Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true
** probably true

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Status Update: functional, if not optimal

Dear Readers,

I'm alive. In some ways I'm healthier than I've been for years. I've lost a fair amount of weight, most of it fat, through a changed diet, exercise, and admittedly a certain indifference towards the gustatory arts. Physically I'm stronger and have more energy than I have had in years. I'd like to put some more weight on, this time muscle. We'll see.

What else? I sleep more now. Enough to give me mental balance, evenif it isn't unbroken or untroubled. I dislike having to resort to pharmacology to get it, but I'm not silly enough to argue with results. Emotionally I'm still pretty raw, but I've gained some real insights into what I feel and why. I no longer feel as if the simple act of waking up is waking on the edge of a precipice. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, I have only a little advice, but it is heartfelt: be honest with your self. Thoroughly honest. But infuse your honesty with compassion. Often the pain, guilt or shame you feel has its roots deep down, and springs from the actions of those around you when you were small, or vulnerable. Find compassion for the self that endured those misfortunes, and see your actions in that light. Then resolve to to act with compassion, for yourself and those in hour life, moving forward. Whatever guilt or shame you bear, don't let it smother you. You can only make amends going forward. You cannot change the past, much as you want to. You can only let the past inform your future.

Finally, writing. I'm doing a little. I write when I am moved to, on subjects that catch my interest. I'm not forcing it. I was truly afraid for a while that I would never write again, and am still easing back into it, so I have not forced deadlines on myself for all the various projects I left in medias res. they will come, in time, if they are meant to. Amra and Holgren especially I have no doubt will continue to report in, though their adventures may well not be what readers might expect. And Marie from Waste Land has been on my mind lately. When it's time for me to pick up the pen again for them, I won't keep it from you.

Before I work on their stories, though, I have to work on mine.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Grimdark: excerpt

An excerpt

They came through the Riddlemarch, as they always did, at the tail end of winter; enough had grown hungry by then to consider their offer. To see them in worn but warm clothing, riding instead of slogging through the muck, to smell venison or rabbit roasting on the spit over the fire of their camp on the village swards, and to think the dangers of the Grimdark were not so fearsome, perhaps, as the brutal chill and the gnawing hunger that was a fact of life on the borderlands.

Still, most would think once, twice, and turn their faces away from the men Lord Coalstar sent to recruit. There was a price to be paid when you took the coin, and the clothes, and the mount, and the food. There was a price that came with the plain, wicked-sharp sword, the bow of yew, the cold-iron mail. A price that, soon or late, would only be met when you breathed your last.

Many considered in the cold and the muck of the late Riddlemarch winter, but few consented.

Some, too young to consent, were given over to the lean, hollow-cheeked mean who wore the badge of Coalstar on their breastplates or tabards, and the red-gold coin was passed to a parent's grimy hand. Some cried; parents, children. But not often. The Riddlemarch was not a place that encouraged tears. And when Coalstar's men rode away with their new brother- or sister-to-be, not as many as you might think looked back on what they left, which was little enough. Yet few looked forward, either. What lay ahead was the Redoubt, and eventually, when they were deemed ready, the Grimdark. 

Jorig was one such. Neither looking forward nor back, he kept his eyes firmly fixed on the deep green woolen cloak of the man he was mounted behind, and pushed away his mother's face, and the sullen faces of his older brother and sister. Too, pushed away the words spoken by his mother when Coalstar's man had approached her.

"Aye, you c'n have him. This one thinks. Has dreams. No place for such a one here, innit? Takes him, an' I'll feed these two other posts with your lord's gold. For a time, at least."

And so it was done. 

None had spoken to him, and none would until nightfall, when the camp was set.

Jorig was the only recruit that season.