Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

What Witches Know

June 6, 2009

Photo and Story © 2009 http://www.psychscribe.com

 

wintertresmm

 

 

WHAT WITCHES KNOW 

by

Psychscribe

 

     My grandmother, just before they burned her, said this to my mother: the only difference between them and us is they don’t know they have it.  She gestured with her chin at  the bonneted, jostling women, who far out numbered the men in the seething crowd around the stake. Her own unbound hair snapped in the wind as they lit her.

     Afterwards my mother fled to this secret, wooded place that welcomes our kind.  The curse they call a power spills like gentle sunlight upon the bears  and other wild things that feed from our hands. The beasts of the forest are kin to us.

     I had no father.  She grew me, all on her own she liked to say. I never asked her for the truth.  I knew he’d met the same terrible fate as all the others, the ones who came after. 

     We never knew how they found her here.  They would just appear between the trees, squinting and searching, as if sucked from the great open spaces by a hungry wind.  Raking her fingers through that thick, viney hair, she would sigh so deeply you could feel the cottage tremble.  I trembled too.  For them and for her.  Go away, she would whisper.  Not again, I would pray. 

     The gods did not answer. The men did not hear.

     She tried to warn them.  I’ll hurt you, she’d cry.  Leave while you can.  They never believed her.  Princes and farmers, hunters and noblemen, even the friar thought he could save her.  They never said from what.

     Save yourself! she would shriek.  They only chased her more.

     She looked safe enough. Layers of violet gauze robes hung from a tall, fragile frame, concealing tiny breasts and skin so pale it seemed as if she might vanish at any moment.  They must have thought they were chasing a fairy.  How could they know what she was?

     What they hunted, hell-bent, was their own annihilation.   They would forget to eat and drink, or wash, or even sleep, and laugh in delight when she called it to their attention.  See what you do to me, crooned the hunter to his prey.   See what you do. 

     And each would whisper his dream of wholeness and nothingness, the dream we’ve been hearing since time began, the one that sends them from their churches and wives’ beds and into our damnation.

     Did she love them?  Almost, always almost, she once said.  But as soon as I can smell the fear in them the feeling is replaced by something else, something I can’t name. 

     Sooner or later she would grow tired from the hunt.  How long can you run from water when your throat is parched?  But she never succumbed, not at once anyway.  Breathless and laughing, she would toss the suitor her robes and the promise of tomorrow, disappearing into the cottage and bolting the door.

     Witch! they would shout at her naked, fleeing form, angry yet smiling in a way I did not understand.  Burn her! Burn her! the wives left behind cried out in their dreams. 

     In the morning, still naked, she would unbolt the door and open it wide, her dark hair coiling and writhing, lifting toward the sun.  I could feel her heat from where I lay in my small bed.  She would not close her eyes when she made what they called love . They liked that at first ( ah… spirit! ) arched triumphantly over her like bows and staring into the depths of what they fancied to be their souls.  They always got to the point, of course, where they needed to close their eyes on what they saw. But by then it was too late.

 

     We keep a little piece of them.  Not because we are evil but because it is our nature.  What we take are their shadows, their dark, howling secrets.  If you’ve ever seen a squirrel skinned alive then you know what it is like.   

     They live through it.  They go home to their wives, their hearths and their children.  But a man without his shadow is never sure he’s really there.  He looks at the ground and sees nothing beneath his feet.

 

     The witch hunts come cyclically, just like the seasons.  We know it is time long before we hear the pounding of hooves, the blood-thirsty cries.

     The man who led the hunt for my mother was probably the most enamored of all her lovers.  And the most tormented.  He brought his wife, a small, plain  woman with flat brown eyes.  She’d known, of course.  They always know.  He’d offered her first torch when they found the witch.

     There must have been forty men.  You could smell the lust in the air when they stripped her.  I sure would like a taste of this one before we cook her, one of them said as he grabbed at her breast.

     Don’t touch her! I’ll kill the lot of you! screamed my mother’s lover, aiming his musket at all of them. The wife paled at his outburst.  She swayed on her feet like a sapling in a winter wind. My mother reached out a hand to steady her.

