Sunday, June 07, 2020

The Briny Deep

"She loves the serene brutality of the ocean, loves the electric power she felt with each breath of wet, briny air." - Holly Black 'Tithe'

Canning weights. I like pretty, shiny things.

A year ago, I attempted to brine some carrots, for probiotics.

I used pre-sliced carrots. I was lazy. Everything I read told me not to use them. They wouldn't come out well.
They didn't. They tasted like soap. But I think there's lots of bacteria growing in there.

It could be carrots weren't the best choice, or that the chlorine wash killed the good bacteria, or the jar was wrong.

But I really wanted to do this, so I bought a canning kit.
A pretty canning kit because I need pretty things.
A beautiful wooden tamper for things like sauerkraut. Glass weights, lids that allow the gases to escape during the fermenting process, hemp ties, and tags.

And here are the beautiful Wide Mouth Ball jars, 32 ounce size.

I'm fermenting cucumbers and radishes this time.
Three Chinese cucumbers filled two jars.
The brine is very simple. Two tablespoons of Kosher salt and four cups of water.
It wasn't until just now that I found out I put the weights in upside down. The flat side is meant to go down as the groves are handles to lift the weights out of the jars.
I didn't think I had very many radishes, but they filled one jar perfectly.
Weighted, before sealing.
Sealed and ready for three days of "no touchy."
They are in a pan because they might bubble over.
Let the countdown begin.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

The Broken Bones of Hope

I'm taking a poetry course at Coursera called Sharpened Visions with Douglas Kearney.

So far (I'm on Lesson 2), I've learned that poetry is about sound and rhythm. And many rewrites. First assignments are two poems involving images (concrete things) and symbols (abstract things.)

These are first drafts that have not been workshopped yet. We'll see how they progress.

Make A Still Life: Without All of That Messy Paint

In the tradition of the Imagists, write a poem that describes an object. Be as literal and vivid as possible. Pick up the object (if you can), look at it from as many different angles as possible. Consider its color, its weight, its texture, its material and write up a picture!

Object: Red Heart Christmas Tree Ornament

burgundy, claret, merlot, blushing berries
straw, rasp, goose, chokecherry and bittersweet gems
ruby, rosy, glowing crimson bubbly bumps of blown
silica, white dots skipping on the shiny surface
sparking interior depths, slight, light, fragile
glass, brittle but unbroken, uncracked, reflecting 
back to back flames in Braille bumps,
sanguine beats, heart beats, distressed beats
surrounding the clavicle head, smooth neck top
crowned in delicate gold tracery 

Hello, My Name Is…: Title as Poem Catalyst
Think up a poem title structured as such: The [Concrete Noun] of [Abstract Noun]. Then, write a poem based on that title.
The Broken Bones of Hope

Despair is in the air seeping through
The cracks in your defenses, sucking
You dry, emptying you until you become
A husk, dried and lifeless, dust to dust
So you look for the carcass of hope
The throbbing ache of broken bones
A rotten tooth that you wiggle and wiggle with
The tip of your tongue, daring the pain
To linger and keep you awake at night
Banishing the gaping chasm of nothingness

Sunday, March 22, 2020

I'm More Bored Than You

Your boredom doesn't begin to compare to mine. I've been collecting used dryer sheets and lint for quite some time now, saving it for the perfect project.

I've decided that embroidery stitch sampler panels using thread I've had forever tacking down lint on layers of worn out polyester panels will be the perfect metaphor for this time in our history.

It's pointless, useless, and absurd. It's even odd and kind of on the deranged side.

Might even be certifiable. But I'm already locked up, like some embarrassing family secret, so to hell with you. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Let's Talk Procrastination

We’re not really going to discuss the “P” word because all things, even nothing, is writing. Plus, I’ve convinced myself that if only I were organized I’d be able to write all the time, any time. Just humor me and don’t judge.
I’m watching Tolkien while I start this project, so you know it’s well thought out and I’m focused. 
Starting a story without plan or previous thought, taking it where it wants to go, is the exciting part of storytelling for me. Everything else is work. Unfortunately, it’s not very production for me. Many conversations, by a gang of misfits and miscreants, get in the way of my thoughts and desires, putting a barrier up to finishing anything I start. 
Having a GoTo plan, a map, a set of easily transportable and physical cards with questions to answer might be just the ticket to get my engine running and send it out of the terminal and along the rails to the Orient.
This plan, these cards, will be based on some well established tenants of story construction: The Hero’s Journey, the three act structure, the five narrative components, plot diagrams, and all of the other organizing ideas for tale-telling.
So I’ve gathered a rainbow of index cards and sticky notes, and my favorite writing pens. In honor of J.R.R., I will start with The Hero’s Journey. Cellar Door. That does sound nice.
The plan for the plan: the concept on one side and related questions on the other side. Some sort of coding to keep it all organized and to allow for mixing and matching, and plenty of time wasting. I’ll call the Construct Cards, so look for them in the labels in future posts. Feel free to use anything you might find useful.
That’s enough of an introduction. Let’s begin.
The Hero’s Journey, as defined by Joseph Campbell, has seventeen stages divided into three parts (with variations from others like, Christopher Volger who only has twelve sections, hence the unevenness as you will see):

Information on this form is all over the internet and written about in many writing books. It’s the basic structure of some of our most beloved and unforgettable stories: LotR, The Hobbit, HP&tSS, Star Wars, and Jane Eyre.
I’ll start with The Ordinary World.
The questions:
Who is our Hero and where does he live?
What does she want and what does she need? These should be linked and contradictory. Her want creates her flaws because she focuses on her wants and doesn’t see what she needs. She thinks her want is the solution to all of her problems when it creates them and is harmful to those around her.
What does he want? Something external and physical - if he gets this one thing, he’ll be perfect. What lie is he telling himself? What inner demons will this want fix? The hero will spend most of his time in the story chasing this goal.
What does she need? What is her truth? This is what the story is really about. What transformation of perspective does she need to cope with the world? Can she give up what she wants to get what she needs? What emotional change is required of the hero?
How is the Hero comfortable and yet, dissatisfied with his present life? What has led to the dissatisfaction? What is stopping him from changing, taking action?
Helpful links:

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Summary on Sunday

I've decided to resurrect my blogs in 2020. I have a fair few.

On Fridays, you'll find new installments to the tale of Sean the Vampire and his love / hate relationship with Doctor Death as they try to rid the world of baddies. 

I started this adult fairytale back in 2010. Consistency is the key to getting things done. There a currently four episodes. There's blood and guts and all kinds of perversions, so be warned.

It's been years since I've read. Life can really get in the way of even the most basic of wants and needs. I hope to read an average of one book a week in 2020. You will find what I'm reading and what I think about the books over at Nessa's Reading Room. Two books down so far.

Editing is not my favorite thing. It's like real work. But I am doing final edits on Revena's Revenge (my daughter, Erika, is my accountability coach and cheering section.) I'm a quarter of the way done. I will be self-publishing when they are all done. For a taste of Revena's world, there's the blog, "What Would Revena Do?" (big thanks to my friend, Mike Keren, for the spectacular idea.) There will be posta there on certain Wednesdays about life in Medieval Bavaria. 

This coming Wednesday, we will see an example of scrying. Right now, you can see the book cover.

If you'd like to receive my monthly email, Nessa's News, sign up over there on the right. In it you will find practical magic spells, herbal lore, ancients crafts, and other things that will not be posted online.