Deli guy: Yo Susan, how’s life treating you?
Customer: Bad. I need an new life.
Deli guy: Your life’s almost over and you need a new one? –Bensonhurst
Jason Kottke declares the blog dead over at Neiman Journalism Lab, which make him the umpteenth millionth person to do so. The actual piece is a bit more nuanced than its headline — Kottke notes that the blog is still an integral part of the online experience — but the overall tone of it is that the blog’s day in the sun is done, replaced by things fresher, less “streamy” and otherwise tuned to the Way Kids Do It Today.
A couple of things about this:
1. Kottke’s not wrong. I’ve noted before that I thought the many of the people who had blogs a few years ago were better served by things like Twitter and Facebook, which are easier for most folks to handle and actually do what they wanted their blog to do — i.e., keep them in contact with all their friends and family and let them share what they were doing (and also, pictures of their pets and children). I love my blog (hello!) but for the large majority of people, I wouldn’t recommend doing one. Even the closest new analog to the blog — Tumblr — is streamlined and connected in ways a standalone blog isn’t.
This isn’t to say that a blog can’t be useful for the people who have a need or interest in them — they absolutely can be. For the people who want to be able to write longer posts, keep a permanent self-branded outpost, and (importantly) have much more substantial control of their online persona, blogs have no real substitute. I recommend them for writers and other creative folks precisely because they’re your own space, and with a nod to the folks who host me, one of the great things about WordPress is that it’s made having and keeping a blog pretty dead simple. But for your mom, who just wants to keep up with the grandkids? Meh, Facebook is fine.
This doesn’t mean the blog format is actually dead. It does mean that its centrality to online life is substantially diminished. Mind you, this assumes that it actually ever was central, which is somewhat debatable — first there was AOL, then there was online chat, then MySpace and then Facebook/Twitter, with Snapchat, Tumblr and all other manner of services and spaces, all of which, again, have been better tuned to the person who just wants to be online to see what friends are up to, and announce to the world what’s on the menu for lunch.
What does seem true no matter what is that the community of personalities that existed around blog seems to have substantially dispersed — the people who were best known as bloggers are off doing other things now or at least have their presence as personalities less tied to their blogs. I can certainly speak to that; I am these days rather better known as an author than as a blogger. I’m not the only one who has seen their “portfolio of presence” expand or at least diversify. I’m fine with that, personally — I was long ambivalent about calling myself a blogger because I thought was I did (writing) shouldn’t be defined by its medium.
2. What’s more important now, in the middle part of the second decade of the twenty-first century, appears to be an aggregate presence online — the ability to speak (or at least to be seen) across a number of online platforms. Or as Zach Weiner put it when he, Warren Ellis and I were chatting about it on Twitter:
— Zach Wintersmith (@ZachWeiner) December 19, 2013
How one does this is the interesting bit. Personally, I keep the blog here active, because it’s congenial to how I want to be online, but I also find myself participating very actively on Twitter, because that medium is also but differently congenial to my personality. Other media — Facebook, Google Plus, Tumblr — I have a presence on but am otherwise less active with, since at the end of the day I have to, you know, write books and experience the real world with my family. I have to pick and choose. But the point Zach makes — that you have to go to your audience rather than simply hang out an online shingle and wait for it come to you — is a valid one. Personally speaking I don’t find doing this particularly difficult since I like farting around online anyway.
Also, I suspect in many ways a distributed presence online for a writer or creative person is a little bit like having multiple revenue streams, which is to say, a way to buffer yourself against one stream dipping or drying up. For example, this year, by blog readership looks like it end up lower than it was last year — about 7.5 million recorded visits for the year, as opposed to 8.1 in 2012. I attribute this to a couple of month-long “semi-hiatuses,” during which I posted less while I was writing books or on tour, a theory borne out by looking at the monthly numbers (November, which was one of those months, had the lowest visitorship of any month in two years, for example). However, this year I also added 15,000 Twitter followers, most of whom (so far as I can tell) are actual real live people and not Twitter bots, and my Facebook and Google Plus public pages also saw growth.
(I should note 7.5 million visits still means 2013 is Whatever’s second best year ever, so I’m not exactly panicking over here in that regard. But again, the fact that my other online presences showed substantial growth works as an offset in any event.)
I don’t see myself ever not doing Whatever, because at the end of the day I want to control my own space online and say what I want to be able to say, unencumbered by character limits or SEO-driven advertisements in the sidebars or any other sort of distraction. But if it turns out that it’s just one part of an overall online presence portfolio, well, that’s no different than it ever was (remember (or don’t) my other online presences as GameDad, MediaOne’s music reviewer, AOL’s “Blog Mayor” or AMC’s science fiction film columnist) and it’s part and parcel of the fact that my presence is distributed in other ways as well — namely that in addition to writing the blog, I write books, work in other media, and even do appearances in the real world from time to time.
