Admittedly I’ve not left the house since I got here, but don’t let my indolence fool you! I am ready to rise to the opportunity and sure enough, I will be. Thanks to Cailleach’s Herbarium mentioning it on Facebook, I got on the waitlist and now have ticket in hand to attend ‘The Supernatural in Early Modern Scotland’ this Friday. A workshop at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, it looks to be a fascinating day (see the whole list of speakers here).
So many interests colliding in useful ways! It’s great to have the feeling you’re in the right place at the right time.
And speaking of collisions: the above illustration is of course the lovely Charles Vess. It’s for the last story in Susanna Clarke’s collection The Ladies of Grace Adieu. In my usual way I had hoarded the last few stories last summer, thinking when I read them there would be no more of her writing to read as she has nothing else out at present (yes, that’s how my brain works). I didn’t know the interest I would develop in charcoal burners in the meantime! So it was the first thing I read when I got back here. A delightful tale with saints (including Brigit), Uskglass and of course the titular charcoal burner.
Total collision count: dissertation subjects, two forthcoming conference papers, and the new all-consuming medieval project, Rauf Coilyear. I’m teaching Rauf in the upper division medieval class this fall. I love it when a plan comes together.
Meanwhile I am playing dolls with Miss C and catching up on Black Sails with my sweetie. Life is good.
Henry Meynell Rheam: The Sorceress (1898)
The Scots Language Centre posted a photo this week that gave me a new motto:
This windae is in a leebrary in Aigle (‘Edzell’) in Angus. Caw cannie an flee laich is an auld saw that micht be set in Inglis as “Go carefully and don’t take on too much.” Tak tent that the ‘apologetic apostrophe’ kythes in the spellings here. The spelling laigh shuid be soondit as ‘lay-ch’ (wi the ‘ch’ as in loch).
Photie taen bi Steve Murdoch.
The Proverbs of Scotland give a slightly different version:
And I was struck by a similar note in Jessica Abel’s email today (if you’re not following her posts on making a success of your creative life, you’re missing out) lamenting how easy it is to forget these resolutions:
I keep telling you that taking on too much is a recipe for things not happening, so why do I think I’m immune? I’m coughing my lungs up; I’m clearly not immune to anything. Life has taught me this lesson over and over again. When will I learn?
I am doing better on the whole at not taking on ever-more stuff. I know that seems ironic given yesterday’s announcement, but the way I’m handling that project is the model for how to do things now: clear timelines (giving myself space to finish what I’m working on now), careful collaboration with trusted people (knowing you can count on people is half the battle), not doing everything myself (this is opening the doors for others).
But there are always temptations: the more I delve into Medieval Scots literature and culture, the more intrigues I find, like Nicnevin and the Weird Sisters…
Hey, I’m a guest host over at the #FolkloreThursday twitter account today from 5pm-6:30pm UK/noon-1:30pm US eastern time. I’ll be seeking out stories to share with everyone and asking questions about the lore out there. Join us!
Also, today only you can get the third Hecate Sidlaw adventure for FREE! Hard-Boiled Witch: Charms O’erthrown spins a little yarn about alchemy, an ancient artifact and the wonders of your local library (well, the Dundee Library is kind of special).
Check it out what the reviews say & get a copy here.
And happy birthday to my muse, Peter Cook.
Here’s my bit of urban spookiness called “Fluorescence.” This short story appeared in The Harrow back in July 2008 (appearing now thanks to the Way Back Machine). If you like it, you might want to check out the others in Unquiet Dreams.
Click the picture: today only, get Hard-Boiled Witch 2: Toil and Trouble for free — then pick up the others for just 99¢/99p each. Celebrate #FolkloreThursday by following the hashtag on Twitter or dropping by their Facebook page.
Hecate Sidlaw finds herself caught between a wannabe witch and one of the oldest hereditary powers in the land. When she and her familiar Henry end up as seconds in a magical duel, will anyone be left standing at the end of the shootout? Enter the dark streets and weird magic of HARD-BOILED WITCH and your life will never be quite the same. This is the second episode in the short story series.
The days are just packed! So forgive me if I offer a little repeat: my first two posts for Witches & Pagans as ‘History Witch’ dealt with Anglo-Saxon traditions of magic and healing. Just the thing for the #FolkloreThursday madness.
Check out all my posts at W&P to find out about magical history. Or you could just buy Rook Chant (click image):
This programme aired last month but in the midst of the Brexit madness, it seemed to miss its audience. Folks in the Folk Horror Revival group mentioned it enthusiastically so having caught up with series three of Black Sails we were casting about for a new show and decided to give The Living and The Dead a try. Five of the six episodes in, I’m intrigued and crossing my fingers that they’ll be able to bring it to some kind of satisfying conclusion. Not necessarily that I expect all the answers, but — well, there’s a lot going on.
Great cast of folks familiar and new. It does have a terrific folk horror vibe. The Hallow’s Eve costumes were dead creepy! There are great eerie moments in every episode. I can’t remember when I last had so many moments of genuine hair-raising spookiness! There’s an unexpected element in the late 19th century setting that really intrigues and I’m not sure how it will payoff, but I can’t wait to watch the last episode tonight.
Also? Fantastic soundtrack by The Insects which you can get now. As always, check out all the overlooked gems at Todd’s blog.