In Her Natural Environment

The past few weeks have been pretty hot – Seattle’s been seeing temperatures up in the mid-nineties. There are all kind of doomful extreme heat warnings going out.

But those don’t apply to me. I grew up in the South. I know what to do: wear as little as possible, and carry shade wherever you go. So I’ve been wearing pretty much what you see in this drawing iRL. It works even better up here, where it’s not so humid that there’s only about a 2º difference between the sun and the shade.

(Bonus tip: get something designed to protect fabric from UV, apply liberally to bumbershoot, enjoy reduced chances of skin cancer.)

Protected: Dracula Party

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Dracula Party: teaser

This is a silly version of a panel from a story I’ve been working on about a vampire. I’ll post it here somewhere down the line; it’s slated to be in an anthology of comics by trans creators that’s currently finishing up its Kickstarter. If you’re supporting me on Patreon, you can see it right now.

Next up: finishing my page for the coloring book stretch goal of that Kickstarter, and figuring out how I’m gonna fulfill this promise I made to do an 8p romance story for a book at a Mainstream Comics Publisher. Probably by doing some Parallax backstory stuff, to be honest.

Drip

There is a regular, metronomic, metallic THUNK coming from the studio. Every two seconds, a drop of water falls from the ceiling and lands in the bucket on the floor where the corner of my drawing table used to be.

A half hour ago, Nick crawled out of bed. I stayed. I wasn’t ready to get up. Then I heard him saying “Um, Peggy? We have an emergency.” And I got up. And slightly freaked out. But managed to coordinate moving everything out of the way – first a pot went beneath the leak, then we moved the computer desk that’s about three feet to the right of the leak, then I got the stuff piled beneath the drawing board out of the way and finally we moved the board itself.

And then I remembered that I have a huge bucket in the closet for cleaning and I put that on the floor instead of the pot.

A few things got wet. Luckily most of what was under there was a pile of old test prints on thick paper, and a few pieces of Bristol board in a thick card envelope. There may be a couple drawings lost, but nothing really important.

I wonder how long it’ll take for this one to get fixed. The last leak was maybe a week or two, what with all the time it took them to figure out that it was a leak on the top floor running down the walls into my kitchen. I’m just really glad Nick cleaned up some of the stuff in that area yesterday while we were starting the process of him moving in.

Rita’s being finally shipped, Nick’s moving in. And maybe now we’ll push “finding a 3br place to share” up the schedule a little bit, depending on how this pans out. Really there was enough change in my life going on already, I didn’t need this extra crisis. But here it is and it’s been as dealt with as much as possible for now.


So not too long after I wrote this, the landlord showed up and took a look. He investigated upstairs; apparently my upstairs neighbor’s hot water heater sprung a leak. One more crisis dealt with. On to the next one.

the dream of something like a family reunion

So there I was in a dream house full of what feels in retrospect like a family reunion. Grandpa was there, then I left to get something and came back, and Grandma and Mom were there. No Dad, no Grandma M. And an assortment of Black people who had the aura of “relative” to me and is there something nobody ever told me about my family tree. Maybe it's just something to do with whoever bought my grandparents' house, I dunno. Or maybe it's just what my brain chose to make up while dreaming.

There was some wandering around and chatting and a lady who was cosplaying some kind of circuit-themed character whose outfit I complimented but nothing much happened. Just kind of a family reunion.

Never went to one of those in real life. My family was pretty fragmented. But there you are.

BINGO

More desktop cleaning. Last month there was a meme going around where you’d make a “bingo card” for yourself and fill it with Shit You Talk About A Lot. Most people used an online bingo card creator. Which probably made its owner really happy for all the free publicity. Not me. Me, I opened up Illustrator and drew a bunch of boxes that deliberately didn’t quite line up, and hand-wrote it with great care given to keeping the text right on the edge of illegibility.

Overachiever.

?!?

I was cleaning off my computer’s desktop and I found this screen shot. It makes me giggle.

inviting the reader to join in the fun

so i’m thinking about this story by lord dunsanay

idle days on the yann

in which the narrator describes a lengthy journey he took on a river through a fabulous magical world, without ever really getting down to specifics like “names” or “actual dialogue”

and i’m thinking about this book by h p lovecraft

the dream-quest of randolph carter

in which is described a lengthy journey a man took through a fabulous magical world, with a certain amount of attention paid to grovelling around in the death-pits and charnel-houses of this world, as is to be expected from that ol’ necrophile howard, without ever really getting down to specifics like “names” or “actual dialogue”

and i’m thinking about this trilogy by jo clayton

skeen’s leap, skeen’s return, and skeen’s search

in which is described a lengthy journey a woman took through a fabulous world of fallen science, ancient mysteries, and what she took from that journey back to her far future world

and within which the chapter titles get increasingly playful, including one title that goes on for a couple of pages of large boldface where clayton explicitly says that she sat here at a crucial juncture of the story, pondering her options, and had a hard time deciding which one to do; she lists the options she considered, she talks about their pros and cons, and invites you to pick one and write your own, should you care to – turn the page and you’ll see which one she chose, how would the version in your head differ?

