Tag Archives: September

Not dead, and Mythgard is holding a writing contest!

Not dead. Just run off my feet and as soon as I post this, I’m running off to do more work! I will catch up on important matters, here, as soon as I can, so thank you all for your patience!

I found out through my good friend, David, that the Mythgard Institute is holding a writing contest for microfiction!

Behold: Almost an Inkling Writing Contest

Is that great, or what? It’s short notice for the first entry, but then, how long can 333 words take? (Unfortunately, for me, the answer to that can be years…)

I have submitted an entry, of course, though I don’t think it’s up yet. It’s under my own name, so those of you who only know me as Jubilare might not be able to figure out which one it is unless you just happen to know my style that well. But that is how I want it! If you don’t know which one is mine, you can’t be tempted to favor (or disfavor) it because of me. So much the better.

Voting is here: Almost an Inkling Writing Contest

So go forth and write, and even if you don’t want to do that, then at least have fun reading and cast your vote for your favorite nibblet of fiction.

’till anon, be well!

 


On Myth: “An Experience in Criticism” by C.S. Lewis, Chapter 5

I’m struggling with that old demon of doubt that tells me I can’t write worth crackers… stale, moldy crackers, at that. It whispers that every effort I make is doomed to failure, and I’d better stop trying. But I am not ready to throw my pen down yet. I may, one day, find that I wasn’t up to the task, but if that day comes, I want to have tried my best.

My friend, David, posted this series on Lewis’s “An Experiment in Criticism” a while back. He did not finish it, but this is the last installment he did complete. Reading it has helped me a bit, reminding me that a) I am not alone in my reactions to certain kinds of stories, and b) that stories, themselves, may be more worth telling than the writer knows.

The Warden's Walk

Unfortunately, this will be my last post in Lewis’ book, at least for the time being. Why? The book is due back to the library tomorrow and I’ve already renewed it twice. But weep not, my friends! For this is one of the more important chapters for understanding what people like Lewis, Tolkien, and MacDonald (hereafter grouped together as the Great Trio) meant when they spoke of myths and fairy stories.

You see, it’s so dreadfully hard to define the word myth, in its deepest sense. Obviously we are not using the word to mean merely “an untrue story,” as you hear the Mythbusters use it. We are using it closer to the cultural sense: the Greek myths, the Egyptian myths, the Scandinavian myths, the Chinese myths, and etcetera. And yet, not completely in this sense. The Great Trio tend to accord the kind of story called myth a reverence…

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Put it to a vote

I am planning to post a few new mask pictures soon, but I am also wanting to post a creepy story snippet next month.

My problem is that I have more than one to consider.  So I have decided to consult you-all. Both are pieces of larger works, and so are not fully explained or resolved, but hopefully both are entertaining, and I certainly want feedback on both.

Option 1.  A short vampire-tale in a more classic-style and with a more medieval setting than usual. There is no mopey vampire wangst, and no sexy-vampire, just, hopefully, and undercurrent of creepy.

Option 2. A less-classic, more “New-World” based snippet that is also, hopefully, creepy. It is shorter and stranger than option 1, and not a monster-tale or ghost-story, exactly.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I do not aim to write horror. I don’t like blood and gore, and I don’t like things that leave me feeling frightened. I do, however, like stories that give me a creepy chill, or a feeling of suspense. It’s a fine line, and varies from person to person. Also, it is especially hard, I find, to judge where, in my own writing, the line falls. Finding that line is one of my current goals.

So, vote away! And if you want to vote for something else, I suppose that is fair, too, though I may not listen.


Dose of Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant–
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
.
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
.
Or every man be blind —
.
-Emily Dickinson
.
I’ve been thinking about this poem a lot lately, especially in terms of storytelling. Most of the time, I think, truth is best served straight, but I also think that Emily is right. Sometimes “the Truth must dazzle gradually or every man be blind.” It raises interesting questions.

Liebster Award!?

lieber-award

My friend David, of The Warden’s Walk, has given me permission to steal the introductory paragraph from his Liebster Acceptance Post. He puts it better than I can:

I’ve been given the prestigiously obscure Liebster Award, in which one blogger with fewer than 200 followers writes trivia and answers to random questions about themselves, and then tags a bunch of other bloggers with fewer than 200 followers to write more trivia and more random questions. My eternal thanks to Lady Blue Whimsy for sharing the fun with me!

