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.

Arctic Salvage

Saw two of my favorite bands back-to-back in late September. Day one, I waited against El Corazon’s freshly painted walls, slightly sticky and pungent, the alternate scrape of brick and splinters catching my back. I watched the sky and the planes in it, and waited, and listened to the sound check. Not many people showed up early. More next time, maybe.

That night was Pain of Salvation, of Sweden, of rich and rending and vulnerable music with unbreakable bones. The set they played was good, but cut short by twenty minutes due to…frustrating reasons. It meant they didn’t play anything from their most recent albums, which was a little disappointing; the music on Road Salt I and II makes me feel storm-wrecked and campfire-warmed. But they played well and sweaty, nonetheless, and anyway, I’ve been waiting since I was fourteen to see them, so finally watching them play not a foot from me was a relief. Sometimes release is all you need, and I got a little of that that night (and a hunger), so I’m okay.

The next night was Sonata Arctica of Finland. I’ve seen them six or seven times now, but the show they played on the twenty-fifth felt like one of the best I’ve attended. One of the better shows of my life, too. Even managed to worm my way to the stage’s front and center, despite being too poor to afford VIP tickets. And as usual, I snared my usual drum stick from Sonata’s drummer, Tommy Portimo, which makes that the…sixth? stick he’s handed to me personally, with a thank you. Super nice of him, though I’m forever paranoid of the moment he realizes he’s been handing drum sticks to the same girl every time he’s in Seattle.

The next morning, I was up by 5:30. I had orientation for my grad program five hours south. I photographed my mom’s bacon-lattice masterpieces, packed the houseplant she’d been watching, wrapped Cavan’s breakfast sandwiches, and said goodbye to her and my dad and the evergreens, and damp air that feeds me better than anywhere else.

Plan B: Seduce a Warlord

Plan B: Seduce a Warlord

I used to tell myself that art was a good substitute for love.   That if I didn’t find someone, I’d just drum harder and write with blood in my pen.  But on the days I felt particularly hysterical and silly, I promised myself that one day, I’d hunt down Warlord Nygård and make him mine.

This man:


(gif pillaged from dontpokethewarlord)

So, let’s cut this loose.  Much like a tent spelled with an Undetectable Extension Charm, the psychological space that got me to this point is much larger on the inside than it appears from the outside looking in–mostly because I’m great at making like a black hole and squishing myself into small spaces the density of me really has no business being in in the first place.

Interrogation time.  Why him?  Because I’ve only ever been attracted to musicians.  Also, I spent hours  running through the woods, listening to the songs he spawned with Turisas.  Because, after all, you make deep bonds with the music you listen to while your pulse runs in cut time.

Also, it gave me something to laugh (hysterically) at whenever I felt alone and emotively deprived.  Too shy to open your mouth and say I like it when you sing, it’s like your voice is crawling up my spine?  That’s fine.  At least you’ve got the guts to crawl into bed with that bloody-faced warlord!

And this is the truth: I am shy, and unbearably feral, all at once.   I may seem cold, but really, I’m just getting out of the way, and once, on a switchback somewhere in the Cascades, it probably looked like I was smelling a bunch of fiddleheads–but no.  I was saying goodbye.

when art just won't leave you alone

When it comes to food, sex and traffic lights, I’m patient.  I don’t get road rage, except in the context of environmental mauling.  But when it comes to art, food, and sex, I’m impatient.  I’ve been working on a shirt design for Moss of Moonlight’s upcoming album, Winterwheel.  This was the first design:



Yeah, I know: meh.  The rosehip works great for the album cover, especially since it’s a photo.  What lies above was the result of me riffing on said photo.  I’ll be honest: it’s kind of shiit.  And definitely not something I’d ask people to pay for and wear.  I should have known this before I put it in ink.  But sometimes I get patience and impatience confused with obsession.

So I got as far as the above, even scanned it into Paint Tool Sai, started digitizing the lineart–and woke up.  Got my hand to stop, because I knew all along what I was doing was wrong.  I had to start over.

