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Pay It Forward: February Resolve to Crack the Ice

INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER

Ultimate irony: more light= more snow

Ultimate irony: more light= more snow

PAYING IT FORWARD—Whatever the Weather

More chill—just one more plod thru the snow and I’ll make it, if…

Such a scenario, I hope, should not happen to a single one of you in Alex’s band of Insecure Writers.

Buxom Ice Maiden on New England's Arctic front, February 2015, courtesy NOAA

Buxom Ice Maiden on New England’s Arctic front, February 2015, courtesy NOAA

Februarius mensis, after all—even for the Romans—was their “month of purification”. Adopted freely by the medieval Roman Catholic church, it morphed into Candlemas—Purification and doorway to Lent.

“The Feast of the Purification, otherwise known as Candlemas marks the end of the Season of Christmastide” according to Roman Catholic Latin Mass Society

Februarius mensis “month of purification, cannot conceivably have been named for anyone frivolous, one imagines.

Blame it on Celtic Fire Festivals
Yet, long before there was a church hierarchy, pagan/country people worshipped cycles of the Earth, relating sun and moon movements to life and daily work. In pre-Celtic Europe Candlemas was Feast Day of Bride—mermaid birthed by the Ocean with dramatic increase in daily light, Brigantia in Roman Britain, Brigid/Brighid in Irish lore, some identify her with great warrior queen of the Iceni, Dark Age winged monarch Boudicca.

Brazilian CARNAVAL, German Fasching, Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Bahamian JUNKANOO all have the same roots.

Carnaval-Rio-BueñosAires-Hamburg,- Archangel-Nassau

Carnaval crazy in Rio-BueñosAires-Hamburg-CaboRoag-Archangel-Everglades-Nassau


‘First come Candlemas
Syne the New Meen
The niest Tiseday efter that
Is aye Festern’s E’en.
That Meen oot
An’ anither at its hicht
The niest Sunday efter that
Is aye Pasche richt.’
Ancient Scots Easter calculation. Anon

Cusp Candlemas waxing gibbous moon, with a congregation of planetary companions

Cusp Candlemas waxing gibbous moon, with a congregation of planetary companions

Cosmically, last night’s full moon, parading across the heavens with Jupiter and Regulus in harness, like celestial sundogs borrowed from daytime frolics to dance a nighttime mazurka, gave a little more pizzazz to February darkness.

Magnificent. And in the U.S., they call this Groundhog Day.

It may be short, but sadly, those twenty-eight nights of February are often a crucial month to the human psyche.

It is common knowledge—however tragic—that senior spirits, weathering many winters, often find the ‘two fortnights of Februar’ hardest to bear—(statistically) choose to die.

Healthcare vs. Warfare
Americans may deplore lack of national health and welfare systems, as in Europe, but where poverty lurks, conditions remain identical. Homeless people worldwide—their numbers grow every year—suffer. For some, there is no welfare check, no food stamps, no heat. And when winter returns with a vengeance, bringing an icy blast, street people—no matter which culture dominates—are marginalized.
Many die.

Pay It Forward: the NewAge Way
*
One solution to life’s stresses is in the mindset of our Youth.
Reverse psychology had it only half right.
By projecting our loving thoughts, or acting forward-in-kind, we anticipate—and receive in advance—the reward of giving another pleasure, and feeling his/her gratitude
GRATITUDE—winging on a love vibration—certainly makes the world go round.

Octogenarian Angie Dickinson, neé Angeline Brown, shows how best to pay-it-forward  1989 Academy Awards

Octogenarian Angie Dickinson, neé Angeline Brown, shows how best to pay-it-forward
1989 Academy Awards

In Pay It Forward (2000), U.S. film drama based on Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novel, child star Haley Joel Osment launches a good-will movement—almost by accident in doing research for his social studies class. Helen Hunt, his single mother, and Kevin Spacey, sociologist-mentor are stunned when Angie Dickinson turns out to be his real-life street-wise ‘consultant’ for his school project.

Octogenarian and proud of it, Angie Dickinson—my heroine, 83 this year and counting–is one of Hollywood’s hardest working gals. No sign of slowing down, either.

Born Angeline Brown, September 30, 1931 (age 83) in Kulm, North Dakota, her family moved to Glendale-Hollywood, where she graduated in business studies, aged 15. Briefly married to football player Gene Dickinson (m. 1952–60) and longer to composer Burt Bacharach (m. 1965–81), her only child Nikki Bacharach (1966-2007) committed suicide.

Portraying a homeless cohort to young do-gooder Joel in Pay It Forward, Ms Dickinson helps him regenerate other lives which might have floundered. This simple act of anonymous giving, in frame of mind of seeking no comeback, does produce small miracles.

