My Life as an Artist with Chronic Pain


If you didn’t know, I’m an artist, and this year I’ve decided to take my art more seriously. But there are days when I remember that being a full-time artist was never in the cards for me. 

I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when I was 17, and I’d taken a few art electives. 

Chronic pain was having an effect on my schooling at this point. But luckily I was able to type out my essays and exams (with supervision, of course). Then in Year 12 Studio Arts, we got to experiment with some different methods, one of them being printmaking. I sketched out my design, then used a scalpel to carve it into the sheet of hard plastic.

This process was near excruciating. My wrists felt like they were being torn with every bit of pressure I forced them through. Maybe it was foolish and impulsive to keep pushing through. I think I was testing my limits, seeing how far I could go. I was really happy with the result, but I don’t think it was worth the pain. 

People like to say that art is pain, but that takes on a bit of a different meaning for me. Being an artist with chronic pain means I can’t set aside a whole day to draw and be productive the entire time. Every artist should take breaks to stretch and rest their wrists, but it doesn’t take very long for me to reach that point. Sometimes I get so carried away with a drawing that I ignore the pain, then I’ll be out of commission for days afterwards. 

The designs that I sell on RedBubble are fun, and they don’t tend to take up too much time. But my real passion, what I love drawing most, is detailed character portraits. These can take me a long time to finish, but they’re very personal and become something I’m very proud of. The problem is, sometimes I’ll give up on a project if it’s taking too long. I’ll finish the sketch and be daunted at the thought of line art. Or I’ll finally finish blocking out my colours and decide there are too many little details to shade. 

I’ve been experimenting more, especially with my RedBubble designs. I want to challenge myself to draw more complex scenes, maybe with multiple characters. 

If you’d like to help me have more time for art, you can buy something from my artist shop! 

Don’t forget to check me out on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok as well!

My Gripe with Movie Musicals


I love musicals. I was in my high school’s production from Year 8 to Year 12 and loved every minute of it. It’s always exciting when you learn that your favourite story is being made into a movie. But as many of us know, film adaptations often leave a lot to be desired. In my experience, movie musicals have it the worst. 

My first movie musical was Chicago, which I loved. The dream sequences are a perfect example of a film doing what a stage musical can’t. Stagecraft is amazing, but film can take the characters across a range of real locations in a way that’s more immersive than a stage backdrop – in a sense. 

Theatre never hides the fact that it’s performing to an audience. This makes the audience feel close and intimate with the show, especially when the actors interact with them. Movies are immersive in another way – they want to make the film seem real as possible, making the viewers voyeurs. 

You just don’t get that level of connection with movies, and the humour doesn’t land in the same way (see Into the Woods, and how the darkness was toned down for a cinema audience).

Mixing these two mediums can be successful, but movie studios seem to have trouble getting it right. 

Pitch Perfect

There seems to be no middle ground when it comes to singing in movie musicals. 

The recent Disney live-action remakes record in the studio, then play it over the actual scenes. But they use a lot of editing to make the voices sound “pure”, which ends up erasing all the personality. Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast is being pitch-corrected to make her sound as sweet and melodic as a Disney princess should, but all it does is make her sound manufactured. They remove the natural ridges and grittiness of the human voice for the sake of sounding “pretty” and lose all emotion. 

But musical theatre is about emotion, and a convincing performance will naturally have some rough edges. Think of the biggest Broadway divas: their voices waver at the most intense part of their solos. 

A Little Too Realistic

On the other end of the scale is Les Miserables, which purposely tried to avoid the over-correcting of its vocalists. They did this by having the actors sing live while filming to get the rawness of each scene. 

Sounds good in theory, right? 

In truth, the set of the Les Mis movie was a disaster. Hugh Jackman was severely dehydrated to look the part, damaging his voice. Anne Hathaway lost a frightening amount of weight and once spent 8 hours shooting the same scene, only to use the first take. 

