Fortune Teller Birthday Card.

Fortune Teller 10

Saturday was one of my best friend’s birthdays. Her 18th birthday. So this year I decided to do something special.

It all started out as an idea about something with plain ink and fold-ability and such. That idea soon turned into the fortune teller birthday card. I gave it to her looking like this:

Fortune Teller 12

I think she liked it, although we had some issues with the actual reading of the thing. (But then again, isn’t that always the case with the future?) Anyway, the tag says:

Fortune Teller 3

Fortune Teller 4

Flattened out, The top looks something like this:

Fortune Teller 14

And on the reverse, we get numbers, which end up on the inside when it’s all folded up.

Fortune Teller 5

In order to read the card in a chronological manner, one has to open the flaps in numerical order. I like that it takes some work to be able to read the card properly.

Fortune Teller 19

Fortune Teller 20

Otherwise it just looks like this when all the flaps are open:

Fortune Teller 7

I think this is one of my better ideas. Yes, definitely. And how am I going to top this next year?

…I have no idea.

Fortune Teller 8

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Fragile (Flash Fiction Challenge: The Cooperative Cliffhanger, Part One)

Here’s another flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig!

The challenge this week is The Cooperative Cliffhanger, Part One. Basically you have to write a 1000-word piece with a cliffhanger at the end. But the twist is that somebody else (hopefully) will pick up your piece and write a second part. Sounds like fun right?

Hope you like it!

*UPDATE* There is a part two! Written by the lovely margitsage, you can read Fragile, Part Two by clicking here, or by clicking the link she gives in the comments below. Thank you, margitsage, for finishing off Fragile so beautifully. *round of applause*

• • •

Fragile

Ka-plunk. Ka-plunk. Ka-plunk.

I can hear my heartbeats: loud, clear, strong—and faltering.

I’m scared out of my mind and I know that what I want to do most in the world is take little Maggie’s hand and run, far away from this shuddering place. But I can’t do that. Something here bids us stay, and I can feel in the way that Maggie’s hand slips from mine that she will not follow me.

“Maggie, get back here!”

Clutching her favorite, over-handled teddy bear she stops and turns apologetically. But her eyes—they’re still sparkling, which makes me nervous. “I’m sorry.”

Her voice is so small… I think achingly. Too small to question this pretty place. The glittering rainbow of colors might catch her eye, but it doesn’t catch mine.

Levi chuckles beside me. “You scared, Faye?” I want to punch him in the gut. This isn’t funny. This is so far from funny.

A sickly glow throbs along the walls. The massive, unearthly gems twinkle in a barbaric rhythm. And with each wave I feel very, very wrong. It’s as though the walls, the gems, the pulses are plunging their crystalline claws into my heart, tearing it wide open.

“Don’t be an idiot,” I say coolly. “If we lose her, I’m blaming it all on you.”

He waves his hand dismissively. “We’re not going to lose her.”

The throbbing continues. I do not like how vulnerable I feel, trapped inside this mosaic cave that looks more like mutant butterfly flesh than solid rock. But I will not let Levi know this, because then the teasing would never stop. And I don’t let Maggie know either, because I don’t like how unafraid she is. How at ease she is. That in her eyes is a glimmer of wonder in place of fear. A wonder that’s almost possessive.

Strong. Savage. Unearthly.

A shiver drips down my spine like ice water as I feel it again—that raw, spring-fed pulse that feels too close, too alive, too invasive. I can hear soft whisperings in my ears that I’m not sure are real. The pulsing, the voices, they continue on and on as if driven by some invisible heartbeat, warm and bleeding. I want to vomit.

Maggie hears them too. I can tell because she’s looking up at the ceiling of this nightmare of a cave, as if she’s expecting them to say something to her.

Ka-plunk. Ka-plunk. Ka-plunk.

All of a sudden Maggie breaks into a run.

I can hear Levi’s shouts mixing with mine as we sprint after her. At least he’s stopped treating this like a joke. Panel after panel of stained glass sweeps by us as we chase her through the tunnels, and everything becomes one, giant, neon blur. Every time my feet hit the ground I can feel the shockwaves flowing from the impact, echoing throughout the confined space. The pulse is so heavy, it’s roaring in my ears.

Ka-plunk ka-plunk ka-plunk—

To think that just this morning we were sitting in the kitchen eating yesterday’s leftover casserole and Levi’s burnt attempt at eggs. Just this morning I was tying a new ribbon around that old teddy bear’s neck to cover the broken seam. Just this morning there were no such things as Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit holes or magical Narnian wardrobes.

