Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Equal Time For Dogs, and Absent Friends

We've had a lot of great ideas, about our Project, which is seeming like it is going to be a sort of a "Book" , only online, a things like music and sculpture won't work in a book-book. All on a theme of Things that might appear in a Garden at night, real or un-real...

More ideas are very welcome, let's go for it. For those of you who missed out on what this Project is, we were talking one day about art, and how many different things could be done on a particular theme, and how one would interpret it, depending on what one did for art, and how different they would all be. Some people write, some do music, some do sculpture, some paint, some dance, some make things...Who can say..

For tonight tho, since I am knackered after Doggie Boot Camp (Agility Class) and since Hera has sent me some great photos, I think we will give the dogs a look in, and perhaps a shout out to people I am missing right now...



Yup. That's Loki. Here's a better look at his sweater. (which being hairless, he needs..)



Cabel did really great at agility class tonight, despite being very naughty beforehand and hopping up to the stove to snatch the cooling chicken that I use for treats. He only ate one, and I am hoping he will be ok, as dogs should not eat cooked chicken bones.

Here is a shot that Spacelaw took last winter...(She is REALLY going to have to catch up when she gets back!)



Since Hera's pets have been featured for three nights now, I think it only fair that we include a pic of her too. And it just so hapens that I have one not only of she and I , from a concert we did together last year, but one that includes our Miss Kitty (currently lost on the Jonas Bros tour, she is doing well, by the way, tho the road is hard, and has nothing but good to say for the people she is working with. Let's send her some love! Miss her I do!



Here's one of us on stage, the shadowy figure in the forground is none other than my Boss, (with Dr Score to the right) currently lost in China, tho by all accounts doing well, and having a wonderful time. He hasn't told me much as such calls are expensive and tend to focus on Things That Must Be Dealt With, I keep a list every day....Miss him too.



Love and Dogs and to Absent Friends,
Lorraine

40 Comments:

At 11:54 PM , Blogger pantagruel said...

I hope Kitty's doing well, and that Hera's enjoying her stint in Godsown.

And good on Cabal for being slightly naughty; he has to keep up with the Bengals, you know. Even if it did involve chicken bones.

Ah, finally, a summation of the project's theme -- whew! ;) Things in a Garden at Night… what an awesome excuse to paint the Fey. Right, I'll add a painting for that to the List.

Speaking of paintings, I'm on layer four, and it's beginning to look like something you might actually want on a wall, as opposed to a chemistry experiment. I can't wait until it's done and I can show it to all of you. Actually, I just can't wait until it's hanging in the show and I can finally do something else with my life.

 
At 12:36 AM , OpenID kali-licious said...

Awww Loki..what a silly cute face.

I hope Cabal has an iron constitution, naughty puppy that he is.

Only a couple more weeks and Kitty will be done. Every time I see the Jonas Brothers I think about her working away.

It's funny, when I saw that picture of you and Hera, I figured that had to be Boss because of that mop of hair.;)

Pantagruel, you're on layer four? How many more to go? BTW thanks for that explanation about underpainting. I really wish my teacher in high school wouldn't have told me that she "didn't have time" to teach me to paint..it's made me scared to try since I have NO idea what I'm doing. But I have some acrylic that I'm gonna go make a mess with sometime here in the next couple of weeks or so, and see it goes.

 
At 1:54 AM , Blogger Rubius said...

I'm missing Nat and Kitty too. Hope they are having a good time. Nathalie will enjoy this project... I am confident of that and excited to see what she would do with it. I keep thinking about Kitty whenever I see Jonas stuff too. The weird thing is that now I see Jonas stuff everywhere while I don't think I had even heard the name before Kitty mentioned it.

Hera... you do have the freakiest pets ever. I am so happy for you. I love the name Loki, he's my favourite from the Norse pantheon.

Pan, I also enjoyed the dutch method explanation.

 
At 4:11 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

Cabel probably thought that the chicken was threatening your safety. Selflessly, he sprung into action and consumed it. He was only looking out for you!

