Back to Basics

So in my last post I mentioned some watercolor paints I’d found on Indiegogo and said I’d been thinking about trying my hand at watercolors. I ended up doing some research on watercolor painting, discovered Copic markers, and so I went out and bought some of each, pulled out an old unopened set of sketch pencils I had as well as an unopened package of watercolor pencils and set to work… Here are some of the results:

Traditional Watercolor:

Copic Markers:

Watercolor Pencils, water, ink

More to come, I’m sure:)


I’ve been searching around for several months for a creative hobby…hands-on creative. I used to paint, and I have missed that, but I always painted in oils on canvas or acrylics on wood (yes, that I cut myself:)

I’ve been thinking of trying watercolor painting and then this popped up on my Facebook timeline. The product looks amazing, and I can’t wait to get my set!!

This is what the paint kits look like, and you can also order a personalized wooden case for them. Very portable and convenient. If you go on the Indiegogo site, you can see video reviews of the paints. I was surprised at how vivid the colors are, and the artists who have reviewed them seem very impressed!

Just look at some of the amazing things people have created using these paints!

Children of Annihilation

memories_left_abandoned_by_99shadows-d5zzb8mProduct of a bleeding nation
The Children of Annihilation
Their minds confused, their spirits low
As they search for their salvation

Soldiers bear their battle scars
Speak softly of forgotten wars
While leaders laugh and strike their deals
The soldiers wish on fallen stars

A baby’s birth, an old man’s death
One meets earth, one takes a breath
One lays at rest, his journey complete
The other’s barely started yet

The Children of Annihilation
The future of this dying nation
Can’t we lend a guiding hand
To lead them on to their salvation?…



© 99shadows 1/16/1991
(this one actually became a song for my husband’s old punk band, Psychodrama)


You raise your eyes up to the skies
And search for golden reason
You criticize, make us compromise
Then you put a tax on freedom
We look and see, we think we’re free
You blind us with confusion
We laugh and cry, you sympathize
Then call us an intrusion

© 99shadows 8/6/1985



The things that make her who she is. A child’s face gazing up from a deep abyss, innocence lost in the touch of a hand, the flick of a tongue where a tongue shouldn’t be. The fear of telling the one person who should be told. The words of a monster . . . “You did this. It’s your fault.” A life lived with fear and guilt that should have been lived with Barbies and dress-up games.

A 45-rpm record on a turntable, relentlessly cranking out a song that will haunt her forever, send chills down her spine and prompt a return trip to the abyss, the one safe place to be, where there are demons to keep the monsters at bay.

A sneer across a dinner table as they say they’re going out and she [it] has come to babysit. Leaving her alone with it again. A single tear (“Baby!”) overlooked and laughed at, left to drip silently onto a half-eaten mound of mashed potatoes.

A scar that runs too deep to cover, a rift straight to the abyss, where the demons become her friends and show her things she shouldn’t see (“Witch!”). She walks disguised in darkness, day and night, the underneath never showing on the surface, the facade etched with pain mistaken as weakness (“Loser!”).

A laugh, a jeer, a taunting face. She holds out her arm, long slim finger pointing. A burst of energy from the abyss and the demons bring peace. Justice. They keep their distance now (“Witch!”).

Nightmares filled with angels disguised as demons chasing her. She retreats to the abyss, where the demons drive the angels away and keep her safe, teach her things she needs to know. To be safe.

Older now, a touch on soft skin, a flutter where a flutter shouldn’t be. Or should it? A faltering step toward the abyss, toward safety, then two back. A touch, a shiver. Two steps forward. (“Jesus Christ!”) Anger, the touch growing rough. Lust. (“Bitch!”) Then down, down, where it’s safe. (“Bitch! What’s wrong with you?!”)

Older still, another touch, rough and hurried. The abyss isn’t so close this time. A laugh and a jeer. (“Cunt!”) She can hear the demons, there’s safety there in the abyss. She moves forward. (“Frigid!”)

