Sick

I don’t know if it’s allergies or if I have a bug but something is really kicking my butt. I thought it was allergies… horrible headache for three days straight and clogged sinuses. Then the nausea started. It wouldn’t let me sleep. Every time I’d fall asleep, the nausea would wake me and I’d get up and go to the bathroom sure I was going to puke, and then it would go away. Then we’d start over again. Thankfully, the nausea has subsided and then I was back to “maybe it’s allergies”, but I feel like I’ve had the crap kicked out of me, I’m coughing and my eyes are running like crazy in spite of sudafed and goody powders. And my headache is still here. ugh. I spent a couple of days wearing sunglasses any time I wanted to go online because I couldn’t tolerate looking at the computer.

Maybe it’s just allergies worse than normal this year. I think that’s what I’m going to hope for anyway. It’s that time of the year in the South when absolutely everything gets coated in yellow pine pollen. Which I’m assuming is what I’m allergic to. BTW, did you know pine pollen is considered a health benefit? I didn’t, but people are selling tinctures of the stuff. It’s supposed to raise testosterone levels, increase muscle mass, help with inflammation and promote healing and reduce hot flashes in women going through menopause. That’s just a few of the things the internet says it does. 😉

Ugh. Anyway, it’s hard to concentrate when I feel like this and I’m not getting much writing done. I go back to the Dr tomorrow for the results of the CT scan and to find out when surgery will be. Fun stuff. Other than the pollen, it’s been nice outside. We have so few days like this here I hate to not take advantage of them. Yesterday I did some gardening in spite of feeling like crap. Today I have the added benefit of being dizzy so I’m probably not going to do that. I think I’m going to watch TWD and work on some art. I also have cat pictures to post for the rescue group. My face hurts so this is it for now.

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I’m feeling spectacularly bad tonight and don’t particularly feel like writing but I need to. I didn’t work on my story today. I was busy with cat stuff for the rescue and then went to lunch with a friend. That was fun but I really wasn’t up to it. I haven’t been sleeping, especially the last two nights. My stomach hurts and I’m pretty sure there’s a dude living in my skull that is slowly digging his way out through the bone.
It’s getting to be allergy season and that’s not helping. I never had allergies until I moved to the South, so it sort of surprises me every year. When I first started getting them I didn’t know that’s what it was. I thought I had a rotten tooth! The dentist took an x-ray and told me the teeth were fine but my sinuses were showing as a solid block on the x-ray. Fun stuff.

I have my Merlin kitty here blinking at me while he purrs. As far as he’s concerned, life is good. 🙂 I’ve been working on some new collage art for my S6 shop but haven’t listed anything new on redbubble for a couple of days. Ugh, ok sorry this is short tonight but it hurts to look at the screen.

The Stolen Child

W. B. Yeats1865 – 1939

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

The Minotaur pt 2

My back is hurting a LOT today, and I’m quite frustrated because it’s nice out and I want to be out doing stuff. However, it hurts to even sit up so I’m not feeling very capable at the moment. I did some more writing yesterday, and then today just wrote a few paragraphs. I really hope I can pick up the pace at some point soon.

So, I was talking about the minotaur. Has anyone read “House of Leaves”? It’s been a couple of years since I read it last but I remember the minotaur being in red, I think? It was symbolic of course, and being lost in the expanding hallways of the house would correspond to the labyrinth. I’ve read that book twice. It is quite a task to read for those uninitiated, but worth it. It builds such a sense of creeping dread throughout it, and his use of all the visual tricks helps put you in his frame of mind. Anyway, that’s me going off on a tangent.

What strikes me about the minotaur is how he must have felt. I am empathizing with him, of course. He is portrayed as a monstrous beast to be killed, and he is monstrous, but maybe not always. He was born a prince, born Asterion, of the stars. As a child he was loved by his mother, but shunned by the man he thought was his father. Or did he think and feel like a human child? Even if his thoughts were alien and strange, all creatures deserve kindness. He did not sin to be born such as he was. Could he speak or were his vocal cords only capable of producing the bleats of a calf?

As a child, he would have been lonely, chasing the other children through the palace, wanting to play. And they would have run screaming. As he got a little older, his shunning more complete, that loneliness would have curdled into hate. His hate would grow with his hunger, until he attacks.

The first child was found crumpled in the courtyard, and they turned to him. Asterion was blood drunk and innocent, and spoke of his hunger. He was just a child. Pasiphae wept, but the King was adamant. Such a creature had no place in his kingdom, growing stranger with the years.

So he was thrown in the labyrinth, with moving walls, kept prisoner by the same magic of his birth. Alone in the dark for so long, I wonder how he reacted with the first sacrifice of seven boys and seven girls. I wonder if he feasted or if he rationed them. Did he try to befriend any of them there in the dark? If he did, it wouldn’t have lasted. By the time of the second sacrifice, he had plans. Either eat them or ally them, if he could control his hunger.

