When You Cosplay From Your Soul – AKA Realm Makers Costume Decision Angst!

EEEEEP.  I am beyond excited to go to the Realm Makers conference for the first time this year!!

Along with all the awesome lectures and learning experiences, Realm Makers also has a costume banquet (and a Nerf War!!).  I am seriously counting down the days.

But the costume banquet means…deciding on someone to be for the night.

Initially I chickened out and said I might just dress nicely for the dinner and not wear a costume.  Then a cosplay-loving friend set me straight. 😛

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Very well then. 😀

The trick is – I’m so horribly picky!

Not only do I want the costume to look good, and be relatively inexpensive and easy to pull off, but it’s also incredibly important that it be “very me.”

I didn’t fully understand what that meant until I’d gone through several ideas and found the common thread between all of them.  In order for a costume to feel “right” for me, it has to tap into some deep part of my own identity.  I must have a personal connection to the character or concept I’m cosplaying.  If I’m going to dress up “fake” as someone else, it has to be congruent with who I am as a person!  I need that personal connection.  I can’t just pick something because it looks cool or because they’re a favorite character.  The deep personal meaning is of utmost importance.

I have the feeling that this is true for most people – that whether we like it or not, and whether or not we intend to, the costumes we choose say something about our souls.

Personally, I’m intensely intentional about it.  And maybe I’m just overly analytical, but this kind of pickiness makes it really hard to think of costume ideas. 😛

Eowyn’s a character I feel pretty strongly connected with, but pulling off a costume for her would be complicated and/or very expensive.  (Not to mention I can’t bring my sword on the plane.  That makes it about half as exciting to be her, haha.)

Another of my favorite characters ever, Homura Akemi (Puella Magi Madoka Magica) doesn’t look anything like me.  I doubt I could pull her off convincingly, and even if I did it would require me to make or buy a complex costume, as well as wear a large, uncomfortable wig over my own copious hair.  That’s a no-go.

Finally a stroke of brilliance hit – I could go as Athena!

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I’ve loved Greek mythology ever since I was a child and read the D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys.  Athena was always my favorite.  She wasn’t typically involved in the stupid erotic hijinks of the other characters in the pantheon.  She was goddess of wisdom (supposedly one of my spiritual gifts), warfare (I’m all about spiritual warfare!!) and the arts (how perfect is that??).  And her symbol is the OWL, my favorite animal!!

I thought for sure this would be my perfect cosplay.

Then I bought myself a helmet and it ended up being…way too big.  I had to awkwardly perch it on top of my head, where it was in danger of toppling off any minute.  And that really wasn’t what I was going for. 😛  I pictured myself balancing a helmet on my head all evening, along with an unsteady owl perched on my shoulder, and with that my mental concept dropped from “epic” to “goofy.”

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The idea of being Athena soured on me – maybe I’ll tuck that away for another year.

For awhile I toyed with the thought of being Princess Leia, in her Ewok Village dress.  My hair looks almost exactly like that, and Star Wars was my big childhood fandom.

But her dress was too complicated.  I didn’t want to undertake a sewing project that complex within the next ten weeks, with all the other jobs I have on my plate.

Then, the other night, I was scrolling through Pinterest when I noticed some fan art of the Maximoff twins.

I was suddenly struck by ALL THE FEELS.

I forgot that Wanda loses her twin brother!!

I felt an instant kinship with her at that realization – because of my emotional experience last year, when I wrote a short story in which my protagonist was actually my dead twin (that’s a very complicated tale…).

Writing that short AU story jumpstarted a lot of creative inspiration for my actual book.  Without that odd writing experience, my real trilogy wouldn’t be where it is now.  Furthermore, it was a very spiritually transformative experience that God gave me right before I needed it most.  It seems fitting that my cosplay draw on that aspect of my personal history. :)

Not only did I feel an emotional connection to Wanda over the lost twin thing, but her costume is pretty cool.  AND it would give me a great excuse to buy a red leather jacket, like I’ve wanted to for a long time…

Admittedly I don’t know much about Scarlet Witch – I haven’t even seen Civil War yet.  Bad Marvel fan!  (Actually, just a busy Marvel fan with four kids…BUT it turns out that my husband and I are finally seeing it tonight!!  Yay!)

I wrote this post a couple of days ago.  At this point, I may or may not have a final decision on what to be for the Realm Makers banquet. 😉

But no matter what I ultimately choose, it’s going to have to come from my soul, even if only I can see the connection.  It will be something I relate to on a deep emotional level, something I am trying to share about myself, even as I show off a favorite fandom.

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Have you ever cosplayed?  What is your rationale for choosing a character or concept to portray?  Do you feel like your costumes say something about your soul?  I’d love to hear about it. :)

Simmer Starters – May 21, 2016

Our Respectable Sin – Laziness (David Prince) – Hard-hitting words here!  “We have come to believe that the reason we work is so that we can rest. Work in this way of thinking is a necessary evil, and that is too often the story we tell ourselves. But thinking in this way turns God’s work and rest rhythm completely on its head. Biblically, we do not work so that we can rest; we rest so that we can work.”

