Monday, October 19, 2020

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Richard Alan Scott (New Entry 10/19/20)



Author: Richard Alan Scott
Rhode Island, USA

10/19/20

In the year 2013, as I took a break from life to get a triple bypass to my widow-maker artery and then recover (very slowly), there was a new short story collection by an author we all know that created quite a buzz. I had not heard of the person at the time but the gushing was so profligate that I could not ignore a dive into said collection.

I have been reading since the age of five and enjoying horror for just as long. This takes us through the period from 1961 to the present. For the first three decades of my life I read any horror I could get my hands on, but later I was more selective as I began to understand the sameness in many lesser efforts (see Grady Hendrix's Paperbacks from Hell). As a grown ass man of 40-63 I have really cut down on my horror as I find it is very difficult for an author to surprise or take me in, as I have seen it all.

By the same token I have a deep paranoia that I have to bring something new to the table in my writing. I try vehemently to remember if the idea I may have for a story or book is something everyone's been over a million times. Of course it is true that my sensibilities bring a different perspective to a tale, but that's not enough for me. I try to think of works that have done the same and how I may veer from them.

All this to say that I was not particularly impressed with this collection everyone was drooling over. Nothing against its author, I do try hard to support my fellow artists in all pursuits even if I am, by definition, not enthused. It is very hard to engage me after all I have consumed. I tend to enjoy criticism from writing pundits who lean on the curmudgeonly side, as deep down I often agree with them. In accordance with the discussion I began in my last entry, the stories in this collection fit the bill for the pervasive "ambiguous endings," or more accurately, no ending.

Recently, this group of tales has been given the TV/Movie treatment. I'm certain that many of the supporters of the collection are also enjoying the show, but I was shocked to find, on my favorite Entertainment website, JoBlo.Com, that the effort got a decidedly poor review and that the critic actually agreed with me about the work (more often today you encounter the perfunctory glad-handing review of various books and shows, the entertainment and writing communities being so incestuous).

"I can say with certainty that this may be one of the most depressing shows of 2020. In a year already rife with real-world problems ranging from racism to politics, pandemics, and more, this series debuts with a focus on the monsters inside us all. While this certainly makes for some intense subject matter, these self-contained tales only scratch the surface of these themes and only a few of them manage to delve deep enough to wrap with a satisfying conclusion.....there are up and down moments through all eight episodes. The most noticeable thing I found in (the show) is that the stories don't wrap up. There is a lot of build-up using supernatural elements or teases of actual monsters before you realize that these are all truly broken individuals with the horror elements all things that could be experienced in real life. ..... each story feels rushed and forced to fit into the approximately fifty minute run time, which leaves the endings with something to be desired. While I have no issue with stories featuring ambiguous endings, these episodes don't even end in a way that makes much sense..... we are left with episodes that force in the supernatural elements in a way that feels like an afterthought. (The show) ends up as a missed opportunity that will leave audiences underwhelmed and more disturbed than scared." 

As I point this out, I am as surprised as you. As I've said before, I'm well aware many people in the industries described don't agree with me- that the average person appreciates an ending that doesn't leave them scratching their head. The beloved Ramsey Campbell was kind enough to weigh in on my blog, saying "On the whole I find enigmas more satisfying and imaginatively engaging than explanations, and prefer suggestiveness to explicitness."

Thus I lean, as a writer, attempting to leave my readers satisfied if they want to be told what happened. There's every possibility it is an immaturity in me, but if so, one I share with millions.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Angelfire (Deadwood Sculpture)

This sculpture was created using a piece of dead wood found in the City Park Nature Preserve in New Orleans. It is 32" high and sits on a 7" x 7" weighted base. The color was created using crayons which were laid in place using a soldering iron and a heat gun to merge the colors. The process for this sculpture took approximately 6 days. 5 hours for the cleaning, 3 hours for the preservation of the wood using a spray epoxy and the remaining time devoted to the color process. 

When completed the whole sculpture went through a final preservation phase using a high gloss polyurethane to coat, seal and to bring the color out. 

The final sculpture weighs 10 Pounds can be purchased for $500 plus Shipping and Handling. Please be aware because of the weight and fragility of the piece, special care is taken to ship and avoid breaking. Please consider this before purchasing. 








 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Autumn 2020 Outdoor Studio Re-opening (Day 2)

 

When I began building the first outdoor studio in August of 2019, I'd not considered how it would hold up against a bad storm. As fate would have it, only a few days after its completion it was destroyed by a tropical storm. Not only destroyed, but decimated. That was my first lesson in outdoor studio building. I let it lay dormant until October and I began afresh, intent that it would not come apart so easily. In fact this time I anchored directly to the back of the house. If it was going anywhere, it was going to take the house with it.

I was still not finished with it (nor probably ever will) when summer returned to New Orleans in April of 2020 and I was forced to give it up, hoping it would stay together through the long hot months to come. 

