1/17/23: Denouement

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Post-Arisia malaise is real, but life doesn’t stop just because the con is over.

Arisia was wonderful! I was a nervous wreck before my first panel, which luckily was the first panel timeslot on Saturday, so I really only had time to worry about it Saturday morning, and managed to keep myself occupied well-enough with breakfast in con suite and two hours of family-friendly tabletop gaming in the Harbor ballroom. But my fellow panelists were super kind, knowledgeable, and supportive — and getting aggressive head nods, finger snaps, and “yes”-es from the audience when I talked about my experiences and ideas was super validating. Nerves turned into excitement really quickly after that. I really, genuinely loved panelling at this con, I can’t believe it took me nine years to try it out. I will definitely be applying again next year.

My son took the end of con rather hard, because this was the first year he was able to really independently participate — the last time he was at con he was five, and could only attend things with us, so he was mostly in the room with a sitter and went with is to some family-friendly demos or panels. This year he got to fully and independently participate in Fast Track, the sort of con-within-a-con for kids, so he spent from 10 to 5 everyday with like-minded kids doing things like swordfighting, making slime and sensory jars, sewing frankenplushies, cosplaying, making duct tape roses, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. He spent a lot of Monday in tears, but sleep helped him quite a bit, and he was excited getting back to school today and telling his friends about the weekend.

As for me, I’m feeling that post-Arisia enthusiasm for both creating and consuming again — this is the first con I’ve gone to where I actually have an existing, consistent creative habit, and I’m thrilled for this boost in the midst of the drudgery of January. I’ve already got ideas and inspiration and ambitions for projects coming up, and I’m excited to pursue them.

Hope you all are well! The days are getting longer, and we’re seeing the sun a little more each day.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

1/11/23: The Not-Quite Beginning

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I’m here (unless you’re looking for my long-form personal essays/articles, in which case — I’m on Medium.)

The day after tomorrow, I will be packing up and heading out for three nights in Boston for the first in-person Arisia convention since January of 2020.

It’s going to be smaller, and less robust, but it’s going to be. And for that I’m grateful.

I will be on four panels this weekend, three on Saturday and one on Sunday:

  • Saturday, Jan. 14th, 10:00am: Finishing Your Half-finished Projects (Marina 1)
  • Saturday, Jan. 14th, 1:00pm: Sex-Positive Parenting (Marina 4)
  • Saturday, Jan. 14th, 4:00pm: Comfort Food TV – Arts and Crafts Shows (Marina 4)
  • Sunday, Jan. 15th, 10:00am: Teaching Our Kids Consent (Marina 1)

I am greatly looking forward to being back in Boston at a convention — three years away from cons seems so long when your usual routine is going to multiple each year.

Anyway, much of my focus right now (that isn’t hung up on work and the mess the end of the semester is) is focused on panel prep and getting some art done for me so I can recharge and get ready to take on more commissions and zines (I’ve already got apps in for three, with a fourth pending).

Hope all is well in your worlds. If you’re at Arisia this weekend, pop by and say hello.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

12/27/22: Impending Ending

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It’s been a year, huh?

I don’t know who my consistent readership is; I’m not even sure at this point that I have one here, though I know I have an audience over on Medium (shh, shameless plug, but all my real writing is over there now, have you heard?).

But for those of you who have been reading, you might remember I mentioned the last of my 2022 ambitions — being a panelist at Arisia, and doing art for The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

Well, the end of the year is upon us, and those goals have been met!

I will be on four panels at Arisia (will talk more about which ones and my precise schedule closer to the con), and my piece, “Blossoming,” got selected for the MCSP social media campaign, so I am thrilled beyond thrilled that this year is ending on such a creative high note (I’m also about 85% done with my first paying commission in, like, 10 months, which is likewise a damn good feeling).

So What’s Next?

Well, perhaps buoyed on by a wealth of successes this year, I have some goals for next year that I’m really excited about, and I would love to hear your goals as well.

