Uh.

So. I write a post asking what you guys want to see me write more of; and my response? To write nothing. That was unexpected. At least for me!

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But I have been working on stuff. And doing stuff. I’d include pictures, but… not this time!

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1. I got accepted into a Masters of Communication via Open University Australia; at Griffith University. This now means I have access to JSTOR, which makes me a happy marshmallow panda.

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2. We went down south to Pemberton and Margaret River and it was all at once; rugged, inspirational, like living in a Ghibli movie (especially Spirited Away), very difficult, challenging, anxiety-inducing, filled with cockroaches, filled with immense beauty, colonised with karri trees, made of awesome Chicken Treat chicken rolls, intoxicated with Duckstein beer (especially altbier), and created with great music. Thanks Hisaishi, for the soundtrack!

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3. I have a list of projects which looks something like this:

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– finish two short stories
– finish long-form fanfiction
– finish Katt’s forest (largest illustration I’ve ever inked)
– outline three science fiction novels
– outline Little Wolverine, a fiction-non-fiction narrative book about shamanism
– first drafts of all of these outlines
– etc.

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4. Things I’m not doing for the next Australian financial year include; working on getting any tarot or oracle decks published. Sorry! I will be building my own personal deck though; and may start offering professional readings. I’ll need to trial a bunch first to make sure the system is effective.

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So this is what’s been happening. Plus a ton of other stuff. Realisations about life. Increased PTSD symptoms. Drafts and sketches and finished illustrations. An upcoming interview in a holistic magazine (will link once it’s published) and finding out that the book on animism in which I have both an article (on Shinto and animism in the works of Hayao Miyazaki) and illustrated the cover art may be getting published soon.

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I’ve been enjoying the Winter. Wishing it would rain more, storm more tempestuously, and offer more gloom. Wishing that this didn’t cause my friends with arthritis more pain. It’s hard to love weather systems that hurt people. I am dealing with some of this (and living in ‘usually very dry Perth’) by writing a science fiction series set on a planet with a ridiculous amount of rain and storm.

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The Weather.

I am about to embark on an awesome journey of research. That’s right, research. I love non-fiction in general, but I think it will be the first time I’ve ever devoted so much brain space to weather, weather patterns, weather cycles, extreme weather and so on.

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Partly, it’s to do with a science fiction novel I’m worldbuilding for. In it, people from Earth have settled on a very Earth-like planet that has much more severe weather than we do (a lot more supercell storms and a much higher density of rain and so on). But in order to do that, I need to understand more about weather patterns and cycles. I started by researching winds of the world, like the beautifully named Euroclydon, Khazri, Kosava, Levant, Oroshi and Coromuel. And around that point I realised that I just didn’t know a great deal about what I was talking about. And this is from someone who is actually fascinated by the weather and can generally tell if we’re having ESE winds or SWs and what they’re going to feel like and can name different types of clouds and so forth.

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Definitely not enough anymore! I’ve ordered a bunch of books from the library. For once, I’m going to be able to hold a sustained conversation with an English person and actually know what I’m talking about. 😉

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Speaking about weather, our suburb of Ellenbrook was hit with a freakish storm two days ago, which resulted in a twelve hour power outage. It was pretty amazing. Within the storm was also a miniature tornado, and we had winds of 150 kmh. We escaped damage at our house, but others weren’t so lucky, and the cost will likely run into the millions.

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This is what the storm looked like over our house, before it broke and the rains fell.

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the storm before it broke by Ravenari

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And then, after I stood outside in the rain for a long, long time. We went inside, had about an hour with which to enjoy electricity, and then power lines in neighbouring suburbs fell and we had no electricity at all. Very glad I turned off my computer for that.

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We had lightning strikes like this every few seconds:

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lightning from the front of our house by Ravenari

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And this was when it wasn’t over our house! (That’s the view from the front of our house).