I slept on it, woke up again, knowing that what I really needed was an elk.  Or elk-inspired, at any rate.  Because Winterwheel has a song about the goddess Hretha, her elkling, and the course of life and death they traverse and make together.

What follows is the lineart for the piece I developed.  The one that, once in hue, will be printed on cloth and worn by real human beings.


Ekphrastic 21/With the End in Mind

Cure this crevasse
this gut-worm
cure it with wolf-shadows, a hole
carved into ‘home.’ I sleep
stomach to stomach.
Terrarium implant.
A bed of fiddleheads.

This is what I listen to when I’m homesick:

Only four more ekphrastics until I begin a new poetic cycle.  If there’s any art (film, short story, documentary, anime, graphic novel, whatever) you’d like me to poetically react to before the end, let me know.  I’ll seek it out and write something.


Previous ekphrastic: Ekphrastic 20/Wonders of the Invisible World


What the hel is ekphrasis + Ekphrastic Poetry Archive (For poems about A Game of Thrones, Fudoki, The Hunger Games, Blood Meridian, etc–basically, just the stuff to fulfill your brain’s literary sugar-cravings.)

earsex 1

Because I like musical promiscuity.  Sharing.  I’ve got headphones in my ribcage, nestled around my blood-organ.  This is what it’s listening to as of now (also, if you’ve ever wanted to hear me sing, minute 1:43 of the song below):

First.  Cascadia.  Because we just uploaded all of our first album up to youtube (you can buy it here, if you’d like to support our future endeavors).  And because Cascadia’s always been one of my favorites:


Also, female-fronted power metal with fast-fingered bassist…(and really corny music videos–though I think that’s a must for power metal…)


And Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody.  This album just makes me grin.


And finally, Swallow the Sun.  Something about this just…meshes.

dope wars for writers

Starvation, thievery and tyranny of the internet.  Or, slaughtering the children of firefox (don’t worry, for every one I kill seven more rise up).  Consider these zombie-links:

Speechless: Writing Dialogue for Characters Who don’t Speak (Going beyond eye-rolling, glares and grins.  I like this post because it acknowledges that communication between humans goes far beyond fuck you and tweaking your facial muscles.)

Liability vs. leverage How writers lose when “piracy” gets harder  (A pleasant slap in the face from Corry Doctorow, and why piracy isn’t really the biggest problem we artists of the digital age face.  I’d have to say I agree–as a member of a little-known folk metal band, I know.  I’m not saying I’m happy that people are stealing bits of my heart every time they torrent SEED, but let’s be honest.  The people who pay for things pay up; the people who like to stab artists souls steal–and then sometimes find that the stolen goods are actually worth paying for.  I don’t like thievery, but I won’t lie to myself: half the reason anyone knows about Moss of Moonlight is due to illegal downloading.  And you know what? I’m glad for that.  That said, you should go buy my album.)

…and in the (retro) spirit of February 6th being International Please Don’t Pirate My Book Day, have some more posts on piracy: Yo ho, heave ho: International Please Don’t Pirate My Book Day and 25 Thoughts on Book Piracy.

How we’ve come to believe that overeating causes obesity (Weight is not the tool of will power: ‘fat’ people and the myth of overeating.  The article also gives an interesting account of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. )

How the Internet Reinforces Inequality in the Real World (More specifically, how digital maps are affluently biased, and create a skewed geography of knowledge.)

no one swims the sea as I can

This review makes me happy:

MOSS OF MOONLIGHT is a two piece Black / Folk Metal band out of Bellingham,
Washington. I was blown away after one listen of this disc. I have become a huge fan of Black /
Folk Metal over the past ten plus years and seek out as many bands playing this style as I can.
MOSS OF MOONLIGHT found me and I am very pleased about this. This two piece consists of
Jenn Grunigan playing drums, percussion (including djembe, tablas, gong, tambourine), all female
vocals & Cavan Wagner doing male growls & clean vocals, guitars, bass, mouth harp, programing
and more. The sound these two produce is unbelievable.
read more.

I like being happy, so many thanks to Beowolf Productions.