Journal: UPDATE!

Journal Entry: Update.

So I haven’t posted anything for a little bit and I wanted to leave a quick update as to what I’ve been working on and why things seem a little slow.

I have a secret project that I’ve been spending plenty of hours on in the middle of the night. Although I don’t want to go into much detail (I did say ‘secret’) it has been something that does involve Black Quill Blog and also involves learning a whole new skill set… which takes some time.

I hope that this project will be the start of others similar to it. Since I am having to teach myself this whole new skill set as I go… it’s been taking a long time. Longer then I thought! And it also means putting in plenty of hours making mistakes, looking up tutorials, and plotting things out.

Eventually once I’m further along then I am now I’ll be able to let you all in on what I’ve been doing. (I really hope to have it done before Halloween! Hint hint..)

Anyway, I’ll post when I can but please be patient. Hopefully it will be worth the wait! *toothy grin*

 

-Crowskin

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The Cluster: So it begins.

She sat staring at the screen as it crackled. White noise, then blackness.. white noise, then blackness. It seemed to be struggling to kick into life but couldn’t quite manage it. For a long time she simply watched as it struggled. Over and over again.

How long had she been sitting there? She couldn’t quite remember if it had been just a few moments or if it had been hours. In fact Shelly had a hard time remembering exactly what she had been doing before this moment.

It was an unnerving sensation.

She slowly struggled to gather her thoughts just as the monitor struggled to stay lit.

The room was dark, save for the bright flashing in front of her every time the light would click on. It must have been sometime in the middle of the night. The usual red glow from the snake tank in her room was off, which was strange but not impossible. Power outs knocked it out occasionally and the specialized heat bulbs were beyond delicate to blowing out.

Is that what happened? A power out. Had to be.

In the distance she could hear the occasional popping and crackling of fireworks. Perhaps there was also the hooting and hollering of people celebrating. In the further distance – the howls of unhappy dogs having to listen to the ruckus.

She breathed deep as if waking from a dream, rubbed her sore dry eyes and shifted her head to the side until a joint popped and relieved it’s pressure.

If only all pressure could be relieved that way. A little pop, snap, and crack to end all the build up pressure.

She ran her fingers back and forth against the laptop sensitivity pad waiting for her little white arrow to appear. She couldn’t really afford to get this fixed right now, not on top of all the other expenses plaguing her.

Another deep breath as the screen finally kicked to life. Whatever had seemed to cause it to glitch out had seemingly fixed itself.

With a more constant light she glanced around her cluttered cave of a bedroom. The slither of her snakes in the cage beside her laptop desk (which was really just one of those plastic drawer storage bins) reminded her that she’d have to grab another bulb at some point. She could vaguely see their shadows digging around in the substrate unhappily.

The laptop rebooted with it’s typical boring Windows login screen.

“What am I doing with my life?” she muttered to herself as she stared at the random screen shot of some night mountain scene displayed on the background. “I could be there, doing something important with my life.”

It wasn’t really a crushing self-deflating blow… it was more like a slow crumpling of her self-worth.

She’d been feeling it for a while. It built it stages but over the past few years the stress and pressure had made it seem to grow monumentally faster.

She’d be 35 this year. Now she understood why most people seemed to hate their birthday after about the age of 30.

Shelly typed in her login name and password with well worn cellular memory. Her fingers just knew the general pattern by now. She barely had to think about it. After all, most of her life seemed to be on this personal black box of hers.

Up popped her workspace. The background picture was relatively boring, she hadn’t changed it for about a year now. It showed the night sky with an artistic depiction of the TARDIS on the right side of the screen. Neatly stacked up on the left were her icons.

It was weird, but she held some sort of pride in how neatly they were arranged. It made her obsessive compulsive disorder happy to see them all neatly in line… which is why the new icon stood out so strongly to her.

Among her familiar little icons like Krita, Skyrim, Chrome, and LibreOffice was another one. It looked simple enough, a black triangle with a blue circle in the centre. There was no label text with it. No little name to go by. Just a weird little icon sitting out of place of the neat tidy rows. It was slightly smaller then the other icons, and if it wasn’t for the weird space it took up in the line she may have almost brushed over it. OCD to the rescue it seemed.

But what was it? Shelly had no recollection of downloading anything lately. Certainly not installing anything new anyway. Was it a virus? Certainly could be. There seemed to be a massive amount of data-mining, new viruses, and weird hacking programs to contend with online lately so she could only imagine what new brand of virus her older laptop might have caught. She wished doctor visits for computer systems were covered.

She dragged her cursor over to it, hovered it and the right clicked. She browsed down the list of options until she reached ‘Scan with windows defender’. She had been tempted to just hit open – but she wasn’t a complete idiot. She had no desire to willingly help out whatever hack this thing led to.

She waited.

Normally a teal bluish ‘Windows defender’ program would have opened by now. It usually opened, checked the file, and she could figure out what to do with it then… but nothing.

