Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Finally Home

It has been dead busy! So this will be mostly a photo essay. Yes, my camera turns all my blog entries into a form of drawn books. I need a new snapbeast since the old warhorse got really wet during a newspaper story to the Ozette Dig at Cape Flattery, and lost its video function. Everybody wants me to put up more movies at my Youtube account, including folks who want more stories about Neah Bay. (I am the queen of links. When I need to intro myself, I just tell people to wiki me). Yes, I'm a freelance journalist now, one of my many hats, for the Peninsula Daily News and the Forks Forum

Norwescon was fun, but exhausting. I'm going to change my business model next year: bring my laptop and a nice color brochure, printed at Lulu, so people can get their books sent to their homes; the only thing they'll have to put on the plane is the fancy signed book plate they can later put inside the book. Free wifi in the hotel bar!

This is dear friend, buddy forever and very talented artist Monika Livingstone and her puddies in her great big gorgeous house in the woods near Sequim. Don't let S'quim (how it's pronounced) fool you. They're a retirement community overbuilding their water, and they all want to shoot the deer and elk for eating their roses. They think of cougars as illegals who don't pay their property taxes. Talk about why don't you Go Back Where You Came From?

The castle at Troll Haven, near Monika's place. Springtime, and the fruit trees are blooming. Artists know that the air in a place has its own color. The color of the air in western Washington is pale raspberry, as though someone stirred jam into ice cream.

Design-wise, it's a dorky dragon. But technically, it's one hell of a piece of work. All the art at Troll Haven fits under the original definition of amateur work -- done with great love.

I'm not sure how to view the rotting buffalo head on another gate. The farm has bison. Heads of sacred animals and humans weren't necessarily treated any differently in the past. For all I know, this is an old herd bull in a place of honor. Perhaps it's an air burial? Nobody was around to ask, and I don't want to email them about it. I'm sticking with air burial, for my own peace of mind, no matter the original intent. Now a live herd bull, a beautiful square little Angus with a bronze ring in his nose:

A herd bull near Forks we called "Larry" was gone from his pasture after three years of seeing him every time we drove past. I'm telling myself this is Larry. It looks like him.

Yes, I lie to myself, just to keep breathing. I fight enough battles.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hero's Journey -- the Great American Excuse.

Okay, now I'm offically scared.

I knew the Hero's Journey was for boys, never for women* -- but watching it take over the mind and literature of a country, without being recognized for the simple-minded children's construct it is -- it's frightening.

I did pick up one reader at a good/evil panel, because she wanted the hard, juicy, complex view of human nature.

Then again, her accent said she wasn't an American. And she recognized me for what I am -- a Tame Sociopath, Dancing on the Edge of the Abyss.


*We don't fight the demons -- we marry them. Our mythological contact is Death -- and if you fight her rather than accept her, you will always LOSE. Eriskagel always wins.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Norwescon, First Day.

Thursday at Norwescon. Put up the art in the art show, read from "Gently," on of the prose stories at the back of AFTERDEAD.

Discovered my prose, work doesn't read out loud very well. Rather thick, juicy and internal, especially for this audience. But fun!

Going up to take a bath, now, mother. Try to get out of bed in time for the Artists Alley (yes they have one!) tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Down at Dryad's Rest

Helping out at Joanne's farm. Built the new blog for Dryadcon

Worked with Emily on the wattle fence around the blueberries, or at least half of it. This also uses up the vine prunings.

Not elegant, because it is partly to put the scrappy bits to work, but will keep the deer out once finished.

We can lean on it now.

Yesterday, ran up the road with Roberta to release the young possum who thought he'd found a new territory and had been sharing the cat food. We found woods with streams, lots of varied underbrush and an eagle and raven sharing something near the road. So there was food, and it was far enough away from the skin monkeys to give him a chance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dryad's Rest

Visiting our friends at Dryad's Rest, near Dryad, Washington. I will be posting more photos at Folktalk. In the meantime, if Roberta Gregory and I had not gotten a little lost, we would not have seen the dinosaurs down the road.

MMMMM. If we were farmers of ancient Egypt, we would be thanking the Gods for the rich, soft, fine silt the river had generously bestowed upon us.

But because we are silly modern Americans, we are cursing toxic, sewage-laden sludge that threatens the houses we built on the floodplain.

Silly, silly amateur rural people.

Fluffy! "Give me love, spin me around on my back, let me chew on you feeners!"

This is my cat fix at Dryad's Rest.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday in Seattle with Steve

Frankly just taking the day off with an old friend and colleague. Bear (Ursus Horibilus) and Steve Gallacci in Seward Park:

Douglas Fir windfall after the winter storms:

These stairs between blocks are a feature of all the Seattle neighborhoods built on steep hills. The blocks can be quite long, and going around by the regular sidewalks would take much longer.

That's me, in my second-hand pea jacket and the beret everybody wants to buy.

Next, we have the Taco Bus. These little mom-n-pop operations, serving tasty, inexpensive Mexican eats, have popped up around the Rainier area in the last several years. You can get a real Coke there -- with sugar -- instead of the toxic corn syrup that is turning America into the Land Of The Roly Pollies. The spicy pork and beef cheek tacos are to die for.

On The Road: Cartoonists Northwest

This is the yearly great trip to Norwescon, in Seattle. I started this week to by giving a talk at Cartoonists Northwest, and to put in a long-promised visit on a friend's farm.

First day out. The lovely forest scenery along Highway 112, designated a Washington State Scenic Byway:

That evening, me trying to make the multi-leveled world of publishing -- and the battle make modern technologies work with antique (medieval, literally) distribution systems -- clear to my colleagues at Cartoonists Northwest:

These are my people. I miss them. It was so relaxing being with people I don't scare, who aren't church-ridden and timid, and who don't associate war with a competition between sports teams.