As far as I can tell, this serves 2 purposes. It spreads the word about obscure blogs to enjoy, and it is entertaining. Thank you for my nomination,

The rules, according to Lady Blue Whimsy are these:

1) Expose my readers to the randomness of my soul.

2) Supply my nominator with answers to her queries.

3) Impose this honor and task upon others deemed worthy.

4) Notify said worthies.

5) Demand said worthies to expose the randomness of their souls.

6) Give thanks.

Being the contrarian that I am, I shall undertake these tasks in reverse order. Therefore:

Thank you, Lady Blue Whimsy, for nominating me and providing such an entertaining post in the process! I am glad and flattered that you enjoy my blog enough to have thought of me.

As for making demands of my nominees, I cannot. Instead, I merely thank them for creating blogs that I enjoy, point others towards them, and give them the opportunity to have fun with this award if they so wish! If they do so, here are my questions for them (and for any other friends or fellow bloggers who like the questions and want to answer them):

5 Questions for the worthies!

1. If you could walk into a book and make a home there, where would that home be, what would it be like, and what sort of people/creatures would you try to befriend? Specifics would be fun and you can give more than one answer if you like.

2. Name a food you have read about, but never eaten, that you have since wanted to try. It doesn’t have to actually exist. What, in the reading, piqued your interest?

3. Do you have a favorite plant? If so, what is it and why do you like it so much?

4. What fictional character is your favorite hero (male or female), and what villain really scares you and why?

5. There is a crossroad at your feet. Behind you lies the path back to home and hearth (wherever that might be). The road directly ahead leads to a city, blue in the distance, settled among hills and on the edge of a bright inland sea. To your right lies a steep climb into old, low mountains clothed in forest and fern. To your left is rolling farmland that eventually flattens out into broad plains dappled by the clouds overhead. You can go as far as you like on any of the roads (even farther than you can see), including back home. There’s no wrong answer, only the where and why.

Consider them notified, as of your reading this (though not as of my typing it. What an odd idea that is to me!)

Now we come to it. Many whom I would love to link have already received this “prestigiously obscure” award from others. I’m not sure what the rules are on re-awarding, therefore I will stick to ones who, as far as I know/remember, have not received this one yet.

So without further ado, my nominees are (in reverse alphabetical order)*:

Technicolorlilypond – Photographer, scientist, crafter, writer and avid reader. And I do mean “avid.” This Renaissance Woman puts me to shame with the number of books (many of them dense and difficult) that she consumes.

StrangeFigures – I suspect this lady has more than 200 followers, but my feed only says 163, so here she is. Sharon is bold, witty and not afraid of a good debate. In fact, she seems to know very well that no one can grow or learn unless they are challenged. She certainly challenges me.

SoughingofPines – She does not post often in this venue, but perhaps some day she will. At any rate, she is a dear friend, an excellent writer, a kind heart and she plays the cello. Also, martial arts. You have been warned.

TheOldBookJunkie – He is a junkie for old books! In his posts on literature, culture, and society he often  challenges me, which is something we all need, and I enjoy our discussions and debates. I think and hope he does too.

Grimmella – A contrarian, like myself. Entertaining and sometimes acerbic reviews as well as other Fantasy-themed posts. She is not afraid to say what she thinks, and I have spent many a happy hour exploring her library of posts. I bet you will, too.

DreamingofOtherRealms – A wonderful dreamer, indeed, and a writer. She is also an inhabitant of New Zealand, which is exciting to me because I have yet to visit any place in the Southeastern Hemisphere. I am always fascinated by the impact location has on an author’s work.

BekindRewrite – And here, I cheat (you knew I would). Bekind definitely has more than 200 followers, but her blog and our discussions have been great inspirations to me, so I must include her anyway. At the least, I want her answers to my questions. If you are a writer, in any stage of the process, Bekind’s blog has useful resources, researched advice, writing exercises and inspiration-fodder. She’s also usually up for a good discussion or debate. Go there!

*If you are not on my list but I read your blog, know that either you have too many followers (and I didn’t want to cheat too much), you have already received this award (that I am aware of) or I was unsure whether or not you would appreciate the attention (the latter applies to family and a few non-internet friends).

Now to what you all have been… or rather what one or two of you might possibly have been waiting for. The questions!

LadyBlueWhimsy asked these questions eight!