So, yes. I suspect I and Whatever will continue on even after this latest death of the blog. At least until writing it stops being fun for me and/or I decide to just stop writing. Short of no longer drawing breath, I don’t see either of those as very likely.
Yuppie #1: “I never put my race down on those forms. Why should I be
classified by race?” Yuppie #2: “I feel the same way about putting my height down on my driver’s
NYU student: “I read the Sunday paper on Sunday–the whole thing–and it really wasn’t that bad! You should try it” Walking in Union Square
Thomas of Cantimpré, Liber de natura rerum, France ca. 1290.
Via Valenciennes, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 320, fol. 72r
The other day I received two unexpected gifts from the same person. The first was the admission that thanks to my writing, this person went on to seek mental health assistance and now treatment on their own. Secondly, in thanks for simply being me and giving them the courage to seek help, this person went to my Amazon wishlist1 and bought me the bundled ebook version of the first four books of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series, or as the rest of the world refers to it by its rightful name, Game of Thrones.
Floored by this person’s generosity, I thanked them profusely for being so kind. This person’s gentle heart and reasons for sharing with me paralleled into the increasing visibility of my journal. Daily keyword tracking shows I’m getting a lot of traffic from organic searches by those looking for answers on drug interactions, bipolarism, ADHD, and everything else related to the crazy.
This seems like a perfect time then to write a preface to the blog for if my writing my experiences can help someone else seek professional help, then I need to make sure they are clear on a few things in regards to my own experiences. This post will be in the main nav bar for easy access.
I am Bipolar I/II (depending on which doctor), with ADHD, moderate anxiety, and a side of Borderline Personality Disorder for extra flavor. While I have been diagnosed since my late teens, my most recent professional confirmation came in 2005 and 2012.
I am what is commonly referred to as high functioning, which means that while I exhibit many of the extreme symptoms of my afflictions, I have coping skills that allows me to function, more or less, with little interruption.
In December of 2012, I decided after nearly a decade of being off any kind of medicating drugs, to start the drug treatment again for bipolar and ADHD. If you are a fairly new reader, and you want to see what someone is like within the throes of bipolar, start here and go forward for a play by play look of my last year as I live blogged it all. If you want to hop around, the subjects in the right sidebar gives you the breadth of the crazy as well as my other non-crazy interests.
This journal is not a journal of bipolarism, but I do write a lot about my gifts. Please keep that in mind.
In March of 2013, I decided to stop hiding behind the journal as the only outlet on the discussion and made the conscious effort to being open about my disease.
I am drug free not because I choose to, but it is because I cannot tolerate drugs. I have been on a wide breadth of various bipolar and ADHD drugs on and off for years, all well documented on this site, and none of them work for me. I am what my medicating therapist calls, “a peculiar case.” Simply put, my brain chemistry does not allow for metabolizing of most commercial drugs for anything. For example, most SSRIs take 2-3 weeks to metabolize and for the effects to show up. In me, I metabolize the drugs within days of ingestion. This becomes problematic when addressing doses for stabilization. I also have the unfortunate luck to get all the rare side effects associated with that particular drug.
Drug interactions are typically listed on the drug’s bottle. If not, use a reliable health site such as the Mayo Clinic for more information.
If you are taking medication, take the medication as directed and do not skip a dose. Do not self-medicate unless it’s for an extremely good reason such as when Adderall makes you psychotic like it did for me.
I do not dispense individual advice nor do I recommend you seek your medical treatment from the Internets. Mental health, in particular with afflictions that have cross symptoms, can be triggered by reading others experiences. I also do not frequent forums, while some find them useful and supportive, I find they tend to trigger my anxiety.
Websites that I link in regards to mental health advocacy or support are ones either I have used or have vetted as being legit. There are a lot of schemey sites out there looking to exploit the mentally ill. Using common sense and asking yourself the usual “Who/What/Where/Why” should give you the foundation of whether or not a site is legit. Remember, if you cannot find an about page or if the person is not willing to share credentials about their expertise, keep the fuck away.
Part of managing this disease is creating a supportive network and self-soothing routine for when you go into crisis, whether that crisis is manic or depressive. Make sure your partner, parents, siblings, and close friends know that you are doing this for yourself.
