wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
So, a while back I did a painting inspired by going to Milwaukee's Indian Summer Festival and watching the dancers. I was very proud of it, but it lacked contrast. Still, where I was in skill, I hesitated to mess with it. I liked the composition and a lot of other things about it, and didn't want to risk ruining what I'd achieved.

But my skill and my confidence have both improved, in part thanks to @EllenMillion's sketchfest, and so finally, this week, I risked it.

I made almost no actual changes, but I added layers of paint to give it contrast and I added a lot of detail. Before it was very orange. Now it's still very orange, but it's more than that. (I should have thought to take a "before" picture. There might be one on my computer, but I'm tired, and I'm not taking the time to look.)

So, here is my Spirit of the Desert (with a watermark). It's acrylic on a 9 x 12 inch canvass.



Comments welcome! I'm at the *stare at it for a few days to see if it's done* stage.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
With the current state of politics, I'm feeling more need for insight and inspiration than usual, and I'm thinking my friends might also be feeling the same. So I'm going to try to schedule card readings more often this year, hopefully at least once a month at either the full moon or then new (or possibly both).

It's a Full New Moon tonight, so I figure I'll offer to draw cards for a while. I am hoping to send some good energy out into the world, to spark some hope and creativity. You can ask about real life or a creative project, or even a game. I can draw a card for you to meditate on, to represent the Guide you need right now, or to get you unstuck. I can draw a card for a character or can draw a card or cards for you to use as writing or art prompts.

I hope you will stop by my garden. There's still some snow outside, so we'll pass through the frost-covered rose bushes and head inside. I have a little round glass table that's etched with a dragon design; we can sit there by candle light or turn the lava lamps on. You and I can share hot chocolate or tea and chat, and you can get a reading if you would like one. Both new friends and old are welcome.

For a day or two for free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards, or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide, ask for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. I don't need to know what your question is, but you are welcome to share it with me if you like.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

Please consider dropping something in the guitar case below. Readings take time and energy, and even though the Milwaukee winter, like everything else, has been affected by global warming, winter heat is pricey and old houses always need repair somewhere or other.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and also earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card.

I understand all too well that when people don't have cash or spoons that is generally when they most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your paypal information with your request. Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). If that doesn't work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this card draw by adding a clear note at the top of the post rather than risk leaving anyone without a response. However, I intend to stay open at least through Saturday night, and longer for paid readings since, between the holidays and being in these days of low LJ usage, people may find the post late.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

Readings

Jan. 11th, 2017 06:26 pm
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
So, tonight (technically early tomorrow morning) is the full moon. This leads me to wonder if people would enjoy me doing card draws more often? If so--or if not too--would you like to see anything different than what I usually do?
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)

Or some other period, or for a creative project.  I've even done readings for characters!  I'm hoping to spread a little hope and good energy in this scary time.

You can ask here or over on LJ:


on DW: My mirrored post

on LJ:  My Original Post


All friends, new (even as-yet unknown) and old, are welcome!

wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
I did a couple of gift-paintings for someone over on Flight Rising, which were delivered as electronic images. They aren't interested in the physical paintings, so I'm pondering what to do with the canvasses.

But anyway, I haven't been sharing creative stuff enough, so as an intention to both do and publish more creative work next year, I'm sharing them here:





I do like how much most of the people over on FR enjoy art, and how welcoming they are to artists at all levels.
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
It's a New Moon tonight, perfect for starting new projects--and what bigger or more important new project is there than the new year? Well, a new novel, maybe, or a short story collection, or an album...

Anyway, there's lots of reasons, right now, that a person might want a card drawn. We face an uncertain future in so many ways. I am hoping to send some good energy out into the world, spark some hope and creativity, and help each of you to get a good start on something that matters to you. So, a card draw!

I hope you will stop by my garden. There's snow outside, so we'll pass through the frost-covered rose bushes and head inside. I'll leave an offering of food to the feral cats and the poor, paraplegic racoon in my yard as we pass--those critters still cannot be convinced I'm harmless, so there's not much I can do for them, but they'll happily eat the food I leave for them. Hopefully that is enough.

You and I can share hot chocolate or tea and chat, and you can get a reading if you would like one. Both new friends and old are welcome.