And now that I think about it, there still aren’t. Narnia was never this frightening.

Levi reaches her before I do. He’s holding her by her shoulders when I arrive. “You can’t just run off like that,” he scolds lightly.

“What were you thinking?” I shout. She’s still clutching that deformed teddy bear of hers. I’m screaming at her and she looks about to cry, but I don’t care. “What if something had happened to you? Didn’t think about that, did you?”

“I’m sorry… But it asked me for help. I just wanted to help it. I really didn’t mean to… I…” Her bottom lip is trembling like a baby’s.

“You didn’t mean to?” I start.

“Faye, lay off,” Levi warns.

“No, I’m not going to lay off. Am I the only one that’s concerned about our safety here?”

Levi and I argue back and forth. He tells me that it was no big deal. I tell him how irresponsible he is. He says I’m acting like a brat. I tell him that he’s a lazy, good-for-nothing pain that I can’t shake.

Ka-plunk-ka-plunk-ka-plunk—

I’m down to my last straw. “Shut up, Levi!”

He doesn’t respond, and I’m thinking that I’ve finally won the argument when I see his face. He’s not looking at me. He’s looking at Maggie.

She’s started walking forward again. Slowly this time, her teddy bear barely dangling from her hand. And that’s when I notice it.

We’ve reached the end of the cave, the back wall a plain deterrent in front of us. Now that I’m once again aware of my surroundings, I realize the pulsing is so forceful here that I feel disoriented and dizzy. The whispers are incoherent shouts.

And against that moldy, gemstone-mosaic wall there’s a giant tumor of a growth bulging right out of the earth. I can’t tell what it is—it looks like glass and insect wing and spider silk and bubble soap all at the same time. And I know without a doubt that this is where the pulsing is coming from.

The thing beats—ka-plunk, ka-plunk, ka-plunk—like an iridescent human heart, struggling to move. I begin to panic as it squirms.

Maggie’s hand hovers just over it, her favorite teddy bear forgotten on the ground like a piece of trash.

Kaplunkkaplunkkaplunk—

We try to reach her again. We call for her to stop. But she can’t hear us at all, and I can barely hear my own ragged voice. I know I will be too late by the time I yank her back.

She touches that grimy, silvery throbbing creature and it glows, beating so fast it becomes one, thunderous hum.

Kaplunkkaplunkkaplunkkaplunkkaplunkkaplunkkaplunkkaplunkkaplunk—

Ka-plunk.

World’s Eye

World's Eye

WORLD’S EYE

What do you see, when you look at us?
shards and pieces
fragments of a whole truth

broken
hazy
hidden

To be found
on any day of your choosing

should you choose to search

Look closely, and you will see
secrets
and shushes

a quiet so loud it rumbles and hums

Emotion and daring and dreaming and more
underneath our haloed surfaces

Underneath our shields of rippled glass
of torn sky
of softest earth

underneath the crystal veil we wear

But step away

away for just a moment more

away
afar
a distance

Let the fragments become whole
let the pieces fall together
let the strings intertwine

See every detail
See them coalesce

See them through world’s eye

Watch this, bring tissues

I don’t cry very much, which is very sad indeed.

I kind of wish I did. I love the feeling of watching or reading or hearing something really sad and just letting the emotion out in the form of small people-raindrops. Unfortunately for me, I can probably count the number of times this has happened to me on my left hand. Sometimes I wonder if I’m lacking something vital or if I just don’t drink enough water to produce tears (that’s a thing, right?)

And if I did cry more, I think that I’d look like less of a mechanical automaton to other people. I have a heart! Just not tear ducts, I guess.

Anyway, this commercial was on my cousin Kim’s blog today and it brought me pretty close to the brink. I loved it– especially its message–and I hope you like it too. Thanks Kim!

Miscelaneous Randomness and Sheep

Happy Friday the 13th everybody!

As the title of this post suggests, today will be a post of randomness, party in celebration of the 13th, and partly because… well, who needs a reason to be random, really?

I’m in a sort of absorptive writing phase right now, which really means I’m not writing so much as reading and looking up stuff while eating popcorn and laying on my couch. Not that I usually do that…

And because I am soaking up stuff like a spongy-sponge of spongeness, I also happen to be doing some “research” which isn’t really research but kind of is. It turned out pretty well. So this is what I ended up with.

This is a picture of sheep:

Valais Blacknose Sheep

This is also a picture of sheep:

Valais Blacknose Sheep on the Summer Grazing Pastures

Don’t ask me why I needed to find pictures of a very specific kind of sheep, but I did.

