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Rainbow Margay Mage

Welcome to my blog
I'll share my creative life
I hope you share too!

I value friendship and good conversation.  I look forward to talking with you all. 

For the 2014 A-Z challenge, I'm doing ficlets in a new fantasy world, featuring catkin and other fantastic beings.  Here is the A-Z prompt list, with links to the posts as I write them. As I write this, I'm still hoping for prompts for many letters of the alphabet.  Thank you in advance for your questions, prompts, and comments!


You can find links to my flash fiction, to my serialized story, Fireborn, and to my poetry and songs over at my new (under construction) website, www.wyld-dandelyon.com.

You can also find some of my fiction, poetry, worldbuilding, and artwork over at www.tornworld.net, along with the fiction, poetry, world-building, and art of my talented co-creators there.


If you miss my old, long-winded landing page, you can find it and the landing pages for various projects by searching on the "landing" tag.


Thank You to everyone who's supported me
with your comments, nominations, and sponsorships!



I look forward to chatting with all of you!

I should post more

Rainbow Margay Mage
I know, this is my space, I can do whatever I want here, as much or as little, and so on and so forth. But I do value this space, this connection with other thinking, creating people. And I am not using it as much as I want to.

On the other hand, I'm doing more of window repairs, wall repairs, bathroom repairs, painting and plastering (well, that one's in the wrong order), errands, and stuff like dishes and mopping than I want to be. To say nothing of arranging for things like fixing squirrel damage or cutting down the old dying rowan tree before it falls on my car or somebody's house or garage. Somehow, when I get to the computer I'm tired. It takes a while to get into writing mode and I then try to turn first to fiction, and I rarely get focused for Live Journal after that. (And I won't even mention trips to the dentist.)

I know I will appreciate windows that have been tended prior to winter, and walls that look whole and pleasing, and bathrooms that don't leak, and not having my sparkly purple car crushed, and not having holes in my teeth, etc. Those are all good things, but they're not enough.

Maybe I can change that--at least, the not posting much part. Here's hoping.

In the meantime,

"Hi out there! I'm still here, and glad to see you."
Rainbow Margay Mage
I went to an excellent panel on anger in fiction at Loncon. They started with a quote from Abigail Nussbaum, who said there is an "increasing prevalence of vengeful victim characters, who are condemned not for the choices they make in pursuit of revenge, but simply for feeling anger..." (emphasis added)

My first reaction on reading that quote was, Wait--that's not fair! Anger is an emotion. Sure, it's a powerful one. It's a reaction to bad things happening, but the emotion itself isn't bad, and feeling it doesn't make you a bad person. Sure, anger can inspire you to do bad things, but so can any emotion, including "good" emotions like love. And it's just not right to punish people for their feelings.

I have long maintained that anger is a powerful emotion, and potentially a strong force for good. Anger is the energy that says "this is wrong and has to change". Sometimes you need to move past anger without making a change--for example, if you are dying, no change is possible, and you have to move on in the grief cycle.

But other times change is both possible and desirable; the challenge then isn't to eliminate the anger, but to find ways to channel that energy constructively rather than destructively.

The panel itself was interesting; people said you need to separate the emotion from the consequences; it was clear that they were recognizing that when you feel anger, or another emotion, you have choices to make not only about whether to express it but how to express it. I would have said you need to separate the emotion from the action, and also the emotion and action from the consequences. That might seem nit-picky, but I have run into problems in the past where one person assumed that the only possible reason for an action was his reason for that action, and he condemned someone else not for the action, but for what he thought was the motive for the action.

Another thing that was discussed by panelists is something I could rephrase into the old cliche, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." You have to speak up to initiate a change, but sometimes merely speaking up isn't enough. Sometimes you have to be loud and persistent to be noticed. (Of course, sometimes being loud just gets the people you need to listen to shy away in fear or distaste. Other times, it locks your desired audience into a closed defensive mind-set where they are too busy defending against a perceived or real attack to really hear your words.) But that doesn't change the fact that sometimes yelling is needed to convince someone to listen.

