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D disliked starting each day.  She'd rather
squander her time writing of dusty dreams
late at night by candlelight.  This bothered

F who loathed the part where father must wake
unwilling daughter firmly from slumber.
Her eyes remain sleep-stained until M rakes

a warm washrag across her face.  Brother
e, now a teenager who refuses
to capitalize his name, walks sister

to the bus-stop where B drives them to school
with a frown on his face.  J, K, and L
form her usual clique.  They chat until rules

force them to part ways when they'd rather stay
and gossip about H--though, i don't know
what they see in him.  G drones on today

about grammar (they still teach that?) until
even the bell is exasperated
and offers to sound in pity and fill

the halls with familiar hullabaloo.
On the way to her next class, D spots O,
her friend whose affinity for junk food

has left her with contours that even eggs
must envy.  They walk to Mr. A's class
where algebra awaits and students beg

for a reprieve to no avail.  D sits
by Q who likes math after a quirky
fashion (and likes D more but won't admit

it).  O passes D a note from across
the room that depicts A as a hog-beast.
They're busted when D overzealously

giggles.  Mr. A remains unamused,
probably because the joke has nothing
at all to do with math.  Lunch!  D assumed

she would sit with J, K, and L; but boys
S, T, and U have monopolized their
attentions.  She sighs and quietly joins

the lunch line behind X and Z.  The pair
disagree as to who was first, but I
settles it by skipping past them both, fair

and impartially.  Y serves sloppy scoops
filled with foods of dubious origins.
D looks disgusted and barely recoups,

her skin a green avocadoes would die
for.  She gives up on lunch and hopes nurse N
will take pity on her condition.  "Lies,"

says N who clearly wasn't born yesterday.
D dutifully doodles through science
and history, wishing the day away

as any dedicated student would.
P and R were unimpressed with her day-
dreaming in their classes (which they think should

captivate any child's attention for
the duration) and plan to hold parent-
teacher conferences.  D heads for the door

as soon as she can and watches reruns
of The C Show on television until
F and M (physically) force her to turn

it off.  She locks her room and she pretends
she were more like voluptuous V with
a glamorous job.  She writes and suspends

the night with unfair tales of how W M
could be and jots down her ideas, too new
to replace her previous dusty dreams.
I was Q.

[alphabet soup].[link]
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the Butchering
by jsenn


I felt
the tears burn behind my eyes
as ever so carefully
I asked the question.

Perhaps I knew the answer, but still
I had to ask.
Maybe, I thought, there will be concern
and care felt in the hesitation.

Confused and confusing,
confusingly spoken
staring unbelieving, listening
broken.

Asking why
searching for reason
knowing the answer will be certain.

Still I must ask
still I must seek
reasoning,
understanding
sense or peace.





Dawns the awakening.





Now it's done.
We breathe in slow motion silence.
Will you cry, I thought I heard you sigh.
I only imagined...

It began as a ripping
an excruciating rending
as the knife sliced downward through my center
carefully scraping my bones.

I wanted to wail,
such a painful motion this is
this tearing away of love
intrinsically woven
this cutting from the sinew
from the muscles, the very heart of my being.

Let it be over soon.

It's nearly impossible to stand
(I cannot stand)
It's nearly impossible to wait
(I want to run)
It's nearly impossible to stand and wait
for survival.


But, I do survive.
(we all survive)


Now it's over.

I rise tear stained

quietly turn and walk away.





Did you cry?

(I couldn't look)





Joy Senn
2002
I wrote this in 2002 after watching a friend's delicate love relationship fail. Sometimes, when you think it's perfect it is not, and one must be severed from love. It is excruciating but necessary.

I sent the poem to argylekid and ask him to collab with me by creating an image to go with it. He's posted it here as Simple Truths (Thanks Brett)
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i sink in one foot at a time
with the same anticipation
i would have while stepping into
the shadow of your naked body
if you were standing in front of me

i submerge myself
in the depths of lonely night
water hot with the scent
of your breath
if you were breathing on me
instead of the steam that
pricks my skin
and rises like your
face above mine would
if you were here.

i lay back slowly
letting it run through my hair
as your fingers would
if you were here
and it rises past my shoulders
drowning them in streams
of heat as you would
with your tongue
if you were here

it encircles my breasts
where your tongue would paint me
swallows my nipples
where your lips would embrace me
fills my navel and pours over
my waist sending pools
down between my lips
where you would part me
if you werent apart from me

i let the water hit me
where you are missing
let it bead up on my skin
and gush inside me
the space you would fill
with your electricity
heat and fire
if you were here

i arc back in dream and pulse
sending waves through this
flooded vessel
moving forth
with moonlight-speed inertia
illuminating my body
with candle glow
as you would with your
gift of nirvana
your love shooting
through me with
the power of ocean tide
tumbling tsunami
if you were here

water displaces
never replaces
energy is neither
destroyed
nor created
but is moved through me
with molecular mobility
where you will
someday sail in
and embark on my shore
displacing the water
that i need no more
well? what can i say? *blush*
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The Big Secret to Learning How to Draw:


In the Beginning... You see an apple, and you draw an apple. You look at your drawing, and it's utter crap. It looks nothing like the real thing, and you wonder why. "Hey, a real apple is red and round. My drawing is red and round. Huh. What's wrong?"

You draw some more apples. Many times.

And finally, one day, you have a Eureka! moment. You realize, *d'oh!* a real apple isn't entirely round! It's wider at the top, narrower underneath. It's got funky little lumps at the bottom. It's got a dip like a crazy deep belly button at the very top. You draw another apple. The result is better, but it's still crap. Much nicer crap than before, but still.... Hmm.