Those who are bipolar tend to also be heavily anxious, so it is even more important you create an on demand self-soothing items / routines in your skill set. This can be anything from having a favorite sweater around, to reading a particular passage from a book, eating a piece of chocolate, and the list can go on. In short: Anything that gives you comfort, bring you down, and give you peace is what you’re looking for AND can be easily accessible. Additionally, when you go into overly anxious mode, also have tools to cope such as TheHusband and I sing the 12 days of Christmas – backwards. Usually I do this when I cannot take Klonopin (the one drug that does work for me) immediately for some reason or the drug is taking too long to kick in. Another routine is five things taste, touch, sense, hear, see. You do a round of each item, finding five that fit the description, and keep going until your calm down.
Almost every encyclopedic entry on bipolar will mention a mind/body connection, that one way to help alleviate the pain of the disease is to eat right, cut out caffeine, and exercise. Even mediating can be boon.
If you think you are bipolar, hie thee to your general practitioner to get a recommendation for a medicating therapist. Bipolar is nuanced enough chemically that almost all those who are gifted with disease will have varying symptoms and medication needs. This should not be treated by your GP.
In addition to a medicating shrink, make sure you have a talking shrink as well — sometimes it can be the same person. You will need someone to monitor your drugs as well as be your touchstone that this is a chemical fuck up in your brain and you’re not a terrible person.
There is no known national bipolar foundation, though some exist in on a state level. If you are unable to get to your GP and are in crisis mode, call the national suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). I have used similar services in my past which have gotten me to the next day.
Keep a journal of your moods, to track when you’re up, UP, UP UP and down, down, down. Also figure out your triggers and prepare for them. Like, when I get manic, I compulsively shop. Case in point: I own 250+ tshirts. Putting together a systems of checks and balances in place has helped me from spending thousands. I also know that any caffeine after 12PM means I could be up until 4AM. Keep a list. You will find some friends are toxic, some music sets off your mania, and watching a film about old people will send you into depression for days. Know your triggers and avoid them as much as possible.
And it’s okay to have a terrible day or several terrible days. You know these days will pass and in the great words of Stephen Fry, it will be sunny one day. If you can make it through one day, and then the next, it will get easier.
It does get easier.
I believe in you.
1. Yes, I do indeed have nearly 20 wishlists under the main wishlist title, neatly sorted out by categories. TheHusband thinks I’m insane and Beth thinks I’m adorable, but I did this because I needed to separate out various works based on topic. So this organizing is for my own edification, not for people to peruse at except for TheHusband who shops from the Holidays and Lisa-mas Gift Ideas Wish List to get ideas on what to get me for gifts.
This day in Lisa-Universe:
It was my hippie aunt who, inadvertently, taught me the power of the right word. And she did it in nine words:
“Try it, Billy! This carob tastes just like chocolate!”
See, at the age of nine, I trusted my aunt. She was my favorite relative ever. She brought me up in the summers to stay at her house way out in the sticks, where I got to play on the neighbors’ farms. And she was all crunchy-granola organic, and trying to get me off of my junk food fix, and so she said the fatal words.
I bit into the carob eagerly. Here was something just like chocolate, but healthy! And I -
This isn’t like chocolate at all.
To this day, “betrayal” tastes like carob to me. For this carob wasn’t sweet, the way chocolate was, but sort of carroty-sweet, and the texture was different. I could see the similarities between carob and chocolate, and maybe if it had been presented to me as something yummy in its own right, but it was by no means just like.
And this is how I feel about words. Each word is a very specific taste to me, filling a slot as precise as chocolate. And when someone wants to remove or change a word, there’s often no good replacement. The thesaurus would have you believe that “quick” is the same as “fast,” or “swift,” or “rapid,” or even “break-neck”; to me, each of those words have their own unique flavor, and I could not use them interchangeably. To me, swift is the surge of whitewater, pounding majestically down the steep slope of a waterfall; quick is an animalistic word, red-furred as the fox, jumping in nimble arcs over a series of obstacles.
I don’t claim that these are universal definitions, mind you. But to me, saying, “Quick is the same as fast” is like telling me olive oil is the same as canola oil. I guess you could make popcorn from olive oil if you tried, but the flavor wouldn’t be what you expected.
And so when a word slides in meaning so much that there’s no handy word to replace it, as it did with the term literally, I get vexed. (Not irritated, or upset, or disgruntled: exactly vexed.) And when it becomes clear that a word like “retarded” is hurtful to people and I shouldn’t use it, I do drop the usage – but I also lament a little, because that word filled an exact space in my personal lexicon that no other word can quite fill, and saying, “That’s ridiculous” doesn’t carry all the weight and implications of a bunch of fifth-graders expressing indigant disgust at discovering that the world is often not just unfair, but often completely insane.
