Artwork: Pisces

The second piece of my Zodiac project. After Leo (found here:https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/11/29/artwork-zodiac-series-1/) I really wanted to clean up the line-work and composition. This almost ended up looking a little too clean for the style, I think. This is probably the first time where I’ve had a reverse fore-ground, where the background is so noisy that it draws attention to the undetailed focus of the painting, which is a weird but kinda cool effect. Sorry about my shadow on the bottom of the picture, I have a very dark room and the light is currently out, so I had to use the window!

Concept: Pisces are all about finding that one person who makes them feel whole, there yin or yang, so to speak. To a true Pisces, life may not seem worth living until they find that person or thing that drives them. You know what they say, life was built for two.

Love2

Quotes of a Cynic #22

I’m about to go for a run, and when I do, I’ll imagine a purpose for the movement. I like to think that one day, when I get fast enough, strong enough, and the breaths come easily, that I can run at a pace to a place no-one can trace the past remnants of me. A place where I’m enough, a place where I can just be, in peace.

 

The One thing I got Right (Poem)

The One thing I got Right
_____
You lay there and seem,
A goddess to me.
Vibrant deadly stream,
the painting from my dreams,
fire-born Seraphim.

You are the one mistake,
I won’t break,
because kissing you,
Brings me closer to heaven.

And the way your breath,
Ignites winter’s air,
Could save me from death.
This time that we share,
the truths we lay bare,
All let me know,

You are the one thing,
I did right,
the only mistake,
I’ll never take,
For granted.

Yeah,
we’re measured in heart-beats,
as we start flying away.
My love,
piece me together,
and tell me to stay.
I don’t know what’s holy,
but baby we are.
Forget the darkness,
that pain of yesterday,
let me sew you together,
as love lights the way.

Stay here with me, and there’s nothing we can’t create.
Tell me you need me, because that’s all that I say,
Your love is like heaven, so show me the way.
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A few reasons why “13 Reasons Why” doesn’t actually promote suicide.

Preface: This is an atypical post, as Bluebeard is an art project, not a platform for media commentary. I write stories, I’m the opposite of a diplomat, abrasive, even. Yet, I’m inclined to defend this series’ integrity. This show is an exception, in many regards. It handles topics most people won’t touch in a deft and admirable fashion. I’ll spare you a half-assed plot summary and get to the point. If you haven’t seen it, and you have access, I highly recommend it.

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It’s not an easy thing, to balance entertainment and tragedy. Catharsis is one of the most misunderstood and least accepted precursors of joy. The concept is this; without negativity, without different emotions, and without pain, joy would be meaningless. A constant and uninterrupted joy is the equivalent to a never ending supply of heroin at your bedside. It would be fake. Light is only recognizable amidst darkness, so to speak. This is why I respect ’13 Reasons Why’ and what it does.

It creates a meaningful dialogue in a country where, frankly, we suck at feelings. It’s 2017 and people still say “Commit Suicide” like it was a crime, a murder. It’s not, and has not been in the United States since the ’80s. We treat it like it’s something dirty, we don’t educate our youth about the dangers of depression and self-harm. We ignore the victims who suffer from it every day, telling them to suck it up, because we’ve cultivated an individualistic sink-or-swim community where many would prefer to see their friends fail than see their friends surpass them. It’s this ignorance an repression that ultimately leads to higher rates of suicide in every demographic.

’13 Reasons Why’ is a perfect example of what we need more of; exposure. You can’t fight what you don’t understand, as a chemist, that fact has been drilled into my mind for years. You don’t cure cancer without an intimate knowledge of the mechanics surrounding the mutations that cause it (cyclins, P53, etc.). Yet, research on suicide and depression continues to be given a backseat to things like developing new tanks, war-machines, and war-heads because if it can’t knock the earth from its orbit, it isn’t explosive enough. The best way to combat depression is to talk about it.

