Sheep Knitting in Top Hat

Psst! I painted this plate, guys–praise me for it!

Sheep in Top Hat Knitting

Every year the Workshop I work for goes down to London for a ceramic-painting Christmas outing; and this was the sweetest of the fruits of my labours. A little ‘meh’ next to the fruits of the professional artists I work for, but my Mum liked it, and at the end of the day that’s about as much as I can hope for all that matters. 😀

Seriously though, none of the pens they had wanted to work for me; it was so frustrating! Anyway, Happy Bah Humbug to both my religious followers, and anyone else who happens by–hope to be giving you all a short story for the new year!

Boo (It’s Halloween)

My incredibly well-put-together costume of a top hat, a comedy-drama mask, and a plague rat hand-puppet (I wore other clothes too, don’t worry) legitimately scared at least four people tonight–let’s see if my artwork can do better.

Yes, it’s NaNoWriMo tomorrow, and for the thirty days that follow: that means books and books mean book-covers. I’ve been working on this one for ages, and it’s still not done because I took time out to write a short story that wasn’t short enough to be finished on time. It must be the Curse of Halloween!

(because every day is Halloween in Rachelloon-land, apparently. I guess you all know what you’ll be getting for Christmas!)

All that aside, behold! My NaNoWriMo book-cover from rough sketch…

Cover Sketch

… to detailed drawing…

Cover Drawing

… which needed a background decoration I was too lazy to draw on, so ended up doing a single two-leaf–

Background Decoration

–repeating pattern, which I copy-pasted about fifty bazillion times in MS Paint, then transposed the original drawing onto to make…

Cover Attempt 1

… which will be coloured in using pen & watercolour… as soon as I get around to it.

Which, considering it’s NaNo tomorrow, may in fact be never. Then again, it would be a wonderful way to procrastinate actually writing the novel!

Ode to Doodles

Yes, other poets may choose to compose their verses on the great issues of the day, or agonise over the fundamental questions of human experience. Me, I’m a shallow tosser who wrote a sonnet about my own doodles. Surprise!

(and I don’t even know if this really is a sonnet; don’t those have to be written in iambic pentameter or some such shit? I don’t want to be the fuck who puts one two-syllable word down and calls it a ‘haiku’, after all…)

But for someone as boring as me, they do form an integral part of my existence; the representatives of that 99% of the time when I’m not doing anything useful, even though I really should be.

Doodle Sonnet

And because this is one of the most illegible of my poems; behold a typed and slightly edited version, with an illustration of what I mean by ‘snail-knights’, in case there are those of you out there who aren’t familiar with that particular illuminated manuscript trope from the middle ages.

(like that would happen!)

*~*~*

DOODLES

*

Resolute, one’s purpose keeps the pen in ruled lines;

If only one commits to resolution.

Yet here the ink imagines to branch out in tangled vines,

Resolve’s for those with sterner constitutions–

Than a scribbler slacking off from ticking boxes in Excel;

Solemn sowings given way to tiny stars,

Whose points are blacked in alternately–yes, she does it well;

Like frustration incarnate in paper scars.

Those flowers, skulls and rabbits might not serve to look as grand as

When gilt angels illuminated letters;

Yet kinship of their snail-knights with her wrong-looking pandas,

I see between our stationery’s fetters.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/bd/21/45/bd214501feb6772cddaf27e7437c6ec5.jpg

For faithless inspiration moves the heart’s pen when it will;

But the one in my hand’s shackle, struggles to be still.

*~*~*

So there you have it. I think the doodles do deserve their own ode, at the end of the day. What do you think, patterned unicorn rabbit I drew while I was supposed to be working? Patterned unicorn rabbit’s… friend?

Unicorn Bunny and Friend

Patterned Unicorn Rabbit: I think that soon the world shall be mine!

… Friend: Yessss, masssster.