 
At 4:13 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

I'm not sure what I would contribute to the theme, beyond helping to webifying it. I've never been so good with gardening. Maybe an evil garden? Hmmm....

 
At 4:16 AM , Blogger Bulfinch's Aglaia said...

I love your pictures! They are always so happy. And yes, here's to artists and to absent friends (I don't have any other kind, actually).

And speaking of art and gardens at night, the Mythopoeic Society just handed out its top mythopoeic adult fiction of the year award to Catherynne M. Valente, "The Orphan’s Tales", consisting of "In the Night Garden" (Spectra) and "In the Cities of Coin and Spice" and I promise you will love it, Fablo. If you can find it, please give it a try. It's truly amazing... (The MythSoc has good taste, really: "Ananasi Boys" and "Stardust" and "Strange and Norrell" are all past winners!)

 
At 5:52 AM , Blogger Jess said...

Naked dogs, naked cats, and snow puppies! Oh my!

G'morning! Hang on-- can we back up a second? I missed the whole end of the other thread when I crawled off to bed. Be bold, Lorraine! If you've got a publisher asking to see your work, don't even hesitate. Just go for it. I'm shy about letting my stuff go, too-- but it doesn't do you or your writing any good in the long run. Seven or eight years ago one of my teachers said to me, "Finish writing that novel, and then we're going to talk about querying agents." Well, I'm still sitting on the thing, and we never talked about querying agents. Consequently, I've grown old and bitter and self-pitying; my heart is a stone. ;D Don't be like me! Get in there. Be Fabulous! (I know you are, too. It says so at the top of the page.)

I also would like to see your haunted garden piece. :) I agree that it'd be a good way to kick things off. I'd also like to see Dan write something for the project-- he's a marvellously funny writer from what I've seen, and his mind goes in weird and wonderful directions. (Yeah-- let's talk about Dan like he's not here. :D ) I love your memorial over on Friends of the Graveyard, Dan! I'm not sure I understand what's going on over on that site, exactly, but I love it anyway.

Big Doggy Jumping on Counter to Eat Chicken is bad. Naughty Cabal! No! Get down! I hope he'll be okay. (I'd think he likely will be okay if he had some food in him already; any little bone splinters he might have swallowed would then kind of moosh up in his stomach with all that, and do him no harm.)

 
At 6:16 AM , Blogger Erin Underwood said...

Pets with personality! That's what you got going on over here. I love that dog. He looks like he has a some good stories to tell.

You should also check out Lonfiction's cat. The little guy is absolutely frightening!

 
At 6:26 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

I have the most delightful collection of brutal rejection letters in response to my relatively newfound determination to actually submit the stories I write.

I hear it's a good thing when you get a personal response, and I take it as a good sign that they can inspire such vitriol. I want that level of passionate reaction. Now I just need to swing it away from the 'hate' end of the spectrum and more towards to 'love' side.

And the last one, after explaining that it was a horrible story and they hated it, invited me to submit another. So that's a good sign I figure.

 
At 6:35 AM , Blogger Erin Underwood said...

P.S. Thanks for posting the "human" photos. It's always nice to put faces with names. :-)

DanGuy, you are soooo practicing rejectomancy! Just wait until you start getting different colored rejection forms. Hehe...

 
At 6:47 AM , Blogger Jess said...

I'd say that's a very good sign, Dan! Everything I've read, or heard from other writers, says that even vicious letters which don't ask you to resubmit are a good sign-- because they took that much time to tell you about it. Editors generally don't have that kind of time-- and if they really don't think much of your work, they won't take much time from their schedules to tell you so. The ones who take the time to tear you apart are the ones whose doors are worth beating on, if only to spite them. Go on, poke 'em with a stick! Make 'em angry! :D

I'd love to get to a point where I'm getting actual rejection letters in the mail. I would put them in a binder, and keep them on a special shelf. Then I'd feel like I was at least doing something, if not actually getting anywhere.

 
At 7:05 AM , Blogger Dan Guy said...

