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Archive for September, 2011

Story and music are the sacred architecture at the heart of the universe; all of deity works within these transcendent underpinnings.

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The woods are never silent;

The forest is not dead.

And now I hear the voices of

The trees inside my head.

 

The birds are singing clearly;

The beasts are gathered here.

I hear their voices whispering

Their secrets in my ear.

 

The winds above are echoing–

The breezes call my name.

Between the boughs of fir and elm

Sparks inspiration’s flame.

 

Alder’s here, and rowan,

And oak, and ash, and thorn;

See them as they sing and dance,

In joyous, dew-blessed morn.

 

Sweetly race the squirrels;

I watch the fleet deer roam.

And as I lean back ‘gainst a tree,

I know I have come home.

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Bardic work

I’ve been writing now for thirty-seven years.

Given that a fair number of people — even the ones I only know online, who have never met me in real life — know that I’m 44 years old, I’m used to facing a certain amount of skepticism when I make this statement.  But it’s the truth.

I don’t say that I’ve been published for 37 years; that would obviously be fiction. (Heh.)  But I started reading when I was three; my mother taught me using flash cards.  Our family couldn’t afford pre-school for me, and she wanted me to be ready for kindergarten.  I loved reading, but I was irked fairly often when I couldn’t find books or stories I found entertaining enough.

Writing for myself seemed the logical answer to that problem.

I started with poetry; I wrote my first poems when I was seven.  A handful of them were “published” in my second-grade “lit magazine”.  I use quotation marks liberally here; the lit magazine was typed up by my teacher, Xeroxed, hand-stapled, and handed out to every student’s parents.  I’d thought those words long gone, but my mother — pack-rat that she is — saved them, as she’s seemingly saved almost everything I showed her at that age.

Short stories started following the poetry when I was 14.  By the time I was in high school, I was writing non-stop — in class (much to the annoyance of most of my teachers outside of English classes), after school, on weekends.  It became enough of a pleasure for me that my parents included it in the “fun stuff” I wasn’t allowed to do if I screwed up and got grounded for it.  (Reading, too – my parents were excessively strict, even given the time and society they were part of.)  My high school’s literary magazine was a higher-class version of the one from second grade; typeset on the same machine the school newspaper was, printed in multiple, bound by machine.  The quality of the works inside it was generally higher.  At that age, I very much wanted to be the female Stephen King, and it shows; all the works I had published in “Shining Stars” between sophomore and senior year are horror, short little vignettes of 1 -3 pages with Twilight Zone-esque twists at the end of most of them.

I discovered fanfic in high school, too, and wrote thousands — possibly tens of thousands — of pages of it in conjunction with my best friend.  Our preferred venues were original Star Trek; Star Wars; Indiana Jones; a pastiche sword-and-sorcery world that meshed the characters and settings of Conan/Red Sonja, Ladyhawke, Krull, Hawk the Slayer, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Labyrinth, and Legend; and the X-Men.

Even at that age, I was leaning heavily toward magical and occult themes; I wrote a 100-page fantasy novelette that borrowed heavily from Greek and Norse mythology, which at least one teacher found enjoyable, and the poetry I was still writing at that time dealt with mythological themes quite often.

I finally got professionally published in 2008, working under contract with White Wolf, an RPG company, on new material for their game Scion, in which the players portray characters who are the sons and daughters of the ancient, pre-Christian gods. The original material showcased six pantheons: the Egyptian, the Greek, the Norse, the Loa of Voodoo, the Shinto deities, and the Aztec gods.  The new material expanded that line-up, offering three new pantheons for players to enjoy: the Chinese, the Hindu, and the Tuatha de Danann.  I was hired to co-write the material on the Irish deities with a full-time writer they employed whom I had originally friended on LiveJournal. The book ended up being called The Scion Companion, and it not only taught me a lot about working under deadlines and with strict guidelines, it also ended up being deeply spiritually satisfying for me.  Although I know plenty of pagans who disdain RPGs as “silly” and “shallow”, I know just as many who first encountered deities other than the Judeo-Christian one through the material on pagan deities available to players who wanted to play clerics in D&D, or through swords and sorcery movies (such as Clash of the Titans), or comic books like Thor.  Pop culture is an incredibly broad and diverse field with a wide array of opportunities for people to first “meet” the gods and take an interest in them, and if something as shallow as a comic book or role-playing game is the ember that sparks an interest in paganism and leads a person to look further into the subject — with more historically accurate research material — then I’m happy to be part of it.

