#RoW80 – May 11th Check In

Headed to the library on Monday. I needed to renew my card and I, shamefully, hadn’t been there since they finished their renovations. My laptop’s screen is on the fritz, so I took an old-fashioned notebook and pen with me. Over coffee and lemon cake, I wrote the beginning of two of my additional scenes. Beginnings are half the battle. I also came home with 6 more books to read. One thing I do love about public transportation is the slow pace of it. It gives me lots of time to read while waiting.

I’m on track with my edits, as of yesterday. I suppose it’s going well enough. Yesterday was rough. I was behind, and the change in weather (or not, you never know) set off an arthritis flare up. The fatigue is the hard part. I took breaks throughout the day, set up the basics for women’s league, read a bunch, and pushed through my edits. Juggled May travel plans. Didn’t get any queries out. Something had to give.

Today. Still tired. The body is a bit creaky. Went out and played disc this morning. Sorted out some league problems. Haven’t hit the edits yet.

On Monday, I read an article about the possible correlation between depression and overgeneral memory. I’m somewhat dysphoric and, in a particularly gloomy period of my life, there are events I’ve completely forgotten. That’s troubling, especially troubling as a writer. The common saying is "write what you know." What if all you know is vague? So, I’ve started doing morning pages again, using Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind as a guide and trying to be as specific as possible with my exercises. I’d like this to help me with my writing and maybe help me with my mood too.

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Fiction & Inspiration

 won a Nebula last night (novelette category) for “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast". Yay, Eugie! Go read!

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Chapter 5, pt. 1 of Pas de Chat is on the ‘net. I’d love it if you’d give that a look too.

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A post by Safetycomfort has been going around my corner of the Twitterverse. It’s an interesting exercise so I thought I’d give it a try.

Magnetic Attraction Analysis 101

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is: What am I drawn to? Plenty of people are inspirationally challenged – not sure of what lights their fire. Others are so selective about what floats their boat that not much new can get past their preferences.
Whether you’re confused or highly particular, curiosity is a form of power. Use it.
What are you attracted to? Make a list.

  1. Space travel/exploration, especially manned – the technological ingenuity *and* the curiosity and bravery required to get it done.
  2. World building, when all the pieces finally click together and it looks like a "real" world.
  3. The concept of original sin. It’s the ultimate before/after. Especially Milton’s realistic "before."
  4. Hummingbirds. They’re cool little suckers!
  5. Rainbows. Especially the small ones that appear in a random patch of clouds. Random beauty caused by optics.
  6. Fairy tales/myths. Hiding kernels of truth in metaphor and analogy. Can be enjoyed on both levels.
  7. Realizing that many behaviors make up for deficiencies.
  8. Imperfect physical features.
  9. The ocean, waves crashing.
  10. The prairie, wind moving through tall grass.
  11. In ultimate frisbee, zone offense or defense that is ideally played.
  12. Gray pallets. Orange pallets.
  13. Good lyrics/puns/turns of a phrase.
  14. Grand unrealistic illicit romances.
  15. The got-away-with-it heist.
  16. The concept of true neutrality. The concept that "good" may be as harmful as "evil."
  17. Saxophones in rock/industrial music. Great bass-lines. Male vocals. Violin concertos.
  18. The sheer quantity of stories in the world.

What’s on your magnetism list? Now ask yourself what’s so interesting, or soothing, or sexy about the things that you gravitate towards. Go with the first thing that enters your mind, no matter how silly or grandiose it may seem.

Causation; nothing happens randomly. Beauty in systems. Wrapping ‘truth’ in stories. Bravery & curiosity. Subtle subversion of the sacred or normal. Something seeming like something else. Contrast. Playing with notions of good and evil.

Being aware of not only what we are attracted to, but why we’re attracted to it, gives us access to the most tender and creative places within ourselves. If you put your finger on the magnetism, you can attract more of what you want into your life.

I’m not sure if I entirely buy the concept of "magnetism," but it’s never a bad thing to keep in mind the things that give you a little thrill. Working on projects that are exciting, that can be made exciting, is better than working on something that holds no interest.

Friday Flash: The Moth Chatter Lily

Like last week’s Friday Flash, this is an older piece that I took a new look at. I think I wrote it for an anthology of imaginary plants. It does have connection to Weordan, though the concept has been transposed to "the real world." Try as I might, I couldn’t find a way to wrap a plot around it.

