All work and no play makes Jack something something

I am currently working on five books, which I hope to have available by early spring. First is the poetry book, continuing my Nykteliad Cycle and incorporating some of the experiences and insights I had after the surgery. Next is a polytheist hymnal with prayers for members of the Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian pantheons. I’ve got two Starry Bear books in the works, the first focusing primarily on Dionysos’ travels through the Northlands and the second branching out to cover other divinities. And finally I’m compiling a bunch of my philosophical and political writings from Heart of the Labyrinth and Satyr’s Mouth (which have been long out of print) with a dozen or so new pieces that will only be available via this volume.

I’ll post the commissioned poetry here as it comes, which will hopefully be soon as I’m starting to get stirrings.

Update: 12-3-2022

I’m happy to say that I was released from the facility in time to participate in my household’s observance of Sunwait: Week Four. Recovery is a slow and at times frustrating process, but I’m adjusting and settling in and so overjoyed to be back home, among the people, things and cat that I so dearly love. I’m eager to get started on the poems y’all commissioned though it may take me a couple days to get my creative juices flowing again, and I owe a bunch of people emails which I’ll get to as I’m able. (I hate how much I’m struggling with relatively simple things, and absolutely loathe depending on others even if they’re happy to lend a hand, which has made this a humbling and edifying experience.) Hope y’all are doing well and I’ll talk at you later. 

There’s no Bacchanalia like a Ukrainian Bacchanalia

I’ve been writing about Dionysos’ adventures in Ukraine (and the Black Sea region more broadly) since 2013 e.v. or so. As it turns out I’m not the only one who recognizes an affinity between the two, as Reuters reported a couple days ago:

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova […] compared the “Kyiv regime” to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine whose name is often associated in Russian with immoral mayhem, chaos and revelry.

Not strictly true as anyone familiar with the Symbolist movement in Russia can attest, but it made me smile anyway.

Regarding recent actions taken by Volodymyr Zelensky & Co. the spokeswoman added:

“This is just some kind of total godless Bacchanalia. There is no justification or explanation for this. And there cannot be,” Zakharova said on Sputnik radio. “This is another part of the absolutely immoral and wild actions of the Kyiv regime.”

Is that Mike Oldfield I hear?

I was too exhausted, frustrated and weary to provide an accurate description of what this place is like in my last post, but Galina has done a superb job here; she also shares a beautiful encounter she had on her way out this morning which alone is worth the read. 

for those who celebrate

Well, they finally moved me to the rehabilitation center. Once they get my antibiotics and medications sorted out we can begin the process of recuperation and physical therapy that I’m here for the next 3 weeks or so for. This place is better than the trauma center in some respects, and worse in others. Scratch that. This place is worse in every possible way. I don’t really have it in me for a big update, but I wanted to keep y’all in the loop. Happy start of Sunwait, for those who celebrate. 

an update, of sorts. mostly just complaining.

Yeah, I’m still here getting pumped full of every antibiotic known to man or virus. The trauma center is massive, and the nurses massively overworked, which means that everything is a fight, a waiting game, or usually both – compounded by the fact that all major decisions have to be cleared by consensus of the surgical team. What this really means is that every answer I’m given contradicts what I was told just ten minutes before by someone else, this mythical consesus is never achieved and I’m stuck lying here in pain because you wouldn’t want to give a guy with a broken spine and amputed toe sufficient pain meds even though he has a fucking prescription for them from his regular doc or have him work out with a physical therapist or anything like that which might actually, you know, help relieve some of that pain. The nursing staff are mostly wonderful, and a couple of the docs are too – the problem is the bureaucrats and the American medical system in general. Theoretically I’m going to get out of here one of these days, and either be released into the wild (without having received any physical therapy so I’ll probably just limp along until a gaggle of gophers or an angry coon takes me out) or transferred to a rehabilitation facility (who are all complaining about the expense of my antibiotics, which they don’t normally carry, and thus are refusing to accept me. Next week the hospital is going to shop my application around again with a lesser antibiotic, because sepsis is totally something you haggle over.) I’m sure everything’s gonna work out ok. I’m just getting a little frustrated by the less than ideal circumstances here. But hey, life’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it, so I’m trying to take it all in stride, keep a cheery demeanor with the nurses and learn spiritually edifying lessons when I can. (There’s a lot worse going on, but I’m gonna save it for the book because it’s too grotesque and surreal to be communicated as anything other than poetry. Seriously. You want an example? My neighbor’s a chronic masturbator under constant supervision. Every 10 minutes or so a robot voice will come on telling him to “stop it” and “put it down” or something to that effect. When he refuses, one of the nurses comes rushing in, at which point he regales them with increasingly obscene and blasphemous stories. And the cycle begins again. This has been happening for days now – Jesus, just let the guy rub one out already; so what if his heart explodes or whatever bullshit reason they have for refusing him – yet is not even close to the worst thing that has happened while I’ve been here.) 