(Which is not to say that it’s correct to use that word, I hasten to say – for the very good reason that, as mentioned, these definitions aren’t universal, and those who actually are retarded or have loved ones who are hear that very differently. Part of being a grownup is coming to realize that while you may mean “gay” in no way to refer to actual gay people, it’s actually quite rude of you to expect gay people to make that distinction. So it’s something I’ve stopped doing. But, like a quit bad habit, I may have stopped smoking cigarettes for very good reasons, but these lollipops I’ve substituted don’t quite make up the difference.)
So when I got tagged in a Facebook status by Riv Swanson, I was surprised to see this Conan O’Brien quote presented as though I’d agree with it:
The Oxford dictionary has named “selfie” the word of the year, narrowly beating out “twerk.” In a related story, the funeral for the English language is Saturday.
Why would I be upset by that?
These are specific words that describe very specific situations! You know what would upset me more? If we had no specific word to cover twerking, and instead had to refer to it awkwardly as “that gluteal dance people do.” Selfies are a phenomenon that can only exist in the age of cheap cameraphones and social media, and I exult in the fact that we’ve had to devise delightful new words to cover all the magnificent ways that human beings act!
I suppose I should be enraged that newness makes its way into the OED, but no. I love slang of all sorts. I love the creative ways that human beings keep finding bizarre things to do that no word in the long history of the language can quite describe, and that we’ve had to patch together some new term to describe a behavior.
I adore that we can have a dictionary of twenty thick volumes, printed in microscopic type, and still that’s not enough words to define everything people can do. All the shades of meaning. All the dances, all the emotions, all the inventions. We keep having to make that thicker, and the truth is that it’ll never be big enough because we, as people, are going to keep doing these grand shining-new things that are so vibrant we’ll need to hammer some letters together in order to describe it in a single word.
So no. Twerking is wonderful. It’s another thing to add to that colorful list of dancing, mamboing, cha-chaing, foxtrotting, rumbaing – another distinct shade for my palette. I’m glad it’s here. And welcome aboard, little butt-dance; I don’t think you’ll last, but I’m pretty sure you’ll delight someone eighty years from now looking up the crazy trends that seized us in the early 2010s, and discovering that this was A Thing.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/361644.h
The isolation sphere in the center of the room looked like an oversized snowglobe. The room’s outer walls were two feet thick, built of steel and concrete to protect the rest of R&D from potential accidents. A good thing, too. Mrs. Claus brushed her fingers over the gashes by the door. Emma had been so excited by the potential for robotic reindeer…
Reluctantly, she turned her full attention to the fragments in the center of the transparent sphere. Every last splinter had been carefully retrieved and returned, laid out on the sterile white floor.
The team had also brought back the body of Yukon Cornelius.
Bumble hadn’t returned to the Pole, and the retrieval team hadn’t spotted him. At his age, and without teeth, he would have a hard time living in the wild, but she couldn’t risk sending her people out to try to bring him home. Not yet.
She was stalling. Forcing herself to project an air of calm, she turned toward Rudolph. “We’re ready. If you wouldn’t mind?”
Rudolph’s hooves clopped on the tile floor as he positioned his head in a specially designed metal hood secured to the outside of the sphere. When he spoke, his voice was muffled and tinny. “Ready.”
The hood was another of Emma’s designs. A sequence of lenses inside captured and amplified the light of his nose, sending a beam of piercing red light into the heart of the sphere. Hermie and Emma worked the knobs on the control panel. Inside the hood, a small mirror brought the beam directly onto the largest of the fragments.
The broken crystal acted as a prism, shattering Rudolph’s magical light into a rainbow … if you stripped that rainbow of every color save blue and violet.
Mrs. Claus waited for Emma’s spectrographic analysis of the crystal’s magic, though she already knew what Cornelius had found. “This was a weapon of the Snow Queen.”
They were similar to Mrs. Claus’ enchanted glass orbs, only far more potent. During the war, the Snow Queen had seeded the North Pole with her crystal snowflakes, hiding them beneath the drifts where they were all but undetectable, even to Santa’s magic. Feckless and Pacer, two of Santa’s original reindeer, had died after stepping on her buried traps.
They had been the lucky ones. While some of the Snow Queen’s crystals simply exploded, others cursed all within range. Illusion turned friend to foe, releasing its victims only after they had slain their closest allies, and forcing them to carry that guilt forever. Another variety froze the heart, leaving you with the memory of love, but stealing the emotion.
“I thought you killed the Snow Queen,” said Hermie.
