Musings on Inspiration, Change, and Art

Oscar the cat enjoying my art

Oscar the cat enjoying my art. He says I need to start drawing again.

The other night my husband and I were watching something about the Lost Neck, I mean, Loch Ness Monster. A guy came on who was a cryptozoologist. I told Teddy I wanted to be a cryptozoologist. He said he wanted to be a luxury lifestyle consultant like David Bromstad on “My Lottery Dream Home.”  Seriously you have to love David Bromstad.

Then we laughed. Our kids could tell their friends, “my parents are a cryptozoologist, and a luxury lifestyle consult.”

Then we realized that they already say, “my dad is an antiques dealer and my mom blogs about Vampires.”

I used to be an artist but I forgot how to draw. I think I’m forgetting how to write most of the time too. I’m forgetting a lot of things. My world is getting smaller, yet it is more complex, and growing, and changing.

As life changes our inspiration changes. It is kind of like the moon, waxing and waning. In that way Werewolves are lucky. They have a degree of certainty in their lives.

Anyway, until I can learn to get my passion back for drawing (it was beaten out of me, long story you don’t want to hear) I’ll be inspired by other artists. I will also try to inspire those who do art or want to create.

Hey, please don’t send me “you can do it” messages about this. I appreciate it but I’m fine, really.

I’m going to be an art museum docent. I guess I already am, as I plan my final tour before I graduate and become an official docent. This is super exciting.

Now that my children are grown I’ll be teaching a new crop of children all about art, and history, and all manner of related things. I hope to inspire the young hearts and minds so that they might one day take on the world with wild abandon.

Wild abandon is something we all need. I watch my children, as grown as they are, and hope that they learn the fine line between control, and passion.

I hope they learn not to listen to assholes. I hope they know that deep down inside that in the long run their opinion about their own lives, talents, and passions is all that matters.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Inspire (it isn’t a dirty word)

In my home I have a wall of bookshelves. Don’t we all. There are also more books scattered all over the house on other shelves as well. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from film maker John Waters, ““If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

John Waters also said, “It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”

But back to what I was looking for. I was looking for a book about California art, but ended up on the other side of the wall looking at poetry and literature.

Then something in my mind just shattered. It was my current WIP (work in progress.) The structure is there but there had to be more. The characters need to care more about each other.

So there you have it.

Over the years, and I’ve been over quite a few, we adults find that things like work (jobs), school, judgmental friends and relatives, and society in general has totally beaten any inspiration and creativity out of us. Or at least they try damned hard to.

I never understood the disdain some people have for creativity, change, innovation, and inspiration. The artist is revered but damned if anyone wants to study art. The writer is mocked as a quaint hobbiest. The inventor is mocked with the mythical idea of the man who would rather spend his life inventing a better apple peeler, or mouse trap than feeding his children.

My advice to my children, and anyone else who finds everyone around them is trying to suck every bit of inspiration out of them, is don’t listen to them. Shut out those who say no. Shut out those who make condescending remarks. Shut out those who say your creativity, be in art, music, writing, or even science, is a waste of time. Shut them out. Make them more of a pariah than they want to make you.

Inspiration isn’t just some stupid workplace poster that usually insults rather than inspires.

Inspiration can come in any form. It can be love. It can be acorns that have fallen on your car. One idea inspires an entirely different idea out of nowhere. Just go with it. Don’t think about it too much. Just don’t listen to the assholes. They don’t want you to be inspired. Being inspired makes you dangerous. That is a good thing.

I also tell my kids that if they’re around those who are boorish and lack imagination, and lack empathy, and want to be jerks, to just keep their ideas to themselves. You don’t have to share your world with assholes.

Creativity doesn’t have to be monetized either. Don’t ever forget that. 

And when you’re young, and even if you’re not, it is OK to just move on.

Let yourself shine, even if it is just on the inside. Have satisfaction knowing that you aren’t like them.

Then share with those who care, and understand, and those who feel safe sharing their ideas with you as well. Yes, know you can always be inspired by listing to others. Your story is wonderful, but it isn’t the only story. Don’t shut others out.

In the meantime, since I’ve turned this post into a vent rather than what I was going to write (don’t mind me, I have other things to share so just move on to the items below.)

I recommend you check out the books below. These are four of the books that distracted me and got me thinking about other things. They are by two authors I admire and respect. I am honored to consider both friends.

They both have a reverence for words, and actually see the world around them. They’re observers of life, and love, and everything.

You might be inspired. You never know.

Sack Nasty
Prison Poetry by Ra Avis

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Dinosaur Hearted
By Ra Avis

dinosaurheartedcover

Centripetal Force and Other Stories
By Jon Obermeyer

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Wingspan
By John Obermeyer

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One last quote. This is something we don’t say often enough to each other.