It was the actors leading the timing of the music, not the band, so many of the songs were out of time. The musicians had to keep up with whatever the actors were doing, and there’s a reason that isn’t the standard method in musicals. 

The casting for this movie was incredible, and the actors can actually sing in the right conditions. This movie failed because the creative team were too fixated on making it seem realistic that they forgot to make it sound good. 

I love Les Mis, but no amount of gritty realism will make these kinds of conditions ok. 

Hope Going Forward?

I’ve just seen the trailer for the new Little Mermaid, and it looks amazing. As far as I can tell, they’ve toned down the pitch correction for Halle Bailey. It wasn’t necessary anyway, because she’s a great singer and you can hear it even in the brief footage we’ve seen. As the biggest maker of movie musicals, I hope Disney learns to embrace unique voices and let singers just be themselves. And I hope future movie musicals will reconsider recording the songs “live”. 

Most of the facts here came from these videos by Sideways. Check it out if you’re interested in music!

And as a reminder, I have a RedBubble store with designs like this adorable fairy dragon!

June Crafting Roundup: What I’ve Been Making This Month


This month has been a big one for crafting! After a long dry spell, I picked up my crochet hook and bought some new materials to get back into that beautiful creative state of mind. 

Recently I’ve taken an interest in polymer clay. I started out by crafting a pair of mushroom earrings for myself. This was a bit of a trial, so I wasn’t too upset when they didn’t turn out how I wanted. They were too small, and I’d left the clay too long before baking so the colours had started blending together. Also, the only white clay I could find was this glittery pearl colour, which wasn’t what I wanted. 

But I wore them a few times, and I had some friends and family ask for pairs of their own! I got into it, and the practice produced some much cuter, stylised mushrooms in pink, red, and blue. 

Just for a bit of fun, I made a little snail and a frog prince. They’re just sitting around in the house, but they’re cute. 

Most recently I was crafting a necklace pendant in the shape of a tooth. I might be the only person who would want something like that, but that’s ok! The thing about white clay is that it burns easily. As soon as I took the tooth out of the oven, it was marbled through with streaks of purplish- and reddish-brown. It wasn’t what I’d planned, but it gave the pendant an extra macabre touch that I really love. Happy accidents indeed!

My pride and joy for this month was crafting this lovely mushroom doll using the Impkin Pattern by Crafty Intentions. I used handspun yarn for the body and chunky yarn for the cap that was thicker than the pattern called for, so the doll is pretty top-heavy. Briefly I thought about sewing it a face but decided against it, because I like the mixture of creepy and cute that it has without one. 

I absolutely adored this pattern. It’s part of a big document that shows you how to add all kinds of accessories and details to your “impkins”, like wings, hats, and horns. I’ve got plenty of ideas for future projects based on this pattern!

So that’s what I’ve been making this month! What kind of crafting do you like to do? Made anything recently? Let me know in the comments!

My Tarot Reading Process: An Example


I’ve decided to start offering tarot readings here on my blog! I have 2 tarot decks and a set of oracle cards, and I think it’s about time I did some readings for other people. 

Many people have misconceptions about tarot or are concerned that it and other divinatory practices are scams; I want to say up-front that I don’t use tarot as a fortune-telling tool. I can’t predict your future, but I can offer you some insight or bring to light some options that you may have been ignoring. My style of tarot readings may be a little different than other peoples’, and that’s fine. I use the cards to help with mindfulness. It’s a very meditative process for me, and I hope others find it helpful.

For anyone who’s curious about tarot and thinking of getting a reading, but maybe has some doubts about how I, personally, conduct mine, I’m going to do a 3-card spread for myself right here. This way you can see my method clearly and know what to expect if you want to take a chance! 

The 30-card spread I use involves Card 1: the problem, Card 2: the short-term solution, and Card 3: the long-term solution. If I’m having trouble deciphering these three cards, I’ll add in an Oracle card to guide me towards the answer. 

