Sleepy Blue Stars and Fiddler

Recently, I was asked to write a winter’s tale for the artist group of which I’m proud to be a member: Halloween Artist Bazaar. I decided to write a twist(ed) on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and titled my piece “‘Twas the Eve Before Fiddler-The-Cat.”

Fiddler is Halloween Artist Bazaar’s mascot and his image is our leader, Twilight Faerie’s creation. The perfect mascot for our group, Fiddler is dark and mysterious, playful, and oh-let’s-just-say-it: adorable. Fiddler came to life through Twilight’s fair hand, and as soon as she told me his name it seems that he has had much to impart. This tale may only be the beginning…

I enjoyed writing this short story so much that it inspired me to create the following piece “Three Sleepy Blue Stars.”

“Blue stars,” you ask?

Yep. Blue.

Three Sleepy Blue StarsIK

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Halloween Artist Bazaar is hosting another fabulous giveaway for the Winter Holidays. The winner will receive a package of independent artisan handcrafted ornaments, jewelry, and other holiday fare worth over $200. You can sign up for FREE by clicking on the image below:

WinterGiveAway

Best of luck to you and whatever holidays you celebrate may you thoroughly enjoy yourself!

Seeker of Golden Hearts

“Hear my soul speak. Of the very instant that I saw you,
Did my heart fly at your service.”

~ Shakespeare, The Tempest – Act 3, Scene 1

Foolishly, I am trying to protect my heart; yet, it seems that I have set in motion a Quest. So typically female, it nearly makes me shudder. I’m afraid the Quest is already gaining in speed though. Yes, I am afraid and yet, wickedly aroused at the same time. Oops. Too late, now!

The announcement has been dispatched, “Seeker of Golden Hearts.” Do I really need to have concern? My message is not clear. Very few (if any) will be able to decipher the actual meaning. Sadly though I must ask myself, will I win again? I am a Puzzle Launcher. That is my nature. Don’t know what a Puzzle Launcher is? Hah! Too bad for you then, isn’t it?

I was contacted by a Bruised Knight, his Armor, apparently dented. Curiosity spins me for a loop! So many questions fill my mind. To begin: is there an opening in his dented Armor? One of which I could slip through? It is healing words that I wish to speak to him, a soothing balm, perhaps. I would like to give him a kiss or a thimble. Whatever or whichever, he may desire. But only disappear his sadness, banish his wounds away! These should be ashamed for bringing despair to him. So, off with you! Slither away back into the vapors! That is of course, if an opening indeed exists of which I may slip through. I do not know and it is always difficult to say. But find out, I must.

When I wrote the words “Seeker of Golden Hearts” I really had no conscious mind of what I was about. Had I known, would I have written it? Desire is a tricky matter. This is something for me to ponder, but another time. This tale has already taken enough shape altogether. And not at all what I had expected. Is it enough, that I admit the truth to myself?

Did these words, these few effortless words ease their way into each our subconscious? That back-burner place where sauces do simmer? And sometimes burn, sticking themselves to the pan?

“Bruised Knight…do not be bruised! I would not care to find you hurt! Let me hold you closely to my bosom and kiss it all better!” Mmm, yes, very nice. And should he care to snuggle in more closely to my breast, nuzzling along the way, who would I be to judge? He is my Knight, Sweetest Knight. I will not deny him ease, support, or for that matter sexual release. Why ever would I?

I wanted nothing more than to cry out these words, but I could not. How could I? He will think me a Fool and I get far, far too much of that, already. Ah, but did my thoughts slide their way into his subconscious?

“Yes,” cries he. “I am your Golden Heart! The one you have been seeking! It is me!” And sweeping me into his manly embrace he murmurs with a gruff sexiness, “Press me to your bosom and elsewhere, now. Dear. Sweet. Lady.”

Yeah. Right. All this happens right after Bruised Knight gets home from a hard day at work, just after he shouts,

“Honey, I’m home!”

Yes. Well. I did admit that I am a Fool.

An excerpt from “The Journals of Intricate Knot – Volume 3″

Discarded Card. Hah! I did a better job on the next one.

