Hairy Fairies in the gardens! The Gardens of the Mythbegotten, my current name for this little bit of joy and peace in the midst of 2020 chaos, is the Patreon place where I create small watercolor paintings of fairies playing and misbehaving and having a great time. Occasionally satyrs, Minotaurs, centaurs join them…. and it’s light hearted. I sell the paintings, and I also have really cool incentives to stay in the gardens for awhile.
Here are some of the things you can get:
All the photos of my paintings as they are completed. You’ll see them first before I post them on Facebook or Squarespace or Redbubble so that if you want to buy one, you can. You get first choice.
Process photos—how I make them and what my thoughts were going into the painting.
Little meditations on art (famous art, but also my friends’ art because they deserve some cool essays AND you get to find out about art you might not know about that is deserving a look!
Weekly Tarot for Creators—a spread of cards for your week as a creator, with enough to inspire your work, OR to give you a head’s up about the week AS a creator. What energies are there for you as a creator?
At some levels you get a card mailed to you every month, a print, of one of the paintings.
Time-lapse videos of a painting
Stories about the Gardens with new illustrations
T-shirts, mugs, buttons!
These gardens are queer friendly, racially diverse, age diverse, and body diverse, and sex positive. While there are no depictions of sex happening—the often nude bodies and playfulness of characters suggest it happens.
For $1 a month, you can have my pictures emailed to you, and the other tiers are affordable for so much garden goodies! Check out the Patreon and see what’s happening in the Garden!
Summer 2020 has been difficult. Hard to make money, or to keep busy.
I have learned new skills in watercolor, taken classes in figure drawing and fiction, painted acrylic paintings, started a work out program, ended a workout program, quit art school, started a new program at a different school, taught kids how to write online, watched a lot of great online discussions from authors, started doing small watercolor paintings, opened a patreon—and built about five websites! LOL.
I also took my interest in tarot cards to another level, training with classes from a well known, experienced Tarot Card Reader.
And now I started doing readings.
So the official site is BIG BEAR TAROT and you can check it out at that link.
If you’ve followed this blog or me for awhile you know I still attend an American Baptist Church in Dayton, OH (when they can open safely, that is… still not convinced this is the safe time.) I still believe in God, Jesus, the Bible, the Golden Rule…but I also recognize that folks are hurting and need to talk right now.
Tarot is a conversation starting deck of cards!
Oh, just slap down three cards for someone and let me tell you—they will talk about what they need to talk about. I’m thinking about taking my deck to the next party or convention I go to! Just to see if people want to sit and talk… I think of them as very well done inkblots of archetypal characters and patterns. Those cards prompt us to work out areas of our life that are troubling us, work out relationships, careers, situations.
And I find them fascinating. That I could randomly draw three cards from a deck of 78 and be able to talk about the things that are really on my/your mind. I do draw them for myself too… and they help me have a conversation about things I need to think about.
So I decided to see if I can help others, and make a few bucks along the way. I do email readings right now, or I will give you a video if you prefer.
I’m especially hoping to reach out to the queer community, bears, etc. I’ve noticed a lot of my bear friends having it rough emotionally and psychologically. If I can help by being intuitive for them, I want to do that.
I have put my available original artwork on Squarespace. All my watercolors of fairies in the garden, Gardens of the Mythbegotten, and all the Yukon Cornelius paintings as well as my more controversial paintings of police action in Columbus.
I recently started a new series of paintings about fairies and gardens. This has been a breath of fresh air for me, as I can complete a painting in a couple of hours, and they bring me a lot of joy.
This summer has been a hard summer for everyone, and getting paint supplies and committing to a large painting has been a bigger endeavor than it usually has. But also, America’s MidLife Crisis, it’s 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War period (some call it America’s Pluto Return, as the planet Pluto comes back to the same place where it was during that time), and it is still dealing with some heavy karma from slavery and injustice to black people, as well as the xenophobic genocide of Native Americans/Indigenous peoples of North America. Protests and police brutality, a pandemic, rampant unemployment, and everyone in lockdown for months. It’s not life as usual, and so my painting took a different turn.
