Let There Be Lights!!! 

My favorite thing about darkness is ironically the light. Even in the darkness there is always light. 2020 has undoubtly been a very dark year for a lot of people, but I believe some good has come of it. During these dark times, lights have begun to illuminate the many things that we took for granted. We've started to realize the importance of protecting our physical and mental health. We're realizing that the jobs we considered less prestigious are in fact essential. Many of us became aware of our privilege. These issues wouldn't have have come to light if it weren't for the darkness in which we've had to exist.

In these past two weeks I've been working on two concept illustrations for my film A Bionic Holiday Ballad, and I've have been drawing a lot of inspiration from my dark environnment. When I wake up in the morning and drive to the studio it's dark and when I come home it's dark. I exist in darkness 5 days a week, but in the darkness I have found extraordinary beauty in the way the world around me is so differently illuminated. I find myself admiring the silhouette of the trees against the dark indigo sky and the glistening reflections of the artificial city lights on the wet streets. It notice how some objects around me are completely encompassed in shadows while others are now showcased by spot lights.

I've been studying how the light and shadow play with my perception of the world around me. I've been mindful of the feelings the different types of lights evoke. My intent in this weeks illustrations is to evoke a feeling of comfort in the darkness. I am perhaps more fortunate than most that I have been able to find comfort in the darkness. I suppose being an artist is in many ways a form of privilege. To be able to view the world through a lens that will find beauty in just about anything is an innate ability for me. I wish to share that with the world around me because in times of difficulty we turn to our books, movies, music and TV shows for comfort.

This first illustration is the street just outside the cemetery where two of the main characters stroll arm in arm and sing the opening song Haunted Holiday. The idea is that they exit this place of death where they are haunted and enter into this world that is still dark, but beautifully illuminated.

This second illustration is further down the street where the Bionics company owned by the protagonist is located. I wanted the building to look imposing and intriguing at the same time. The brightly lit environment is purposly a stark contrast to the dark building. 

The pallette I've used is purple, yellow, red and green which are complementray(opposite) colors and I'm going for very high contrast lighting.The idea with the design of this film is that we live in a world that is simitanoulsy dark and light, good and evil, beautiful and ugly and it is up to us to choose where we shine the light. 

These illustrations are available as fine art prints in my store for $30 each. Proceeds from sales are allocated towards production costs of this film and my other creative projects.

No Time Like The Present 

In case I hadn't mentioned it before my work in progress film "A Bionic Holiday Ballad" is a mental health allegory. Sure, it's also a musical sci fi adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, but I've put a Borg Queen spin on it and focused on what can be learned from the original story about mental health. This weeks mental health lesson can be learned from the Ghost of Holiday Present. In the story he teaches our protagonist a lesson in mindfulness through song.

In my recent experiences with cognitive behavioral therapy, I've found that practicing mindfulness and being grounded in the present moment helps alleviate my anxiety and depression. It first occurred to me to use the Ghost of Holiday present as a metaphor for mindfulness a couple years ago as I was re-watching A Muppet Christmas Carol for the gazillionth time. I thought to myself, "Self, this ghost is just so full of joy that it's infectious, and by his own admission his mind empty and filled only with the here and now. Perhaps being grounded in the present could help pull me out of my depressive and anxious thought patterns?"

This past week I worked on writing and incorporating a new song into my screenplay called "No Time Like The Present" sung by you guessed it...The Ghost of Holiday Present. Here's an excerpt of the scene from the script. WARNING: Does contain some spoilers.

Now that you've had a little taste of what I'm working on, perhaps you'd like to get more involved in my creative process? I'm offering subscriptions with monthly tiers of $2, $5, and $10. Proceeds go to help finance my creative works and you get exclusive access to my secret behind the scenes blog. Plus, you get to help me make creative decisions, have monthly video chats and free physical merch items like prints of my illustrations and artwork. Please consider subscribing as it helps me continue to make new and exciting content.

