03/25/17

WIP: Le Marquis

Mary had a little goat
As hairy as a comet
She dressed it in a little coat
And christened it Baphomet

I’ve been doing an open studio for the Castlemaine State Festival, working on three pieces. This one was originally a maquette for a planned larger piece, but as I liked how he was turning out I decided to finish him. When he’s naked he’s a rough shadow in the woods; dressed up, he’s Monsieur le Marquis. Here are some in-progress shots. Looking at these, I realise I’ve lost the original shape of his coat tails, which I want to restore.

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Posted in Art |
03/9/17

Via Gillian Polack

http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1469648.html

“…a lot of our narratives push the punching. Our TV, or books, our online chat – they all have more narratives that push for immediate emotional response than ones that push for the more complex reaction that puncher needed.

There’s another thing they give us, however. They leave out how to handle hate. They tend to favour certain groups (the white hero, for instance, the male protagonist). When they have non-white, non-male, narratives tend to have a limited range of virtuous characters, and those characters have a tendency to not carry the really debilitating emotions, the ones that so many of us carry that prevent us from playing an active part in halting the dissolution of the difficult to the dangerous to the disastrous.

I’ve begun to notice a change in this. This change is where I place some hope for the future.”

 

03/7/17

A bit of Knights Out

A bit from the start of WIP novella Knights Out:

‘Then how admirably mad,’ Gwynn amended his opinion. His look had grown a mite abstracted.

‘Indeed. Of course, Mattie sees her as a nice little windfall, though she thinks she could choose a better class of gentleman to get disenchanted with. Bless girls and their little ways, eh?’

Gwynn nodded in agreement, reaching for his cigarettes. He wondered, thumbing open the silver case, if he had not just been offered the solution to a problem that was lying on his mind.

Lighting an Auto-da-fé and inhaling at thoughtful length, he let his eyes drift up the steep hill above the street—with all the humid smog, coloured yellow by the lamps of the city, it was more an impression than a view—piles of bumptious marble and stucco blunted like ancient dolmens, traces of domes and balconies and narrow stairs, the farther up the further lost, drowned in an iodine sea—and on the other side, where the low parapet followed the edge of the terrace, with shabby palm trees spaced along it, the valley was filled with a golden gloom in which cupolas and statues on the roofs below were pasted like specimens pressed in tissue. In the road ahead were unknown companions—looking lost, too, as if they had until recently been part of a larger life form which had come to an incomplete end—shuffling along by the parapet, or groping forward with its support—one or two proceeding humbly but nimbly on all fours, like leggy novelties of the sea bed; not to disregard those over whom the promise of day held no power and who remained with the night, lying down under the palms in the truce and refuge of sleep; a humid breeze stirred the fronds above the stubborn bodies; an early rising bird cried out its heart to a vanished shore. Something beautiful was washed up, naked save for a sequinned mask and a saintly smile.

Of course it was the hour for inspiration to show up, gliding by on hypnagogic wings.

Reeling himself in, Gwynn questioned Jasper: ‘Have any of her recent affairs not ended in murder?’

Jasper gave a shrug of bullioned epaulettes. ‘Mattie didn’t mention any.’

‘Did she happen to say how the room mate rates?’

‘High enough to make her greenish—not that that takes much.’ An note of suspicion entered Jasper’s voice. ‘Planning a tragic love story?’

‘In my mind,’ said Gwynn, waving his cigarette for emphasis, ‘it’s more of a comedy. I don’t suppose Mattie would mind a little help with matchmaking?

‘I don’t suppose she would. Who’s the lucky punter?’

‘No one to worry your pretty head about. Just bring this wondrous Pharice along on a night out and I’ll call it a favour.’

Jasper turned on him with a deep scowl. ‘Aye, I’ll bring her, and kiss your pisspot too. I thought we trusted each other. I must have been thinking of someone else.’

‘Jas, I trust you with all my heart,’ Gwynn protested, laying a hand over the sparkling mineral layer to the fore of that organ, as Jasper continued to look disgusted. ‘I’m only trying to spare you a tedious exposition.’

