I miss writing. I haven’t done much of anything these last two months because the excessive heat and humidity has thrown my chronic post-surgical medical issues into overdrive.
I literally hate my guts
Minor grossness (or major? My time as a mortician has skewed my concept of what’s too much in relation to viscera): Between 20 years of severe endometriosis, the hysterectomy and adhesion removals, and the extensive clean up done when my appendix rotted and drenched my abdominal cavity in sludge, my gut is probably more scar tissue than organ tissue at this point. Summertime has never been my favorite time of year; I grew up in colder climates so humidity and I just don’t mix as it is. Now it’s a definite arch nemesis because it angries up all of the scar tissue something fierce, and I’m left in excruciating pain and the inability to digest anything. I’m especially cranky about super intense pain where the JP drain had been placed for several days following the emergency appendix surgery. Absolutely disgusting and I hate it. That goddamn drain/tubing was the worst part of the whole ordeal and I hate being reminded of it. I literally screamed when it was removed, and I have a stupid high tolerance for pain and masking it (see: completing Army BCT despite breaking my back – again – 3 weeks into my time at FT Jackson). Basically, I hate summer, and my guts hate it even more than I do.
I’ve talked a lot about moving to Iceland, and every time I get a gnarly heat-induced flare up, I desperately want to figure out the logistics to get the hell out of the swamplands of PA so that my life doesn’t have to shut down for 4-5 months a year. So it goes. Until then, I just have to grit my teeth and try to put on a normal face for work, which doesn’t leave much time or energy for things like writing. Just leaves me all the more frustrated because I’m thinking about all of the things I want to write, but no energy to sit up and do anything with those ideas. /whine
You may or may not have noticed my silence on my Patheos column. It’s not for lack of material or lack of motivation. Rather, there have been some pretty messy changes on the editorial side this year, and it doesn’t seem to be a good place to be these days. Mortellus sums it all up here, so if you’re curious about why your favorite Pagan writers are drifting away from Patheos, consider the mystery solved. And trust that it’s only gotten more questionable since Mortellus published that in May.
I’m incredibly disappointed by the behind-the-scenes changes at Patheos – it was a great opportunity for getting support and promotion for another general heathen education/reaction blog. Alas, the powers that be seem to be failing Patheos Pagan writers, and since I’ve had a front row seat to a lot of the way things are being mismanaged, I’m disillusioned and stepping back until things are resolved (if they’re resolved). It’s just as well, considering how my health problems have been a terrible drain lately. I’d much rather funnel what little energy and focus I have here. A Loki Kinda Life is my baby, and I feel like I have far more freedom here (and much less spam – I don’t know why A Fox Among Ravens at Patheos is such a target for spambots in the comments, but no one seems to want to address it over there beyond “our filters should be catching it”).
That said, content here will be more frequent (once all of the inflammation scales back enough that I can function), and I’m going to create a new page on this site with links to the more educational posts so that people who are looking for one heathen’s perspective on how/why some of us do what we do, they don’t have to sift through the more personal ramblings. Perhaps this whole debacle should be seen as a positive: at least now I can overhaul A Loki Kinda Life to be a better, easier to use resource for Lokians and general heathens alike!
Hear me be a total dork!
As if the whole book deal thing wasn’t bizarre enough, I’ve crossed into another realm of the weird: I was a guest on a podcast. What. The. Fuck.
If you want to hear me babble about Loki and giggle like a dope, check out Ep. 35 of The Eternal Void, but with Jazz. C is an incredible host and I had so much fun rambling and joking around about the absurdities of living with Loki. While you’re at it, check out the other episodes, because it’s genuinely a really cool show.
I don’t listen to many podcasts because my brain needs visuals of some sort if I’m listening to something – I’m not wired to, say, listen to an audiobook while driving or a podcast while cooking, because my mind isn’t able to focus on absorbing what I hear if I’m doing something completely unrelated. It’s a bummer, because there are a lot of really awesome, informative, and hilarious podcasts out there, and I know I’m missing out on a lot of great content. THAT SAID, “The Eternal Void, but with Jazz” is pretty freaking awesome. I actually did listen to a few other episodes (I had to know what I was getting myself into before my interview, after all), and they’re weird enough to get my attention, which is a stellar endorsement if I do say so myself (and I do).
The Book. . . and maybe Another Book?
These days I’m in a holding pattern in regards to Loki and Sigyn: Lessons on Chaos, Compassion, and Loyalty from the Norse Gods. We’re six months out from launch, and I’ve been sending an uncorrected copy to a few other authors and recognizable names in the heathen community for reviews and blurbs for marketing. So far, the feedback has been incredibly positive from the not-Lokians, and I’m waiting to hear back from the Loki folx (who have been enthusiastic upon hearing of this project). I’m also waiting (somewhat) patiently for the prettied-up pdf. I’m eager to see what kind of artwork/chapter decorations/splashpages/etc will appear, but more importantly, I’m looking forward to this particular pdf because then I’ll be able to go through and make some updates/edits/changes that need making. I haven’t looked at the manuscript since May, so I’ll finally be able to read through it with fresh eyes and a fresh brain to make sure it’s what it needs to be.
Meanwhile, even though writing has been a passion since high school (and I even chose my college specifically for their creative writing program and resources, which most people in my life don’t realize because I ended up majoring in Clinical Psych and then later went to mortuary school. . . best laid plans, eh?), I never imagined I’d actually write a book. When I got a contract for the Loki and Sigyn book, I thought it would be a one and done. This was a passion project for me, a gift for Loki and Sigyn and for the community. My mom has been nagging me about writing a novel next, a Nordic Noir – she’s always been hugely supportive of my writing and constantly compares the books she’s reading with my style, insisting I can “write it better.” I’m not saying no to that idea, but that would absolutely be a “further down the line” kind of thing. It would be awesome to write an eerie supernatural heathen story set in Iceland, but that will have to wait until I’ve lived there so that it feels more organic and not like a research paper.
First, though, Mortellus planted a seed in my brain for a 2nd book. I’m not sure if y’all have noticed, but they’re a bad influence on me. They keep encouraging me to, like, do stuff, which has really cut into my sitting around time (or lately, my “bitching about my internal organs” time). In April, we were chatting about book stuff, and they said I should write an “Allfather, Not Somefather” book. This immediately lit my brain afire. Most of the posts I’ve uploaded to Patheos are screeds addressing racism and bigotry; this too is a passion project for me. So I’m slowly cobbling together a proposal for a book diving into the history of racism in heathenry and why “Aryan” concepts don’t align with actual historical record and biology. Neo-Nazis and their ilk are caught up in a literal fantasy that has no actual basis in pre-Christian Scandinavian culture. Besides, there’s a lot of really fascinating things to explore in pre-Christian society and literature regarding diversity on the ethnic and gender identity fronts.
Lucky for me, I know several academics who specialize in heathen political ideologies and gender identities. They can help me access resources and historical records that I’d otherwise overlook, just the way K, my partner in crime and chaos (and personal etymologist) helped immensely with language resources for Loki and Sigyn. And of course, my own related anecdotes will be peppered throughout. Growing up in West Germany in the ’80s gave me a lot of sobering experiences and reinforced the lessons my parents taught me about why we should never hate. It’s a topic near and dear to me on a lot of levels, so this too would be a passion project. Not sure if it’s something that would fit into Llewellyn’s wheelhouse, but I’ve got a lot more connections these days, so even if Llewellyn rejects it, I can probably find a home for it.
Of course, I would be remiss to wrap this up without wishing all y’all a happy Lokabrenna! Of all of the ideas percolating for new content, I suspect the next post will be about my take on holidays and why I don’t really celebrate them unless I’m doing something with a group. Once again, my upbringing was bizarre and spent in various levels of isolation, so holidays really aren’t A Thing for me. BUT that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of you who maybe do celebrate holidays.
Lokabrenna is a modern construct, but a meaningful one to Loki’s little lunatics. My dear friend E wrote a nice history and explanation of it for the Loki book, as well as some rituals for Lokabrenna, because I’m a useless slug when it comes to celebrating holidays. I can easily and happily throw together a blót for anyone for any defined purpose, so I’m not really sure why I’m so inept at creating a blót for a holiday. But hey, that’s why I have friends like E, who is skilled at explaining holidays and talented at designing rituals.
Basically, July has become a month dedicated to Loki by a number of his followers because the Icelandic name for the star Sirius is Lokabrenna (Loki’s Torch), and mid-July through mid-August is when Sirius (or Lokabrenna) rises. My very life is dedicated to Loki, so you’d think this would be the peak of my year, the way Easter is to a Catholic nun. But no, the heat and humidity saps me of the will to live, and my birthday falls smack dab in the middle of Sirius Rising. Yes, I (sometimes begrudgingly) share my birthday ice cream cake with the twerp, but otherwise, it’s business as usual for me and him. Holidays: I just don’t really get ’em. I understand them intellectually, but they just don’t hit me in the spiritual or emotional feels. I’m kind of a drag that way.
So yes, happy Lokabrenna to all, and to all some relief from this swampy humidity!