Siege Diaries 2/14/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt:  How can I do a better job of listening to the little voice inside of me?

For someone who prides myself on being a listener, I sometimes do not listen to myself.  Or maybe, it’s that that inner voice has silenced its inner voice.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit absent-minded.  The problem comes when doing things repetitively–I get sloppy about checking up on them as I’d do if it were something new or unfamiliar.  It’s not so much the big-risk items.  It’s the little things–and sometimes a little thing ends up being much bigger than expected.

The issue is that the little voice inside me is wrong.  It says “You got this!  You’ve done this many times before!  You can do it in your sleep!”   And maybe that is true more often than not.  But I need to put in just enough of a check to catch those times when it’s not true–or perhaps, more accurately speaking, to catch where there have been subtle changes to a situation where the usual procedure might not be the best.  

Great example: For many years, when making patterns, where it said “baste,” I knew I could get away with really good pinning.  My results were just fine, so I just kept cutting that corner.  And then, I found a more difficult pattern where that wasn’t true, and I ended up ruining some gorgeous fabric that I couldn’t get again as a result.  I have since caught myself trying to backslide into older habits, and I have to remind myself not to.   In a similar vein, I’ve been so eager some times to get a calligraphy project done that I’ve reached across my writing and smeared it.  No time was saved!   

So maybe it’s training that inner voice to speak up for itself.  It’s hard work, and the learning seems to come mostly through making the mistakes and learning from the school of hard knocks.

*****
I can at least share the most recent of the scribal projects now.   I decided again to make something just for me purely for no other reason than it made me happy.  The last time I did a scribal project for myself was the huge project where I copied an entire book.  And I’ve never done dedicated illumination for myself.   Never.  I realized that with all of the research and customizing I put into works for other people–which, to my mind, is the best part of it, the ability to customize something that will make them feel special and seen–I’ve never, ever done it for myself.  The closest I’ve come–and the only piece I’ve consequently gotten to keep–was the scroll I made for my husband involving a cat with a crossbow, and another cat in the ramparts of a castle behind.  The cat in the ramparts was painted to look like Spitfire.  So, I let my mind go nuts.  If I were going to do something just for me right now, what would I pick?  

I decided I wanted to take the Russian tetralogical style–which I’m planning to use on an upcoming large project–and to tweak it to include an adaptation of a photo of Shostakovich working on his 8th symphony, where he’s seen silhouetted against a bright door, almost like the haloes that saints sport in the medieval examples.  I had considered using it as an embroidery project, but it really doesn’t suit like many of the other photographs I’ve used.     I knew there were a couple of other things I needed to change–for one thing, the tetralogical style features knotwork and animal motifs in the shape of Russian domed churches;  that wasn’t quite right for Shostakovich, so I tweaked it to be topped by the golden spire of the Admiralty building in St. Petersburg.    I could use the figure in the exemplar I chose, but I had to redo the draped clothing worn by St. Luke to a shirt and pants, and to get rid of the figure’s beard, redo the hair, and add glasses.  Most of the rest was pretty simple tweaks.   Here are the two exemplars.  You’ll notice there is a little bit of similarity in the essential poses of the two figures.

And here is the finished product:
IMG_2956

Today I also started on an actual scribal assignment, one I expect I’ll be able to finish tomorrow.  During my RPG session, I also made some good progress on embroidering Duke Derp Cat.   There was also horrifically niche joke poetry on the Shostakovich Discord server (I mean, horribly niche.  I’m not sharing it), Valentine’s Day fun, and a lot of checking to see if the results from the scribal challenge were up yet so I could share.  (As of right now, nope).  I am looking forward to my day off tomorrow, and am happy with where I got with m projects. 

A three-step rabbit hole:  Peter Gabriel’s birthday was yesterday (as I wrote), and this morning, a friend shared an incredibly powerful version of “Biko”.  Then, the CBC played “Book of Love,” which I hadn’t heard before.  It was from Gabriel’s album of covers, which I’m realizing I don’t own and maybe should.

And it culminated in this:  his cover of the Arcade Fire song “My Body is a Cage,” which is among my favourite songs of theirs. I’d heard snippets of this before, but my God, Gabriel just owns this.  I never thought I’d like a cover more than the original, but I think I do.  His raspy voice, the piano, and then that sudden orchestral explosion (in the Arcade Fire original, an organ kicks in).  And then, it’s back to the piano.  Lyrics:

My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key
My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key
I’m standing on a stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway
My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key
You’re standing next to me
My mind holds the key
I’m living in an age
That calls darkness light
Though my language is dead
Still the shapes fill my head
I’m living in an age
Whose name I don’t know
Though the fear keeps me moving
Still my heart beats so slow
My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key
You’re standing next to me
My mind holds the key
My body is a…
My body is a cage
We take what we’re given
Just because you’ve forgotten
That don’t mean you’re forgiven
I’m living in an age that
Screams my name at night
But when I get to the doorway
There’s no one in sight
I’m living in an age
They laugh when I’m dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key
You’re standing next to me
My mind holds the key
Set my spirit free
Set my spirit free
Set my body free
Set my body free
Set my spirit free
Set my body free

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