1. If you could date a fictional character, whom would it be?

Hmm. Do Hobbits date? If so, Sam Gamgee, though only if Rosie did not exist. Also, I would prefer to be a Hobbit in this scenario.

2. If you could travel either forwards or backwards in time, which one, and why?

Backwards, if only because Forwards would take the fun out of the fun parts and make me wince in anticipation of the rough stuff to come. I’m a worrier by nature, and it is a lot harder to be worried about the past. I’d prefer to be an observer, also, rather than active in this scenario.

3. Vanilla, chocolate, or Superman ice cream?

What is Superman ice cream? Um… Chocolate. And Vanilla. In that order. *holds out hands expectantly*

4. If you had to name your children after your family and relatives, which five names would you pick?

Colleen, Harry, Austin, Wynn and Jenny would be my top picks, I think.

5. What one type of food or dish could you eat every day for the rest of your life?

Fresh Blueberries.

6. If you could be a fictional character, whom would you be?

Who am I most like, or who would I most like to be? I shudder to answer the first possible question, but as for the latter… I want to be Bilbo Baggins. I had to answer either a Hobbit or a Dwarf (yes, I know, my single-mindedness can be tiresome) and Bilbo has the best mix of adventure and happy ending of any of them. What a lucky chap.

7. If you could only write one story in your entire writing life, which would it be?

I suppose I will know if I write it. Right now there are three very close to my heart. One that I plan to finish but not publish is a picaresque following the sometimes-intertwining stories of a thief, several monks, a couple of dragons, a wizard and a deceased were-jackal. Competing for this place is also an epic-length quasi-epistolary story about a vampire. This is partially my rebellion against all things Anne-Rice-to-Stephenie-Meyer, and partially a way to deal with the fact that this particular character is very talky in my head. If I ever manage to write the thing (it intimidates me greatly) it ought to be a different kind of vampire story. And then there is my current focus, which is about three people who have lost their homes and with it their identities, and their adventures in a ghost-story world.

8. If you could change the ending to a favorite story, which would it be?

Well, stories with endings I do not like are usually not my favorites. Endings really can make or break any story. That said, I rather enjoyed the Harry Potter series, but the ending bothers me, A LOT. The one thing I was waiting for the entire series, the revelation that the main characters’ opinions of  Slytherin House were not justified, never came. Oh, some people will argue with me on this point, and even J. K. Rowling seems to have a higher opinion of her Slytherins than she communicated in her stories, but my opinion remains. They were painted with a wide brush, and the end left them with much the same image as the beginning.

And now, apparently, I am supposed to expose you all to eleven random things about myself. Consider yourself warned.

1. I was very excited when I learned that I have Welsh ancestors in my very mixed pedigree.

2. I name my cars, usually according to their make. My first car was Mononoke, my second was Kagura, and my third and current one breaks from tradition. Though it is of Japanese make, its name is Fred. This is mostly because my friend’s new car is named Ginger.

3. While I love Spring ephemerals, my favorite time for flowers to bloom is Autumn. Fall-blooming flowers give the air of being tough as well as bright, and they remind me of someone singing at the close of day.

4. My favorite smell is a tie between woodsmoke and partially-broken-down leaf-litter. You know, that dark stuff that looks like dirt, but doesn’t to stick to your hand and smells earthy and sweet?

5. I am immune to Poison Ivy and allergic to Juniper. Nevertheless, Juniper is one of my favorite trees and I planted several in my yard.

6. I am scared of camel crickets. They aren’t dangerous, but I can’t quite convince my instincts.

7. Despite their being usually full of the above-mentioned crickets, I love caves. I am also fond of elevators and closets. I am not a big fan of the Great Plains or deserts, though I am theoretically glad they exist.

8. I have learned to love reading my Bible. It used to be a chore (and one I would frequently skip), but now it seems to read me as much as I read it, and the interplay makes it truly fascinating.

9. I hate getting my hands dirty, but I love clay, gardening, cooking and various other crafts, like papier mâché. This causes a lot of internal conflict.

10. I hate being pigeon-holed. Every time someone tries to categorize me, my first instinct is to fight their assumptions.  On the flip side, I try never to assume I know the whole of any person. Mystery and uncertainty give birth to doubt, and doubt keeps us active, inquisitive and humble.

