“I’ll be the artist . . .”

A recent questionnaire caught my attention, and I decided to just go for it, albeit the fact that I have been scarce, and sometimes I wonder if when I’ll ever get back to writing regularly, with a passion. I think the desire to create stories lies dormant within me, waiting to rouse and spin a shelf of stories. But right now, I think this tag will remind me of why I love to write, who I am as a writer, et cetera. Feel free to join in. I want to read your responses. Comment if you decide to do it! 🙂

  1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’? I have been writing since I was about four, but my earliest stories were more like visual storyboards–I remember way back then I would scribble on page after page in my sketchbooks, “fan-fiction/art” of my favorite Founding Fathers and Moses and Disney characters. My favorite book characters took a huge part of these early comics. I think I officially began to write when I was about seven, starting with some stories based on the American Girl Kaya, the Nez Perce girl . . . (obviously I’ve always had a strong preference for historical fiction). My best friend Kayla and I wrote about the eponymous Kaya and her own character “Rayla”, both native American girls whose adventures we scrawled on stacks of notebook paper. I kept on writing, and became an avid fan of mystery stories, like Nancy Drew, Detectives and Togas and Mystery of the Roman Ransom (both by Henry Winterfeld), and the Mandie series. It was during this time, from around age 9-11, that I realized that writing meant something to me and it was something I wanted to do forever.
  2. How/why did you start writing? I really wanted to relive all of my favorite books, because the characters became so real to me. I couldn’t just close them up and put them back on the shelf. I went back to them, dwelt on them and their stories, and I tried to keep them alive in my own writings, usually “fan-fiction” of these works. I loved history. George Washington, Paul Revere, Lafayette, the Ancient Romans and Greeks . . . all the books I read began to filter into a creative drive, and I started to write, typing in Word 2000 on my parents’ old computer, until another family member kicked me off if I overstayed my computer time. 🙂
  3. What’s your favorite part of writing? The intimacy of it. I absolutely love to envision the expressions and speech and mannerisms of the people I write about–I feel like I’m really there, seeing all of it, knowing these people. Reading has the same effect, which is probably why I decided to create stories to read. I love the fact that when I write historical fiction, I am sort of time-travelling to a different era, knowing people I would never meet otherwise.
  4. What’s your biggest writing struggle? Ahem, the finishing part is ALWAYS a challenge. I usually lose momentum after the early chapters, but I intend to force myself to finish some older projects soon.
  5. Do you write best at night or day? Definitely at night. Less distractions, less noise and obligations to fulfill when everyone is asleep and I’m supposed to be asleep as well. 😉
  6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!) I try to write at my desk as often as possible (or else work on school and art), but most of the time I write in my bed before I go to sleep.10568932_557268047751032_6987686810130708086_n
  7. 1173836_308419322635907_302420527_nHow long does it typically take you to write a complete draft? Six months to a year, sometimes 2. The only two books I’ve completed are a novella, Intertwined Destinies, and a novel, The Wish. I’m pretty sure the first one took about half-a-year and the other one around a year.
  8. How many projects do you work on at once? Umm, three? Sometimes more. It depends. I have been working on the same things the past year.
  9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between? Bittersweet ones are a fair in-between, and definitely the most satisfying for me. I like to be both melancholy and happy . . . how very complicated of me!
  10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey. L.M. Montgomery-inspired me to change my style and overall story-lines, and her subtlety of writing permeates her tales in impressive ways. C.S. Lewis, David Nevin, Dostoevsky, Harper Lee, and Margaret Mitchell, and lots of history books . . . all of these have played a major part in my development as a writer
  11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not? Sometimes. Lately, no, because I have been highly unproductive and the little that I do write is a historical fantasy alternate-universe fiction which I would prefer to keep under wraps. 🙂
  12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream? Definitely to become published, and to direct/write/script movies, specifically movies associated with American history (or any other favorite historical people/times) and possibly be a writer and producer for animated films.
  13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do? Simply be the best artist I can possibly be, explore the animation field, work as a political activist (I mean, get hands-on, not simply write impassioned articles).
  14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? Several, actually. :’)
  15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go? Definitely Fortis Corde (Strong Hearts) . . . this one is very dear to me, perhaps since I’ve invested so much emotional energy into it. And besides that, I absolutely love the time period in American history where it is set. It is a very Washington Irving-esque story and something so haunting and rustic about it that i don’t want to give it up. I’m not sure if I’m ready to write it, but I definitely want to finish it someday soon.