I've been writing since I was a wee mad scientist, and find all of my old work mortifying, so I'm hoping that I'm reaching that tipping point between the alleged first million words you have to throw away and then all the rest.

I've done my best to target my submissions, but they always seem to fall, while within the requested theme, somehow at a ninety degree angle from them into some hitherfore undiscovered dimensional n-space, within and yet orthagonal to, as it were.

Which is to say: I need to stop sending Cthulhu slash to religious anthologies. It seems that's not the religion they have in mind.

 
At 7:18 AM , Blogger Jess said...

Dan, I'm really glad I'm not drinking anything right now. My keyboard would be ruined. :D

 
At 7:41 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Seconding that Jess!

Need tea tho and badly, just awake, and must go put out a couple of fires , but I have a lot to say once the fires are out and tea in in.....

 
At 7:41 AM , Blogger Phiala said...

*snort* Dan, it's a good thing I'm out of coffee, or my keyboard would be suffering. You will definitely need to contribute something to the haunted garden.

I'm quite intrigued by the whole idea, and will need to think a bit on how to incorporate that theme into my arts. Ideas abound, but many of them are not possible in any sane amount of time. (Though if I were in possession of insane amounts of time, I'd be right on on. Dan, will stretchy time extend to insanity???)

Grendel ate an entire cooked chicken once. Well, the carcass anyway - most of the meat had been removed. No ill effects, happily. He'd just eaten kibble, which I'm sure helped. If you catch them immediately, you can induce vomiting (esophageal injury not good, but less bad than intestinal). Yes, I know this from experience - Grendel has eaten two entire chickens in his little doggy life (and yes, it's entirely our fault for leaving them somewhere accessible, even if I still can't figure out how he got the second one).

 
At 8:26 AM , Blogger pantagruel said...

Dan -- remember that it's far better to be in the arena getting the snot kicked out of you, than it is to be sitting in the stands. Priceless advice from Steven Pressfield, who wrote The War of Art, which if you haven't read yet, go forth and do so. Seriously. And you too, Miss Not-Submitting-Her-Work Quiche! Don't think I can't see you from here!

Kali -- well, if I had more time, and was doing this strictly like the old masters, I'd put down about 20 layers. As it is, I will only have time for 8, and even then, it'll be hung up wet for the show. Your teacher did you no favors. Go and mess about with the acrylics, and don't be too hard on yourself about the results.

I'm going to get on my soapbox for a bit here:

It's funny -- when I was getting my writing degree, I was told my first million words would be awful. And they were. When I went back to an art studio, I was told my first 10,000 drawings would suck. And they did. (This is why Fod invented fire.)

There's this myth that good art is made without having to work at the craft, and that talent is all you need. But after having gone through an MFA program and years at an atelier, I can confidently tell you that 'talent,' while real, gets you nowhere on its own. You have to be willing to suck; to put your work out there in the real world for feedback; to sit down and learn your craft; and chutzpah sure doesn't hurt.

When I first went back to art school, I despaired utterly of ever catching up to the other students, who had not taken any time off to go get writing degrees or careers. My drawings were… well, best not spoken of; theirs were beautifully rendered and lifelike; they were all much more talented. I was ready to give up, when my teacher brought in his old sketchbooks, so I could see that he also once made the same mistakes I was making. That was a priceless gift, because it gave me hope and the courage to get through the thousands of bad drawings. It didn't stop me from being terrified every time I work on something close to my heart, but it showed me that talent isn't the crucial thing; determination is.

Hell, I'm making myself work on this painting in spite of being so nervous about how it'll go over that I have to go retch before I can pick up the brushes. Any talent I might have is absolutely no help at all; not eating is a lot more useful, honestly.

So go submit your work; make a mess with the acrylics; and don't be afraid to suck.

Alright, I think I'm done with the soapbox now. :)

 
At 10:18 AM , Blogger Jess said...