11. I love words, but perhaps my favorite one is “gloaming.”  …”Parsnip” is pretty fantastic, too, as is “mountebank.” I had better stop now.

And I believe that is it! I hope you found this massive post entertaining, especially you, LadyBlueWhimsy!

P.S. I meant the part about anyone who wants to try their hand at the five questions I supplied! I would love to hear your thoughts on them, even if you are not among my nominees.


Lord of the Dance (which has nothing to do with pseudo-Irish dancing)

The question we want to ask about Man’s ‘central’ position in this drama is really on a level with the disciples’ question, ‘Which of them was the greatest?’ It is the sort of question which God does not answer.

If from Man’s point of view the re-creation of non-human and even inanimate Nature appears a mere by-product of his own redemption, then equally from some remote, non-human point of view Man’s redemption may seem merely the preliminary to this more widely diffused springtime, and the very permission of Man’s fall may be supposed to have had that larger end in view.

Both attitudes will be right if they will consent to drop the words mere and merely. Nothing is ‘merely a by-product’ of anything else. All results are intended from the first.

What is subservient from one point of view is the main purpose from another. No thing or event is first or highest in a sense which forbids it to be also last and lowest. The partner who bows to Man in one movement of the dance receives Man’s reverences in another.

To be high or central means to abdicate continually: to be low means to be raised: all good masters are servants: God washes the feet of men. The concepts we usually bring to the consideration of such matters are miserably political and prosaic.

We think of flat repetitive equality and arbitrary privilege as the only two alternatives- thus missing all the overtones, the counterpoint, the vibrant sensitiveness, the inter-inanimations of reality.

From Miracles, by C. S. Lewis

Firstly, I am not sure “inter-inanimations” make sense in this quote, but I can find no evidence of it being a typo. There are days when it would be so convenient to send a deceased person a letter and get an answering one, but I guess Lewis deserves a break from correspondence for a while.

Third and lastly, there is a lot in here to unwind before I figure out how much I agree or disagree. Miracles is, by far, the most dense and difficult of Lewis’s works that I have encountered. I am acutely aware that I am not a scholar on his level, which seems to be the target audience. Still, I appreciate the challenge.


New Blood

And as promised, I will now post some pictures of my more recent masks. These range from around 7 years old, to a few weeks. Most of my work lately has been in clay, but I am contemplating some more mixed-media creations, especially a new shell-mask a friend has commissioned me to make for her house.

Bandit1

I wanted something with horns. The picture is a little tilted. I may try to correct that when I have time.

I wanted something with horns. The picture is a little tilted. I may try to correct that when I have time.

My newest shell mask. The starfish is a metal broach.

My newest shell mask. The starfish is a metal broach.

One of my favorite of my newest masks. I may have to keep her. Clay, glass and copper leaf.

One of my favorite of my newest masks. I may have to keep her. Clay, glass and copper leaf.

I had square glass beads.

I had square glass beads.

The second shell mask I ever made, intended to be more masculine than the first one.

The second shell mask I ever made, intended to be more masculine than the first one.

this one is wearable, and I once scared some trick-or-treaters with it. The one who didn't run got the most candy.

this one is wearable, and I once scared some trick-or-treaters with it. The one who didn’t run got the most candy.

Papier mâché, grass, persimmon caps, moss and glass.

Papier mâché, grass, persimmon caps, moss and glass.

One of my mother's favorites, though I have never quite been satisfied with it.

One of my mother’s favorites, though I have never quite been satisfied with it.

This one is a memorial to a tree of mine that had to be cut down.

This one is a memorial to a tree of mine that had to be cut down.

An early mask, though obviously not one of the original set.

An early mask, though obviously not one of the original set.

My parents brought me home a horseshoe crab shell. It makes a fragile but impressive mask.

My parents brought me home a horseshoe crab shell. It makes a fragile but impressive mask.

Lattice clay work, nail-polish and Siberian Iris leaves.

Lattice clay work, nail-polish and Siberian Iris leaves.

This present for a friend was a long time in coming. Sometimes it takes me a while to find a mask that I think will really please someone.

This present for a friend was a long time in coming. Sometimes it takes me a while to find a mask that I think will really please someone.

Ah, blue oni. I made this one out of clay, all for the fangs.

Ah, blue oni. I made this one out of clay, all for the fangs.

One of my more creepy creations, made from papier mâché, lily leaves, gold paper and a lion pendant.

