Thursday, November 26, 2009

What Does Your Character Celebrate? - Nov. 26, '09

What Does Your Character Celebrate?
For Americans, this is Thanksgiving Day, and I am thankful to have someone as my soul mate, a place that is our home, and the opportunity to do many things that I love with her. The turkey and chicken thighs marinated in spices, fresh squeezed orange juice, and honey, the dressing er, dressing-ated. Yes, I made that word up, and it came out all right for instead of putting in leftover breadcrumbs from an unlabeled container I ended up dropping in 1/2 cup of couscous. Added crushed cashews, chopped cooked onions, 2 eggs, cooked and crumbled lamb kebab instead of pork sausage for a less spicy taste, some chicken broth, and it actually came out well. Some kitchen accidents are edible.

I do put partial blame on the heavy duty antibiotics and cold meds I'm taking for bronchitis but the lesson too--label containers!

Holidays range from the personal to global, encompassing the silly, the profane and the sacred. We have birthdays, christenings, name-days, confirmation, and coming-of-age. There are anniversaries of meetings, engagements, weddings and vow renewals, holidays of love, war commemorations, jubilees for royalty, presidents' birthdays, days for remembering the dead individually and en masse, other occasions recall disasters and mass tragedies.

We celebrate Mother's and Father's Day, (my folks, to my question of why there isn't a children's day, said that every day is children's day), We've added Grandparent's Day, Earth Day, Secretaries' Day, and the quaint Groundhog's Day is never celebrated by the animal kingdom, though the Punxsutawney Phil groundhog of the day is given treats.

This latter holiday is actually quite old and is related to Imbolc or Brigid's Day on February 2nd when the peasants hoped winter was losing its grip. By this time food storage supplies are low, hunting is slim, and the ground still too hard to plant. If a groundhog or badger (European origin) can make it through the frozen earth--then soon it will be pliable enough for mattock and spade.

The oldest celebrations center around the seasons and the elements, for without water and food, we cannot exist. In pagan traditions the solstices and equinoxes honor the longest day on June 21st, and the longest night on December 21st. May 21st and September 21 have equal amount of day to night but one slips into a greater luminance, while the other's hours of light decline. The moon phases of new and full, waxing and waning also mark time.

What do our characters celebrate?

I've a QuarterMoon festival celebration in one book and two on a royal birthdays. The former is a license for excesses that will bring in revelers who will spend money and leave poorer though longing for next year's celebration. Some will bear Quartermoon babies in nine months, the pickpockets and sharpers will live high off their ill-gotten gains, and the slaves must work harder and quieter cleaning up and avoiding their masters and mistresses with massive hangovers.

On the latter, one princess on her balcony watches a parade in her honor. Despite the occasion celebrating her maturity, there's also the reminder of those gone before as youths and maidens pass below wearing masques of the gods, demons, and her predecessors. So too she knows her mother, died near her age, giving her life.

Another birthday for triplets is skewed, for only one is there, and the realm is turned on end by the visit from an otherworldly guest.

Would your character enjoy or hate the holiday? Would s/he celebrate alone or with someone? Is there feasting, fasting, prayers, or sacrifices? Is there a special place, a special costume, setting, ritual bathing or other custom that must be followed before the day? What makes the day so important for your character?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rule of Thumb - Nov. 15, '09

An incident with an infection brought this idea out...

What makes the top species? In our case it's the opposable thumb. It's how we grasp, adding flexibility, agility and strength to our handling of everything from hunting to building shelter, from touch interactions with others -- for good and ill, delicate manipulations, etc.

A species which can bring items close --those two or three feet of keeping the head upright means we're predators too.

You want a species to be the dominant one, they need that capability to bring things close, to throw or toss them away, to hold and all the while have and keep that important view against potential foes.

Having a thumb makes tool use easier, tentacles work much the same way for starfish, octopi and squid in opening recalcitrant shells--so having a tentacle-bearing ruling species isn't out of the realm of possibility.

A common punishment for thieves in the Middle Ages was to deprive the perpetrator of his thumbs. He could still carry heavy loads for honest work, albeit clumsily, but the light-fingered application was severely limited.