Panelists also mentioned things I hadn't realized, for instance the fact that if a minority expresses dissatisfaction with the status quo, no matter how politely or calmly they speak, they are perceived to be angry. This was a big "aha" moment for me, since I've been bewildered at the reactions I've gotten from white men at times--them believing I was making an angry attack would explain things nicely.

This also (in my mind, anyway, though I don't remember any one panelist stating this conclusion) may explain why we are taught that anger is a negative and harmful emotion--it's a force of change, and the people in charge want to stay in charge. Anger is dangerous to them not only when it is expressed destructively, but even and perhaps especially when it is expressed constructively.

Anger might lead to real change, after all.

And there's certainly things that need changing all around us.

So, if you're angry (and I hope you are, at least some of the time), be careful. How you express your anger matters. If you're not careful, you could destroy things you value, hurt your friends and alienate your allies. You could make the needed changes harder.

You've got to remember that the goal isn't merely expressing your feelings. That's important, but it isn't nearly enough.

So if you're angry, consider what your bigger goal is, consider your audience, and act carefully. Good luck making the changes you need manifest in your life!


And now I'm off to consult with certain of my characters, because I suspect some of the stuck-bits in my stories have to do with not identifying or clearly showing their anger. I wonder how many of them will heed my advice? Will they make changes or dig themselves in deeper? You know, from a writing perspective, this is exciting stuff!
Rainbow Margay Mage
Loncon gathered a symphony orchestra and arranged a science-fiction and fantasy-themed concert, and it was

AMAZING

The musicians were wonderul, and the music well-chosen. I'd never really thought of Worldcon as a cultural spectacle before, but this made me realize that just like the Olympics is a celebration of one aspect of humanity at its best, Worldcon is a celebration of a different aspect of humanity at its best.

I'm sorry you couldn't all be there with me. I was surprisingly touched to hear a live symphony performance of Star Trek themes. For all the flaws in the TV shows and movies, they have adhered to the shows original vision, that not only will we survive, but we can overcome our violent past and have not only _a_ future, but a better future. It brought tears to my eyes to hear world-class musicians honoring my people, honoring speculative fiction, and especially honoring that particular vision and hope for the future.

In the light of the terrible things in the news this week, that's a reminder that I sorely needed.

I wish you all could have been with me.

If hope they made and will be selling a recording.

Thoughts Upon This Summer Solstice

Rainbow Margay Mage
“Can I ask you a question?”

It was a fannish gathering some time ago, long enough ago that we still dreamed there might somehow be a lunar colony in our lifetime. That dream had been one of the topics of conversation that evening.

“Sure.”

“You’re Pagan, right?”

“Yeah.” I never made any secret of that fact in fandom, though I didn’t know why it had come up right then.

“So, you believe the moon is sacred?”

“Well, of course.”

“So, what do you think of people walking around on it, leaving footprints and stuff there?”

“People walk around on the Earth all the time, and that’s sacred too.”

* * *

Tonight, the world (or at least the part of it around me) is veiled in fog, beautiful and mysterious. Fog always makes me think of magic, of choices to make, of dreams that might be made manifest. Fog reminds me that our choices matter. Fog makes me want to dance, even if I don’t have a bonfire to dance around or a drum circle to dance to.

Of course, if I dance, I will leave footprints on the sacred Earth.

But I’ll leave footprints no matter what I do.

Everything we do shapes the world in some small way. Every footprint matters.

I breathe in the fog, raise my arms to the moon overhead, and start to dance, with intent: Let my steps bless the Earth, and let the Earth bless me in return.

A post of little importance

Rainbow Margay Mage
unless you play Flight Rising, of course.

here there be obscurred pictures of dragonsCollapse )

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Rainbow Margay Mage
Tom frowned at the handout, and then at the substitute teacher. Rebelliously, he raised his hand.

“Yes?” The teacher raised her grey eyebrows, an effect that was magnified and distorted by the thick glasses she wore.

“We can’t even see these ephemerals. What’s the point of studying them?”

“Can you see the flu virus?”

“I don’t want to see a flu virus!” That was really the problem. Tom wanted to see the ephemerals.

The girl next to Tom raised her hand, but didn’t wait to be called on. “We can see a flu virus in a microscope, or we could if we had a good one.”

