cedar_grove: (Eirian with a smile)
So, the week before last I had a pretty awesome week, writing wise... and managed to get the first five chapters of the book written.  Those of you also following my Wordpress blog will have seen the 'sneak peek' that I posted there, but for those that done follow, you can find it...


...of course the week after wasn't quite so successful.  I got the outlines down for maybe the next ten or fifteen chapters, but I didn't actually get the writing done, and so far this week I haven't managed anything at all.... but things have been a bit insanely busy one way or another, and it's not necessarily always chorse that keep you from writing.
cedar_grove: (Work In Progress)
Has it really been since December that I last posted.  That's bad.  That's life though, been very busy with unwriterly things, working with an awesome team at a local elementary school to assist a deaf student (and learning ASL in the process)... taking care of another EC kid after school two days a week; minding a church nursery on Sundays - means I've been busy, but I've still been chipping away at writing things, and have a few exciting things to bring to light.

First of all, have had a major overhaul of the two websites I keep bringing them up to date. Please take the time to take a look. The first one is eirianhoupe.com.

And then there is the cedarfiction.net website here:

That's the easy part.  After that it gets a bit more complicated.

I recently made an announcement on Fanfiction.net that I was going to start pulling down the stories from the virtual season of Stargate Atlantis that I had been writing. No, I've not fallen out of love with SGA, but the thing is, I want to use the elements of those fics that were original thoughts - my own work, research and creation, and bring them into the current science fiction project I have underway, where they would be very much at home.  So, regrettably the SGA:VS5 has to go.  It wasn't an easy decision by any means, but I feel that it's the right one, especially in light of the whole spamdexing fiasco that went on recently over at fanfiction.net. So that'll be happening starting any time now, and please note if you go looking back through this journal, the links to the stories here won't work.  They're already gone from the cedarfiction website during the overhaul, replaced by links back to them on Fanfiction.net. So if you feel like a last minute read, head on over to the Worlds and Works of Eirian Houpe Atlantis Gallery.

Lastly, for now at least, I'm kind of excited at this one. In order to help support the creation of the Use'ara series, I joined Patreon. rather than me trying to explain the ins and outs of the site, head on over to see what they themselves say it's all about, and who knows, maybe you'll find a new artist, or musician, or even writer you like and help support their work.  You can find my profile by clicking the image below.

But wait!  I almost forgot, I also updated my WORDPRESS site too. That's where  you can find more specific (and different) snippets of information about Use'ara, Butterfly Raven, and Life After: Awakening.
cedar_grove: (Books)
While everyone else seems to be busy looking back on 2013 to see the highlights and low points of the last year, some in quite formal ways, others via the whole Facebook thing, I've been trying to - and in some cases, 'trying' has been the operative word - set my sights forwards into 2014.

I don't do the whole New Year's resolutions thing, I rarely stick to them, because inevitably at some point they become obsolete or impossible despite all the self discipline in the world and therefore get dropped. I have made one promise to myself for this year, though - that being to finish reading The Silmarillion. The other things I have been thinking about in respect of 2014 are things I'd like to do if at all possible, a few goals one could say.

We were at the library on Friday, grabbing Mir's books for her January read, and the thought about The Silmarillion and also about my own reading for the year had me come up with a decision. This year I'm decided that I want to read a Tolkien each month. So, I made a list as follows:

The Silmarillion
The History of Middle Earth, Volumes 1 through 5
The Children of Hurin
Unfinished tales of Numenor and Middle-earth
Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
Return of the King
The Hobbit.

My reading goal on Goodreads is set to 40 book. Last year I set the bar rather too high, based entirely on how 'unbusy' I was at the beginning of the year, and then everything changed of course... I found work, DOMA fell, precipitating an awesome life change, and so reading took a back seat to so many other things, that 75 books just wasn't happening. So in addition to the Tolkien, I have a list to pull from for book to read to reach my modest reading goal, and that's one thing on the list for this year.

Writing took a major hit in 2013, with some seriously lost mojo, but I feel as if I'm coming out from behind that cloud now that a new year is dawned, and I'm staring to get a grip a little more of my new situation, so I feel that I might actually get a few more words from the tips of the old fingers this year too. I'm not setting goals - I think part of the problem last year was that I did that and so ended up putting up walls around myself - but I do have projects to switch between and keep things fresher. The two original projects, along with three Middle Earth fan fic projects make up the head of the list of projects, and I still have the SGA floating around in the back of the brain, taking a respite to gather full strength again. Writing 13 novel length fics kind of made for hitting a major wall in that regard, even if all 20 are planned. I needed a rest - I'm taking that rest in Arda.
cedar_grove: (Eirian in silver 3)
The first time I felt this way, and had the very same thought, I was standing in the shower watching the snow fall down outside the frosted glass of the bathroom window; the second also in the shower, though this time the sun was shining - or trying to shine - outside. This third time I am once again in the shower, but this time it is dark, the temperature of the shower is far too high, and rather than watching the distorted world through the bathroom window's frosted glass, I am watching the steam obscuring my view, the condensation settling on the window, shrouding the frosted glass and the symbolism of it finally penetrates my brain as the question surfaces again: Why have I not been blogging? Why do I not post my status on Facebook? Do I truly have nothing to say?