An Gallerie of Doodles: Part II

The slacking off from doing actual work continues, and continued a long time ago when these doodles were drawn, back in good old University. Part I here: https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/an-gallerie-of-doodles-part-i/

Trigger warning for stick-figure violence and gore, u gaiz.

Muse of a Friar

There it is. The Demon of Doodles. The Muse of Procrastination. From this creature everything that litters my pages of notes was spawned. Except for, you know… the notes. Some of them have actual facts ‘n’ stuff in them.

Pope Eats Lemons

Pope: Yum yum, Lemons, yum. Kill the Albigensians. Lemons, yum.

Of course, like in part one some of these doodles served to illustrate and clarify the factual notes. Here we see a Pope (I think it was Innocent III?) who ordered the Albigensian Crusade in the 13th century. I may not remember his name exactly, but I do remember that he was known for eating lemons–and in the end, isn’t that the most important thing?

I have no idea what the fuck that abomination on wheels is at the top of the page though. Demonic possession?

Explosion of Cute

To whit, the doodles that were nothing more than pictorial gibberish continued too (and do so to this day). Rabbits, rabbits with wings, earthworms, earthworms with wings, stars, hearts, flowers–they’re all there.

Most interestingly, to illustrate the word ‘EXPLOSION’ there is a character I made up at about the age of ten: Ponyloon, the turquoise horse with an eyepatch who loved blowing stuff up. He’s stuck with me all these years; one of my favourite characters from my own deranged mind. In fact…

Three Freaks Play Chess

CAPTION: “3 crazed freaks playing chess”. Note the thoughtful expression on Zeiban’s usually blank face, as he tries 2 figure out how to kill Diddilydum the Fly before Ponyloon’s bomb goes off.

The characters from my youth could also be combined with cartoon clarification, to make a pointless in-joke that any student could be proud of.

… not showing to anyone. Ever. This one, for example, was a direct parody of this image here:

https://i2.wp.com/usercontent1.hubimg.com/8521066_f520.jpg

The resemblance is uncanny!

The Batshit Insane Griselda

But the ones that related to the notes themselves were funnier to a wider audience. Here my doodle of Chaucer’s Clerk’s ‘Patient Griselda’ is drawn with an arrow next to ‘The ‘patient’ Griselda. and by patient we mean batshit insane‘.

Seriously. Look up the story of Patient Griselda if you don’t believe me on that one. Above her, stick figures of Chaucer’s Friar and Summoner declare their manliness with a masculine fist-bump. Because they are Men. And if you’re wondering why the words are green, this was an organisational tool that worked fairly well for me; different coloured inks for different classes. Genius.

A Bell-Ringing Accident

Stick Figure Bystander: Oh no! There’s been a terrible BELL-RINGING accident!

There’s an even mix of relevant and irrelevant though; hence the rabbit and cat fighting over a cupcake above the stick-figures describing one medieval scholar’s commentary on the 5th commandment. Funnily enough I remember that context exactly–in the commentary the writer was saying who accidentally killing someone should not be considered breaking the 5th commandment (Thou Shalt Not Kill), and the example he used for this was if someone rung a bell, and in doing so knocked the bell off it’s hook where it fell on someone’s head and killed them.

And my seminar group was like: “How often did that happen in the Middle Ages!?”

Bunnies Martyr Early Saint

CAPTION: An early saint. Died of fatal bunny wounds.

Still, the cute little drawings could help being relevant too, as I here reminded myself that early saints often had messy and violent martyrdoms by having one torn apart by rabid bunnies. What can I say? It was a harsh time to live in.

Tune in tomorrow for the final installment; doodles I doodle at work; with a special surprise of specialness for your enjoyment!

An Gallerie of Doodles: Part I

Okay, so I’m running out of ideas. That’s pretty much always the case with me though, and when I run out of ideas, I doodle. What follows over the next three days will be a showcasing of some of the… doodliest of my doodles, culminating in a special surprise on the final day.

