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I WON AN AWARD AT THE OTHERWORLDLYRIC iCONTEST! (??) Icons, thinky-thoughts and my usual blather...

And this is where I pretend I'm such a mature, blase adult about such things - oh, screw that. I won third place in otherworldlyric icontest #163!

(But also, I won? Like, SRSLY??)

Thank you to everyone who voted! And congratulations to the other winners in this challenge, chic_c and spikesredqueen!

I had a hard time voting this round (as per usual) because there were so many lovely things to pick from. Two of the ones I voted for are in fandoms I'm not familiar with, so I had no idea who the characters were, I just thought they were wonderful icons. And I even voted for a Spike icon - I'm as shocked as you are!  Then immediately after I hit the submit vote button I thought "Oh, no wait, but there's that other one too....Can I vote again?"

You know me. Given my druthers, I don't wanna enumerate them. I just wanna enjoy. *sigh*

Of course, a thousand THANK YOUS go to my agent, my manager, my stylist beta wickedbish (Ryan); he specifically mentioned that Fading Away Fast icon as one of his favorites and I don't think I would have submitted it otherwise. I liked the icon very much - I loved the concept of it when I thought it up - but I wasn't entirely happy with the execution. (I wanted the effect of a more gradual fade on the colors on each word in the text.)  I knew right away that I wanted to submit #11 and #15 (below) but I wasn't sure about a third choice.

ETA: OH DEAR, I forgot to thank comlodge for her very kind encouragments to me re: talking about the process of making these and the stories behind them; in essence, she's "given me permission" to open Pandora's box. (Thank you sweetie - I hope you don't regret it later!)

Here are my three entries, numbered according to the challenge number assignments:

1) 11) 15)

[More icons and lotsa thinky-thoughts inside!]These represent two of my favorite episodes in the entire series; I made the Prophecy Girl icons first.  #15 is probably one of my favorites of all the ones I've ever made. I really wanted the double-image of Buffy in front of the mirror as well as her reflection and was really happy with what I got. And I love that the font looks like graffiti scrawled it on the glass. This time around I was consciously trying to experiment with fonts I hadn't used before.

Have I mentioned before that PG is the first masterpiece YOU MUST WATCH THIS episode of the series? (Although I will ALWAYS argue that one needs to watch the season in it's entirety as well. Especially Nightmares and Angel.) That Sarah never fails to bring me to tears when I watch it? And Tony as Giles, standing in the library utterly useless despite all his efforts and intentions, just as Buffy accuses him of being...ugh. Heartbreaking.

 #11 is a farther distance than usual for me (I tend towards close-up shots) but something about that distance visually emphasized Buffy's isolation in that moment, the lonely struggle with and against her own mind. I also loved the diagonal light and shadow lines on the wall; diagonals and asymmetrical compostions have alwayts appealed to me in art nouveau and Japanese woodcuts. The shadow offered a perfect canvas for the lettering and, again, the effect of graffiti on the wall.

Here's the remaining icons I made for that challenge, vaguely-sorta-kinda-not-exactly in the order I made them. Or something like that:

2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7)

Please. Explain to me again why Sarah NEVER won an Emmy or any major award for playing Buffy, aside from that "Performances in _______ (fill in the blank) genre programs aren't deserving of serious awards love" b.s.

  8) 9) 10) 12) 13) 14)

#10 was the other one Ryan suggested for my third choice, and I love how the "deer in headlights" effect emphasizes Buffy's struggle ("traps for your mind"). But I almost submitted #5 as my third choice. I LOVE that one, perhaps for similar reasons that I love the PG one. I used the same font, but with small caps, for a graffiti effect that came out much better than I'd expected; it looks like Buffy has childishly, desperately, scribbled the words on the wall and then dropped the crayon in frustration or resignation.  But I also almost went with #7 (or 8 or 9) because OH GOD HER EXPRESSION THAT FACE I HAVE NO WORDS FOR THIS MOMENT just total incoherence.
16) 17)

