Creatrixsblood's Weblog


A personal history of writing

I’ve been crafting stories almost as long as I can remember. First they were just simple make-believe stories mostly about a strong, warrior princess (dressed more like sleeping beauty than Xena) often fighting dinosaurs or monsters. There were set characters my friends could be, but I had no problem playing alone and just filling in all the missing voices and fighting trees with dried pigweed stalks.

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I’m not Claire, I’m princess Vanessa. I’ve come to chew bubble gum and cut up invading bad guys… and I’m all out of bubble gum .

What got me to start putting stories on paper was a school project in second grade. We were asked to write and draw our own, 4-page version of “Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” While I don’t remember the contents of that project, I did have a very important realization: I could make my own books!! And I did.. many of them involved cats and utilized the various cat stickers I had on hand as well as my own drawings. Most of them were a great deal longer than 4 pages. That summer I wrote and illustrated a picture book in which a dragon saves a princess from having to rule a kingdom and enlists her help in essentially controlling the weather. Why that is less pressure for her, I’m not sure. But dragon!!

I don’t remember much about writing from third grade, but I do remember really falling in love with reading. We had a required 15 minute reading block, a fair selection of books in the room readily available, and an incentive program for time spent reading at home. It was also the first time I got so lost in a book that someone had to touch me to get my attention, because the teacher saying reading time is over and calling my name just didn’t cut it. The book was “Black Beauty”, and my desk-mate helpfully kicked my shin.

After my mom’s illness and subsequent coma, and just before fourth grade, I began writing without the pictures. The first story was brief- it was as much of a re-occurring dream as I could remember. Then I moved on to a second story, in which people and aliens were warring, and both had traveled time to get magical weaponry because why not. I wrote it by hand in it’s own notebook. One day when I couldn’t find it, I discovered it in the bathroom where my dad had apparently been reading it. He was impressed, but told me the alien name “Zortang” sounded too much like orange drink.

It was around this time I decided I definitely wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

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In fifth grade I remember being really excited about having an assignment to write a story, but was frustrated by the deadline (because I was trying to write a book, not a short story) and ended up tying everything together really quickly without much escalation to the climax. It was about an archaeologist settling a long-fought depute between ghosts in an ancient Egyptian pyramid. We were required to read it out loud to the whole class. I remember feeling my face get redder and redder as I told my story. Afterwards, most of the class of roughly 25 was staring at me with open mouths. I was the only one no one clapped for. To this day I like to say I’m not sure if the shock was because the story was so good or because of my color-changing performance, but I’m pretty sure it was because I became a cherry while I read.

Sixth grade was the first time I was introduced to the concept of writing poetry beyond haikus. The form of poetry that left the biggest impression on me was narrative because my teacher thought I had copied it or somehow cheated, and he ended up calling my Dad about my poem. In the end, my teacher “gave me the benefit of the doubt.”While I did use the basic structure of an existing narrative poem, the content was my own. His continued doubt of it being the work of kid was one of the highest praises I probably could have ever received. That same year grandma gave me her typewriter to type out my finished drafts. I was excited by the concept, but I was a terrible typist, so my typed copies weren’t much easier to read than my hand-writing.

In winter of Seventh grade, my grandparents, aunt, and uncle pooled money to get me an iMac and printer for Christmas with a Groiler Multimedia Encyclopedia on disk and an accompanying Encyclopedia of Science fiction disk that seriously expanded my reading list. Since I had no Internet connection, writing, researching. gaming, digital art, listening to music and customizing the system were about all I could do with it.

With this new bit of equipment, I set out to seriously write a novel. It was an ambitious project. I forced myself to write for at least an hour and half after school everyday, after that I was free to do whatever. My dad mandated the t.v. off when he went to bed, but I was allowed to stay up late as long as I got up in time for school. So, after 11pm or so I would have either books or my computer, and I would frequently chose to continue writing. If I got stuck, I would either move on to another part of the story or start a new one entirely. I never wrote outlines, so I would be entertaining myself as I went along. Around this time I also started sending in novel queries to publishers whose editors were likely confused by the strange font usage.

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By the time I was in 8th grade, I had finished writing a science fiction novel I strongly disliked. I scrapped it, but kept several characters from it and tried again in a different format. The resultant “fantasy book” actually made me proud even though I knew it had some issues. Encouraged, I plugged away on it and concepts for sequels to it the entire year. The best part was, I could work on it in class and not get in trouble because I’d look like I was intently taking notes!

