lathriel: (magdalene)
(First, GHOST CITY is now available in print on Amazon.com! Don't forget that if you buy the print version on Amazon you can also get the Kindle version for free thanks to their matchbook program! Now back to the post...)

I've never been a hater or a lover of Valentine's Day. When I'm in a relationship, it's a nice reason to do something extra special. It's also a...reason, I guess, to be bummed out if we *don't* do something extra special. And when I'm single...well, it's just a day when you know better than to ask your non-single friends if they want to plan to do anything.

The actual origins of the day are kind of murky. I've heard a lot of different stories (apparently there are MULTIPLE St. Valentines), so I've decided to scrap them all and just go with what it's about now: love. And since there's a lot of Valentine's Day cards being given out by and to kids in elementary school classes who hardly know each other, I'm going to say it's about all kinds of love, not just romantic. And there are definitely people (and critters) in my life that I love.

So I've been trying to figure out what to do on Valentine's Day this year so that I don't accidentally end up moping around the house feeling sorry for myself, or eating all of my feelings (I make really good double dark chocolate brownies, I'm just sayin'), or watching endless streaming Netflix while eating so that I don't actually feel anything at all.

And then it came to me: witchcraft. Duh.

Not to find love. Not to create more love. Not to heal old wounds. Just an evening filled with magic, honoring and celebrating the many forms of love already in my life. I'm not sure on all the details yet, but there will be witchcraft. There will be roses. There might still be double dark chocolate brownies (c'mon!). And I have the perfect little pink votive candle with a picture of Mary on it from Sarah and Jenn to use in ritual.

I am a Taurus. I recently heard an alchemical description of the Earth signs of the Zodiac as a tree: Virgo are the branches, Capricorn are the trunk, and Taurus are the roots. This makes sense to me. I've learned in the past decade that I am all about foundations, be it in forming relationships, making decisions, preparing for new experiences. If I have a solid foundation, I feel perfectly safe and excited to jump in and be spontaneous--if that makes sense. Like, if I'm traveling, as long as I have a foundation, a sense of where I'll be and what's there, and how much money I have to spend, I feel no need to plan things out or worry about a damn thing.

So I think I'll take this Valentine's Day to build a foundation for love in my life, so that I can love others better, experience love more easily, and even allow myself to be loved a little more easily than I have been.

Have a great Monday :)
lathriel: (velveteen)
I am going to make 25 either today or tomorrow morning. My new goal is not to hit 50k by the end of the month (because I'm fairly certain I will, no problem, by the end of week 2) but to finish the entire draft. I write long stories- not short; not novellas; long. Two of the three novels I've written, 50k would only be slightly more than a third of the way through. I don't see this one going quite that long, but still. If I can finish the draft by the end of the month, I will consider myself a winner this year for NaNoWriMo.

Now, before any of you get the classic November "I hate you, but not really" response going, just remember that I have been consciously working (very hard, might I add) at unblocking myself as an artist, specifically as a writer, for over four years now. I went through hell and back to get to the point I'm at now, where words are flowing fairly steadily, and with enough confidence to keep me from going back and deleting them all. And I still get stuck- I still doubt my ability. But I persevere, because I know that artists- writers especially- are absolutely insane, and have no grip on reality when it comes to their own work and how good it is.

So.

Every moment I find myself in the middle of spilling words onto a page, happily or not, I am more grateful than you can imagine to be caught in that flow. I am grateful for NaNoWriMo, for The Artist's Way, for Sacred Thursdays, and for every kind word you have all said about my work. And I think, really, that is the key- that is why I have been so happy these past 3+ months, and so able to confront my writing: because I am literally living a life of gratitude, and through that perspective, everything looks a little bit (or a lot) like magic.

Thanks. :)
lathriel: (magdalene)
I had to post, even though I'm tired and want desperately to finish the scene I'm working on in The Hierophant, because today was one of those days that you hold in your heart as a brilliant source of joy during those long stretches of listless gray in a typical Buffalo winter. Originally, Sarah, Laura, and I were supposed to head out to Allegany State Park to explore the mountains (and potentially meet up with Hi Hat and his can-can line of deer on their hind legs) but we had forgotten about Oktoberfest in Ellicotville, so about half way there the traffic was so horrendous that we turned around. Instead of Allegany we decided to go to Griffis Sculpture Park which is an awesome place between just beyond Springville. We spent the day there, climbing things we probably shouldn't have, storming castles, rolling down hills, and posing inappropriately with certain (nude) sculptures.

Finally, as the sun began to go down we headed home (through more traffic, though slightly less horrendous). We stopped at Pizza Plant for an awesome dinner, and around nine o'clock we found ourselves walking in the dark towards the apple orchard by the nunnery, where this scene from "The Hierophant" takes place. There are a set of wide stone steps set into the side of the hill that the nunnery sits atop, and standing, about to descend, the lights from the gothic building behind us cast our shadows, long and imposing, over the grass at the bottom of the steps. Looking out over the orchard, we could see a thick blanket of mist close to the ground. The moon is almost full, so the entire orchard was lit up, silver black and blue.

In the orchard, we saw deer every where, in the mist, in the shadows, in the light from the nunnery shining through the trees. The skeletons of the apple trees, ruined by the October storm, played tricks in the dark, at once frail and broken, then transformed into mighty ruins. The moon was bright in the starless sky, and we could not help but pause and admire her. We talked about when we were young, trying to catch the mist, and how, no matter how fast you were, it always disappeared when you got closer to it. But if you paused and looked around, you would see that you were actually standing in the middle of the mist...

We moved to the bridge after a moment or two, and there the water moved like a ribbon of black glass beneath our feet, the moon reflected amidst the black joints of naked branches, making the water glisten in patches where the moonlight shone. We ventured to the meadow on the other side of the bridge, but right away we heard cars, saw the peaks of buildings, and knew there was no magic in that place. This exchange took place, and must be illustrated or filmed, I've decided:

Laura: "It's like we've entered the real world."
Sarah: "There's another world just over the bridge..."
Me: "Let's go back."

So we did, and it seemed as if the mist was gone. The moon was even brighter, more enchanting, the orchard more enticing. I'm not ashamed to say we frolicked, because it was a perfect day made for such things. Finally we headed back towards the nunnery, and when we turned around the mist was behind us, as if we really had been in another world, and just passed through the wall that separated it from reality...

So, yeah. It was a beautiful day, and an effing gorgeous night, full of inspiration and mischief. A gem to hold in my heart against the gray beast of February when it comes to swallow me up...

:)

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