Guardian of Action

Mood image from an Italian photographer that captures the obscuring blur and chiaroscuro I'd like for Rana's cottage.

Kind guardian of action, Sven Bonnichsen (, counted the days since my last post (he's the only one who does math around here) and offered a friendly %3@#$%kicking, reminding me that this blog is for DAILY action on Halfland. Real action as well, not namby pamby faux pretend "oh, I'm thinking of this" stuff either!

I can honestly say I haven't been wasting time and my excuse is that I focused more on getting paying projects to press, taking care of home and hearth (except for ironing, that's still piling up), giving Himself private ballet lessons every night (not a euphemism) and taking ballet three times a week myself. Minimal time has been spent lounging on the (evil) time-robbing sofa with cookie crumbs on my mouth and my hand stuck down in a can of Pringles©ƒ.

That being said, let's go. Because every friggin' waking moment of my life (aside from said moments listed above) is spent relishing fabricating Halfland characters and props to the point where I want to grab my hair in both fists and rend it out by the roots! Dudes, I can TASTE IT more than ever!!!!!! ARGGGGHHHHH.



1. Take the contents of the 32 envelopes of invaluable and necessary reference clippings for every aspect of the project and paste the mutha's down on butcher's paper with wallpaper paste. Take photo of the whole shabang, spread out like a futbol field, and then hang them on rope lines around work/building area.
An essential preliminary step although perhaps a less sexy one than starting to build something.

2. Create a sample of cottage groundscape that includes real roots I scavenged from a tree removal last year and moss and grasses, gravel and dirt. In order to test ideas and see where I'm going with the finished grounds on the set.
Not important to do now at all, possible distraction, but I keep wanting to do it, perhaps because it's an important 3D sketch to make? (interrogative.)

3. Dive in and cover the Styrofoam cottage walls with cardstock and position them on set around the tree. Fasten them with a removable peg system, cover them with wire mesh and then knife on base layer of Fixall plaster coating.
Gotta do it. Been avoiding it. Gotta move this step forward so I can begin building the cottage set in earnest. Frustration rating 6.2

4. No fabrication. Make paper cutouts and run through a selected scene with still camera for 3D story boarding.
Well, gotta fabricate at some point. And gotta 3D story board at some point. I tend to think fabbin' first to get more project momentum going for myself.

or 5. go back to the poor Mach ll foam covered Rana stand-in puppet that's been forlornly harnessed upsidedown in my bench vise since I hacked off the (incorrectly fashioned) bolts in her hoovals, with her faux fleece skin all peeled back and sad lookin'. Repair her feet, her legs, her torso and shoot a clip of her to continue testing camera/software flow.

There are dozens more points at which to start, but I've narrowed the list down to these for voting purposes.

What'll it be? Any ideas/advice on what I should do first, Gang? Thank you so much for the support.


  1. I'm so glad to hear this Shelley! I was afraid Halfland had gone on hiatus.

    I vote for #3. I think Stana (Rana Stand-in) could use a little rest while things are happening on other fronts.

  2. Any of these sounds great, personally I'd go with #1, seems like something you should do now in the (semi) early phase, as you'll then be surrounded by your inspiring Halfland hodge-podge....'course I'd love to see you build something too, so 2, 3, or 4 would be great also...and hey, poor Rana....maybe 5....

    ....uh....hope this helps ;)

  3. #3 it is, thank you, Mike! A 5-day hiatus will be unfortunately coming in about 10 days. I have to go somewhere I detest more than any other place and leave the heaven of my home and shop in order to do the right thing for others. (I'll be escorting Himself's nearly infirm English parents to gulp... Las Vegas. It's about the dead last thing I would ever like to do however, it means a great deal to them and would be cold-hearted of me not not help them get around to enjoy this, their last ever trip to the states.) Listen to me whine!

    And thanks, Jeffery, that does help! I'll go ahead and make the one reference board for the cottage exterior so I can follow it for placing the walls as a first step compromise.