Practice Makes Imperfect 

I struggle with perfectionism. Learning to let go of the need to do things perfectly is something I've been working on lately. You know the old saying "practice makes perfect?" Well, I'm practicing being imperfect and not losing my shit or feeling like a failure when I don't do something perfectly.

What I've learned about my perfectionism is that it's rooted in my basic nature of being very detail oriented and meticulous in my work. Being detail oriented isn't a bad thing obviously, but when it's taken to the extreme it can become debilitating. I can get obsessed and fixated on details. I get tunnel visioned and am unable to see the big picture and celebrate my accomplishments. 

I grew up with the distorted belief that an accomplishment is when I do something really spectactular or I've won 1st place. I thought I being the best was the only worthwhile accomplishment and anything less than 100% was a failure. I'm realising now how insane that line of thinking is because if I measure my worth against ridiculously impossible standards, of course I'm going to feel unworthy. I have to confess that I don't feel worthy of anyone's time or affection unless I'm doing something productive, interesting or useful.

Changing negative thought patterns is hard work. I'm no stranger to hard work, but the hardest thing about learning to change my thinking is accepting that I'm not going to get it right 100% of the time. I'm learning to celebrate when I do have a partial success and look at the times when I don't succeed more objectively and learn something from them. I'm learning to accept that no matter how hard I try, I wil NEVER be perfect and that's not a failure. My new mantra is...

You don't have to be perfect in order to be successful

I put this principle into practice this past week while designing my latest character for A Bionic Holiday Ballad. Meet Cora. She's the wife of Fletcher the character I designed last week. Whenever I design a character I like to give them a backstory and endow them with as many character traits as possible because I want their appearance to be a reflection of who they are. I often use aspects of my own character as a reference point. In Cora's case I made her to be a recycled material fashion designer/tailor. 

Because the world she lives in is a dystopian nightmare, she doesn't have access to brand new materials. She salvages what she can and tries her best to make it work and create something beautiful. In designing her costume I imagined that she would piece together what ever scraps of fabric she could get her hands on. She's creative and has a good eye so even though her outfit is a hodge podge of random materials she's used her innate sense of aesthetics to put together a pallette and design that works and still looks lovely despite not being perfect.

I'm learning to apply the Cora philosophy in my own work both personally and professionally. It's hard, and I have some days where I do well and others that are a complete disaster. I'm having more good moments than bad though and when I look back on the past few years I can acknowledge that even though I'm not perfect I've made a lot of progress.

In creating this film I have to keep the "progress not perfection" mantra in mind because it is such a huge undertaking. I've been wanting to do this idea for at least three years by my inner perfectionist kept telling me that I wasn't good enough to do it or that I didn't have the resources and as a result I'd end up with a product that I'm not happy with. It took me a couple years to get over these negative thoughts and just start chipping away at it, but most importantly I'm having fun.

You can support the creation of this film by purchasing a subscription through my website. There are $2, $5 and $10 tiers available. Rewards include access to my secret behind the scenes blog, art prints of my work, monthly video chats and voting power on creative decisions in the film. 

Relfecting On My Isolation 

I'm generally OK with being alone. I have a pretty active mind and I can always find something to do, so I'm never bored. One of the perks of being an artist is being able to entertain oneself. I'll admit though that I am not immune to feeling lonely. I've been feeling pretty lonely lately. I don't have anyone in my life right now that I've have an artistic-intellectual connection with. I used to have a couple close friends who I shared my artistic life with, but the nature of those relationships has changed quite drastically over the past few years. Our lives have taken different trajectories and whereas my lif has become increasingly focused on my artistic career, theirs has not.

I still love these people, but the limited time we do share together is more about pure socializing rather than working on a project. I'm ok with it, but It's super unfortunate timing because with the pandemic it's so much harder to make new friends that can fulfill me need for an artistic-intellectual connection. It's hard for me to make friends as is. It takes me a while to get to know someone well enough to bestow the title of "friend" upon them. Most of my social connections I'd put into the "friendly aquaintance" category.

