Happy Lupercalia, Presidents’ Day, and International Fanworks Day

Good morning, gentle readers! Thanks to the mythologized memory of Washington and Lincoln, I have this cold, overcast late winter/early spring day off, a perfect opportunity to stop in and say hello to all the new visitors I’ve been getting lately.

Hello! Welcome to my digital roost! Here are some things you might want to know about me:
–I write, obviously–fiction, fan fiction, ritual and devotional poetry, essays and musings.
–I am a singer and have been a paid church chorister.
–I am a bisexual, genderqueer, middle-aged person, in a longterm asexual romantic relationship with my cockatiel, Rembrandt van Tiel. He’s been in my life for over twenty years and that’s almost as long as my former marriage.
–I’ve been writing fan fiction since the late 1990s and have no intention of stopping. My fan fiction will always be available for free and archived at the Archive of Our Own.
–As a writer and thinker I’m interested in religion, sex, devotion, the creative life, science fiction, fantasy, and the connections between creativity and sexuality, sexuality and spirituality, spirituality and creativity.
–I’m a devotional polytheist who worships Antinous, the deified lover of the emperor Hadrian; Melinoe, the little-known underworld goddess who is addressed in the Orphic Hymns as the daughter of Hades and Persephone fathered by Zeus in disguise; the Forest God, that guy with the antlers and the deer legs, no, he doesn’t answer to any other name, just the Forest God; and the Roman pantheon, although I’m not religio romana or Roman recon or Roman revivalist, I just worship them.
–I have a Patreon, where for $1 per month you can read my public writing ahead of the general public and see other posts that might not go public at all.
–Capricorn Sun, Libra Moon, Aquarius Rising, INFJ, and lifelong Trekkie.

I intend to begin posting here again pretty soon, so please follow me and stay tuned, and consider dropping by my Patreon and sponsoring me. Also consider the possibility that Romulus and Remus may have been werewolves, because this intrigues me. Thanks for stopping by.

Taking a breather

This post will make 82 straight days I’ve posted to WordPress, a personal best. While the hymns to the Forest God I posted in March were originally written in January, everything else has been new writing, usually composed that day. (I know that’s not how a lot of people blog, but it’s how I usually do it.)

However, I’ve reached a point where I need a breather, partly to refill the well, partly just to consider and organize what I want to say about my current practice. My intention, therefore, is to resume posting on May 1st, the day of Beltaine.

Stay safe, be well, dear readers.

Blogging as busking

Once upon a time in the 1990s, my then-husband and I were rather broke, a not uncommon condition for musicians. He was a professional one at that time, a church organist who was in between second jobs (because not many churches were paying actual full-time salaries), and I was an amateur one, a singer and guitarist. We were very interested in Irish and other Celtic music at the time, and we wound up acquiring two other musicians and forming a band which we boldly called Fire in the Head. I played rhythm guitar, our man played lead guitar and bouzouki, another woman played hammered dulcimer, and my husband played flute, pennywhistle, and reed organ (the 19th century’s equivalent of a synth keyboard).

There was one summer where we busked, a lot. As I said, we were broke. When we played out of doors, we would put my guitar case on the ground, open, in front of us, and throw a couple of bucks of seed money into the case as a hint. A couple of hours with a good audience, and we’d have enough money to buy pizza and beer for four (and Coke for me).

I’m here performing on the Internet, putting my stuff out there. This is my opening the guitar case and tossing in a couple of suggestive bills. If you like what you’ve been reading, throw a couple of dollars my way? It would be a big help.

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Image by ejaugsburg from Pixabay

PayPal me

Buy me a cuppa

A preview of what I’m working on for March

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Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Next month I will be posting a new series of hymns to a deity that I wrote in January, while writing a set for another deity as a daily offering.

In addition, as I resume devotion to a particular set of deities in March, I plan to repost hymns I wrote for their monthly observances that I wrote several years ago and posted to my previous blog.

I would like to finish a couple of stories about the Forest God that have been in progress since late last year. I can’t promise I’ll finish them next month, but I’d like to.

I’ve been pondering a series of posts on my experience of religion and spiritual searching over the years. Anybody interested in reading that?

I’ve also been reading a couple of really good books that I’d like to review, among them Cassandra Snow’s Queering the Tarot.

If you’d like to support my work as a writer, how about buying me a cuppa? Thanks for reading.

A look at the work I’ve been doing

I’ve been involved with online fandom for over twenty years. During that time, I’ve written, at a rough estimate, over 500 short works of fiction, from 200 words to nearly 20,000 in length. You can find many of those works here at the Archive of Our Own, created by fans for fans as an inalienable home for fan works of all sorts in any and all fandoms.

In the past year I’ve gradually moved away from writing fanfiction, although my “original” work is strongly influenced by the fan writer’s approach to literature: Nothing is original, everything is transformative, there is no canon, everything is canon. The person and music of singer-songwriter Hozier have inspired me to write fanfic, fairy tales, new myths, and analysis of his song lyrics.

For the past six years, much of my poetry has been inspired by devotion to the god Antinous, the lover of the emperor Hadrian who was deified by Egyptian custom when he mysteriously drowned in the Nile. Antinous has a growing number of devotees among contemporary pagans; much of my writing for his cultus can be found at the website of the Naos Antinoou, a queer, Greco-Roman-Egyptian polytheist community.