(it’s not that special)

We begin with a selection from my A Level History notebook; chosen because that’s what I went on to do at Uni. I was going to put them all together in a big MS Paint collage, but then I figured, ‘hey, I can’t be bothered to do that!’ and so the hilarious doodles below are presented individually so you can appreciate the full wit or lack thereof of each one.

Enjoy the cartoons of Henry VII being haunted by the mutilated ghost of Richard III, there were many more than I’m showing here!

The Diet of Worms

Geddit? Cos ‘diet’ is what people eat… but it’s also a kind of parliament-type-thingy? And Worms is a place… but also a creepy-crawly thing? Ya geddit?

The Haunting of Haz 7

Richard III: Oooooh! Ooooooh! Nobody likes yoooou!

Henry VII: Go away, Richard.

Onlookers: Who’s he talking to?

I left in enough of the next page for you to see a flower–that’s what most of the doodles you’d come across in my notebook are of; flowers, stars, suns, hearts… just things that are easy to draw when you have nothing to write even when you really want to.

The League of tORgO

A German Prince(?): I said League of Torgau, not Torgo!

It’s another pun, but this one’s only funny if you’re familiar with both the German Reformation and Mystery Science Theater 3000, which I’m guessing amount to about three people in the universe.

No Witty Title Available

Also, butterflies. And some weird fucking face on a dome on wheels.

Inheritence Tax

The illustrations of my youth also served to remind me what happened in history… even though it would have been far more efficient to just read the text, like this little cartoon about Henry VII’s inheritance taxes.

Henry VII: That’ll teach you to inherit land!

A Noble: Oh yeah, I’m really not going to rebel now!

Richard III: It’s their own fault for betraying me.

Sacking Rome

Notes: Charlie [Emperor Charles of the Holy Roman Empire] sacks Rome.

Charles: Rome, you’re fired!

Because puns are the highest form of humour.

Dissolving the Monasteries

… and of course we moved on from Henry VII to Henry VIII eventually…

Henry VIII: We shall dissolve the monasteries… With HYDROCHLORIC ACID! HA HA HA HA HA!

Richard III: I miss Henry VII…

Tune in tomorrow, where the story of doodles continues… to not really be a story or anything. Just doodles. And post your own while you’re at it, they’re the modern day manuscript illuminations!

(In the same way Twilight is the modern day A Tale of Two Cities, that is)

A MISTYREE Excerpt!

Let it not be said I renege on my promises (or at least let it not be said that I did so today) what follows in an excerpt of my first serious attempt at a serious novel. Seriously.

Yesterday’s post, where I introduced the Victorian murder-mystery ‘Mistyree’, via all the (terrible) illustrations I did for it, and forewarned of the overwritten navel-gazing contained therein, can be found here: https://racheliliffe.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/some-mystyree-illustrations/

Well, I say all–as you can see there was one left, the illustration for the scene that follows. (don’t ask why the bookcase juts out so far from the wall, nor why Nicky has a picture of some origami on his wall: suffice it to say my deficiencies as an artist are innumerable). Nothing apart from a few paragraph breaks where it got really bad has been changed since it was written in 2007…

The Biggest Bookcase Ever

*~*~*

Excerpt from ‘Mistyree’

CONTEXT: Following the wedding of the MC (Nicky)’s younger brother, (minor gentlemen, both), a series of gruesome and bizarre murders take place in the local village. After being stabbed by a random thief and rescued (though unconscious at the time) by a man whom it is deduced by the detective on the case (who I called ‘Holmes’ as a joke) was probably the murderer, Nicky awakens weeks later to find a mutilated corpse has been placed in his bed in the night…

*~*~*

I looked at her again, and this time tried to see her as a whole. I didn’t recognise her at all, I couldn’t think that she had once been an entity I had shared time with at some point, that some part of my life had been killed with her. I felt more alive when I looked at her. Was that why he did it?

But her, her on the bed—she who had once moved and no longer did—what was she? How could she fit in my perception of the world? Her presence did not seem to change anything in me, I was frightened yes, but still me. What did this body mean? She looked so… so odd, being a body which did not live, a type of human being which I had never seen before and never could have imagined even with my unusual mind.