From now to January 1st, for free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards, or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide, ask for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. You can also ask for one of your characters or in some other way ask for advice or inspiration for a creative project.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

Please consider dropping something in the guitar case below. Readings take time and energy, and even though the Milwaukee winter, like everything else, has been affected by global warming, winter heat is pricey and old houses always need repair somewhere or other.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and also earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card.

I understand all too well that when people don't have cash or spoons that is generally when they most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your paypal information with your request. Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). If that doesn't work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this card draw by adding a clear note at the top of the post rather than risk leaving anyone without a response. However, I intend to stay open until the end of New Year's Day, and longer for paid readings since, between the holidays and being in these days of low LJ usage, people may find the post late.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
This is a tale set in the world of Flight Rising. There is no in-universe explanation for why clans would do things like give gifts at midwinter or pick names in a "secret Santa" drawing. From outside the game, I know it is people sharing their love of the holiday inside the game. But inside the game, that's not so clear. This is a bit of the lore of my lair.


The Meaning of Santa





Alastair, Chymeria’s clan’s long-lost tundra progen, stood next to a huge bucket of stones, handing out one to each member of the clan. They’d been written on with magical writing, so each person could be the secret Santa to another dragon. One after one, dragons approached and took a stone.

Driochta, the clan’s loremistress, came up behind him, looking grumpy. “But what is this word, ‘Santa?’ It seems to be associated with the Night of the Nocturne every year, but where did it come from? I’ve asked all the nocturnes I know, and not one could tell me.”

“It means ‘gift giver’, teacher.” Jenny, the newest addition to the clan, volunteered, taking a rock from the bucket Alastair held.





“I know that’s what dragons use it to mean, but where did it come from?”

Jenny shrugged, which made her butterfly wing apparel shimmer beautifully. She shrugged again, admiring the effect. “It’s always been that way, as far as I know.”

Driochta sighed. “You’re, what, a month old now?”

Jenny nodded. “Ready for my first nest, even!”

“Well, nothing was ‘always that way’, things come from somewhere. Even the gods came from somewhere.”

Alastair nodded to Jenny to move on so the next dragon could take a rock. She swished her tail as she did so, setting both her dress and wing adornments to gleaming again.

“Well, they did!” Driochta grumbled.

“So they did.” Alastair nodded, and handed her a rock.

“I’m not in line to participate in this thing!” She glowered at Alastair.

He smiled back. “And yet you are here, and you have a rock in your hand. Now, be off so everyone else can enjoy the party. Picking a gift for whoever that is should distract you from being a sourpuss for at least a little while.”

She flounced off, setting her starlight cloak to fluttering gracefully. Her companion comet trailed after her.

At the other end of the cavern, Jenny watched the teacher leave, holding her stone. Jenny was worried—she was so new to the clan—how would she know what to get anybody? She turned her own stone over and breathed on it. Driochta’s name picked up the exhalation and gleamed briefly.

Slowly, Jenny smiled.

In the following weeks, Jenny was noticeably absent from the lair from early until late, and often overnight. A number of the dragons sought out Driochta to ask if she’d headed on to serve ShadowMama or if she was planning to leave for another clan, but Driochta had no answers for them. “She seems happy enough, when I do see her,” was all she could say, besides agreeing it was very odd that she had not yet had a chance to teach her any of the clan lore.

Finally, the night of the big party arrived, and people started to receive their gifts. Jenny was missing until late into the night, when she finally flew in, snowflakes swirling off of her still-shimmering apparel. She flew straight to Driochta, a book in her hand. “I flew to every corner of Somieth with your question. I visited many different clans, and while I could not get any definitive answer, this book holds one hundred tales about Santas, each one from a different clan. I bring it to you as my Santa gift—a compilation of Santa lore, of the tales told to hatchlings and sung at parties. I hope you will enjoy reading it.”

Driochta felt her eyes gleaming with emotion. “Oh, Jenny, it is a perfect gift for a teacher and loremistress! Thank you so very much!” She hugged the book to her and then, though the party was still going on, she sat down right where she was, opened the book, and started to read.



wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
First Snow

A glowing egg cracks in the sun
A new dragon’s life, just begun
Eyes unfocused, she looks around
What’s this white stuff on the ground?
And on her feathers, wings and tail
Oh, but she’s hungry; she starts to wail!





