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I made gravy.
It was delicious.

That is all.


This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1568703.html.

Hi muse, I see you're still nuts.
Had one of those "Went to bed at 10, got up at midnight because the idea was keeping me up and I might as well write it" nights. Haven't had that happen in a while. Words were just bouncing around in my head, in that way where there are specific turns of phrase that really do need to get into the story.

Basically, a Beauty and the Beast retelling idea I've had, that only had an idea for a middle, found a beginning. I need to bridge that to the middle, then write that, and then I guess find an ending.

It's, er, putting sort of Puritan Fundamentalists into quasi-medieval Europe, so it's probably not based on this planet at all, but you know, magically cursed princes (or not-princes, in this case) aren't much found on this planet either, so whatever.

It's also going to have some religionfeels (doing that a lot lately) and some genderqueer feels too. That's what finally sparked the idea, actually. I've seen retellings where Beauty just doesn't know she's beautiful, or was an ugly duckling and grows into it, but never one where she genuinely hates the name and doesn't *want* to be beautiful. I knew I had something as soon as I had that thought. She's going to have virtue-named sisters who *are* their virtues, making her even more the odd duck out, too. Lots of potential there.

The Beast, meanwhile, is I think not a prince, but a gardener, which I'm using to build in a bunch of interesting stuff about roses (and irises, my favorite flower), and also, you know, if I'm going to have a GQ transmasculine Beauty, why not also a GQ femme-boy Beast?

Anyhow, I spit out 1200 words of it in about half an hour and collapsed into sleep right after.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1568487.html.

Language is so weird.
How we think informs our words and our words inform how we think.

"It's about to be the 20s again!" I saw that somewhere on the net yesterday. Weird thought, isn't it?

But why is it a weird thought? "It's going to be the 10s again" wasn't a weird thought in the same way.

It's a weird thought because the 20s are a named, remembered, associated decade. "The 20s" means "The Roaring 20s" means flappers and prohibition. It means robber barons and Wall Street tycoons living it big. It means a lot of things. (Some of which are in fact much the same now as they were then. Chew on that one.) "The 10s" didn't mean as much.

Funnily enough, we also don't hear "the 30s" often. But that's because instead of "the 30s" people just say "the Great Depression." Likewise, "the 40s" is more "the war years."

But boy howdy do we hear "the 50s". And all the decades since then, though at that point I think it's more to do with lived memory. I don't just associate the 80s with stories and things I've read and things I've watched on TV, I associate the 80s with things I did. It's not going to get wiped out of my mind in my lifetime, not even if I live to see the 2080s.

We don't remember 1820 at all though, do we? I'm sure to people closer to it, "the 20s" had an 1820-specific meaning. I wonder what it was? Going into the 1920s, lots of people probably knew what the 1820s were like, even if they didn't live through it, just like I know at least some of what the 1920s were like. But the 1920s erased the 1820s from memory, taking over any use of "the 20s" with their new meaning.

How long will it be before even "The Roaring 20s" no longer conjures strong associations for people, and "the 20s" is inextricably linked in peoples' minds with whatever the next decade will bring? That particular decade being so important to history (setting up the Great Depression and changing the lives of an entire generation) combined with having a unique descriptive name may make it stick around longer, but I'm sure there were deeply important decades in the 1800s that we no longer remember unless we're history nerds. It'll happen to the 1920s too, eventually.

Interesting thought, isn't it? We have a set of words whose meaning must turn over entirely every century.

Language is so weird.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1568166.html.

All done!
Untitled Celestia Fic (7639 words) by bladespark
Chapters: 7/7
Fandom: Untitled Goose Game (Video Game), My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Princess Celestia (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)
Additional Tags: Crossover, Comedy, Hijinks & Shenanigans, Silly

Celestia is a princess, elegant, regal, and certainly not secretly trying to mess with everyone around her for her own amusement...

Or, it’s a lovely morning in Canterlot, and you are a horrible Alicorn.