Hear hear! Well said, Val! \o/

It's funny how we're talking about all this, because I just finished Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones this morning, which touches on much the same stuff. (It's one of those books I avoided for years simply because everyone else kept telling me to read it. Everyone Else was right.) One of the things that kind of blew my head off in reading it was the idea that sitting in the stands does no one any good, because writing is an exchange; you express something through art not merely because you're talented, or to get strokes, or even please yourself. You do it because it's your job as an artist to tell others what you see-- and to do that takes the commitment to keep doing it, and let it go out in the world, whether or not it sucks.

I sometimes wonder if MFA programs can sometimes be more of a hindrance rather than a help in that respect. I wouldn't say that I got nothing out of having done it-- I came out a much better writer than I went in. But I also got drawn into that whole political-academic thing which goes on at universities while I was there, and carried it around with me for a long time after I left. Really that was all fear and massive ego, though. It's taken me a while to outgrow it-- and I'm still afraid to suck. Though less so than before, I hope. :)

Where did you do your MFA, Val, if you don't mind my asking?

 
At 10:31 AM , Blogger AletaMay said...

:lifts glass: To absent friends indeed. Last night I was able to spend about an hour talking with my friend who is currently in India. Via Skype. Technology is amazing!

I have more words and thoughts in my mind than I have time or skill to say them. I love this blog. You all rock.

Kyle Cassidy said "Work hard, believe in yourself, enable your dreams, seek out creative people. Hang on. Tenaciously. Always be a force for good." I feel like this blog is part of the seeking out creative people part!

One of the things that drew me to Mr. Neil's blog is the way he talks about writing and gives advice to wannabe writers. It seems to boil down to this -- if you want to be a writer you need to write. Finishing things you start.

So much harder than it sounds.

I have several fiction projects half done. I spend far too much time thinking about writing and far to little time writing. On top of the fiction I have academic writing I should be doing -- rather than just thinking about.

It seems to be the "work hard" part that holds me back. I am finally figuring this stuff out at my old age.

I so love hearing about everyones journeys. I agree with everyone's advice, Lorraine. Be bold! (And I am listening to that advise for myself too!)

 
At 10:48 AM , Blogger Phiala said...

AletaMay wrote: "I have several fiction projects half done. I spend far too much time thinking about writing and far to little time writing. On top of the fiction I have academic writing I should be doing -- rather than just thinking about."

I, er, could have written that same sentence. Except you left out the part about the deadlines. Bleah.

I never "got" Writing Down the Bones, but do quite like Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird (some combination of one or more m and t in her surname that I'm too lazy to look up, though it would have taken less time to do so than to write this parenthetical note). ((This is the form of procrastination in my world.))

 
At 10:52 AM , Blogger AletaMay said...

Also Loki is perfectly named!

 
At 11:08 AM , Blogger Jess said...

Bird by Bird's one of my favorites, too. (I'm pretty sure you're right that it is Lamott-- two T's, one M.) I think I appreciated it more the second time I read it, when I was actually working on a novel rather than on short stories-- some of what she talks about made more sense to me once I was in the middle of a long project.

I also could have written that sentence (said Jess, leaving yet another comment on Lorraine's blog instead of doing her friggin' job, get off the internet Jess graaah). But I don't think we need to kick ourselves for it. That won't get anything written, either. One project at a time. Even academic writing is good writing-- the thing is to do it, and then go on to the next thing.

Okay: I have to go write for an hour at least, and I'm not allowed to come back till I do. If I come back, throw tomatoes! :D

 
At 11:14 AM , Blogger Erin Underwood said...

Jess, I can't speak for all MFA programs. However, I'm currently enrolled in the Stonecoast MFA program, which is part of the University of Southern Maine. I have found this program to be everything that other programs weren't. Plus, it has a track for popular fiction writers.

Stonecoast focuses on writing the best fiction you can write - no matter the genre. You get your hands very dirty with the nuts and bolts of writing the kind of fiction that you want to write.

Plus, you're working with writers who know the popular fiction field inside and out. Kelly Link. Nancy Holder. Nalo Hopkinson. Jim Kelly. David Anthony Durham. Etc.