Glimpses {A post of fragmented story}

 

7d09d4cc71a11a557c46a1d878c7d926So, just because, I thought I’d share some of the story I discussed in the last post. Heaven Sight is largely in the works, mainly because I haven’t come up with much incentive to delve into it, (I mean, seriously, hardcore!)

The parts of the story I’ll share are more like short stories, so they’ll be categorized as such.:)

The minute Anton caught a glimpse of Maria he could not stop thinking of how much he would like to paint her portrait.

“So you are the one,” she said the moment they had a chance to speak.

“The one?”

She regarded him from beneath half-closed lids, a lazy effect that was somehow comely. “Yes—the one who helped my brother. Do you think he would neglect to tell me of you?”

“I did not imagine that thanks was necessarily due.”

“Neither did I. But since you are here, I shall.” A flicker of warmth appeared in Maria’s eyes, eyes the color of rich chocolate.

Anton suppressed a smile and glanced aside at a passerby, pretending to be vaguely interested. “Then the honor is all yours. I am not the sort who one would easily thank. Considering the circumstances. Gratitude would be an extravagance.”

“I fully understand the circumstances, thank you.”

“Now, didn’t I just tell you to not thank me?”

Maria tossed her head back and laughed, a rippling sound that poured over Anton like a Mediterranean tide, warm and soothing.

He sucked in his breath, and began to laugh with her. So he amused her? That was evident, the way she peered at him, her lips parted and tilting with mirth.

“Oh-h-h . . . you are much too serious. Just as Armand said.” She shook her head, her russet curls spinning and glinting about her cheeks. “You sound as if you would much rather grate your teeth in oppose to laughing.”

Anton felt foolish. “Is that so?”

“Yes, it is so!” Maria cried. “Why, you sound as if you genuinely didn’t realize that! Gracious, how did you happen?”

Irritation bubbled for only the fraction of a second in Anton’s chest. “I have had little to laugh about. If that is an inconceivable notion, than I am at a loss to explain more . . .”

Anton helped Maria into a cab, and as they rolled off down the street Maria began, “You needn’t explain anything. You seem dedicated to excusing yourself. Is it a felony to laugh? A felony to cry? I believe there are far worse things in the world at present.”

“How clever of you to enlighten me on the state of world affairs.”

“Is calling a girl ‘clever’ rare for you, Mr. Heller?”

“Are you saying that I am closed-minded?”

“Narrow minded is more like it. But forgive me, I take too many liberties. You see, I’ve got a dash of Irish in me, good old common-sense Irish. I say what I think.”

Anton was shocked to see a blush in Maria’s cheeks. Somehow, she didn’t seem demure enough—like she said, too sensible, too straightforward for such modesty. But it pleased him nevertheless. He struggled with the momentary temptation to appear offended by her calling him narrow-minded, but the desire passed when he saw that she had sobered.

“I have every reason to hate you and to be grateful to you. I cannot decide which is better called for.”

“As I said, gratitude would be unwarranted.”

“Yet, you helped my brother when no one else would. That deserves something more than a handshake and a ‘thank-you’.”

Aaaand some more! I’d love to hear what any of my followers think, or just any random feedback in general (politely given, if you please :D)

“This may surprise you,” Anton said sharply, “but I haven’t any particular desire to be of service.”

“I thought not.” And the way misery pulled at Armand’s mouth indicated that he had known this long before.

Anton resettled his spectacles upon the bridge of his nose, something he had taken to doing when his hand began to feel unreliably tremulous.

“I have given you somewhere to stay, so that you wouldn’t resort to a doorway in some black alley.”

“Yes.”

Anton jerked around so that he directly faced the teenaged boy. “Then quit with the vague hints, will you?”

“Sure, sure.”

But Armand’s face paled, and he sat with a glazed look in his eyes, hands resting in his lap, too limp for comfort. Anton swiveled around in his chair to face the desk again, and trained his attention as well as he could upon the sheet of paper, his charcoal stick lying on the desk, ready to be picked up. Anton touched it with a shaking finger, a strange discomfort tingling in his nerves, so that he could not be sure of his present ability in rendering a suitable picture, a sketch even. He grimaced, his gaze wandering to the window in front of him, finding his dark reflection against the glass. The nausea that had become so familiar began to stir warmly in his stomach, and he swallowed.

