Hitting the pause button

I know regular readers have come to expect me to post as many as ten posts a day (although fewer the past few months), so I wanted to give y’all a heads up that I am probably going to step back for a few days or longer so that no unseemly thoughts creep into anyone’s heads.

Tonight, I’ll be setting up some scheduled posts of older poetry for the next few days to fill in the empty space I leave behind.

Why? That’s not easy to explain. I’m going to focus more heavily on a few things is the best I can say. At least contemplate those things, turn them around and maybe (but no promises) turn those things into actionable items; not all of them are writing-related, but a few are. I could go into details, but I doubt it would make much sense. I seem to have difficulty making sense when it comes to communicating these kinds of things.

Anyway — if the volume seems low and the quality lower, it’s because a bit of a pause going on as I work things out.

See you on the other side.


©2021 Michael Raven

fetch-whisper in my ear
to sell secrets simple
of what was done
in the dark
in the night
in the deep waters you
flowing chants
reaching down
with a forehead kiss
bones clattering clacking
tapping with the heartbeat
bursting briars
from the chest 
before the grey morning light

Krigsgaldr// Heilung


On the rare occasion…


Social media isn’t a complete waste of space.

I’ve been writing little pithy things on Facebook lately, mostly about how I survived a tangle with my bike or the weather. Stupid, silly, self-deprecation shit. Largely, because I am using it for other things (like finding a group or other people to connect with on a spiritual level), but I made some off-hand comment about probably feeling more complete if I could get another tattoo, but I haven’t found anyone that strikes me as the kind of artist I want to do my next piece. I’d mentioned I wanted photorealistic — or something very primitive and Neolithic looking, with an earthy shamanistic feel.

One of my high school friends saw it and, while she didn’t have suggestions for artists, she said I really really should check out Heilung based on my tattoo desires. Less than fifteen minutes later, an old bandmate from my gothic band chimed in, “Yes yes yes! Trust us on this one, dude.”

So this morning I watched the video they linked to.


So now, I share with you.

I can see all kinds of influences that may or may not be actual influences, and they all happen to be influences that I love. It’s like a yummy meltaway containing all of them. Instantfan. Naturally, I have to foist it on you.

[Edit: Incidentally, the title, best as my poor skills at translation go, is “Warmagic”. I welcome corrections for those more familiar with the language.]

More on the secret occult society novel that wasn’t and “Nightfell”

Sometimes it is fun to go back over my old notes for stories that either fell apart or I did worldbuilding for, but never took anywhere. Believe me, I have more than a few…

So, why mention these two?

Well, the first is the one I mentioned yesterday in my post about alchemy. My memory wasn’t quite as sharp as I thought about this one and they were less alchemists (although one of the characters was an alchemist) and more of an secret cabal doing many of the things that I recalled correctly: hunting down wayward nasties that are killing unsavory but human characters, dealing with curses, stopping eldritch things from crossing over from a conjunction of planes or via thin places, mystical stuff that might be magick, and all that jazz.

I found my notes, although I didn’t find my story start (suddenly suspect it is on the ReMarkable, an e-paper notebook I picked up back when it was mostly one of a kind), but I found all my world-building notes and the outline of two plotlines, and the portion of a third background story to weave into the larger story in an online tool I used to use until it became untenable to do so, as the limitation grew too strict for the free version and the paid version too expensive. Anyway, I tracked that down because I’d saved a backup of the Gingko App on my Google Drive and logged in to see it was still present in the original hierarchal “card” format. I liked the tool because you could “branch off” the tree for plot ideas, character development, research, misc notes, etc., and it is searchable (I wish I could find an online equivalent that wasn’t so much like wikipedia — I just want to make hierarchal-structured notes, not worry about making links — the closest is Zenkit, and that is still too fussy, in my opinion, for notetaking).

One of the more interesting things I had forgotten was the iteration of the name of the novel. In case you were wondering, “Arcanum Fabulis Factionis Sulphur” was Latin for “secret stories of the brimstone cabal”, which was the subtitle (with some liberties on the Latin). Other ideas that I’d probably lean more towards today are: “Sylloge Factionis Sulphur Historia”/”sylloge/collection of the Cabal Brimstone’s history” or “Arcanorum Factionis Sulphur”/”Arcane Record of the Brimstone Cabal”.

What’s the obsession with brimstone? As a cleansing/fumigation chemical. The Cabal envisioned themselves and the world’s janitors, clearing out impure and unpure elements that threatened mankind and the ones to purge intellectual darkness.

And I’d forgotten that I’d planned on have an antagonistic counter occult organization with a different agenda. Of course you need something like that in one of these types of tales, duh. They were “Coterie Crux Ansata”, kind of a precursor to a nazi-like group. A “crux ansata” is the Latin name for the ankh, and they are obsessed with the superman and everlasting life.

