The Back Story

Well, well, well.  Yet again, a few hot and a half minutes have passed since I last posted.

Here are my excuses:

1. Writing The Unabridged Story of Daemons

2. Updating the Black Lives Matter page

3. Pulling weeds literally, internally & virtually from various gardens.

4. Adjusting, shifting, morphing, sitting still-ing, adapting, learning, studying, being, & any other “ings” you can think of along those lines.

The Daemons have decided to tell me their back story.  How they got here and where they come from and where they now live.  I was informed this morning by the muses that this leads into another story that takes us to the year 2020.  I should have seen this coming.  I did not because I was blinded by the ridiculousness of the back story.

I will warn you that I have unleashed & let my creative beastie free on this one.  That means these are the things I had to ask:

What is God & the Devil’s relationship really like?
I wonder what it would be like if they were in a meeting?  Do they have meetings?
What’s an angel’s standard regulation uniform?
Do halos come in different colors?
If Daemons aren’t ticklish, what happens if you tickle them?
What would happen if Daemons visited Heaven?
Does God have a marketing team?
What in nature makes the best analogy for an etiolated elbow?

The biggest question of them all, how does one add a character named Lord Dampnut to the mix because you just can’t NOT add them.

Here’s how my creativity works.  All the information I’ve ever ingested (that’s a lot of years of ingested material through books, Youtube, TV, movies, real-life situations, conversations, pictures, blogs, posts, real-life things that riff off an idea, etc.) gets mish-mashed together in a large cauldron (a fun euphemism for my brain). When the timer goes off, it gets spewed out like yesterday’s stew.  Credit to Bunnola (the youngest of my spawn) for “yesterday’s stew”.  Good one Honey!  You get your mom which is kinda scary.

Sure. Sure.  I could have come up with a better analogy.  This certainly isn’t lady-like, clean, & kinda gross when you think about it.  However, it’s the reality of it.  My humor and writing and creative adventure with Daemons have all been influenced by this cauldron of mish-mash (in my head it looks like a heap o’ lumpy oatmeal goodness).

I’ve tried to tidy it up, polish it off, make it meaningful, helpful, and spiritual.  Nope.  I guess that’s just not my jam, my bag, my thing, my cup-o tea.

Is it a distraction?  Is it entertaining? Well, it makes me & my mom laugh out loud, but she might be a bit biased about the whole thing.  I am her favorite daughter (and the only daughter if you don’t count Grace the cat who I’m sure is her new favorite daughter because she’s a cat & cats are cute ‘n fuzzy & purr. I generally don’t purr & don’t fit well on laps, but I digress as usual).

Then I have to muse, do I have to create something that has some giant cosmic meaning or says something huge & profound?  Is being silly & taking your views about some things that you find sorta funny & poking at them with a stick such a bad thing?  Is including things that society likes to frown (or grimace or groan) upon & making them as normal as apple pie in this world you’re creating a bad idea?  Or do I really have something to say, if you squint hard enough?  Maybe that’s it.  All I know for sure is that it’s fun & it’s my coping mechanism & so much cheaper than a therapist.

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Black Lives Matter

*I’ve added a dedicated page called Black Lives Matter that is updated when I have new information and resources.*

It’s been a hot minute since my last post.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd a black man was murdered by police in Minneapolis, MN.  Someone caught it on their phone and we as a nation watched a man murdered right before our eyes in public.  Horrifying doesn’t cover it.

Here are two Gofundme accounts for the family of George Floyd if you would like to help them out:

https://www.gofundme.com/georgefloyd

https://www.gofundme.com/f/george-floyd-bigfloyd

From this despicable act, protests have taken place all over the country and rightly so.  I refuse to tell people who have been systematically repressed, subjugated to violence, and othered because of the color of their skin what’s the “right” way to protest.  They are fed the fuck up and as white people who want to change this, we must educate ourselves and do better.

I am a white cis-gendered heterosexual woman. I benefit from the racism that is baked into our society and country.  There is much I’m learning about the history of our country that isn’t taught in public schools.  I’m learning about and addressing my own baked-in racism and how I benefit from society as it currently stands.  I do this so that I can be a better ally.

For those of you who want to be better allies, consider this a resource center of information to educate yourself.