After the talk, we went to the Hurricane Cafe (formerly The Dog House). This is where CNW always hangs out after the meetings. It brought back a whole hot-dog boiler of memories, including the time we were all in the dark back dining hall -- telling Halloween ghost stories, as I recall, because all writers have garbage brains -- and one of our members rattled at the dark window before climbing in and practically gave us all heart attacks.

The Hurricane has cleaned up the smoke-ambered walls, and if you throw a playing card at the ceiling, it won't stick any more, but they still serve the same delightfully nostalgic, greasy, old-time American diner food. You wouldn't want to eat it every day, unless you like hearing your arteries snap shut, but who can't survive the occasional plain fried chicken -- without the KFC baloney spices -- crispy BLT and chips, or old-fashioned vanilla milkshake? This is the real deal, with waitresses with names like "Ruby." This is the kind of place the other diners try to be -- and fail. If you're in downtown Seattle, and you gotta have a burger and a smoke, don't fake yourself out with a chain. Blow over to the Hurricane.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On The Road

Traveling until the 25th. Email me at donnabarr (at) hotmail (dot) com, or just post a comment!

I'm taking my camera.

Newest Print Available

Friday, March 14, 2008

Is That You?

The Reverend Sharon asked if the Fraeuchen are based on me as a sergeant?

They're based on the army, and people stuck on guard duty. I'll never stop mining the service; see my fictionalized autobiography, Permanent Party, and meet Lieutenant Picasso, the Gold Dust Twins, the Weeping Lieutenant, the Easter Egg, the Missing Witness, and the southern-fried Sergeant Major.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nettles and Seafood

To answer comments: Yes, we can pick up seafood on the beach. Check out an older blog, Clallam At Bay and the link to Wolf Food.

Nettles: treat 'em like spinach. Lasagna, ravioli, omelets -- and the luscious French spring treat, cream of nettle soup.

They can also be used like bee stings on winter injuries. The welts I put on my bad thumb, arm and knee are down, the electrical buzz is passed, and all the bad places are healed.

(This is an adult remedy; they really DO feel bad if you're a kid).

Visit The Little Store

Roughing It

Here are the first pages of "Musswolf" -- rough and finished -- I'm happy with. It's much closer to an original script I thought I wasn't pleased with.

As you can see, the Rotring (r) pen originals leave a lot of play in the final pen-marker-watercolor work. I don't like to have my line pinned down by too much detail; it's more fun to let it happen. It's the way I write; the characters have all the say, because that's often what sets the path in life.

Meeting a cougar on the path can have many outcomes, depending on our characters' instinctive reactions: screaming and running, throwing rocks, running to get a gun, running to get a camera, standing and staring in awe, or -- and very probably with me and a certain sibling -- putting out a hand and cooing, "Here, kitty kitty kitty."

Now go see my review for a wonderful new book at Associated Content

Visit The Little Store

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Rural Shopping

The most comments have been about the shopping list. Well, it's something we all have on our walls -- or our refrigerators, under the "dress me" magnets.

We live far out in a rural area. There are certain things that are just more economical if bought in bulk in Seattle. If I'm swinging by Chehalis, I'll include VJ's Bargain Barn for cheap new building materials.

The lazy suzan is just a shelving system under the sink structure, for hard-to -reach areas. I've been putting this together with new and second-hand parts -- the latter from Waste Not Want Not in Port Angeles -- for months. I'm slow, but I get there.

Fresh things, tofu, nuts, dairy products from the local co-op. Fish, clams, mussels, scallops and nettles from the beach. I am now the sprouts producer for the co-op. The first requests have been for alfalfa sprouts -- and fenugreek sprouts. Which reminds me, I'd better find some fresh seeds while I'm in Seattle.

Does anybody really want to hear about householding?

Visit The Little Store.

More Cats

Dave wants more cats. This is Hector, putting up with sharing the couch with Price, Fearless and Leo. Must be before the wood stove gets started in the morning.
Their kitten stories: Price was handed to us by a desperate homeless woman. I had to take Fearless and her brother Shadow just to get the fragile, shivering teenager and her baby to get out of the rainstorm in front of the Safeway. Hector was running around in the alley and wasn't afraid of cars. Leo was left in the street; he was later stolen, and before we got him back his tail had been dyed purple.
Our adoption policy: if there's a human attached, we no take.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grocery List

After I said my readers would read anything I wrote, even a grocery list, one of you asked for it. We live at, so shopping is rare and complicated. The big list, for the annual Norwescon trip so far is:

Fix Drill! (My Dewalt has been drilled and screwed to death).
sardines (Dollar store cans)
yeast (for the microwaved summer sourdough.)
pain pills
big dry milk
check to bank
chocolate for Joe (because the old guy on Highway 112 won't take money for eggs)
cough syrup
5 jugs of cooking oil (from the bulk restaurant store. Normally this includes 150 pounds of whole wheat flour and 150 pounds of popcorn)
dish soap
lazy suzan (for the kitchen project)

Visit The Little Store.

True Fans.

It's been said, that to make it as a small creator, we need 1000 True Fans. I've never had a truly creator blog, mostly just opinions and editorials and stuff. So this is the first of the True Fans posts. As a treat, I'm going to include the AFTERDEAD story which will never be posted anywhere else.

There WILL be wolves in the next AFTERDEAD, just not this one. The "Feral Witness Protection Program" happened when I mis-heard an article on National Public Radio. Call it a fancy rough draft. You Barr Girls fans will recognize some old friends.

I plan to post Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Unless I get a wild hair or have some more stuff.