Feeds:
Posts
Comments

*comes in and looks at empty blog.  Winces realizing the last time I posted.  Waves a little bit awkwardly and taps on the microphone a few times*

Testing, one two three.  Check check.

Hello out there in the great interwebs.  It’s been quite a time.  Though I’ve been busy as a beaver pack in a log cabin museum, I have neglected this forum.  I figured I’d toss a post up on just what I’ve been doing.  Particularly, the obsession I’ve been working on for the last 14 months.

Precious Metal Clay.

Imagine a soft clay, somewhere between terra cotta and sculpey.  Easily to make impressions, a bit difficult and messy to sculpt, but quite workable and enjoyable.   Then imagine you put the clay piece in a kiln, cooked it at upwards of 1500 degrees, and what was left behind was not fired ceramics, but fired bronze, copper, and fine silver.

Don’t imagine, that’s exactly what I’ve been bloody doing.

creationprocess

When I say I work in clay, but my pieces are .999 fine silver, I mean exactly that. A Japanese corporation was trying to reclaim silver particles from old x-rays.  What they developed was expensive, unique, and just a bit odd.   So they marketed it for crazy artists.   For my geeky friends who actually read the Charlaine Harris books, that is the exact same back-story as the creation of True Blood, except with artists instead of vampires.

This stuff is a miracle.  It contains little particles of metal in an ‘organic binder’ which is a fancy way of saying non-toxic clay.   The clay holds the particles in place while the fire of the kiln burns away the clay, fuses the particles, and leaves you with a solid piece of jewelry or statuary. It’s a bit of modern alchemy in my book, and as long as you fire right, what’s left behind is 90 % as strong as if you had melted the bronze and poured it directly into a cast.  With out having to have the facilities to deal with molten metal.

That’s part of the attraction of course.  I live in the French Quarter in New Orleans, where space is a premium and I have a very nice, but very small, apartment, just a touch more than a studio with a full kitchen and bath.  Just enough room for a little jewelry kiln, and a material that I can work with my fingers like a kid and silly putty.

Of course, I’m still learning.  I’ve had many failures, and many pieces that broke in the fire or after.  Pieces I thought that were successful but broke with wear, or in shipping.  That’s part of the process with any skill, and since even the broken pieces are metal, all the clay binder removed in the fires, I just save it all as scrap for other projects later on.  While I work on my skills of blacksmithing, soldering, and braising.

 Every commission I take forces me to learn more.  Every new project I come up with has new challenges.  I started making simple stamped necklaces like this.

 100_1861

And now have a small army of costumed minions.

 100_2834

I get to indulge my spiritual side with totems and amulets.

 100_2538

100_2403

Or my geeky side with Kodama and Eyes of Agamatto.

 100_2015

100_2688

My only limits are my imagination, the skill of my fingers, and having the money for my clay packs.

Questions?

I am a sick and twisted cookie.

Written for Chuck Wendig’s blog, a flash fiction challenge on the literal “War on Christmas.”

I present – Peter’s Pains

“Scream Frosty, scream.”

The animated snowman screamed, sounding just like a whiskey soaked old man being jammed with hot pokers.  Those hot pokers were pencil thin, and the sounds of his screams didn’t completely cover the hiss of steam as heated metal plunged into compacted snow.

Black Peter watched, eyes alight as his victim writhed with little stick arms strapped to the table.  A huge black beard, singed from countless half lit chimneys, made Peter look like a pirate gone mad.  His skin was cracked like a miner’s, and stained with coal dust that no amount of bathing would entirely wash away.  Huge, callused hands held the thin, heated rods with an almost delicate care as he decided where to plunge the implements next.  Dozens of small holes already leaked water onto the floor, crystallized ice around the wounds looking very much like glittering scabs.

“You will tell me where that fat bastard is hiding himself,” Peter said.  His voice was rough from coal dust, and very sure of itself.  It was only a matter of time.

The snowman hacked, small bits of ice dribbling from his lips.  Eyes that were far more alive than two lumps of coal had a right to be narrowed defiantly.  Twig fingers clenched in pained rage.

“Never!  Not in a thousand Christmases!”