Oh, certainly, I might share a whole bunch of photographs or inspirational quotations from other pages that I find meaningful or poignant, and sometimes I might even do more than just hit the share button, and post a word or two about why I have shared them, but little more.

I've known for some time I've been censoring myself; editing myself so that the frames come together to tell the story in another way, because... well.. frankly it's just easier that way - far less conflict.

Except inside myself.

So I said, on several occasions, that I wasn't going to do it any more, and yet here I am still doing it... and frustrating myself in that. I have ended up feeling like I have (or worse yet, should have) no voice, no opinion and certainly no feelings. The upshot of which has further hampered any sense of creativity and life that was all but stifled - as if with a pillow over the face - by a year long sojourn in Egypt.

Happily I'm out of that situation now. Still not where I truly want to be, but... what can I say? Some countries and some of her peoples are certainly backwards in their own sense of egality and in following the literal, and the meaning in spirit, of their own founding principles. So much so, that they shroud any route toward said egality in so much thorny red tape that even their own citizens do not know and cannot understand all the ins and outs of navigating it in order to gain admittance. I hate politics... and that's one thing you probably won't find me blogging about any time soon, (more than I have done just here anyway).

So what's to say, and what's to do, and definitely what's to write when all that was creative in my soul has been somehow deadened to the point where, yes - I will latch on to anything that is in the remotest bit a resuscitation, a work around, or even a leg up and over the dreaded wall of 'writer's block' that has been plaguing me for the last eighteen months or so?

The Use'ara cycle was coming along nicely, getting the Nano treatment but then was interrupted by the move to Cairo. Similarly the Life After series ground to an unceremonious halt. I turned to fandom to keep some shred of creativity alive, and managed at least to finish the 13th story of a series I had been working on before the block caught up even there.

But I digress...

As far as Facebook is concerned, I feel... uncomfortable, that's a nice gentle word, let's use that one, posting about what's going on and how I feel about it. I know I shouldn't, but sometimes, some of the posts I read on my news feed seem so much like people just airing their dirty linen in public, as it were. Do I really want to do that? Maybe it's just my overly conservative (note the small c) British nature that causes that. Should I adopt a more bolshy, forthright approach like other world citizens and just... tell it like it is, warts and all? Maybe I should try it for a while and see or feel the results for myself.

As for blogging, well, I find that the trouble with a lot of blogging is that in many cases, it tends toward political comments. I've already stated I don't really do politics. Oh, I live with them, like everyone has to because they're a sad fact of life. I have an opinion on political matters too, but in most cases that is my own and not for sharing. The trouble with political blogging is that, at least to me, it seems always to be hateful and angry. There is much to be said for exercising the option not to say anything at all, and to allow that to speak for your opinion and feelings on a matter. Is that not the basis of the advice your mother always told you: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all? Other types of blogging require... well... something to happen to inspire it. Stuck in my little hamster-wheel I usually end up feeling like the most boring person on the face of the planet. Who wants to read over and over again about the traffic on my way to wherever, and the kids (Whether hellions or angels) that I meet and work with?

Oh, I know there's more to it than that, and yes, I'm probably making excuses because - as happened very recently - when I do open my yap about something or another, it rarely ends up with me feeling any better about things and/or myself. But, since discourse is generally thought of as good, and because I have to do something to unlock this door, or take a wrecking ball to the wall that is standing between me and the creativity, which I know has to be on the other side of the wall, let this be a public affirmation of the permission to at least try... and feel free to poke me - but gently - with reminders to comply with my own wishes.

(A/N: As an demonstration of what I mean through all of this - it has taken me 3 months to write this.)
cedar_grove: (michael dream word)

Title: Convocation
Rating: NC-17 (adult readers) due to S.L.V
Spoilers: Some spoilers for S1-4
Summary: Wraith Hives gather in a system under the protection of Atlantis and when Ronon returns with refugees, the team has no choice but to investigate. Meanwhile, Beckett returns from Michael with a treatment that could save Keller and discovers the disturbing truth behind her condition - a truth that Michael had diagnosed, and Haddad, still facing issues of her own, had guessed. When matters come to a head, who will be left standing?
Disclaimer: MGM own Stargate: Atlantis. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no revenue is being made from copyright material. No infrigement intended.

