Friday, October 29, 2010

Fairy Tale Friday: Why You Need Pumpkins

Halloween is coming! And of course you've carved your pumpkins.

You have to have your pumpkins!

Carved would be best- it's important that they show some light, so Jack-0f-the-lantern can find them. You know he rides on Halloween night, holding his lantern before him, following its light in place of his missing eyes. His horse lights its own way, with great blazing eyes glowing brighter than Jack's candle. Jack rides, seeking his stolen head-- lost through war or carelessness or to the predations of a greedy grave robber, no one knows. But Jack searches everywhere, and when he spies a carved pumpkin smiling its light out into the dark October evening--

He feeds it to his horse.

What? Even blazing eyed demon horses have to live on something. And if Jack can't find a pumpkin, he'll let his horse wander into your yard, and turn over your garbage cans, and sear hoof marks into the lawn, and generally make a great big mess.

So get your pumpkins ready, folks! And if I don't see you here before then, have a fantastic Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mondoodle: Long Leggity Beasties!

This is where the poem always broke down for me. If we're hiding from "Long Leggity Beasties", does that mean Looong Beasties, who are leggity?

Or Beasties with long leggity-s?

And if it's the latter, I'm a bit offended, having rather long leggitys myself!

I will, though, confess to going Bump in the Night. And the Day. Long Leggitys are not conducive to absolute grace.  Perhaps the chant

From Ghoulies 
And Ghosties 
And Long Leggity Beasties
And Things that go Bump In the Night
Great Saints Preserve Us!

is meant to be a prayer of salvation for breakable items?

Well, this long leggity beastie has work to do-- but perhaps you'll weigh in on this crucial issue in the comments?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fairy Tale: Monster in Where Again?

There's still considerable debate about the first proto-monster. Was it a shapeshifter? A ghoul? Some sort of space squid? But there's strong scientific agreement that the most recent subspecies are The Monster Under The Bed and the Monster In The Closet.

These creatures have evolved to fill a very recent ecological niche- household places hidden from view but easily accessible-- and even now, have not spread to every culture. So it's understandable that their habits are less well studied than those of their more famous Elder Kin.

Still, certain truths are known. They are definite, distinct creatures. The Monster Under the Bed had developed long claws and unspeakable, unfolding arms to reach from its confines and snare its prey. Like other cave dwellers, it has no sight and relies instead on smell, hearing, and the ineffable Monster Sense that lets these hunters know when the most vulnerable member of the household is alone. The Monster in the Closet has bright reflective eyes, to take advantage of ambient light in its dark surroundings, and very sharp teeth in what may or may not be a muzzle.

Both can be evaded by the deployment of protective blanketing, and widespread Blanket Awareness has resulted in an almost total elimination of home-based monster attacks, not just in first world nations, but in every bed- or closet- having culture. Yet one point of concern remains: the Monster Under the Bed has a sharply defined territory, never reaching farther than perhaps two feet around its lair. But the Monster In The Closet has been reported behind shower curtains, in pantries, and even behind briefly open doors, its presence detected by the unerring human ability to Detect Monsters (located in the amygdala). This raises the troubling possibility that the Closet Monsters have become home-based generalists, able to occupy any domestic space not currently in view of two or more humans. If this is true, it could easily ambush prey far from reach of a blanket. It could even be behind you right now.

I do so hope we'll both be here Monday.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mondoodle: Ghosties!

People seem to think of ghosts as blurs or pale people. I don't think it works like that...but "ominous feelings" are hard to paint! And to be honest, if you saw this:

watching from your closet on a dark night, wouldn't it give you a start?

Well, I would. But that probably has more to do with my fear of housework than my fear of the undead. Darn meddling undead, why don't they clean their own closets!?! I got Halloween decorating to do!