Heaven Sight

20130925_225058 (1)Work in progress novel Heaven Sight has been sort of on my mind.

Anton Reinhard grew up when the fever pitch of war angst rose high. In 1917, as a small child, he faced the brutal death of his father, in an anti-German riot on the streets of New York. He grew up learning to look after himself, but under the protecting wing of a compassionate priest. As he grows older he develops strongly as an artist, seeking and loving beauty and meaning, but finding only disillusionment in the world around him. As his intent search for Heaven’s sight continues, with the furor of the second World War broiling at a distance, Anton catches frustrating glimpses of something divine in a world catching afire. 

I just came up with the synopsis off the top of my head. I also made a graphic in PS . . . with a quote from Dante’s Inferno.

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I started writing this story a year ago, and now I’ve finally come back around to it. I’ve been in a serious dry spell lately, which is tragic. I will sometimes reflect on the days when I just wrote and didn’t double check every sentence and let the mind flow out onto the page (computer or otherwise). And now . . . maybe it’s just when you get older you get more self-conscious, that’s just me, but it continues, drawing out and reducing me to spinning helplessness and wonder. Where have the words gone, I sometimes ask. Why can’t it be as easy? Why can’t I just churn out the stories a hundred miles per hour and drive on fearlessly?

Honestly, I really don’t know, but I have to tell myself that I’m definitely more of a brooding author type, who takes a while to get things down when the mind is filled with life. Life happens. So, let come what may. I’ve begun to learn that through sunshine and shadow I must write, I must draw, I must devour the thoughts and words and creations of other great artists, because that is the only way to escape the mire.

Part II of this post will feature the snippets I have so far . . .

Digital Art debut

#Still soo rough #my first *official* digital art pieces #wooo #I need a Tumblr now . . . #Meriwether Lewis is fun to draw #Trying out colors #Digital coloring is the hardest for me
#Still soo rough #my first *official* digital art pieces #wooo #I need a Tumblr now . . . #Meriwether Lewis is fun to draw #Trying out colors #Digital coloring is the hardest for me

So I’ve been ridiculously quiet, and I guess life does that to you. Pretty sad. But my mind is kind of exploding with ideas for storyboards, character designs, and illustrations I’m dying to start working on. I already have a lineup of projects I want to jump on, and in the meantime study anatomy and figure drawing. I also need to work on creating backgrounds, versus the boring whiteness behind my figures. :/ I decided to try out this challenge, a “100 themes” challenge, with 100 different prompts for either writing a story or creating a drawing. So I decided to write a short story for each prompt and create an illustration to go with it. My first prompt was “Introduction” so expect to see that around here soon. I already have a good idea of what I want to create for that. I found a free download of Paint Tool SAI for my wacom bamboo (which I just started using it, after letting it sit in my room untouched for a whole YEAR, basically). Finally I decided, “Wow, I seriously need to start practicing with that thing”. So, here it goes. Expect to see lots of trial-art around here, and trial-illustrations. I shall bombard ya’ll with it. Also, I am considering pouring myself into making fanart, because making fanart has never been such a big deal for me. Here is a list of the stuff I plan to draw, because I adore it so much. Plus, it would be very good practice.

You ought to be warned. Most of it is associated with classic literature and history. o.O

  • Lewis and Clark (well, this is a given. All of my other blogs were swamped by Meriwether Lewis, because I am a nerd like that)
  • The Civil War Era
  • Charles Dickens (Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House)
  • The Revolutionary War
  • Harry Potter (whoa, this is weird with all this history I have down already.)
  • L. M. Montgomery (The Anne Books, The Emily Trilogy, Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, The Story Girl, Jane of Lantern Hill, The Blue Castle)
  • Phantom by Susan Kay
  • Any characters by Maud Hart Lovelace (Heaven to Betsy, Betsy was a Junior, Betsy and Joe ♥)
  • Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility)
  • Becoming Jane (I absolutely love this movie)
  • Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South, Wives and Daughters, Cranford)
  • Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy)
  • William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Merchant of Venice)
  • The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope
  • Elizabeth George Speare (Calico Captive, The Witch of Blackbird Pond)
  • Louisa May Alcott (Little Women, An Old Fashioned Girl, Rose in Bloom, The Long Fatal Love Chase)
  • Any Disney Movie
  • The Zion Covenant Series (Bodie and Brock Thoene)
  • The Christy Miller Series (Robin Jones Gunn)
  • Anna of Byzantium
  • John Milton
  • The Renaissance time period
  • World War II
  • World War I
  • Downton Abbey
  • While You Were Sleeping (I could see this a million more times)
  • The Narnia Books by C.S. Lewis
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Washington Irving
  • Rosemary Sutcliff
  • Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
  • Elizabeth Enright
  • The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence
  • Elizabeth Goudge (The Little White Horse)
  • Sherlock Holmes Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • St. Augustine’s Confessions
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Robe
  • Quo Vadis
  • Spartacus (with Kirk Douglas)
  • Lost (ABC TV)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Rose of Old St. Louis
  • In the Good Old Summertime
  • My Theodosia by Anya Seton
  • Mirriam Neal (Paper Crowns, This Mortal Coil, Monster . . .)
  • Rachel Heffington (Fly Away Home)
  • Pepper Darcy (Pippa!!!)