Her mother brings a nice hot steak
Hot chocolate thick as a milkshake
A wooly coat to lie upon
Next to her sis who hatched at dawn
More food, more chocolate, more love for all
But especially for these two dragons small.





The bigger hatchlings jump and play
It doesn’t just snow any day!
And full-grown dragons dance in the air
Or hunt and gather everywhere
Mistletoe smiles, and piles and sifts
Happy it’s time to plan some gifts.



wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful, primarily, for my friends, here and elsewhere, from the closest loved-friends to the casual acquaintances. I count myself lucky to know and interact with so many people, people who are different from me and from each other in so many ways. I love having friends from so many different ethnic backgrounds. I love having friends who are introverts and who are extroverts. I love having friends who follow so many different religions—and some who follow none. I love having friends who live in red states and blue, and who live in other countries altogether. I love having so many women friends, and so many friends of other genders. I love having friends who are unrepentantly out about their orientations, their quirks, and their passions, and I love having friends who are just starting to experience and express new passions and new things about themselves. I love having friends who are curious about everything, from people who find an unusual color of mold on their pie and grow more to try to identify it to people who relentlessly fact check internet memes. I love having both friends who are comfortable with the role they were told they should fill as a child and people who forge new ways to live their lives despite those expectations. I love having friends who care about the world and the people in it, and I love it when they come to my page to discuss politely their differences regarding how to best move forward in the future.

I love the people who post cat memes and snarky internet comics. I love the people who write, who paint, who draw, who edit, who publish, who dance, who drum, who sing, and who quilt, and the people who do not. I love the people who stop to help strangers in the grocery store or on the street, the people who share kickstarters or go-fund-mes to help someone make a new thing real or just to help someone they know pay medical bills or care for a stray cat. I love the people who share recipes and pictures of their families and homes, the people who garden and sew, and the people who share their babies’ milestones. I love the people who share their travails with home ownership (and inevitable maintenance) and the people who share techie tips. Just as much, I love the people who share stories of their explorations, whether those are making something new or wandering the world in body or in imagination. I love the people who share cool stuff, from comments that glitter or display in mirror writing to cool stuff I’ll never be able to afford to restaurants that can safely feed people with weird food allergies. I love people who share our world’s history and people who share new discoveries. I love people who share their delight in cool stuff even when, or maybe especially when I never saw that particular stuff as delightful before.

I love having both friends with strong opinions and friends with questions.

I love the people who help me understand those who are unlike me in some way and the people who understand some facet of me so well because they feel that thing too. Your diversity enriches and delights me.

Thank you all for being a part of my world, in whatever ways you have chosen to do that. Thank you for sharing some part of who you are and what you love with me.

I hope that your winter holidays (regardless of which secular and/or religious holidays you personally celebrate or try to ignore) are not too stressful, and I hope the season brings you delight both in the fashion you hope it will and in unexpected, life-enriching ways.

Peace.
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
Take out frozen bacon (a wonderful left-over partial package of Deirdre-safe bacon gifted by my sister Siobhan) because it's at the top of the freezer, and I'm hungry and don't want to rummage to see what else is in there.

Take one of the only 2 delicata squashes salvaged from my garden that has to be used right away because of wildlife damage, cut off parts gnawed by said wildlife (racoon, possum, or squirrel), peel and cut into pieces. Grumble once again about the half-dozen or more squashes they got away with.

Get impatient with frozen bacon and put it into the pan, cutting across it to make bite-sized pieces before it's fully thawed. (One advantage of cast iron pans is you can cut things in them and not worry about damaging the surface.) Peel and cut an onion and add to pan as soon as the bacon has created some grease to cook it with.

Cook over low heat with the lid on to speed things up, except for removing lid frequently to stir.

Peel and cut two small potatoes. Smile at the cat who thinks peels that miss the compost bucket are funny-smelling cat toys. Add squash pieces to pan. Notice that it lacks contrast. Go out and pick green beans by the light of the cell phone's built-in flashight; rinse, cut up, add potatoes and green beans to pan.

Chop a clove of garlic very fine and add to pan with thyme (also originally from the garden, but grown last year) and white and black pepper. Add a little butter because the food is starting to stick (the onion, potatoes, and squash used up all the bacon grease?!?) and because the potatoes want some butter flavor.

