Reading Deprivation And Other Miscellany

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Hard to believe it’s almost six o’clock on a Saturday, but here I am. Many of the pitches I sent out have borne fruit; I’m busy working on outlines and drafts at the moment and just finished a science fiction novella. There’s been a few delays on projects due to elements out of my control, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made so far and I’m getting a really slick setup for recording audio as part of my birthday present. So, there’s that. (And that’s very exciting!)

I’m still behind on mail and filing, but I’ve cleaned up my office and managed to reduce some of the clutter so I can focus on projects. I’ve got a lot of books lying around and while I’m happy to be in such good company — surface space is crucial when painting or making jewelry. C-r-u-c-i-a-l.

Now that I’m here, a few things I’d like to mention. This week, I’m scheduled for a reading deprivation session so no Tumblr or social media. E-mail only during regular work hours. (e.g. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) This is part of a program I’m immersed in right now; one of the theories behind the deprivation is that artists are heavily influenced by environment and “junk” words/experiences. Branding, for example, is a tiny, tiny piece to that. Just watching TV, you’ll encounter thousands of brands every day.

But, back to the junk concept. Really, junk experiences lead to junk emotions and sensationalism is all about forcing you to feel something you might not normally feel for a click. What you do with that reaction fascinates me from a sociological standpoint. How much time do we waste on that crap? I’ve had good luck with social media blackouts before and I think smaller reading deprivations, like the one I’m about to dive into, are more effective than what I did for the 100 days social media blackout because I’m taking back control of what I consume. For myself, that’s essential to everything I do, especially since I need to listen in order to hear a story’s pulse or the rhythm of a song or the pattern on a canvas, etc.

For any artist, output matters so much more than input, because this is who we are. It’s not like being on an assembly line; there’s an ebb and flow. Sometimes that depends upon money but other times it doesn’t. It just depends on the person and I’m a “It’s the journey — not the destination” type. So recognizing the swinging periods, whether they be mood, weather, or related to something else is crucial for my work — for ALL my work.

Before I go, two things. First, stand up and applaud humankind. We have designed a machine that has drilled a hole in the surface of Mars. If that does not instill you with a sense of wonder? I don’t know what will.

And two, the “largest” ancient Scottish art installations have been discovered recently. The reason why I’m pointing that one out, is because there was a lot of references to the cup-shaped marks in the rocks. They don’t know why the ancients made cup-shaped marks, but in more recent times holy water and milk filled the indentations. From what cursory research I’ve done on this, there’s a theory the marks are related to a fertility rite — but I’m not buying it at all. (Besides, everything is a fertility rite if you turn your head sideways.) I’d be curious to line up the position of the stars at the time and test the reflection of the water under different conditions. Fill the marks with water, light a fire or two or wait for sunrise/sunset, and you have some potentially heavy duty lighting effects for your magical ceremony/oracle/priest right there.

Anyway, just thought I’d mention it. Another weather advisory for tomorrow. Freezing rain. I think I could use some spring now. No wonder why I bought that hot pink purse. Eesh.

    Mood: I’ll get back to you on that.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: I broke down. Having a Diet Dew.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Stairs. They sucked.
    In My Ears: AX Music Volume 15 Utopia.
    Game Last Played: Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
    Movie Last Viewed: I don’t know the name of it, but it was a spaghetti western with crow ninjas in it.
    Latest Artistic Project: SHINIES. Still need to take pics…
    Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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