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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Work it!

Currently I am embarking on a personal project called ‘100 walks for health,’ which is based on the idea that I walk 100 times for health. It’s pretty straightforward. And then afterwards I start again. The rules are – the walk has to be over 10 minutes to count (and multiple walks a day count as separate walks), and other things like playing kick to kick or swimming don’t count. Anyway, today I walked in a thunderstorm and it was awesome. (Even if I did get rained on despite my umbrella, and got paranoid about being hit by lightning because it was all around me.)

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In the meantime, I finally finished the inking of Steampunk Elephants or Clearcutting at Dawn. This is how I felt about it yesterday:

photo of the day  - a commen sentiment - by Ravenari

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And this is how it looks today:

Clearcutting at Dawn by Ravenari

What I love so much about this series for the Natcon 50 Future Imperfect art show, is that I get to do something with animals that I’m not normally doing.

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I’ve been taking animals and looking at their natural environment, and then looking at how I’d personally exploit them (not that I want to exploit any animal really) in an imperfect retrofuture, where we only allow animals to survive if they can directly benefit us through work, beauty or medicine/health.

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In this, I liked the idea of genetically modified elephants used in the process of clearcutting to save on fuel and materials needed to build the tractors and bulldozers and so forth needed. Because huge elephants could be engineered, larger trees could be engineered and managed, and the wood yield would increase in a world where there wouldn’t be that much wood remaining.

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Elephants are actually built to take down trees. While some of them will tear at branches, many will actually uproot acacia trees in order to get at the whole top of the plant. Unlike giraffes which evolved to reach the top of the trees, the elephant evolved to just take them down. To then take that natural instinct and accelerate it into a vegetative drive where the elephants even enjoy, or run towards trees that need knocking down, is something that I’ve been contemplating for a science fiction world I’m tempted to set a novel in. Photovoltaic ravens, deforestation-savvy elephants, giant squid that put the ‘giant’ in the name shepherding steamers from place to place in a world where supercell storms are the norm.

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Is it just me, or does anyone else really love that kind of stuff?

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But don’t fret, I’ve been working on a metric fuckton of totem illustrations too, including this recent one of Kookaburra, where the colours are all clashy and glarey, even for me:

Kookaburra as Totem redo by Ravenari

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This one is for sale at Etsy, just follow this link.

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And if you’re interested in what Kookaburra represents as a totem, you can read the full essay here, or just contemplated the keywords:

Laughter. Family. Wooing your partner. Sibling rivalry. Healing others and the self. Conquering fear. Ending old patterns. Turning hurt into happiness. Hunting down your own truths. Signals. God energy. Teaching and sharing your truths with others.

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If you could choose any animal for me to genetically adapt in my dystopian Future Imperfect, what would you choose? 🙂