Thursday, 30 October 2014

National Novel Writing Month

Tomorrow is Halloween and that means one thing (asides the dressing up and copious amounts of candy). National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us!

I've participated four years running, so of course, joining in again made it onto The List:
032. Take up the NaNoWriMo challenge again
For the uninitiated, the idea of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel of 50,000 words (or more) during the month of November. It sounds like a lot, but is actually around 1667 words per day.
The official NaNoWriMo website has a great FAQ which explains the ins and outs of participating, and of course, winning!

I have added one of their handy word count widgets to this blog, which you'll find on the right hand side :)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Folk Tales of the Sea People: Contents

Back Cover for Folk Tales of the Sea People, July 2014

Not all tales have a happy ending. Indeed, not all tales are even conventional. These are Folk Tales of the Sea People, who sang their stories long before we learned to spin our own
Preface and Introduction
In which a modern-day professor comments on the fact science has proved that mermaids to not exist, and Cadogan Browne introduces his compilation with insistence that they do.

Halywn, or A Pinch of Salt
A tale of Selkie-folk in a saltless sea, set upon by a terrible creature--and what they do to defeat him.

A Havsrå's Fortune
The story of a lonely Havsrå, gifted with the ability to see into the future, but cursed that no Human man shall ever remember her face.

Yam and the Octopus
A simple story about a nosy boy and a grumpy octopus.

Golden Scales
In which Glyndwr the Vain learns not to be vain, through rather awful means. (Do note the warning at the beginning of this one).

The Clam Keeper and the Sailor
A story of a Siren and a Human, who meet upon the surface of the sea.

A Pearl for Your Daughter
A cautionary tale about a spoilt young Mermaid.

How Helle Found the Monster
In which a curious Selkie seeks to discover the source of the sea's warmth

The Gentleman Traveller
The tale of a frog-legged, dish-headed and very gentlemanly traveller in search of the ultimate sea-cucumber

The Woman on the Pier
A dramatic tale about a Näkki, an accident, and the troubles that follow.

Three Brothers and a Draug
A story about three identical Siren brothers, who must defeat a wicked Draug.

A Dragon in the Sea
The story of an outcast and angry Dragon, and the Siren girl and Selkie boy who try to help him.

The Wily Old Glashtyn
In which a pretty young Mermaid seeks the help of a wily old Glashtyn to win the heart of a prince.

A Raft on the Lagoon
A tale of Mermaids, Humans, Draugs and not-so-accidental death...

Six Silly Sisters
In which three Siren sisters meet three Human sisters, make a discovery, and prove just how silly people can be. 

The Fish Who Grew Legs
A tale of a Fish who wished to be a Nereid, and how he fared.

Fresh Water and Salt Water
The story of a salt water-dwelling Siren, who fell in love with a fresh water-dwelling Nereid.

That's sixteen stories in all, more than the ten I set out to write!
With regards to the image at the top of this post, it counts towards my goal of creating 52 paintings in a year. It's a simple image, painted with the idea of creating a 'back cover' for this story collection. Unfortunately I managed to bend the paper before I had a chance to scan it, argh!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Magic, Feminism and Anne Rice

As I've always liked reading, I set the following goal on The List:
050. Read 3 books per month for 1 year
You'd think this would be an easy task, but in truth I set it because I became pretty lax with reading, meanwhile the 'books to read' pile was growing bigger and bigger...

Anyway! I started on this goal back in July, and realised it's about time I start blogging about it.

I'm rating each book out of 5 for how much I enjoyed it overall.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Fresh Water and Salt Water

Here comes the final story from Folk Tales of the Sea People. 

With this, I conclude one of the goals on The List:
046. Write 10 original stories of 1000+ words

There is an illustration for this story, but this time it's at the end.

So without further ado, I bring you the tale of a siren and a nereid...

Fresh Water and Salt Water

There once was a handsome young man, a Siren like you and I, who was many tides past the age to become married. He had lustrous red hair and shining scales to match, and his fins were dark blue like the twilight sea. His name was Moana.
Everywhere Moana went, women stared and blushed at his handsome appearance, and sometimes some of the men did, too. Many young women lusted for Moana’s attention and the men, envious of Moana’s popularity, looked on in envy. Moana received many proposals of marriage from men and women across the kingdom. He found it most tiring to receive so much attention and turned down each and every request that came his way.
His parents fretted at his reluctance to marry, for in those days marriage was for profit and appearance, and it was deemed improper for a man of Moana’s age to remain alone. Every day they would beg him to choose a bride from the many willing suitors.
They did not know that Moana mourned for a secret love, Melanchor of the Swan People.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

A Gift Art

Untitled gift art, September 2014

The above is an A5(ish) picture I made for my friend Sparrow (webmistress and translator of 鬼愛~Demon Passion~ - go there for JP-ENG translations of ghost stories!)
It features some of her original characters.
I used watercolours and took the opportunity to use some more masking fluid, albeit only a little! After painting, I went over the lines with a fineliner, so I guess it's more of an illustration, but I'm counting this towards my goal of 52 in a year (goal #55 on The List).

