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If you have five mins:
A blog for her friends to check that she's still alive, when she's been missing for a while, and what she's whinging about now.
Monday, September 27, 2004
It was a right jumble of a dream. Someone had posted a review of Witchgrove on their web-site, which was causing all kinds of positive stirrings, and Cerr had sent me to pick up the award for her. The award place was the side of a river, with a docking bay of some kind. Rico out of 'Six Feet Under' was there and there was some kind of kudos at having been at the June 28th event. (No, I haven't a clue what happened on June 28th either! But in the dream, I'd been at the June 28th event, so I was the dog's bollocks.)
Someone who used to be on the Grove was there, but her name was now Alice. She was next to Bono and trying not to look over-awed, but she was coming over all melting fan. I walked over and said, 'Oh! Alice, please meet Paul... Paul, this is Alice.' And the wench's mouth dropped. Me and Bono went way back (which, in a manner of speaking, we do, seeing as I've loved U2 since I was about 12).
And that was about it!
I think it was one of those filing cabinet dreams from the day before. I'd been on about U2 with Ian (who's joining Amnesty), and I'd mentioned Alice in my story. I'd watched 'Six Feet Under' before bed, though what the June 28th, the Witchgrove review/award or the dockside was all about, I haven't a clue.
The major point is that I've started dreaming again.
She was at the CDs at the time, with the mannequin above her head and told me that that was good, as she sat down. At that moment, the black, overcast sky outside the window where she'd been standing suddenly got a light patch. I gasped and she came to look, as I said, 'I was just thinking that after all the whinging I've been doing, there ought to be more ceremony to me taking it back down! And just then the..." I didn't finish the sentence, because then the moon rose into the light patch, nearly full!
Kate said, "And there's your sign!" She reached for the mannequin and put it on the windowsill and told me that she'll leave him looking at the moon until I'm ready to have that pendant back.
I figured that a little charging by the Lady wouldn't go amiss and off we went to an amazing night at the Rock Cafe in Stourbrige. The Other Smiths were on and I danced like it was 1992, with a carnation waved in the air. At the end, Kate and I were amongst those who invaded the stage and danced up there with them. By then, we were so drunk, it actually felt like the real Smiths! LOL
Then greatness - there was a disco and ALL THE MUSIC WAS LATE 80s/EARLY 90s!! It was brilliant. Kate, Ian and I all regressed 10 years (but without the neurosis ;-)), and went yampy as Hell when certain songs came on. I did try to dance to 'Welcome to the Monkey-house' properly, but I don't think everyone else remembered. They were dancing far too sedately and I was in danger of hurting folk the way I was dancing. You can only choreograph that when everyone's doing the same. But if I thought all that was great, there was an even better moment - THEY PLAYED 'SONG 2'!!! We'd only been on about that before we left the house. :-D
Back at Kate's, we did some more dancing to her music. Nick's found us the Make Trade Fair concert and so we relived it. But what's in the middle of all that? A very fast, punkish version of 'Walk Unafraid'. I lost myself into it, then, as it finished, I thanked the mannequin for holding my burden. I took off the pendant and handed it to Kate. I went down and, witnessed by Ian, she put it over my head.
So, that's the end of that then.
I don't know if this is going to make any sense to anyone outside of my own head, but this is the way it had to be. It wasn't 'Mab' who put that pendant on the mannequin in the first place. It was 'Matilda Mother' and it was 'Johnny'. 'Johnny' was appeased by it being FT Kate who ultimately handed it back, but it was 'Matilda Mother' who took it on. Given the fact that as I bowed my head to receive it, there was a smoke hanging out of my mouth; given the fact that I wasn't the soberest person in the world on many levels; given the fact that it was during a party with the music loud. It was 'Matti' took it and it's been 'Matti' who was neglected all year. This isn't me going schizophrenic on you, this is me describing states of being. Those who need to know will have got it, I'm sure.
For the rest of you, I've got my issues resolved, I've got the pendant back and I've
Poem 26.9.04 (early hours)
Between you and me -
I watch them open
Though they should be
Under lock and key.
I see Titania lying
on a bed of leaves and fern;
The light and shade lies in her eyes
And I'm willing to return.
I step in place and bow my head,
with a maverick smile,
As as I take the milestone back
You sense there's been beguile;
But I will walk with you apace
And go the extra mile.
Thus I wear your mark upon my heart
And the blank rune has been drawn;
I step apart and made room
For a makeshift path beneath the moon
Until the piper sounds the dawn.
(Yes, I was still not entirely sober when I wrote that at stupid o'clock on Sunday morning...)
But later on, I started putting pen to paper again. I was in a story writing mood, but I didn't get very far, because 'Six Feet Under' came on:
It was slightly disconcerting that Mal was looking at a blue, elephant-headed man, when all he could see was an empty field, but Jarod tried not to let it worry him.
"I think it's one of those door of perception things, man," he decided, "just go with it."
Jarod turned to find himself alone. He turned more fully, eyes scanning the hedgerow through which they'd just passed.
"Ok." Jarod surveyed the field and considered his options. The important thing, he felt, was not to panic. Think nice thoughts and ride the weirdness until he arrived back at some sane place. "I'll go ask Alice, I think she'll know..." He told himself and set off over the field.
"Do you know what's going on?"
Jarod's heart skipped a beat and he glanced down to the source of the voice. He followed that with a long, stunned staring. He appeared to be accompanied now by Yoda.
"I... bah... wooooooaa..." He babbled in response.
(That's as far as I got with that one.)
Saturday, September 25, 2004
'Space Oddity' by David Bowie
Ground control to major tom
Ground control to major tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground control to major tom
Commencing countdown, engines on
Check ignition and may god’s love be with you
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five,
Four, three, two, one, liftoff
This is ground control to major tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare
This is major tom to ground control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do
Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
Ground control to major tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, major tom?
Can you hear me, major tom?
Can you hear me, major tom?
Here am I floating round my tin can
Far above the moon
Planet earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.
Friday, September 24, 2004
What makes a High Priestess?
