Saturday, May 31, 2014

List of Religious and Creative Projects I'm Currently Working on with Status Updates:

  1. House Spirit Series: This is a series meant ideally for children ages 5-9yrs of age. They are picture books about hospitality and gracious behavior.
      1. The scripts for being a good host and being a good guest are complete and I had composed two picture books using common licensed material. Since then I've reviewed the two “complete” works and decided that the pages are too wordy and the graphics too busy.
          1. I'm in the process of making the two books longer with cleaner pages. To do this with my current creation software, I will be upgrading the works from their smaller half page format to a large full page format, as then I can create infinite connected pages. This should also give me opportunity to make larger fun text fonts and colors.
          2. I think I'm going to include my house spirit on each page so it's like he's talking to the reader on each page. This means that I'm going to print my graphic off and try to draw zim in different talking poses for scanning. Hopefully that goes well. The little rabbit sprite is very simple and cartoon-ish so I think he'll be easy enough to adjust.
          3. I'm also going to make the books more interactive for parents and co-parents by creating suggested areas with prompts where parents could break down house rules or expected behavior.
          4. Also, I've been reading through, and I'm considering keeping or including vocabulary stretch words with a glossary in the back because I think kids should learn about compassion and empathy both what they are and what the right words are.
        1. As far as furthering the series goes I would like to also cover how to handle different faiths and traditions. Right now I think it will be 4 separate books
          1. religion inside a multi-faith family: this one will cover the idea that parents may have converted from another faith that some or all of the rest of the family follows. It will talk about how everyone has their own right to follow a faith that makes sense to him or her but no one should have the right to tell others what to believe or how to believe. Challenges come over how to cover faiths that believe they have the one true path, possible adult bitterness/ attempts to convert, being respectful of beliefs that may not make sense to a child and balancing openness/respect /embracing a their family culture and keeping appropriate boundaries as needed
          2. religion among friends: this one tackles the idea that a child and his or her friends probably have different faiths. It will address how the pagan child is probably a minority faith and how his or her friends may look to them to be the pagan ambassador, which while not meant cruelly usually can still be a burden. It will go over tools the child may need and how to try to work past that person into being just one pagan as his or her friends are one Christian or whatever and not a representative of all of their faith. It will also talk about what is or isn't an attempt to convert, what is participation and a friendly invitation and what might not be meant so kindly.
          3. religion in society (like Christmas and Easter). It's impossible to miss Christian influence in our culture so explaining it some and what the family does instead or in addition is really the best way to go here. I'll probably write this one last because of all the pagan-ish kids books I'm writing, this one is the one that will probably be the most specific and therefor be of the least use to other people.
          4. ,religion in schools and when speaking with adults who are non-family members. This one is important because if a student and family decides to be “out” about his or her faith, there are things a student need to look out for and know how to handle. We always hope that it won't come up, but forewarned is forearmed.
        2. I have an idea to tackle starting school, deciding whether or not to be an “out” pagan, handling bullying both religious and other varieties and what to do when others are bullied and when you may accidentally be the bully. I want to work on it after I'm done with the other six books, and I think it will be it's own series that I'm going to call the Little Witching series. I want mirror books one with a male lead and the other with a female lead. Tentatively I think there will be 5 or 6 stories and if I make a male lead and female lead mirror it will be elven or twelve books.
        3. I'd like to work more with fantasy and myths for kids where the morals are less spelled out in step by step directions or advice, but I don't have any ideas brewing except that I'd love to have follow up questions and considerations.
  2. Portraits of Roxi Starr: I love Roxi Starr and her story. I'm very pleased with how the characters are developing and painting a very real very flawed world. I am right at the point where Roxi will enter fairy world and I know how I'm going to work that part, but I Have about 8 more scenes I need to write first that are fighting me. Also to be honest, while I love my adult venue, the House Spirit Series and a few of my multi media projects have taken up most of my time because of the challenge involved in pulling so many different bits together. Fairy land is going to be rough on me, and I'd love any references people have to myth or lore that happens on or near fairy land to help inspire me.
  3. Creating a Family friendly series of Spring Advent Activities: Reading all the family blogs creating winter advents to counter act Christmas culturally for their kids was really interesting reading, if somewhat perplexing to me. I understand historically why winter was a good time for huge holiday celebrations, but energetically, I don't in my own practice feel it's an appropriate time for a bunch of celebration and much anticipated count down the advent implies. To me, pagans, heck the world, should be breathlessly anticipating the coming of spring. So I've been putting together a collections of thoughtful child and adult friendly Spring count down activities. I would want to start Feb 2nd on Imbolic and continue until the first of Spring in March. This is 50-52days so it's a lot of daily activities to come up with. Right now I have a list of 22 activities so I'm about 40% done with the list. Then I need to write an introduction explaining that the order I put these activities in makes sense for the Southern USA states but may need tweaking based off of the area you live, and I need to write out exactly what kind of meanings and follow up meditations, questions, and what not can be done with these activities to help create a thoughtful religious experience. The advent book perhaps full activity kit will be geared toward nature and self centered varieties of paganism but there is ample places to insert god and goddess myths of different faiths, which I'll try to make obvious and add suggests to as well.
