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NaNoWriMo 2016 Days 8, 9, 10

Current word count, as at 10 November 2016: 23,092/50,000 words. I’m doing way better on word count this time around, as compared to previous years. It’s quite exciting!

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NaNoWriMo screenshot. [Source]

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Delirium (2016) + Cybersleep (2014)

[Note: contains some gory / horror themes for the more sensitive viewers!]

“Subconscious lies
Dream within a dream
But I’m not afraid of this illusion
Still inside my head
Take me there
Just take my hand
And help me fly
Try to understand…”

Less than 48 hours remain until I finally get to see the mighty Italian goth-metal band Lacuna Coil live in concert on their Delirium world tour!

NaNoWriMo 2016

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I awoke this morning to find that the crazy storm that ripped through Melbourne last night knocked the neighbours’ conifer tree over, and it fell right through one of their cars before landing halfway across the fence. The State Emergency Service cleaned up most of it last night, but it wasn’t until I opened the curtains this morning that I realised the top quarter of the tree has taken up residence right on top of our landlords’ nicely landscaped garden. I’ve sent off the photos and emails to the agents who manage the property and am awaiting their advice. But I don’t want to spend the whole day anxiously ruminating and time is running out for my NaNo plans. Normally by October I want, at the very least, a vague plot for my NaNoWriMo story. I already have the Hallowe’en decorations out and no workable story yet. Hopefully the looming pressure of the self-imposed deadline will fire up my creative gears.

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Books: Laudato Si’

At some previous point I already noted that I read Pope Francis’s 2015 Laudato Si’: On care for our common home. It is available for download at the Vatican website (see HERE for the text, PDF and other language versions).

I haven’t really got the words to fully do it justice. It is an appeal to all people – not just Catholics – to reflect on our relationship with the Earth, nature and cosmos. To consider how our actions of consumption, greed, control, and for many Christians, a theology of Dominion, deplete and damage the world of which we are a part. And that it is the poorest of the poor who experience the worst effects of environmental degradation. This Papal encyclical is a God-send for me, as a person of faith with a university degree in Environmental Sociology, and who tries to live a minimalist lifestyle (somewhat unsuccessfully) and who makes an ethical and ecologically-conscious choice to live on a plant-based, wholefoods diet (“diet” in the sense of a lifestyle of healthy eating, as opposed to a temporary fad to effect extreme weight loss), and who is deeply concerned with the sociological impact of theological perspectives on ecological conditions.

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New drawing: UFO with whimsical landscape and night sky

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Here is one of my recent drawings, now available for sale on stickers, notebook covers, t-shirts, art prints, post cards and more at my RedBubble portfolio. (If you buy it, there won’t be an obnoxious blue copyright watermark.)

The original illustration is one of several UFO and alien-themed illustrations and paintings I’ve made over the summer (December to February in my end of the world).

This one was drawn by hand using ink fineliners on A3 paper.

UFOs are one of my perennial drawing and writing themes. Ever since the day I discovered the section on the uncanny in my high school library (a sunny winter’s day, circa 1994, with the books on Atlantis and Bermuda Triangle located by the window with some couches) it was as if the universe expanded. In the face of an awe-inspiring, massive universe, human concerns like war, violence, political borders and greed seem so small and petty. Look at the vast expanses out there, the further we look we find more to admire, we find more questions, we find incredibly complex and beautiful structures… It makes me think of the lyrics from Tool’s song ‘Right in Two’ from the 2006 album 10,000 Days:

“Monkey killing monkey killing monkey.
Over pieces of the ground.
Silly monkeys give them thumbs.
They make a club.
And beat their brother, down.
How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here.”

Whether or not there are extra-terrestrial beings out there is a topic on which I’m a happy fence-sitter. I desperately wish Star Wars and Star Trek represented a genuine reality. I have pored over all kinds of alien books over the years, from the terrifying Whitley Striber’s Communion to Gary Bates’s Alien Intrusion – a fascinating exploration of a Creationist Christian approach to alien abductions that envisages them as manifestations of ancient Biblical demons, and again, I’m not going to posit my own personal view on that (I don’t identify as a Creationist but know many people who do and I’m not interested in ridiculing or attacking people who hold to a different origins story). One of my most-consulted reference books is the Reader’s Digest Almanac of the Uncanny, a wonderfully inspiring illustrated chronology of human beliefs, superstitions and interpretations of the metaphysical realm. I have also seen unexplained lights in the sky (okay, in retrospect they were probably easily explainable, but at the time I was convinced I’d seen something uncanny), and I come from a part of the world where it was fairly common to encounter people who had a tale of UFOs or demonic manifestations. So, who knows? I’m happy to stay open-minded, as well as keep a little skeptical distance… and I try to be reflexive about the fact that my desire for UFOs to represent a real manifestation of other worlds within our universe mustn’t override my capacity to reason through it.