So many more are on this list, but they’ll show up randomly in artwork. If I ever get around to making posting it. Ahaha.

Where is Peace? {a very old, very short story}

405b787ffe12b586e7c1b3c6c44c7180This is a short story I wrote a while ago for a contest, the them being “Finding Life in Death”. It is set during World War I, otherwise known as The Great War.

 

When men have lain in trenches with the bodies of other soldiers all about, alive and dead, when they have listened to the screams of shells as they burst in sky and on ground, when they charge against the nameless enemies with bayonet and rifle, one may ask—“Where is peace?” And who can answer? There may be a thousand and one men about me, and not one could tell you. The whole world is aflame, every nation is soaked with the crimson stuff that daily I behold with increasing indifference. I detest the indifference, for it turns me into an apathetic being, with no thought for the nameless force across No Man’s Land. Where is the peace in the moments when I slay men right and left, while merely trying to ward them off?

I have been in this field for two years since the beginning of this war which everyone calls “Great”.

“Great?” my comrades laugh dryly; all of our jokes are mostly deprecating.

“We fight in the Great War! Such a splendid war it is! Today we had the luck of getting down a whole regiment of the Germans. Indeed, it is all great.”

Then we laugh, gutturally. A shell bursts somewhere outside, thunderous and roaring. One man, who is what we would call a novice in these front trenches, stares at the wall, tight-lipped and shaking. Today he killed for the first time in his life. He killed three of the Kaiser’s men, who came over the top of our bulwark. I silently draw near him and at last put out my hand. He starts, and looks up at me with glazed eyes.

“They were young—younger than I,” he murmurs numbly, “Just mere lads. And I—” he loses control and his voice cracks. Tears run freely down his cheeks in one sudden torrent, and my heart turns within me: I am startled by my unexpected emotion that rises with terrible rapidity.

“That is a common thing in the field,” I say in a whisper, “You…you grow accustomed to it.”

“I won’t! I’ll go mad before the end of this fight!” the poor man cries out wildly, “Accustomed!?” He lowers his face into his hands, and his shoulders begin to heave. “I will go mad before that.”
It is a wonder that I am not mad yet. I have slaughtered far more than this fellow, but the first time I shot a man through is vague in my memory. I deliberately block it out, as I keep the rest of those vivid recollections in the back of my mind. And I must always force them down. If they should surface, I would be better off a dead man. My eyes have seen a few comrades with their Bibles on the field grounds in the early morn, even during the raids, or at night in the dim lamplight, in our bunkhouses. They close those thick little books with a strange expression—I do not understand it, though I have seen it often enough on my own sweet mother’s face when she has finished a prayer, back at home. What sort of peace might they sense, in the midst of this hell-hole? What sort of peace do they find in common words—age old words that I have heard so often but never understood?

Shortly after a bomb raid I sit with a small, pale man, who has just received a letter from home. He smiles through tears and looks at me, with gentle eyes. I am amazed by that expression. It touches me in strong way. “Be at rest, my brother,” he says to me after a long silence, with the morning shining all around. The sun has just risen.

“At rest?” I echo, and purse my lips. “How is that?”

“We fight for peace, we kill for peace. We send shells over to win peace. But there is peace here. We needn’t wait for it, when it rests in this,” and he patted his book with the little gilded cross on the cover. Now I needn’t search for peace any longer.