Outtakes, the 2016 Edition- Misadventures, Stolen Oranges and Glorious Skies

Lemme start this out by saying, just in case you’re not the sort of person who employs the beginning of the year to bring a symbolic end to a cyclical calendar that is pretty much as symbolic as anything else…. you’re probably not going to enjoy this post. I personally VERY much enjoy the feeling of a year coming to a close, having a goalpost for myself when it comes to achievements and above all, having a measured distance to use to fully- and I do mean fully- stretch out my procrastination tendencies.

Also, I love having a specific time I can use to reflect on the utter lunacy of the year just passed. And no matter which way you slice it, what glasses you use to view this past year, it’s been a staggering parade of one global mess after another, gains that felt like losses and losses that still leave us smarting. But i’m not going to get political here, because I think there will plenty of people with better words than I who will most assuredly be churning those out. This is just a post reflecting on this past year, for me personally, with outtakes mainly from the cluttered library of my iPhone.

Lets begin with a list of numbers, my favorite:

5- travel/guide books read
9- National Parks visited this year
3- the number of times the AC went out in our house (FRUSTRATION TO THE EXTREME)
6- times that I shouted “SUNS OUT, GUNS OUT!” to the boyfriend when neither guns nor suns were out, just after waking up on the weekend with too much energy
3- Economics books read (and only one that made me scream in frustration)
19- podcasts I listened to this year
3- the number of times we encountered the Border Patrol
5- times that I turned to the boyfriend while on a roadtrip and said with full seriousness “welp, I guess this is where we die yeah?”
5- friendships lost to inattention, inappropriate romantic overtures and/or jealousy and miscommunication
2 – moments where I wanted to throw a match on my current life and just walk away, go live as a hermit in Alaska and just generally start clean over
4 – the number of times I was driving home from work and had the overwhelming sensation of immense gratitude for the life I get to occupy
1- orange stolen from a co-worker (long story, technically he freely gave it to me?)

countless- hours spent on tumblr dot com, times i’ve said “what the fricking frick??”, honeybuns eaten at work and times i’ve laughed until my sides hurt and my cheeks burned

Traves and Misadventures: 

As I mentioned above, me and the boyfriend managed to visit 9 National Parks this past year (as well as 1 additional tribal park) and I honestly can’t believe we actually got to do that? I had literally not gone to a single one before then and on a whim we decided to visit the Grand Canyon for my birthday and a whole trip spawned out of that. (The masterpost for that trip as well as the outtakes can be found here. ) After that, bitten by the outdoorsy adventure bug as I was, I decided to shelve any plans for visiting cities or even traveling out of the USA to focus on seeing as much of the USA’s natural beauty as I could.

Places and parks traveled to this year are as follows, in order :
The Grand Canyon , Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Santa Fe(NM), Big Bend NP, Goodland (KS) Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP, the Salton Sea State Recreational Area, Slab City (CA), Carlsbad Caverns NP, Abilene (TX)

Places we’d planned to visit and plans either fell through or were changed: 
The Great Sand Dunes NP(CO), New York City (NY), Boston(MA), Rocky Mountain NP(CO), Estes Park (CO) Yellowstone NP, Yosemite NP, Huntington Beach (CA) and Dallas (TX) (we literally live right here next to it and yet we did not once manage to get our butts into the city for any reason)

Arts, creativity, crafts and snailmail: 
While this year was utterly fantastic for traveling, it really sucked when it came to creativity and finding inspiration. I finished my first novel last year (lets not get into that bit of a novice accomplishment here) and I spent this last year editing it and generally using it as a reason to not work on any other writing endeavors. My art-journal Mondays fell by the wayside, which is more than a little disheartening as they were my most popular posts as well as the ones I used to share a bit more of a personal side. Even my regular art projects dwindled down into the half dozens, with my mountain pieces taking me longer than ever to finish and my textile art falling completely to the deadzone.

When it comes to snailmail, yikes- it’s even worse. While I don’t claim to be a super snailmailing aficianado, i’ve been at it for almost 7 years now and some of my closest friendships are bound tighter because of it so, it’s definetly important to me. Basically when it comes to art, i’ve fallen a good deal shorter than I expected.

And in this New Year? 
Obviously this would be the part where I list out all the goals and plans i’ve got to make this new year 10x better than the one thats gone by.
But.
For all the ups and downs, personally? This past year was actually very kind of me.

So for the coming year, while yes i’ve got plenty of goals and focus’s listed all neat and tidy in my main journal, the only three goals i’ll share here are these, two very tangible, the other not so much:

1. Make it to Europe this year, come hell or high water
2. Strive for more creativity and push myself for more everyday that I can
3. Read more fiction books.

Europe is being planned slowly but steadily (or more accurately, on the fly and haphazardly), creativity is being stoked by crisp white pages and an abundance of colors and as for the books? As weird as it might sound, that will probably be the hardest one.  This past year almost all the books i’ve read have either been travel guides, historical, economics related or mathematical /scientific (leaning towards the topics of A.I or astrophysics). But i’ve got literal piles of fiction books waiting to be read, from science fiction like Hyperion to classics like The Once and Future King over to more new titles like The Girl on The Train, so it’s certainly doable I think.