  1. Spearhead my own zine. I have a few ideas for zines I would love to run, though I would likely need someone to help out, since I’m completely new to the process. The one at the forefront of my mind would be a for-charity zine, and I would likely run it as a digital zine to streamline the process (sell it through Gum Road or something).
  2. Apply to at least 10 zines. I’d love to say “get into 10 zines,” but I’m making it a point to only set goals over which I actually have some control. I can put myself out there — that’s on me — but I can’t force my acceptance.
  3. Advance in pole to Pre-Advanced Beginner. There are a lot of steps to becoming good at pole dance, and as someone with minimal coordination, inner ear issues, and a fear of height/being upside down, I am taking it even slower. But I do want to move up a level. Even if that’s as far as I ever get — hell, I’ll move to floor work and chair dance if I have to, but I want to graduate from Pole Virgins.
  4. Produce at least 5 complete works in traditional media. Don’t care what — graphite, colored pencil, watercolor, acrylic, ink. Just 5 works of art that are complete, in and of themselves, no digitizing. I am and probably always will be primarily a digital artist, but I also love the process of creating in traditional media, and I always make excuses to continue to not do so.
  5. Move. I’ve talked about this before. There is nothing wrong with this house — it was a great starter house — but we have outgrown it, and it is time to move on.
  6. Be more pro-active about garnering commissions and selling prints. This means actually getting business cards, this means applying for artist alleys and art shows at cons, this means virtually tabling at more maker’s marts. I have no intent for making art my job, per se, but it would be nice to get more eyes on it, and if that results in making some spending money, even better.
  7. Establish a workout routine. Rough outline here is short workouts Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with longer workouts on Saturdays or Sundays. I want to account for my bi-weekly pole classes and the toll that can take, but I need something consistent and easy to adhere to.
  8. Fill a junk journal. I have a TikTok problem, and that problem is called ArtTok. I can’t go five-minutes without seeing a cool craft or artform that I need to try, and this time, it’s junk journals. I got a huge amount of started gear for Christmas, so I’m excited to start my junk journal journey (Christ, say that three times fast).
  9. Write more. Poetry, personal essays, fanfic, blog entries, whatever — I don’t care. I got a good start on that this year — I wrote more this year than I have in a long, long time, including several pieces I am very proud of — and I intend to continue and expand beyond that. The thing is, while it’s super easy for me to push it to the backburner, I am happier when I’m writing. There’s no way around it.
  10. Consume new media. There is no creation without consumption. I want to spend time this year filling up my creative reservoir with new and inspiring art.

The darkest days of the year are behind us. What are your plans for what’s next?

Have a safe and happy new year, everyone. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

11/28/22: Yes, Hi, Hello, Here I Am

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Now may be the time to note — not necessarily for the first time, but certainly for the first definitive time — that anyone interested in reading my personal essays on things like the creative process, artistic practice, writing, my experiences in popular culture, gender, etc. should really, really, really go check out my Medium. All substantive writing is there now. This space reserved for “What I Did Today” personal updates, and general progress updates on various creative projects.

You know what, I’ll likely append a shortened version of the above to any of my updates going forward just so people know, you know? But please, do follow me. I’m coming off a bit of a hiatus, but I’ve written more over there this year than I have over here, um, ever, most likely.

Thanksgiving blew by in a whirlwind — had good food with my family, managed to touch base with a close friend in person for the first time in a year — and now Sunday my son turns 8 years old, and after that we have three weeks until Christmas and then the year is over, what the actual fuck??

I will be doing a year-end reflection closer to the actual end of the year, but suffice it to say, it’s been a creatively eventful and fulfilling year. I have some big things I hope to have to show off before December 31, and I have some high hopes for 2023 in terms of creative and artistic endeavors, but for now I’m just trying to get back into a good spot creating for myself, after coming off of four projects for other people and organizations. I found an old — like, old-old, from maybe two years ago — drawing in one of my sketchbooks that was never fully finished, so I’m fleshing that out, and I started a new sketch using one of Adorkastock’s newest models who I absolutely love already, and I’m just trying to breathe and enjoy the process before I’m tossed into the fray once more (i.e., I have zine apps out there that are closing in on acceptance/rejection day. Wish me luck).

Oh, and because I realized I recounted the whole employment fiasco here ages ago but never gave closure, Kira went permanent! She’s an official, full-time employee now and I have literally never seen her happier at work. It has been a brand new experience for her, and she’s thrilled with where she is, finally.

Hope things are well with you all, brace yourselves for the impending craziness of the holiday season, and take care of yourselves and each other.

10/4/2022: Looking Towards the Horizon

Falling back into bad habits means not updating this blog for a month plus. Huh. Sorry? I feel less pressure to update here now that I’m writing more regularly and have a reliable place to showcase my writing to an audience; this feels more like a place to toss out updates on my projects and little anecdotes about my life, and I like that sort of compartmentalization. A place for every thing, every thing in its place.