New Age—New Wave—nouvelle vague: we've got something here. Rolling with this one—High FIVE

New Age—New Wave—nouvelle vague: we’ve got something here. Rolling with this one—High FIVE

To give, and not to count the cost
To fight, and not to heed the wounds,
To toil, and not to seek for rest,
To labor, and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Thy Will
― Ignatius of Loyola

And as we know: miracles—and love—make the world go round.
*inspired by a friend & co-believer in humankind

Post Scriptum: THE WAVE
In context of leaving anonymous gifts without seeking acknowledgement—as someone we all know around here does every month—ahem Ninja Cap’n Alex: this a trait which has carried our little group of IWSG-ers through some hard times. I have complete faith that Alex’s own brand of Paying it Forward will continue to support us. And I know I—and loads of my writerly co-travelers—will dig in with both feet as we reap greater and better life rewards!

Let’s enter that Consciousness, New Age IWSGers—go with that Flow, er Wave.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

February 4, 2015 Posted by | astrology, belief, blogging, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, environment, festivals, history, nature, New Age, pre-Christian, publishing, seasonal, sun, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A NewYear [2015] Epiphany of Mind

INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP—IWSG January—Catchup Corner

Our star at perihelion, opposite full Cancer Moon

Our star at perihelion, opposite full Cancer Moon

IWSG FLYING the FLAG in 2015
January can often tax the kindest of our good intentions. Plus—forgive me for mentioning—an almost-75% landmass of the Northern hemisphere—E.United States hardest hit—is suffering blizzard conditions; a so-called mini-Ice Age.

NAKED IN SPACE—Comet Lovejoy in our Skies
Any emotional burdens which add to our New Year resolutions tend to throw our resolve out the window. But in the first week of the new year we are regaled by a delightful naked-eye object, to give our spirits a lift. Comet Lovejoy demands attention this week, drawing our sight heavenward. This is never a bad thing. By lifting our eyes from the computer, balance sheet, diaper drier, our thoughts get a chance to lie still for a moment. Instead, we can direct our attention to other—more dreaming musings—future successes—family changes—fame—whatever floats our boat. Our inner secrets revealed.

With our (astroLOGICAL) lives held in a 30-year Saturnine cycle, it’s nice to have a few little trifles to cheer us up when we get low: on motivation, NewYear rez—y’know—THAT time.

The Way Forward

But, thanks, as ever, to our fearless leader, Alex, who encourages us all by his supreme example: that abundance doesn’t need to mean hard slog!

Living in Present/Presence
Forget Auld Lang Syne: it’s all according to how we/you live now.

To plan y/our way forward, in life and in our day-to-day rhythm, we need to get comfortable first.

Any dream is gud! —more fabulous the better tku Aesop & all who Rock

Any dream is gud!
—more fabulous the better tku Aesop & all who Rock

Or, as the youth of 2015 constantly remind us:
NOW is where it’s at.

Within our little writerly IWSG community, fostered so well by our Ninja Cap’n Alex, I believe we writers have surfaced enough times here as a group, to understand our ‘other’ writerly silences. It goes with the territory.

I also believe, as fearless Alex constantly (gently) encourages us, that we are being asked—not just as a comfort-zone monthly moan-sharing group of Dreamweavers to open our own minds to what we can do. But to open our hearts as well.

Because soul-to-soul, we help each other connect to what really motivates us, just by holding each others’ hands through yet another (30-year wake-up call) Saturn Return.

’Nuff said.

Don’t do what I say. Do what Alex does!
Happy Epiphany & many 2015 Revelations.
©2015 Marian Youngblood

January 8, 2015 Posted by | Ascension, astrology, authors, belief, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fiction, Muse, New Age, novel, publishing, seasonal, sun, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Under the Wire: November Writing Retreat, Celtic New Year’s style

Insecure Writers’ Support Group [IWSG] Corner

November 5th 2014 weather anomaly Eastern/Central U.S. CA basks in eternal sunshine, map ©NOAA

November 5th 2014 weather anomaly Eastern/Central U.S. CA basks in eternal sunshine, map
©NOAA

Many times this eventful year, I have longed for time/space to write—at least a few lines at my leisure—within my comfort zone. Events have a way of redirecting our otherwise good intentions, don’t they?

So far, 2014 has been short on leisure.

November heralds Celtic New Year and I’m no farther forward than last Samhainn.

Astrochart for now: 11:11p.m. EDT 11/05/14 Saturn leads pack of Starhounds to Orion's chase

Astrochart for now: 11:11p.m. EDT 11/05/14 Saturn leads pack of Starhounds to Orion’s chase

And, now that fall is well and truly here, my writerly output—like my garden shed—is showing its leaks!

