Youngblood Blog

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Mad Dogs & Englishmen—in Solstice 2020 Heat, Invoke Water, Rainbows

MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN…SOLSTICE 2020 HEAT, INVOKE WATER, RAINBOWS and IRIS
First Wednesday Monthly Writing Corner for Writers Unlimited, IWSGs, NaNoWriMoers, Indies et al

They say astro signs show portents of changes before they occur. We humans are often slow to comprehend.

Iris, ancient Greek, Egyptian, Sumerian goddess of the Eye & the Rainbow, daughter of the West Wind (Zephyr), she joined ocean and sky, sending healing messages to earth’s creatures

With a significant lunar eclipse coming to occult the Full Rose Moon this Friday, June 5th, and despite challenging earth changes flourishing through rapid temperature rise worldwide, we writerly brigade feel it necessary to inject a positive attitude—and some long-forgotten traditions—into the pastry mix before we all stir the recipe into oblivion.

Venus, ancient love symbol, lately gloriously brightest in our evening skies, is now retrograde, tonight drowning in the Sun, and about to enter the Underworld.

She will emerge later this month as a ‘morning star’. This is a time of wild emotions, but inner beauty can be expressed, too. Venus, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Isis were all facets of goddess of love capable of helping the human race.

MesoAmerican study of Venus cycles provided help to ancient races transfixed by Venus’s precision in the sky. Modern man could use such help.

We need it. There’s currently no help from the Crop Circle brigade unfortunately—As of June 1st, there had been total ONE Crop Circle in the so-called 2020 Season—and that in Belgium!

So—to Ancient Greece—and pre-Roman, hereditary Arabic star clusters and constellations for inspiration and sky-watching between sporadic bouts of earthbound television [not advised]. There we find hidden in myth, but shining in light elusive Iris who gives us the word iridescent—the word itself brings sparkle.

Brief background on this tiny reclusive spirit:

The goddess Iris, using her rainbow bridge, linked the sea and the sky, and she was allowed to enter the underworld and dive in the depths of the sea. The oldest Greek tradition imagined her as the goddess who supplied the clouds with water she scooped from the seas using a golden amphora or storage vessel aka pitcher, and thus stimulated the rains that brought growth and fertility to the earth. This originated from observing actual rainbows, whose one end can hide deep beyond the horizon, often in the sea or a body of wate, with its other end reaching for the heavens. She is responsible for healthy summer fertility and growth.

In Roman tradition (often similar to Greek), god Mercury is Messenger to the Gods. Not so in earliest tradition in ancient Greece and Egypt:

Iris alone was Messenger to the Greek gods and goddesses at first. Child of the West Wind—father Zephyr— and her mother Electra, a cloud nymph as well as one of the seven Pleiades, she could bring and deliver messages to all corners of Ocean and Sky. The Pleiades themselves were associated with water in all forms—rain, frost, ice, snow, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Iris was the rainbow bridge.

Maiden Goddess with Iridescent Golden Wings
In some texts she is depicted wearing a coat of many colors. With this coat she actually creates the rainbows she rides to get from place to place. Iris’s wings were said to be so beautiful that she could even light up a dark cavern, a trait observable from all her stories.

Her cult held her as goddess supreme of communication, messages—exterior and intuitive—and her appearance was believed to mark major cultural change and new endeavors.

Though Iris was principally associated with communication and messages, she was also believed to aid in the fulfillment of humans’ prayers, either by fulfilling them herself or by bringing them to the attention of other higher deities.

In some texts she is depicted wearing a coat of many colors. With this coat she actually creates the rainbows she rides to get from place to place. Iris’s wings were said to be so beautiful that she could even light up a dark cavern, a trait observable from in the story of her visit to Somnus in order to relay a message to Alcyone.[9]

Though Iris was principally associated with communication and messages, she was also believed to aid in the fulfillment of humans’ prayers, either by fulfilling them herself or by bringing them to the attention of other deities.

Because no place in Creation was forbidden to her, she was delegated to carry water which she dived to collect from the River Styx [mythological river division between living and dead] and fly with it to Mount Olympus for the Gods to use to swear their oaths by.

Pleiades ocean sky nymphs reflect earth’s fairies/elves in many traditions

In Aboriginal & European mythology the Pleiades are often referred to as ocean or sea nymphs; as water girls and ice maidens. Their relationship with water is multi-layered and multi-faceted and we see numerous connections of the Pleiades with the weather, agriculture, navigation and sailing
Munya Andrews

In earliest Hellenist tradition, Iris monopolized the function of Messenger to the Gods. In early records, like Homer’s Trojan War epic the Iliad, she is the only one allowed to relay messages from Zeus–and, once, Hera–to other gods or mortals, with Hermes being given the much smaller rôle of guide and guardian.

Sit Arthur Rackham, 1867-1939, pictured young Iris as the embodiment of a mystical rainbow bridge between heaven and earth

Like the part of the eye named after her, she was the Kore, Virgin, or Female Soul, a form of the Great Shakti who was both the organ of sight and the visible world that it saw. Her spectrum spanned all possible colors
Barbara G.Walker

It is only in later proto-Roman Greece that Hermes becomes the ‘official’ messenger to the Gods, aka Roman Mercury. By then Zeus relied on Hermes; but Hera continued to rely on Iris because she could manifest, transmit her message and disappear instantly.

No known sanctuary exists where Iris’s cult was held. However, in the lion-ramparted island of Delos, however, annual feasts were prepared in June with offerings of wheat cake, honey and fig delicacies for the youthful idol.

Rainbow appearance and disappearance is still viewed in some cultures as a ‘magical sign’. And many traditions view a double rainbow as double good fortune.

Greek Constellation Cepheus Shelters Iris

Iris appears from Mediterranean skies as far as the Equator as a Nebula within Cepheus, itself a member of the Perseid group. Cepheus is named for mythical King Cepheus of Aethiopia, husband of Cassiopeia and father of Andromeda, all represented by neighboring constellations. Like other constellations in the Perseus family, Cepheus was catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century.

Iris used rainbows to travel phenomenal distances at the ‘speed of the winds’

The constellation is home to VV Cephei and the Garnet Star (Mu Cephei), both among the largest known stars in the Milky Way, and to several well-known deep sky objects: the Wizard Nebula, the Iris Nebula, and the Fireworks Galaxy.