All around the two, Peter’s minions worked on other captives.  The few survivors of the Army of Nick were wishing they had died with their comrades.  The Pole had fallen, after a month’s siege.

Two grinches, their green fur matted with sweat and dried sugar, held down a gingerbread man.  A third pressed a cloth over the confection’s frosting mouth and poured milk over the rag.   “Milkboarding” had already dissolved most of the cookie’s brothers, eating them away from the inside out.   Their remains littered the floor, gumdrop buttons crushed under grinch feet.

The Krampus was instructing several miniature versions of himself on the finer points of torture.   The Claus had never allowed his demon-slave to breed before, but under Black Peter’s rule Krampus had already sired a dozen imps.  Children were in short supply in the Pole, so they had to make do with elves for their lessons.  The Krampus smiled proudly as imp giggles mingled with elven sobs.

“I have his sleigh,” Peter said to his snowy victim.  “The fat bastard couldn’t have gotten far without it.”

Steam hissed and Frosty tried to hold back the sounds of his agony.  He wished for his old corncob pipe to bite down on.  Tears dribbled from coal eyes, leaving dark streaks on his face.

“You think Old Nick needs the sleigh to travel?  That’s just to carry the toyYYyS!”  Frostry shrieked the last word as Peter ground a hot piece of metal into his eye.  The smell of charcoal was deeply satisfying to the villain.

“You will tell me.   My vengeance will not be complete until the fat man begs at my feet.”

“You fool.  You will never be anything more than sorrow and regret.  You can not kill the spirit of  Christmassss-“

The hiss of steam mingled with the hiss of pain, as Peter became impatient and shoved his implements into the snowman’s mouth.

After the pain subsided, Frosty gave him a torn, half melted grin.   Triumph filled the North’s greatest general even as his tongue and lips dribbled down his chin.  Now he could never succumb and betray his master.

Peter threw his tools down in disgust.  Furious with himself and the obscene, twisted smile of his captive.  For a second he just stood and stared, as impotently enraged as a child who had just opened a lovely wrapped box of tube socks.  The moment passed quickly, and he signaled to a ferocious looking yeti who lurked nearby.

“Take it away, and burn it’s old top hat,” Peter said.  “Then… bring me the reindeer.”

Wild Wednesday 22

Damn, it’s been a busy week.  I had a convention this weekend, made and put up some new jewelry, even did two days of heavy editing before submitting to a publisher briefly open to unrequested manuscripts.   Finally, it’s Wednesday, a day when I don’t have to do a damn thing. A rest before I go back to my day job on Bourbon Street Thursday.  Maybe I’ll take a nice long bubble bath.

 

… Shite, I’m forgetting about the blog again aren’t I?

 

All right!  First blog, then bubbles.   Wouldn’t want things to slither on by me, so today I’m going to just play for scale.  Today I’m going to talk about a creature both fearsome, and sacred.   Let’s look at the naga.

 

From Indian mythology, naga are often depicted as female, but the male versions definitely exist.  At essence, they are snake people, cobra people most traditionally.  Shapeshifters who can be human formed, snake formed, or anything in between.  I mean anything.  Giant snakes, little snakes, lots of snakes.  Snakes with just human heads, humans with snake bottom halves done mermaid style.  In some of the more Eastern varieties (Naga will show up in Cambodia and the Philippines and many other places where Hinduism is spread) they take the form of a great serpent with multiple heads, hydra style.  Pretty much you name it, this lot can do it, and unlike a lot of more western creatures, the variants are not seen as separate monsters or species, just the naga trying on new forms.

 

Why such versatility?  Because in most texts the naga are semi-divine beings.  They are often considered immortal.  True immortal too, not Greek god immortal where you can still one with a sword.  They are outside of the Wheel, and have connections to the many gods and often step into the role of priests or intermediaries between humans and the divine. Besides their immortality, they can heal wounds and poisons, predict the future, and kill with venom or just a powerful glare. In some tales they are just a step less powerful than the devata and right on par with the apsara.