As someone who has suffered from depression, as someone who’s lost someone close to their heart to depression, and someone who has thought about suicide at least once a week for the past five years, I can tell you with near-perfect certainty that the one thing that has been effective for me was having someone to talk to. Someone who wouldn’t call me an attention whore. Someone who wasn’t going to judge me for what I might be going through, however trivial it may appear from the outside looking in. Those people aren’t easy to find, because we are socialized to value stoicism and strength over emotion and introspection.  The result of that, by the way, is that the cruel and stupid flourish at the expense of the thoughtful. If you’ve ever been beaten up by over four people on the playground while the aid turned the other cheek, you know what I’m talking about.

The argument against ’13 Reasons Why’ is this: Hannah’s suicide romanticizes self-harm, the tapes glorify suicide, makes it appealing, thereby increasing suicide rates.

Ironic to see this coming from the same news outlets that have a field day when when some kid shoots up a school. Glorifying school shootings by making the shooter famous and showing their face to everyone gives the killer what they wanted. This isn’t that. Hannah’s characterization is slowly revealed through the tapes, the (extremely valid) reasons she was in pain. One thing above all led to her decision, though. That was the fact that no-one was there for her. She tried, very explicitly, to reach out. Nobody gave a fuck. Instead they continued to abuse her, both verbally, and in one grim instance, sexually.

That’s the point. That’s all there is to it. Compassion and the simple act of being there, the act of not presuming to know what somebodies going through.

Not everything people are saying is wrong, her suicide scene was romanticized, in the artistic sense of the word. It was an artistic and cathartic scene that made me cry. But romanticizing something doesn’t glorify it, it’s the act of making it relatable. It’s the context that matters.

’13 Reasons Why’ accomplished something when they made depression, pain, and suicide relatable to a mass audience. The people who jump on it and condemn its intentions are the same callous, sensationalist, and opportunistic folks who’d sell everything they are for success. Success is relative. Means do not always justify ends.

I’m not arguing Hannah’s character is perfect, because she’s not. She has flaws that inhibit other peoples ability to help her, most notably Clay, the socially inept protagonist. But who doesn’t have issues? Who doesn’t have the occasional self-destructive moment? People who say they don’t ever have painful moments need to take their masks off and look in the mirror.

Another salient point is that just because Netflix produced something that contains an instance of self-harm, doesn’t mean Netflix is trying to get people to kill themselves. That same logic only holds when applied to everything, including murder, crime, and things a whole lot worse than depression that are regularly aired without criticism. We do this, this taboo stuff. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s ironic and damaging. The reason people get mad that a suicide is depicted in a story is the same reason that people get mad when there is nudity. All the while mass-murder and unapologetic gore become normalized.

I’m not arguing against depictions of violence or further censorship, rather, that people start giving more credence to actual context than click-bait titles. ’13 Reasons Why’ doesn’t convince people to kill themselves, if anything, it’s a positive step in combating the enigma of depression,

Maybe it could help our society grow in a positive way that encourages youth to be open instead of smothering uncomfortable emotions and pretending they don’t exist. That’s when the damage is done, when you bottle the negativity up. This show simply tries to alleviate that built up societal pressure. One thing it won’t do, however, is convince psychologically healthy individuals to up and kill themselves. There are reasons for suicide, it’s never trivial.

 

Finding Happy: Prologue-2

So this particular short story used to be called “Third Degree” before I realized it was going to be another long one. I’m on the rough’s of the fifth chapter as of writing, and naming is something that isn’t really set in stone. I do apologize if this causes people confusion!

Prologue-II is similar to prologue-I in tone and style. It’s very much exposition with a few hints and foreshadows. Enough of that, though, enjoy!