“I did.” Years later, and she still relived that battle in her dreams. She pushed the images aside, forced the remembered screams back into the darkness of her mind. “She is gone. Whoever this is, they’re not the Snow Queen. But they may be looking for her arsenal.”
Time after time they had swept the Pole, searching for slumbering traps from that war. Each time she hoped they had found the last. Each time she was proven wrong.
“Could the Snow Queen’s magic control Frosty?” asked Emma.
“Oh, yes,” Mrs. Claus said softly. “Frosty, and so much more.” She turned and strode from the isolation room.
Rudolph pulled free of the hood and trotted after her. “Where are you going?”
“To the Snow Queen’s grave.” Frosty’s master would have to go there eventually. Even dead, much of the Snow Queen’s power remained trapped in her eternally frozen flesh.
“Excuse me,” Hermie said awkwardly. “We’ve all read about the war with the Snow Queen, but nobody knows who she really was. The elves who lived through it, they get this faraway expression and say they never saw her up close, or they can’t recall what she looked like.”
“They chose to forget,” Mrs. Claus said wearily. “We all did. Even Santa. You probably will too, when this is over.”
They walked the rest of the way in silence, through the paper mill and the wood-finishing factory, the greenhouse where elves harvested corn and grain for the reindeer, and finally to the guarded marble stairs spiraling deep into the heart of the North Pole.
The sounds of the Pole faded as they entered the mausoleum.
Gold plaques were mounted to walls of white ice. Many were older than Mrs. Claus. Most of Santa’s original reindeer were memorialized here, as were those elves who had died throughout the centuries. In the center of the far wall, holly and mistletoe bordered four large plaques. She tried not to think about the empty space below those plaques.
“I don’t understand,” whispered Emma.
Mrs. Claus touched the lower right plaque.
Rudolph’s nose painted the ice red. Hermie’s breath caught. Emma made no sound, but tears began to drip down her cheeks as she realized why they were here. She squeezed Hermie’s hand.
Santa Claus had been given the Mantle of Immortality, allowing him to serve for all eternity. His wife—his first wife—had been long-lived, but not even the magic of the Pole could preserve her life forever. Santa had grieved for each of his four prior wives, as he would one day grieve for her. But he was a being of infinite love, one ill-suited for living alone. And passion could blind even the greatest of men.
“The Snow Queen…” Mrs. Claus traced the icy words engraved in gold.
Rest in Peace
“The heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair
And its soul full of music breaks the air
When the song of angels is sung.”
– Phillips Brooks
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Guy: We’re all stuck in a loop of bullshit. –Odessa, Ave. A
Guy #1: He’s not down with it.
Guy #2: What do you mean, he’s not down with it?
Guy #1: Don’t worry, he’s going to be down with it.
Guy #2: How’s he going to be down with it?
Guy #1: We’ll make him down with it. –Ave. A
Have recently come across work of sff which features humanoid species in which the females come into heat and set off a massive (and, we are to presume, though I don't think it's stated, completely consensual) gangbang within the group.
Which made me think about whether, among groups which were no longer Simple Children of Nature (bloomy greengages...), the whole thing would get a lot More Complicated if this situation pertained.
I realise I am treading here in the luminous footprints of Ursula Le Guin, who posited that kemmer among the Gethenians had evolved a series of social practices, including: the use of drugs to suppress it when engaged on some business from which it would be a distraction; practices of meditation to control it; guiltfree arrangements for group sex; and people using it for their own skeezy purposes.
I could imagine, in a binary-gendered society, a range of preparations to conceal the matter, emphasise it, or mimic it in women. Also, while it would doubtless get invoked as a masculine excuse, I would not be at all surprised to see also the idea that the True or really Pure Man could rise above the impact of pheromones.
But I suppose the core of this sequence of thoughts was wondering at what point would the question of the woman's consent to the activity in general or a particular partner come into play. Because I am getting all Norbert Elias and civilising process on this. And when it would no longer be acceptable to simply go at it in public.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/2020662.htm
An Heir to Thorns and Steel is a serialized fantasy novel updating once a week for free on Tuesdays, and again on Thursdays and Saturdays if tips reach $15 and $20, respectively. Single reviews of existing stories posted to Amazon count for $5 toward the tip total.
With the exception of that first day, we woke at sunset and rode until just after dawn. The drake brought down game for itself and the genets stripped the carcasses and charred them for me over the fires they built with their clever fingers. I had to let them take care of me; even if I’d had any knowledge of the wildcraft, which I didn’t, my body simply didn’t function after a night in the saddle. Without the poppy and with the effect of the genets gradually diminishing, I was reduced to curling on the grass and struggling to win back my strength, my composure… my will to persevere. The idyll in the sorcerer’s tower receded from mind, taking with it much of my passion for our task. It became an intellectual construct, my quest for the king of elves.
