Last night, I explained to Garry about house-elves. He isn’t a big reader of fantasy, as I am, so some of this stuff hasn’t gnawed at the edges of his consciousness.
I told him if we were to leave milk and cookies out, the little folk would come to our house. Overnight, while we sleep, they would clean, scrub, repair, and cook. Fix the roof. Clear the snow. When we got up the next morning, the coffee would be ready along with delicious, fresh baked goods.
He looked at me. I think he wasn’t sure if he had heard me. “Is this like, real anywhere? Has this actually happened somewhere?”
“No,” I said. “Only in folk tales and myth. And Harry Potter. But wouldn’t it be nice if it were true? We could leave out milk, cookies, and an old pair of socks. Just in case.”
One eyebrow went up. “And something that already lives here would surely eat it. And Bonnie would abscond with the socks. Our kids would be sure to leave us something. Probably not fresh baked goods … or a clean house.”
Just for a second or two, I had him. Myth and magic live. So much better than reality, aren’t they?
You can’t live without news, but no one can live with it either.
I don’t know how currently active reporters manage to cope with the news these days. It used to be a job. A hard job, an active and sometimes even significant job. Now, it’s like being on the front lines in a war zone. A constant nonstop war zone.
I’ve never been so glad that Garry is retired. It’s bad enough as it is, but if he had to go out there and personally deal with the maniacs and morons running our world? I’m sure he’d wind up crazier than they.
Sometimes, I really wish the news was reallyfake. That we wish it away. Throw a spell over it and turn it into toads. Then we would not have to deal with reality and its effect on our lives.
Maybe that’s how the crazies who howl at Trump manage to do it. If the real news is fake, then the yelling, screaming, chanting — it’s like going “nah, nah, nah” when someone is saying something you don’t want to hear. They are making it go away by making a noise and they won’t have to deal with what it will do to them. Or how it will affect their children and grandchildren. If it’s not real, it can’t hurt anyone, right?
Somehow, I suspect all the screams and howls prove they do know it’s real. Like two-year-olds, they think a tantrum will make it vanish.
It didn’t work when they were two and it’s unlikely to work now. But hey, a good shriek probably feels good.
I think I’ll go do some keening and maybe a little high-pitched ululation. Perhaps the dogs will join me. Maybe we should all do it together. Set up a time and place and everyone can scream, screech, yowl, howl, yelp, and bay into the air and the wind will carry it around the world.
I don’t have a bucket list. Until I saw the movie of the same name, the concept had never occurred to me. Most of the things I wanted to do, I’ve done. Except for the things no one can do …
That’s what’s on my secret list. The things I really want to do but I know aren’t real. But, in case they turn out to be real … here’s that list.
WAITING FOR THE MOTHER SHIP
Since I first read a science fiction story, saw “Forbidden Planet” and “The Red Planet Mars,” I’ve been waiting for the big ship to come and take me away. I have slightly modified this so that they will come and take both of us away. To wherever they went in “Cocoon.” Where we become young again. And where we can leave the mortgage, bills, and problems behind. But we can bring the dogs and they can be young, too.
MEETING THE ANCIENT ONE
Somewhere out there in the dark of night, there is an ancient vampire. So old, he is nearly made of stone. He remembers Egypt, perhaps even ages before that. He will offer me eternity in exchange for living in eternal night. Will I accept? I’ve only gotten as far as the offer. I have yet to determine my answer. I’m still thinking about it.
DISCOVERING MY POWERS
Magic is real and I can do it. I just never realized it until one day, in the kitchen, while mixing up a batch of my internationally renowned chili, I accidentally conjured a spell of enormous, overwhelming power. No longer a sickly senior citizen on a fixed income, I could rule the world. I’ll settle for living in peace. At the very least, I can probably make enough money to pay the bills and have something left over.
Money or not, magic would be the greatest adventure of all, would it not?
There it is, the time tunnel. It has been there the whole time and I never knew it. That’s the problem with having such a heavy bed. I can’t move it aside, so I didn’t see the wormhole. It’s a good one that will let me travel to other dimensions or any-when. Talk about adventure!
I promise not to try to change anything. I just want to go hang out in the past and watch. I’m sure Garry would be happy to join me. Does anyone have a couple of Babblefish they can spare?
While I’m waiting for these things to happen, I’m still hoping someone will invent a workable transporter. Because however unlikely it may be, nothing is entirely impossible.