 

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/

Related Artworks: 

https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/18/distant-fall-artwork/comment-page-1/#comment-85

https://bluebeard-art.com/blind/

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Prologue-II

 

I really shouldn’t have put off this drinking thing for so long, I feel fantastic! Matt was talking to a couple of his friends, but Casey wasn’t really listening. His arm was draped over her shoulder and she was leaning her head against his muscular chest. “Matt!” shouted Casey, unintentionally cutting off the tall girl who was speaking. “Oh…shorry, about that, I’m a little out of it.” The girl giggled, shooting her a look she couldn’t place. Pfft…Like I care anyway. Everything is great.

Laughing now, Matt asked, “What’s up?”

“Let’s go in the pool, it’s hot out.” Said Casey, nuzzling his under-arm with her fore-head.

A surprised look shot across his face before he smiled, and said, “Sure! Let me go get another drink though, I think I need to catch up to you!” Casey laughed, drunkenly. I’ve only had like five or six drinks, can’t be that bad. What was alcohol’s disassociation constant again? “You gonna be okay if I leave for a minute, Casey?” He sounds like he’s joking but his eyes actually look a little worried.

Casey’s mouth curled into a self-conscious smile, her brow furrowed, and she said, “Of course I’ll be fine! I can take care of myself.” As he left, she stumbled slightly and looked around. Parties are a strange thing. What’s the point of a pool if no one uses it? There’s at least forty people just standing around and literally no one is in the pool. Casey stepped back and relaxed, letting her back gently rest against the house’s expensive looking rose-wood exterior.

It really is a beautiful home. I don’t even know how you treat wood to get that shade of blackened brown, but I’d bet it’s expensive. Those tables, too. The cheap-ass red cups can’t even hide the crystal. I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher realize Christie is throwing a drinking-party. Probably not, but with a house this nice, I’m sure they travel for work or something. It’d really be a matter of shutting the neighbors up, and the next house is a quarter-mile out, so no worries there, I suppose. I feel out of place, I guess wearing vampire teeth to a full-on slutty Halloween party wasn’t proper planning, though. Alcohol really highlights those silver-linings. Casey closed her eyes, smiled, and let gravity pull her neck to the left.

“You still good to swim, Casey?” asked Matt.

Lazily, she opened her left eye, and responded, “Always.” He already changed into his swim-trunks? What’s the point of being a sailor if you don’t swim?

“Awesome! I hadn’t expected to actually swim, glad I brought my trunks now. You want me to hold your drink while you go change?”

“What? Nah, Bra’s…Two-piece’s, same thing.” Said Casey, playfully biting her tongue through a wide grin. “Oh, don’t look so surprised, I can party too, just because I make grades doesn’t mean I can’t have fun!”

“Whatever you say, boss!” said Matt, laughing, before running at the pool and jumping in, splashing a couple making out in the hot-tub. Gotcha! Casey chugged the rum and coke Matt had handed her, set it down, and pulled her tank top over her head. Best leave the shorts on! Making eye contact with a confused Matt, she winked, and sauntered towards the hot tub. Ignoring a whistle to her right, she stepped into the steamy water, quickly did her hair up, and sat. God…this is literally the best temperature. The girl across from Casey gave her a nasty look before turning back to her gentleman of the evening.

Casey recoiled in shock as Matt fell, feet first, into the shallow water, splashing water into her face. “Hey! What was that for?” asked Casey, giggling uncontrollably.

Closer now, ignoring the distraught couple he’d splashed twice, he replied, “You pranked me first you know! That water was actually kind of cold.”

Suddenly serious, she nodded slowly, and said, “Awwwe, is the little athlete sensitive? You want me to warm you up?” Taken aback, Matt opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out. Feigning frustration, she grabbed his arm and pulled him down. “Just kiss me, please.”

Cautiously he brought his lips to hers. Shivers shot down Casey’s spine and she pushed forward, deepening the kiss. As Matt curled his muscular fingers into her black hair, she swung her legs over his lap, pulling herself closer. Matt pulled away for a second, breathing heavily to catch his breath. Taking advantage of his momentary weakness, she bit his neck with her fake vampire-teeth, and giggled with elation. “Wow! I see you’re into some weird stuff there, Casey.” Pulling away for a moment, locking eyes as she cocked her head in mock-confusion, she removed the silly teeth and attacked his mouth.

