Sketch of a beautiful horse built on a very rough quick impression of a photo for you to bask in. I’m experiencing a lot of panic surrounding art, still, but it’s a different kind of emotion than it used to be. In the past, I was feeling a kind of dead, numb terror, and now, with all the gradual effort I’ve been putting in to change my approach, the panic is a kind of ‘Oh no! I’m late!’ feeling, which is much more manageable, I find.
Have you ever had a seemingly insurmountable emotional reaction that you navigated over time? I am starting to enjoy sketching now, which is a huge relief. (Yay!)
Good/Bad Writing Example
The song-fest was a magical event occurring once every thirty-two years. During the festival, the group would link hands and sing the duplicating song, and each soul would divide and become an echo of the original person. Each member of the singing festival had a chain of these shadow-souls, parts of themselves they could send on errands or set simple tasks. Extra copies of the original served a useful purpose, and one person’s hands could be at work on many projects.
Harkel had the most souls at fifteen, and he was growing very near death. Nemass, who was just under him with thirteen shadow-selves, was very excited for Harkel to die, as his passing would elevate her to leader of the song-fest. As Harkel sensed himself growing towards the end, his original soul warped and he grew greedy, and he called Nemass into his rooms for a private meeting.
“I must teach you the ways of our people so that you may lead our souls with sobriety and wisdom,” Harkel told Nemass, and then he led her into a dark and disharmonic song that jumbled three of her souls and made her original self shiver for a moment into disparate parts. “Ha!” Harkel murmured, sending six of his fifteen echoes into the spaces made by this brief disharmony. Harkel’s extra selves settled into Nemass’ original soul, and with a crack of her voice, she broke the song.
“What have you done?” Nemass asked, her tone shuddering with the hint of Harkel’s graveled baritone.
“I have made you my echo, stupid one. Now you are my sixteenth soul, and when my body dies my original will flock into your heart. Go and tell what I’ve done, if you dare. They will beat and curse you as a heretic. Your body is mine,” Harkel said, looking rather like a snake, and Nemass, who could feel the twining of his life within her form, ran from his rooms with cold fear in her heart and disgust in her mouth from the ugly song.
Oh, the singing people who sing. How pretty and sensible they are, to sing and sing and sing among the trees. La la la. The people who sing have so many good songs. They have songs about weather and ditties about the coming of winter, and then when enough of them are in a really good mood, they sing about fruitful harvests and the kind of really excellent cider that the old man under the apple tree makes when he starts talking about the days when there were more goats and the mountains had snow on their tops all year round. Oh, the snow on the mountains, he says, it used to stay on the slopes of the mountains all year.
And then when it is time to sing, they join hands and stand together anywhere if they can get a little moonlight, or a shadow from some really near planets, and they try to do magic with their songs but the magic wasn’t the way it had been far away and long ago. That magic was excellent and made the grass greener, and the flowers bloom in the middle of the song, even when it was night, but this music only made shadows of the singers appear behind them, like echoes of their bodies, and when the whole group makes a strong harmony, then there will be more souls chaining out from behind the first and they can run errands or be useful messengers between the song-makers and their distant relatives.
The songs are beautiful and feel like wind in the pretty night, and there are other harmonies about flowers that they mix in sometimes. Flowers, weather, and snow on the mountains. That’s really all there is to say about the snow-singing harmonic people, because they always get along and never have any conflict with each other at all. The end.
Whew, that was sorta intense for me. Creepy music! Now let’s turn the very metaphorical page, okay? Here is Diana:
The Fight on the Roof
“You never left me alone when I hid from you, Stu. Turnabout’s fair play, and you are a very obedient, docile, and well-trained young husband to your disgusting cretin of a father,” Diana quipped.
Stuart’s fists got clenched, and Diana recognized in the young man all the signs of a violent person about to lose control of himself. Following her instincts and feeling fairly pleased with herself, Diana scampered up the rest of the ladder, lay down on the roof, and spread her arms.
“Go ahead and kill me, Stu, or at least beat my face in. Your dad did that to your mom all the time. He’d be so proud,” Diana said, closing her eyes and smiling a lot. She heard a very angry shout and the distant impact of a body on the ground. “Did you break yourself, Stu? I’m not done needling at you, and you’re supposed to be punching me, not tossing yourself here and there. Come up here again. There’s a ladder,” Diana called. She heard a sound that seemed to be mixture of a groan of pain and an unwilling laugh, and in a few moments, a bruised and disheveled Stuart appeared on the ladder. “Did you seriously throw yourself off a roof to get away from me?” Diana asked, watching Stuart stand up on the roof.
“I did. Stop telling me my dad’s gay. He’s not. I should know,” Stuart said.
“Why, because he confides in you like he would normally confide in a wife?” Diana asked. Stuart got angry again and retreated to the ladder. “We can do this all day, Stu. Up and down, back and forth. You’re functionally married to your abusive dad. That’s why you have such a hot-and-cold relationship to me right now, because you think you’re doing a whole, cute, high school senior falling for a freshman deal, but what’s really going on is that you’re very tempted to have an affair and cheat on your controlling husband with me,” Diana said.
“That’s disgusting,” Stuart said, but he’d gotten sort of transfixed at the top of the ladder and wasn’t running away again.
You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, Evie the kidnapped woman has experienced an interpersonal breakthrough with her captor and is very excited (and planning her escape).