Marbled Polecat as Totem

These guys are freaking adorable.

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MARBLED POLECAT as TOTEM

Marbled Polecat as Totem by Ravenari

REPRESENTING:

Fighting back, putting on a good show, not being afraid to stand up for yourself, confronting what you fears you, seeking out problems before they find you, metaphorically and literally baring your teeth at threats, ripping what is inconvenient out of your life, being gutsy and bolshy, being able to sniff out drama, recharging on your own, maintaining your boundaries.

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DESCRIPTION

The marbled polecat is a small mustelid found in south-eastern Europe and western China. They are predominantly solitary, and maintain territories within which they are very active, rarely sleeping in the same den twice. They will often be aggressive to each other in encounters. They will use the dens of other burrowing animals and stay in underground irrigation tunnels, or dig out their own dens with their long, strong claws, using their teeth to remove roots and grasses. They are good climbers, but prefer to hunt on the ground. They are omnivorous, and eat many species of rodent, small hares, birds, lizards, fish, frogs and insects. They will also eat fruit, grass, kept birds (poultry and pigeons) and steal human food.

They are found in dry areas and grasslands, open desert, steppes, subtropical scrub forest, semi desert and rocky areas, they avoid mountainous regions. They are crepuscular in nature, and primarily use their strong sense of smell for hunting, possessing weak eyesight. They have a limited vocalisation range, emitting alarm cries, grunts, and submissive shrieks. When threatened, they can erect their fur and often stand on their hind legs and hiss; when pushed, they will emit a noxious odour from their anal glands. They were once sought after for their fur, and Kabul shopkeepers used to keep them to exterminate rodents. They are currently considered Vulnerable due to habitat and prey depletion.

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The file and the rest of the totem dictionary can be found here!

Wandsuna – Mr and Mrs Finch

So I’ve been up to stuff lately! I just completed my first semester in the Master of Communication, and now I’m on tenterhooks to see how I did overall. Nerve-wracking! I sail into my second semester over Christmas/New Years/my birthday, which is kind of relief, I’ve never been too enamoured of December in general. It’s hot.

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I turn 30 this year. On the one hand, it seems to be some kind of stereotypical that I should be panicking right now. On the other hand, it’s just an arbitrary age that signifies the fact that I’m getting older. Something that happens every single day, you know? I don’t know how I feel about it. Do I wish that I’d achieved more by now? Of course. But I never knew Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder could be so overwhelming, nor did I realise when I was younger just how sensitive and gentle I am; and that has – by necessity – lead into a life where I take things slowly, and gently.

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Do I have any goals for 2012? Yes. I want to finish the drafts of two books. One on shamanism, and a science fiction novel (booyah). And my personal goals? I’d like to learn a greater tolerance to stress, and experience greater periods of contentment. I suspect the two are connected.

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Let me leave you with the new installment in the Wandsuna series:

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Wandsuna - Mr and Mrs Finch, by Ravenari

I’ve been framed!

Two frames arrived today from Frameshop.com.au. I’ve had hit and miss success with them; I’ve had two frames arrive broken in the past, but their prices are also very competitive, and so with trepidation, I decided to invest in another two frames for two Wandsuna illustrations. And they are beautiful; arrived safely and everything.

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Wandsuna – Foxes Don’t Cry was the first non-pastel Wandsuna work that I illustrated, and I was kind of hooked on the ink -> watercolour pencil -> pencil -> acrylic -> etc. format and knew I’d have to revisit it. I love this illustration. So many foxes! So much red! Foxes! Red! And basically all my sophisticated thoughts drift off from there.

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Wandsuna - Foxes Don't Cry by Ravenari

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Wandsuna – Remember? is probably one of the most personal illustrations I’ve ever done, though the symbology for Wandsuna is quite complex, I still found it impacted people in personal ways as they watched the progress on Dreamwidth. The interpretation of the image by others was perhaps – is still, perhaps – my favourite part of putting a piece of artwork out into the world. It’s because of this that I still maintain a great reluctance to explicate the themes and symbols of the Wandsuna illustrations.

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I feel the artwork should be able to speak for itself; and I feel the dream-like nature of the Wandsuna series reminds us all that all artwork speaks first to unconscious processes, and then to consciousness.

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I’m happier than I thought I would be with this colour combination. The cream mattboard really brings out the cream/white costume, and that’s awesome.

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Wandsuna - Remember? by Ravenari

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I’ve been very much enjoying the wild, blustery Perth weather of the past 24 hours, and I hope it continues. FOREVER. Okay, but in all seriousness, I would not be upset if the rain continued FOREVER. Particularly if it remained blustery and there were overhead booms of thunder and flickers of lightning. I know storms can’t last, but one can live in hope! I imagine all the angry powerless flooded people will be knocking on my door soon with angry letters and glares.

