My personal beauty standards

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

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Don’t judge a book by its cover? Ha! Well, I’m not strong enough not to. Not when I choose what to read, and certainly not when I choose my future husband (been there, done that). Longish hair and a leather jacket had me at hello, but that’s another story for another day. Suffice it to say that I have my own personal beauty standards, like a stain on my moral compass, and it won’t come out for love nor money.

The above picture sums them up pretty nicely – and don’t kid yourself about the turtle neck: it’s not optional!

I drew the picture for a course book in French that I once wrote and never got to use, but I still have the picture. Funnily enough, when I saw it again today I thought of Michael Vaughan of Pax fame. Now, he wouldn’t agree with me because he thinks he’s hideous, but if he was I wouldn’t be writing about him, would I? Especially not passages like this:

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Jamie’s hair swung in time with the music, a few strands sticking to his temples. Green and gold stage lights flitted in and out of his vision. Everything on the stage glowed: brass, steel, cufflinks, white shirts, even gold. Michael was chained to his harpsichord as usual, but when their eyes met, it felt like they were just inches apart. As Jamie lost himself in that lion tawny colour, the world came loose from its moorings and floated around in a shimmery mess.

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Shimmery mess? Yeah, that would be me. And look, I know Michael doesn’t actually exist, in that boring, concrete sort of way we call real. But if I’m to write about a character, they have to exist for me. If another character falls in love with them, I have to fall as well. Otherwise, how could I know how they’d feel when evening sunlight pierces amber eyes?
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“There.” Michael struck a match and Jamie started at the tiny explosion between his fingers. The flame leapt up and quickly ate its way through the dry bark and twigs. Shaken, Jamie watched Michael as he watched the fire grow. The setting sun painted his face and hair in copper shades, and when he looked up, his eyes burned with an elusive lion tawny colour.

Thiiiis is weird

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But it’s kinda shallow, I know that. To allow yourself to hold one type of appearance above all others. Still, don’t we all? And I comfort myself with the thought that we all like different things. A friend of mine likes bald men, for example, whereas I fall in love with the hair before I fall in love with the actual person (again, hubby being the prime example).

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And Michael is cute. He is. Jamie is charming, so he can get away with scruffiness and goofy grimaces and stringy, unwashed hair. But Michael has this ethereal quality that “might not beteem the winds of heaven / Visit [his] face too roughly” (Hamlet 1.2.144). If that sounds oddly feminine, I guess it is. I do like my men androgynous. Sensitive. Vulnerable. Pensive.

In a word, musicians. 😀

Not many need apply. Hubby asked me while we were binge-rewatching Game of Thrones which one of all the characters I found to be “the bee’s knees” (sic!), and I still haven’t come up with a reply. Some are interesting, others are charming and fun, and yet others have symmetrical features that I guess would qualify for western hemisphere heartthrobdom. But me? Nah. Most leave me cold. Yes, even Jon Snow.

Rival Poet AReBut when I do find a face I like, I get a whole book out of it. Or, in the case of Pax, a whole series! And so Sam Claflin inspired All You Can Eat, Ricky Wilson (yes, I’m admitting it!) was the template for Henrik in The Seventh Flower, and Ian McNabb (even bigger splash there, I’m really having an overly honest day!) will forever be my very own Kit Marlowe in Rival Poet.

And while we’re on the topic, I know I should be working on (the newly christened, yay!) Chains of Being (I’m keeping schtumm about that one, by the way, because I don’t want a defamation case to cut my career short, and anyway I’m changing absolutely everything about the two guys before hitting ‘publish’ so no one’ll ever know), but I have a messy old WIP about a PhD student that’s slowly morphing to accomodate Robson Green and Ben Mendelsohn! Just imagine the shy and lonely professor with Asperger’s whose world is turned upside down by a sloppy upstart who wears flip-flops to the office! Mmm… 🙂

So, shallow? Yup. But it’s a prerequisite for my authorhood.