Theseus came with the third batch of tributes. He was arrogant and vain, assured of his own immortality. He would not have been curious about Asterion. He would have seen him as a trophy to his own greatness, no more. By that time, all those years alone in the dark, the minotaur had gone ever stranger and I wonder how much of a fight he would have put up. Sure, our hero claims to have fought a mighty battle with the beast, but he would, wouldn’t he? Maybe he wound his way through the moving halls to find Asterion already dead by his own hand. Maybe he didn’t find Asterion, but was found by Asterion, taken by surprise, and surprised again when the minotaur asked for death. I think the last one is more likely.

The Minotaur

I don’t feel like I got a lot done today. I’m tired and sore and depressed. I did some rewriting and got a few new paragraphs written. Ah well, at least it’s something.  Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep tonight and do better tomorrow.

I’m not sure why, but the story of the Minotaur has been on my mind. Last time I saw my brother I told him the whole story of Icarus. The minotaur involves some of the same characters so maybe I’ll tell him this one next time. I wish when we were little I had spent time instilling in him the love for reading and curiosity about things that I’ve always had, but honestly, we were just trying to survive, and reading was my escape.

So anyway, Pasiphae was the daughter of the sun god Helios and sister to the sorceress Circe. She was a skilled sorceress in her own right. She married King Minos of Crete, becoming Queen. King Minos asked the sea god Poseidon for a magnificent bull, which he would then sacrifice. He asked for the bull to prove his right of rulership. Poseidon granted this wish and a pure white bull rose from the sea. This was such an awesome animal that King Minos decided he was going to keep it and sacrifice another bull in its stead. Of course this pissed off Poseidon. (These mortals are painfully stupid at times. )

So, at this point we have two versions with the same result. Either Poseidon or Aphrodite, depending on the version, cursed King Minos’s wife Pasiphae to have an uncontrollable lust for the bull in question. Yes, the woman wanted bull penis. That’s a pretty nasty curse, especially since the Queen isn’t the one who pissed off the Gods. So, the bull, being a bull, wasn’t much interested in her. She had the craftsman Daedelus, father of Icarus, build a wooden cow and cover it with cow skin. This allowed her to get inside it in a “receptive” position. They wheeled the thing out to the meadow, and the white bull was turned on by the funny looking cow and mated with it, and thereby Pasiphae inside it. I do not know if once she did the deed her lust subsided or if this was an ongoing affair. I also do not know if there were splinters involved for either party.

As a result of this union, Pasiphae gave birth to the minotaur; half man, half bull. King Minos was tipped off by the birth that something wasn’t kosher and was quite unhappy. However, Pasiphae, being a badass sorceress, put a curse on him that caused him to ejaculate scorpions, snakes and other venomous creatures, which would then kill his lovers. Only she was immune. I suppose that’s one way to insure fidelity. Anyway, she named the minotaur Asterion, meaning “starry one”. I like that quite a bit.

She fed and took care of the minotaur when it was a calf, but as it got older, it started eating people. King Minos, who had locked up Daedelus and Icarus for their help with his wife’s unnatural desire, trotted them back out and put them to work building the labyrinth. Meanwhile, King Minos’ only human son Androgeos was killed in Athens. This had to do with his prowess at the games. King Minos held Athens responsible for bringing his line to an end. (I shudder to think what sort of offspring would arise from scorpion ejaculate) So he demanded from them a tribute of seven youths and seven maidens either yearly or every nine years, depending on the version. The Delphic oracle told Athens to do as the King wanted so they did. In the third batch of tributes, King Aegeus’ son Theseus volunteered as a tribute.

King Minos had two daughters named Ariadne and Phaedra, both of whom fell madly in love with the studly Theseus. Ariadne begged Daedelus for the secret of the labyrinth and then ran to tell Theseus. She gave him a ball of string to help him find his way back out. Theseus kills the Minotaur, escapes the labyrinth, and runs off with both daughters on his ship back to Athens. Along the way, he abandons Ariadne at an island. Some versions say he did this on his own, while others say he did it at the behest of the god Dionysus, who wanted Ariadne for himself. Either way, dick move.

Theseus was supposed to put up white sails on his way home to let his father know he lived. He forgot (or so he said), and seeing the black sails, King Aegeus jumps to his death into the sea, which is ever after known as the Aegean sea.

So. That’s the story of the minotaur, including all the bits your middle school mythology book left out. I actually had some things to say about this whole story, but I’ve run out of time so I’ll pick up again tomorrow. For now, there’s the myth, and attached are a few works of related artwork I have listed in my redbubble shop. I hope you enjoyed the story and now you can regale your friends with stories of scorpion semen at the next party.