Today is the second consecutive day I’ve taken as a sick day, and guilt weighs heavily upon me. Oh, I am actually sick — my six-year-old niece, with whom I spent Friday afternoon, has been sick since Saturday and apparently thought it would be fun to share the joy, as it were — I just, I don’t know, always feel bad missing work? Even though my coworkers are outwardly very supportive, and even though several of them have already been out, and even though I’ve spent time covering for them, I still just feel bad. Like I’m letting people down.

Don’t be like me, kids. Work/life balance is important, self-care is important, and in COVID times, staying home when you’re sick is super fucking important. It’s just a hard thing for me to internalize. I need to work on it.

I’m allaying some of the guilt by trying to be productive: some important chores got done yesterday, and more should get done today, assuming my stamina holds out. In between bursts of cleaning, I’m trying to hydrate, rest, relax; but also, the mess in this house is such a stressor that, to a certain extent (and assuming I listen to my body and pace myself), cleaning feels like self-care. Like, it’s going to benefit me in the long run. I cleaned the bulk of the kitchen last night, and making dinner was so much more of a relaxing experience in a clean kitchen, you know? So yes, hopefully more of that today.

I am also hoping to find time to do some work for my two next “big” projects — creating art for the Mass Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and paneling at Arisia. More on those things later, but suffice it to say, I’m excited about both, but don’t want to say too much in the early/tentative stages (i.e., my panels might not get picked up; my art may not ultimately get accepted. etc.). I will let you all know what I know, when I know it.

In the meantime, coffee, some breakfast, a few low impact chores (doing a load of laundry sounds like a good idea, as I eyeball my suspiciously full hamper), and some YouTube for background noise. I have been getting more and more into Strange Aeons and Chad Chad lately, who cover, among other things, some of the more niche aspects and quirks of social media culture — primarily Tumblr and TikTok respectively — and are both a lot of fun to watch. Check them out on YouTube if you are so inclined.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

8/28/22: Last Night, First Day

Tonight’s my last night of summer. Bear’s, too. We start back at work and school tomorrow morning, me for two days of prep and professional development before the kids arrive on Wednesday, but Bear us being thrust full-force into classed tomorrow morning. First day of second grade.

Second. Grade. When the ever-loving fuck did that happen?

I’m grateful to have had the summer off, even if it was nothing that I hadn’t wanted it to be — I imagined structure, and adventure, and weekend trips. And we did sort of get that at the beginning — we had a beach trip, sleepover, a day at the museum, bike riding — but I had severely under-estimated how utterly Kira would be taken out by surgery, and how massively overwhelmed I would be.

The entire second half of the summer was stagnating housework, with me doing exactly as much as I needed to do to keep my head above water while trying to tend to Kira, who for the first couple of weeks was basically immobile. The house suffered massively as a result, putting me further and further behind.

I did spend the last two days recovering from quite a bit of it all; I did something like five loads of laundry, handwashed almost all the dishes in the house, vaccuumed, took out four or five bags of trash, sorted all the recycling, etc. I am in literal physical pain right now, and I still have to vaccuum the living room, but if someone were to pop in right now, I wouldn’t feel embarrassed to let them see the house. That’s a massive improvement.

I’m excited for structure, for seeing people, for having a schedule. I’m excited to be able to structure my life, to return to pole classes, to have weekends be available (now that Kira is well into recovery) and meaningful again.

The summer wasn’t all for naught; I imagine if I had to work this summer I would have been absolutely drowning, so as bad as it was in some spots, it would have undoubtedly been worse. And I did do a lot of art — six or seven digital paintings! — made two sales, and reached Partner on Medium. That feels incredibly good, especially after being away from writing for so long, to be writing again and actually be earning some money from it (even if it is mere cents right now. Have to start somewhere, right?)

For all parents, students, and educators getting back to school this week — remember to get a good night’s rest, stay hydrated, and stay safe.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

8/11/22: Post-op Life

I write “post-op life” as though I was the one who went through surgery.

My wife had her surgery a week ago — Jesus, I can’t believe it was that long already. She was in the hospital from about 5am on August 4th until around 8pm on August 9th. Everything went well, she passed all the milestones they needed her to pass before discharge, and things on the home front have, thus far, gone pretty much exactly as expected.

