Love, Beauty

On my lunch break from work I walked along wet streets, trying not to think about the internet and things on it.

And I saw this, on a crosswalk signal pole, barely there, barely noticeable except for those who might look, who might stand waiting for the light to change to cross the rivers of asphalt, a love poem of the best sort:

“Why does beauty remind us of something we cannot remember?”

 

And I smiled.

Another quote for you, this one from me:

 

You can weave love, like stories, into the warmest of cloaks to wrap about you against the coldest of winds.

Not all shields must be made of wood or metal, and not all which protects you must prevent you.

Be well.

All of you.

 

 


Zombie Escorts and Vampirism

promohrI am currently waiting for the proof of Your Face is a Forest.  Now that a certain fast-moving planet has gone direct, I expect it to arrive by Friday.  If all’s correct, the print version will go on sale 1 November.  I’ll be staggering its release; the print version will be available through Lulu first; then the electronic book a little later through the same outlet, and possibly through other outlets (Amazon, etc.) by December first.

A note on that ‘possibly': if you’re unfamiliar with the ways large distributors profit-take, you may find it interesting (or appalling, likely) that retailers like Amazon take roughly half the purchase price for themselves.  After production costs (rather low through Lulu, by the way), the creator receives about 15% of the total sale, before taxes.  So, Amazon and other outlets will get half the money you pay for merely being a monopolistic go-to source for your compensated labor.

Another interesting thing to note about Amazon–they’ve significantly re-organized large neighborhoods in Seattle, being one of the five or six major corporate engines of gentrification here.  While no specific worker in their employ can be blamed for the destruction their employer has helped wreak upon minority and low-income housing stock, together, the influence of their armies of workers cannot be ignored.  Friends who work in cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood Amazon has taken over (formerly a warehouse and old-house district, once site of some of the best independent theater and co-operative performance spaces I’ve ever seen, as well as enough low-income housing that many social-services organizations had shelters and food-banks there) refer to those employees as “Amazombies,” known for their shuffling gait and lifeless gaze (directed towards phones, not the un-tipped barista making their coffee).

What tech-companies do to their employees is appalling, but also indescribable.  They seem so drained, yet to put ones finger on precisely what it is that seems missing from them after a day of work is quite difficult.  It’s different from the physical destruction of the body enacted upon janitors, house-cleaners, cooks, or other manual-service labor; upon the lesser-compensated, you can see the pain and exhaustion of deteriorating joints and locked muscles.  On a tech worker, the body appears untouched (except the slackened jaw and atrophied muscles, which can be remedied by expensive gym memberships), but the social-presence is depleted somehow.

We don’t have the language to describe every kind of vampirism enacted upon workers.  What is stolen from the soul of a smiling customer service representative or the nanny, and how is it different from the construction worker or tech worker?  They’re all exhausted at the end of the day, drained of some vital life force, but the sciences give us no way to quantify those differences.  In fact, the sciences have no interest in that matter except when employed to increase worker productivity–that is, to make more efficient the draining and to ensure a steady procession of open-veined supplicants to the temples of Work.

None of this is an indictment against the workers themselves, of course.  We should remember that Capitalism distributes compensation differently not on account of the actual human-worth of the work, but rather upon how compliant and extractable the soul it drains.  If we’re all prostitutes to Capitalism (and we are), the tech-worker is the ‘escort’ and the janitor is the ‘street’ worker.  The escort knows his or her ‘place’ in society better than the street-worker, but really the only difference between them is access and compensation.

Also, that disparity in compensation serves Capitalism more than it serves the higher-compensated.  It creates an artificial divide between exploited peoples, allowing the higher-compensated (yet still exploited) people to see themselves as different from the janitors cleaning their offices, while the barista making them coffee in the morning confronts that disparity with resentment towards the higher-paid (know how many baristas give repeated non-tipping regulars decaf?  Every single one I’ve met.  And don’t ask me about what’s gone into your food at restaurants if you were condescending to a server).

Those disparities extend further.  Capitalism thrives on and re-inforces unequal gender relations; male employees who are paid more than female employees come to see their different compensation as naturally-derived.  More significantly, it needs racial tension–minorities are shunted into lower-compensated labor sectors as an easy-sorting method, and few tech workers really wonder too-loudly about the whiteness of their ‘peers,’ let alone the vast distance in compensation between themselves, their owners, and the immigrant janitor.

These differences ensure class-solidarity never physically-embodies.  Workers return to different neighborhoods in a city based on compensation, so that there’s no chance a lesbian bio-tech engineer will live next door to a black single-mother working in fast food.  They definitely won’t get their groceries at the same place or take their children to the same park, either, so there’s no chance a sexual-minority and a racial minority will have occasion to make common cause and build social relations outside the mediation of Capitalism.  Which breeds misunderstanding, fear, and hatred–the very stuff of Capitalist relations.