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Thanks for reading!

Continue here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/28/finding-happy-prologue-3/

Easy (<3 Poem)

Easy——->Click for formatted PDF version of Poem

These lighter poems, I write them to a specific person. I think that’s why they are so stripped down. They’re honest, embarrassingly so. I don’t think that’s the worst thing for poem to be. It isn’t deep, confusing, or all that thought provoking, but I mean it.

Unformatted version below.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Easy

The pain that’s easiest to hide,
Numb,
The one hurt I couldn’t abide,
I find,
The times I want to die,
Are when I stop feeling alive.
But you threw the die,
Told me to try,
You didn’t laugh when I’d start to cry,
Or when I told you to help me fly,
Away from here.
That all I wanted was to be free,
And you were the key,
You were okay with letting me be,
Me.

Finding Happy: Prologue 1- Life

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I used a pencil! It’s still mostly ink, used a nice 4b after drawing the skeletal to flesh out some of the detail. It’s basically my attempt at those cool minimalist-portraits I’ve seen around. That makes this pretty derivative, which is fine, for a practice drawing and such. I wanted a prettier picture to accompany this first section of the story, which is relatively happy-go-lucky.

Anyway, enjoy!

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Prologue: I

October 31st, 2018

 

Casey didn’t feel right. I’m out of my element. She’d just gotten into the back of a white, striped Escalade. Don’t get me started on those disgusting political stickers littering the back windshield. Matt Chasing, her date, turned to look at Casey from the passenger seat, and asked, “You ready to get your freak on, Casey?” He was wearing an old-school marine costume, all blue and white. That dark and disheveled hair, white-smile, and grey eyes are about the only thing that would make me go to a…a party. Especially on Halloween.  

Feigning interest, Casey laughed, and said, “I’m a little nervous. You know it’s not really my scene. I’m usually studying on Thursday nights. It could be fun, though.”

The girl to her left, Rosemarie Higgins, gave Casey an incredulous look, before asking, “Are you fucking serioouus? Why’d we bring the nerd anyway?” She’s asking if I’m serious? As if that bunny outfit could be any sluttier, I can see through your shirt! And it’s pronounced “Serious”.

Casey looked at her lap, letting her long and dark-black hair cover her blush. Sounding annoyed, Matt snapped, “Shut the fuck up, Higgins. I think it’s cool she’s doing well in school. We are only in high school for one more year, ya’ know.” Casey looked up, stifling a laugh, and met Matt’s eye.

“Oh, it’s alright Matt. She’s not wrong. I’m a nerd, you should come to grips with that sooner rather than later.” Said Casey, before sticking her tongue out playfully. Shaking his head, Matt turned back towards the front as he swept his left hand over his shoulder, as if to dismiss Casey’s argument. He’s cute. Before the stunned Rosemarie could fire back, Matt turned the car-radio on, drowning any retort.

A blaring and catchy chorus helped Casey relax a little. Waterparks? I think so. I like them. Casey leaned her head against the window, noting the falling leaves. The cars motion combined with the music gives the dying leaves an odd sort of life. Unpredictable. Beautiful. I wish Matt had just brought me to the park, the one with the tall hill. I wish we could just talk without the frills of a party.   

Her reverie was interrupted as the driver, Jacob Ryan, shouted over the music, “Almost there! This should be dope…Christie’s parties always are. But if it sucks, I got some extra party favors for a lil’ later.” Courtney and Rosemarie both let out their best faux-sorority-girl party-scream.

“You could always give me some now, Jacob! I’ll make it worth your while.” Shouted Courtney, louder than was necessary. Christ, I like Matt, but his friends are just…terrible. Grin and bear it, might even have fun. Open-mind time.

