More than you wanted

©2021 Michael Raven

It seems it’s been a while since I last did an update on the general nature of things around my world. I think the last was when our family lost our true friend and companion, the kitten named Ghost, to the vagaries of medicinal allergies and/or underlying heart conditions. Life didn’t end there, of course.

To add to my trials and tribulations of that week, that following Sunday decided to make life even more interesting by throwing a dysfunctional water softener into my lap, thereby making it so that I had to replace the damned thing or suffer the effects of Very Hard Water (31 grains of hardness for those who care about such things). I finally got up the courage to replace the beast myself when I saw that there were new ways of doing so out on the market rather than cutting and re-soldering copper pipe to fit the new dimensions of a softener and, with trepidation, tried it out. The last time ended up in near tears as the solder spring leaks after about the 15th time of attempting to get the measurements right, and I was saved by someone more skilled at plumbing than I.

The end result was a leak-free experience which surprised me more than anyone else. Now my hair doesn’t feel like straw, soap lathers and washes off, and my skin doesn’t itch like a SOB.

It’s been mentioned several times by various people I should work at getting my poems published and I always brushed off the idea. I’m not sure how much market there is out there for my writing and it seems a bit vain to think that there might be one. But, I was digging into the matter for other reasons (mostly curiosity) and decided that it was an eminently doable thing with little upfront cost and then I could have a tome of my own doggerel to toss to the universe and, being as things are, I’d have the sole copy of a book to pretend was a grand heirloom to hand to the kids — which they’ll promptly hide on a shelf somewhere behind real poetry and then they’ll donate to a charity to get rid of the damned embarrassment of a book once I pass on.

Of course, I can’t do things half-assed, so I also got to thinking I would go ahead and purchase a block of ISBNs so I could offer it up for sale in case it actually might sell more than the one copy I purchase. A single ISBN is $125, a block of 10 is $350 and you need one for e-book, one for trade paperback (e.g., two minimum) — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assume that if you do even more than one publication, it is more than worth it to buy the block. And because I really don’t want to do things half-assed, I’ve been learning the ropes on a bit of desktop publishing (DTP) software to boost the quality of the files used to generate the printed and e-book formats. Luckily, I’ve been saving my pennies over the past couple of years, so there is a nest-egg to delve into for the sake of vanity. I could save money by taking the free ISBNs offered by the printer, but I want to retain certain controls (imprint and tax reporting requirements), so it seems best to pony up the extra cash to do so.

I’ve figured out the candidate poems and now just have to: winnow the number of poems down to a reasonable number, organize the pieces into some semblance of order, typeset the poems and the front material, set up the cover art (my eldest daughter, the resident digital artist, has foolishly agreed to contribute to this endeavor based on my instructions), decide on a book title (of two), and decide on an imprint to use (of two variations on themes). I wonder if I shouldn’t float all of the undecided options here… New post if I do.

Just before Ghost passed on, I decided to shave my head into a bit of a Viking-esque mohawk. I wasn’t convinced it was the best decision, but several people have convinced me to not shave off the rest and, now, I have grown used to it. Used to it in much the same way as I’ve gotten used to growing out my beard this time around with the idea that I will eventually have enough length to toss in some jewelry/beads into it, or braid it. The moustache element is starting to get on my nerves, so I may trim that down so I don’t feel I am constantly wiping it down with a napkin while I eat to make sure nothing gets in it (less of an issue with the beard portion)

All of these things are part of an effort to break up some of the stagnancy of lifestyle that has contributed to my overall. While I don’t feel “right” returning to the goth lifestyle of my past (I feel like an old man trying to reclaim his youth in an effort at denial of his age when I’ve tried), this more “Viking” theme seems to fit my personality a bit closer at my current age and I’m comfortable with embracing it (without making the effort that seems more like cosplay than real life like some people do when they embrace these elements) and it’s been nice to shake things up.

Which also brings to mind shaking things up further with getting a tattoo on my other forearm, which is tentatively in the works (consult done, just need to schedule with the artist using his fair, but atypical, scheduling lottery). I’ll aiming for — you guessed it — something Icelandic and/or Viking inspired. I haven’t decided on the total look (and I have a few weeks before I need to fix it into shape) but it will likely involve vegvísir (Icelandic “compass” stave), Valkyrie wings, a bindrune for Wyrd, hints of Hugin and Munin (Odin’s ravens) and/or a vulknot. Here is the bindrune I’ve come up with for wyrd, using the phonetic runes for the word:

Knowing more about runes since I designed this bit, I may instead select the first three runes of Heimdall’s aett (hagalaz, naudiz, isa), by some interpretations, representative of the three Norn associated with wyrd. It’d probably be more simple if I did that.

As I think deeper about such things, I am less convinced that this will work. The artist is somewhat against combining both vegvísir and a pair of Valkyrie wings, as I had originally envisioned, because the area is so small as to lose the details of the compass within a few short years due to the blurring that naturally occurs with tattoos as we age and he’s proud enough of his “brand” to not want something he considers will likely look ugly over time associated with his name (“It’d look great for the first couple of years, man, but then it’d start to become a blurry mess”). So I’m trying to think outside of the box.

Anyway, that’s the kind of crap I’ve been up to. I hope all of my regulars are doing well (and anyone irregular, for that matter).

4 thoughts on “More than you wanted

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