I have been struggling with just writing for weeks now.
It’s only partially my fault, though. (No, really!) My laptop is on the fritz, so I’m trying not to overuse it while I work on backing up all my files from my external harddrive so I can re-format it for Macs and back up the laptop so I can take it to the geniuses at the Apple Store so they can look at it…it’s a big process, is the point, so writing has sort of come to a standstill. Writing The Jade Star of Athering, that is. Writing blog posts I can still do on my desktop, and have been doing pretty frequently, actually. (Yay! The Muse is back!)
So I’m trying some techniques to keep the muse turning so that when I can sit down and write, I won’t just end up playing Solitaire for hours on end (metaphorically speaking; my Macs don’t have Solitaire — they do have World of Warcraft and Kingdom of Loathing, however).
Today is May 1st, making it the traditional day for Beltane, a Pagan festival. (Or, okay, well, my traditional day for Beltane.)
In the Neo-Wiccan Wheel of the Year, Beltane is one of eight sabbats (solar festivals; the others are the solstices, equinoxes, Imbolc, Lughnasadh, and Samhain). It is based off older traditions from various parts of Europe and the British Isles, but its modern-day celebrations are a mishmash of these traditions. Like Wicca, today’s Neo-Pagan Beltane is new.
Celebrations of Beltane can include jumping the fire for fertility (of any sort; not just baby-making), dancing around the May-pole (which, yes, is supposed to be a phallus), making lewd motions with ritual implements (or perhaps that’s just me), candy shaped like genitalia, getting married or handfasted for a year and a day, and unbridled coupling in the woods. Or your bedroom; whatevs.
Beltane is also known as the sex holiday, and for good reason.
For me personally, Beltane is sacred to Morrigan, who is so much more than a “goddess of war and death”. She’s the goddess of sovereignty, which is inherently tied up with sexuality and being a warrior. (For more on my take on the Morrigan and many other topics related to paganism, check out my writings under the name Morag Spinner at Innocence and Immanence.)
Also, the sex celebrated at Beltane is, to me, more than just what I do with my boyfriend (though that is quite awesome, don’t get me wrong). If you were to ask me to define “The Force” or the divine source of life pulsing through the universe, I would say “sex”. Sex is what makes us; sex continues the cycle of life. The earth is teeming with the life force, and it’s inherently sexual — if you do energy work, you may know what I mean. There’s a thrill that comes with really great connection during ritual or magic.
What am I doing for Beltane this year?
I’ll be doing a small ritual re-affirming my bond with the Morrigan and re-opening my connection to the land and its life-force. I’ll also be writing, hard at work on The Jade Star of Athering.
If you want to do something to commemorate the day but you’re not sure where to start, you could consider downloading Bellica on the Kindle. Today is the last promo day for Bellica, and it’s full of pretty sexy prose. (Check out my SSFSat snippets if you don’t believe me.) Besides, what better way to celebrate a pagan holiday than by reading some pagan fiction?
If you’ve been waiting for Bellica to come out on other formats, today is your lucky day! My Kindle select period ends tomorrow, and as soon as possible I’ll be releasing Bellica through Smashwords (I’m working on the file right now). I’m also working on the proof from Createspace, so if you prefer a paperback version that will be available this month as well.
This is honestly something I haven’t given a lot of thought. Either the opening scene of a book is interesting enough grip me and I read the rest of the book, or it’s not and I don’t. I don’t rank the opening scenes as “favourites”.
A few books’ opening scenes that stand out are Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop, The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk, and an as-of-yet unpublished work the name of which I can’t remember by Kara Smith, an old friend of mine from high school. It was science fiction — Wiccans in space, basically, except way better than that phrase would lead you to believe. I need to find my copy back and reread it — Kara is an excellent storyteller, and the work is unfinished (well, the copy I have is), so it’s really the biggest clit-tease in the world to read the story over and over again. I should try and look up Kara again. Haven’t spoken to her in ages.
I digress. Aside from those opening scenes, I don’t know. Like I said, it either grips me or it doesn’t, and beyond that I really don’t think about it.