When walls between worlds grow thin

Happy May Day and happy Beltane! I’m not sure how it got to be May already, but here we are. I was thinking about the belief that Beltane is one of the times of the year when the walls between the human world and the faerie world grow thin, making it easier to pass from one to the other. I’ve been writing about this in Thief of Destiny, which has all kinds of interesting stuff about the faery realm and magic and my main character’s connection to both of those things.

And for my fellow Washington College alumni, May Day probably brings back memories. The college has a tradition of students running around naked on campus on May Day. Apparently it has its own page in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day_%28Washington_College%29. I feel a bit sad reading that there isn’t as much nakedness as there used to be! There’s also a video of my favorite English professor describing how he inadvertently started the tradition in the 60s (of course it was the 60s!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjjBgtvrQNY

So if you get a hankering to run around naked and read poetry today, here’s a poem to include. I’m pretty sure this was on my May Day list one year. I’ve posted it before, but it’s a favorite.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins
(from The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins)

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,

Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

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Rogue One trailer

Looks like we’re going to have a Star Wars Christmas again this year! (And for years to come…) I’m not sure how many times I’ve watched the trailer for Rogue One–I cannot wait! A friend commented that the new protagonist seems to have some Sydney-like qualities, and I agree, based on the brief glimpses we get of her. I’m very curious about her and her role in the story. I also loved seeing Mon Monthma. Maybe some of our Imperial favorites from A New Hope will make an appearance?

At some point I will have to share my thoughts on The Force Awakens, but needless to say it met and exceeded expectations and reaffirmed my faith in Star Wars.


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Tuesday teaser

Writing on book 2 is progressing! I’m really happy with where the story is taking me now, and feedback from my critique groups has been good. Here’s a brief teaser, with the caveat that it’s still a work in progress and this may not resemble the final version. Enjoy!

Excerpt from Thief of Destiny:

Tam cut a hunk of meat and handed the knife to Sydney. “Can’t believe I’ve spent all these years trying to hide from the faery folk, and this is how I end up, waiting for them to find us.”

“No one said you had to stay.”

He held her gaze a moment. “You said you’ve seen my sister. Until I get some answers, you’re stuck with me.” And with his typical smirk, he added, “As much as it might pain you to be in the company of someone who believes in the Guild.”

She snatched the knife from his hand. “You’re a fool if you think the Guild really cares about people like us.”

“People like us? Whose line is that you’re spouting, the Bastard King’s? You think a few pretty words can change how the nobles have always treated us? Or maybe it’s because you’re one of them yourself.” He gave her a mocking bow. “You are the child of nobility, after all.”

“Edgar lost everything to the Guild,” she said in a low voice, trying to control her anger, lest it draw out the Shadow Folk. “They destroyed his life and they almost destroyed mine, not to mention countless others. The same people they’d promised to support.”

“And the nobles have been oppressing the peasants for generations. Do you really think they’re going to change?”

“The Guild can’t take back what they’ve done.”

“So round and round we go. Nothing will ever change with that thinking. Better to carry on the family tradition of hating the Guild than to do something productive with your life.”

She glared at him. “I have been productive. In ways that don’t involve starting tavern brawls.”

“I admit, it’s a gift to be able to play music that inspires a riot.”

© Cindy Young-Turner

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Flash fiction: Form of a lizard

A couple weeks ago I did another Flash Fiction Challenge at Indies Unlimited. Here’s the prompt and my story follows. Enjoy!

Form of a Lizard

Lizard Man took a deep breath. This was going to be their year. They’d finally win the superhero competition and the grand prize—a fully outfitted secret hideout. All of the A-listers had one. He and Turtle Boy still shared basement space in his parents’ house. It was humiliating.

“I won’t let you down, Turtle Boy.” He transformed and scuttled underneath the door. Once inside, the Crystal was easy to spot. It sat on a lighted dais in the center of the room. Lizard Man did his happy dance. All he needed to do was shrink the crystal with his shrink ray (last year’s fourth place prize), slip back under the door, and then he and Turtle Boy would return to the judging room victorious.

“Let’s see who likes second place this year, Scorpion King!” he shouted, thinking of his arch nemesis who was always faster, smarter, deadlier, and well, had a snazzier costume. “And that goes for you, too, Rat Girl and Super Rabbit! Me and Turtle Boy, we’re moving up this time!”

A sound caught his attention. Was that…? “No, it can’t be! How did you get in here?”

Calico Cat smoothed her whiskers and purred triumphantly. “You’re not the only one who can get into tight spaces. You’re a joke, Lizard Man. And that spandex is so dated.”

Her cat boomerang pinned him to the wall. Maybe we’ll redecorate the basement, Lizard Man thought dejectedly. But next year they’d win for sure.

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Flash fiction challenge: Ain’t Good

This past week I entered the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge, a weekly flash fiction contest. I didn’t win, but it was fun to write. Here’s the writing prompt, and my entry appears below. I’m hoping to do more of these, if inspiration hits me.

Ain’t Good

“Don’t look now, Lenore, but I see fresh meat a’coming.”

Lenore ruffled her feathers and moved to the edge of the branch for a clearer look. Sure enough, two more of the humans in their orange clothes were approaching the tree. “Is it feeding time again, dear?”

Edgar, her mate, cawed to their dozens of children. The large birds flapped their wings and hopped excitedly. “I’d say they’re hungry, all right.”

“One of these days it will be time for them to leave us,” Lenore said. Little had the two ravens known that when they picked this tree for their new home, they’d become foster parents to a nest of abandoned baby vultures. How could she say no to the helpless little ones? At least the humans made it easy to take care of their brood.

“Oh, don’t say that. They’ve got everything they need right here. You know you’d miss them.”

“I suppose you’re right.” Lenore watched with pride as several of their children took flight and began circling the approaching figures.

“If the damned humans hadn’t built that prison over yonder, I don’t know what we’d do,” Edgar added.

“Edgar!” she scolded. “Language, dear.”

He hung his head. “Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.”

But the children had already taken up the cry. “Damned humans! Damned humans!” Within moments, they swooped down on the terrified men, beaks and claws ripping and tearing.

“Our babies,” Lenore said with a proud sigh as she watched them feed.

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