PS No I do not actually have a high school yearbook.  Never bothered. Shame, those haircuts were prime fright wig material!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fairy Tale: Moon Woman Working

I have no proof the Moon Woman was a ghost. True I saw her only in the dark morning hours of very moonish nights. True I never saw her eyes, or knew her for anything besides the unfinished labor that consumed all her attention. I could say the same thing of my college room mate. I could say the same thing of old Ms. Manor, who I've never seen outside her garden, covered by a sunhat.

She didn't live in the creek behind my best friend's house. She didn't live anywhere, when I knew her. Best to say, perhaps, that I always saw her in my best friend's back yard, slightly immersed in the banks of the creek. She didn't seem put out by being buried in creek mud. Her movements proclaimed that she was working, and couldn't be expected to interrupt herself for a lazy creek that hadn't the industry to maintain its own banks.

She was always working. Through the sliding glass of the living room door I could see how busy she was, arms constantly reaching and moving and selecting, head tilted in the distinct fashion of a crafter considering the progress of a project. I don't know what she was making; the moon fell along the curves of her arms and shoulders, sometimes even filled the hollows of her face. The work was invisible to the rest of us, as cryptic and compelling as any newborn inspiration. But it took all her attention.

I saw her when the moon was right; and of course, when I went to look. It wasn't my house, after all, and the lighting didn't always allow me to even see the backyard. I caught her eye just once, on a hot summer night when the skies were angry with dry lightning. She had tilted her head as women do when they've looked down too long and can't yet stand up. She shook herself a little, stretched her arms, and then looked at me.

And then she bent back over her work.

I don't know if the Moon Woman will ever be done with her creations. And I don't know that it would be so sad if she didn't. There are worse places than a creek on a Texas summer night; and worse ways to spend eternity than in the glowing moment of creation, calling thought into being beneath the moonish light.

(This is a very abbreviated version of a short story I've been working on. Illustration coming soon!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday WIP: Water Witch!

Halloween has me in a witchity mood! Plus I like drawing pointy hats (anyone know why witches wear pointy hats? Or why we think of witches in pointy hats?).

I wanted to have a water scene, and thought of the old dunking-stool. You know, the daft idea that people could separate the witchity from the foolish by dumping them in water, and seeing if they floated.

There seems to have been some disagreement on whether it was floating that meant innocence, or sinking, but my main quibble (well, aside from the horrible idea of drowning people because you don't like their personal practices) is this: You have in your grasp someone believed to have supernatural powers. Someone who, by your own reckoning, can fly, control the elements, and turn into animals.

And you think a puddle is going to ruin their day?!?

I don't *think* so. As a quick sketch in Painter illustrates (fine point pen tool, for those who really care).

I intend this to be a full-color piece, but color needs planning as much as basic composition. Heck, color is composition! I know I want this to be a light, maybe incongruously sunny piece-- something to offset all the gloom and doom or intolerance and panic that attended witch trials.

Also I like green and blue. So a few quick strokes to lay out the basic color scheme:

You can see I also added some background details-- a few fish, some fronds, the edges of what would be a pier if I'd drawn it in first. I like the idea of the witch being serene and untroubled in her bubble, while all kinds of visual noise swirls around. I'll see how much of that I can keep as I work!

What are you working on? Brag in the comments!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mondoodle: Halloween is Coming! With Ghoulies and....

Gasp and shock! I  almost missed posting about one of my most favorite holidays! But it looks like I'm not too late to the party, right, Ghoulies?

Ah, very nice of you to invite me for dinner but I...don't think I'll have any cake. Or finger food. You just go ahead and enjoy, I'll let myself out...

See you all Wednesday!

(For those who don't know: Ghouls were originally creatures, perhaps once human, that lived off the flesh of the dead. I'm not sure exactly why that's considered so awful, technically we all live off the flesh of the dead, except the vegans, who live off the veg-flesh of the dead. But of course the flesh of dead humans is something else again, and has all sorts of side effects, like Packerism, Donner Mouth, Wendigo Feet, and jail. Don't do it, kids!)