Driving our Engines into the Ground
It’s not that we writers aren’t driven to distraction by our need to put graphite to tree pulp; extract or express some primeval desire hidden in the God-given Word; even one in our own God-driven engine-mind. I have known a fellow scribe who went into catatonia for a fortnight—today we call it ‘withdrawal’ or ‘having a bad hair day’—because she couldn’t find her high school propelling pencil.

Like losing a cell phone or iPod, our sudden disconnection fuels our dependency.

Change of season usually alters our work pattern, anyway. Deep inside, we must be akin to swallows, electromagnetically programmed to changing home base. Bureaucratic daylight manipulation makes it worse: disturbs our brain and sleep patterns, resulting in near-writer’s block.

Heaven forbid. I hope my mind hasn’t also flown the coop, along with my summer projects.

All Fall In

Rainstorms bring water, turn grass green again

Rainstorms bring water, turn grass green again

If I’m honest, this is the time when I sometimes admit defeat, float around in ‘can’t cope’ mode for a day or two with the change in weather, or, paradoxically, don ‘wellies’ (Wellington boots, rain gear), grab a pair of lethal secateurs and get forceful with a blackberry root.

Needless to say, I’ve found the culprit: something I can blame. It’s easier to point a finger at retrograde Neptune, floundering in his own exalted sign of Pisces, or beg deathstar Pluto to release his vice-like grip on his fellow planet, Mars conjunct in restrictive structure-driven Capricorn! The ancient SeaGoat rises from the waters to vanquish all malingerers…

Under the Wire
We are, I do believe, supremely grateful for excess H20 which fell from the heavens just in time to save us from a fiery death by 2014 heatwave. Water saved us from our (continuing) careless treatment of our planetary home.

It’s mot for me to criticize. William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle has shown us the way for a decade. We are still playing games with water. I merely add my comment—and gratitude. And pray that fewer hours of light may bring me time to relax, allow me to retreat into inner worlds.

And thanks Alex, as always, for doing what you do.
Dragon of the Stars, indeed. :)
©2014 Marian Youngblood

November 6, 2014 Posted by | astrology, authors, culture, earth changes, environment, fantasy, gardening, nature | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

September Blues? Consider Poor Mother Earth

INSECURE WRITERS’ SUPPORT GROUP CORNER


Thanks to our (non-mutant) Ninja Capn. Alex, I make a seasonal appearance as last rays of summer flash, to say hi to my fellow IWSGers, but also to share the pathos of impending equinoctial changes: seasonal, earth-related, celestial and beyond—

Ancient Lughnasadh Festival of Light
I try to celebrate the end of summer, lasting—as all Druid-lore-lovers know—from mid-July to September equinox, plumbing sacred depths of fire festival season centered on:
Lammas Day, August 1st, the Glorious Twelfth.*

Mud-slides: par for course @T-in-the-Park

Mud-slides: par for course @T-in-the-Park

It spans the crazies of [Brit. advertising-cum-financial industry] ‘Silly Season’, culminating at September’s doorway in a frenzy of global music festivals: epitomized by (Brit) Leeds-Reading Extravaganza and (beer-fueled) T-in-the-Park. And BURNING MAN in the Nevada Desert.

Yet I feel pathos and sadness engulfing a season’s end, a dying earth. Our Mother Earth, especially, has suffered much this year.

Burning Man festival of light, Nevada desert

Burning Man festival of light, Nevada desert

*I am not sentimental about the killing of grouse; I never liked the practice, however fashionable and smoothly operated it’s supposed to be. I shall not change my view; but my attitude to what goes on in the ‘Old Country‘, now that I’m an ex-pat, has softened.

I know this doesn’t sound remotely like a writing moan—as our monthly corner is supposed to be—but there is a connection:

Harvest—Dying—Resurrection—Metamorphosis
Ancient Lammas, Lughnasadh primal fire festival of the god Lugh, [‘Light’] is known across the indigenous cultural spectrum as First Harvest, Harvest Home, a time to STOP, give thanks and celebrate with offerings—bread from our table. Rejoicing in Mother Earth’s bounty, we share and celebrate her fruitfulness with good food and friends. Traditionally, harvest tables were decked with red, gold, orange, yellow, bronze, citrine, gray, and green: colors now associated with wild dress-couture-masquerade extravaganzas—particularly in U.S.

Corn dollies have been replaced by macho/Ninja? [!!] sickles, scythes, iMax giant scimitars, over fresh veggies & fruits, bread, and sun-wheels. But drumbeat rhythm focuses joy, seeps between the volcanic cracks into the Earth, honoring her cross-cultural daughters of Lugh: Freya, Demeter, Ceres, Pandora et al.—goddesses of fruitfulness,carers of the Earth thru her seasons. In this sense she (Earth Mother) and Hathor are one and the same: primeval Eve, Brittonic Bride, Norse Auohumla, great cow-giant goddess, and ancestor of the Norse gods. She is also Gaia, Sumerian Antu: who became Ishtar, goddess of love and procreation.

Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014-style

Mutant Ninja Turtles, 2014-style

Summerend, in all cultures—ancient Lammas, now-generation Virtual.world and future Turtle Island—with deference to our Sci-Fi Cap’n’s focus—is always a good time for a celebration.

Now is time to enjoy drinking, eating fresh food, indulging our hedonist within— dancing, expressing joy, getting back to our roots—being oneself.

For a light-deprived northerner, I am grateful for long days of warmth, time in the garden, maybe occasionally, I think about writing…lol. But I digress.

The Caravanserai Headed East
In current Western culture, Burning Man takes precedence. Trailers are rented at great expense, shared rides go East thru the Nevada desert, to pitch camp in an awesome congregation of festival-goers—almost medieval in ethos—with singing, dancing, beating and celebrating the earth, the sun, and being alive— through music, masque, dance and new connections, made over five days.

Leeds-Reading morphs to 4-day festival, à la Burning Man

Leeds-Reading morphs to 4-day festival, à la Burning Man

Glastonbury’s Symposium begins the season mid-June, followed by July drinking madness: Scotland’s T-in the Park, above, originating in 1997 in Strathclyde Country Park, where triple stages were annually bogged down in mud.

Black Rock, NV, 2014 artwork DC

Black Rock, NV, 2014 artwork DC

2014’s TITP was last epic concert to be held on Kinross’s disused Balado field:a medically-better location, where WWII runways provided metaphorical undercarriage for nine multiple stages over three-day weekend.

But, because Forties Field oil pipeline runs under the tarmac, Scots (financial and) Government agencies started yelling ‘health&safety’, so 2014 was its swan song. T-in-the-Park 2015 will migrate to the former boarding school of Strathallan, twenty miles West in Perthshire.

Sunday morning at the ephemeral Cathedral, Black Rock Nevada-ending 2014 Burning Man

Sunday morning at the ephemeral Cathedral, Black Rock Nevada-ending 2014 Burning Man

There follows the majestic three-day wonder of Reading-Leeds Music Festival, at the height of Lammas: August 21-24, 2014.

Leeds-Reading DeafHavana & Bill Bailey

Leeds-Reading DeafHavana & Bill Bailey

It would seem the Brits are following the U.S. lead in widening the window of music sent heavenward in sheer joy of numbers.

Americans wowed by Nevada desert’s five-day Burning Man festival have yet to experience the booze-quotient of a Brit music venue: comparisons of liters/pints of beer drunk at Glastonbury vs. Leeds/Reading shock American/Canadian drinkers who, by law, have to put tankard to lip behind closed doors. Ah, the contrast.

As Britain closes for the summer, the American continent opens. Festivals ripple like musical arpeggios across barren, dry (over-watered) southern states, Austin, Dallas, Nashville. As the earth gets hotter—most of continental U.S. is in grill-bbq grip of unrelenting heat, forest fires, drought.

Here is not the place to bring up city water demands from rural salmon spawning hinterland—Eel, Van Duzen, Klamath, Trinity and Navarro— but we all know Earth is shrieking for us to slow down, take a look at what we are doing to our Pale Blue Dot, called home, and stop.

One could liken it to an Apocalypse scenario. But our Ninja Cap’n knowzzzz all about that.

Thank you Alex, always for providing a corner for a moan, a shared frisson and love for Sci-Fi, and a window on tomorrow’s world—and for letting me in under the wire—late. :)
©2014Marian Youngblood

September 3, 2014 Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, belief, blogging, calendar customs, crop circles, culture, festivals | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

June—Too Soon to Worry—IWSG-No-Moan-WednesDay

MONTHLY 1st WEDNESDAYS InsecureWritersSupportGroup CORNER

Cyborg-human mindbender Odyssey goes where no gender has gone before...

Cyborg-human mindbender Odyssey goes where no gender has gone before…


A baby cried, a world began.
“Heart action dropping!”
‘Jake, Eunice?’
‘Here, Boss. Grab on. There, we got you.’
‘Is it a boy or a girl?’
‘Who cares, Johann—it’s a baby—one for all and all for one!’
An old world vanished and then there was none.
Robert Heinlein, I Will Fear No Evil, ©1970

Our revered leader, Alex Cavanaugh, would be proud of us minions in the writerly field— mini-minions, even, when it comes to major Sci-fi like current faves, Her, and Gravity—for even attempting to put together occasional works of fiction of the far-out genre. My own passion is cyber-warp-time-differential stuff, with a dishy captain at the helm, of course!

