard sometimes to understand
What was it that guided the spirits who alighted upon her elder’s hand?

Maeve shook her head. Where had all that come from? What had Bee’s question been?

“About what?” Is what Maeve asked. What had the question been?

“About what, what?” Bee playfully asked, turning the girl’s question upon itself as so often the girl herself was prone to do.

“Well, what are the Wimsels fluttering about for? It seems like a lot of work for nothing, if you ask me”, but the girl did not at all wish them to stop – she could sit on this back porch forever, with the old woman and these fragile and floating things, ageless and airborne.

What would Blueberry and Niall and Liz and Chuckless think, if they were to see these? What her mother think? Where was her mother, again and anyway?

Bee’s hand, outstretched, let two swirl and dance across her palm for the moments it took them to fall together and merge and then at last depart, roots growing to stems and to flowers, then seeds at their tops, to start the rooting process all and over again, winds taking them where they may.

She could sense the storm approaching across the far horizon. It would be upon them in three days, perhaps four, but no more.

“Maeve, you must not tell anyone about this garden. This garden is yours and mine alone.”

“Why do you always evade my questions, Aunt Bee?” Maeve wished she had brought her phone. She wanted photos. The Internet had told her nothing at all about Wimsels.

“Is that what I do?” the elder chuckled almost to herself, now up and climbing the short steps to the back veranda. “Come in soon – the night will grow cold in a moment”.

Maeve did not turn to watch her Grand Aunt go – she heard the screen door close, Dooley’s toes clickety clacking upon the wooden floor within, waiting for the old woman to come in to safety, worried about the young girl out alone, facing the dark line of trees across the expanse of unmowed back lawn. He did not must trust those trees after the sun went down.

“I’ll be right there Dooley, don’t worry yourself” Maeve reassured the old Half-Hound, unwilling to take her eyes off the Wimsels as they disappeared, one by one, into the grass and leaves and darkened evening air.

For a moment she too felt the storm’s slow approach, though she knew not how that could be.

Too-too much, so and so

I have possibly a thousand things I could write right now; when I started writing a couple of years ago I’m not sure I knew what kind of spigot I was turning.

Still, finding the right time and place and mindset is hard. Work awaits, family calls, sleep beckons, and life in general interferes with that perfect image of writing the cozy piece in a cozy corner of the world, with nothing but time before and behind, and that ever-elusive peace of mind.

The Other Half of my writing awaits – the reading. The listening. The observing and the receiving. This domain as well brims with directions and channels and topics and priorities.

It feels often as though, as one Human, I inherit the possibilities of twenty Humans. Life’s an adventure game, and we are not always allowed to turn back the pages, nor can we tell how many pages lie ahead (thankfully, I believe).

When I stop talking, I am usually busy trying to hear.

Happy October! My favourite month by far and always.



Pardon the worrisome whimsy

One of the things about sketching in just this sort of way is that I commit both goodly ideas and accidentally bawdy “humour” and questionable bits of dialogue and maybe a spoiler in there somewhere – all in one fell swoop.

I could redact the things I might wish to redact, and/or emphasize some others, but then I would not be sharing the full journey through the book, and that is the project for now.

How many Wimsels
are there in our garden,
Far more than we
could both ever count,
I imagine…
Just look at them
flitter-flutter about

Another Page

More RPG design

So I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing now – this sketchbook thing is a project within a project – getting into the habit of sticking to a routine; some work each day on my own thing (whatever that may be).

Of course it’s all open-source, but also something I plan to do something with someday – “when I get more time”.

I hope you the dear reader are having a wonderful day!