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April 21st, 2016

04:58 pm - Fólkvangr
Fólkvangr -- by Catt Kingsgrave

I will build my house in the land of the dead.
I will build it high with walls blood red,
And when I wake from a dead girl's bed
No kin will call me home.
I'll make my grave in the Star Queen's lands,
Where the Golden Lady's apple lands
When it falls from the bough into my hands,
And the seedlings part the loam.

I will take my due in an acre green,
Where sweet springs rise to wash me clean,
Dishonor naught but a fading dream,
And wounds no longer shown.
I'll name myself as I choose to be,
Not kin-beholden -- strong and free,
And blood-wyrd claim in the name of she
who lived but to atone!

From the sins she bore will I hew my beams
And thatch o'erhead her stolen dreams,
With guilt-stone walls like silent screams
For blame no part her own.
And when that house of shame stands tall,
And spiteful lies run wall to wall,
I'll lay her down on a thorny pall
of crops her kin have sown.

Then shut the door with an iron latch.
I'll kindle fire, I'll light the thatch
And burn it all to a blackened patch,
And know myself disowned;
Unbound by any bitter kin,
Unfettered by their heirloom sin,
With wisdom, strength, and wit to win
And a name that's all my own.

Then I'll ride out from the sleeping lands,
my mount astride, and in my hands
The sun, a song, a lifetime's plans
And the whole broad world to roam.
My fate to carve in flesh and bone,
In song, in steel, in living stone,
Companioned or long years alone,
I’ll build myself a home.

(This one's inspired by Speranza's magnificent story, Down Into the Golden Lands. You should all go and read it. It is very little like this poem at all.)

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February 1st, 2016

12:42 pm - Offering Fire -- Catt Kingsgrave
Offering Fire -- Imbolc 2016
by Catt Kingsgrave,

Take a night in the middle of winter's embrace,
Midway between Solstice and Equinox's grace,
When the darkness still crawls at a glacial pace
And douse every light you can find in the place.
Every switch, every bulb, LED and bright flame --
Make the darkness complete as the deepest of shame.
Draw down every curtain, till all that remains
Is the darkness, the chill, and the silent refrain
Of your hopes, and the stories you always did know
To be true, to be you; what you hide, what you show,
What you flinch from above, what you dredge from below
No matter the wending of ways you may go.
Then out of that silence, and out of that truth,
Kneel down to your hearthstone, and kindle your proof
Out of brittle, dry faith, vain abstractions of youth;
Out of compliments, birthdays, report cards and boots

With big straps; tuck in all you had hoped you might be
Then strike up a flame, and set yourself free.

Take a breath and hold on as the gloom splits apart,
As the smoke spirals up in the shape of your heart.
Quell the impulse to snatch what you can from the sparks
As fire makes the room that you needed to start
And you know, all at once in the heat of the blaze;
You're far more than the sum of your nights and your days,
As the fire is far more than the wood it consumes,
And a home is far more than a handful of rooms,
And a family is more than the blood you may share,
And you'll never prove magic, however you stare,
But this blaze at your center is where it must start;
This wellspring of fire -- your own Sacred heart
Is the Mother of every flame in your life.
So go get a candle and spark it to life.
Then another from that one, and on through the gloom
Till a warm web of welcome weaves room into room,

And your home is aglow, every light in full blaze:
Enough warmth to last through the cold winter days.

But here is a secret; the sweetest of fires
Locked safe in its hearth ring must finally expire.
So to safeguard this grace past the span of a day,
You must -- this is vital now -- give it away.
You must shepherd that spark from the place where you find it,
Till every hearth in the night is aglow.
You must kindle the wicks in the dark to remind it
That fire persists even under the snow.
As you sang through the longest night's hours to honor
The chill where the bright seed of summer would grow,
Spread light like your passion and flame like your glory;
Rekindle the story you always did know
In your bones, in your breath, in the beat of your heart
By your depth, by your breadth, in the sum of your parts;
That Fire is not stolen from Thunderers' hoards
No conqueror's triumph of bristling swords

No rarified treasure in glittering hoards
When it spreads, truth to truth, hand to hand, word to word.