'Sophie says I expect them to just instinctively know. That I'm waiting for them to be understanding and caring without ever opening up to them. If I want them to follow the script I've got written out in my head, she says I have to let them have it.'
'The Onion Girl' by Charles de Lint pg 139
This thing with the pendant and the mannequin is going on a bit. It started off symbolic, and still is, but I think that by the time I resolve the issues in my head and get it back, no-one will give a monkeys anymore. LOL What am I going on about? It's a Third Degree High Priestess pendant, on a necklace, which is gorgeous in itself. I bought it from Froggie's shop at the beginning of August and, by the end of August, it was sitting around the neck of FT Kate's art mannequin. It still is. Symbolically, that's me surrendering my right to be a HPS, just for the moment. I'll pick it up again when I'm ready to.
Let's get one thing straight first. I'm not answering here what makes every High Priestess; or what the set in stone definition of a High Priestess is per se. This is what it means AT THE MOMENT for me. Right now, that's all that matters. Afterwards, then the like of Cerr, Vetch etc will be canvassed by me to find out what they think - or more likely, an e-mail to Witchgrove - but these are my questions and my answers to myself first. My definition of my religious role.
Everyone else tells me that I AM a HPS. Not only that but a kick-ass one as well. Some tell me that I don't need a pendant to be that - those are the people who have totally missed the point. Folk tend to think that it's my ability that I am questioning, but it's not really, it's the responsibility and the limitations that I'm questioning. Can I live with the latter and do I want to take on the former?
Let's start with the latter, because it's shorter and Saoirse has already answered it in a way that even I can't negate. The major limitation of being a HPS is that you aren't deity. I WANT to be able to tell folk for certain what's behind the Veil; I want to be able to hold their hands as they walk into the gates of death and not leave until I've deposited them safely with the Dark Lady, had a cuppa, got them settled and noted down all the last minute messages for those back home. In short, can I live with the fact that I can't, but I will be the one whom folk will come to for the next best thing - my opinion, my advice, my thoughts?
Of course, it was WM Mike that has brought this one into sharp focus. That conversation a month before; the responsibility I felt knowing that I'd told him what I thought and then he'd gone to find out for himself; and the fact that I could not be there with him, when I'd seen him so scared at lesser things, when the moment came to pass over. The thought that I could have been the last one to betray him nearly killed me on that Sunday/Monday. The thought that I couldn't hold his hand through the gates, that broke my heart.
Limitations indeed. But Saoirse responded to this one. She looked at another angle. How would I have felt if this happened and I hadn't had that conversation with him? That, indeed of worrying about betrayal, I knew that I had information which might be right, but I hadn't passed it on. I thought on that - would Mike have defaulted into belief in Hell? He is precisely the sort of bloke who would have condemned himself to Hell. Maybe the information that I did give him, if I'm right was enough to let him find his Heaven instead? Uncertainty, yes, but if I had a time machine to go back to that night I canted with him and I had to have that conversation again in the knowledge that he was shortly to be killed, what would I have said? I've thought VERY long, deep and hard on this one. I'd have said exactly what I said that night without the foreknowledge.
Saoirse's perceptiveness also gave me another stepping stone to tackle the limitations question in my head. I don't like it. I wish that, if I couldn't do it, there were others who could do it. For example, I emotionally couldn't cope with doing any more to WM Mike's Memorial pages on the web-site, so I SOS'ed and Anna and Dani stepped up to the plate and took it off me. There's cool. So why can't that happen at the point where I, as a human, have limitations, simply because I'm not deity. It can. That's where the Goddess steps in, isn't it?
'THERE is my trust in what I believe.'
'Leave' by REM
I can safely say now that the limitations part of my questions have been dealt with. Without trusting deity to not only take over where I can't go, but also to be there within, beside and guiding me, then what business have I being a HPS anyway? Without deity, then it's all secular. If it's secular, then it's power struggles. I've never been interested in power struggles.
It's only the responsibility side now that needs work. Resolve that and I'll get the pendant down. First there's the definition, in my head, of what a priestess is and how that's different to a High Priestess. There is only one difference - the priestess is one of many; the buck stops with the HPS. In practice. In theory, the buck shouldn't stop for any intelligent dude - they should be questioning everything and finding the questions within themselves. They shouldn't be asking me and that's it. They should be going out there and finding out what Pixie's take is on it, or Anna's, or Laurie's etc. Not mine alone, because that one is filled with my bias, my background, the last book I read, whatever's in my blood stream. It's easier to be a priestess, because it's not expected that you have all of the answers.
Being a HPS takes nerve. It takes a serious amount of courage and if you're finding that courage, there has to be a good reason for yourself. Why else should you waste all that good adrenaline? It takes courage to think calmly, when folk are shouting around you; and courage to follow your own instinct, when the shouting is a chorussed demand to follow everyone else's. A priestess has the right to follow the crowd, the HPS has not. It's better to walk away and if others follow, then so be it; if they don't, then your paths have converged that moment and they may or may not meet again. It's having the courage to defend the underdog, even against the bacchae.
'They would have torn her into pieces but
'A Girl Called Johnny' by the Waterboys
Have I got the guts to stand against the crowd? Yes. I learned that in High School. I've got the courage to do all of the above. The question remaining - why should I? The answer, because, let's be honest, it's what I do best.
What I wasn't looking out for was the fact that I could see reflected in others their own definitions of what a High Priestess is and does, and I was doing my best to live up to that for their sakes. It's no good then reverting to inner self five minutes later, because it's already over then. It's having the courage to retain your own identity in the face of a dozen expected identities being thrust onto you. We'll call that a lesson learnt then. I cannot be everyone else's definition of a HPS, I can only be my own.
The trouble being that I only learned that one, answered that question, last week. REM's 'Walk Unafraid' slotted that piece in. REM had been trying to tell me all year what's wrong, because THE soundtrack of the year has been 'Country Feedback':
'I was central, I lost control
I lost my head
I need this...'
