Category Archives: Creative

Listen to the silence

We are trying not to be silent, but you insist on drowning out our voices by telling stories about us. You do not listen, because you think you know who we are and what we did and how we live.

We scream, and you pat us on the head, one by one, saying ‘Never mind, dear’ and ‘don’t make such a fuss about it, you’re being very silly.’

We aren’t real to you, and you have a hard time thinking of us as people. As people who are outside your head and your experience, and who do not feel things in the way you think we should feel.

We are not your story. 

What choice did you give us? We did not ask for any of this, and we tried to explain. We tried to make you understand. We fought the hunger until it became impossible to control it, and all the time we wondered why we were fighting so hard for your sake when you would not listen.

If you had listened, we might never have eaten you.

And it seems unfair to us that we now feel guilty about your exposed bones.

(While we’ve been doing some art/tiny flash fiction things on Facebook, this is the first more involved piece I’ve done with Dr Abbey in ages. His image, my words.)


The trouble with being a person

One of my early memories is of going to playgroup for the first time, looking at the other children there and having no idea what to make of what I was seeing. Throughout my childhood, people and social situations were scary and incomprehensible. 

Over the years I’ve put in a lot of work trying to make sense of people – as individuals, and as groups. Being a person has never come naturally to me and I mostly feel that I just don’t qualify as one. I’m currently trying to imagine a more cheering approach to this, hence the picture. I’d probably cope better with all aspects of life if I had enormous, creatury ears. 

This was based on a photo of me. Something about the lighting and my head angle combined to make me look more like my mother and great grandmother than I usually do.


Cat Blorbs

I’ve been drawing Mr Anderson as he sleeps. Black cats can be hard to photograph, they become strange dark shapes that make no sense. So I thought I’d go with that. I have to draw fairly quickly to get the outline – he moves a lot even when asleep. I’m hoping to get faster and more capable so that I can catch some of the funny things he does when awake.

It entertains me that the middle image below only makes visual sense in the context of the others. He is a puddle of darkness. Mostly liquid.

Where even is his head?

I’m learning by doing this, and I hope to improve my drawing skills a bit. In the meantime, the notion of cat blorbs amuses me, and hopefully will amuse other people too. There’s some comfort in harmless humour, I think, and cats can be good for that.


Spirits and Goddesses

These images were all drawn by me, using pencil, and without looking at any references. Partly I wanted to see how plausibly I could draw these figures without having to look at anything else. Once of them owes a lot to Neolithic Goddesses and none of them are meant to be realistic, but I did want to see what kind of bodies I can manage.

These drawings helped me think about what makes the representation of a body seem objectified, to me. I also came to the conclusion that the world has enough images of tormented, malnourished and impossible-sexualised female bodies. Probably we need more that celebrates and is rooted in joy and delight, both in terms of how the person creating the image feels about what they’re creating, and in terms of how the person is depicted.

What makes me happiest are depictions of people who are themselves happy and at home in their own skin.


Inner worlds – fiction

There are worlds inside you. 

This is the place I think of the most, even though the sun can be punishing. I know the landscape looks barren and unkind, yet there is a stark beauty here I cannot help but love. The story of this place is harsh. Terrible things happened here and we do not speak of that. What excites me is the knowledge that this is not the end of a story, but the place where dreaming begins. 

We are going to regreen this land, you and I. We will make water flow again, through the old channels that barely remember they were once rivers. When we are ready, the trees will spring up here again, and there will be lushness and beauty. 

There are worlds inside you. This world is also inside me. I feel the sand rasping in the wind. I feel the weight of the same sky. I have been burnished rock and endless desert. I remember.

In the end, we must take off this armour. We must lie down in the heat, and become the shade. Where we have merely survived, we must learn to flourish.

(art by Dr Abbey, text mine.)


Eat this for us – fiction

The Knight of April.

He lost his Queen and said

You eat this for our kingdom.

Eat the sins, that we may be free of them.

Eat up our shame. Take it deep into your body. Become our shame. Free us from the burden of it, that we may accuse you of making us do what we do.

Eat up the grief for us. We do not want to feel the grief that is rightfully ours. Spare us from regret. Bloat your stomach with it until it hurts so that we never need to think of the past with sorrow.

