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?

Art can be twee.

I was going to open this entry with the statement; ‘I don’t usually go for things that are twee,’ and then realised that yes, yes I do. I go for things that are ridiculously twee all the time. Puppies, kittens, Lilo & Stitch, My Neighbour Totoro. The opening theme song of Winnie the Pooh makes me cry. The Russian Winnie the Pooh makes me giggle like a five year old. I say ‘awwwwww’ when I see dogs on the street and if my cats roll and expose their bellies I’m reduced to a jellified mush that wibbles in delight.

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So I suppose it’s not surprise that I ended up drawing this:

Mini Dragon Valentine by Ravenari

The original, as well as two other miniature dragons, are available for sale at Etsy.

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The thing is, while I do like occasionally drawing ‘Very Serious Things’ (i.e. exploited animals, dark fairytales, clearly unhappy alters and so on), I also like to draw ‘Very Twee Things.’ Angelbears. Startail. That time I drew two cartoon octopi trying to make out and one is holding a condom packet. Snellosaurus the Last Living Dinosaur and Velociraptor Girl. Art doesn’t just have to be about serious things, it can be about fun things and twee things. It can exist purely for the sake of evoking an ‘awww’ or a warm fuzzy feeling.

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I suppose miniature dragons aren’t usually ‘twee,’ but I suppose one named Valentine, with hearts on its face and little hearts on its body and a clear theme of ‘awww, a dragon about love or at least the commercialism of Valentine’s Day’ is probably in the category of too cute to be borne.

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That’s the way I like it.