NaNoWriMo

Some of you might already have heard of NaNoWriMo, some you might even be participating this year or have done so before. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a writing “contest” that you win by quite simply writing a novel of 50,000 words or more during November. I’ve participated once before, didn’t even come close to winning. But this year some friends of mine are participating, and I felt like giving it another shot.
I’m a bit worried that my head will dislike me quite a bit for attempting it, but if I have to quit, I’ll just be head cheerleader for those still going strong – especially my friends. As of now the clock has actually passed midnight and it’s officially November 1st, so I should probably be writing, but I think I’ll wait until I’m done cleaning tomorrow to start it up – I’d like to feel a bit more awake and ready for the start at least! I’m feeling pretty good about it so far; excited and ready to go. I even have a fancy title! At least it’ll give me something to do that’ll keep my brain from slowly turning into a swamp where nothing grows except for mold. On the other hand, give it a week tops and I’ll likely be begging for someone to chop off my fingers so I don’t have to write another word!

To actually win you’ll need an idea, some way to get your words down (computer, paper, your best friend’s arm), and the will to do at least 1,667 words a day. Deceptively simple. Because huff-puff, that’s a lot of words. In comparison, this blog post is XXX words in total. And you’ll also need to sit on your inner editor that constantly wants you to go back over your writing and EDIT IT, because it really sucked. And actually you could change this scene a bit and it’d be much better…well, if you want to churn out that many words in one single month, quantity is far better than quality. December is for editing (and getting an actual paper version of your book, courtesy of some of NaNoWriMo’s awesome sponsors!).

If you get super-bored, you’re also welcome to actually watch my word count go up every day (hopefully) and stare at the blank space that is supposed to be info about me: My NaNoWriMo profile.

So, what does this have to do with dolls, I hear you ask with a deep sigh. Well, I’ll tell you! The story I’ll hopefully be writing is going to be about a character that I will absolutely shell as a doll. It will also very likely be including all of my other dolls (and future dolls!) or at least most of them. For me dolls are not only so gorgeous and wonderful photography subjects, they are also all shells for characters – my Lati dolls being less complex characters, as they are all children; my LittleFee characters all being slightly more complex and quite weird. There are of course exceptions such as Phia, who will be a PukiFee, but still quite a complex character, but in broad, sweeping terms, my Latis are sweet little children. Well. Children at least. Spoiled, demanding children… Aaanyway!

Will you guys be participating in NaNoWriMo?

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Friends are the world

We all talk about the community in the doll collecting hobby – some think it’s awful and elitist, others finally feel like they found the place they belong, and others again feel like they can’t get to be a part of it. Of course a few just don’t care and want to play with pretty dolls, but that’s another story entirely!

For me, I found a space where I finally fit. It took a little while with me floundering around like a bird in a wind tunnel or something like that, but then I stumbled upon a weird little group of Danish people on Skype. A few of those people decided to make an even more tight-knit little Skype group, where most of us log on every day to talk. I’ve already gushed about these people here, so I’ll let that speak for itself.

But one specific of these people has for some unknown reason decided to accept me as a close friend (which she will regret so much come NaNoWriMo, when I will be kicking her ass to reach 50k words!). She is probably one of the kindest souls I’ve ever been fortunate enough to know, and most of you who follow my blog might already be strongly suspecting that I’m of course referring to Lise, blogger over at Red Riding Hood and owner of too many lovely dolls to count (Charlotte, Gerda, Estelle, Scarlet and Connor, just to name a few lovelies).

When we had a little doll meet with Maria (blogger over at Tjassi and owner of Isi, a doll I regularly consider stealing, because CUTE), Lise had a lovely birthday present for me: A wig for my Phia. Phia is a character so close to my heart these days, symbolizing happiness and hope, things I often tend to forget. Sadly, I do not in any ways have the funds to get her – I didn’t even have the funds to get a wig, when The Wig popped up on Etsy. So Lise decided to snatch it up and gift it to me, because she knows how much I love Phia and what she symbolizes.

And look at it, isn’t it beautiful?

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It’s a little hard to get the true colors to show up, since the light wasn’t exactly the best today, but oh well! Couldn’t wait any longer to show you! It’s a far softer, paler pink in real life, and it’s so gorgeous.

