“In the Witch-Tower”, by Alfgeir Starkhendr

Miaërowyn:

No words.

Originally posted on Freya: The Gold Thread:

In the Witch-Tower

Well I know Thee, Wandering One

Wending where Thou wilt

Yet when Thou goest by My gate

Gladly I will guide Thee hither

No grinning girl will I send out

To greet Thee, but I Myself

Will bring Thee the brimming brew

Sweet mead to moisten Thy mouth

And a kiss sweeter still for Thy soul

Come beneath My mighty boughs

Grimnir, come within My gardh

Greatly giving Thy three gifts—

Runes and Redes and Roaring Ale

So eager am I under Mine eaves

To welcome Thee warmly

Wide-armed and willing

Let Me lead through leafy bowers

Bring Thy steps to stony stair

Rising to My twisted tower

Tarry not amid My trees, but

Free from fetters, fearless follow

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Christmas is a cannibal!

Miaërowyn:

I cannot agree more with Jo! We went to the local big box store last night, and the dancing Santa, those terrible meaningless Secret Santa type gifts were shoved in your face, along with the entire store pushing it’s Christmas crack. I tried as best I could to drown out the music playing on the speakers. It is not Yuletide yet, it is not time to think about this. And people wonder why I don’t enjoy shopping.

Originally posted on Strip Me Back To The Bone:

For those of you not in the know: my day job is in retail. Now, thank the gods this is not a mall or department store retail job. Despite that, we do a brisk business for Christmas, and our merchandise planning reflects that. I know that the retail season is months ahead of the actual calender year, and to a point that makes sense, right? You don’t want your shopping options to only expand come mid-December, not with the way we all have to budget and plan and save, and stuff. (I mean, it would be one thing if these dates were fixed, right, because then there’d be the whole year to consider what was coming, but since they’re not . . . oh, wait.) Now, I know it seems like every year it gets worse and worse – though this year, I think at least at the place I…

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Week Two of NaNoWriMo

Welp, this week was a lot harder. I’m now only under a thousand words over the daily goal. The difficulty seemed to ease up over the past two days. Le sigh. It was a slog, I tell you, a slog. I blame part of it on hormones (which usually make me unfocused around my moon time), and an icky stomach ache over the later part of the week (which I believe to be a wheat intolerance issue which has just sort of popped up to say hello… kind of like when a couple years ago, I was suddenly allergic to bananas. FML, I  WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU, FRENCH BREAD!!!). Now I’ve begun excluding wheat things (I realized this comes right before baking season too….) and will check in about a month if wheat is going to keep being a jerk to my tummy.

Despite a kind of crappy week in a few areas, I have made good progress on my Yule gift knitting! Except now the store I got my yarn from doesn’t currently have the specific colour of yarn I need to finish one of my items. Yep, this is just not a great week for me, I have angered Someone, perhaps, or it could just be a time of things not going so well. Oh well, c’est la vie, non?

So I am posting a little excerpt, smaller than last week’s. This week has definitely brought me to the point where I was like “What the hell am I doing with these characters? Where the hell is this story going?” yeah, I lost sight a bit. Probably another thing to add to the list of reasons why my word count died. But I shall not dwell on it! I have big plans for this story!

Without further ado….

I stepped up to them, solemnly, and spoke before the closed gates.

“I wish to speak with my ancestors, the blood of my blood. I seek one who knows the spellsongs to protect, to keep evil from harming. With your permission, Hel, I wish to enter,” my voice rang out, echoing back to me in a distorted manner, as though many echos, or many people, repeated what I had said at arhythmic intervals. I stood before the gates a few moments until my voice’s echos turned into whispers then silence.

The large metal gates creaked open before me, not so much for need of oil, but the sheer weight of them rubbing against their hinges. I stepped through, and entered Hel’s realm. It seemed changed somehow, though I could not detect why I felt that way. I entered the gardens, a long pathway running from the gate to a massive hall in the distance. It seemed the same since last I had come.

The same twilight blanketed this land, the same hush and peace could be felt. The plants that grew here seemed healthy, blooms could be seen wherever the eye fell. The mounds were undisturbed, the lanterns that revealed small patches of the gardens glowed their dim greenish light. Yet something was different. Something was wrong.

That Is All

Though today was a rougher day of writing (took me too many hours to admit to get to my final count of 1899), I just wanted to share this song. It kinda sums up what my writing brought me. Yes. Assume there will be yummy sexiness in my novel, I’m very, very much a proponent for sexuality being sacred, being very much tied to ecstasy and those delicious mind-opening circumstances that happen when things get a little crazy, and of course, sexy.

