The Butterfly House: Chrysalis

HortusButterflies1In my favourite role-playing background, Changeling: The Dreaming, a Chrysalis is the point where the fae soul that has been lying dormant in a human is awakened. There are glimpses of the hidden world, the veil blown aside a bit by the winds that change ever so often, bits of glamour revealed.

HortusButterflies4After these sneak peeks into the world behind the world, the one that only the enchanted can see, there follows the dream dance, a swirling, manic, intense experience. It’s frightening to go through this alone and many refuse the call to their truest self, go crazy, get lost in the maelstrom of wonder, monsters, feelings. But those who don’t, those who either get found in time, rescued, those who somehow make it by themselves, those who embrace who they really are, enter a whole new world-behind-worlds where (almost) everything makes sense, all of a sudden.

HortusButterflies8When a larva grows it sheds its skin, more than once. We, too, try on skins in the shape of subcultures, styles, personality traits. Once the caterpillar encases itself and turns into a pupa, it turns liquid. Whether that pupa is in a soft cocoon or in a hard, shiny chrysalis doesn’t matter, the progress is the same. Self-digestion might not be an option for humanoids – it sounds incredibly unhealthy – let’s see it as a metaphor, an analysis of oneself, a quiet retreat inside our own mind.

HortusButterflies5Just like it’s the case with the larva that turns liquid we still keep some parts of ourself. I call these parts our essence, the very thing that makes you you and that makes me me. The very parts that are still there after you discover the world-behind-worlds, that are still you even when you made it through the Dream Dance.

HortusButterflies9I’m entirely fascinated by the progress, the one of the butterfly metamorphosis as well as the Chrysalis of a Changeling. I know that the journey of finding myself will never end but I think having a liquid state – a time where I just decide to dissolve and keep only the most essential parts of myself, maybe in meditation, maybe getting lost in something else – a creative process, swimming, dancing, music – might be exactly what I need. What all of us that are weird and sometimes strangers in our human forms that seem* to live in a world cold and devoid of magic, always searching for something – others like us, our true selves, our true meaning – need from time to time.

HortusButterflies11* because I know that there is magic, it’s just not always easy to spot!

HortusButterflies2So I make a cocoon for myself, or a chrysalis, and I turn into a hedge-goo, a pool of energy and essence, and you can decide for yourself if that’s just in my mind or if I actually dissolve into a slime on my bed.
My cocoon is my bedroom, a spot that is mine alone, soft and good for falling asleep to wake up with another bit of the veil behind me, on my way to waking up to myself, all my memories, all my skills and things.
A Changeling rarely has all of the memories of their former incarnations, and I see regaining them as a mini-metamorphosis of its own.

HortusButterflies7I’m sorry if this post strangely and randomly switched between casual biology, RPC nerdery, storytelling and esoteric, witchy self-care. What can I say, it’s how the mind works (at least this one).

HortusButterflies6All these pictures were taken in De Hortus‘ butterfly greenhouse, a magical place where you can watch the pupae of the species that live there real close, marvelling at the beautiful textures.

HortusButterflies10My most magical experience at the botanical garden though I kept for the end: I was blessed enough to see this beauty wiggle itself part of the way out of its pupa and into its imago stage. I don’t think I have ever seen something so strange and magical at the same time and I hope it will never fade from my memory.

HortusButterflies3Have a lovely start into the week!

Liked this? Read my other posts about De Hortus in Amsterdam! Part 1 | Part 2

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Maybe Fiction, Maybe Not: My NaNoWriMo Project 2017

TCGTNESC

A while ago I remembered that I never showed you even the cover of my 2017 NaNoWriMo project! The Changeling’s Guide to Non-Existent Subcultures, subtitled Maybe Fiction, Maybe Not was an idea to flesh out several ideas I’ve had over the last few years, especially the Neo-Incroyables who featured in a NaNo in… 2014? 2015?
I love worldbuilding and culturebuilding so making my whole project about mostly made-up subcultures was an idea close to my heart.

Among others the book contains chapters on

  • Neo-Incroyables: Fans of the decadence and glamour of pre-revolution France in a society built around an elaborate system of sins and reckless abandon
  • Elstervolk: Glitter-loving, trickstery wearers of black and bling, armed with wit and a strong sense of community
  • Changelingpunk: Of course my favourite (just look at my social media handles…), this banality-defying subset tries to cultivate an air of fantasy and otherness while trying to make the world a more interesting place
  • Mermaids: Creatures of the deep and shallow waters, of salt and sweet, are united under this scaly fin to be more than just pretty people with a fascinating hobby
  • Urban Rurals: Also jokingly called Anarcho Amish these individuals don’t think that everything about living in cities is bad, it’s all just a question of the right spot for the compost heap
  • Monkey Folk: A peaceful community of gentle-yet-mischievous pranksters tailored to folks who like basking in the sun, climbing and exploring the urban jungle with their proclaimed family

I’m still fleshing out the details, it’s probably one of these never-ending projects but I at least plan to let you in on some scene secrets over time. Who knows, maybe some things will even stick to reality and make the book non-fiction one day…

In which of the subcultures above are you most interested in? Let me know in the comments!