When our songs lift it up in a kindling wave,
Chasing fear from the door and cold grief from the grave,
Whispering of freedom to every bound slave,
And singing the fame of the lost and the brave,
Let us stand astride mountains, our lanterns in hand
And share out our fire wherever we can,
Till every home glimmers, from shingle to strand
And whatever may come, we'll all see where we stand.
And who's standing before us, behind us, beside
Whose lamp can rekindle our own when it's died
Whose hearth offers shelter, whatever betide,
To those Rovers whose truth wanders all the world wide.
Whose welcome is worthy, whose comfort is kind
Who uses their passion and fire to find,
The slim track through the perils of spirit and mind
So it will not be always the blind leading blind.

Let us raise up our lanterns on this Imbolc day
And shepherd the Fire that shows us the way.

IIf you like this little ditty and you have a buck to spare
Drop a nickel in the kitty, 'cause it's always nice to share!)

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Current Location: atelier

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November 18th, 2014

10:11 am - SO heyguesswhat!

It's live.

You can go and listen to it now! You can go purchase it for download now! Heck, you can shill the everlovin' out of this post, and tell your vast and varied Social Networks how much you liked it now!

So get on that, okay?
(Seriously tho.)

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1505046.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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September 8th, 2014

12:03 pm - And another thing

So this is another thing Murder Ballads has been doing -- we call these 'Poetry Collages'. My verse, [personal profile] slipjig's strings, and a bit of atmosphere to cover traffic noise because we were totes low-teching this.

It's not something you'll find on Pretty In Scarlet, but we thought you guys might enjoy it anyhow.

Whadaya think?

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1504589.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Current Location: Mandala house, Atelier

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September 2nd, 2014

09:57 am - Souncloud Link -- Pretty In Scarlet preview track
So, to celebrate our reaching 25% of our Indiegogo goal for Pretty in Scarlet, [personal profile] slipjig and I have decided to sneak-release one of our favorite tracks on the album. (Not the least reason being that it's an earworm -- you have been warned!)

So here's the story.

Sometime last year, [personal profile] copperbadge dropped an offhand comment to the effect that "If you can't tell Captain America what you're doing, you probably shouldn't be doing it."

I got earwormed immediately, sat down, and banged out The Ballad of Captain America's Disapproving Face, which [personal profile] shadesong summarily published in her superhero themed poetry anthology, Flying Higher.

Silly me, I thought it was a done deal at that point. But then no, [personal profile] slipjig and I sat down and figured out chords. And a kazoo solo. And then we kinda had to record it -- there really was no other option, it simply HAD to be done! And man, are we glad we did now.

So here it is -- The Ballad of Captain America's Disapproving Face, pre-release draft.

Click! Listen! Sing along with the kazoo solo (we know you're going to want to) and most of all, SHILL THIS LINK! We need all the visibility we can get in order for this CD release to actually happen, and repetition of sightings is far more important than widespread splash campaign. Even if you think you have a tiny little readership, I guarantee there'll be some folks on yours who'll never see these links, or know about this band any other way than because YOU told them about it. And besides -- I've been told the only reliable way to get rid of an earworm this catchy is to share it around flagrantly via Social Media, and bask in the glow of the screams of torment rising from those whom you have now afflicted.

Or, y'know, something like that.

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1504490.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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August 19th, 2014

11:06 pm - Murder Ballads, Indiegogo, and the album that will be!
So then -- a couple of announcements.

First, Pretty In Scarlet, the debut album of Murder Ballads (which is made up of [personal profile] slipjig and yours truly) is 99% in the can. *Cue pandemonium and glitter cannons.* We can now tell you that this album will have guest appearances by the likes of Heather Dale and Ben Deschamps, S.J. Tucker, Marnen Laibow-Koser, and Matt Young. We can also tell you that we just can't WAIT to share this with you.

We even have a Murder Ballads website up now, thanks to the heroic (and gratefully received) efforts of [personal profile] rain_herself. As we close in on the official release date (Mid November, of course, because who needs NaNoWriMo when you could have new music instead, amirite?) you'll be able to find news, dates, incriminating photos, and possibly even a few other surprises we have in mind to entice you thence.