Already this year I’ve written a new cycle of devotional poetry to the deity I call “the Forest God”, which I’ll be posting here next month, and I plan to write another cycle in honor of the Greek goddess Melinoe, who is remembered in the Orphic Hymns. There will likely be more short stories about the Forest God as well.

I have had a Patreon for a few years, but I decided to unlaunch it for the time being. I’ve never been very good at writing to deadlines or producing content on any kind of schedule, and that was true of my Patreon as well. If you’d like to support my work, feel free to buy me a Ko-fi or three; as the old saying goes, every little bit helps.

The dangling of what I hope is an appealing carrot

As you know, gentle readers, I have a Patreon. I have a small group of supporters there to whom I am very grateful, but of course, I’d like to have more. (Because we all want more cheerleaders for our work, and more money.)

In particular, I’d like to have more supporters who donate $25 per month, which is the highest tier of patronage I have right now. What, I thought, can I offer people to make it worth their while to give me that chunk of change?

How about fiction in progress? Would you like to see a first-draft work of original fiction inspired by mythology as it gets written? For over two years, I have been writing a story about a romance between Antinous the Beautiful Boy and Melinoe, the mysterious daughter of Hades and Persephone whose conception and birth I chronicled in the story “A Distinguished Visitor from the North” (available as an e-book from Amazon). The unfinished draft has been lying fallow for a while, but I plan to begin working on it again soon. When I do, I will offer completed sections of the story on Patreon, but only to patrons at the $25 tier.

Look for a teaser for the story here and at Patreon in the near future!

Patreon relaunch!

I’ve relaunched my Patreon with three tiers of support and the promise of patron-only blog posts, excerpts from works in progress, a look at original fiction before it’s published elsewhere, and probably pictures of my bird helping me write. If you’ve liked my writing here, or my fanfiction, even the lowest tier of support will make a difference to me. Check it out and please boost the signal!

No, wait, actually, we have to talk about this

Every so often, there’s a blow-up in pagandom, like an unexpected geyser in Yellowstone or the stirring of a long-dormant volcano. It’s a sudden explosion of willful ignorance, of fear and hatred, of gatekeeping and exclusion. It poisons the atmosphere for a while, and somebody has to clean it up; that somebody is not usually the people who caused it.

We’ve had a blow-up of Trans Exclusive Radical Feminism in the past week, accompanied by gender intolerance. Trans Exclusive Radical Feminists don’t like being called TERFs, but no English speaker will use multiple syllables when an acronym will do. They’re TERFs. They exclude people. They refuse to respect trans folk.

So I have to clear the atmosphere and state unequivocally that whatever contributions people may have made twenty, thirty, even forty years ago, if right now they are expressing fear and hatred toward trans people and saying we should exclude them, then they’re not contributing anything useful or wholesome to the pagan community. No matter what books of yours I read when I was a teenager, no matter how much you influenced me then, you are not my elder if you are pushing away a woman because she was identified male at birth.

The same goes for any self-identified elder or authority who wants to exclude people on the basis of any other form of gender identity or gender expression, or of race, or ethnicity, or on the basis that they belong to a non-pagan religion and there can be no peace between (Muslims or Christians or whatever) and Real Pagans. All they are doing is poisoning the atmosphere for the rest of us.

The people of Antinous have always been queer, been transgender, been gay and lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual. The people of Antinous in ancient times came from Egypt, Greece, Italy, Spain, Anatolia, and all over the Roman Empire. The city of Antinous that Hadrian built in his honor was a place of diversity and mingled cultures and multiple languages and many gods. The Naos Antinoou, the Antinoan cultus of which I am a Magistrate and Mystes, honors this ancient tradition and strives to do better still. Everyone is welcome among us except for those who insist on excluding others.

So I hope that sufficiently clears the air. Now I’m going to have breakfast. *dusts hands, walks away*

The initiation ain’t over till it’s over

As you may know, Bob, I’ve been on unpaid leave for two weeks now because my employers fear the bedbugs in my apartment the way medieval Europeans feared lepers, bubonic plague, and intelligent heretics. Tired of waiting for something to happen, I went in person to HR this morning after seeing my therapist.

Things… did not go well. They refuse to pay me for leave that they ordered me to take, because I have no accumulated leave. Unless I can declare my life bedbug-free by July 27th, my employment will “become inactive”. A new level of euphemism has been achieved here: What they mean is that they will fire me for having a bedbug problem, in the city with the highest number of bedbug infestations in the country.

The best deal they can offer me, apparently, is to take a disability retirement, based on my knee problems and my ongoing depression. I’m going to get on the paperwork for that.

Meanwhile, I still have to vacate my current apartment by July 31st… just that now I have to do it with no income and no savings.

I invite you to donate to my Ko-fi if you can, but also! I can offer my services as a writer and editor.

  • For $25 I will write a prayer, hymn, or other ritual text to your specifications.
  • I will edit/beta read non-fannish writing, fiction or nonfiction, for $10/page.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give, and that includes prayers and good mojo.