My freshman year in high school, I asked the teachers I found the most approachable to critique my fiction writing. The first teachers were my freshman English teacher and my freshman social studies teacher. Each graciously read through a single spaced 100 page-long “fantasy book.” The former circled and underlined what he felt was working, and the latter gave me no notes, but told me she enjoyed it. When asked, her biggest criticism was that she found it hard to follow as I frequently shifted viewpoints.

After my freshman English teacher exposed me to Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man,” (and my Dad allowed me to watch the movie “Heavy Metal”) I was inspired to write a book of short stories as well as voraciously read anything else attached to Bradbury’s name. “’Write a short story every week [for a year]. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row,” Bradbury advised in a 2001 symposium. While I didn’t write one every week, I did write more than twenty short stories (as well as working on a sequel to the aforementioned “book”)

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My sophomore English teacher went out of her way to individually challenge each of us. She had a set of vocabulary words, she’d have us tick off if we knew. Then, one at a time, she’d have us come to a little room away from the rest of the class and ask what they meant. If it was confirmed that you knew that word, she’d pull out the dictionary and give you replacement words. While I can’t say I was really a fan of her Reader’s Digest assignments, they were better and more practical than book assignments, and she did have us write 2 short stories incorporating specific excerpts from Reader’s Digest stories which prevented me from taking the lazy way out and turning in a short story I’d already written.

I brought some of my favorite short stories to my sophomore speech teacher. At first, she would write one, cleverly-worded compliment of the story before giving it back to me. (Incidentally, in her her class I wore foundation like armor so no one would be distracted by my face becoming a tomato. Worked like a charm.) After I’d given her a couple of them, I feel like she tested me to see how well I’d receive criticism on a story that was essentially Romeo and Juliet in space. I remember she left more notes than usual, some good and this time, some critical. I remember she specifically picked at the word “hammock” to describe the bed in a sleeping quarter. I felt like there were more obvious points to pick at in the story, for instance: all the characters other than the two main characters were pretty 2-D When I talked to her, she said she was just trying to get me to think of more alien terms to remind the audience that none of the characters were human. I asked why she wasn’t more critical.

“I wanted you to keep writing,” she told me.

“ I have to” I replied. She gave me a sort of squinting look I didn’t really understand at the time, but I would recall it my senior year when I received my first real critique.

By my junior year, I’d written 3 (in retrospect needlessly complex)fantasy novels the last of which poked its foot into science fiction. Some of my past teachers were nice enough to read the whole trilogy.I did school paper that year, and was allowed to leave study hall to come to the journalism/yearbook Mac lab. The official story was that I was working on stories for the paper, and sometimes that was true, but other times I was reading blogs, posting on forums, and sharing my writing. I’m sure my supervising teacher was fully aware as I always used the same machine and wasn’t smart enough to delete the history.

My senior English teacher asked us to write a children’s book. I really liked being pulled back to picture books. I wrote a simple story which contained a nod to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and involved a really dumb teenager because I concluded I couldn’t draw children. She also had us write a good number of essays, some of which I let leak into my fiction at home.

The newly digitally colored cover of the children's book.  Maybe some day, I'll color them all.. maybe..

A digitally colored cover of the children’s book in question. Maybe some day, I’ll color them all.. maybe..

That same year, I decided to enter a fantasy fiction writing contest at Wayne State college. I started with the concept of an urban fairy tale, but with notes of the classic format. Unlike everything else I’d ever submitted to magazines, contests, or publishers, I decided to have a couple teachers look at it before I sent it off. I gave one copy to my sophomore speech teacher/drama coach, and one to my senior English teacher.

My speech teacher basically put a gold star on the story. She felt my writing had come a long way… also she probably enjoyed that it had an almost happy ending for a change. My senior English teacher critiqued the first sentence in particular and the repetitive adjective usage. I asked her what she felt might be better, and then decided “Deep,deep, deep in the forest” really just set the atmosphere I wanted, and I submitted it without making that correction.

To my surprise, I won the high school division of the contest. My senior English teacher responded very sedately, but the speech teacher snuck the news into the school announcements. My foundation kept my peers from knowing I was beet red when they turned to look at me. After reality sunk in and I got $30 for my efforts crafting the story, I thought about the critique I received; and I understood not all criticism would necessarily be helpful. This really helped me prepare for what was awaiting me at my first writer’s workshop.