Beware of ‘Trans Movement’ as Patriarchy in Disguise (Pia de Solenni) – This! “Yes, some individuals suffer from gender dysphoria, but I am very hesitant to say that their struggle gives them the right to identify with the sex of their choice. As a woman, I cannot concede that being female simply means that one wears makeup, sexy lingerie, and a hair-do.”

Six Ways to Self-Edit and Polish Your Prose (Kristen Lamb) – Good self-editing tips to consider.

Why Referring to “Screen Time” May Not Be Helpful (John Charles Dickey Dyer) – A thoughtful article showing how there are different uses for screens, some more beneficial than others. It lists several categories of thinking “that can help us think more deeply about how we’re using our happy little glowing rectangles.” 😀

How To Write Faster (And Why Maybe You Shouldn’t) (K.M. Weiland) – K.M. Weiland presents a typical formula for becoming a bestseller, and then explains why the formula might be a good or bad idea for you to follow.

This is a Jar Full of Major Characters (Time Machine? Yeah!) – Great metaphor illustrating why it makes a huge difference to write diverse casts of characters into our stories.  This really stuck with me – good food for thought!

Simmer Starters – May 13, 2016

Since I missed my Simmers last week I had a lot of saved links to choose from!  There are some really good articles here. :)

Don’t Let Your Girls Grow Up To Be Moms (Gretchen E K Engel) – Don’t be turned off by the provocative title of the post.  There are really important things to say here (and they are things I intend to tangentially blog about in the near future).  “What happens when your daughter dreams of motherhood but is faced with its impossibility? What if she’s dreamed of marriage but finds herself alone?”

Why We Should Jettison the “Strong Female Character” (Alastair Roberts) – Very long but well worth the read.  “Within the kickass princess trope lurks the implication that, to prove equality of dignity, worth, agency, and significance as a character, all of a woman’s resolve, wisdom, courage, love, kindness, self-sacrifice, and other traits simply aren’t enough—she must be capable of putting men in their place by outmatching them in endeavors and strengths that naturally favor them, or otherwise making them look weak or foolish.  Herein lies a tragic failure of imagination that weakens both men and women.”

How I Gained My First 1,000 Followers on Twitter (Brianna da Silva) – Good Twitter advice be here.  I love Brianna’s tweets for her humor and encouraging advice – she’s definitely a good account to follow, and to get advice from on how to use Twitter.

Real Men Love Strong Women (Paul Maxwell) – “The real question we need to ask is: Do we want women to be weak? And the answer must forever be, on the basis of Scripture, ‘May it never be.’  Strong women are as vital as strong men to God’s purpose in the church.”

How Indie Novels Can Beat $4 Coffee and Chase Joy (E. Stephen Burnett) – This is a continuation of E. Stephen Burnett’s ramble against the “buy books and support indie authors” style of marketing – here he offers some great, positive marketing ideas.

Interview at The Writing Train!

I got interviewed this week! 😀

The other day I connected with Benjamin Thomas of The Writing Train, through Twitter.  He asked if I would be his first interviewee for a blog series with authors who have abandoned a WIP or are working on an unfinished WIP.  (If that description fits you, get in touch with him about the interview series!  He has contact info at the bottom of his interview post.)

It was a really fun set of questions – thank you, Benjamin!  I’m honored to have been interviewed, and I hope this series is an encouragement to other authors on their writing journeys. :)

You’re a writer; so what’s your story, or what inspired you?

Inspiration: I’ve been writing since I was very small – I really don’t remember NOT being a writer!  I’m inspired by my own life and the many stories I’ve imbibed over the years, as well as the vivid visuals from my own imagination.  As a child I wrote my stories down on paper, before transitioning to using the family computer.  I’ve pretty much always had “irons in the fire,” and have gone from one story to the next over the years (not always finishing the first one before I move on!).

To read the rest of the interview, click here!

Simmer Starters – April 29, 2016

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Parchments (Mike Wittmer) – WOW. Did you ever wonder how much it cost Paul to send one of his epistles?  I was pretty astounded…

Three Dollars (Adam4D) – As usual, insightful and convicting webcomic fare from Adam4D. I really enjoy his comics but I’m not sure I’ve linked to them before on my Simmers!

Make Your Protagonist Special (Janeen Ippolito) – “Make your protagonist special. Make them different. Give them that weird hair color or that weird superpower or that weird, inexplicable fascination with toaster ovens. When you stick them in those impossible situations, equip them with some kind of special-ness to be able to handle that situation. Not at first, of course. Growth comes over the course of the plot. But don’t leave a protagonist with nothing to work with at the start.”

Aphantasia: how it feels to be blind in your mind (Blake Ross) – An fascinating article (caution: language) by a man who discovered that his brain didn’t work quite like other people’s brains do.

Die to Your Flesh and Live (Jon Bloom) – One of those articles I didn’t “enjoy”…but really needed to read. 😉  “When it comes to resisting the powerful demands of our weak flesh, the Bible describes it as a kind of dying. That’s because our deceived, corrupt flesh believes our life will be happier if we gratify it. Denying it can feel like dying to something life-giving.”