Mar. 19th, 2017 06:04 pm
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
I sent a short story out for possible publication in a science fiction anthology last week. I haven't had a story published in ages, so it's high time I get my arse back in gear. I hope it gets published.

I sent out my application for the Canadian ocean expedition on Thursday as soon as I got confirmation from my china painting instructor that she would be a reference. Eeeee!

On Friday, I purchased airfare for my trip to Africa this summer. I'll be travelling through Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia (~1300 km), seeing the Namib Desert (where Fury Road was filmed), the Kalahari Desert, meeting Bushmen, hopefully seeing elephants, lions, zebras, and more, and then ending my tour at Victoria Falls. Eeeee!

Later on Friday, I went to the gym and during my squat set, something freaked out and tried to lock/spasm on my lower back. Different kind of eeeeee. Eeeeeeeouch. I have no idea what happened, there. As far as I know, I wasn't using bad form, and was only lifting five pounds more than I usually do. I tried to find a massage therapy clinic that was open, but none are ever open on the Friday evening of Saint Patrick's Day. I managed to find someone yesterday, but that someone was a tiny sadist who was the roughest massage therapist I've ever experienced. She started with elbows in my back. There was no warmup. I feel just like I was in a fight. I'm pretty sure I'm bruised from head to arse, but I do have mobility now: enough that I was able to go to the gym today and do a full training session. I skipped burpees in favour of jump rope (I didn't want to do fast movements which could have negative impact on my lower back), and all my squats were with an empty bar.

I leave for Toronto tomorrow morning for a week of butoh training. I plan on hitting the gym a couple of times while I'm there. I'm determined to get back in shape. I'm registered to compete in two races this spring/summer: a 5km obstacle course race, and a 14km trail race.

Over the past year, due to health issues and the disruption incurred by buying and renovating a house, my training has been spotty at best. This month was going very well until my back freakout on Friday. I feel strong again, and my endurance is slowly returning. I've been paying much closer attention to what I eat (not calorie-wise, but content-wise), and I'm gradually losing the extra padding I put on. So far, I have lost about ten pounds of fluff and my clothes are fitting much better again. I'm still about twenty pounds heavier than I was when I was competing regularly five years ago, but I have faith that my body will continue to get healthier as I work hard to take care of it.

I had every intention of writing up applications for a travel writing scholarship yesterday, but life and massage therapy got in the way. I hope to be able to get the applications done tomorrow while I'm on the train and killing time in coffee shops in Toronto. If I get the scholarship, I'll be travelling through southeastern Europe (eg. Kosovo, Croatia, Montenegro, etc.).

What if I get accepted for the ocean expedition AND the scholarship? I'll be travelling all over the freaking world this year! Eeeee....
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
I goofed up. I'm applying for a travel writing scholarship, and I misread the write-up. I thought I was supposed to write 2500 words about being out of my comfort zone, but it's actually only 2500 characters. Oops. Well, lest it was all in vain, here's what I came up with. I reworked my travelogue about travelling from Quito to Pimpilala, Ecuador. Enjoy! )
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I've reworked my write-up on my view of future Canada. I tried to make it more positive and less denunciative, and I tried to take into account the advice you folks gave me. How does this one look?

Canada can be a land in which people live together in harmony with the environment. Picture a future in which our natural resources are no longer squandered and mistreated: old growth forests of Quebec no longer become toilet paper, drinking water no longer sells at a pittance and returns to us at exorbitant prices, waterways no longer poisoned with acids which kill waterfowl upon contact, rich farmland no longer parcelled into subdivisions with shoddily-constructed houses, and oil pipeline and tanker mishaps no longer cause irreparable harm to soil, water, wildlife, and us.

Imagine custodians of our land and water who do not prize profitability above access. There would be sufficient food and potable water for all. Indigenous people will no longer be deprived of both, and the genocidal crimes of the first Prime Minister will be well on their way to being rectified.

We must work toward sustainability, decreasing our reliance on non-renewable resources while at the same time safeguarding and replenishing renewable ones. When the coal-powered generating stations were closed in favour of alternative power sources, we removed the smog which blanketed the most populous parts of the country. We’ve shown more environmentally-friendly methods can be implemented. Now let’s apply them to even more aspects of our culture.


Feb. 21st, 2017 10:26 am
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Fountain pen-tilled soil
Reveals chthonic love letters
Harrowing the soul.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I took suggestions under consideration. This is a work in progress. Enjoy...