This stuff gets depressing, huh?

But, hey.  I’m going to Newgrange for Winter Solstice.  Maybe I’ll figure out something to help us there.  Yeah, I just said that.  Because it’s so fucking wyrd-bent that it’s gotta be for something.

And I’ve got a book out soon, but that won’t fix much, except make it so I can write more.

And there’s another awesome announcement I can’t make yet (dammit), but it’s pretty cool, too, and involves me talking more about Capitalism and the gods.

Which reminds me!  Go read this.

And be fucking well, all of you!

 

 


Gates to the Forests

The world’s fucking magical, you know.

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronwolf/)

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronwolf/)

I woke to pouring rain today, quite early.  The last few nights I’d been awake until near 7am editing and formatting Your Face is a Forest (more on that in a bit), drinking too much tea and forging candles for the coming dark days.

I’d expected such lack-of-sleep to throw me off otherwise, but this morning, I woke to pouring rain, the world grey-blue and green, soil and leaf drenched with water-from-air, dancing, laughing from sky and cloud.

Tea, then coffee, then the forest.

There are two streams within it, one fed from day-lighted street drains, the other formed from the slower dripping run-off of leaf and stone.  I’ve done some work restoring the latter, but the former has been something of a frustration for me since I’ve encountered it, as it’s a popular local dumping spot for household waste, fast-food wrappers, and old tires.  Too much for me to haul out, too much for me to even look at without mourning and rage.

A few days ago, though, I walked past it, forcing myself to gaze into the ravine of plastic bags, detritus from recent bourgeois remodels, soda cans and car parts…

…and it was cleaned.

I don’t know who did it; the city, likely.  This has happened once before–I did a grove-dedication ritual one night, and the next morning I wandered in to find a restoration crew removing blackberry and ivy.  I make no claims the two events were related, only that I enjoyed finding them there the day after I’d invited all the gods I’m oathed to consider the forest a place of honor for them and made vows to the forest and its inhabitants.  Stuff like that’s pretty cool–and I really needed the help with the forest.

So the day-lighted stream is cleared now, and the rain pours happily out of the open pipes past fallen tree and over stone-and-leaf through the ravine.

The other, slower stream has begun to flow today, too, and I couldn’t stop laughing, nor telling it how beautiful I found it, welcoming that spirit into the forest for her winter.  She’ll inhabit that bed for much of the next 6 months before sleeping again in the drier, summer months.  I recognize her pattern, because it’s like mine–winter and rain wakes me into life and dream, while the bright skies and warm days of summer make sluggish my thoughts and obscure the world.

I do my best writing in the rain.  I first moved to Seattle almost 15 years ago on account of the rain, and I’m here again, at least for awhile, to soak again tendril’d roots in this wet soil.

Forests and Gates

I am currently waiting upon the final version of the cover for Your Face is a Forest.  The formatting and editing is all complete, and once I’ve received the proof-copy, I’ll be able to announce precisely when it will be available for sale.

Certain pieces didn’t make it into the book, but I’m content with this.  One, in particular, is worth discussing: The Crown of the North.  There are mysteries of Arianrhod I’ve only begun to explore, certain dreams into which I need to further delve before I feel comfortable putting it into print.  New relations between Her and a few other gods have recently presented themselves to me, and at least one of these is with a god I’ve recently “met.”

I don’t know if “met” is the right word.  Like Brigid and Brân, this god particularly seems as if we’ve already known each other longer than I realized.  He’s a Heathen god, a surprise to me, and yet…yeah.  I’ll write more on this once I know more to say.

But on the matter of Arianrhod, and on my coming trip to Newgrange (may I admit it feels more like a summons? My friend put my name in on a whim without asking me, my name one of fifty picked out of 30,000…it’s too wyrd-bent to be mere happy accident, but I don’t yet know what it’s for), I intend to make a short trip to Wales.  My best friend moved there from Seattle a week after I left on my Pilgrimage last year, and since most of the gods I’ve met were worshiped in Wales, I’m gonna go see what I can find.  I hit my goal on my fundraiser, but it’s still open until November 1st, so any extra contributions will go towards that leg of this new Pilgrimage.

A little more on Your Face is a Forest.  There’s a piece I wrote specifically for it, which ends the book.  It’s called Canticle of the Gates.  Here’s a bit of it:

Remember that time you could not stop looking at a tree? Some slant of gold and rose light through its leaves and you couldn’t look away though you had elsewhere to go, otherwise to do?
Remember that feeling, sublime loss of self, unbidden rapture? There was a gate there, and someone was guarding it.
That time the sea threatened to drown you as you stood at the shore, her or his or its thunder coursing now also in your veins, shaking, quaking all which tethers bone to muscle to skin? You stood at a Gate, looking in, and They looked out.

 

Be well, all of you!

 

——

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf


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