The elephant's trunk has 20,000 muscles--tremendous flexibility, sensitivity, reach and weight-bearing capacity. And sitting on one during a summer festival, and she's hot, and she takes a snoot-full of water and snorts it over her back to cool off is an um, not quite an illuminating experience. Of what doused me, I never knew how much was water, how much was elephant snot, and how much was gooey grass and grain from her snack...

The Roman 'thumbs up' live, or 'thumbs down' die gesture is still in use for approval today. 'I bite my thumb' was an insult in Shakespearian times. Hitchhiking needs a thumb to show what way you want to go even if you don't know your destination.

How far can you operate without your thumbs? Tuck them in and type--ok, but that space bar is lonely, and moving the mouse is harder, and grabbing that full coffee cup using the thumb for opposition balance guidance, a little tougher. Eating without a thumb, dressing, driving, lifting, handling the tv remote! All suffer without that odd, sideways mounted digit.

The thumb does rule.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Freedom, What Does Your Character Have? - Nov. 10, '09

In a broad stroke the word brings up patriotism, lack of responsibility, and such, but let's get down to a personal basis.

Freedom is one of those broad foggy ideas, but so much depends on the individual's upbringing, the environs, the society, culture, beliefs, fears, outside influences, triumphs and disasters.

A medieval serf follows the lord of the manor who is under the thumbs of the Church and the King, the latter two fight for who's greater ala Henry VIII. A king may marry a peasant girl, and raise her to the throne, but the other way was not so common until Elizabeth II.

If a character is free to follow her conscience, that depends again on what seeds were planted there--by family, by friends, and those from whom she learned. If the first love turns out to be a cheating bastard, that can be a motive for acting the same way. If parents overindulge in food, alcohol, recreation drugs, or any other excess, that implies acceptance (though by a limited few those few are immediate and have a huge influence).

Freedom to follow one's heart: will you love someone whom is accepted by your family, by your culture, by your species? An old saying: 'a bird may love a fish, but where will they live?' comes to mind.

What freedom is important to one may be insignificant to another: Joan is free to eat shellfish, but her immune system thinks otherwise and reacts with an allergic over-the-top response that results in hives the size of goose eggs, swelling of the throat and lungs and a very good chance of anaphylactic shock.

Danni is free to travel anywhere but she prefers to stay in her old cottage by the lake that her grandma owned. Danni spent every summer since the age of 4 there until three years ago when her grandma passed. Danni makes a healthy 5-figure income but doesn't feel the need to spend it on a place that is not loved as this is.

Freedom of speech also asks, behind the scenes, for a curb on the tongue, that no one yells 'Fire' in a crowded place,(without cause) or jokes about a hijack or other broad endangerment in an airport or train station.

Then there's the innermost feeling of freedom, of release: When Kari's dad passed, she felt a freedom that she hadn't had in decades. She didn't have to live up to his expectations, she could do what she loved to do--and that wasn't being a surgeon like him, or a lawyer like his dad. She wanted to open a shelter for greyhounds whose days after the tracks were short and severe. Once the bettors and trainers had gotten their money, and the dogs were left with less speed, there was no profit. Kari didn't give a damn about money, she cared about the beauty, the grace, and the need these throwaway's had. There was more joy in having these dogs come up to her and love her for caring, than in all the awards and social recognition racked up by the paternal line.

So...what freedom does your character need?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Character Limits - Nov. 09, '09

"I'll follow you to the ends of the earth!" Quoth the lover. So does the prince actually move one foot in front of another to track down his lady, or does he throw up his hands as a lost cause, not worth it, etc?

Limits: knowing them, overcoming them, stretching them, are all dramatic devices to keep the reader reading.

It's wearing out seven pair of iron shoes to find the one you love, as an ancient faery tale goes, (and it's a woman wearing these by the way. We can go into footwear, sexism, culture and those meanings another time).

Think about it--first, say normal cobbler-work transformed into metal. So half-inch soles, iron isn't as sturdy as steel, so we've a few less years to walk. Then there's the whole chaffing and bunions, the weight, lack of flexibility, they will dry fast if you're not dragged to the bottom of a lake if you fall in, they are useful for kicking out a fire--as long as you don't dance all night on the coals--metal does conduct heat. If the lady fair needs to kick some attacker in the groin--the recovery will be non-existant, so that's a perk...

