Hello, all you beautiful kadans!
Just a quick wave to send out my apologies, albeit into an unexpectedly crazy world, after my unforgivably long blog hiatus. It's the first one I've ever taken of anywhere near this length, and I hugely apologize.
Basically, I've been battling some hurdles and life suckage. I'm totally rallying, but it's a work in progress. So I appreciate your patience—and wanted to at least give an accounting of sorts.
Also, apologies in advance, but there are cats ahead. Lots of cats. I mean, like, pet stuff. Love and loss. Proceed at your peril.
Highs and Lows
On the non-sucky side, thanks to some truly generous support from BioWare talents and fans, Dragon Age Day 2019 was incredible, and our best celebration ever of BioWare and the Dragon Age world we love so much. It even let me interview by e-mail and phone/videochat some of my favorite people on the planet, people I respect so much not just for their creativity and genius, but for their palpable kindness: warrior and advocate Steve Spohn of Able Gamers, the always witty and brilliant John Epler (Narrative Director for the Dragon Age series), the equally witty, talented and charming writers Mary Kirby and Brianne Battye (another dream Internet conversation for me), and of course, superhero editor/writer couple Karin and Patrick Weekes.
I mean, seriously, people, those interviews were so glorious and lovely they probably cured my flu for the next decade (hopefully they transfer a few powers against coronavirus, aghghgh). Regardless, those conversations will stay with me forever, and will continue to inspire me as an artist. I'm so blessed.
After the Celebration...
But the event and its interviews and transcriptions was also pretty taxing, and I was still recovering from two bouts of the flu in six weeks. So while I was thrilled beyond belief to once again be a part of helping to stage this year's successful event, I also kind of collapsed and spent 2-4 weeks with very few coherent thoughts afterward (I think "Fire bad, tree pretty" pretty much sums it up).
On the plus side, already, I can't wait for next year. The Dragon Age Day team—led by the immortal Imasithduh and so many other equally talented, brilliant and hardworking members—as well as its players, supporters, and fans, are the best people anywhere.
But it capped off a pretty unrelenting Fall, so basically, I just kind of collapsed through the holidays. And you know how it is. Somehow December becomes January. And January lasts a decade and yet somehow also seems to transition instantly into February. And then I'm still not sure where March came from. It just happened, and meanwhile I was still mentally somewhere back in the first week of January...?
And now somehow suddenly we're all fighting a virus and also halfway waiting to turn into zombies. The world is nuts.
I'd had Frodo since his first day on earth (I rescued him and sweet littermate Batty (and two adorable others my family adopted, complete with bottle-feeding), and he was scruffy but cute in a brindled-stray kind of way. His sibling Batty, for instance, was a silver slip of a kitty, elegant and sleek, with a long-nosed face and almond eyes that still transfix anyone she meets (as they should! She's gorgeous and utterly precious). But Fro really wasn't visually distinctive. He was goofy and plump. He had a big pink nose with a long white bridge. And one funny, long white sock on his right paw. That was it. He was a basic tomcat.
Until you got to know him. When he became this weird, wonderful, individual, goofy, ridiculously affectionate cat—a real individual, and an incredibly hilarious, vocal and loving feline who spent his life lying on my lap, shoulder, keyboard, or bed (with inseparable Batty), as close to me as possible, 20 out of every 24 hours, for 13 years (when he wasn't chewing laptop cords, knocking over water glasses, or chewing on toilet paper rolls as his go-to's for amusement). I used to joke to friends that with Frodo's demand for closeness, the only thing that would make him truly happy was for me to swallow him whole, at which point, he'd go, "FINALLY!" He was just always connected to me by that invisible umbilical. And vice versa. There's nothing like rescuing an animal as a baby to increase your vulnerability to them, and even then, Frodo was unique.
For instance, even his mild seizure disorder just seemed like part of his quirk and difference, and he handled it lifelong with a curious patience and dignity. After his diagnosis, I kept a big, dog-sized, hard-shelled kennel to shelter Frodo for those rare moments involving a larger seizure, and he never fought against being locked away, but was instead so inured to his 'special area' (one I kept cozy and inviting, with warm blankets sprinkled with catnip) that he would often go into the kennel the moment he felt a seizure approaching. It was peculiarly sweet, and humbling, to watch.
|Frodo Doodle courtesy of my talented friend Sheha|
Thanks to a caring vet house call, and to my sister Laura's constant support at every step (she called the vet every 8 hours while Frodo was there), I was able to do the right thing. The vet even fell for my ridiculous sweet Fro, looking at me with an openly stricken face as Frodo, mildly buzzed and pain-free on meds, rolled over under her fingers for more snuggles and belly-rubs on introduction; her face was an open depiction of Oh shit, I have to put him to sleep. But she was a terrific help, and my poor Frodo died in my arms, purring to the end—and the very last thing he did was to raise his head to rub his cheek against mine. And then he just kept on sleeping.
I still hate Wednesday mornings, ever since. Wednesday mornings are still, to me, that time when I had to bring someone in to send Frodo away.
|Frodo (left) and his sweet tiny Batty (littermate and |
protector, right). My two buddies, now one shy...
My reaction really humbled me... it reminded me again of how much we take for granted, and I was reminded yet again of the revelation I'd had after nursing my stepdad and Mom through terminal illnesss... of how lucky we are every single day simply when nothing goes wrong. When everyone we love is safe, and present. It's a gift, and it's finite. Something will always go wrong. That's life. Our job is to enjoy everyone and everything while we can.
|Portrait of Frodo and Batty (Frodo top,|
Batty below) Thanks Mithmeoi!
It's life. We assimilate and move on. There will always be a breach, a rift, a demon... a death. We manage it, right? That's the world. But we are so, so lucky for everything in between.
A Moment for Thanks...
Anyway. I just wanted to let you know that this blog means a lot to me, and so do all of you who read it and share your reactions with me. The Dragon Age community has made me feel so accepted and welcomed, while also celebrating with me when I was up, and cheering me when I was down. You are all magic.
I do have several additional posts in progress that I can't wait to share with you (including the fabulous third and fourth parts of my transcribed interview with the wonderful Weekeses, criminally past-due!). I'm also planning on a progression to my Solas romance analysis series, as well as some individual posts examining stories in the exciting new Tevinter Nights short story compilation just out this past month!
So—I just wanted to send out a brief apology, with my heartfelt thanks for your patience, and I'll look forward to your reactions to my upcoming posts, which I hope will help to make up for the silence.
Meanwhile, the world seems to just get crazier every day. In spite of that, please know you're not alone. Stay safe out there, rest up, stay healthy, and take care of yourselves.
Ma serannas, and ar lath ma... (but not in a creepy way)...