It's a Strange Life...

But someone's got to live it. Might as well be me.

This is my most recent snail doodle. I call them Nick & Nora. Yeah, I know. I'm seeking help, but can't find anyone who specializes in weirdo doodlers who have no delusions of grandeur. Plenty of them deal with delusions of grandeur types. Go figure. At this point I do believe I deserve a specialist, so if you do know of anyone, please feel free to pass their name on to me.

My inspiration. Sigh. Ah, to have been born in a 1934 madcap detective movie...


Gorgeous Evil

The antagonist is a character, characters, or force that the protagonist must deal with essentially in order to end the story. You can pick up a book or two that doesn’t follow the “protagonist vs. antagonist” formula, but ultimately these stories (although interesting in theory) are pointless because they simply do not go anywhere. And we all want the story to take us somewhere. At the conclusion, whether we like where the story took us or not, we will set that story aside and move on to the next. But if we really like where the story took us? We'll remember it.

Every writer knows the importance of having an antagonist (of some sort) in their stories. The better the antagonist, the better the conflict, and of course the better the conflict the more fascinating the story.  That’s just the way it is. You can argue and fuss, whine and ponder, but eventually if you want a vivid, absorbing, can’t-put-it-down-can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head story you must include a compelling villain. Is this what’s meant by the phrase, “necessary evil”? Perhaps. If you’re a Storyteller, yes. It’s pretty close to the top of the list of must-do’s, thereby necessary. And evil? Well, evil speaks for Itself. 

If you run across a villain that nearly makes you want to choke the author while demanding the answer to “how could you create such a fiend?” That’s a damn good villain. If the villain has reasoning and can make us see his/her point, that’s a plus. If tragedy made the villain, that’s an A+. We like to get to know our villains. If they’re interesting, that is. Who wants to get to know a boring villain? Just get rid of him/her/it and move on, right? But if the story exposes more than one dimension of the villain, we begin to wonder what made him/her? It’s fun to find out. A great villain will know or be able to easily read your protagonist (like a book, hah!). An excellent villain will always be one or more steps ahead of your hero*, this makes for a lively, thrilling, adventurous tale. When we get to know what’s coming next, but the hero doesn’t know what’s coming, this is exciting. We’re all just a little bent, aren’t we?

The highest honor I can bestow a villain is the title Gorgeous Evil.  “Gorgeous Evil” is the exceptional villain, the especially decadently delicious villain, the villain’s villain, the we-love-to-hate-him/her variety of villain. You know. The villain who you’re almost rooting for at the end. Whoops. Is that no-no? I don’t think so, but then I’m (more than) a little bent myself. 
Storyteller or not, we all know that the very existence of that Gorgeous Evil is what makes our Heroes grow. Without Gorgeous Evil, our Hero would have wandered aimlessly in Oz or just stayed at their uncle’s farm on Tatooine. Without Captain Hook, Neverland is merely a fun place full of anarchists and bohemians. Sherlock Holmes rouses from his rather pompous and cool demeanor when challenged by a criminal mind and is never more passionate than when on the trail of Moriarty. And what would Cinderella be without her Wicked Stepmother? A spoiled, daddy's girl. Legend's Jack and Lily without Darkness? Two lowly humans frolicking among the fairies. Or comic book superheros without his or her supervillains? Dull, dull, dullsky.

Long live Gorgeous Evil. May it continue to flourish and be defeated in equal measure.

*I chose not to use the term “heroine” for a female hero. It annoys me. A hero is by definition someone who commits an act or acts of bravery. That is simply not limited to males. Period. 



The World is a Beautiful Place

NoteAlthough it is majorly tempting, I refuse to add a video of Louie Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" to this post. It makes me cry every damn time I hear it and I'm not in the mood for tears right now. I'm in the mood for a brownie. Sigh.

When I lived in the big, bad city I took photos of alleys, graffiti, chain link fences, broken sidewalks and broken people…and I found beauty. Sometimes it was hard to find, but that made the eventual discoveries all the more stunning. Now I live here and beauty is never hard to find and I’m grateful.

My health is truly pissing me off. Sorry, I took an abrupt turn there, didn’t I? I am going somewhere with this, but I should have warned you to buckle up.