I miss having art friends or at the very least friends I can spend time with working on creative projects together. I miss it so damn much! This form of connection is for me is even more important than romantic relationships. An artistic-intellectual companion is what I'm currently seeking. I wish I had someone to show what I've been working on who sees more than just a cool image or hears more than just a song that they like. I want someone who understands me on a creative level. I want someone who appreciates my thought process while I'm creating. I crave it like normal people crave wanting to cuddle up with someone at night.

I'm so very much the protagonist in A Bionic Holiday Ballad. I am Elanor Sharpe. Elanor Sharpe is a person still reeling from the loss of their soul mate and the Holiday is a bitter reminder every year of the void they feel inside their bionic heart. I'm so very much Elanor in that sometimes I get so fixated on what I have lost that I can't see what I still have. In the story Elanor has a ward who is the orphaned son of their soul mate from the past. His name is Fletcher. He continuously reaches out to Elanor, but because he's not offering Elanor the type of connection they've lost, they reject Fletcher's attempts to have a relationship.

This week I worked on a character illustration of Fletcher. He's a young man and I've designed him to represent someone who has chosen love over money. He represents optimism and loving without attachment. As Elanor's ward he had a higher degree of privilege than most people in his world, but he has rejected it and it can be observed in the way he is dressed. He has the remnants of upper class clothing, but they've be worn, tattered and stitched back together a few times over. He is a guy who makes do and is content with what he does have.

It's my goal to be more like Fletcher in the relationships that I still do have. I'm trying more to appreciate what I do get from the people in my life rather than focus on what's missing. I'm trying to be patient and stay hopeful that one day when the time is right, the person(s) who I can have the type of connection with that I crave will enter my life.

I'm currently running a micro patronage subscription through this website. The proceeds are helping me finance the making of my creative content. Anyone who purchases a subscription gets access to my secret blog and also a bunch of other rewards including FREE art! Consider subscribing to support independent artists like myself.

Working With Limited Resources 

I wasn't sure whether to write about something political given what's going on in the US right now or just stick to the art. Even though most of my art has very psychological focus, there are many pieces/songs that focus on political issues and their relationship to our mental health. I would like to segeway into the main point of this post by saying that I'm really proud of myself for not watching a single second of video with Donald Trump ever since he announced his intent to run for president in 2015. Not. One. Single. Second. No easy task by the way given that almost every second post that comes down my social media feeds mention Trump in some way. 

So why have I made it my mission to ignore arguably the most famous/infamous man in the world? The answer is delightfully simple. It's because I've never liked him, what he symbolizes and I don't share his ideals. My thoughts on capitalism are made pretty clear in We're All Whores. The bottom line is that he isn't worthy of my attention, so I haven't given it to him.

My mental and emotional energy are resources that I posess, and I am very discriminating about what and to whom I allocate those resources. Because mental and emotional energy have a direct effect on physical energy I cannot affort to waste them on people and things that aren't worth it. If I give someone my attention, I award them a space in my life. To occupy space in my life, you gotta be of some worth to me.

Donald Trump is definitely on the list of things that have no worth to me. When I think about the amount of time I could have spent reading and responding to tweets, watching videos and engaging in online debates with his supporters over the last five years, it would probably total in the hunderds of hours. I'm glad I didn't, because my time is valuable, and I would rather spend my time and energy focusing on things that enrich my life and the world around me. 

I have grown accustomed to working with limited resources. I'm not rich and I've lived most of my adult life skirting the poverty line. Despite that, I have managed to live a rich life by using the resources that I do have. Intelligence, creativity, artistic skills, friendship, drive, determination and innovative thinking are all resources that I possess and have utilized in this project. It hasn't made me rich, but it has made me friends. It hasn't made me famous, but it has allowed me to connect with people who get something valuable from the work that I create. It may be on a small scale, but my work has made a positive impact on the world around me. I'm proud of that.