 

The exception comes with Garuda, the big eagle-god of the son.  Big surprise, eagles and snakes don’t get along.  In Garuda oriented texts, the naga get all the negative attributes of snakes.  Venomous, untrustworthy, preying on the week and helpless.  They are still useful and powerful, with naga able to do everything from control the whether to bring fertility to lands and women.  But damn it, don’t you side with those lousy snakes or eagle will claw your eyes out!

 

As usual, I’m highly biased.   Both sides probably have lots of ass holes to choose from, and the occasional good ones.  That is true for Every damn critter on my blog.  The proportion of good ones to ass-hats is one of my qualifiers for if I like a beastie.

 

Traditionally naga are often represented with a jewel or pearl for their bindi or third eye.  This is a symbol of their power, and yes there are a few stories of people hunting them for the pearl.  It’s a great tool for divination and may be their source of immortality.  Of course, you’ve got to overcome a literal den of vipers, will probably piss off a few gods, and there is always the karmic backlash on the next turn of the wheel.  But hey, if you really manage immortality, you don’t have to worry about that last one do you?

 

Like many creatures, there are similar beings in most cultures.  There is a particularly nasty legend in China of a snake with a woman’s head, and it is both an old story and a modern urban legend, which yells immortal to me.  There are snake people of the Amazon, and of course a host of medieval demons associated with snakes that have that half-and-half look of the naga.  Not to mention Greek variants like the lamia.

 

Most of those stories lean a lot more to the nightmare version than anything define.   Often it depends on how a particular culture views snakes, some seeing them as deadly and dangerous, some seeing them as a source of wisdom. The (insert name) of South America are just like any other tribe, keep out of their way and respect the customs and you should be fine.   Screw up and it’s fangs for the memories.

 

I’m also seeing a shift over time as cultures blend.  A Chinese concept seems to be filtering West to India, in which new naga are made by snakes getting curious and turning themselves human.  This shows up with a lot of animal types in Asia, including kitsune and tanuki in Japan.  I’m not sure how much traditional roots the concept has, but it’s actually a fun idea to play with.  The original naga were obviously just their own species, but big surprise, not many mythologies out there on exactly how they go about breeding. If they leave their clutches out in the wild like a lot of snakes, maybe it takes the wee little buggers some time to grow intelligent and ‘curious’ enough to sprout legs.

 

Of course, the young, curious sorts are bound to cause trouble.  Young curious sorts always do.

 

Writing Prompts

No… I won’t suggest naga breeding programs.   I will however suggest a story where a snake and eagle are in marriage counseling.

 

So want an Indiana Jones story where his current girl is actually a naga, but we’ll never get the rights.

 

Am I the only one who wants a pair of naga skin boots?  Hey, they’re immortal, they’ll heal won’t they?

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge

It’s been a while since I did one of these, but Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.com put up a delicious flash fiction challenge that I had to give a go.  A random ass one, where you rolled a d20 and were given by mad luck your style, conflict, and one element to include.  With a thousand words to work on and blind chaos, I did what I could with Hard Boiled – Heist Gone Wrong- with Poisonous Snakes.
Yeah…. I’m calling this one Balloon Animals – 992 Words Long

 
Balloon Animals

Never work for a clown, even a sexy one.

That’s not a metaphor.  We all work for clowns in the end, from bosses to politicians. I mean the actual circus type clown. She wasn’t wearing the make-up when she came to my office, but she had been working a plaid skirt so short it was probably the circus midget of its kind.  Her legs had been distracting enough and the job simple enough I had agreed without much hesitation. She just wanted me to dig up dirt on her husband for her upcoming divorce proceedings, though she claimed he was holding important papers ransom. Probably just a pre-nup, but breaking and entering and a little petty theft were all part of the P.I. gig.

Mr. Ricardo was staying in the kind of cheap motel that I spend far too much of my time in. He wasn’t the only one form the circus there.  Jugglers practiced by the pool and what had to be a seal was playing ball with three small children.  A group of clowns watched me pass with painted smiles and dead, tired eyes.  No one seemed to notice as I went up to the third floor and jimmied my way into his room.

