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Vote now at btvs_hush challenge #273 - and oh, nostalgia, I can live without ya

What it says on the tin: voting is up now for 10 terrific entries in the latest btvs_hush challenge 273 (Becoming).  The deadline for voting is Sunday the 25th, 8pm EST (North America); but if you're reading this right post you might as well go ahead and take another minute to vote right now because if you're anything like me you'll tell yourself you'll do it later, get totally distracted with ten different fanfics (shiny!) work projects and the deadline will slip right by before you know it.

Unless you're organized and have a terrific memory ergo, not like me in any way whatsoever. Lucky you.

While I'm here I might as well take the opportunity to trot out the icons I made for btvs_hush challenge # 257 last August.  My timing was spectacularly horrible. True story: I entered three icons for Challenge C, "blades" on August 14th because it seemed like a really fun idea; who doesn't love the Buffyverse women cracking out weapons of destruction? (Or maybe that's just me.)

1) 2) 3)

Then August 19th my sweetie's bedroom went up in flames. Neither one of us died (the good news).

WInners were announced on September 1st: delicately beautiful icons by xclaire_delunex and rua1412 of horrible moments in Tough Love.

I wasn't really disappointed. Just tired, stressed out, living for two weeks in a tent in our front yard (that I pitched myself I will have you know), bandaging my sweetie's burned hand and foot, trying hard not to have flashbacks or at least not be too upset by them, and dealing with incredible back and leg pain because I retraumatized an injury that had not yet healed from the prior November and totally wasting that epidural I had in March which hurt like hell all by itself....

Add to all that the embarrasment of trying to answer (or dodge) everyone's queries about the fire, and the knowledge that I nearly killed my ladylove. She nearly died because of me, because of a stupid freak spark that turned the mattress into a firebomb. That knowledge is something I will live with for the rest of my life. She was frightened, hysterical, trying to fight an unbeatable fire when the sensible thing to do would be run away; I was begging her to leave the bedroom and had to drag her out with an assist from my landlord just as the firetrucks arrived. She nearly died and I did that. I'm sorry about the property damage, Mr Landlord, I truly am; but your walls and floorboards pale in comparison to her life. To anyone's life. That's on me.


But enough of that....Now I look at these entries and think, meh, I wouldn't have voted for me either. Especially now that I'm trying to improve my icon and image making skilz and can barely stand to look at some things I did even a few months ago. Or even a week ago. Now that I've had a chance to use the sharpening tool in http://ipiccy.com I'm embarrassed by the fuzziness and lack of clarity of #1 & 3.

I still kind of fancy #2 though; I'd seen icons of Willow with her "bag of knives" in Glory's apartment many times, but I wanted to focus just on the knives themselves, and increased brightness and saturation to give it an incongruously bright and cheerful Technicolor or cartoon effect.  Some alternate efforts I didn't enter, including images from Spiral, which I think I love more than fandom does generally, the hokiness of the Knights Who Say Key notwithstanding; Anne icons and my first effort at Joyce in School Hard which is pretty horrible. But, hey, shiny red ax! Bright blue window!

I wasn't thinkng at the time about the parallels/echoes between Joyce protecting Buffy in School Hard, and Buffy protecting Dawn in Spiral; it's just one of those things that's there, whether I'm conscious of it or not, and lies at the base of why I love those Summers women. Fighting, protecting, to the point death and beyond - I get that.

4) 5) 6) 7) 8)

*As always - want? Take, have - with proper credit please! And also, letting me know is not necessary but totally cool*
Sometimes the art speaks to a specific time and place: what you were going through at the time. It doesn't need to be eternal. :-)

I love the relationships between the Summers women, too.
Be kind to my babies in other words? Which really means be kind to myself and where I am at any given moment and goodness, I am horrible at that. Thank you for your kind and wise words to remind me.

I love the relationships between the Summers women, too.


/now that I'm trying to improve my icon and image making skilz and can barely stand to look at some things I did even a few months ago/ - Eheh, I feel exactly the same looking back at old things...
Also, the parallels! Love them! Eheh, that's why I love fanart, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, isn'it? ;)
Eheh, I feel exactly the same looking back at old things...

I made some icons yesterday that I was happy with - until I moved them from PB to ipiccy for finishing touches and used the sharpening tool. HOLY MOLY the difference in clarity was astonishing.

Other things it's not the tools, it's just me; like, what was I thinking when I made THAT?

that's why I love fanart, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, isn'it?