Anyways, this post has gotten long enough to the point where by the time I post this it will literally BE the new year already so, lets end this with the thing that  helped get me through the year, music.

Most Listened to Albums of 2016: 
Wild World- Bastille
The Joshua Tree- U2
Communion- Years and Years
Lemonade- Beyoncé
A Seat At The Table- Solange

Most Listened to songs of 2016:
BTSK- MSMR
The Anchor- Bastille
She’s a Lady- LION BABE
Chasing Twisters- Delta Rae
Ain’t No Grave- Johnny Cash
Macbeth- Jed Kurzel (From Macbeth Soundtrack)
I Found- Amber Run
A-Flat- Black Violin

not drowning in my coffee cups just yet,
~m

p.s will be back with the last two (three? dear gods) posts for this last roadtrip in the New Year 

February Life- Silver Skulls, Books and Coffee

coffee and my art journal

January held the kind of intensity of a dump truck running over my body over and over- but not in a totally bad way. Mostly it was the month full of challenges at work, trying to figure out if wearing heels was worth the professionalism boost vs the fact that i’m still not adept enough to run around rapidly in them and the subsequent decrease in speed that would bring. It was also the month where I didn’t get much done, artistically speaking, due to coming home from work dragging the stress with me till I finally fell asleep much too late into the hours past midnight.

Coffee and Tumblr

Not an over-all bad month though.

February though, i’ve got plans for you. I have 4 books I’m pretty much going to force myself to get through if I have to, just so I can get back on the reading horse, since it seems my ravenous love for books has taken a backseat to anything and everything else and I really want to blame tumblr for that and the way it sucks me in for hours on end reading what amount to essays on the upcoming Captain America movie and marveling at gifsets and edits for even the most overlooked characters/moments in films and books. It so easy to obsess over the things I love on there and gods if it’s not my most severe addiction.

Saga, Welcome to Night Vale, The World Is Curved - random books I read

But, books! Currently just a couple of pages away from finishing the Welcome to Night Vale novel and I still haven’t decided how I feel about it. On the one hand the writing is excellent and my head conjures up images of used car salesmen howling on the roof of broken down cars much easier than when I listen to the podcast but on the other hand…there is something lacking that I can’t quite put my finger on. The World Is Curved is something I picked up on my last ill-advised trip to Half-Price books (ill advised because I always come home with twice as many books as I said I would) with a couple of other economics themed books I’m honestly excited to tear through as it means I’ll be closer to being able to buy those econ books that don’t hold your hand while dumping all kinds of insane theories at you. Saga was gifted to me by the boyfriend for Christmas and if you haven’t heard of it I really suggest you go give it a look-see. The art is amazing, the characters startlingly unique and the story is the perfect blend of humorous and heartbreaking. The last book i’m getting through is The Cosmic Perspective but honestly, it’s not really a book you read through, mostly because it’s actually a textbook and something I picked up as a reference source for a project i’m working on, though for a textbook it’s terribly engrossing and makes me want to walk up to people and be like “DID YOU KNOW-” about space things.

words and more words, fables and coffee

Apart from dealing with pharmaceutical intricacies at work, plowing through a mini-stack of books,tempering my addiction to tumblr, and trying to finish art projects, i’ve also been writing. There are currently 6 legal pads filled with inane ideas, store outlines, world building, plot points and character arcs and while i’m still editing the last project (Whiskey Runner- the Ocean Is Spilling) so I can feel more confident about shopping it around to agents, it hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of treasure hunting space pirates colliding with honor-bound tech savvy marauders, Djinns on roadtrips across the great heartland of America, and messing around with the idea of Empaths and the idea of what love could mean to someone who very literally, feels everything. My best friend has put up her services to help me pick which will be the next project, so heaven help her with that honestly.

Skully and Slytherin

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

P.S
The silver skull featured in the photos above is named Skully because I was very tired and feeling really unimaginative the day I got him and you’ll be pleased to know the the lady at the furniture store I purchased him from gave me the weirdest look when I told her I would be putting him in the loft where I keep my books. But you tell me where the f*** else am I going to put him, the garden?

Art Journal Monday- These Black Stars and Deadlands

Song lyrics- Far From Any Road, The Handsome Family

Song lyrics- Far From Any Road, The Handsome Family

I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately.

