blather

10 articles tagged as blather

So, I’ve been trying, very hard, to get healthier. I’ve been drinking water, running, walking, dancing, fencing…obsessively tracking what I eat by typing everything into websites that tell me how many calories I’ve eaten versus how many I can get away with, and even subtracts things when I’ve exercised. Since I have to mark “Sedentary” as my life style…can’t get away from the fact that’s secretaries and authors and pretty butt-sitty kinda people, I tend to type in everything. “Did the dishes for 15 minutes! Yay! That’s worth a few calories off!”

It makes moral balancing easy (Well, yes, I ate that chocolate cake, but the Daily plate says that if I fence for 5 hours straight I’ll be totally under my caloric goal!)

This summer it’s either been skeevy hot or storming heavily with a soupcon of thunder and lighting, which does not make it particularly easy to get one’s chubby self out to run. And, if you run too late at night, every truck that slows down so that it doesn’t kill you on the road is really a serial killer debating whether to pounce, yo. Them’s the joys of living in the middle of nowhere.

I would like to know, by the way, how there can be no traffic all day, then when I go out to run everyone and their mother (or imaginary serial rapist brother) wants to go out for a country drive? There are other roads, people. Really.

So, I’ve been thinking about getting an exercise bike. Or even this one bike I found on Amazon that isn’t just a bike, but an elliptical. I have these wonderful fantasies of setting it up in my bedroom, right where I can turn the TV, putting on the Netflix and peddling my fat away while watching Weeds or something with murderers in it. I just need to keep my mind busy.

Ah, I know what you are thinking. You’re a writer! Why can’t you just day dream about your next book?

Well, to be honest, when you’re walking, that’s OK. I actually think very well during walks. But I’m training to be a monster on the fencing field, so I need to be able to run. And walks don’t seem to help me get skinny, they just make me calm and (sometimes) sunburned. And, you know, I’m still not safe from red neck serial killers. Or Zombies. Or rabid wolverines. You know, the things that could be waiting along side the road, day dreaming of their own personal little red riding hood.

But, to get to the point, I can’t day dream while I am running. I am too busy thinking about holding my chest in such a way as it’s not obvious that I am trying to keep my…things…from bouncing. I am also too busy thinking about various parts of my body hurting, how much I hate life right now, and the fact that I am breathing like a steam train and that some water would be really nice right but I only felt like carrying one bottle of water and it has to last. This is not, really, a forum where great feats of imagination can be developed.

And music doesn’t occupy me because, well, in all seriousness it is a narrow (and dark, and lonely) road and I have to listen for cars coming up behind me. Even a perfectly normal non-serial whatever type might run me over if someone’s not paying attention.

So yes. I have determined that a piece of exercise equipment might just suit. I can even position a fan to keep me cool and to make me feel like I’m actually, you know, on a bike. A bike that magically has a TV set with an internet connection floating in front of it. I keep reading reviews and scheming how I can afford this majestic thing and how soon I can get it, because I am SO sure that THIS IS IT and by this time next year I will be skinny as a rail while eating anything I want.

But then we get to the age old debate. Will I actually use it, hoping to someday have a figure like Nancy Botwin, or will it become a stylish, high priced doublet drying device?

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One of the things I’ve realized in the past week is that I talk a lot more on my Live Journal than I do on my blog….the reason is easy, I have the LJ fairly locked up, but just anyone, ex-lovers, people who slammed me against my locked in Middle School, or people who’d like to add my ears to their collection, could read my innermost winges and maundering and fears and goofiness.

Yeah, that’s really the crux of it. I just don’t want to bore random strangers to death. But it did occur to me that a little in the line of catching up since I spoke of things related to my writing might be in order.

Let’s see. In no particular order:

Society for Creative Anachronism stuff: (AKA SCA, AKA my historical fencing obsession…) The best part is, and always will be the fencing. I’m still over the moon with it, though, of course, it’s gotten harder. When you first get started you think it’s hard, but it’ll get easier as you learn, but the more you learn, the more there is to apply, the better you want to get. The best fencers are called White Scarves, and they can take personal students that are called Cadets. I’m a cadet now, and that, along with becoming the marshal in charge of the local practice, has changed a lot of the tenor of my fencing. Primarily my sewing is involved in trying to make me pretty clothes to fight in…I still costume, and I’m slowly going from “It looks good enough” to “I want it to look awesome and historically accurate, too.” The worst part is that the first person I formed a truly deep friendship with in the SCA had to move, but I’m happy because it’s an awesome job, but sometimes I really miss him. He is…rare and extraordinary, and I’m lucky to have him as my friend. Of course, that will fade as we lose contest in each other’s lives, I suppose, but that is one of those small tragedies in life that one can simply not avoid.