The right words did not exist to tell my thoughts, to make an argument of any coherency to process properly this incident. I calmed down further and realised I was sitting on the floor again. I couldn’t see her body properly, but saw her blood—even when I closed my eyes that red imprint remained.

At that point a maid came in to open the curtains. Unfortunately it was not Li, she was with Inspector Holmes at the time, but it seemed Mother had seen fit to send some poor servant up to inquire as to why I was not at breakfast. I was not sure myself, and wondered whether I had overslept, or had simply been transfixed by my lifeless companion too much to move for hours.

She screamed at what she saw—the bed, the girl, me, and backed out of the room still screaming. I watched her as I reminded myself that I was fine and could wait until later to exhibit the proper reaction to this happening. She hit the opposite wall of the corridor with an audible thump and never stopped screaming. She sounded hysterical, but even so, somewhat false, as though acting a part in a play. Perhaps such a reaction would always seem false to me, having no other genuine reaction to compare with.

I heard voices outside the room. “What’s happening!? What’s happening!?” A man’s voice cried out—George, I realised in a few moments. This unexpected situation had made my thoughts slower than usual. More than one man was hurrying up the stairs however, and it was Inspector Holmes who ran into my room first, followed closely by my brother.

“Dear God.” Said Holmes, his face turning pale before my very eyes. George turned away almost immediately and covered his mouth with his hand, retching. The maid’s screams continued but sounded raspier as she lost her voice from too much screaming. Eventually her screams turned to sobs and I watched her huddling outside my room. None of them seemed to have noticed me yet.

“George,” Said Holmes forcefully, grabbing my brother’s shoulders and staring at him. I could see that Holmes was just as thrown by the new development, but he held it together well. “George, listen to me.”

“No, no, this is not supposed to happen,” Said George, shaking his head like a small child, “This does not happen to me, not to me, not to my family,” He said.

“George, listen!” Snapped Holmes.

“No, no, not these things, these things do not happen,”

“George!” Holmes roared, shaking him firmly.

George was silent for a moment, “It’s like a nightmare…” He whimpered.

I was confused at my brother’s reaction. George never seemed the type to go to pieces in a crisis. Hadn’t he taken charge the first time? Perhaps it was actually seeing the body that alarmed him so. Although I realised that everyone had the potential to slip into the persona that he was now adopting, I still felt at odds by it. The reactions that entity on the bed provoked, it seemed, were just as disorienting as the body itself.

“I know, George,” Said Holmes, not unkindly, “But listen to me. You take that poor girl downstairs,” He meant the maid, “and do not let anyone else enter the room apart from Doctor Dudley, do you understand!?”

George whimpered a bit but Holmes merely shook him again, “Do you understand?” He asked. George hesitated, then nodded and staggered to the door of my bedroom. I turned my head to watch him leave, he and the sobbing girl grasping at each other for support. I thought of Homer, at least, I think it was Homer, and Odysseus grasping at his wife like a drowning swimmer. Funny that such a thing should have come to my mind at that moment.

When I couldn’t hear him anymore, I turned my head again to look at Holmes. His back was facing me and having caught his bearings he was examining the entity. I wondered if he’d even seen me. I suddenly wanted him to notice me more than anything, and tried to make some sound to grab his attention. No sound would come. It seems silly that I wanted to take his attention away from her, but that was how it was.

Holmes sighed and shook his head. He moved very little and I felt my mind start to wonder to other things. George would have been telling the others, I wondered what their faces would look like when he did. Shocked? Devastated? Exasperated? Well father might be, this was the fifth body and still no leads.

The slight shaking of the floor that one only feels when one is not thinking of anything warned me of the next approaching figures. Two of them—who had accompanied Dudley? I guessed who, and lo and behold accompanying the good doctor was my dear Xanatos, pale and worried. He relaxed somewhat upon seeing me in safety, then changed his mood to horrified when he saw the stains covering me.