(Still untitled)

My Daddy was a magus. That's what Momma told me, at least. I never got to meet him, so I have to take her word on the whole thing. She met him at a psychic festival, years ago, had a fling, and then whoopsy. There I was, nine months later. She said it was all foretold, and she knew he'd knock her up as soon as she laid eyes upon him. She has the sight and all. It's what let her know I'd be a late bloomer. )
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
I would like to get back to regular writing again, and you folks have always been great with prompts. I'd prefer no fanfic prompts. So, what do you have for me? Go!
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
(I recently rediscovered a bunch of stuff I'd written about six years ago. Here's the origin story for one of my Vampire Dark Ages characters. If you like this, check out Children of Elisabet for more.)

I was born on April 1, 1162 in the Transylvanian town of Kronstadt, deep in the Carpathian Mountains. The third of six children, I was put to work as a goose herd as soon as I could walk and wield a stick. Both of my parents were employed as servants at the Keep of the Teutonic Knights. At the age of seventeen, I married a wheelwright by the name of Nicolae. He was older than me by a decade or more, and he said he loved me. Although I didn't love him in return, he treated me well enough.

When the plague came to Kronstadt, Nicolae died first. )
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Riza of Antinome slipped her foot behind that of the Lancastian soldier, pressed with her knee, then shoved the off-balance man hard into the wall. He sucked air in a noisy bray, the wind knocked right out of him. She laughed when she saw the next soldier rush toward her and easily tossed him over her shoulder and slammed him into the floor. She stood back, cackled, cracked her knuckles, then dived back into her fracas. She'd been stuck on board the Lancastian cruiser for too long behaving herself. It was time to let loose. With glee, she plucked the first soldier off the table where he'd collapsed mouth agape and swung him like a mallet into the second one. Both men made funny noises, now.

The soldiers at this bar felt secure with their reputations as ill-tempered thugs. Other patrons gave them deference. The bullies weren't used to resistance. They were too skilled with cruelty to expect anything from their opponents but pleas for mercy, and mercy wasn't really their forte. Riza knew of their reputation, of course. It was what brought her to this bar in particular. She wanted to stretch her legs--work out those kinks.

And so she waded into another man's fight. At the centre of the circle of sneering soldiers was a small, unarmed foreigner whose only crime was to wander into the wrong pub for a beer. He was a Marrup, from the looks of his peculiar dress. Riza didn't give half a toss about this man. She was just itching for an excuse.

The Marrup held his hands out in a placating gesture to the soldiers and screamed as one slashed at him with a knife. Riza grabbed the soldier's wrist and spun him around, smashing his face into the corner of the bar. The knife spun away, tip stabbing into the floor, hilt shuddering to stillness, and the foreigner plucked up his sarong and skittered out of reach of the soldiers.

Riza had always been an adrenaline junkie, as long as she could remember. When she was a little girl in Antinome, she'd often snuck off to go spelunking in perilous glacial crevasses much to her father's chagrin and her mother's secret pride. It had made her strong and quick on her feet. Her love of adventure was a blessing since a life of ease and comfort did not appeal to her at all. Her musculature was most impressive, with immense, sinewy thighs and a massive lat spread. She looked nothing like an average woman, and stood almost a full head taller than the average man. She was most certainly not an average anything. There could be no surprise that she should become a master of the martial arts, and a magnet for mayhem. Riza loved her life.

Five soldiers faced her now, angered that the foreigner had gotten away. She had ruined their fun. They would make her pay, or so they thought. The Antinomian slid Lifedrinker from its scabbard and took a low stance, ready for the onslaught. Her lips slid back, her nostrils flared, and her throat erupted into a terrifying battle cry. The patrons of the bar stood paralyzed, staring at the woman who dared challenge the Lancastian soldiers.

Two soldiers leapt at her with murder in their eyes, blades thrusting. Riza parried and dipped, piercing one man's throat on Lifedrinker, then smashing its hilt hard against the other man's temple.

Riza held Lifedrinker high over her head, and blood spattered down on her face. "My sword hungers for more," she growled.

The last three soldiers charged, swords swinging. Riza sidestepped, teeth gleaming with her battle rictus. From the shadows, someone hit her shoulder with a chair, and she was thrown off balance for a moment.