I took a break from the Yukon Cornelius paintings in May, and did a couple of paintings in response to the protests and police reaction. These felt good at the time–though I was scared of voicing my anger and disappointment., fearing reprisal. Frankly, those paintings were emotionally draining. I had to keep my anger and frustration at a roar to complete them, each over about a week. Columbus has been engulfed in police pushback. And I was afraid for weeks if I said anything (while that might have been wild to think, the police have been appearing at people’s homes to arrest them for participating in protests).
I have been doing little paintings and drawings for a penpal in Vegas, and one of those took a fairies in the garden turn:
I was thrilled to discover Monday night, July 27, after my Twitter started rumbling with good news, that my little story about fauns and jazz and mentoring and hope was included on a fantabulous finalist list of authors for the World Fantasy Awards! Completely unexpected!
I was and still am overwhelmed by the fact that I’m on that list! And so grateful for the happy texts and good thoughts and congratulations that came from everyone! It was a wonderful time in the midst of America’s Midlife Crisis, and I am eternally grateful for the kindness and joy I received.
I congratulate all the finalists on the whole ballot! But especially my compatriots on the Short Fiction list: Siobhan Carroll, Maria Dahvana Headley, Sarah Pinsker, Rivers Solomon, Genevieve Valentine! It is a strong ballot and I am honored to be on it!
THANK YOU FOR COMING TO MY WEBSITE! This is just my blogsite, but a link is below to go to where I sell my art.
I’m so very honored to have been selected as an Emerging Artist this year at the Columbus Arts Festival. While we are all sad that we can’t be physically together, I have created a site to sell my art, and to take commissions.
If you want to view my original art for sale, follow this link:
If you would rather have a print, a mug, a phone case, or were just thinking of more affordable purchases, please see my Redbubble site, where some of the designs are available right now. I hope to have more designs up soon.
Thank you again for coming! If you want to come back and check out my blog—I am a writer and artist —feel free to come again.
I only published one thing this year, 2019, but it was a big publication for me. “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun” was a novelette (8000 words) published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the March/April 2019 issue and is eligible for Canadian and American writing awards. It is Fantasy. It’s about the power of music, music mentoring, about the courage to go on after loss, and features jazz-playing fauns. The character is queer and disabled. He stays queer and disabled and alive through the whole story.
Below you’ll find a link to the whole story here online, or you can read an excerpt from it.
*I am a Canadian and American writer, holding dual citizenship.
Thank you for visiting my 2019 year round up page, and I hope you enjoy my story.
Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun
Mr. Dance couldn’t keep his eyes off Eric’s clarinet. From the moment the young football player opened the black case and revealed the instrument, Mr. Dance knew that what he thought had been broken– as his legs were– or lost–as he felt–had instead been hidden for a hundred years.
Alumni and friends of Clarion come together every summer now online to participate in a 6 week writing spree—to see what we can get written, while the new Clarionites are in San Diego (La Jolla) with professional writers teaching them how to be the writers they want to be.
Our job–as alumni and friends–is just to write alongside them at home and help raise money for Clarion’s scholarships for next year.
I’m working on two projects that need to be finished. You can help writers by donating per word to their word goals. Someone has funded me at .000010 a word already! Which will net Clarion a grand total of $40 from that person—but it helps us push ourselves to raise as much money for Clarion as we can.
I’ve written about my Clarion experience, (and Nostalgia, thy name is Clarion,) which changed my life in 2007. It started me on the road to being the science fiction/fantasy writer I wanted to be. It was also the same year I drove up to the Yukon to move there! So lots of changes at once.
Clarion has helped a lot of writers. You might recognize the names of graduates: Kim Stanley Robinson, Jeff Vandermeer, Cory Doctorow, Octavia Butler, Carmen Maria Machado, Vonda McIntyre, Kelly Link, Nalo Hopkinson, Robert Crais, Bruce Sterling… the list is long. These 2019 writers—you’re going to read their stuff soon too.
Come drop by Clarion Write-A-Thon and choose some writers to pledge along their way, help push them to meet their goals! Clarion gets all the money–actually, the students get the money through scholarships. But we get the encouragement of someone rooting us along!