I’m not about excluding anyone

It’s very difficult to get the kind of writing I want for this book done in the hospital, so I’ve mostly been brainstorming, jotting down notes, and looking forward to getting out of here so I can do this project justice (I.e. get super baked and write like a wild man.) However I’ve been spending a lot of time praying and to aid my efforts I put together a collection of hymns and poetry honoring primarily Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Norse divinities. At first this was just going to be for my own use while here but then I realized that it would compliment Thunderstruck with Wine and Hymns and Prayers of a Polytheist Household (which I co-wrote with my wife Galina) nicely. Although it already comes in at a hefty hundred and one pieces there’s plenty of room for more – and so I’m expanding the sponsorship program. If you’d like to see someone from one of those pantheons included Paypal me ( $20 and I’ll write something for them. If they’re from outside those pantheons shoot me an email and let’s talk. I’m not about excluding anyone – divine or otherwise – but I just happen to be more familiar with these cultures and their Gods and Spirits. 

More Puscifer!

I’ve been a huge Maynard James Keenan fan since Sober (which I recall seeing on 120 Minutes or Headbanger’s Ball; I forget which, but that’s where I used to catch all the cool new music.) Although I’ve mostly been into Tool and A Perfect Circle (and a handful of his songs celebrating Arizona and its land-spirits) while recovering in the hospital I’ve taken a deep dive into the Pusciverse … and I like it. Maynard describes Puscifer as “simply a playground for the various voices in my head, […] a space with no clear or discernible goals, […] where my Id, Ego, and Anima all come together to exchange cookie recipes.” But see for yourself. Here’s a collection of the band’s more spirit-work type songs. Here’s some wonderful surrealism (including an epic about luchadores – in one video a group of them battle a Trump kaiju and that’s not even the weirdest of the bunch) and here’s a random collection of some of my favorite Puscifer songs, which I’ve been listening to pretty much non-stop since waking up after surgery (which means there’s probably going to be a lot of Pusciferan influence on the book.) The only reason it’s “pretty much” is that I’ve also been checking out some older Maynard interviews, such as this one on the secret to staying relevant as an artist over decades, this one on how he built his 120+ acre vineyard empire, or this one where he somehow manages not to kill Guy Fieri or Sammy Hagar (and dude’s a master at jiu jitsu and several other martial arts, so he could do it too.) The answer to all of these: hard work, which he considers a sacred thing. As we all should. 

Grave reminders 

Tonight I’m going to begin working on the book inspired by my experiences; material for this will also be part of the fund-raiser. For $25 (PayPalled to you can choose 4 words or themes which I’ll fit into a poem for you. For another $10 I’ll include your name as an acrostic.

the music of the angels

Fun fact: this was not the original soundtrack for the movie. That honor goes to Coil. Apparently Clive wasn’t able to complete the movie at budget. The studio liked what he had, however, and gave him what he needed to finish (mostly the ending special effects, and the scene where the guardian chases Kristy through the Labyrinth, both of which are notably of a lesser quality than the rest of the film.) However in return for the cash they wanted two things: to dub the British actors with American accents, and a different, less creepy score. Both this and the Coil are awesome in my opinion.

there and back again

So, what are you doing for Halloween?

I decided to cut one of my toes off for the Spirits.

But I’m sure your thing is pretty cool too.

I’m only half kidding.

Shortly after my last post – around the time of my birthday – I got sick, and then got sicker. My toe swelled up, turned a deep wine red, and started to stink really bad; on top of that I was bed-ridden for about a week and came down with a terrible fever I couldn’t just sleep off like normal.

When we asked my podiatrist about the toe and sent him a pic he insisted I go to the emergency room ASAP, I did, and they proceeded to say, “holy fuck, what is that thing?” and then sawed it off.

That was a couple days ago, and I’ll be recovering in one of New York’s largest trauma centers over Halloween. (By the way, not something I’d recommend if you are at all spiritually sensitive.)

On the plus side, I’ve had some breakthroughs I hope to translate into a book.

And on the negative side I can’t even imagine what all of this will end up costing.

Here’s hoping that book is a bestseller!

Anyway, be well and have a spooctacular time these next couple days.

And maybe when it’s healed a little more I’ll post a pic.