Medical experimenting (what the white-coats call “tests”) is still going on, but no answers, yet. In the meantime, I’m feeling worse, not better. I know in my heart that it’s not life-threatening. I trust my heart, because it never lies to me (unlike my head who can lie a garishly neon blue streak). So, it’s not that I’m thinking I have anything really, really bad. It’s more that right now I struggle to do normal, everyday stuff. I enjoy being independent. I can do anything. I’m strong. I’m resilient. But lately? Not so much.

The thing? I always have a thing! Here it is, as annoying as the not-in-the-greatest-health-thing (hah!) is, I need to remember that there is a world out there bigger than me (what????). Oh, yeah there is. And knowing that is actually soothing. In a bizarre way.

Not only is there a world out there, it is a truly beautiful world. It doesn’t matter where you happen to be located in this world or what your circumstances are, there is beauty to be found...in nature and art and people. Typical, maybe not. However, I do believe if you make a point of seeing that beauty (hunting it down, if you must), that can go a long a*s way to making just about any challenging situation seem…smaller. Beauty is a constant. 


Throwing you with this one, eh? I call it "Self-Portrait in My Good Shoes."  Hah!


Can of Worms

Note: As always I’m yammering at myself here. This is what I need to tell myself right now. In condensed (hah!) form, of course.

No matter how simple and straightforward a project appears to be, it almost never turns out that way.  At least, not for me. I suffer from what I call the “Can of Worms Syndrome” or COWS. Perhaps you too suffer from COWS. What is COWS? Glad you asked.

Projects, tasks, goals, or whatever-the-heck-you-end-up-pulling-out-of-the-Great-Grab-Bag-of-Life just love to disguise themselves in Simple’s Clothing. Underneath that Simple though, lurks Purely Complicated. I don’t particularly care for complicated, but I won’t run from it. I’m far too stubborn. But honestly, really, and truly I don’t actively seek it out, either. “Complicated” has a way of finding me.

Could it be my penchant for looking deeper? I rarely take things at face value. “Face value” seems meaningless to me and perhaps even unrealistic. I mean, you can slap a band-aid on anything and maybe even stop the bleeding, but what is going on underneath that band-aid? Did you clean the wound before applying the band-aid? Shouldn’t we put on some ointment, too? Isn’t healing the goal?? And crap! Does that need stitches??? Questions. I’m full of them.

I’m not saying that I don’t like to indulge in the occasional Sail Along the Surface (ahhh nice) or grab a box of mind candy (yum) once-in-awhile. Not everything has to be deep. Good grief, if that was the case I’d be a lunatic. I’ll rephrase, shall I? I’d be more of a lunatic. Look, I enjoy mind-candy just as much as the next person; however, mind candy doesn’t move me. And what is the freaking point if we’re not going to be moved, passionate, and alive? That reminds me, I believe I’ve meandered off my point. Where was I? Complicated.

I’m running my own business now. Well, “running” may be too strong of a word. More like just trying to keep it from crashing into stuff. Plus, it’s brand new so maybe it’s actually more like trying to get the engine to turn over and not really being sure if there is an engine. I probably need to build one. Crap. You see! Complicated.  In fact I’ll go as far (why not?) as to say that starting a business is just one way of shouting to the world, “I have COWS and I can’t help myself,” because a business is surrounded by cans of worms. I can’t move for stepping into another one. First it was the Creating A Fabulous (No Pressure) Website, then on to the Great Paper Dilemma, now it's the E-Store Extravaganza. It’s tiresome, annoying, scary, sometimes angrifying, and often an incredibly exhilarating ride. What’s an Opener of the Can of Worms to do?

Here's the thing: I’m not afraid of the mess that opening a can of worms is going to make. Generally there’s some dirt nearby that can use aerating. And yes, worms are wiggly and a bit strange, but then, so are some of my most favorite people. The can is not going to go away by ignoring it (damn). 

Crap and double crap. I don’t really have a choice, do I? I have to keep opening the blasted things and do my best to deal with the ensuing entanglements and sheer complicated messiness. I didn’t really think this was going to be easy, did I? Of course not.

My fellow sufferers of COWS, I suppose we could wish that those Cans of Worms don’t exist or if they do, that we simply can’t see them. Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Nah, not really. That's sort of like wishing for a lobotomy. And as much of a pain in the a*s my brain is to me (and others) at times, I really wouldn’t want to part ways with her (it?). Not yet, anyway.