To hold fast to something other than my own pain, I asked the genets to tell me stories, a request that Kelu refused with bitter hauteur. But Almond proved willing, as she so often was; as the drake loped across the grasses, tireless and swift, Almond recounted tales of angels and demons, of queens and kings and princes, of children, of sorrow… of the betrayal of humankind.
“Say that last again?” I asked in the blue night as the drake carried us ever westward.
“The humans chased the elves off the mainland,” Almond said.
“That’s not a story,” I said. “That’s true.”
“I’m not surprised,” Kelu said.
“Why do the humans say so?” Almond asked.
I thought back to the folio. “The text never said. And for us it was long, long ago. What do your stories say?”
“That the humans were jealous,” Kelu said. “Of course. That they hated the elves for their beauty and power and coveted what they couldn’t have, and in a jealous rage they drove the elves away while killing as many of them as possible in as pitiable but titillating ways they could imagine.”
My brows lifted. “So between one and the other the truth is buried, and likely to remain so.”
Kelu shrugged. “You can just ask one of them.”
Taken aback, I said, “I could just…”
“Ask, yes,” Kelu said. “The sorcerer’s been around that long, rumor has it. I’m sure the king has too.”
The concept of immortality remained an abstraction to me until these reminders gave them body and form. But then I thought to ask, “Wouldn’t all of the elves remember that time, if truly they can never die?”
Kelu said, “Some of them are older than others. And though it takes a lot of work to kill an elf, it can be done, and a lot of them were destroyed. I don’t know exactly how it all works.”
I nodded. Then, more quietly, “You haven’t told any stories.”
Kelu snorted. “Like I care about elves and what they think of themselves.”
“Surely,” I said, “the genets tell stories also.”
Kelu glanced over her shoulder at me. “Stories are for people who don’t know how they were made. You can only enjoy mythology if your god isn’t standing above you with a foot on the back of your neck and a whip in his hand.”
To that I said nothing. What could be said?
On another night, a violet night sharp with the scent of sage and wind, I asked, “Why are we not followed?”
“I don’t know,” Kelu said. “It may be that Amoret assumed that Sidithin kept you. No one crosses him.”
We had seen no towns, no roads, nothing but the short grasses, the thin rills, the occasional clump of palms and other trees. “Surely the drake….”
“Everything is disposable to the elves,” Kelu said.
Almond clung to me; though I couldn’t see her I could sense her distress in the way she rubbed her nose against my back.
“Don’t worry,” Kelu said. “We’ll have trouble enough once we get to the coast. Somehow we’re going to have to get across the channel to Kesína and into Suleris without becoming slaves, food or merchandise.”
“I have given that some thought,” I said.
“The elves keep human servants, yes?” I asked. “How are they hired?”
“Hired?” Kelu asked, puzzled. “I don’t know. New ones just appear sometimes.”
“Are they gifts from other elves?” I asked.
“Sometimes,” Kelu said. “Not often, though. Elves tend to be selfish, especially about food.”
“Perhaps they reproduce?” Almond offered, hesitant.
The idea of humans having children in captivity who grew up to become the property of their elven masters in turn, a chain unbroken for eternity, revolted me. “The few I saw didn’t seem to have the vitality to spark new lives,” I said. “Aren’t there wild humans? Human communities?”
“Farms, you mean,” Kelu said. “There are some elven lands that are worked by humans.”
“Perhaps I can be sent from a farm to serve the Suleris household,” I said.
Kelu snorted. “Why would the farm release a perfectly good worker like that?”
Wry, I said, “And I am so capable of physical labor, with my able body.” Almond winced against my back. “I thought,” I continued, “that my story could be that they sent me along because I had become too infirm to do any other labor.”
“That might work,” Kelu said. “On the other hand, they might decide you’d make good food.”
“You have to consider that possibility.”
I did and I hated it. Not just hate… I couldn’t conceive of it. But… “Can you think of any other way to infiltrate the blood-flag house?”
“In a way that would allow you to roam the halls freely?” Kelu said. She shook her head. “No… your idea isn’t a great one, but it might be the only one.”
“Your confidence is greatly appreciated,” I said dryly.
Kelu snorted. “I think this whole idea is an insanity.”
“But it could turn the archipelago on its end,” I said, smiling.
“Maybe,” she said. “If you live so long.”
“They can’t kill me, or so you say.”