Act 1 to 4 now available.

Author's Note: Look guys, the rating says it all, but I'll spell it out. This contains explicit scenes. Many thanks [livejournal.com profile] gospikey for hard work in Beta.

Previous Episodes:
Harm's Way (1), Chain of Command (2), Enmity, (3), Mantle, (4), In Truth... Freedom, (5), Letting Go, (6), Beyond the Third, (7), Deliverance, (8), No Way Back, (9) Apostasy, (10) Crossing Lines, (11) and Revelation (12) can be accessed here.
cedar_grove: (Still life)

The forest is beyond my strength.
My rose is hidden far from me.
If the wood were less in length
My rose would be less far from me.

If I could have my precious rose,
I'd live in love forever.
If I knew what Shekinah knows
My exile would be shorter.

--Song of Rabbi Isaac of Laig

Like the rose-windows that shone in medieval cathedrals, the rose shines forth from spiritual poetry, embodying profound spiritual meaning.

I've always been attracted to roses, though not necessarily as a symbol of wisdom. I like the aesthetic shape of them, their scent... to think of them as a symbol of wisdom and to link them with spiritual poetry - that's new for me.

I suppose it shouldn't be, though I don't know why.

It may be because my experience of writing poetry has always been more of an emotional one than a 'spiritual' one. I've only written one with a specific spiritual bent, and that was a prose poem that I'm sure I've posted onto LJ before at some point... concerning the creation of life and the world through the love of the Lord and Lady of life. The rest of the time the poetry I've written has been an outlet for my emotions, and usually at a time when those emotions were stormy or intense

That is what feels 'normal' to me for the writing of poetry.. so am I sitting here now thinking that I should be writing poetry of a more spiritual bent? No, I don't think so. I just find it curious that I should have gone down this avenue of thought when beginning at the rose.

Taking the rose as a symbol of wisdom... deconstructing that symbol through meditation has been interesting - with the outer petals that are the simple, easy to access and understand wisdoms of every day life. They are soft, they are beautiful and we can smell the fragrance of the rose, but know instinctively that the greater scent and deeper wisdoms are coming from within... so we look harder, and we breath deeper, and the closer, more tightly budded petals of the mid and inner parts of the rose are revealed, slowy as the outer open to us, fall away for us to see - to understand the inner. This is the process by which we acquire our wisdom, through patience, watching and waiting, and living beyond the unfolded softness of those outer petals of the world.

We listen to... we see and seek, and breath the inner core of the rose.


Apr. 3rd, 2012 07:44 pm
cedar_grove: (Isis)

There is an island in the sea, and on that island is a grove of trees which has never felt the sting of an axe. There within that grove a chariot is kept, veiled carefully with sacred weavings. Sometimes the priest who tends the grove becomes aware of the presence of the goddess. There is much rejoicing then, for it means she wishes to visit her children. Cows draw her chariot forth from the island, and there is much merry-making wherever she goes. Arms are left aside, and even iron knives are locked away, for there must be no war when she is abroad. Peace descends upon the world until the goddess has enough of us and, believe it if you will, retreats again to that secret island far away.

--Roman Author Tacitus Germania

She is indeed always among us. She is still with us. Even when we do not acknowledge the goddess, even when she is hidden from us, she is alive within the world.

There are time I feel her presence almost as a physical touch. The warmth of arms around my wandering soul. There are times I feel her breath flowing through me as the air that empowers me, gives me life, and voice, and energy. There are times I taste the sweetness of her upon my lips; her love within my heart, and stirring the passions of my body - and my mind.

And there are times when her face is turned from me, the moon dark above my head; her blood coursing from an empty chambered womb - spirit raised in righteous, strong anger against injustice... intollerance, against malevolence; wrongdoing.

For each breath of peace the Lady brings, there is the balance, the opposite, the call to action, and I feel each part of her - the innocence and passion of the Maiden, the love of the mother, and the gathering-in of the crone. Each face has its place within my heart and in my soul.

Even the hidden fourth face... that which is everything and nothing, life and death, peace and violence both together.