The first step is to think about an open-ended question. For this example, I’m going to ask what my next blog post should be! I’m not expecting to get a definitive answer here, just some general insight into the direction I’m going to go. 

The Problem Card: Seven of Wands

The Seven of Wands represents standing your ground and facing a challenge head-on. In the context of the Problem Card, this could mean that it’s time to confront a more difficult topic in my next blog post. It could also just mean that as I’m constantly generating new blog ideas, it’s becoming more of a challenge to find something new and fresh to write about. 

The Short-Term Solution: Strength

Strength is pretty self-explanatory; not just physical strength, but endurance, courage, and a fierce approach. This furthers the idea that my next blog post will be challenging, but I have the strength and mental fortitude to pull it off. 

The Long-Term Solution: Knight of Swords

The Knight of Swords is all about intense focus and determination in getting what you want. It indicates a passionate approach to a project, which I’m taking as a very good sign. As the long-term solution card, it’s a sign that I’m on the right path with this blog as long as I stay passionate and dedicated. 


All three of these cards speak of determination, passion, and rising up to a challenge. What I take from this is that my next blog topic might be difficult emotionally for me to write about, but if it’s something that I’m deeply passionate about, it will be worth it in the long run. This has given me a few good ideas already! 

This was just a very quick tarot reading for myself, and to show you how I do it. If you decide to get a tarot reading from me, it’ll be much more in-depth and insightful. If you’re interested in a reading, check out my page for details!

How D&D Made Me a Better Writer


For the longest time, I saw writing as a solitary pursuit. I pictured myself as an author working entirely alone, only interacting with people for book signings. I was always scared of criticism, even the constructive kind. I’m still in the habit now of submitting work without feedback because deep down, I’m afraid people will hate it. That was until I started playing D&D.

If you didn’t know, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a table-top roleplaying game where you take your characters through fantastical battles, high-stakes dinner parties, and anything else you can dream of. But the part that I enjoy most is that it’s a collaborative storytelling game – at its core, it’s a game about a group of friends building a world together. 

When writing on your own, it’s easy to gloss over plot holes and convince yourself that things make sense. But in D&D, you have other people to hold you accountable. I’ve been the Dungeon Master, or DM, for a few years now, which means I’m narrating the story in which my friends are the heroes. Because D&D relies heavily on improvisations, there’s no way for me to plan for everything. My players are always asking questions that I’ve never thought to answer, which can put me on the spot.

But while that sounds like criticism, it’s a sign that my players are invested in my story. It forces me to think about details that I would have glossed over on my own. D&D makes use of a variety of different skill checks like history, investigation, and stealth, and you can bet that your players will want to use them as much as possible. This encourages me as a DM to flesh out my world and examine it from many angles. When I’m asked a question I don’t immediately know the answer to, it’s more fun to use the improvisation tool of “yes, and” instead of moving past it. 

As a writer, I have certain things that I focus on more than anything else. For me, it’s characters and emotion. My favourite part of writing is creating complex characters that other people will become attached to. I follow that same approach when writing D&D, but playing with a group gives me multiple perspectives into other areas. My group is interested in mystery, puzzles, combat, and worldbuilding. My primary goal in running a D&D game is to make it fun for everyone, so it’s a welcome challenge each session to find something that will engage each member of the group. It pushes me to step outside my comfort zone a little and to raise the stakes of the storyline, making it more interesting for everyone involved. 

The game has taught me that it’s ok not to know where every beat of my story will go. Nearly every decision is dependent on dice rolls, so you can’t guarantee that the heroes will always win or that the villains will be as powerful as you planned (I’ve had many combats end in one round because I underestimated the strength of the heroes). Instead of despairing that your plans have gone to waste, it’s a great opportunity to flex those improv muscles! Sometimes a failure can lead you to a different idea, which you never would have thought of otherwise.