Woooo! The rest of this week has been very patchy for getting things done. I can say I've been sick as an excuse, and it's true, but also I've just been a lump regardless. :P Oh well. There's always another day.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1567939.html.

Finished the final chapter of Untitled Celestia Fic today. :D Rough draft has been hoofed over to my editor, and will be up on Patreon shortly and then Fimfic and AO3 after that, as usual.

Also sent what I think is final edits on 'Ware the Deep, a were-creature horror story due to be out soon as part of an upcoming furry horror anthology. So that'll be a second physical volume on my shelf. I'm curious about the other stories, too!

Patrons have read that one already, I believe, but obviously I didn't post it anywhere public, since I wanted to submit it for conventional publication instead.

Speaking further of Patrons, just as a note to self, I need to post a Blood and Fire chapter tomorrow...

I'm a little disorganized and irregular, but at least there's plenty of content, just not exactly on a perfect schedule.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1567654.html.

An almost perfect day.
Sometimes the stars just align and things fall exactly your way.

JJ is out of town. He's off doing brotherly bonding stuff until late Sunday. And Friday is my "day off" from the goober, so I was on my own. Knowing that in advance, I decided to make some plans. Nothing elaborate, but there are some things I can't really do with JJ, and of course many things I can't do with a three-year-old in tow.

One such thing is tasting menus. Restaurants that do them generally have a rule that the whole table has to participate. It's just logistics, really. You can't serve half the table a one course meal and the other half a multi-course meal and have things work out well for everyone. But that means I can't dine out with JJ and do it, because he won't do a tasting menu. He has a few food texture issues and enough outright "hate" things that "random chef's choice dishes" just isn't his jam. (He'd have liked 2, maybe 3 out of 5 of what I got this time, which is not great odds, so he's got a point.) Meanwhile I'll eat anything and I hate having to decide on just one thing, I want to try it all, so it's perfect for me.

So I went to a relatively new French place in town with the plan to do the tasting menu, have a few cocktails, and then walk downtown to attend the queer munch that was at a gay bar about six blocks away.

For some reason I'd thought that the munch started later than it did, so when I checked to get the address, I was startled to realize that the munch actually started right when I'd planned to have dinner! So I put myself together faster and went right out the door, with the thought that I might be late to the munch, but should still be able to catch a drink with everyone before it ended.

And that worked perfectly, because I was waiting at the jam-packed-on-a-Friday restaurant for approximately one minute before somebody left the bar and opened up a seat for me. So I got to walk right in without a reservation and sit down. Perfect!

Even better, I ended up seated next to a (very cute) teacher who was there by himself too, and was a friendly, social type, so we chatted for the whole time, and I didn't feel like a lonely sad sack eating by myself. (Sometimes going out alone feels that way, a bit. It's why I like to sit at the bar, you can often talk to the bartender and you might be next to somebody else chatty, which of course can't happen at a table for one.) Anyhow. That was great. And the food was amazing. I wish I had the budget to eat there all the time, omg. I mean, I'd be spherical, because even with small portions, 5 courses is a lot (and two cocktails!) and really the portions weren't teeny, they're probably the biggest tasting menu portions I've ever had. I was stuffed to the gills. It was way too expensive to do often, but compared to tasting menus elsewhere, honestly I'd call it a great deal. (I mean hell, you pay upwards of $100 a plate for the famous ones, and I don't know how much better than this they'd be.)

I could write pages and pages about the food, tbh. SO GOOD. Every single thing was amazing. Well, except the oyster, but that's me and oysters, not their fault.

I hadn't had oysters since I was a little kid, and I'd hated them then, but I'd been a kid and also they'd been tinned, so I've been wanting to try proper oysters, to see if I like them. I have a love-hate thing with clams, so maybe oysters? But no, not oysters. I mean, it wasn't hideous or anything, it was basically just a lot of nothing. Very little flavor, very little texture. I guess that's why people eat them whole, there's no point in chewing? :P But anyhow, the oyster was just a sort of side to the actual seafood course, which was scallop ceviche, which was AMAZING like everything else, so I didn't mind not liking the oyster.