I shored up the walls on two sides with heavy 2 x 8's and removed anything that was not strong enough to take a gale wind. And then with a whisper of a prayer to the Gods of Art, I shut off the lights and left it to itself. On midsummers night, I decided to take a quick look at how it was fairing. We'd already come through one tropical storm by that then and I figured it was a good time to check and make sure it wasn't in a heap. 

Surprisingly, inside the structure it was almost as I had left it. A five minute walk through revealed nothing concerning and I retired back to the cool household for the next 3 months.

Here it is, the last week in September and the first week where the temperatures were finally coming down. This is unusual. We easily have 100 degree days into October.  It was time to survey the space. Mind you that no less than four major storms had come near to New Orleans between June and September including last weekend. I braced myself for the worst.

I wanted to wait until evening because that is truly the most amazing time to be in the studio. With a candle in my hand I made my way down the weed choked pathway to the back of the house. That would be the first task during the day. A clean cut of the pathway and anything else that needed weed whacking. 

Using my candle I reconnected my power system to the area and prayed a few of the lights still worked. With a click the studio came back to life in a blaze of light and glory. 

My outdoor studio had survived! 

There was little to know damage to most of the art in the space. It was messy with leaves scattered over everything and a pile of odds and ends stored in the photo area, but to my relief everything was fixable. In fact the one thing that I had hoped would happen, had indeed occurred. It had taken on a patina of age. The cats claw vines had grown up and over the top giving everything the feel of a secret garden. 

There was a whole lot of cleanup to be done and there were projects from last year that needed finishing. And the studio work area which was not within the studio itself would need a massive cleaning. But that would be enjoyable to undertake as the days and nights cool. 

Tomorrow being a Sunday, i've set as the first official day of cleanup. Weeds first. Its a jungle leading in and that just wouldn't do. I think it will take several weeks to get it ready for the autumn. I'll of course post various photos as I go along. As these taken tonight show it how I first saw it. The joy of the autumn art season has begun! 








Day 1

I made a bit of progress today. I got the space cleaned up and raked a bit. Bought a pair of loppers for the large weeds which had turned into trees. I'm still amazed that its been as sturdy as it is. When you consider that its built from styrofoam. Here are a few images of the days work. 


The first step was destroying the shoulder high weeds in the narrow part of the alleyway back to the studio. Surprisingly the fence art faired well. 


The outer work studio is in the worst shape. When I shut it down it was with intention of getting back out there and doing a cleanup (which never happened)

Most of this area just outside of the entry ended up being for storage. It needs to be gone over carefully. The sculpture work was stored in the inner studio and will slowly be brought back out and arranged on the shelves. 


The inner studio really took very little work to snap it into shape. Once raked it looked pretty good.


The photography area on the other hand needs quite a bit of work. I had to unpack it first because I was using it to store equipment for the summer. The scrying bowl has to be repainted and repositioned. 

I cleaned out the grotto and began to lay in the candles and buddha sculptures back in place. 

The scrying bowl was full of leaves and water. 

The entry sign had cats claw grow over parts of it, but I think it just lends to timelessness of area. 


The canopy formed by the Devil Tree is I think the best feature of the space. It creates a natural protection from the elements, a place for ambient light and a living blankets of leaves which do not shed until late December. 


DAY 2

Got the inner studio up and running. Already photographing some of the new sculpture work in it. The outer area is a mess still and I HATE WEEDWACKERS! Damn thing unraveled on me twice! Here are some evening shots of the inner studio lit with candles.

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Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Universe Hears You - Deadwood Sculpture

 


This sculpture was created using a piece of dead wood found in the City Park Nature Preserve in New Orleans. It is 16" high and sits on a 12" x 9" jagged slate base. The color was created using crayons which were laid in place using a soldering iron and a heat gun to merge the colors. The process for this sculpture took approximately 15 hours total. 2 hours for the cleaning, 2 hours for the preservation of the wood using a spray epoxy and the remaining time devoted to the color process. 

The piece got its name because of the unusual features to the upper right that resemble and inner ear

When completed the whole sculpture went through a final preservation phase using a high gloss polyurethane to coat, seal and to bring the color out. 

The final sculpture weighs 2 Pounds can be purchased for $200 plus Shipping and Handling. Please be aware because of the weight and fragility of the piece, special care is taken to ship and avoid breaking. Please consider this before purchasing. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

We Climb the Rainbow Ice, Hoping Not To Fall - Deadwood Sculpture

 



This sculpture was created using a piece of dead wood found in the City Park Nature Preserve in New Orleans. It is 24" high and sits on a 14" x 10" tile base. The color was created using crayons. A silver spray paint was applied over the wax and then the color melted to raise the wax and mix it with the silver. The process for this sculpture took approximately 30 hours total. 5 hours for the cleaning, 6 hours for the preservation of the wood using a spray epoxy and the remaining time devoted to the color process. 