According to Space.com, Cepheus is the 27th largest constellation in the night sky, occupying an area of 588 square degrees. It is located in the fourth quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ4) and can be seen at latitudes between +90° and -10°. Neighboring constellations are Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cygnus, Draco, Lacerta, and Ursa Minor.

Cepheus belongs to the Perseus family of constellations, along with Andromeda, Auriga, Cassiopeia, Cetus, Lacerta, Pegasus, Perseus, and Triangulum. Sky Map here.

Almost all this group can be seen close-to-overhead in Northern night sky around summer solstice—even with the full moon.

[Insecure] Writerly Benefits of Lockdown—Keep On Writing
While looking skyward in the next few weeks may just take our (introvert writing) minds off forced re-entry into normal world affairs, I am the first to encourage the habits gleaned from social isolation to get to the old computah—or manifest a brand new one—and write it all out before anyone outside our charmed inner sanctum gets in and tells us it’s all a dream.

No, it’s not a fantasy. Life, writing and speaking daily to one’s Muse are part of the Dream we signed up for, didn’t we? And a little background levity alongside learning never went amiss. Check back here when summer’s over and we’ll see how we all fared. And keep those fans blowing. ‘Cos it’s hot out there.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

June 3, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, art, astrology, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, fantasy, festivals, fiction, nature, New Age, New Earth, novel, ocean, publishing, ritual, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auspicious Beginnings to the New Decade—Written in the Stars

AUSPICIOUS BEGINNINGS TO THE NEW DECADE—WRITTEN IN THE STARS
Looking to the Future: 2020 Corner for Insecure Writers in all Dimensions

Glancing Briefly Backwards…

‘Diamond Ring’—old NASA-speak for moment solar orb reappears after annular eclipse December 26th 2019

The Sun provided the Indian sub-continent and all Southern Oceans with a dramatic solar eclipse on (British Raj) Boxing Day, December 26th, 2019, triggering a trend for skywatching with special protective glasses. Totality—which reached a maximum duration of four minutes in the “total zone”—attracted one million youthful observers, allowed out in school playgrounds across the Asian archipelago for the event. A solar eclipse occurs when the (new) moon passes in front of the sun’s disc. Lunar eclipse happens when Earth’s shadow passes over the moon. First of four lunar eclipses in 2020 will occur (visible Europe, Asia; not America) night of January 10th.

Solar Eclipses are often dramatic when they occur close to Winter Solstice and this event was spectacular in that the new moon happened so close to Christmas.

Last solar eclipse of the decade—December 26th path of visible totality

Quite charismatically, Captain James Cook, during one of his Pacific navigational/discovery voyages witnessed a famous annular eclipse on December 29th, 1777 between the Hawai’ian Island chain and present Guam.

…Glimpse of Future
Summer Solstice, June 21st, 2020 miraculously will provide another annular eclipse of the sun—again delighting India, Pakistan, Arabian continent and Southern Oceans. No hint in the northern hemisphere. And to complete the 2020 trio, December 14th 2020 brings a third (northern-invisible) eclipse.

There has to be a moral in there somewhere for us (northerly) Insecure Writers!

Jumping Time Zones and a British EarthShot for Humans
As the New Year and new Decade start to unfold—twenty-three hours ahead of time for us (northern) slug-laggards—and remembering that U.S. legislation bans public sale or explosion of fireworks, except on July 4th—it is fascinating to watch some of the fun & fireworks go off live—and virtually—in New Zealand, Thailand, Taipei, Pakistan, and Ceylon in good olde British style and tradition.

Earthshot Prize British Royal Initiative

Up the Khyber—HRH Prince William climbing in the Hindu Kush—2019 Royal tour of Pakistan cemented relations

“The earth is at a tipping point and we face a stark choice: either we continue as we are and irreparably damage our planet or we remember our unique power as human beings and our continual ability to lead, innovate and problem-solve”
HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Earthshot Founder

Prince William’s inspiration for a new decade is world-changing. Literally. Cooperating with octogenarian broadcaster-naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the 37-year-old Prince’s initiative is to heal the planet, one annual award at a time. His Foundation is shared by his eco-planting nature-loving consort, HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who made strides last year to bring focus to human damage to our changing earth, and our duty to do something about it. Her own nature-driven remedies for mental health have been widely copied.

“The next ten years presents us with one of our greatest tests—a decade of action to repair the Earth”
HRH Prince William, Patron Earthshot Prize

Prince William’s clarion call to British, Commonwealth and international entrepreneurs, influencers, and innovators is to “remember the awe-inspiring civilizations that we (humans) have built, the life-saving technology we have created,” and that “inspired people can achieve great things.”

Clavie King & Crew hoist burning tar barrel for annual parade round Pictish fort of Burghead on Aul”Eel—old Yule 6th January—Julian calendar

He aims to build an international coalition of scientists, economists, activists, government leaders, businesspeople, philanthropists, cities, and countries worldwide.

The Prize will be run initially by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, with first annual awards announced in 2021. Long term plan is for it to become an independent organization.

The charitable trust has already received financial commitment and logistical support from a global coalition of philanthropists and fund-raising organizations.

Earthfirst and Nature non-profits have heralded the new initiative as a brilliant coalition of the world’s best minds.

‘In just ten years we can go from fear to hope, from disaster to discovery; from inertia to inspiration’
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

So when all the Highland Reels, Roman Candles and Midnight countdowns have spun off into an alternative Universe and we emerge in the moment of now: 2020—it helps us (insecure but determined to be brilliant writers) to remember that we, too, have a part in contributing to our own healthy future; that one-word-at-a-time is like planting our own future forest.

Only the writer knows how rejuvenating it feels to ‘put a story to bed’. Shake out the red carpet. Roll on the new decade. And, with gratitude, let us put our best first-foot forward.

Let the new era begin.
©2020 Marian Youngblood

January 1, 2020 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, festivals, fiction, Muse, nature, publishing, sun, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Splash of Light on Long Winter Nights—Comet joins Festive Show

SPLASH OF LIGHT ON LONG WINTER NIGHTS—COMET JOINS FESTIVE SHOW in December Skies
Winter CatchUp Corner for IWSGers, NaNoWriMos and All Writers

Comet 2I/Borisov, discovered by amateur Crimean astronomer in October, is being monitored by Hubble Space Telescope as it flits through the solar system

Firstly, most important—and also because we writers are an insecure lot—I want to say ‘well done’ to all writers, great and small, of any age and persuasion, insecure or self-assured, who completed their NaNoWriMo W.I.P., and who may now be editing! their next world-famous novel.

