beneath a hollow moon


I would say to my pagan friends the same thing I would say to my friends of any religion: beware thinking your way is the One True Faith. There are many paths back to the Source, but judgement and rigidity are not amongst them.
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I’d start calling him President Cthulhu but that’s an insult to Cthulhu.
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You know, I’ve supported Nancy Pelosi all this time but mostly kept quiet because I didn’t want to fight with people, often people I liked and admired. I’m a little ashamed of that, but oh well. I knew, you see, that Pelosi is one of the canniest and most experienced politicians in Washington and I knew she was holding fire for a good reason. Last week that reason became eminently clear: she was waiting for a smoking gun. One that these cretins couldn’t wiggle out of, one that the general American public could readily understand. It may be argued that the Mueller report was a smoking gun, but even Mueller himself obfuscated and demurred so much that it wasn’t something that could be easily conveyed to the larger public. But everybody understands the kind of brutish and heavy-handed strong-arming Trump attempted with Ukraine. It was schoolyard bully stuff and illegal and immoral as hell. It’s enough to start changing minds–except for his rabid believers, of course. Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one would hold him responsible. What he was too stupid or arrogant to realize was that when he did give Nancy Pelosi an easy-to-hold gun of her own, she would have no hesitation in pulling the trigger. Good work, Madame Speaker. I’m sorry I didn’t defend you.
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You know that overworked and ridiculous phrase in writing: “She (he) released a breath she didn’t know she was holding”? I’ve always loathed it in a work of fiction, but when the Ukraine news broke and with all the revelations that came out… I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
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I used this deck quite a lot at one point in my life. Can you tell?

Fortunately, the cards don’t look as disreputable as the box. And after literally decades of using this deck, I just discovered that I had two Knights of Swords. I’m not sure what that means. I would probably have never known if they both hadn’t come up in the same reading. Reversed. And yes, I guess the day of that reading had been about being, “indiscreet, extravagant, and foolish.” I’ve been through the entire deck now and there are no other duplications and no missing cards. But I guess I’d better pay attention to that Knight, hadn’t I?
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I was born in the last six hours of Virgo, just seven hours shy of the Autumn Equinox (West Coast time), so I have a hella amount of Libra in my chart. I was really feeling the effects of the new moon in Libra at the end of September. I tried to use that energy well. Balance and rectification. Throwing off the shackles of old bad habits that are holding me back.
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One of the best parts of living alone is that when I’m not feeling well I can sit around and groan and not worry about driving anyone crazy with my drama queen ways.
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I was watching one of those ghost shows on TV and the house owner was talking about how a ghost threw her cat across the kitchen. And there’s the cat sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with its leg up cleaning its nether regions. He seemed very unconcerned in general. She took the ghost hunters into the bedroom to talk about what happened in there and here comes the cat to sprawl on the bed. “I ain’t afraid a no ghosts.” In fact, I kind of regard cats as a reverse ghost monitor. If they are there and not concerned they ain’t no ghost there.
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Every time I watch the science channel I wonder if the people who came up with the SciGo acronym realized how close it sounds to “psycho.”
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When the estimable Dr. Lucy Jones, eminent geologist, says that she fears climate change more than earthquakes one should really pay attention. I saw her state just that in a recent interview.
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I may have finished writing something that seemed very much like the denouement of my current novel. Only the coda left, and that’s already half written. But it’s been a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t finished it. I can’t help wondering if this resistance is a way of preventing myself from moving on. Or knowing that once I finish that coda, I’m done with this world for the foreseeable future. I can’t see writing any more Dos Lunas stories any time soon–and I’ve lived there on and off for so long (since 2000), I may be reluctant to let go.
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I’ve come to the conclusion that I like having mindless tasks to do, things that most people would never have the patience for. I suspect it’s a Virgo thing.
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Oh yeah, that probably explains a lot about the last few months. I forgot until just last week that I have summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Somehow I manage to forget that every freaking year.

So I’ve finally fallen under the spell of Mindhunter on Netflix. Riveting. I binged most of season one last weekend, finished the last three episodes yesterday and started on episode one of season two. I’m trying to stretch it out. Besides, for some weird reason I only seem to be in serial killer mode on the weekends.