and i’m just thinking about how all of these stories share one important thing: they invite the reader to help finish them. the dunsanay and lovecraft merely do this by their sparseness; the clayton does it explicitly.

and, you know, this is how the next generation of storytellers happens.


i am thinking about this because i just spent a half an hour stoned off my ass and working up some ideas for a tv adaptation of zelazny’s amber series as an accidental writing prompt, until i remembered that roger supposedly wanted nobody to write in his world after he died, and while i’m fine with respecting that i got started thinking about how easy it was for me to do that and how similar it was to those things i’d read, and found fascinating, and why.


(and then while i was thinking about lovecraft my nostrils were suddenly suffused with the scent of death and decay; it may have been something outgassing from the new trash can i had delivered yesterday and only just now opened; it may have been a brief visitation by the spirit of HPL or some minion of his born-decaying dream-world; i covered both of these possibilities by opening the windows and demanding COME NOT IN ThIS FORm or somesuch)

anyway, i guess i should get back to work drawing this comic about a vampire lady telling a story, maybe i can work a casual invitation to tell your own stories into it somewhere

Saranté Eptá

So this weekend I got invited to join a D&D game, and was all, like, why not? I haven’t done any of that since 1995, when I said goodbye to my regular gaming group and went off to LA for animation school. And we were playing GURPS; the last time I played <em>Dungeons and Dragons</em> was in, like, 1990 or so, with a mix of 1st and 2nd edition AD&D rules and a homebrew spell point system.

I had however picked up the 5th Ed PHB and DMG sometime last year, and done half the work on a character, so I pulled her out and nailed down her specs.

Saranté Eptá is a kobold thief entertainer. Please pay no attention to the dagger hidden in one of her bangles and the lock picks in another. I’m sure you’re busy trying to politely avoid staring at the parts barely covered by that too-small loincloth with the grinning belt buckle, anyway. Also kindly ignore how heavy her mandolin is. Surely it’s not built around a steel bar so it can be used as a weapon when a scheme goes awry.

Her history:

The forty-seventh daughter of the Year of Charenox was supposed to be special. Her egg was the first one laid after the legendary accountant Counts-In-Circles was pilloried by an angry mob for her role in the Melanchurion Affair, and as such she was expected to be the reincarnation of Counts. It is unclear whether she is actually dyscalculaic or simply sick to death of keeping track of other people’s hoards after a lifetime spent on that; either way, she fled her tribe of city kobolds rather than resign herself to a life of adding up numbers. No, for her it was the romance of the open road, and a mandolin “liberated” from an apprentice luthier. Someday she may return home. Maybe. If she feels like it. Or if someone ties her up and drags her there. I’m sure that’s not a potential plot hook or anything.

Somewhere along the way between there and the events of the campaign, she has gotten pretty good at playing that mandolin, and learnt to squeeze some pleasingly unearthly noises out of it.


The rest of the party includes a statuesque black cat lady who is a cleric of a barbarian death cult, a former male human druid who was turned into a mind-blind illithid lady by a diety’s whim, and a crow bard of uncertain gender (probably male) who is unable to speak except in, essentially, samples of things he’s heard.

Three members of the party play instruments (cleric: drums, bard: hurdy-gurdy/samples, Sarante: mandolin), and we are joking about the illithid singing… which would make us a travelling death-metal band, as illithids don’t have tongues and produce speech by jamming a tentacle down their mouths and using it as a crude substitute, which I insist on imagining coming out like Cookie Monster vocals.

Should be fun!

(And if by some reason you care to read her whole character sheet, go here and have a look. I am so glad I found this site, calculating all the resistances and whatnot is a poorly-documented pain in the ass!)

the dream of avoiding tinysex

I dreamt I was trying to hook up with someone on Furrymuck for textsex. Didn't want to but felt obligated. So I took my sweet time navigating to our rendezvous location in its map. At the same time I was in a store with someone attempting to persuade me to have a run of custom printed ties done, with bats on them; somehow this design ended up being a blue head of a cartoon dog, and I very politely said I needed to think about the colors for a bit as a way to get the hell out of this interaction.

Then I woke up,