“Nicky!” He breathed and dropped to my side. Dudley coughed heavily as he came in.

“Blast! Another one, eh?” He complained, “When you catch this diseased demon I swear I’ll kill him myself!”

Five times over? I wondered.

“Look at the pattern of blood.” Holmes said, ignoring Dudley’s comment, “He’s killed her here. Slit her throat right on this bed, he’s never done that before.”

“Getting braver?” Asked Dudley.

“No,” Holmes replied, his face screwed up in concentration, “No, this one never had any fear.”

Xanatos interrupted them as he rubbed my uninjured shoulder gently, “Doctor, could you please see to Nicky?” His hand on my shoulder was not particularly comforting, but I knew he had meant it to be and that was comforting. “I do not believe he’s injured, but he’s certainly—”

“My God!” Cried Dudley, “You were here? What did you see?”

I tried to answer him and found I could not move.

“Mr. Attfield?” Asked Holmes.

“I…” I managed ‘I’ but couldn’t get anything else out.

“See to him, John.” Said Holmes.

Dudley didn’t move. “Well what’s he doing here anyway? How did he get covered in blood—it’s obviously not his!”

“This is his room!” Hissed Xanatos. He saw what they were implying before I did, and he didn’t like it. Rather sweet of him, I thought.

Dudley stared, mystified. Holmes wore much the same expression but managed to voice what by this point we were all wondering. “This man,” He meant the murderer, “Took the poor girl into this room and slit her throat over the bed,” He paused, “While Mr. Attfield was sleeping on it? And then he just put her on the bed and left and you didn’t hear or see anything?”

Dudley started to walk towards me as I tried to remember how to talk. “Uh… I… w-was… I was a-asleep,” I began shaking. Dudley knelt down next to me, bones cracking with old age. He then sniffed at my face, which I thought rather odd.

“More than asleep.” He said with a humourless laugh, “Chloroform.” But the suspicion in his eyes didn’t waver. “Then again, Wat and I have seen killings staged more elaborately than this.”

“What!?” Xanatos spat out, moving so that he was diverting Dudley’s attention from me, “I suppose you don’t know how utterly ridiculous you sound?” He said.

Dudley sneered, “This is his room.” He said. “What other place to start but—”

“John!” Holmes interrupted. “I’ll admit the situation could be argued either way. Just get Mr. Attfield to another room and clean him up, I’ll ask him questions later.” He paused, then added as an afterthought, “Make sure he doesn’t go anywhere. This one has far more to do with our murderer than I’d like.”

“What on earth do you think you’re talking about, sir!?” Xanatos growled. “If you knew for one second—”

“Xanatos?” I said, lifting my arm up to grab his sleeve, “I think my legs aren’t working properly.” I wasn’t lying, they were twitching without my control, but not moving when I wanted them to. Xan looked concerned and reached for me, lifting me up, miraculously without jarring my shoulder.

“Arthur’s room is closest,” He said bitterly. “I’m sure he won’t mind.”

I nodded and wished that everyone would leave immediately. I caught another glimpse of the body as Xan carried me out. How cold she looked. I wanted to give her a blanket or something. Then I saw something else I immediately reminded myself to remember for later—it may have interested Holmes, after all. Kuka and Imily were sitting on my desk on the other side of the room, free of bloodstains and definitely not where I had left them. I could only catch a glimpse of them however, before we stumbled further down the corridor to Art’s room.

Art was elsewhere, probably riding a horse or something, and I was disappointed, because I’d have loved to see the expression on his face if he had to deal with me covered in blood again. Xanatos put me down on the bed and went into the adjoining chamber. I lay down and thought of nothing in particular for a few moments, before I suddenly remembered that I was covered in the blood of a dead girl.