You are loved.
~ Ra Avis

heart-kittens

For those looking more for the Vampire side of things, I understand Vlad will be back soon with mire diary entries.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Days, Ghosts, and Inspiration

coffee

Coffee with Vampires, Ghosts and Poe

I’ve been having a bad case of Empty Nest Blues lately. Yes, even without any kids in the house, or kids almost out of the house, I can do anything. Right? Yes, but like everything else it is always complicated with me. As I brooded about my lack of brood and lack of inspiration my brother Val stopped by for coffee.

As I filled the French Press with hot water, Val grabbed cups and poured in a shot of blood and half/half in each cup. He put two packages of Equal in his, one in mine.

“Dark day?” He asked.

“I feel frozen. But I’ll be fine. Tell me about your sorry existence.” That was a joke. Val has a lovely existence, especially for a Vampire.

We sat and talked about a lot of things. I thought about being inspired to be inspired.

I poured more coffee into my cup and posed a question to my brother. “What if Edgar Allen Poe had lived. He died in 1849, so he might have heard of the gold find in California. What if he’d live and come to California? What if he’d continued to write and eventually met Bret Harte and Mark Twain? What if he’d met Lotta Crabtree? What if he’d met us?”

“Imagine him on the ship with our parents. That would have been fun.”

“Poe would have loved them.”

“He would have ended up becoming a Vampire. Mom would have made sure of that.”

“Maybe,” I said. “He was so odd and broken, but he shouldn’t have died. I think he was murdered.”

“That’s the rumor.”

One idea leads to another, and I make mental notes for stories, books, and artwork that I think a lot about and might someday create, or finish, or forget. The thought is depressing, or exciting depending on who is thinking it. If I’m thinking it right now it seems vague and somewhat depressing, and impossible, and overwhelming. Tomorrow it might be another answer.

As we talked, and my mood brightened and became more hopeful, Val and I looked out the window into my back yard. We could see the ghosts, Nigel and Mary by the fence. They were dancing to music we couldn’t hear. Being ghosts, dealing with their own deaths, and murders, had taken a toll on both, but they pulled themselves out of their own broken fog and made a life after death for themselves. Love will do that. Don’t get me wrong, Nigel is still a major asshole, but sometimes I see that light I know he had when he was alive. Like with Poe, I wonder what he would have achieved had he lived. He’d be fifty-eight now, had he not died in 1986.

Nigel looked up at us and waved at Val. Then he looked at me. Our eyes locked, and he flipped me off. Then Nigel and Mary vanished, as she continued to dance, and he glared at me.

I can relate to the songs and dances of the broken. These are not all sad songs. They’re just songs of those who have maybe had more complex paths to wander along.

Val had always been along my path with me, but we’ve taken side trails alone.

But like with my brother’s visit, I always circle around and return to the joy and love of my family, my friends, and of my imagination.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

don't be a ghost

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/broken/

 

 

 

Disgusting Thoughts and Inspiration

I tried to come up with something, not exactly a metaphor, along the lines that if you beat a dead horse long enough you’ll get horse burgers, and a nice horse skin coat. Then it just seemed disgusting. Keep writing, and rewriting, and rewriting.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2016-11-10-13-25-09

 

 

Why moms swear more than anyone, stupid romance stories, what inspires my writing, and other unrelated thoughts.

If you want you can scroll down to the bottom to some links to something not so random. Or just go back to the All Hallows Eve post and read it again.

All Hollows Eve

All Hollows Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do mom’s swear so much?

I was driving down the road in the rain and I thought about moms and swearing. Moms swear a lot.

We don’t swear so much when our kids are small because they repeat everything we say. My daughter went to a lovely preschool we called “The Holy Roller Preschool.” It was at a large church that we did not attend. Only about half of the kids were members of the church. But it was the best preschool around. So one day when I picked up my little darling the school director said told me my daughter was saying “What the Hell.” and “God damn it,” all day long. I lied and said Grandma was in town and the kids picked up bad language from her. Of course I knew Grandma never swears and hasn’t said a swear word in 400 years.

SO why do we swear so much?

Any child will tell you “my mom swears in the car ALL THE TIME.” We all do it. We swear at our husbands too, especially when they aren’t around. The older our kids get the more we swear and the more F bombs we drop.

I don’t have an answer for you on this one. It is what it is. Every teenager will tell you “MY MOM SWEARS A LOT.”

All moms would like to yell SHUT THE FUCK UP a lot more. Oh well.

_______________________________

Don’t show your kids pictures or video of hairless chimps or gorillas. They’ll freak out (your kids, not the apes). Trust me on this one.

