Getting Your Art On: From Casual to Work

This is the first excerpt that shows the first day of class for my C Levels.  I’ve stated elsewhere that it only took a hundred thousand words to get to this point, and it’s a truism as the hundred thousand word mark was passed while writing this excerpt.  Also, this excerpt comes from the shortest scene in Chapter Eight, which ended up exactly sixty-nine words short of three thousand.

And since we are finally into classes, now would be a good time to actually see the schedule that Annie and Kerry are going to carry through 2013 and 2014.  Here is their class schedule:

Because you know I have it.

Because you know I have it.

This excerpt takes place in the very first class on the very first day of C Levels: Introduction to Art.  You know this is one of the classes that Annie and Kerry are taking because it’s in bold, and any class that isn’t in bold are the classes but the other C Levels are taking.  I don’t have it marked but the Monday afternoon class for Annie and Kerry is study hall or additional elective period for everyone else.

A few things to point out here: Individual Cross Training is the personal sessions that Annie and Kerry use last year to cross train each other, with Annie showing Kerry sorcery and Kerry showing Annie transformation magic.  Now it’s been formalized as the time they need to use to get together.  Also, Annie’s time with Helena learning Advanced Sorcery has become formalized as well.  It should also be noted that since there cross training class actually takes place the day before their learning what they should be cross training, it’s a given that they are probably showing each of these magical moves before they get to that time.

Thursday is a bit of a wild card day for them.  Normally they would have the entire day off, because neither are taking regular Formulistic Magic or regular Spell Casting.  Instead, they’re getting shanghaied by Helena to do minion work in A and B Level Sorcery.  This isn’t going to be an every week thing, which means they will get some downtime on Thursdays.  Or maybe they won’t, because Thursday morning is also A Level Transformation Magic as well as B Level Spell Casting, so there is a distinct possibility that if they are slinging dark magic on Thursday mornings with Helena, they could be doing minion work for either Jessica or Wednesday.

Lastly we have the Friday afternoon class: Special Astral Training.  This is the class that Deanna told Annie she was going to teach, and this once again takes up some free time the kids could spend together.  Annie at least gets Friday mornings to relax while Kerry is off in Advanced Flight Two, and both kids are pretty much guaranteed to have their Tuesday mornings free, though that is also the same time Wednesday teaches Basic Spell Casting to the A Levels, so they could find themselves getting roped in the minion work there.

In short, the only free time may have guaranteed are Saturdays and Sunday afternoons, and once racing season starts in October, Kerry can pretty much kiss is free time goodbye as far as Saturday afternoon is concerned.  This is about as wicked a schedule as anyone at Salem has ever undertaken, and you can bet the kids are going to be watched closely for signs of burnout.

Today’s the first day in art class, and even though we’ve encountered Professor Matthias Ellison in the last two novels, we haven’t actually seen him at work.  Well, that’s all about to change–sorta.  Because first I need to get a few rumors of the way…


The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)


The twenty-four students who made the C Level of the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning began wandering into Studio #1, on the north side of the first floor of the History and Arts Building, at least ten minutes before eight. The majority of the students were unsure what would happen in this class: the synopsis in their travel packages stated they would develop their “artistic talent”, but said little else.

Upper level students told a different story: the C Levels would learn to sketch and paint, and they would learn various methods for doing both. They also had wildly varying opinions on Professor Ellison. Some said he was far too laid back to the class and didn’t really seem to care if you learned to draw or paint well. Others said that he could be a pain in the ass and would often badger selected students to improve their work or get out of his class. Two E Levels from Mórrígan related a story that was known to many in the school: that the year before he become so frustrated with one of the then C Levels attempt at painting that he pushed the student back from her canvas and Fireballed it into ashes.

After dinner Kerry and Annie asked Penny, Alex, and Jario if that particular story was true and all three not only confirm that it was, but gave the name and coven of the student: Maritza Iglesias from Blodeuwedd. Alex stated that after the incident Maritza was so distraught by the incident that Professor Ellison needed to have someone come out from the hospital and take her back to the Great Hall so she could “rest”. Penny said it was the damnedest thing she had ever seen and as soon as Maritza left the room Professor Ellison acted as if nothing had happened.

After hearing all the stories Annie and Kerry found it difficult to believe that this was the same person that they had not only known for two years, but who seemed to always treat them with the utmost respect as well as showing a great deal of interest in their work. There were a few incidences in the past where, while preparing for Ostara, Professor Ellison would come into where they were working and critique their work, and each time this occurred he always gave positive reinforcement.

Though as Kerry indicated, having him come in and see what they were working on for a presentation at the Ostara Festival was far different than being in the classroom where the professor had to evaluate them based upon the school’s established seven proficiencies, and it could be that the Professor Ellison they knew as a mentor was far different than the Professor Ellison they were about to meet as an instructor.


It’s not unusual for these stories to circulate.  After all, the only exposure Annie and Kerry have ever had to Professor Ellison has been during their time preparing for Ostara, and it would make sense that the last thing the art and music instructor wants to come across as is and out-of-control prima donna.  He wants kids relaxed and confident, and he can’t do that if he’s raging out and throwing fireballs.  At least I can say the words I ever had an instructor do in any class I took was throw chalk around the room when he couldn’t get his point across.  Though I do seem to remember one teacher tossing all of his books into the trash and stocking out the room for five minutes–


Studio #1 was a bit like the room used for class in the Transformation Center: it was a large open area filled with work cubicles, though the cubicles themselves were more areas his dimensions were taped off on the floor and within those dimensions set a large table, a comfortable swivel chair, and a low supply cabinet.

Annie was familiar with this layout, as it was very similar to the private studios she had used in this building and in the Auditorium while working on her paintings and drawings for Ostara. She also noticed as they entered the room that there was a placard with the names on the top of each desk, and that Kerry and she shared adjoining workspaces.

The students were still settling into their workspaces when Professor Ellison entered the room from another entrance in the back. He was dressed in khakis and tennis shoes and topped off the ensemble with a light blue polo shirt, giving some credence to descriptions of him as being “laid back”. He carried a tablet with him—something that all instructors of Salem did—but rather than hold it or place it on his desk in the corner of the room, he levitated it and wrapped in enchantment around it which kept it just off to his right at all times, so that no matter where he moved the tablet was in the same spot in relation to him.

It was only after watching him for a few seconds that Annie realized she had never seen Professor Ellison craft magic—and based upon the look on Kerry face, it was obvious he’d never seen the professor craft, either.


The laid-back art instructor:  they even act that way at witch schools.  And why didn’t they have art at Hogwarts?  Hell, they didn’t even have math, which makes you wonder how the hell any of them could balance their checkbooks.  Then again they didn’t write checks and all their money was gold, so how the hell did they go into a chips shop and get lunch?  Or get groceries?  Ah, that’s fiction:  my kids are in the real world.

Tomorrow we get the professor’s opening statements to the class–and as you might imaging, he’s quite passionate about his field…