You'll also find links to our Pretty In Scarlet Indiegogo campaign. Because, as I'm sure we've all noticed by now, our society is a capitalist one, and music is not a high-profit endeavor at this level of things. We will be releasing the album digitally no matter what, but let's face it -- no young musician stares up into the sky at night and tells themselves "One day, I'm gonna release an Internet Download!: No, we want to bring this to you on actual plastic.

And to do that, we need to do some fundraising. We've launched a campaign to cover the costs thereof, and now we need your help. We do need donations, it is true, and we think we've got some pretty good perks on offer for those who've got the wherewithal to step up and pitch in. But we also need publicity. We need word of mouth, we need people talking, texting, tweeting, tumbling and tubthumpings about the campaign, to let those potential donors whom we do NOT actually know, figure out how much they desperately want to participate, and help us bring the real, tangible, pettable version of Pretty In Scarlet to fruition.

So please visit the Indiegogo campaign. Choose a donation if you're in a position to make one, and boost the signal if you're not. Help us bring you the music we've so enjoyed making this past year. And who knows -- if someone out there wants it bad enough, there could even be a Dare or two</i> in the offing.

If nothing else, you know it won't be boring.
So hey! Tl:dr = go
here! Click things! Shill the campaign! Cue the dancing horses and festive mime burlesque! BOOGIE ROBOTS!

Woo hoo!

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May 8th, 2014

10:36 am - Poetry post -- Same Old Song
Same Old Song -- by Catt Kingsgrave
after Rudyard Kipling's An Old Song
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 444. Yes, really.
Author's Note: Kipling is one of my favorite poets of all time. There's just no one like him for scansion, meter, and rhyme, and I stand in eternal awe of his skills with lyric storytelling, even if I can't help squirming at the stories he sometimes tells with those skills. He was, unfortunately, a Man of his Times, and those times were, in a lot of ways, very full of Fail. He was really rather progressive for his time and class, but compared to our way of seeing things today, there's still a lot of Fail going. So then, as my pal Rudyard was a Man of his Times, so I am a Woman of my own Times, and well, there's still a lot of fail going on, I'm afraid. It is the job of the poet to speak to what she sees, in my world, and so that's what I do.
Feedback: Sure.
Tips: If you're motivated, I'll not say no.

Same Old Song

So long as on the Marble Hill the white haired spiders perch,
So long as guilty sinners preach the loudest in the church,
While comfy nobles roll their eyes to hear the hungry groan,
And think it yet unproven just what money cannot own
If you love me as I love you, what pair so happy as we two?

So long as scissors cut the page, yet bend beneath the rock,
So long as Whites sit on the Bench, and Blacks sit on the Dock,
So long as on starvation chic does fashion hold its sway,
While money fattens Hollywood and homeless haunt L.A.
If you love me as I love you, what knife can cut our love in two?

So long as 'neath the thumping bass the writhing bodies grind,
And lionize the singer, calling not his crimes to mind,
So long as 'neath the flashing strobes we hear the oft-told song;
Of "bitch just had it coming" and "She's stringing him along".
If you love me as I love you, we'll play the game and win it too

So long as 'easy money' parts the foolish from his cash,
While wide eyed children's innocence is burnt up in a flash
So long as those remorseful fists forget their oath to change,
The instant he is sure she cannot stray beyond his range,
If you love me as I love you, what can life kill, or death undo?

So long death and illness stalk the poorest homes in town,
And news won't make the papers till a wealthy man goes down,
While every placid viewer shares his favored network's whim
And thinks no crime worth action lest the injured party's him
If you love me as I love you, what knife can cut our love in two?

So long as those in privilege tune the engine of the State,
And money rules the fortunes of each would-be-candidate,
So long as bread and circuses can pacify the mob,
And tell a starving slave he should be glad to have a job,
If you love me as I love you, all Earth is servant to us two?

