One of my hobbies: Plants that eat bugs.

I've always been fascinated by carnivorous plants. Venus flytraps, sundews, bladderworts, pitcher plants. All of them. The strange behavioral cross between plant and animal, the mysterious fragility, and tons of attitude. I've always thought of it as a pretty amazing thing that these plants exist, I suppose in the same vein as being impressed by jellyfish (they have no brain...but they hunt? what?)

Sundew, venus flytrap, sundew.

It was only in the last few years that I actually started acquiring them. Right now I have two sundews, and 5 venus flytraps. I'm probably about to order a few more sundews, because they're a. gorgeous and b. truly amazing at totally decimating fruit flies in the summer months. Seriously, right now the larger of the sundews has about 20 fruit flies it's eating (thanks to a bad batch of bananas that doubled as a cruise liner for the pests).

particularly villainous sundew, in the colors of house lannister. Not a coincidence, I'm sure.

Sundews manufacture a very sticky dew that entices insects with its sweet smell and taste. They fly in, land for a snack, and are stuck like fly paper. The leaves of the sundew curl around the insect, and bam. Food chain.

Venus flytraps are the most well-known carnivorous plants, with their dramatic jaws and quick closing motion when hapless prey climbs inside. They're really interesting to watch, and all the venus flytraps in existence herald originally from the swamps of Eastern North Carolina. 

Vermillion flytrap! Lovely.

Vermillion flytrap! Lovely.


The plants can be tricky to keep alive, being very picky about the quality of their water and soil, but I've had good luck with them fortunately. In keeping with my usual fascination with slightly macabre, predatorial themes, I'm looking forward to getting the newest additions soon.


JRR Tolkien, fantasy, and a simpler life as inspiration

I am undoubtedly not the first person to think of Middle Earth as a place of refuge from modern hustle and bustle, technology, and the minutiae of modern life. In fact, JRR Tolkien himself viewed it that way; the Lord of the Rings trilogy was in many ways written as a response to the industrialization of the Oxfordshire surroundings he loved so much. This harkening for more simplistic times is something that resonates with many of us in the modern age.

Rivendell by Alan Lee


Sometimes when I'm heads down in coding, I've spent too much time gaming, or I'm just exhausted from the most recent infuriating 24 hour news cycle tempest in a teapot, I find myself reading the Sagas of the Vikings, Lord of the Rings, or losing myself in the rich and incredible illustrations of amazing fantasy artists like Alan Lee (who also was responsible for much of the aesthetic of the movies) or Brian Froud. Unsurprisingly, my places of solace have also trickled irretrievably into my own artwork and hobbies. 

Nazgul by Lee. Look at that beautiful gestural line work in graphite! The Nazgul speak deeply to the reptilian fear of the unkown and threats in the night.


This need for simpler societal rules, a commune with nature, and a black and white moral code draws me back again and again, as does the reflection in the artwork associated with this lore of elegance, muted colors, and well-executed simplicity. My personal theory is that this resonates so deeply because much of our ancestral history ("our" in this case being humanity) had much more in common with that sort of environment than the modern, too quickly fabricated one. There's a part of every human that seeks out the wind in the trees, a crackling fire, and staring at the stars and wondering about our origins. Rising with the sun, modeling our lives on harvest seasons, and protecting our loved ones from the darkness beyond our doorsteps. I think this essential calm reflection is ever harder to find (and one reason I am very much enjoying living in the country again). 


Warmth, firelight and solace: Another Alan Lee Illustration


Do you find yourself detaching from the modern world? What environments do you seek, and what stories resonate in your heart? I'd love to know.