‘Maybe I like tedious expositions. Who is it, you cagey fuck?’

***

02/24/17

When the World Was Begun

Group title: First Dance
Individual pieces: Morning (Lord of the Dance), Evening (The Magician), Midnight (In Times of Peril)
Bronze, edition of 12, 2017
32 cm /12.5″, 38 cm /15″ & 27 cm /10.5″ tall

(Pic from before I put colour on the birds and mask)

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02/24/17

A Raven for a Writing Desk

A Raven for a Writing Desk
Bronze, open edition, 2017
12.5 cm / 5 ” long

‘In the business of creation you could use some motivation,’
Said the grim and ancient Raven from the Night’s Plutonian shore.
‘Are you lazing, are you drowsing, are you goofing off and browsing
On the internet again? Then think on this, and nothing more:
You’ll soon be dust, and what you haven’t written ere you pass Death’s door
Will be written — Nevermore!’

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Posted in Art |
02/19/17

The Memorial Page at Lightspeed

Lightspeed has reprinted my story ‘The Memorial Page’, and there’s also an Author Spotlight on the story. This issue features stories by Ian R. MacLeod, A. Merc Rustad, Seanan McGuire, Jack Skillingstead, Kelly Barnhill, Ashok Banker and Brian Stableford, and the nonfiction includes an interview with Connie Willis. Ebook editions of Lightspeed, featuring an additional novella not available on the website, can be purchased for $3.99, and annual subscription is $35.88.

02/15/17

Figuring out…

With the yard for the road, neighbour’s fence for the parapet and a ladder for a horse, figuring out how much the characters can actually see. Conclusion: if they’re near the parapet they could probably see down to the river, and if they’re in the middle of the road probably not, which suits me as I don’t really want to do a full view of the city here.

Off to the foundry tomorrow — early start to try and beat the traffic. Supervising welding and patina, and hopefully I’ll come home with some rabbits and ravens.

02/9/17

Prune your darlings

When I’m wondering how much to prune a plant — if I’m thinking I’d like to cut a lot off but am not sure —  I tend to hear a grandparental voice saying ‘Cut it right back, dear.’ I’ve killed plants through over- and under-watering, I’ve lost them to insects, but I don’t recall that I’ve ever lost one through pruning, and I’ve certainly revitalised a couple by getting medieval on them with the secateurs. (Here, btw, is an explanation of how pruning actually works.)

I recently pruned my mussaendas, which were getting very rangy and giving me a view of little but their spindly trunks as they shot up for the sky. I’ve always been a bit conservative with how much I cut them, but this time I went hard, after receiving assurances that it would do them good, and sure enough they’re now budding all over. To hide the appearance of their stick-like remnants I’ve moved the gardenias behind them — I don’t think the gardenias were getting enough sun anyway, and they make a nice green bushy filler when they’re not in flower.

I thought my trumpet creeper was dead, so cut it down to the ground and tried to pull the roots out — twice — but chickened out rather than risk damaging the roots of the plant it shares the pot with, in case they’re entwined.* Well, it isn’t dead — the stump is sprouting, hooray. (*In most cases I wouldn’t worry so much, but the other plant is the easter lily vine. I’ve killed one of them repotting it and when I repotted this one it dropped most of its leaves and sulked for a year — it’s only flowering again now. In absence of other knowledge I’m assuming it’s sensitive about its roots.)

I also think one of the trees planted in the ground might be dead. The landlady suggested cutting it back to its trunk and seeing if it sprouts. I decided to try something less drastic first and cut off large amounts of its branches (it’s a spindly tree, within my lumberjacking capacities) which all looked dead. I did run into plenty of dead wood, but also some hints of green. So I’ll see what happens, and if no joy, cut lower.

The potted allamandas weren’t a great success growing over the porch — I found them hard to wrangle and they ended up as an untidy bundle of sticks with flowers at the far ends. So I’ve cut them right back, dear, and moved the bougainvillea to porch duty, with one of the strophanthus for a friend.