Inktober #4

Here are the 4th week of Inktober drawings. See the others here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3.

Prompt #18 was “Bottle.”

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Several years ago, I went to the park and sat alone in my car. My boys were off visiting their father. I was lonely and couldn’t stay at the quiet house any more. So I sat at the park and watched the clouds drift by. And cried. Okay, I’m going to admit it now, I cried. Hard. Long and hard.

Something encouraged me to open my eyes and look toward the sky. I did, and there was this cloud floating along that looked like this twisted genie lamp. I grabbed my sketchbook and drew it out. Then I did another, and another. I went home and continued drawing these all weekend long. It’s not like I was filling pages, but whenever I felt the mood to let my hands draw some elegant curves. 

I was tempted to go back and ink one of those bottles, but I decided to just draw a new one, and embellish it a little. Not much. I always did like them simple.

Prompt #19 was “Scorched.”

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I love the stories written by Diana Wynne Jones. I’ve written about them a few time here. Howl’s Moving Castle was actually one I had a hard time getting into, until I saw the movie. Then I went back and finished the book with gusto. But really, the only thing consistent between the book and the movie is Calcifer. It’s hard to read Calcifer in the book without hearing Billy Crystal. **grin**

Prompt #20 was “Breakable.”

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Yeah, a woman who holds her heart out where all can see often ends up with a broken one. I know this all too well. Enough said.

Prompt #21 was “Drain.”

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I drain directly from the pot instead of using my colander. I’m evil, yes I know.

Prompt # 22 was “Expensive.”

This is going to get long.

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I often here people complaining that books are too expensive. Or that they have no time to read. Oh, wait, let’s talk about how much audiobooks cost, especially since the distributor just has to let the file sit on the server in the “cloud” and collect the money as people download the audiobook to listen too.

Okay, first off, if you think books are too expensive, get them as an ebook. And, if you still don’t want to spend your money on that, what are you spending it on? Beer? Cigarettes? Shoes? Clothes? You are surely spending you money somewhere! But that aside, are you as successful in your life as you wish to be? If your answer is yes, then you probably already agree with me and you’re free to go from this lecture. But if your answer is no, then you need to stick around. Maybe read this two or three times. Most CEO’s of large companies, regardless of what you think of their large salaries, read an average of 65 books a year. AVERAGE! That means some read more, some read less. The average middle-class person reads 6 books per year. My numbers might be a little high; they are just what I’ve heard recently. Here’s an article that backs me up with numbers lower than what I gave (maybe I’m just being generous).

Here’s my theory: if you read, you are exercising your imagination as well as feeding it knowledge. It really doesn’t matter so much what you read as long as it’s all balanced. Yeah, read that bodice-ripper romance, but then go read some self-help books. You are multifaceted enough to enjoy more than one type of story, believe me! In the end, you will be more capable of creative problem solving. You will have seen how people struggle through problems and overcome them.

One note about tv fiction here: Yes, in fictional tv programs, you see people overcoming problems too. But don’t believe for one second that this helps your own brain exercise the same way that reading a book does. In a book your brain has to create pictures, even if you don’t think it does (and I personally find my mind makes better images when I’m listening to audio than when I’m reading). It has to create setting, costume, what the characters look like, etc. None of this happens when you’re merely watching tv; you are being spoon fed a whole bunch of information.

Now, documentaries and other non-fiction tv (The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor,  Ghost Hunters, Say Yes to the Dress, and other “reality” shows like this don’t count; I’ll get to them in a minute) are good for giving you information quickly. But because of this rapid flow of information, you don’t have time to digest the stream of information coming at you like you do when you are reading a book. You don’t have the proper time to think things over and let them stew.

Now for those “reality” tv shows. Let’s face it: most of them are faked and doctored. They don’t make suspenseful tv otherwise. They are cut, rearranged, stage, and mocked up to keep the ratings up. Okay, I loved Ghost Hunters and Cake Boss, but they are like the bodice-ripper romances. Just like men in romances don’t act like real men, no one on reality tv really acts like that in real life. They cut the crap, the boring and the mundane, just to give you the highlights. Just one night to record the show, I think not. A week or two, yes, but not one night.

Don’t have time to read? Quit watching the crap tv like stated above. Find some time to listen to audiobooks. Can you really afford not to read? If you want your life to improve, you must read. Nothing will change until you do. If you can’t even imagine how you will change your life, that’s because your imagination muscle hasn’t been worked out enough. You must read.