That which is
cedar_grove: (Default)

The goddess draped reself in clouds adn flew
across her many islands to the great mountain
where the Muses lived, renowned Parnassus,
and spoke to them directly: "I have heard," she said,
"that water rises here, a new spring kicked to life
by that strange offspring of Medusa, the horse
with wings and lightning hooves." Urania nodded.
"We rejoice you found a reason for this visit," she said,
"for you are ever present with us, in our hearts."
And then she took the goddess to a dark wood
filled with caverns and dappled with meadows
where spring blossoms flourished. And the goddess
stayed awhile there, happy in the company
of memory's sweet daughters, marvelling
at sweet water rising from hard rock like
inspiration that comes after a long drought, like
the heart that loves again after brutal loss.

-Ovid, Metamorphoses

There she sees the miraculous spring called Castalia, the source of all genius, which the great winged horse Pegausu opened in the rock with one strike of his flinty hooves.

And is this not the miracle we each perform every time we create something new and original...?

The reality of creativity, at least for me, is that it is very linked with the element of water... so it is very tied in with the emotional side of me. This isn't necessarily very good for a writer in some respects.

As an amateur, I suppose it's not so problematic that 'not being in the mood' to write, or being 'too upset' to write well, or of course the reverse, (though few writers seem to complain about being too happy to write), sometimes gets in the way of the process of writing, but if I'm to do so in any professional, or even semi-professional way, I need to push past that and write because that's what I want to do.

The current reality has been though that I have allowed my emotions to come between me and the writing that I want to do. (And you can tell when you're missing Stargate: Atlantis when... *no prizes for thinking of the quote that came floating into my head when I was typing the above confession*). So now I need to act like Pegasus and strike with my fliny hoof to crack the shell that's hardened around my creativity and allow the waters of the wellspring to bubble through.

It's a beautiful image for meditating upon... to feel myself transformed, even momentarily, into the magnificent winged horse, free from earthly constraints, taking flight only to return to ground and strike with a hoof, to crack the dark shell that shrouds the waters of my creativity, to feel the cool waters of it to bubble through and bathe the burning of my desires to write, to slake my thirst for words upon the page; upon the screen - within my heart.

But the analytical side of my brain also demands the question why? Why is it that I cannot write when agitated, upset, lonely, depressed... that I cannot write when overly excited, too happy to settle to it - surely these would be the best times to harness the energies of the water rushing just beneath the surface of my worlds.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Before you were born, when you were a spirit,
Nut, sky goddess, dark body with its mighty heart,
you grew strong in the belly of your mother Tefnut.
Somewhere within you, even then, was perfect knowledge
of your selfhood. Somehow you recognised your perfect name.
You stirred in your mother's womb when that name was spoken,
Nut, daughter more powerful than your powerful mother,
Nut, great goddess who became the sky, the arching sky,
Nut, goddess so beautiful your beauty fills the earth
which you embrace with your powerful arms,
which you hold
like a mother, like a queen, like a woman in love.

--Egyptian song to the sky goddess

It is common for us to think of the sky as "above' the earth, but from space it is clear that the atmosphere is a kind of skin around the earth, like a breath she exhales.

I have to confess that the first thing that came into my thoughts when meditating on this was that I thought Like a breath she exhales would make a good title for a story of some kind, and that of course sent my mind spiralling off down many pathways for a while.

I've learned with my meditations that when or if that happens, just to go with the flow at least for a little while, because attempting to rein it all back in end sup making it impossible for me to meditate at all. So I let it go, for a little while at least, before refocussing on the actual thought of the atmosphere being like a protective breath of our Earth Mother.

It isn't a way I've ever really looked at it before, mostly I suppose because it was always Earth Mother and Sky Father... kind of a Native American way of looking at things I suppose, but also other cultures, some of which invaded England after all. So... while I understand the concept, I get the idea, as it were, it's still quite difficult for me to embrace it. It's not that I don't like it, actually I find the idea quite appealing, just... I guess, different to what I'm used to.

Perhaps I should take some more time to just meditate on Nut... to find out a little more about her than I already know, and to see how I can relate to this aspect of the Goddess that I'm not terribly familiar with. just yet.

In the meantime I should also maybe see where that title takes me... perhaps do a few freewrites with that as the prompt. Perhaps in that way I can come to see what that aspect of the goddess means as far as my own journey is concerned, and I might also find that I have some good written pieces.
cedar_grove: (feather and quill)

How does the goddess clothe herself?
Her handmaidens have woven her a cloak
from all the flowers of springtime:
Larkspur and crocus, violets and rose,
narcissus sweet as honey, nectar lilies.
She needs no perfume, for her robes
are as fragrant as her very self.
When we inhale the springtime,
we are breathing in her beauty.

--The Cyprian Lays, Greek, eighth century BCE

We are part of this world. Energies rise within us, too. We may put these to creative use, or we may find new energies within relationships.

