People keep asking for an explanation of what this Gearworld stuff I talk about is.


This is alarming, not because I mind trying to explain, but because it makes me think my blog has hit a point where I need a FAQ or a cast list or something. My life needs a plot summary. God help us all.

To try to explain, however, Gearworld is this…um…setting. Basically it’s a huge surreal concrete labyrinth full of often non-functional stone gears and rusted metal and occasional freaky inhabitants. Y’all have probably noticed that I am not a “fine” artist in the traditional sense. Gearworld’s where all those urges go. Every now and then a painting will emerge from those particular depths and insist on being painted, but…alas…I cannot MAKE it happen. Much as I hate getting all artist-y over the muse, since I am a working artist, and book covers need to get done whether I’m inspired or not…well, Gearworld takes a muse.

I’m not exactly making it up. Not the way that I make up Digger’s world or Lyra’s or Nurk’s. Gearworld happens on this lower level. My exploration of it is like trying to learn about a foreign country from the postcards, and *I* have to paint the damn postcards!

There are no hard and fast rules in Gearworld, except perhaps the one absolute rule of fairy tales.* It’s a fairy tale sort of place, and you know the kind of fairy tales I mean. Bluebeard’s chamber is somewhere in one of the halls. Parts of it derive from visuals of my youth–old concrete WWII bunkers, and some of my mother’s paintings, and the oncology ward of Salem General where my grandmother died by inches when I was twelve, and the Cell, which had a lousy plot but amazing imagery, and I don’t know what all. Some parts of it just kinda came from somewhere else. I sometimes feel like it’s everywhere, under everything, and if I just happened to turn in the right hall and grabbed the right door, I’d find myself inside these concrete walls, like the access corridor underneath everything. (Certainly it lies under all my particular creative worlds, and things occasionally drift in from there and get trapped.)

I paint it whenever I can, but if I try to force a painting, it clams up and slaps me down and I wind up burned out and gloomy.  I tried blogging it, and got so far and no farther…some day I hope to get back there, but I think I exhausted what I knew writing.

I’m a little scared of it.

I love it very, very much.

And if any readers would like to post links to things that explain it better, or art set there, or posts that were particular relevant, please do, because it’s one of those things where other people might know better than me what basic knowledge you need to understand the place. Ya know?

*As Joseph Campbell once said, “Anyone that animals speak to, or offer aid to, wins.”

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