Taking advantage of the situation, one of the soldiers slashed downward with his sword, etching a long thin red line down Riza's right arm. Ignoring the deep scratch, Riza moved around the soldier, drawing him away from his cohorts. The remaining bar patrons fled as the two squared off, razor-sharp blades dancing through the air. Riza's war face turned into a pleased grin when she realized her opponent was a worthy one. But she wouldn't still be alive today if she hadn't already mastered every attack, feint, and riposte used on Gliese. Slowly, incrementally, the soldier was forced backward, until with a quick twist and a thrust, the Lancastian's military career was permanently ended.

With a jerk, Riza freed Lifedrinker and turned to face the last two soldiers. But instead of two, there was now only one, and he lie in a crumpled heap upon the floor where the Marrup was rhythmically bashing him about the head with a whiskey bottle, shouting with each hit. "Take that," he howled, "And that, and that!" He breathed heavily with exhaustion and righteous indignation.

Looking up, he noticed Riza and clambered to his feet taking a reverent bow. "My life is yours. Only tell me what to do, and I shall do it."

The Antinomian laughed, wiping Lifedrinker on the bludgeoned soldier. "You'd better run for the hills and pray that the gods protect you."

"Maybe we should both make for the hills," said the Marrup. "One of those soldiers got away, and I don't doubt he'll soon be back with a lot more."

Riza nodded to the Marrup, sheathed her sword, and breezed out into the Gliesean night. She sprinted down the street, pacing her breath with ease. She paused after turning the first corner, peeking back around the closed shop and down the street. Although she doubted reinforcements had arrived yet, she wasn't prepared to bet on it. But as she stopped to look, the little Marrup, sarong held high to give his legs freedom, darted around the corner and ran smack dab into her. Growling, she grabbed him by the collar and lifted him until they were eye level to one another.

"I'm through with you," she said. "Go your own way."

"I mustn't," said the Marrup. "By the laws of my people, my life belongs to you for a year and one day. Since you have saved my life, I am yours and may not leave your side."

Riza cursed and gave the Marrup a shake. "And I suppose that's why you threw a chair at me."

"My aim has never been good," cried the man half in terror and the other half remorse. "I apologize with all sincerity. I was trying to hit one of those soldiers in the head." He drooped in self-reproach.

Riza laughed and let the man go. "Maybe you do belong to me now, and maybe you don't," she said. "We'll sort that out later. In the meantime, do you know this part of the city?"

The Marrup straightened his collar. "Like the back of my hand," he said.

"Then get us out of here," said Riza.

"This way, lady," said the Marrup, and he whisked off into the shadows.

(to be continued...)
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
(I'm going to see what happens when I completely rewrite every sentence in a book I've never read, doing it on the fly.

The book I've chosen is an old pulp fiction sci-fi book called The Sword of Lankor, by Howard L. Cory.)



The Sun Ball was the size of a fat lady's ass and it hovered several centimetres over the parking lot of the Church of Kaga, the ubiquitous two-headed God of War of the planet Gliese. An hour ago, the Ball had first appeared in orbit and had spent this time descending steadily from the sky.

When the Ball showed up, people didn't know what to think. Though the faithful were in abundance, so were the nonbelievers. Rumours of the Ball's arrival quickly spread, first, from the Church itself, to the palace, shopping centres, schoolyards, and the tourist traps. Atheists and pious alike streamed to the Church parking lot. The rotund Labak, manager of a religious book and figurine megastore, who had already made a very comfortable living huckstering spirituality to the masses, hurried his way there with all due haste. If he got the drop on the other retailers, he could secure the lucrative rights on Sun Ball statuary. He could see his coffers swelling if he could just be the first to license the exact measurements and colouration of the actual Sun Ball. He sent a courier to the head of House Malor, renowned for their goldsmithing. Labak didn't doubt for a moment that the Cardinal would grant the Seal of Kaga to his Balls, especially if he promised a sizeable percentage of the profits to the Church. After all, he'd done just that with the ceremonial medallions, official Church of Kaga holy items, complete with the Malor hallmark, of course.

Labak wasn't the only one whose day had suddenly been made brighter by the arrival of the Sun Ball. Taxon, a tiny sliver of a man with a bushy beard and a wispy comb-over from the neighbouring Marrup'ska, was a Holy Speaker. If he got there in time, he'd make a fortune interpreting, with appropriately obfuscated prophetic language, the true meaning of the Arrival. While in transit, he muttered a variety of True Meanings under his breath, mentally weighing the effect of each upon his bankbook.