I have been feeling restless today... yes. A certain restlessness to use the creative energies that have been given to me as a gift, and have been supported by my loved ones, my wonderful guy.

At least in part I know that this has actually been there for some time, this rise in creativity in me, and yes, quite possibly with the returning energies of springtime too, but was blocked by the way I was feeling and the inherent negativity that I had cocooned around me. But hey, now I'm feeling it, I'm really feeling it.

I want to embrace those energies, now and get writing again, and I know I've said this a million times, but get some stuff out there too. The mind abounds with possibilities, there are so many things I can do. I could make a list of all of the projects in the pipe and there are about five things that spring to mind right from the top of my head, and that's without digging around in all the shadowy half thoughts of, that would make a good story.

I also really need my photo editing software. I know it's not brilliant, but it's what I know, and learning a new one I'll confess to being unsure that wouldn't frustrate me. I'm just being honest there. But there are images I need to play with. Okay this part I will confess has been rekindled by some - at least in my opinion - outstanding digital artwork that Mir has made recently for her FB page and her web page and all. She has such skill in these things, is very artistic and creative. There are times when I am in awe of her. Also though, if I finish the latest SGA story I'm doing, I'm going to need to make the banners for the next ones. An nteresting problem to find a solution for. How to get all of the things I need that I left behind in England without a) it costing a fortune, and b) them getting lost in the mail, like just about everything else here. I'm thinking maybe Fedex might be my friend.

And still very much want to do a photography course. Mir and I were talking about that a lot recently, checking out some of the courses there.. It will be good to be able to do at some point. Take those pictures I want to take. I remember the walk we went on, Mir and I, just along the road, to take pictures of what we could see in nature, and the amazing pictures that Mir took for me then... and the amazing ones she's taken of the rats, and of snowy benches at Biltmore, and... and... and... She's very good. I'd like to be that good, even half of that. I see the ideas in my head, so I want to be able to take the kind of shots I want.

I know I'm rambling... guess I'm feeling that spring energy more than I realised, and perhaps that's the cause of the restlessness. That and the desire to create, to write, that and knowing I have a weekend coming where I can start to do some of that, to embrace and reconnect with the goddess' creative energies inside of myself.
cedar_grove: (Clouds)

Standing on the riverbank
the sun goddess asked for a sword.
It was the length of ten hands
and it hung by the side of her brother,
the god of stormy weather.
He handed it to her, and she
broke it apart. It fell into jewels
in her hands, jewels which she washed
in a secred well, rinsing them clean
as they sand to her. Then she ate them.
She chewed them up and spat them out
and from the jewels which had been a sword
came a miracle: three lovely children

--Kojiki, Japanese scriptures.

Free to imagine herself as anything she desires, she is unfettered and full of hope. We have each within us such a being, a girl who never dies despite our age. As winter moves toward spring, let us find her within us again.

For me, that little girl is my creativity, and I sure need to find her again. My hopes and dream stalled in the middle of last years NaNoWriMo for moving here, and I have never truly found her again. So if I could have anything... if I could have my dream, what would it be?

I don't want to necessarily be famous, I just want the novels written and selling modestly well. I mean the dream if we're talking real dreams... you know, the kind that never come true, I'd get an agent and publisher that would move me lock stock and barrel to be able to write in NC - option the movie or tv show to be filmed in Wilmington or something... but I'm grown up enough to know that's pie-in-the-sky.

So yes - my little girl wants to get Use'ara published, wants to get Awakening published, wants to write more. On the tail of that, there's the business idea... to run writers' workshops in schools, combine the two things I do that I love. I wish I could have gotten that off the ground before I left for Cairo, then maybe I wouldn't have come at all. I wish I could get it off the ground now... though I don't know how from so far - then maybe I could return to familiar, secure grounds.

Practically, if I'm to return from Egypt, I need to find work - work that's going to allow me to be away for a month in the middle of October - and I know that's a pretty all ask. Subbing gives the flexibility, but not the certainty - and when I came out here there just wasn't the work around. But if I'm brutally honest - and I've promised to be - emotionally, I don't know if I can survive out here for another year. I haven't truly been well since I got here, Mir assertion of you're always sick has turned into a truism, and part of it, yes, is that I'm not in a good way emotionally, part of it is the air quality too, I'm sure, but that little girl inside me is curled up in a corner somewhere feeling like a kicked puppy trying to deal with the incluturation and settling still, even after 3 months... not as brave as I thought, certainly a kick in the teeth that. Yeah, feel really good about myself just now.
cedar_grove: (Default)

Do notthink of Vesta
as anything other than
fire, the living flame
which gives birthto nothing
but itselfagain.
Thus we call her virgin
for she is never seeded
nor does she bear fruit.
And oh! she loves her maidens,
companions in virginity

--Ovid, Fasti

We can wait, and watch and pray. And hope, and trust in the great truth of nature: that change is inevitable...

