swiftly

First, new art:

maedhros1

Want more art? Click here.

Then, writing:

I have a short story up at Shimmer: “The Seaweed and the Wormhole.” It’s about a swamp monster and his boyfriend. If you want more about Ebb and Peregrine, the main characters, I’ve posted a couple of fragments from Ebb’s diary. They can be read here.

Shimmer also has an interview with me.

The second chapter of Skyglass is now up, and free to read for a limited time. Here’s chapter one if you need to catch up. Also, Sparkler posted a cast picture for Skyglass. Can’t wait for the last three character designs; it’ll be pretty excellent to see all seven of them lined up together. Art by Mookie, who is amazing.

Other things:

I spent the last couple days going to (death) metal and non-metal shows, running around the Oregon Country Fair, sketching people, eating good food, and just generally getting up to benign mischief. I’ll post the sketches + maybe some video soon.

dire me 4

dire me 4

(This was written a week or two back, so if you’ve been hanging out with me and time seems warped in what follows, my tenses wrong–it’s because I’m posting this late.)

1 (leaving Montana)

Our last days among the Rockies were spent at Miscon–Missoula’s local SF/F con–and shoveling our junk into boxes, cramming those boxes into the Uhaul. When we find an extended home for our meat to rest in, I think a drastic culling will occur. We aren’t shiny-hungry magpies squatting in a nest of glitter-skinned corporate offal. We like books, and musical equipment just sort of appears ’round us (usually with the help of money, but sometimes not. Eg: the garage dwelling drum recently forced into our possession), and don’t own much of the useless trinketry that other semi-affluent Americans drag behind them in a smear of materialism. But what we do own is more than enough to make me twitchy.

After packing, we headed to Portland. I blasted our first album, SEED, all the way through the Cascades, because we were finally finally going home. Knowing that we’re back west for good, that we don’t have to return to Montana, was a shock of relief, a slough of heavy dry heat, the fading crackle of pines, the clearing of August smoke I won’t have to swallow this year.

2 (home)

I’m writing this as we head to Eugene from Western Washington, to claim the apartment me were just offered, and it feels purely right to be blasting the guttural doomy beauty of Insomnium while hemmed in all around by low-bellied skies and leaning coniferous biomass. Big sky country always felt so much more choking to me than the greenthick of the PNW. I am bigger here, and closer. My potential is expansive.

3 (inward and back)

Though we have a place to sleep in Eugene now, after we sign papers and give people money, we’ll be heading north again to spend time in the Puget Sound for reasons: a birthday, father’s day, a wedding, music, sewing projects. Also sushi. Also Bucky Barnes and Loki.

The past few days have been strange, and warm, and slightly creepy–watching home videos always seems to be that way. Seeing how I’m still very much myself no matter where in time I am. Mostly, I was looking for glimpses of Tinker (the dog I grew up with)–hunting bees, stealing sandwiches, gnawing on off-limits Christmas presents. But still, it was amusing to see smaller, jumpier versions of my sister and I scuttling about on-screen.

4 (music)

March 2012: SEED released
June 2013: Winterwheel released.

Going by the above, Moss of Moonlight is due for another album release. Bittersweet truth: it’s gonna be awhile. And while there is one brewing, it’s slow in the making (we’ve had a name for it for more than a year now)–but only because it’s bigger, and spells expansion and evolution.

Meanwhile, we’re working on two other projects–the first is a Cascadian black metal collaboration called Old Man of the Lake. We’re working with an ex-housemate of ours to make something dirty and raw, and sharp. (I just heard one of the last tracks–despite the catapulting squirrels I was watching out the window while listening, it was a massive song, and haunting, and I cannot wait for it to be given to other ears.)

The other project is doomier, and apparently features me on lead vocals (ugh. nervewracking.)–it has a name, and an album title, both of which are safely skull-locked for the moment. But as we get established in Eugene, those two works should come together quickly; we hope to have fresh-birthed music to share by the end of 2014, or early-early 2015.

(expanse)

Just a list to end on:

pink
tightrope
catkin
firn
cordial
unearth
lolita
back forth
||:again:||

nodewrecked

nodewrecked

This week I am the crossroads. Snarled dynamite fuses. Matchbook in the fire pit. The launch of my novel SKYGLASS  reels closer. I have genderbent god-horns to make. A fox project to kindle. In a week, I move seaward. Permanently. It’s a relocation I’ve been waiting two years for. In days, friends arrive, then Miscon, where we’ll make an appearance as Sailors Loki, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. (I claimed the trickster, surprise surprise.)