Work is going about the same. I still love my job. Meet lots of interesting people…I got to meet Diane Wilson, which was rather cool. I missed out meeting KRS-One because I wanted to go away on a trip that I’d planned a good 9 months in advance. But we’re doing a huge Medieval Warfare and Wounds event, that ought to be fun.

As for me, the best thing for my writing was that I genuinely fell in love. You know, you have these monster, unrealistic crushes, or you meet someone and you’re just completely, stupidly intoxicated with them you don’t see anything but the glow of the person, right? And it was a bit of that, yes, but it was also…I saw his flaws, and I thought they were fine. And I saw his good points, and I took comfort from his presence…I felt like I belonged, and when we were together things made sense. Everything flowed and felt right….we worked and were really good together, this really perfect team. It did not work out, but I would not trade the knowledge of that feeling of completion and belonging, the knowledge that it exists and that to write about it is not to create a fairy tale, or worse, a lie. I’d been going through a phase where I worried that by writing about love and the hope of it was to mislead us all into hoping for something that is not possible. I’m glad that I’m not…but I am now more aware than ever that it is really hard to come by.

The gardening is going terribly. I planted a lot of things, and they’ve come up, but the weather is so nasty I’ve had a hard time keeping up with any of it. 🙁 At least the roses look nice…

Now you’re caught up. 😀

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So, there’s the guy I keep calling Subway boy. He’s really sweet, and always gives me more stuff on my sandwich. Like, you can tell…if I get a roast beef sandwich from him, and the next day someone just goes and gets me one, the difference is notable.

I wandered into town today, deciding that a meatball sandwich would be really good, since it’s been years since I’ve had one. Of course, he’s working. And he’s thrown by the fact that I don’t want a roast beef sandwich. But, true to form, he doesn’t throw a couple of meatballs on the sandwich with a little sauce. Let’s say it was…a challenge. One that required a fork.

Outside of that, it would have been a really nice lunch if I’d not chosen to sit facing the gas station…I usually do because I can kind of see the clock, and because there’s stuff to look at, I can people watch. But, a couple…at 11:15 in the morning…decided to stand by their car and make out as if they were never going to see each other again. I don’t mind seeing affection between couples usually, but this was just a little icky.

It’s hot and sticky out, today. I read on my walk for a little bit, which meant I wasn’t really doing a cardio walk, just a sunny-happy-walk (I was asked by the guy loading the drinks machines how I could read on my walk, and I grinned and said “very slowly.” — I actually read just as quickly, but I don’t walk as fast as I usually do.) but I was still feeling gross. I was going to read all the way to the cemetery behind Gallagher Hall, then turn and walk quickly back, but I’m actually filled with the ambition to work on my to do list. Said list includes such things as “Figure out why main character thinks she’s pregnant in that chapter, because I don’t remember her being pregnant later.” and “See if more of Unbalanced is ready to be edited.”

Also, I’ve been spending way too much time at http://www.pantheon.org/. Where else could you find that a Centipede is actually a “A terrifying, man-eating monster the size of a mountain,” eh? Or that you can destroy a vampire by stealing his left sock? (For this to be effective, you have to fill said sock with rocks and throw it in the river.)
Also, still loving my Page Four software. Liquid Story Binder is beautiful looking…and I bet it’s really useful, but it’s just too much. My head is distracted by all the pretty and overwhelmed. This is just right.

Also, since the new Robin Hood movie is coming out soon (and I do like Russle Crowe, and the trailers look good…so I’m excited) this article is kind of extra cool: http://medievalnews.blogspot.com/2010/05/uncovering-nottinghams-hidden-medieval.html They’ve been exploring some hidden sandstone caves using technology to mao them. Pretty awesome!

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There’s something that I’ve gotten into the habit of doing, called split focus. I can type an email to someone and talk to a student at the same time and mostly make sense. I can multi-task, because that’s how I’ve trained myself. Of course, it’s also probably why when I’m tired I do the first step of things in my mind and continue on from there, but everything has its price.

But it’s not always a good thing. In the type of fencing I do, you can have a buckler (re: shield) in one hand, your sword in the other. If you are fencing someone advanced enough…or lucky enough…to use the situation addressed, and your focus is weak, then it can get split…half of your mind is working on using the shield, half on the sword, and in neither case are you doing what you should be. In this case, you’ll lose the bout…and fairly quickly.

