For March 2004

March 1st, 2004 

Tough Times

Poor Chartreuse seems cursed with a horrible life, so many bad things happen to her. Of course, bad things happen to a lot of people, and the events of Glinu Chartreuse's life are taken from events I have lived through, or know directly of.

This has been, and is, a tough time for myself and my family, which makes an interesting parallel to what is happening within the story of Pastel Defender Heliotrope. As my family and I teeter but two months from homelessness, literally losing our home, and everything we own, with only two weeks of money left, and no jobs in immediate sight, the old specter of the horrors of abject streetcorner poverty once again in my life weigh heavily upon me. It definately makes drawing the parts of the story concerning Chartreuse especially gutwrenching for me as I do them.

Needless to say, in this time in American history, where the nation is in the middle of a Great Depression far greater in scope than that of the Great Depression of the 1930's, I am more than eager for a change of venue in terms of government. I see the force of partiarchal, right-wing Christianity looming to utterly crush the civil rights laboriously gained over the last sixty years from the lives of women, people of color, and Queer folk, and I see multinational corporations basking in free trade agreements with the third world that allow nearly literal slave labor to take away the jobs of people like the members of my family. It's hard even for the best programmer, like my Stephen, to compete with a man in India, say, who will do the same job for two thin dollars a day. Much less poor Eldenath, who would consider herself fortunate to have her receptionist job back. Without question, the current president, Bush, and his vile political machine, will be seen in the future as the most destructive political machine in the history of the United States, if indeed, the United States actually survives, intact.

This situation cannot help but flavor and color the work that I do. It has been suggested before that every artist is a product of their times, which is to say, the work of an artist is the product of what the artist lives through. In Chartreuse, I see the loss of rights for all manner of people, both in the past and the present, and I also see the destruction of lives caused by the violence of poverty, whatever the cause, be it bigotry, or policies that favor corporations that have no nation, no people, and no conscience.

Right now, I am unsure if this story will actually be able to be completed. Strangely, everything in my life right now depends on only one thing alone: whether or not the best potential wage earner in my family can finally, after months and months of trying, land a job within the next two weeks. It's horrifying.

I hope I get to finish Pastel Defender Heliotrope. And also incidentally, to keep a roof over my head, food in my belly, and ownership of all my incredible, wonderful crap. Anyone want to buy what is almost certainly the single largest and most complete collection of the history of PC and console software in North America? Mint condition. Only 2.5 million dollars, one third the actual value of the material. Contact me, immediately. Must supply own army of movers. Offer may be withdrawn at any time, so act fast. Offer may simply fade away too, like myself, so act fast.

On the plus side, I have begun a new area to the site, a comics review area, with a review of Kidd Radd, a brilliant neo-sprite comic, and set up an area to house a projected effort to put up my Multiversal Catalog System online, as a treat for those who might care. I am deliberately acting as though I have a future, because the alternative is...unacceptable to contemplate.

With just a small amount of good fortune, I hope to look back on this posting with relief, or indeed, at all.

A heads up, though. This all may end suddenly. Wish me, and my family, luck.


March 3rd, 2004 

Lifted Spirits?

Ellie, sometimes known as Crowfrog, from the UJ Forums flew down to visit us today. She arrived as a bit of a surprise, but the result was that my spirits were lifted enough to be able to attempt to continue doing Pastel Defender Heliotrope as best I can, for as long as I can. I expect it may still be intermittant, but not more than a day or two between pages, depending on how much work with Stephen I need to do each day, trying to help him get employed. Ellie served as a very helpful 'pattern interrupt' that reset my hopeless grief and worry. Thank you Ellie, very much.

There is starting to be some slight hope in the form of a few job sources finally contacting Stephen. This also happened on the day Ellie arrived, apparently she is a good luck charm! Stephen has been able because of this to send in code samples and writing samples that will finally be looked at, and there is a preliminary introduction call set for tomorrow with a potential employer. This is all very unexpected, and because of the timing of events, and the knowledge of how many of my readers are pulling for, and praying for, and doing magick for my family, I must say that the more mystical side of my personality is starting to perk up its ears at all of this. I am no stranger to incredible conicidences and inexplicable events, however great my general skepticism, and, happily, it looks like some weird times are happening again right now, and all of a sudden too, after months of hopeless worry.