Retrieve the now-neglected cat toys from the floor and add to the compost bucket. Stop cooking as soon as potato pieces are soft, because I'm hungry.

I have no idea what you'd call it, but it was tasty!
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
My heart is heavy today, what with some of the less friendly political comments I've been seeing, the horrible hate-massacre in Orlando, and some scary things happening in my neighborhood. So I'm feeling a need to send good energy out into the world, to wish one and all peace, joy, hope, creativity and love, or at least necessary lessons learned and changes for a better tomorrow. Also, it's the Strawberry Full Moon and Summer Solstice, which seems an auspicious time to send out good wishes to all.

So come, be welcome to my garden. We can smell the roses and then sit together in the shade and drink something cold, and you can see if you can find one of the first ripe mulberries. The local feral cats will doubtless stare at us from under the rose bushes. I keep trying to convince them I'm harmless, but they resist my guile. If we're lucky, we might see the cardinals courting in the big pine tree or some butterflies--I even caught a female Monarch on my milkweed a couple of weeks ago. We can chat, and you can get a reading if you would like one. New friends and old are welcome.

Today, for free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards, or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide, for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. You can also ask for a card or Guide for one of your characters or in some other way ask for advice or inspiration for a creative project.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

Please consider dropping something in the guitar case below. Readings take time and energy, and even though Milwaukee isn't enclosed in the blizzard, winter heat is pricey.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card.

I understand all too well that sometimes people don't have cash or spoons, and it is generally during those times when people most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your paypal information with your request.

Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). Alternatively, you can tip in Torn World/EMG credits. If neither of these work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this One Card Draw (by adding a clear note at the top of the post) rather than risk leaving anyone without a response.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
A few days ago it was Mother’s Day, and—as is usual on my Facebook these days, because I have friends who care deeply and passionately about our world and the people in it—there was a lot of politics on my wall. One of the things on my wall was a friend (admittedly not a Clinton fan) who expressed horror that Hillary was willing to accept support from Republicans. In her mind, that was proof that Hillary doesn’t share any values with liberals.

And I cringed. This was, after all, Mother’s Day, a day when we all—liberals, conservatives, the apolitical, and people whose politics are best described on some other axis—celebrate our marvelous mothers or console our friends who had the misfortune to be born to mothers who aren’t so marvelous. We all value family, just as we all value warmth when it’s cold. Like today—cold and rainy, prompting me to reach for something warm. I tried a sweater, and it was too scratchy. With all the political uproar, I wanted more comfort than that.

There’s this old silk jacket I have. I bought it at the thrift store years ago even though it was a bit threadbare because the colors—purples and blues and greens—are marvelous and it fits gently around me and it’s so soft and sensual. It feels good, like a warm hug made of rose petals. It was old when I bought it, and now the outer silk is pulling apart in strips and shreds. Periodically, I pick this jacket up and give in to the illogical urge (why not just replace it?) to take satin scraps or shapes cut from old silk shirts and patch the areas that are the most tattered.

I pick it up today and put it on long enough to warm up a little, and rip it some more trying to put my phone into a place that, as it turns out, is not the pocket after all. I look again at my Facebook and see more vitriol against that other mother who hopes to help the world from the big white house in DC, and I take the jacket off again. I cut a bit of purple from a ripped silk sleeve I’ve been using to clean my glasses and start stitching it to the coat, and I feel comforted.

Our social fabric is tattered right now, pulled apart by low income and bigotry and fear. But we can’t just throw it away and buy a new one. Someone has shared a quote showing that Trump thinks he can get the nation through hard times by not paying our debt. I sigh. I so very much don't want to see more things like that, so I switch over to Live Journal on the computer and read a poem where a policeman tries to help a person with superpowers who has PTSD. Then I listen to an interview of Hillary, so I can close that tab on the web browser. I enjoy listening to Hillary when she can actually talk about her hopes for what she can accomplish if she’s President, and it’s easier to sew when I’m listening instead of reading. I reflect that our world is kind of like the poor super-kid in the poem, broken and traumatized and scared.