Rate of wear--and are we talking holes and rust? Aesthetic dissolution--"Gee, my iron shoes need polishing and I still can't find a purse to match" is far from being held on with twine and stuffed with rags. Oh, say 25 yrs per pair, over lots of rocks, rust helps to degrade the metal and our heroine is indefatigable.

Plus there's the little thing of the wearer aging. Of course in a faery tale--life expectancy varies wildly, and quests last centuries as if to imprint the lesson on the seeker ad infinitum, ad nauseum. If she's still alive, and in fair health, by the time she finds the object of her desire, she's still hobbling at 200 or so years of age, and shows it...will she give a flying phoenix fart for the old beau? Is he still alive, and what of the intervening years? Is the fellow alive? Was he as true to her? Is he surrounded by great great grandkids squabbling over the kingdom?

Lots of options here--limits give us something to play with, and it can be traumatic or eye-opening, just don't let it be boring.

An omnipotent being--no age, no health issues, no need for sustaining atmosphere, no need of liquid or food--is changeless, and stagnant. One way out is that the being imposes limits on itself.

A chaos omnipotent character I'm working with can be any sex, any form, become smoke, fire, etc, pretty damn near invincible--but she--since the character is usually in a female form, has a fascination with mortals. She also has an agenda with other supernatural creatures, and while she knows much more than she tells, she is not all-knowing.

Most of her limits are self-imposed, for by knowing all, by controlling everything, there is ennui, boredom, lack of expectation, and without looking forward, for good or ill, why exist?

The rider on horseback must be cognizant of weather, of terrain, of the condition of the horse, of the hoped for shelter and provisioning when fatigue hits. Your thief can steal and steal--but he's going to run out of pockets to stash the loot, and if there's no challege in taking the artifact--where's the fun? Then there's getting rid of the stuff.

Finite limits for power, for essentials, for life, keep the character going to replenish those areas. It keeps the drama on the page.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Character Needs and Wants- Nov. 2, '09

Rummaging in the dusty corners of my brain I come out with this--what do our characters need?

Maslow did a pyramid for survival and societal needs though he forgot the respiration part.

Rule of 7 for the basic survival limits: 7 minutes without air, 7 days without water, 7 weeks without food--take this as an average for a fairly healthy human--and the person is dead or real close to it if any thing goes past 7. Lack of air and there is brain damage then death. This is a bit more flexible for a person who has an extremely cold body temperature. Many ice water drownings are reversed because the body goes into a low maintenance mode, but again this time is limited. Humans are about 75% water- a lack of water and you have increasing dehydration, toxin buildup in the blood, and cascade organ failure. Lack of food makes the body consume itself to keep the heart and brain going. Fatty acids aren't replaced, the liver and kidneys shrink, muscles atrophy and without intense and proper caloric replacement--the point of no return...

Needs are physical and emotional health maintenance. I need water but I want a cup of coffee. I want a hunk of pumpkin bread slathered in quince jam (both homemade by the way), but I need to eat a healthier breakfast.

For sci-fi and fantasy--the space traveler needs backup oxygen, or methane or whatever the character breathes, and a delivered or grown supply of water and food. Does a mermaid suffer breathing the tainted waters around an undersea volcano?

Next up is feeling secure and protected--this is with others and or in a sheltering environment.

What is 'safety' for your character? Being in a clan? Alone in a fortress? Is your protagonist curled up by a fire with a large scaled friend who's ready to toast anyone who dares look in with evil intent?

The next step overlaps a bit for the needs of love and belonging. Dracula and Frankenstein's monster may ravage the countryside--but at the core--they want someone to love--and to love them. Once human, whether undead or a hodgepodge of parts, that need is still there.

Even if love is absent--then there is fear--and that is still recognition and acknowledging the monster as existing.

That's the next step--that others know you exist--for good or ill. An empress or demon god is nothing without subjects. The richest and most powerful person on earth needs to interact, to spend, to make more--to be visible and immediate for that self worth. Is that worth--real or false?

