I’m about to embark on two of the toughest pieces I’ve ever written, simultaneously.

As the title of the last volume promised, the story from here on out is breaching new territory. For some, six is where they should jump off this train and leave it at that. If they’re looking for a safe, comfortable slice of horror fantasy nonsense, “The End of Everything” should really be where their reading ends.

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Moving forward

So I’ve put a post or two behind me, because I’m trying to move forward. The past year has had a tendency to keep me paralysed, feeling isolated in a world I barely recognise. The more I look at it, the more I’m sure that I don’t recognise it because it doesn’t exist.

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An Open Letter to Stephen Fry

(and anyone else who thinks abuse victims need to ‘grow up’)

Stephen Fry, I neither want nor care about any part of your sympathy.

Nor that of your horde. I’ve lived just fine for most of my adult life not giving any part of a rat’s anatomy what you think. What I do care about, however, is the way you constantly target vulnerable people and attack them.

We can set aside the extreme hypocrisy of your wanting sympathy for your depression– a real illness that certainly does deserve compassion– yet completely dismissing the effects of trauma on a developing mind. You resent people telling you to ‘cheer up’, then go ’round telling people dealing with the aftermath of abuse to just ‘grow up’. It’s clear that you don’t comprehend that juxtaposition, as it has been pointed out to you many times by now. I don’t need you to comprehend it. I will just ask you, as have many others, to stop.

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I’m far too in love with this


no one should aspire to be a broken doll

I’m far too in love with how it feels to be swept up this way.

My fingers fly across the keys. My mind works too quickly for them, dropping words and skipping over them. I cannot go back and find them yet. Not until I calm down. I cannot take my eyes off the page, I cannot leave it until it lets me go. Exhaustion pulls me down into sleep, and I claw my way back to the words as soon as I gain parole. Everything else is a fog. The structures I have laid down with care. The skeleton is there. Now I race over this skeleton like a frantic spider, weaving fast enough to capture light sparkling in its hollowed eyes.

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I never want to pull a Rowling

There are very few things that legitimately keep me up at night. I try to live without regrets, so it’s usually only the physical pain that keeps me awake. There are a few exceptions, though, and one of them is eating at me right now.

I never want to pull a Rowling.

In case you haven’t heard, JK Rowling put out a series of books folding Native American culture into her mythology, and establishing a North American branch of her wizarding tradition. My first reaction, of course, was, “That’s ridiculous. The settlers were the wizards. That’s why they were so good at making our nations disappear. Treatorius Disregarda!” My friends and I laughed it off, since we always try to have a sense of humor about what we can’t change. Then I found out exactly what she’d done, and I wasn’t really laughing anymore. To give you an idea: In her mythology she says there were never skinwalkers, only wizards that were persecuted by the establishment of non-magical persons. That encapsulates my first two problems with it, in one statement, but more on that in a bit.

I’m sure her intent was to respond to fans who felt left out of the English-centric Harry Potter series, and wanted to see themselves reflected in the series. That seems pretty clear here. Intent, however, is just not enough to cover the way she did this. First, she lumped a lot of nations into one aggregate concept, a la ‘Native Americans’. To fold Navajo, Apache, Cree, Lakota, Hopi, Cherokee, Seminole and so many others into one label like that is pretty upsetting on its face. It seems the various spiritual and druidic traditions in the UK didn’t mind this homogenization, or I didn’t hear about it, but they had a lot more in common than the nations being stuck in a cultural blender here. Their culture wasn’t painted as false propaganda, and reduced to yet another victimization either, and that’s what really galls.

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Marshmallow Fluff

A while ago, I posted this picture, because when I make cocoa with marshmallow, I really make cocoa with marshmallow.

That’s not a joke,  either. Boiling marshmallow in milk has been a tried and true remedy since, well… As far as I know, since people have been boiling milk! Althaea plants have been prized for their healing qualities since time immemorial. The amateur alchemist in me couldn’t resist giving this one a shot, and I’m glad I did.

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A long silence

I have a confession to make.

I didn’t think I would get here.