They’re called Valais Blacknose Sheep, and they are perfect and adorable and soft-looking (and their knees are black!) Aren’t they cute?

On the reading side I’m soaking up some pretty good stuff. Sadly I don’t have a picture this time around– the library demanded their awesome books back, unfortunately.

I just finished Dark Triumph by R. L. LaFevers, which is the second part of the His Fair Assassins Trilogy, and it was definitely just as good as Grave Mercy was is. And if you’re wondering, Grave Mercy is good. Like, really good. So much beautiful writing and twisted political conflict and romance and, um, assassin nuns.

LaFevers also happens to have one of the prettiest websites I have ever seen. My own sad blog has just been put to shame.

I’m also partway through Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Even unfinished, this book is changing the perspective I have on myself, which I didn’t even think I needed. But apparently I did.

If you’re bored or your in the mood for some good books, read these. Read them.

And here’s a few more sheep, just because they’re cute and fluffy and, well, sheep:

Swiss Sheep

More Valais Blacknose Sheep

When Characters Begin to Leak Out of My Story

First of all, school’s back for me. (…Hooray? Boo? *shrugs shoulders*) Unfortunately that means that my blog will have to suffer a little more neglect yet again.  Because, while I do enjoy the sensory overload of so many shiny new things to learn, I am no magician. Nor do I own any clones. Time is something I seem to have less and less of. *sigh*

But I promise, I will be posting regularly, at least once or twice a week. Most of the time.

Now, on to what this post is actually about:

(Let me first just say, I’m a little terrified to be admitting some of this stuff. For most of my life, it’s been me, and my real world, and my imagination. Neat, clear lines separating each piece. But if I want to be a writer, well, I’ve got to let that fear go.)

I am a very visual person. Art is in my writing and writing’s in my art and I’m fairly sure that writing is art so… naturally stuff from one category will seep into the other occasionally.

I’d like to say that this doesn’t happen very often… but then I’d be lying. It really does. Art and writing are crisscrossed for me, so a lot of times I’ll draw what I meant to write or write what I meant to draw, which helps me to better write/draw what I had originally intended to be a piece of writing/art.

…That didn’t make any sense at all, did it? Here, let me try again:

Basically, a small scene or blurb of writing will sometimes become so etched into my mind that it evolves into a sketch or painting or other, which in turn causes me to write more, based off of the image I can see in front of my eyes. And vice versa.

So when I have writer’s block, I’ll probably have art-block too (artist’s block? um…) I cringe at the very thought.

I’d always known they were linked together inside me, but I never really knew just how linked they were, until the other day.

I was drawing, not really with anything specific in mind, except that it was most definitely a person (or at least person-shaped– there was still plenty of room for wings and tails and things later down the road.)

I ended up with this:

L

Nothing too weird or special about it. No wings or tails, either.

But the real thing about this drawing is that, although the attire might be ever-so-slightly inaccurate, this is most definitely a character–the character– straight out of my writing.

I swear I did it on accident.

It’s not that I haven’t drawn characters out before, but this time I didn’t plan on it beforehand. It’s like my hands have small brains of their own inside them…

I love her to pieces, but now I’m kind of wondering if I can uncross my writing and art. At least, just a little bit.

I am afraid they may be irreversibly conjoined. Not so good when I’m drawing stuff for other projects. And I’m just the teensiest bit afraid that I might be too obsessed with my own characters and stories. Characters and stories that, let’s face it, don’t clash well with the real, working world.

And yet, here they are.

Clashing. Coming together. Mingling.

I won’t tell you what the character’s real name is (for many reasons, one of them being that her name is still very impermanent), but she– the drawing– certainly is her.

She’s got that expression on her face that she would have. And I’m pretty sure that if this outfit was in her closet, she would choose it and wear it.

A little scary, isn’t it? How the imaginary worlds in our heads escape into the real world in our hands?

But that’s the whole point, I guess. I do want her to join the real world one day. To really sit along a bookshelf wearing a pretty, new book jacket, hopefully to be picked up by other people, people who will get to know her like I do.

I would like very much for you to meet her someday.

In many ways, she is one of my best friends. Most good characters are, whether they belong to my worlds or someone else’s.

It is a little scary, but there is a thrill that comes along with the scary. A thrill, a joy, a compulsion to bring the world in my head to the world outside.