When completed the whole sculpture went through a final preservation phase using a high gloss polyurethane to coat, seal and to bring the color out. 

The final sculpture weighs 20 Pounds can be purchased for $500 plus Shipping and Handling. Please be aware because of the weight and fragility of the piece, special care is taken to ship and avoid breaking. Please consider this before purchasing. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Color Danced Through the Branches Like a Dervish - Deadwood Sculpture




This sculpture was created using a piece of dead wood found in the City Park Nature Preserve in New Orleans. It is 23" high and sits on a 12" x 12" slate tile base. The color was created using crayons. A combination of 32 colors were applied with a soldering iron and then fused together using a heat gun. The process for this sculpture took approximately 30 hours total. 5 hours for the cleaning, 6 hours for the preservation of the wood using a spray epoxy and the remaining time devoted to the color process. 

When completed the whole sculpture went through a final preservation phase using a high gloss polyurethane to coat, seal and to bring the color out. 

The final sculpture weighs 15 Pounds can be purchased for $500 plus Shipping and Handling. Please be aware because of the weight and fragility of the piece, special care is taken to ship and avoid breaking. Please consider this before purchasing. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Labyrinth Project Creators Journal - Diana Whiley (New Entry 08-02-20)



Author: Diana Whiley
Adelaide, South Australia


08/02/20

 Looking for a sense of belonging is a universal theme. It impacted my teenage years as I clung to the coast near my Uncle’s holiday house. 

A two story prefab place, it sat on a headland, at its end a rounded hill called “The Bluff.” 

My siblings and I called it the Magic Pudding, ever pulling us back to climb it and hope secret wishes were granted. The added mystique, of Antarctica’s ancient tales travelling up the vast ocean directly to its summit; space and freedom. 

It attracts the whales who come to the bay for birthing. Their joy crashes with waves onto the shore. Droplets sinking into skin with ancient song and ritual. 

One day the governor of our state decided the headland should be pristine and free of buildings. My uncle was forced to demolish the house and all others scattered across the headland.  It demolished part of me too. 

I created my own myth of belonging and transformation to get it back. 
 
I built my first fantasy novel around it, my character Eryn assuming parts of those imaginings and whale song. Their haunting themes flowed from body to mind in a journey of discovery and meaning. 

I found another author/ artist’s journey in his graphic book akin to my attempts to recover what was lost.  “Notes from a Shadow City” by Jeffrey Alan Love. 

A young man sets off on a journey to research magical swords. He becomes stranded in a strange city and has forgotten his name. His search for identity is evocatively portrayed by a paragraph of writing and opposite it, a page with artwork that compliments his story as it unfolds. 

Deceptively simple it poignantly portrays his absence of belonging. Tantalizes us with the promise he will find what he seeks as he encounters others who act as guides. The ending is open ended, the journey not finished but with hope. 

Many myths have spirit guides in their stories. Use totems to represent them. The idea has always appealed to me.  I look to all the living creatures on Earth and mythical fantasy ones too, and hope one day I find my guide.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Labyrinth Creators Journal - JM Rosenberry (Updated 07/25/20)


Author: JM Rosenberry
Fargo, North Dakota 


07/25/20

You know it's bad when there are not one but two hurricane's baring down on the gulf.  California is on fire again and we found a dead locus behind a till at work. And here I thought my lack of interest in decorating for Halloween was a bad sign. If ever there was a time I was happy to be where I am then this might be it.  Already struggling I sit and wonder how I can pull myself together enough to help those in need. What I can I do to help so many who are already down and out.  The fact is...I can't. 

 I cant make the virus go away or the storms to shift course. It's all I can do to get up in the morning and go to work with a fake smile on my face. What does a person do in times like this?  I have avoided blogging because I didn't want to bring people down but writing helps me deal with what is rolling around inside my head.  I have unintentionally hurt peoples feelings or at least  that's what I think at the time. it's more a case of my ADHD getting the better of me and making me paranoid.  But in case anyone does feel slighted by me then I do apologize. Sometimes I say things I don't really mean or act out against a perceive threat that is not actually there and it has taken me a lifetime to realize when this happens and call myself out on my own bullshit.

  I want to help anyone  that needs it but right now I need to help myself as well.  I just hope that my scattered friends and family all over the globe will be OK and get though whatever hurdle they face. I am grateful that so far my family is healthy and we were able to continue to work, even if I grumble and groan about the ones that lack the common sense or decency to wear a mask.  Perhaps I should take the tiny stride of wearing a mask myself now without seeing stuff and wave that shit around like giant pride flag.  I can also look forward to an IRS mistake in our favor that might help us pay even more debt off although I really want to get myself one of those giant 12 foot skeletons for the front yard. 


Time to crawl back into bed with a good book, so don't forget to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, unless they don't and in that case you can tell them off for me.  

Always....

JMR.

Sunday, August 23, 2020