Read to Draw Recap #1

I’ve been really bad about posting my Read to Draw stuff here. I’m making up by posting a few at once!

My most recent is an ink drawing of Melanie from The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey–a zombie book I could not put down. I really didn’t care what happened to anyone else in the story as long as Melanie survived. Is that terrible?

H is for Hawk is a moody memoir about depression and loss, and a book that made me wish I’d taken up falconry. While I have no experience in training a goshawk, Helen Macdonald’s experiences in coping with depression resonated with me. I drew this while visiting family in Tucson, Arizona–it seemed, oddly, the right atmosphere.

I had such a hard time drawing something for Seraphina! I don’t know why. I think I wanted to do something conceptually interesting to fit the complexity and coolness of this dragon tale but I couldn’t make up my mind. So here’s this. Seraphina is a beautifully-written YA fantasy.

I’m finishing up Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin. Should be an interesting challenge for the next set!

Inktober and NaNoWriMo Prep

It’s inktober–31 days and 31 drawings! I’m comboing my NaNoWriMo prep with my 31 drawings, world-building and developing character sketches as I set myself up for a (hopefully) productive November of writing.

Here’s my first sketch for inktober. It’s a scene and a shard of story from my upcoming NaNoWriMo project.  

Christmas Aunty guides lost children through a war-torn kingdom.

I’ll also be continuing #ReadtoDraw, which also pairs nicely with this month’s challenge. I just finished H is for Hawk and might try my hand at drawing a goshawk.

Anyone else participating in inktober?

Writing Moods: The Seasonal Edition

It’s a long time since I wrote by mood. Before I took this thing seriously, I’d limit my writing time to those moments when euphoria and a thirst for fantasy caught me up, or when I needed escape from deep despair or some disappointment. Now I know better and write whether or not I’m feeling it.

But still there are times when happy circumstance sends me running to pen and paper. Seasonally speaking, fall always does it for me. This past Tuesday was the first where Los Angeles deigned to dress in shades of blue and gray and gift us with a taste of the chill. When I walked into my apartment all steeped in blue light at 6:00 p.m., I only wanted a cup of tea, my beaten, ruled notebook, and one of my reliable hotel pens.

It has to do with staying home because it’s cold out and with becoming immoveable under a layer of building winter blubber I’m sure. But it’s also the implacable crackle of the colder seasons–the strange energy of cold, dry wind; the smolder and romance of wood smoke in the air. You don’t often get that in Southern California, much less the city, but when it comes, it does captivate and compel.

Sometimes I wonder if I’d be a better writer had I listened to fourteen year-old me who read Witch Water with zeal and thought a quaint, somewhat spooky life in the woods picking blackberries for tiny Mabon pies and doing funny things with dried roots sounded about right. Would I constantly be touched by inspiration then?

What is it about black crows huddled against a gray sky and crisp, brassy leaves? And there is something to playing piping hot coffee against a foggy, drizzly morning that calls up other worlds and imagined strangers.

As the cold drives me into my home, it also drives me inward and rather than setting up distraction, the world outside toys with my imagination. I’ve always found fantasy in the wildness of an autumn wind. It sweeps by, disrupting everything and carrying it away. I get caught up in it. Maybe autumn is the seasonal manifestation of escapism.