It’s been a year since I scribbled in this thing. My head hasn’t had a chance to be full. It’s been emptied out by anesthetics and opiates, as bit by bit I’ve faced down a lifetime of scars.

This is the story I won’t tell.
(Just allude to now and then.)

If you haven’t heard me say it before, here’s a fun fact about me. My life is an insufferably trite narrative. I will never write an autobiography, nor should anyone waste the time inking my tale. If it were a novel, I’d throw it at the wall, then burn the wall. That’s my favorite way to express it, so that might ring a bit familiar to some. I’m a hopeless stereotype, a Tragedy Ann loaded with heavy-handed metaphor. There are soap operas that wouldn’t stoop to the kind of insane, idiotic allegory and clumsy irony that my life describes.

So when I say that I have been digging the scars of a lifetime out of me, I am being entirely literal in every way. The pain I’ve been through– the damage, the deprivation, and even the emotional agony, have been driven deep into muscle and tissue. There they sat, slowly forcing the life from me. It’s a genetic curse, aggravated by stress and long-past neglect– and it has been driving me down harder the more I’ve fought it. There’s no cure, and for a long time there wasn’t even anything I could do about it.

Then there was.

Right about when I had the least strength to deal with it, suddenly there was.

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Paint By Numbers Storytelling

I really, really didn’t want to write about writing. Unfortunately, something has gotten wedged in my brain that I simply can’t stand anymore, and I need to pry it out. So it’ll go here. Feel free to ignore it. Or not. Might entertain you some. It’ll definitely give you an insight into what you’ll be reading in Malakhim.

I really can’t stand Paint-By-Numbers storytelling.

In case you’ve never encountered it, paint-by-numbers is a method of painting in which general areas of a painting are assigned one of a few numbered colours. The participants are invited to fill in these colours, and thus produce a painting out of blocks of simplified colour. It looks like this:

Paint by Numbers software available here:

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with paint by number, as a rule. Using the technique you can produce some lovely images. It can be an enormously rewarding exercise, a way to build technique and understand how an image fits together. The same can be said of paint-by-number storytelling for skill development. Arranging familiar elements along familiar theme structures is one of many ways to learn. We don’t all have to do the equivalent of literary still-life, the world doesn’t need that much painted (or beautifully worded) fruit.

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Our own worst enemy.

Paranormal Activity is, as Honest Movie Trailers puts it, a movie featuring a hell of a lot of nothing. The entire movie contains fewer special effects than most chewing gum commercials these days. Yet it beat Saw VI into the ground, and effectively ended the (*mutter* sanctimonious torture-porn) series. People who are jaded with spilled guts and blood were fleeing the theater in terror, and seasoned movie veterans couldn’t watch it at night.

Why does a movie which is essentially a whole lot of nothing inspire so much terror? Because what we see is never as terrifying as what we imagine.

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Shakespeare is not the problem.

Last night I got into an idiotic discussion, and by that I mean I was an idiot trying to have a discussion with what were clearly just pronouncements. I wish there were a -dar for pretentiousness, because I am clearly lacking that particular means of detection. I mistake posturing for an audience for an actual attempt to open a topic far too often.

The topic in question is a perennial resentment for Shakespeare that crops up now and then from people who have this odd idea that there is some sort of parcelling out being done in which Shakespeare takes the lion’s share of resources, leaving all independent work out in the cold. This is such a backwards view of how theater works, honestly, and yet people buy it. Why? Because it’s become second nature for people these days to blame the successful and widely accepted for our own lack of success and acceptance.

Shakespeare doesn’t stifle theater, it revives it.

I grew up in the theater– when I was a child, I played faeries in Shakespeare and the Nutcracker, when I was older I had roles in Noh plays and independent works, and did backstage work for the university. I found I liked backstage far better, though I would still end up filling in roles when needed. Eventually I did some work as assistant to a producer in local theater. Never once in any of those years did I hear anyone say, “Well, we can either do this independent play or put on another Shakespeare.” It simply did not happen. The reason? The success of a well-worn title was WHY we got to put on the independent work.

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