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For those of you visiting from Jeremy Bates (White Lies, excellent, excellent read!)  Halloween Hop, welcome and a Very Happy Halloween to you!

One of my all time favorite horror movies is the original 1963 version of The Haunting, directed by Robert Wise (American, though the film was British) and staring Julie Harris. If you’re into blood and gore, you won’t find it in The Haunting; however, this classic black and white film delivers disturbing like no other. It is a true ghost story, based on the book The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.  My costume this year is  Lunatic-Writer-On-The-Edge. Oh, wait. That was last year’s costume. Not to worry, I can pull out my sweatpants and torn tee-shirt again  mwahahaha…

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Breakfast with the Skulls…

I scurried up to the garden today,

Afraid I’d receive a surprise.

Don’t bother to follow me,

You’ll surely seal your demise.

For every skull that ever I’d drawn will gather there for purpose unknown,

Because today’s the day for pancakes and crumbs, it’s Breakfast with the Skulls.

 For entire lyrics, please click here.

~ To be sung to the tune of “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”

It’s not as strange as it sounds, and it ended up to be far more genteel than I’d ever imagined.

The skulls of friends long past, the Guardians of the Garden, decided it was time for a meeting…with me. As soon as I received the invitation, the heart palpitations began. Yes, I had been hanging around Quentin’s estate for the last few months, but my manners are impeccable, aren’t they? I’d either been introduced or introduced myself  to everyone. I never drew portraits without asking permission, and so far, no one had turned me down. Was there rivalry among the skull ranks? Had I spent more time with one or the other? Did they dislike their likenesses? I had tried to explain that I’m not a fine artist. Was it the boxes I’d begun to paint? I got a notion in my head to paint their portraits on boxes. Do they disapprove? I should have asked. Why didn’t I ask?

I realize how this all sounds. None of them had actually given me any reason to think I’d offended or angered any one of them. That doesn’t stop me from making up reasons. Guilty conscience, I suppose.

Turns out they want to make me an honorary member of the Guardian Garden Skulls. At least I hope it’s only “honorary.” I am pleased, of course. I had no idea that they thought this highly of me and I’m touched.

My only concern now is the Swearing-In Ceremony. I have no problem swearing. I can do that from dawn to dusk and barely have to stop to take a breath. It’s the ceremony part that has me anxious. I just hope I get to keep my hair. None of them have any, you see. Hmm…perhaps I should be more concerned about keeping my skin? There really are drawbacks to being the lone human in household filled with immortal (and dangerous) creatures.

In preparation for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, I’m actually painting skull boxes for breakfast and lunch (and sometimes dinner). The idea of being invited to Breakfast with the Skulls wouldn’t leave me in peace (so to speak) and I had to write it down. One of my Demon pals has been calling for me, too. What can I say? It’s Grand Central Weird around here.

Crooked Elf

 There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.

He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.

He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

~ English Nursery Rhyme, There was a Crooked Man 

There once was a Crooked Elf who went by the name Kwissp E. Ceen. Not crooked in mind or deed, but in the spirit of the Bent, Slightly Twisted and Extremely Strange. He enjoyed many activities: walking crooked miles; finding crooked pennies to spend on smooshed glazed doughnuts or other irregular sweets; cataloging, archiving, and photographing all things crooked, bizarre and outlandish; getting lost in gardens and hothouses; and most especially playing hide-and-go-seek with his honorable friend, the most crooked and fluffy cat, Mimsy Poole.

Being a great appreciator of gardens, of course Kwissp tended to get lost in them. While rambling down some road or another he’d come across someone’s garden or hothouse and would be so enchanted by the sights and scents that he’d forget everything else. It always fell to Mimsy to find and bring him back home in order that he could get her supper and on occasion, a bit of catnap. This arrangement suited both of them. On one such day of rambles, Kwissp happened upon the garden belonging to Quentin the Vampire Botanist. And of course, he had never seen the like!

