This is a strange post. I posted to Facebook earlier today on impulse a screenshot of my latest wallpaper titled, “Today’s wallpaper. Because I get bored easily”. Here it is:
I have dozens of folders with hundreds of wallpapers ranging from abstract to retro to fantasy. I haven’t changed my desktop’s for a while, but with the Macbook yesterday I chose one, but today I got bored with it again and so I chose this grungy green one. I go through these stages, and because I get stimulated by imagery, a nice wallpaper can set my mood or enhance it. I’m strange like that.
This made me wonder whether I shouldn’t introduce another feature on the blog called Wallpaper Wednesday or something similar sounding and post a weekly screenshot of the latest wallpaper. I have a lingering suspicion I might be the only one who will find this exciting.
Oh, well. Such is life. Please let me know in the comments if you would like to see a feature like this. I might add something extra to make it more than just a post about an image.
The designer of this wallpaper can be found here. I had to do a reverse-image search on Google to find the information.
You’ve probably noticed my posts have become less frequent this last week or so. You see, the thing is, I’ve run into some devastating computer troubles. My old Vista-ripped-out-and-replaced-by-Ubuntu HP laptop died a couple of weeks ago, which was fine because I rarely used it (I’ve explained why in an earlier post). I predominately write, read emails, do research and blog on my iMac. It is a fine computer and I’ve had it now for six years. But it’s getting long in the tooth and last week, out of the blue, it crashed. I spent a day just trying to get it started, which eventually happened, but now the thing is wonky. It’s slow and cumbersome and I fear not so reliable anymore. Just today It kept dropping the Wi-Fi to my network.
Now I am religious about backing up. I back up to Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive and an external drive just to be on the safe side. My problem or issue is therefore productivity, or lack thereof. I don’t want to be without a machine in case my desktop decides to die finally. It already affected my workflow over the weekend as I was unable to do any significant writing.
So, I decided to close my eyes and buy a Macbook Pro. It is not meant to replace my desktop. That I’ll do when I have the necessary finances. The purpose with this purchase was to get something specifically for writing and blogging. Something that’ll make me mobile without affecting my productivity. That will help me write while I look after the kids.
Yes, I am excited. New gadgets excite me. Plus I wrote part of this post at my dining room table with the little one looking fascinated at daddy’s blurred fingers, and part of it on the couch drinking coffee while the kids ran and shouted and pretty much reverse engineered chaos.
I also decided to get Apple’s Airport Time Capsule. Two terabyte’s worth of backup space plus it also boosts my existing Wi-Fi network. It’s larger than the existing external drive I’ve been using which has pretty much reached its full storage capacity.
There you have it. I won’t bloat this laptop with crap and things that are unnecessary. I’ll use it solely for writing and online collaboration with the Virtual Writer Workshop and my colleagues over at Kōsa Press. I did consider getting a Chromebook at one stage, but at the end of the day it was just to limited in functionality and I already had an Apple ecosystem in place in my home.
And let’s be honest, I’ve had no hair-pull-out-sessions with any Apple products the six years I’ve used them, which is something I cannot say for Microsoft. I want things to just work, because when they do, you don’t waste time. Work gets done in time and watching children full-time means I don’t have that extra time to waste. If I suddenly get five minutes to write, I don’t want to spend four minutes starting the damn thing or waiting for it to update first. So far Apple has impressed me with their dependability in that regard. I’m far from being a fanboy, but I will stay with them until they stop meeting my needs. It is really as simple as that.
By the way, typing on this thing is bliss. It feels so soft. The keys make a muted sound when you press them, like they’re giving you a whispery sigh. It’s like I’m pressing mini pillows. Yes, I am exaggerating, but damn am I enjoying the tactile experience this little machine is giving me.
Something different today. Or maybe not so different. I first saw Boris Vallejo’s art on the covers of my Tarzan books. I was in my early teens, I think–maybe younger, and those covers sold the books for me. I loved the smooth, clean lines Valejo used in his action scenes. He made it look so real and I imagined that Tarzan must have been that thick-muscled. Of course later I would come to realize that artists have their own interpretation when I discovered Frazetta and other illustrators and painters, and my taste evolved to a more savage, gritty-like style.
Vallejo has been a mainstay presence for fantasy and science fiction and you can’t talk about Frazetta without mentioning Vallejo, even though, in my opinion, they have completely different styles. I do not like his superhero-themed work or later erotica, but his work in the late 70s and early 80s are pretty fantastic.
From Wikipedia: Vallejo works almost exclusively in the fantasy and erotica genres. His hyper-representational paintings have graced the covers of dozens of science fiction paperbacks and are featured in a series of best-selling glossy calendars. Subjects of his paintings are typically Sword and sorcery gods, monsters, and well-muscled male and female barbarians engaged in battle. Some of his male figures were modeled by Vallejo himself, and many of his later female characters were modeled by his wife, Julie Bell (who is also a former bodybuilder and pretty awesome painter herself – Woelf). His latest works still retain heavy fantasy elements, but lean more towards the erotic rather than pure fantasy themes.
Vallejo’s covers for Tarzan, Conan the Barbarian, Doc Savage and various other fantasy characters (often done for paperback fiction works featuring the characters), garnered him a following fast and he quickly became popular, which is understandable given his massive talent and the subject-matter of his paintings.