I’ve been playing D&D for over three years now and it’s taught me so much about story structure, balance, themes, and well-rounded characters. Having other people take an active role in your story really forces you to think outside of the box. It’s like writing a first draft with your friends reading over your shoulder and giving feedback as you go. That sounds terrifying, but it means that there’s a group of people directly invested in the world you’ve created. My players are my biggest supporters. 

I’ve been incredibly lucky with my D&D experience. There are people who haven’t felt welcome in certain groups, or just don’t mesh with the people in them. My D&D group are my closest friends; I value their impact a great deal, and I love helping their characters grow. It’s a truly unique experience, writing a tailor-made story that is carried by people working together and having fun. It’s a hobby that involves a lot of cooperation and communication, so it can be hard to get started. But I truly recommended that any creative writers give it a go, just to see what happens when you let someone else into your story writing process!

5 of the Most Bizarre Mushrooms


A while ago I talked about my new love for mushroom hunting and what exactly it is that I love about mushrooms, but today I’d like to get into the specifics of some truly bizarre species of fungus. If you didn’t already know that mushrooms are neither animals nor plants, here are five species that will convince you!

#5 The Octopus Stinkhorn

Octopus Stinkhorn

This mushroom doesn’t have the most flattering name. It’s part of the stinkhorn species, which as their names suggest, give off a rather unpleasant smell. They give off a scent similar to roadkill or decaying flesh, attracting flies to carry off their spores. 

The octopus stinkhorn looks particularly gruesome, starting off as an “egg” before four-to-seven dark red limbs emerge and split off into tentacles. The fully mature mushroom smells like rotting flesh, and looks almost alien. 

Check out this timelapse of the octopus stinkhorn’s growth!

#4 The Veiled Lady

Veiled Lady

Another species of stinkhorn, the veiled lady, or bridal veil fungus, also emits a rotten stench to attract insects. It looks eerily elegant, with its long lacy “skirt” falling down to form a sort of cage. This mushroom is surprisingly edible, with a history of use in traditional Chinese medicine due to its antioxidant properties. Its silhouette and delicate details conjure images of Victorian corpse brides. 

#3 Devil’s Tooth

Devil’s Tooth

The devil’s tooth is also called strawberries and cream, the red-juice tooth, and the bleeding tooth fungus. While the adult forms of this species are plain brown, younger mushrooms leak globules of red liquid that give off the appearance of blood. This is actually an anticoagulant similar to sap, and it disappears as the mushroom ages. The “tooth” part of its name comes from its underside, which is made up of tiny tooth-like ridges. 

#4 Green Pepe

Green Pepe

Bioluminescent mushrooms are a fantastic addition to fantasy or sci-fi landscapes, but did you know they also exist in real life? Growing in subtropical areas, bioluminescent mushrooms like the green pepe glow in the dark, adding some mystical flair to decaying logs. They only give off that gorgeous glow during humidity and only for a short amount of time, so catching a glimpse of this sight is a rare delight! 

#5 Zombie Ant Fungus

Ant infected by Zombie Ant Fungus

Now this is something straight of a horror movie. This particular fungus is a parasite that attaches to ants, eventually breaking through their exoskeleton. The fungus spreads through the ant’s body to its brain and completely takes over. The ant is driven to climb as high as it can to the canopies, where it will then clamp its mandibles down on the vein of a leaf. The fungus anchors the ant to the leaf with mycelia (fungal roots) to keep it in place. The ant has done its duty; now, a fungal stalk breaks out of the ant’s head as all of its muscles atrophy, killing it. The stalk then releases more spores, and the cycle begins again. This process takes 4-10 days, and can destroy entire ant colonies. 

This is one of my favourite types of fungus, just because of how creepy and unreal it seems. 

There are plenty more weird and wonderful mushrooms and fungi in the world and it’s impossible to list them all. But this sample I’ve provided for you today proves that science fiction isn’t too far off from reality if we look close enough.