“When they’re done with you you’ll wish they’d tried,” Kelu said.
I shook my head.
When we reached the coast it was all I could do to slide off the side of the drake and cling to its neck. The sky was just spilling the roseate light of dawn onto the white sands at our feet. The scent of brine and sage hung in the mist, draping over me, weighing my blouse and my hair down against my shoulders and back. And oh, the sound of the sea, the soft hushing murmur, the hiss as the waves crawled up the sand…!
The sun rising at our back finally touched on the distant crags of another island.
“A little long to swim,” I said, exhausted.
“The drake could make it,” Kelu said, sliding off its back and padding out toward the strand. She swished her tail, agitated. “We’re going to have to find a boat. Or someone to take us across.”
“And I can imagine anyone willingly taking us across the channel without deciding to keep me,” I said, watching the rose tint creep across the waters. The warmth of the light began to caress my shoulders, to shimmer on the scaled side of the drake. I began stripping the saddle off its back; so long as I kept each motion deliberate and paced myself, I could sometimes help the genets with its care. I felt obliged to, for that it was a staunch companion.
“You could begin your charade early,” Almond said, hesitant.
I glanced at her.
“Mark yourself with Suleris’s sign,” Almond whispered.
My gaze fell on my wrist; Amoret’s sigil had long since rubbed off.
“With Suleris’s mark, no one would touch you, Master,” Almond said.
“She’s right,” Kelu said. “There are many blood-flags, but few with Suleris’s clout. We might even be able to get the drake through. Not with one of Amoret’s saddles, though.”
“So,” I said. “We disguise ourselves as possessions of Suleris’s–”
“—you do,” Kelu said. “We can’t change the tags on our collars. We’ll just have to make up something else for us. Maybe we’re going with you because we’re broken or Amoret wants to exchange us.”
“And head… where to find this ship?” I asked.
“To Erevar,” Almond murmured.
“Erevar,” I repeated. I squinted at her. “Isn’t that where the one good elf is? Sadar. Kemses.”
“Ah! Yes, Master,” Almond said.
My eyes lost their focus, caught in the waves. “Perhaps he can help, then.”
“It is possible,” Almond said.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Kelu said. “Just because he consorts with humans doesn’t make him a human-lover. The elves will say anything about each other if it means they can contrive a new excuse to kill one another.”
“Try to kill one another,” I said absently.
“Destroy,” Kelu said. “The word is destroy. Rend limb from limb and cast the bits into fires. I wouldn’t get to hoping much.”
“Do you have a better suggestion?” I asked. Relieved of its saddle the drake had not moved clear of me, so I leaned on it, all too willing to have it support my spent body.
“No,” Kelu said with a sigh. She looked at Almond. “Have you ever been there?”
Almond shook her head.
“Then I guess we’ll just head south until we meet the river,” Kelu said. “And hope that e Sadar is good to humans in a way that Morgan will appreciate.”
The world had become a beautiful gradient of lilac shadows and creamy sand, blending together, losing focus. Almond’s arms slipped around me. She whispered, “You should lie down, Master. We can continue in a few hours.” Her words dissolved into the colors and I nodded, let her and the drake guide me to the silk and warmth of the strand. And there I wondered if Kemses e Sadar would love or destroy me… wondered before I dreamed my perilous dreams if the world itself would have me first.
Extra long one today–we are already $5 toward our Saturday bonus! This is a good sign. Plus, Kemses is coming up, and one of my favorite scenes. *rubs hands together gleefully*
Mirrored from MCAH Online.
Human Leech: Oh, what you have to do is calculate your monthly income–and make sure you include in that the amount of money that your parents give you every month. –Beacon’s Closet, Williamsburg
The imagination of the Earth,
That knew early the patience
To harness the mind of time,
Waited for the seas to warm,
Ready to welcome the emergence
Of things dreaming of voyaging
Among the stillness of land.
And how light knew to nurse
The growth until the face of the Earth
Brightened beneath a vision of color...
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
- John O'Donohue (from "Let Us Praise this Earth")
"It could be said that this is a hellish moment on earth environmentally, but I don't choose to see it that way. We are defintely disconnected. We know the litany of horrors: the degredation of resources, the level of consumption...I could go on and on. My grandfather would always say, 'I'm as low as a snake's belly.' So what do we do to pick ourselves up from the realities of the world we live in? I believe it is through art we can find our lifeline." - Terry Tempest Williams (from A Voice in the Wilderness)
And so do I.
