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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in writing

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Bullying is a terrible thing.  I was bullied as a child. I was an odd duck of a kid who didn't always know how to behave in public because I grew up with an emotionally-distant father and a mother with untreated bipolar disorder who couldn't get the medical establishment to help her. Besides that, I was a clever kid who was really book-smart and terrible at coordinated sports. It was a classic nerd situation, and my peers made me suffer terribly for it.

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  • Paul
    Paul says #
    Hi Diane, I just read A Plea To End Bullying and my heart began to race. I went through practically identical torments at two diff

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Update on My Wandering Uterus

It is almost a year after the initial conversation that sparked the crazy idea to write a collection of women's stories and call it "My Wandering Uterus" (for more details on that journey, please reference Byron Ballard's blog here: http://www.myvillagewitch.com/my-wandering-uterus/)

As I'm putting together a presentation on the history of the theory of trauma, the irony of this is not lost on me. Men like Jean Martin Charcot and Pierre Janet were some of the first men in their field to turn the tide against the asinine diagnosis of hysteria; recognizing that the manifestation of trauma based symptoms were not physiological in nature, but psychological, and not limited to the uterus. The article that inspired this conversation can be read here: https://lithub.com/hysteria-witches-and-the-wandering-uterus-a-brief-history/

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  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Thanks so much for being part of this exciting project!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why I Stopped Writing

I am writing again (obviously). But the simple act of sitting down and letting my fingers dance across the keyboard took months of struggle. Last year I would panic at the mere thought of writing. I thought I’d never publish another word, ever again.

Writing isn’t something I can do casually. Some writers can kick back and type out page after page in a single afternoon, but I’m not like that. For me, writing is a gut-wrenching, soul-baring practice. I cannot write without reaching deep inside of me. Often I end up encountering aspects of myself from which I would rather hide. Writing peels away my defenses and confronts me with the secrets I keep from myself.

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    This is exquisite - so glad to have your voice back in the commons my dear.
  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Good for you! I also have struggled in the past year trying to reestablish my writing voice. Although my situation was drastical
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you, Carl, I appreciate it!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Squirrels: My Writing Muse

Whenever I am blocked in my writing, I watch squirrels. I see them bouncing from tree to tree or chasing each other. At other times, one squirrel will dig up a nut that another had just buried. Once I witnessed a lone squirrel sneaking up on a curbside vendor to steal a nut-bar from her truck. Before the hapless vendor could react, this crafty squirrel leapt off the countertop and scampered off with its prize.

Squirrels inspire me with their activity. Rarely staying still in one place, they leap from one tree branch, grab another limb, and then jump to the ground. This reminds me of my free writing, when I jump from topic to topic. Working with my squirrel muses, I seldom know where they will take me in my writing or where I will finally end up.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Teach Us Those Runes

 Geriht us þat geruni.

“Teach us those runes.”

(Old Saxon Heliand, circa 850)

 

Writing is a magical act.

The old North Sea ancestors had two words meaning “write.”

One was to scribe. That meant “to write with pen and ink,” as the Romans did. This was the newfangled way to write, with a newfangled Latin name.

But the old word, the ancestral word, was to write. This originally meant “to carve.” The first writing that the ancestors knew was the carving ("risting") of runes into wood.

Note which method they favored.

In our hyper-literate society, in which most of us write with light rather than with ink or with lead, we tend to take writing for granted.

We shouldn't.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Fireverse 6: Mythology is Subjective

Mythology is stories, and stories reflect the mind of the storyteller. We acknowledge that when we talk about how a given mythological tale reflects a culture and its level of scientific and social advancement. The individuals who told the stories also projected them through their own personal lenses, not only as members of their culture but as people with internal psychology.

One of the things I learned while writing Some Say Fire, in which I retold as much of the heathen lore as I could find along with original material inserted interstitially, is that it is impossible to write objective fiction about the gods no matter how hard I try. Even though I relate to the gods either as people with personalities or as nature, when I wrote fiction about them they inevitably turned into archetypes. For example, the ways that Fireverse Odin differs from traditional Odin all turned out to be about my real life deceased father. I didn't intend to do that. I didn't even realize that until after I had enough of a draft completed to show it to someone else and my critique partner pointed it out to me; I knew I had turned my problems over to my higher power by giving them to Loki, but I hadn't realized how much that distorted all the other characters in the story.

Only after I had dealt with those issues was I able to get past them and reach the real Odin. In mythology or fairy tale, the father figure is your father, the road is your path, and the mountain is whatever obstacle you yourself must overcome. Everything turns into dream symbolism.

This same phenomenon must surely have happened when the lore that we have received in written form was first written down. The lore contained in Snorri's Edda must therefore reflect Snorri the individual as much as it reflects the lore as he had heard it in his lifetime, and as much as it reflects his culture and the times he lived in.

Fireverse Odin turned into my father and Fireverse Loki my wounded inner child because those are the personal issues I needed to resolve through my creative writing. Snorri's Odin turned into Yahweh and his Loki turned into the Devil. As a Christian with recent heathen ancestors living in the time of conversion, watching his culture be destroyed by the very thing he most passionately believed in--the Church-- resolving the cognitive dissonance between his Christian beliefs and his love of the stories of his culture must have been his greatest psychological need.

The subjectivity of story, even mythology from an oral tradition, is something to keep in mind in interpreting the lore. Some of my fellow Asatruars treat the Eddas as if they were the word of the gods. The Eddas were written by men; men have human needs, including psychological needs. The storyteller shapes the story even if he tries not to.

Image: image from publicdomainpictures.net

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My first book signing!  Photo by Chiri Peterson.  Used by permission.

My first book signing! Photo by Chiri Peterson. Used by permission.

Updated from Between the Shadows, November 22, 2014:

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