It is so fantastic to work with writers who make a living writing and to get an MFA in the process. Not only do you learn to produce the best fiction you can, but they really encourage you to submit regularly.

Even better, it's a low-residency program, so you don't have to live in Maine to attend Stonecoast. I absolutely love it.

 
At 11:16 AM , Blogger AletaMay said...

So I just checked out Lojo Russo's myspace page -- thinking about gathering a gaggle to head out to Charlie's Friday. And what did I see there. Wonderful photos of Lorraine and Dr. Score! What fun!

 
At 11:46 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

I want to print out all of these posts and put them on my wall. It's a weird thing to be afraid of, as I am not at all bashful about music, if you like the kind of music I do, you will like it. Writing tho, is weird. Don't know why I'm so shy of it.

I'm not bashful about the humor writing, the funny things. It's , Fods, I don't know what they are, they are not short stories, and not poems, but something in between (WAY marketable, hee-hee) all on the same topic.

Maybe I should post them and let you all be my teachers...

And just to get the ball rolling on this project...

We have our first piece, was there in my inbox this morning, saying "Something for your night garden search."

Jane Yolen doesn't waste any time. I believe we have page 1.

"

 
At 11:54 AM , Blogger pantagruel said...

Jess, I went to Chapman for my undergrad and grad work. It's a very rigorous program at both levels, mainly because it's merged. Six units away from my MFA, I snapped and quit grad school. I could manage two of three things: work full-time, go to grad school, or be married. In retrospect, I should've ditched my ex-husband then and saved myself years of grief. But I foolishly gave up grad school.

I do know what you mean about academic politics. Can you hear the understatement in that? ;)

 
At 11:56 AM , Blogger pantagruel said...

POST THEM.

;)

 
At 1:14 PM , Blogger K said...

Pantagruel, as one currently balancing work, marriage and a Master's degree, I SO know what you mean. (Thankfully I don't work full-time, or goodness knows what would happen.)

It does make me sad that studying cuts into my time for doing creative things, because as you say you DO have to be prepared to be awful, and my time is limited enough lately that I can't quite bear to spend it on being awful. (So when I get a moment I make cake instead).

Recently I've started drawing again - mostly fanart, that way I don't need any actual brain - and am surprised by how much better I am than I feared. Not good, but not completely incapable either. You need to DO these things to keep them working.

What am I saying here? Basically, Lorraine, go for it. I can't think of a more constructive audience than the people here.

And here is a picture of a hairless guinea pig. Not mine, but I can't resist a bandwagon!

 
At 2:07 PM , Blogger Rubius said...

Cool.. Cool and more Coolness.... with regard to a story from Jane Yolen. Cool. We need to find a home for this project... and FAST.

Lorraine, you know you have willing eyes and ears here. I would love to read what you have written and I would promise to be a critical reader, not a yes-woman. (Which I know I have been guilty of in the past but is of no help whatsoever to someone looking for honest criticism)


Fods.. that academic rigamarole is more damaging that most people understand. It really is. It has been 4 years since I finished my BA and I am still sloughing off the chaff from that whole university mess. Just in time to begin to truly recognize the ugliness in the system and at the same time have a craving to return to the academic bower.

and... what's a low-residency program? I have never heard of it.

k - what a creature!!

 
At 2:12 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Dan and I are working on the website and hopefully Fabulouslorraine.com will be up and running shortly.

There will be a home the The Haunted Garden Project, and links, and the blog, and Freaky Pets (the Bengals want screen time) and music and writing.

It's all going to be there! I am so excited!

 
At 3:02 PM , Blogger Jess said...