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I’ve been living wild in the wondrous music of:

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Woodpigeon
Joe Hisaishi’s – Ni No Kuni soundtrack (NI NO KUNI! Is anyone else as excited about the English release of this video game for the PS3? Has anyone heard of it? You don’t know? OH MY GOD, MIYAZAKI AND STUDIO GHIBLI TEAMED UP TO MAKE A DS and PS3 FINAL FANTASY STYLE GAME BUT WITH THEIR STORYBOARDS AND MUSIC AND OH MY FREAKING GOD IT LOOKS AMAZING. The DS version has been getting great reviews so far.
Ludovico Einaudi
Robyn
And a bunch of other things.

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I’ve started a Master of Communications, to complement my Bachelor of Communications, and mostly because I’m a total suckah for punishment. It’s hard work, but it’s also a lot like revisiting my old friends. Oh media theorists, I’ve missed you. *pets Fiske and Hartley.*

Help me, my pretties.

Hello everyone.
I’ve been wanting to use this blog more, but I’m simply not sure how to go about it. I have so many things I’d like to write about publically, or for the public eye, but how? And who’s interested? So, I’m here to ask for your opinion. What sort of things would you like to read?:

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* Art showcases of other artists (sometimes including interviews)
* My own art (well, I think that’s a given)
* More about my methods as an artist.
* Experiences of being a writer/artist with PTSD / touch phobia
* More about the touch phobia (do you know that my ‘outing myself as someone with a touch phobia’ blog post is the most read and searched for blog post on this whole journal? I am constantly shocked by a) how many others must have it and b) how sad it is that my account is so far one of the most comprehensive online.)
* Information about animal totems as I write new essays.
* Writing information, including some of my processes like plotting, my habit of using script-writing methods to plot novels, and so on.
* Issues with being a mentally ill, female artist on Disability.
* TV and media reviews.
* More about my positions as someone very concerned with media analysis, and about to commence a Masters in Media Studies.
* Some other miscellaneous thing that I’ve forgotten, that you’d like to see more of.

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I worry that this blog is too unfocused. Much in the same way that people are encouraged to ‘specialise’ in their career (sometimes), I feel as though there is pressure on me to post only about one topic all the time. It’s not who I am. I’m an artist AND a writer, it stands to reason that I’d bring different things to the table here. But I’d still like some input as to what you’d most like to see, so I can start thinking about the kind of trajectory I’d like to set this blog on. After all, I’d like to use it more, it’s just sometimes I think all the things I want to write about are too ‘out of no where!’

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Help me, my pretties. My regular and irregular readers. What brought you here? What do you enjoy reading most? What do you think I could write about that I don’t write about now?

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See you in the comments!

Other artists are AWESOME: Riikka Auvinen

On a private blog, I’ve been sharing the art of artists I love, admire, respect, who evoke resonance and emotion in me, or challenge me. Some of these are artists are well-known, some are professionals, some are amateurs. All do amazing stuff.

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Today’s feature is the work of Riikka Auvinen from Finland. Her work is sensitively rendered, with an excellent eye for colour and shape. Her newest release today:

Cold by Riikka Auvinen (Tirri)

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Interested in checking her out?

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Go to: Her DeviantArt account. All of her work is exceptional, and I highly recommend you check her stuff out.

No good title today!

I have a new project. It’s a trade in exchange for some serious quality editing I’m receiving on a manuscript that I’m hoping to eventually seek publication for. Anyway. This new project is huge. For example, here it is taking up most of my art desk:

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Katt's Forest - WIP 01 - by Ravenari

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But like that you can hardly tell what’s going on! So here’s a section of the bitty corner that I’ve started finally inking:

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Katt's Forest - WIP 02 - Frogshroom - by Ravenari

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And to prove that on the rare occasion I can actually sketch (since sketching is not something I frequently do), you can see some sketches here:

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I sketch I promise! - by Ravenari

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Yes. The frog’s name really is George.

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Lately, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has been doing some controlled burns of and around the Gnangara Pine Plantation in order to clear away fire hazards and make space and essentially make pretty patterns in the sky. Observe:

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smoke and inversion layer - photo by Ravenari

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So it’s made everything kind of interesting, as it’s been going on every day and the fires are huge. The other day I was walking and the fire smoke contributed to some cumulus and ended up making these massive, charcoal clouds. When it broke and rained over our house, the rain smelled strongly of smoke, which was just so ‘Western Australia’ that I had to smile. And cough a little. Because you know; smoke.