In the film I'm working on "A Bionic Holiday Ballad,"  we see a world with a tremendous imbalance in the way physical resources are allocated, not unlike the world we live in. We also get a glimpse into how the characters use the resources that they have. Our protagonist is a person with a higher degree of privilege and resources, but chooses to squander what they have and lives a very impoverished life despite their assets. Other characters by contrast have less resources, but use what they have to their fullest potential and as a result live rich and fulfilling lives.

In designing this film I use the Holiday lights as a visual symbol of the concept of working with limited resources, yet creating something beautiful. This past week I put together some inspiration boards of DIY lights using found and recycled materials. The idea was that you can still create something beautiful and enjoyable even if you don't have much. These are some the Holiday lighting ideas that are going to be decorating the streets and homes of most of the characters in the film. Most of them are made from repurposed items.

This first board focuses on the use of color. In our film the holiday colors are red, cyan, blue, teal and magenta, so imagine these ideas with our pallette.


This second board has some really cool ways of utilizing old jars, tin cans and even sticks. I love the idea of hanging the homemade lanterns from tree branches. The outdoor sets will include a lot of hannging lanterns.



This third board is the inspiration for indoor holiday decor and wreath ideas. Because our setting is a post apocalyptic dystopian world, we'll be using a lot of dead tree branches and salvaged items. In our story the prominent religious symbol is a pentagon with an inverted pentagon inside of it, so our wreaths will be pentagons instead of pentagrams.


This fourth board focuses on lighting arrangements and displays. Our lanterns will all be candlelit though.




If you're interested in getting more involved in my process and supporting the creation of this film, please consider purchasing a subscription. The proceeds of your purchase fund the ongoing creation of my artistic works. There are $2, $5 and $10 per month subscription tiers. Learn more about how it works on my SUBSCRIPTIONS PAGE.

Mental Health Lessons Only A Pandemic Can Teach 

It has been another productive week in Borg Queen Land. I've finished both concept illustrations for the first set in my film "A Bionic Holiday Ballad," and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. Developing a visual style is always exciting for me. For this film I've decided to go with a post apocalyptic Victorian aesthetic and I'm now leaning a little more to a post apocalyptic style with a few nods to Victorian design especially when it comes to the costumes and interiors of the upper class people. The lower classes with have less structure to their clothing and more layering of salvaged fabrics and items.

The cemetery illustration shows Fletcher and his wife Cora who are perhaps the only two people in the entire story that could be considered middle class. They are representative of the ever shrinking middle class here in North America. They symbolize the optimism of the middle class ideal. Fletcher is the adopted nephew of the protagonist Elanor Sharpe. His character is a parallel to Ebenezar Scrooge's nephew Fred. In my adaptation of the story Elanor has a somewhat strained relationship with Fletcher.

While writing this relationship between Elanor and Fletcher, I've drawn upon my own experiences in my strained familial relationships as of late. I have not been the most open and approachable person over the past few years and I've shut a lot of people out. When I really examine why I've become so solitary it's because I'm afraid to get close to anyone because I don't want to go through the pain of losing them. The last several years have been a painful string of losses and traumas within most of my close relationships and eventually reached a point where I just couldn't take anymore, so I hid myself from everyone and everything.

The isolation wasn't entirely a bad thing, in fact it was pretty necessary. It gave me some time to just focus on taking care of myself and rebuilding. It was also kind of a blessing in disguise because my own self imposed quarantine prepared me for the coronavirus pandemic. I had already been self isolating for a couple years and because I was in the rebuilding myself phase when the pandemic hit, I had a really great mental health support system already in place.

If you know me at all, you know that mental health issues are a topic near and dear to me. Living through this pandemic has reinforced my belief that taking care of my mental health is a priority. It's also drawn attention to the horrendously inadequate healthcare system we have in place for public mental health. Throughout the last several months I've seen people spiral downward into serious mental health crisis because they didn't have a good support system in place or they were unable to access their support system because of the pandemic.