Two of these convergences are a long time coming. When we first arrived in Missoula, we named it purgatory, and knew our stay would only be as long as necessity dictated. Now that Cavan is officially a Linguist, we’re off to Eugene, so I can study folklore. (And write books about girls and their giant asshole robots; books about foxes and metalheads.) The other node has bidden its time even longer: in third grade, I wrote my first book (an educational self-published paperback about trolls, with a limited run of one); in fourth, two goals set up shop in my brain and never left: 1) write more, always and 2) get published. And though #2 included fine print that translated, basically, to PUBLISH ALL THE WORDS, novels have always been at my narrative heart, so naturally, to me, there’s an un-pry-able correlation between get published and get a book published.

So it’s strange, to have these two waitings end so close to each other–but what’s stranger still is how quick and easy the mindbody swallows upheaval. Twenty months of my dirtbound existence were spent at The Good Food Store, dealing with petulant espresso machines, thunderous juicers, and customers who ignored my name and called me Guinevere (or sometimes Galadriel). I honed the fine art of asking random/inane/tangential questions, and the finer art of listening. I met good people–my topnotch co-workers, mainly. If there’s anything bitter about the sweetness of my departure, it’s the sudden absence of would-you-rather games, black market conversations about fish, teratomas, womb-puppies, and Cormac McCarthy’s obsession with dead babies.

Twenty months of this, long days of wanting to be elsewhere–and now it’s gone. I miss the people, but not the waiting, and it’s unsettling how quickly I’ve adjusted. I’m no longer a meat-slicer of prosciutto that smells like cadaver (don’t question it; I can verify the smell)–I’m a magpie now, scouring the internet for images of cyberpunk cities that make me feel homesick (this hackerbird iteration of myself is actually work-related). Instead of eight hours of coffee-ochred hands, I’m playing nesting-doll with my apartment, taking everything that’s in the box of our flat and relocating it all to smaller boxes.

But I like being the crossroads. I’m a path of muscle, grit, and bone. I can supplant my roadself anywhere.

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

Related Posts: making vampires from backpackers

making vampires from backpackers

If you’re smart and want to travel overseas without completely sacrificing yourself to the monetary-vampire otherwise known as Europe, you’ll get yourself a Eurail Pass.  Hitchhiking’s good, too, but if you’re seeking something a tad more reliable and timely, the train’s the way to go.  If you’re really smart, you’ll learn to use your pass like I eat peanut butter–scrape it to the glass.  See, if you catch a train after 19:00 (that’s 7 pm for Americans who are too lazy to fumble around with a 24 hour clock–though if you’re going to Europe, you’d better get used to it), then your pass gets marked for the following day.

In essence, this means you get two days in one.  Or if you’re technical, a day and an evening in one.  Whatever.  Do it!  We were able to make our passes last much longer this way.

Here’s an example, to make things clear:

 19:30 we left Kemijärvi, our passes were marked.

14:40 the next day, we left for Stockholm.  Our passes were not marked.

Be careful, though–if you take an overnight train before 19:00, it’s possible that they’ll mark you for two days.  It never happened to us, but keep the possibility in mind.

Another trick–while in Sweden and only for risk-takers: when we were traveling in said country, not one ticket-checker made a mark on our passes.  So if you write the date you travel on in pencil, you could potentially travel forever (well, forever in a relative sense) on a single day, erasing and writing in the days as they pass…But I’m not recommending that. (And we were too paranoid to try.)

 

Lands of bog, lake and troll: Day 8

Lands of bog, lake and troll: Day 8

We arrived in Stockholm early enough to wake up all the Swedish fish by throwing tamari sunflower seeds at them.

Other things we did:

X ate hard boiled eggs with rye bread and a drippy orange

X got ripped off by a restaurant selling semi-decent, semi-Italian food

X took pictures of the city hall and all its sarcophagi and gold-leafed shininess

X turned Stockholm upside in search of a hostel that wasn’t a) fully booked b) stupidly expensive c) actually a  hotel and just pretending to be a hostel so it could have a good laugh at ornery tourists like us or c) every single cursed letter I just mentioned.  What happened to hostels being those places even lost, penniless travelers could afford to stay at?