  4. Pagan Calendar Project: So I've made a lot of head way on my own personal calendar including major holidays for different branches of paganism and for other religions. Working on it has really opened my eyes to what I am culturally and faith wise yearning for. I'm definitely searching for a more family/community centered aspect in my practice. It's also opened my eyes to how unfulfilling the wheel of the year has been in my life. I've been very loosely following it and really twisting the meanings and purposes of major dates to suit how I see the seasons (which is different here than how I saw them up north). So I'm in the process of reading and reviewing different cultural material to see how different seasons were traditionally viewed and celebrated and to gain ideas about what would be meaningful in a modern practice. I'm focused in on Etruscan, Greek and Roman practices because coming from a traditional Italian household, there are familiar and known ties so I'm not re-learning all this symbolism, plant meaning, design work, food preferences and what not. I've been reviewing the holidays to see what would be meaningful to celebrate yearly and what would be good to know about for specific life events or situations. I'm also looking into the dynamics in the Greek calendar and melding it so the current Alabama seasons matched weather wise as much as possible with the Greek calendar. From what I've been reading regarding calendar creation in ancient peoples more than the dates, what was important in marking time was when growing seasons and specific weather happened, rather than exactly following their calendar time, it makes more sense (to me) to frame days based off of when similar weather happens here. There is a big push to do this now in my life because I have a friend who would like to practice with me and she has a newborn, who when he's older may look for the structure in faith and religion that both my friend and I had in our own lives. Religion strongly affected us as kids and while we agree our birth religions are overall negative experiences, the ability to have holidays, structure, a way to act out express and show a divine narrative and know about the other world feeling is something I think kids yearn for. I hope to have studied enough to be able to fully update and start following my yearly calendar next year. Currently I'm looking to hold on to Imbolic, amd Halloween week (which I celebrate all funky which is why I don't even tend to bother with Samhain as a title), but otherwise I'm looking either making my own holidays for following Italy/Mediterranean inspiration.
  5. My Wedding: Yeah, that's happening fall 2016 and I am currently planing to make it a blend of pagan and more traditional Christian themes. I do have interviews with a few pagan ministers, but the ceremony itself is mostly up to me to create along with whatever pre ceremony explanations I want to give out to my decidedly non-pagan guests. My friend is helping me with this. It's barely begun and I feel (hope) a lot of it will shape as I work my way through my wheel of the year because I'm having trouble find sources that are of any help in the creation process. I've never given my wedding a lot of thought, because as a kid I always thought it would be most romantic and preferable to elope. It's been a long road of reflection and pondering for me to understand that weddings aren't really about the two joining but about the families. It's hopefully an outlet for families to express joy regarding their family member's joy, to welcome a new extended family, and to feel still relevant and close to the newly married couple. That said, the actual marriage has meaning meant only for the couple and perhaps the divine which needs to be expressed during a wedding too. Or why I feel like the place the ceremony is at, what is said, who is invoked and so on is deeply important to me on a personal level and while I see the need to compromise that with family expectations and desires, they can only hold so much sway. The balance is very hard for me.
  6. Photography Stuff: I find I do best on the photography and editing when I take the pictures in season and look at them critically after the season has passed. So I just completed looking through and editing my fall cemetery photographs. There's some really neat surreal creepy and sad looks that I'm thinking of working up into postcards and prayer cards. I have a good 100 or so spring pictures, but I'm not feeling inspired to work my way through them just now.
  7. The Blog: I actually have another blog post about my family and my wedding plans written which I haven't posted because honestly it's kind of bitchy and emo and I'm not sure what kind of community value it has except to express clearly that the struggle to be pagan in modern society is an on going battle for everyone and often one that we have to fight even within the family unit. Whether it will make it on to the internet I don't know.
    1. I'd like to write about my experiences with the weekly pagan meet up group but that post is fighting me in creation. Right now it's a concept about my struggles to find satisfactory meaning within the group and why that does or does not sometimes work. I'm thinking about using the entrance of a new comer and how she made me feel as a vehicle to explore this aspect of in person pagan community.
    2. I'd like to write about animals and spirituality. What it means to see or used different animals in design or to feel drawn to different animal images/concepts.
    3. I'd like to write about my intentions to get married and my love life and how it's changed and what that means to me and in a broader context of the world.

And that's it, what I'm working on right now creatively. Is anyone else working on a million projects? Does anyone have any interest in on of these project over others? Give me a shout out and let me know what's going on in your own creative or religious life.

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