For a lot of people an active social life plays a huge role in supporting their mental health whether they realize it or not. When you remove the ability to gather together or attend cultural events, it's akin to taking someone's antidepressant medication away. You will experience withdrawls and turn to other-perhaps less healthy-things to cope. I think we've all seen it happen and perhaps some of us are even experiencing it first hand.

When I hit rock bottom in 2018 I have a cornucopia of coping mechanisms. Some of them were healthy, like doing art and some of them, not so healthy, like doing art for 18 hours without eating, drinking, bathing or acknowledging the outside world. The point is that I learned that so many of our behaviors that we've adopted to cope in times of crisis aren't inherently toxic. It's more about the dosage than anything else. 

Maintaining mental wellness is largely about balancing our physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. In "A Bionic Holiday Ballad" our protagonist Elanor Sharpe is someone who has neglected their emotional, social and spiritual needs for a very long time. When they are visited by the 3 spirits it becomes a journey of self exploration into the root of why they've shut themselves off emotionally and socially. They are confronted with their past and have to come to terms with their losses before they can move forward and open themselves up again. In the story it happens all in one night, but in reality it can take a few years. It's been an arduous journey for me, but I'm starting to become whole and more balanced again.

I chose the opening scene of the film to be set in a cemetery because this story is ultimately about how to find inner peace and moments of joy while still allowing yourself to acknowledge and grieve your losses. The lights and little hints of color are the visual representation of finding those moments of joy in the darkness.

These illustrations will be available as fine art prints for free to all of my Creative Partner tier subscribers. Consider subscribing to help support the creation of my work and take advantage of the exclusive rewards. Also, I'll be sharing some more specific personal stories that inspired some of the scenes in my secret blog that all subscribers will have access to.

Haunted Holidays Are Here! 

I kinda feel like October is the unofficial start to the winter Holiday Season. Holidays are a funny thing. In western culture they're generally supposed to be a time of celebration, but the reality is that they tend to be a time when the ghosts of our past come back to haunt us. The opening scene and song to the film I'm working on is appropriately titled Haunted Holdiay and aptly sets the stage for the hauntings to come for our protagonist Elanor Sharpe.

Elanor Sharpe is a non-binary character parallel to Ebenezar Scrooge, and they are a successful bionics company owner. Hence, the title of the film A Bionic Holiday Ballad. I've largely based this character on what I like to call my "inner Scrooge." My inner Scrooge is the part of me that holds on to attachements, is haunted by the past, anxious about the future and as a result has developed toxic behaviors as coping mechanisms. A Bionic Holiday Ballad is a story of how Elanor learns to let go of the past, embrace the present and not be a slave to their anxiety about the future. It is really a story about mental health recovery and how spirituality can play a significant role in that recovery process. 

Because spirituality is a very significant theme in this film I decided to invent a ficticious religion on which the Holiday in the story is centered. The Holiday is simply called "The Holiday" and the central figure is referred to as "The Great Spirit." I purposely have kept it ambiguous and have refrained from referencing any specific religious doctrine. I want the core spiritual theme to be an inclusive one that works for all people. I want people to make The Holiday their own and connect to the idea of the Great Spirit in their own personal way.

I did however create a symbol for the central religion mostly because I'm working in a visual medium and incorporating mystical geometry into the overall design will make the look of the film more destinctive. I was inspired by the number 5 because it's a foundational number in several different faiths. It was a challenge to create a symbol based on the number 5 that represented the core philosophy of the Great Spirit and not have it look like a pentagram. I settled on two pentagons. The outer pentagon represents a human and the inner pentagon represents the Great Spirit connected to all of us. The idea of the second symbol with the colors is that when we embody the Great Spirit we will find love, hope, new beginnings, peace and unity.