I’m thrilled to have her home, and thrilled to have her doing well, though I am exhausted — there was no time to rebound between the adrenaline crash when she finally came home, the the sudden need to become caretaker, and I’ve not had much sleep, much down time, or any time at all to myself for the last week. I in no way hold it against her, nor am I resentful — I really am just tired. I hope as she recovers more and gets more independent, I get some time to just chill before I have to return to full-time work on the 29th.

I’ve not been in the headspace for art the last week and a half, but I’m still going slow but steady on Medium. Check me out there if you’re interested. I’m hoping to get back in the art swing soon, especially since Fat Craft is edging on on its deadline, and I have an art pitch for Fandom for Choice due in like, six days.

Hope all is well. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

8/3/22: A Photo-heavy Update

My wife is currently at work upstairs, already an hour into her day because she decided working overtime this morning was a good way of keeping herself distracted so she doesn’t perseverate on the fact that her surgery is tomorrow.

The surgery is a good thing; she’s been waiting on it for over a year, and it is, of a sort, elective, so she’s opted into this and wants it — like, really wants it. She is excited and relieved and thrilled that the day is finally here, but it’s still a major surgery and, well, that comes with major anxiety. So, I feel her.

I’m climbing the walls, myself; COVID protocols say I can’t stay at the hospital with her, and lack of a car (or license) means I won’t be able to go and see her during her stay either (and Uber/taxi would range between $50 and $130, each way). We have a semi-private Discord set up (for close friends and immediate family) where we will all be able to congregate, chat, talk, group video call, etc. after the fact, so that’s likely what the next six or so days of my life as going to look like — logging on in the morning, signing onto Discord, turning on my camera and going about me day, ready to be there whenever she gets on.

I know I will feel immediately and instantaneously better the second she’s out of surgery, but tomorrow morning is going to be an emotional minefield.

In lieu of having anything else to talk about (or really, being able to think about anything else), here are the latest things I put up on Instagram this summer. I know not everyone uses Instagram, so I do want to try to remember to update here as well, going forward:

Also, I have been selected as an artist for the Fandom for Choice Zine, a fan zine benefitting the National Network of Abortion Funds in the wake of the overturn of Roe. I am beyond excited to be selected, and to be able to draw all my little blorbos while upholding choice and bodily autonomy. Could not ask for a better job.

Send good vibes to my wife, please. I am going to be an absolute wreck for the better part of tomorrow, but I am also so excited for her to be able to begin this new phase of her life.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

7/26/22: GISH is Coming

GISH is Coming

I am not going to pretend I have been anything other than blessed to get the summer off. As much as I bemoan the fact that I have, quite literally, spent most days sitting online (like, literally all day), I have been spending that time writing, or working on art, or organizing my team for GISH.

This will be my 11th year GISHing. I kind of can’t believe that. 11 years of making Skittles portraits and cucumber skirts and tampon animals. 11 years of elevator tea services, and stormtroopers at the spa, and lip syncing inflatable dinos.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with GISH, the best I can do is direct you to the official website, but also a Tumblr user going by Gishwhes Historian has an amazing and comprehensive site full of the history of the GISH scavenger hunt. Please check them out here if you are genuinely curious.

The short of it is, it is a massive, global, multi-media scavenger hunt put on by Misha Collins (yes, that Misha Collins) that has a huge performance art/random acts of creativity vibe going for it, but also a large charity component.

Teams compete for the grand prize which is generally a trip, and which this year is to the Amazon. Having done this for over a decade and having seen the quality of the entries put forth my the winning team, there isn’t a chance in hell I’m going to win, but it’s an incredibly fun diversion ever year regardless.

If this sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to sign up next year. It’s usually in August, and generally lasts about eight days. This year it’s July 30 throught August 6th, so it very much is just around the corner. I’m Team Captian, so I’ve been spending the last few days making sure all my teammates are able to connect with each other, to the Discord server, the FB group, and been posting up refreshers, intros (quite a few newbies on the team this year) and general ice breakers. I’m very excited to start the hunt on Saturday.

Aside from that, I’ve been puttering away at art (slow going on my current two pieces, but going nonetheless) that you can keep up with here, and writing on Medium, which is proving to be a fun community (you can read my stuff here).