Older still, but young again, this time a soft hand, gentle. A word (“love”) where the word shouldn’t be. Or should it? The demons are silent. The word again (“love”), not in her vocabulary, but could it be? Another gentle touch, the word spoken (“love”). This is truth, she knows it. And safety. Part of what makes her who she is, a child’s innocence returned at last, a little shattered, a little dusty, a little bruised, returned with one word (“love”). Same abyss, different name. Release, rapture, safety.

This is truth. The Bitch is back.

© 99shadows 10/27/1992

Dancing Flame

candle-newBefore a dancing flame she cries
Alone again, she will survive
Her mane of gold, a shadow now
Of life and living, no longer known

C for cancer, takes its toll
Before a flame, she cries alone
Color fades, shades of grey
Will she face another day?

Regrets abound, framed in sorrow
Thinking of her lost tomorrows
Before a dancing candle flame
A young life lost, herself to blame.

Wrote this a long, long time ago, no idea what inspired it. Maybe when I was trying to quit smoking?

Random Crap


The character was named RavenEris; she morphed from a humanoid form to a raven. This was from probably around 1999 or so?


Born under a dark moon, Raven spends endless nights flying over battlefields, accompanying warriors on their path of death and destruction. A symbol of occult wisdom and power, the Raven is a messenger of the spirit world…and a trickster, as is her Greek counterpart, Eris, goddess of chaos, disorder, and confusion. She will stand to the death beside a true friend, but enemies beware… A guardian through the cycle of death and rebirth, the scintillating rainbow colors in the dark wings of Raven remind us that even in the midst of darkness, we have the power to touch the light…if we care to…which she seldom does…


Standing a mere 5’2″, her long ebony hair tinged with the rainbow glints so common to the raven and falling to just below her knees, with large blue eyes that can look into a person’s soul, Eris is an enigma wrapped in a mystery encased in a riddle surrounded by a conundrum – fitting…as she takes her name from the Greek goddess of discord, chaos, and confusion. A golden apple with a Greek letter “k” tattooed on her upper right arm, her diminutive size is deceiving as she has the strength and power of a case of TNT. Her large expressive eyes conceal the trickster within, the bitch waiting to escape, the ever-present yet ever-elusive goddess Discordia waiting for that one moment when she can throw the monkey wrench into any situation or expel conflict with laughter.

Morph from Raven to RavenEris:

Eris spreads her wings wide and stands tall, her talons swiftly and effortlessly becoming sleek black knee-high boots, her leather pants tight and culminating above the thighs to a thin waist, her pale torso bare from waist to navel, which is pierced with an ever-so-tiny silver ankh [there’s your Egyptian part…swiped from my favorite comic character, Gaiman’s Death;)], above…a skin-hugging black tank that shows her every delicious, delectable curve, the neckline cut just low enough to show a hint of cleavage, leaving the rest to the imagination since her long hair flows down over her shoulders, covering just enough to keep one wondering…exposing just enough to keep one wanting. On her back…a cape? The cape quivers, revealing itself instead to be an incredible and enormous pair of wings, glistening with faint rainbow glimmers, the sort created by sun glinting on an oil slick on a lonely country highway. Her luscious lips, painted a deep burgundy, so deep it’s nearly black…is that lipstick…or perhaps the remnants of last night’s dinner…?

Morph from RavenEris to Raven:

Planting her boot-clad feet firmly on the ground, Eris spreads her wings wide and brings them down and around to cover her diminutive form. For a moment she seems to disappear – there’s a flicker and a puff of air as the Raven takes flight, landing on a nearby ledge to gaze eerily into the room.