I think that’s been my life of late. It’s not an excuse…it’s just the situation that needs to be corrected. Like in fencing, it’s the flaw you have to fix so you can get better. It’s like I’m trying to run all aspects of my life…everything I want to be…at the same time, which makes it easy for the things you need to be doing to fall to the wayside. Next week the students will be away for Spring Break…technically, that means I’ll have breathing space. Even if I stay pretty busy all day, I’ll be less tired…and I’m going to use that energy to clean out my life/mind a bit, see if I can find where my time management skills are hiding (I think they are hiding under a cabinet in the back room.) and sharpen my focus, and live each aspect of myself at the proper time.

This post brought to you by a conversation I had with one of my friends last night about…well, about the blog. He started making sensible suggestions, and I, being self conscious and caring too much about what people think, started to say, “Those are all things I planned to do.” And then I realized, about the same time he said, rather gently, “I’m trying to help you,” that plans don’t mean much when you don’t actually execute them. And that sometimes God or the Universe or something uses your friends to nudge you back in the right direction. So I shut up and let the suitcase of my mind open up and I listened.

So, I thank him deeply. (I am constantly reminded that I’m blessed by my friends.) But I’ll thank him even more by actually doing what he suggested.

And by sharpening my focus so that he doesn’t have quite such an easy time getting around my buckler. 😉

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So, anyway, I was putting sugar in my tea yesterday morning — too much, as usual — and I told my friend, “I’m a hummingbird, I need my sugar water.”

And I’d said that before. But I didn’t remember when, and so I shelved it…and then it came to me.

Another man I’d had one of those useless, senseless crushes on (which, as an aside, I would have thought I’d have outgrown. But I understand myself better now. I live on hope, dreams and faith, which, without care, can lay traps for you.) and I were sitting in a Chinese restaurant, and I was putting too much sugar in my green tea, and I think I saw his eyebrows raise slightly before he looked back at the table.

“I’m a hummingbird,” I said, reaching across the table to nudge him. “I need my sugar water.”

He looked up at me, and as if it was the most wonderful thing in the world, he said, “I always thought of you more as a wildflower.”

I am thinking of renaming my personal journal after that moment. Because any man who steals your glasses and tips your face to the rain (I can still feel that moment, now that it is brought back to me, the heat of the two fingers under the tip of my chin, the cool beat of the drops of rain on my eyelids) deserves to be remembered.

Yes, I think he does.

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Do you ever have those days when you just don’t know what to do with yourself?

I feel like I’m spinning my wheels a bit. I’ve been having troubles getting into any particular book, and I want, desperately, to finish something. I first drafted “Grey lady” and am now writing another short story, about a young woman named Aziza who is a “bell witch”…she walks through her village at night, the bells she wears scaring off evil. So, at least I’m writing, but gah. Let’s finish one of my 13 books, shall we Miss Muse?

I know how very fast time goes, and the fact that it’s already the end of May makes me wonder if I’m going to meet my goal of completing another book. I’m not doing very well, because I forget that we find a million ways to fill out time…re-doing the filing system (Which is done! Yay!) cleaning the computer, re-doing the bathroom. I need to make myself set blocks of time aside better.

I did manage, however, to finish my bodice for Saturday’s SCA event. The costume is in evolution, I originally used a very sheer cloth to make the shirt and skirt, and now I regret it, because while it is lighter – it breathes very nice, and I don’t feel dead so quickly – it is rather too sheer, and if you thought that having an over skirt would provide enough shadow/coverage so that people couldn’t see your legs through the skirt, then, like I once was, you are mistaken.

So, gauze. I’m making my next blouse and underskirt out of gauze. At least the skirt. I can’t fence in a gauze shirt. I will photograph as soon as the bodice is ironed.

So, that’s it. My brain is sort of clogged up with the Pirate event that I’m helping with, sewing, fencing, reading, renovating the house, taking care of the garden. (The Irises look fabulous! I need to show them to you.) But these things, they are also in sort of a holding pattern. My father, we just have to wait until he heals. Fencing, I have to just wait and hope that I am doing the right things to make the club strong. The other stuff is all, well, you pick it up, you work on it until you can’t.