NaNoWriMo 2017 | Why am I still writing?

It’s November again and with it NaNoWriMo, right after Inktober (don’t worry, I’ll update on that, too, well, at some point…), another “creative obligation”, another month full of “I have to do this”. Sounds stressful, right? And it kind of was during the last seven years. I just checked. This is my eighth year of NaNoWriMo. I’ve written more than just one post about this, too.

During the last few years I drowned myself in research and worldbuilding and character creation, wrote furiously during class and at home and made it to 50k. Exactly once. In seven years.

Isn’t this discouraging?, are you going to ask, to write just without any proper motivation but this goal and then not even meet it? To pour so much creativity and energy into this for a whole month that you can’t really do much else?

What’s more, by now I have a regular job and three days of the week I just keel over and fall asleep as soon as I come home. I have historical dancing at least every two weeks, Pathfinder every Wednesday and some kind of social life and other projects, too, surprisingly (no, really). I can’t even go to the meet-ups on weekends because that’s when I work and afterwards I just want to get home and shower and sleep. Writing 1667 words a day seems impossible for me right now. But still I signed up, still I “announced my novel” which means that I filled out some blanks and decided on what I wanted to write this year. Still I checked my “Writing Buddies” just to find that most of them are inactive nowadays. Even writing this makes me look at myself and question if I’m not delusional, why do I do this? My boyfriend sighed when I said “It’s NaNo again” during breakfast on one of the first days of the month because he knows how I invested I was during the last years and how crushed when I didn’t meet my word goals for a day and how disillusioned when I eventually gave up and didn’t write anymore at all for the rest of the month.

This all sounds terribly bleak. It sounds faded and desaturated and bad and exhausting. But let me add a bit more colour. Let me add the sunshine. And the reasons why after all this bleakness I still write.

I love a good challenge.

I love Inktober, MerMay, NaNoWriMo, 30 Question blog post challenges, you name it. I rarely follow through, having about the attention span of a raven or crow (quite intense at times, but still easily distracted), but I love them and jump at them at every opportunity I see. They give me a weird sense of purpose that I sometimes lack (but sometimes not, sometimes I manage to create my own). They give me direction for my scatterbrain. They give me the chance to put out my creativity for others to kind-of-see, within a somewhat socially accepted setting. And I admit that I stressed myself out on this during the last years, which wasn’t exactly the healthiest thing I could do.

But this year I write for myself. Only myself. I’m writing some kind of non-fiction this year for the first time (but maybe it’s fictional non-fiction, who knows) which I’m having a ball with. I write because I want to and I’m proud of every bit of progress I make, proving (mainly to myself) that I can still write and be creative and join these challenges without the drive to win, despite work, despite social things, despite mental troubles. Because I refuse to say, “I don’t have time for this anymore”. I refuse to give in to the concept of the working adult person dragging themself to work and social events and then crashing on the sofa just watching something semi-clever while drifting off to sleep. Not that I don’t do that once in a while, and I love drifting off to sleep while something runs in the background, but this is not what this is about. This is about me denying banality to crush me. This is about me still writing, maybe only five words a day, maybe 2k on another because inspiration hit me and granted me the energy to write on even though I’ve been awake for 16 hours already because of early working hours. Because it’s every single word that counts. Because I need to give Inspiration (capital I) the chance to find me, to find something to come to. I want to create and I need to create or I’d feel horrible. Believe me, I tried. And it sucked.

Sure, call me stubborn. Call me delusional. Call me stupid. Call me to ask, “why are you still doing this even though you know you can’t possibly make it to 50k until the end of the month”. I barely care.

I write because I want my words to come out. Because I can coax them onto the white sheet of my OpenOffice document and get them to stay and evolve into ideas that I might someday be able to share, that might in turn inspire others. I write because I’m a dreamer, because I am a believer in the power of Inspiration and Creativity and the fact that even if you’ve got an eight-hour workday behind you you can still do it. It doesn’t really look like it yet, but eh, somebody’s gotta try it. Everything was impossible until someone came along who didn’t know and just did it. My stubbornness is good. My stubbornness is something that keeps me from plunging into darkness and banality and depression far more than I already do (well, mostly darkness and depression).

