Ten Minute With

“Ten minutes with…Β is a special series presented by Coode Street that sees readers and booklovers from around the world talk about what they’re reading right now and what’s getting them through these difficult times.

“Writer, professor, and Strange Horizons founder Mary Anne Mohanraj chats with Gary about…”

Episode 523: Ten Minutes with Mary Anne Mohanraj

Ten minutes with… is a special series presented by Coode Street that sees readers and booklovers from around the world talk about what they’re reading right now and what’s getting them through these difficult times.

Calendar Tea Towel

I was fairly sick on Sunday, and still somewhat yesterday, so am only now feeling like I’m coming back to myself. A bit tired still, though. I did manage to finish this sufficiently that I wasn’t embarrassed entering it in this week’s design contest at Spoonflower. I may tweak it a bit more before making it available for sale, and I need to order a test print and make sure I really like the colors. But I think it might be a nice little calendar tea towel for 2021. πŸ™‚

Tweaking the Tea Lines

Working on a Spoonflower fabric design for a tea towel calendar contest. It’s tomorrow, so we don’t have a lot of time to tweak it, esp. since Kavi has school tomorrow, so any edits are probably up to me. But suggestions welcome. These weekly contests are a little intense for getting the end result to actually look good, esp. since we can really only spare a few hours each week to work on these. But it’s good structure for actually getting me to finish making art things. πŸ™‚

(And I DID rework my Wild Cards pitch and send it in, and had an interesting meeting about some possible game writing thingies, so I did a little writing work today too, though mostly the day was teaching work + packing up Patreon boxes.)

What I was going for, and I’m guessing none of this really comes across, was sort of a meditation on the pandemic and Ceylon tea — so essential to the tea towel concept. I was thinking about calendars, about 2021 and what it will bring, and how much I miss traveling, esp. to Sri Lanka.

Even more, how much I miss sharing tea and meals with friends. The pandemic is in the center of the towel, where we are now: here be dragons. Be wary. The portolan chart lines underneath are meant to suggestion travel and navigation (we will find our way out of this), and the tea pouring out is also meant to echo the path of a little sailing ship, crossing a wide ocean.

I like all that. But I’m not sure the overall graphic works yet. In particular, I’m waffling about the background color — is it too dark? If I lighten it much more, though, I’m worried that there won’t be enough contrast with the white text.

I’m also wondering if I should try to get rid of the semicircles at top and bottom, left over from the rhumb line compass — I think it’d be a lot of tedious erasing to remove them, but I’m not sure they add anything useful, and they may just be cluttering up an already complex design.

May a little bit of orange detailing at the corners, just to make the colors pop a little more?


(The concept and layout are mine, but Kavi did the original teapot pencil sketches that I worked from, and added the shading to my final versions. She also helped me tweak the tea lines. :-))

A Nice Weekday Meal

This was a nice weekday meal. Start with Vietnamese-seasoned-sausage from the Girl and Goatceries, wrap around skewers, grill (I did it on a stovetop grill pan), turning to brown all sides. Delicious drizzled with chili oil, accompanied by fresh veggies, pickled onion and peppers, and a little leftover rice and chicken w/ green beans.

The kids loved the sausages, and I loved the combination of different kinds of elements on the plate.

Some Want All of Them

Shipping out the flash sale treats from last week. It’s particularly nice shipping out such an assortment of books — Bodies in Motion AND Perennial AND The Stars Change AND Feast. It makes me feel like my eclectic book-writing-choices aren’t completely ridiculous. There are readers who actually want all of them. πŸ™‚

I would’ve gotten them out on Saturday, but we had v. frustrating printer issues, and for a while, were thinking we might need to buy a new printer, because it was super-blurry. Wrestling with a recalcitrant printer is not a fun way to start Saturday morning.

But we got new toner and Kevin tried to clean what he could clean, and it’s printing much better now, so I think I can print the postage safely. Whew.