Next: how do we WRITERS intend to face the world through the winter, after keeping ourselves hidden from political mayhem on all continents, down in the dungeons and self-imposed depths of computer/typewriterdom?

Voilà, Comet Borisov to the rescue.


Comet for Christmas—Southern Hemisphere Style

Comet 2I Borisov is interstellar. Not one of our own Oort Cloud near-solar system (domestic) comets that take a quick dip around the sun—perihelion—and back home to the Cloud. Borisov has more hyperbolic ‘orbit’, merely grazing our solar system, scheduled for its closest solar approach in one week’s time—December 7-8th, 2019—a mere couple of AUs* distant, roughly on the inner edge of the Asteroid Belt, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Its closest approach to the Earth—perigee—is 29th/30 December at a safe distance of around 2AU, just in time for Earth New Year. Sadly then only visible in Southern ocean skies.

*Astronomical unit (AU): unit of length used in astronomy equal to the mean distance of the Earth from the Sun—or about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers).

Crop Circle predictions, summer 2019 leading to December sky dynamics, graphic by Jonas Passos

“A comet with a parabolic trajectory (with an eccentricity of 1) would leave the Solar System in the direction it entered, having had its path altered by 180°. 2I/Borisov, with its higher eccentricity, has a more open trajectory and will have its path altered by only 34° as it passes through the Solar System” Gennady Borisov, comet discoverer, Black Sea.

Borisov entered the Solar System in October from the direction of Cassiopeia, near its border with Perseus. This direction indicates that it originates from the galactic plane, rather than from the (nearby) galactic halo. It will leave the Solar System in the direction of Telescopium, southern hemisphere’s Telescope constellation. In interstellar space, 2I/Borisov takes roughly 9000 years to travel one light-year, relative to our Sun.

Tree-felling in the Christian Tradition
How does this fit in with our OTT fixation on Christmas Trees? I hear you ask.

Don’t get me started on the Victorian encapsulated tradition of Tannenbaum in the English-speaking world. British Royals do it; Slavs & Lats do it; Niggas in their boats upon the Flats do it. Let’s kill another conifer for Christmas. With apologies to Cole Porter.

Oops. Just slipped out.

It’s the tree-planter in me waving an olive branch. Eventually, I hope, our 200-year-old heavily Germanic ritual of felling and decorating a live conifer for (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) Christmas Eve festival of light may be replaced by fairy light branchlets and garden strewn sparklers. But that’s a future possible. Not an immediate likelihood. December is fairy light time, virtual or actual, worldwide.

Same old, same old: Laysan Albatross Wisdom, and her partner, sitting on the same old nest again this year, Midway Island Refuge

Thus we enter the Season of Goodwill and Peace to all Men, women, children, dogs, cats, wolves, whales and albatrosses.

I need to bring in my friend Wisdom from the Midway Island Pelagian Wildlife Refuge. She and her 64-year old mate have just flown half-way across the Pacific to return to their nest. Both veteran Laysan birds come zooming in—with their 12-foot wingspan and impressive haunting call, tidying up, preparing and then sitting on their nest for another year. It’s like two giant desks perched on top of a pillar of guano, their magnificent wings tucked in for comfort and warmth.

They already have one egg they’re taking turns hatching. Albatross monogamy is supreme in birds—64 years is a long time to be together.

Thanks for an inspiration to all of us to be faithful and true to our (writerly) selves and keep on keeping on.

Write-Edit-Publish Footprints

And if you still have energy and can’t wait to write, there’s the IWSG December W.E.P.Challenge—Write, Edit, Publish in 1000 words—and the theme is Footprints.

Footprints in the sand…Footprints in the snow—they don’t have to be human—alien, monster, unknown creatures all in 1000 words. Details here.

May I offer you my own compliments of the season.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

December 4, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, art, astronomy, authors, blogging, calendar customs, crop circles, culture, festivals, fiction, nature, novel, popular, publishing, seasonal, sun, weather, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hoisting the Happy Flag—Intergalactic Mission to Overcome November Neurosis

HOISTING THE HAPPY FLAG—INTERGALACTIC MISSION TO OVERCOME NOVEMBER NEUROSIS
Monthly Hideaway for Writers, Insecure, Self-Motivated or SuperGalactic Success Stories

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated in towns all over Britain on ‘Bonfire Night’ with sponsored firelighting ceremony and fireworks, a tradition going back 420 years.

Guy Fawkes, 1605 plot failed to blow up parliament buildings for English pro-Catholic James VI & I restorationists

Remember, remember the Fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes and his companions did a scheme contrive
To blow the King and Parliament all up alive.
Threescore barrels laid below, to prove olde Englande’s overthrow.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
A penn’orth of cheese to choke him,
A pint of beer to wash it down,
And a jolly good fire to burn him.
English Folk Verse, 1605; Victorian version 1870

His Gunpowder Plot failed. He got caught.

Just before his execution on 31 January, 1606 Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of being hanged, drawn and quartered. He became synonymous with the Gunpowder Plot, the failure of which has been commemorated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Night since 5 November 1605, when his effigy is traditionally burned on a community-sponsored bonfire—usually with a finale of fireworks.

While in the U.S.A. setting off fireworks around the All Hallows season is illegal, for Brits and some Commonwealth nations it has come to mean an explosion of national last-gasp celebration/pride before the onset of winter. Plus a twinkling of folk memory buried somewhere in the magic pagan pot. A closely comparable U.S. ceremonial/celebration is the mid-August madness in the Nevada desert known as Burning Man.


Kickstarting the Happiness Curve

It all has to do with joy and ways to achieve that calm place in our mind.

According to Prof. Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist at New York’s Columbia University, during REM—rapid eye movement experienced in sleep—our serotonin levels decrease. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter best known for encouraging human feelings of calm.

We are superhuman superheroes & heroines, once we lock into our neurotransmitter serotonin levels, SuperMan the Original courtesy CBS

“I close my eyes and open them. Who is this body—and this mind? Why am I thinking these meaningless thoughts that seem to be causing me pain?
“I have a mission: to calm this body down and do some good today.
“And then I’m gone tomorrow. On another, intergalactic, interdimensional mission.”
“I am a multi-dimensional, multi-verse superhero, on a mission for billions of years and this is just one”
James Altucher Four Rules for Achieving Happiness

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins are the quartet responsible for our happiness. Many events can trigger these neurotransmitters, but rather than being in the passenger seat, there are ways we can intentionally cause them to flow. Dopamine motivates us to take action towards goals, gives us pride in ticking our boxes. Serotonin flows when we feel significant, or important. Depression comes when serotonin leaves. Oxytocin—so-called cuddle hormone—is present in intimacy, trust, continuity, childbirth, breastfeeding and sex. It creates fidelity.