I reiterate, Odin is in this story, how could it not get a little sexy?

 

Also, thank you, LA for introducing me to the Civil Wars <3

 

Week One Finished NaNoWriMo

It’s been one week of NaNoWriMo so far, and I have been on a role! After having successfully completing last year’s run, I already know I can write a lot, there is enough inspiration in me to spew forth All. The. Words. Why I chose the word “spew”, I do not know. Let’s move on.

I always do this to myself, but I have forgotten how much writing (among other creative endeavours) speaks to my soul. It may take a while for me to get into a scene, but when I hit the groove, I am basically going into a trance. And since this story of mine involves the Gods, I am also listening and feeling whatever direction they want me to go in. It’s been such an amazing exploration for me so far, letting this story unfold, letting things develop and present themselves in my writing.

I’m really enjoying describing sensual experience, the way my MC observes and experiences the world and people around her. This is especially true when she straddles the worlds. The one thing I’m still struggling a bit with is the characters, writing them complexly without making them contrary. Each day, I have ideas about all the potential paths the story could travel if my characters were “this way”, or what if they were a little more “like this”.  It’s only been yesterday and today that I’ve kinda begun to accept a more solid personality for them. I’m not worried about it not meshing with the earlier stuff I wrote though, that’s what editing and rewriting is for! Plus, keeping track of what I write every day in a plot map.

As much as I had planned in October, a lot of the plot has changed. The main plot points are still firmly in place, but the story itself has gotten so much darker than I originally planned it to be, but hey, Odin is one of the main characters, how could it not get dark and dangerous? Not to mention Who else will be popping in.
I’m definitely not regretting planning out as much as I did, it allowed me to begin exploring early ideas sooner, and for a few weeks before beginning. But it definitely seems like I need to sit down to write to see what’s actually going to happen.

Welp, I said I’d maybe post excerpts, and here is the first one! If you like it, let me know! If you think it’s a big pile of poop, also let me know! ;)

She was dressed as shieldmaiden now, a terror to see. Her hair seemed to flow as if in water around her, creating a copper glow as the sun shone through each strand behind her. Her eyes were furious, and their gaze bore into my very being.

It was as if every human part of me was being stripped away, my hopes, my fears, my loves, my memories. Each piece revealing the bones of me, the bones of her. I couldn’t have screamed if I had wanted to, she had taken my voice, my eyes, my ears. In a moment that lasted but seconds, and an eternity. I was before her, not seeing her or any of this world, just knowing it, viscerally. All of my flesh burnt to ashes, but I could feel those ashes coming back to me, reconstituting, rebuilding. My flesh clean, pure.

When I was whole once more, I stood before her, the rage in her steeled, she pulled out a short blade, sharp, and slid the point from the base of her palm to the tip of her middle finger. She took my right hand and did the same. She then grasped my hand with her own, and then I felt her moving through me as I moved through her. A flash of what must have been my ancestors so very long ago, being with these Gods, laughing with them, fighting alongside them, calling them kin.

I saw their marriages, their lovemaking, their children. Their blood flowed together, for generations. Both sides strengthened by the bonds, humans connected to all that was beyond their world in Midgard, to see that though their life was short on that plain, they would be reborn again and again, their spirit immortal. The Gods able to enjoy each day as it came, viewing their long lives with the eyes of a mortal being’s, allowing themselves to not become indifferent and stagnant.

Inspiration

So the first two days of writing for NaNoWriMo are over (actually, I could still want to write later, though I don’t want to burn myself out). Today is also a “longer” day, cuz of daylight savings, you know. Anyway, it’s been pretty great. I have written just about 5000 words today alone (I also wanted to catch up since I didn’t meet yesterday’s goal since we had a family thing).

I love the beginning of things, I am a good starter of projects. My problem is when I’m just over half way through and things seem to dry up and become a slog for me. The well can’t always be full, and that’s fine. And sometimes we also need breaks, which is also fine. But I do know my patterns, that’s for sure, they have become increasingly clear over the last few years, especially as my memory has gone to crap. Ah well… I always endeavour to do better, and am not too harsh on myself if I take longer than I would like.

But back to happy writing things, I am really enjoying writing this. I still have to get a better hold of who my main characters are, who I want them to be and how they need to interact with each other, but the other details are coming through nicely. Some new developments have already come about, deeper plot roots, and some not so nice things that will eventually happen.

Needless to say, I feel inspired, and happy to be finally writing the damned story, FINALLY! After all my planning. Perhaps next time (I may do my own “write a novel in a month” periodically, or at least one other time during the year), I will only start planning one month ahead, instead of two.