So I finish up there, just about ready to pop and also kinda tipsy, (I don't have the tolerance I once did these days, and they didn't stint on the booze in the cocktails,) and start strolling down to the gay bar where the queer munch is. The one person I know there had said at the last minute that she couldn't come, so when I looked around and saw no familiar faces, I wasn't surprised. But there was a "group" definitely, and I figured that must be them. I asked "Are you the munch?" and somebody said "We sure are" so I sat down and introduced myself.

And about ten minutes later after some chatting, we mutually figure out that they're *not* the munch, the guy I'd asked misheard me, and I'd just sat down with a bunch of coworkers out for a drink. Oops!

Except this being a gay bar (or queer bar, maybe, it's not the gay-male dating scene thing, it's more a modern LGBT+ event venue, though I've only been to the bar part, not the theater part) they *were* all queer and mostly kinky too. They said they didn't mind at all, and I could stick around, so I did, and spent about two hours there just chatting. They were awesome. One of them was a brony, even. :D

Turns out the munch didn't end up happening at all, as the organizer was sick and the first person to arrive assumed it was an event run by the bar, (it's not) and when the bartender didn't know what she was talking about, she just left, so basically nobody ended up getting together there, everybody just came alone, saw there was no munch, and left. Except me. I had my "munch" anyway, just by accident.

So yeah. Arrived at a different time than planned, just in time to get a seat, by accident. Sat next to somebody awesome, by accident, met some new folks after that, by accident, just had a day when everything fell my way, totally by accident, not by plan, and it was lovely. (Before dinner it was nice, too. Had vegan chili for lunch, had a nice long nap, and got some work done! No writing, though. I let it slide for just one day.)

Today's going nicely too. (I got cake at Costco!) Here's hoping this serendipitous streak keeps up for a while!

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1567081.html.

I has the lurgy
Goober gave me some kind of bug. Not really sure what kind. In her it presented as a sore throat, fever, and vomiting.

So far I just have the sore throat and a general "feel like shit" lethargy.

I really hope I don't get it as a stomach bug, I hate vomiting. I have a near-phobia of it. Blech.

In happier news, I put up two more chapters of Untitled Celestia Fic, the pony/goose game crossover. They're on Fimfiction and on AO3.

Have otherwise gotten jack shit done today, but you know, sick.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1566630.html.

Sunday six
Soon a steaming cup—earl grey by the scent of it—was set in front of her, rousing her from her half-doze. “Thank you,” she said, lifting her head and smiling.

“You’re welcome.” Flame had a cup of his own, which he sipped slowly. Despite the myths about ponies like him, Perique knew that he ate and drank just like any other pony. He merely also required a little something extra…

The pair sipped in silence for a time. It was a comfortable silence, for they were comfortable together. That comfort was a large part of why Perique came here. Tea—and most of the other things Flame had to offer—could be had in many places. Comfort and trust were rarer commodities, though, and ones she prized highly.

It's way more than six and I'm not sure I care. :3

From another trans bingo story, using my now-well-established self-insert pony OC and my girlfriend's self-insert pony OC, who get to see each other in person more often than us "real" people do, boo. Writing for the "Cuddles and snuggles" prompt, so it will be pretty much pure fluff. Possibly with a little consensual vampire biting too, though.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1566313.html.

The Wolf You Feed, and other Evangelical claptrap.
I saw "The Wolf You Feed" listed as the topic of today's sermon, and I had a little twinge of apprehension. Was I really going to be subjected to a sermon based off of fricking Billy Graham? Surely not here! Surely none of the so-far excellent pastors I've heard thus far would do such a thing. And yet even if you don't buy into the Evangelical worldview, a lot of people do still like that reductionist, simplistic "parable", and they have talked about emotional management here before, and I've heard some non-Christian hippie types really go for stories like this, and maybe...

Then the pastor said something to the effect of "Well, for starters this 'old Cherokee tale' is neither old nor Cherokee" and I knew I was in good hands.


