Promoting Creativity – June Edition

I got back from vacation just in time to do another Promoting Creativity! This month I have the great privilege to introduce Kierstyn Darkwater!

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1) Tell us a little bit about what you do.

I do a lot of things, mostly because I’m easily distracted. I run three comics – Chronicles of a Bitch Goddess, Kiery’s Fairy Porn, and E.R.A. – which is a fantasy comic featuring gender and otherwise queer characters overthrowing governments and saving the world. I’m also the Tech Director of CRHE, and programming is art for the right side of my brain, so any way I can blend art and tech makes me super happy. Sometimes I even make youtube videos on gaming, which is also fun.

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2) When and why did you start writing? When did you start drawing? 

I’ve been writing since I can remember. My journal was the only place I could really express myself and then when I got older (13) I started blogging. I’ve been doing that ever since (12 years, holy shit), although the content has changed significantly. I used to blog about right wing politics and made a name for myself, and after I left home I started deconstructing my past and identifying the abuse that was an integral part of my childhood. My blog has evolved into dealing with life and finding my identity and…everything that entails.

I started drawing again in 2010. I had a lot of creative energy and I was really frustrated because I just wasn’t able to express it with crochet, so I decided to try drawing again after my parents squeezed that drive out of me when I was a kid. I was really insecure and it was really scary. A lot of drawing is still just getting over being made fun of by my parents – but when I started doing it again I just…fell in love with it. I started back exactly where I left off which was neat and disheartening because…not drawing for several years means you don’t make progress. But I haven’t really been able to stop since, and starting to draw opened up a gateway to starting to do other visual art and accepting that imperfection is okay and that with time and practice comes progress – both in art and living life. I wrote a thing about it for my english class and put it on medium because rediscovering art again has been huge in finding myself and figuring out life.

3) Tell us about a project that you are currently working on that has you really excited.

I recently discovered hackerspaces. So I suspect that when my life settles down a bit (I just recently moved to CA) I will be spending a lot of time there working on making comics (largely E.R.A), programming, painting a mural, and working on a painting + LED project with a friend of mine.

4) What are some of your goals for the future?

I want to as much as I can blending art and tech – mostly a lot more of what I’m doing if I can manage it. I want to make applications for artists to share their work, and share a lot more of mine. Also, once I re-establish residency I’m going to start Community College again, take art and science classes and champion the All Gender Bathrooms initiative if it’s not a thing yet

5) How can we support you?

I have a patreon! Also you can follow me on twitter (@kiery28) and read all the comics.

 

Thanks to Kiery for letting me interview her! Be sure to check out her patreon, I support her and it’s so cool to see all she’s doing. 

100 0f 200 Books Read This Year

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Today I reached 50% of my reading goal for the year! 100 books of 200. Man it’s been a struggle this year to keep up with my reading goal. But I’ve managed to get back on track in the last few months. I have so many reviews waiting for me in my drafts it’s crazy and I don’t know when I’ll be able to catch up. I’ll be posting a review for some poetry books soon, and I have a few YA books also. For now I’m just excited to be on track.

Currently I’m reading 4 books. One poetry collection, one Steampunk book, a classic novel by Henry James and a YA steampunk. I have a book coming in from Blogging for Books in the next week. I also have 9 books on NetGalley that I need to get to next.

So what are you reading these days? Any recommendations for what to read next?  Have a great weekend!

Vinegar Girl – Retellings Of Shakespeare

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Goodreads Synopsis: Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

Find on Amazon and Goodreads. 

First off I loved the cover for this book, and that’s what first made me want to read it. Second I love retellings, so this being a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew made me all the more interested.

I’m somewhat disapointed in this book. I expected this book to be more comical than it was.  Instead I found a story of emotional abuse and misogyny. Kate’s father is neglectful parent and husband. So lost in his scientific world he couldn’t take care of his wife and is ultimately the reason why she died early on in their marriage. He’s also neglectful of his two daughters, leaving Kate to take care of her sister and asking that Kate take care of the house. Then on top of it when his research assistant’s visa runs out he expects his daughter to marry him so that the guy can stay.   I really hated the father. And if you thought he couldn’t get worse, he also was constantly spouting things about ”worrying his daughter would never marry” as if that’s all she could do with her life in his eyes. The book was set in modern times but at times the dad felt practically medieval.  Pyotr was no better, calling Kate a shrew for speaking her mind when she’s upset with her father is trying to arrange her marriage.

Kate herself was a wandering aimless character. Dropped out from college, working a job she dislikes, doing all of these things for no apparent reason. She’s emotionally bullied and manipulated by her father’s sob story to marry a man she doesn’t even know. Now this I get. We love our parents and would do anything for them, and I really felt for her. She felt she was doing her best for her family. But then somewhere along the line she mysteriously starts to sympathize with Pyotr. Why? I never could understand this.