Captain Carpat Rom of Her Majesty's Twenty-Third Regiment also viewed the Sun Ball with joy. How auspicious that it had arrived on his twenty-fourth birthday! He made sure to appear at the parking lot in full dress uniform, his moustache waxed to needle-sharp points. He marched smartly up to the parking lot, snapped his heels, and presented arms to the Sun Ball. This was as much to impress the masses as it was to give honour to the Battle Deity. He was very handsome in his brilliant gold jacket with navy piping. His medals gleamed almost as bright as the Sun Ball itself. He went to lay his sword upon the Sun Ball itself, but something stopped the sword from touching it. Perhaps it was a force field? Perhaps it was the sudden realization of impropriety? In any case, Captain Carpat Rom's moustache began to twitch in a rodent-like fashion, and then the dashing young man transformed into a dashing young corpse.

Shelby, a seasoned thief had been casing the parking lot and contemplating the best route of escape once she'd nabbed the Sun Ball, decided at this moment to rob a jewellery store, or anything else at all, really, instead.

Koal, a bishop of Kaga, stepped out of the Church and chewed his lip for a moment. Deep in thought, he walked up to the Ball and looked at it and the dead officer. After a moment, he clapped his hands and his attendants appeared by his side. "Have that removed," he said, pointing to the corpse. He paid no attention to them as they carried the handsome body away. For several minutes, he stared at the Ball, stately and solemn in his crimson scapular. Then he exhaled slowly, as though he'd been holding his breath all that time, and vanished back into the Church.

When the bishop sighed, the crowd murmured. A leggy boy, his voice not yet changed, whispered to his mother. "Maybe it's a sign from Kaga?" She tried to shush him, but it was too late. The thing that he had said had rippled outward spreading through the crowd, and within the next forty-eight hours, through the rest of the entire nation.

Slug Storm

Aug. 25th, 2014 04:35 pm
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Slipping along the stem, feet moving like buttered skis, and only through luck and perseverance do I not fall. Green waves above me, prickles and stems and chew holes letting sunlight heap upon me. My journey is slow, inexorable, but not devoid of backtracking. Slimy exudate follows in my wake. Petrichor and chlorophyl pull me forward.

I slide to the left, and heave my body back on course. Lift my head. Lift my middle. Lift my back. Move. This is the sequence I must repeat.

Something moves toward me, faster than the speed of thought. Huge globules of water murk the sunlight, dash toward me, splash off the greenery, and cascade around me as I huddle-climb the slippery slope. I'm so close. I can almost taste it.

More water. A fierce gust of air buffets the stem and the movement is violent. I can't dodge this. I can only continue my way in the meagre lee of the meal I approach.
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
There's a gash in my leg, and I don't mean a cut. I'm talking pussy, here. It's not a porn star gash, with its neat, tidy labia. I'm talking a big ol' floopy cunt, with curly hairs and a bit of a dribble. From the looks of it, I'd say it's given birth a few times. It was there when I woke up this morning. No, I don't know how it got there, but I'm trying to find a way to deal with it.

I know you want to see, but there's no way I'm going to show you. You're not my doctor. Not my lover. Would you want to show just anyone your bits? Ok, maybe you would, but as for me, I'm not that much of an exhibitionist, even if I've been known to wear my shorts too short. No more of that, now. My new vag is up near the top of my calf, so there's no hiding it in the summertime unless I cover up.

Yes, I still have my old pussy, thank you very much. And yes, it's in the right place. And... Oh, dear lord. I just realized it might start bleeding. What the fuck am I supposed to do with a leg period? I guess I could use a tampon. There's no way I want to strap a pad there. And if I'm stuck with this thing and it's a working model, I sure hope it's synchronized. I don't want to have two sets of monthlies.

I remember seeing articles about mice with human ears on their backs, and a Russian guy with a dick attached to his forearm, but these things were there by design and not by chance. How the hell does a vulva end up growing out of my leg? Was I abducted by aliens? Is it proof of a god? Does magic exist? Will Professor X invite me to his school for mutants?

