Writing, illness, injury, what more is there to life? — or, an update!

A Marriage of Land and Sea is four plus chapters away from being finished. You’d think that this [and the deadline I’ve given myself] would give me the ooomph to push on through and finish, but I’m finding that the opposite is true. The deadline I’m a bit ambivalent about, for reasons, and my 1k words a day goal has fallen to “well, at least write something.” Chapter 9 is nearly done, and I’ve already jumped ahead to chapter 10, but my writing pace has slowed down because I’ve taken to writing by hand in my story journal, because I want to be in the bedroom with the boyos when they’re in there, and writing by hand allows for more flexibility as far as how I get to position my body. Will I finish the book by May 31st? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll be done, and it’ll be done before the end of June, and I find that I don’t care so much to push on through at the cost of everything else. Meh. Whatever.

For those who do not know yet, our cat Grim is dying. He hails from an ill-fated line that should not have been bred: his elder sister was dead at 6 with respiratory issues; one of his two littermate siblings died months ago from cancer; his da only keeps food down and fur on his body thanks to medication; his mum has digestive and breathing problems, and half the kitten they had were stillborn or dead shortly there after. That four survived kitten hood at all was amazing. He’ll be ten in June, if he sees June. His cancer is inoperable and chemotherapy is not an option. He’s on prednisolone (and has already adapted to taking the pill like a champ. Not as good about it as his da is, but no cat is like Zerk when it comes to taking his meds; that’s an impossible standard that I won’t hold Grim to) which has made his appetite come back. We’re counting weeks on one hand with him. Today is a good day. That is enough for us, because it’s all we’ve got. I’m pleased that I’m still writing — once upon a time this would have me shutting down completely — but I’m not interested in pushing myself to the point of being blind to the needs of those around me. Neech has already become super-clingy and we spend time snuggling. It’ll only get worse.

Also, pain sucks. On the one hand, I feel like this has become my whole life lately, but on the other hand I don’t think I’ve talked about it a lot. Nerves are stupid, and nerve pain takes over lives, I swear. Two weeks ago I started doing some pretty mild core exercises to see if that might help, and it seems to have done so. The week before this past week I had actual moments of pain relief while walking without being on heavy pain medication. Brief, brief moments, but they were there and they were awesome. The pain has improved, in that most of the time what I’m experiencing is burning, tingling, throbbing pain and less of the ‘something is gnawing through my leg’ pain. More than that, I know it’s improving because the quality of un-medicated sleep is improving. I am able to return to sleep after waking up after only a few hours, and that had not been true since November. I suspect that the six mile walk last weekend was too much, and while it never made things obviously worse, my pain has been worse this week, and that’s one thing I did differently. I hobbled a quarter of a mile this morning, trying out a theory that if I got up and walked right away (after the initial stretching) that maybe it would loosen up, since the least amount of pain I am on any given day is when I get home from work. I’m not sure if the theory was wrong, or if it’s one of those the more I do it the better it’ll get sort of things. I do know that it took me fifteen minutes to walk that quarter of a mile, and I cried for ten of those minutes. (There was the reward of getting to see and belly-rub Leo, so it’s still a win, far as I’m concerned).

Physical therapist might maybe still need to be seen, even if I don’t want to. Feh.

Death Sits Here

Death sits here
At our table, served tea and wine and water in our mugs.
He hangs his wide-brimmed hat by the door, places his cloak with our coats in the closet
kicks the mud from his well-worn boots and leans his staff by the door, next to Beth’s.
Our home is as much his as it is our own
We mark our calendar by this mask of the Masked One
When death howls, and when it rages,
when it whispers, and when it embraces
We are not a life at any cost family
We do not recognize death as The End.
Our family is filled with spirits of those once-incarnate
I’ve been haunted by the cries of cats who no longer have throats to voice those trills and chirps
We’ve stepped in well-placed puddles of phantom pee, given to us by a puckish once-Pomeranian
I have warm, happy conversations with my grandmother, dead these last three years
And I’ve met Beth’s gram, who I never knew in life.
We see the boundary, we know it is there, but it a threshold as substantial as our front door
It opens and closes, and traffic passes both ways.
And Death sits here,
At our table, served tea and wine and water in our mugs.

