July 26, 2005

Follow Me Down to the Valley Below

Thanks to all who sent their regards during this latest Dark Night of the Soul. I have been making a long slow recovery over the past week, and getting the love and support of my friends-and-relations has made a difference. I think one of these days soon it will be time for me to talk at length here about my lifelong Death Cage Grudge Match with depression, and share some of my thoughts on living with an incurable emotional disorder; but it is not this day, as King Elessar says.

Of course, my mood is helped considerably with the imminent onset of Swampstock XII, for which we depart tomorrow night, and it's hard indeed to work up much gloominess when you're preparing to fill the station wagon with beer and lesbians so you can spend three days getting 'faced in the woods. To those of you who aren't able to make it this year: You will be missed and in our hearts, at least until the second or third round of Fuck-Me Punch kicks in. To those of you who still haven't done one of these after twelve years (yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Arizona), let this serve as yet another reminder of what you've been missing out on all this time.

Being poorer than normal this year, I wasn't able to put together my first choice for a silent auction item (a follow-up to last year's handbound book), so I'm seeing this as a sign I need to take the next twelve months and really do it right for SS XIII. This year, though, I'm doing something a little different. The item I'll be auctioning off this weekend will be the following:

Commission a Story!

The winner of this auction item will have the unique opportunity to commission a fantasy short story by Dan Layman-Kennedy. You can be responsible for the birth of a work of Art!

The rules are as follows:

1. The winner may select three (3) elements to be included in the story, keeping in mind that I’ll work them in however I best see fit. I promise to make these elements central, or at least important, to the story, meaning I won’t cheat and use them as wallpaper while I write about something else.

2. I reserve the right to reject elements that I find tasteless, politically offensive, or too silly to be workable. If I do find it necessary to reject an idea, you’ll have the opportunity to select an alternate. (Choosing wisely the first time, however, is highly recommended.)

3. The winner, on the other hand, receives no such guarantee regarding their own sensibilities. Keep in mind that the author is a feminist pagan bisexual with anarchist sympathies and a taste for the grotesque. Therefore, caveat emptor.

4. The elements to be included must be settled on, and agreed to by me, no later than September 1, 2005. Earlier is better, though. (If you do need that time to decide, the best way to contact me post-Swampstock is by email: maestro23@gmail.com.)

5. I’m a genre writer. If three things you thought would be perfect in a work of gritty realism, poignant coming-of-age, or chick lit end up gracing an urban fantasy tale full of octopus monsters – don’t say you weren’t warned.

6. The winner agrees not to select elements that will obviously railroad the work into suggesting or infringing upon anyone else’s established intellectual property. (The author agrees likewise.) Stealing is wrong. Hello.

7. The finished work will be no less than 3500 words. Probably longer, since I’m prone to verbosity, but you’re guaranteed at least that much. It’s also guaranteed to be a prose story – I promise not to do a bait-and-switch and write a song or an epic poem instead.

8. The story will be completed no later than one calendar year from purchase at the auction (i.e., by July 31, 2006). Hope for sooner, but don’t count on it; the Muse, like a lover, gets temperamental when rushed.

9. The winner will receive one (1) handbound pamphlet copy of the finished work, signed by me. If you don’t know if or when you’ll see me in person in the next year, I’ll be happy to send it to you by mail. This will, however, mean not making your address impossible to track down; please plan accordingly before you bid.

10. I will, of course, retain all copyright and other authorial rights and priveleges as regards the finished work, including the right to revise, submit, sell, distribute or otherwise use as I see fit.

11. Lastly, if this item ends up going for an especially high final price at auction, I’ll throw in something extra and cool to go with the finished product. Bid large and see what happens.

We'll see how that goes. I'll announce the winner here when I return.

And, with that, I'm off to pack. Obviously, I'll be dropping off the map for a couple of days as of tomorrow night, so attempts to reach me via the normal means will meet with little success. (I'll probably be more than usually susceptible to astral projections, though, so that's worth a shot if you're desperate.)

See you back here in August.

July 18, 2005

...And I Think I'm Going Nowhere

Insomnia and a really, truly dreadful case of depression have been ganging up on me for... well, at least a week now, judging by my Roller Coaster of Sick since last Monday, but in particular for the last couple of days. I'm a bit of a wreck physically and mentally (okay, more than a bit, but whatever). I know it's mostly just bad chemicals and will pass, but, damn, I wish it'd get on with it.

I do beg your pardon, devoted readers. I try not to indulge in Poor Poor Pitiful Me here if I can help it, but I'm hoping sending a little of this awfulness out into the void will help me be rid of it, or at least some of it, sooner. Fingers crossed, anyway.

I'll let you know.

July 09, 2005

Dammit, Jesus, Quit Jogging My Arm

Via vassilissa, on the latest Open Thread on Making Light: "With You Always," a series of utterly sincere and unintentionally funny drawings of Jesus Christ backseat-driving at assorted professions.

They defy description, so go see for yourself. I particularly like the shot of the Savior of Mankind apparently offering up a small child to a clown, and the "Just get us to Reno and everything will be okay" scenario with the truck driver on page two.

UPDATE, slightly belated: Quoth Spyder, in comments, "It's like a game of 'add the caption'!" - and, of course, someone else thought so too. Courtesy Alex Cohen, in the same ML thread.