By Docket, Filibuster, Scandal, Cover-ups, and Lies,
By Football, Guns, and MTV, by firm and flabby thighs,
By Diets, Dope, and Occupy, by Patriots and Drones,
By all the bland atrocity we've come to call our own,
If you love me as I love you, what pair so happy as we two?
If you love me as I love you, what pair so happy as we two?

-- Catt Kingsgrave

If you liked this little ditty and you have a bit to spare,
Drop a nickel in the kitty, 'cause it's always nice to share

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March 11th, 2014

12:29 pm - Going to LunaCon this weekend

And here’s my panel schedule, in case you’re going to be at the con too, and want to cross paths and share fansquee. (I love to share fansquee in meatspace — nothing like it in the world!)

Friday @ 4:00 pm — Character Building. (This is kind of a writer’s workshop panel, but I don’t think it’ll be all that formally structured, really.) And oh lookit that — apparently I’m the mod. Well then.

Friday @5:30 pm — Program Participant Wokshop. (How to be a good panelist, moderator, vendor, art show participant, and fan, and how to survive a convention when you’re clocked to the wall.)

Friday @ 7:00 pm — Gender Parity (“What is wrong with out media and literature? What’s right? There’s an ongoing global change, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. So what can we do about it?” Also known as ‘The Goddesses of the Copy Book Heading Limp Up To Explain That Women Are People Yet Again.’)

Saturday @ 11:00 am — Filking for Fun and Profit. (What it says on the tin.)

Saturday @ 1:00 pm — Simulating Metal in Your Costuming. (Demonstration workshop, and it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. I’ll be bringing the stuff with which I made my Scarlet Witch headdress to show off.)

Saturday @ 2:00 — Acting Up (Actors, stuntmen, and performers talk about what it’s like to be onstage and in front of the cameras. Also known as — I’ll show you my IMDB page if you’ll show me yours. *grin!* And for those who’ve never seen the Catt And Ken show, my Co Pilot is on this panel with me, so it’s not impossible that there could be some impromptu shenanigans-I-totally-don’t-mean-stagefighting-here-at-all-really.)

Saturday @ 4:00 pm — Panel in the Pool (Living in an Alien Environment (What it says on the tin — panelists in swimwear float around in the pool and talk worldbuilding. It’s actually been pretty fun in the past. Ken’s on this one too, so expect us to at least reference our novel once or twice before the panel is done.)

Saturday @ 5:00 pm — Test Panel Ideas Here. (This panel has no agenda. This panel NEEDS no agenda! We’re making it up as we go along — no brakes, GO WITH GOD! *The God in question being Dionysos. Hang onto your Maenads, kids, it’s gonna be a bumpy night!)

Saturday @ 10:pm — True Malevolence (How evil is evil? We’ll discuss antagonists, evil creatures, and really bad guys here. And hopefully we’ll move beyond the basics too, to get to some of the really subtle and thorny concepts that make evil worth the study.)

So that’ll be Lunacon then. If you’re in the NYC area, do please consider coming up and hanging out a bit, because I’d love to meet up with you and hang out (in the scant amoun of time not already taken by the con itself, that is.) I’ll try to get some filk time in as well, but with this schedule, I cannot promise anything at all.

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1496348.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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March 6th, 2014

10:03 pm - An Incomplete List of Books Cluegirl Loves
Today is World Book Day! I hadn't known that, actually, but I still spent the day putting this list together, thinking it was a better thing to do than chew on myself. So here, in no particular order, and for a host of Very Good Reasons, i.e.
* This book got me through childhood without killing anybody.
* I have read this book more often than perhaps is healthy.
* This book changed how I write.
* This book changed how I look at the world.
* I would memorize this book and recite it on command if books became illegal.
* Gondor has no good reason for loving this book; Gondor NEEDS no good reason for loving this book.
* I have purchased many copies of this book because I keep 'loaning' it to people.
* Elements of this book have been instrumental in how I define the world.