'Country Feedback' by REM
I have been trying to tell myself all year that I wasn't listening to myself nor my own instinct anymore. I was trying to be what I perceived others perceiving me to be. How fucked up does that sound? I was also ignoring myself telling myself this. The moments when the walls came tumbling down? There were several - they came as beats not one huge crescendo. They were, without exception, times when I went against my instinct to either follow the crowd or else do what I thought others expected me to do. There's a big lesson there, isn't there?
I am not anyone's pet HPS. I'm not a trained monkey on a leash. If I am prepared to be like that, like I've been for most of this past year, then I'm no longer even being a HPS. I'm selling that station very cheaply to the nearest bidder really, aren't I? It's nothing to do with respect, tolerance and equality, once you scratch the surface. I need to resolve how to marry all these elements before I pick up that pendant.
FtE called it right, when he wrote on Witchgrove:
'It might be the people who stopped worrying what everyone else thinks whos closer
to there spirituality coz they there own voices arent drowned out by listening to everyone elses voices.'
It wasn't fear with me. If I'd caught myself at it, I'd have stopped. I half wish it had been fear, because then that would have alerted me to what I was doing. Instead there were only clues - only truly relaxing when I was with the like of FT Kate, Ian etc.; the fact that 'Country Feedback' became so huge etc. I should have noticed these things, instead of acknowledging them and not paying attention to the message they were adding up to tell me. I mean, does the Universe have to take out a double page advert in the 'Express and Star' for me to listen to it these days?
It wasn't fear. It was me working on three levels - the instinctual level shouting NOOOOOOO; the underneath level saying, 'Be a HPS... be a HPS'; while the surface level was listening to everything everyone was saying and was reflecting it back at them. I'm not being very articulate with this part, but I know what I meant.
At some low level, it was ALL blind panic. Shonna's trusting ME with the Grove (ok, with the other Mods as well, but... ME?!); all those big name Pagans in my inbox; all those folk saying I WAS a big name Pagan; all those people looking to me for wisdom. 'kin Hell! I'M BLAGGING IT!
Or am I? I think the trick with me is always never to let me believe that I'm not blagging it. As long as I think I am, then it all works out beautifully. Everything else is too blinding.
'I'll be clumsy instead...'
'Walk Unafraid' by REM
Can I be clumsy and still be a HPS? I want to know the terms and conditions before I sign on the dotted line. And what are the holidays like? And the pension scheme?
Happy, bouncing girl!
Someone has just rejoined Witchgrove (I won't mention names, because the dude might prefer to lurk and we don't 'out' lurkers), whose leaving in the first place was what I consider my second biggest fuck-up as a mod there. (The first being when I sent an e-mail to list which should have gone to the mods group, basically ranting, raving, saying we need more mods and naming the people I think would be great mods. It would have forced Shonna's hand, if she didn't share my opinion at the time.)
This person who has re-joined was someone who I should have defended more vigorously, but didn't. I played safe, basically, even though I agreed with what was said. We had a few off-lists afterwards and this dude was so upset with how things had gone - a series of misunderstandings and downright fuck-ups, and though I did talk him into coming back, it was only for a day. The Grove had lost its rosy glow for him. I felt I'd really let him down. He told me he'd come back when he wasn't so upset and eight months later, here he is.
I've thought on him a lot and learned my lesson from that incident. It's probably the Virgo in me. If I've gone against my instinct and a situation went badly wrong accordingly, it does worry inside my memory. I was never able to 'ok' this memory inside my head, but his coming back has done a little to more it further towards the mental filing cabinet.
I can't wait for the Americans to be awake, because I want to run past them something to do with new members.
This is a happy day. You should have seen the grin on my face when I realized for certain who he is.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Wandering and Dreaming
It's not that I have nothing to say, it's just that the urgency all seems gone. I think that mentally I've already handed over my role in the Grove to the others, though always in the knowledge that it's ultimately my role. Something happens and I'll be back there faster than a whippet with an eye on a rabbit.
Urgency over everything seems gone. I could never have applied the word 'apathetic' to me before now. But I appear to be heading towards it. It's no longer a case of remembering to let things go, it's a case of remembering to pick them up again. Aud's been waiting for me to write a poem for over a week for a card she's doing. I need to have that done by 5 at the latest today. I still haven't called Laura and she was in big trouble last time I looked.
People need to go out of their way to grab my attention of late. I don't mean because I'm so busy I'll miss them, but because I just feel so lanquid. It's not even comfortably numb. I'm not sure what it is! Whereas before I would read in between lines or react to the energies in e-mails as much as I would the content, it's like I'm only looking at the content these days. Naturally, this could be something to do with the fact I've pressed 'mute' on the inner mixing board and I've had the Tower of Light up for a couple of weeks. I'm not afretting at all.
Instead it's really quiet in my world right now. I spent hours last night and the night before going through my computer, deleting all files and resizing photographs. Some of them I've uploaded into the Yahoo photo album (here). All told, I've freed up 2 GBs of memory and my computer is running a lot faster now. It used to take nearly two mins to even view the html on a web-page and uploading an amended web-page could take up to five minutes. I was never any good at waiting on things like that.
I really should e-mail Jami to see if it's safe to post this book to her as well...
The old toast: 'To the past, the present and the seasons in the mist'. I always said that with the latter being the future. It actually feels like now. It feels a bit like the back end of 1994, in truth, when it was a case of close in, be looked after, find out what you are. That, but with more awareness.
Oh and my cold came back. I can't have either Caroline nor FT Kate over that, because I gave them the cold in the first place.
'Nothing Touches' by New Model Army
beneath the grey dawning skies
Past the cooling towers
where the white clouds slowly rise
I watch the world through motionless eyes
Nothing touches ... nothing ever touches
Raised as son of Empire,
hardened like a piece of steel
I am the master now of all that I can see
This means so much to you but nothing much to me
Nothing touches ... nothing ever touches
Please take me home - I am very young.
Please take me home.