Connecting to my spirituality in a personal way has been an integral part of my mental health recovery process. There are certainly other areas of my life that I've had to address as well, but one of the things that I've learned through the various mental health programs I've accessed over the years is that our spiritual, physical, psychological and social health are all connected. I've learned the importance of balancing these areas of my life and nurturing my needs in each of these areas.The creative process for me nurtures both my psychological and spiritual needs. Creating for me is a divine power and connects me to something greater than myself. On a purely psychological level, creating helps me process my emotions and express what's going on inside my mind. 

Doing this first illustration for A Bionic Holiday Ballad has been a journey of self reflection. It is for the opening scene in the film where one of the central characters confesses that he feels that his Holiday is haunted. The idea of a haunted holiday isn't new but definituly resonates with me. For years I was unable to celebrate Christmas because of a heartbreaking incident that happened during a Christmas celebration. The ghost of my Christmas past came back to haunt me for several years afterward until I was finally able to let go and lay that ghost to rest for good.

In my subscriptions, I have another blog in which I go into more detail about my personal experineces that inspired the charaters and events in the film. There are also unique rewards available to my subscribers including prints of the drawings like the one above. If you're interested in supporting me on a more ongoing basis visit my SUBSCRIPTIONS PAGE.


Borg Queen Backstage 

I've decided to start a micro patronage monthly subscription to help fund my ongoing projects. I sent out an email but I don't think the way I communicated what I was doing was entirely clear, so I'm going to be blunt. This is the Borg Queen version of Patreon. Subscribers pay a monthly subscription fee of $2, $5 or $10 and get rewards and access to my behind the scenes life. With live shows not being a thing right now this is the best way to support artists and and also get the opportunity to interact with them. In my $10 tier I'll be doing one on one video chats with subscribers and it'll be a great opportunity for me to really get to know my audience so I'm quite looking forward to it. I've made this video outlining how my subscriptions are going to work.


I'm hopeful that my audience appreciates what I do and wants to support my craft, but even if I don't get a ton of subscribers I'm still going to stay the course because ultimately I do this project for my own benefit. I'm thrilled that others have benefitted from me sharing what I do, but it orginally started as a form of art therapy for me and it will always remain that way.

I do other creative work like currently working in the art department on a new Disney series The Mysterious Benedict Society, and of course there's my nautical art, but it's not the same as Borg Queen. Borg Queen is an expression of the deepest recesses of my inner being. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but enough people are touched by it and enjoy it that it's still worthwhile to share it with the world.

A Bionic Holiday Ballad: Pre Production Update #1 

Am I crazy for taking on a film project where I wear a ridiculous number of hats including writer, production designer, composer and talent? Possibly, but I don't care because I'm feeling inspired. Earlier this year I wrote the screenplay and over the past few weeks I've taken the first few steps for designing the production. One of the first steps in designing the production is visual research and creating inspiration boards. I'm slowly piecing together the aesthetic that I want, or more accurately can afford. 

If I had a massive budget I'd have more options, but thankfully I've had some experience making impressive looking productions on a ludicrously low budget. To give you an idea, my music video Hedonist was made with a little less than $4000 and We're All Whores cost less than $2000. I saved a lot of money by designing and making the sets, props and costumes myself, but it took me a really long time to complete.

I anticipate A Bionic Holiday Ballad to be at least a 3 year long project, but this is going to be a very entertaining process for my audience because I'll be posting regular updates along the way. I've started a subscription site similar to Patreon or Only Fans that will give fans exclusive access to my content as I produce it. In addition to this blog I'll have a secret blog that I'm updating weekly with exclusive behind the scenes content including, the screenplay, music, illustrations, photos, videos and physical items. The premium subcription tier will even allow fans to get involved in making creative decisions. Click this link to go to the subscription area. I'm still going to be updating this blog too, but I'm saving more content as a reward for those fans who are really invested in my process and want to contribute both creatively and financially.