She right clicked again on the weird icon. The options opened up but this the option of scanning it was gone. Was that normal? She couldn’t remember. When was the last time she had to scan anything this suspicious?

She looked over the other options while biting her lower lip as she thought. Open was less tempting now. But Properties was at least safe. She clicked it and waited.

Now she got a brief anxious shiver up her spine and wiggled her cursor pathetically around the screen. It must have been a virus because her laptop just wasn’t wanting to work with her. Had it froze? A quick double-click on Crome brought up Google. That was working just fine. What was going on?

She closed the window then right clicked on the Chrome icon. Up came the list which also included the option to scan with Windows defender. She moved back to the weird triangle and tried again.

Now in the option list there was no tab for scanning, and no tab for Properties. In fact there was only one option. Open. It repeated itself down the list multiple times. Taking up the spaces for any other option.

Shelly didn’t like to curse. It was something she didn’t do very often, even though growing up it wasn’t exactly forbidden. Her brothers used to swear like sailors and her mother and grandmother could throw down some interesting F-bombs when they were partial to. Still, she didn’t like to. She did come close to it now however.

Instead the noise that escaped her was more reminiscent of a hissing kettle.

She moved her cursor desperately to the task bar she should could manually open her virus software and deal with the problem directly only to feel sick to her stomach as the options came up.

Everyone of the normal icons that would be displayed on the left hand side of the task bar was the eerie black triangle with the blue circle in the centre. Every option going down the list was simply titled “open the file”.

Her laptop was obviously infected bad. She reached out to the far left corner of her keypad, pressed and held the off button. She’d have to restart and hope like hell she could manage to fix this problem when the laptop rebooted. If this was one of those viruses that got worse when you restarted she’d be completely screwed.

The laptop went black. She waited a few seconds as a shaky finger hovered over the button. She counted out in her head the ten seconds that she normally waited before turning it back on after a hard restart. She only got to four before the laptop turned back on of it’s own accord.

This time the ceiling light and fan above her head flickered to life for a moment as well. It scared her to her feet causing her to this time utter a quick “Fuck!” before she could even think to hold it in. She stared at the flickering bulbs as the slight breeze from the slowly spinning fan blades subsided.

Shelly wasn’t sure why she was so jittery. What did she expect the whole bloody light to come down on top of her? What was she going to do if it did? Still her flight-or-fight reflexes were now making her feel like she’d somehow swallowed her own heart and was now choking on it.

The laptop screen was blue. Blue screen of death it was… or not.

She sat back down carefully and stared at the blue screen. The script on it was not the traditional blue screen of death script. There was no Windows error script. There was no uniform basic text block. As strange as this was it also had a deep feeling of familiarity to it. Had this happened before? Why did it feel… so familiar?

There were words written in white in some sort of handwritten grunge font set.

We tire of waiting in the shadows.

You had your time.

We are the Cluster.

We are in control now.

Everything went dark. It all came crashing down.

Character Sketch: Kelle from “Veilreach”

Sometimes it helps to sketch out some characters to get a good sense of their physical nature and just to amuse myself with their personalities. Since I still have a lot of writing to do to take Veilreach where I’d like it to be when I end the tale – I wanted to take a bit of time and sketch out a few of the main players.

This is Kelle. The feisty, sultry vampire alchemist. She’s actually based off a real friend of  mine who is a fun, quick-witted, curvy and saucy candle maker and alchemist all on her own. ( She is also the owner of a black cat which is lovingly named Dumbass… 😉 )

KELLE

Free-form Poetry: Listen to them.

[ Sometimes I vent through free-form poetry. I have been trying to find a way of expressing the fear / frustration / heartbreak over the various gun violence incidents that have occurred in the States recently. I support the Parkland students, and the countless number of victims who have been taken in terrorist shootings, both home-grown and extremist. These are only my opinions and feelings – take them as you will. ]

Listen to them.