Coincidentally, sleep and happiness studies have found the actual physical weight of (light) bedding causes deep pressure stimulation that activates the parasympathetic nervous system, potentially increasing dopamine*—as mood-boosting transmitter—and serotonin levels—according to Ellen Wermter, Sleep Therapist.

Endorphins, Mind-Body Joy Triggers of Calm
Dopamine, serotonin and other pleasure-producing mind-body feelings were unknown until a series of 1975 groundbreaking studies by University of Aberdeen (and Nobel-prize-winning) professors John Hughes and Hans Kosterlitz* published in Nature, suggested a relationship with opiates and calm-inducing drugs.
*Dr Kosterlitz, a refugee from Nazi Prussia, and a family friend of my father’s, called the newly-discovered brain chemicals Enkephalin, aka Endorphins. He was among the first to link mind-body pleasure centers with neurotransmitters. I am delighted to acknowledge his work along with that of his Nobel-winning son, Michael, in a related mind-body-spirit arena. It only took forty-five years for the happiness ‘drug’ to become a conversation piece; a household word. Sorry if you don’t need the applause, Michael! Well deserved.


Neuro-Linguistic Programming

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) began in the early 1970s as a thesis project at Santa Cruz, California, home of the original (and unique) award-winning U.C. History of Consciousness course. Richard Bandler and his professor, John Grinder, wanted to develop models of human behaviour, to understand why certain people seemed to be excellent at what they did, while others found the same tasks challenging, or nearly impossible to do.

Inspired by pioneers in fields of therapy and personal growth and development, Bandler and Grinder began to develop systematic procedures and theories that formed the language of NLP. They studied three top therapists: Virginia Satir, the extraordinary family therapist, who consistently was able to resolve difficult family relationships that many other therapists found intractable; the innovative psychotherapist Fritz Perls, 1893-1970, who originated the Gestalt school of therapy; and hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, 1901-1980.

They developed a more personal interactive approach with patients/clients, using encouraging gestures and language to open doors otherwise relegated to psychotic or barricaded emotional realms.

Fall Back—Self-Doubt and Writerly Insecurity Begone
Perhaps our Intergalactic Space Commander Alex would have a better perspective on the whole Superhero satisfaction thing, continually venturing out there with his success, CassaStar series.

Finding a pristine shell while beachcombing brings enormous pleasure, raises oxytocin levels

Ticking the box of achievement—and the joy it brings—gives us feelings of self-reliance, increased confidence—self determination, even. Guy Fawkes, above, paradoxically, has been described as orchestrating his own death—by breaking his neck—rather than endure the triple ritual death by hanging, drawn-quartering.

We can alter our path any time, with a little help from such wellbeing enhancers as yoga, brief meditation and physical exercise—and a lot of writerly moral support.

And we can always fall back on our Muse—November being not just a reminder to change the clocks—Britain last week October; U.S. first November—but crucial writing month for brave NaNoWriMo wordsmiths.

I admit I prefer my pheromone-diffusing area of expertise, e.g. gardening, planting, encouraging bees and birds. With the occasional venture into blogdom. They say—apart from sleep—that our back-to-nature activities are by far the most effective in dispelling anxiety, depression and self-doubt.

I take heart that our best therapy has always been doing what we love the most: aka writing. Joy from that does feel empowering.

As Aristotle 384–322 B.C. said: You are what you continually do. And enjoy doing. Happy writing this November.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

November 5, 2019 Posted by | art, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, environment, festivals, history, Muse, nature, novel, popular, pre-Christian, Prehistory, publishing, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Through Uncharted Waters—Navigating the MotherShip by the Stars

THROUGH UNCHARTED WATERS—NAVIGATING THE MOTHERSHIP BY THE STARS
Monthly Muse-driven Medley for Insecure Writers and Wannabe SciFi Scribes

Sparticles Wood Crop Circle June 21st finally brought the classic back to its native English chalk downs, after a foray into Normandy beach heads

The Silly Season—Now it Begins
The combination of Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta and the appearance of crop circles in the chalk downs of Hampshire-Wiltshire-Surrey countryside seem to get the Brits into holiday mode.

While the United States of America—in one cultural bloc—conspire to break their own world record of shooting off the greatest number of fireworks, rockets and Roman candles in a 12-hour period for Independence Day, across the Pond the short English summer begins. Hats and finery are front and center. Tennis, cricket, football (soccer) and polo horses dot the landscape; rowing teams, barges and punts moor next to pubs on placid waterways. There are Garden Parties.

In this festive mood, Wimbledon Week began with a bang. On opening day, HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, recently asked by HM Queen to take over her role as Patron of the illustrious All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, was treated to a magnificent debut. From her royal box she watched Wimbledon legend—and eight-times champion, Venus Williams—be overturned in an amazing first round win by a 15-year old novice/disciple——Coco Gauff—beating her idol in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.

July 1st Danebury crop circle—decidedly drone-like—coming in for landing at Winchester’s 2500-year old hillfort, photo Nick Bull

HRH Prince William and other Royals are revving up their summer schedules. Her Majesty already set her Edinburgh Royal Week in motion, with help from bekilted Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Forfar/Wessex to host her renowned garden parties. Princes William and Harry will keep the home fires burning at Royal Polo Club’s 49th International Day, July 27th, at Home of English Polo—in newly-appointed surroundings—the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, Windsor.

Within this heightened summertime atmosphere of expectation and delight, it’s not unusual for classic crop circles to appear in the clay-filled electromagnetically-charged fields of Wiltshire et al.

Meanwhile in the Marianas
Across in the Pacific by contrast, the week’s events focused volcanic unrest in Java and the islands of New Guinea; with a series of continuing high magnitude earthquake sequences in the Marianas, off the Philippines in the Mindanao Deep.* They occurred synchronously with Tuesday’s total solar eclipse—seen as partial here in the Bismarck Sea. Other Antipodean nations, viz. all of Antarctica, the Falklands, Sandwich Islands, Solomons and Indian Ocean—beginning to emerge from their own midwinter—experienced four minutes’ totality.
* Mag.6.5 and greater; also coastline Japan, and Kamchatka peninsula.

