November 8th, 2005


(no subject)

Had another of my tangled dreams last night, which involved multiple complicated plot lines about being an undead queen, either revenant or reincarnated or possibly both, leadin' the troops in battle against...something or other...underwater. I actually recall paying attention to my breathing as I went into the water, thinking "Okay, I'm panting now, but I'm undead, so I oughta be able to inhale water without a problem..." ducked underwater, and felt my mouth fill up with water--and then I just stopped breathing, no questions asked.

This would have been fascinating, but was regrettably interspersed with nightmares of being naked at the bookstore. One would assume an undead warrior queen would not have that problem, but I nevertheless found myself holding a gazeteer as modestly as possible. Then a bunch of crusading knights showed up and wiped out my people, forcing me to try to dig a hole to hide in. It was one of those weird things where despite everybody standing around looking at you, they can't SEE you, so I was digging this hole in plain view, while everybody wondered where I'd gone. Dreams are weird like that.

The only really notable thing was an interesting creature called a "woestrider" who was like a burly ragged scarecrow, in an overcoat, on stilts hung with rags. He was a named elite (my brain slipped into WoW interface for part of it) and I expected him to try to kill me, but instead he attempted to sell me life insurance. He was gruff but not a bad sort. Except for the life insurance.

Smashing Plates

(This started out as a comment over at Websnark, about NaNoWriMo, and I found the notion sufficiently interesting that I wanted to follow it up further.)

Little Known Fact: Prior to deciding to learn to draw in college, Ursula's great artistic love was ceramics. Yes, I wanted to be a potter. I took some classes in high school, at the local arts center, and in college knuckled down for two years of pounding clay. While I wrote a lot as a kid, ceramics were the first art I ever pursued which required an actual manual skill and where it was immediately obvious when you had failed.

I was praising the art of pottery today, in the face of what I interpreted as contempt for the focus on mere output of something like NanoWriMo. What I praised was the fact that ceramics in one of the few art forms where the more time you spend on a piece, the more it sucks. If you are sweating and laboring and obsessing over a piece on the wheel, chances are that you've blown it. Ceramics is hard as hell because it is in many ways a speed trial--the clay will only love you for so long, and once you have thrown the walls too thin, stretched the clay too far, soaked the lump too much--you are DONE. It is over. People early into the process will often bemoan this, and labor mightily to save a piece, but soon you learn not to bother. It's a lot easier to just squash it and cut the thing off the wheel and try again.
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