#16 - 17 OTOH are "meh" in comparison although I swear I did try my best. I do like the look of a vintage book illustration in #16; as with #11 it's a more distant shot than I often use but I think I got the mood of the moment. I actually am pleased with the way I caught Faith's expression in #17, from Touched, thanks to lots of adjustments in brightness and contrast (the source screencap is so dark). You can almost hear her panting here. I even like the detail of her fist in the lower corner, sort of a visual punctuation mark. There's something almost stupidly mechanical in this mano-a-mano confrontation between Spike and Faith in Touched, this power struggle that didn't have to happen. And I absolutely adore that entire scene and this moment especially, fighting over Buffy and about her (they're both warriors, it's what they both do best) when it is so obvious that they both care about her very deeply: "Where is she?" / "I don't know!"

Those crazy kids - god help me, I love them.

Speaking of love - I really wanted to make one with Joyce in Normal Again, but ran out of time and energy: "Your father and I have all the faith in the world in you."

Oh dear. Buffy has to go into a hallucinatory state to find the emotional comfort and support she needs in that moment - and the person who provides it is her mother. Of course it is. How can anyone watch this episode, never mind the entire series, and think that Joyce isn't the most important person in Buffy's life? Of course it's Joyce - not Giles or Hank, nor any of her friends or lovers. Not even Dawn can get through to her this time the way she did in Bargaining/After Life. Just as in season 7's Bring on the Night, the First appears to Buffy wearing Joyce's face, because no one could unsettle Buffy so deeply. It HAD to be Joyce.

LIkewise, it had to be Joyce in CWDP; Dawn fights as a warrior and magician with everything she's got, and is cut to ribbons far worse than Xander was in Grave, in order to save and protect her mother. Summers Blood is truly the blood of champions.

And whether NormalAgain!Joyce is a "bloody figment" hardly matters in this moment. Is this what the real Joyce would have said in the situation, or what Buffy would have wanted her to say? A bit of both I suspect.

Now I have a bit of a personal confession, so feel free to skip this if you're not so much into the person stuff:

I suspect that part of the reason I'm drawn to Normal Again is because when I was a teenager I was certain I was going to become mentally ill and locked away at some point in my life - is that a teenage angst thing or a "me" thing? And as an adult dealing with depression I've discovered that, yes, it is something you do battle with. Sometimes it IS a war, and you have to fight to stay alive.  And sometimes it's just a friggin' slog.  So, I identify.

I have no idea why I had this fear years before before my mother revealed a secret to me: that my father had taken his own life when I was about three years old and my brothers even younger,  not an accident as she'd always claimed. (In the interest of our protection, I know. How do you explain that to three small children?  My mother was in her early 20's when that happened; I was 3, one of my brothers 2 and the other a toddler. How do you explain that, ever?)

And it was at least another five years in addition to that before I learned that his brother had also taken his life, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters I never even knew about. My grandfather came for a rare visit after a trip from Alaska, and said my cousin had seen my picture in his wallet and asked Who was that pretty girl? My response:

"I have a cousin in Alaska?"

And another one in the midwest, as it turned out - both with spouses/partners and growing children of their own. Somehow I knew that my dad had a brother, but in the absence of information assumed he died in a war or something years ago. Like John Kennedy's older brother in the biography I'd read as a kid. Apparently that's what a child's mind will do - fill the vacuum with whatever bits they can find lying around. Perhaps not unlike the way Buffy assumes that her parents' divorce is a result of her father's disappointment in her; her brain fills the vacuum of polite silence and careful phrases that she wants to believe but can't entirely.

And here's a thought that just popped in my head: That there IS a reason why the theme of well-meaning adults hiding or keeping information from their children "for their own good" in the series resonates so deeply with me. *ponders this*

Families - you can't live with them....
*hugs you lots* I am very sorry about your father. That's a lot to handle. I've lost several friends to suicide, but never someone in my family. You've turned out to be an incredible person in spite of all this, so kudos to you.


P.S. Congratulations on the icon win!
Oh thank you sweetie - on both counts!

