Tag Archives: Natania Barron

Storm at Sea

Storm at Sea by Karen Gadient, 2013

Coral – Digital block print. Created with Corel Painter. Click for the print.
The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
— Vincent Van Gogh

Speaking of sea…

Just returned from tagging along on David’s business trip to North Carolina, where I got to see Natania again. Only a day together, but there was talking and and wine and food and games—so even a day was enough.

I’m grateful for the internet, but I wish I could see friends in person more often.

On the return flight, I had the honor of beginning to read her draft of Watcher of the Skies, whose narrator happens to be Poseidon. So: sea. Water and wonder. Life and depth and flow. It’s already one of those books I love to get lost in.

Sweetest melodies are those that are by distance made more sweet.
— William Wordsworth

18 Comments

Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Friendship, Inspiration, Life, Mythology, Nature, Ocean, Painting, Quotes, Sea, Seascape, Writing

karengadient:

On where the writing ‘magic’ comes from: a blog post from my dear friend Natania Barron.

Originally posted on Natania Barron:

Phatman - Lightning on the Columbia River (by-sa)

By Ian Boggs from Astoria, US (Lightning on the Columbia River) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Sure, sure. You make your own inspiration and all that. You sit, you write, you create. I get that. It’s 90% of the equation.

But what about those moments that are unplanned? I know I’m not the only writer out there that’s found profundity in hot showers or strains of music (in fact, most of the WIP fell into my brain during a shower). There seem to be situations where my brain is prone to wander unseen pathways, where I make connections in stories that, on normal writing days, just don’t seem to happen. No, I don’t believe in Muses, but there is some curious power in the workings of our brains when it comes to creating stories out of nothingness.

When I was writing Rock RevivalI plugged into music…

View original 302 more words

6 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Friendship, Inspiration, Writing

karengadient:

Besides being my dearest friend, Natania Barron is the talented writer and shining soul who led me to the true reasons for pursuing my writing passion. This post embraces that and I believe her words are something all writers should read.

Originally posted on Natania Barron:

This is a jellyfish. Image by Natania Barron, CC BY SA 3.0.

This is a jellyfish. Image by Natania Barron, CC BY SA 3.0.

I started blogging almost five years ago, somewhere in 2008, when I decided to focus on “being a writer”–whatever the hell that means. To illustrate a little: being a writer meant actually writing every day, finishing books, and apparently telling the world out there that I, in fact, have Things To Say about Being A Writer and Fiction and Steampunk and Narrative and all these Fun Capitalized Things. I had a great deal to say on the subject, filling not only this blog but another one, along the way.

I used to write a great deal about how to be a writer. How to leverage social media.How to not be a jerk, etc. Yes, I got pageviews and retweets and I made friends and all that, which isn’t to be scoffed at (and I don’t mean…

View original 974 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Friendship, Writing

Writer-Artist Ergonomics

Keys
Here I am at the the letter E and it’s not difficult to choose a topic: ergonomics.

I’m not going to go on about the (not enough) options out there, despite my daily battle with wrist/arm pain. One of my dearest friends in the multiverse, Natania Barron, has already written what I think is the best post on the subject, and since she writes for Wired’s Geekmom, you can trust her thoughts on the matter.

Like Natania, I write for a good part of my day. The other part of the day, I paint on an older Wacom Intuos. I’m always at my desk.

My desk was a hand-me-down from a local friend. It’s an IKEA Galant and as much as I think it’s attractive in my office—and matches my Billy shelf—it wasn’t made for writer-artists. Even after installing IKEA’s Summera keyboard tray, I was miserable. It’s a short tray and doesn’t quite hold everything I need.

But: FREE DESK. So!

For my tablet, I keep a laptop desk nearby. Seriously: just for the tablet. Hey, it’s adjustable! And forty bucks is a lot better for an adjustable art table than the high cost of other, more easel-like, options.

I have a Macbook, but it’s always attached to a ginormous monitor, so it pretends to be a desktop. I also have a G4 tower on the floor I can swap out when the need arises; it’s old, but it has all of my STUFF on it. And there’s the first-generation iPad… which I use with Corel’s Cinco for Painter.

I currently have two Apple keyboards—and I hate them both. Until it died on me a few months ago, I relied on an ancient split Nu-Form keyboard. I miss that thing like whoa, so I finally ordered Adesso’s Tru-Form. I chose it over the Goldtouch because of my fond, comfortable memories of that old split-key.

But neither the Adesso nor the Goldtouch offered a USB for the mouse. I know what you’re thinking: who uses anything but wireless now? Me. Sometimes.

I own a lot of mice. Really: a lot of input devices. Trackpad, trackball, wireless, and wired… and that’s not even counting the four-button mouse and pen that the tablet came with. Yet, the only thing my hand really likes is the low-profile, adorably round, single-button, often-slighted puck mouse.