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because you know, smoke - by Ravenari

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Have been seeing a lot of kangaroos around locally, lately. They come out and crop the grass at the local parks, and so I see whole families with joeys grazing and watching us in that kind of ‘hmm, you going to interrupt us with our grass or what?’ look on their faces. Thankfully haven’t noticed too many huge males, since they can be aggressive at times. It’s mostly just the smaller, svelte females and their young.

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I have decided that walking through a suburb that is ‘still in construction’ is a unique and strange experience. Seeing whole streets and blocks literally get raised from bushland in a matter of weeks, sectioned into blocks, artificial topsoil sprayed down (which the common bronzewings love), have their little block numbers with ‘SOLD’ stickers across them (Ellenbrook is a desireable area right now in that any area is desirable due to the housing shortage/crisis in Peth), and then finally seeing the tradies come in and actually build a house in a matter of months. But I walk the streets before the houses are there, and then when they’re just concrete slabs showing their floorplans to the world. And while I walk on tarmac covered with windswept sand and the tuna cans empty of a tradeperson’s lunch, I see ravens and magpies walking through these houses looing for bits of food left over. Living in the houses before people ever could.

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How are you, today? 🙂

Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids fame crowdfunding next album.

Hi folks!

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When I do a lot of my artwork, I either listen to music, or I watch TV series in the background. When I listen to music, the vast majority of the time, I listen to work sung and written by Matt Pryor. So I listen to The Get Up Kids or The New Amsterdams or The Terrible Twos or his acoustic album Confidence Man. I listen to it over and over again. On my Last.FM, the works of Matt Pryor together are the top music I listen to. The top track, that I have listened to 309 times since 2007 is The New Amsterdam’s ‘Strangled by the Thought.’

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Aside from purchasing CDs and merchandise, it’s rare to really get a chance to give back to a man who has inadvertently and indirectly helped me to create some of my favourite pieces of artwork. Pieces like this, would not exist in the way that they exist, without Matt Pryor:

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Wandsuna – Foxes Don’t Cry

Wandsuna - Foxes Don't Cry - illustrated by Ravenari

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Wandsuna – The Universal Language

Wandsuna - The Universal Language illustrated by Ravenari

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So, this morning I woke up and discovered that Matt Pryor is CROWDFUNDING HIS NEXT ALBUM. Yes, indeedy. The link takes you to the Kickstarter page, where he is looking for $10,000 in backing by Wednesday, June 1st. In exchange for backing, there are some seriously awesome ‘rewards’ you can opt in for.

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I don’t have many heroes in this world, but Matt Pryor is one of them. I don’t know him personally, obviously. But I know and love his music. And I think if you gave him a try, you would as well. And on an aside, I’ll keep producing awesome artwork if he keeps producing awesome music! (Okay, crude, but I had to give it a try!)

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This combines a lot of lovely things though. Wonderful music, with collaboration, and the excitement that is crowdfunding. I’ve had to crowdfund some of my own work over the years, and know personally how exciting it is to do artwork requested by others, or financially supported by a group who want to bring a creative project to bear. Crowdfunding for someone you respect is always fun and happy-making. I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t heard of Crowdfunding in general, here’s a good primer!.

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Signing off, your artist (who is doing too much artwork. There will be an artwork post soon! I’ve finished six pieces in about a week! Dholes and Gila Monsters and Llamas oh my!)

Stu-Stu-Studio!

Instead of you know, colouring my growing amount of inked work due to be coloured, I’ve instead just been adding more and more inked work to the ‘to do list.’ Currently there are six illustrations that need to be coloured. Cassowary, Delicate Mouse, Giant Armadillo, Walrus, Black-Winged Lory and Wandsuna – Remember? Not only that, but on my ‘to do list’ I also have sketches to do of some Dholes (whee!), a huge forest landscape, a Wolverine, a Paradise Parrot and a second Totoro.

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Phew!

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So my art-desk is starting to take on an immensely cluttered look. Observe…

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Stu-Stu-Studio by Ravenari

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Well, that’s cluttered for me. I’m not going to turn around and take a photo of my computer desk for you; I refuse! THAT is very cluttered. I have everything from mineral eyeshadow samples on there, my computer, my scanner, 4 bazillion pens (it feels that way, I’m exaggerating, I’m sure it’s only something like 4 milliion), hairclips, medications, anti-static spray, an awesome speaker system, my modem, a glasses case with glasses I don’t wear anymore in them, FOUR PACKETS OF TIC-TACS (including a giant packet of orange tic tacs, which I didn’t even know they did!), 40 lip-glosses (don’t judge me), a full pot of bobby pins even though I’ve been using the same two for two weeks, my camera, about 50 post-it notes (not exaggerating, for real) which has everything on there from dog names in Finnish, to old shopping lists, old ‘to do lists’ and future ‘as totems’ I want to draw (like the awesomely named Piapiac).