The bit of purple silk stitched firmly to the sleeve, I go looking to see what I can find that’s suitable to put next to it. Our youngest cat, Nebula, is sleeping in a box of material, and is quite bemused when I pull the box out and dig through things around and under her. She blinks at me, strange human, and I rub her under her chin. I find a scrap of white brocade not much more than an inch wide, and some blue satin and green brocade, and part of a tie whose off-white lining could work. And a hairball. Ugh. I brush the old dried mess into the trash and consign that bit of cloth to the laundry, along with some clothes that will probably be donated.

Then back to my old jacket with safety pins and material. I cut and lay down several more pieces and pin them in place. Some of them will doubtless get moved around as I stitch, but it’s a plan. I thread the needle again and continue. The lovely smooth texture of the silks and brocades calms me. It feels as if each stitch is sending healing energy out into the world, a gentle prayer or bit of kind sympathetic magic to help us all in our quest to make the world a little healthier, a little less ragged, and a little more beautiful.

I use up the thread on my needle and tie it off. Next is a spot where the original fabric is just gone, the rough lining showing through. It reminds me of the places where lies and hatred have hurt me and people I care about, but I smile, because here on this jacket I can fix things. More green, I think, to cover this spot. Green would look good. We could use more green in our politics too, and fewer lies. More kindness and less fear. I pin and I stitch, and I send my good wishes out into the world, and in my head is a line from science fiction that has, contrary to all expectations, become popular culture: “Make it so.”
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
A couple of days ago it was Mother’s Day, and—as is usual on my Facebook these days, because I have friends who care deeply and passionately about our world and the people in it—there was a lot of politics on my wall. One of the things on my wall was a friend (admittedly not a Clinton fan) who expressed horror that Hillary was willing to accept support from Republicans. In her mind, that was proof that Hillary doesn’t share any values with liberals.

And I cringed. This was, after all, Mother’s Day, a day when we all—liberals, conservatives, the apolitical, and people whose politics are best described on some other axis—celebrate our marvelous mothers or console our friends who had the misfortune to be born to mothers who aren’t so marvelous. We all value family, just as we all value warmth when it’s cold. Like today—cold and rainy, prompting me to reach for something warm. I tried a sweater, and it was too scratchy. With all the political uproar, I wanted more comfort than that.

There’s this old silk jacket I have. I bought it at the thrift store years ago even though it was a bit threadbare because the colors—purples and blues and greens—are marvelous and it fits gently around me and it’s so soft and sensual. It feels good, like a warm hug made of rose petals. It was old when I bought it, and now the outer silk is pulling apart in strips and shreds. Periodically, I pick this jacket up and give in to the illogical urge (why not just replace it?) to take satin scraps or shapes cut from old silk shirts and patch the areas that are the most tattered.

I pick it up today and put it on long enough to warm up a little, and rip it some more trying to put my phone into a place that, as it turns out, is not the pocket after all. I look again at my Facebook and see more vitriol against that other mother who hopes to help the world from the big white house in DC, and I take the jacket off again. I cut a bit of purple from a ripped silk sleeve I’ve been using to clean my glasses and start stitching it to the coat, and I feel comforted.

Our social fabric is tattered right now, pulled apart by low income and bigotry and fear. But we can’t just throw it away and buy a new one. Someone has shared a quote showing that Trump thinks he can get the nation through hard times by not paying our debt. I sigh. I so very much don't want to see more things like that, so I switch over to Live Journal on the computer and read a poem where a policeman tries to help a person with superpowers who has PTSD. Then I listen to an interview of Hillary, so I can close that tab on the web browser. I enjoy listening to Hillary when she can actually talk about her hopes for what she can accomplish if she’s President, and it’s easier to sew when I’m listening instead of reading. I reflect that our world is kind of like the poor super-kid in the poem, broken and traumatized and scared.

The bit of purple silk stitched firmly to the sleeve, I go looking to see what I can find that’s suitable to put next to it. Our youngest cat, Nebula, is sleeping in a box of material, and is quite bemused when I pull the box out and dig through things around and under her. She blinks at me, strange human, and I rub her under her chin. I find a scrap of white brocade not much more than an inch wide, and some blue satin and green brocade, and part of a tie whose off-white lining could work. And a hairball. Ugh. I brush the old dried mess into the trash and consign that bit of cloth to the laundry, along with some clothes that will probably be donated.