Creature Feature: The Bearded Vulture


Yes, I know, I’ve already written about vultures here. But I wanted to give a shoutout to my favourite bird of all time: the lammergeier, or bearded vulture! 

This massive bird of prey with a 7-9ft wingspan lives in mountainous regions such as Africa, southern Europe and Tibet. Lammergeiers are Old World vultures, which means that they rely on sight to hunt and unlike most New World vultures, their heads are feathered. In fact, lammergeiers more closely resemble large falcons than the vultures we’re typically familiar with. Their tail is longer than their wings, and their necks are heavily feathered (which is where the ‘bearded’ part of their name comes from). 

A bearded vulture in flight

Their feathers, like most species of birds, play a large part in their social lives. Lammergeiers bathe in dust to give their feathers a rust-red hue, which is believed to factor into their hierarchy; the more impressive your plumage is, the higher up you are on the social ladder. Just like humans wearing makeup, every vulture will have a different ‘look’: some feathers are more orange or pink, and the amount of colour on their feathers will differ. This fun cosmetic detail paired with their beard-like bristles and red-rimmed eyes gives them a lot in common with vampires, which might be why they’re my favourite bird!

Variations in feather colouring

Speaking of vampires, the lammergeier also has unusual eating habits. The bearded vulture’s diet is made up of about 90% bone marrow! This scavenger will often find bones from already dead animals on the ground, but it has been known to kill its own prey more often than most vultures. The word “lammergeier” is German for “lamb stealer”, because it was believed they carried off lambs, but their older name, ossifrage, means “bone eater”. The lammergeier’s method of eating involves dropping large bones from the sky until they break into bite-sized fragments, a technique that can take 7 years to learn. 

One of their favourite meals is tortoise. A Greek poet named Aeschylus was allegedly killed when a lammergeier mistook his bald head for a rock, and dropped a tortoise on him. 

A bearded vulture prepares to dig into its next meal

A lammergeier’s mating dance is a death-defying feat of air acrobatics. The pair fly in spirals, displaying their talons and wings. In an incredibly risky move, they lock claws together and plummet towards the ground. Timing is crucial, because if they don’t pull up quickly enough they will crash and die. 

Lammergeiers raise their young in a cave for about two years, with the parents alternating time in and out of the nest. Bearded vultures in the wild live around 21 years, but in captivity, they’ve lived to 45. 

So, these vultures eat bones, colour their feathers red, live in caves, and show their love through a thrill-seeking adventure that could easily end in death. In my opinion, they’re the most Goth of all birds (yes – I’m putting them above ravens). For all these reasons and more, they’re my favourite bird! If you want to hear more about vultures in general, check out my post Ode to Vultures!

Knitting for Chronic Pain and Mental Health


Having arthritis has me living like a retiree. I knit, crochet, cross-stitch, read, and drink lots of tea under a heavy blanket. Knitting for chronic pain is not a new or revolutionary idea, but it is something I’ve found incredibly helpful! 

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition triggered by stress, when I was seventeen. As a teenager, it was frightening to suddenly be feeling this unexplained pain and have not even doctors know what was causing it. It took about three different specialists before I was finally diagnosed and given medication to help. 

My conditions are mostly stable now. As helpful as the medication has been, it’s how I fill my spare time that has helped the most. I had thought that all of my beloved hands-on hobbies like writing and drawing were through and that it wouldn’t be long before I couldn’t even hold a pencil. I was disheartened and lost, having put all my hopes and dreams into being an artist, and now that was being taken from me.

That didn’t turn out to be true. I’m lucky enough that my arthritis hasn’t progressed enough to affect my mobility, so I can still do all of the things I love. In fact, keeping my hands moving is highly recommended, just so long as I don’t overdo it. 

I fell in love with knitting in 2017. It took a few frustrated tries to get it right, and I ended up with a scarf that was quiet lovely, except for the ridged edge that had a few wrong steps thrown in. I made project for myself, starting simple, then making little rabbits for easter and cotton-filled birds. I knitted a temperature scarf in 2018, which involved knitting a row of a certain colour associated with the maximum temperature for the day. It yielded some pretty interesting results! 