So it will come as only a mild surprise to him that this month I cannot—rather will not—raise my head above the parapet—of other #Iamwriting labors—to complain.

The weather outside is too wonderful, the view of the ocean—when I have the sense to raise my sights and gaze—to die for; and life in general is giving me abundance.

When June brings such a vista, all cares vanish—

When June brings such a vista, all cares vanish—

Will my Wunderkinder colleagues therefore forgive me for not moaning this time around?

It’s June, after all. Let’s relax and enjoy life a little.

If I have to squeeze in a tweak of intellect in an otherwise cerebrally-challenged month, I might suggest that both Her, the cyber-cross-human sex movie with dishy Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson as the cyborg; and blockbuster Sci-fi future classic Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, are gorgeous to look at, but Her is technically based on several previous scripts: Robert Heinlein’s, top; with the lovely Samantha created from the ancient Greek-Sanskrit myth-legend of Persas, that imported Persian harlot vampire who emerged from the ocean and devoured her lovers.

But who’s doing heavy research when the scenes are so vivid and sensually surreal? :)

When our hero—and Alex’s—Robert Heinlein—use the vampire lady in his seminal—and imho under-read classic, top, I Will Fear NO Evil, his words are more relevant today than 40 years ago.

So, all that leaves me is to say thank you to our planetary host, and our mentors-in-spirit—Wells, Heinlein and Bradbury, RIP—and, of course, the legendary PERSAS for her guest appearance. And may we all continue to have mythological creatures from the deep to inspire our writing.
©2014 Marian Youngblood

June 4, 2014 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, fantasy, fiction, Muse, novel, publishing, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Second Anniversary, Insecure Writers’ Support Group

Monthly IWSG Corner

Blowing bubbles to celebrate—Happy Anniversary IWSG

Blowing bubbles to celebrate—Happy Anniversary IWSG

A long time ago we told multi-talented Alex Cavanaugh, author of sci-fi smash hits CassaStar and CassaFire—and imminent release, September 17th, CassaStorm—that if he thought he could retire afterwards and write/play his music, nobody would let him.

It seems we were right.

Not only does his third book have pre-release rave reviews, but he himself has decided to continue his backup team of support writers—us, the IWSG-moaning-minnies—who celebrate our two-year anniversary today.

His little monthly group has kept insecure writers writing—which is the whole point—but the fact that the site is to be jazzed up, amplified and opened up to more writers is the greatest news. He has put it together with the help of a team of fellow writerly bloggers, Joy Campbell, Michelle Wallace, Joylene Nowell Butler Susan Gourley/Kelley, L. Diane Wolfe, and Lynda Young, and hopes that it will turn into a center for writers, with tips, encouragement, support and links.

IWSGHEADER1

“My goal isn’t for the site to be just a database—I want it to be THE database of writing databases, with links to places like Elizabeth’s Writer’s Knowledge Database, Query Tracker, and WriteOnCon, plus tons of other links and listings of resources. It will also feature a weekly informative post or two, plus house the main list for the IWSG.”
Alex J. Cavanaugh

They aim for an October launch.

What synchronicity, Alex, just when the rest of us had thought our Muse had abandoned us…my token IWSG moan for this month…:(

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US
_________i love y____________i love yo
______i love you♥i l_______i love you♥i lov
____i love you♥i love y___i love you♥i love y
___i love you♥i love you♥i love you_______i lo
__i love you♥i love you♥i love you_________i lo
_i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i l_______i lo
_i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love ______i
i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥__i l
i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i l_i
i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i lov
i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i lov
_i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i l
__i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i
____i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i love yo
______i love you♥i love you♥i love you♥i lo
_________i love you♥i love you♥i love yo
____________i love you♥i love you♥i l
______________i love you♥i love yo
_________________i love you♥i
___________________i love yo
_____________________i love
______________________i love
_______________________You

May great good fortune go with the launch of CassaStorm, and here’s to loads more years of IWSGing.
©2013 Marian Youngblood

September 4, 2013 Posted by | authors, blogging, fiction, novel, popular, writing | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

SciFi for Beginners

Monthly IWSG Corner

European Crop Art: Rheigaustrasse Zurich, Switzerland July 4th 2013

European Crop Art: Rheigaustrasse Zurich, Switzerland July 4th 2013

The old folks always used to talk about the weather—for something new to say each day. It happened more in country settings where rain/sunshine affected crops, staple of life; but even city-dwellers seem to have become more weather-conscious of late—space-weather, that is—while our earthly home currently goes through some interesting changes:

Tornadoes in Minnesota, hail and rainstorms running through Missouri and down the Mississippi; annual forest fire battles ongoing in northern California—

Great Britain has had its first month of sunshine (July 2013) since 2010—bringing out a few crop circles—but the country is close to power grid overload from excess use of domestic heaters, because the solar panels don’t work!