Oh man, such good acting and writing and directing. It’s just great stuff. And the casting is amazing. So much attention to detail and visuals and the way the characters are blocked into a scene. I also like how they imply incredible violence but they don’t glorify it and they don’t exploit it—something that is not true of every show about murder.
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The ants are on the move. It’s hot and dry so they’ve come inside looking for water and other things. I spray their ant trails with Clorox which kills them but they’re back on a new space the next day. The ants will be here long after I am gone, going about their antly duty.
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My outrage quota varies from day to day, but each day I hit the limit and I’m forced to shut down because I feel my soul leaking out of my ears.
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To me, one of the ultimate sins of the world is to throw away books. There are so many places that need books. Even when the rats got to some of my library and destroyed books (sometimes in disgusting ways) it tore me up to throw them away—even though they really had to go. Other books had suffered minimal damage (i.e., thoroughly chewed covers but otherwise fine) and I couldn’t bring myself to toss them. I still have a few of those. Others—and this is cowardice, I know—I put into recycling bags. I was fairly certain the places I donated them to would throw them away. But the sin would not be on my head, you see?

And the books that I have loved to death by reading and re-reading? I still have all those. I can’t bear to throw them out. I keep thinking I can use them to make sculptures or something. And yet they sit in my shelves, sacrosanct. Because, I admit, that every time I see a picture of someone who has gone down to the thrift store and picked up a bunch of old books to turn them into a piece of furniture, my first instinctive reaction is “You asshole!”

Extreme reverence for books may be a sin, but when throwing out books it’s not just tossing an object, it’s an entire world full of people and stories and feelings. I’m not demon enough to do that.
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Trump/Putin/Helsinki/2018: There are several photos in this sequence that look much the same. This was taken right after their secret meeting where Trump would not allow the translator to take notes. Putin looks like the cat who got into the cream. Meanwhile, Trump displays the face of a man who’s just been told by Putin, “Do everything I say from now on or I’ll call in all those massive loans I gave your and release the peepee tape.” Can anyone reasonably doubt that Trump is a Russian asset?

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One of the reasons I’m having such a hard time with the current part of the current novel (writing anything is like pulling teeth) is that I already know everything that happens. I’ve never been one who wrote well from an outline. Still, I’m close to 89k in and I’m not giving up.
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I still miss my tiny best friend more than I can say. Min, aged 19:

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My Cat’s Death Broke My Brain.
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Both of these men (Stephen Colbert and Anderson Cooper) are a gift, and an antidote to the times we are currently living through:

I agree with Mr. Colbert because of my own past traumatic experiences. I reached a point in my life where I realized that if I like who I am and I’m grateful for my life then even the bad stuff went into making me who I am. Once I got to that place it brought me great peace. It’s an individual choice, and not something anyone has to do, but that’s where I ended up and I’m very glad for it. I accept with gratitude all of my life as part of who I am, good and bad.
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It amazes me that some of the same people who decry racism and misogyny the loudest think ageism is just fine. Ageism is bullshit, no matter what direction: boomer against millennial, millennial against boomer, Gen X against Gen Z. I call bullshit.
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I absolutely believe that universal healthcare is a fundamental human right. However, I think you should know that Medicare is not a perfect plan and costs me a lot of money. I sincerely believe we can do better than Medicare for everyone.

I haven’t written much in the last three weeks. I allowed myself to get distracted by my mother’s memoirs (and I do mean allowed). Then late Sunday night I came down with either a stomach virus or a bad case of food poisoning and have pretty much felt like I was run over by truck all week. But if I’m honest with myself, I have to admit I’ve been on a writing vacation. (Screwing off, in other words.) I’m finally starting to feel human again, health-wise, so I’m rapidly running out of excuses not to write. I need to just hunker down and do it.

I’m about 80k into the novel I’ve been working on. That sounds way the hell more impressive than it actually is because this novel is basically stitching together a bunch of pre-written stories. However, I’d say about 25k of that is new writing. I’ve gotten to the part of the novel where the pre-written material has mostly been used (there’s one more story for near the finale). I’ve completed chunks of partially written stuff and done substantial stitching together. My last bit of serious writing before flaking off was finishing a barely-begun story that had been sitting on my hard drive for years, than slotting it into place. It felt really good. I liked that section so much I even considered ripping it out and marketing it. But it doesn’t really work as a standalone story. It works quite well in the context of the novel framework, so I’ll just leave things be.