     A look passed between witch and wife that can hardly be described.. It flickered brighter than the torchlight in the air between them, a fusion of forces human shaped and witch radiant, so brilliant, so strong, that the men had to turn their faces from it. 

     She passed her torch to my mother, then gently wrapped her cloak around my mother’s bare shoulders.  Piece by piece she flung the rest of her garments at the men, laughing and spinning herself into the frenzy that is older than time.

     The men dared not say a word.  The husband could not.

     Embracing the stake like a lover, she wrapped her naked arms and legs around it as my mother lit the pyre.  Not a hand was lifted to stop it. 

     Afterwards he carried my mother home, belly down on his horse.  He married her and got his shadow back.  It was said, for a time, that he’d never looked better.  My mother, of course, died the death the wife had chosen for her.  It was slow, and a terrible thing to see.  First they bound her hair, then they put bonnets on her, and in time when he looked into her eyes he saw nothing.  Nothing at all.

     A witch without her magic is like a man without his shadow: useless both of them, and damned anyway.

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What Witches Know ~ An Original Fable

April 24, 2009

 

WHAT WITCHES KNOW 

by

Psychscribe

© 2009 http://www.psychscribe.com

 

     My grandmother, just before they burned her, said this to my mother: the only difference between them and us is they don’t know they have it.  She gestured with her chin at  the bonneted, jostling women, who far out numbered the men in the seething crowd around the stake. Her own unbound hair snapped in the wind as they lit her.

     Afterwards my mother fled to this secret, wooded place that welcomes our kind.  The curse they call a power spills like gentle sunlight upon the bears  and other wild things that feed from our hands. The beasts of the forest are kin to us.

     I had no father.  She grew me, all on her own she liked to say. I never asked her for the truth.  I knew he’d met the same terrible fate as all the others, the ones who came after. 

     We never knew how they found her here.  They would just appear between the trees, squinting and searching, as if sucked from the great open spaces by a hungry wind.  Raking her fingers through that thick, viney hair, she would sigh so deeply you could feel the cottage tremble.  I trembled too.  For them and for her.  Go away, she would whisper.  Not again, I would pray. 

     The gods did not answer. The men did not hear.

     She tried to warn them.  I’ll hurt you, she’d cry.  Leave while you can.  They never believed her.  Princes and farmers, hunters and noblemen, even the friar thought he could save her.  They never said from what.

     Save yourself! she would shriek.  They only chased her more.

     She looked safe enough. Layers of violet gauze robes hung from a tall, fragile frame, concealing tiny breasts and skin so pale it seemed as if she might vanish at any moment.  They must have thought they were chasing a fairy.  How could they know what she was?

     What they hunted, hell-bent, was their own annihilation.   They would forget to eat and drink, or wash, or even sleep, and laugh in delight when she called it to their attention.  See what you do to me, crooned the hunter to his prey.   See what you do. 

     And each would whisper his dream of wholeness and nothingness, the dream we’ve been hearing since time began, the one that sends them from their churches and wives’ beds and into our damnation.

     Did she love them?  Almost, always almost, she once said.  But as soon as I can smell the fear in them the feeling is replaced by something else, something I can’t name. 

     Sooner or later she would grow tired from the hunt.  How long can you run from water when your throat is parched?  But she never succumbed, not at once anyway.  Breathless and laughing, she would toss the suitor her robes and the promise of tomorrow, disappearing into the cottage and bolting the door.

     Witch! they would shout at her naked, fleeing form, angry yet smiling in a way I did not understand.  Burn her! Burn her! the wives left behind cried out in their dreams. 

     In the morning, still naked, she would unbolt the door and open it wide, her dark hair coiling and writhing, lifting toward the sun.  I could feel her heat from where I lay in my small bed.  She would not close her eyes when she made what they called love . They liked that at first ( ah… spirit! ) arched triumphantly over her like bows and staring into the depths of what they fancied to be their souls.  They always got to the point, of course, where they needed to close their eyes on what they saw. But by then it was too late.