To be continued…

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Uncertainty
August 5, 2016, 5:22 pm
Filed under: doubt, emotions, Gardening, love, poetry, Uncategorized, writing

A sestina, written early in the relationship with the king of vacillant winds and discarded dreams.

It was my birthday when we met,

and I was first enveloped in your smoke.

We wandered, my skin burning, in the garden.

your friend trailed behind, embodying my doubts.

Compared to the maelstrom of my thoughts,

I barely said a word.

 

Perhaps I have way with words,

but only in subversive meetings

with myself where my thoughts

are suffocated in smoke

and doubt…

What do you care to grow in your garden?

 

Are you even a proper gardener?

Carefully choose your words

and silences. My doubts

are hungry and eager to meet

the man behind the smoke

usurping my productive thoughts.

 

Should I share the thoughts

I’ve etched into my garden

sand? Will they dissipate like the smoke

from your cigarettes and the words

from your mouth when our lips meet?

Can you cripple my doubt

 

or am I right in doubting

your capacity to calm my thoughts?

When you and my id have finally met,

will you still want our infested garden?

Will you cull it with your words

or gas it in a pesticide smoke?

 

I can tolerate the smoke.

I can breath in poisons and exhale the doubts

and come up with clever wording

for my thoughts,

but I let noxious weeds flourish in the garden.

They grow so tall our eyes cannot meet.

 

Words unspoken each meeting

planted this doubt in the garden…

and  smoke does not slow the infestation of thoughts.



Condensation
August 1, 2016, 4:45 pm
Filed under: emotions, love, poetry, writing | Tags: , , ,

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Oh king of vacillant winds and discarded dreams,

why did you come into mine?

I wanted to lose you in the vastness of my oceans,

but you are air…

my tidal words will never wash you out.

 

I drew your oxygen inside me

and your warmth excited me to vapor.

I saturated your willing currents

until their heat dissipated and I condensed into clouds

before my gravity forced me from you.

 

Now the sky is empty and I am scattered.

I can see the stars as fragments of myself

are swallowed into the blackness of the ground.

 

Constricted in darkness and dirt, I gather

while the earth absorbs my salt and poisons.

I carve streams as I sink into my rocky bed and

I rest, guarded from the influence of the surface.



On Past Actions and moving on
July 14, 2015, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Life choices | Tags: , , ,

In his book,  “A Dictionary of Thoughts,” Tyron Edwards succinctly said that “Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.”    However, this much easier said than accomplished.

There comes a point at which, after one has made enough bad decisions in succession, that even past supporters come to expect more of the same.  This often causes shame, may bring on cyclical behavior, and places undue focus on past mistakes.

After having made a big enough mess, one must decide –alone– that they will ignore these expectations and dutifully begin the long and arduous process of picking things up.

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Dr. Strange Cosplay
June 28, 2015, 2:02 pm
Filed under: art | Tags: , , , , ,

Know what you call a female doctor?  That’s right. Just doctor. I’m a motherf**cking sorcerer!

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I spent about as much on this costume as one might spend on mass-produced costumes come Halloween time. The most time and attention went into the cape and the Eye of Agamotto. However, in all honesty, this costume would have been significantly more expensive if I weren’t a craft junkie with lots of extra toys on-hand.

Materials used:

    • 2 30ft rolls of gold floral ribbon (on sale): $7
    • Red twin bed-sheet (I still have the fitted sheet should I decide to add more layers to the cape): $14
    • Black and white colored hair spray: $6
    • Blue batwing tunic shirt: $14
    • White fabric paint: $3
    • Brooch backings: $3
    • Chicken wire: On hand
    • Duct tape: On hand
    • Velcro: On hand
    • Hot glue: on hand
    • Black fabric marker: on hand
    • Oven bake clay: on hand
    • Acrylic paints in red, gold, copper, and black
    • Paint brushes: On hand
    • Wire cutters: On hand
    • Boots and shorts: on hand

Total costume cost: $47 (and many hours) Now to work on the Sanctum Santorum.

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My patient model. Created with a wooden chair, many coats, a coat hanger, and poor Yorrick.


May 26, 2015, 5:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Helped with a photoshoot for the Gateway of Chaos yesterday.  Here’s a sneak gif

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Eye heart this gif
February 7, 2015, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

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created with original art and gimp photo editor