If then, as you tell me, they are willing to restore my
liberty if I am willing to pay for it by the sacrifice
of my principles or my tastes, we may bid one another
eternal adieu, for rather than part with those,
I would sacrifice a thousand lives and a thousand
liberties, if I had them.
Marquis de Sade

The most merciful thing in the world,
I think, is the inability of the human mind
to correlate all its contents.
H.P. LovecraftThe Call of Cthulhu

Here´s to the losers
Substance abusers
To the rejects
All the imperfects
To the retarded
And the broken-hearted
To the starving masses
And the lower classes
´Cause I think we´re beautiful
The most beautiful in the world
Warrior SoulThe Losers

Tonight a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely
energy condensed to a slow vibration,
that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively,
there’s no such thing as death, life is only a dream,
and we’re in the imagination of ourselves.
Here’s Tom with the weather . . .

The Devil whispered behind the leaves,
“It’s pretty, but is it Art?”
Rudyard Kipling

All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good;
And, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear,
Whatever is, is right.
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man

All that we see or seem
is but a dream within a dream.
Edgar Allen Poe

Unofficial Discover Me Challenge: 20 Questions

This post was prompted by this article.


20-questions-logo1. What’s your life motto, or philosophy you live by?

If you don’t have something nice to say to the person you’re talking to, then find someone else among the other 7 billion people on the planet to whom you DO have something nice to say.

Life’s too short to be an asshole, and the world needs fewer assholes. If we all just surrounded ourselves with people we actually like, turn the other cheek to those we don’t like (or who don’t like us) and let people just be themselves, the world would be a much lovelier place.

2. What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

There isn’t really just one thing, but these things all sort of go together: My creativity, my imagination, my mind, my insatiable curiosity. I love that I have managed to maintain some of the wonder I had as a child and still remain curious about life, the universe, and everything.

3. Do you follow a religion or spiritual practice?

I say I’m an atheist, sometimes an agnostic, but I don’t really think the answer is that black and white. The closest I’ve been able to find to what I think about the world around me is the Hindu term “namaste,” which roughly means “the spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you.”

namasteI think there is a “divine spark” in all of us, though I don’t know if that’s even what it is. I think we are all connected on some deeper level than just being members of the same species. I believe there’s something much deeper…our soul?…that connects us all to each other. Most belief systems have something in their teachings about the connectedness of all things. Even Christianity was based on the gnosis, which was the belief that we can all become “one with God.”

I don’t think we’re only connected to each other, I think we’re connected to everything–the animals, the plants, the Earth–I think we’re connected on a level even more infinitesimal than the atomic level.

4. What was the best time of your life?

The best time of my life is probably right now…because it’s only in the last several years that I’ve finally been able to throw away some of the inhibitions of my youth and accept myself for the weird, strange, eccentric, wonderful being that I am.

5. What was the worst thing that ever happened to you?

Losing my father when I was 24 years old and he was 47. It was hard for a number of reasons, not least of all being that my brother was only 14, so I did a lot of mourning for him before I ever really mourned for my own loss.

missmydadThe loss of my dad was a catalyst for the way my views would change for the rest of my life. It’s almost as if that one event, that one moment in time, changed everything–from the way I viewed religion to the way I interacted with people to the way I lived my life from that point on.

When I returned to work the week after my dad died, suddenly the petty squabbles between my coworkers seemed just that–petty. I found myself thinking instead of reacting; rather than taking offense at a comment, I’d think on it, then tell the person why their comment was offensive. I lost a few “friends” in the few years after my dad’s death, mostly because they didn’t like me calling them out on their bigotry or offensiveness. Tough shit.

That day shaped my life in ways I probably still haven’t even realized. It opened my eyes to the sheer brevity of life–we are all in the same world and none of us is getting out alive; it’s therefore a waste of precious time to spend so much of our energy on hate and bigotry. There is plenty of room in the world for all of us. Live and let live.