 

     We keep a little piece of them.  Not because we are evil but because it is our nature.  What we take are their shadows, their dark, howling secrets.  If you’ve ever seen a squirrel skinned alive then you know what it is like.   

     They live through it.  They go home to their wives, their hearths and their children.  But a man without his shadow is never sure he’s really there.  He looks at the ground and sees nothing beneath his feet.

 

     The witch hunts come cyclically, just like the seasons.  We know it is time long before we hear the pounding of hooves, the blood-thirsty cries.

     The man who led the hunt for my mother was probably the most enamored of all her lovers.  And the most tormented.  He brought his wife, a small, plain  woman with flat brown eyes.  She’d known, of course.  They always know.  He’d offered her first torch when they found the witch.

     There must have been forty men.  You could smell the lust in the air when they stripped her.  I sure would like a taste of this one before we cook her, one of them said as he grabbed at her breast.

     Don’t touch her! I’ll kill the lot of you! screamed my mother’s lover, aiming his musket at all of them. The wife paled at his outburst.  She swayed on her feet like a sapling in a winter wind. My mother reached out a hand to steady her.

     A look passed between witch and wife that can hardly be described.. It flickered brighter than the torchlight in the air between them, a fusion of forces human shaped and witch radiant, so brilliant, so strong, that the men had to turn their faces from it. 

     She passed her torch to my mother, then gently wrapped her cloak around my mother’s bare shoulders.  Piece by piece she flung the rest of her garments at the men, laughing and spinning herself into the frenzy that is older than time.

     The men dared not say a word.  The husband could not.

     Embracing the stake like a lover, she wrapped her naked arms and legs around it as my mother lit the pyre.  Not a hand was lifted to stop it. 

     Afterwards he carried my mother home, belly down on his horse.  He married her and got his shadow back.  It was said, for a time, that he’d never looked better.  My mother, of course, died the death the wife had chosen for her.  It was slow, and a terrible thing to see.  First they bound her hair, then they put bonnets on her, and in time when he looked into her eyes he saw nothing.  Nothing at all.

     A witch without her magic is like a man without his shadow: useless both of them, and damned anyway.

Cool New Blog in the ‘Sphere

February 11, 2009

 

 

I would like to introduce the brand new blog of my friend Viv:  Zen and the Art of  Tightrope Walking.

She’s a  wise and witty writer, a wicked poet, and a sincere and cool soul searcher. Check it out!

Art,Writers,Photos,Musicians

February 2, 2009

 

cafe-crem

I really must break the best kept “secret” on the web. If you have any creative spark, juice, electricity – professional or just yearnings, please do check out Cafe Crem. This is an online, international  cafe of the kindest, most wonderful people who encourage all efforts at all stages of artistic development.

The sense of generous, artistic community is truly a gift.  It was created, and continues to be developed by Miki, an awesome artist, and Kev, her partner, an awesome musician and writer.  Miki is French, Kevin is English, and they both live together in Spain.

There are different “rooms” in the cafe depending on your interest.  There is the recently opened “Cafe Literati”( for the writers)  the “Cafe L’Arte”  (the Art  Gallery)  “Ca’ Puccini”(the Music Studio) and “The Mini Bar”( for teens and kids). 

I love it there. Hope you will too.

Writer’s Block? Why?

December 28, 2008

concrete_block1I’ve been laying on my bed with my laptop for the last 20 minutes, which have felt like an hour..I want to write a post today, but my mind keeps going blank..I tried to write yesterday but the same thing happened. Part of it, I guess, is I keep wanting to doze…a lupus flare, of course, after the holiday fun/chaos at our house this year…everything I think of writing about seems too much…too heavy…or I keep editing it before anything ever gets written..so i’m just going to do stream of consciousness and see what happens…