I’m also not letting myself get caught on things I know don’t sound like I really want them to, and I just keep plugging. It’s a first draft. It’s going to suck in places, probably the better part of it! Especially seeing as I am not usually a teller of my own stories.

The one thing that has made me a little apprehensive is that I am writing about Gods, the main character must work with Them in order to save Midgard and the livelihoods of all beings of the 9 worlds. No she’s not the sole savior, there are others who are like her (I don’t like the sole savior thing). But back to my apprehension, the character of Odin in my story is so far quite different from what I feel most people see him as, but I do know there will be some shifts from time to time to the “Odin” most know and fear. Alas, I’m just going from what it seems He wants to be seen in this, as a character, and as an aspect of Who He can be. Let’s face it, He can be Anyone He wants, He has but to put on the mask.

There will of course be many travels to quite a few of the 9 worlds, magick, and I already know if I enjoy this story enough, it will move beyond the Norse pantheon. This has been quite a different experience from last year’s, and I’m excited to see how well it goes. I want to know this story, all the details I haven’t glimpsed yet.

An Idea Perhaps

As Saturday is looming on the near horizon, with it the start of NaNoWriMo, I have been thinking I may share some excerpts of the novel I’ll be writing each week. Perhaps. It’s not certain yet, and I know it wouldn’t take me long to post, alas there are also Yule gifts for me to knit, and Elder Scrolls Online for me to play.

Thankfully, I got the game last weekend, so I’ve had a week of an enormous amount of playing, and am starting to wind down a bit on the hours spent in game. I suppose I’m also having a last hurrah of not doing so much before next month comes along. There’s just something about Elder Scrolls though, such great story telling mixed with adventuring, or collecting herbs and materials to make things. It’s definitely something for me to do in the winter months where I will no longer really want to be outside for long or often. Especially if this winter proves to be alike to last year’s!

Since having spent four winters away from regular Canadian winters (Vancouver, you are so strange this way, and lovely), I have a feeling it will be interesting to get used to the entirety of it again. I have noticed that in the spring and this fall, I have experienced a week or two of headaches, which I have assumed is the change in barometric pressure, which I never remember experiencing before, so I guess I just have to continue getting used to the harsher weather changes.

Anywho, seeing as this has been a rambling post, I’ll send it out in the world now with this: next month will be deliciously exciting and frustrating. (All the more exciting for working through the frustration).

Just Be

Just to mark this down to remember it, to let it sink in. Something that has been Said over and over to me when I ask whatever it is I “should” be doing….

“Just be”

That’s it. There’s nothing else other than encouragement for the things I already pursue, and pursue them with the knowledge that the Gods want to be read about, heard about, Their stories made to inspire weather in story or song, to become more and more prevalent in the world. Otherwise, whatever I’m doing now is where I’m supposed to be.

I have a terrible habit of trying to overachieve (only in the things I really love), however in the past couple of years, that has been a hard thing to do, especially when it involves other human people. I often say I would do something, only to not do it. There is usually one big reason why things don’t happen. Home. That is where I usually always want to be, wherever it may be. And when I go out, I don’t want many people around me. Looking in, judging, offering unsolicited comments or advice. That is reserved for people I love.

It has also occurred to me that in not doing things I said I would do, I needed to say no to the things I am just no longer comfortable doing. Sometimes I think I’m selfish, however, I remember that despite making myself unavailable to a large amount of people, doing things that make me anxious or uncomfortable, I am still very much there for the few people I choose to be there for. There are a few I have lost touch with a bit, not of my own will, but sometimes life just happens and things are harder to do from far away than they are when you’re minutes away. That given, I would also still do what I need to for them even with the distance.

It seems very strange to me now that I wanted to be famous (though I think we all do when we are young). I love being onstage, even to this day I would have no problem going up. I would just rather skip all the small talk afterwards. At least with working with other musicians, we can really talk about the nitty gritty of the music, of our parts. But people in general, acquaintances, just don’t interest me.

I’m a hermit, and that’s ok for now until it changes. Everything changes. I’m pursuing creative things, and really, most artists (of any sort) are reclusive. How could we produce things if we weren’t?
So here it is, Mia, you’re allowed to just be. Not only because you’ve been Told, but because it is normal. You are doing enough. You have planned enough to be busy for a good while. You are just gathering your resources to do what you have planned, and actually, things are already in motion. And sometimes, though you hate the uncertainty of things, and the not doing of things, you just need to take the time to reflect, to soak in what has happened, and allow things to move forward naturally. So just be.