And yes I heard you screaming
as you walked out of my door
And yes I've seen those bloody faces
picked up from the floor
I feel nothing and yet I understand it all
Nothing touches ... nothing ever touches
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I personally start celebrating that at sunset on Sept 20th through to sunset on Sept 21st; though this year, I think Sunday (19th) and my activities that day pretty much cover most of the celebrations - messing around with ivy; gardening; sorting through pictures; drinking wine; canting with FT Kate about where I am with the whole HPS thing etc. I did do a little rite on the night of the 20th too.
However it's actually today when the equinox happens - ie the day and night are equal. Antartica sees its first bit of sun; if you stand at the equator at noon, you can't see your own shadow etc. After this, it all starts getting darker.
I was going to write a long blog about where I am right now, but I'll continue the REM theme with 'Walk Unafraid' instead:
as the sun comes up, as the moon
these heavy notions creep around
it makes me think
long ago I was brought into
this life a little lamb
a little lamb
fearless was my middle name.
but somewhere there I
lost my way
everyone walks the same
expecting me to step
the narrow path they've laid
they claim to
I'll be clumsy instead
hold my love me or leave me
say 'keep within the boundaries if you want
say 'contradiction only makes it harder.'
how can I be
what I want to be?
when all I want to do is strip away
these stilled constraints
and crush this charade
shred this sad masquerade
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and
I'll be clumsy instead
hold my love me or leave me
if I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go
I just want to hold my head up high
I don't care what I have to step over
I'm prepared to look you in the eye
look me in the eye
and if you see familiarity
then celebrate the contradiction
help me when I fall to
I'll be clumsy instead
hold my love me or leave me
I'll be clumsy instead
hold my love me or leave me
I think that the upshot is that I've done my year in the spotlight and now I'm going to be me instead.
Legal Handfasting in Scotland
Scotland’s first legally binding white witch wedding held
All of this raises the question - is it now going to be legal in England too? The coven in question qualified under the 1977 Marriage Act, which stipulated that authorization can be given by the Registrar General to groups who meet regularly for religious worship. I don't meet anyone regularly for religious worship, except deity. It would be nice to offer legality without having to go to the Registry Office in any future handfastings that I officiated in. Not that I'm planning to officiate in any ever again.
In the past it's been downright embarrassing and irritating - come down from the high of the handfasting and instead of going to the reception, we have to pile into the Registry Office, all still in our robes, get them married legally, leave and celebrate. It makes the day very disjointed.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
On clouds of sunlight floating by
Kate's isn't. I'm still up Kate's and she's had me in there planting daffodil bulbs, until I got sidetracked by some ivy. I played with the ivy and some trellessing (sp?) for a bit, then went and dug some more holes. That was hours of fun. I made a sandcastle as well. Well, soil castle. Then remembered I'm supposed to be gardening, not playing, so I went back to the bulbs. I could get into this malarkey!
Phoenyxa would be proud. Shonna might as well. Because after I'd finished doing bulbs and drumming on the flat ground with a trowel to the music in my head, I sat on a chair and watched clouds instead. I got some poetry in my head and couldn't find any scrap paper to scribble it on, so I dug in my bag and found the book that Shonna sent ages ago. It's well posh and has recycled paper inside. I've never written anything in it, because it looks like the sort of book that has to have special words written in it, in calligraphed handwriting, rather than my scrawl. But I thought on it and figured that clouds are special, so I'd bite the bullet and write in it.
I came up with this. It's a bit rhyme-y, because I had 'Matilda Mother' in my head and... no excuse... 'Matilda Mother' isn't rhyme-y. I'm not putting this up because it's good, but because it captures a moment in time and will make Phoenyxa proud if nothing else! LOL (Does Phoenyxa read the blogs? Mmmmm.)
Clouds in Brierley Hill
As those below go racing by
I look upon the clouds up high -
Sunlight tinged in pastel hues
They float on by in pinks and blues.
Turning slightly to my right
I see a phoenix in full flight;
And there, the wake of some old plane
Has twisted into a spiral lane.
Snapshot still in powerful motion
Is captured, above, a patch of ocean -
Sprawling out, the white-tipped waves
Break golden upon the halo rays
Of the sun's encircling beaches;
Down to me, where the warmth reaches,
Into my bones, into the cold,
Turning inner clouds to gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Er... yes... goddamned hippy and unrepentent.
PS Happy birthday Grandad. Love you.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
So I've had me three hours this morning having a general tidy up in there. I could do with having another political rant and scutting over the old quarry to take some more pictures, but it's looking a bit better now.
I've filled in the genealogy home-page; added to the Amnesty and Liam's pages; added a link to my MA blog; changed the font on every page so it's easier to read; uploaded pictures directly, so they aren't reliant on linking to other places. It doesn't sound much for the hours I've been tatting with it! LOL
Fancy a look? If you have any suggestions, would you let me know please?
Friday, September 17, 2004
Time to reaffirm the old mantra. Do not call anyone's mobile who isn't on Orange; who isn't in the same country as me; do not send any text messages. Orange mobile 'phones or British land-lines only.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
For all the time spent in that room
Darkness, doll's house, old perfume
And the fairy stories held me high on
Clouds of sunlight floating by
I think it's fair to say it's been more Matilda Mother than Mab of Dream today. Completely and utterly. *huge grin*
For a start, this happened. It's the first time I've ever reviewed a concert and I only did it because a) Kate had wanted the REM setlist, so I scribbled it down during the concert (yes, I'm one of those who generally has a pen and some paper on her somewhere) and b) REM gave tit-bits like what their next single is going to be, which I thought would be a nice scoop for Bob. I honestly expected him to just pick out the relevant bits and pop those up or else rewrite the whole thing. I didn't expect him for one second to plonk it all in as was - especially the bits about invoking Morrighan on overly tall people. I was thrilled to bits.
Since then, 126 people have viewed it and 11 people have voted! :-o For a review that I did! 'kin Hell!
THEN me and Ian kind of invaded Cerr's blog, which was so much fun! I spent most of today trying not to giggle out loud in between jobs at work.
