International Fake Journal Month has come to a close. For several years, I have enjoyed snooping around in the awesome and beautiful fake journals that other people created and was thoroughly delighted to create one of my own this year.
My fake journal character, Hoshi Banks, has successfully completed her engineering internship on the moon at the Kaguya Station and has come home a much richer young lady than she was when she left. The month leaves me with a good sense of accomplishment for keeping up with the project and for letting the story develop a life of its own without adhering to my original outline too rigidly. Each evening, I had “permission” to spend time plotting, planning, drawing and painting — these activities gave me a much needed refuge from a few things that were challenging me for most of the month. I’m thankful for the outlet that journaling — any kind of journaling — provides, but creating fiction and illustrating it felt extremely rewarding.
The idea for Kaguya’s Gift stemmed from a very vivid dream I had back in 1998. (I have kept a dream journal for more than half my life and let me just say it’s a bit of a convoluted, psychedelic acid trip to go back and read some of the stuff that has rattled around in my head while I was asleep!) In the dream, I was on the surface of the Moon, sifting dreamily through mounds and mounds of green, blue and pink depression glass dishes. Something caught my eye and I looked up in time to see the Japanese shuttle lifting off for its return to Earth. (I don’t know how I knew it was Japanese! It just was.) I’ve missed the shuttle, but I don’t care because the glass again takes my attention and I find myself completely content to pick up piece after perfect piece of sparkling glassware. So, that’s where the sketch called “Lunar Delicacies” came from and I barely got it worked into Hoshi’s story. Maybe I’ll have to take her back to the Moon so she can discover the piles for herself.
Last year, to amuse a writer friend, I wrote a short story using this dream as fodder. Click here to read that story, which is called “Blame”. There’s a dark tone to the story and I used it as an outline for Hoshi’s adventures but couldn’t bring myself to subject Hoshi to anything worse than being drugged by the slightly malevolent Miyoho. Benjy was totally going to be a bad guy, but as I was making the entries his character was too guileless to have any ill will against my protagonist. I also didn’t want to get into Hoshi’s attraction to Theo because there just wasn’t time/room for it. I found myself enjoying using gouache and acrylic and my dip pen with white acrylic ink. The hand bound book that I used was made last summer with my then-new home-made book press. As you can see from the photo above, the text block pulls painfully away from the cover, but I fudged the folding of the end pieces to accommodate for it. When I made the book in August, I didn’t have this project in mind but it ended up being the perfect vehicle and just the right size. After the book was bound, I wrote inside the back cover, “Yes, this book has structural problems. It’s my first self-guided attempt. I make no promises and no apologies!” I would do well to adopt that motto for a few other areas of my life!
Of course, I have left myself a nice, wide opening for next year’s IFJM project. Hoshi will by then be immersed in her studies at the University of Tokyo. Maybe she has already applied for the Kaguya Hydroponics Science Module work/study program, hmm?