Crop Circles and Normandy Landings
English crop circles had been few, so by solstice Croppies were thrilled when a classic circle finally appeared in a traditional chalk downs location, after several weeks of Euro competition. Unusual for northern France, earlier in June—at a time when most western nations were holding joint ceremony to commemorate the 1944 Allied D-Day Landings on the Normandy beaches—eleven crop circles—including one at the aptly-named Mieraville, Pas-de-Calais—popped up along the (English) Channel coast.

Wormhole with insect emerging, design by AnimalAlien inspired by solstice crop circle at Sparticles Wood, Surrey

Sparticles Wood Bee/drone appearance brought rejoicing in the (British) corn.

Recent research into collective behavior of animals from whales through insects, and by analogy from metasequoia to micro-organisms, indicates that all creatures can communicate—some like bees, ants and birds, over vast distances.

Both crop circles use insect—drone buzzing—bee imagery—one through the wormhole of time; the other perhaps its own timewarp instrument. Insect longevity as a species on earth, with its ability to communicate over distance—on level of pheromones, taste, smell and in the case of the honey bee, the bee dance—make it immortal.

In a few short years, recreational drones have become commonplace.

Drone and Beehive Community

Beehive fulfillment center towers would supply drones with packages no heavier than 5lbs

‘The company has applied for a patent for towers that bear a resemblance to beehives that would serve as multilevel fulfillment centers for its delivery drone service’
Amazon Prime Air

Amazon has been awarded a patent to allow sale of surveillance drones for personal property, with fears of the Megalopoly becoming all-powerful in the private arena.

The vision is of drones taking off, landing and picking up deliveries from these vertical beehive structures, right, located in densely populated areas. Shades of Bruce Willis’s Sixth Sense multiple level transit system.

What do we IWSGers see? Looking into our own future?

Two exquisitely layered, lovingly laid wheat mesh networks, several Mag.7 rumblings in the world’s deepest ocean, and a total solar eclipse—almost completely invisible anywhere in the Northern hemisphere—unless you live on Midway Island—blatant admission that I share our revered Space Captain Cavanaugh’s passion for time travel action movies and IWSG fantasy scenarios.

Teaser for Midway, due for November release? The trailer says it all: Woody Harrelson as Admiral Nimitz, Dennis Quaid as Vice Admiral Bull Halsey. Directed by master hand behind Stargate, and Independence Day, Roland Emmerich. Plus CGI. Howzat for star-studded navigation? If it inspires us Insecure Writers to keep on writing…Enjoy.

And a reminder that IWSG’s 2019 Anthology Contest is now open. For those doing summer writing, may the stars be with you.

At the helm—
©2019 Marian Youngblood

July 3, 2019 Posted by | art, astrology, astronomy, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, crop circles, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, Muse, nature, ocean, ritual, seasonal, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clinging to Mother Earth or Exploding to the Stars—the Writing Option

CLINGING TO MOTHER EARTH OR EXPLODING TO THE STARS—THE WRITING OPTION
April—Busy Month for IWSGers and A-to-Z Challenge Writers

East Island French Frigate Shoals atols and seamounts in Polynesian Pacific ocean, with levels rising

One WORD after another WORD after another WORD is POWER
Margaret Atwood

Somewhere amid Pacific Ring of Fire shaking last night—two Mag.6.2pointers in Aleutians & Solomons, Mag.5s in Baja and Peru—a mother Humpback whale with last year’s calf in tandem, swims into spouting distance of the black sand surfing beaches of Big Island, Hawai’i.

No seagulls, no hummingbirds, but Big Island has Hawai’ian Green sea turtles and…

She will not be disturbed. Neither will the pool of Hawaiian Green sea turtles doing swim relay within yards of a famous surfers’ beach.

The Hawai’ian chain has no native species of terrestrial reptiles or amphibians. But loads in the ocean.

On land lizards, geckos, salamanders and Coqui frogs were introduced—in contrast to marine reptiles—green-sea turtles and sea snakes—that are native. Offshore vast schools of whales, dolphin, orca roam. The Islands are pitstop and mating grounds for hundreds of Humpbacks every winter; babies returning to visit the following year.

Indigenous to the islands is Nene, the Hawai’ian goose and national bird, along with Hawaiian Monk Seal and Hoary Bat which live nowhere else. Geographic isolation has triggered their evolution here as endemic—wildlife not seen elsewhere. The absence of hummingbirds is striking—importing them is banned—but multicolor treecreepers and honeycreepers are vivid and acrobatic.

From Whales and Turtles to Lava and Myrtles
Tragic errors were made by colonial benefactors. An example is the 1883 effort to reduce (introduced species of) rats, mice and larger rodents by allowing predation by the Indian mongoose.

…and exultant fire turtles exploding from neighboring volcanoes in active flows

Hawaiian crow, Hawaiian goose, and other endemic birds of the archipelago have been lost to this predator. Unlike hedgehogs beloved of motorists in Britain, these spiny omnivores are illegal in Hawaii—where the mongoose—not a rodent but an (Herpestes) Ichneumon akin to a shrew—has taken over the territory. Original reason for importing Mongooses to the islands is not clear. They are famed for killing large snakes in India. Kipling made sure children read and made friends with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in Jungle Book. There are feral cats, dogs, boar, goats. Miraculously, no rabbits.

Coqui frog—Eleutheradactylus coqui—can climb trees and serenades at night

And there are no snakes in Hawai’i. No monkeys either.

Indigenous wildlife groups guard the islands from ‘invasive species’ like the (right pic) onomatopoetically-named Coqui. I find his mating nighttime frogsqueak charming, and his consumption of mosquitoes a blessing; but he is considered a ‘pest’. Mosquitoes hitched a ride from Asia.

Unlike the inhabitants of Easter Island who cut and burned their own trees to extinction, Hawai’ian tradition has cherished and nurtured successive forests of a miracle hardwood—Ohi’a—itself under threat from within. Indigenous, multi-tasking, adaptable in elevation, from sealevel, jungle to volcano peak, it has served as lumber for sacred structures, roof-tiles, fencing and fuel. Its flower is the Lehua, below.