I’d love to have you come by and sponsor me per word for .00001 or more or less. Come by and see what people are writing!
Everyone got excited about a light in the sky after sunset tonight, here in Dayton, OH.
We all went outside and it looked to my eye like it was moving, drifting, changing its brightness. Someone said it might be Mercury or Jupiter, so we all looked—and sure enough, that was where Mercury was supposed to be (though a little high). I’m sure now it was probably a weather balloon… shiny and drifting in the breeze… so bright.
We had a debate online about what it was, and it reminded me of this article I wrote about 10 years ago when I lived in the Yukon Territory (Spring, 2010 issue of Yukon North of Ordinary).
It was probably the best article I ever wrote–certainly one of the most fun–and it was for the magazine Yukon North of Ordinary, the in-flight magazine of Air North. I was asked to write it as a science fiction writer looking into sightings of UFOs. Everyone who commissioned this article thought it would be funny, light-hearted, and that I would have a great time talking aliens with folks, but that I would know the difference between fact and fiction.
Well, it actually does repeat that racist motif, Jerome.
I wrote a post in 2010 trying to make an argument that Jake Sully and Avatar were not repeating the “white savior” motif and, you know what, it just sounds hollow and naive now.
There is no reason why there couldn’t have been a brilliant Na’vi fight against the outsider corporation movie except that we “needed” to teach white men why others were worth saving, why other cultures have value, especially cultures that may treat technology differently than we do.
Sure, it’s valuable to teach people things! I do like the idea of taking a group who is having trouble understanding or accepting you (hello, conservative evangelical Christians) and using a story to teach them how to understand people (LGBTQ people) better. But The Birdcage isn’t about the straight Senator saving the gays. It’s about the gays saving the Senator–and he learns. The N’avi could have EASILY saved Jake Sully AND fought back against the evil humans.
Do I think Avatar could have been a better movie? Sure, but with all the changes that this writer mentioned:
If Sully had spent more time with the Na’vi, wasn’t responsible for destroying their home, showed some conviction before a last second attempt to warn the Na’vi, and included more scenes of his body’s decay, Cameron might have avoided some of my problems. Of course, this is based on my reading of the film. If Sully was believably a part of the Na’vi to you, you may not have so many problems. Of course, I still stand by my assertion that we didn’t need Jake in the first place.
I’m writing this now because I’m sure a few others read my blog from 2010, some as recent as yesterday, and my attempt to argue away the “White savior” problem from Avatar brought up brilliantly by other reviewers, but I was wrong. It’s better to acknowledge that it’s in the film, and support those who are trying to help us see the inherent problems in tropes and storylines that may be incredibly popular and still be incredibly dangerous. We/I still need to make better choices as writers and reviewers.
I loved Avatar so much that I didn’t want to see its problems. And that’s the danger of my privilege, to not have to see the problems. But when I talk about films being homophobic, or using homophobic tropes, and I’m upset about them, and others are like, “It’s not that bad” or “I still enjoyed it” that is the danger of their privilege to not have to see the messages that hurt me, or hurt others, or that perpetuate a way of thinking that leads to harm. It’s a blindness. Educating ourselves and others about racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, ableist tropes should be/could be the baseline level of living together.
I think about how mental health is portrayed on screen now, how LGBTQ people are portrayed in films, how bad tropes are perpetuated. Usually tropes lose their attraction when we explain how they are dangerous. But even then, folks, it took me 9 years to find this old blogpost, know it was a problem, and rip it down. I just forgot it was here till I saw that someone read it, and then I reread it and, well, I saw it as problematic. I was deeply embarrassed, and ashamed, and just wanted to kick 2010 me for not having a better understanding then.
Changing your mind, learning from your mistakes, and doing better is more important than how you believed yesterday. Repairing damage is also important. So I write this tonight. But I think we are all learning things together. If I held everyone accountable for being homophobic sometime in their past, I’d not be speaking to 80% of people over 30. But I’ve watched people “evolve on these issues,” as my favorite President said. And I see myself evolving and learning and growing too—just as everyone is supposed to do.