And finally, Bob's just given me the head's up on THIS! He's had to create a whole new section to facilitate it, but already 14 people have read it and one person has voted for it being a 5-star review.
I'm so easily pleased! But I feel like the cat with the cream.
On top of all of this, I've been having a lovely cant with Dragonstar off-list (list here being Witchgrove of course). I really like her. It's going to be something to watch her fly, soon as she gets those wings attached, which she will do, without any help from the rest of us. We're just metaphorically on coat holding duties.
And even more on top of this, I'm getting well into 'The Onion Girl' by Charles de Lint, which Anna bought me for my birthday. Yes, I recognize elements of it on so many different levels.
It's just a really good day, you know?
.... sod it...
AND two people have voted for me - FIVE STARS! And neither of those people are me or my Mum. I don't know who those people are, though one might be my work colleague, Caroline, who was forced to read Between Planets within minutes of starting work.
Yes, definite symptons of over-excitement at my desk this morning. I'm bouncing!
That review also tells you ALL about Tuesday night as well. :-D
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
|Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with|
|Cause:||exposure to radiation|
|Symptoms:||extreme night terrors, vague hyperactivity, talking like a pirate|
*follows up with the excited moonwalk*
*does a quick excited jig*
*does an excited okey-cokey*
*and the splits*
I'm leaving work at 3, scutting over to Brierley Hill, and then going here, and it's going to be fun.
*happy dances like a mad bint*
Monday, September 13, 2004
Is there a purpose to them other than to waste paper and time?
Who the fuck is Mr Gantt anyway? I want to curse him retrospectively.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Ok, this is going to sound like madness.
And nearly fell out of my chair.
I investigated. It's difficult to investigate sound when you have no direction of sound, but I walked around until it grew louder - which happened to be the stairs. I went down, opened the lounge door and there were the closing credits to the film, 'ET', on the telly. Playing a medley of the soundtrack.
Nothing untoward yet? Unless you're me. Here's another bit of information - I'm deaf. With both my bedroom door and the lounge door shut, I CAN'T HEAR THE TELLY! There's the first question mark. The second involves the tune itself and Warriormail Mike.
Years ago, I wrote a novel and I reached one part where it had been doom and gloom for chapters, so I needed to lighten it a bit, just to give the reader a break. It was the kind of book where you just couldn't introduce a clown and some can-can girls, so the lightening up might not look much out of context, but it was. I write with classical music or film soundtracks playing on my headphones, as they are good at creating mood. I scutted through my CDs and found 'The Flying Theme' from ET and played that on repeat, whilst writing this scene.
Fine, that tune means to me lightening up, there's a light side in the middle of the darkness. BUT the character who does the lightening up is a mechanic and he reminds me a lot of Warriormail Mike. Once, I sent this scene to Mike, when he was depressed, and told him about all that. He also found 'The Flying Theme' and was a bit put out when I said that now, by implication, that tune will always remind me of him. However, about a month later, he told me that he'd had a bad day and was scutting through his CDs, found 'The Flying Theme' was still there and played it. It cheered him up, because he was a character in a book, who caused the happiness in the darkness. It became a bit of a standing joke between us.
Ok, there are holes the size of a Sherpa tank in this story, and I realize that this as evidence of communication from the other side wouldn't stand up in a court of law. But it stands up in my head, whether that's psychological or not.
Here's the scene:
The front door opened and crashed shut. Liam paused in the process of turning the key in his car’s lock, listening to the running footfalls coming closer. He expected Theresa, but it was Cassie. She pulled her coat fully on and faced him, her tone confrontational,
“Can I come with you?”
The question caught him off guard. They were siblings and he’d do anything for her, if she was in trouble, but their relationship had never been like this. Theresa or Kian, sometimes even Connor, he socialized with, but if he spoke to their Cassie, it only tended to be in passing; if they had a drink in the Swan, it was part of a larger group. He blinked and shrugged,
“If you want to.” He wondered what they could possibly talk about. “Do you know where I’m going?”
“Pinton. I heard you ask Theresa if she wanted to come for the ride.” She appeared to be slightly breathless, unsure.
Liam opened his door, then looked back at her over the roof,
“One condition,” he smiled, conveying ease, but he meant it, “no ghost stories, no predictions and no freaking out.” He bit his tongue against the last, yet if she took offence and stayed, it meant he needn’t be afraid of what she’d say in front of those unused to her.
“It’s a deal.” Then more prickly, “I behaved myself at the garage earlier, didn’t I?”
“Yes, you did.” He ducked below and unlocked the passenger door for her before starting the ignition. “Anna gone home then?”
She didn’t answer until they were nearing the end of their long driveway. Her eyes remained trained on the dashboard,
“So why are you coming to Pinton with me?”
“She’s with Conor.”
“Conor’s been looking for you.”
They were out into the lanes, the forest was ever closer. They would skirt its borders, but not enter it, not unless Liam chose the scenic route through Ducker’s Pass and it was too dark for that.
“You seem preoccupied.” Liam dug into a pocket for cigarette papers and a small tobacco tin. “Skin up then.”
She seemed grateful for something to do, it distracted her gaze from the dark trees looming on their left. They passed the next mile in silence, until Liam could stand it no more.
“Ok, time out! One question, then I’ll leave you be. Are you in trouble?”
Cass hesitated, before answering firmly,
“Right… can I help you?”
Liam nodded, burning to know,
“Ok. You know where I am if I can help.”
There was actually pride in her voice as she responded warmly,
“I know… thank you.” It was as if he had already won his spurs in her reality. “Shall I spark it up?”
“Of course.” He handed her a lighter, but she was already using her own. This was their Cassie, he had forgotten, the sister who smoked more cigarettes daily than the rest of her family put together. “Is it money?”
Cassie laughed and it startled him. He couldn’t recall the last time she had laughed in his company. There wasn’t even irony in it.
“I thought you weren’t going to ask questions.”
She took a deep drag before answering,
“It’s not money. I’m skint, but I’m a student. We’re always skint.”