I wasn’t prepared to feel this strongly about Vinegar Girl. The story had beautiful prose, I’ll give it that. And I was fully engaged with the story which is why I’m giving it three stars instead of the two it deserves.

I was given a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

Spill -A Poetry Collection

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Goodreads Synopsis: In Spill, self-described queer Black troublemaker and Black feminist love evangelist, Alexis Pauline Gumbs presents a commanding collection of scenes depicting fugitive Black women and girls seeking freedom from gendered violence and racism. In this poetic work inspired by Hortense Spillers, Gumbs offers an alternative approach to Black feminist literary criticism, historiography, and the interactive practice of relating to the words of Black feminist thinkers. Gumbs not only speaks to the spiritual, bodily, and otherworldly experience of Black women, she allows readers to imagine new possibilities for poetry as a portal for understanding and deepening feminist theory.

I really loved this collection.  I loved the images and the word choice, I loved how vivid it was.

Spill is a short collection of poetry, only around a 180 pages. I had a kindle version so that’s why I’m not exactly sure.  But even though it’s a fast read, it’s one of those collections that makes you want to sit down and read it slowly. And then read it again after you’re finished. With verses that pull you in like: “she could breathe. that much. she could breathe. and maybe her ribs felt it too much but it was there.” 

Or verses like: “once the sky was low. you could taste stars singing your hair you if you walked around unthinking.” 

I was not at all disappointed by this collection of poetry. It has inspired me in my own writing and I highly recommend it anyone who’s looking for a short collection to read.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, and was given a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Update On Mourning

I’ve been avoiding this post for awhile, but when I sat down to journal about it today I realized I shouldn’t be.

The reason I’ve been avoiding this is because I thought I was going to be able to publish Morning soon.   I’d already finished it, edited and was waiting to put the final touches on it when I decided to completely rewrite the entire chapbook.  Mourning had been in the works for almost a year and I felt bad that I had delayed it longer.

Then after rewriting and letting it sit for a bit more I realized I wanted to rewrite it again.   The meaning of the story, the meaning behind mourning was changing so much I decided to split it into two separate chapbooks.

 

So why should I be upset about this? I know by changing things I’m making Mourning better. Mourning does not have a place in my life right now, but it will again I’m sure. For now that part of the chapbook needs its rest.

 

What I’m working on now is called A Mad Woman’s Voice, and it only has about five of Mourning’s poems and seven new ones.  It’s still in it’s baby stages but it’s so good. I can feel it.  I really feel like I’ve been able to stay what I want/need to say.  I will get this chapbook done eventually and I willpublish it.  It’s going to take a bit longer but that’s ok.  Poetry evolves. That’s just the way it is.  Poetry is a living, growing art form and that’s ok.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue – A Story About Truman Capote

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Goodreads Synopsis: Centered on two dynamic, complicated, and compelling protagonists—Truman Capote and Babe Paley—this book is steeped in the glamour and perfumed and smoky atmosphere of New York’s high society. Babe Paley—known for her high-profile marriage to CBS founder William Paley and her ranking in the International Best-Dressed Hall of Fame—was one of the reigning monarchs of New York’s high society in the 1950s. Replete with gossip, scandal, betrayal, and a vibrant cast of real-life supporting characters, readers will be seduced by this startling new look at the infamous society swans.

Find on Amazon and  Goodreads.

I read Breakfast at Tiffany’s a couple years ago, and the movie is one I watch at least every year. So I had to read this book obviously. Historical fiction about a writer? Give me all the books like this and I will be forever happy. 🙂

The Swans of Fifth Avenue did not end up being exactly as I thought it would be. For one it’s told by multiple POV’s, from our two main characters Truman and Babe to the Swans and even Babe’s husband.  You all know that this is usually something that bothers me, strangely it didn’t in this book. I thought the different narrators were actually done well, though it gave the book a feel of being a collection of connected short stories rather than a novel.  For another it’s not a normal love story. Truman is gay and Babe is married, and they love each other not really as lovers. The whole situation is kinda messed up, after what ends up happening with Truman’s rise to fame.

If you want to read a book where you like and empathize deeply with the characters, this book is probably not for you. While you feel sorry for Babe and Truman, both characters almost feel like aliens. In fact all of the characters feel that way. All so rich and different and above the rest of the world, it’s like they aren’t part of it.  Now I found this interesting and enjoyed it actually, but it’s not for everyone.

I gave the book 3 stars on Goodreads. It was entertaining, and I would probably read it again in a couple years. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review.

Anyone else read this book? What’s your opinion on the ”unlikable main character”?