From there I moved on to crochet. I loved making little toys, like dragons and woodland critters. During the summer I got into cross-stitching, which was incredibly cathartic as it involved stabbing something over and over. 

Crochet dragon and a knitted drawstring bag

I felt so good about getting into fibre arts because it’s been proven to be great for your mind! Not only does knitting keep your hands active, it also keeps your mind active. Studies have shown that knitting can decrease loneliness, feelings of depression, and can distract from the pain of arthritis. There’s something satisfying about following a relatively simple yet challenging pattern that engages you physically and mentally. It’s something you can do in front of the TV or while listening to podcasts, and you can even take it on public transport if you’re brave enough. 

Senior citizens who knit frequently have reported that the activity makes them feel more useful and productive. It’s a sad fact that our society demands that everyone is constantly working. Because of this, those of us who can’t work to full capacity end up feeling lonely and excluded. While I’m not a senior citizen, my chronic pain holds me back from many kinds of work. 

There’s no denying that making something with your hands feels incredibly rewarding; it’s productive and serves a purpose, whether it’s a scarf to keep you warm or a toy to amuse a small child. I’m a writer and a digital artist, so it’s a rare treat to create something tangible that I can hold. The process can sometimes feel monotonous, but by the end of it, you’ll have turned a ball of yarn into a wonderful new creation!

Conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia make it hard to continue doing the things you love. It can be easy to give up. But if you’re looking for a hobby that will get your hands and mind working, try knitting for chronic pain!

Knitted bird bookmark

Nature’s Clean-Up Crew: An Ode to Vultures


Winged heralds of death and decay, they say, circling the skies in a halo of doom. 

When it comes to judging a book by its cover, vultures have it the worst. 

They’re nature’s clean-up crew, tidying up the messes that would otherwise fester and rot in the sun. Their stomachs kill diseases from prey that other predators would catch and spread, like rabies. Vultures are efficient and leave nothing to waste, using their sharp pointed beaks to tear apart flesh in seconds. The bare skin on their heads and necks that make them “ugly” to some allow them to clean themselves of blood. 

Some vultures are covered in feathers. The Bearded Vulture dyes its feathers with the rusty red soil of its habitat as a sign of status. It is war paint, showing the other vultures that it is powerful and resourceful. The Cinereous vulture more resembles an eagle, with a massive wingspan and dark colouring save the white around its beak and eyes. The King vulture is mostly white, except for its black head and the kaleidoscope of colours on its face. 

Vultures are scavengers. They eat the leftovers no one else will, and for this noble vocation they are demonised, seen as bad omens, despised and hunted to near extinction. Vultures do not circle when something is about to die, or lurk in wait to feast on the corpse. They must be careful and stealthy because to begin eating before their time means being torn apart by lions and other predators. 

These birds were not always seen as these cowardly harbingers of death and misfortune. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that all vultures were female. They became associated with the mother goddesses Nekhbet, Mut and Isis, and were symbols of femininity and maternal protection. Vultures are social birds, fiercely defending their young. They are resourceful and necessary to the ecosystem, but they continue to be associated with the filth and disease that they work so hard to destroy. 

Vultures are my favourite type of bird for all of these reasons. They are beautiful in my eyes, even more so because of the eeriness of their form. They are haunting and they have become emblematic of gothic settings and tales of death, which of course cements my love for them further. 

There are many, many more vulture facts I could share with you, but I’ll stop here. I might not have convinced anyone to love vultures as much as I do, but hopefully you’ve learnt something interesting. 

My Gothic Horror Pet Peeves


I’m a huge fan of Gothic literature, movies, aesthetics, etc., and even though I’ve just missed Halloween, it felt like a good time to talk about spooky things! Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a bit of a snob about the things I’m passionate about. Gothic horror is one of those things, and I feel like since I’ve done a course on it, I’ve got some credibility to back me up! There are a few old tropes and new takes that are perfectly fine, but I want to address why they bother me and why they’re not necessarily the best opinions out there.