“What do you actually study?” It stunned him that he didn’t already know.
“Philosophy and Film Studies.”
Liam frowned slightly,
“Useful stuff then. Film Studies? Does that mean you get to sit around all day watching films?” Cassie nodded, relaxing with every mile put between them and the village. Liam considered it. “So what’s Philosophy?”
“Talking about the colour orange for an hour, then skipping the seminar to go to the bar.” She added authoritively. “Naturalistic fallacy.”
“The colour orange. You can’t describe it to a blind person without describing something else first. You can’t say, it’s the colour of an orange and stuff like that.”
“Has that clarified things for you?” She offered her elder brother the spliff.
Cassie sat back, becoming noticeably happier still once the forest fell away from even the mirror’s reflection.
“Conor studied Music and Film Studies.”
“Recurring theme there.”
“Anna’s doing English. Our Sophie’s got a History degree and something ending in ‘…ology’, but isn’t archaeology, as an MA, and I think she’s still doing her doctorate. Maria’s…”
“I know. I just didn’t know what you and Conor do… precisely…”
Cassie smirked, then sighed,
“It’s usually best not to try with me and Conor. He’s officially insane and I’m on another planet to you lot.”
Liam gagged, recovering himself in a gasp of coughing,
“Bloody Hell, Cassie!” He glanced at her sidelong. “You know that folk don’t know what to make of you then.”
“Oh! They do! I’m either mad or lying. I must be hard work for you lot.” It was all said contentedly, as if the world was running smoothly and Heaven was in its allotted place. “But I make them think and it’s me they come to when weird shit happens.”
“No, I think you’ll find it’s me, Theresa and Connor. If only to find out what you’re on.” Liam sensed a shifting in the mood, a revelation. This was not a conversation he ever envisaged having with his sister. He never believed that she had understood or if she did, whether she would simply crack under the weight of world opinion. Even Conor had once said he feared her suicide if she ever knew how the majority viewed her. “Doesn’t it bother you, folk thinking you’re out of your tree?”
“Not really.” Cassie meant it. “I tried conforming once. I was shit at it.”
Liam laughed so hard he nearly dropped his spliff,
“Here… I like it!”
“Short-term, they give you grief. Long-term, they come to me and they’ve always thought about it. I’m not preaching a dogma, I’m just trying to… I don’t know what I’m trying to do. I just am.” She blew to set alight a rogue piece of cigarette paper. “I want to make them look beyond their petty lives.”
“Petty?” Liam raised his eyebrows.
“You know what I mean! The supernatural is only what we haven’t explained away yet and we will. If folk meet me halfway, I will compromise, but I can’t be dismissed. I can’t deny everything I see, hear and know, just so everyone else is more comfortable. It wouldn’t be fair on myself and I’d be miserable.” She took another drag as he assimilated all she had said. Then she added, “A ‘compromise’ which involves me shutting the fuck up would only be fair if, say, the whole village agreed to deny the existence of the colour green – not mention it, not even think about it. They may see it all they like and I may see my ghosts and hear my voices and we can all sit around not mentioning any of it.”
Liam accepted the spliff back from her. They were at the Pinton junction, though the town itself still lay fourteen miles on.
“You’ve surprised me.” When she didn’t comment, he was forced to elaborate. “I’ve always assumed you were too wrapped up in yourself to see our reality.”
“No, I see it.” Cassie was truly settled into the journey now, lighter than he’d ever know her. “It just doesn’t interest me. You all go on about love and work and boyfriends and girlfriends and children and you think that’s it. You say you’re happy and half the time you’re moaning or arguing or crying.” A wry smile grew. “I think you’re all lying when you say you’re satisfied… or you’re mad.”
Liam didn’t rise to the bait, but he seized the opening,
“If we’re all lying, why don’t you lie too? We can all be in denial then.”
“I thought I was already lying.” A rabbit was caught suddenly in the headlights. She gasped, but Liam swerved and missed it.
“No, you’re just mad.”
Liam glanced at her. She was smirking.
“Except you’re not, are you?”
“No comment.” She flipped a cigarette between her lips.
She lit it,
“Because I’m not lying and I’m not mad, then anything else I have to say is strictly prohibited.”
“But it’s fine in the middle of the Swan?”
“Yes.” She appeared so happy that Liam could barely believe this conversation was taking place, like their lives were a film fitted with the wrong soundtrack. “No ghost stories, no predictions, no freaking out. Has our Maria found anywhere to have the wedding reception yet?”
“God knows! Was that your attempt at sane conversation?” The first lights of Pinton were appearing down below. “Maria’s wedding reception?”
“Told you I was shite at it. How about Angie being pregnant again then? The Wysbarn dynasty goes on!”
“I know. It’s cool. Go on, you’re getting better at it.”
“Ermm… I don’t know! You start me off!”
“Nice weather we’ve been having.” Liam grinned. Her giggles became engulfing, so deep they were silent, contorting her features as her frame shook with mirth. Liam couldn’t help but laugh too. “It wasn’t that funny!” Which set her off again. “I’ve got another one. Are you listening?” He waited until she attempted to settle and said, seriously, “they’ve forecast snow.”
Tears rolled down Cassie’s cheeks and her cigarette dangled languidly between her fingers. Liam was amazed to find himself enjoying her company like this, with his strange, intense sister letting go. They entered Pinton.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
It's a beautiful world...
It is a good book. Pixie was right in the fact that I should read it.
I've got loads of new clothes! Me! And none of them used to belong to FT Kate, as 90% of my clothes tend to be. I was saying as I need some more work-clothes and Mum talked me into going up New Life. New Life is sound, because the clothes are cheap (end of the range), and everything they sell is to raise money to help babies with birth defects. Mum says they raise over a million pounds per year. There's sod all wrong with the clothes, it's just that they are out of fashion by about six months. I'm generally out of fashion by about ten years, so that's me practically bang up to date.
In the other news, the four biggest coffee companies are making Fair Trade type noises. I texted FT Kate (she's stuck at a wedding where she's accidentally got to be bridesmaid and hating every second) who was well chuffed.