Despite this, impending death reduces me to a child
Tears and pleading and desperation.
Not him. Not yet. Not now. Not like this. Please, please, please.
Do you not love us? Will you not stay your hand?
We’ve given ourselves to this dread god, the Hanged One, the Terrible One,
and our household, too.
But, not him. Not yet. Not now. Not like this. Please, please, please.
I whisper this and catch the words, shoving them down, down into the bottom of my heart, into my stomach, where they churn and burn and writhe.
I stop them, stoppering myself up, as though He does not know, cannot see, will not hear.
Foolish daughter, He is the Far-Seer, and there’s no secret in my heart that He does not own.
I am left with ‘please, please, please‘, and I don’t even know what I’m begging for.

~*~*~*~

edited to clarify: Grim is still with us and as well today as he was yesterday. This is me just dealing with the knowledge that we’re counting down and that he is terminally ill.

Hold them, my God

When the ground is as water, liquid in Your hands, You walk among them. The world around — borders of sovereignty are small lines beneath Your notice as the cries of the suffering call out, in fear and in pain and in desolation. You walk among them, and there is no eye toward infringing upon Another’s space, for You are there in that moment to give what aid You can. I’ve seen You with them, the injured, the scared, the lost, the dying, the dead. I know You compassion. On two legs or on four or more than four or winged, or no legs at all, we are all of us creatures of the earth and children of this great love affair You have with the world. No suffering is too small to escape Your notice, and so I know that You hold them, my God. I know this is not punishment, I know this is not retribution, I know that we are helpless upon the backs of this earth, or, at least, I know it is not Your retribution —

But, hold them, my God. Reach out Your hand and provide them with shelter. Give them strength. Give them food. Help them live and heal and rebuild. May they see your kindness and your compassion, even if they never name it.

Celebrating Passion’s Sacred Dance–and Sexy Today–#MySexySaturday

Jolene Poseidonae:

I interrupt my own writing to announce that Juli D. Revezzo has relaunced her book ‘Passion’s Sacred Dance’. This is a first in a series that I really want to see more of, and now that the ball is back in her court, I know we’re going to! Go check out the trailer. Sacred, divine warriors. Humans in peril. Life upended by the touch of the gods. Yeah, I think some of my readership might be able to relate just a wee bit.

Originally posted on Paranormal & Romance author Juli D. Revezzo:

So, the news, as you may have heard by now, is that our old friend Passion’s Sacred Dance, is returning to the world of…er, books. :) It’s been offline for a little bit, here, but now is returned in a new improved, extensively revised 2nd Edition. It even has a new series name: Celtic Stewards Chronicles, and a stunning new cover.

Passion's Sacred Dance (Celtic Stewards Chronicles), book one

Boulevard Photografica made this one for me, and …what can I say? Gorgeous, right? (Go ahead, drool. I’ll wait. *offers tissue box* I have Kleenex, if anyone needs it. ;))

So here’s my snippet for My Sexy Saturday for this week. The theme was “Sexy Today” which the organizer said could have something to do with an older heroine. Well, I suppose we can throw the hero, Aaron, out there, since he’s so old…

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About Grim…

Jolene Poseidonae:

Once we were eight strong, now we are four, soon it’ll be three. Cats, that is. Through it all our boyo population has remained steady. No longer. We’re enjoying every second with Grim (even if he does wish we’d stop touching his dusty toes while he’s sleeping!) and trying to wrap our heads around our impending lose. With his appetite (temporarily) back, he doesn’t seem sick. He doesn’t *look* sick.

Our joke with him has always been, “Grim Greyling doesn’t ever do anything wrong!” and it’s mostly been true. He’s a clean, fastidious cat who’s never gotten into much trouble. He’s never been a wild hellion like his various sisters, he’s never been big on getting into people food, he’s not clutzy, he’s not impish. He’s mellow, like his daddy, and has always been more interested in chilling than anything else. So now it’s, “Grim Greyling never does anything wrong . . . except this.” This being, of course, dying young. (ish)

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

When you live with a death deity, you get used to receiving input regarding situations where death is a possible (even if unlikely) outcome. For example, when I overdosed Corbie on his heart meds last year, both Jo and I got a very distinct “He’ll be fine” from Odin. (In other words, “He still has congestive heart failure, but he won’t die from this overdose.”) Even though it was difficult to believe what we were hearing while the crisis was still going on, He was insistent on the matter, and even ventured to add that Corbie would survive 2014—which, of course, proved to be accurate.