Then back to my old jacket with safety pins and material. I cut and lay down several more pieces and pin them in place. Some of them will doubtless get moved around as I stitch, but it’s a plan. I thread the needle again and continue. The lovely smooth texture of the silks and brocades calms me. It feels as if each stitch is sending healing energy out into the world, a gentle prayer or bit of kind sympathetic magic to help us all in our quest to make the world a little healthier, a little less ragged, and a little more beautiful.

I use up the thread on my needle and tie it off. Next is a spot where the original fabric is just gone, the rough lining showing through. It reminds me of the places where lies and hatred have hurt me and people I care about, but I smile, because here on this jacket I can fix things. More green, I think, to cover this spot. Green would look good. We could use more green in our politics too, and fewer lies. More kindness and less fear. I pin and I stitch, and I send my good wishes out into the world, and in my head is a line from science fiction that has, contrary to all expectations, become popular culture: “Make it so.”
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
So, I've been thinking about politics, which will be no surprise to anyone who's reading my Facebook. Lately, a number of friends have shared the post where Bernie talks about creating a grass-roots political movement to take back our government, which is, after all, supposed to be a government of the people, by the people, and for the people--all the people, not just people of one color or one religion (and certainly not a government of billionaires, by billionaires, and for billionaires).

So, first, to the Bernie supporters out there--Bernie is right about this thing.

Yes, as a woman who has liked Hillary for years, I am standing up publicly to say it.

Bernie is right. We need an influential, a humongous (I won't say "yuuuuuuge") grass-roots movement. I love it that Bernie is working to create a community of empowered voters. But--and it's an important but, for reasons I'll go into below--I have online friends who cringe when faced with Bernie supporters because in their experience, in recent days, any dissent (and especially any support of Hillary) has been met with such bad behavior that they felt they had to shut up to be safe. Think about that for a moment. That's no way to build the legacy that Bernie has asked you to build. Now, not all Bernie supporters are like that. But each one who is diminishes Bernie's legacy!

Bernie is right that we need a broad grass-roots movement. To get big money out of politics, we need a movement that is, at least for a few years, so big that no politician has any hope of getting elected without it. It takes time to build a community. That means that Bernie is absolutely right to stay in the race to the convention no matter what his numbers are, because that lets him keep the spotlight on building the political "capitol" to make the changes we need. (Or at least he's right so long as his supporters are engaging in community-building rather than deliberately alienating likely allies this grass-roots movement needs.)

To the other Bernie-lovers out there (and yes, I'm a Bernie lover even though I have admired and respected Hillary for a long time), I have to say, let's see what you can do to build a movement, to bring in women and minorities rather than telling us to shut up and know our place. Because without us, you are too few and your movement is too small to defeat the big money.

I'd say it's kind of like a union, except that the billionaires have managed to convince so many voters that "union" is a bad word. But the concept is sound--if you don't have the money, you need to have a way to negotiate with the people who do. In politics, that comes down to votes. Each and every vote counts, whether it's inspired by a slick, expensive commercial or a grass-roots community working together for the good of all.

To the Bernie-lovers out there, I point out his record of reaching across party lines and working with people who he mostly disagrees with, for the purpose of doing good for the American people, little bit by little bit. I suggest you take his example, and every time you're faced with someone who disagrees with you on something, treat them with respect and reach out to work with them. Bernie can't build a community all by himself. Even Jesus couldn't do that!

If you love Bernie, don't you think he deserves to have you build his movement and take back the government whether or not he wins this Presidential primary? If you love him and his plans for our country, then ask yourself how can you use your words to help build his legacy. Whether or not he wins this battle, it's possible to win in the long run. We can build Bernie's legacy one person at a time, and in the end enjoy Bernie's legacy for many years to come--but only if we reach out and build a coalition, only if we have sufficient numbers that money can't buy the votes that the rich dudes have come to count on.

And with each and every interaction you have with someone who doesn't think Bernie is the best candidate, you have a chance to make a person feel respected and listened to and valued and a part of a community of people that is devoted to getting big money out of politics, a community devoted to promoting human dignity and American opportunity.

Or you can make that one person feel disrespected and scared of the very movement Bernie has asked you to build.

Every single time you talk to someone who isn't already a Bernie supporter, you have a chance to build his legacy or harm it.

Your choice.
wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
Every January, the Rose and Bay awards are open for nominations. The Rose and Bay awards are for excellence in crowdfunding, and the categories are fiction, poetry, art, webcomics, other projects, and patron.