6. What’s your biggest dream?

writingMy biggest dream. I think my biggest personal dream would be to finally be able to finish a book; to be able to really consider myself a writer. I know that the only thing required to be a writer is to write, but I’d be kidding myself if I said we write only for ourselves. Yes, the stories I write are stories I write because I want to read them–but I also want to share them. I guess too…I want to be able to leave something of myself behind. Body and mind fade away; but the things we create with our imagination and our creativity–those things are eternal.

7. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a writer and an artist. To me, they’re both the same thing. Painting with words is no less a form of art to me than running a brush across a canvas or sculpting clay into something tangible. Words, music, paint, clay, fabric, etc.–these are the tools we use to create things we want to share with the world, to let little pieces of our soul out into the world for others to enjoy.

8. What was/is your biggest accomplishment?

Seriously? Probably myself. Maybe that’s egotistical or conceited; I don’t think it is, though. My childhood could have sent me on a few different trajectories, not all of them very good–and I’m proud of the fact that I definesusmanaged to choose a decent one. My only regret is that it took me so long to realize it and to gain the self-confidence and self-esteem necessary to finally say “Fuck it, I am who I am, and I am fucking AWESOME!”

9. Why do you think we’re all here?

I’ll put one of my favorite quotes here: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

That’s what I think. I think we’re here to learn something, and one of the things so many people miss is that the destination is not what it’s about. It doesn’t matter where we go after this life (Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Summerland, etc.). The journey itself is the reason we are here. The journey is the destination.

10. What was your best relationship?

My best relationship was the one I had with my brother, especially when he was young. Having endured my mother for as long as I had and seeing her beginning to treat my brother the same way she had treated me, my goal in life at a very young age (he is 11 years younger than I) became to keep him safe and help form him into a kind, loving, intelligent human being. Mission: fucking accomplished!

11. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

everybodyshumanI’d want everyone to be able to look at everyone else as a wondrous and amazing creature of individuality and beauty; to see beyond what their eyes see–beyond skin color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, class, religion, faith, etc.–and just see the soul of people.

12. Do you like your job? If not, what would you like to do instead?

Honestly, no. I wish I’d gone to school to be a teacher or a writer; working as a secretary is not for me. It pays the bills:(

13. What are you favorite hobbies?

Writing, reading, image editing, photography, fangirling.

14. If money was no object, what would you do in life?

First? I’d pay off all my loved ones’ bills. Then I would be a full-time writer and I’d travel all over the world.

15. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?

I think so, but I’m not sure. I had a boyfriend who dumped me on my 21st birthday and went back to his former girlfriend. A year or so later, I got a letter from him saying that breaking up with me had been the biggest mistake of his life and asking if I’d give him a second chance. I replied back that I don’t give second chances and that I deserved better. Did I break his heart? Who knows. But that’s about the closest I think I’ve come.

infp16. What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful for my family and friends; my mind and my creativity.

17. What do you wish people understood more about you?

That I am not shy, I’m introverted; that I need time alone to recharge sometimes; that I feel deeply.

18. If you could turn back time and do anything differently, would you?

Absolutely. I’d probably stand up for  myself–to the bullies and to my mother.

19. What’s the craziest, or most exciting thing you’ve ever done?

Craziest…I once “stalked” a cute guy I “met” at a local carnival (yes, he was a carny) from Massachusetts to upstate New York and drove there to see him for a weekend (my sister went with me; I’m not that stupid). Very non-introvert thing for me to do, but it was probably the very beginning of my gaining of self-esteem and assertiveness. Not my proudest moment, but it could have turned out a whole lot worse (lucky for us, those carnys weren’t bad people:)

20. What do you think about most often?

E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. For real. My brain is constantly churning, I think about everything all the time.

I’m gonna tag my bestie JustSomeJane here and demand that she do this too;)

How Did You Love?


insp0034First, I need to explain something with this post. Music has been a therapist for me throughout most of my life. I spent a lot of my childhood without a lot of friends and with a mother who really didn’t want me, so I also spent a lot of time alone, doing things that people do when they are alone–reading, writing, getting lost in my imagination and in fictional worlds, listening to music.