Baron Samedi

I think this is a work in progress, because it probably needs some added linework in ink, but I’m too cowardly to go ahead and do it! At least now I’ve documented how it looked before I ruined it, haha!

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While I was drawing it, so many thoughts went through my head. It began as a doodle to plan a photo I’m taking tomorrow for Halloween (so this is a teaser). Then I really got into it and started feeling like the picture meant something. The weariness of the girl seems like a representation of my hypothyroidism, and the way she leans in for support from the skeleton seems fitting, like the “sleep of death” so longed for by Hamlet.

But then I also felt like the drawing represented trying to connect with dead loved ones – which is fitting for All Hallow’s Eve. Remembering and honouring the dead, lighting candles on their graves… it’s a kind of connection, isn’t it? Dipping a hand into the warm nothingness where they once were.

Spot the mistake!

I’m trying to move into proper bujo photograpy, and today was sunny so I thought I’d give it a shot. Problem is, it was too sunny. But even if that meant looong shadows where I didn’t want them, it also meant lace opportunities. 🙂

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That’s not the mistake, though. I’ve been pimping the cover of my bullet journal today, and I added some decorations which will certainly come off in my bag, but I just couldn’t stop myself.

Still, that’s not the mistake I’m talking about either. So can you spot it? It’s tiny, and in a way it makes sense in my case. Maybe it’s a metaphor for how I live and make my choices compared to the norm… 🙂

Preparing for November

Yesterday I made the cover page for November, and if October was all about butterflies, November will be about candles and lights.

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It’s the darkest month, the deep, inky black before the snow comes. It needs a flame to brighten it.

This monthly overview is just a start, but I know I want those lights to be a recurring feature, both on paper and in my home.

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I’m also trying out a food, music, and movie tracker. I’ve written those things on my dailies so far, but I think I want it all in one place (plus I need more space on my dailies!).

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Same with this: I’ve doodled these symbols on my dailies to signify something distressing that happened, something I learned, something I did well, and something good that happened. Now I’ll list it all on one spread, which means I’ll have to write really tiny letters!

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My first speed drawing video!

Ta-daa! I’ve been devouring these speed drawing videos for so long, and tonight I had hours to myself and a new month around the corner, so I thought “Why not?” and went ahead and made one. I’m so pleased with the colours, but please don’t look too closely at the wolf, I think it’s got rickets… 😀

Some miserable photos of a lovely spread

I really should start taking proper pictures of my bullet journal spreads with good lighting, instead of snapping a shaky, dark photo at night and then trying to make it look slightly less depressing in the editing software. But sadly I’m not there yet. Anyway, maybe a year from now it’ll be fun to look back at how dismal my bujo posts were this autumn, and I can feel smug about how pretty my photos have become by then!

Anyway. I tried a new thingy this week: the dutch door. I won’t waste time explaining something that others have explained/shown better here and here. Instead I’ll just tentatively say that I’m loving it!

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I’m using the top strip for a weekly overview with anything that needs to be done at a certain time, like meetings and such. On the row below it, I put dinners, music I’ve listened to, and any movie or TV show we watch.

On the bottom left I have my work related tasks, divided by context (read, Uni, computer), and to the right I have things to do at home plus a square I meant to track my moods in but I lost the motivation so I’m saving it for something else – a better idea, hopefully!

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As you can see below, I’ve put the names of the weekdays on my dutch door pages plus four symbols that stand for “pain in the ass”, “something I learned”, “well done” and “today’s bonus”, because these are things I always want to write down.

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And these pages are my favourite, because one thing I really enjoy with my bullet journal is the diary part of it. I tend to use it both for remembering fun things that happened, funny quotes, lightbulb moments, etc, but also for pictures. When a day is done and the page doesn’t have to look structured anymore because I don’t need to be able to quickly check my tasks, I like to wind down and reward myself/debrief by drawing or painting something, like I’ve done below.

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And so a grey, depressing day with no sun becomes something beautiful because charcoal is beautiful! That’s one point of art, isn’t it? To make the drudgery beautiful?