It is from PinkPantherrr on Etsy, but if you want to know about their service, you will have to ask Lise!
It is seriously soft and beautiful though. I can sit and just run my hand over it, I absolutely adore mohair wigs! And my girl will look wonderful when I get her some day. Sadly, the description says the wig is a little big for a PukiFee head (since it was made for a Lati Yellow head), but you can all be certain I will find some way to fix that, haha! (Tips on how to do so are appreciated, though!)

I still can’t believe Lise bought it for me, and I am so grateful to her. It is just one more thing that makes me determined to get better and get on with my life, because I have to earn the funds to bring lovely Phia home one day to wear her wig! And those days when I forget my way even with my reminders, I know I can always come to Lise, and she’ll help me pick up my spirits and remind me that we’re both going great places.

Have you made some wonderful, life-changing friends through the hobby?

Birthday

My friend asked me today: “Have you given up on your blog?” No, I said. I just don’t know what to write. But she touched upon a need to write. I’ve been thinking for some days about making a post in honour of my birthday, and she gave me the last little push.

My life has changed so much since my last birthday. It was only a few months later that I hit my head and went into this limbo of not being useful at all. I’ve always been the type of person who makes a plan and then sticks to it, so I was pretty sure that the world would come crashing down around me. Now – almost a year later – the world is still spinning. Instead I came crashing down.

When my plans went down the drain, I suddenly got around to spending a lot of time with myself. In the beginning, it was fun – it was like a holiday! But as the days went by, I tried my best to escape myself; losing myself in books, games, and the internet. I didn’t want to face myself, because my entire facade had cracked and was threatening to fall apart. So I hid even more, playing hours and hours of World of Warcraft every day to not face myself in the mirror. I was useless, my plans were failing, and my world looked so wrong. My nail polishes started collecting dust, and my beloved dolls stayed in their cupboard.

Finally, I got some help from a therapist. It didn’t take long for her to force me to look into a mirror – although a metaphorical one. And she asked me how much of that cracked facade was actually me, and how much was other people’s expectations and even my own attempts to force myself into a box I just didn’t fit into? And slowly, that cracked facade crashed down, and nothing was left.

I had to figure out who I was. If you already know yourself, I envy you. Because it sure as heck isn’t easy to be 25 (although, if you wish to congratulate me on my birthday, pretend I’m 21. I hate my age!) and look hard into yourself and figure out who you are. However, I started with the easy questions: What do you like? And the first answer was always, without hesitation: Dolls. I like my dolls. They’re my creative outlet. I like to photograph and think about my dolls more than I like anything else – even more than being online! That being said, I’m getting slowly back into things. I’m checking Tumblr again. I’m reading doll blogs. I’m looking at pretty pictures on Flickr. I’m dreaming of new dolls. But I can feel that reaching in and grabbing a doll isn’t far away. I just don’t want to push myself. I’ll get there, I don’t doubt it for a moment.

With my return to the dolls came also my return to my doll friends. The way they greeted me warmly, expressing that they had missed me, made me realise something else: They’re not doll friends. They’re my friends. Plain and simple. We started out blabbing about dolls, but now it’s a safe place to share happiness and fears. To tell that you might consider starting up your education again, and hear your friends be super-proud of you (some of us might have teared up a bit). To tell that life is overwhelming, lash out, and be forgiven – we know how hard life can be sometimes, and we love you, even if we don’t tell you directly. To share fears about possibly pursuing a career as photographer and be told that it’s an actual option for you. To gush about that new doll that you just need (hey, we’re still doll collectors!).

I apologise for the lengthiness of my post, but I applaud you if you got through it! I hope to hear a little something from you out there, whether it’s your own story of finding yourself, a hope to find yourself, or just the doll you really want next time!

Mille has landed!

I almost made it to the 10 month waiting period – Lati took well over 9 months to ship my centaur from the Olympos release. Apparently they had trouble with the centaur bodies, because it seems like the centaur buyers were the one waiting forever. I have – as some might have noticed – been quite angry at times, completely disinterested at others. And most of the time I simply expected to just sell her as soon as she arrived.

But, as Lati dolls usually do, she caught my heart immediately. There was never any doubt that she is staying, she is so graceful and fun. And though her mold is the same as my Poe, she is quite a bit different from Poe! Mille seems more inquisitive, while Poe’s expression is always quite shy.

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You may worship now!