The room looked just like you’d expect, dingy and banal, with lights dim enough that you couldn’t see just how bad the paint was fading and peeling.  Three honest to god steamer trunks seemed to contain the whole of Mr. Ricardo’s possessions.  I really hoped the whip was part of his act, not his social life. I didn’t see any of the papers I was supposed there to steal back.

I heard footsteps approaching the door.  There wasn’t a closet to duck into so I slipped into the bathroom instead.  A woman giggled and a man murmured something low and presumably enticing to her.  I shut the door to the bathroom with equal parts speed and stealth.

A hiss and a high pitched rattle quickly distracted me from the voices in the other room.

The room was hot and wet, like the inside of an infected wound.  Bright fluorescents mixed with an odd red lamp someone had rigged over the bathtub.  The cheap tile floors smelled of bleach and an odd, dry musk.  Something slithered behind me, brushing my heels.

I jumped forward, a pure involuntary motion, and felt a sharp pain in my calf, hot and quick.  For a moment I thought I had been cut by broken glass, and I looked around for it.  I didn’t see any glass.   Just snakes.

Like a bad dream they now seemed to fill the bathroom.  The tub, bathed in red from the heat lamp, writhed like the pits of Hell.  Long, limbless bodies squirmed along white tiles with deceptive speed.  Behind me the one who bit me rattled in a way that could never be mistaken with a child’s toy.  I swear the bastard was grinning at me as it flicked its tongue.

If it hadn’t been for him I’d have gone right back out the door.  I’d have made my apologies to the man and whatever woman other than his wife he was sleeping with, and make my way to the nearest hospital.  As it was, I was wondering if I could draw and fire before he got in another bite.  My leg was starting to burn.

There was a window on the other side of the room, just big enough.  Of course we were two stories up, but if I could make it past the room full of scaled death I was willing to jump it.  A broken leg couldn’t be worse than a poisoned one. I started to edge, slow and careful, across the treacherous terrain of this festering bathroom.  A face appeared in the window, and I was startled enough I almost fell into the tub.  My client, white faced and crying for me, like a mourning angel.  Only after I recovered my balance did I realize the white face was mime makeup, and the tears were painted on.

“Hurry,” my not-quite angel beckoned, reaching through the second story window as if she hovered on unseen wings.

I was in no position to argue, but complying wasn’t a simple thing.  My leg was really cramping now.  I hobbled, and the motion seemed to attract the snakes too me.  In exactly the reverse reaction they had to Saint Patrick, the snakes flocked to me.  One hissed, and I kicked it just as hard as I could, my leg screaming with agony even as the pest hit the wall with a satisfying wet, crunchy sound.

I got to the window and grabbed the hands offered to me.  It took some work to swing my leg through the small opening, and a moment of vertigo made me reel.  The ground was too far, the sky too close, and my client’s magnificent legs stretched forever.  Too far really, all the way to the ground.

She gripped me, stronger than I’d have figured, and swung me down and between the pair of stilts she was perched on.  I hit the ground in a roll, managing despite my pain to land on my ass and not my face.  The group of clowns were there, having followed my client I imagine.  They silently considered me, then raised their fingers like judge’s score cards.  The jerks only gave me a six.

I looked back up at my client and savior.  She was leaning into the window, shouting at the top of her voice.  I could just hear the voices inside the hotel room, her husband and his mistress.  I could have stayed but I knew how those fights went, and I had an appointment at the emergency room to get to.

I had to admit as she leaned in to shout louder, working out on two story stilts gave a girl a magnificent ass.

Or maybe that was the cytotoxin talking.

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday 21

This post is all grown up and ready to drink!  Twenty-one posts, nearly every week, (I said nearly damn it!)  I really didn’t think I’d stick with it this long.

 

In honor of the completely arbitrary number of 21, drinking and booze in general, let’s go back to Ireland for another of the many fey creatures running about.  Yes I know, there seems to be no end of the buggers.  I promise you something more exotic next week, but at least for now I’ll stick with the obscure.   Let’s talk clurichauns.