We did find a hostel eventually, and even though it was beyond our budget, we stayed anyways.  I mean, where else were we to go?  The population density of Stockholm’s a little higher than Kemi, so there’s not many places to kip out in the bushes.

The hostel we stayed at was on an island in the middle of the city, surrounded by a commune of garden-snarled cottages.  Like feral hobbit holes without the hills.  Yes, I want to live in one someday.

Around nine, a  cannon dry fired just outside our window.  I have no idea why.  I was snoozing against Cavan’s chest and too lazy and disoriented to go check it out.  Also, I like a little mystery.  (Though now I wonder if I didn’t just have a really intense dream, because I asked Cavan about it over dinner and he remembered not a thing.  But he was also dead to the world.  Really, really dead.  OH, and while I’m tossing out random Nightwish links, check this out).

So, as I write this, I’m feasting on grapes even though I’m not all that hungry (but they’re so good), attempting to keep my iPod clean of sticky grape juice as I search for trail that we can get to by train that will also take us across the the Norwegian border.  Yeah, I’m not having much luck.  Better luck in the morning, maybe.

Ipod photos 08-09.2011 135

(This guy’s actually from a couple days ago, in Luleå, I believe.)

Ipod photos 08-09.2011 147

(Stockholm’s City Hall, I believe–also where the Nobel Prize banquet is held.)

Ipod photos 08-09.2011 144

Ipod photos 08-09.2011 159

Ipod photos 08-09.2011 158

(Still Stockholm.)

Ipod photos 08-09.2011 156

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

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Lands of bog, lake and troll: Day 7

Ghosts cats and men walking pit bulls–that was my night. Oh, and it was cold.

But sleeping under a bush tends to be that way.

Before I was even drowsy, a grey, gauzy shape ran behind a tree and never reappeared. (Later, Cavan told me a spectral, cat-sized creature had crept up to his pack. Either we both saw the same thing or he was delusional from the cold–or he was dreaming about the time we once dozed on a trail and a raccoon attacked us. I, of course, was completely lucid). I dozed on my watch just the once–only to be startled awake by a man walking his giant of a dog straining to break its leash and eat us. The man only glanced briefly our way, though. Gave us a strange look, did nothing.

Cavan, kind and loving man that he is, woke me up an hour after my second watch was supposed to start. It was 5 am and frigid; we decided that it was too cold to stay in one place, so we went in search of hot food. The streets were pale and blurred by dawn and empty except for a man passing by, collecting cans from the garbage, while Cavan gave a pink church and its rosebushes a steamy dose of nitrogen (apparently in view of the security camera).

After a fruitless search for warm food (and warmth in general), we wandered back to the bus station. At 6 am, the bus arrived, cozy and ready to take us to Sweden.

Now, we didn’t know this until after the fact, but it’s a good trick: as there’s no border crossing between countries in the Schengen Area (a pact of twenty-five countries that acts like a single state for international travel–that’s more or less how Wikipedia explains it, anyway), you might wonder how to know you’ve entered Sweden. Well. It’s easy. Just look for the red buildings. Seriously. In the countryside of Sweden there must some sort of law that says ‘if it has walls, you paint it red.’

To amuse ourselves on the bus ride to Luleå (which took much long than anticipated), we tried guessing why the hel everything was red. Were the crimson buildings actually winter’s land-bound lighthouses? Or was everything red because Sweden has a surplus of lingonberries (and thus red-dyed-paint)?

Our last guess was..kind of right. The paint’s called Falu red, originally made from copper mined in central Sweden (also rye flour, water and linseed oil, though none of these were mined–surprise). The red paint’s cheapness and ability to preserve wood made it the go-to hue for quite a few years.

We rode the bus to Luleå , where we spoke to a Swedish couple who put my blue eyes to shame, then ate lunch. Finally. Up until that point, all we’d had was half a banana, half a cliff bar and a few sunflower seeds each. The food was expensive and..vague (we ate at a sport’s bar offering a bland mix of various ethnic cuisines), which is actually a good, general description of Sweden so far. Pricey, with very little concrete information about anything (especially compared to Finland, which has lots of information about everything). So instead of spending too much money in a city we didn’t really want to spend any more time in, we took another 14 hour train ride, this time to Stockholm.

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

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(Day 7 poem)

7

You can make red paint
from mutton blood, lingonberries
elderberries
hearts
to craft an inland lighthouse.