In cases where there is no such reassurance from Him, we know to prepare ourselves. For example, when Sassy (my 16 year old Maine Coon) began her final decline a couple of years back, He didn’t say “she’ll be fine,” but instead, “I’m sorry.” She…

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Book Release: A Fading Amaranth by Shauna Aura Knight

Jolene Poseidonae:

Support your pagan authors!! Even the fiction writers! (I want to say *especially* the fiction writers, but then, while I love books across the board, fiction is what really nourishes my spirit, so, I would want to say that).

Shauna Aura Knight has a new book out. Go check it out!

Originally posted on The Saturated Page:

To make this clear: This is not my book that’s being released. Shauna’s new novel, A Fading Amaranth, is out in e-book with a print release to follow. I haven’t even actually read the book yet — but I have read portions of it, and I have read her other fiction, and I am so excited about this I cant stand it. I have a small number of obligatory reads to get through first, but this baby has mode to the top of my list once that’s done because, you know, vampires. *rubs hands gleefully*

fadingamaranth

From the blurb: Nathaniel’s been a vampire long enough to grow weary of glamoured seduction, and he’s lost his poetic muse. He meets reclusive artist Alexandra—her telepathy has overwhelmed her for years, and she can bear no one’s touch. However, she can’t hear Nathaniel’s thoughts, and she’s immune to his vampire glamour. During scorching nights…

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Handmade devotional books and much more

Jolene Poseidonae:

I’ve meant to talk about this long before now — Silence is offering handmade, hand bound devotional books. He’s got some up for Loki already (made up of public domain material about Loki) and while that’s exciting (we love Loki here at the Nunnery) hat’s *really* got me bouncing in my seat excited is he’s offering to make hand bound books made up of your own material!

Customized prayer books. Stories that you’ve written and matter to you. A book, bound by hand, with a cover you want, with delicious paper; a book whose content could potentially be created by contemporary polytheist, bound by a contemporary polytheist — this is beautiful. This is exciting. I am finding myself wishing I had more poems and hymns for Poseidon, but you betcha I’m going through what I do have to see what I do want to include and get myself my own copy! Of my own, one of a kind, YAY POSEIDON hand bound book.

You should be excited about this, too. Not only is this project exciting (and I’ve got a journal book created by Silence, so I’m not just guessing at the craftsmanship of his hand bound books), it’s also extremely reasonably priced! Check it out!

Originally posted on Coffee at Midnight Designs:

Finally I can stop teasing you and share the details of my new project. My Etsy shop now has hand bound devotional books for Loki and custom ones that can contain any content you choose.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe Loki devotional book contains an English translation of the Lokasenna (Bellows translation) and the Lokka Tattur from the Faeroe Islands (Borrow translation). The text is printed on premium bright white 24 lb. paper with 25% cotton content. It’s lush, dense, and perfect for such a special volume.

To make this special book accessible to as many people as possible, I have a custom listing where you can choose large print, OpenDyslexic font, and a different kind of decorative cover paper.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI know that many of us struggle to provide for our own material needs, let alone for the specialty religious tools we sometimes desire. To that end, I’ve chosen to set aside a portion of each…

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An Asshole is Stealing from Pagan Authors

Signal boosting because what the fuck is this shit.

Look, it’s basic math. If you’re getting a book that some one stole, you are stealing. If you don’t pay for what you’re getting, and if someone else didn’t pay for it either, it is theft. It’s bad for ‘regular’ people; it’s absurd for those of us in the magical, mystical, occult communities, because there are added layers (I’m assuming) to stuff like intent and energy exchange and all that. Support your artists, your authors, your creators, your teachers. Why is this hard? This shouldn’t be hard.

I’m a writer. I want people to buy my work. I don’t want to turn people off from buying my stuff by being an ass . . . but if you’re the sort of person who might maybe take advantage of pirating ? Please remove yourself from my blog, and forget about my name, because I do not want your kind of reader.

What the actual fuck. Assholes.