Here's the blarb on it. I'm impressed, but still very cynical, if that's possible. I want to know the real front line consequences and how much of this is lip-service before I start cartwheeling down the aisles. It seems too little, too late and the threat of rising prices will panic the apathetic I'm-Ok-Jacks. Still, credit where credit's due. I'll be watching with a hopeful look on my face and trying not to think cynical thoughts. ("Because cynicism's such a cop-out, I know..." Billy Bragg)
Now I'm off to look at the 'Priestess' group. *happy shiver* I can't believe just how many amazing people there are in this world, and there's a dozen of them in there.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Turned out nice again
I've just updated my book blog and the latest novelty in my life is Bookcrossings. Pixie sent me a book with a Bookcrossings label on it and recently Draig Athar had her artwork put on the labels. I've now registered and been sticking labels onto two books so far. 'Stonehenge' is going to Aud, though she doesn't know it yet; and the Eminem book is going to Jami, who does know about it, but we're waiting until after Hurricane Ivan before I post it. That's us being practical rather than pessimistic, as I'm sure she'll be fine over there in Florida.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Bored of Cold and Exhaustion Now
I asked the Grove Mods to put a moratorium on me looking like I'm not in bed by midnight, so if I post on any of the groups, I'll have e-mails saying GO TO FUCKING BED NOW! Trouble is, Pixie's sent me a book, which I just flicked through... a chapter and a half later, I'm well hooked! I've just got 20 pages of Eminem to finish reading, then I'm into 'Passage' by Connie Willis. If the opening chapter is to go by, I'm going to love it. But the upshot is that even though I was abed by half midnight, I didn't switch the light off until nearly two. Then I was up three times in the night, then I overslept until nearly 8 this morning.
All I want to do is sleep. I was nearly asleep on Cabochon at the Moot on Tuesday; I was nearly asleep at my desk yesterday morning. I'm living for the weekend to see if I can pull off another day of sleeping. This from a wench who ordinarily survives quite merrily on 4-7 hours sleep a night, usually more like 4.
I'm waking up freezing cold, with my covers drenched, trying to force down a breakfast which I immediately want to throw back up again.
Getting a bit bored of it now.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
White Trash v Working Class
I'm still reading the Eminem book and I've just read a chapter describing Detroit. 8 mile sounds like Whitmore Reans and the whole of Detroit sounds like a bigger version of Wolverhampton. One thing it mentioned was 'white trash', which I think is the American version of the British working class.
I got musing. I think that if I was American, I'd be white trash. I flit between amused and proud of that. I think of 'Silence of the Lambs' and Clarice Starling being white trash. Whenever I hear those words, it's in Hannibal Lecter's voice. LOL
I was comparing the two terms and while, on the surface, it sounds like we've got the 'nicer' term for it, I think that if you probe further, it's the Americans who call it better. Working class implies that our whole being in life is to work, serve, be glorified slaves. White trash implies that our whole being in life is to be something that the higher classes don't value. There's cool, because I've seen some of their values and I demand not to be valuable by their standards! Besides once something has been thrown out, it's free to do what it wants, isn't it?
Obviously the 'white' is a race reference.
Note to self - ask the next passing American what they call folk who aren't white, but who are working class too. Red trash, yellow trash, brown trash, black trash? You never hear of any of them! Perhaps it's only white people who get to be trash in America. It's a mystery.
"Sometimes it feels like the world's on my shoulders..."
There has been some serious shit going on in people's lives around me, but it does all seem to be clearing. Some stuff can't be 'got over', like those still hurting so badly from Mike's death, but where it can be made better, it is. I've just read on the Grove that Kass is getting her boy back and there's another strike; Corey is having a great time at University, another strike; Matt is posting, Cabochon is posting, even Morganna popped her head out; Lenny has her web-site; it turns out that REM ARE playing next week, so FT Kate and I played that one right...
Moreover, misunderstandings are getting dealt with and communications are opening again. I had a massive conversation with Bella yesterday; following massive conversations with a couple of other people; and by the finish it seemed that all were getting sorted. At least, some of the misconceptions had been hashed out.
I was SO on form yesterday! I've never felt so awake as yesterday, though I'm exhausted again today. The Bella Incident has given me the kick up the arse I needed, so I spent hours last night going through my website folder and actually translating them all into updates on the website. There were seven (I think) brand new pages, plus several others updated, plus e-mails going out to clarify what folk wanted with something they'd passed onto me. Other than that, I was canting with folk, looking around at what damage the hurricane through the Grove caused and seeing where I can put it right.
Shonna has now completely got the reins of the Grove, aided and abetted by Roxanne and Georgia. Anna is busy with in-laws and I'm doing my role as website mod. again - off the armchair and back up the table, as it were. I've also had time to pop my head into Kindly Ones, where I'm at least reading now, even if I haven't much to add.
The Priestess group is getting bigger. I'm still touched so deeply by that, even though I didn't have time to get to it last night. Each time I'm wilting, I go and look at the list of e-mails from there, smile and run to do whatever is needful for the moment.
Life's looking good again.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
What a Difference a Blog Makes...
Feeling much, much happier now!
The Grove has certainly changed. I was looking at 'This Month in the Grove' yesterday, to the sort of things that were happening a month ago. I've sussed that it's difficult to follow the year through from the way I've set up the archives, so that's something I'll sort out today (it's easily done). As you look back to last October, the goings-on remind you of the feel of the Grove at the time. It's hard to put it in terms of better or worse, because it's just different. It's got the same family atmosphere, same friendliness, but there seems to be an innocence that's lost. This could well be me, because I'm not looking from a viewpoint which allows innocence, or it could be the void left by WM Mike.
What it has got now are a lot of people unafraid to share their opinions and to learn/teach openly. It's the Grove we were dreaming of in the past come to reality. That's a matter for pride. I'm also struck by the courage inherent in the place. Folk pushing themselves beyond themselves in order to do the things that they always dreamed of doing. As you work through 'This Month in the Grove', you find the achievements getting bigger - huge things happening - and you know damn well that the support of the Grove helped towards that.