To me, music isn’t just background noise. It has meaning; it’s magical; it’s therapeutic. Music sometimes makes me feel the same way as some art does or some pieces of literature or a philosophical quote.

Musicians–and I don’t care if it’s a blues artist, a rock star, a hip-hop artist, or a dubstep DJ–are our modern-day philosophers. Art isn’t just painting or love-music-so-much-daily-quotes-sayings-pictures-810x787sculpting or drawing; art is writing, art is composing, art is dreaming–however any of us dreams–and then finding a way of expressing those dreams to the world, whether it’s in a song, a painting, a sculpture, a dance movement, or a series of words that bring a world or a character to life.

So when I listen to music, it’s not just sound that makes me feel good. I hear all its parts; I savor the melody, the beat, hear the bass, the guitar, the drums, the instrument of the singer’s voice, the words that they’re sharing.

Anyway, Shinedown is one of those bands whose lyrics speak to me; so many of their songs, it feels like they’re speaking directly to me (Bully is an obvious one). In my blog post yesterday, I made a meager attempt to describe how I see the world, and this morning, I heard Shinedown’s How Did You Love while I was getting ready for work, and I realized that it actually is in a similar vein with my post from yesterday.

Nothing ever feels quite the same when you are what you dreamed
And you will never look at anything the same when you see what I see
How we forget ourselves, lose our way from the cradle to the grave
You can’t replicate or duplicate, gotta find your own way woah

No one gets out alive, every day is do or die
The one thing you leave behind
Is how did you love, how did you love?
It’s not what you believe, those prayers will make you bleed
But while you’re on your knees
How did you love, how did you love, how did you love?

This ain’t no cross to carry
We are the judge and jury, we are the judge and jury

I see people every day chasing their tail, trying so hard to be what they think the people around them want them to be, as if it matters what people think of 114192-just-be-yourselfthem. It has taken me a lifetime to realize that what others think of you doesn’t really matter. The only person whose opinion of you matters is the one that looks back at you from the mirror. In the end, it doesn’t matter what people thought of you, all that matters is how you loved; how you made people feel.

I see this in my own life. I was raised by a mother who probably would have been better off not having had children. She is very self-centered and narcissistic, more worried about what people think of her than what kind of person she is. To the outside world, she projects a light that some people can’t see through, and so they think, ‘Oh, what a saint she is.’ But to those of us who know her, she has an ugly heart; she is vindictive and mean-spirited, cold-hearted and entitled. Is it enough for ten people to think, ‘What a nice lady’ when there is even one person who has been on the receiving end of a barbed insult or a flying fist? I don’t think so.

This is the reason that I try so hard to not cause conflict, to not upset people, and when I do? It destroys a part of me. I fuck up sometimes, and I almost never forgive myself; that’s just part of my nature. My mother holds grudges against anyone and everyone; I hold grudges only against myself.

This line right here:

How we forget ourselves, lose our way from the cradle to the grave

That’s the saddest line in the entire song to me. When you look into the face of a child, you see pure truth, innocence, wonder, hope–so many things that we lose rekindle-your-childlike-wonder-bsol-535as we grow and experience the world, and it’s so sad to me that the reason we lose those things isn’t because we’re supposed to, it’s because other people have caused us to lose them. Those things–those are the things I’ve tried to get back over the last dozen years or so…to reconnect with my inner child, to recapture the magic of looking at the world with new eyes, with innocent eyes, and not colored by the perceptions I’ve been taught. We strive so hard for “things” when all we should be striving for is to be ourselves.

Stop trying to be who you think others want you to be. Stop trying to make other people be what you want them to be. Just be you, and know that those people who are supposed to be in your life will accept you exactly the way you are. It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how new your car is, how much money you make or what job you have; in the end, the only thing that matters is how you made people feel. That’s your legacy.