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The Moth Chatter Lily

Liliopsida, Liliates
Liliacea, Mordre zea 

In the light of day, the Moth Chatter Lily appears, in form, similar to other species of lily, with pale pink, sinuous petals that are nearly transparent.  The sepals are noticeably smaller, darker in color and fibrous with a nearly thorn-like quality.

At night, the petals and sepals of the lily glow substantially due to luminescent chloroplasts.  The magnitude of a large bed of Moth Chatter Lilies can approach the brightness of a 60-watt lightbulb.

Originally found in the rocky isles and bluffs of the Greek Islands, the Moth Chatter Lilies have been recorded further south than many species.  Lately, the lilies can still be counted in the wild in remote areas of Greece and Italy.

The Moth Chatter Lily differentiates from most species due to its extensive and specialized rhizome.    The underground horizontal stem often forms bulbs midseason.  This is due primarily to the attraction moths have for the lily.

In the past, the Moth Chatter Lily was seen as a ‘pest’ species.  In addition to their unsettlingly bright quality, Mordre zea has two qualities that make them attractive to moths of every type.  The first quality is their luminescence.  The second is the form of vegetable alcohol that is fermented in the petals and sepals of the lily.  The moths greatly enjoy feeding on the petals and seem to derive a manner of drunkenness from them.  The moths then begin their own stridulations, common in many forms.  The subsequent ‘chatter’ can be very intrusive. 

Lately, the Moth Chatter Lily has come into favor.  While the light and alcohol attract moths that often eat too much of the plant and kill it, many of the moths also intake too much of the substance and in effect overdose on its effect.  If one takes into account population ratios, the lilies often kill off far more moths than the moth kill lilies.  Many farmers are now closely guarding their beds of lilies as they are used as an organic pesticide.

Still, many are wary of the ghostly glow of the lilies and the accompanying chatter of the moths.  Some have postulated that these lilies tricked Greek sailors into inadvertently damaging their ships on rocky shoals when the lily’s lights and the sound of the moths were mistaken for civilization.  Other tie their presence to the ruins of Babylon, siting the plant as part of the hanging gardens; their luminescence and  winged cohabitants part of the reputation of  "unclean birds" and evil spirits in the area. Regardless of superstition, the Moth Chatter Lily is banned by most homeowners associations.

Friday Flash: Wicked Witch for Hire

Wicked Witch for Hire

This wand is made out of a unicorn’s horn. No, truly it is. But I know what you’re thinking. Gnarled wood.  Or maybe twisted metal, after you’ve picked it up and felt its weight.  A dumb, blind dwarf with crushed hands had made the wand, you might think.  All his anger, frustration, and fear had been forged into a twist of gross metal as ugly as his broken fingers.  That’s what you might think. But you’d be wrong.

It’s not an easy object to obtain, so you’ll understand when I quote a pretty high price for my services.  I had to dupe the tender heart of a pure virgin, and she had to lure the beast into a starlit meadow.  In the calm of night with only the hoot owls and the crickets, she slipped on the bridle as I advised her to do.  I told her that her true love would appear to her then!  She was naïve enough to believe it, or maybe desperate enough.  Her gold hair was only a decade away from graying, you see.  A wrinkle already graced her smiling mouth.  No time to lose searching for her lover when magick can bring him to her.

And who to take the horn from the creature’s head?  Only the most pious priest.  It was so easy to convince him that the creature was evil, better dead.  The virgin with hair of spun gold was harder to convince of her part in my plan.  At least she had mind enough to question for two seconds.  But not he.  He was easy.  He was young and strong enough to pick up an axe that was made by the crippled hands of a blind, mute dwarf, and he swung the weapon easily, never asking if the creature was of God or the Devil.  He met his Maker soon enough.  No one draws many breaths after slaying a unicorn.

A unicorn’s horn.  Yes, believe it.  Once this wand had been a spiral of purity, white and pearly.  They say that all the moonlight a unicorn is ever exposed to is stored within that horn.  Touch an old sick woman with it and she becomes well and young.  Graze the cheek of a maiden with it and she will be with child.  Courage to warriors, and wisdom to kings! 

That’s what they say.  But they are wrong.  The world demands balance.

