This is the year 80s babies pull from the deep recesses of their skill set to zen into the deep boredom. I’ve never been so glad I grew up on Secret of NIMH and Fraggle Rock, as when I realized it was time to sit in my house with art supplies and hand sanitizer and make that work for an unknown amount of time. I don’t know if blankets and couch cushion caves scattered across the house is normal. A rainforest mood CD played on loop to summon a safari adventure and this is the boredom tranches if was cradled in. This may not be flashing neon screens but the choices were the Flintstones or the 200th time you flew of rainbow road into the abyss. So I got really good at making games out of a whole lot of crayons, twigs and stories.
So far, this year, I’ve spent 8 months indoors except to step out and take in the sun, trying to absorb some Vitamin D and expel the monkeys paw I must have gotten on super sale. Am I an extrovert? No. But I miss driving around and talking to peoples actual faces. It’s got a different feel than texting or discord, but it turns out, I can adapt to a lot. Maybe you’re stuck inside or in bed, or that lady from the movie Misery is being an overbearing hostess… but hey, if you like foraging for weird crafts and activities, I can at least give you some of those and a little pep talk. Either way, I’m here for you. So let me unload some things that helped keep me busy and connected to my friends and community while I hunker like a creative cave goblin.
So first off, post mail is slow. You don’t have to write with a pen or pencil, technically, but it’s more fun. Also think of how strong your thumb muscle will be. Back in my day (immediately hunching over and becoming grumpy) writing a book report meant taking a break every five minutes to shake the pain out of your thumb cardio routine. It does sound kind of terrible, but listen to this! It also means you slowed down, thought out your words so you didn’t have to scratch out all your typos and it means more when you get an envelope arriving to your house. It’s gotten good reviews.
I used to have a friend that wasn’t into technology and one thing I know is, when a letter would show up that I had hand written to her and slapped a stamp on, it meant a lot more. It’s just a different feeling.
So, while I’m stuck in the house for a bit I’ve taken up a few mail projects. One was a pen pal letter exchange I named ThunderDome Pen Pals Services. A friend and I made up characters and improvised insulting exchanges between them through post mail. We’d throw in stickers, a hand drawn tarot card that said “No one will take you seriously because you look like a muppet” (May frame this) All of it filled with just wonderfully stupid gems. It was amazing. Maybe I’m weird.
I am. You might like it, though. You can pretty well do whatever you want, as long as you and your friend have fun. One word of advice..consider it required to make up fictional characters if you plan to do an insult throw down with your friend. you will enrage them if you tell them their hair is dumb or something.
My character was a wizard who owns a sentient office supply store and we each had familiars. Her character is a soothsaying witch who uses a spirit reading pen. We started the characters simple enough, but as we wrote we started adding stuff. I think my man is part spider at this point, because somewhere along the line it was established he had triple jointed legs that bend backwards and I don’t even want to do the math on how that works.
There’s the setting, complex and deep. And here’s the unsettling rant:
Dear and simple Ms.Oogiewitz,
Oh ho ho, what a lofty periwinkle twerp are you? You have everyone fooled. But I am a man of science and I surmise this transmutation of a person’s soul essence into magic feelings ink is a charade. You say you write and the ink becomes your magical pure light, when in fact… it is something I am going to call a, patent pending, glitter jel pen!!
There. I said it. I must do what is right! Let me explain. A jel pen, I have surmised, is a pen..like the quill, but full of the crushed up innards of a fairy and then some jello. I’ll draw you a diagram so you aren’t confused.
(TURN THIS PAGE OVER WITH YOUR HANDS!) this way —->
(Insert fairy squish drawing with indepth foot trajectory markings.)
I think it’s been passed down for generations by your people to create the illusion of transmutation. But no, you have a preloaded quill with rare brewed ink of bountiful colors, and you hide it up your sleeve, with a quick release mechanism. Then you say, “oh I’ll write the name of this amazing wizard I’m jealous of.” Then go to write my name and you shoot the brown pen out of your sleeve and you make a fool of you and me and all of us. Because you are so stupid.