Since I know not everybody comes from the same background as I do and may not have heard the story, it goes like this:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he says. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

It sounds very deep and pithy. Nurture the "good" in you, starve the "evil", in the end good will win. Great idea.

Except it's absolute horseshit on every possible level.

First of all, it's horseshit for the attempt to frame it as universal wisdom that all cultures would accept, because gee, golly, look at these Red Indians, believing the same things as us Christians about good and evil and what constitutes each, just saying it in their quaint, all-stories-are-animals way. Wow! (Gods, I hope I don't have to say all that was delivered in a tone of biting sarcasm.) It is not a Native American story. It doesn't look or sound in any way like a Native American story. Different cultures do have different morals, tell different stories, and value different things. This is a white, western, Christian story.

Second of all, the intended reading makes it a dumb-ass metaphor. You know what starved wolves are famous for? Being ten times as vicious. Starved wolves are the ones who, in their desperation to find food, resort to robbing herds and flocks and even outright attacking humans, something normal wolves don't do. You really think that trying to "starve" all your bad impulses is going to kill them? It's not! If the "food" is attention, notice and focus, if the food is inviting them into your life to express themselves, then denying attention and space to all your so-called bad emotions only makes them seep and ooze out of every other crack, looking for the outlet you're not giving them. "Ignore them and they'll go away" is terrible advice for bullies and it's terrible advice for emotions too.

Ignoring negative feelings and experiences is the worst way to handle them. You need to sit with them, understand them, see why you feel them and how you can navigate them. Ignoring your "dark side" will at best accomplish nothing at all.

And speaking of dark, my third problem with this pile of reeking manure masquerading as wisdom is that it's literally black and white. If you see the damn thing illustrated there will always be a black wolf and a white wolf, and that's definitely the intended imagery. There is one good set of feelings and one evil set of feelings, period.

Anger is evil? Sorrow is evil? Guilt is evil? Really? (Fuck, that's not even in line with Christian teachings, you idiot.)

The pastor today said if her feelings were wolves, she has a whole pack inside her, and they work together the way a wolf pack does, dark and light ones, to navigate her life. (I loved that, that's so perfect. And very me!) There are times when you need any given one of those "evil" things. Yes even greed. Yes even envy. They are part of our human experience. There is no black and white here. Negative feelings aren't evil. Positive feelings aren't good! How many people in abusive relationships have destroyed their lives because they felt love? (Just to give one simplistic example. I could give more!) Feelings are feelings, they're morally neutral, for fuck's sake.

And then there's the utter nonsense of asking which one will "win." A child asks it in this story and it's a childish question. Even if the dark feelings were evil and even if starving them did anything useful, nobody becomes a being of perfect goodness only. Not in this life, anyway. Acting like you can "win" such a fight and become "a good person" because your "good" wolf won is just... Augh. It's setting a goal that's not only impossible, it's nonsensical. And nobody's bad wolf wins either, okay? Nobody is pure evil. Nobody is pure good.

Most of all, though, nobody experiences only positive emotions! Nobody can, and nobody should.

It's such an incredibly dumb story on pretty much every single level, and I am so glad I now belong to a congregation where that kind of useless "deep" glurge is not going to be spit out at me as profound wisdom.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1566064.html.

Not NaNo
Thought I should formally put down my November writing goals. I'm not going to do NaNo, but I do want to kick some writing out the door.

So, November goals:

Finish at *least* one chapter of Star Tiger. Preferably two.
Write at least a thousand words more on the next Ember's chapter. Maybe finish it?
Finish Untitled Celestia Fic (two more chapters needed.)
Get one bingo on the Trans bingo card. (Four more stories needed.)

The last one is the one I'm having the most fun with right now, but is also sorta the one I *should* be least concerned about. Ain't that the way it goes? :3

Altogether it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 12k words as a minimum. Probably will end up being more if I actually do it all. A reasonable goal for a month where I'm still recovering from a lot of stress and burnout.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1565903.html.