________________________________

Now for random romance…you can pass this part over. In fact I don’t blame you if you pass the entire post over today… just skip to the next joy and cheer filled Vampire post… I’ll have it up later.

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse… but it is so much fun…

I overheard my brother Max a few months back talking to his “friend.” Or she was talking to him quietly and calmly, neither one of them knowing I was out on his deck enjoying the view, frozen still as I strained to listen to their very private conversation.

He asked her, “Why didn’t you tell me how you felt about me?”

Then she told him, “You said you’d never love me. You said we could never have anything emotional. So I got involved with a string of losers who didn’t deserve me pretending, fooling myself into believing they were good enough for me. It was embarrassing. I sold myself cheap because I didn’t think I was good enough for you, so I settled. I was too young and stupid to know the difference. Either way, it didn’t matter because after you told me you were in love with someone else I gave up. Then I just got angry because I realized…I realized you would never love me and you thought I was an idiot, no matter how strong our connection. We were meant to be… but we can’t be. We’re perfect for each other but… I won’t let you take the lead again.”

“I never knew.” The tone in his voice was half real and half bull shit (yes, moms swear.)

Her voice was calm and low. “You always knew. Don’t talk about it again. I lied so you’d leave. I lied to protect myself.”

“That was 90 years ago.”

“Don’t. Just pretend I never said anything. Just pretend that the nights are ours and when we’re together it is our time alone. But don’t expect anything else Max. I can’t…”

I heard nothing. Was she crying? I didn’t hear a sob. I didn’t hear anything. They’re Vampires so they wouldn’t make any noise when they move, or hardly anything. So I stood against the wall and watched the lights of the boats on the San Francisco Bay. After what seemed like forever I heard Teddy call up. Max and his friend Mehitabel said a few uncomfortable words and went downstairs.

From the rest of the evening one would never know what had gone on between the two. Not that night, not any night. Why the Hell didn’t they talk about this stuff decades ago? Why now all the sudden? I roll my eyes. I do it again.

I followed down a few minutes later. Nobody asked me where I was. I don’t think anyone missed me. There was a house full of Vampires. Unlike my brother Andrew’s parties, Max rarely had non-Vampires at his home.

I was feeling like I’d just dropped into a bad romance novel.

My son Garrett who is now living in the dorms in a college south of here is experiencing the same thing. He hears a lot of drama in the dorm rooms and at parties on and off campus. He takes it all in then slips bits of wisdom and advice innocently into his conversations. Or so he tells me.

He is a flirt but he keeps the girls from falling in love with him. It is an important skill for a Vampire to have. But heaven forbid he get tangled with a Vampire girl. I’m just saying that as a mom. You know, this is Vampire Maman, and those of us who are Vampire parents have complicated lessons to teach our young adult Vampire children.

None of us are perfect and heaven knows I made my share of mistakes. That said, I talk to my kids about these things so they’ll be smart. Drama isn’t always that great and it can last a long time. Be smart. Think twice before getting into bed with someone. Know where her heart is. Know where your heart is.

Our brother Aaron, who was also downstairs with his wife Verity has been married 134 years. I can’t ever remember them having any drama. They’re still darling together.

vm pair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m revisiting some work of mine that needs to be finished – writing work. On my computer is a 250,000 + word epic adventure of romance, magic, technology and friendship. I’m 90% done but not quite sure what to do with it. It was one of the first pieces I started when I got back into writing after years of, well, not writing.

So Ms Kings what inspires your writing? You might ask this if you run into me in a dark alley sometime…

Real life, news stories, interesting random stuff that flies past my brain and reading what others write.

I find that authors who inspire me don’t write the way I do. I don’t want to copy anyone or emulate their style. But reading the stories of others get me thinking. It make my mind active. And active mind is a creative mind.

Speaking of creative minds, Matthew Pearl, one of my favorite authors is coming out with a new book in April.

I was fortunate to find his Facebook page a few years ago, when I started to get serious about writing again. His thoughts on research and writing inspired me to write more. I need to do a post on his work and that of other favorite authors of mine but tonight I’ll just post a clip from an email he sent (and his are infrequent because he is not a spammer):

From Author Matthew Pearl:

On to news of the next novel! It’s called THE LAST BOOKANEER. It will be
published in the US by Penguin Press on April 28, 2015, and around the
same time in the UK by Harvill Secker. It’s about literary thieves in
the 19th century (fuller tease at the end of this email). Because I like
to keep my emailing to an average of 1-2 emails a year for those who
prefer slim inboxes, please make sure to check back in on my site
(www.matthewpearl.com) for further news, the cover, and also stay up to
date by choosing to “like” my Facebook author page,
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Pearl-author/29977879540 …and
follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/MatthewPearl

Want to be the first to get the book? Pre-order now! Here or your
favorite book selling site:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Bookaneer-Matthew-Pearl/dp/1594204926

As always, I’m honored to have you as readers.