In the spirit of embracing the change back to what was once lost, I spent my lunch break yesterday writing the outstanding book reviews that have been outstanding since the beginning of the year, and maybe since before then, though I'm not entirely sure. I have one left to do, the one for the book about a hybrid disease that made people more than they were as mere humans, and of course such thoughts brought me inevitably to thoughts of Stargate Atlantis - and from there to writing - and from there to thoughts of all the plans I had for what was going to happen by the end of last year in terms of Use'ara. Published by Christmas 2011? Yeah - never happened... and 2012 is going to be pushing it. Why? To say that I'm suffering a writer's block is an excuse, but right now, my creativity is shot.

It's not for want of wanting to write. I sit down most days with good intentions, open the document... and sit... and sit... and sit and nothing comes, but boy do I every want it to. Boy do I ever miss writing. I want to be able to - I want to reengage with all of the amazing exersises and assignments that Mir sent to me, out of which came all manner of wonderful creativity, and to do the same for her, to share that with her again. I want to finish the novels, I want to finish the mummy stories, and I want to finish the Stargate stuff.

Yet I sit down to write, and I just haven't the heart. The creativity is stilted, the words are forced and that just depresses me more.
cedar_grove: (feather and quill)

Juno is our queen, the most important
of the goddesses, the one who holds
the golden staff of sovereignty.
She is the light each child behonds
at birth; she is the mother who gives birth.
At her command girls are made safe
from the labors of childbed, in this way:
an old man sacrifices a male goat;
and from the goatskins, strips are cut;
and those strips are used to strike
the backs of fertile girls, a magic charm
to make them and their children safe.

--Roman poet Ovid, Fasti

Whenever we enact the creative power of the goddess, we open ourselves to risk and to potential loss.

I try to keep this in mind when I'm reviewing the books that I read... to try and see the positive even in the most difficult to read books - and there have been a few of those that I've read. I've heard other writers speaking of sending their creation out into the world like 'giving birth' and far be it from me to diss. their childlren.. When I put my own things 'out there' so to speak, there is a certain nervousness along with the sense of achievement at actually finishing something.

I try and do the same as well when marking the work that children do in school. Yes in some ways that is sligtly different, because as teachers we are having to look for specific things to be included in the work in order for the student to make the grade, but it's still their creation, and they're still putting it out there... and if I needed a reminder I just have to think back to when I was a child in school myself.

Anyone that knows me well enough, knows that I have watched Doctor Who all of my life, and so, when I was in the first or second year of school I wrote a story about a princess and a dalek. The teacher's comment was, "This is not a very good story." I remember being quite insensed by that, and so, beneath the teacher's comment I wrote, "Yes it is." I got into a lot of trouble for that remark.
cedar_grove: (Books)

Yes! I will be there
for the revels--
tossing my head
and dancing on the dew.
I will be there, yes! Free
in the glad greenwood,
leaping like a deer
who fears no hunter.
There I will dance
with no man watching,
there I will find wisdom
written in the forest shadows.
Is there any gift greater
than feeling such joy?

--Maenad song, Greek dramatist Euripides

Little is known about the celebrations of these women, [The Meenads, women of the cult of Dionysus] who for more than 200 years practiced a religion apparently based upon union with the divine.

Without getting metaphysical, or psychosexual, how does one invoke union with the divine. Is it simply that altered state where one is so interconnected with life and all else that one truly feels that ecstasy of the spirit. Like when a shaman drums, or a dancer dances and each becomes lost in the rhythm, the moment, the magic of it all.

I could have wished for some kind of divine ecstasy today... but no - woke with the kind of headache that just makes you want to crawl back under the covers and stay there for the day. Couldn't of course, I needed essentials - Milk and toilet paper... but...

Going out of doors on a Friday is a kind of meditation itself. It was a beautiful morning, not too cold, actually warm enough that walking I had to take off my jacket and tie it around my waist. Takes about a half an hour to walk to the store so one way or another you're going to be walking when the Call to Prayer begins... and once it starts from one Mosque, then the cascading echo of it comes from all around... even as someone who is not a Muslim to tonal and atonal quality of the sung prayer is quite intoxicating... in this case, calming - bringing a sense of peace not ecstasy. I'm sure I've said this before, but it was no less true today than it was then... and coming back with my milk for my tea, I did find that the headache had subsided enough for me to at least function a little... and to continue thinking. What are the things that being me to that union with the divine.