That opportunity led to others with the company, including the chance to work on two books that are part of their Changeling: the Lost game, which deals with the Fair Folk in a much more historically accurate way than Disney films and Amy Brown art.  Given the ties that the Fair Folk have to the gods in a number of myths and legends, I was once again delighted to be helping create a potential “gateway” introduction to paganism for new players.

I was also beginning to see publication of my poetry in a number of pagan venues at about this same time, and in 2010 I had my first professional publication of a short story (“professional” in that I was paid for it, with cash).  This year, I started writing a recurring nonfiction column on herbalism for the Troth’s magazine Idunna; I have two columns under my belt so far (the second comes out in the next issue), and plan on continuing to write them for the magazine as long as they want to continue printing them.

I feel very heavily called to bardic work; some of the deities I work with most closely are considered patrons of poetry, music, and drama — Brigid, Apollo, Bragi, Dionysus.  I intend to start up the Bardic Guild study program as soon as I have finished my Dedicant pathwork and been confirmed in its completion.

Below is a partial listing of the writing I have had published in the past; it emphasizes works done on or with pagan themes.

 

 

Work on the Tuatha de Danann pantheon, published in The Scion Companion, published by White Wolf Publishing in 2009.

Work for Swords at Dawn and Dancers in the Dusk, books for the Changeling: the Lost RPG line, published by White Wolf Publishing in 2009.

My poems “Lady of the Cedars” and “The Death of Actaeon” are in the anthology Unbound, published in May 2009 by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. (This anthology also contains my short story, “Three Arrows”.)

My poem “Pomegranate”, is in the anthology Jabberwocky 4.

My poem “Persephone’s Dilemma” won the Naukrateia writing contest held by Neos Alexandria.

My poem “Herne,” was published at Eternal Haunted Summer in their Winter Solstice 2009 issue; it has since been accepted for publication in the Horned God devotional anthology Hoofprints in the Wildwood, by Gullinbursti Press, which was published in 2011.

My poem “Odin’s Call” was printed in issue #81 of The Troth‘s magazine Idunna.

My poem “In Utgard-Loki’s Hall” was printed in issue #83 of The Troth‘s magazine Idunna.

My poem “A Solstice Carol” was published in the December 2010 issue of the Chicago Pagan Pride newsletter and can be found here (scroll almost all the way down to the bottom).

My poem “Gudrun’s Lament on Her Deathbed” was printed in issue #85 of The Troth‘s magazine Idunna.

My poem “Apology to Hekate” has been printed in the anthology Bearing Torches, published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

My story, “Washerwoman”, was accepted for publication in the anthology The Phantom Queen Awakes; the anthology was released by Morrigan Books in February 2010.

Three essays on herbalism — “Herbal Pest Control”, “Herbs During Pregnancy: Do’s and Don’t’s”, and “Urban Herbalism”, plus an interview with the High Steward of the Troth, Phyllis Steinhauser (the head of my Kindred) — for the upcoming Troth Almanac (currently untitled.)

And of course, my poem, “Invocation to Brigid at Imbolc”, which is slated for publication in Oak Leaves #55 (barring space issues).

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Yay!

Amazon.com tells me the copy of “Sacred Fire, Holy Well: A Druid’s Grimoire,” that I ordered, has shipped.

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