THE LAST BOOKANEER

Mystery, celebrity, theft – and a thrilling adventure set at the ends of
the earth…

On the island of Samoa, in a house perched on a cliff beneath a
smoldering volcano, a dying Robert Louis Stevenson labours over a new
novel. It is rumored that this may be the author of Treasure Island’s
greatest masterpiece.

On the other side of the world this news fires the imaginations of the
bookaneers, literary pirates who steal the latest manuscripts by famous
writers to smuggle them to a hungry public. But a changing world means
the bookaneers will soon become extinct.

Two adversaries set out for the south Pacific: Pen Davenport, a tortured
criminal genius haunted by his past and Belial, his nemesis. Both dream
of fortune and immortality with this last and most incredible heist.

THE LAST BOOKANEER thrillingly depicts the lost world of these doomed
outlaws, a tropical island with a violent destiny, a brewing colonial
war and a reclusive genius directing events from high in his mountain
compound.

____________________________________

Thank you Matthew Pearl for the inspiration and research tips. Thank you for your wonderful well researched and well written books. Forgive me for my rambling on your behalf.

___________________________________

Other important news:

For the first time ever my dog and my cat slept together on the same bed. It is the dog’s bed but the cats took it over a while back. Cute stuff.

Jasmine is somewhat uneasy that Oscar the cat is sleeping on her bed.

Jasmine is somewhat uneasy that Oscar the cat is sleeping on her bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For something you might want to read click on the links below:

Ode to a Greek God

Vampire House Warming

Dancing on the Beach

A Night at the Crest

Mysterious Meeting on Cold Dark Nights

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

______________________________________

vm_rick

Follow the light of truth…

Who knows where the world may turn us, only a fool would say
Who knows what the fates may have in store
Follow the light of truth as far as our eyes can see
How should we know where that may be? How should we know?

The song played at random from the USB link Sync in my car. It is music that seems so ancient and unfamiliar to my kids, to most people, since it wasn’t as popular as a pop song full of love and the promise of sex or angst. It has stuck in my head all week. Not like the dance music at the roller rink, but in a haunting way that brings back memories that go back far before the song was written.

Follow the light of truth as far as our eyes can see.

As far as our eyes and hearts can see.

I sat on my deck, the husband and kids off in the night with friends.

A cold wind came across my face and I looked up to see the Ghost looking out over the oak trees and the meadow beyond.

“Gaudi. I wish that album had come out when I was alive. 1987 a year after I died.”

“You can hear it now.”

“It isn’t the same when you’re dead, when you’re a ghost. Just like some things aren’t the same when you’re a Vampire. And YOU are a Vampire.”

“You have a point Ghost.”

The Ghost looked at me sideways and gave me a rare smile. “You know the light of truth, we both do.”

“Maybe,” I said, “maybe everyone does somewhere locked inside.”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/daily-prompt-inspiration/

 

road morning

Allen Parsons Project: La Sagrada Familia (lyrics for entire song)

Who knows where the road may lead us, only a fool would say
Who knows if we’ll meet along the way
Follow the brightest star as far as the brave may dare
What will we find when we get there

La Sagrada Familia we pray the storm will soon be over
La Sagrada Familia for the lion and the lamb

Who knows where the winds will blow us, only a fool would say
Who knows if we’ll ever reach the shore
Follow a rising sun with eyes that may only stare
What kind of fire will burn us there? What kind of fire?
Only a fool would say

La Sagrada Falilia the wind has changed the storm is over
La Sagrada Familia for the lion and the lamb
La Sagrada Familia we thank the lord the danger’s over
La Sagrada Familia there’s peace throughout the land

Under clear blue skies our voices rise in songs of glory
And for all those years our eyes and ears were filled with tears

Who knows where the world may turn us, only a fool would say
Who knows what the fates may have in store
Follow the light of truth as far as our eyes can see
How should we know where that may be? How should we know?

Then the angry skies, the battle cries, the sounds of glory
And for all those years our eyes and ears were filled with tears

Who knows where the road may lead us, only a fool would say
Who knows wha’s been lost along the way
Look for the promised land in all of the dreams we share
How will we know when we are there? How will we know?
Only a fool would say

La Sagrada Falilia the war is won the battle’s over
La Sagrada Familia for the lion and the lamb
La Sagrada Familia we thank the lord the danger’s over
La Sagrada Familia behold the mighty hand
La Sagrada Familia the night is gone the waiting’s over
La Sagrada Familia there’s peace throughout the land

Until the next time
Until the next time

La Sagrada Familia