It's two things... creativity and love. When I read and when I write... when I am able to be loving, and when I am loved, these are the time I feel most at one with the divine within myself. These are the times I am able to feel the quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) ecstasy of spirit. Tomorrow I must find time to do these things.
cedar_grove: (Feed)

Title: Convocation
Rating: NC-17 (adult readers) due to S.L.V
Spoilers: Some spoilers for S1-4
Summary: Wraith Hives gather in a system under the protection of Atlantis and when Ronon returns with refugees, the team has no choice but to investigate. Meanwhile, Beckett returns from Michael with a treatment that could save Keller and discovers the disturbing truth behind her condition - a truth that Michael had diagnosed, and Haddad, still facing issues of her own, had guessed. When matters come to a head, who will be left standing?
Disclaimer: MGM own Stargate: Atlantis. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no revenue is being made from copyright material. No infrigement intended.

Act 1 to 3 now available.

Author's Note: Look guys, the rating says it all, but I'll spell it out. This contains explicit scenes. Many thanks [livejournal.com profile] gospikey for hard work in Beta.

Previous Episodes:
Harm's Way (1), Chain of Command (2), Enmity, (3), Mantle, (4), In Truth... Freedom, (5), Letting Go, (6), Beyond the Third, (7), Deliverance, (8), No Way Back, (9) Apostasy, (10) Crossing Lines, (11) and Revelation (12) can be accessed here.
cedar_grove: (Forever Eternal)
erverFrom The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

And when we squint, we think we see like a tiger, while the truth like the sun spills everywhere but through our slits.

I have also found myself from time to time unable to stay in the feeling of a moment…

Sunday – I had a great deal of trouble with this one today, because my day was actually crisis free, no narrowing of eyes, no snarling of tigers, in fact, I really and truly enjoyed myself.

I spent a lot of it reading Mir's Enterprise story, which I have been looking forward to ever since… well since she started it really. It has a fabulous angle, is an amazing retelling and looking inside a particular character's head/emotions and fits so seamlessly with the episode (and makes me want to watch Enterprise again).

I guess the only slip out of the moment I had was in not reaching my word count for today – but… *grins* I had a good reason not to. I was reading! Seriously though, I was only 200 words or so short, and that I can easily catch up tomorrow.
cedar_grove: (day)
erverFrom The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

Plans are useless, but planning is invaluable.
--Winston Churchill

Plans are kindling to every fire, and no two fires are the same. We just need their heat and light.

Saturday – special day of course, the Breeder's cup; doubly special as I got to read the story I'd been waiting for (well, one of them anyway :) ). And I was very happy to find that the Breeder's cup website was broadcasting a live streaming feed. Between that and sharing the TV with Mir, it was wonderful to be able to see the horses, pick out the ones… all very good.

For the most part it was a great and wonderful day – if not relaxing, certainly a lot of fun, (at times it was so tense my little heart was pounding in my chest). Only toward the end of the day did I get to feeling a little harried… over plans and changes to plans.

I'll be the first to admit, when I'm writing something, although I have a plan and an outline, while writing and learning the characters and the nuances of the story, those plans and outlines change. They're still there as a guide, a push in the right direction, but for the most part they guide the integrity of the story and all the characters within that story. I found myself at odds with something that didn't happen that way today – and starting to question my involvement in a joint venture – as much as I've been enjoying it… as much as it's helped to get me back into the mood for writing lots of things and spreading my wings.

Then there's Use'ara… and the plan to write it for NaNo. Mostly that's turning out well, though it's harder than I thought and I'm only just hitting my daily word count most days. I have a treatment written for it. But already, three chapters into the novel, and 6 days into NaNoWriMo, I'm already off plan – but… that doesn't matter, because the kindling caught, and the fire is burning – and as tricky as this is, I'm feeling it shaping under my fingers… where before it felt like chipping away unyielding granite with my bare hands.
cedar_grove: (In dreams)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

No individual exists in their own nature, independent of all other factors of life. Each has the totality of the Universe at their base.
All individuals have, therefore, the whole Universe as their common ground, and this universality becomes conscious in the experience of enlightenment, in which the individual awakens into their own true all-embracing nature.

--Lama Govinda

Imagine that beneath all our distrust there is a stream of ongoing Oneness, and the only way to enter it is to take off our distrust and bad experience like clothes. Imagine that in entering the stream naked we reach, for the moment, with every hand that ever reached.