Sacred Carving, Weaponry and Ritual
Volcano goddess Pele became jealous because she asked the handsome warrior Ohi’a to be her consort and he refused, saying he already had a lover, Lehua. In her anger Pele changed Ohi’a into a gnarled and twisted tree. Lehua was heartbroken, as she and Ohi’a were inseparable. The gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower on the tree.

Sacred Hawai’ian hardwood Ohi’a tree with red Lehua pompom blossom, unique in creating its own subsoil on fresh lava, is under threat from within

Ohi’a hardwood was used for canoe decking and seats; for house building, cooking bowls, poi/pounding boards (traditionally beaten with a volcanic basalt pestle), furniture, spears and tools. The Lehua flowers and buds are used for ritual lei-making.

Folklore has it that if you pick the sacred flower, separating her from her tree lover, it will rain.

The tree grows in crazy places—tolerating a range of soil conditions, rainfall and temperature. At sealevel, in jungle, marshes and rainforest, all the way up to the treeline at 8,200feet on Mauna Loa—the world’s highest stratovolcano—twice the height of Mile-High Denver. There it forms a straggly succulent creeping plant, beloved of bees, unique in burrowing into fresh lava, establishing its own compost, root tendrils breaking down subsoil, creating new ecosystems.

In May 2018 lava emerging from under the cinder cone of Pu’u O’o several miles east of Pele’s Mauna Loa and Kilauea, completely submerged Leilani township in fresh basalt. The human residents left. But almost twelve months later the magic myrtle Ohi’a-Lehua has found cracks, created a new existence where nothing else could.

What do these ocean creatures and spirits have to do with writing, you may ask. Our fearless starcruiser Cap’n.Alex and #AtoZ Challenge Chief Arlee Bird might be busy bloghopping, but I think they’d agree—all of us—writers or readers—are going to be affected fairly soon by ocean rise, plastic absorption, mammal and fish death and by the need for clean water. I am the first 2nd.Lieut-in-writing to applaud their tenacity in reaching for the stars. Writers Rulez forever!

Thing about crises on a planetary scale, we writers-bloggers-A-to-Zers mostly just thank our stars we’re still breathing, turn back to the keyboard and…
Write on.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

April 3, 2019 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, nature, novel, ocean, popular, publishing, rain, seasonal, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fairies, Fantasy & Fabulous Royals—Imaginary Friends in our Comfort Cave

FAIRIES, FANTASY, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FODDER for our IWSG COMFORT CAVE
MONTHLY HIDEOUT for INSECURE WRITERS—FANTASY or OTHERWISE

Flights of fancy are more than just soaring imagination—away with the fairies

With Flower Fairies of the Spring, a Victorian classic published 1923 illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973), and read by generations of British children, came a late Art Deco/Bohemian breakaway from traditional, classical portrayal of the Faerie realm. Prior to her designs, C.16th Edmund Spenser classic, The Faerie Queene—reputed to have inspired Shakespeare—was traditional English fare.

Victorian myth and local legend combined to fill a child’s imagination

Bohemian Breakaway from Faerie Queene
The Faerie Queene (1590) epic poem by Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599), follows the adventures of a group of medieval knights. The poem, written in deliberately archaic style, draws on history and myth—particularly the legends of Arthur, beloved of Brits.

Each book/canto follows the adventures of a knight representing a desirable virtue—holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, courtesy—each having that quality in him or herself tested by the plot. The Faerie Queene is allegorical—praising Elizabeth I—Gloriana—Faerie Queene herself, the virgin Belphoebe, and Elizabethan notions of virtue. The poem uses contemporary history and politics to celebrate and criticize the Tudor dynasty, twisting religious controversies and reforms of the time under Mary and Elizabeth. Spenser wrote that one of his intentions was that reading his work should ‘fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle disciple’. Yet somehow it satisfies current hunger in movie audiences for historical realism.

Lavender fairy, courtesy Cicely Mary Barker

In Book 2, the knight Guyon reads an old history of Faerieland, which gives Spenser the opportunity to recount a chronicle of British rulers. In Canto 10*, he tells the story of Leyr/Lyr. The story is similar to that told by C.12th historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. In Spenser’s version, Leyr is looking to retire in his old age. After the love test and division of the realm, he weds Gonorill to the king of Scotland, and Regan to the king of Cambria/Wales. Cordeill/Cordelia is sent dowerless to Aganip of Celtica (France). In a gripping ending, dutiful daughter Cordeill restores Leyr to the crown and later inherits it herself; only to be overthrown by her nephews. In Spenser’s version, Cordeill hangs herself, rather than stabbing or cutting herself—and this is probably source of the method of Cordelia’s murder in Shakespeare’s play.
*Stanzas 27–32 (pp. 332–34)

Classic English Rose, High Queen of Summer

Swinging in her scented bower, Wild Rose Fairy is High Queen of Summer, 1925

I am the queen whom everybody knows:
I am the English Rose;
As light and free as any Jenny Wren,
As dear to Englishmen;

Fold on fold of purest white, lovely pink or red that glows; deep, sweet-scented—what delight—to be Fairy of the Rose


As joyous as a Robin Redbreast’s tune,
I scent the air of June;
My buds are rosy as a baby’s cheek;
I have one word to speak,

One word which is my secret and my song,
’Tis “England, England, England” all day long.
Wild Rose Fairy
Cicely Mary Barker, 1925


Royals Rev up in Fabulous Fantasy Fashion

“England, England” may only rarely be shouted by joyful football fans these days, but we are fortunate in our IWSG underground fantasy writing cave—where all intrepid but insecure introvert writers hole up over the holidays to have instant internet access to inspiring full-frontal videos of beautiful young British Royals flaunting a fashion statement in a kingdom relatively unchanged since the 16th century, while at the same time showing us writers a way to keep the flag flying.

HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex at Sandringham for Christmas

HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, who died over twenty years ago under dramatic circumstances, led the then reluctant British monarchy out of their closeted rule-bound protocol existence, venturing across mine-strewn warfields, embracing young unknown admirers in a royal walkabout. Her sons, Princes Wills and Harry, have taken a lead from her. Both their wives, HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, left, are encouraged to meet the public, and displays of genuine affection have jumped from royal bedchamber into commoner children’s street life. Diana would have loved all this sharing.

It just happens that our vintage Space Cap’n Alex is a movie maestro—with current historical-realism featuring high on his pick list—Mary, Queen of Scots and The Favourite (elderly spinster Queen Anne) shine light into a royal system unchanged for centuries—until now.

