Discover more from that & this
journal — imbolc
On tarot, new beginnings
Today is the midpoint between winter solstice & spring equinox.
By some — a few now; many more, long ago — it’s a day known as Imbolc. Pagans honour(ed) the goddess Brigid, evoked in fertility blessings and overseeing poetry, crafts, and prophecy. (She had two sisters also named Brigid, though it’s speculated they may have actually symbolised different aspects of the same goddess — father, son, holy spirit vibes.) She was born with a flame on her head, drank the milk of a mystical cow from the spirit world, and is credited with the very first keening (from the Irish caoinim, or I wail) — a traditional grieving practice at Irish & Scottish funerals. Legend holds that 12th century nuns in Kildare, Ireland attended to a fire built in Saint Brigid’s name, which burned for 500 years, produced no ash, and only women were allowed to stand by.
To me, it reads like a time of sonorous mourning for the past, the embrace of new beginnings, and a celebration for the unique force of femininity.
I don’t subscribe to any religion.
The practice of segmenting time, though — as a means of raising momentum for getting the things I enjoy done — comes naturally, as does my tendency to not stick with plans if I get bored. basing those segments on the physical nature of the world around us, inspired by the Pagan wheel and the hyper-localisation of Odell’s How to do Nothing the turn of the natural world, and the many gods they worshipped, tells a phenomenal story that I’d love to learn more about. This, and tarot, reminds me of a technique I was taught when illustrating faces: turn what you’re drawing (preferably a photo, rather than a person) upside-down because your eye knows a nose, or thinks it does, so won’t draw it properly. The abstract nature of an upside-down feature makes it unfamiliar and, so, easier to draw without predetermined lines.
You're never gonna give me justice. Never. You can't give me back 34 years.
True crime fodder haunts & gyres & bleeds throughout recorded audio. I generally avoid it like I do Burger King: delicious at the time but nutritionally hollow. Thus, any murderous, ghoulish ear-stories must either be very well-reviewed and / or -produced. Otherwise, it won’t beat my drum.
Quality investigative journalism generally hits the spot — Bone Valley did just that. It satisfied a hunger for proper process, building a case, and making sense of what’s dead — so, even if the resolution isn’t the one you want for all involved, it still feels better. It reminds me of journalling: looking back over dead time and adding sense to things that lack sense.
From the story itself, the central premise I loved was something one Bone Valley host raised in a post-series Q&A: people are not black & white. Someone wrongfully convicted may not be a ’fuzzy bunny’, and ‘monsters are often not who they’re made out to be.’
To those before. To those after. To us now, and to those beyond. Seen or unseen. Here but not here.
Netflix decided to cancel it after the first (pretty average) series. I won’t be mourning, though it’s a shame. Flanagan pointed out, though, that the script was written to flow into subsequent series — yet Netflix did their thing and cancelled. In response, on this Tumblr post, Flanagan outlines what would have happened.
Watch the series, don’t watch it — it’s decent but nothing amazing. Do, however, read that post. It’s a fantastic example (perhaps more so if you’ve seen the first series) of how a storyboard must be decent when the premise of the story, without its production for screen, can still move you while reading.
I finally found permanent work — more on my LinkedIn.
I’m also doing a little more work for the delightful Tamsyn Gill.
My sister is a black hole my sister is a falling tree my sister is the sea.
Most reviews of Daisy Johnson’s Sisters tuck atmospheric into their thoughts. I would agree, though I prefer my atmosphere a little more contextualised by narrative rather than floating away from it. (In short: I adore symbolism but struggle a little if it doesn’t decorate a good story.)
Sisters is a meditation on complicated grief and mental illness. It explores, using the language of horror, the nuances of mourning someone who caused you pain, the disgusted relief that could come with it. It looks at how someone can see a cancerous, dying relationship as something to envy: to have someone who loved you somuch they would use that love to torture you.
Made me think of my aunt Jane, and her relationship with my mum.
I’ve gifted The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (2009 — tr. from Swedish by Rod Bradbury in 2012) to my partner. It’s a fun read — imagine Richard Osman (who must have found some inspiration from the book in his Thursday Murder club series, but more political, globe-trotting, and not as well-written as Osman. What I enjoyed most was its structure: one-hundred years is a long time, and it was an interesting way to write the narrative of a subject, in this case the political landscape from the point of an apolitical, (involuntary) asexual person.
long, full life stories
I’ve watched a lot of new films in the cinema recently, and they’ve all been average at best. (7 — A Man Called Otto, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio / 6 — Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Men, M3GAN, Strange World / 5 — Empire of Light / 2 — Unwelcome.)
Importance, especially in an age of endless barraging of content, to find the ones you can return to and believe in and trust.
Last of Us
Enjoyed the first few and made me miss the narrative, heartfelt game playing experience — if you can’t play, then i watched a playthrough — what games could I give a go?
Saturday 28 January @ 6.35am
The thought of starting this letter raises a familiar feeling — this is going to be difficult, there’s still time, leave it for now. I’d self-set promises last time, unpaired with check-ins or measurements, so I knew I’d be ignoring them as if they were never said like last time. Routine helps me but doesn’t come naturally; I’m not consistent once it does come. It needs to be in my face, and I need to know I’ve thought it through beforehand so that I’m not listening to stupid past Daniel because that guy can’t fool me.
Trello got blitzed finally, finally, sort out my board & work my way through it.
Those goals I floated back in December, though — I accidentally did some of them. I got the new permanent job, even a little freelance work, sorted my board out, and caught up on a bunch of podcasts. A life-biggy, an admin-biggy, and a perfectly-pleasant-time-consuming-biggy. It’s just the same pattern I need to take note of: a consistent misreading of expected time and subsequent planning.
Sunday 29 January @ XX
I’ve tidied the board by the door (photo below — keeps it in front of me), added the bits I’d like to get through for the coming season, updated my chore app.
Between now & Ostara, the spring equinox on 20 March @ 9.24pm (just before I turn 32), I’ll
find and read a book about Ostara.
buy new tarot & playing card decks.
update my season page (& website generally).
write to Analog Sea Review with a hello & pitch.
catch up on: podcasts, Substack writers, Instapaper, and audiobooks.