 

Clurichauns look like a lot of the fey, at least a lot of the traditional fey, which is to say small and ugly.  Sure enough, they look like little more than old men, short and potbellied.  They often have long beards or pipes, buckles on their shoes and little fine caps, and they are always, always drunk.  I’ve been told more than once that the name translates out to ‘walking thirst’, but I haven’t ever been able to confirm that.  Essentially, all the bastards do is drink, and drink, and drink.

 

Some folklorists see them as the night form of the leprechaun.  That is to say that by day the hard working leprechauns cobble for elderly shoemakers, but by night they switch forms and personalities completely as they hang up their tools and go on a bender.  And although I can buy that leprechauns can occasionally let their freak flag fly, they are usually depicted as merry drunks. Mostly the clurichauns range on the surly end of the drunkard spectrum.  Think the leprechaun other leprechauns wouldn’t want to share a Guinness with and you’ve come close.  Only don’t tell a clurichaun I made such a comparison, I don’t want him pissed off that I called him a ruddy little shoemaker.

 

Like many of the fey, how a clurichaun treats you largely depends on how you treat it.  Make an honest deal with it, give it a shot from your flask, especially your last, and it will treat you kindly.  Treat it badly, and you might as well join the priesthood for all the fun you are going to have from that point on.  As a supernatural creature with affinity to booze, the clurichaun can do all sorts of nasty tricks.  Teleport all your booze into his stomach, spoil wine, make whiskey sprout the grains it was made from.  What’s worse, though some fey wander and some attach themselves to families, the clurichaun tends to attach himself to a specific place.  Like your wine cellar, or your favorite bar.  They stick around just like that one drunk that the kindly bartender doesn’t have the heart to kick out into the street.  They stick around for as long as they were welcome, and then some.  Or if they are angry until they drive everybody else away.  In the latter case, the fastest I’ve heard them leaving is about fifty years, and they can last longer if they set up their own still.

 

Now, the clurichauns will never pay for their booze exactly, but they can grant wishes to a certain extent.  They seem to know where the leprechauns keep their fairy gold, though that may be because the legends have gotten intermingled.  They can also divine for underground treasures like many other dwarfish creatures.  Of course, just because they can do something, doesn’t mean they will do it.  I have run into a couple of stories of them being bound in iron and forced to deliver on their promises for their freedom, but that seems like an almost guaranteed way to piss one off.  And even if it forgets where you live, can you imagine stumbling around Ireland with a pissed-off, drunken fairy and a few shovels?  You better pack a lunch boyo, cause it’s going to be a long treasure hunt.

 

Wait, I forgot to mention that in proper lush fashion, they never walk when they can hitch a ride.  They usually hitch that ride on a passing dog or sheep.  So make that a pissed-off, drunken, sheep-riding fairy.   Yeah, good luck with that trip.

 

If they decide they like your cellar or home, they will protect you from the same things they cause when pissed off.  No one will steal your wine, and it will never spoil.  Of course they will probably drink more than these services are worth, but since I’ve never found a good way to get rid of the things except run away and leave them to dry up, you might as well put up with them.
Or put iron fillings in their scotch if you are desperate, and a complete gods bedamned heathen.

 

Writing prompts:

 

An evil and cunning beer company trying to trick clurichauns into their rival’s breweries.

 

A clurichaun in a frat house.  I don’t know if this is the best idea ever, or the worst, but I’d love to see it done.

 

The first time a clurichaun is tricked into trying a non-alcoholic beer.

 

 

 

Wild Wednesday 20

This is probably going to be a short one, partially because I’m busy with other endeavors, and partially because wordpress changed how their tracker widgit works and I now have no idea if anyone is actually reading this blog.  Really folks, a few comments so I know this is amusing to just me and two or three friends would do a writers confidence a world of good.  This is number twenty, let’s hear some shout outs.

And though this post may be short and sweet, it’s about one of my favorite cuddly wuddly balls of death ever.  Ladies and gentle-beings, my friend Manny, the manticore.

(Holds up Hand Puppet, looks at it grinning at me, and quietly puts it away and takes my meds.)

… Now, most people think manticores are Greek beasties, popularized by Pliny and spread around medieval bestiaries with the same frequency of griffin poop.   You’d have no idea how often those little balls in the floral patterns around coat of arms are really griffin feces.  Grapes?  Nuts? Abstract bits of frippery?  Don’t you believe it, griffin droppings all the way.