I know I've missed this chance to express appreciation for some of my favorite content providers in the past. Things were busy, I got sick, you know life happens, and sometimes it gets away from you. But today I'm adulting--paying bills (I've got the mortgage check written, but others still to write) and paying a bit of recognition forward for the people whose crowdfunded work I appreciated in 2015. I'm going to check what I bookmarked and see what I shared on Facebook and sit here in the quiet and think about whose work made me smile or think and who inspired me to set aside the computer games and write.

If you can read this, you can nominate too!

I know that often people don't have money to send to their favorite creators. We talk about signal boosts as a way to let creators know you appreciate their work--well, your nomination is kind of a super signal-boost. It tells people who've never heard of you that you think this creator is worthy of their attention.

When you're busking in cyberland, you don't know if anyone is listening. I can tell you, as a creator, I very much value every tip and comment I receive--it lets me know somebody is out there. And I've been very proud of the times I've been nominated for the Rose and Bay award. If you make a nomination, I know the people you nominate will feel the same way.

So, who do you think deserves more recognition than they're getting?
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
What with the blizzard in the news, and it being full moon tonight, it feels right to do another card draw. Come on in, have some tea or hot chocolate, and I'll draw a card for you. I hope you'll understand if you have to pour for yourself; I can only get so close to having you physically in my warm, friendly home. That does have some positive aspects--if you're allergic, the cats (always curious when magick is afoot) won't make you sneeze!

Today, for free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle, my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards, or the Shapeshifter Tarot. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide, for inspiration, or you can just ask for a card. You can also ask for a card or Guide for one of your characters or in some other way ask for advice or inspiration for a creative project.

The first card is free (though tips are always appreciated). Tips also let you ask me to use any of my other decks, to request a private reading, or to draw a clarifying card. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

Please consider dropping something in the guitar case below. Readings take time and energy, and even though Milwaukee isn't enclosed in the blizzard, winter heat is pricey.

Signal boosts are very much appreciated, and earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card.

I understand all too well that sometimes people don't have cash or spoons, and it is generally during those times when people most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

If you tip, it's helpful to me for you to mention it here so I can connect your paypal information with your request.

Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). Alternatively, you can tip in Torn World/EMG credits. If neither of these work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

I will reply to all requests. In the highly unlikely event that the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this One Card Draw (by adding a clear note at the top of the post) rather than risk leaving anyone without a response.

Thank you, and Blessed Be!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
It was at a fannish gathering--at my house, I think--that I first heard the term "Mary Sue". Some large person with a beard was using it to put down the work of a female writer. I protested. I didn't see anything wrong with the very competent female character he was taking exception to.

Oh no, he said, it's not because she's female, it's because the author has inserted an unrealistically idealized version of herself into the story. It's bad writing, he said. The character isn't interesting and is too perfect and that hurts the story.

Well, ok, I thought, reluctantly. It's kind of like a deus ex-machina critique, but about a character rather than the plot. But it didn't sit well that the critique was given a woman's name, instead of something descriptive of the alleged fault. Why make the critique inherently gendered? Oh, well, I thought, whatever. A name is just a name, and the definition isn't gendered at all.

But over and over, I've heard that particular critique aimed at a woman writer who created a competent woman character. The critic was nearly always male. And the critique was leveled at all very competent female characters, not just the ones with a demonstrable resemblance (beyond gender) to the writer. I have even heard that complaint when the writer wasn't female. The term came, more and more, to be just a generic complaint about very competent women being "unrealistic".

But wait--our genre has a long history of unusually competent protagonists. When the world is at risk and the odds are against you, you need a very competent protagonist. The stories we tell demand one. And we've loved many super-competent characters. No one ever, in my hearing, called Luke Skywalker a "Larry Stu". Or Valentine Michael Smith or Superman or Paul Atreides or Ender Wiggin or Gandalf or James Tiberius Kirk or Dr. Who. In fact, although I am aware of the alternate term to use when applying that critique to male characters, I can't remember ever hearing someone bring that complaint against a male character except in the context of having been asked why it's only women characters who are so labeled.