The good news is that despite the fact that I have apparently declared this the Summer of Self Improvement…where I am working on everything to see how much better I can make it…I am regaining my calm. I have this image, I’ve always had, of this pool of cool, calm water in my chest, over my heart. In the past, when I needed to, I was able to dip into that water, concentrate on it, and remind myself to be cool and calm…to have grace under fire. Between all the things that I won’t bore you with my reiterating, I’ve had cups taken out of that pool, but never at any time was there a point where I was able to tap into something to refill that pool. When I wasn’t upset about something, or wired up, I was asleep. Since last September my life has been a roller coaster of crazy, and I look back with regret at how skitzy I must have seemed to the people around me, because I used to be so proud of how calm I am. Dignity and decorum – those used to be my watchwords.

Note: I do act dramatic about things to be funny. Because I’m a nutter. And no matter what has happened in my past, when things are really, really bad, I still become dead calm. So, I guess the rule of thumb is, if I’m cussing and festering over it, it’s not really horridly bad. If I seem to be handling it with a serious, calm voice, taking it in steps, you should be worried.

Well, maybe not, since I intend to be more like that now. But we know what intentions are, right?

Anyway, point is, it feels SO good to be calm again. To sit and think of the lake inside of me, quiet and inviting, and know that I feel like I’m in control, like I’m ready to walk my path.

Maybe, to get back to my complaint about writing, the fact is, that I am in a healing process, and as I recover everything will start snapping back into place. It already is…I’m slowly recovering ground that I had lost, rebuilding everything. I’ve not gone through a lot, not compared to some people, God bless them, but I’ve gone through enough, trying desperately to juggle all of my goals and responsibilities. So, the moral of the story, if there is ever a moral to my maunderings, is to do one’s best, to try and be happy when one can, and to let life roll on – not over you – and just keep breathing.

Now that all that is out of my head, let’s see if I can get any writing done.

PS. The subject line is from a Tanya Donnelly’s “Landspeed Song”

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This could be a meme of sorts, if you wanted to try it out. Because I am a spiritual person, sometimes I try and see how things go through my life, how faith or deity or coincidence or luck play a role in how I’ve gotten to a point. And I was thinking about how I finally got started in fencing, and I could see this silver thread of events through my life that lead to that point.

Often I believe – yes, I’m about to quote a character from a Final Fantasy game — “You’ve all heard this before. How life has infinite possibilities. I don’t believe that one bit. There weren’t many paths for me to choose. Sometimes, there would only be one. From the limited possibilities I faced, the choices I made have brought me this far. That’s why I value the path I chose… I want to hold true to the path that HAD to be taken. .. It’s not like I drifted here on the tides of fate. I’m here because I chose to be here.” (Said by Irvine Kinneas, who always, oddly, reminded me of Michael Hutchence of INXS.)

So, anyway. Take a point in your life. Work your way back, as if trying to untangle computer cords. Run your fingers along one path, and see how you got there. If you do it, comment so I can read it. J

Here is how I got into fencing. It wasn’t because I’d been to SCA events before, or pretended to be She-Ra with my very own metal sword that my father had made for me.

I guess I can use getting a divorce as a starting point. You might make the case that I could start further back than that, but then it becomes the story of how my marriage went downhill, or the story of how I lived in Pittsburgh.

I could no longer live in North Pittsburgh, because it was so expensive, so I moved back to get my English Masters.

My Master’s went into Moratorium despite certain promises made me, and I was Plum Out of Luck.

I took the typing test, and got a part time job with the University.

About this time, people were being forced into retirement, which opened up several positions.

One was a clerk-typist 4, which are rare and desirable because it means a raise. Who gets a job, in this instance, is based on seniority. SO, a clerk-typist 3 got the job. A Clerk Typist 2 who happened to be the secretary for the department of history and political science put in for the now open CT3 position, and got it.

In the mean time, I was either not senior enough, or I decided not to apply for other openings. One I totally forgot about applying for, and someone off campus was hired…which means no one at all applied for it, and I would have gotten it automatically.

I got the job in History. Not because of talent or experience, but because I was the senior person (I was a CW2, already) who applied. I beat out some poor person who was a CW1.

A Templar historian, that same semester that I started, was hired. A year later, he decided to have a Templar event.

He invited two fencers, from Michigan, both of which are his friends.