“Very good, child.” The substitute teacher didn’t even pretend to be learning their names. “And it’s possible that someday you will be in circumstances that are, metaphorically speaking, like looking through a good microscope. If that ever happens—”

“Yeah, right.” Tom groused, just loud enough for the teacher to hear. The magical world was notoriously secretive, though the few magical folk who’d been interviewed on the news (their faces and voices distorted or masked) called themselves “private”.

The teacher rapped on his desk with an old-fashioned wooden ruler, and Tom jumped. Where had that come from?

“If you do ever see an ephemeral, and cannot successfully pretend that it’s not there, this knowledge might save your life.”

“I thought you said ephemerals are not dangerous.” The voice came from the back of the room.

“Not normally. But most situations that let ordinary humans see them are quite dangerous.” The old woman smiled then. “There won’t be a quiz, you know. Just life. If you don’t want to study, you don’t have to.”

The bell rang then, and Tom reflexively tucked the handout into his backpack. He darted out of the classroom, glad to be away from the creepy teacher. Very glad she was just a substitute teacher. He hoped he’d never see her again.

But that evening, he found himself looking at the handout, which was already yellowing like the pages of an old paperback. He pulled out the extra notebook his mother had bought him, and started copying it, word for word, intensely enough that he missed his mother’s dinner call. After dinner, he finished the copy, as if he had been placed under a compulsion. Finally, he closed the fragile handout into the notebook; he could check his work in the morning.

He dreamed of catkin that night, a jumble of fast-paced alley adventures that seemed chaotic and unlikely when he woke the next day. Night ephemerals were everywhere, watching the whole thing as if his adventures were their equivalent of TV.

When he woke, he reached for the notebook, planning to write down his dreams and re-read the handout, but there was nothing left but dust, except for his scribbled copy. By the time he found his pen, he couldn’t remember enough of the dreams to make it worth writing anything down.

“Wow.” Tom sat there, staring at his notes, wondering who—and what—the substitute teacher had really been.

He wasn’t surprised to find his friends remembered a cute young substitute teacher who had set them to read Macbeth aloud. The magical world was very private, after all. But it had reached out to touch him, and that gave him hope. Maybe, someday, it would touch him again.

____________________

Thanks to DreamWidth user ClareDragonfly for the prompt.

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Still tired, but -- look! Welcome dreams!

Rainbow Margay Mage
The fever is gone, though I'm still coughing and still napping way too much. However, at least I'm back to adventuring in my dreams.

Chaotically, mind you, but it's a lot better than sleeping bored!

Sick of being sick and tired of being tired.

Rainbow Margay Mage
So, I figure you folks deserve an update--I had big plans, once taxes were done, and as you have seen, or more precisely not seen, I haven't been doing the planned world building A-Z ficlets. Of course, I haven't been doing much except for sleep, taking pills, monitoring my temperature, and coughing. I am a lot better than I was on Easter, but am still getting up, making food to take my antibiotics with, and laying back down, exhausted, afterward. I haven't had energy for writing or Sketchfest (the 50th!); I've done some half-hearted re-reading of stories and some half-hearted computer games (with a ludicrous rate of dyslexic mistakes).

There will be more writing, I hope very soon. It's very frustrating, at least in theory, but mostly I'm too tired for even that. And if I can't even keep track of which colored bubble is next, I'd probably muck up any writing too. I don't feel so bad about abysmal gaming; I'd feel much worse about bad writing.

Oh, well, tomorrow I'll call the doctor and see if he's satisfied with my progress so far. I'm not done with the antibiotics yet, but if he has additional advice, I'll be happy to listen.

You all stay well! I don't want to share this misery.

F is for Familiar - a Catkin Ficlet

Rainbow Margay Mage
(With apologies to people who are waiting to see the E entry. This one comes next.)

The offer of hospitality, which included meat pastries, cookies, and milk, settled Jeri a bit, but left her no less baffled.

The human, Tom, verbally accepted the milk and a cookie, but left them sitting in front of him, untouched. “I—I don’t understand,” he said.

The old woman took a bite of one of her own meat pastries. “No, I don’t suppose you do, Thomas.”

