Snowed In with a Red Eye

by Anais St.

Red Eye

Not an actual red eye, just the one I drew above; but I was snowed in. The Maryland/D.C. area was swathed in snow this weekend. I don’t know how much fell but it seemed close to a foot. Granted there are other places further north that has gotten more but for me a foot of snow is enough for me to consider myself snowed in. I hate winter!

After shoveling the driveway thrice between Saturday and Sunday, I sat down to some much needed art therapy. I spent my Sunday afternoon and evening watching art videos on YouTube and drawing the mandala above after watching Tiffany Lovering’s tutorial on drawing a “hypnotic eye” (see video below). It helped soothe my sore muscles for the time though when I got up from my chair my back, side, elbows, and arms began hurting simultaneously. Snow is so heavy!

I tried to follow Lovering’s video as closely as possible but, as you can see, I made a few mistakes in my sphere/hypnotic eye, but I was proud of what resulted from my effort. Since she referred to it as a hypnotic eye, I decided to color it to resemble an eye. And because I was watching Avatar: The Last Airbender while coloring, I decided to make it red and orange—thinking of the fire nation. My original plan was to add several additional circles around this central one, similar to Lovering’s video, but I changed my mind and thought it best to simply add the two triangles of lines to hint at the small space around the eyeball. I guess the finished product is an abstract eye.

Hope you like it and visit Lovering’s YouTube channel for additional videos.

The Fires of Heaven cover

The Fires of Heaven by Robert Jordan

Original cover of The Fires of Heaven

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One more Wheel of Time book read and nine more to go. My reading relationship with this series has become bitter-sweet: I love the story but sometimes hate the execution (more on that later).

Quick summary:

This installment of the series places us in the Aiel Waste with Rand, Mat, Egwene, Moiraine, and Lan; and in the southern countries, where Elayne and Nynaeve are located with Thom and Juilin in tow. Sometimes we pop in on Min, Siuan, and Leane as they race across the land in search of a safe haven after their escape from the White Tower; or we visit Morgase in Camelyn to observe as she unwittingly abdicates her throne to a Forsaken.

Min, Siuan, Leane, and Logain

After a prologue in which we see Elaida Sedai, current Amrylin Seat, succumb to her ego and control issues and watch the Forsakens plot to take down Rand, the story begins with Min, Siuan, and Leane on the run with Logain. They had escaped from the White Tower—right under Elaida’s nose— after Siuan and Leane had been stilled. Now that the Power is gone, Siuan and Leane grab at the promise of revenge to prevent themselves from going mad and losing their will to live due to the Powers’ absence. They promise the same for Logain.

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thoughts on writing from Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami quote

“Writing is similar to trying to seduce a woman. A lot has to do with practice, but mostly it’s innate. Anyway, good luck.”

“….You have to be mindful when you’re writing something. I keep in mind to ‘not have the pen get too mighty’ when I write. I choose my words so the least amount of people get hurt, but that’s also hard to achieve. No matter what is written, there is a chance of someone getting hurt or offending someone. Keeping all that in mind, I try as much as I can to write something that will not hurt anyone. This is a moral every writer should follow.

But at the same time, when you need to fight a battle, you also need to reserve energy to be able to fight. Something like what you use to tighten your stomach. But that’s only when you really need to. If you recklessly make the pen mightier than the sword, you’re putting yourself in danger. That’s my personal opinion. Some may think otherwise.”

Haruki Murakami, from Vulture’s collection of the best advice Murakami posted in response to reader-submitted questions. The interaction took place on the author’s website, Mr. Murakami’s Place (Murakami-san no tokoro), most of which is in Japanese, but Vulture translated the ones included in its column. Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. His most recent novels are Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and IQ84.

Click here for more quotes.

Book News: Harper Lee’s new novel to Madame Bovary new trailer

Lots of interesting bookish news was released last week. Here’s a round up:

Harper Lee’s new novel

Early last week it was announced that Harper Lee, author of the classic best seller, To Kill a Mockingbird, will release a sequel, Go Set a Watchman. The new novel is slated to be published on July 14 in both the U.S. and the U.K., but it’s already a best seller on Amazon.

The novel features an adult Scout who returns to Maycomb from New York City to visit her father, Atticus. There, she is “forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.” Apparently the novel was thought lost until it was discovered by Tonja Carter, Lee’s lawyer and friend, in 2014.