By contrast, the Aleutians, Alaskan peninsula, Greenland, Iceland, Shetland, Nordkap and the northern Steppes of Russia had a month of blistering cloudless days, with temperatures over 100ºF.

Japan, it seems, had a month of solid rain, but there the weather is affected by the continuing Fukushima ‘clean-up’. Typhoons have followed on the volcanic ‘murmurs‘ [Richter 3 & up] ongoing in New Zealand.

According to solar buffs, it’s happening because earth, now within the sun’s year of solar maximum—an eleven-year cycle at its peak now—is getting more space weather than usual.

And if we didn’t have enough to occupy us on earth, there are next week’s spectacular Perseid meteors, that always make a show on the glorious twelfth. And glistening planets Mercury, Mars and Jupiter in the dawn sky.

It’s enough to make us writers throw caution to the ethers and turn to sci-fi. I know we IWSGers are reader-fans of sci-fi or we wouldn’t be the minions we are to our revered leader Alex. But I mean WRITE Sci-fi.

Earth envoys—the Voyager twins—enter a whole new dimension: heliopause, between solar system and hyperspace, August 2012

Earth envoys—the Voyager twins—enter a whole new dimension: heliopause, between solar system and hyperspace, August 2012

Add Comet Ison to the mix—a recurrent comet starting to appear on the outer edge of the solar system—and don’t we hear those Voyager vibes in the background? Doesn’t the sci-fi inner child in us all want to come out?

Beloved Voyager—that last vestige of ’fifties technology—hit the edge of the heliosphere, the heliopause, entered ‘outer’ space a year ago last August. Comet Ison appears shortly in our skies, bright by November. I wouldn’t be surprised if it arrives next month, September, just to add glitz and glitter to the launch of Cassastorm.

Come to think of it, Ninja Captain, are you responsible for earthly tornadoes, rain and windstorms, too?
:)
©2013 Marian Youngblood

August 7, 2013 Posted by | astrology, astronomy, authors, blogging, culture, earth changes, fiction, novel, sun, weather | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Procrastinators? Moaning Minnies? Not us IWSGers

Monthly IWSG Corner

I wrote SHASTA: Critical Mass (forthcoming) while still in Scotland

I wrote SHASTA: Critical Mass (forthcoming) while still in Scotland; now what?

I woke up and realized it was IWSG time, with no blog up on the net, and Wednesday already half over in New Hampshire, New Jersey and New Brunswick; banks and all sleepyheads dead to the world in Europe, and who knows how many early birds up-‘n’-at-em in the Orient, Singapore, and at least three-quarters of Australia. So that makes me the late bird, with very few worms to catch.

A big ‘thank you’ to those lovelies on this great Alex-led circuit who read my last post and shared their thoughts. As a peripheral here—until my wifi and life rearrange themselves—I do appreciate input from other writers who have gone through major change. Helps to know I may still be on some kind of writing track—though some days I wonder…

One blogger bravely pointed out that living in the Pacific-NW’s beauty is a major issue in her writing. I agree. Ocean vistas squeeze into our awareness amazingly dauntingly stunningly grandiose dreams and thoughts, into a space where they don’t seem like dreams any more: it’s more like manifestation-in-process, where previously ‘stuck’ items start to feel less part of the procrastination process, more physically do-able.

That doesn’t mean I can balance my books or keep track of stuff in the ‘real’ world—I had to be told about soaring Alaskan temperatures, San Francisco gridlock—but I feel more comfortable in my skin, less ‘on the road’ gypsy. If my Muse will just let down her hair a little, then maybe my writing will, too.

With such new energy comes Schadenfreude, though: the Germanic bipolar word for ‘happy-sadness’, some say a longing, for what we left behind. All writers know what I’m talking about. Stressed, hyper, or super-relaxed and cool, we get to write about what moves us. And who could not be blessed by an ocean which stretches half way across the planet and brings new ideas/inspiration each day? But oh, those little whispers of past times, of places been to in a previous existence. Are they to become part of the next novel, perhaps?

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Mary changes with Nature and seasons

Mary changes with Nature and seasons

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row
Traditional

Contrarily, I wrote ‘SHASTA: Critical Mass‘—forthcoming from AllThingsThatMatter Press—mostly while I lived in Scotland, with occasional visits to California. Now, one of that state’s 38 million residents, does that give me license to wax eloquent on my Caledonian heritage, or, as Mary might suggest, branch out like Alex and… project myself into space? Always a sci-fi addict, I am seriously tempted.

But it seems I have work to do first. And not the fun stuff—the other.