Then it struck me—why had the killer left her in my bed? This was the second time he’d shown a strange sort of interest in me and I couldn’t understand it. I found myself very interesting, but everyone else either pretended I didn’t exist or pretended I was someone else (except on certain occasions of course). Had he just picked me at random?

Or was he genuinely paying me attention?

I was somewhat excited at the prospect. I didn’t like a lot of attention from other people, which was fortunate because I didn’t get much, but sometimes I did feel momentarily…left out. I would much rather be left alone, and could see myself living perfectly well without any sort of human company (provided someone left me some food once and a while) and yet this prospective interest our killer had in me of all people was in turn of interest to me.

It was flattering, of all things, and not in a sycophantic way like the people I saw or imagined I saw in Hell, but something far more subtle than that. But I felt I’d probably got it completely wrong and he wasn’t interested in me at all—after all I didn’t conform to his preferred type of victim and I wasn’t part of the force assembled to catch him. One would think he was far more interested in Holmes, his arch-nemesis or whatever he saw the detective as. I knew that Holmes was certainly focussed on him.

And me? Well, this whole time I’d mostly been thinking about myself and my own idiosyncrasies. Even now I was self-analysing, wondering what it was in me that he could possibly find interesting rather than what it was in him that could be interested in me.

I hadn’t really given him the thought he was due, just compared him with myself, used him as a way to try and further understand myself, never tried to understand him because I had never been able to understand anyone. Perhaps he was trying to attract my attention. So who was he? He didn’t think or act like normal people, that was clear enough, and neither did he think or act like me.

Category One: Normal People. Category Two: Me. Category Three: Murderers. No, some normal people could be murderers as well. Evil? Well, for lack of a better word I supposed, even if it did not exactly describe this person. But evil was supposed to be hated, if one was ‘good’ or mostly good, and loved if one was ‘evil’, and vice versa. I couldn’t seem to feel either about either, as I had explained to the vision of Lucifer, though I could usually tell the difference—the difference according to society as a whole, I realised.

Seeing as how I didn’t seem to feel either of them, they probably didn’t exist for me. But the murderer had to be termed something, and as Holmes insisted he was not insane, I had no other recourse but to call him evil. Evil was simply not necessarily a negative element to me, merely a different one. Had I contradicted myself? Did I say earlier I preferred good, or something to that effect? Hmm…I suppose I could still prefer good and not have an all-out hatred of evil.

An evil person, the first I’d ever come across. How to quantify him, was the question. Perhaps I was the first un-normal person he’d ever come across too, and that was why he was interested in me?

Some MISTYREE Illustrations…

Don’t let the obvious fact that the art is terrible dissuade you from reading my recollections of this ‘old shame’; these were drawn when I was seventeen to accompany my first ever attempt at a serious novel, and tomorrow you lucky readers will be able to view an excerpt!

(I know, I know–Dante forgot to add that circle when he wrote the Inferno. Although, it’s funny you (and by ‘you’ I mean ‘I’) should mention dear old Dante…)

The novel was ‘Mistyree‘ a Victorian murder-mystery, with a side-helping of pseudo-philosophical gibberish and the best that teen navel-gazing had to offer; overwritten to the point of being incomprehensible in many places–far too many, in fact, given how little I actually wrote of it. In order to prepare you, let’s take a look at some of those quality images that were meant to bring the [ridiculous] words to life…

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One of the ‘best’ things about ‘Mistyree‘ was how halfway through the story took a break so that the main character, Nicholas, could have a multiple-chapter dream-vision about going to Hell, just like Dante did in the Inferno. (presumably so I could let readers know I’d read the Inferno). His guide was Odysseus instead of Virgil, who in this picture shows him the forest of suicides–people who committed suicide and were forced to spend eternity as trees in Hell. I never really understood that, but oh well.

Hell has, of course, updated itself to fit with the times, and so now has a train running through it. George Gordon Lord Byron was the conductor, you can see him standing in the doorway of the train I was too lazy to draw in its entirety and just kind of vanishes off into the distance.