His eyes widened. “How do you know my name?”

“You told us your name, or at least that you are Tom, while you danced.”

He blushed. “Yeah, or at least, I tried to tell Jeri.” Then his eyes narrowed, and he frowned. “But how did I know her name?”

The old woman took another bite of her food without answering him. “The two of you have a decision to make, and you should make it before you touch. The connection is already quite strong.”

“What connection?” Jeri thought the question, but the human spoke it aloud.

The old woman turned to Jeri. “You must have been searching, lately. One doesn’t come uncalled.”

Suddenly, Jeri understood. She nodded. “I sent out a call at the new moon.” The ceremony had been peaceful, lit by candles in colors signifying the qualities she hoped for in a companion.

“A call for who?” The man looked from her to the old woman.

“Not who, exactly.” Jeri looked more closely at the human. Here, inside, she could see his eyes were hazel, green and grey with flecks of gold. His skin was well-tanned and he wore a t-shirt sporting an image of a wizard with an owl on his shoulder. She shook her head. “I would have been less surprised by an owl,” she muttered.

“An owl?” He followed the line of her gaze to his own shirt. “You—me—an owl? You’re saying you were looking for a familiar? For real?” He didn’t look shocked, merely skeptical.

Jeri nodded. Now that she thought about it, she could feel the pull of her own spell. She could feel that they were a good match, magically speaking. “It’s—it’s not settled, you know. My spell only identifies a possible match. You can say no—or I can.” Jeri realized she didn’t want to say no. The spell pulled her to him, even though the obligation to support one’s familiar could be much more complex, and expensive, if she accepted a sentient being in that position.

“Having a human as a familiar is complicated in a lot of ways, for both the mage and the familiar.” The old woman poured herself more milk. “Unless one of you wants to bow out immediately, I suggest a temporary agreement. The traditional term is a year and a day, but you could also choose a moon phase, or a season.

“A year and a—are you talking about a handfasting?” The man frowned.

Jeri crossed her arms protectively. They weren't talking about any form of marriage—but she resented the implication that it would be so terrible to be handfasted to her.

“No.” The old woman shook her head. “Magically potent time periods are appropriate to a variety of different situations.” Then she cocked her head, as if reconsidering. “You know, normally I’d strongly recommend against even considering a romantic relationship—but you, young Tom, showed up at the courting dance. I don’t think that’s merely the coincidence of your given name.”

Jeri frowned. She wasn't about to be pushed into a relationship by the old queen, her own magic, or anyone or any thing else. “I’m not looking for a marriage-like relationship,” she said, very firmly. “Just for a familiar.”

The old woman nodded. “So, what other terms do you want to set?” She looked at Tom. “That question is for you too, young man. If you want to consider the position at all.”

Jeri leaned forward, “I will support you, as is traditional, if you say yes.”

Tom shook his head, and her heart dropped. “I can support myself, thank you.”

“So, you’re not interested?”

“I didn’t say that. But I can't really say if this is something I'd want, though I'm curious. I propose instead that we date—for a season, you said?” He turned his head toward the old woman again.

The old woman nodded. “That’s one of the options.”

“Then for a season. After that we can decide, if we want to continue, to continue as friends or as more.”

“Don’t get your hopes up.” Jeri frowned.

He laughed. “Too late. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the magical side of the world. And you're pretty." He saw the expression on her face and stopped. After a moment, he said, "Look—my friends will understand me dating a pretty new woman. I can’t tell them I’m no more than—than an owl or a black cat to you. That might go over with magical folks, I don't know. I'm betting if I'm to somehow aide you magically we'll be seeing a lot of each other, so..." He fell silent, then finished lamely, "This will let us get to know each other, right?”

“You make it sound so logical.” Jeri still felt the magical pull, but was almost certain this was a mistake.

He smiled, a much nicer look on his face than confusion or his earlier frowns. "Isn’t that what you wanted?”

The man was irritating, but if she turned this familiar down without even a fair trial period, she’d have to wait at least a year to try again. “All right, then. Let’s discuss other terms.”

___________

With thanks to kelkyag for the prompt.

P.S. I could still use a couple of prompts, over here.

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