The very top, or last part--is know thyself, which often strips away all the layers and collections and masques built as defense, as protection as a joke that lives on, as a habit that feeds the illusion. What are you without the BMW? Without the trophy partner? Without the second home and the newest and latest gadget?

In India there is a sect called the Jain. The male monks wear nothing, the Jain Mothers wear only a white sari. They carry a broom of peacock feathers so that they may sweep the ground before they sit so that they can brush away any creature and not crush it. The only other thing they carry is a small water pot. They are celibate, their belief is extraordinary, and their joy unearthly. They preach to those who will listen, bless those who ask for it, and pledge their lives to help others. That is their need.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boring! Nov. 01, 09

Granted, 'Boring' much like Beauty, is in the eye and mind of the beholder. There is a fine line between repetition and exposition to further a cause or a description. Reiteration is used for many purposes: to set a scene, to reinforce a mood, for impact, but when does it go from 'Wow!" to the, 'theatre is empty except for the sound of crickets'?

Phrases such as: 'In other words' and 'to restate' signal the reader that yes, same ol' same ol', but is this necessary for the reader--or because the writer didn't put down the previous words with enough clarity and focus that a reorganization of the words and thoughts are worth doing again?

Ex: "Jaqui sat with her chair tilted against the wall, a toothpick in the corner of her mouth. Eyes shut, she ignored the sultry still air. By the window, a fly droned in its desultory effort to slip through the torn screen. Nothing to work on, no one to see, she had an open schedule for the next decade. She was bored. She had nothing to do."

The above works just as well without the last two sentences. Jaqui could also be trying to nap, be stunned from an injury and quietly bleeding to death listening to the fly.

"Chesapeake", "Iberia", "Alaska", "Hawaii", et al, written by James Michener were exciting one by one, but as I continued reading more of his long novels I realized Michener used the same formula: big bang theory, tectonic plates shifting to form continents and rivers, primitive peoples migrating, stages of occupation with a bit of human interest here and there with a flint-napper, and we're up to the modern day family saga. That bored me. I dropped any interest in Michener's novels by my early twenties.

A simple theme can be reworked: the tragedy of Pyramis and Thisbe becomes Romeo and Juliet then it transforms into West Side Story.

Even if we know the ending--the journey can still captivate.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weather or Not - Oct. 31, '09

I'm a Connecticut Yankee living in King David's Court, (per bio), so the climate change took some getting used to. In New England, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute, so goes the saying. Here in the Biblical territory, winter means rain, from sometime in October to March, precious rain that is absent for most of the year.

Literary weather affects the characters too. Thunder and lightning is Zeus's idea of target practice, or Rip Van Winkle's bowling buddies, or it precedes the Thunderbird of the Native American myths in the west. A storm can presige disaster or be the perfect time for two antagonist characters to find comfort in each other.

A sunny day can be the first welcome light--or another in a long monotonous series that dries up the earth and stifles the air.

A tornado carried off Dorothy and Toto, earthquakes and tidal waves sunk Atlantis, Mu, and Lemuria, Poe placed his love Annabelle Lee in a kingdom by the sea without fear, though olden sailors never learned to swim for to struggle against the Sea was to try to outwit fate and drowning.

Volcanoes can be the workplace of Haephestus or Pele's home, or the birthplace of dragons. Climate and the elements can enrich tales of all sorts in reflecting moods or set up in opposition.

Smell the earth after a rain and be reminded of a home long lost, or the new garden you just have to plant. Feel the trunk of an ancient tree burned in a forest fire and smile at the new shoots--who needed that fire to encourage the seeds to sprout.

In many legends a flood covered the earth to make way for a new people, or the world shall turn to ice in Ragnarok.

The setting sun is the last sight for the fearful peasant who rushes indoors and bolts the house against the things that go bump in the night. For creatures of darkness--it is always night in some part of the world--or under it.

We can ionize our air, heat and air-condition it, install humidifiers and dehumidifiers to control our personal climates--and then--we can step outside--and feel the power subtle or omnipotent, light as a kiss or devastating as a hurricane.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Info - Or How Do We Know What We Know? - Oct. 25, '09

Let's base this on human experience -- or semi-humaniod even if we're taking aliens and demons here.