Most peculiar, but also, most desirable. Keep those ergs of Mana coming...I am actually just starting, barely to feel some hope.

It's always amazing, when this sort of improbable coincidence begins to occur, no matter how often in my life I observe it. Please let the phone call for Stephen, tomorrow, go well.

March 5th, 2004 

The Magick Of Hope

Last night, I decided that I had enough of Reason, and decided to do some Big Ass Old Fashioned Wiccan-style Magick on realities' sorry ass. I had nothing to lose, in acting ridiculously silly, after all, and so I put down the tools of Rationality, and raised up the tools of Irrationality.

Today, Stephen had three job offers, just like that, after nine months of empty, zero-callback trying. He is now spoilt for choice. One of the three finally decided against hiring Stephen and withdrew, but the other two are solid, one ready to hire without even an interview. They just want him. Now. By tomorrow, we will know which of the remaining two jobs Stephen will decide he likes better, the dead-end near one (that might be permanent) for less money but short commute, or the far away 9 month contract one for much more money and better opportunities in the future (but the need to find lodging during the work week). Either pay very, very well, and are more than enough to save the day completely.

Unless something utterly catastrophic happens, Stephen is certain to get a job, which means that almost certainly, we will be saved.

My mystical side thanks everyone, everywhere, who put effort on our behalf.

I made a little agreement with the universe that if something amazing happened I would stop being so damn cynical and skeptical about everything and embrace more of the mystic in my life.

Tomorrow, I may just have to keep that little agreement. I'd say such a sudden coincidence counts as pretty amazing. At least it is to me.

But then I always think that after stuff like this happens. And I always sink into total skeptic mode after. Or at least I used to.

Of course, I also know that I wasn't the only one pulling for my family. I suspect I was just the pivotal vote. So I thank everyone who has been putting in a little mana to the cause.



March 11th, 2004 


Well, Stephen has work at Microsoft for the next three months, and possibly longer, or so the recruiter indicates. This is not security yet, but it sure as heck is good. It is too easy to ignore the fact that almost everyone is only a paycheck or two from being homeless at any given time. Perhaps one has to ignore such a thing, just to cope with life. Life is filled with things a person has to ignore, just to survive. Mortality, existential angst, the suffering of the majority of humans on the planet, the constant warfare and cruelty of the human species. And, as today's page shows, the hypocrisy of telling a child that they can come to a parent with any problem, no matter how large, no matter how small. That little statement is one of the Big Lies in life, along with the check being in the mail, and not coming in mouths. Or at least it seems to be a lie for most people I have met, and certainly was true in the case of my own childhood.

What amazed me the most about the real event that page 40 is based on was just how rapidly, instantly, and completely, my mother changed, once hearing from me the lie that my confidence was all just a joke. She wanted it to be untrue so much that she was willing to lie to herself to make it so. One minute holding a paring knife on me, the next instant, it was as if nothing had happened at all. The event was erased, her mood utterly different from the shouting and the threats. Like a light switch. I have seen such sudden, shocking changes in personality but two times in my life, and in both, different, cases, it was incredibly creepy, very disturbing. I doubt I will ever understand the phenomena. I personally have named it 'emotional sublimation'... just like ice turning instantly into water vapor without passing through a liquid stage, so a personality suddenly alters into something utterly different, without any graduation, or intermediate state.

It is odd how autobiographical Pastel Defender Heliotrope is becoming. Whatever works.

In any event, the hope of a job for Stephen means I can concentrate on keeping this comic regular and every day, as it should be.

As for you, my reader, never take for granted your house, your shelter, your employment, or your food and luxuries. Anything in life can be ripped from you at any moment. Appreciate all that you can, as much as you can.

By Jennifer Diane Reitz

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