My mother… 78 years old…for once I enjoyed her, felt the bond, it was as it should be all the time, wish it could be so, too much bad history, too much inner conflict for me…the kids, with their whole lives ahead of them, most of mine behind me, one newly married, the other newly engaged, the next generation getting ready to take center stage in our family life…well good, I hope somebody gets a bigger house because ours was too small to hold everyone comfortably this year, i remember when my parents did it all, way back when…and all of us young adults went to their house for the most wonderful Christmas Eve…my dad cooking the linguini with clams, and then the lobster tails, the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner…afterwards the extravagant exchange of presents,  each of us opening one at a time, my father reserving the right to open all of his last, then he died of cancer at age 52, diagnosed and told on his last Christmas Eve, a tragedy i cannot write about even 25 years later, but i do, i must, because how can i not wonder how different our lives would all be now, my mother over the years became a recluse, my son would have been in business with him, making lots of money,  rather than struggling to keep his head above water now…oh my, the head is falling forward again, the need to doze so apparent to me now for what it is, a block to painful feelings still locked away, to things i don’t want to think about…

And so I’ll stop writing now, because I don’t want to think about my dad anymore,  because it hurts, and I miss him so…

Is this what all writer’s block is about? A block to exactly what  needs to be thought about, felt, written about? 

We are all writers here. What do you think?

Psychscribe Quote #23

March 16, 2008

“I can always be distracted by love, but eventually I get horny for my creativity.” Gilda Radner

The Prodigal Daughter

March 13, 2008

The Prodigal Daughter

Thanks to a class offered by a

soft spoken South American professor

who preaches the gospel of creativity

I am whole again.

Seeking the power of steel beams and girders

I had tossed my Muse (my dearest friend) into the sea.

I needed muscle

not watercolor dreams leading nowhere.

I learned to weld and solder

to read blueprints and gauge distances

to hammer and sweat in the sun

until mine was as big as his.

I forgot how to cry.

Finally one say in class (for three credits)

I walked alone across the bridge that

I had built with my own two hands and

found my Muse waiting there

like an indulgent mother

for me to call her name.

Now words and colors and images

leap and dance before my eyes

and I paint golden wildflowers on my bridge

and I sing purple poems

and my tears fall freely now

because I have come home again,

transformed.

It is indeed a form of prayer.

 

by Pyschscribe copyright 2008

Finally a helpful book on constructing the novel

February 29, 2008

So far I can’t recommend enough the Writers Digest book “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook”. Its goal, though not stated as such, is to provide texture to your fiction. It already has  helped me to think of my protagonist in ways I hadn’t thought of before, by asking excellent questions and “making” me do exercises around these questions. I don’t have any affiliate status or anything else, just want to help other writers here. Take a look!

Blogging Addiction?

February 29, 2008

Ok, I am truly serious about this one. Does anyone else struggle with blogging when they’d rather be doing, or should be doing,  something else? Like right now for instance. I’ve decided to start a novel (I bought about 5 how to books but the bottom line is you have to start writing, duh!). I’ve had a neat plot idea for years but never stuck with it. 

 Now, since blogging, my love of writing has re-surfaced with a vengeance and my creative ideas are spilling all over the place and I’m thinking why not? To get a novel published is a lifelong dream of mine. Plus many of the short things I write on here could easily be made into full articles for a magazine. But I cannot start my day without checking in on my baby here…and feeding her some words for the day! Though as I think about it, the stats and comments are very rewarding, and I am also proud of my baby…oh well…off I go to my how to books (its the structure of the novel that has always gotten me down before…I get an idea but I don’t know where to go with it).

Anyway, it is one of the few goals in life I have not attained, other than a Ph.D – which will never happen due to the time and cost involved at my age, as well as my health issues.  But honestly, if I had to pick, I would rather have a book published than a doctorate. Wish me luck, friends! Off I go, then…

You get what you want when you GO for it

February 17, 2008

I just read that John Grisham had his first novel rejected 15 times before he had it published. Last year he made 9 million dollars….so why am I sitting her blogging when I should be going for MY dream of writing a book? Actually, I have published articles, but that was years ago. I recently bought all the how to books again, and they say you should query with recently published clips. Yeah,, right, I think my last one was 15-20 years ago! But this has inspired me to get my butt moving. Ciao everyone! Enjoy your day!