We set them up outside. Since it was raining they were fencing in the bus kiosk, and I sat on one of the benches, when I could, to see what they were like. They weren’t using foils, but swords and bucklers. I remembered how desperately I’d wanted to fence. As I watched them, I remembered how all of my fantasies, as a girl, had included swords…until then, sword fighting had been a sort of blurry dream fed by me buying swords for display. I never was attracted to Olympic fencing, and the last time I’d been to an SCA event where there was fencing I hadn’t understood what I was watching enough to see that it was, in fact, what I’d been looking for. (And I wasn’t having a good time that day…I was having poor luck and it put me in a poor frame of mind.) I said to one of the (Templar Day) fencers, “This is one of the things I’ve wanted to learn how to do before I die.” I remember that he was sorting through swords, and he smiled up at me, kindly but sort of absently, his mind on the work at hand, and I realized he’d heard this before, probably many times. I realized that it probably came off as something polite to say…so many people, for instance, want to write. They say they want to, as if it’s so easy. The same goes with blacksmithing. They always know someone who is better, or at least as good as you are. It doesn’t come off as admiration, really. Especially since you know that not everyone can fence, write, blacksmith…and that to assume that you could if you tried but you’d never really been bothered to comes off more as an insult than a kindness. Knowing this, I decided that I could not convince him, that he’d never know if I really went through with it or not (but, actually, he does know…you may recall we have them down for lessons again) but that I owed it to myself to stop being an observer who thinks she can accomplish if she just tries, and do it. I’m 33 years old. What the hell am I waiting for?

One of the fencers suggested to the students that they start a club. A student mentioned that to me as he was walking with me to the office. “Why don’t we, then?” I asked, seriously. So we got to work.

I started visiting the local SCA to see if they would like to hold a Demo at the university, and because I was interested in seeing if I could join the local shire. The demo created interest, and we started having practices. The mall where they were having practices before closed down, and they even more a little closer to me.

See? A very clear line. Other things had happened…my last big SCA event had gone poorly, leaving me with a feeling that it really wasn’t for me…this got me to meet Scadians who are local to me and who I really like a lot, as well as giving me something to do in the SCA. If I’d gotten the other job (I probably would have been miserable…the poor lady who has it certainly seems to be) I wouldn’t have met the Templar guy…who is a really good friend, as is his wife. (So I would have been even further robbed, as I adore them both…not to mention the other faculty members, the past and current chair, everyone, who I consider dear friends and just think the world of. But I’m digressing.) All these little bits and pieces have come together, and now I have wonderful friends and this weekly activity that’s good for me both health wise and because it gives me something to look forward to, to try and excel at, and it gives me and opening to try and help others, since I’m one of the advisors of the club.

As I re-read this to make sure there was nothing really egregiously wrong with my post, I realized that I could try to project forward. Where does the line of my life go? It doesn’t end, at least I hope not for awhile. Becoming an authorized fencer and perhaps even a marshal someday, yes. But what else? How will the little pieces come together next?

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Is the title of the new short story I am writing.  I know the path of the tale, as it wends through a Victorian bed and breakfast, and I feel the fire and the circle of it, so I am confident enough in its completion to actually mention it.  😉  It’s a ghost story One of my friends and I are trying to keep ourselves motivated by running a competition to see who can reach 60,000 words by June 26th.  Yesterday I wrote 2,846 (the story is 3,929 words long so far) so I only have 57,154 more words to go.  I can do it.

So far today I’ve checked my email multiple times, cleaned, and started on my Great File Project, because I want to clean and organize every drawer in this office.  And I edited.  Also, one of the faculty members received a nude bust for some speech he gave, and he put it on top of my book cases.  It looks very…Greek.  Except that she has very well defined breasts, so I took tissue paper and pleated her a little toga.  What more can one want from a day?  Craft projects, cleaning, organizing, writing. 

When I get home I’ll work more on my bodice.  I’ll be going to an SCA event at the end of the month, and I realized I don’t really have any summer garb.  All the dresses I wanted to make didn’t really work out…I take ages to sew anything, which is why I won’t ever make anyone anything ever again…so I decided to make a new bodice, and wear a shirt/over shirt and shirt I’d already made.  The bodice will be of a lovely cream-gold brocade, with chrysanthemums a little lighter than the fabric and small flowers in red, blue, brown and purple.  It’s beautiful, and I hope I do a good job.

Now I will go get the mail, get something to eat in town, and come back to the office.  I love summer.  Freedom is a huge deal to me, as is flexibility, so it’s just so fantastic to have a job where you get that a couple months out of the year.