(30/11 is the date on which Nicky had his vision of Hell; unlike those of us who are doing NaNo, who by that point just feel like we are)

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(The laziness continues with my lack of effort to colour shit in. Some things never change).

A couple of months later, on the 8th of January, Nicky is thrown across a hallway by his Uncle for forgetting to wear black in mourning for a second cousin of his who had been murdered–at this point in the story he was recovering from a stab wound which is why his arm hurts. For SOME REASON, unreasonable adult-characters who didn’t understand the MC’s uniqueness were all over the place in this novel. I wonder how that happened…

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Much earlier in the story (these arts are posted in the order I drew them, rather than corresponding to the timeline of events) Nicky goes to visit his illegitimate niece (by his younger brother Michael) Alice. Alice’s mother is happy to see him, but her sister is being judgemental.

She pays for her judgemental-ness later by being murdered. That’ll show her!

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This one doesn’t have a date, so I don’t know when-abouts it was supposed to be. I do remember there was supposed to be something important about that clock (I think a body was hidden in it at some point–you know, one of those clocks with extra space behind the gears for stashing corpses), but I’m just not entirely sure.

One of the themes of ‘Mistyree’ were annoyingly perfect and judgemental little brats who were gruesomely murdered, and the boy in brown was the final murder victim–the second cousin mentioned before. Also, there’s a cat.

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On the morning after the night spent journeying through Hell for no reason, Nicky is carried by the demon Cynefrith (in the novel a creation of the thoughts of people who had heard the incredibly apocryphal tale of Cynefrith, who murdered her younger brother and then had her eyes burned out by God when she started reading a Bible-verse backwards) to the ‘safety’ of a tree.

Well, in his dream-vision he is. In actuality he’s carried there by the person who was murdering everyone, who had fallen in love with his totally unique quirkiness! Nobody else really understood him! *sobs*

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And when the murderer was caught and executed (actually it turned out they botched that and he came back in the sequel /spoilers) everyone sits down to a friendly game of poker. Here we see both of Nicky’s brothers, their wives, one of their cousins, one of their wives’ cousins (an American; you can tell because he’s wearing a badly-drawn cowboy hat, and all Americans wear cowboy hats… IN AMERICA!), and their brother-in-law around the table, while Nicky stands in the doorway.

Actually I remember this scene was to end with Nicky, who had been bemused and quirky throughout the whole novel before this, breaking down into tears and being herded away by the brother-in-law, who was also his best friend. They had an interesting relationship…

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Yeah. This one’s actually my favourite of the ‘Mistyree‘ illustrations because I think it’s better than the others, though I don’t know why Xanatos (that was the brother-in-law’s name; Xanatos Murder–it was a joke, because his name was ‘Murder’, and there were a bunch of murders happening! Geddit?) has a picture of space on his wall, but never mind.

Anyway, the idea was that Xanatos was (also) in love with Nicky although married to Nicky’s evil sister Catherine, and Nicky kind of knew it but brazenly ignored his feeling since he didn’t want to have to deal with anything serious in his life. In this scene, Catherine’s gone off to cheat on Xanatos with some guy and Xanatos is feeling suicidal, so Nicky tries comforting him.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Nicky’s hair is green in some of these images; apparently the black felt tip pen I was using turns green after a few years. Though I kind of like to think Nicky just got some green highlights to treat himself after being stabbed. If, you know, those had been a thing in the Victorian era.

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Seriously. ‘PLAN OF THE HOUSE… for fun, I guess…‘. Because there’s no other reason to have a house plan, amirite, fellow writers?

Actually, come to think of it I haven’t done a story tied enough to a single location to have to do house plans like that again; not one that I still consider a viable project, at any rate.

Tune in tomorrow, for an example of the writing that spawned these nightmarish visions, and a seventeen-year-old’s attempts at being ‘deep’, ‘edgy’, and ‘Victorian’.

(It’s actually not as jarring as the time I attempted WWII era–What ho, old boy!)