Story Weaving Once More

So, the darkness has lifted quite a bit and I’m excited and engaged in things again. If you’ve seen anything from me on Twitter in the last week, you’ll know I’m preparing to give NaNoWriMo another whirl this year (that’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who don’t know about it yet).

I’ve spent the last week employing the Snowflake method, albeit a slightly abbreviated version of it, to pre-plan my novel this year. Last year’s was a write by the seat of my pants go, and while I really enjoyed doing it that way, just allowing things to unfold from the pits of my mind, I did end up planning things out as I went along anyway. So I figured I’d try it with a plan in place this time, although it’s not going to be super rigid and allows me some flexibility to play around with some things.

So today, I’ve been making a list of the scenes I’d like to write, and by doing that, I’ve discovered something else that will be unfolding within the story, which I am very happy about. I have to say, how this one is developing, I’m really quite excited to just read the story as I write it. I want to know what is going to happen, I want to see the relationships develop, I want to see how these characters are going to struggle and learn. I just want to know the story already!

I’ll divulge a little and tell you that it’s kind of a blend of fantasy, alternate history, and romance. Gods are involved, and I’ve already got some expansion into more than one pantheon in mind for a subsequent novel. I’m even thinking it may turn into a trilogy, you know, because that’s just what you do, and I can already see where I can take the essential story and expand into a greater and greater view of the world.

Needless to say, I’m anxiously awaiting November to begin so I can dive right into the deep end. I’m also upping the word count I’d like to achieve this year. Last year I did the standard 50,000, and this year, I’d like to up it to 60,000. We shall see what becomes of it!

Wading Through

I’ve been quiet lately, yes I have. And that doesn’t just include posting things here in my little bit of webspace. Late in August, I was hit with a very big wave of depression. It seems to come when summer comes closer to its end, like clockwork, for the last three years anyway. Before then, I believe I can say other than having the occasional blue day, I hadn’t really had much depression since I was a baby teenager.

Last year’s bout lasted until March, the year before that was a long one, but it was partially because of a something that happened to me. I was very scared of death, constantly seeing my own in every situation I would be in, and I didn’t trust myself very much. Which has kind of carried over in the subsequent years, though I am no longer very scared, just more accepting of whatever  happens will happen. That I have very little control over anything that could occur to take me from this mortal life. It’s an interesting place to be, and a large part of the reason why I cocoon so much.

The other thing it has done is make it very hard for me to keep the connections to people alive and well. Although I will put the caveat that that is not totally up to one side of the equation, it’s for both to keep it thriving. However, like I said, I am very much cocooned, physically as well as socially. For a little while, the only person I could stand and actually smile with a few weeks ago was the Man. I had no patience for anyone else, without any particular reason. I would find myself being short, and not paying attention to what anyone said, and getting angry without reason when people would talk with me. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to be alone.

I will say that the not paying attention also has something to do with the fact that just for the past year, I’ve had quite a bit of trouble with focus and memory. The spring and summer saw an improvement to that, but it all went backward when the wave crashed in on me. All I can hear is my own thoughts, like I have no control anymore over how well I hear the things that happen outside my head. I don’t even notice it’s happening too until someone has said the bulk of what they want to talk to me about. It’s frustrating, to be sure, but in the past few weeks, after I stopped allowing myself to feel sorry for myself, I’ve been working through it, contemplating and reflecting on what’s going on for me, who I am now.

I wrote a while ago about being in a resting period from music, and it seems like I’m being forced into a resting period from trying to be everything else that I could possibly be (I’m ever changing after being so sure of what I was going to do with my life for the bulk of my years). I’m being pushed into being the Hermit, and I don’t want to squander or lengthen this opportunity to really just sit with myself and figure some stuff out, to work out some things that have been boiling under the surface.

Sometimes it felt like I was going a bit crazy. But that has only persuaded me to really pay attention to what’s going on in my head, to examine even more closely than I did before the thoughts I would have, the impulses and very reactionary without forethought sort of place I was and sometimes am in.

 

So I’m posting this here for myself, to place a marker for the point I am at right now. A lot has changed for me in the past few years. While I don’t really mind the depression, this is not a place I would like to stay forever. Or even for very much longer. Each day is a little better, but I know there will be times when I go right back down, and I’m just going to take that as a sign for myself to stop. To nurture myself. To be quiet. To be still. To contemplate and reflect. It seems to be a repetitive occurrence when I become blue, that shortly after I start paying attention to the thoughts that float by, really and truly listen to them, figuring my shit out, I come back out, slowly, but every so surely. I just have to listen. I just have to take the time to wade through the wounds that accumulate. I just need to let myself heal once the wounds have been cleansed.