  4. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Maybe you can "viva las vegas" and soon thereafter "viva las halfland"? 8-)

  5. Anonymous6:38 PM

    I was gonna say #3 also. As soon as I see the phrase "been avoiding it", my brain says "well, then that's the place to start."

    If you've been avoiding it, then why? For the most part I don't believe that procrastination is a character flaw -- there's usually some sort of very real stumbling block that a person hasn't been able to sort out.

    Is there some part of building the cottage walls that you don't know how to proceed on? What are the questions that need answering?

  6. I agree with Sven, break the logjam of the part you are avoiding. Jump in and get through it, once you are done everything else will flow much easier.

    A logjam one place may be causing procrastination everywhere else - Ha listen to me Mr. Procrastination. - Full name Mark Logjam Procrastination Sr.

  7. Grant, Yeah, the Vegas thing, so much of it goes against my grain. I'm not a party girl, I'm not into flash, I don't enjoy gambling, I hate all hotels with a passion (except for charming B&B in all coastal areas), I can't stand leaving the house for much of anything, I only eat my home cooking, etc. I don't fly anymore so at least the party is accommodating me by renting a minivan to drive there. Two bright spots are being with Himself for a rare few days in a row and being able to use my hands, stitching wool sweater slippers for his parents. It'll be a portable creative project that I can do whilst sitting in faux Paris with all the other fine examples of American sophistication. Yes, I AM a bitter and ungrateful person.

    Sven, thank you for this insight. I have been really judging myself for my lack of ability to get things done. But when I look at it from this point of view, I can see more clearly that, yes, in fact it is a matter of a block to knowing how to proceed, how to actually do the next part!! This is profound to me. That all this while I've been keeping projects in my head BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER than moving outside into the world where I didn't actually know what to do to accomplish the tasks! WOW!

    The thing is, so much of projects are totally new to me so that it feels as though nearly EVERYTHING is a stumbling block. When I was working on the #3 set walls today (you read that right) I noticed that there were just a stream of doubts about how to do any of it, even though in my conscious mind I thought it should be an easy matter. I even had the thought that this was why I keep things "In Potentia", as Mike coined the phrase, in my head where they live and are working and perfect and beautiful and just the way I want them. Whoa.

    Mark, I laughed out loud at your full (secret) name. The question of procrastination has been a hound of hell for me for as long as I can recall. I was just about to conclude that I was congenitally lazy and missing a get-it-done gene. But tonight, I'm thinking that I may get farther along by breaking the steps down into smaller pieces as the chunks have been unconsciously disconnecting my wires. Does that make sense?

    And I must say here to all of you (sniffle) that in my WILDEST dreams I NEVER could have or would have dared to imagine having such good people giving me such valuable and timely support for this. Thank you.

  8. Anonymous8:22 PM

    Share your questions on the blog, Shells. NOT so we can answer them... But because just articulating the questions that need resolution gets you halfway to where you want to be.

    Making questions is powerful magic. Answers are where the road ends, where you come to a stop. But questions are where the light turns green and you start into motion, seeking options.

    A very useful question: "What is the next step?"

    (Paraphrasing David Allen's book "Getting Things Done" there in that last sentence. "GTD" is meant to improve personal efficiency -- and is actually pretty darned good. There's a bit of a GTD cult that takes Allen's ideas too far -- but I think I'm actually going to recommend this book to you. In combination with Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", it's really helped me become a more productive artist.)

  9. Thank you, Sven, What you say here is brilliant and useful. I will indeed use this space for forming the magic of questions.

    I am very familiar with David's work, I've known him personally for many years. The GTD techniques are good, although not effective for me. I've taken his workshops previously but to tell the truth, I prefer my own org systems. Plus, these matters seem more psychologically tied up in me than a matter of getting better systems I think.