Of course since I wasn’t expecting her to stay, I don’t have any wigs ready for her. I do have some clothes she can use, but quite frankly, she seemed disinterested. I guess a centaur can go naked until I manage to locate some sort of clothes that she’ll agree to wear. No use trying to force a miniature goddess!

Interested in a bit of backstory for her character? If not, skip this part!

Mille is my tiny goddess in the form of a kid centaur. A…centaur foal? Anyhow, she is actually genderless, but is usually considered genderfluid or agender. She likes the pronouns she and her, but if children need someone to relate to, she can also be him/his or the child’s preferred pronouns. She protects all abused children who call on her, but her main concern has always been transgender children and children who fall outside the gender binary. She can be called on for any reason and will happily just sit and listen to the child for hours as the child pours their heart out to someone who understands and never raise any objections. Though rare, she will sometimes remove a child from abusive parents and deliver the child to a couple who desperately wants a child and will respect the child and their wishes. She is not a goddess who easily angers, but she has turned violent some times during her reign – turning a parent into a wooden toy. The only thing that parents can really do to anger Mille is pray for their child to be different – not for the child’s own sake, but for the parent’s. While it might be natural (although undesirable) in Mille’s eyes to wish that the child wouldn’t have to face such difficulties with their life because of their gender; she has no respect for a parent who wants their child to be “normal” because they refuse to accept the child’s identity or feel outright ashamed.

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She can bend this far for those who might be interested

With Mille was also an unexpected traveler. Lati had promised to include a gift because of my waiting for this long, but I was expecting a wig! Instead I found a head inside Mille’s box and was quite surprised. As far as I can tell, it might be an updated version of Halloween Ver. Devil Cookie from 2010. I don’t as of yet know what I want to do with it, but I expect to sell it, since I’m not too big a Cookie fan. Plus it’ll save me the hassle of getting her a body, wig and clothes. Those little ones are demanding!

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Halloween Cookie in an updated version, perhaps?

Still alive!

I know it’s been a while, but I promise – I’m still alive!

I’ve been having a little romance with a new site where you get to breed pretty, pink dragons. (Well, there’s other colors than pink, but my lair is pretty pink!) I tend to have these little periods where I go all nuts about something for a while, then it simmers down to something more normal than a complete obsession. I think I’ve gotten through to the other site regarding my dragons, so while I’ll still be having fun (I’ve actually so far shelled a future doll in a dragon) I’ll also try to concentrate a bit on dolls again.

Another reason for my absence has been my sadness regarding the hobby. I haven’t fallen out of love with my dolls, but I do feel a distinct sadness on several levels. On the more overall level in the hobby, I feel sad that everything is about recasts these days. When I started in the hobby just a few years ago, recasts were a hush-hush sort of thing and most people just wanted that elusive grail doll. I even considered getting a Juri 08 in recast, because she was and still is impossible to get. But now everything is getting recasted, even really cheap basic dolls. I’m not going to get into a full-on explanation, because my friend Akatsuki/Lise says it far better. On a more personal note, I hate how I can’t get any new dolls and Lati still hasn’t shipped my centaur. It’s been more than 9 months (in fact we’re getting closer to 10 months!) and it sucks so bad. At this point I’m somewhere between “just give me back my money!” and “at least send me a big honking gift AND GET HER SHIPPED!”. And while I recently sold my Momocolor Lucy, I can’t use those funds to get a new doll – mainly because our economy is a bit uncertain at this point where I don’t know if I can keep getting money from the state for studying, because I’ve taken so long. I hate my head these days, it just won’t stop hurting. Plus half the time I keep forgetting things. I spent about 15 minutes yesterday trying to remember a word, and for someone who has always had a gigantic vocabulary, it’s almost physically painful.

So yes, I’m still here. I’ll try to be more active, but I think I need to rediscover the joys of the hobby. You guys got some great suggestions?

About giving up

I’m one of those people. The ones who will decide to do something and then hang onto it, nail and tooth, even if they’re not enjoying it anymore. I believe I’ve touched on it before here on my blog – I don’t just say A, I will also say B. And sometimes even C. When I ask myself why, the answer is that I’ve been taught not to quit. My parents have always been pretty awful about letting their children quit things, and as such I’ve always had to have a really good explanation as to why I didn’t want to do something anymore. Whether it was quitting handball, quitting a friendship or even quitting school. While it has certainly taught me something about persisting, it has also begun to stop me from trying new things. If I don’t see myself being pretty good at something in the beginning, I tend not to like doing it, but if I want to quit again, I’d have to have a better reason than “I’m no good at this”. So instead of trying, I’ll just steer clear of it – then I won’t have to feel like a failure for giving up.