Laughing, Jacob asked, “Sounds good to me, just meet me out back and I’ll fix you up real-quick. Easy.” Matt gave Jacob a look, but Casey couldn’t see Matt’s face, as Jacob continued, “Hey man, don’t judge. You got yo’ girl I got mine. I’m keeping it PG-13 like you said.” The car hung a sudden left, pushing Rosemarie into Casey, and Casey into the window.

“Do we have to go fifty fucking miles per hour in a twenty, Jacob?” asked Casey, annoyed.

As they came to a stop in front of an extravagant and crowded stone house, Jacob turned the radio off, and said, “Sorry baby, I ain’t always great at going the speed limit. I’ll slow down on the way back, just for you.” He turned then, looked Casey in the eye, and winked. Ugh…Creep.

Laughing, Matt punched him playfully in the shoulder, before saying, “Alright, Casey, let’s ditch these losers.”

“Gladly.” Said Casey, giving Jacob a strained smile. Hurrying anxiously, Casey forced the Escalades heavy door open and stepped out onto the finely manicured lawn. Closing her door, Matt extended his lean and muscular arm. Casey smiled as she took his hand. Gonna be a target, a nobody like me showing up to a huge-ass party holding the hand of the star quarterback.

As the pair approached the pillared maw of the house-party, Matt asked, “You drinking tonight, Casey? I can go grab us drinks if you’d like. I won’t drink if you aren’t, either, so no pressure.” Is this a bad time to tell him I haven’t had alcohol before?

Biting her lip, Casey responded, “Yeah, I’m drinking. Is it okay if we start with something light, though?”

Letting go of Casey’s hand, his mouth curled into a cute half-grin as he replied, “Of course! I’ll go grab us some beer from the kegs. Any of the mixed drinks are going to hit waay harder.”  As Matt walked to parts unknown, Casey took a moment to gauge her surroundings. This was a lot less intense when I was focused on Matt. For a party that started thirty minutes ago, there are an awful lot of people here… Christie’s house really is gigantic, too. If only money and looks gave you a soul. That’s not fair, I suppose. I hardly know her, beyond the general air of superiority she bleeds. Maybe I can get to know her, we both have Matt in common, now. Good way to start a convo, right? Oh! There’s Matt and my first drink. Two firsts. Exciting day.

“What a gentleman!” exclaimed Casey, amused as Matt gave a little bow after handing her the bear.

“Well, my wish is your command milady!” said Matt, wrapping his arm around Casey. “So what do you wanna do?”

Casey feigned a thoughtful expression before answering, “I don’t know, what do people actually do at parties.”

Matt, taken aback, stepped back, finished his beer in a gulp, spread his arms wide, and replied “Mi’lady! There are sooo many choices!” Matt brought his arms down with each word, adding emphasis. “We could check out the pool! This pool, you will not believe…what a god-damn pool! Oh, and the beer pong tourney, just around the corner mind you, is straight fire! Hell, we could go play emo, sit by the fire place, stare passive aggressively at all of my fake friends, and talk about how we’re going to overthrow fucking Venus or some shit!” Casey was laughing loudly, covering her mouth in embarrassment at the small croak her nose made. “So, which is it, Casey?” Sooo cute. Fuck, I can’t even handle the cute. Too much! Overload! Focus on the question, Casey.

Pursing her lips, she started to nod slowly, as if she understood some truth that explained something significant, and said, “I can see you’ve thought a lot about this, I appreciate that.” The good-humored expression on Matt’s face fell slightly, shifting to confusion. “Honestly, the pool sounds nice. I was just planning to get drunk and hang out with you anyway. As long as it’s not the straight-fire beer-pong, I’m Gucci.”

Eyes bright, Matt announced, “The pool it is! But let me get some more beer quick.” Something tells me he’s gonna get there a little faster than me.

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Thanks for reading this far!

Next chapter can be found here: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/26/finding-happy-prologue-2/