All fun to rediscover.

Looking at my old GingkoApp archive, I also saw another story outline that I’d completely forgotten about aside from the name, “Nightfell”. This was a story with more of the feel of the Hyperion Cantos (although I had yet to read that story when I started outlining this one). A little SciFi with a heavy dose of colonialism and “magic” (akin to the magic in Dune rather the the fireball-tossing stuff of high magic tales).

The main characters are bounty hunters on a planet left ruined by human colonialism. As my notecard reads:

Scathach and Brand are gloamstriders, mercenaries in a ruined, polluted world. The largely abandoned city-sprawls are now home to maddened beasts and malicious beings, products of weakened Engigang, the Narrows (or Narrow Ways), caused by the broken Galdorsang. The Galdorsang was a last-ditch effort to save an over-populated, polluted world but, instead of cleaning up the world, it unleashed further corruption bound behind doors meant to be closed forever by the Kyne.

With the addition of eldritch horrors to the already troubled planet, the remaining population fled for other planets — those that could afford it. Those who could not and did not wish to succumb to servitude to leave their home stayed behind. Eventually, even the transport carriers saw no profit in visiting the homeworld and ceased offering transport to the colonies.

Small pockets of humanity have eked out an existence behind barriers and via trade routes between enclaves, and the gloamstriders leveraged what they could of the ancient Galdorsang’s powers to provide the protection needed by merchants and travelers by tattooing their bodies with the song runes. Some of their work involved dark things as well, and they essentially became mercenaries for hire.

old notes

The Kyne are the fey-like shamanic nomads who are the original inhabitants who are more than a little annoyed they have been left with a mess to clean up. Why “gloamstriders”? I liked the sound of glyph-tattooed mercenaries for hire who lived neither “in the light” or “in the dark” because of the roles of the glyphs/rune as being non-dualistic. It is the name that the Kyne gave to them.

I won’t bother you with the rest, as the plot is far from sensible, written in half-pidgin that I might have understood at the time, but I assure you will require some deciphering if I want to use it. Plus, that was from “V.3”, and I’d have to go through the other versions to untangle what the whole plot was.

Still — seems promising… I should do that instead of writing lengthy posts about how something is “intriguing” and “seems promising”, but I haven’t.


©2021 Michael Raven

i am the water
seeking the low places
seeping in
pouring through
shaping myself
raining raining down

i am the earth
a rock standing firm
the soil the mud the seeds
loaming flowing
growing calm
pushing forth shoots to the sky

i am the air
flowing through her hair
through the fingers of trees
birds on the wing on the breeze
i am the dream
flying through the night

i am the fire
the sun, the flame
the burning desire
the hunger, the heat
the raging conflagration
consuming, cleansing
as i burn from the inside
tempering the steel

i am spirit
global consciousness
the butterfly
raising wings
melting to dusk


©2021 Michael Raven

the sigils and signs
hard and firm
hammer me into shape
sending sparks
showering the ground 

i will be remade
-- willing or not

surrender is the easy path

weapon or tool?
the shape of things to come
is still not evident
in the burning red heat
of potential

it is not my decision
i can choose my path
but not the fate
the destiny
each forging beats
me to submission

i finally submit


I got some side effects from the second jab; nothing terrible and entirely expected.

I had a very (very) mild fever that put me closer to “average” body temperature than I might normally be — I run significantly cooler than the average. I was still below average.

In addition, I felt like I might have had an older brother who thought it was funny to repeatedly slug my upper arm at the injection site. I’m pretty chill about getting immunizations and don’t usually tense up, so I don’t think it was a matter of not being relaxed. That said, it was a relatively painful injection while she was doing it, so she may have been the cause of the subsequent pain instead of a reaction from the vaccine.

I also had a period while sleeping (or attempting to) where I felt floaty and woozy, slightly achy. In other words, flu-like symptoms, but it was relatively mild.

This morning I have a bit of a headache and I feel wiped out. Otherwise, the arm feels bruised, but not punched and I don’t feel “off” in other ways. I’ve known other people who have had worse reactions to the second dose that I experienced, but none had to alter their lifestyle because of it.

I was going to make a joke about some of the bizarre conspiracy theories going on in social media about the vaccines, but I have decided not to give them any air here, even as a joke. I don’t want to contribute to the cult of anti-truth.


©2021 Michael Raven

i burrowed deep
under a canopy of
sisters & brothers
making my bed
scented pine
still deeper
my soul ached
with the sunshine
shadows i keep
deep inside
old owls cooing
comfort as the hunger
made the rounds
seeking to satiate
while i played the
hiding in plain sight