Things That Are Things


What even was my New Years goal? Something about songwriting, right?

I’m usually pretty good about this sort of thing, but winter has revolved entirely around getting my manuscript in on time (YASSSSSS). Nothing I played sounded good to me, and I felt guilty every time I sat down with a guitar. Oh yeah, and I broke my thumb while sparring with my sword instructor (“Well, you should have parried better.” Yes. I should have.). And developed tendonitis. I briefly considered just shooting a video of me whacking a cup on a table and sing-screaming my feelings at the Internet, but I don’t actually hate any of you.

I don’t actually feel bad about failing at my 2017 music project. Besides, there’s still time. If I end the year with ten songs instead of twelve, it’ll still be ten more than I’ve written in, like, five years. I’m still winning.

Finishing a life-consuming project is disorienting, but I’m feeling really good lately. I’m finishing out my first quarter as a full-time teacher, and I haven’t developed an alcohol dependency or been found crying in the staff bathroom. Win! My kids are actually really awesome. Buttheads sometimes, sure, but who wasn’t at seventeen? This school environment is so different from the one I was raised in. When there’s trouble, it’s usually the system to blame. Not the kids. Once they realize that you’re actually on their side, I find that most students will go along with your plans and do their work.

Meanwhile, swording continues to be awesome. Our first tournament was the tits. Even my sister came to see me and meet my friends, which meant a lot because we don’t see much of each other. My brother got a hold of the videos that she took of me sparring and he’s been circulating them on Facebook. He came to see me in my Taekwondo classes a few times when I was in my early twenties, and he said my fighting style hasn’t changed at all.

“Dude says ‘fight’ and you just start walking toward the other guy like you don’t give a shit he’s got twenty pounds on you and might murder you. You wouldn’t be my sister if you weren’t trying to assault someone.”

This was weirdly validating. Also a reminder that I need to spend more time with my siblings, who get me way more than I usually give them credit for.

I also sucked quite a bit less than I’ve ever sucked before. In cutting, I may not have sucked at all. I was pretty fucking pleased with myself.

Now that I’m in waiting-mode where the book is concerned, I’ve started on another project. I haven’t written fiction since middle school, and I’ve really wanted to give it a grown-up whirl. I’m afraid I don’t read enough fiction to actually produce anything good, but it’s been really fun so far. I haven’t outlined shit. I’m not planning a gotdamned thing—just following impulses. I’m not really sure it’s possible for me to make up characters from scratch. Everyone is modeled after someone I know, and I’m basically writing myself. Or myself as I’ve seen myself. Or something. With better dialogue (and Ali has a better car). In any case, it’s really fun.

Guys. What if I wrote young adult novels? Maybe this is a thing.

In other news, I’m plotting workshops for Free Spirit Gathering. I’ll be co-teaching with Winter Tashlin and Thista Minai, who are both amazeballs. Winter and I will be leading a discussion about Paganism and privilege, and Thista and I will be teaching archery as a devotional practice. I’m really excited to have my bow at FSG. You should come shoot with me!

Over + out.

What I did on my summer vacation

This summer has been eventful.  Ali and I attended two festivals to our usual one, I finally began work on a paper for the Pomegranate, we both signed on to do various things for the upcoming Pagan Pride Day, and I decided to abandon academia at the end of the year.  I also drunkenly befriended Ian Corrigan, Kirk Thomas, and Taliesin Govonnan, among many others.

Summer is the best time of the year to spend lots of time playing in the Community at large, thanks to festivals.  Festivals are both ideal vacations and prime work opportunities, in my experience.  Not only do you get to relax and have a good time somewhere other than whatever crappy town you happen to live in that year, you also have the chance to attend workshops, talk to a few hundred other people on very different paths than your own (or meet others within your own tradition, or at least—as is more frequently the case with Gardnerian Craft—others pretending to be), and, if you feel inclined, drink too much mead and engage Ian Corrigan in an argument concerning the validity of Neo-Paganism as “nature” religion.  You might also ask Oberon Zell-Ravenheart to help you finish a construction paper birthday card for one of your friends, discuss Bataille and Girard with Kirk Thomas, and bond with Taliesin Govonnan over a shared disdain for Alex Sanders’s grandma-initiation story and Raven Grimassi’s hilarious “Italian” tradition.  And at the end of the week you might assault one of your best friends just so you have an opportunity to hit on the festival medic, whom you’ve been trying (to no avail) to make eyes with the whole time (who, by the way, now sort of lives in your house, because you’ve always been an overachiever).

Taliesin and I are now plotting workshops for next Starwood relating to both Wiccan history and Wiccan traditions.

Speaking of, I’m participating in an interfaith panel for our local Piedmont Pagan Pride Day, representing Gardnerian Wicca.  I’m pretty sure that all of the who-ha about science, spirituality, and “living in the technological age” is just for the sake of marketing.  What we’re really doing is answering community questions about our groups and letting people know that we’re out there.  Like a debutante ball with witches.  My experience has been that most people outside of the Internet are very unfamiliar with any form of traditional Wicca, so I don’t know what kinds of questions I’ll get.  Twenty years ago I might have anticipated questions about homophobia, secrecy, lineage, ritual sex, etc.  Now I think it’ll be more along the lines of, “What pantheon do you work with?” and “Can I be a Christian, too?”

In between all of that I’ve still got school.  Thankfully, school now mostly consists of me drinking lots of coffee and reading everything from Pendraig and Capall Bann, along with the latest slew of “traditional witchcraft” books from Llewellyn and Weiser.  I’m recently fascinated by the relationship between Wicca (by which I mean Gardnerian Wicca) and all of the Cochrane folks, past and present.

I also decided to try posting to YouTube again.  My first foray has been mixed.  It’s good to talk to some of my friends again and see what folks are up to.  But eventually one picks up trolls (who wander in now and again) and, as usual, there are still people who feel the need to tell you what you’re doing is wrong/stupid/not real Wicca/etc., usually without actually watching the entirety of your (admittedly rambling) video.  But!  The positives are still there and it’s till fun sometimes.

Over and out.