Soul to Soul

human-beings-1So yesterday I was having a text conversation with my bestie Nichole where we were talking about how amazing it is to watch children grow up, to become the people they will become. Nichole said she was a girly girl when she was a kid, and I said I was very much not.

Then I said something that I sorta want to save somewhere because I kinda sorta surprised myself with the words. Half the time, I don’t know where some of it comes from. So just sharing it for posterity here:

I didn’t realize how non-girly girl I really was until just now…hated dresses, played baseball, was the one all the boys got to catch snakes and bugs and stuff because they were chicken, played with hot wheels, read superhero comics, rode my bike over higher ramps than the boys dared….hahahaha!

I think I’m in the wrong body!

What we are on the outside doesn’t always match what we are on the inside. Not talking sex or gender. Talking body and soul. Only when we let our soul out do we share who we really are.

I have no clue where that last bit came from, but it may have been my subconscious mind simply expressing how I feel inside in a way that I actually can understand. Because in thinking about it afterwards, it really is exactly how I feel. And it’s so difficult to express it to other people.

I don’t relate to people as people, but as souls. Like, I am not a woman; that’s just one little part of the whole wondrous being that is “me.” I’m not white; that’s just another part of me. I’m both of those things, but I’m also a mother, a sister, a wife, a daughter, a niece, an aunt, a secretary, an artist, a writer, a witch, a weirdo, a genealogist, a friend, a reader, a fangirl, a gamer, an atheist, a liberal, a foodie, a headbanger…all of those things, and then some, melt together to make me who I am. I am not a mother. I am not a sister. I am not an atheist. I am not a headbanger. I am ALL of those things and more. Most of those things aren’t things you can tell by looking at a person; it’s not in the way I look or the type of clothes I wear; most of the things that make me me are not physical traits; it’s something inside.

I think that’s why I (a) don’t see “race” or sexual orientation or gender identity as something to be concerned about and (b) don’t really understand why everyone doesn’t see things this way. Try this. Say these things out loud:

“You are inferior to me because your skin is brown.”

“You are stupid because you are a man and you are married to a man.”

“You are less than me because you have a penis and dress like a woman.”

How stupid did each of those things sound when you said them out loud? How embarrassed or ashamed did you feel verbalizing those things? <–This is how I feel.

Or did it not sound stupid or shameful at all to you? <–This is not how I feel, and I don’t understand it:(

feed-ego-feed-soulI don’t see people, I see souls. I don’t think we fall in love with people, we fall in love with souls. I wish I could make more people see that because it is life-changing when you finally do get it. If we fall in love with souls, then it changes the whole perspective of what love really is. It’s why I think people falling in love with people of the same sex is a completely natural thing; it’s why I definitely don’t believe that “sexual orientation” is a “choice.”

Souls have no gender identity, no sexual orientation, no color, no race, no religion; a soul simply is – it’s everything and nothing, it’s falling in love with a feeling or an emotion, the twinkle in an eye when you hear a child’s laughter, the feeling that washes over you when you hear a piece of music or see a work of art that truly moves you; all of those things are your soul speaking to you and saying, “This. This right here is what is important.”

The older I get, the more I realize that this is part of the reason I’ve had so much difficulty relating to people for probably most of my life – because I don’t see the world the same way 44879-whatever-s-good-for-your-soul-do-that“normal” people do. Things aren’t always black and white. It’s why I end up pissing off both sides in an argument…because I don’t see or acknowledge the limitations that others do.

But then, there are sometimes when it really is a matter of black and white. When I see a person with a black soul, I recognize them for their black soul, no matter how bright they try to shine their false light out into the world. That was something I learned from growing up in an intimate relationship with one of those kinds of souls. The problem with those types of souls is that they’re very easy to spot if you know how…but it’s very hard to convince other people of their true nature because they are masters at hiding their true selves.

Anyway, this is all random, and I wanted to get some thoughts down. So there they are. I’ll come back later and see if they make any sense or if I need to add something LOL!