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I love tumultuous, stormy weather. I really do. I have talked frequently about how much I love the rain, but it’s a very specific kind of rain. It’s not drizzle, it’s ‘here, you asked for it, now TAKE IT!’ rain. Rain that is forceful and conquers the soil.

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It will be interesting to research, at any rate. Especially because it means I get to take a break from research nociceptors and a-delta fibres.

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Never fear, those who follow the art. I’m still doing it. I’m doing a lot of it. Here’s a sample of the latest stuff:

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Red Kangaroo Totem – pre-colouring.

red kangaroo pre-colouring by Ravenari

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Brolga Totem – pre-colouring.

brolga pre-colouring by Ravenari

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Both of these, when finished, will be for sale at my Etsy.

That very first story…

Did you know I used to draw a webcomic? And it was mostly awful. But the concept remains and is actually the new novel that I’m plotting out now. Anyway, you can see one of my really different long ago frankly crap illustrations of the main character.

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(Disclaimer, I drew this on the 887 bus route on the way to ECU one day, which, as anyone knows, does not lend itself to smooth lines).

Jess by Ravenari

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Well, anyway, it’s come up because the webcomic originally started as my ‘first ever novel’ when I was 12 years old. Then about 150 pages was irrevocably lost during a move to Alexander Heights and I only had the first three chapters left in hard copy. Gutted, I left it alone and moved onto other things (namely: highschool). One day though, I looked back and realised I still liked the basics of the story. And, shockingly, I looked back only to realise I’d been writing a main character who had PTSD and alexithymia before I knew I had PTSD or alexithymia. It was – and still is – like my 12 year old self had a snapshot of the kind of person I’d be at the age of 18, and wrote a character about that in a science fiction world on another planet.

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That was…incredibly disturbing, and it still is. Reading back on it now, I find myself thinking; ‘how did I know?’ Of course, some things aren’t the same. I’m not, for example, a gun-toting mercenary strategist who inherits a major spy syndicate.

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Anyway, then I wrote it out as a NaNoWriMo novel. And then I drew it as a 24 page webcomic. And then I shelved it again, and finally I’ve come back to it and I think this time I’m ready to write it ‘for real.’ It might only ever be ‘for myself,’ but I’m certainly ready to write it for real.

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In the meantime, I made a salmon macaroni pasta salad (with wholegrain mustard and celery and other things) this weekend, which was a hit (i.e. there’s none left). Tomorrow night I’m making a spaghetti with roasted garlic, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and cabanossi. I was going to make that the other night but changed my mind. This paragraph is in tribute to Putu, who probably doesn’t have much access to cabanossi pasta right now (but I could go some umeboshi onigiri if you want to swap!)

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Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, but I don’t actually celebrate it. Is that bad? I prefer spontaneous romance over ‘scheduled commercial romance.’ And while I know I could still turn it into a lovely, sweet day… I’d just prefer not to do so on that day. Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you do anything special for yourself when you’re single?

My cluttered art desk.

I’m working on about four different things right now. A new Steampunk piece for the Future Imperfect exhibition (giant elephants, logging trees? Yes!) I’m also working on colouring three mini-dragons. And then not on the desk, is a further three mini-dragons that need inking.

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Oh, and I have a frilled neck lizard to colour. Insanity.

my scrappy art desk - by Ravenari

In the top right you can see my Totoros, which after all this time smell like vanilla (no one knows why, but it’s very nice.) I love them. I’m currently using watercolour pencils and I have a fair amount.

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Today, actually, I finished transcribing the last 100 hard-copy pages of edits of Every Day Awake (my work-in-progress novel). So I’ve complete a third draft and need to get it reprinted. After a read-through, I’ll decide if it’s worth giving to others yet to see what they think. I culled 13,500 words, which was necessary. It may need more culling, but I think it’s a much tighter piece in general now.

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It’s been an odd day, but humid, hot days do that to me. On days like today I dream of cool spaces, forests, gentle rains, gusty breezes. I am incompatible with this landscape, yet I love it so much. But cooler climes beckon.