The Page 69 Test

I read about this blog site on one of my writer's lists (and we now know these are where I get most of my ideas for blog topics, don't we?). Apparently authors can check their own books (or the blogger checks some) and email the blog owner. She then posted to the list, with a link to the original News Bite blog site. I find the idea interesting and so went to my book shelf to see how my books would fare if someone started reading at page 69. Would I find that page representative of the story as a whole? I was pretty nervous as I started reading, but was pleasantly surprised to find that, in all seven books, page 69 delivered the goods. Okay, I have no idea how you could plan something like that in your writing, but it is an interesting idea. It's not like you can find page 69 in an unpublished manuscript. The author doesn't control where the pages fall in a printed book. So, is it good writing or pure, dimb luck when that page delivers the goods? When you pick up a book, is random sampling part of your assessment for buying? Or do you go to a particular page? Now that I've read the News Bite page 69 site, I might become this website page 69 reader. If I remember to do it. Right now, I'm still trying to memorize a new pin number for my debit card.

James Wolf Art

James Wolf Strehle's Hound of Tindalos. This is awesome! Angels and hounds! While we don’t really see the hounds, overall the story and emotion here really allow the audience to fill in the blanks on the hounds character. The artist has seemed to take a safe and accessible road on the hounds idea; the hounds are described as being not being canine specifically, but could almost be bat like, leaving many roads you could travel down with the concept. However this approach works and overall this piece is great in its execution.

Wes Jones & Will Martinez

Wes Jones draw it’s like a sundew plant and a grasshopper had kids! This is a solid underdrawing. Reference those joints! Will Martinez draw another great piece! A delightful setting, somber mood, lots of information. Skillful handling of palette and textures. The architectural and costume details are a marvelous touch. I’d make a tiny adjustment of your values where the leading forearm crosses the belly... maybe just darken that edge of the arm a bit so the two don’t blend together. Well done!

IlluxCon Memories

As amazing as it is, walking through the main venue and seeing some of the greatest names and works that the fantasy genre has to offer - it was, in some ways, even more impressive to see the works that were in the Showcase. If this is a fair sampling of the generation of artists that are coming up - we have lots to look forward to in the years to come. I was absolutely blown away by some of the work I saw there and had some amazing conversations. I certain that at least one or two folks might get invited to the "big league" after such a strong showcase, and I look forward to seeing them in the main hall next year. I had several opportunities to chat with Patrick and Jeannie Wilshire about their creation. I really enjoy the passion and love they have for the artists and their works. There is a reason that this event is so cherished by the community that attends it - and that is these two wonderful people. It is an honor to have these two folks include me in their event, and I look forward to seeing how things change and grow over the years... and thanks for making the purposeful decision to keep the show small and intimate!

Marilyn Ferguson Advice

What I normally get from an artists, especially a first-time artist, is a note about how much fun they had with the project and how they hope that they can get more. I like getting those. It makes me feel good, but the cynical side of me just wants to believe they say that to every art director that can give them work. I hate the cynical side of me... it takes the fun out of a lot of stuff :) There was a time when I did some surveys with the artists to see what they thought about how I was doing my job. It was eye-opening. It taught me a lot about my expectations, my communication style, and my assumptions. In some ways it was a little crushing. There are some aspects of my personality I thought were strengths... and it wasn't always seen that way by the artists. Very humbling... So if you want to do surveys, or ask for feedback - make sure you take a deep breath before you start reading the replies. Sometimes they can be a hard pill to swallow. More so when you realize the feedback is honest and true. One bit of advice: After you read the feedback - just let it sit; Don't react to it. Don't judge it. Don't dismiss it. Just listen to it... and learn. "No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or emotional appeal" - Marilyn Ferguson.

You want Me to What?!

My tripods were a joke. My kick ups were dismal. But hey, my goal was simply to avoid breaking bones, not to actually accomplish anything. I got through them with as little effort as possible. At almost thirty minutes into class, we picked up our hoops and started spinning. Okay, now I was in my element. For about two minutes. Our lesson was to practice a hoop passing drill where we'd line up and swing the hoops side to side and front to back, passing it to the person behind us and then running to the back of the line. This was so not what I wanted to do. For me, hooping was a solo, meditative exercise. I'd come to this class to expand my repertoire of moves, such as hooping on my chest and shoulders, and maybe picking up a few dance moves. I didn't want to have to coordinate my tricks with others. What if I bonked someone's head with a hoop? What if someone bonked mine? What if I wasn't good enough and slowed the line down? What if? What if? What if? But I went along with it. And surprise of surprise, I actually kind of liked it. Just like that guy in Green Eggs and Ham. Hmmm. Something began to nag at me. As I threw my hoop into the air over and over, the nagging became a question: 

Elf girl

When had I become so scared of physical movement? It hadn't happened over night. I used to consider myself athletic. I used to like thrills. Yet somehow, my life had become such a routine that I was treating my body with the fragility of a much older person. Yuk. That's when I decided this class would really be about facing my fears, moving my body in ways that it wasn't familiar with. And so I dove in. Trying everything that was asked of me, week after week. The trampoline? Funnier than adult coloring pages? The multi-person hoop passing exercises? The attempts to hoop "off body" with my foot, knee, leg, whatever body part was available? Fun, fun, fun. Admittedly, I never got past the tripod stage of my head stands. But it didn't matter. The important thing was that I got upside down. That I tried. Each night I walked out of the gym with my back straighter, my head higher, my body a little more confident. Sunday, February16th is World Hoop Day. If you have the opportunity to hoop, I hope you give it a try. If you don't, I hope you find something that reminds you that you own your body, not the other way around.

Today and...

It's been twenty-four hours of nothing but fun. (Insert heavy sarcasm here). Almost no sleep - four hours is not near enough for a beauty like me. There are things that need done and of course they must be done in a prescribed timeframe which is now not later. The computer problem is fixed. Replaced Chrome with IE for now and everything is is fine. I no longer have to sign in each time I change pages (definitely maddening when reading blogs). Tomorrow is football! Grandson is sidelined with a sprain but all of us will be cheering up to victory over Clarion. We will cheer loudly and hard after the one (1) point loss last week to that other team. Saturday Shorts is coming up and then I hope to be on track with, what for me, is normal posting. I'm headed out for business now and then sleep. Have a happy and blessed weedend.