Now, I certainly have not been a party to all conversations about characters in speculative fiction! But I've been an active party to a lot of them and have overheard or read a lot of critiques of fiction as well. So I think it's safe to say that overwhelmingly the term "Mary Sue" is the term in active use, and that it is exclusively used to belittle and dismiss kick-ass female characters and the female writers who created them. (If the term truly applied to any character, why would someone coin a rhyming term to use when the character is not female?)

The more I think about it, the more I think this isn't due to a change in how the term is used. I believe the term arose out of the unconscious conviction that women are not exceptional. All of the big names in science and politics and engineering (and religion and literature and, well, everything) have been men, right? Certainly that's the impression my textbooks seemed designed to give. The rare woman mentioned was presented as the exception that proved the rule.

But I know better. A lot of women are exceptional. I find more and more of them when I look, both in history and in today's world. Periodically I share a story about one of them on Facebook. I could share a dozen a day and not run out of exceptional women to talk about, if I wanted to post that much. Many of them have had men take the credit for their work, crediting them only with the status of "assistant" and characterizing their work as merely "clerical" or "supportive". Other women were given credit at the time, but quietly and briefly, their presence glossed over as soon as practicable. Others, like Joan of Arc, were discredited or even punished for daring to surpass the roles approved for women. But one way or another, exceptional women have been--and are too often still being--consistently and systematically belittled and dismissed.

I look at all those male heroes in fiction and in history--men who are loved and admired and celebrated. Little boys are encouraged to take them as role models and to attempt to emulate them. Never mind that they are arguably aspiring to more than they will ever achieve, they are still encouraged to dream and to work hard and to excel. They and their heroes are not belittled and dismissed; instead they are praised.

The contrast is pretty obvious.

It's time for us to discard the term "Mary Sue". It carries with it a heavy baggage of sexism, regardless of what an individual critic means to convey by it. If there is a valid critique about authorial insertion or poor characterization, then let's use non-gendered terms for those things.

And above all, let's stop complaining every time a female character is exceptional in a genre which has always focused on heroes. Instead, let's embrace and celebrate all of our heroes, regardless of the gender of the author, the character, or the reader.
wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
It should cross-post, but in case it doesn't, here's a link: http://wyld-dandelyon.dreamwidth.org/247348.html

Happy New Year everybody!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Happy New Year everyone! In honor of the new year, I'm doing a card draw. One card draws from the following decks are free (though a tip is appreciated). You can ask for a reading from one of the other decks I use for a tip, and a tip also entitles you to a clarifying card if you want one. If you want a longer reading, send a direct message so we can agree on the type of reading and rate.

I've written before about why I do readings and some of the decks I use here, feel free to hop over and check me out. I'll wait.

Today, for free one card readings, you can pick from the Brian Frouid's Faeries Oracle, my combined Susan Seddon Boulet Animal Spirits and Goddesses cards, or a deck that's new to me, the Heart and Soul Angel Cards. You can ask a question, ask for a Guide, or just ask for a card.

You are welcome to ask about your creative endeavors as well as posing more traditional questions. This might be asking for a card or Guide for one of your own characters, advice about fixing a plot problem, getting past writer's block, or whatever it is that you need.

Please consider dropping something in the guitar case below. Readings take time and energy, and I am still paying off the house repairs the City ordered last summer. Signal boosts are also appreciated, and also earn you the right to ask for a clarifying card. If you are tipping, please include that in your reply here, so I'm not guessing when I sit down to do your reading.

I understand all too well that sometimes people don't have cash or spoons, and it is generally during those times when people most need inspiration! Don't be afraid to ask for a card if you can't tip.

Tips should be at least $1 (Paypal charges fees). Alternatively, you can tip in Torn World/EMG credits. If neither of these work for you, drop me a message and we'll work something out.

You can get a private reading if you tip; I'll send the reading to the e-mail you use for tipping or you can send a private message to make other arrangements.

I will reply to all requests. If it's important to you that I draw the card today, New Year's Day, please mention that. I'll do those first if necessary. If the number of requests nears my limits, I'll close this One Card Draw rather than risk leaving anyone without a response.

Thank you!

As always, these readings are for entertainment and inspiration only. See my "Dandelyon's Readings" page if you have questions.

wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
I really enjoyed drawing that last dragon, so I went looking for another one to draw. For some reason, I couldn't resist this particular shiny dragon with glorious purple wings. Here, I have her juggling five pretty flames.



This one is for Speedemon.

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