Actually, the manticore isn’t a Greek beastie at all, it’s up and up Persian, and at least as old as the Egyptian sphinx.  It’s name literally translates as man-eater, and that’s what it likes to do.  Crunch men, women, and tasty children between three rows of pointy teeth.  With the body of a red lion and the head of a man, that three tooth grin is what gives orthodontists the world over a case of the vapors.

After the basic form, man headed grinning lion, which is creepy enough, some later manticore gained appendages like horns, dragon’s wings, and a scorpion tail.  Of all these, the scorpion tail is the most common and most traditional.  In fact, the manticore is said to have a variety of poisonous outlets.  Its red lions fur often hides poison tipped quills, which the beast can throw with disturbing accuracy.  In some legends the manticore’s poison is some of the deadliest in the world.   Yet in others, it prefers to paralyze its victims so it has time to mock and strip away any pesky clothing that might get stuck in its teeth.  Because there is nothing quite so yummy as chilled, quivering peasant.

Now I personally have never found out just what the manticore meant in heraldry.  I half imagine that a few families, in an effort to be different, decided to shake things up from the usual hippogriff and unicorn motif.  It would be like Paris Hilton changing her little dog for a gila-monster.  It would cause talk, it would, but it  wouldn’t be exactly a wise idea.

And big surprise, later on the church made the poor dragon-winged man-eater a sign of the devil.  More amusingly, some see it as a unholy cross of the zodiac signs scorpio, aquarius, and leo.  Never mind that the Persians had a completely different astrological system.  Never mind that the manticore didn’t bother tempting people into sin or bringing about evil.  It ate people, often slowly and painfully, but that’s about it.  You might as well make a rabid polar bear the symbol of the devil.

In fact, thats a great idea for a cartoon series.  He can be chased off by the koala pope.

There have been incidents of the manticore showing up in graffiti on church walls.  Not because the manticore is evil, but because it would really piss off the church.  And I don’t mean modern graffiti either, I mean sixteenth-century graffiti.  When the crips and bloods were religious orders.

As for the manticore itself, it’s one of those sweet cute creatures I feel sorry for.  Much like the stories of man eating tigers in India. You snack on one or two wandering school children and you get a bad wrap forever.  The only reason there aren’t more stories of manticore hunters is because the Persians didn’t go chasing after their monsters like later knights.  They usually had since to leave the beasts alone in teh wilderness, and only took necessary measures when the creepy crawlies started to become a real nuisance to the livestock.

Also, a big fire breathing lizard is probably an easier target than something that grins at you after you are paralyzed.

But why can’t the poor little manticores be left alone to poison and snack on hapless people in peace, like the gods intended?  It’s not like you are going to miss a bat-winged grinning lion trying to sneak up on you.  Its grin doesn’t make it the ruddy cheshire cat, able to appear and gobble you up at a moment’s notice.  I think that time frame-needed a serious dose of PETA, Persians for Ethical Treatment of Anthropophages.

Writing Prompts

People for Ethical Treatment of Anthropophages, that’s a brilliant idea that is.

Uses for manticore quills besides poison.  I’m thinking hats.

Mythological graffiti artists.  I’m picturing huge letters above a great serpent.  THY ASS’TH BE DRAGON

Wild Wednesday 19

Okay, so last post I announced my new jewelry store, Dual Seed Studios http://www.etsy.com/shop/DualSeedStudios/about/  and you all should check it out.  I’ll probably have to do a post on just what “Dual Seed” means to me and why I chose it, no it’s not as dirty as you might think.  But this isn’t time for that, this is a time for myth and folklore and things that go bump in the night.  Or things that go bump in the bedroom.  In honor of my own obsessive endeavors, let’s look at two different sources of inspiration.  The muses and the leanan-sidhe.

Muses are so popular that I didn’t want to do a full post just on them, because much of it you might already know.  Nine women, born of Zeus, who represent all the arts and sciences of the ancient world.   Traditionally, they inspire artists and creators within their fields.