The list begins:
The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley. ISBN: 0 449 91006 7
* I love this book so much that I hardly ever recommend it to my friends directly -- this is because I'm afraid if they don't like it, we can't be friends anymore. It's a historical fantasy that's written by a history teacher, so it passes the 'pedantic reenactor' test with flying colors. I pick this book up again every couple of years, and I never seem to love it any less.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman. ISBN: 978 0 06 085397 6
* Nobody I loan this book to ever seems to give it back again. I never can blame them, really. It's that good. Thank Cod I can always get a new copy.

Salt. A World History by Mark Kurlansky. ISBN: 9780142001615
* This book schooled me HARD about just how much this one edible rock influenced the passage of human history as we know it. FASCINATING stuff.

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffen. ISBN: 978 0 316 04125 6
* I adored the first book of the Matthew Swift series in a life-changing way. I just wish the second two had measured up. (Haven't read the fourth yet, alas.) Still, I wouldn't trade this first one away for nothing.

God Stalk by PC Hodgell. ISBN: 978-1-4165-5576-6
* This is another one I keep going back and reading over and over again. I feel deeply that Tai Tastigon is one of the best, most memorable fictitious cities of which I've ever read, and I adore Jamethiel more than is possibly reasonable.

Vellum by Hal Duncan. ISBN: 0 345 48731 1
* Took this book with me on my first trip to Las Vegas. Was UNPREPARED for it to eat my entire brain and attach itself to my face. I didn't go anywhere I couldn't take the book with me for the first four days of the trip, and had to be bribed with alcohol to leave it behind for meals. Finished it too fast, spent the rest of the trip longing for the sequel. Yes, it's that good.

The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. ISBN: 0 394 75101 9
* Another historical novelization done just the way I love them: using real people, and the stories that fall between the cracks of post-Roman history. This one stirs me every time I pick it up.

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. ISBN: 9780380729401
* I don't even feel obligated to explain this particular literary pash -- either you get it, or you never will.

Burying the Shadow by Storm Constantine. ISBN: 9781892065452
* Storm Constantine is a bulletproof author for me. Even when I don't like her protagonists, her language use never fails to knock me OUT. It's hard to choose a single favorite from her works -- look down thread, and you'll see that actually, I can't -- but this one taught me a new kind of magic, and that counts for a hell of a lot in my world.

Digging Up Donald by Steven Pririe. ISBN: 9781904853466
* I have to count a book that makes me burst out laughing, aloud and helplessly in public, as a triumph. I bounced off my first run at it, but on my second try, my hand to Cod, I thought it was going to kill me. My roommate just thought I was nuts, but when she borrowed it, she couldn't keep from laughing either.

Catspaw by Joan Vinge. ISBN: 9780765303417
* This book makes me cry like a wibbling ninny, and I love it beyond reason, but godDAMN, did it teach me something about the meaning of the word Sacrifice.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. ISBN: 9780679783268
* I pull this one off the shelf and read it about once every couple of years. Lizzy Bennet was my role model for more years than I can count, and I love this book unironically and without reservation -- even the excruciating parts.

Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmund Rostand (trans Brian Hooker) ISBN: 978-0553213607
* One of my greatest disappointments in life is that I will never play this title role. It is my favorite of All Things Ever, I've written fanfic pastiches of it, I can practically recite the whole damned thing on command, I even went and dug up that horrid, half-decent Broadway adaptation that, Thank Dionysos, Frank Wildhorn never actually produced. I will die loving this book/play, even if Rostand did totally erase Cyrano's gayness from his text. (Yes. Really.)

Riddle Master : The Complete Trilogy by Patricia McKillip. ISBN: 9780441005963
* This was one of my childhood favorites, and I'm proud to say it's stood the test of time and adulthood pretty goddamned well, really. I don't feel the need to explain this one -- it's so good that it just sells itself, really. All it usually takes is half an hour with the first book, and if a reader's going to like it at all, they're already in love.

Chronicles of Amber 1-5 by Roger Zelazny. ISBN: 9781857987263
* This book taught me to write. It so strongly influenced the beginnings of my craft that I can't imagine what my work would be like now if I had never read it. This is another one that made me make an idiot of myself when I met the author. He was gracious beyond belief though, which is just another reason to love him and his work.

