I’m noticing that I tend to start a lot of these updates off by talking about what a weird week it was, which seems like a bad habit.
That said, it was still kind of a weird week. I may just have a lot of weird weeks these days. Hardly beyond the realm of plausibility under the circumstances.
One of the weirdest things about this week in particular was how much of it was spent in transit. I started driving on Friday afternoon and stopped on Sunday night and in-between I ended up having to spend a good 16 hours on the road. That was a few days ago now, obviously, but between that, adjusting to a climate 30 degrees colder than the one I left, trying to adjust to a different level of caffeine intake, and the same depression and anxiety issues that always make productivity a pain in the butt, it’s been a pretty lousy week in terms of getting stuff done.
I’ve still been making progress though. I got the beginning of chapter 3 planned out, and I honestly think that if I can nail the production of the ideas I’ve come up with here it will be pretty goddamn amazing visually– I got a bit more animation work done, though I also ran into some planning hiccups with the frames I was working on– and I got another story written, though this one has ran rather far adrift of what I originally wanted to cover with it so it may be difficult to use.
One of the things that I’ve been having to study pretty actively here are the ways in which I emotionally sabotage myself when I work. You always hear things about artists who have depression who convince themselves that everything they do is terrible even when their friends and family and audience seemingly have nothing but nice things to say– I certainly won’t claim to achieve anything like that degree of adulation, but most of the people who are exposed to my writing seem to like what I do okay. But, yeah, one always wonders how they manage to convince themselves of their own mediocrity with so much evidence to the contrary…
I suppose part of it is that if they trusted other people’s opinion that much they might not have been driven to create in the first place.
At this point, though, I can say from experience that it’s extremely hard to remember positive reactions I have gotten when it’s time to keep on creating, and hard to believe that I can do it again, hard to believe that I haven’t used up all the ideas that people will like and and I’m going to be digging into my B material and people will start getting bored. When it’s easy, I think I’m a hack going for obvious solutions instead of digging at a deeper truth, and when it’s hard I just believe I’m incompetent and have forgotten any knack for creation I may have once had.
It’s a shitty head to be in a lot of the time. I wish I could vacation in someone else’s.
I guess that’s what art’s about for a lot of people, isn’t it?
They say the sun had nine daughters, and that he loved them each with all the furious heat of the heavens, but also that he had two favorites, the twins Terra and Luna.
These two were inseparable, and whenever the sun-daughters would go to play amongst the stars these two would always go adventuring off together. Terra was bold and daring, and rushed from one place to the next, always eager to see more, dragging her sister along– Luna, however, was meditative and insightful, and often held her sister back so she could show her some new and delightful facet of the things they discovered together.
One night, they encountered a strange old star as he traveled across the night sky. They met travelers infrequently, and Luna was shy around them, so Terra came forward to speak to him. She asked why he wandered so, and why he had come to her father’s kingdom: He, with a grave and peculiar courtesy, told her he was a wishing star– tasked to travel from sky to sky, he said, hearing wishes in penitence for a crime long forgotten.
He seemed kind, but his words struck an unknown chord of dismay in Luna’s heart. She bid the star a good night, and moved to depart, but Terra would not budge: She refused to leave without first begging a wish from the traveler.
“It is not for me to refuse,” he said, “I hear all wishes.”
Terra told him excitedly of their great father, how he had created this majestic kingdom in which they all lived, and wished that she might one day be able to create as he had.
The star said: “It will be so.”
Terra felt a strange sensation, the tingling momentary edge of a helpless kind of power. The star continued on its lonely way. As they returned home, Terra seemed strangely subdued, and though when Luna asked she said she felt fine she seemed, somehow, distant.
In her head, the faeries spoke to Terra for the first time. “Power, yes, you may have that dear, the power to create and the power to destroy– and time, yes, we will take ours dear, and yours as well as whatever we may find.”
The next day, she showed her father the first wonder she created with the faeries help, a strange and pretty metal trinket she wore, and he was proud of her but also, down deep, concerned, for he more than anyone knew the terrible price that creation sometimes bore.
Terra continued to make grander and stranger things with the help of the faeries, beautiful creations of spun glass and woven steel, magics coded into wire and blood, arts incomprehensible and compelling…
Luna grew jealous, both because she envied Terra her ability to create and because she missed being able to spend time with her sister. She would beg Terra to come out and play, or at least to take a short break from her labors, but would be met only with distant-eyed dismissal, and she her own clumsy efforts at creation fell far short of what Terra could achieve.
As she became more and more frustrated, Luna became determined to see how her sister worked her little miracles of creation. She snuck into Terra’s workshop, one night, to see what she could see…
Her sister was there, sitting asleep at a work table, and for the first time Luna saw the faeries at work, flitting to and fro creating tiny and amazing wonders that took Luna’s breath away to look upon. After a moment, though, she noticed that every once in in a while a faery would fly over and pluck a hair from Terra’s head, or pull a glittering thread from her dress, or prick a drop of blood from her fingertip– and then she looked more closely at her sister.
Once, the twins had been identical, but now Terra’s hair had thinned so her scalp showed through. Her dress was tattered, and the flesh which showed through was pale and unhealthy. Her face was deeply lined, and she looked troubled in her sleep, and even when Luna cried out in dismay she did not awaken.
She burst out of hiding and cried out to the faeries to leave her sister alone, but they gazed upon her with tiny burning eyes and refused. “Her wish is our command even if it means her end, she wants to be a maker so, if her wants unmake her so, then that is destined, we weren’t made to question the ends of our creation.”
They continued to work, incessantly, and she saw her sister grow older by the moment. She grabbed one of the faeries and demanded that, if they must harvest materials to make their wonders, that they should take them from her and leave her sister alone.
The workshop went silent. The faeries gazed at her and she did not like what she saw in them, for within burned the fires of creation, the spark of a terrible and insatiable hunger.
The faeries looked upon Terra, exhausted and ragged, and then upon Luna, with their greedy burning eyes, and saw everything they might need to pursue their grand works.
She stood still as they swarmed towards her, as they crawled over her and sought to claim her, and it wasn’t long before the first fight broke out, a spark which singed her dress… and it wasn’t long after that that a second fight broke out, and a third, and more, until the faery fire flickered over every inch of her.
When Terra awoke, all of the faeries were gone, burnt to dust, and her sister lay dead, pale and seared bare. Terra mourned her sister for a thousand years of ice and, as the anniversary nears each year, she is reminded and mourns once again. She holds her sister close, and hopes that one day she may reawaken and they might be together once more.
But, in the end– did she learn her lesson? Ice melts, and faeries always seem to find their way into even the most level heads…