One of my more creepy creations, made from papier mâché, lily leaves, gold paper and a lion pendant.

Created to celebrate the wedding of a friend.

Created to celebrate the wedding of a friend.


Niagara Falls

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

Meet the cutest bit of graffiti I have ever seen and enjoy the first of what promises to be four posts on my Canada trip. I am sorry for the delay, but I had to sort through all of my pictures.

So, the story is that my friend, who has been to Canada before but never to Ottawa, wanted to make a trip this summer, and she invited me along. Her plan was to fly to Niagara on the U.S. side, take a taxi over the border, spend the day in Niagara Falls and take a train the next day to Ottawa.

Our taxi-driver was Kurdish, and when he learned that we came from Nashville, which has a large Kurdish community, he really opened up and we had a good long conversation with him. The border-crossing was much easier (and in consequence much less hilarious) than my last crossing into Canada.

We were dropped off near our hostel where we were greeted, interestingly enough, by a young and very friendly Irishman. The hostel was the most friendly of any I have encountered. The whole staff felt like a family, and were beyond helpful. Once, they even offered to share some chicken wings with me.

The area around our hostel was pretty run-down. I took many pictures of abandoned-looking buildings. There is something beautiful, as well as sad, in urban decay. Below is my favorite shot, with crumbling bricks like moth-holes in a tapestry, and wires like cobwebs.

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

Despite the ravages of economic stress, beauty of past prosperity endures.

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

And as I said above, the people at the hostel could not have been nicer to us. The friendly Irishman, in answer to our question about good lunching, pointed us to a Caribbean restaurant around the corner.  In my opinion, this Caribbean meal, suggested by an Irishman in Canada, was the best food we had on the whole trip. Behold!

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

After lunch, we walked to the falls. As we moved towards the center of tourism, of course, the apparent prosperity of the place increased. We passed many nice-looking bed-and-breakfasts, but I wouldn’t have traded our hostel for them. We also passed a bridge that caught my eye. Oh how I love perspective!

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

Niagara Falls, which I had never seen before, are magnificent and beautiful. For those that don’t know, there are two falls, one on the U.S. side and one on the Canadian side. The U.S. side, pictured below, is smaller and lower, but also more natural in appearance. Of the two, it is my favorite.

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

That is not to say that I do not also love the Canadian side. It is overwhelmingly powerful and beautiful in its own right. The two following pictures are of it.

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

The stormy sky was a great gift for my camera. The rain was overkill, though, as we were wet enough from the “Maid of the Mist,” a short boat ride near the falls. We also walked behind the Canadian falls in tunnels, which allowed us to see them from a different angle.

Sadly, Niagara is also a huge tourist-trap. It reminds me more than a little of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (don’t get me started unless you want a loooong rant). Look below to see what I mean.

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

Photograph by Jubilare, 2012

And no, that chap in the foreground isn’t an escaping ghost (though that would be fantastic!). I merely like to avoid posting pictures of random strangers without their permission.

Despite some frustrations with a bus-system in transition (the day after we left it was set to change) we had a good time. Being me, I grieve for the existence of a tourist trap next to such natural beauty, but tourist-trap culture is at least interesting to me. If you ever travel to this place, I suggest staying at this hostel. I did not take any pictures while on the train to Ottawa, but it was a pleasant trip. Next post will be set in Ottawa itself.


Following Up

Behold one aspect of the awesomeness of my sister-in-law! Sis, your knitting amazes me.

PetuniaLu

Early Christmas

I finally ordered the yarn for these and have been knitting away! The mornings are cool and crisp, and its starting to feel a lot like…well, you know. Not Christmas yet. But definitely not summer any more!

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Victorian Bot?

I hate to do two bot-posts in a row, but I couldn’t just delete this one without sharing. It was posted on Ironic Bots.

Victorian Bot: What i do not realize is in truth how you’re no longer actually much more well-favored than you might be right now. You are very intelligent. You know thus considerably relating to this matter, made me individually consider it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated until it is something to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs great. Always care for it up!

I know, thus considerably relating to this matter of numerous angles of men and women not being fascinated by anything but Girl gaga. 

I love this bot’s  vague attempts to use slightly archaic language.  I anxiously await the advent of Shakespeare Bot, Chaucer Bot, and Beowulf Bot.


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