It’s an open secret that Prince Charles is happier in his organic garden than in the throne room. HM the Queen shows no sign of faltering, bless her handbag. Young fairytale princesses in phantom gowns have her approval. And always make us feel better.

May angels surround us through 2019.
New Year resolution? May we expect the unexpected.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

January 2, 2019 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, birds, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, elemental, fantasy, fiction, nature, publishing, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Birds of a Feather—The Cuckoo in the Nest

BIRDS OF A FEATHER—THE CUCKOO IN THE NEST
Monthly Perch for Insecure Writers & Others of that Ilk

Subterranean Samhain monster in partially submerged Oligocene strata, Antipaxos, Ionian Sea

Our current cultural vision may seem similar to that strange bird, the cuckoo—medieval cuckold comes to mind ❤ —who 'invades' a functioning bird family, usurping the nest, flinging his fellow flightless companions to their deaths and running adoptive mother (meadow pippet) ragged, while he—oversize and undernourished—tumbles overspilling—into first flight.

To divert us ISWGers from our tendency to dwell on our failings, forget that we are capable of greatness, I devised a strategy of timewarp which should please our Ninja Cap'n Alex—time travel.

Only on this occasion, we're doing it in reverse.
Let's go back. Way back. Buckle up. You might discover something new on the ancestral (animal) path.

If you’re pouncing broadly into Jurassic Park time, Jurassic World even, that’s mezozoic: 199.6million-145million years ago, a little early. Imagine beyond Tyranosaurus Rex, post-pterodactyl, after Smilodon

Jurassic Ancestors Die off after Global Cooling

The Oligocene Epoch, when our Ionian Ogre, top, appeared, came right in the middle of the Tertiary Period—at end of the Paleogene—approx. 33.9 million-23 million years ago. Although it lasted a ‘short’ 11 million years, a number of major changes happened at that time. Changes caused by global cooling include appearance of the first elephants with trunks, early horses, and an explosion of many grasses that fostered a habitat for a sudden influx of new quadrupeds.

As a result of cooling temperatures, life and habitat of many ocean organisms were directly affected. Marine eco-environments fragmented as sea creatures able to withstand cooler temperatures migrated to places further from warm equatorial current. This suddenly reduced diversity in marine plankton—foundation of the food chain.

Nocturnal raptors had an easier time in the Oligocene until daytime hawks & eagles joined in

On land, mammals like horses, deer/elk, camel, elephants, cats, dogs, rats and primates began to dominate—except in Australia.

In Western Europe there were 17 generic extinctions, 20 first appearances, and 25 mammal survivals. As the land fauna migration route between Asia and North America dispersed lineages of cattle, pig, giraffe, and camel to new continents, South American forest and pampas flourished. Apes developed both in the Amazon and in Africa simultaneously, but Africa alone created the first hominids. North America spawned the rat, his cousin the gopher and many lesser mouse companions.

Fossil Hyaenodon from White River, South Dakota, coyote ancestor found in Badlands National Park

The first feathered bird appeared with a beak that was mobile enough to catch insects—presumably our friend the pterodactyl couldn’t. The first deciduous broadleaves [oak, ash, hazel] started to infiltrate the previously dominant redwood (northern) rainforest.

Conifers were also losing ground to developing grasslands—spreading from Mongolia via the land bridge to American prairies and the Midwest—perfect habitat for newer, speedier grazing mammals. Buffalo, cattle, boar-pig—with supporting cast of voles and hamsters.

In the southern pampas, camel and giraffe diversified to become llama and alpaca. Tropical rainforest found refuge in equatorial Amazonia and Indonesia.

Primeval Beaver and Wiley Coyote

Racoon ancestral selfie

Daylight raptors, like falcons, eagles, and hawks, along with 7-10 families of rodents, first appeared proliferating new northern forests, strengthening along with the grain.

The ancestor of the American beaver built his first dam.

Burgeoning meadow grasses made for rapid and diverse genetic growth in horses, developing both in size and speed capability. Ancestor of the Mustang started here.

I liked the logic of the Aleutian land bridge being used by intelligent—and high-energy new creatures—along with their predators—in a competitive novel environment, bringing new lifeforms and muscle power to the New World. The present Kentucky racehorse may be the pinnacle of that growth curve.

Forgive my digression. I had to think laterally. The news is otherwise too distracting. For a writer, that is. NaNoWriMo is also in progress and I’m ‘resting’ this year 😉
Thanks to the Ancestors—fish and fowl, feline and four-pawed.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

November 7, 2018 Posted by | authors, birds, calendar customs, culture, festivals, fiction, history, nature, novel, publishing, trees, volcanic, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Drop, Cover & Wh-a-a-a-t? Falling in Unison off the Cliff

DROP, COVER & WHAT’S THAT YOU’RE SAYING? A-A-A-A-R-R-G-H
…as We Fall in Unison off the Cliff

Give me your hand—there ya go—oops

The Great ShakeOut across the American continent has become a national obsession: an emergency drill—in case of earthquake, fire, flood or tsunami—which drives people on October 18th at 10:18a.m. to

Drop—Cover—and Hold On

when the adrenalin in your cells prompts you to run—for higher ground.

Sixty-three thousand people along the North Coast west of the Cascades, are participating in 2018—from Seattle, WA through Oregon to Northern California, a fraction of the 10million participants in the state of California as a whole. For comparison, Japan ShakeOut drills involve 4.5million people throughout the year.

Preparedness Tip for the Real Thing

10/18 at 10:18—drop, cover & hold on, when you want to run to higher ground

“Put together a grab-n-go emergency kit for work or home—a satchel or small backpack—to include those essentials you need to survive for a few days, if you have only minutes to leave. On my list are water, medications, extra glasses, a thumb drive with photos of important documents, power bars, raincoat, space blanket, flashlight, hand-cranked portable radio and, most important, chocolate. Everyone in your family should have one—children can include a stuffed toy, game or favorite book”
Prof. Emeritus Lori Dengler, HSU Geology dept. ShakeOut guru, October 2018

She suggests we think about what happens if we’re driving when the earthquake hits. A big one will feel like a blowout. So, to avoid having an accident, slow down and stop until the shaking has weakened. It’s good to rehearse a scenario beforehand without fear, so that it prepares us for an actual event. e.g. what would you do if you happened to be in a low area by the coast or bay where a tsunami might follow?