Oh god. I need to keep away from Aunt Fran's frisky dog. That thing always humps legs. Oh god....
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
Back when a few bees still buzzed from flower to flower and we still had good things to eat, a woman was walking home just before twilight. Though it was midsummer, it was cold enough that she could see her breath as she hurried along, and it was only by chance she noticed a bee lying on the sidewalk. She paused to look at it. It was on its side, and she wasn't sure if it was dead or not until she noticed a slight movement of wing, and another of leg.

She knelt down and scooped it up, placing it on a lush bed of Kleenex. She carried it home in her hand, one hand atop to give it some warmth. When she got home, she set it on the table and mixed a bit of sugar and water and offered the bee a droplet. Warmed but still weak, the bee crept forward and supped upon the sugary elixir. Soon, it was rejuvenated enough to crawl around at normal speed. The woman turned out the light and went to bed.

In the morning, she brought the bee outside and set it on a flower. It crawled inside, covered itself with a dusting of pollen, and flew off.

She thought no more of it until the next day when her garden was abuzz with bees, a sight she hadn't seen in years. Every day after that, as long as the flowers bloomed in her yard, bees populated every blossom, and yellow- and black-striped fuzzy bodies busied themselves in the breeze.

Her home became a marvel as the bee population continued to decline in the world. Though bees had become a rarity, the air around her house was a droning cloud, and people would gather and gaze in amazement. The one time a burglar attempted to steal from her home, he was stung until he ran away. But the bees never stung the woman, though they swarmed about her, and sometimes even on her, for she enjoyed their company and sang to them daily.

One spring day, when she was very old, the woman died. On that day, no bees buzzed in her garden. They all stood still on flower and tree and wall and roof, and the bombination disappeared as they mourned.

Yes, they mourned. Three days later, when the woman was buried, the bees swarmed the cemetery and built a hive upon her gravestone. It became the last known hive in the world, and through this miracle, the woman became known as the saint of bees.

[Night Bee I - by Robert Spellman]

(Image is Night Bee I by Robert Spellman: Night Bees)
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
I was given the following assignment.

You are approached by Ryan Morrison, the mayor of a medium-sized city in the Midwest of the United States. He has heard that you know a lot about gamification and believes that gamification techniques can transform city government.

He would like to start with the health of city employees. The city has 50,000 employees and they happen to have exactly the same rates of obesity as the U.S. average: 34.4% overweight (but not obese) and 33.9% of them are obese. 53.1% of the city’s employees do not meet the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity and 76% of them fail to meet the Guidelines for muscle-strengthening activity. The city pays for health benefits for its employees and this cost is a huge part of the city budget. Economists in Mayor Morrison’s office have estimated that a 3% improvement in the average physical fitness of city employees would amount to a US$94 million reduction in annual city health costs; a 5% improvement would save US$188 million.

Describe in general terms a gamified system that could effectively motivate behavior change to address the challenge presented above. Specifically, explain how the system would effectively incorporate intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, or both. Your answer should address the fact that this is an internal gamification project, targeted at the institutional goals of the city government. The system can use any technology (or no technology!), so long as the resources required seem justified by the scope of the opportunity.

Here is my response....

*imagine that voice-over guy...*

In a world where human dignity is a distant second to fiscal savings, one man sets out to find a way to make his money-saving strategies look like an act of humanitarianism. That man is Mayor Ryan Morrison. Inspired by The Hunger Games, His Worship Ryan Morrison is seeking out the best gamification strategies in the nation.

Mayor Morrison knows that a lack of exercise and a surfeit of junk food causes ill health, and that's why he follows a strict paleo diet and CrossFits five times a week. He cares about his health. He also cares about the health of city employees, because if they're not healthy, they're taking sick days. And if they're taking sick days, they're also cashing in on those expensive health care benefits. Let's face it: health care benefits haemorrhage money away from the city budget, where the money could be used for things like campaigning for reelection. This is an internal gamification project, targeted at the institutional goals of the city government. After all, the health care costs of the city populace do not come from the coffers of civic government. Therefore, the only players will be city employees.

A three-month probation period will be implemented. This provides a head start for all players. Some may use this time to improve their lifestyle. Some may use it as one great last hurrah, bingeing on pizza pockets and pork rinds. At the end of the three months, players in the bottom tenth percentile in terms of health and fitness will be given a choice: they can either keep their jobs and benefits, or they can be removed. If they wish to keep their jobs, they must become players in the Civic Games (this name was chosen by His Worship in homage to The Hunger Games. His daughter is a huge fan). In many gamified systems, leaderboards are a common feature. In this instance, Mayor Morrison will be taking a different approach. Instead, this game will utilize a Danger Board. The Danger Board will list the players most likely to lose.