Characters are born too, not necessarily with the nine-month gestation. Immediate sensation come through deeper than with sight and sound, scent, taste and feel conveys more than we acknowledge.

Development comes with how the characters know what they know. Parents, siblings, children, lovers, friends, sales people, religious functionaries, and others provided a social network of lessons, crafts, how to do things, how to act in a situation, who's in what kind of health state, when to plant and reap, animal husbandry, weather wisdom, and much more.

This knowledge broadens with the character's level of education, travel, the level of technology or magic for gathering information.

Scribes and couriers expand on the orders of royalty and other leaders; traveling bards, physics, and war-weary mercenaries carry tales. Merchants and map-makers transfer knowledge of other places and the goods and customs found there. Sorcerous means come via scrying with assorted tools like water or crystal, or seeing through another's eyes and taking in impressions through another's senses.

The vast overview of a general on a battlefield, or a sailor swaying in the crow's nest leads into details of colors and motion.

Today, I have at my command millions of alternatives for printed matter, news and blogs, corporate white pages, updates, links, sound and vision into almost every corner of the world and a smattering outside of it.

Then comes the drama--is what is taught and provided, true? Is it free of any taint of favortism or slant on the part of the deliverer of such news? Every 'up-to-the-minute' relay comes based on who pays for the information to be transmitted, and how can that information be used?

'Buy this or that' because the advertiser supports the local newscast. The TV personalities in their booths, dressed down but with the subtle inference of power based on the sharing of disasters, takeovers, horrors and such, live for the audience who sees the coiffed, poised puppets read off a teleprompter.

This artificiality robs the personal touch, numbers are glossed over for one close-up of mayhem.

The Hindenberg disaster was covered by a reporter, Herbert Morrison who was there for the docking of the queen of the sky...

"It's practically standing still now. They've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship, and they've been taken ahold of down on the field by a number of men. It's starting to rain again; it's — the rain had slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it just, just enough to keep it from — It burst into flames! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it! Watch it, folks! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It's fire — and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my, get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames, and the — and it's falling on the mooring-mast and all the folks agree that this is terrible, this is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. Ohhhhh! It's–it's–it's the flames, [indecipherable, 'enty' syllable] oh, four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it ... it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now ... and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh, the humanity and all the passengers screaming around here. I told you, I can't even talk to people whose friends are on there. Ah! It's–it's–it's–it's ... o–ohhh! I–I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest, it's just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk, and the screaming. Lady, I–I'm sorry. Honest: I–I can hardly breathe. I–I'm going to step inside, for I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah — I can't. I, listen, folks, I–I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed."

The drama is in the sharing of humanity, not just the retelling it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Idea - Oct. 19, '09

Pick a phrase: Nice and warm.

We've all heard those types that pass without notice, but take a deeper look.

What does this describe? Make you feel? Turn it inside out and around!

Nice and warm like on a beach -- not having your buns toasted so you can't sit easy and then your nose peels because you forgot the sunscreen and how did you know the sand fleas loved having you for dinner?

Or nice and warm, curled up with your main squeeze watching a video. You make space for the younger cat who insists on squeezing between you two and who tends to park her not so fragrant butt as close to your nose as possible while smiling at her other mom, rubbing her nose in kitty kisses and giving snarky looks to you.

Nice but not so warm in October when the leaves drop and rattle like potato chips under foot and you crunch through them and don't care that you're way over the childhood limit for acting like this is fun. Then you look up from scuffing through the oak and maple discards on the sidewalk and a fellow coming toward you smiles and you KNOW--it's because he wishes he had that nerve to crunch and crackle and enjoy the moment. That is a victory bittersweet because not alot of grownups will let the child out to play without condemnation.

Not nice, but at least it's warm when you stand under a doorway near the subway grate and get the heat rising over your cold wet feet. The snow's melted from the concrete around there and granted it's not the best place in the city but at least you're not freezing your nearest and dearest while waiting for a taxi.