But it’s ok. I think you…are just great without your dumb sleeve trick. You and your weird snail. Sorry I gave him huge fat ugly eyes. If you lift him to the window at midnight tonight my spell will disperse releasing him from his affliction.
Frankenfurter has become enraged because he can sense my distress. He wants to kill you both…sooo much. But he is a chameleon and at best he would take years to sneak out and find you. I told him it’s just your snail. Forgive me. But I can’t bear..for him to think you are a shiesticord. You are only stupid and have invented an ok magic pen system. Which I would like to join you in patenting. With my science, clearly. Because you’ll need it if you want to succeed.
Where are you getting that supply of fairies? Technically getting fairy innards…super illegal. But not impossible. Jello is also a black market item. Only two Gel Queens remain. Mysterious, stupid, unpatented Lilac….how did you stumble into my life? We will do great things through my efforts. You’re welcome.
you are welcome,
Sentient Office Furniture CEO incorporated
Ta da. The end.
I also have a chain mail circle to connect artists who may not know each other, to say nice things about the other persons crafts or shared interests and then throw in a little sample of the things that make them tick.
Don’t forget kidnapping moss for terrariums! As if you could ever! Though slightly unrelated to art, this is totally related to people in a quarantine or people who can’t keep a plant alive. Moss is just everywhere for free. Not like in your neighbors yard or private farm, but it’s around. I go visit family in the mountains sometimes and where they live there isn’t grass so much as rain every day, all the days and instead moss of every kind on this green earth sprouts from the ground and trees. So I steal it into a Tupperware container and drive it back where I plop it into a terrarium and if you are lucky you’ll get some mushrooms.
Do not eat them or anything in your terrarium. You can put pebbles and ferns and such in there, too, but I’m not going to tell you your business. It’s a good indoor activity, after you hunt the moss up, that reminds you theres trees and stuff out there still and if you could fit them in a bell jar you could steal them too.
Almost done. Googly eyes! Yep. They are cheap. They can be put on magazines or old DVD boxes or figures. Preferably, don’t go Banksy and then tie back to my blog but, you know, there’s all kinds of things you can do with googly eyes that improve the world around you.
So, for a while now, I’ve been chipping away at making a local magazine as well. Writing fictional/based on a true human, stories and gathering photos. Then I proceed to make them super weird.
Now I’m in the most adult part of this project; saving up money to buy a computer that can run inDesign as well as several other tools to help me with more professional human projects.While I gather money and power, let me talk briefly on the basic idea. It’s a magazine that acknowledges we are in Augusta but then it jumps off from there, to be like (sharp inhale) ~what if there are fairies harvesting music downtown to pollinate a bioluminescent magic forest, that only this one woman who plays music in our punk scene can access.
Then I write a ten page, partially …or very heavily fictional story, on that person and release it in serial entries. The same part of my mind that wrote roleplay insults with a friend, is the part that is making this section happen. It is called, “Little Did We Know.” And it’s very informative.
Here’s that jazz. This one is the first story I started about a local artists, Heather. I won’t give away the twist. It’s not even the wrinkle side plot..it’s so much better.
I’m not suggesting you make a whole magazine. I still have to do the dishes, and commissions, and make house repairs and work on projects and worry or have scheduled ennui, but I think we forget, that having fun isn’t a kid thing. We should do adult stuff and balance a checkbook ( goodness sake, use an app and your card. This is not needed anymore!) and save money
Here’s a little comic of an AI simulator app that manifested a dungeons and dragons style improv adventure with me and I wouldn’t take it seriously. It was surprisingly fun. AI dungeon. It’s not product placement if they don’t know me or know how much suffering I made the AI go through. But if you like to improvise adventures down a rabbit hole, you should at least poke it and check it out. It will probably waste a good chunk of time you would have been staring at your feet. This post will hit differently if we zombie over Black Friday mosh pits, so stay safe.
2 thoughts on “The Survivalists Guide to Pillow Forts”
Your imagination and graphic skills are an inspiration . Ill bet it’s fun to be in your head ! I look forward to more installments !
It’s pretty decent being in my head yeah. lol. Thank you Sarah! May we banter again someday..and not see a shark in the savannah river.