Archive for May 2012

Well, here we are, Dearest Readers,

The path to book two is fraught with bumps and curves. The blocks have been frequent, the distractions aplenty and the motivation there but untimely. That being said, I am 24,000 words in and the story keeps getting better. Chapter 1 – 12 have now made me realize just how different characters can be. I started this series with a contemplative young man attempting to define his world. That sensibility worked so well for a first narrator. He gave us the description of where we were and why with an introspective nuance that left me wondering about details but not missing them because he gave us what he noticed.

For this novel, I’ve changed narrators. Jules will be our guide into the next portion of the adventure. There’s more action and travel in this second of three novels in the series. Jule’s perspective on the word is thoroughly explored and his very straightforward take on society is evident. There are more twists and turns by far in this novel as we follow the pursuit of truth about fairykind on a whole new level.

It seems that the Harcos were just the tip of the glacier. Without spoiling it for you, suffice to say, there is much more to this earth and her inhabitants than simply growing on it, certain species have not adapted, but assimilated to the earth herself. There are forces at work on this planet we can only dream of. Things that connect us we cannot perceive. Someone can perceive, manipulate and utilize in unimaginable ways the natural forces around them.

It’s not magic, it’s biology, physics, geology, and chemistry that allow for the seemingly miraculous things around us. Take for instance how mystifying our world still is to us. There is so much in the ground itself that we cannot comprehend. Many have assumed, theorized, even attempted to discern the inner workings of her. She, this fabulous orb that spawned our race and the race of fairy, has yet to in our own age, be tapped to a fraction of her potential. In this story, we will see how it was tapped, used, improved, and made to create wonders within itself.

I won’t say that the book is remotely an environmental statement. The central theme is more of the same from the first book, “What humans do not, can not, or refuse to understand, we will attempt to control. Our fear drives us to pretend that we are in charge of this planet. It allows us the definitive justification that we can destroy at will because what we create in the aftermath of destruction must be better than the earth itself could have done.” This quote from the new novel reemphasizes the point of questioning human supremacy and brings about the possibility of our own flaws that we have discovered through our own scientific might.

The element of steampunk that resides subtly in the novels is my way of bringing about the realization that Victorian craftsmanship and sensitivity to art as functional should be explored. The novel takes place in a fictitious world that may be running in parallel to ours on some other dimensional plane. That does not negate the fact that we should really take a good long hard look at how we handle technology, particularly in America, as a disposable thing. It makes little sense that we should ignore our own shortsightedness toward craftsmanship and art as vital parts to a higher cultured society.

I do hope to keep you all updated as to the progress of the novel and even the third as I go forward. Keep visiting the blog for more updates and commentary from my little world to yours.

Yours in Art,

Jason

Punk: Effecting social change by protesting with your very lifestyle.

What is the biggest issue infecting the society around us: planned obsolescence. The rapidity of change in technology and the need of everyone to have the latest, shiniest, fastest toy on the market is overwhelming. To top it off, entertainment is our biggest growth industry. Not the solid entertainment of culture like theatre, art, or even film. The biggest new thing is the escapism of the computer.

For decades, we’ve been warned that our youth have had their brains warped and fried by these screens. From the onset of the television to today’s instant gratification motivated society. If the computer doesn’t react instantaneously, we become upset and even enraged. I have fallen into this trap many times myself. Just this morning, I was praying, actually calling upon a supreme being to heal my computer so that I could continue with my life. My work, my art, my pictures of life, my very memory and creativity is reliant upon this conglomeration of plastic and circuits.

I find this slightly disturbing. The virtual instant world is our reality more than the tangible. So how do we change it? Embrace it and alter it. Modify the world around us to be handcrafted and beautiful, not disposable. This is a tenant of the art of steampunk.

I am proud to embrace this philosophy of altering our need for the fast-paced with the beauty of finery and craftsmanship. The fact that I am able to reach a wider world with this is enriching. That you, Dearest Readers, may take a portion of my diatribe as worthwhile makes technology viable and useful rather than disposable. Let us all not get so use to throwing things away here in America and other civilized nations, lest we throw ourselves and our culture away.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-maurice-sendak-20120509,0,4823266.story

In order to make one understand what human nature is, a person must be cultivated from his/her earliest sections of life. Just as the psyche is forming the ability to understand complex thoughts and concepts, it should be nurtured by images and words that provide tools for how to be human. Maurice Sendak understood this and profoundly more. His images guided generations of people to Where the Wild Things Are. Here in this world we could be a little boy searching for the way out of life only to discover that we need to be not only involved, but caring and cared for to survive.

Maurice brought us conflict and resolution in dream worlds where the most extraordinary things kept us laughing and questioning ourselves and the wider scope of society. He was controversial in his art; pressing the limits and being banned in some circumstances because he would not compromise his integrity of vision. Milestones take us to new heights in the world of art, not only illustration. When we reflect upon such things as his thread of the horror faced by children in the world, particularly the Holocaust. The Washington Post quotes him in today’s paper with several wonderful memories of how he helped us all realize our inner power as people.

An admitted obsession with “children and their survival” and the “humongous heroism of children” fueled a career of groundbreaking darkness in children’s literature. President Bill Clinton presented him with the National Medal of Arts in 1996, saying, “His books have helped children to explore and resolve their feelings of anger, boredom, fear, frustration and jealousy.” – Washington Post May 8, 2012 Becky Krystal

Not restricted to the singular art form, Maurice pushed the limits of all artistic expression to make his message known, as the Washington Post also reports.

In addition, Mr. Sendak worked in film, television and opera. In the early 2000s, he collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner on a restaging and book adaptation of Hans Krasa’s children’s opera “Brundibar,” which had long been associated with being performed by children imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp.

“The Holocaust has run like a river of blood through all my books,” Mr. Sendak once said, explaining that as the child of Jewish immigrants from Poland, the Nazi death camps were never far from his mind.

Mr. Sendak’s greatest achievement was to elevate the picture book “to an individual, contained art form that integrates words and illustration,” said Cathryn M. Mercier, director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College in Boston.

Just as significant, Mercier said, was Mr. Sendak’s success in introducing a dark, often surreal vision to a field long dominated by cuteness and the preciousness of childhood.

Mercier said the Sendak trilogy of “Where the Wild Things Are” (1963), “In the Night Kitchen” (1970) and “Outside Over There” (1981) “crashed open the gates” for what themes authors could address in children’s literature. – Washington Post May 8, 2012 Becky Krystal

Ms. Krystal reports so well his life and work, I did place a link to the LA Times above, but also please follow this link to the Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/maurice-sendak-author-and-illustrator-of-works-about-childrens-survival-dies/2012/05/08/gIQA8lXMAU_story.html

My earliest memory of Sendak’s work was reading Where the Wild Things Are to my sister when she was a toddler. Growing up in an artistic family, we were surrounded by works such as this to inspire and educate us. I later went with her to the film version and we sat in awe as to how it still spoke to us in this form. In fact, the film seemed more for us as adults than it did for the children who sat around the theatre seeing images of amazing creatures but not understanding the nuances of the psychology behind the story and image.

I, for one, will always teach my children the power of thought, dreams, and challenging oneself. I have Maurice Sendak and my parents to thank for that since they taught me and he reinforced it with beauty and meaning.

Rest in Peace. May the muses guide you to eternal rest in the dream of beauty.