Do I sound a little crazy? Because in truth, that’s kind of how I feel right now, writing this. I mean, on top of typing out this very iffy-complicated post, it’s half-past whatever time I finished my calculus homework, and I also had a yummy, sugary, caffeine-y iced mocha. Calculus + lack of sleep + blog + yummy iced mocha = crazy

If this made absolutely no sense, I’m blaming the calculus homework, because the mocha was yummy and I never get enough sleep anyway and I CAN’T BLAME MY OWN BLOG.

Breathe Jackie, breathe! Sorry. Not good at this.

So… what did I learn from all this? I’m not exactly sure, to be honest. Maybe it’s that I can become a little obsessive with the projects I truly love. Maybe it’s that I can’t take the art out of me– or the writing– no matter what. Or maybe it’s that all these different pieces of me are better when they coalesce together.

(Coalesce. Ha. Hopefully you’ll understand my clever word choice some time in the future. “Coalesce” just happens to be one of my favorite words.)

And most importantly, perhaps I learned that I don’t like the idea that the dual worlds I live in and explore are as far apart as black and white.

There’s got to be a little silver space in the middle.

Logo Design for a Free and Featherbrained Friend

Recently a very good friend of mine *cough Jazmyne cough* asked me to design a logo for her up-and-coming EMPIRE (dun dun dunnnn), Free and Featherbrained, which you should go visit like, right now.

Feather Logo

In a whirlwind of excitement and inspiration, I was able to get it done in a day and a half. And you know, excitement + inspiration is like ten shots of espresso in my system.

Jazmyne, (or Jazzy. Or even Jaz sometimes when I get lazy with my texting), has been one of my best friends since the beginning of time (aka second grade).  Jazmyne is a super-talented dancer-writer-bloggy-person. Much more so than myself, especially where dancing is concerned.

*sigh* If only. Tripping on your feet is not fun, my friends.

Anyway, this EMPIRE (dun dun DUNNNN) currently includes her Tumblr,which you should have already seen *shoots a look*, Blogspot, WordPress and a blossoming vintage shop on Etsy, not to mention her Twitter, Youtube, Pintrest and Instagram stuff.

Anything I missed? Because I just juggled like eight different internet places, and if I’ve learned anything about my coordination, it’s that I have none.

Anyways, you should go check out her stuff! It’s awesomeness on a computer screen.

Way to go, Jaz!

Goodbye Summer in Not-So-Pretty-Bows

Summer is coming to a close, and I have to admit I’m not so good at goodbyes. Even so, the end of summer means that I’ve got a few things to wrap up in pretty little end-of-summer bows.

You remember this list, don’t you? The summer list? All in all, the grand total is:

THE SUMMER LIST 2013:

  1. Finish writing a book
  2. Take on the reading program at my library
  3. Learn to drive
  4. Finish a knitting project
  5. Finish an art project
  6. Memorize a song on the piano

Would you look at that, I’ve done almost nothing.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Do you remember me mentioning my problem with finishing things? Well, here is specific evidence that finishing isn’t always my strong suit. But I’m improving… I think.

Finish writing a book:

While my beloved novel may not be finished, it sure is a lot further along than it was at the beginning of the season. At this specific point in time, it is 80,454 words long, give or take some because of all of my notes. (Plus I like to put in chapter titles that are really long and that make almost no sense whatsoever.)

But one important thing that summer gave my book was a real, solid backbone. Before, the plot was still very move-y and gelatinous, and the beginning was an all-over-the-place-peanut-butter-and-kitchen-sink mess. Now it’s sturdier, and definitely better. Definitely.

Take on the reading program at the library:

Hooray! I actually finished this one! I read some pretty good (and some not-so-good) books this summer. And those book reviews…? I’d rather not talk about those *shudder*.

Learn to drive:

Heh. This one’s funny. There will be more on this later.

Let’s just say, I’m not the best driver in the world.

Finish a knitting project:

I got one glove done. Enough said.

Finish an art project:

I… I don’t even think I started one. Did I? Not that I can remember. I still drew and painted (ish) and stuff like that, but, yeah… no Mona Lisas this time.

Memorize a song on the piano:

Okay, this one was just pure laziness.

Oh well. There’s always next summer, right?

I’m actually kind of sick of this list. Aren’t you? I am I am I am. So you will notice that The Summer List page is no longer in the menu. I don’t think I’m going to be doing this again, so, poof! All gone.

(Actually, you can still view the page here. But there’s not much to see. There wasn’t really much to look at in the first place. I’m also getting rid of the list categories. The tag will still be there, though.)

What can I say? Summer sun makes me lethargic. Maybe that’s why I like cold, fresh autmn-winter-spring air. Mmm.

And so, without further ado– goodbye summer!

Much love,
Jackie