Eat up the awkward bits of our history. This you must do for your country. How can we be proud, otherwise? Eat up the things we do not wish to hear spoken of. Eat the stories we prefer to forget. We will be great! Stuff those truths into your mouth until you choke on them. We do not care if they cut your throat as you swallow. We do not mind at all if holding the truth in silence wounds your body. Eat the truth so that we can deny it.

Never ask why she is gone.

Never ask who she was.

We do not want to remember her truly. Eat up the past for us, eat up the regret so that in death she can be our perfect Queen forever. Eat our sins, so that it was not our fault.

(First text and image by Dr Abbey, second piece of text is mine. There hasn’t been much time for this over the last few months and I’ve missed it. Good to be back!)


Seasonal silliness

My idea, Tom’s art, my mangling of a poem. Whatever you’re doing today, I hope it goes well for you. It’s not my festival, it may not be yours either. It can be a tough day for people who are alone, missing someone or otherwise struggling. I can’t offer much, but I can bring silliness, so here we are.


The Feral Haus Spaus – a story

It isn’t real folklore. It isn’t even real language, but the feral haus spaus isn’t one to fret over conventions. You find them in the garden, wild birds are eating grain from their outstretched hand. At once, you are struck by their loveliness. So sweet a face, such bright eyes, a glow of health in their skin and a lively, playful quality in their demeanor.

Of course the haus spaus is in part what you wanted them to be. Husband or wife, or partner, according to your desires. They know that about you, and it is part of their innate magic. 

“It will rain soon,” says the haus spaus. Their voice is warm and soothing. “Best get the laundry in now.” You will be grateful to them in a few minutes, when the safe delivery of your laundry under your roof coincides with the first patter of rain. You do not remember hanging laundry out to dry, but perhaps that does not matter.

Mostly, they are in the garden. They plant flowers, and the weeds grow in profusion. Not only do they feed the wild birds, but also the badgers, who go on to dig up your lawn, but you don’t mind. It’s hard to resist the feral haus spaus.

They bring you dirty vegetables, fresh from the ground and nothing else has ever tasted so good. There is bounty in their open hands. Wild bees take up residence in your attic. Sometimes an owl stands on your roof to hoot. You find ivy growing on the inside of your home and you are not quite sure how this happened, but the feral haus spaus likes the ivy, so you leave it alone and soon there’s a robin living in it and it sings to you, early in the morning.

You forget to go to work. You forget even that you had a job. Trees grow in your garden. Your front door sprouts leaves. The postman no longer delivers anything. You forget about the postman. There’s not much reason to leave the house now, you have so much bounty from the garden. Where would you go, anyway? Why would you go?

The feral haus spaus patches your clothing with spider webs and dried grass stems. You are never too cold. Sometimes there are moths in your hair. You laugh a great deal, but you do not know why sometimes. The haus spaus smiles at you, and life is good.

By the time your home turns into a tree, your blood relations will not remember that you existed. Sometimes children come to play in the garden. Their clothes seem strange to you, their talk is full of words you do not know. The feral haus spaus smiles at you and tells you that everything is fine.

(Prompted by a meme about how the existence of the domestic housewife implies the existence of a feral one.)


Queen of the needle – poem

Prick me, and I will bleed

My wounds stay open

Skin bloodstained

The damage painted

For easy viewing.

Break open my skin

For my own good

Apparently.

Test me

Test me

Test me again.

What am I?

Why do I bleed

Still?

What is wrong

That I do not heal?

Stab me with your solutions

Solving nothing.

Investigate me 

Down to the bone

Under the microscope

You find no answers

I am still bleeding.

An illness with no name

No diagnosis

No reality.

A being without explanation

May as well be a fairy

For all the good it will do.

Stab me again

As though this time

It could be different.

(art by Dr Abbey. Text by me, and I don’t heal injuries made with steel easily, which causes me all kinds of difficulty around conventional medicine. )


The Winter Queen – fiction

Are we lucky?
The Winter Queen smiled at me.
We have time to pray for…
I cannot hear the last word.
Then she cried and cried.

I love this image by Dr Abbey, and the text that goes with it suggests so much. So, I’m sharing this one without additional content from me.