    Himself has been loving the Artist's Way and really gained tremendous value from morning pages earlier this year, so I know of it's value too. He and I thought seriously about my doing it but in the end thought that direct to action on Halfland would be more fruitful after so long a simmer.

  10. buh? shelley, you've known david allen for many years? pray, tell! sven & i have that "practical art" approach which is a blend of gtd & aw: if creativity is about momentum and simply moving the hand, figuring out the next simplest action leads to progress. :)

  11. Hi Gretchin, I'll answer you this offline.

  12. Anonymous10:51 AM


    One thing we've noticed (over here at Scarlet Star Studios) is that the GTD system seems best suited to someone who's mostly at a desk with papers (or emails) coming in and going out. A job where the information flows from one person *through* you and on to others.

    Creative work, in our experience, has a bit more "generation" than GTD can easily accommodate. Rather than dealing with items that are landing in your inbox, there are these dozens of ideas that spontaneously emerge in your mind every day. So you're potentially generating far more work than you could ever possibly process.

    GTD, it seems to me, is awful good at saying "great -- capture those ideas on paper somewhere!" and "ask yourself what the next action is"... But it's not quite geared to deal with someone who is being creative more often than once-a-week at the board meeting brainstorm.

    Which is not a slight against GTD -- it has helped us get the house a more under control, which contributes to being able to get down to the artwork.

    Heh... Hi to David from Sven & Gretchin!

  13. Anonymous10:52 AM

    (Oops. You responded to gl. before I'd finished writing my post.)

  14. Sven Bonnichsen, that is one of the smartest observations I've heard! Yes! You've really sorted the matter out well, and said it far better than I could have! You two are scary astute.

  15. Yes they are! And profoundly exhilarating as well :) Its always nice to hear someone put into words an idea that exists solely in one's mind. Does that make sense? I think I may need to check out these books, as I (I'm sure you've all noticed) have great difficulty in organizing my many ideas in a realistically timely fashion, in other words, I fear I'll leave this world with so much unfinished. I do put them all down on paper, very unorganized though...wish I could say that I have a Jenny journal, and a screenplay journal, etc, but unfortunately I pretty much grab whatevers closest to jot down my thoughts before they flee, flee from my brainpan...I do use journals, but they are scattered about the house (and on the computer) and all contain random bits of random ideas...I think of myself as a little bee, flitting from one project to the next, which may not be the most productive way to exist as an artist...on the plus side, I find that once I write an idea down, flesh it out a bit on paper, it pretty much grows roots inside me...I very rarely have to consult said journals...but then, Alzheimers hasn't begun to set in yet :)

  16. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Aw, shucks...

    Cogitation: It's what's for breakfast. ;-)

  17. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm......breakfast :)

  18. Yes, Jeffery, what you wrote does make sense to me, that hearing another person articulate a thought that had no words inside is a rush. It's like a refreshment of some kind, eyebrows go up, eyes open wide, mouth says "yes! Exactly!"

    If you are under 40 you can be as disorganized as you dare. After 40, like me? Gotta shape up or be left a sad case. I think people move inside to new places A.) when really ready, organically matured. and B.) when the right words are spoken at just the right moment for them to connect inwardly. See how it goes for you.

    When I was in my 30's I would become gripped in a great fear over leaving life with Halfland undone, I wanted to work on it so much, it was like a deep yearning. I still feel in rise up in me as I begin sorting through the reference photos, etc. Now I remind myself that each moment must be full of what making Halfland would make me feel like, the creative connection, the joy, the enthusiasm. In other words, the "grand" art, the rapport with my inner creative forces, must take place in each minute not when I get to do this or that. This is so that when I do go...(hopefully with things I want completed :-)) I will have had my everyday filled with the experiences I was after. I can't say this well enough, but something like that. I'm not putting off what I'm after, I'm trying to live in it so that leaving becomes the same as being here. Gotta stop, as I'm not able to say it any better right now.

    Gotta go raid the fridge again. See ya.


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