Not nice, not warm...Middle of the damned park in February, you dropped your cell tel in that puddle and HOPED the ice crusting the top would keep it from crashing through. Nope, not a chance in this semi-frozen muck--that your tel would get a break. So off with the glove, stick your hand in the DEEP mucky puddle and hope that isn't a frozen dog dropping you just grabbed. Got the phone, it's dripping, it's got stuff on it HAZMAT wouldn't touch and damn if you didn't have insurance on the pesky thing.

Oh, give me back: Nice and warm. :}

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Dry Spell - Oct. 18, 09

Happens to all of us, no matter what venue we put our hand to. Sometimes we can stumble along, other times we just go around the block and try not to think about it. Or maul a piece of a paper or the blank screen with nonsense--and that is good. Nonsense is vital--it activates the 'I'm groping in darkness, I've got dirt and the pile of discards and it's meaningless--so I don't have to fear I'll fail.' We all hate that, whether in life, writing, or making a toasted cheese sandwich that comes out resembling a charcoal briquette that's gone to seed.

First I was full of good intentions for this (blog/my stories/name it) then got side tracked, then lost sight with coping with things in life--the passing of my 90 year old mom in April, something she had wanted for quite a while, and which took me a while to accept what she wanted, what was the best for her.

I scribble stuff down, get bits and bobs of ideas, then within the past two weeks I lose two more I love. This post isn't about just being in mourning, but accepting what must be let go of, and what must be GENTLY returned to.

Forcing anything--may get the job down by a mental deadline but is it down with love? Some folks have a tight writerly schedule and bless them for showing up on the page from 9am to 3pm. Some grab a word or an idea and just free fall with it. Some do take that break to let the resources refill, let the waves resculpt the sand, to allow renewal, a healing, a peace return.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fear of Writing Jan 31,2009

Yeah, it happens and it's not pleasant.

Why it happens has many reasons. Maybe I don't want to confront the same words that had me enthralled and don't any more. Maybe I wonder if it what all I've written is tripe and I'm better off doing something else. Maybe I've learned more and I dread having to rewrite, or to put down something new that doesn't match what I see in my head, what I feel in my heart.

I started out drawing and painting at a very young age, writing came later. My mom would pass me a 3x5" pad in church and a pen and I would keep still and occupied. I graduated from university where I earned a degree in Graphic arts. My first stories were told on paper or canvas, with Crow quill nibs and Higgins indelible ink, or colored pencils and watercolors. I looked up the difference between cold-press and hot press boards, I piled up slabs of acrylic and did washes in oil. I looked for natural hair brushes and experimented with mixing turpentine with Linseed oil for a thinner--bad, bad idea. Just dissolved the oil sketch I'd done and made everything runny and gooey. I cursed the book and the author who suggested it, scraped off the canvas and painted more.

I've done a few art shows and usually made enough to cover the entry fee. I did better with dream catchers--more people buy crafts, which usually sell at a lower price. The best part was sharing the space with those of like minds, meeting new friends, talking about what I love to do, and hoping someone would enjoy it enough to buy a watercolor of a bird-of-paradise, or an oil-cut-out collage of a dragon.

I still love going to art stores. I test the hairs of a new brush against my lips, I examine palette knives, and new colors. I drool over the variety of papers with deckle edges with the fibers thick and thin over embedded dried petals and tiny maple leaves. I still would love to get real parchment--from a sheep or goatskin not the parchment paper.

I was vigilant about cleaning the brushes, making sure my light was good, having the right proportions and color balance.

Was I more willing to make mistakes, to learn and play and try new things because the medium was visual and visceral? Did the props of paint, brushes and paper make it more real?

I've come a long way from submitting good ideas badly done. I've learned about delivery, setting, continuity, omitting the obvious, etc. Those early publishers who rejected me--rejected the work, not the writer. They were correct. I was trying to pass a seed or half-fill fruit as a fully grown tree.

Maybe I am more inflexible and need to keep reminding myself that writing is just as magical, with less outer tools and more inner ones. Pen, paper, period. Or FOK-U: Fingers on Keyboard--You!

I need to be gentle with myself, to say--perfection is a myth, enjoyment of what is there is real, it is worth my time, my love for the characters, the drama and the world I paint with words.