Herbert_James_Draper,_Ariadne

Ariadne – Herbert James Draper

John_William_Waterhouse_Ariadne

Ariadne – John William Waterhouse

The Minotaur 1885 by George Frederic Watts 1817-1904

The Minotaur – George Frederick Watts

Mother

I have probably written about it before, but my mother died when I was young. I was almost eleven and my little brother was four. She had been gone for a while at that point and I had been taking care of my brother, so he has very few memories of her.

When I was twelve they gave me a beat to shit suitcase with her things in it. As far as I know, it was beat to shit during the tractor trailer accident that claimed her life. I’ve been lugging it around since then. I also had my brother’s baby book and his school things that he used to bring home and give to me, but I gave him those a while ago. I always told him whenever he wanted to look through the suitcase to let me know. A while back he did just that, so I handed it over to him last time I went to visit. Well he just got to go through it and we talked about it yesterday, so of course it brought up all sorts of memories.

Naturally, he wants to know all he can about her. She has been like the moon over our lives, remote and beautiful and utterly unreachable. He has felt like she was a guardian angel presence throughout his life. I never really felt that, but I’m glad he did. I don’t think anyone ever really gets over the loss of their mother. I’ve known people to lose their mothers and it’s devastating for everyone, and those are adults. My cousin’s mother died the same year mine did. That was my aunt Terry and I loved her. She died in April and my mother died in November. My cousin was a baby so he has no memories of her. I’ve told him what I remember about her and dug out an old photo of her and his father.

So, my brother went through her purse. I’ve always kept everything in that suitcase just as it was, right down to scraps of lint in the bottom of her purse. Inside her purse she had a letter I had written to her saying I was sorry I was bad and please come back. She had tried to come see us after that, which ended up with her being locked up for assault. I had to go over all this with my brother. I woke up that morning, a school morning, with her outside the door banging on the door and yelling. My father sat at the top of the stairs and yelled back. When I came out, he yelled at me to get back in my room, which I did. I never got to see her, but just knowing she tried to come see me was enough to give my child’s heart hope. I didn’t get to see any of this, but this is what happened next.
Our father went out to talk to her. She tried to show him the pitiful, (cringe-worthy) letter I had sent her. He was having none of it and smacked it down, ripping the letter. Mom had had enough of this shit and punched him. Hooray for mom! She had put up with his abuse all my life. I just wish I could have seen her punch him. So he had her arrested for assault. Her car was still there when I left for school that morning, so I stuffed a note into the door so she’d know I had known she was there. (I was like 9 at this point and it made sense at the time) I wrote it in blue crayon. That note is in her purse too, although I don’t remember what it says any more. It’s been probably fifteen years since I’ve been through that suitcase.  I think it just boiled down to “I love you”.

I’ve always wanted to find a friend of hers to talk to. Someone who could tell me stories about her, tell me what was going on in her life, why she left us. I’ve asked my uncle and grandmother but they don’t remember. Well there was a letter she had written in there also, and it had an address on it my brother asked me about. I think I remember it. She was staying with some people when she first left and I think that might be the place I’m thinking of. I asked Mike to send me the address to see if I can find anything through internet sleuthing. My brother is a luddite so it’s definitely up to me. He doesn’t even have internet. I’m hopeful, after all this time, that I might be able to find a name, or someone who will tell me. Finding someone to fill in those blanks would help us both. I still miss her. Some days acutely. She would have been 65 now if she had lived. She was so very young.

 

The Great God Pan

I have loved mythology since I discovered section 398 in the sixth grade. I love all of it, beginning with the Greek myths of Gods and Goddesses to the stories of chivalrous knights of King Arthur to the original fairy tales. No matter how much of it I read, there is always so much more that I have yet to discover. Every culture that has existed has had its own stories and myths.
One thing that has always fascinated me is how stories are parallel in various cultures. Most people are vaguely aware that Christmas was based on pagan holidays but it’s actually so much more. The Norse God Odin sacrificed himself to himself (Father and son in Christianity) by hanging on the world tree Yggdrasil, (crucified on the cross)  for nine days and nights. He did this after he had been stabbed with his spear. Jesus mimics Odin right down to the wounds.

The God Pan, or Cernunnos in other cultures, is born from the World tree, dies upon it, and is reborn again, repeating the cycle of life, death and rebirth that the earth goes through every year, an echo of Odin’s story, although I’m not sure which was first. Easter is based on the goddess Eostre, or Ostara, or Ishtar, depending on the culture. There are many examples. (BTW, anyone watching “American Gods”? It’s great…)

The point is, we have these recurring archetypes that seem to have always been with us, no matter what part of the world you’re in or what period of time you live in. This is something I’ve known all my life but I’m currently writing about these things and blogging about them helps me sort out my thoughts. I’ve been doing a lot of research, trying to find correlations to the ideas I’m putting into my writing. Most of the time, they are there to be found if I dig enough. There is an entire classification system for myths, which is much too nerdy to go into right now.