Let’s start by supporting black-owned businesses.  Here is a link to over 100 black-owned Esty shops at themadmommy.com:  https://themadmommy.com/black-owned-etsy-shops/

Here is a list of Anti-Racism resources:  Anti-Racism Resources for White People

Here is a list of 75 Things White People Can Do

Here is a Scaffold of Anti-Racist Resources

This is a downloadable pdf: 26 ways to be in the struggle beyond the streets

10 Documentaries to Watch

From The Root:  A Timeline of Events That Led to the 2020 ‘Fed-Up’-rising

Want a history lesson from a historian who ties the threads from the past to the current events happening?  I would suggest you follow Heather Richardson Cox on  Facebook for history lesson videos and her daily updates.  She has loaded her The American Paradox history lessons on Youtube.  They are eye-opening.  You can also have her daily updates delivered to your email here:  heathercoxrichardson@substack.com

If you are on Facebook, here is an eye-opening history lesson from Nate Morriss.  Greenwood Neighborhood in Tusla, OK

Another history lesson from Claire Willett on Twitter regarding COINTELPRO created by J. Edgar Hoover & how it still affects us today (make sure to click on the Show This Thread  link so it brings up the whole thing):  https://twitter.com/clairewillett/status/1266894029498675200?s=20

Lastly, watch this YouTube video.   I’ll let the video speak for itself.

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Under the Table & On the Floor

I had a meeting with the Muses, the Gourdlings & Daemons. It involved me crawling on the floor & under a table.  There’s something invigorating about being on the floor in the midst of a creative meeting.  It brings out the wonder & makes me feel quite like a kid again.  

Dealing with a twinge in a back muscle then getting up from the floor does bring one right back to reality. It was worth it, being on the floor that is.

Pictured below is the result of that meeting. To the untrained eye, it looks like a pile of gourds & gourd parts.


I see Olive, a baby Daemon, a Daemon egg, a basket for Claude’s button collection, a duffle-like bag, & the makings for Daemon hearts. Yes indeed, a successful meeting for sure.

What?  I didn’t mention Daemon babies before?  *smirks*  The idea was floated my way yesterday afternoon.  I believe it’s Claude’s & Olive’s first spawn & there are whispers about a newly laid egg.  Who knew Daemons laid eggs? 

It’s never a dull moment in The Lair.

Stay safe, be safe & be kind to one another.

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Olive News

This morning I had a chat with Olive, the next Daemon in-line to come over for a visit.

This chat took place while I sketched out the body, clothes, and facial expression.  I don’t always do this.  However, Olive insisted.

Here are a few things you can expect from Olive.

They wanted boobs.  I have no idea why. It’s one of those wacky requests Daemons make.

Olive also wants curlicue horns, similar to a ram’s horns, puffy pants, a vest, a top hat, and fangs.

Then, out of the blue, Olive says, “My favorite thing to collect is Belly Button Fuzz.”  I felt an urge to make sure my belly button was hidden.  Daemons get this gleam in their eye that’s a bit intense and disturbing when they talk about their “collections”.  I still catch Claude eye-balling my big toes. I rarely wear shoes preferring bare feet, so my big toes are quite often on display.

“Are you sure you don’t mean pocket fuzz?” I asked, hopeful that there was a misunderstanding.

“Oh, no.  I adore Belly Button Fuzz. It’s so soft and smells of….”

“NOPE!  STOP! LA LA LA LA LA!  I don’t want to know anymore.”  I exclaimed putting my fingers in my ears.

Sigh.  I don’t want to know how Olive collects belly button fuzz.  Nope.  Not going there.

I better get a squirt bottle filled with Hot Pepper Liquor stat.  Hot Pepper Liquor is like catnip to Daemons.  When they get too focused on, oh let’s use your big toe, for example, just give ’em a good squirt.  It makes them jump, forget what they were focused on, and after a bit playfulness, they get sleepy.

I need a bigger holster.  One that can hold two cans of Lysol (used to chase after family members who don’t wash their hands) in addition to a squirt bottle of Hot Pepper Liquor.

Stay safe, be safe, and be kind to one another.  Of course, there is the caveat that if someone is being a total ass-hat in your general direction, then, by all means, dish out a healthy dose of humble pie, kindly of course.