According to Lee, she completed the novel in the mid-1950s but set it aside since her editor was more interested in the flashbacks of Scout’s childhood. Her editor convinced her to write a novel from the point of view of young Scout, which became To Kill a Mockingbird.

Despite the suspicions surrounding this announcement (here’s another on Jezebel), I do look forward to reading it. The suspicions, though, make me think back to the controversy surrounding the release of Harper Lee’s biography last year.

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Wishes for My TBR Pile: 6 Books Added

Ahh…books. I can’t help my attraction to books, especially new titles with tantalizing covers. So far my new year is going well but financially, it’s a bit shaky so there’s no telling if I’ll be able to afford those listed here when they’re released. Of course, I could just go to the library but I’m a horrible library patron. I tend to highlight passages and forget to return what I borrow; or I’ll borrow a book and forget to read it. For me, it’s best I purchase my own reads since my library fee will probably be the same amount. So here are the books I’ll simply add to my Goodreads TBR list:

In Search of Lost Dragons

In Search of Lost Dragons by illustrators Elian Black’Mor and Carine-M (Dynamite Entertainment, February 2, 2015)

“On the trail of dragons forgotten, an intrepid illustrator and reporter journeys from Europe through the Middle East and finally to Saigon in search of the dark caverns and mountaintop perches where the elusive winged serpents dwell. With the gift of seeing the invisible, our explorer friend records each encounter in a journal of gorgeous, fully painted artwork, capturing every majestic and fearsome visual detail of the scaly behemoths, and accompanies his findings with snippets of local lore as evidence that these hidden beasts continue to shape the world in ways we may never expect!”

Okay, so this one I have to purchase somehow because—dragons! That’s all that was needed to draw me to this book but the trailer sold me. It’s awesome! I considered preordering a copy but whenever I preorder a book, my copy doesn’t arrive at the store until the day (or couple days) after the release. :( So I decided to wait instead. Two days to go!

Related YouTube video:

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Winter Collage

Sharing My Instagram Pics: Winter Snapshots

A Moment in Time

What was the last picture you took? Tell us the story behind it. (No story behind the photo? Make one up, or choose the last picture you took that had one.)

I hate winter. I abhor the cold, the sniffles, and that tingly feeling I get in my fingers and toes when they’re numb. I loathe the fall in temperature and the rise in wind. And the burning sensation I get in my nose whenever I step outside that makes me want to sneeze. I dislike the ice, that slippery ice that I slide on, glide, as I fall while running for the bus. I hate winter.

The last pictures I took were three quick snapshots of snowy branches. I was waiting for the bus and was bored and agitated. Bored because I wanted to get back to reading The Fires of Heaven and agitated because a girl was smoking and spitting all over the sidewalk where I would have to walk when the bus arrives.

I was also upset with the weather—snow. Snow means ice and I hate both. I was huffing and puffing to myself as I tried to think of warmer moments in my life when I saw a man and his wife taking photos of the trees with their phones. It was then that I noticed the beauty around me. The trees were all spectacular with their bare branches, some dripping with icicles while others were simply decorated with snow. It wasn’t heavy snow but just enough to give the impression that the trees had somehow sprouted snowy leaves. With the light of the lamp posts shining behind a few, the branches would glitter as if decorated with crystals.

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pens & pencils daily post

Pondering my Handwriting

Daily Prompt: Pens and Pencils

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

I fantasize about writing with a pen—never a pencil. Always I would imagine myself sitting by an open window in the summer, inhaling the brine of the ocean down the road from my house (my fantasy house by sea) while writing a short story or a letter to some loved one. It’s a huge window and every now and then a blue jay or sparrow would perch upon its sill and chirrup at me as I write, encouraging me to continue with my thoughts. Whenever I fantasize about writing, it’s always handwriting, not typing.

The physical exertion involved in handwriting makes the act more personal, especially if it’s a letter or a journal entry being written. When I do write with a pen, it’s as if I’m leaving a part of myself on the page along with my thoughts. I think more exertion is required of us when handwriting, which makes the act all the more satisfying when completed. However, since handwriting is more physical, my hands are now out of shape since I do not handwrite often. Now whenever I write with a pen, I can only do so for a few minutes before I have to stop to rest my hand. These days I find it hard to imagine how writers managed to write hundreds of pages for hours by hand back in the day.

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