Below are a few choice samples for your fantasy palate.
I have something out of left field for you today. A satyrical look at acceptance and rejection and the whimsical muse whose attention you can never hold long enough before she wanders off to her next lover.
There is another reason why I am sharing this article and it is only slightly related. It made me wonder about my muse. This is where I differ from the article, but then, the article is not meant to be taken seriously, only the message it leaves. I believe each writer has their own muse who visits them frequently unless the writer creates an environment that repels that muse, be it through a sourly mood or possibly incessant insecurities that gnaw at the psyche or any factor really that serves to disrupt creative flow.
Three years ago I wrote that my muse is an ample bosomed woman who whispered things in my ear and showed off her assets to inspire me. It is funny how things have changed. Since then I have written many words and I’ve read many more, and I have come to the realization that there is more to my muse than meets the eye. In fact, my muse was never a woman, nor was it a man. It was…is an entity that shifted its appearance and nature according to my mental state and experience. In other words, it became what this writer needed to write.
I write through times when I don’t feel like writing. When it feels like my keys are unresponsive and my fingers are made of lead and acid. Where the words don’t flow, but feels like they are being spat out, one at a time. And yet I keep writing because my goals are bright and waiting and because I know that writing is the only way forward.
That thing that drives me to continue, despite my own reservations, is my muse. Who ever said your muse is supposed to make life comfortable for you? Your muse is whatever it needs to be so you can keep writing.
Right now my muse is my children smiling at me and making cute faces, waiting while I carve out a future for them. Then, when the pressure of failing gets too much my muse turns into Hemingway. Hemingway, calling from the beyond, looking at me with arrogant eyes and that half grin of his, telling me how I’m not a writer, that I need to bleed out before I’ll ever be a shadow of one and even then I’d still just be a pretender. And I respond to him with a “Fuck you, I still admire you” half smile of my own. Then Hemingway turns into a Mediterranean island somewhere to the left of Greece and I see myself sitting at a cafe near the beach wearing a pink shirt and plastic framed Oliver Peoples sunglasses and sipping an ice-cold beer from a bottle, condensation wet against the palm of my hand. And I look up at that white cloudless sky and follow the sun’s warm gaze as the ocean shimmers with its brilliance and I smile to myself, knowing that after this drink I’ll go back to my writing, because I can and because this is the life I wanted.
And when I wake from my reverie, my muse fading like smoke in a breeze, I know what I have to do and that writing and moving forward is the only way for anything to get done.
Maybe your muse is a demon. Maybe it’s a fantasy. Or maybe it is that thing right there in the back of your mind that keeps you company while you write. That holds your hand or spits in your eye.
That thing is a contradiction. And the best way to deal with a contradiction is to not be one. By being stubborn and unbending. By writing even if it hammers against the walls in your mind. Only then will you realize that your muse is a lonely creature who only wants your acceptance, but before that can happen you need acceptance of yourself with all your insecurities and vices and shortcomings. You are what you are, and that is a great thing.
It is then that you’ll realize your muse is actually just you looking for a valid excuse to fail or strive for excellence.
I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by Fia Essen. I feel truly honored and I thank her. Unfortunately, my workload is rather heavy at the moment with various deadlines looming and I won’t be able to participate in any meaningful way. As such, it would be unfair of me to accept the award.
However, Fia, thinking ahead, designed a very special award for those of us who are unable to participate in these kinds of awards. I am therefore proud to hoist it on here and display it for the world to see.
My aim with this blog is to share my writing and my passion for reading and writing along with other things I find interesting. Having someone nominate your blog and saying it’s very inspiring or awesome is so damn cool, I’m totally humbled by it.
I do not know much about Adrian Smith. I only recently discovered his work after realizing that I’ve been seeing his art for a number of years without knowing that it was his. It’s a mistake I have now remedied. His style is raw and savage and given that he has done numerous illustrations for Games Workshop, it is wholly appropriate for their worlds and characters. Adrian Smith is most well known for his dark work in the early days of Warhammer and 40k.
Below are a few choice samples of this very talented artist.
I hope you enjoyed today’s #Art of Fantasy post. If you want to know more about the artist and his work, please follow this link to his website or just click here: Adrian Smith :: Illustrator.
I’ve been making funny noises for a couple of months now, hinting at some secret project I’m working on. I revealed bits at a time, nothing more than grunts, really. For instance, you know I’m working on a story for an anthology. You also know it will fall under science fiction. I have not revealed more than that.
And the time is not yet ripe to reveal all of it. We are close, though, but first, there is another story to tell. A story that is related to the aforementioned and also its catalyst.
It’s about the birth of an idea and how it grew so large it required a bunch of talented writers to restrain, and when their combined efforts failed to control this unruly beast, they had no choice but to set it free. And so the thing leaped roaring from their hands, tearing asunder reality’s brittle veil as it burst onto our physical plane fully formed, fully realized, announcing its sonorous arrival with a monstrous thunderclap so loud it will echo in the annals of history for eons to come.
Gentle and not so gentle readers, may I present to you:
Instead of me clamoring with delirious excitement I shall direct you to our first blog post inaugurating the arrival of Kōsa Press. Please click any of the links above or even this one to find out how this thing came to be, from concept to realization. There is more to it than you think, and you’ll learn a new word. Trust me.