The bottom ten players from the Danger Board get to participate in the exciting Subway Events. Contestants will be sent to a decommissioned subway station rigged up with a variety of obstacles. The most exciting of obstacles is the ever-popular Don't Step On the Third Rail. Winners get to eat a healthy, nutritious meal. Losers get removed from the gene pool.

Since 90% of the employees will have an improved health/lifestyle in an attempt to avoid the Danger Board, the city is already ahead of target goals for improved health. The dangerous circumstances experienced by the insignificant number of employees participating in the Subway events will result in health care bills. However, since these games will be televised and sponsored by a variety of corporations, there will still be a healthy profit margin. And since the losers die and mortuary fees aren't covered by city employee insurance, everything is golden.


Feb. 25th, 2014 10:21 pm
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
My blood runs red
Slows, slows, saunters.
Hands up overhead
Touching my changing hair
Skin is white, olive, frog belly

I can't wear that hair, they say.
I do not own it. Stolen culture.
My blood runs red beneath my skin.


My blood runs red
Hidden beneath my skin.
My blood runs red
Skin runs white, olive, frog belly
Eyes brown almonds. Cheeks flat high tundra.
Backs of incisors scooped out. Shovel teeth.

You don't know who I am.
Born to the unseen unheard sex
My blood runs red
My voice runs, trickles, halts.

I don't own that voice, they say.
I am not to be heard in the church.
I must cover my head.
Show obeisance.
I must not take the rights of the man
Because I am not a man.
Because blood will stain my frog belly thighs
That undiluted colour granted to the skin of my ancestors
But not to me.

I would speak
But am shut up
Like the blood runs red
Beneath my skin.
I would cover my head with my own hair
My own choice
But my hair is stolen, they say.
I must not speak, they say.
Blood runs red.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
So I'm working at the Monkey's Paw on Wednesday night as usual, just putting away a few books and stuff, and it's almost closing time, and in walks this old guy. Not to judge or anything, but he really doesn't look like the sort of guy who just wanders into an occult shop. He's wearing a suit that looks about as old as him, and probably has a higher polyester count than a Malaysian sweat shop. He's kinda balding, his tie has a bit of ketchup on it, and he walks in with a look of resigned determination: you know, the same sort of look you might have when you go to the dental hygienist. )
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
(Character sketch for a Hunter game....)

So I knew I was special from an early age, right? Yeah, I know everyone thinks there special, except maybe those flinching ones who hide in the corners at school hugging their bookbags to their chests, but I knew I was. I mean, Ma and Pa always told me I was special, but that’s like their job, right? I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but it came to me in a dream. I’m a bit of an oracle, when it comes to dreams, so when I dreamed about the Great Eye on top of ye olde pyramid, and how that eye scanned all around like the freaking Eye of Sauron until it lit on ME, well, yeah, of course I knew I’d been singled out. By what exactly, I wasn’t sure, but there’s a reason the unknown is called the occult. I was singled out for life as an occultist. )

Dear Me

Jun. 12th, 2013 03:28 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
The envelope for this mail art is made of heavy drawing paper which had previously been painted with undiluted blue and yellow acrylics. Although it was painted with a brush, I was going for a repetitive pattern of variable colour values in the blue, similar to the potato printing I did as a child. The sheet was then trimmed to a square shape, the centre of the sheet was determined, and two corners of the paper were folded in until their points touched. Then the other corners were folded inward past the centre point and the body of the envelope was attached in place with double-sided tape.

The inset is made of flimsy graph paper, and detailed with ink and marker. I chose the graph paper because the repetition of squares reminded me of my primary school years, when many homework assignments were done on similar paper. The paper is the same sort of stuff I used throughout my grade school years for not only schoolwork, but for corresponding with my numerous international pen pals.

The images and text come from a variety of memories: most from my childhood, with memories of school experiences, foraging, gardening, living in wilderness, Jehovah's Witness upbringing, my hobby of drawing mazes, etc. The masks symbolize the constant need for adaptation, my drama and Classics background, and that what you see on the surface does not necessarily reflect the thoughts and memories beneath. The fractal patterns partitioning the sections are a reminder of the repetitive nature of thoughts and memory.

I intend for the piece to be both bittersweet and playful. )

July 2017

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