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But my art desk is usually quite clean!

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If all that clutter is starting to get to you, here’s a picture of an unidentifed species of local moth (unidentified by ME, I mean, any local entomologist who specialises in the ridiculous number of local moth species we have could probably identify it. Local entomologists; HELP!)

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moth at Ellenbrook by Ravenari

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As for how I’ve been going lately (not that you asked for all of this verbal diarrhea), I’ve been down more than I’ve been up. It’s been a tough four months, in all honesty, and my PTSD symptoms have been getting ‘bigger and brighter and better!’ I’m like a walking advertisement for classic post-traumatic stress disorder right now, and that’s not a good thing, considering I got diagnosed in 1998 and I’d like to be better by now. This second, if possible.

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However, there have been understandable triggers of this ‘explosion’ of post-post-post-post trauma stress, and I am working through them. It’s one of those ironies of life that working through the actual triggers themselves is of itself stressful, and in the short-term can create a compounding of symptoms and not an immediate release. Of course, this is why I don’t work a regularly scheduled full-time job and why sometimes I get up at 6.30am (what masochistic Circadian rhythm decided that was a good time to awaken?) and go straight back to bed again twenty minutes later due to phrase; ‘that 20 minutes was exhausting!’

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When I find some energy, you can find me diligently inking at artwork, or going on long, ambling walks throughout the suburbs. I haven’t seen any drop bears or bunyips yet, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled.

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In book recommendations, I’d like to take the time to recommend: Echidna: Extraordinary Egg-Laying Mammal by Michael Augee, Brett Gooden and Anne Mussen, which takes the prime place of being one of the few non-fiction books (excepting something by Bill Bryson) which made me laugh out loud a few times. As well as being well-informed, delightfully written, well-illustrated and easy to navigate, it has such gems like:

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“An echidna wedged under a car seat can only be removed by disassembly of the surrounding automobile!” (p. 123)

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This just proves the awesomeness of echidnas, if you ask me.

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.

Cabbage Butterfly Balloon

I did a series of two illustrations, a while ago, and I never did anymore. I can’t say why. It tapped into something inside of me that went against everything else I was doing. Bold colour, striking line, saturation, saturation. And then I drew this.

01. cabbage butterfly balloon by Ravenari

And yet I look at it and know I have to go back to that space one day. That space of fragmented line and downgraded colour. I need to know what it means for my soul to do this; and why this feels so much more like it will shatter me, than using brilliant pigments and bold line.

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I am sometimes told by other artists that they feel intimidated by using bold colour. I don’t know why, but I have never felt this way. Perhaps it is that I hero-worshipped Franz Marc and his own striking colour symbolism as a young teenager. Or perhaps it’s just that I didn’t care when I was doing artwork, because I don’t recall ever concerning myself about colour, overmuch. And maybe that’s because I was raised first and foremost in the medium of pastels which – unlike their *name* – are known for producing the most spectacular brilliance of pigmentation of any traditional medium outside of just purchasing pure high quality pigment and doing it yourself.

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I cut my eyeteeth on colour and saturation, rather than the specifity of line, which was hard for me to get at the age of 14 with only soft pastels to play with. I discovered the love I have for the line, particularly the black line, not that much later. I would have only been about 16. While I was working lineless for TEE Art (TER Art now, I believe), I was beginning to appreciate the boundaries of limning subjects with line at home in my private works. I myself am so fragmented, so much about boundary and borders and fixed spaces and brokenness, that I became addicted to the line.

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One day, I guess, I’ll drift back to the low saturation illustrations that I can sometimes do, like cabbage butterfly balloon; but when? I don’t know. Originally, it was a whimsy, a flight of fancy. I didn’t know what I was doing, I only knew I wanted there to be a butterfly balloon and a snail shell in there somewhere.

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The new The Get Up Kids album; ‘There Are Rules’ is awesome. It’s taken about four listens for me to realise this, but now I’m there and I have some new ‘art’ music. Keith Case still swamps me every time I hear it. I don’t know what it is about that song, but it rolls over me like a flood, and leaves me over-drenched and barren all at once. I could dedicate swathes of art to that single song; and no one would know.