Writing is a ray of sunshine, a twinkle of a star, as is every creative endeavour. It is there to inspire you further, to create for yourself, not just for the achievement or others, even though that’s perfectly valid, too.

This is about 1k worth of words now. See, writing just works, somehow. Be it here or on that doc that I’m going back to now because today I have a free day aside from social things I’m looking forward to.

I love you. All of you.

(P.S.: TL; DR: Because I wanna)

Finished Things Saturday: Pink Lancer Dice Bag

Finished Things Saturday (or FTS for short) is the (usually) bi-weekly counterpart to my UFO Fridays. While there I show you what I’m working on FTS is about small finished projects that I didn’t think worthy of a separate post for some time but now just put in this feature. They deserve it! For more FTSs, look here.
Pink Lancer Dice Bag | HedgefairyOne of the things I do when it’s not my turn during Pathfinder sessions is crafting. I usually just work on bigger projects that happen to be up at the moment but that one partictular week I had the urge to do something about the scrap box.
Pink Lancer Dice Bag | HedgefairyMy old dice bag had long been inactive: At my old place I just kept my dice in a bowl because I think they are pretty. I also keep my D20 (for all my non-gaming readers: ikosaeder or 20-sided die) in an extra tie-string bag (that I had since childhood and didn’t make myself) for better organisation (Pathfinder works on a D20 basis). This was just too much for my tiny old bag to hold so I decided that I needed a new one.
Pink Lancer Dice Bag | HedgefairyThis one has ample space for all my dice, a small pencil, map markers… all the little things that are definitely necessary. It’s made out of the leftovers of Noio’s dress, the lining of my Mother Quilt and some bias tape from a dismanteled place mat – and all fabrics were thrifted in the first place.
I have taken up a jousting lance as a personal symbol lately, and I think I should do more embroidery again – I really like it.

What scrap busters have you sewn lately? Or did you manage to reduce you stash somehow else? Let me know in the comments!

Off to ConQuest

I’m sorry it’s been so quiet during the last two weeks here but I did little more than sleep, work, eat and prep for my favourite week of the year: ConQuest.

When you read this I’m either already on the road to Brokeloh or most probably running in circles, flailing and shouting because I’m not sure what I forgot to pack.

I hope you have a most wonderful week (after which I’ll hopefully throw post after post at you showing off all the things I made lately) because I know I will.

I love you all and I’m looking forward to see you after this adveture.

Hugs and kisses,
Hedge ♥♥♥

 

Beyond the Seals 2017

106_2047I’m back from LARP! This was probably the most exhausting event I’ve ever been to and the one that definitely had the potential to make me stop going to Beyond the Seals altogether as well as stop writing the in-character newspaper. Thanks to the wonderful people around me though I want to keep doing this – making silly news for everyone, giving people the chance to get information, supporting the gameplay. My team was wonderful. By the time the event was over we had transitioned from rainbow press-like BILD der Stadt to the still somewhat silly and satirical but far more informative and independent Stargazer under the patronage of my beloved Western Seal. We also have an English section now for the international players which got us so much lovely feedback that it made all the trouble worthwhile.
106_1940

I didn’t really get into character – staring at a screen 15 hours a day, being annoyed by the printer and coordinating stuff does that to you – and next year I’ll give out the PSA that plot and especially emotional play is to be kept away from me, thankyouverymuch. I can either run a working newspaper for the game or I can play, I can’t possibly do both.
Noio doesn’t have as much of a profile as I imagined when I first wrote her, but that’s okay. She’s the mask I don to not interrupt others’ game when I come out of the office.
106_1951I didn’t take anywhere near enough breaks. I was stressed out of my mind. I forgot to eat. I didn’t sleep enough. And of course I didn’t take all the pictures I wanted to take and didn’t film at all. But surprisingly, after all this, I’m okay. I didn’t expect that, really.
106_2069There was little time in-between issues and character play and avoiding breakdowns (my own as well as those of others) but I actually managed to buy a new non-disruptive byro for my character (sometimes quill and ink are too messy, especially when you take interviews or have to scribble something down for someone else) and one of these pretty pendants that open up so you can put something interesting inside. I’ve wanted on of those for ages!
The die was left in our office when we were done packing and nobody claimed it, and the matchbox was left as a calling card by the O’Gradys whose in-game bank/mafia advertised in our paper.
The coins are but a small part of what we made during the game – those are only the pretty ones I wanted to keep for my collection as well as actual foreign money (for some reason there is always something like that. It’s two British pounds and ten cents from the bank of Uganda this time).

106_1936To say I’d be absolutely looking forward to Beyond the Seals 2018 would be a lie. But I’m not dreading it, either. I’m curious what will happen next year, I learned a lot, and I’m ABSOLUTELY looking forward to ConQuest.