Pagans like to say, "What is remembered, lives." Memory is re-membering, the act of giving life to the past through rituals of witness.
There is magic in good storytelling. In a world that can seem so woefully devoid of magic, we have a tendency to romanticize the writer, who is in touch with that magic in a deep, visceral way. But humans have been telling stories for as long as we've been human. Those who are lucky enough to call themselves professional writers have a particular set of skills and an admirable work ethic, but they don't hold the monopoly on good storytelling. The astrophysicist and the bank manager and the firefighter and the dairy farmer have stories of their own to tell. Storytelling at its root is a communal activity, something that can be shared by everyone. NaNoWriMo inspires us because it reminds us that storytelling is not about self-torture or perfectionism or asceticism, let alone popularity or profit. We can reclaim storytelling as basic human nature. We can recapture the creativity and imagination that is our birthright. We can push back against a society that would drain the world of its magic.
I glance out the window at a foggy world that seems still and quiet... a little too quiet. The salmon that should by now be making their way upstream to spawn are missing. Without the necessary steady rains to wash the familiar scent of freshwater streams out into the sound, the fish languish just offshore — uncertain which way to go, unsure which creek is calling them home. It's as if they, too, are lost in the fog. In such weather, my thoughts dwell on memories of the past — what we have lost, what we have forgotten, and what we might still regain. It is so easy to think we have always lived this way, struggling with scarcity, alienated from the living earth, uncertain and alone. Without the rain-washed scent of hope, what will guide us home?
In my latest post over on No Unsacred Place, I share the story from Welsh mythology of Mabon, son of Modron, in honor of the coming autumnal equinox. This story was originally published on the former site of Meadowsweet & Myrrh back in 2009. In the comment section of the original post, a reader asked, "I've never understood the connection between this tale and the Equinox. Can you help with that connection?" This was my reply: "In Druidry, the autumnal equinox is not actually called Mabon, but instead goes by the name Alban Elfed/Elued (Welsh, meaning 'Light of the Water/Sea'). ..."
When my partner Jeff Lilly and I were first falling in love, I wrote a story called "Yewberry." Not on purpose. It just sort of happened one afternoon, after I'd been trudging through the ice-and-mud-thawing, bare-limbed woods of late February, my heart thrilling to the stirrings of warm-fuzzy romantic bliss for the first time in a long time. But never mind about that! You want to know about the contest, and how you can enter to win your very own copy of The Scribing Ibis. Don't worry, it's easy: Share your own love story. Keep reading to find out how you can enter and win!
It's finally here! The Scribing Ibis: An Anthology of Pagan Fiction in Honor of Thoth was officially released today, and it's now available in paperback through the Bibliotheca Alexandrina online store. It will also be available soon on Amazon.com and Amazon UK, as well as on Smashwords in a variety of ebook formats. There's more info available on the Bibliotheca Alexandrina website, but you can catch a sneak peek at the blurb and the Table of Contents here. Plus, keep your eyes peeled for the up-coming Meadowsweet Book Give-Away and a chance to win a copy of the anthology for yourself!