Hurrah! O, Fod (Almighty Fod)-- now I'll have to write something, won't I? :D

So this afternoon I've been rewriting a chapter of My-Neglected-Novel-What-Mostly-Lives-In-a-Dark-Drawer-These-Days, as it's occurred to me that if I'm going to be telling Lorraine to Go Fearlessly Forth, I ought to do likewise. I mention it because I don't think I would have done so, had we not all had the above conversation. I think you might have saved me today, Lorraine. :)

It's hard enough to work and go to grad school, Val, let alone be married on top of it-- it's taken me a long time to figure out how to be a writer and be married, too. It's easy to give up too much of yourself-- especially to a guy who enjoys playing Half-Life 2 as much as mine does. You come to understand, for example, that during the weekends the computer belongs to him, and that if you don't make an effort to find a quiet space to sit with a notebook and a pen, away from the gunfire and the pounding techno beat, you're not going to get anything done. That said, I'm glad I stuck with him. (I sort of wish I hadn't taken that last year in absentia, and for that matter I wish I'd used my time at PSU altogether differently, but, meh-- wishes, horses, beggars.)

 
At 3:10 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Well, excellent! I am glad to have saved you. You've helped me too!

I found the Haunted Garden piece, and may well post it tonight, along with Jane's piece.

(which surely would go down as one of the most audacious things I've ever done...Yeah, me and Jane Yolen! The cheek of the girl!)

But I want you to see hers, and I'd made up my mind I should share mine, so there you have it.

Last FM is not playing my mood very well today. Haven't liked anything it thinks I like....

 
At 4:46 PM , Blogger pantagruel said...

The demise of my marriage had very little to do with grad school, but that's a Story for Another Time.

Quiche, Dan -- did you still need or want me to help with design for the new site? I will be useless until Sunday, but after that, I'll start triaging the things on the List.

 
At 5:32 PM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Let's talk, Val. I am up for all the help I can get, I want it to be a really fun Spooky Site, where we can all dance in the night together...

 
At 6:07 PM , Blogger Erin Underwood said...

Rubius, a low-residency program means that you don't have to attend classes every day. Instead, you do your writing and reading from home, mail in your work to your mentor once a month, and attend an intensive 10-day residency on campus twice a year.

The best thing about low-residency programs is that they enable you to manage your time in a way that works with your life. I have a full-time job, a husband, a crazy family, and a MFA program. There's not a lot of extra time. However, since Stonecoast is only a 2-year program (which is broken into 4 manageable semesters), I don't feel overwhelmed by the amount of writing I have to produce.

I'm not sure how other programs work, but Stonecoast is very genre friendly and encourages students to seek out cross-genre experiences (poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, and popular fiction). This is what led to my thesis, which explores the practical process of adapting "story" between multiple story forms or mediums.

Mr. G's Beowulf is a wonderful example of how different writers adapted the same story between multiple forms (i.e. screenplay, fiction, graphic novel, and poem). My research on this topic led me to Fabulous Lorraine and her equally Fabulous Blog.

 
At 10:56 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Ah, the thing in the garage....It seems the Web Goblin mentioned that over at Boss's blog. And general opinion seem to think it is a de-composed shrew.

Got it. It wasn't any of my doing. And I am standing by that statement.

 
At 10:58 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Kind of like what we are doing with out Night Garden? Only it's an idea instead of a story.

I remember that interview, Erin. Erin was so fun and chatty afterwards, e-mailing back and forth, I finally told her to get on over here, hee-hee....

 
At 11:27 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Jane's gives me little shivers too! It's all the things I love best...

 
At 4:07 AM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

Reminds me I should hop over and read Kitty's blog...

So Cabal is being naughty? I can't really imagine him fitting on the stove so, being so big, he probably only stood and reached (as compared to cats who can - and will if given the chance - pounce on the stove top to sample food left there to cook...
Mind you, he HAS to compensate for emotional crisis and he KNEW he would do well on the agility class so probably thought he deserved the treat right away.

Haikus, Dan! I know you can do these... Or Cthulhu plopping into a garden at night (trying to woe the marble nymphs?). It IS religion.

What was I saying?
Oh yes. Go and cook lunch. Riiight.

 
At 11:06 AM , Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Kitty hasn't been bloggng that I know about, this road is one seriously brutal tour, I send her letters and notes every day, and care packs when she is somewhere more than a day...

We want her to come home!

 
At 12:03 PM , Blogger spacedlaw said...

She has! She said so in one of the comments...

 

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