Since we’re on the subject of audiobooks, you want to know a truth about them? They cost a lot to produce. Studio equipment, good equipment, is not cheap. Yeah, every time someone thinks about doing a mic drop, I want to shout, “That’s no way to treat an expensive musical instrument!” Studio time is not cheap. The audio engineer needs to make a living. And, the narrator… yeah, that person is an actor. Yes, ACTOR! We all know those people don’t come cheaply. Now, in today’s world, many things have become so that a narrator can record and process their own audio in their home without going to a studio. This has made it so that an author can hire or partner with a narrator for their books. Now, this means that instead of the author being paid for the story (think book/ebook), there are now two people to pay (author for the story and narrator for the acting). Sometimes, an audio engineer needs to be brought in to edit the audio if the narrator doesn’t know how to do that themselves. The price for 1 hour of finished audio is valued at about $200. That means, my 7+ hours of audio for Quest for the Three Books would have cost me (if I’d hired it out) around $1500. Each of the Loki novellas I have out would have cost me about $300. Before you go thinking that you’d like to earn $200 for an hour of work, let me stop you right there. It’s not an hour of work. Each chapter takes me about 20-50 minutes to record. Wow, that’s most of the hour right there. Then, I still have to edit and master it. Some chapters go quickly, some don’t. Audio engineers figure that for ever hour of recorded audio they have, it takes them 6 hours to edit and master it. Have you seen how many hours I put in on my audio? I report on it during my progress reports every week. And how often do I actually get an audiobook released? Yeah, spread that $200/per finished hour out over the actual time it takes to record, edit, and master an audiobook and you might decide minimum wage looks good. So, fortunately, audiobook prices are high because it does cost a lot to make them. Of course, some distributors don’t like it when you want to go play with other distributors and cut your royalties in half. If there was any practice I’d like to see killed, it’s exclusivity to one distributor. But that’s another blog.

So, hopefully you no longer see books and audiobooks as too expensive. It might just be more expensive to your life if you don’t read. That’s a friendly warning.

Oh, and if you really don’t have the money to buy books or audiobooks, there’s a secret place that you can get them and usually for free or one low cost. No, really. Free. Or, I once paid $40/year for my pass to this secret place. It’s called a library. Even the small town where I grew up had one. If you’re in one that makes you pay a small fee and you can’t afford it, just go there and read. You don’t have to check anything out. Just go sit and read. Get yourself there, get a ticket to play (called a library card), and enjoy the access. It’s better than Netflix.

Did I mention the free fiction on my blog every Wednesday? Yeah, and I’m not the only author who does that. You can find others. There’s even who sites dedicated to people posting their writing for you to read for free. If you don’t like someone’s writing, move on. Don’t be cruel, don’t spend your energy in a negative way, just flutter off like a butterfly to another flower. There’s plenty of ways to read for free.

Really, life is way too expensive if you don’t read.

Prompt # 23 was “Muddy.”

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Boots among the weeds. Yeah, it must be the farm girl in me. When I originally drew this, it was just the boots. But as I  got to thinking about it, I really wanted to do something like I had done with the flower basket. I spent some more time with this drawing and put the weeds in. I’m much happier now.

Prompt #24 was “Chop.”

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Yeah, I can’t say this one inspired me very much, other than: Food! I’m always afraid I’m going to lop the end of my finger off when chopping something up. It’s a silly fear, but I hate paper cuts and other nicks. I just can’t even go there. I’m  moving on now!

P.S. If you can’t tell from this post, I love books. I always have. For a period of my life, I was not reading at all. Yes, I was one of those people who didn’t have time to read. I want to say, “Honestly, I didn’t,” but I’m not sure that’s true. My boys were younger, yes, but for the most part I wasn’t living much differently than I am now. I wasn’t writing nearly as much. I was distracted by Spider Solitaire. That was my “time suck.” My life was stagnant. I gained weight. I didn’t make progress on my writing. I was even sitting out in my car, crying, while drawing stupid genie bottles. My life wallowed. It was going nowhere fast. Yeah, see, that is exactly what I’m talking about. That was a very expensive lesson. I lost years of my life. Now that I’m back to listening to my audiobooks, and reading, and writing, and narrating, and painting, and exercising, I’m getting somewhere. Life is growing. As I have said on many, many posts (usually where it was a pep talk for myself), you have to make the choice. If you want to read, make the choice to do it. And, as I’ve also said many times over, it doesn’t take much. 15 minutes a day can revolutionize your world. Try it.

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