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Of course they would want a scroll

As promised, I will show you the scrolls I created containing The Daemon Gourd Manifesto.  Again, much help from the Interwebs on the how to make a scroll and then adapting it to what I had on hand.  Before I get to that, I want to share the manifesto with you.

It’s hard to explain exactly how this works or what it feels like.  I’ll give it a go.  I had recently listened to Womanifesto by Jill Scott.  It’s powerful.  It’s strong.  It’s unapologetic.  I knew that this was some of the sauce Daemon Gourds carry.  I sat Prot in front of me (the prototype Daemon Gourd).  I stared into their eyes.  I asked, “So, what are you all about?”  And this is what more or less flowed into my brain, out through my fingers and onto the screen.  There has been a bit of a tweak to it such as removing an excess line or adding more punch/oomph.  It feels unapologetic and empowering to me.  And the line that sticks out the most for me is this one, “You are a paradoxical juxtaposition of opposites.”

The Daemon Gourd Manifesto
I am a Daemon Gourd
Guardian
Spirit
I am cuteness wrapped in odd
I am not everyone’s cup of tea
I look wakadoo
And I don’t care
How about you?
Do you care when
They tell you
To shut the fuck up
To sit down
You don’t matter
You are too much
You are so ugly
You are too thin
You are too fat
You are too pretty
You are too old
You are too gray
You are too young
You are too this or that.
Stop it
Stop listening to the outside
Stop squeezing into impossible
Let’s glitch the societal matrix
Embrace who you are
You are wondrously complex
You love hard
You have all the feels
You speak your truth
You are wyrd, uncommon & peculiar
You are a big silly
You are over-the-topness
You are craziness
You are a paradoxical juxtaposition of opposites
You are made of stardust, comets, and moonbeams
You are the salt of the earth
You are vital
You matter
You make a difference
You are wanted
You are loved
You beautiful
Beautiful human being.
©2019 Tracy Swartz

Now, let’s move on to the scroll this is on!

I’m pretty darn pleased with how this turned out.  The only problem is the size.  It measures 5 inches from one end of the rod to the other end. Unrolled it’s about 9 1/2 inches long.

I valiantly attempted to create a suitcase out of a matchbox because of all the items Claude wants to pack.  The scroll barely fit inside.  Plus, there were other issues, like it not sliding open easily once I covered it with paper.  I added a wee handle and that didn’t help one whit.

Then, I wondered, “Hey, what about a small gourd purse or gourd luggage?”  Off to the Interwebs I went and found a couple of ideas I hadn’t ever seen before.  Well, well, well.

You may have not known this, Daemons carry their hearts on the outside.  If a Daemon hands you its heart, that is something special.  I was going to make hearts out of red material but I remembered a certain heart-shaped locket I created from two pieces of gourd shards.

She Who Nurtures

Ah yes, this gives me ideas!  New and improved ideas!

Of course, there is the magical Daemon’s Heart poem which describes all the materia used inside the heart to bring it to life.  That is going into a wee spellbook I need to make yet.

I can’t help myself.  There’s something about adding all these details that help bring life to the piece.  Wait until the photoshoot when everything is done!

Remember the line I mentioned that stuck out for me from manifesto? “You are a paradoxical juxtaposition of opposites.”  That perfectly explains why a character such as Claude is not only helpful but likes to collect big toes.  We, humans, are much the same, although I don’t recommend a collection of toes.  We try more often than not to fit all of ourselves into a nice tidy neat wrapped with a bow box.  Invariably, feet, arms, hair, and legs end up hanging out akimbo and we go about the business of trying to make it all fit back in. The world doesn’t need any more of that nonsense.

I’ll be back with more updates as things are made.  In the meantime, be safe, stay safe, and most importantly, be kind to one another.

 

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Zombie Toe

If you read the post titled A Peek Inside A Creative Meeting, then you are aware of Claude’s, err, penchant for collecting big toes.  Just because they’re helpful Daemons doesn’t mean they haven’t lost any Deamonish hooeyishness.

This put me on a mission to figure out how to create a big toe.  Wouldn’t ya know it, someone on YouTube shared how to go about making such a thing.  You’ve gotta love the Interwebs.