(And btw I promise SWEAR I did not write this with the intent of pulling focus like that. I guess Buffy is such a journey of discovery for me and it popped up while I was writiing - IDK. There it was, and it's such an abstract thing for me at this point that I didn't feel anything about while writing this. Except, huh, that happened. Guess I've been through the processing piece.)

I know you have no problems handling and accepting such things - I'll never know to what extent but you've seen the darkness and haven't let it consume you - but should I have put up more warnings for more sensitive folks? (Back to the theme of information and withholding of, however well-intentioned!)

Edited at 2014-03-04 08:24 pm (UTC)
Congratulations!!! Awesome icon. The cap is just spot on for the words and I love the other two for the same reason. Thanks for the story behind. I love the story behind if your hadn't guessed from my occasional forays, lol.

It's common I believe, for teenagers to be depressed, to think they are certifiable, to believe, wonder (hope), they are adopted and a million other angsty things, The scientists tell us it's the raging hormones. Life tells me it's life.

Children do create their own explanations and stories for gaps or things they don't understand and children almost always blame themselves for their parents divorces. Partly because children are very self centered, constructed that way by nature to ensure their survival in a harsh world.

There are no Brady bunch families. There are just some which are less fractured than others. :D
Thank you! And I forgot to thank you for being so kind and giving me permission to talk about the icons and how I made them **edits post** There, all fixed now!

And as I mentioned to Gabrielle upthread I did NOT intend to write any of that personal stuff, at all, when I started the post.

Life tells me it's life.

Oh yes, exactly so!

I suspect that the lack of support structures (extended multigenerational families, clans, church groups and a strong belief in a god, etc) has a lot to do with it, or does it? What about traditional Japanese culture, Amish, Mormon, kids in Africa and China, etc? I don't have a point of comparison.

It would be interesting to compare kids from entirely different cultures - by which I mean european (which includes you and I) to other parts of the world. In some places and times they don't even have a concept for "adolescence" which is really quite a "modern" development esp to the 20th century. It was childhood to adulthood when people married and were having babies by age 14 and often dead by the age of 40 and nothing in between.

Partly because children are very self centered, constructed that way by nature to ensure their survival

I can still remember the best illustration of this - being two years old and slamming my brothers finger into the cabinet door hinge, then fussing at him for not pulling his finger out when he was screaming. My brain literally DID NOT PROCESS the concept that I was the cause of his pain. At all. I remember that so vividly. So yes, children are self-centered little creatures.

I don't know what's more frightful - losing all of that and nearly drowing in guilt/shame/whatever, or NOT losing any of that. (Yes am I thinking of the folks who stole your artwork recently. That to me is the epitome of still being in that utterly selfish infantile state, lacking any empathy whatsoever.)

There are no Brady bunch families. There are just some which are less fractured than others.
Have I mentioned lately that you are awesome? I want this on a bumper sticker. Or a shopping bag that I can show off to EVERYONE when I'm out and about.
I'm gonna read the post but first I want to say


I voted two of your icons thinking that they were yours. Apparently you should be scared of my deductions skills.
Thank you for the congratulations and congrats to you, too!!! I voted for your icon that won! :)
Oh my goodness, thank you! That is quite an honor! *blushes*

Btw, I guess I should admit I voted for 3. 6 & 7 but then I wished I'd voted for 2 (the Willow icon) because I LOVE that contrast of deep rich colors and black/white - did you do that one? So gorgeous and original.
Congrats! I usually don't enter that challenge but I usually always vote..... and..... I voted for you!!! The icon is lovely I liked how the coloring matched the words. Go you!!! BTW.... did you vote in my 2nd icon poll? It's here

Edited at 2014-03-05 12:05 am (UTC)

I honestly don't know what to say except thank you! Really honored that you think I was any good.

And I just voted on your poll!
Congratulations! Your icons are beautiful. So clear and they carry a message. It's unsettling to look at them because I see this desperation in her face. So your work has an impact, and to me, that means it's successful.