On Storytelling, or, Pay Attention Already, you stubborn git.

(Wherein the stubborn git is myself and no one else)

I’ve been sitting at (I thought) chapter 6 on the current WiP since January or February. The goal was to have the whole thing completely finished by March. I’m halfway there, and I love everything about this world, but I haven’t touched it since February at the latest, and in the convening months I’ve started to dread getting back to it. It’s become this huge weight, and this has as much to do with the magic of storytelling as the technical aspects of story telling, which is why it gets to go here. It deal with the spirit of storytelling, the drive, the desire to keep going, and how I keep tricking myself into losing it.

First things first, I do not have 6 chapters done. I have 7 kick-ass chapters and a good portion of 8 finished. The outline has this wrapped up in 14. It’s important for me to be able to say to my internal nay-sayer that I am able to say, “No, I’m MORE than halfway there, neener, now shut up, you liar!”

Secondly though, and more to the point, when I reach that far into a story and the desire to cease writing comes upon me, I really need to pay attention to what that says about where the story is going.

Yes, it’s historically been common for me to go two, three, five, even seven months between serious writing jags. But that hasn’t been true in years, and more to the point, I don’t want it to be true ever again. I’ve word hard to not require that much down time anymore, and I have too many things to write to be able to afford it again. Granted, much of that time I was in some serious pain, but ideally that should slow me down, not cut me off entirely.

I reread my material this week, and I considered the next few chapters I have outlined, and I realized they were wrong. They didn’t fit the characters, or the story, and I didn’t want to write them. My MCs are going  through some angst, but I tossed in a big misunderstanding that would drive a wedge between them that they would have to work to overcome, and I realized that that was wrong for them. Obviously I still need to torture the heck out of them, but I need to do it in a different way.

This reminds me, too, that my typical modus operandi with writing longer fiction is: write the bulk of it. Watch the second half fall apart. Re-write the second half from scratch. I don’t mind, because that’s how it works for me, but I thought with using an outline and plotting out each chapter before I write it that I would not be losing time to this method anymore. Instead, maybe not. Which, fine, whatever.

What I want to take from this is the knowledge that, if I find myself not wanting to write, something is wrong. Either I’m tired, I’m sick, I need mental refueling and rest, or something isn’t right with the story. Going forward I think I’ll give myself two weeks tops to see if it’s about being sick or tired or refueling, and then I need to seriously consider where the story is going. Stories make me excited; I love telling them because I love getting to know about them. Poor Roern and Charlie. They fought my destroying their budding relationship as best they could. They don’t get this particular angst, I need to save that for book two . . . .

To Bear Witness

At a glance, my relationship with Poseidon might seem one-sided and focused mostly on me. Our path together emphasis my journey with compassion, my struggles with awareness, my healing and development of healthy, sustainable coping methods. We focus a lot on how I spend my time, we talk about projects I’m working on, or where my regular Reiki sendings are going to go. When we sit down to figure out the goals of a particular ritual or festival (yes, the goal is more often than not to praise Poseidon, but, as He is part of my life, He gets to weigh in with how He wants to ritual to shape up), what I want to accomplish or focus on is taken into consideration. His input shapes everything — how and what I eat, what I do with my time, how I go about my day, He even influences how I dress, from the veil upon my head to what sorts of clothes I buy and, too, what colors. He is my God, He is my Husband, He is my closest Friend, He is my Hearth. He is, more than anything else, why I am an adult who can interact with the world in a functional way and try to leave it a better place, each day. He is why my heart is open and capable of love, and He is why I am able to find joy, to choose joy, to aim for optimism more often than not. He is the biggest, strongest, most effective weapon I have against my anxiety, my depression, and my conviction of unworth. I love Poseidon . . . but I own that so much of o/Our time together is focused on my crap, or it’s focused on how I am in o/Our relationship, or how w/We are together.