Finishing that was an important for me. I’d completed a couple of stories late last year—the first I’d finished in years, and real milestones on the road to recovery from writers’ block. But they weren’t great stories, more like stretching exercises after a long time of sitting idle. But they were finished, and they were stories. The one I just completed inside the novel was solid work. It will have to be edited, et al., in the larger context of the novel, but it was a substantial thing. It had always been a linchpin story in the greater context of the world I created here, but it had existed in my mind, not in actual writing. That was also true of other stories I had to complete for this project, but this one a big deal for me.*

Now I’ve arrived at another story I’ve needed to complete for some time—the last before the big push to the end. I always knew it was going to be the hardest to write. I’ve poked at it a little and edited out some superfluous material, but I’ve mostly been like a horse shying at a jump. I know myself as a writer well enough to understand that part of the reason I’ve shied away is because it was going to be difficult to write. I just didn’t want to go there and had to wait for my psyche/right brain/whatever-the-hell to build up its nerve. (This is a totally unconscious process, by the way, and has to work itself out in the back brain.) So, the time has arrived to get over myself, jump the hurdle, and get on with it.

The good news in all of this, is that I’ve started to tell myself stories again after a long while of nothing. I’ve got new ideas on the back burner wanting to be written and decent enough that I want to write them. (And by stories I’m afraid I mean novels. I don’t seem to be able to write anything short to save my life.) Also today, the end scene of the current novel popped into my brain fully formed, so that’s a very good sign. (I’d been vaguely aiming at a last line before this time.)

It feels good, it feels like I’m a writer again. I’ve even started to take it a little for granted which I haven’t done in a very, very long time. I don’t want to take it too much for granted because I know quite painfully how easily it can be taken away from me again.

By my own psyche, of course, but we’re always our own worst enemies, aren’t we?

 

 

*For those familiar with my Dos Lunas cycle of stories, Ramona finally got hers.

This morning one of my finished novels, the one that had some of the best writing and worldbuilding I’d done but was structurally flawed, starting talking to me, giving me new ideas and ways to fix the broken bits. Basically, after I finished this novel I realized that I’d tried to write a trilogy within the skin of a single novel (one of the curses of being an organic writer) and it would take a mountain of work to make things right. I’d slogged away at this thing for a year and a half and didn’t have the heart to do a massive restructure and start over, at least not at that juncture. So I shelved it and went on to another novel. I needed the break.

Well, today, as I said, that old novel started talking, doing a full court press, the new structure unfolding before me. It will still need more thinking, but I begin to see how to fix things. And, of course, it has absolutely nothing to do with the novel I am currently working on. But having finished six novels, I’m familiar with this syndrome. It is yet another elaborate attempt at sabotage by my subconscious—because the novel you’re not working on is always more attractive than the novel you are currently working on.

So, I took some notes and politely told the old novel to hold its peace. I would get to it in due time—but first I am going to finish what I’m currently working on. Like I said, I’ve been through this process enough to know that distractions are not my friend. Finish what’s on your plate before planning the next meal.

I actually take this as a positive sign. If the old habits of distraction are trying this hard, maybe it’s a sign that the Wonder Machine really is back online.

I’m so afraid to be hopeful because I’ve been disappointed so often in recent years. This time feels different from all the other abortive attempts, but who the hell knows?

I should probably stop talking about it, so if I go silent it isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Just conservation of resources.

I’ve got just over 42k done on a new novel. That’s not as impressive as it sounds because much of that was prewritten long ago and I’m getting back to it. But I have written over 4300 new words in the last two weeks. I’ve never written at a blistering pace. If I can write 700-750 words on a given day, that’s an impressive word count for me. So, I am unreasonably pleased by that 4300 words, enough so that I feel comfortable about talking about it now.

But not too much. Talking about what I’m writing is a sure way of killing that thing for me.

I’ve been flailing for so long, trying to get things back online, trying old ideas and new ones, and, apparently, I finally landed on the right piece of writing at the time that was right for me. I have been able to put in an almost daily writing habit, something that has eluded me for a very long time.

I won’t say it’s always been easy. The forces of procrastination are still there—but they are the normal forces of procrastination, the ones I’ve been used to dealing with my entire writing life. Not the procrastination of the soul that has been plaguing me for so long.

And the forces of sabotage are still there. As I said recently on Twitter, “I love how when you finally start to make substantial progress on a piece of writing and it’s feeling good the inner critic has got to find new and more extravagant ways of sabotaging things.” But I recognize that voice for what it is and I can tell it to shut up and move on with what I’m doing. It’s been nagging me all my life, it’s part of the artist’s way, all artists everywhere (or most I know), and part of the deal we make with the Universe. For some Universe-only-knows reason.

But unlike the last few years, I recognize that now, too, and can shove it roughly out of the way and get back to what I need to be doing.

So, wish me luck. I’m on that bumpy and thrilling road again and hope to keep on traveling.