“Pay attention to your surroundings”, says Prof. Dengler. Is the road damaged? Has traffic made the street impassable? How far are you from roads heading inland?

If the street is still passable, proceed slowly to one of those roads. If you can’t drive, leave your car and go on foot.

Counting Calms the Mind
Preparatory thinking need not alarm us. It gets us in the zone. We are restless souls, our minds constantly on the move: motivated either by fear or duty/habit.

Count von Count’s answer was always to count

If you need something to do to keep your mind occupied during the ShakeOut drill—COUNT. Counting will help calm down the adrenalin rush that all of us feel in an earthquake.

And remember to breathe. 😉

After all, what if we are with children, or older ones with disability access issues? we have to try to make counting fun; but keep it practical. Know your local vulnerable areas: stay clear of highways where emergency vehicles have priority.

According to Kevin Cupples, city planner for the town of Seaside, OR, for the seventy-one thousand people living in Cascadia’s Inundation Zone, that will mean evacuating in the narrow window after one disaster ends and before another begins.

“They will be notified to do so only by the earthquake itself—a vibrate-alert system,” he jokes. And he urges people to leave on foot, since the earthquake will render roads impassable. Depending on location, they will have between ten and thirty minutes to get out. That time line does not allow for finding a flashlight, tending to an earthquake injury, hesitating amid the ruins of a home, searching for loved ones, or being a Good Samaritan.

“You protect yourself. When that tsunami is coming, you run for your life.”
Jay Wilson, Chair, Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC)

This is where counting is useful—the count itself, like thunderclaps seconds after a lightning strike, helps us assess the magnitude of a quake aftershock and/or tsunami floodwaters to come.

Downtown San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake broke water mains, created unquenchable fires

Making the Great ShakeOut fun for children and elders is worth the effort during a practice run, especially as our gut reaction in an actual event will give us no time for amusement! It also helps the family know what their duties are when/if the Big One comes.

Shaking from a Cascadia quake will set off landslides throughout the region—up to 30,000 in Seattle alone, according to city emergency management.

“It will induce a process called liquefaction, whereby seemingly solid ground starts behaving like a liquid, to the detriment of anything on top of it.”

Fifteen per cent of Seattle is built on liquefiable land, including day-care centers and homes of some 34,500 people. Portland is Oregon’s critical energy-infrastructure hub, a six-mile stretch of the city through which 90% of the state’s liquid fuel pipelines flow and where the majority of its electrical substations and natural gas terminals are located.

Together with earth movement, the subsequent sloshing, sliding, and shaking will trigger fires, flooding, pipe failures, dam breaches, and hazardous-material spills. “Any one of these second-order disasters could swamp the original earthquake in terms of cost, damage, or casualties—and one of them definitely will”, according to Wilson.

Four to six minutes after the dogs start barking, the shaking will subside.

For another few minutes, with or without a functional tsunami warning alarm—sounding more dramatic and perilously like a wobble-up&down squeal than a police siren—the whole NorthCoast region—in disarray—will continue to fall apart on its own.

Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin.
Seriously.
Count for Great ShakeOut 2018: fifty-nine million worldwide, 20.1 million in U.S.A.
Are you in?
©2018 Marian Youngblood

October 18, 2018 Posted by | belief, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, New Earth, ocean | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Season of Mists, Mellow Fruitfulness & Hotspots

SEASON OF MISTS, MELLOW FRUITFULNESS & HOTSPOTS
Autumnal Insecure Writers‘ Monthly Hideaway

IWSG Anthology contest, submissions accepted from today, September 5th

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells
John Keats, Ode to Autumn, 1820

Should our Ninja Commander-in-Chief, Alex J. Cavanaugh be slaving (creatively) over the holiday period, I want to thank him for keeping this little writerly group together for a respectable period of time.

Let Not Labor Day Week Disturb, All Passes
We have a tendency to enter September, with a doom-and-gloom attitude—thinking the end of the year is upon us, fall is here & I haven’t done what I thought I would do. We allow ourselves to return to the TGIF and Woe-is-Me-Monday pattern. Such autumnal thoughts weigh us down or distract us from the lustre we see as we enter another season.

Brazil’s Museu Nacional—National Museum—in Rio de Janeiro after last Sunday’s fire, Sept.2nd

Writerly advice is not my strong point, but I know of some good human advice for introverts—which writers, according to Myers-Briggs’ classic curve, usually are: pause, stand and look at the view, and b-r-e-a-t-h-e!

There are others out there FAR WORSE OFF than you and me. The residents of Puerto Rico still haven’t had their power turned back on since last year’s hurricane season.

From flooding [sea-level rise] in Indonesia and Bangladesh, to hurricane Lane mop-up in the Hawai’ian Islands after she dumped 40-inches of rain; to the other extreme—forest fires still raging uncontained in Pacific NW—through No & So California, Oregon, Washington to Utah, Colorado and Arizona. Precious water supplies—river and urban recycled—are running low. Burning Man in the Nevada desert last weekend is our crazy cultural way of challenging Nature‚ believing we can fight fire with fire, proving our power as microdot humans in a world far beyond our comprehension.

Keeping Cool in the Hotspots

Winged serpent deity in Temple of Isis, Pompeii survived AD79 Vesuvius eruption

Fire/Sun is indeed challenging our survival in increasing desertification, global temperature rise, baking end-of-summer days. Water is scarce, not just for farmers, but for fruit orchards, local gardeners and fish.

Yet, as writers, we keep on writing, don’t we? ❤

Frescoes that survived the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 like the winged serpent, right, were among the priceless collection of 20 million pieces burned in Brazil’s National Museum blaze last Sunday.

They included a fragile fragment depicting peacocks perched on stylized gold chandeliers, and two 1900-year old designs featuring seahorses, a dragon, and dolphins. These irreplaceable objects, originally gracing the walls of Pompeii’s Temple of Isis, were among 750 pieces from Rio’s Portuguese/Mediterranean culture in the collection—largest group of artifacts in Latin America. The huge upwelling of international support has encouraged them to try to save what’s left.

Barely breathing, we pinch ourselves, thank our lucky stars—and our Ninja Cap’n Alex—for our ability to wield the pen that holds body and soul together. And what do we do?

Write on IWSGers—write on.
©2018 Marian Youngblood

September 5, 2018 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, environment, fantasy, novel, publishing, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments