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.

Book Review: Highland Fire by Hannah Howell

I decided to give the book a try, even if the writing and story thus far had me concerned. However, the book slapped my face with the worst plot device ev-ah! You know the one... Love at first sight! Blah. I stopped believing in that sometime in the womb. I am sure that some ladies (and maybe men... I am sure there are guys out there who read romances... right?) out in the world who thoroughly enjoy the idea of LaFS. I just find it a cheap way of hooking characters up without actually having them become closer in a more natural way. I believe in lust at first sight. But most often the key word is "love." Sure. So the main character dude is convinced that he and this stranger girl are "mates." I cringed at the word. And it isn't what you think. Nope. I don't like the word because it is somehow deemed by the author to be romantic. A sort of destiny thing. Now if this were a drag you back to the cave, no feelings involved, story I would accept the word. But since this is supposed to be a sweet, happy romance I despise the use of the word. I skimmed this book. Just as a warning. You may ask if I am a totally fair judge of the book. And I answer Yes! 

Elf sword

I am sure I could have enjoyed a passage or two in the book that I did not read (but I doubt it). You could not force me to read this one though. After I read the last pages in the book (yes I skipped to the end) I heartily threw the book on the floor. Now this book had something else I really don't like. Besides a consistently stubborn and dense heroine. I know she is dense and stubborn because I read the last pages. See I wasn't made to suffer. I think I chose correctly. Anyway... this book has characters that speak in dialect! Oh sweet joy! Dialect. Scottish dialect to be exact. Save me now. It's all "ken" and "verra" and "dinnae" (not sure on the last one, but you get the point). I was gonna kill someone. The word "bonnie" was used too! Argh! No! I have an aversion to the word. Especially when "lass" is attached. It was like I stepped into Satan's living room! Hellish! I don't think I'd mind dialect if it was similar to a Robert Burns poem. But I just get the American trying to speak like a Scot vibe. Which always causes me to run away with my ears plugged (if I were watching a movie). I ran away. Rating: Did not finish. Would not recommend this book, unless you like the author and/or if you are fond of Scots dialect.

Highland Fire by Hannah Howell

Title: Highland Fire. Author: Hannah Howell. Genre: Historical Romance. Paperback: 384 pages. Publisher: Zebra; Reprint Edition (June 1, 2008). Description: Swept overboard and stranded on the rocky shores of Scotland, Moira Robertson is left with only the tattered clothes on her back-and the mysterious stranger who came to her aid on the ship. Although their close surroundings unsettle her, she soon cannot resist his touch which awakens a burning ache deep within her. But can she trust her life-and her heart-to this darkly seductive man? Tavig MacAlpin is a condemned man. Accused of a murder he did not commit, his escape is thwarted by a flame-haired beauty. He must continue his search for justice, but fate has bound him to this Scottish lass-and to a slow, sensual desire that will not be denied.

Review: Sometimes I just want to read a bad book. My brain gravitates to my stack of TBR books, ones that I suspect may be a vacation for my brain. I am not looking for a terrible book. Just one that is "bad" enough to give me a break from actually using any brain power. I have this theory, which is probably completely correct (or not), that our brains are incredibly insightful. That meat rattling in our skulls pick up on the tiniest cues. And I think my brain was leading me to the number one "bad" book in my stacks. Sadly this book exceeded my expectations. Meh. It was a tough decision whether I thought the first paragraph was bizarre in a good way or a bad way. A man in obvious disguise. A puffy, soft belly. Like all the fake Santas wear. Skinny, but oh so strong, legs and arms. It could have been entertaining if it wasn't a train wreck.

The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove

I’m listening to this song on one of my pandora stations, and remembering where i heard it first, while working at a bookstore that had been built inside the castle-like shell of an old theosophical society temple. In some ways, that job was pretty cool, as retail jobs go. So after a bit of googling I find one of the former employees has created a myspace page as internet flypaper trying to get all those people together. I don’t know. I met some people i liked there. Other people I met there, I had some conflict with. Largely, I think, because they disapproved of my not drinking. Frustrated writers can be that way. There’s a weird camaraderie that arises amongst people working together at a crappy retail job. Especially the type that affords a veneer of elite knowledge even if it does not afford elite pay. I occasionally keep in touch with my fellow former box office people (”yes, I used to work for a nonprofit arts organization”).