Evil turned out not to be a grand thing. Not sneering Emperors with their world-conquering designs. Not cackling demons plotting in the darkness beyond the world. It was small men with their small acts and their small reasons. It was selfishness and carelessness and waste. It was bad luck, incompetence, and stupidity. It was violence divorced from conscience or consequence. It was high ideals, even, and low methods.

Joe Abercrombie, Red Country


I am almost never happy with what I write.

There. I said it.

It goes a long ways towards explaining why you see reoccurring themes in what you read here. Instead of revisions, I tend towards iterations (although I’m not opposed to revisions). Usually, my response to my own work us, “Ugh! That doesn’t at all get at what I am trying to evoke!” And when that isn’t the mental utterance, it is, “Ugh! Why does it feel like everything is derivative!” (usually more so with prose and fiction than with poetry, but it could also apply to the poetry).

Maybe I should just hang up the hat. It’s a contemplation I ponder more often than it might seem (daily), but then I go and get compelled to jot down a few more lines which sound good in the head, but seem like bad translations of things carved on stones by Picts to Greek and then run through Google Translate. It’s worse than a game of Telephone or Chinese Whispers run through about twenty people before it gets from head to hand.

Except not that good.

With that in mind, thank you for continuing to visit the site and taking one for the team. I’m sure there are less painful ways for you to spend your time.

“What is it with damned ravens….”

This comment was made earlier today and I commented back with some amount of whimsy and didn’t take it very seriously. Afterwards, though, whatever the actual intent of the comment (which I took as whimsy itself), it occurred to me that ravens do make an inordinate amount of appearances in what I write here, and I don’t think I made it clear how the pen name I had came about, or the significance of the raven.

It all really started about the time I was eighteen years old, maybe nineteen. I’d decided I was done pretending to be a Catholic — I had no respect for the Church and had the whole Dear God thing going on in my head. I’d always had a torrid relationship with the Church when I was asked to not come back for a while to Sunday school for asking difficult questions, and I was appalled at the hypocrisy I observed when someone in my family had their future spouse bought their way into the faith to marry them, and then she had to pay extra for an annulment when it turned out he was a scam artist, draining her bank account as fast as she could fill it and had the authorities after him for doing it to other women in the past.

So I started looking elsewhere. Buddhism (which was unfortunately presented to me in a very unhelpful manner and turned me off completely at the time) was first. Then I researched others and stumbled across Mists of Avalon at the same time as the Mission’s Carved in Sand came out. As a result, I stumbled on Starhawk and her flavor of Wicca. I immediately gravitated towards it because of the familiar ritualism. The Arthurian influence of Mists also drew me towards British Isles myth; at first welsh and British, and eventually dropping me off in Irish myth. Throughout this, the figure of the Morrigan kept cropping up and I adopted her as the archetype resembling the Goddess in my practice.

Continue reading ““What is it with damned ravens….””


I never thought I’d say this, but:

I’m. Tired. Of. Politics.

Whew. That’s a weight off my shoulders. Really.

I don’t think any of you who haunt this poor little blog know me in real life (I could be wrong, please correct me), but if you did, you’d know I am a very political creature. I have had strong political views since the day I declared that Reagan was one of the worst presidents the US ever had at around fifteen or sixteen. I got involved in some political street theatre shortly thereafter — at first tame, but then increasingly outrageous. I toyed (and still occasionally toss it around in my head) with what Robert A. Heinlein called “rational anarchy”, described elsewhere in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, but can probably be boiled down to:

I will accept any rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

Don’t read too much into that; I’m no libertarian either, but I found this quote described my personal outlook quite well and it aligned with my thinking when I was a teen (I read the book later in life, stood up and shouted “Yes!” when I read it).

Continue reading “Tired”

Minnesota Music Flashback

When we we young…

How young are you?
How old am I?
Let’s count the rings around my eyes
How smart are you?
How dumb am I?
Don’t count on any of my advice

Paul Westerberg

The first three lines resonate with me; they have more than ever since about 2010. The second three give you an idea about who I am.

Pre-grunge. We wore flannels, layered and torn clothes because, well, we were part of the Reagan poor. Seattle co-opted our “fashion sense” in the 90s. In Minnesota you wore layers and flannel because it might be 30°F in the morning and then 70°F by midafternoon. It wasn’t fashion, it was being sensible. And, before the second-hand stores got popular because the fashion world decided grunge was cool instead of Coke t-shirts and Guess Jeans, you could buy clothes for pennies on weight, as long as you weren’t too particular about holes, stains, rips, and missing buttons.

‘Mats fans were as like to punch you as anything if you said they were punks. “Punk” was a label for someone who cared what you thought. Most of us didn’t care. For some, it was still considered an insult from the 60/70s (the ones who might punch you).

I laughed really hard the day someone walked up to me and asked what it was like being a punk-rocker. “What makes you think I’m a punk-rocker?” I asked. He pointed to my rats-nest black hair, eyeliner and Victorian ruffle shirt. “That,” he said as if it was proof itself, though he looked a little unnerved by my laughter. I tussled his hair, though he was probably older than me. “I’m no punk, kiddo. I just dress funny because I like how it looks.” And then I walked the fuck away to smoke in peace.

Which goes a long ways towards explaining why I didn’t cling to the “goth”, “darksider”, “batcave”, or “spook” labels applied to me until much later when it became easier to say “I was goth” than to explain that I didn’t call myself that at the time because I didn’t see myself as taking it serious enough to take that label. Hell, I was blond for the first two years of emulating Bob Smith and Simon Gallup. And I looked more hippy than goth at the end (inspired more by Wayne Hussey and Simon Hinkler). I was only your “classic goth” for about a year, though the makeup and the long hair trended longer. I still wear mostly black, except when I’m not allowed to.

Labels are for chumps.