Lucky for me, there were plenty of big toes hanging out at the Swartz Haus.  The toe pickins’ were a’ plenty according to Claude.

The first to undergo the experiment was my son’s girlfriend.  Basically, you paint thin layers of Elmer’s glue on the toe. The instructions suggested three to four.  I went for more than that.  Once all the layers are on and each layer allowed to dry, you can carefully peel it up and over the toe.

After that, you have a toe! Isn’t that amazing?

Well, it was until after much fussing and touching, it broke. I had to once again go on the hunt for a big toe volunteer.

This time, I asked Bunnola (one of my kids), if I could borrow a big toe for a bit.  I layered the HELL outta this one.  That was one cold toe!  I mean that literally. It took forever to dry.  In fact, Bunnola had to attend an online college class while it dried.


Success! Look at that beautiful big toe! I could feel Claude panting with anticipation.

This time, I stuffed it a bit differently so it wouldn’t crack and break.  Once that was done, I added a quick coat of brown paint. OMGAWD!  Look at the detail!  Claude was seriously drooling at this point.

After a few more coats of paint, WALA, rotten zombie toe!  I know.  I know.  It’s gross, but I find it hilarious.

Claude is over the moon happy with their big toe. Claude! Stop it! Just stop! Please do not hug and snuggle your toe. Gross. Daemons are so wyrd.

I’ll share the scroll with the Daemon Manifesto tomorrow or Monday.  Then, it’s high time I get to work on the heart (which will be made from a gourd shard), the luggage, and a small spellbook with the Daemon’s Heart poem.

Act safe, be safe, stay safe, and most importantly, be kind to one another.

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What the ever lovin’…

The world has literally changed since my last post.

Who ever DREAMED we would be living through a pandemic?  And, no comments about the pandemic please.  Those will be deleted.  That’s not what this post is about.

This post is to give you an long over-due update.

Claude asked me to create luggage or some sort of bag, because what self respecting Interdimensional Traveler would go without?  And, of course there’s items that go into the luggage. There is a Zombie toe (seriously, it’s gross), buttons, and a scroll.  There is a Deamon Heart to make and a wee book.  I’m still working out the creative logistics for those.

What this means is, I’m back to square one.  I don’t know if I will offer Daemon Gourds for adoption.  For now, I’m enjoying the process of making them and writing their stories.  I will be sharing those here, for free and of course pictures to go along with that.

Speaking of pictures, that gives me a good reason to do another post tomorrow with a couple of pictures for you.

Act safe, be safe, stay safe, and most importantly, be kind to one another.

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Playing Around

Guess who received their wings?  Claude!

I took a photography class in high school and boy did I love it.  This is back in the darkroom days just to date myself.  I’m still fascinated with photography.  This led to a discussion with the Triplet Muses and the Daemon Gourds who decided I will now do photoshoots to capture their essence.  How do I let them talk me into these things?

Let me set this up for ya.  It’s a balmy 30-ish degrees (Fahrenheit) outside.  The ground is covered in frost and partial re-frozen snowmelt.  I’m wearing shorts and a coat.  My house is often extra warm because we burn wood, thus the shorts.  Anyhoo, I missed the window of the early morning light I desired.   Looking around the yard,  I chose to take these amongst last year’s sunflower garden.

It was worth the cold wet bottom and dirty knees even if they aren’t quite right.  I needed some outdoor time and practice.

The next set of photos will be inside with props and everything.  I’m probably far too excited about this than I should be.   Without further ado or chilly knees, I present Claude a Red Daemon Gourd.

Claude taking a moment to survey the surroundings with that feline-like gaze. This one is my favorite.

Claude looks almost happy in this one.

I swear Claude saw something they wanted to pounce on.

Prot wanted in on the fun until the cold hit their bottom.

I have the day off from the Land of Lunch today so there will be more playing around with the camera.  However, there is a boatload of dishes to wash, a couple of loads of wood to bring in and some errands to run.  Blerg.  Well, the errands could prove fun because I have a Michaels gift card burning a hole in my wallet. Hmmm…

The next Daemon Gourd that’s coming over will be sporting pantaloons and has curlier horns.  And a parasol?  What?!  Really?!  Seriously, this just came over the wire:

“I’ll need a parasol.”