With thanks to Michelle, who provided the title for this post in her comment yesterday. The first and last paintings above are by Carl Larsson (Swedish, 853-1919), illustrated the annual Saint Lucia day celebrations in his family. The second painting is a detail from "Out Popped the Moon" by Kay Nielsen (Danish, 1886-1957), and the third is a detail from "Marianna and the Whippets" by my friend and village neighbor David Wyatt.
Super: Toilet’s fixed. Sorry I was so gruff before, but my hands were full of shit. –Ave A
Businessman (to hobo): Well, you’ve got to admit, there’s a lot of Jewish women and men in the city who will try to screw you over. –Central Park
Mother (to son): Well, I thought you had beautiful legs, Greg. –Lower East Side
"It turns out the soft spoken Gregg is also an active student learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under famed teachers Rigan Machado and Renato Magno at their academy in Santa Monica, California".
Maintenance worker: I got no problem with him, but he shouldn’t be touching my nipple. –Women’s rest room, Grand Central Station
Cameraman: They actually have a huge problem every year at Rockefeller Center with all the people standing around at the ice rink and the tree. Guys will jerk off and rub up against people. –9th Ave. and 55th Overheard by: Meredith
Idiot: Happiness is a sandwich. –Quizno’s, 14th Street
Conductor #1: Folks, if you’re looking for a seat, walk all the way to the back of the train. The last car is not even half full. Conductor #2: Or half empty. –Metro North train
The head of Canada Post says seniors have told the corporation they want more exercise and fresh air in answer to an MP's question about how the elderly will be especially hard hit by the cancellation of home mail delivery.
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment(s); comment here or there.
Waiter: I’ve got chocolate all over my pants! –Cold Springs
Portrait of an articulated skeleton on a bentwood chair, circa 1900. Courtesy of The Commons, Flickr.
The 12th Doctor was announced today. I’m not sure how I feel about the selection but as I said on Twitter, it’s not so much they went with a white male but the beeb, the show, Moffat – they have this AMAZING opportunity to take the show into new direction, pushing boundaries and make the show worth a damn! But no. Moffat on why no female Doctor, “It didn’t feel right to me, right now. I didn’t feel enough people wanted it.”
That has got to be one of the most cowardly statements ever published. Will I stop watching? More than likely not.
Today was a good day! TheHusband and I got up early, there was no leaping from the bed but early it was, and made some serious head way into the great weeding with the before illustrated below:
The great weeding has begun!
After two hours and stuffing to the gills a 96 gallon yard waste container, our yard looks exactly the same! Well, not exactly – the weeds between the bricks in the walk are gone. So there is something. TheHusband and I keep going back and forth on how to take care of this mess, knowing really if we spent a few a hours a day working on it, it would be fantastic. And knowing who we are, it’s not probably not going to happen.
But we continue to be optimistic.
After cleaning ourselves up, we headed over to antique row, which is a series of antique stores located in the old warehouse district south of downtown. This area, along with other blighted spots, are getting their own gentrification so now instead of it being a sketchy area to park and shop in, the streets are getting nicer and better shops are moving in.. The row has now doubled to contain six distinct antique and speciality stores, such as one store that specializes in Mid-Century Modern and another that does specializes in reclaimed materials. Reclaimed from what, we’re not sure, but it looked too high falutin for us.
Our needs were pretty simple: Look for Fiestaware, furniture, and a few other odds and ends we need for the cabin. We might as well been shooting for the moon. Several weeks ago, we lucked out when we found Fiesta plates at a local thrift store near our cabin for $1 a piece. At every antique store we visited this weekend, they were selling between $10-30 a piece. Now I know some of this stuff is worth the price, but selling contemporary pieces for vintage prices is a fucking dick move! We saw this in a lot of things we picked up, items that were retro made to emulate vintage looks but priced as of original. I Instagramed some choice pieces but overall, our time at the antique row was a bust.
I also feel like I’ve combed through most of the thrift stores and antique markets in our areas and either we’re not getting the right days or I’m missing something. It’s become pretty frustrating.
We ended our pretty busy day out with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and we both tried something new. The evening was wrapped up with True Blood and some other mindless television before crashing.
So mood – how was my mood. For the most part of the last few weeks, my mood has been pretty steady even and the Klonopin at night has helped taken the edge off. But the edge is still there and sometimes I can feel it like a serrated knife against my chest.
I am so fucking tired. Of being tired. Sometimes I feel like all I do in inhale enough caffeine to keep me functioning for the moment and then I inhale some more. I feel like it’s a lost cause and I want to get off of Lithium so badly but I’m more afraid of the ramifications of going off the drug cold turkey.
Lisa (Day #11)
This day in Lisa-Universe in: