Re-enchantment and Resistance

Unattended children will be given pixie sugar and kazoos. Or fed to the corn wolves. It depends on which way the wind is going, really.” ~ October’s Market stall sign

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I was thinking about the phrase “Re-enchantment is Resistance” from Hookland Guide the other day, and the {most recent} rounds of social media fuckery. So much of everything going on lately is linked to social media and tech crap and just…the soul-sucking, mind-numbing, insipid banality of it all. Sadly, it’s not just the big, well-known instances, either. It’s those, yes, but it’s also the way that people have, more and more, been pushed to conform to a kind of sterile homogeneity. Like, your home decor has to be minimalist, done in tasteful shades of grey and cream (with a blue throw pillow for a splash of color!) with matching pets, and if it’s not you have to apologize for being so gauche. It’s awful, but it sure is good training for making sure that you aren’t uncomfortable in your beige and grey cubicle or open concept office space. It’s steady streams of performative outrage about how a website is a terrible place while also posting all the horrible things one can find to share on it, like fucked-up experiments with the Ludovico Technique, or people going onto pages and posts to fights with other people. It’s how, more and more, the creative people are spending our time marketing at people, instead of building communities and actually *gasp* being creative.

It feels like we’ve collectively forgotten how to see magic and embrace the weird, or if not, we’ve grown too afraid of speaking up about it, because we fear the inevitable backlash of daring to not suck on the fire hose of misery at all times.

I’m guilty of falling into some of these traps, myself, and I hate it. I’ve been spending so much time having to focus on day to day responsibilities that I’m forgetting how to see the whimsical side of things. My art and writing are effectively built on “pareidolia for fun and profit”, but somewhere along the line I lost the “fun” part.

All the stress of the last months, and having to really dig into how I use the internet for both business and personal reasons to rebuild elsewhere has given me the opportunity to see just how many cracks there are in the foundation now. This place is built on myth and magic, and without it the whole thing crashes down.

“Re-enchantment is Resistance.”

I can’t do a thing about spoiled rich people having tantrums. I can’t get people to stop being awful. I can’t stop Life from being a constant game of “The Floor Is Lava”.

I don’t have to give it my undivided attention and feed it, though. I can remember the reason I decided to live a life in myth, and start writing and blogging from that perspective again. I can remember that, no matter how much the world wants to pigeonhole me into being either a novelist or dedicated painter, I can smile and say “that’s nice, but I’m just a mythic blogger and apocryphal folklorist, and my stories and paintings are only very small”. I’m a storyteller before I’m a painter, but yes, I’m also a painter and jeweler and my mediums shift and change with the wind. I’m a cabinet of curiosities in human form. I know that it’s hard for a world that likes to keep the arts separated in nice, neat little boxes, but that’s the world’s problem, not mine. The world needs more people who don’t fit into little labelled boxes. Half the problems we have is because people keep trying to put people in boxes that they don’t fit in.

Social media and technology are just tools. How we use them is up to each of us.

Me? I’m going to see if the local secondhand shop has gotten any new cursed items in recently. Might go poke a mushroom ring, or see if the department store missionaries are still trying to evangelize people into their cult (because there were some serious Old Gods of Appalachia “Good Mother Ministries” vibes coming off them). If I find anything, it’ll be going up on the internet, because re-enchantment starts with myself, and I intend to resist the hell out of corporate monotony flattening the world out any more than it already has, and I will cheerfully use it’s own tools to do so.

I will resist, and re-enchantment is my tool of choice.

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Triptych and Vagaries

A small black cat is perched on the edge of a folding laundry hamper, looking intently to the left of the camera, poised to leap onto something (his brother is off-camera).  The wall behind him is painted the pale green of verdigris.

After closing the door and trapping us all in the bedroom, Púca turned his attention to the laundry basket to see what further mischief he could get into before breakfast…”

Yup, Púca’s feeling back his usual somewhat manic self.

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The witch stood on the porch, sipping a hot cup of tea, watching the last of the leaves falling as the poppets gathered around the dying tree that had been home and hearth to them for so long. She sighed, sadly. The poppet that sat on her shoulder, the first and oldest of them all, chimed softly, echoing her sorrow. It was always sad to watch something that had sheltered and supported so many wither. She knew that there would be other trees that would grow and give homes to them, but it wouldn’t be the same, and there would be friends that would never be found again.” ~The Poppet Witch

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Thinking about the demise of Twitter and being sad and maudlin about the fact that there are people that I’ve talked with and been through births, deaths, weddings, divorces, major moves, children’s graduations, and all the other ups and downs of Life with that I will never find again once we move on from the site again. It happens every time a social site goes dark. I hate losing friends and acquaintances like this, and it sucks just a little more every time it happens.

When It Rains…

Púca passed his recheck with flying colors on Tuesday, and was released from the cone of shame and sent back into genpop after what was the most circuitous drive back from the hospital to home. Normally it’s a straightforward trip down 2 highways, and one side road on each end, but because of it being both Rush Hour and Election Day, the traffic was so bad that my GPS ended up having to route us down back roads that even I have never seen, and took over an hour. Fortunately, Púc’s pretty chill in cars, because wow was that a mess. When we got home, we let him out of the carrier, took off the cone, and he proceeded to run around for the next 6 straight hours, barely pausing to eat dinner.

Sadly, we only got a few minutes of respite, because it turns out that he also appears to have brought a cold home from the hospital with him, and now Oisín’s got the runny eyes and sneezing thing going on (and ANOTHER vet appointment scheduled for Monday, unless he either gets worse and we go to the ER or he gets better and I can cancel). Poor baby just wants to curl up on the couch with a blanket, tissues, and a bowl of mousie soup and watch bird videos.

Bodach, who is beginning to show signs of puberty, just had his neutering appointment pushed back another week, and I *really* need that stop. At this point, we’re racing the clock on when he starts spraying, and I do NOT need an indoor, uncut tomcat because other people keep failing to get their scheduling in order, thank you very much.

I would really REALLY like the feline medical drama to knock it the fuck off before I have to declare bankruptcy from dealing with vet bills. No, they aren’t insured yet, because they haven’t stopped being at the vet for the required amount of time for eligibility.

Still not thinking about the elections too much. Focusing on the fact that Massachusetts elected not only elected a woman for governor for the first time, but she’s also a lesbian, which is awesome on multiple levels. Still no idea on whether we voted to ramp up pushing for M4A, but we did vote to tax millionaires, so that’s a win.

Maybe, if the cats will quit being a nonstop rolling disaster for a few minutes, I’ll get to do some actual work today. That would be nice.

A Blood Moon For My Birthday

There’s a total lunar eclipse tomorrow morning, shortly before sunrise, and that’s a helluva delightful way to start my birthday off.

Gonna be a busy day, between getting out to vote, and then taking Puca back to the ER for his post-op recheck. Hopefully everything looks good and they’ll be taking off the Cone of Shame and clearing him to reintegrate into the household. Not sure how we’re going to handle things if he’s still on restricted activity, seeing as he plays hard and rough, and convincing him not to immediately launch himself into a knockdown brawl the second he leaves the carrier is going to be Exciting.

Trying not to think about the elections too much. Fascism would be the Worst Birthday Present Ever, and I’d really like to not, thanks.

On the other hand, it looks like some folks got together enough petition signatures to get single-payer universal health care onto a number of districts’ ballots, and ours is one of them (according to the state’s website sample ballot, anyway). It’s not a bill to do it, but it’s a push to get the ball rolling, which is a good start. The wording on the sample is:

“Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote for legislation to create a single payer system of universal health care that provides all Massachusetts residents with comprehensive health care coverage including the freedom to choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities, and services, and eliminates the role of insurance companies in health care by creating an insurance trust fund that is publicly administered?”

That’s a “fuck yeah” from me, thanks. UHC and UBI for everyone, dammit!

Got the Wacom set back up (Bodach helped) and a new RedBubble account started. Now to pick a starting point to draw so I can start getting stickers made.

Speaking of Bodach, he’s also hit the end of his tolerance for being separated from his brother, and is being extremely demanding about attention, so I guess I need to stop typing and go snuggle him before he implodes. Plus, it appears to be bedtime, so off I go.

Lost In The Static

Finally got Puca sorted enough to get back to being able to do Literally Anything Else, and now Oisín and Bodach are having separation anxiety meltdowns from the stress (extra worrying, given Oisín’s history with stress-related issues). Trying to navigate them all is practically a full-time job on it’s own.

The Twitter kerfuffle remains ongoing and getting worse by the hour. I’m trying to figure out how to manage that, since it’s my primary source of being found, though, to be honest, I haven’t really invested in trying to curate my Tumblr toward dealing with business things. I just don’t use Tumblr that way. Trying to decide if I should adjust how I use my personal account, or set up a secondary one for mirroring here and general shitposting. Mastodon is so screamingly decentralized and siloed and apparently prone to servers just vanishing overnight and having to start over again that it’s just not worth the time investment at the moment. Instagram is so aggressively bound to the Almighty Algorithm that I’m not sure it’s even remotely viable, especially given that it’s been desperately trying to be TikTok instead of Instagram. Facebook, well, if I was going to set up a FB presence, I would have a long time ago. I’m only there because it’s the only way I can keep in touch with a number of folks in my personal life, and when they move on from there, I will cheerfully delete my account and never look back. Not bothering to raise my blood pressure for that.

No, video platforms are not remotely on my radar. I’m probably going to have to figure that out one of these days, the way things are going, but today is not that day. The stuff I do doesn’t exactly lend itself to videos, so it’s not a good use of my limited physical abilities.

I would, however, very much like things to stop exploding for a few days, so that I can actually get shit done. I’ve only got so many spoons to work with, and they keep being eaten before I can get to my business’s To-Do list. Not particularly helpful.

Regardless, the Twitter Debacle is forcing a rethink of how I do things, so I guess that’s good? Maybe not. I have to redo things so often that it’s getting harder to actually do anything long enough to get anywhere. Maybe I’ll just try and make a patchwork quilt of what I can and hope that works well enough.

Ugh. I would give an arm or a leg for a nice, quiet week in nice little seaside cabin somewhere to get out of freefall and refill this bone dry well. (Not one of mine, but somebody’s, anyway. I need mine.) The inside of my skull feels like tv static, and it’s like scraping through rust and gravel to try and get anything creative done.

The Year Without October

“For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What speaks from their mouth? The toad. What sees from their eye? The snake. What hears with their ear? The abyss between the stars. They sift the human storm for souls, eat flesh of reason, fill tombs with sinners. They frenzy forth. In guts they beetle-scurry, creep, thread, filter, motion, make all moons sullen, and surely cloud all clear-run waters. The spider-web hears them, trembles – breaks. Such are the autumn people. Beware of them.” ~Ray Bradbury “Something Wicked This Way Comes”

I’ve been so busy dealing with Puca this past week, and everything else the weeks’ before, that I’ve more or less missed the entire month of October this year. I’m having a hard time not crying about that. This is my favorite time of year, the month of my heart’s home, and here we are, at the end of it, and I’ve barely been able to get outside, let alone do much of anything involving seasonal activities or adventures. Going to have to make up for it the rest of the year, so I’m sorry to anyone who missed the memo that I am one of the Autumn People.

We have been watching Guillermo del Toro’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It is a series of horror stories, and it is done by del Toro, so understand that it is, in fact, horror, and extremely detailed, well done horror at that. We’ve got two episodes left, and I’ve enjoyed each one immensely. It’s hard for me to find a good horror that I can just relax into and enjoy, without getting annoyed at bad effects, reliance on jump scares or excessive use of fake blood, etc., so this has been an utter delight.

I’m going to try and get out for a little bit today, so I don’t miss Halloween itself, at least. I need to dance with the ghosts to the sound of the rattling bones of the bare trees, fill my lungs with the smell of rotting leaves and woodsmoke. I need to feel the cool, sharp edge of the wind on my skin as it whispers of the coming darkness and lose myself in the piercing blue of the sky.

If I can, I’ll also try and at least hunt a bag of cider donuts and bring them back home, because there needs to be cider donuts somewhere in all of this.

Running Around Like A Madwoman

Imagine, if you will, several small, round, somewhat fuzzy monsters standing in a row, holding signs with one or two words each on them, while behind them, a larger fuzzy monster runs around with it’s arms flailing wildly above its head. The signs read “Please excuse us, our artist appears to be on fire”.

I keep trying to write something but then things explode again, so while I have a minute….

So, yeah…last Sunday, Púca had to go to the emergency vet near midnight. The next day, he got admitted to a different ER nearly an hour away (it was the one that had ultrasound availability) for emergency surgery because the little bastard had decided to eat a bunch of hair that was acting like string in his intestines. While they were at it, they also did the surgery for his neutering, because well, it would be wildly inhumane to let him heal up from this, only to have to cut him open again. For those keeping score, that’s two major surgical procedures at the same time. We had to set up a GoFundMe campaign, because I zeroed out my own bank accounts so fast I hit velocity checks, and then hit other sources that I have to repay asap, or run into secondary disasters in the very near future.

Letting him die was not an option.

That was one of the worst days ever. I never want to have to stand at a hospital reception desk, frantically trying to get money transferred into my bank account instantly because they won’t start surgery until they have a minimum payment of many thousands of dollars, and if they don’t operate, my baby will *die* horribly and painfully. On a related note, the fact that a bank can decide that you can’t spend more than a fixed amount of your own damned money is A PROBLEM. (Guess how I found that my bank card has a daily limit? Shout-out to Sapphire the CSR who sat on the phone with me, working to get around that so we could save our dipshit child’s life. She was *amazing* and I appreciate her.)

He came through okay, but ended up having to stay until Wednesday, and then went back a few hours later because he’d started having a horrible cough. Thankfully it was just a side effect of having been intubated, but still… In the meantime, the bill for all of this (plus the side helping of having to last minute call our regular vet to come over and worm Bodach and Oisín, because in the process of everything else, Púca had a roundworm, which means one of the miscreants ate an infected insect at some point, and now everyone had to get that done) climbed into 5 digits and oh gods.

Now he’s home and steadily improving. He’s feeling better enough that he’s getting bored, which is both good and bad. He’s an extremely energetic kitten, and enthusiastic jumper, so keeping him calm and quiet so he doesn’t re-injure himself is A Task. He’s spending a lot of time kenneled in a dog crate that we had to get to keep him confined. The drugs help.

In the meantime, we also finally got word about whether or not our application for the studio was accepted. It was not. They decided to let one of the other artists already in the studio expand their existing space into it, instead. Disappointing, but given that I am no longer going to be able to afford rent until I can recover from feline medical disasters, it’s probably for the best for me. I’m more sad for my friend, who *really* needs the space for her work. She does absolutely stunning silk painting, and is currently stuck using her kitchen table to try and work on, which is really difficult with kids and pets in the house. I really hope she’ll be able to find something better soon.

The day before all of this crashed down I had ordered a set of paper bead rollers, and have things prepped for making beads and other jewelry once this settles down. I also found a box with some jewelry that I’d made, ages ago, that I’ll be going through and checking to make sure they’re in good condition. Things that are in good shape will be listed for sale, and things that aren’t will be disassembled and reused in new pieces.

Apparently Twitter went to hell in a hand basket while I was dealing with all of this, so that’s going to be exciting. Not sure how I’m going to handle that. I mean, I’m sort of stuck there for a while, and will keep on plugging away as long as I can (much like LJ), but hopefully another actually decent alternative will crop up shortly. FB and Instagram are functionally useless, Tumblr isn’t designed for real social, I did my time in the IM mines back in the days of AIM and have no desire to go back (looking at you, Discord), and nothing is really set up well for blogs-as-social medium anymore. I really wish that the useful sites would stop going tit’s up every couple of years. I hate losing touch with people, just because some rich asshole wants a new vanity project.

So, that’s the state of things.

I need to sleep for roughly a month…

Word, Wire, Paper, Bone Redux

A bright pink and yellow stuffed animal in the shape of a moth examines a hand-painted cylindrical bead wrapped in dark gold and bronze colored wire.
Sylvie Investigates A Moth-Proof Bead. Neener, Sylvie.

Well, this week sure was A Lot. On top of everything else, we finally got a phone call last night from the shelter that was going to be helping us out with the cost of the Goblin Boys neutering (Puca, in particular, because hooray cryptorchidism), only to find that the new vet that we’d have to use (the original one they had recommended turned out not being comfortable doing his surgery, and directed us to someone else, so we had to go back around for the approval from the shelter) doesn’t do ultrasounds first, but does it the old-fashioned way of “just open him up and poke around to find the MIA organ”, and yeah, that’s a deal-breaker for me. Our vet is expensive, and I appreciate so much that the shelter was willing to help, but we’re not going to be doing major, invasive, exploratory surgery on him when there’s an option not to. With ultrasound, they can locate the missing nut and go in with a small incision; without it, they have to basically go fish around because there are multiple locations it could be.

Needless to say, I now have even less time to come up with a couple of grand, because the biological clock is ticking down on puberty. There’s a small chance that we won’t have to redo their bloodwork again, at least?

In the meantime, I’ve got the studio rearranged into a more functional manner. Still needs some straightening up, but that’s always the case. Working out how to navigate Mothpocalypse damage and prevent further depredation. (Seriously, I’ve never had fucking clothes moths eat paper before, and while I’m glad they seem to have only gotten the one piece, and it was a minor one, having the little bastards eating my work is wildly unacceptable.) Today I’m working on jewelry, since gesso, paint, wire, and stone aren’t particularly edible to anything short of a Rock Biter. If I get one of those in here, well, I’ve got bigger problems to worry about than some gnawed-on artwork.

Always an adventure…

Apocalypse Moth Is My New Band Name.

Well, yesterday sure was a Whole Thing. “Moths ate my artwork” sounds like the Worst Excuse since “The dog ate my homework”, doesn’t it?

*sigh*

I mean, I’m glad it wasn’t one of the pieces that I’d spent days working on, and that it seems to be *knock on wood* an isolated incident, but still. I have no idea how to go about managing this situation and preventing it from happening again. Not gonna lie, after the last months’ shit luck, the temptation to chuck it all once and for all, sell all my worldly possessions, change my name, and drive off into the sunset for a few years is pretty strong right now. Maybe I’ll take up sailing and live on a boat somewhere.

Sadly, I don’t think I could talk Himself into it, and the cats would *hate* it, so I guess I’ll stay put.

It is, however, a reminder of both why my business is named what it is, and why I’m allergic to single-source income streams. If something goes wrong in single-source, it’s a disaster. If something goes wrong with multi-stream, it’s still a problem, but not a catastrophic one.

Today’s plan is rework my schedule to better suit multiple streams. Conveniently, the studio has just been rearranged in a way that makes that easier, as well. Time to get up off the floor, wipe the moth dust off, and get back to work.