I had this idea at some point, for a character (more than an actual story – though there were stirrings of a story that started to come) who was so intensely psychic that she lived in that oneness the whole of the time, and it drove her just that little bit crazy. The only way she could 'manage' off to it was to live in an environmentally controlled domelike bubble – grass under her feet, foliage around her, and butterflies for company. She lived in such a facility maintained by the mental institution into which she was placed by a family unable to cope… unable to help her live with her gift. She was interesting, but as difficult to connect with and grasp as the butterflies with which she lived.

I managed only a few paragraphs of writing with her, in a story that only hinted at itself.:

The leaves made soft, rustling sounds. The forest stretched as far as they could see but with the trees so close the sense of oppression was greater than the feeling that they were outside and free.

Mari turned to her companion, pulling the clothes that she wore closer about her as if she were cold. "Why have you brought me here?" she asked.

"You feel something, don't you?"

"I /always/ feel something, Daniel. I asked why you brought me here." Mari turned away to once again search among the whispering trees for a sense of where the menace she felt. She needed to know from whence it came. "Here... there were people here. I feel a great sense of emotion, euphoria and… and something else."

Daniel jumped as she suddenly swung back to face him. "They were here, weren't they, the one's you're tracking... the ones that have discovered--” she didn't get any further, but folded on herself at the first stab of intense vision that had finally answered her call.

I think maybe I need to know her better before anything can really come of it all – and I think also that includes coming back to know myself better as a being within that stream of Oneness.
cedar_grove: (feather and quill)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

If you try to comprehend air
before breathing it,
you will die.

…all the well-meaning voices telling us what we should or should not do will start to feel like strings we can't cut through.

I've been moaning about it long enough – I've been thinking enough about it for even longer, now what I have to do is go out and do it… be it… live it. After a couple of years of not participating, this year I'm doing NaNoWriMo again, as much to give myself a kick up the arse with Use'ara as anything else. Maybe having made that decision, others will follow about other things that may or may not be more important.

I'm sure there will be people out there that see this writing project of my little more than a silly pie-in-the-sky dream or whatever, who'll think I should forget about it, pull my head out of the clouds, however you want to put it, but whatever they might think, I am grounded enough to know it's not going to solve all my problems, make me rich overnight or even make me at all famous – that's not why I want to write it. I want to write it because it's been in my head for too many years – and then having written it, of course I want people to read it and hopefully enjoy it… and if I don't 'cut those strings' now, I'll never get started, and I might as well just give up even having dreams and aspirations… and what an unhealthy psyche I'll have then.
cedar_grove: (writer)
From The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.

I cannot tell if the day
Is ending, or the world, or if
The secret of secrets is inside me again.

--Anna Akhmatova

Only feeling keeps me in the scene, keeps the colours wet.

When reading a book, or seeing a film, I'm the first to admit that I'll cry at the drop of a hat. It's part of the enjoyment for me... of doing either thing... getting involved.

If I'm reading something and I can't get involved with at least one of the characters, then it doesn't really matter to me how damn good the plot is... or rather it would have to be exceptionally good to keep me reading... back to the age old question: Does character drive plot or plot drive character?

So I have to be able to feel with the characters so that I can enter the scene, become a part of the story, and hold my interest.

It's exactly the same with movies and TV too... and I think it's why I'm no good as an editor – why I miss things, and don't spot things. I get so involved with the characters – become a part of the story – live their lives with them – so I miss who is where, or how long a particular shadow is, or what colour of cup was on the table before as opposed to now... I find it too hard to watch dispassionately.

When I critique something I don't do it on attention to detail necessarily as much as emotional realism...

I write in a very similar way to the way I read and watch, although I am somewhat anal about some technical details in that instance... but to me it's important to feel with the characters – to know the characters in order to write them well, and by 'well' I mean, enter into their lives and feel what they feel. If I can't come to know a character, I find it very hard to write them.

Tried my hand at 'Role play' online a few times, and found it both as frustrating as hell, and a good exercise in character development. In very few RPs is there a community where the writers/players (WP) will actually help each other out in terms of plotting and facilitating maintenance of viewpoint and character. Each WP is out to write in a way that makes their character out to be all that they have envisaged him/her to be, and bugger the other WPs... so you often have to be creative to maintain integrity of character. Sadly that's true of most of the RPs I've played in... as long as 'their' (and I hate to say it, but it's usually the admin WPs) character is the centre of attention then the plot doesn't really matter... and if things suddenly don't go the way it's 'supposed' to go because of one of the WPs trying to make sure his or her character remains true to themselves, then... disaster city.

I guess by that little diatribe, I'm definitely of the opinion that Character drives Plot, drives Character... (rather than Plot drives Character drives plot) – subtle difference, but give me a well drawn character and a way to get emotionally invested in a scene, a book, a movie... then you're onto a winner as far as I'm concerned.


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