Ooh. Someone at Low End Mac who feels like I do!

I have a collection of puck mice from my days working in a computer lab. I love the things so much that, when I ordered my Macbook, my customer note to Apple said: “This Macbook will be used with a puck mouse.” —because I knew, having once worked for Apple myself, that it would give someone over there a laugh. That feature-free little puck hurts my wrist the least. Maybe it’s because I end up using the keyboard shortcuts more with a one-button mouse.

Right now, I’m hoping the new keyboard will help. Plus, I’ve got a little clamp-on mouse shelf for whatever input device I choose to use with it. I also have a selection of gel-filled wrist rests and even microfiber covering my desk chair armrests. Next thing will either be a new desk or at least a better keyboard tray. But ergonomics—man, what a pain in the wrists!

6 Comments

Filed under Art, Life, Technology, Writing

Thoughts from the Other Side

Reflection into another world.

I figured an alphabetical post series would be a great way to inspire more blogging, even during times when I’m super busy—which has been the case lately.

As I begin, I realize I can choose the obvious things… that I’m American (after all, it’s the 4th of July), or that I’m an artist. I could narrow that down, talking about living in Arizona or describing my favorite abstract art.

But I’d rather blog about the things I obsess about—the weird things.

I begin with the letter A, which turns out to be a fun one:

Alternate universes/worlds.

Won’t lie. I believe in them. Well, some of the time. Depends on the science news I’m reading, the television program I’m watching, or the book I’m getting lost in. It’s a fascination I’ve had since childhood—the idea that there are other planes of existence, either right along our timeline, completely removed from it, eerily similar to our reality, or as foreign as another galaxy. You tell me your tale is about alternate reality and I’ll dive right in.

I have three novels-in-progress in Scrivener right now. Two in first draft and one only a few chapters in. They all have some form of alternate universe. My artwork, when it’s not commissioned, is often drawn from worlds similar to our own but seen through strange veils.

I’m not alone in imagining alternate places. One of my dearest friends, Natania Barron, wrote a fantastic book called Pilgrim of the Sky, which contains not just two, but eight worlds. Across these worlds are facets of the gods themselves. Our own mythology could be very much real but wrapped up elsewhere, difficult to see, but possibly within reach if your heart calls to it.

One of my favorite television programs, Fringe, has shown us a parallel universe with differences in the timeline that puts Nixon on the silver dollar and drivers in double-decker cars (although we’ve only seen those as toys, never on the streets of Manhatan—spelled differently on the other side). Here, the alternate worlds are threatening to collide.

Some popular shows have featured alternate worlds and characters season after season. Doctor Who and Star Trek have a reputation for it. Even comedies like Community have had success with the concept. Mirror—especially evil—personalities make for a great plot tool.

You can’t forget alternate places like Narnia, and where Alice goes through the looking glass. Even the Wizard of Oz was a classic alternate universe tale. Dream world? Maybe. But it was Dorothy’s mundane world that remained in black and white. Personally, I’d have stayed in Oz, even with the flying monkeys.

What if? It’s the question we love to ask.

But is there—in some other alternate now—another we asking the very same thing? Would you really want to know? I think I would.

3 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Fantasy, History, Imagination, Life, Multiverse, Mythology, Science, Science Fiction, The Unknown, Time, Writing

Pilgrim of the Sky

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Sometimes the wish is real. In my case, that author is Natania Barron.

I’m biased, being linked to her through possibly a few lifetimes of friendship… but her book is delightful, full of wonder, and charged with characters worth meeting. If you’re looking for a new book to lose yourself in―this is the one.

Pilgrim of the Sky ~ a novel by Natania Barron

Pilgrim of the Sky - Cover

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Friendship, Multiverse, Mythology, Publishing

Where do creative ideas come from?

Pool of inspiration

My dear friend Natania Barron and I have often talked about how creative folk draw from the same pool of inspiration. Some us call it the muse. Few of us can figure out how we travel to that magical source–frequently in dreams or arriving clear out of nowhere while we’re doing the dishes–but we’re grateful whenever it happens. We’re always reaching for it, muttering to it, and hoping it grants us yet another fantastic idea to add to our notebooks.

I’ve wondered lately whether we collectively add to this pool, and if it’s not really a source that has ideas waiting, but instead a place where our ideas gather, especially those ideas we obsess over, whether we use the ideas or not. For instance, I can spend months considering a concept, on and off, and then ultimately dismiss it, deciding instead on another direction. Then–bam!–that very concept appears in an article about some film or other project in development. I don’t mind; in fact, I’m pleased that, although I didn’t continue with the idea, it will come about all the same.

Could it be that I was merely helping this idea form?

Is it possible that we’re far more networked than we ever guessed–not alone in our craft at all?

So much for my professional hermit persona!

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Beliefs, Friendship, Ideas, The Unknown, Writing