My wonderful editor who held my hand throughout 2012 during ‘Shasta‘ line edits and finals, house move crazies, etc., signed me off while surrounded by packing cases; so I blessed my good fortune and got on with house repair and plumbing permits—wipes brow. Now, several months down the line, it seems my publisher and editor weren’t totally on the same page… Guess who now has to find not only the will but the way to switch back into chop-and-slice mode, instead of what I really want to do, which is WRITE?

Schadenfreude must also mean no rest for the wicked. That, too, has a contrary feel to it. I remind myself that ‘wicked’ in trendy Brit-speak actually means ‘have fun’.

Wish me luck.
©2013 Marian Youngblood

July 3, 2013 Posted by | authors, blogging, consciousness, environment, fiction, Muse, nature, publishing | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

If You Can Dream… Transitions for IWSGers

Sequoia power: Nature's ultimate weapon is calm

Sequoia power: Nature’s ultimate weapon is calm

I mentioned briefly over the last few months that my various internet incidents have happened because I’ve been moving house. In my new location—the PacificNW—it’s called going through a transition. And, true to character, this forgiving climate breeds forgiving people. Transitions are what everybody is going through here. Join the club.

Nevertheless, the Pacific—some say the Redwoods—seem to have beckoning power, an influence on people who, apparently without forethought or reason, up and take off for the West: it’s almost like a mini-Goldrush, except this time, there is an element of the unknown about it. One of the most famous ‘transitioners’, Eckhart Tolle said he knew he had to move to the PacificNW because he was being called, but he felt California was too ‘out there’ for his style, so settled in British Columbia, Canada!

The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are’
Eckhart Tolle

To each his own. All I know about is another amazing learning curve called culture shock… for another time~~~

I never was one to watch the news, so my lack of internet has only heightened my separation from the ‘old country’ on one level, but hastened my adaptation to my new adoptive one. It is said some of our greatest moments of revelation come when life knocks us for six [cricket terminology, similar to ‘out of the ball park’ :)], but it is also true that going through a transition is like an initiation ceremony in preparation for an event you don’t as yet understand…

Rudyard Kipling said it better than I ever could; I often wonder if he felt like a ‘stranger in a strange land’, a British ‘exile’ in the India of the Raj. In those days, psychosis was something everyone was more polite about: people had ‘the vapors’ or were having an ‘off day’. Sahib Rudyard wrote frivolous children’s fantasy and serious soul-searching poetry to deal with his bipolarity.

How the Leopard got his Spots—'painted by an Ethiopian'—Rudyard Kipling Just So Stories

How the Leopard got his Spots—’painted by an Ethiopian’—Rudyard Kipling Just So Stories


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

He said a whole lot more—for his time, old Rudyard was the man with the mot juste

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:

Rudyard Kipling would be appalled by our disrespect for Nature

Rudyard Kipling would be appalled by our disrespect for Nature

This novelist, poet, literary innovator (1865-1936) also wrote The Jungle Book, and Tiger, Tiger (short story) while transitioning between London and Bombay. I wish we were all so talented. He in turn was inspired by poets of his grandfather’s generation, like William Blake:

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Williuam Blake (1757-1827)

Both men of their times were inspired by Nature—in their era still plentiful, unendangered and thrilling to witness. What it seems our generation has dealt us are a few scattered rhino, an elephant population preserved in tiny spaces for the cameras, and still (sadly) plentiful zoos. Kipling would be appalled to learn of our disrespect for Nature, our wholesale slaughter of helpless creatures under pressure from big business to cash in.

William Shakespeare said ‘Needs must when the Devil drives…but I prefer Kipling’s calm in the face of mayhem.

The new enlightenment is supposed to come from the West—so say Herr Tolle and others. It looks like I need to take the poet’s advice and keep my head. Solar flares, hell or high water, we writers may be insecure, but we owe it to ourselves to stay in that calm pool: thank you Mr Kipling for allowing us still to dream.

And thanks as ever to Alex and IWSGers, of course.
©2013 Marian Youngblood

June 5, 2013 Posted by | authors, blogging, crop circles, fiction, writing | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

IWSG: Desert Island Inventory: Books for a Transition

Monthly IWSG Corner

Some time between in post-fifties Britain before the ‘Sixties’ revolution, BBC Radio aired a weekly show, Desert Island Disks, allowing a celebrity castaway to a fictional ‘desert island’ to take with him a handful of favored tunes, to accompany him in his exultant solitude.

Some of you will know I recently moved lock, stock and library shelves to a new abode [PDT is my excuse for being three hours late, Alex]. And while my internet hiccups continue—I know, it’s getting boring—I seem to have discovered a Desert Island Inventory of my own.

Higgledy piggledy among a few other life-enhancing objects—my possessions recently completed a circuit by sea from Europe to North America via the Panama Canal. I add quickly, I did not. I came the other way. And while I am still ‘camping out’, I’m gradually able to open a few boxes, and thought the readers/hoarders/collectors among us IWSGers might enjoy what came out of the first couple of cartons. I swear I didn’t pack them—this was movers’ choice. Isn’t it interesting to see one’s life flash before one’s eyes?