Magnificent flowers burst out of the ground in such a variety and a multitude of colors that Kwissp eyes crossed with delight. And what interesting flowers these were! Many of them had tiny vampire teeth or tiny vampire claws and some had both. How completely unexpected! How wonderfully, amazingly peculiar! And oh! He spotted a large conservatory. Imagine what might be growing in there! Like cream to pudding, he found himself deliciously drawn to the structure. Though he knew it was horribly impolite, he couldn’t help pressing his face to the glass and peering inside. Luckily Mimsy came to his rescue, for although she did share Kwissp’s admiration for gardens (what better place to take a well-deserved nap than under a lavender bush?), she couldn’t bear to see such an egregious breach of courtesy. Doing her cat best (which is infinitely better than a human’s), she urged him to knock on the owner’s door and gain permission to photograph, document, and classify each wondrous flora.

This could have turned out badly and may have even been the end of Kwissp. Quentin isn’t a social vampire, by any means. At best, he’s a recluse. At worse? Well, at worst let’s just say one should count themselves lucky indeed should they manage to even crawl away (with most body parts intact) from an encounter with Quentin. The only company he enjoys is that of his plants. Anyone or anything else is merely a nuisance…or lunch. Most fortunate for our crooked elf friend, it turned out that Quentin took a liking to him. This might be explained by their mutual affection and respect for plants. However, it didn’t hurt that the elf’s complexion was green as the leaves on the medicinal herb Groomwell. This could also mean that the Vampire Botanist may have devious (are there any other kind?) plans for Kwissp’s future.

I met Kwissp while sitting on a bench daydreaming in Quentin’s garden (I too, am allowed entry. Long story). He startled (nearly) the life out of me popping his little green face out of the orange, pink and golden tangle of some licorice vines (a new experiment of Quentin’s and exceptionally pretty). After I managed to get my heart out of my throat and back into my chest where it belongs, I asked if he minded that I sketch him. “Not a problem,” he says, “just so long as I can continue documenting these plants.” Since this bothered me not in the least, I sketched away. I think I captured his creepily soulful eyes quite well.

Unscaredy Cat

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.

~Mark Twain

Penelope the Cat once lived in dread of nearly everything. Especially high on her list were: giant spiders, trees with faces, dangling Jack ‘O Lanterns, and cat-eating flowers. As illogical as her fears may have seemed to others, she spent every waking moment and many sleepless nights living with a terrible anxiety that started like a hard ball in her small belly and seemed to shoot out her paws, tail, and whiskers. The fears were so big, that she wasn’t able to enjoy the wonderful people and treats when they came her way: Colleen, the nice old lady who always gave her lovely bits of cheese or fish, Danny, the neighborhood boy who delivered the papers and made a point of scratching Penelope in just the right spot, right behind her ears, and Lopsing, the Owl who watched over her, so she could try to sleep without worry.  Colleen, Danny, and Lopsing always had a kind word or a cookie for her. And they all told her that she needed to let go of her fears. Lopsing said to her on many occasions, “Enjoy what life offers, rather than worry over what may never be.”

We can’t ever seem to learn from what others say, even when it’s your best friends who say it, though can we? Penelope stubbornly continued hold onto her fears, refusing to attend parties with neighbors or go anywhere with anyone. She even began to avoid her best friends, believing that she was right and that someday her fears would be realized. “Then they’ll believe me,” she thought to herself. “Then they’ll know I was right.”

Not-so-strangely, one day it happened. While rushing to avoid one of her neighbors (who carried yet another invitation to yet another party) Penelope was so busy stealing looks behind her that she didn’t notice where she was going. She headed straight into the Big-Bad-Forest that lurks behind the fair and fog of every neighborhood. By the time she realized where she was, of course it was far too late! Running quickly can make one clumsy and directionless and she found herself smacking into a giant spider that hung from a very large tree with a face that had Jack ‘O Lanterns dangling from her branches and was surrounded by cat-eating flowers! Except…the flowers, though they did have amazingly sharp teeth didn’t want to eat her. The Jack O’ Lanterns, only smiled while dancing and dangling. The tree’s face was quite large, but also quite friendly. And the giant spider? Well, she only wished to have a chat. After all, cats didn’t drop into her lap every day.