And btvs especially is just full to overflowing with great imagery parallels. The art doesn't even have to be fancy, just put two caps next to each other and, whoa. It's like an endlessly unfolding puzzle.
I love all eight of these more than words can say, but (to the surprise of no one?) I'm actually tempted to use #2.
Oh my goodness feel free to give in to temptation (if you have the room - I'd use it myself but don't have a space, and would love to see a Willow fan give it a loving home! I had a feeling you might like that one especially.)
I still tremble when I think that you or your lady might have perished in that horrible fire. I am so grateful you both made it out.

Dropping a jar on the floor or a beer bottle overflowing is pretty small beans by comparison isn't it?

Thank you so much hon; I'm very grateful for your love and support especially since last summer.
I'm glad that both you and your lady were able to survive the fire. That sounds awful and scary and...gah *clings to you*

Of the icons, I think #2, #6, and #7 are my favorites.
*Hugs you back* So am I sweetie, so am I. I didn't even intend to write about it in this post, it just came out that way. Mostly it's been good being back in the restored apartment - space! Privacy!

I think #2, #6, and #7 are my favorites.

Excellent choices all!
I really like these icons! I think my faves are 2, 5, & 6. The colors and crops of the icons are all very nice though!

ETA: Also, thank goodness you two survived the fire!

Edited at 2014-05-22 03:16 am (UTC)
Thanks hon! I like 2 and 5 myself very much. I think it's interesting how icons look different when I take them out of photobucket and post them here. The grey neutral background makes them look better. I hope to do better work in terms of clarity of images in future.

And I'm very glad we survived too - it could have been a terrible tragedy because it happened so quickly.
Goodness gracious! I've been bitching to you about schoolwork when you've been walking around with all this guilt!! This is the place where I shout IT WASN'T YOUR FAULT at your face, but knowing you that won't work, so I'm just going to remain silent and stroke your hair. You and Sweetie are okay. That's where the story ends. 2013 was a drag, but you survived to 2014. That's what you need to focus on.

Oh, and if making icons is therapeutic, keep on doing them. You can always gorge yourself during a bathroom break (which my dietician tells me is a bad habit I need to quit, but I'm bad at walking away from the computer to eat, too!).
so I'm just going to remain silent and stroke your hair.

*cuddles up to you* Keep talking Lexi, it's very helpful! You have a beautiful, beautiful soul, do you know that?

I don't know where all that came from btw, I didn't plan on writing that at all; and it's not like I've been feeling traumatized (although I haven't left the house as often, hmmm...)
Oh, my goodness that fire and the aftermath sounds awful. I'm so glad you both made it out, and am hoping 2014 is a much better year.

On an "icon pretty!" note, I really like 3, 5, and 6, especially the expression on Buffy's face really stands out in 6.
Thank you sweetie! I wrote a little about it already here:

And thank you for the compliments on the icons - facial expressions are very important to me in icons and Sarah's face is endlessly fascinating. Not the prettiest or most beautiful but so much joy to play with icon-wise; and Anne is one of my favorite episodes to make caps of, so many great images. Have you seen my other Anne caps? Goodness I love that episode:

And meta (which I now wish was much better and I'd taken more time with it. Maybe that's why I've gotten into icons lately, as much as I love language and consider myself a writer first, images have a certain immediacy.)

*/end shameless self-pimpage*
I'd seen the icon with the beach but I'd forgotten that dream happened in Anne. Wow, there's a lot to work with, both visually and thematically with that episode. That's definitely getting bumped up on the episodes to rewatch list.
That's definitely getting bumped up on the episodes to rewatch list.

YAY!! I think "I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And you are?" is arguably the most sublime moment in the series.

And I've not even taken into account the SG, Xander and Cordy as both parallel to Bangel and proto-Spuffy (the graveyard, Cordy falls on top of Xander. Just sayin').The Giles and Joyce dynamic, the way he neglects the SG, Joyce's denial, the foreshadowing of Willow's role in Bargaining, Lily/Anne as a proto-Potential, the echoes of Graduation day and Chosen SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

You can take any one ep of btvs and find the entire series in a nutshell, so to speak but Anne is a particularly powerful example.

YAY!! I think "I'm Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. And you are?" is arguably the most sublime moment in the series.

Totally agree. I forgot the dream sequence, but I'll never forget that moment.

Also, it just occurred to me that Willow and Anya will also have identity/name reclaimage moments later in the series. Tons of stuff to think about here.
the question of identity is absolutely central to the entire series - I think everyone has that moment at least once: Are you ready to be strong / kind / loving / brave / human, etc? Which makes a lot of sense in a series that is a story about storytelling, about the stories we construct, that we tell ourselves and each other, that we hand down the generations and that we rebel against or deconstruct.

Spike and Andrew are coded very explicitly as storytellers within the story, but in the end it's Buffy who are the ultimate storytellers - breaking the old tale to create a new one. Have you read beer_good_foamy's brilliant meta "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer vs Buffy the Vampire Slayer"?