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Fish Who Grew Legs

Folk Tales of the Sea People is nearing an end--this is the second to last story! A tale of hope and transformation.

The Fish Who Grew Legs, July 2014
The Fish Who Grew Legs

There was once a large fish. His name was Shui, and he had scales of blue with black stripes, and bright yellow fins. He lived in a sea not far from here, amongst others of his kind and close to a village of Nereids.
Shui envied the Nereids, for they were slender and fast, and had not tails but beautiful legs, which allowed them to walk upon the land, should they wish it.
When Shui watched the Nereids, he thought that he should be one of them. He, too, wanted to play in the water and visit the land. He wished he had legs to wiggle instead of his tail, and thought that surely he should have been born with them. But when Shui told his friends that he wanted to be a Nereid, they laughed at him.
“You cannot be a Nereid,” they said. “For you have no legs, and your face is that of a fish, and your body is that of a fish, and you are fish through and through.”
“My heart is one of a Nereid!” insisted Shui. “Though my body is that of a fish, I cannot change my heart.”
His friends laughed so hard that Shui swam away, sad.

It so happened that a Nereid boy found him. Though Shui was a big fish – bigger than the boy – the Nereid was not afraid, for he knew fish to be gentle.
“Why are you sad?” asked the Nereid.
“Because I have the body of a fish and the heart of a Nereid, and everybody laughs at me,” said Shui.
The Nereid patted Shui’s head. “They’re very mean,” he said. “You can be a Nereid if you want to be.”
“How can I go to the land without legs?” asked Shui.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Bentley Woodfair

Every year, Bentley Country Park is host to Bentley Woodfair. My parents have attended several years running, but this year Mum was away whilst it was on, so Dad and I went instead!

Spread across two fields, the wood fair is 'a celebration of woodlands, forestry, timber, trees, woodcrafts and more...'

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Six Silly Sisters

Well, it's been a week since I last posted anything from Folk Tales of the Sea People, so it's about time I posted some more, isn't it!
I would have posted sooner, but the past week or so has been busy, and when I've returned home from the various events I've blogged about lately, I've been feeling pretty tired. Gallons of tea is what has been keeping me going lately!

Anyway, without further ado, here is the next story...

Six Silly Sisters, July 2014

Six Silly Sisters

There were once three Siren sisters. Their names were Muirgel, Muirgen and Muiren. Muirgel was the oldest sister, Muirgen was the middle sister, and Muiren was the youngest. The three sisters went everywhere together, and what they liked most was to swim to an inlet where they would meet interesting Land Walkers. Their parents warned them not to go there, for it was a dangerous place, but the sisters paid them no regard.

One day, when they were swimming up the inlet, they met three young Land Walker women who looked almost identical. The young women had taken off their shoes and socks and were paddling in the water.
“Oh look, Muirgen!” said Muiren. “Those three Land Walkers look the same!”
“Let’s go and talk to them,” said Muirgel. She called out from the water, and waved to the young women. “Ahoy!”

Exhibitions: John Vernon Lord & Art at the Dene

As part of Hurst Festival, the Holy Trinity Church hosted a couple of art exhibitions.

The main attraction for me was the John Vernon Lord exhibition. His book, The Giant Jam Sandwich was a childhood favourite, and a couple of years ago I saw another exhibition of his work whilst on a trip to London (the exhibition in question was of his illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass).

Works in the exhibition included his illustrations for the likes of Aesop's Fables, The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear and Miserable Aunt Bertha. I really like his work because every line is so accurate, and some illustrations contain such a wonderfully high level of detail. My favourite piece at this exhibition was Sammy (the dog) spots Gretchen (the cat) from Miserable Aunt Bertha, purely because of the colour, the scene of utter chaos, and again all the details! (And maybe, just maybe, because there's a jam sandwich in that picture. I see what you did there, mister!)

The other exhibition in the church was 'Art at the Dene'. It was a collection of artworks by residents of The Dene Hospital, an establishment which uses the arts to help those with mental illness/personality disorders. The works displayed were varied in style and I thought the exhibition an excellent example of how art can be used for expression.

I didn't take any pictures within the church as I didn't feel comfortable doing so, despite the warm welcome I received at the exhibition! But I did buy a couple of postcards depicting John Vernon Lord's work :)