Now if Penelope isn’t found entertaining at home you’ll find her attending a party at one of her neighbor’s homes. Otherwise? She’ll be in the Big-Bad-Forest having a gabfest with her newly found friends.

As is often the case for every one of us, Penelope’s fears turned out to be nothing more than whispers from dark, unused corners. Although at times those whispers can get terribly loud…

Titled “Unscaredy Cat,” I hand doodled the scene, scanned to my computer then using GIMP, added one of my photos of some dark clouds as the background.

Alyce…No Life Here

Alyce reached the top of hill and her tired, gray eyes surveyed the damage. The flames from countless tacbombs were out, but some areas still smoldered. Dirty, black smoke rose upwards, like thousands of tiny snakes, winding their way up to where she stood. A mere day ago the landscape was lush and bountiful, now it was pock marked and deeply gashed. Hundreds of her soldiers, their bodies strewn like rag dolls laid in unnatural positions.

“No life here, not even a flower remains,” she whispered. A tear rolled down her cheek.

“My lady?”

She could sense his desire to come to her side and quickly commanded without turning,

“Stay where you are, Nyles.”

The Weeping Stone ~ An Excerpt from “The Knight and Knymph”

Back in the Forest, Knight began to struggle with his thoughts. What was he going to say to Knymph? And after he admitted his lie, would she accept his words and know that he now told the truth?

He wandered as he thought, not really paying much attention to where he was headed, until he strode into puddle.

“Daft fool. That will teach me, walking while my head’s in the clouds.”

He looked up at large gray stone that stood in a pool of water. It seemed massive in height, though slender in width, with a stream of water trickling down its center. He could hear a soft moaning that sounded like weeping.  Then a whisper,

“You step in my tears.”

Startled, Knight could only sputter,

“P-pardon?”

“Never mind,” said the voice now in a normal tone. “I have a riddle for you.”

“A riddle?” Knight turned around to see if he could spot who spoke to him, but no one appeared to be here.

“Well, actually it’s more of a paradox. Riddles are a bit passé, don’t you think?”

“Indeed,” he agreed. Then said more firmly, “I certainly wish I knew who I am speaking with.”

“Keep wishing.”

“Hmm.” Knight responded, but his heart pounded heavily, because he was nearly certain that the voice was coming from the great stone in front of him.

You could meet a woman more organized and practical, neater and a much better housekeeper than Knymph. You could meet a better cook, one with a better memory, a craftier woman, and a far superior and more experienced lover. You probably already know a woman who is younger, has longer hair, and material wealth. There are many women who know how to handle money and men much more successfully than she. You can definitely find someone who is less stubborn…someone safer…someone less in need of protection…someone who dresses more fashionably…and someone with a lighter past. Of course you have already met women much prettier and beautiful physically. A female less of a maze and more of a woman, less vulnerable, less of a smart ass, and less of a pain in the ass surely can be found. But this I can promise you…you will never meet anyone with a Heart like Knymph’s. Her Heart is what her friends love best about her…yet it is what they most fear. They fear she will end up hurt again. Devastated. And perhaps, next time, Knymph will be unable to rise from the ashes and they will never see her again. Knymph does not wish to protect her heart, but her friends? Well, they do wish it all the time…

It makes Knymph sad that her friends feel this way…sad for them…and a bit sad for herself. She isn’t angry though, no matter how harsh their words may be at times. Knymph listens with her Heart and the Heart always hears what is beneath words. Beneath the harshness lies fear, and beneath the fear, love can always be found.

The best traps laid are the ones laid by ourselves. And why ever would we do such a thing? Good question.

All she noticed at first was the heat. A burn that came from the inside out. Had she swallowed a sun? If so, did it have to be such a big one? She tried to sit up, but cried out. A pricking sensation danced around her forehead and a piercing pain shot through her belly. Then came the dread…a demon had escaped the Weeping Stone. A tear rolled down her cheek. ‘Not again,’ she thought.