It’s hard not to get lost in it. The state of threat, the overwhelming feel of it.
Every day the news blares a new symphony of tragedy.
Painting the daily grind in fresh new blood bleaker then the day before.
It makes you want to run and hide, sink deep inside – screaming out “NO MORE”.
I’m tired of these same stories puncuated with violence and ammunition.
Brother to brother, Sister to sister – we all bleed red, and I’m tired of the stain.
Look, so much pain has to remain the same, because it’s too big for us.
I’m not foolish to think we can just wish it all away,
I’m no superman – we can’t change the world.
But it’s not lost on me that some of those tradgeies are here.
We’re fighting a war on our own soil, that’s bloody clear.
Children have been dying while trying just to get ahead.
Killed by home-grown terrorists even though the news leaves it unsaid.
And trust me that is what they are, no pleasantries need be placed –
A terrorist. It’s a moniker, not a bloody race.
The same weapons used in war used to kill the children that your soldiers die for!
There is so much things in this tragic world that we can not change,
Yet you have the audacity to give more rights to a gun then someones daughter or son –
left to bleed out while you jack off to your jacked up assualt rifle?
I’m sorry to be crass but can you all just stop a moment and think!
I’m Canadian. I don’t have a reason to lecture you about politics.
But what you’re facing is detonation and that’s a lot bigger then you.
Brother to brother, and sister to sister – we all bleed the same.
Out the mouth of your youth comes wisdom they earned in pain.
It’s wisdom bathed in the blood of their friends and the scars they wear.
LISTEN TO THEM.
They don’t want all your bloody guns! They don’t want your prayers!
They want to know that they can go to school and learn without fearing it’s their turn.
They want to be able to hear a bell without suffering an aniexty attack,
Yet you have the audacity to give more rights to a gun then someone’s daughter or son?
How is it that gun regulation is so big and terrifying that it scares you less then that?
How is it such an insane suggestion that some restriction needs to be in place?
When did you trade in your empathy for an assault rifle and a collar stamped ‘NRA’?
My heart hurts because I see the youth of your nation standing up and crying out –
In their utter desperation they are unified.
Trying despertly to end the tide of needless violence in their backyards.
I see them fighting for their lives.
LISTEN TO THEM.
Trying desperately to end the tide of needless violence in their backyards.

Personal Blog: Unfinished Stories..

The Unfinished Stories…

I occasionally dare a glance at the folder on my computer called “Writing”. This is where I keep all the bits and pieces, and hundreds of words of various stories I have either finished writing – or in the tentative process of trying to finish. This is where they sleep like little captive critters.

You see the truth is (as many of us on these blogs know) having a chaotically creative mind can be a dangerous thing. Certainly it can weave tales of wonder and can draw you into a world of your own creation – heart mind and soul… but it also wanders. A lot.

My creativity can be so focused on writing for a while, lost in multiple stories on the go that I could spend hours writing on each a night… to not having the inspiration to lift my viritual pen to the next week. Instead my creativity suddenly comes to realize that other forms of artwork needs my immediate and unshared attention!

You see Writing is one of my vents. Certainly it’s a love of mine. But it isn’t -my only- vent.

I’m in an equally committed relationship with my sketchbooks, watercolours and canvas. Oh the woes of a creative chaotic mind that has a shifting focus like a circling goldfish! (wait, did that rhyme?)

So, as artwork is where my bills get paid.. sometimes my focus draws there and I’m stuck in a cycle of art supplies rather then open word documents.

Really though, looking through my various writing files – truth is we are all probably like this in one way or another. Or at least I like to think most of us do. Maybe it’s because our mind builds stories so quickly we don’t have the actual time or ability to catch up with it? Or maybe it’s just the price we pay for being such creative beings? We get stuck as a slave to our muses and constantly chasing our own written tails? (Tales, hah!)

Ah well. One way or another I will hopefully finish all the unfinished stories and be able to keep a one track mind…

Who am I kidding? We all know -that- isn’t going to happen. So instead let me revise — hopefully one day I can finish far more stories then I start.

That sounds a bit more reasonable…

-Crowskin

Poem: Unsaid Explanation

Unsaid Explanation

I love you –

I just can’t take your touch.

Losing my connection.

Lacking the corrections –

To make me what you need.

I want you –

But that’s just not enough.

Not when every part of me,

seems lost to this insanity.

Born without the capacity…

…To open up.

I’m too raw inside these walls.

I’m emotionally a catastrophe.

A creature fearing all intimacy-

And inside I’m all messed up.

I fear you.

You make me crumble.

Pointing out my complications –

Questioning my hesitations.

You make me weak.

Believe me…

When I tell you – I’m sorry.

My heart is self destructive,

I ‘m torn from the reconstruction –

But it’s just not me.

I need you.

I want you to understand.

Your friendship is my salvation,

Your words break the isolation,

You give me light.

I love you.

I want you… to open up.

I fear you.

Believe me… I need you.

Dreamtime Adventures: A free story for children

A while ago I started an idea for a children’s book. Just something small that I wanted to try and create with artwork and a simple story. During this year, while I was needing something to keep me focused during quite a difficult time – I managed to get the artwork made, and the story flushed out.

It was certainly a learning process and definitely an experiment in making and understanding visual story-telling. It was hard to get over my perfectionism and stop trying to rework things -constantly- (It’s a bad habit of mine…) but I managed to get the artwork done, coloured, the story put in, and the project finished. It was excellent practice for potentially more stories told in this method later on.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the finished piece however.

After a long thought process I decided to post it on my website for free. Maybe one day I’ll make physical copies to sell – but for now I feel good about letting it go out into the world as it is.

So if you are interested in it, you can find it here:

http://crowskin.wixsite.com/eyesofacrow/dreamtimeadventures

Please don’t mind the watermarks – it’s a safe way of trying to protect the artwork.

If you have any comments or want to share your feedback, please remember that there is also a facebook group for this Blog here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/178640449387389/

I hope to have more chapters up soon, just taking a break to write and settle after the holiday season.

Best wishes to all of you!

-Crowskin