It’s always a good day when I fall down a YouTube rabbit hole that makes me want to be productive.
Today, I’ve been doing a lot of things. I’ve set a post in the bottom of my brother’s mannequin so we can use it for costume building. I’ve shaped my horns for a tiefling cosplay I’m working on. I’ve glued up part of a gift I’ll be sending as fanart for a show I like. But in the last hour, I’ve been watching Li Ziqi videos, and they’ve been turning the wheels in my mind that are connected to the drivetrain of a dormant project.
I haven’t worked on Rosemary for like, a year. It’s my Post-apocalyptic Botanical Americana (a term I coined myself) small-world personal growth book. It’s about a girl with grit and a world that isn’t ready, but if I’m honest, it’s mostly about plants. Li Ziqi spoke to that part of the project, the part that stops to smell the roses, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Rosemary is about Rosemary, to be sure. Titularity still holds some weight in my mind. But it wouldn’t be a Garrett Robinson project if it didn’t take ample time to wonder what a world with some new set of features would look like, how it would work, how people would live in it. So here I am, watching a woman from Sichuan ramble through woods that I didn’t think could exist in the real world, pickling mustard plant stems and making magnolia blossom pastries and weaving a cloak, from raw wool to finished product.
And none of what she’s doing is a fairy tale. It certainly feels a bit fantastic; she films and edits her videos in such a way as to make them feel magical. But she’s out there riding a horse through the woods and piling plants into a basket on her back for real, which means it’s possible, which means that not only can Rosemary do the same, but I’ve got to let her. If the woods in Sichuan naturally have edible plants in them, my geoengineered protective habitat had darn well better.
I don’t know what point I’m trying to make, except that when people share the beautiful things they do, it can help the rest of us move forward with our own art. So please make beautiful things the way you do, and we can work to let the tide lift us all.
If you want to watch Li Ziqi’s videos, her YouTube channel can be found HERE.