“I don’t have time for this!” Knymph said aloud.

Suddenly, she knew something else. Knight is back in the Forest. But…he left. He said he would never return. She could feel his presence though, and the demon. How did a demon get loose (again)?

Sadness is a tricky matter. And in fact all emotions are quite tricky. Anger, disappointment, jealousies, grief, and worn out resentments, these can all turn inward or outward to destroy. That’s why Knymph placed all these feelings in the Weeping Stone. This worked out very well, most of the time. When a sensation became too overwhelming to shoulder, Knymph walked straight to the Weeping Stone, released that anger or sadness into the rock and moved on.

The problem was that the Stone grew. Rough textured and salt and peppery in hues, the stone stood well over twenty feet in height. A pool of gray tears lay at its base. Through the years, the salt of the tears had eaten away at the soil around it. Nothing grew here, except the Stone. The Weeping Stone had two important functions. One, to hold Knymph’s murkiest musings. Second, guard the entrance and exit of the Dark Forest…Knymph’s other world. A place of secrets past, haunting memories, and where monsters trolled…

Halfhazard Village

Surrounded by rolling hills of brown grass Halfhazard Village sits on the north side of the Land. No trees grow along or nearby the village; no trees to speak of, or to, or with. The narrow, cobblestone streets, overrun with weeds, hold not a murmur or a footfall. No activity here! No matter how hard you may squint, you’ll find not find sign of a horse or a wagon. There are no dogs running about, around, or through these streets. Nor are there any children playing hide-and-seek next to the moldy barrels or the stacks of dilapidated crates. Shabby houses stand crookedly next to tiredly slouching buildings, and all are empty.  Not a whisper can be heard from within. The air itself is quite sour, having the stale smell that one unhappily discovers in a cupboard that has been shut up for much too long a time…

Shabby houses stand crookedly next to tiredly slouching buildings, and all are empty...

Gadgets to Sooth Hearts

Arc is always creating a gadget of one kind or another. Though a mystery to me, he seems to find his gadgets fun and even relaxing. I am not into gadgets, but I love my Arc and while he fiddles away I can certainly occupy myself otherwise. At one time, when I was much younger, I thought that these inventions (machines!) would cause a gap in our relationship. Not the machines/gadgets/inventions, per se, the idea of them. I’m into nature. The natural.  What feels, smells, and tastes genuine. This is so important to me. Machines, gadgets and the like, these do not feel natural to me. My fear was that this difference between Arc and me, this gap would widen, turning into a chasm until we were so far apart from one another that we would no longer be able to see each other at all. This happens in so many relationships…including a few of my own. Turns out, I was quite wrong about it causing a problem between us. My fear turned to puzzlement, my puzzlement to interest, and my interest finally turned into acceptance…and a fascination.

Arc invented the Communicator Crystal years and years ago. Interestingly enough, it was one of the first things he invented that I did not fear. Hold this beautiful, spherical crystal in your palm, picture the person you wish to speak with and either leave a message (if their crystal is switched off) or see them before you as if you are standing together. And you can converse anywhere you choose! This was a addition Arc made later on. Meet up at lovely beach, a mysterious forest, or the local sweet shop. He’s so clever. No idea how he does what he does, but what does that matter? Curiosity adds spice to a relationship.

Arc knows how much I love surprises and secretly he’s been working a new modification to his Communicator Crystal: a locater setting. Up until now, the CC could only be used to contact someone if they also have a CC. It doesn’t work if the other person doesn’t have one, but with this new locater setting, you’ll be able you to find someone…anywhere. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to try it! Arc returns home tonight and promises that we’ll work on it together.

Whether it works or not to find our daughters, I know that Arc spent many nights working on this project. It’s not possible for me to love him more, yet I do! He’s told me not to get my hopes up too high, that it could take a while for him to work out all the ins and outs of this device, but I know we’ll make it work. Together. We’ll just keep at it until it does work! And now I finally have a balm of hope, enough, to soothe this heart of mine.

The CC is so beautiful, this drawing doesn't do it justice!