Photo Blog: August and Some September

Photo Blog: August and Some September

In June, I graduated from my Master’s program (in folklore). Traveled to the (Oregon) coast for some time by the sea and by the fire.  Then I took a thirty four hour train to San Diego, where I wrote and read stories all day, every day, for six weeks at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. In short, it was incredible. I’ll write about it soon.

I returned home to alpine lakes and sushi and sea monsters. Went wandering around my neighborhood early in the morning and found a mysterious display of sticks and acorns.

I had an impending show to prepare for with Felled, which meant many, many practices. Built a gong stand, did some shirt designs; collaborated with our bassist Isamu Sato for the Felled shirt. The other shirt I designed myself, for the neofolk band Wēoh.

The show was great; good line up (atmospheric black metal band With the End in Mind was on tour; Solace from Salem opened with enthralling, earthen harp music.) More recently, but still musically, I headed to Horning’s Hideout (a thirty minute drive into the woods from Portland) to go to Faerieworlds and see Wardruna. Maybe sometime later I’ll try to write up what that was like; all I can say now is that there is absolutely nothing like seeing Wardruna live. Nothing. Nothing. When I wasn’t watching Wardruna  do their soundcheck, or perform, I spent most of my time just wandering the crowds (and muddy roads) and the surrounding forest. Startled a creature that was probably a deer, but had the tail of a cougar. Found a fir cone with mushrooms growing out of it.

Returned home from Faerieworlds just today, spent morning till dusk cleaning bones, picking amaranth, unpacking. The bones will soon become instruments and jewelry.

Till next time.

me snow fb_2.

Hungry Lilies and the Devil’s Punchbowl: A Photoblog

Hungry Lilies and the Devil’s Punchbowl: A Photoblog

I went on a trip for novel research (to sink into that terrible, beautiful, place of its end), and because, just. I documented what I could and it was rainy, so these are blurry photos. Just after the equinox, March 21 – 26, 2016. Oregon Coast. Mostly Darlingtonia State Wayside (which has carnivorous cobralilies and a peat bog) and the Devil’s Punchbowl. No evidence from the incredibly haunting night at Cook’s Chasm, but it’s better that way. A more detailed, worded, account will follow soon.

How to Kill a Squirrel

From November, 2015:

Last night on campus I found a squirrel with two broken legs. I was on my bike, ready for another restless night of pacing in and out of Old Nick’s whenever I feel it’s time to head elsewhere or riverward (not that I ever make it to the river; I stop at the trees for something to climb or hold onto or sit under). But I couldn’t keep on. Have you ever seen something crawl on its belly? Not by choice, but because it had no other choice. It is not comfortable. The squirrel’s back legs were limp and splayed; it dragged itself toward the road, belly to wet cement, then gave up and turned for a corner.

My fucking conscience spoke up and I headed to the library for a box, then returned to the squirrel. It hadn’t made the corner. I put it in the box. I don’t know if this was the right thing to do, fuck my conscience, probably it was the wrong thing and anthropocentric, but if I were a squirrel with broken back legs I wouldn’t want to die underfoot near a road. In hindsight, I didn’t do a good thing.

I rode one-handed with a squirrel in a box wrapped in a towel all under one arm, praying the frat boys in their clone suits could hold off their jay walking so I could pass without braking abruptly and having to explain why I was throwing broken-legged squirrels at them. At Old Nick’s, I walked in, I walked out, waiting and winding myself up and chasing dogs off from the squirrel. Then Disemballerina, who were good and what I needed. It felt nice and cathartic and not, to sit on the floor and hide my face and get a hug and a candle from a friend who sat beside me awhile. I panicked in the way I know best (quiet) until the music was over and none of this has anything has anything to do with squirrels, but none of this really does and anyway, I write what I want.

Then the last note and I stood and things were better in the way that cresting a hill and seeing the forest is better, only it’s still far, so you smile and put your head down and keep on. Then I am Skaði. Then shots of icemelt, because that’s what the water at Old Nick’s makes me think of, every time. Then alar, because how can everything be all right and utterly not at the same time, then time dilation and Fae chronology, because in a moment there is every moment from there until another that is white and vodka and linen and birch/birch and goat hide and respite and deltoid, and then even further back (stars, trees, eyes) and then back again.

I suspected the squirrel was dead by then, but I took it up Skinner’s Butte anyway. Really muddy. At the top, I took it from the box; it didn’t move. Dead, almost there. I knew, then, I had been wrong. There is no kindness in intention. I had waited and I was cruel. I opened my knife and spoke to the squirrel. I told it I had no right, I didn’t know what else to do, I’m sorry, I’m nothing and we’re scaled and the choice was never mine. Only then it had to be, because I had gone that far.

After a point I was only talking to delay my hand. I shut the fuck up.

Stabbing is harder than it looks. I need to practice my aim.

I put my knife in the ground, then through the squirrel’s throat slantwise, and the brain was as bright a gray as winter overcast. No blood, so, dead already? I only felt something before I dropped my knife, craven; after that, nothing. Just motion, up down. I laughed, wry, when I had to pry my knife from its skull.

I didn’t bury the squirrel.

After, I watched the stars on my back in the leaves.

dire me/3

dire me/3

Mouth full of meadow grass velvet grain the malted color settled in the fissures knifed from her eyes.

