My grandmother is dead.

I’ve known this was going to happen. I’ve even been expecting it for a couple of years, even; she was pushing one-hundred. But it’s still a shock. This is the first time somebody that was a big part of my life died. My grandfather died before I was born, so at least my brothers and sisters have gone through something like this before, but for me…

Everybody dies. In addition to the grandfather I never had a chance to meet, my grandmother joins her brothers and sisters that passed away before her. My grandmother’s death, like her sister’s, was a long one. She was old, and she had cancer, though at least she kept her mind until the end.

I will remember my grandmother reminiscing about her childhood. I am honored to see into that world, that I would have never even have a chance to think about otherwise. Those memories of hers are gone forever, and though I take the memories of those memories with me, the world is still a lesser place for losing her.

But the world continues on, diminished.

Art: Emily’s Skin

I bought a set of skin-tone markers about two months ago, and this is the first time I’ve gotten around to using them. I regret not getting to this sooner, but anyway, I really wanted to color in Emily first. Her variety of skin tones gave me a chance to use every marker I had in the set.

There are six markers in the set. Three were of lighter skin tones, and three were of darker shades of brown, although to my disappointment, the differences between the lighter shades weren’t particularly noticeable. In particular, the lightest shade, which I used for Ms. Frankenstein’s chin, wasn’t quite as light as I hoped.

Also, the marker’s brush tips made the ink come out wonderfully smooth. In addition to the feeling of it coming out on paper, it also gives nice solid blocks of color. I noticed bleeding to the other side of the page, but as this didn’t leave anything on the surface below, I think it’s fine.

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Magical Chromodynamics

It occurred to me recently, while I was considering how humans perceive photons of particular energy levels as having color while also using color as a metaphor for certain qualities of quarks, that there are two ways of dividing things by color. The first is to treat the colors as a spectrum, with the colors smoothly blending into each other and two diametric entities at each end. The other is to treat the colors as a metaphor, with each color serving to denote a discrete phenomenon that may or may not interact with the other colors.

Among magic systems, treating colors as a metaphor is the more common approach. The classes of magic my not interact at all, or they may interact in an arbitrary way. Magic: the Gathering is a paradigmatic example. There are five colors of magic, and they are placed on a wheel of alliances and oppositions. The placements are based more on what kind of people would be associated with those colors in fantasy fiction, and what kind of conflicts are typical between those kinds of people, than anything involving the colors themselves.

Treating the colors like a spectrum is a more interesting proposition, if only because there’s less of a guide. The first idea that comes to mind is that there are two basic powers that lie at each end of the spectrum. For example, change, life, or heat could be at one end, while stability, death, or cold could be at the other. Let us associate change with the red end of the spectrum, and permanence with the blue end.

Red magic, once released, alters what ever it is released upon randomly, except for those things that are fixed in their current state by blue magic. Getting something useful out of magic, then, requires a great deal of skill, first creating a shell of blue magic to confine the red magic to a certain area, then dynamically invoking blue magic as red magic turns whatever it is the magician is working on into what they want, to fix various attributes in place. The colors besides red and blue pop up in the interplay between them, a shimmering field of light within the spell space.

This is a good base for our magic system, but two ‘violations’ come to mind within it. I call these things violation because, while they are conceptually related with change and stability, they are also clearly above the basic functions of red and blue magic. I speak of creation (turning nothing into something) and destruction (turning something into nothing). Unfortunately, these powers are a bit beyond the scope of this essay, being more suitable for a story unto themselves.

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Plans for the Future

I would like to draw more. I need to set aside time for it in the day, so that I can be sure to work at it at some point. It doesn’t matter what I draw, and really, I want to be able to draw enough things that I don’t have to throw up some sketches to keep this site on schedule. My recent attempts at this have suffered from a combination of trying to do this right before I go to bed, and my apartment having heating issues.

I need to move to a cheaper place. The one I have isn’t very good, and with student loan payments starting up pretty soon, I’m not going to be able to afford staying here. That said, even if I do find something quick, every little bit helps, especially with recurring payments. I don’t really have an elegant way of mentioning my Patreon here, so I’m just going to drop it there.

But speaking of getting paid, I think I want to try to get into Heroic Fantasy Quaterly ( The problem is that they seem to want stories that are longer that what I usually write, asking for up to 10,000 words when I start to feel something is wrong if I can’t see the end an 5000. However, seeing how I have until March before their next submission window opens, and I would want to write something completely new for them anyway, this isn’t an insurmountable problem.