… Or do they.  First of all, since I’m focusing on things that people might not have heard about the muses, originally there were only three of them, and they had nothing at all to do with Zeus.  Some said they were born of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth.  Others made them out to be more like water nymphs, born from springs and occasionally man made fountains.  We’ve already talked about nymphs and their semi-divine nature, and the connection between muses and fountains stays in the background long after the three become nine.

Also, originally they were sources of inspiration, but they didn’t have specific areas or arts to personify.  They sort of leaked inspiration like a leaky faucet, giving it to whoever they were closest too.  This included lovers of course, but in some darker tales it didn’t necessarily need to be willing lovers.  That’s right, some people took inspiration from muses, along with anything else they wanted, and do we really expect a ditzy hyper-nymph to be able to put up much of a fight?  Maybe the pantheon of muses expanded when more generations of Muses were born, and maybe they started hanging out with Zeus and Apollo and such for a bit of protection.  Not that you could trust those two infamous womanizers around anyone with a bit of curves. Even calling Zeus ‘daddy’ is likely just to turn the nasty horndog on more.

Then, in another part of the world but maybe just as old a concept, there is the leanan sidhe (no, that was not an awkward segue, shut up!)  One of the Irish (sometimes Scottish) fey, she is a beautiful and powerful creature who grants inspiration to her lovers.  Willing lovers only this time, anyone who tried to force himself on a leanan sighe is going to lose more than his balls.

Even when the leanan sighe has a new beau, the artist  in question is doomed to suffer.  The leanan sidhe is absolutely the worst of girlfriends.  She demands all your love and attention even as she insists you work on your art.  And even when you are a dutiful lover, she quite often drives you into complete madness.  The candle that burns brightest slips a bloody cog, to mix a metaphor.  Literally, almost all of the lovers, read victims, of the leanan sidhe live brilliant, and short, lives.  Usually ending with them gibbering in madness, overwhelmed either by faerie glamour or forced inspiration.  Uncontrolled ideas bubbling up through the brain pan can be just as dangerous as supernatural sex, probably more so.

Later mythologies have the leanan sidhe as kind of a vampire who feeds on her lovers’ life forces. She probably gets more of a boost from their love.  She doesn’t need to drain her little pets, but I bet she gets a giggle out of the self destructive path the little mad bastards cut through their lives.  There are always more desperate artists to fill her bed.

Now I talk about the leanan-sidhe as a singular figure, and to be honest the older myths have it as a type of fey, with lots of the ‘barrow lovers’ as the name loosely translates too, running about and causing brilliant but short lives.  More recently, in popular media especially, she is becoming a singular figure, and I’m kind of waiting to see if that happens more and more with the other old fey.  I’m wondering if the human story will condense several old myths together, much like they’ve done with various pantheons, until we have the Redcap, the Dionne Sidhe (singular), instead of a bunch of the buggers running around.

It’s also fascinating the connection between sex, inspiration, and water.   Those three things get combined far more than just these two examples.  The apsara of India are supernatural dancers who seduce and inspire gods and men alike, often causing at least trouble in their marriage beds.  They follow music wherever it is, and are connected with waters and clouds.  Saraswati, godess of knowledge and arts, gets linked to flowing water and pure water sources as well.  Of course the Roman goddesses of fountains are poor knock off copies of the muses (like everything else in Rome), but how many seers, male and female, scry through water for their inspirations throughout history?

On a personal note, though the original three muses were mostly focused on poetry and song, I always liked the idea of nine muses who covered art, history, and science.  There is a huge gap in modern times between art and science that really just doesn’t need to exist.  Both require inspiration, dedication, and a bit of bloody luck.  Why not search for that luck in the form of a beautiful nymph?  Men have found inspiration in far worse things.

Okay, insert obligatory joke of muses being all ‘wet’ here, goodnight folks.

 

Writing Prompts

Two thousand years in the future, what ‘arts and sciences’ exist and what muses have provenance?

Women’s lib, a muse goes into business for herself.  Maybe using an artist as a tool and ghost writer.

Modern psychological drugs versus leanan sidhe madness magic, who wins?  Certainly not the poor bipolar artist stuck in between.