World War Z by Max Brooks. ISBN: 9780307346605
* Simply put, the best book involving Zombies that's ever been written. The movie did not come even close to the goddamned ballpark. Friends who HATE horror, and who NEVER read fiction have gotten bowled over by this one.

Song for a Dark Queen by Rosemary Sutcliff. ISBN: 9780340248645
* Another childhood book. My first Historical Fiction, as I remember, and just as powerful now as it was then. Don't contradict me. I will fight you.

Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez. ISBN: 9780765318350
* This book made me stay up way past my bedtime, laughing like an idiot. Turns out that laughter is a hallmark of Martinez' books, but this one, the first I encountered, is still my favorite. It's about the housekeeper of a wizard called Margle the Horrendous, trying to keep things rolling along when her employer disappears, and his enemies start to wonder why. Oh, and she's a kobold, too.

The Starlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. ISBN: 9781576469231
* Yes, really. Quit lookin at me like that, I was eleven goddamned years old!

The Heaven Tree Chronicles by Edith Pargeter. ISBN: 9780446517089
* Another gorgeously written historical novelization, by an author who, under her pseudonym, wrote the amazing Brother Cadfael Mysteries. The history is bang on, the people are real, human, and vibrant in their struggles. Flawed and gorgeous and mesmerizing.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore. ISBN: 9780152063962
* I can't really say why this YA book stands out so far from the crowd for me, but I can say I loved it. It's incredibly well written, and it made me really wish that the sequels had involved the same character, instead of just being written in the same universe. Ah well. I'll still read them someday, but this frontrunner is quite a favorite for now.

Those Who Walk In Darkness by John Ridley. ISBN: 9780446530934
* Every time someone defends Tony Stark's actions in Civil War to me, I think of this book. It's a Cop's Eye view of an America in which Supers are hunted down and deported -- once. And if they come back, they're hunted down and killed.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. ISBN: 9782290049662
* In case you've ever wondered what might've happened had Van Helsing et-al failed in their quest, this is the book for you. It is AU fanfic of the choicest kind, and I am shameless in my adoration of it. The cameo appearances of every damned Victorian horror figure, from Varney to Dr. Jeckyll to Oscar Wilde and Rudyard Kipling make it a history buff, true crime fan, and Victorian classics reader's treasure hunt. Truefax, I loved this book so much I turned into a That Fan the instant I realized Kim Newman was close enough for me to throw myself at his feet. It was awful. I'm pretty sure he thought I was gonna eat him.

The Wraeththu Chronicles by Storm Constantine. ISBN: 9780312890001
* There's something that readers of this series need to know before they begin: The wraeththu are a human mutation. They do not act like gay human males because they are NOT gay human males. They are hermaphrodites whose mutation from the human strain is more than physical. As stated in the book, they appear to combine 'the best of a man and the worst of a woman', and so long as you don't forget that, despite being addressed with male pronouns, they are not MEN at all, I think you stand a good chance of loving this series as much as I do. One of the things I adore about this world, and this author, is that she not only openly embraced the fanwriters and artists who seized on her work, she actually published anthologies of the best Wraeththu fan stories she came across. With full credit. And pay. Yes, really.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip. ISBN: 9780152055363
* Another formative years favorite, and another that I've all but memorized. Come on -- TELL me you know a single teenaged girl who wouldn't love to call fantastic beasts to do her bidding and live with her, and I'll call you a liar. Here's the thing though -- the story's just as good when you're an adult.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein. ISBN: 9780618640157
* Don't even. I read these books, and the Silmarillion some twenty times or more before I graduated High School. I could read and write in Elvish. I went through a phase of refusing to let people call me 'human'. I'd have been Tried as an Adult for sure, if I hadn't had the escape of Middle Earth at my fingers, and I will not accept any shit for unironically loving the books that kept me functionally sane until I could reach adulthood.

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1496098.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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February 28th, 2014

09:10 am - But weight! There's more - or - Thoughts Contingent on Having No Right To Bitch

I"m fat.Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://cluegirl.dreamwidth.org/1495819.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Current Location: Mandala House -- Atelier

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