The first thing I want to talk about is vampires and their reflections. I love vampires. I had a book called ‘How to be a Vampire’ that was a guide to the history, the fashion sense, and the lifestyle of my favourite undead creatures. I wrote an essay in my Gothic Literature class comparing Dracula to Twilight regarding the appeal of vampires in the modern day. Vampires have existed in many iterations throughout different cultures and times, so of course there are going to be some disputes over the supposed ‘facts’. The most recognisable vampire is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and most of the agreed-upon vampire lore comes from him. One of the traits we associate with vampires, besides drinking blood, is not having a reflection.

You might have heard that the reason for this is that ‘back in the day’, mirrors used to be backed with silver. More recently, people have taken that to mean that since mirrors are now backed with aluminium, a vampire’s reflection would be visible. The problem with this is that Stoker never attributed Dracula’s lack of a reflection to silver. Silver was never linked to the vampires in Dracula in a major way, despite it being a weakness for other monsters like werewolves, so there’s no reason to believe that modern mirrors would grant vampires any more of a reflection than silvered ones would. So why does this vampiric trait exist? I’ve seen a few interesting speculations; classic vampires were seen to represent the aristocracy, so their lack of a reflection could represent the elite’s inability to reflect on themselves. Others see it in a more sympathetic light, as the figure of the monster is unable to identify itself amongst its peers. More take it as simply a sign that the person is not quite human.

My second pet peeve is also related to vampires, and it’s also an attempt to ‘science away’ vampire lore. We all know that vampires don’t handle the sun too well (though this is another thing not mentioned by Stoker), but they have a connection with the moon and all things to do with the night. Something that I’ve seen brought up recently is that what we call ‘moonlight’ is actually a reflection of the sun’s light, so shouldn’t that also burn vampires? This one really bugs me, because 1) way to take the fun out of being a creature of the night, and 2) the amount of sunlight that is reflected by the moon is so minute that in the worst-case scenario, it would like burning your tongue on a slight-too-hot cup of tea. Yes, it hurts a little, but not for long, and it’s not going to ruin your day.

Moving on from vampires, I want to talk about Frankenstein, or more specifically, Frankenstein’s monster. Pop culture really took the story of reanimated life and ran with it, with Hollywood, in particular, sensationalizing quite a bit of it. The most recognizable images we have of Frankenstein’s monster are the bolts in his neck, and the lightning crackling over a Gothic mansion while a mad scientist yells, ‘it’s alive’! The thing is, none of that happened in Mary Shelley’s book. In fact, very little is mentioned about Victor Frankenstein’s method for bringing the creature to life. This plays into Shelley’s theme of the perils of playing god, and the absence of a scientific process really highlights that humans are not supposed to have this knowledge.

Another thing that Hollywood took away from Frankenstein‘s core themes is the creature’s intelligence. Frankenstein’s Monster in film is a stilted mass of flesh, unable to form coherent sentences and predisposed to violence. That is far from the case in the novel, where the creature teaches himself to speak and read by observing others from a distance, only resorting to violence after he had been shunned by humanity over and over. The creature is as much a protagonist of the story as Victor himself is, and his arc revolves around the questions of what makes someone human, and what makes someone conscious. Victor and the creature are narrative foils; Victor sees himself in his creature, and vice-versa. All of the creature’s violent actions are not impulses, but carefully planned steps to make Victor confront himself and pay for his mistakes. Having the monster not be able to recite the philosophical monologues that he does in the novel takes away a major part of the story, and does the character a disservice.

There are probably a lot of pet peeves that I could think of, but I think I’ll leave it here for now. There are so many parts of gothic horror and so many new twists on old ideas that I absolutely love, so one day I’ll take the chance to write about those!

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