This past week I worked on inspiration boards for costumes, bionics and a few of the sets. Here's a costume board and a couple bionics boards. For the costumes it needs to relect the dystopian world in which the story takes place. I'm going for a "post apocalyptic victorian" look. I really want to use fashion to emphasize the disparity between different socio-economic classes. The upper and class will have a more refined victorian inspired look and the working class and poor will be dressed in more of a hybrid post apocalytic-victorian style made from salvaged items and lots of layers. In this world there isn't a middle class. I envision this world to be the direction in which we are headed if we don't start making some serious changes and prioritize healthcare, education and environmental protection.

As you can see with the bionics there are several different styles. This is because I haven't quite made a decision on the visual direction I want to go yet, but I might even use the different styles of bionics to indicate the class structure disparity as well. 

 I also designed several versions of the logo which have yet to be decided. These are the final 3 I've narrowed it down to.

I'm going to be consulting all the people in my  "Creative Partner" subcription tier on which logo they like best and also get a little bit of input on the visual direction to go with the bionics. This process will be done in one on one production meetings via video link similar to the way we do it at my film job. If joining me in the creative decision making process interests you or if you want the opportunity to get your hands on some of my drawings I highly suggest signing up for on of the subcriptions. The tiers are $2, $5 and $10 per month. For more details visit my SUBSCRIPTIONS page.


Ghosts Of The Past 

This past week I worked a lot on A Bionic Holiday Ballad. I wrote another song called Bring on the Darkness that our protagonist/antagonist, Elanor Sharpe sings as they stroll home from their bionics workshop late on the Holiday Eve. It's interesting experience writing songs for a character because you have to really get inside their head and write their entire life story before you can even write their words that they sing. I've based Elanor's character on a cross between Ebenzar Scrooge and myself. When writing the song Bring On The Darkness I have to ask myself:

What has gotten them to this point that they are most comfortable alone and in the dark?

Why are they uncomfortable in the light and around other people?

Did they have a traumatic experience and what was it?

These questions are answered in the story itself. There are parallels between characters in Elanor's past and mine. In my own experience of socially isolating myself, I know it's because I'm afraid of rejection. For an introvert like myself it takes a great deal of energy to come out of my shell and put myself out there. I'm not talking about performing in front of an audience. What I'm talking about is the emotional labor and vulnerability required to genuinely form a connection with another human. When you put yourself out there but the other party doesn't reciprocate or flat out rejects you it feels like a lot of time and energy wasted. Our character Elanor and myself are efficient people by nature and don't like to waste their time and energy.

In the story, Elanor has suffered a series losses that has devasted them to the point that they've forgotten how to be human. They've shut down emotionally and are focused solely on their work. This is a parallel in my own life as well. One of the ways I'm working through my workaholism issues and regaining my humanity is by writing this story, but it has thrust me into this weird place where I'm being haunted in my dreams by the ghosts of my past.

The other night I had a dream about my first love. She and I were inseparable. For years we spent almost every day together and I trusted her with my life and I would have given mine up for hers. She was everything to me. She taught me how to see the humor in the everday. She affirmed my intelligence, talents and would tell me everyday that she loved me.

Then on day, she rejected me for religious reasons. Yup. You read that right...religious reasons. She and I both grew up in a rather oppressive and super conservative religious culture. As you know I'm not a super dogmatic conservative religious person, but at some point she decided to return to her religious upbringing, and that involved purging her life of things she felt weren't in line with those beliefs. Apparently having me in her life was one of those things.

In my dream the other night I re-lived the rejection over and over and over again. I woke up feeling incredibly wounded. I hadn't thought about her rejecting me for a very long time, and re-living it in a dream really sucked, but you know what was absent? The anger. I'm no longer angry about the rejection. I don't take it personally because it wasn't her rejecting me as a person. It was her choosing a different path that I couldn't travel alongside her. I'm still sad, but it's not because of the rejection. It's because I still love her and I know I'll never get to spend time with her again. It's the loss that hurts because I'm still in love with a ghost.

It's An Artist's Life - The Borg Queen Blog

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