While this all sounds very serious, it has been brought on by something much less serious! I decided (weeks ago) to give up on A Doll A Week. It was fun, but sickness and stress has kept me from doing it every week, and it was causing a feeling of guilt in me that I wasn’t keeping up. And it was one of those things where I could actually find a pretty good reason to quit: My hobby isn’t supposed to stress me out!

But while I was discussing with myself whether to give up or not, I suddenly realised that I don’t have to answer to my parents anymore – at least not when it comes to a hobby (with my parents, things like school and job is another matter entirely). I don’t even have to justify it to my husband. I just have to ask myself if I’m giving up for a good reason, or if I’m merely being lazy (because honestly, I need to kick my own ass into gear sometimes!). And with ADAW I’m giving up for a good reason, and besides I’m not giving up doll photography. I’m just giving up on forcing myself to do one photo shoot each week. I’ll still be doing the Adventurer’s Club and random shoots when I feel like it, and good thing Heather is giving us themes. I tend to feel inspired by the themes, and I try to challenge myself a bit, do something I haven’t tried yet.

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Losing your imagination

I sometimes wonder why there is so much stigma about owning dolls – even pieces of art like BJDs. The subject comes up sometimes, usually it’s brought up by a new person in the hobby wondering aloud whether they should or shouldn’t tell family and friends about their new passion in life. I personally haven’t let my family know about my dolls yet. My parents-in-law know about them as they have seen them, but they both choose to ignore it. I think they simply don’t know what to say. My friends all know, since all my friends are people I’ve met through the hobby. My last non-doll-owning friend also knew about them, and while she didn’t want one for herself, she was okay with me telling her a little bit about something exciting every once in a while. Those friends who aren’t close (people I know from the university) don’t know. I simply don’t want to discuss it with them, because I know they’d be very likely to find it strange.

But why is there such a stigma? I’m sure we’ve all encountered it at some point or another, whether it’s with dolls or another hobby considered “childish”. Personally I like dolls, playing electronic games (Wii, 3DS, PlayStation, computer) and watching movies made for children (Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, etc.). All these things carry a stigma, at least in Denmark. I’m sick of pretending that I buy things for my nieces and nephew, but it’s just so much easier than having to endure the stares. Sometimes I’m brave and tell them that “no, I don’t need you to wrap it, it’s for me”, but it’s rare. Can I please get to color in a coloring book with my niece (and then alone when she leaves the table) without getting sarcastic comments from my annoying uncles? Can I please get to play my 3DS in peace while on the bus without people staring at me like I’m insane? Can I please give my husband the Lego house he wants for Christmas without my family giggling about it?

My dolls are the only thing that makes me stick up for myself. I will proudly walk through a crowd where I’m likely to meet someone I know, holding my friend’s absolutely gorgeous SD boy (my own are tinies, they get packed into my bag). I will sit with a group of friends and all our dolls on the table and happily answer all the silly questions from people passing us. I will display my girls in a cabinet in my office and be excited and proud.

But why the stigma? Likely because we’re supposed to lose our imagination when we grow up. Playing with dolls and Lego and watching Disney movies are absolutely fine when you’re little. So is pretending that you live in a world filled with fairies and princesses and glitter. Want to dress up as Princess Peach? Sure, we’ll buy a costume in a toy store! But the moment you cross that invisible line and people begin to expect you to be mature and reasonable, all these things are supposed to fade into the past. You’re supposed to accept your responsibility and channel all your dreams into your life – make your life better than your dreams. If you don’t succeed, it’s just bad luck, and you have to change your dreams accordingly. You have to keep going, have to keep acting as a person whose imagination only goes as far as to real-life things like getting a promotion, getting a new sofa, or seeing your child become older. Imagining fun things are for children – real life is the only thing adults get.

So in this home, we play with Lego (and admire Lego creations that light up), we play with dolls (okay, that’s mostly me), watch movies for children (okay, again mostly me), dream up worlds filled with fairies, princesses and glitter (my husband’s imaginary worlds have more lightsabers than glitter I believe) and dream of dressing up as a princess (either Belle or maybe Rosalina from Mario, possibly even Garnet from FFIX – but again that’s mostly me…). What is your home like?