Well ok hold on- before this gets really morbid, let me begin anew by saying, i’ve been thinking about death in that all encompassing and almost annoying way you can get when its 3 in the morning and you can’t sleep and your thoughts begin to go down the path of “i wonder where do we go after it all ends” and then you migrate on over to “is anything eternal, does anything truly linger?”  I wouldn’t presume to think i’m the only one who gets like that when sleep won’t come, thought I imagine that it’s less common with people who get enough rest.

black suns and stars

Here in Texas, the land seems to go on forever sometimes, long stretches of road that fades into the horizon like you’re out at sea and the shore is just a faded memory. I’ve been out there in the dead of night with no cars in sight for hours on end, driving driving driving and it’s at times like that when the idea of eternity seems the most real to me, as odd as that sounds. There’s just something about being behind the wheel of a car, the wide open road yawning forever in front and just pocketed shadows of land surrounding me, containing the possibility of anything. It takes you about 7 hours to just get out of the state, at least from where i’m situated, and trust me, believing in eternity- in the idea of forever – it comes so easy when passing under the shadows of the monumentally enormous grain silos and almost terrifyingly gentle wind farms that span the nothing out there.

lyrics, art journal photography

So why death then, if eternity is what occupies my mind? ‘Cause death holds tightly gripped hands with eternity, you can’t get one without the other even if you tried and I think accepting the idea of eternity is about as easy (or as hard, depending on who you ask) as truly accepting the idea of death, that inevitable end. And when I look out across the small expanse that is my life, I want to know that I am satisfied with what i’ve done, and still utterly hungry for more. And accepting both eternity and death, it helps me with that.

And honestly, most days? I’ll take all the help I can get, no matter where it might come from.

What do you think about, when it’s 3 am and you can’t get any sleep?

far from anyroad, art journal post

Songs on Repeat This Past Week- 

Legions (War)Zoë Keating
Nagada Sang DholShreya Goshal
Thrown AwayVast
Can IAlina Baraz, Galimatias
Prituri se PlaninataStellamara
CowardHayden Calnin

Not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~ m

How We Operate- Musing On Private Personalities

 how we operate, swirls art

It’s strange, the ways one person can present a million different facets to the world at large. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, not at all. More so the ways we present ourselves to different people in our lives. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, this isn’t a radically new concept. Lately what I’ve been more concerned with, beyond the different ways we act with friends vs parents vs strangers, is the way we present ourselves at large vs the utterly private persona we only entrust to ourselves.

art swirls, how we operate

The thoughts we don’t even entertain while among friends but freely unravel in private. Questions you would never pose to your most trusted confidant that you could spend hours going over with yourself, as if in a private one on one interview.

How we operate, just for ourselves.

How We Operate, fables and coffee art

It’s a heady question, a cavernous drop towards things that lead to so many other questions to ask. Or maybe I spend way too much time in my own head and need to get out more. (Yeah, that’s probably pretty likely ). But still though, what would you say is the main difference- the divergent factor if you will- from the person you present to others and the person you are just for yourself?

~ m

An Upheaval, Bring The Paper Boats- Thoughts on Inspiration

paper boats, we float

“Even paper boats float, given enough faith.” 

What brings you inspiration? That seems to be the most commonly tossed question at artists/artistically minded people. And sometimes people have intricately lovely answers, something they can point to with consistency. The love of their family perhaps, the landscape of their homeland, their own personal scars and memories. These kinds of slow burn inspiration points that propel like a gentle wind towards more and more and more. 

Hello! says the hand drawn dinosaur hi-fructose and vogue Given the inspiration, whats yours?

Other times it seems to be constantly fluctuating mediums like music, movies, books, theater and other forms of art all around, old or new.Taking from one to give to the other, being inspired by art of all kinds all around, it’s a commonly sited point of inspiration for so many kinds of artists and performers, and of course that makes sense. No man is an island after all, most especially not creatives.

Perhaps more volatile ever changing things as well, like current political climates and world events, the fervor that bites beneath each and every major city all around the world, these as well can be seen as the key ignition in so many works. Gigantic space and time, the smaller bites of life joined with the unending past and sewn in with the ever expanding future, so many things big or small and what a question to try and answer no?

The Winter Soldier, hot toys action figure re-doing the art presets

“What inspires you.” 

You might as well ask someone why they go on living each day, really, because you’d probably get about the same answer either way. Either a passionate response…or the shrug of a shoulder.

little paper boats, fashion magazine pages my work station, ms fablesandcoffee

The things that inspire me fade and change with time, they burn into my eyes and lungs with an energy I can’t deny till that energy is spent and i’ve moved on towards other things that will create that maddening midnight addition under my skin again to create-create-create and the only thing I can tell you with certainty about any of the things that have and will inspire me is that they can come from anywhere and combine to create anything, abstract and concrete alike :

historical lectures on wandering marauders- a single line of poetry caught in a flash scrawled across a private notebook-the way a stranger looked hunched over their phone like their life had just been splintered in half- a particularly great episode of a usually mediocre tv show- the way it felt to get your heart broken at 16 and think you would never recover- tasting real hot buttered southern style biscuits for the first time at 3am in the backseat of a speeding car- the architecture magazine picked up on a whim- that novel currently sitting at #1 on the NYT bestseller list that is so very cliche but damn if it isn’t compelling- that one thing that happens all the time at your day job that happens only to you and you want to explain it to the world- that song you put on repeat for hours on end trying to fall into that feeling over and over- the feeling of helplessness watching the news roll in at night and knowing your breath is a priceless gift given freely today- the wild windswept landscape that i’ll never again see again with my own eyes but my mind will always remember- the taste of blood when biting back angry words- the flash in the sky that inspires you to think of other worlds, other galaxies, infinite space and infinite possibilities….

What inspires you? Can’t help but think there should be no easy answer to that.

~m