Very sorry to hear about your family history and how it has affected you. *hugs*

So clear and they carry a message. It's unsettling to look at them because I see this desperation in her face. So your work has an impact, and to me, that means it's successful.

Oh my, thank you! That means SO much to me because that's exactly what I was hoping for.

(Unsettle people, aren't I cheerful? I guess that's my MO - make you laugh yesterday, unsettle you today>)
Congratulations on your award. I'm very proud of you.

I'm sorry you have had to deal with such grief and loss in your life. Suicide sucks. Thank you for sharing your words.

*hugs tight*
OMG, thank you sweetie, on all counts! I'm really surprised at the reaction to the icons (and all of it really.) I guess feeling safe enough thanks to my friends here like you just makes a huge difference.

Suicide sucks.

I can still only imagine what my mom went through. I haven't had the courage to broach that particular part of the subject.

I think what makes is "suck harder" is the shame and secrecy that we have around it.

I don't have an answer to your question. I'm just here to help.

That's totally a BY reference isn't it? *lol*

Btw, what question? *owlish blink*

(no, really. Everyone has been so kind about the past history part of it and I'm totally blanking out on what I wrote. Like, there's this weird detachment, which is good. I can say this stuff and not descend into a puddle of tears, y'know?)
Thanks ever so muchly! (I'm glad you stopped by, I was thinking of you yesterday when I posted. I thought you might appreciate these.) Although all this praise, I may get giddy or something.

oh god Sarah's face in 7-8-9...

RIGHT? When I think of my favorite episodes or moments in any episode, it usually has a lot to do with Sarah, with her expressions, that total committment in the moment, whether it's comedy or drama.

Sarah gives good face. But that episode in particular...damn.
I have no idea whatsoever what an icontest is, but congrats! :)
I'm not good with personal stuff and feel completely and utterly uncomfortable with the concept of virtual hugs and things like that that are oh-so-easily distributed through the net, so I'll only say that I feel for you.
They are beautiful work - I am so glad that you are using your talents ... well done.

Can't understand either why the show didn't get more recognition ... or the actors. Such brilliant portrayal of emotion throughout the show.

I do love my family ... and, as far as I know, there aren't any real skeletons. Although as half of dad's family don't speak to the others ... or, in fact anyone at all ... who knows!
Congratulations! \o/
All the entries are gorgeous but #1 is superb!
The alts are beautiful too, especially #5, the writing on the wall effect is great! You do some fantastic cropping (2, 6, 8-9) and colouring (5, 6, 9).
Normal Again deserves lots of love for Sarah's performance, outstanding!
Explain to me again why Sarah NEVER won an Emmy or any major award for playing Buffy
Unsolved mystery to date. :((

Thank you dear and did you enter the current challenge? I struggled for a while, then came up with three icons I'm not very happy with, they're a bit rushed.
This is really quite the compliment, thank you! (I already sent you a comment on the NA ones you did - two years ago? You had already covered the concept beautifully. So, high praise indeed.)

And I almost sent in #5 instead of #1 - I just LOVE the way it the writing on the wall came out. And her expression (dear god Sarah would you stop killing me already? GAH)

Thank you for the kind words on the cropping! As I don't have many effects to play with in PB, I have to make the best use of cropping and strong facial expressions - cropping is one of my primary "special effects" because I don't have brushes etc to play with. (On the other hand that may be a virtue? My partner got Aperture on our Mac and is going to teach me what she learned in a workshop on using the editing effects and part of me is like, whoa, do I really want to get into this?)

As for the coloring - you like it? Thanks! That is the most frustrating part of using PB's current suite (the old one gave me more control and variety in terms of hue, saturation, value etc.)

And no I didn't enter either the current Slayerstillness or Otherworldlyric challenges. The prompts didn't inspire me and I had too much too do this past week (going to NYC etc.) I just voted at otherworldlyrics on the current challenge and I'm dying to know who made the ones I voted for. (And which ones you did!)

I like that slayerstillness opens the entry and voting threads after winners have been announced, I wish otherworldlyrics would do the same. I think it's fun to see.