My brain and my heart never touch. I see deer head, magpie mouth, pup belly, and none of it reconciles the dream branches, the green-eared ginger-maned elf, twisted into my nest. I sle(e)p(t) beside. Footsore, I want only the pod voices, the tumbling windfall eggs, the ice-rimmed peas set sail in the frost leafed ship of frayed limb-wrack and wreck and ruin.

On, I cover my ears with bloody hearts. Off, my hands are hearts veiny snarls latched leached lit crimson streamlined bulbs many-watts tumorescent bulge I plug my ears with. But voice is heart and I have hearts in my ears and hearts in my palms. Only teeth-escape left for me.

Yearning: else. Woodthroat bull’s blood red. A splinter through my tongue, out my throat. To not die knowing only _____.

Die, Y in my sternum, butterflied, hollows echo my the wanderlust of my organs. I, newly Lung, run, chest-flews flapping.

cast a circle of snow and springblood

On the summer solstice, my band Moss of Moonlight released its second album, a creature birthed from the frozen muck that clings to the gnarly roots of Yggdrasil.  We call it Winterwheel.

It’s an EP, though this designation has caused a bit of confusion among listeners, because it’s a FORTY-TWO MINUTE EP.   Nevertheless, we’re sticking by our word.  If Moonsorrow’s Tulimyrsky can be an hour, eight minute and sixteen seconds long, then ours can be forty two minutes.

What we’re saying is that EPs can be defined not only by length, but by concept, too.  Our music is typically geographic in nature (dirty metal?) because we write about our home, Cascadia, and the narratives that stem from its hoary heart (and our own).  However, Winterwheel is a momentary step to the side.  It’s an album, but a ritual, too.  It’s a cyclic study of our past, of Anglo Saxon Paganism, and an attempt to give it meaning in a modern context.  In other words, we aren’t just trying to eat, regurgitate the same shiit, and eat it again–we’re eating the past for perspective, to craft something new.  Did we succeed?  I recommend listening to the album and deciding for yourself.  Because frostbite is fun!

Anyway, the point is that Winterwheel is what it is because it’s a bit different than our usual material.  Forty two minutes it may be, but it’s still an EP.  Which is completely okay, because Wikipedia (that venerable sage of impregnable wisdom) says so:

…the definition of an EP is not determined only by the number of tracks or the playing time; an EP is typically seen as four (or more) tracks of equal importance, as opposed to a four-track single with an obvious A-side and three B-sides…

If you want to know  more about Winterwheel, you can read these interviews, where we run at the mouth and probably sound silly and pretentious (though we really hope not).  Interview #1 is at Sword Chant (you’ll have to scroll down a bit).  #2 is at A Different Shade of Black.

Anyway, people seem to be using their ears properly, gnashing up the snowscapes of Winterwheel with their cochlear tongues and teeth.  Count Blagorath likes it:

And so does Alex Rosenberg:

Also, Sorrow Eternal reviewed Winterwheel, and said good things about us on their 89th podcast. We were also #2 on their Best EPs of 2013 (so far).  There’s a bunch of other reviews, but we’re probably the only ones obsessed enough to read them all.  If you’re curious, I find Google to be quite helpful.  Or you can contact me, because I’m like Smaug, only I have a narcissistic hoard of links, instead of shiny things.

Stockholm Has Not Infected Me

Two years ago, I backpacked through Finland, Sweden, a sliver of Norway, and Estonia.  There are many tales yet to be told, but because I’ve been busy recording cold, Pagan metal albums and writing books, I haven’t told all of them.  Some of them, yes.  Here’s another:

Stockholm was like Helsinki–just another city.  I’ll admit, it grew on me quicker than Finland’s capital–maybe it was those fish Cavan and I hung out with earlier on our first day.  But looking back, I’d sooner pack my bags for Helsinki than Stockholm.  A whole fish market obviously decimates just a few eeny sardines. (Not that Stockholm doesn’t have its very own fish market.)

Sweden’s  capital’s neat, though–and old, over 700 years old, and built on fourteen islands (some call it the Venice of the north), so there’s lots of bridges to cross , which was kind of majestic, but also kind of annoying as we went on our (almost) hopeless search for an open hostel.

The map we were following was useful, but only because it helped us navigate.  I know, I know, that’s what maps are for.  But a good map should also contain landmarks that aren’t lise.  We crossed a high bridge (that made Cavan worry for our lives, and me fret that wind would steal my hat) and followed a winding road to a mess of tree-shaded paths and streets–somewhere in there, was a campground.  According to the map.

Well, the map lied.  There were hotels, hostels, a trashy  mobile home park and a place for house boats to dock, but no campground.  Camping within city limits is illegal, actually.  Which makes perfect sense–except that the map of Stockholm published by the city of Stockholm quite clearly said that there was a campground on this island.  Which is in the city.

So I wasn’t much of a fan of that particular island, with its scrappy park and congested chaos of un-esthetic streets.  I  did find parts of Stockholm I really liked, but that was later in the trip.  For now, lets just say that bikes are kind of an aphrodisiac for me and there were hordes of them in Stockholm…

(And, uh, no, I did not leave Cavan for a two-wheeled machine.)

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Lands of Bog, Lake and Troll archive: day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, midnight day 7, 7, 8

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