To fix the water wheel, don’t you think it’s fair that suffering go into it, if not pain from your own broken backs?  To make the ground fertile again and produce food for your child’s groaning stomach, doesn’t some life have to be given? To purify the well, what sort of purity do you think it takes? 

The decision is yours.  To live easily, all you have to do is pay the price I ask: love me.  I am a wand-wielder for hire.

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This is my first foray into #FridayFlash. It’s an older piece, reworked to a better conclusion. Thanks for giving it a look!

Pain.  I’ve been in pain too much lately.  My joints ache.  Rusted, slow.  An ache that sits in the bone.  Every movement puts stress on the joint, pulls it in a way that is normal, yet is not wanted.  What will my hand become in the years ahead?  My grandmother, with her fingers gnarled and bulbous, denies having any arthritis.  Yet, she doesn’t crochet anymore.  Will I have the where-with-all to keep my figured moving?  I tape my middle finger sometimes when I play frisbee.  Such a bad sport for me.  Sometimes I wish I could tape the rest of me to keep it from hurting.

And the migraines.  Many migraines lately.  All proceeded by the Las Vegas paisleys, all flashing neon.  Or blobs of bright darkness that blot out my vision briefly.  Until the spike enters my head.  A pick crushing through my  skull into the right side top of my head.  I can stave them off with caffeine, the same caffeine that I probably causing them lately.  I’m drinking a lot of caffeine, though I’m not sure why.  What am I doing with my time that I feel the need to be stimulated?  Why am I not stimulated already?  

“Crazy” thing?  How crazy does crazy have to be?  I’ve always wanted to learn how to climb, but is that really crazy?  With the advent of rock gyms, it seems to have become rather mainstream.  Still, doing something that involves heights always seems a bit crazy to me.  Alas, as my rheumatism gets worse and my hands get weaker, climbing is out of the question.  I’d like to learn to shoot more.  And I’ve also been slightly interested in archery.  The hand strength deficit would probably hinder both of those as well.  I’ve never been interested in other “craziness.”  Sky diving?  Bungee jumping?  Hang-gliding?  No interest.  My strange-oid career plan has always been  practical special effects and make-up.  I’ve always appreciated the art of such things.  Alter ego-wise?  I’d want to be a con.  To be eloquent and manipulate people.  To be dexterous and able to pull off slight of hand.  To have few moral qualms about it all.  Maybe alter-ego is the wrong way of putting it.  Alter-id is more apt.  There’s so many things about a con man that I wish I could be more like.  But, I am me.  With clumsy tongue and hands.  A really bad liar and innately scrupulous.  Not *bad* things, surely.  But a bit boring.

Working.  The pressure has been dropping and my hands and feet hurt.  The above is my free writing for the day.  As much as typing hurts, writing with a pen is so much worse.

Writing Prompt:  An old storyteller.

“I think I’ve been cursed.”  As soon as the word ‘cursed’ reached his own ears, Hil was overcome with the embarrassing corniness of the notion.  He didn’t believe in that sort of stuff, and he didn’t expect anyone else to either, even this ancient skin-and-bones woman with her watery hag eyes.  “Well, something like that.  I guess.”

She tilted her her a fraction of a inch to one side.  “What is your name, boy?  The one your mother gave you will do.”  Her voice was strong.  Hil expected it to be the product of too much coffee and cigarettes, but instead it seemed to melt like fine chocolate.  This voice could sing, if it wanted to.  Jazz, blues, opera, a capella gospel, and then proceed to out-Whitney any R&B vocalist out there.

“Hildur,” said Hil.  How long had it been since he said it out loud?  He hadn’t even gone by it at his mother’s funeral.

Silence slipped through the dusty room, and all the while the hag’s gaze didn’t waver.  “Good name.  Strong name.  You’d do well to use it.  You’d avoid more of the problems you have if you did.”

“What do you mean?”

She shrugged, a motion that brought the rattling of leaves in autumn to mind.  “Our names are the seeds of our stories.  Hildur is honest, strong, though he will have to fight many battles in his life.  Is that you?”

“Not even half, mum.”

“See that is where your the mainstay of your problem lies.  Hil.  That’s what you go by, isn’t it?  Shortened.  Dishonest because a man of your position shouldn’t have such a name as Hildur.  And you’re full of pride to think you can divorce it from you.  Less pride, Hildur, and more honesty.  You are cursed, and that’s what will break you free of it.”