There follows a sample of my lifetime reading—as they emerged from the box. In the opinion of some, a ‘wasted youth'; but IMHO, Goodreads, eat your heart out.

Robert Heinlein's seminal work: Stranger in a Strange Land; moved a generation

Robert Heinlein’s seminal work: Stranger in a Strange Land; moved a generation


Joseph Conrad: Outcast of the Islands, Limited Ed. Avon, CN 1979
Frank Herbert: God Emperor of Dune, Berkley Books [Putnam’s], 1981
Arthur C. Clarke: Childhood’s End, Penguin, 1963
Arthur C. Clarke: 2010 Odyssey Two, Penguin, 1986
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary—on historical principles—Vol. II N-Z, Clarendon Oxford, 1965 (‘shorter’ edition requires only mild magnifying glass)
William Golding: Lord of the Flies, Capricorn [Putnam’s] New York 1959
Fred Hoyle: Astronomy, MacDonald, London, 1962
Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land, Berkley, 1975
Jeffrey Archer: As the Crow Flies, Coronet, Hodder & Stoughton 1991 [no apology]
Shirley MacLaine: Dancing in the Light, Bantam New York, 1987
[in my suitcase as current reading are:
Shirley MacLaine: Going Within,
Ken Carey: Return of the Bird Tribes so I guess my reading habits alter little!]
Victor Hugo: Notre Dame of Paris, Vols I, II & IV[??] Dent London, 1899
Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Ox,U.P. 1979
Mrs Gaskell: Cranford, Nelson, London 1945
Illustration from Reign of King Herla in Fairyland

Illustration from Reign of King Herla in Fairyland

True Annals of Fairyland in the Reign of King Herla, Dent London Dutton NY, prob. 1940s
Wallis Budge, E.A., Egyptian Book of the Dead—Papyrus of Ani, Dover NY, 1967
Evans-Wentz, W.Y. Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries Oxford Univ. Press, 1911
Concise Oxford Dictionary [don’t ask; handier single volume] Oxford Univ. Press, 1976
Aldous Huxley: Point Counterpoint, Chatto & Windus, London 1938
Thornton Wilder: The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Penguin (2 copies?), 1966, 1971
Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon: Scots Heraldry, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1945
Lyall Watson: Heaven’s Breath, A Natural History of the Wind, Hodder & Stoughton, London 1984
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Sunday School Union, Ludgate Hill, London 1896
G.Brook-Shepherd: The Last Habsburg, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1968
L & J Laing: Picts and Scots, Sutton, Stroud, 1996
Marion Campbell: The Dark Twin, Colonsay, Argyll, 1973
E.B. Lytton: Last Days of Pompeii, King, London 1832
Bros. Grimm: Household Tales, Dover, London 1963
P.D. James: A Taste for Death, Faber London, 1986
Lyall Watson: Lifetide—Biology of the Unconscious, Coronet 1980
J.V.Luce The End of Atlantis, Paladin [Thames-Hudson], 1973
J.C.Lilly: Centre of the Cyclone, an autobiography of Inner Space Paladin [Thames-Hudson], 1974
J.C.Lilly: The Human Computer; Abacus, 1968
David Austin's Mary Rose old English shrub rose

David Austin’s Mary Rose old English shrub rose

New Oxford Book of English Verse, OUP, 1972
S.Rushdie: The Satanic Verses, Viking, London, 1988
Taylor Caldwell: Dear and Glorious Physician, Fontana/Collins, 1959
Vera Brittain: Testament of Youth, V. Gollancz, London, 1985
Rbt. Burns: Poetic Works, Kilmarnock edition, Scot.Daily Express, Glasgow. 1938.
E.A. Poe: Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Bracken, London, 1987
Salley H.E. & Greer, H.E.: Rhododendron Hybrids, Batsford London, 1986
David Austin: English Roses, RHS, Kew London, 1997
Reader’s Digest Great Illustrated Dictionary, Vol. II L-Z, 1984

One bonus to having even a single volume of the last item: it comes in handy when the wireless goes … I won’t mention it again… but round here, the internet service isn’t called Suddenlink for no reason…
I suspect you’re getting a little insight into my dilemma.
Onward and upward.

Once again, my thanks to Alex and his team of stalwart IWSGers. And a teeny weeny apology for not getting to press under the midnite deadline, EST. Raps own knuckles. Will try better next time.

And, BTW, oh so HAPPY MAY!
©2013 Marian Youngblood

May 2, 2013 Posted by | authors, culture, fiction, publishing, traditions, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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