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.

Hunting witches

I am not exactly out to my parents.  They know–don’t get me wrong–but we don’t exactly talk about it.  They’ve encouraged me through my religious studies schooling and generously funded many of my crazier ventures to conferences and in pursuit of materials relevant to my projects.  They even politely pretend to read my work sometimes, even when they think it’s weird or don’t understand how anyone could ever possibly get paid to do the things I do (“What does this have to do with religion?”).  They’ve been to my house and have absolutely seen the runes chalked around the doors, the hundreds of occult books on my shelves (and floors), and the assortment of witchy oddities littering all available surfaces.  My mother has noted to me more than once that my kitchen resembles an apothecary.

I have never told my parents than I am Wiccan, but they know.  They know because they’re not blind and not stupid.

But we don’t talk about it.  I think it’s probably just too uncomfortable for everyone.  I’m the only one in our immediate family who really cares about religion (and I don’t even really know what that means anymore, thanks to too many religious studies classes), and we’re all-around just not real big sharers anyway.  Feelings.  Yuck.

But every now and then my mother surprises me.  Yesterday, she sent me a link to a story from the Washington Post about England’s New Forest and said, “Isn’t this part of what you’re always going on about in school?”  And I get overexcited and have to resist saying things like, “Yes!  Oh, and I’m also a Priestess in the tradition that comes immediately out of this very area!  I am a descendent of these people!  And you wouldn’t believe all the work I’ve had to do in the last 15 years to be able to say that!  Let me tell you why I hardly ever have free nights and weekends to visit!  Because it’s not because of grad school!”

That just seems unwise.  My mother knows all that she wants to, at this point, I think.  I know she knows because she sends me all of the articles she finds in the local news on witches.  She leaves me alone about my altars and suspicious habits and doesn’t ask about the bones on the kitchen counter or the runes on the windows.

And when, after reading this article, I told her, “I would kill to go there,” she responded by telling me that perhaps I wouldn’t have to kill anyone.  “Maybe the next time you graduate from something,” she laughed.  “Is there anything for me to do there while you’re hunting witches?”