You draw more apples. Repeat.

Another day of drawing, another Eureka! moment. Hello! The red isn't really red. This particular apple is slightly darker than true red. And it's got some tiny tan spots on it. And at the top, the red turns into a pale green color near the stem. You draw an apple once again. And hey, it's getting close, but still not quite there. And you wonder why.

So you keep drawing and drawing, blah blah, repeat.

And one day, after you've been drawing apples to the point where you never want to eat an apple ever again, you realize.... Holy crud! The redness of the apple shifts with lighting! There's a circular white spot for hard light sources. There's a softer, fuzzier light reddish orange spot for softer light sources. Back to the drawing board. The apple drawing is getting pretty good now, but still not quite right. Geez, how long does it take to learn to draw a friggin' apple anyway?

Blah blah, more drawing....

... Texture! You forgot texture! Little bumps on the surface! It's not perfectly smooth! Aha! But...how to draw those bumps? Hmm.... Oh! Those bumps show up as color shifts! You mix some lighter reds with the subtle, darker red splotches. You break up the highlights a bit so that they're not just round white circles. They're slightly irregular circles, and sometimes they have little satellite circles surrounding the main highlight circle. And while we're at it, those green streaks near the top of the apple sometimes spread out a little in a star-like pattern, although it's really faint, and the color at the tips of the stars look more orange or yellow than green. And hey, since we're looking closely, this apple is so shiny, you don't just see highlight from lights on it. You can actually vaguely see a reflection of the rest of the kitchen on it. The shapes are really vague and they don't affect the color much, but they're there. Just a slight hint of shadow on the apple surface. And oh! The apple is on a white table, and the reflection of the table is visible on the lower half of the apple as a hint of lighter red. And at the edge of the apple, that reflected color is a bit stronger so that it actually causes a near-white outline on the bottom half of the shape of the apple. Woaaah, never noticed all that stuff before! Seriously, there's hardly a single large spot on this apple that is uniform in color! So much to think about in such a simple object! (And at this point, your roommate walks in and wonders why you're staring at this apple, titillated, like you just met the love of your life.)

So now, you can draw an apple wonderfully when you're looking at it. But you go to draw it without a real life model or a photo reference, and it looks like crap again. *headdesk* So what's wrong?

Uh-huh. You don't know the apple as well as you think you do. So you go look at more apples, and you obsessively try to memorize them. You study different kinds and note how they vary in color and shape. You compare to see how different apples are similar to each other, and how they're completely different.

Meanwhile, you keep drawing apples.

And one glorious day, you realize you can draw an apple from memory, and it looks pretty damned good! Yay!

... And then you realize YEARS have gone by. D-:

It didn't happen in a day. It didn't happen in a week. And you are disheartened, thinking that you must be the world's biggest idiot if it takes you YEARS to learn to draw a stoopid apple. (Never mind a more complicated shape like a human! Or a human in a dynamic pose! Or a human in a dynamic pose standing in front of a crazy background with nutty perspective! And multiple light sources! Aaaargh. Time to crawl back into bed and never come out. Ha ha.)

But I digress....

Yeah, why did it take so long to learn? Hmm. Maybe all along, while you were drawing them incorrectly, your brain was slowly learning and assimilating and percolating. And part of the process is to collect bits of data and munch on them for a bit. That mental munching takes time. And without the time, you wouldn't have had those Eureka! moments because your brain wouldn't have been ready to make the leap just yet.

The years you spent, they have nothing to do with how simple the form of an apple is. They have everything to do with developing a different way of seeing the world. Seriously. Congratulate yourself! You didn't spend years learning to draw a piece of fruit! You spent years learning how to see in AN ENTIRELY NEW WAY. And learning a new way to see is quite an accomplishment. Because now, if you want to draw something else, like, say, a banana... You won't have to spend years learning it like you did with the apple. It'll only take a short amount of time to learn because the groundwork has already been done. Your brain knows how to approach the task now.

That new vision is what takes time. And that new vision and understanding is what you can't get just from mindlessly reading a book or doing a tutorial. Those resources can help, but only if you put forth the effort and actually bother to think while you're using them.

And sadly, so many people don't seem to get it. They think there's some Ultra Secret Shortcut to learning how to draw. If a tutorial doesn't help, they think they're simply using the wrong tutorial, and they go off in search of the right one, not knowing that they'll probably never find it, and they'll just be disappointed.

And all along, the answers are in their own head if they'd only put in the effort and the time. But hey, some people can barely wait 5 minutes for a burger at the drive-thru. Asking for years of dedication's just absurd. Especially when you've got Wonderful Things like Photoshop and Magic Tutorials. Right? *..... sigh.*

:-P
Sorry for posting this twice, but some people requested it as a deviation.

Thanks for the all the positive response on this! Would love to comment more, but I'm off to attend a wedding! Will edit this properly later. :)

EDIT:

Wow, I can't believe how many people have actually read this monstrous entry all the way through. Thank you!

I just posted it so that I could be lazy and refer people to this instead of having to explain this stuff over and over. It's just too much to type out. :p


To Beginners:

I know it's frustrating when you ask people how to draw, and they tell you "practice" or "draw from life". People aren't trying to be jerks when they tell you that. It's just that techniques and media really don't matter quite as much, since preferences for those vary a great deal from artist to artist. I hope this answers your question a little bit more clearly.

And obviously, it's not literally just about apples. I just used apples as an easy example. I've only scratched the surface though. There's much more than just the stuff I mentioned here. But it's a start, at least.
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