Hope all is well in your world. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

7/12/22: Dreaming of Better Things

I don’t know if it’s specific to a particular time of year — I don’t track these moods — or just whenever I have a moment to slow down and let my mind drift, but lately I have been thinking a lot about my future. My living situation in particular.

Kira is loving her new job, and they seem to really like her, too. She does the job well, feel gratified by it, and looks forward to starting work in the morning. What a fucking 180, huh? This is the same woman who, at her old job, would text me multiple times a day about how much she wished she could leave, more than once through tears and from a bathroom stall. She is happier when she comes home, has more energy, more patience, and is just generally a different person.

It doesn’t hurt that the pay is a massive improvement. Not “get rich” improvement, but to the extent that, should this job move to permanent after her six-month contract, we would be able to actually move by next summer.

So of course, that’s got me thinking about new houses and new starts.

This summer so far has already been about embarking on new endeavors — I started taking pole, which is amazing, and started writing again, which is also amazing but also way more of a slog than drawing (seriously, how can these two activities feel so incredibly different to me?)

I also made a conscious decision to start seriously perusing the Zillow and Redfin emails that I still get (mostly because my instinct with unwanted mail is to just delete; I never, like, fully unsubscribe because I’m a trash pile), and have been browsing houses in my area in morning over my coffee.

Kira and I have slightly different make-or-break criteria for what we want out of out new home, though most of the significantly important things mesh, I think.

We both agree that whatever else, our new home needs to be a single-family home (living in a duplex hasn’t been awful by any means, but if we’re going to move anyway, we’re going to move somewhere were there aren’t strangers on the other side of our wall). We both know we want off-street parking, a dishwasher, a bigger back yard.

She insists on central air, which, honestly, I can’t argue with — installing the window units every year is a massive pain in the ass, and HRT has absolutely decimated her upper body strength, so it’s becoming more and more of a physical struggle. That being said, while that would definitely tip any house further into my favor, I could forgo it should other conditions be right. As of right now, Kira is adamant. Like, will not fucking move about this, so. We’ll keep out fingers crossed for more homes with central air to be on the market next summer.

I feel like I’m more flexible. I don’t know that I have any other dealmaker/breaker criteria — there are things I want, there are things I don’t want, there are things I would love, there are things I would tolerate. As long as its a standalone house not in need of a full overhaul, I’m probably going to be amenable to at least checking it out or considering it.

What would I like to see in a new house? That’s a different story. I’ve got a long list of things that would make a home more enticing to me, and I’m both encouraged and disheartened to see so many of them on the market right now (encouraged because it means they exist round me, you know what I mean? Disheartened because I’m convinced if they all go on the market now, there won’t be any available to me in a year).

I would love more counter space in the kitchen. More cabinet space. A larder, if possible, and an island. Recessed bookcases or curios in the living room. Open floor plans. No carpeting — no, not anywhere (well, I could be okay with it in the bedrooms, I guess). Hardwood or laminate flooring. At least 1.5 baths (I could live with one , but two would be phenomenal). A third bedroom that Kira and I could use as a studio (with both do art, and she does modeling, so she has a lot of photography equipment).

A big backyard with room for a garden — full sun, so things will actually grow. I would love to try my hand at growing veggies, and that’s not something I feel like I can really do here. A privacy fence would be wonderful (we could always put one up ourselves, of course, but what’s the harm in hoping someone’s already done the work?) A master bedroom that could accommodate a king-sized bed. And if I could find a true walk-in closet, I think I would cry (Kira and I have… so many clothes).

I feel rejuvenated by fresh surroundings, you know? I feel energized and more creative and productive in spaces that are well organized, or that I feel like I can make beautiful. I feel like we moved into this place in a fit of desperation (we really and truly did like the place, it was objectively the nicest of all the places we saw, but we were also motivated by absolutely hating where we were and needing to get out fast — that might be another story for another day, though) and now that we have a little more stability, and a child who is nearly eight (instead of eighteen months), and a better sense, aesthetically and personally, of who we are and what we want out of a space… that now is the time to make that change.

Or start considering it, at least.

All of this hinges on several tenuous scenarios at the moment, but it doesn’t hurt to dream, I suppose. Eventually we will want to move regardless, and it’s good to know what we’re looking for before we becoming overwhelmed by the process.

I hope you are all doing well. I’m glad to be writing on Medium again, which, I hope, will allow me to be a little more candid on this blog, and be a little more personal or anecdotal.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.