Tuesday Tidbit: To Market, To Magic

When we left Bad Pyrmont, Heike’s brother had just informed her of the death in the Dunsthölle pavilion. She calculates how long since the last time the pavilion was opened, as she’s preparing “a little snack” for him.

That would be . . . Heike glanced at the calendar on the wall. “Two weeks and a day,” she murmured. More loudly, she said, “Yes, I can understand questions.” She busied herself with the strawberries, spooning them over fresh lemon cakes, then adding a splash of cream to each. Walburga only got the berries and cream. Heike set a bowl in front of her brother, then offered him a spoon.

“Ah, sister mine, you spoil me,” he said, smiling as he mock-scolded her.

She set Walburga’s portion on the floor, then sat at the table. “It is the berries spoiling that concern me, oh my brother.” That he’d eat his fire-truck’s weight in the fruit if he could did not need to be mentioned.

He departed not long after eating and finishing his beer. Heike washed the dishes and stared at the long twilight outside the kitchen window. “I am concerned,” she said after putting Walburga’s bowl in the drainer rack.

Walburga licked one forefoot and tidied her face, then said, “Yes. The darkness we sensed did not come only from the woman’s passing.”

“No. But tonight is not the time to look.”

Walburga sniffed. “Nein, because half of town will find a reason to go by the pavilion, and the medical investigator may still be working there.”

“Ja.” She was not a government mage, and had no place getting in the way. “Tomorrow the market, then perhaps Thursday evening. The moon will be new.”

“Gut.” Good. Walburga tidied a last bit of cream off of her muzzle, then hopped out of the kitchen and curled up in her nest of blankets and pillows beside Heike’s knitting corner. Continue reading

Mary Austin: Writer, Poet, Naturalist

In Familiar Roads, Rodney and Tay get into a mildly warm discussion about whether North American in general and the Southwest in particular can have geni loci, spirits bound to a place, or at least magical things that act as if they are spirits bound to a place. Part of what inspired that little scene was remembering a fragment of Mary Austin’s poem, “Southwest Magic.”

There are no fairy-folk in our Southwest,

The cactus spines would tear their filmy wings,

There’s no dew anywhere for them to drink

And no green grass to make them fairy rings. Continue reading

They are not Synonyms

Arrrgh. A textbook author hit my pedant button, hard enough that I snarled out loud. Fortunately, it was during my work period, so there were no witnesses.

Evangelical and fundamentalist are not synonyms. No, no, they are not, no, stop that, N. O. Evangelical Christians can follow the ideas put forth in The Fundamentals, but they don’t have to. And those who agree with the aforementioned ideas do not have to belong to the Protestant denominations frequently lumped as “Evangelical.” Continue reading

Friday Fragment: Valentine’s Edition

Ah,  Valentine’s Day: Goth Edition. From the novella Familiar Sorrows.

The tape yielded to her un-gentle ministrations. She opened the box and removed a layer of newspaper, including the Sunday comics. Despite her anger, she smiled at the sight of half a dozen black, long-stem silk and velvet roses. She moved them out of potential harm’s way and dug deeper. Several books appeared. “These had better not be—Ooh.” Two were books of poetry, one in both English and German. Below those she found an illustrated book on Renaissance style and swordsmanship, a modern translation of Brother Ansgar’s first book on paired workings, and a flat case that held an ornate Edwardian silver and marcasite choker. The metalwork reminded her of lace, it was so detailed.

André had tucked a note in with the necklace, and Lelia smiled again despite her anger and fear as she read it. “My love, those who insist on failing to do due diligence, even after un-subtle hints to the contrary, deserve to be paid no more than what they ask.” Thus warned, she lifted the choker out of the box and peered at the back of the mount. Sterling silver, with a hallmark. She nodded as she returned the choker to the box. Continue reading

Trapped in Stories?

Last weekend, the psych blogger at Had Enough Therapy? blogged about a very sad woman who, to sum up a lot of mess, had her life dictated by the stories she found around her. Her existence post-college was determined by the stories she latched onto. This was not healthy, and I don’t think she will do well as time passes. Her story would have been fine – as the plot of a modernist literary novel. For a real person? Not good.

So, why was she trapped in such terrible stories? I use trapped, because that’s what the blogger, Stuart Schneiderman, uses. “She is trapped in fictional roles, and thinks that that is all there is.” Continue reading