When I’m writing, I like to have as much truth in my fiction as possible. It makes it more immersive. I admire those writers who create their own worlds with their own physics, their own history, their own mythos. It’s kind of awe inspiring. As this is my first book, I can’t even imagine how much would go into that sort of thing. (I’ve been reading the Red Rising books, which are a fantastic example of this.) So I’ve been doing a lot of research to go with it. I’m looking at Scrivener to keep it organized. It seems to be a popular program for writers. They have a free trial so I’ll check it out, but I’d love to hear if any of you use it.

I have some things percolating with Pan in my story but he’s not going to make an appearance until later. However, one thing leads to another, to another, and so the universe turns.

pan_rackham

Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Arthur Rackham

The Wind in the Willows

Artist Paul Bransom 1913

Crane_Sweet-piercing-sweet-was-the-music-of-Pans-pipe

Pan Playing his Pipes – Walter Crane

 

Pain

I am a pain patient. That means I’m in pain most of the time and that I’m on pain meds. This is from a ruptured disk that left me with nerve damage. I have good days and bad. Then I have a bad knee that goes out when it wants to. Of course it’s the leg with the least nerve damage, so it sort of evens things out. The knee is one of the minor things though, in that it goes out, and I’ll be staggering around for a week or so and then it will behave until the next time. I am lucky that those are not frequent since it was operated on.

Then there’s the necrotizing fasciitis. That was a couple of years ago but I’ve had pain from the scar tissue ever since, and now I think there might be a hernia in there too, just to add to the fun. I see a Doc about that next week to finally get that taken out. It’s a major operation and I don’t know how long recovery will be. I’ll find out when I see him. After the NF, I was very leery to be operated on again but the scar tissue thing is ridiculous. I was on a wound vac for two months and had bi-weekly debridements, so there is a LOT of scar tissue. My stomach aches pretty much all the time, and when I’ve been more active than usual it swells up so much that it gets itchy from the skin being pulled tight. Hell, sometimes it does that for no particular reason that I can discern.
My C spine also has damage, and right now it feels like a herniated disc, again. I can barely move my head.  My neck is getting worse the older I get and I fear it might need surgery too eventually. For now I’m just hoping that not moving it for a few days will help. So yeah, I’m in rough shape right now.

I don’t talk about these things often. I doubt if anyone wants to hear them, and you can’t really know what it’s like for another person. Everyone is different. I’ve had several Doctors tell me that I have a very high pain tolerance, and Doctors are notorious for lacking empathy with pain in their patients. This is not to say that I’m full of grace when in severe pain, I’m not. I may or may not have been known to scream bloody murder to help alleviate pain. But if I mention being in pain, I sometimes get the impression that whoever I mention it to thinks I’m just bitching. So I don’t mention it unless I’m not thinking about it, and then if I don’t mention it I think they assume I’m not in pain. I know I’m not the only person who has this experience with others. Mostly I don’t worry about what others may think but once in a while it does hurt my feelings or anger me. Mostly I keep it to myself.

So, I’m on pain meds and really don’t like taking them. When they first put me on them, they tried various things. Some of them worked, but made me feel slow and stoned, which I absolutely hated. We  settled on a long acting pain med that did wonders. A few months ago we cut it in half. I volunteered to, for several reasons. One being the crackdown currently being played out over the “opioid epidemic”. As a result of this, they’ve come up with this handy little scale saying how much pain meds you can have. Because you know, they know better than the Doctors. Politicians being politicians and meddling with things they know absolutely nothing about is never good. So of course they didn’t account for long term pain patients or even cancer patients. Nice, huh? So according to their scale I’m still over, but if this scale hits my insurance it will be a little easier to come off it at a lower dose. The second reason is just not liking them. I don’t feel effects from them other than pain relief, but they’re strong meds so they have to be doing something, right? I have a ridiculously good memory but sometimes I can’t remember a word I’m thinking of. Stupid stuff like that drives me nuts and I think it’s the meds. And there’s the thing with writing. Because I don’t feel side effects it didn’t occur to me that the meds might be stifling my creativity. And I still don’t know for sure if it does, but I’m writing again after ten years.  It may be coincidence. I’m just grateful.
I have been writing every day, even if it’s just a little bit. It’s going slow, and part of it is that I keep going off on research tangents. But I’m immersed in it and that makes me happy. Between that and my art shop, they keep me busy, but I need to spend more time away from the computer. I want to keep the momentum going. I want to write a book, and then another book, and another. So naturally I wonder what I might be able to accomplish if I went off the meds completely. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d be able to think past the pain. So I’ll take what I can for now. I fear that for recovery from surgery I’ll be on a higher dose again. I’ll keep trying to write, but I have this fear that I’ll lose momentum with the pain from surgery and the pain meds.
That’s it for now I think.