After years of waiting, the book finally came available as an Audiobook. Since I have the book on Kindle, Audible.com let me buy the audiobook for just $4.49 I was delighted. A steal!
Narrated by Claire Christie and Jeremy Arthur, I was reminded again at how much more I get from an audiobook than from print. I think it’s because I read so fast. When I listen, the pace is that of human speech, perhaps slightly slower than standard talk. I absorb more of the story and I give my aging eyes a well-earned rest.
The dual narration works well. Aiden and Lara having their own voices and perspectives.
Song of the Beast is a standalone book. I wish it were a series. I have it on good authority that another story (short story — not an entire book) will be coming out based in the same world, though not featuring the same characters. I would prefer more books, but I will settle for whatever I can get. If Carol Berg writes it, I will read it. I think she’s brilliant and not nearly as well-appreciated as she deserves.
I came to love her fabulous dragons.
I found the story’s characters well-drawn and three-dimensional. Many relationships are between different species because, unlike her other books, not all characters are human. The relationships are logical extensions of the cultures from which they come. The slightly abrasive relationships between different peoples are fundamental.
The main character — Aidan McAllister has been imprisoned and tortured. His beautiful voice has been silenced, his hands brutally destroyed. His music, which offered solace and hopes to war-torn Elyria, is gone. The god in whom he never lost faith and nurtured him and his music since he was a child seems to have abandoned him.
Yet no one has yet told him what his crime was. He has no idea what earned him such punishment. He has emerged from prison a broken man, battered beyond endurance, wanting nothing more than peace and safety … and the end of pain. Having lost himself, he must find his way back to himself, remember who he was because that’s the key to what happened to him, what is happening to the world and the dragons. There is, of course, a beautiful woman.
Through it all, Aiden remains a gentle soul in a cruel world, a man to whom violence is abhorrent no matter what was done to him. He’s neither vengeful nor mean-spirited. Music is his magic.
I wish there were a sequel to this book. I wanted to know what happened next, how this society evolves. The book left me with lots of questions. It isn’t a cliff hanger — not exactly — but it didn’t seem quite finished to me. There’s plenty of room for more stories as this world realigns and reconstructs itself in the wake of a new understanding of dragons.
I liked the book so much I was sorry it ended. I never want any of Carol Berg’s books to end.
Song of the Dragon is available via Audible download, on Kindle, and as a paperback. It was originally available in hardcover and I have that, too. Next up, Rai Kirah in audio! I have the first volume and this month will get another.
Back in ye olden days, I used to read horoscopes and Tarot cards. I was a very good astrologer and a deeply nervous Tarot reader. My problem with Tarot was that I saw things and they had a nasty habit of coming true exactly as I saw them. I saw death — and people died. I saw calamity and voilà! Chaos and collapse.
Not for myself, mind you. You can’t read for yourself and you really should not read for family and friends. Too much of your own baggage gets wrapped into the reading. You tend to see what you want to see or are afraid might happen.
Of course, the people for whom you inevitably read most often are exactly the people for whom you should not read because who else can nudge you into a Tarot reading at 2 in the morning when you’ve been smoking weed all night and listening to the Doors? Your best friends, of course.
My best — and most horrifying — readings were done for total strangers I had never met. That was what I preferred, too. I didn’t want any live input from someone. I wanted a cold reading without any subconscious or conscious input. You’d be amazed at how much information you can glean from the blink of an eye or the tightening of a cheek muscle.
Eventually, I stowed a couple of decks in the back of a bookcase, carefully wrapped in a silk scarf … and I am sure they are still there. I also won’t do horoscopes anymore, either. Too much information and too easy to read the information just slightly incorrectly. You see travels, but you may not see why — and the why is the important part of the “truth.”
Why do these readings work? I have no idea and I never did. I do know that they did work. Often frighteningly well. It was the deaths that finally got me. I could not bear to see the death of a friend. It wasn’t just any old death. It was dated, often by month and year. I did not want to know that information about anyone.
Garry was smart. He never let me read for him.
The Fool or Jester is one of the 78 cards in a Tarot deck. In occult tarot, it is the first (or last) of the 22 Major Arcana numbered either from zero to 21 or from 1 to 22.