This is all down to the members. We have such an amazing cohort in there now; so much experience, so many folk willing to share, so many willing to ask the questions. The question, 'what makes Witchgrove great?' will always solicit the answer, 'its members'.
But there is another element. Greatness will only thrive in the right conditions, just as sunflowers will only bloom in the right kind of soil, with the sun on it, and then will shed its seeds to grow many more. The conditions in which Witchgrove will thrive have been prepared and maintained by Cerr and the Mods, including myself. We are the gardeners, so I want to waffle about these people for a bit.
The Grove itself never sees, as I didn't before I was Mod, what happens behind the scenes. Yesterday, I was picturing what the Mods Lounge might look like right now. I got it to a lounge, where a table in the foreground has Anna leaning back in her chair, watching Roxanne and Georgia sitting with her at the table. Those two are in animated conversation, watching the Grove. We could all jump in at a moment's notice, but Roxanne and Georgia are the Mods of the hour right now.
Behind the table, in full view, there's a settee and Shonna on it, nursing her baby. She could stand and peer into the Grove quite easily and she's always up-to-date with what's going on. She's got the overview, ensuring that the right crops get planted and things aren't over-watered. But she's also got a baby to nurse, so the settee is more comfy than the chair up the table. From the settee's vantage point, it's also easier to look around the room.
Up the back, there is an open door, through which the sounds of the Kindly Ones arguing sometimes leaks through. In there, the Pontificator is handling things very well, though most of his helpers are around the Witchgrove table. Every so often, Anna or Georgia saunter through, or Shonna may wander through with the baby. A yell from in there will bring everyone running.
Against the back wall, in the Witchgrove Mods lounge, there is an armchair. It's back to the rest of the room, facing a big window. Right now, there's Mab in it - owner of Kindly Ones, moderator of Witchgrove - staring out at the clouds drifting by. It's ok, a moment's call would have her vaulting over the side or back of the said armchair, into Kindly Ones or up the Witchgrove table, but for now it's enough to let the voices drift...
"Shall I approve this one's membership, Shonna?"
"Not sure, there was a row over on my friend's group with that one flaming. Leave it and I'll write them later."
"This thread's getting a little political, I think I'll KO it."
"Yes, do, I've already had ten off-list complaints about it."
(Yelling through) "Ian, can you start talking about the Republican Convention in there, incoming."
"Oh no... she says that she posted on the Grove and no-one responded..."
"I know... I know..."
"Oh! I've just been called a scanky whore and told to go fuck myself, because I refused their entry into the Grove. Looks like I chose right there then."
*grin* Sorry, I went off on one. I really should start writing more fiction, which is what I'm best at, rather than staring at clouds because I'm on enforced Sabbatical.
I think where I was heading is that until you've had your time up that table, you've got no idea of the amount of behind the scenes gardening that's done. The off-lists can sometimes equal the on-lists and the adage, 'You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time' rings so true.
*raises a toast* To the omnipresent and wise Shonna; to the hardworking and under-rated Anna, Georgia and Roxanne; to the amazing Pontificating Ian, who largely shoulders the entire of Kindly Ones; and to clouds, which drift and make pictures.
Friday, September 03, 2004
:-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-(
I was finally calm enough to start tackling my inbox and I got to Tarna's private e-mail to me about things. I responded and the floodgates open, so I was typing away all of those things which are banging around my head, but which I can't actually cant about with anyone for fear of hurting feelings (mine and their's), and I'd got it so bastard coherent. I was onto the 'yours J...' and before I could finish my name, my bloody computer just switched itself off and lost the whole thing!
Why did it do that?! My foot isn't even off my seat, let alone dangling! It's nowhere near the off button. It hasn't done that for a couple of years!
It took me over an hour to write that fucking e-mail and now I'm sitting here thinking 'it's an omen, that's what it was, a bloody omen.' I can't abear to write it all out again, so all Tarna's going to get is a 'thank you for this, it really helped'.
OOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! <------ Frustrated noise.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Someone anonymously added the above comment to my waffling on about death last week and I did take it on board.
This actually sums up precisely where I am right now, securing my spiritual base and facing my biggest demons on my own. I've always been a creature of extremes, in just about everything I do. I'm no good at middle grounds. If I sink, it's into the abyss; if I fly, then it's to Icarus proportions. If I'm good at something, I excel; if I'm crap at something, a toddler could do better than me. Last week, I slumped; at the weekend, I flew. Now I'm on an even keel, taking a long hard look at myself and my environment. I am not the priestess for this hour, even I agree with that, but there are plenty of other priests and priestesses for it instead.
In the week leading up to WM Mike's death, I did myself a tarot reading. Stared at the outcome and promptly asked Roxanne to do a tarot reading for me as well. She categorized the future into health, whereas I had it broader, into every aspect of my life, but we both fundamentally got the same thing. It was pretty instant as well.
Did you read the book or see the film 'Interview with the Vampire'? There is a scene where Louis walks into the Parisian crypt with a flaming torch and sets each coffin alight, burning down all the vampires therein. That's the flash I got in my head as I looked at those tarot cards. A scorching wave of destruction. I thought I could head it off at the pass, by leaving all those projects and groups. I couldn't. For just under a week, the Tower came down and, at each point, with the right kind of eyes, it might have just been possible to see me standing there with my metaphorical flaming torch. Not so much by action, as inaction. But sometimes, the Tower has to fall and the day looks so much clearer in the rubble.
Priestess... what the fuck does that mean? My pendant hangs from a mannaquin, in the safe-keeping of FT Kate; Witchgrove and Kindly Ones are in somebody else's hands; a group has been formed to oversee the WG web-site; any constituency that I had has been whittled right down to those as only I can truly deal with - and they are few. In short, whether blatant or subtle, I know have my space and I doubt that there is a HP(s) in the world who would initiate me right now.
I've got 1994 and an angry, bitter priestess to deal with first, before I do anything.