Now and again — not super often, but certainly a number of times a year — He’ll push me beyond that. I’ve yet to experience anything even close to a reprimand about where my attention goes. He’ll be the first to remind me that we are finite beings, that we’ve got shit to work through. He reminds me that He does not want me to be subsumed into Him, and that a decent amount of my work in my life thus far has been about learning to take up the space that I take up, to be without apology, and that if I am truly letting Him guide my path, then following where He leads is not a wrong thing. Am I always comfortable that so much of o/Our time together is Him playing therapist? Eh, no, I’m not, but I maintain that we can be so very broken in how we interact with the world, with people, with each other, that therapy is often in order, and who is better to help us with this crap than our Gods, who see so much more, have such experiences to help us learn from? (I am not in the “the gods are not therapists” camp, in case you’re curious. I am firmly in the “the gods can fill whatever role they flipping want to fill” camp).

That said, I am uncomfortable, from time to time, on how much time we spend on me, on my issues, my crap, my fears, my projects, my life. Now — He did decide to partner with me, and part of that is living my life, and there is something to be said for Him living my life with me. There is something that dances so very close to a Mystery — for Him — when it comes to mortality and incarnations and physicality the way we humans experience it. I can’t explain beyond that because it’s not my Mystery, but there is a sense of awe and there is a sense that He is getting more out of this than I realize or can even hold in my mind. Most of the time, day to day, this is enough.

And then there are the times He pushes. The times when I’m caught up in yearning and longing and missing, in regret and a burning desire that is unfulfilled, with an accompanying sense of an inability for it to be fulfilled. It sometimes takes me a few days to realize that what I’m feeling are not my own feelings, that rather they are His.

It’s normal to want to name the feelings and find the root of their cause. What has rendered Poseidon — Poseidon — into a quiet, somber being seemingly burning from within by this yearning. This isn’t the typical “hey, w/We are two different sorts of beings engaged in a relationship that can sometimes be frustrating, and isn’t culture shock fun?” thing. This had nothing to do me, beyond that I could sense His feelings. This was frustration and helplessness, this was being tied to cause and effect, this was mourning, a deep, deep sense of mourning that goes on and on and on . . . .

Historically His moments like this correspond to some horrible natural disaster sort of thing. (Anyone who thinks that Poseidon gleefully sends tidal waves or earthquakes to destroy people has never bothered to spend time with Him after such things occur. He is tied to these giant movements, of water, of the earth, and I’m not saying that He can’t cause such things to happen, but I am saying that His grief over lives lost — and He does not only grieve for the humans — drives me to my knees. He is not cold, He is not aloof, He is not distant.) Because I am me, I want to know the reasons why. So, when He came to me this week and asked that our Poseidon Hippios ritual be more about being with Him, when I realized what I was feeling was coming from Him, I wanted to know why. What had happened? What was going on? What could I do to help?

Sometimes He tells me the reasons. When the tsunami of 2004 hit land, I knew what had happened before I heard about it on the news, because of Him. Usually it’s not like that. Usually, He doesn’t share that much detail. Usually, He requests that I simply be with Him. It’s as if He takes some time to lose Himself in the minutia of mortal existence. I wonder, at times, if He’s reminding Himself why He cares about the small things, about mortality, about life upon this planet. I wonder, when the feeling I get is of His intense presence and of His stillness, and of His seemingly open desperation, if He is holding bleakness at bay by will alone. I wonder what all else He’s got going on in His existence that I’ll never, never, never know about.

“Be with Me,” He pleaded, and every time I started to question what was wrong, He would repeat the request. Don’t be in my head, don’t be trying to puzzle it out, don’t strive for answers or patterns. Just be here. Be now. Be u/Us.

So, I had my ritual. I gave Him wine and pastry. I offered Reiki to the horses, and I wrote. But mostly, I sang, and when I became caught up in the fact that I was singing o/Our songs to Poseidon, when I became self-conscious, He pressed harder upon my heart, pulled me out of myself, and I sang louder. I cannot wrap my arms around my Lord. I cannot press His head to my heart and hold Him close. I can give Him wine and pastry, but what does He get from that that He needs? I can give Him incense, but what are these things when He is desperate and right there, and I cannot, cannot embrace Him?

Love is all I can give Him. My love, my heart, and my willingness to bear witness. To surrender the need to explain, to reason, to know in order to hold this, as much as I can of this, and simply be with Him.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

You may need me there to carry all your weight,
But you’re no burden I assure
You tide me over, with a warmth I’ll not forget,
But I can only give you love.
— Rob Thomas, Ever the Same