I think this is from a French deck– I own this set too
The Rider-Waite Fool
From the Alastair Crowley deck – Thoth, the Fool
Many artists through the ages have painted the Tarot deck. The “major Arcana” are the “power” cards in the deck, but there are other cards not part of the Major Arcana that are dangerous and powerful as well. Anyone can memorize the cards, but not everyone has a gift (should you wish to call it that) for interpreting what they mean.
Arrangements of the cards vary from very simple to extremely complex and the format you choose to use has to do with your way of interpreting the meaning of the cards. I do not recommend this as a fun hobby for people who think there’s no meaning in it and it is just a game.
It’s not a game.
Visualization: The Fool is a beggar or a vagabond — or a Court Jester. He wears ragged clothes without shoes and carries a stick on his back. He is joyfully strolling to the edge of a cliff, his eyes upward to the sky. The fool is likely to fall off the mountain, but as the magician, he could rise to meet the stars. I never met a fool who rose to meet the stars, no matter what books say on the matter.
Meaning: The Fool represents new beginnings, faith in the future, inexperience, beginner’s luck, improvisation, and faith in the universe.
Upright: Beginnings, spontaneity, originality, innocence, a leap of faith.
Reversed: Naivety, poor judgment, folly, lack of direction, stupidity, chaos. Personally, I never thought the Fool was a positive omen, upright or reversed.
Someone wrote a little piece of humorous fiction. It had no special significance to anyone. Except it did. To me.
It included a tepee which is an important symbol for me. Note my blog’s address ishttps://teepee12.com/. The title of the one book I wrote — “The 12-Foot Teepee” probably infers a kind of meaning — for me and probably for a few other people. From this evidence, you could take a crazy guess that “tepee (tipi or teepee) means something to me and probably a few others.
But no one cared. A tepee didn’t mean anything to them. If it doesn’t mean anything to them, then they don’t care.
I’m not going to get into all the other symbols and how much potential discomfort using these symbols would cause others. How about a Cathedral or a medieval convent as a source of humor? Maybe a Mosque or a Mormon Temple or …
I’m sure you get the drift. I hope by now you are twitching a little bit.
My mother didn’t believe in anything — religiously speaking — the idea of anyone burning a book made her soul unravel. It didn’t matter what the book was about. The “book-ness” was holy for her without any other value attached to it. Humor can be shockingly unfunny when it uses symbols that other people — not your people — take seriously.
Why do they take them seriously?
Does it matter?
The general attitude which I’ve come to accept as the way “modern” people think, is “Who cares? It’s not MY church. It’s not what I believe. I don’t care how you feel about it because you don’t matter. Only me and mine have value.”
I don’t think it was intended to insult anyone. I’m sure the author didn’t see there was a difference between a camping tent bought at a sporting goods store or a hand-made teepee which has been blessed in a ceremony. After all, it’s just canvas, paint, wooden sticks, and rope. And some hooks to keep it fixed to the earth. No big deal.
Meanwhile, I cringe when they knock down temples to make room for malls. I cringe when they knock down abandoned churches and I don’t care whose church it was originally. It’s a horror when they do it in India, Israel, Morocco, or Malaysia. I believe that other peoples’ beliefs and feelings are important, even if I don’t share them. I don’t dismiss them because they aren’t central to my world.
But that’s our “new” world. It’s just stuff. Just words.
If beliefs don’t matter, what matters? Is it only your beliefs that count? Does your core of beliefs make a difference while mine don’t?
“I don’t care” has become the core of what nations believe. You and how you feel is a matter of complete indifference to them.
They don’t care, just like YOU don’t care.
We are not awed by the majesty of a Cathedral if it isn’t our cathedral or the ancient ruins of a temple that was the center of another culture’s universe. We don’t care nor do we want to be reminded of it. Their feelings matter. Ours don’t.
In a nutshell, that’s what is wrong with our world.
If only we all cared.
I am awed, touched, chilled, excited by “otherness.” I believe in a universal entity which is part of every living creature, the sacred part of our DNA.
There is a god in every one of us. It has nothing to do with dogma or a formalized set of beliefs. It is what give us our magic and the power to be great. I weep at the loss of this tiny bit of the divine. Without it, we’re just an upright animal who kills for sport and cares for nothing.
If you don’t care and only “your own” matters, the odds are good that no one cares about you, either. And that’s why we have “government” that doesn’t care if you get a paycheck, healthcare, or have a home in which to live. That’s how they can look in the mirror after a day of lying to us about all the things we care about.
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