Book Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

February 12, 2008

I don’t have time right now to do a nice review, though book reviews are my intention as this blog grows and flowers…But I do love reading novels, and thought I would start with The Memory Keepker’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.  Its about a doctor who delivers his own twins, a boy and a girl, during a housebound snowstorm.  When he sees that the girl has Down’s syndrome, he asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution (his own defining moment)….unbeknownst to his wife. Instead, the nurse disappears to an unknown city and raises the child as her own.  I found it to be psychologically gripping and so  memorable that when the book ended I kept wanting to find out how the characters were doing for days afterward!

Do bloggers ever get “discovered” for creative professional work?

February 3, 2008

Writing was my first love. Its true. Before my first kiss at age 12 ( a yucky, sloppy, uckky one!) I was writing poetry and short stories. As time went on, I had a few small successes….an essay in the NY Times, an essay in a now defunct magazine called NJ Woman, an essay in another now defunct magazine called The Monroe Monthly…and poems in various small literary journals  as well as an online one.  Then I stopped, because franky the rejections got really tedious…and so I got into my education and career as a shrink, which I do indeed have a passion for.

But the creative urge never left me. I taught myself decoupage and truly enjoy the process, similar to writing, I just sort of float off into another dimension, find myself humming as I work, and consider it to be a passion….actually I don’t endeavor to do anything in my life which is not a passion – my lover, my career, my work, my hobbies….

But still….this blog as re-awakened my passion for writing. I love it, even if I only write small blurbs. I love that I can find old stuff I wrote 25 years ago and finally publish it!  

I love that I can get reactions to my work – its not just flung blindly out into the universe landing in a never to be read slush pile somewhere. Though I have to say that the rejection letters I got were rarely form letters…they were personal and explained exactly why the piece wasn’t right for them…

Anyway, as my title here asks, has anyone ever gotten “discovered” by a publisher who read their blog?

To My Adult Son Who Revealed He Writes Poetry

January 5, 2008

Its a secret language.

Only some can understand it,

a chosen few can speak it.

You must be initiated:

a bloody ritual of human sacrifice

and tormenting joy  that could not last.

Therefore the agony.

Like a prophet you are given the excruciating

vision          you scream and rage against it

but it is done to you      and when it is

finished you must write your poems

or you will die.

We’re marked but its invisible.

We walk alone       always alone

and if we are lucky we  recognize each other

along the way and  share      for a moment     

 the kinship of survival.

And so I greet you now,

you of my body and of my blood,

you        my first poem

and whisper this:

we are cursed but we are blessed.

You will be alright.

I can’t say more       they don’t allow it.

Each one must find it for himself.

So though I would stab my own heart with your pain

if I could        to spare you,

I rejoice in learning that

you too have grown wings

and fly closer      each day,

toward the gods.

Copyright Psychscribe 2008

My Visit to the Hereafter

December 29, 2007

Last night, in a dream, I saw my father again. This is not to say I dreamed of him, which I do quite frequently. Usually I dream that he is still alive, his features no longer blurred by time. I can see the fine white childhood scar etched into his forehead, the square chiseled planes of his face, the brown hairs on the knuckles of his strong, beautiful hands. There is no action in this type of dream. It is more like a silent close up, a still shot, causing me to feel guilty when I awaken because I had forgotten these details.

Sometimes he does not know me in my dreams. I run into him on a crowded city street and greet him joyfully, but he tells me there must be some mistake and coldly leaves me. Or else I dream dark dirty dreams of his ghastly dead body, filled with worms and wet decay, and I awaken sobbing, convulsed with horror.  

But in the dream last night I went to him, to a crimson gold meadow where sickness and dying have never existed, where the trees are lush and plentiful, and the sunlight clearer than any I have ever seen on this earth. He was not the mature father I remember but a bouyant young man, and I was a child, and he lifted me up in the warm fresh breeze, and we knew that we had been separated for a very long time. We cried with joy together, and when I awakened, the tears still streaming from my eyes, I could still smell that sweet green air, and I knew that I had not just dreamed of him but spent a time with him outside of time, in the place where dreams are made.