Good gravy.  What have I gotten myself into?

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What’s Coming Next

Hullo!  Oh my! Where do I start?

I had to make a decision.  Do I offer dolls for sale or do I make them for my own pleasure and amusement?  This consisted of an unglamorous pros and cons list.  It also required that I take a look (again) at what brings me the most joy and happy.  What makes me giddy and laugh out loud with delight?

Let me back up a bit first.  These creatures, beasties, and beings live in wondrous worlds that I want to share with you.  I love creating stories and worlds and looking at things through that strange lense of my imagination.  My creative hootenanny takes many many forms and needs an outlet or I will literally explode.  In fact, when I don’t give myself this outlet, it tends to ooze over into the day job much to the amusement and head-shaking of my fellow Ladies of Lunch.  That’s partially why I’ve been quarantined to the Room of Snacks.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  The oozing part is all true.

I am re-working the website so instead of your beige run-of-the-mill thing, you enter my Lair which is a magical portal to the worlds where Gourdish Oddities and Curiosities live.  I’ll handle all the Interdimensional Time and Space travel paperwork for you.  Let me tell you, the paperwork required is a doozy.

Of course when building anything, one needs a solid foundation.  Through a series of Universe inspired and muse led serendipitous bread crumbs I arrived to how it looks and how to go forward.  Or in layman’s terms, how does one pull this off, make it coherent and sustainable. I won’t bore you with the blueprints and breadcrumbs.

My goal is by late Fall of 2020, you’ll land here and have the ability to be matched up with a Daemon Gourd that is perfect for you.  You can enter their world (It’s an Island in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle) for a visit.  You’ll hobnob with few Daemons like Prot and Claude pictured below to get a feel for their personalities and then… Here’s the exciting bit. We’ll put an ad in the Daemon Gazette for the perfect Daemon Gourd to come live with you.  Your ad would read something like this:

Kind human being looking for Long haired blue bodied pantaloon wearing curly horned Daemon to share in adventures on the earth realm.  Saucy attitude and into collecting large hairy toes a plus.*

Prot & Claude. Claude’s feeling a bit nekked without wings. Soon Claude. Soon.

*IRL (in real life) this means you’ll fill out a form telling me what sort of Daemon you’d like.  Ie. hair color, eye color, facial expression, pantaloons or skirt, etc.

Between now and then, the muses, my Interdimensional Time & Space Travel Agent, and other assorted helpers and I will be building the foundation (the website) to make this a thing.  I’m interviewing a couple more Daemon Gourd who will assist in coordinating the necessary travel arrangments and match-making process.

The idea is, once Daemon Gourds are successfully launched, you can meet even more Gourdish folk like Hags, Witches, Goblins, or whoever else gives me a call wanting in on this gig.

Phew. I’m a sweaty mess.  I need to put away the hardhat and construction orange clothes so I can get ready to enter The Land of Lunch.  I hope your day is full of delightful sweet things!

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Don’t Be The Flamethrower, Be The Flame

Hello, 2020!

Part of my mission for this year and beyond is to be softer and kinder.  Kindness seems to be a radical movement these days.  It’s so easy to become enflamed and lash out with all that’s going on. Kindness, mindful kindness asks us to step back, assess and reach out instead of lashing out.  In other words, be the flame that warms and melts vs. the flame that ignites and burns bridges.  Sure, there are times when you must burn things down to start anew. I wasn’t coming from that place.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is this:  when feeling disconnected, step outside.  Breathe in nature.  Listen to the trees, the birds, the stones, and Mama Earth.  They speak volumes on endurance, slowing down, and taking the long view.  Crows especially remind me that magic is always a-foot and working.  They also remind me to be playful and mischevious.

In the dark of this morning, I took a walk around the yard and a moment to breathe in the stillness.  I had a chat.  I shed a few tears while gazing at the wonder of Madame Moon shining brightly through a veil of clouds.

It’s good to be reminded of the things that endure.  It helps to remember the wonders that exist.  Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a stroll around your own backyard.

*The title of this post was some sage advice given to me by one of my Sisters-in-Lunch after she read the Burn It All Down post.

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