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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Balancing Forces

"Boat Book" by Catherine Nash

     At the approach of the full Rose Moon (AKA the full Strawberry Moon) I have finally found some peace & quiet, having finished school (for now) and begun the slower pace of Summer. I’m looking forward to a great increase in writing time, as I have discovered that writing is a full-on passion and will most likely be my medium of choice for my life’s work. This passion has grown riotously in the past few years, and it seems I get to have a Summer bumper crop to harvest, and I am very happy about that. I have stories and poems fruiting and ripening inside me, and I know that growth is ahead for me, as I cultivate them.

     I hope to proffer green and supple sapling poems, stories, and articles which readers can water with attention, and be rewarded with shade in which to rest, fruits to nourish them, and seeds to carry with them that may bring these gifts farther throughout the beloved world.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Dos-XXX-Guy---Hibernate.pngThose who read a lot of my work will know that the output has been a little bit slow over the last month or so.  For the most part, I cite the holidays, a wicked cold, and a sick three month old for the distraction; it's really a hard time of the year to get anything done when you have a family, and the modern iteration of the black death doesn't help anything.  Those who can read between the lines, however, may have seen an additional factor.

It's funny saying that I felt a little burnout lately, when I consider the size of my body of work.  This becomes doubly true when I see some of the work that others do, which is sometimes both more energetic and more prolific.  Still, that's the only was I can explain how I feel right now, and it wasn't the writing itself that stymied me; it was what I was writing about.  Lately, I've done a lot of work and research on racist influences within Heathenry and Asatru, cross checking the references that the Circle Ansuz articles used when making accusations against the founder of the AFA, looking in to the ideology and philosophy of racist groups in general, deconstructing the Lokean issue, and trying to make sense of a Pagan community that tears itself apart on an hourly basis.

I have no regrets about any of this, because it good work.  It drives me nuts sometimes, but I think it would drive me nuts more to leave it on the shelf.  It would make me far more upset and distraught to do nothing about the problems I see.  There is a beauty to demanding the best of ourselves and never being satisfied with an unsatisfactory answer.  Still, it is not uncommon for me to write half of an article, grow dissatisfied with it, and cast it to the side.  The issues I'm looking at are very complex, and I haven't been happy with what I've had to say or how I've had to say it.  It's been very draining, to say the least.

Important work is often draining work.  I've seen a lot of ennui amongst Pagan writers of all stripes as of late, and more and more I understand their moments of apathy and weariness.  Where once I was confused at the large number of polytheistic bloggers who took a month off from the internet, now I completely understand.  Battering against the shouting masses is rougher than you'll realize until you face it yourself, and keeping your equilibrium is a contest that never truly ends; you just keep going as long as you can until you get knocked down.  Such a war of attrition, in of itself, can be infinitely frustrating.

The trick, then, is to get back up and keep going.  To see these issues for what they are; obstacles, and not conquerors.

The work we do has great meaning.  Every time we are read by Pagans and non-Pagans alike, we are less remote and more accessible.  Every time we sit down to write of our spiritual experiences and beliefs, we make a better network of roads and pathways for those who come after us.  With every word we make things better in some way, so long as making things better is our goal.  Sometimes fights happen, and pointless arguments spring forth from the egotistically bruised or the antagonistically verbose.  These are influences that cannot be truly bested, but they are annoyances that can be endured and ignored at our leisure. 

I'm not going to say it's easy.  In the myriad of shouting voices, it's hard not to loose your way.  Recently, I saw a published writer question their own right to have their voice heard.  It was bewildering, as this same writer was one who I had found a decent amount of inspiration from.  It attacks all of us at some level, and it's important to remember that.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ceiling-cat-awaits-your-devotionals.jpg.pngAs the year closes, I hope that 2014 gives everyone the opportunity to do good work.  Whether that's good work in the form of writing devotionals, investigative journalism, writing about their own praxis, something else, or all of that at the same time.  Most of all, I hope that we all have the endurance to keep pushing through when things get tough.

It's a tough gig going out there and talking about spirituality and religion on the internet.  Much harder than most people realize, and far more challenging than some of us give ourselves credit for.  It's important work, and I'm glad we are out there doing it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I read. A lot. Really, a lot. Like many bibliophiles, I also post reviews of what I read, mostly on the Barnes and Noble site, but also on Amazon and iTunes. Plus, I have a LibraryThing account. And I post reviews here at BookMusings. So, I write about books. A lot.

That's the thing about bibliophiles. We love to talk and write and rant and rave about the books that we love and hate and love to hate. The thing is ... not everyone does it well. There are, to put it mildly, some really bad book reviews out there, written by some really bad reviewers. As someone who not only writes reviews, but who bases many of my purchases on others' reviews, let me offer a few pointers.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Cea Noyes
    Cea Noyes says #
    Excellent advice. Thank you.
  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    @Anne: heeeee.
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Excellent, Rebecca! I'm an Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer and I couldn't agree more.
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    I am going to link to your post EVERY TIME I offer books for review on Facebook. Forever. You are brilliant.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Way the heck back in August when I first started BookMusings, I posted a list of my recommended must-haves for any writer. Consider this a companion to that column. This time, though, the advice will be more along the lines of practical do's and do not's, for both writers and editors. 

Let's start with writers. What's your Pagan path? Do you honor a particular pantheon? Are there Deities who oversee writing and storytelling and the creative arts? More than likely, yes. I actually cannot think of a single pantheon which does not have at least one such Deity. The Greek pantheon which I honor has at least eleven: Apollo, Hermes, and the nine Muses.* I strongly recommend that you ....

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

The ancient world was rich in poetry. The ancient authors who most readily spring to mind were either poets themselves (Hesiod, Virgil, Sappho) or recorders of/commentaters upon others' poetry (Snorri Sturulson). Plus, all those anonymous works of poetic genius (see Beowulf).

The modern Pagan movement is just as rich in poetry. I can't remember when I first began reading and collecting modern Pagan poetry. It was well after I came home to/converted to/embraced Hellenismos. I had plenty of the old authors at hand; everyone from the aforementioned Hesiod, Virgil and Sappho to Bacchylides, Callimachus, Catullus, and an assortment of anthologies. It was with great surprise and delight, then, that I found their modern descendants.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
'Devil's Night'

Some slightly more modern history and a slight indulgence: witches always end up in the news around this time of year. Suddenly every news paper or local news station wants to do a 'did you know there are real witches?!' story.

It all gets a bit tiresome.

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Tommy wright
    Tommy wright says #
    Loved the poem aS a former Christian can appreciate its meaning I. Now realize how judgemental I was

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Being a devotee of *cough* "lesser-known" Deities does occasionally suck. In my case, while I honor well-known Deities such as Hermes and The Muses and Artemis and Hekate, I am also very devoted to The Charites.

The usual response to that statement is "who?"

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