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So, somehow, Miss Brilliant here managed to get poison ivy on the LID. (Yes, the lid) of her eye. It’s all swollen and pink and it looks like I’ve been bawling my heart out for two weeks straight. I am trying to get in contact with my Doctor, see if I can get a poison ivy shot. I was told about them a few years back…I get the stuff so easy, and this shot supposedly makes you temporarily immune, which would rock very much. I do a lot of yard work, and even though I wash up with Fels-naptha right away and try to remember to take my pills in a timely fashion, I still spend much of the summer with little scabs on my arms and legs from scratching myself raw, for I have little self control.

Until then, I’m taking the homeopathic cure that usually seems to work.

I also need to make an appointment with the optometrist. I need new lenses, and it’s been two years. Of course, whenever I go to the Doctor, the question of to do contact lenses or not rears its head. I actually don’t mind glasses, I’m so used to wearing them, but I wonder if I shouldn’t go for contacts because maybe it would be less of a pain while fencing…I have a laundry list of go-to-the-doctor things, but I keep putting it off, partly because I’ve enough of them, going all the time with my father, partly because I was waiting for summer break.

Anyway. I am re-doing my bathroom downstairs. Mum and I took out all the furnishings and such, (at least what wasn’t attached) and pulled up all the tile. The floor is now dark grey wood, slightly sticky. It’s kind of creepy, really…I know that sounds silly, but it’s really old flooring, tongue and groove, in some places you can see a tiny bit of the grey-blue paint the floor used to be before mum tiled it, but most of its almost black, like the bathroom floor from a horror film. That, and the fact that since it’s so dark I almost stepped on a wood spider the size of a skillet quarter has not endeared me to it, only added to the spookiness of it. I’m really looking forward to repairing it this weekend, painting the walls, cleaning the glue off the floor and retiling it. This time it’s going to be green marble. (Sort of.) It’ll take me more than a weekend, though…I’d be working on it this week if things weren’t so busy at night.

But not everything is doom and gloom. I went out to eat with three lovely friends last night (all of them have the fact that they were/are my Grad Assistants in common…) and tonight a student club is having a dinner at a semi-nice place that I’ve always wanted to go to, and they’ve invited me. Sweet students.

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This is the sort of thing that delights me to no end: Plastic made from potatoes. I’ve used plastics made from cornstarch and did not notice any difference, except both times I thought the quality was measurably better.

I’ve been working on my presentation for the twenty-seventh. I’ve been making screen shots like crazy for the handout, and I intend to make a list of free photo editing software. I know of the Gimp and Seris, but does anyone else know of any? I would especially love to hear of any Apple-flavoured varieties, in case one of the teachers is a Mac user at home. I feel confident. Basically, I’m teaching teachers how to prepare pictures downloaded from the Library of Congress site for printing or use in their own projects. After I show them once, I’ll give them time to try out what I showed them.

I finished North and South It was wonderfully like Pride and Prejudice, Armitage’s cotton mill owner proud of what he’s accomplished, and while he works fiercely to make the place a decent one to work at, he can’t help that there are things he needs to do to keep the mill open. Denby-Ashe’s prejudiced young lady who means well and wants to help the poor is strong and well portrayed.

I am reading Judith Tarr’s Queen of Amazons, a wonderful historical about an Amazon warrior without a soul who finds it seeking out Alexander the Great. It is told from the point of view (mostly, thus far) of Selene, a warrior who has the Site, but does not want to pay the price she saw it demand of her Aunt.

Yes, I said I would read something else, but I started reading it sort of by accident, and it’s not easy to put aside. I did manage to begin a short story. I plan to mix several versions of the Cinderella tale, and tell it from the perspective of the Fairy. My thesis for the tale is wondering why there are so many versions of this tale in particular. Is it just a universality of experience, or something more?

This is me. The caution in your tale, the one with the thousand guises. Right now my disguise is nothingness, as I follow a man, a farmer, I think, leading his donkey down the dusty path into town. The donkey is well fed, but the distance is long, yet the man had made no move to ride it, or the cart it is pulling.

Kindness, then. It is confirmed when he reaches up and scratches the donkey between it’s long, dark grey ears, and says, “Not far, now. We will rest in a few minutes.” He is heavy, and soaked with sweat, so I am not sure if he was comforting himself or the animal.

So what is your vice? That is what I ask, always, as I study the people I meet. Are you vain? Are you greedy? Do you let your resentments fester? Do you lust after what is not yours? His was not readily apparent, after all, if he abused his animal I could just switch his and the donkey’s souls and call it a day. Or just trade their heads. I’d done it before, and was bored by the thought.

And, if you like ships go here and type sailing ships” in the search box for lots o sailing ship squee!

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