Friday, March 22, 2013

Ghosts: No big deal, to cats.

Ghosts. No big deal to cats. No big deal to some humans. A huge deal to others, even to some ghosts, who do not realize they are one.

Could be some people you meet are ghosts. They aren't necessarily scary. Some look perfectly normal, whatever that means to you. Watch some Asian ghost movies. Broaden your cultural ghost horizons. Ghosts don't all crawl out of TV sets over there, you know? Good stuff.

Could be some dreams of ancestors are beneficial visits from their ghosts, natural as natural can be. Could be some dreams aren't dreams. Could be some even are, whatever that means to you. And please, get over the notion that visits by ghosts must be motivated by revenge on the living, although there are great stories created around that theme. Peter Straub's classic GHOST STORY novel still brings back fond memories, and Algernon Blackwood's ghost stories, too.

Sure, it can sound (or drive you) crazy. Reality is like that. Twist your mind through some quantum physics and special or, if you're up to it, general relativity, then tell me about the insanity of reality.

But when is a ghost not a ghost? What other "thing" can reportedly pass through walls unimpeded and float as if weightless. Sure, naturally occurring astral bodies from sleeping humans, I'll give you that, but how about space aliens? Aha! Exactly! Whatever that means to you.

You see a U.F.O. aka a "flying saucer" in a dream or when you think (?) you are awake. Maybe you "dream" you are abducted by ghost-like aliens from a U.F.O. who step through the walls of your room as if those walls were not there. Or maybe you really are abducted but manipulated to think it was a dream. Don't ask me which. I only write here, whatever that means to me.

For example, last night I awoke from a dream in which I was watching the sky above my long dead grandfather's long vanished farmhouse in south central Kansas. I did not dream I saw a U.F.O., but I was a little worried that I might, because if I did, it might not just whoosh through the sky but stop, hover, and not go away. Was that just a dream or a fragment of a memory? Did I see one that hovered when I was a kid? Hovered and sent someone or thing down to pick me up? Then made me forget, except that I did not forget entirely, and wanted to see the U.F.O. again, because...I've always consciously "wanted" to see a U.F.O., see?

I did backyard astronomy in my youth and then, in college, studied it and did labs at the university's observatory. So, it's not like I haven't spent enough time starring at the night sky and learning about it. But the U.F.O.s have not appeared to me. Or maybe they have and then made me forget. How would I know? Any more than if I had seen a ghost walk by my window at midnight and thought it was just a passing reflection of a car's lights on the street, a car that I remembered only later had made no sound. Or was the car itself the ghost, headed toward a ghostly reenactment of a fatal collision that happened once upon a time but keeps repeating like a tape loop (if you're old enough to remember tape and loops of it).

The one strange stellar phenomenon that I do consciously (?) remember was one time as a pretty young kid (who wasn’t necessarily pretty) I looked out my window in the middle of the night and saw a very bright light sweep over the backyard. For a moment, everything was as bright as noon. Then the darkness returned. And I waited for thunder, thinking it had been a flash of lightning. But no thunder came. All of which sounds like a dream, except that my dad was there.

Something (?) had frightened me in the night and I'd awakened and needed his reassurance that everything was okay (it wasn’t the first time, folks, which may be why I came to write horror stories, that and hiding from Kansas tornados in spider-haunted storm cellars). So, he had been there with me, and I'd asked him what that bright light was? He had not been looking, of course, so had not seen it. But the point is, we were both awake. Unless I dreamed the whole thing!

I used the event, however, in my novel, I AM FRANKENSTEIN  which makes Frankenstein a manipulated victim of space aliens who use him and his experiments for their own purposes in creating a reincarnated Viking as Frankenstein's Creature, who has more than a little him or itself to say about the situation, of course.

So! What have we learned from these ramblings? Other than that I wrote I AM FRANKENSTEIN to poke fun at the space aliens who frightened me, er, I mean, Frankenstein, as a kid? Probably nothing. Maybe this was all just my version of that great bit Conan O'Brien sometimes does, where Frankenstein wastes a minute of your time. Or maybe these musings sparked memories of dreams or memories "pretending" to be dreams in your own mind. Any thing's possible, I guess. But if you want to know for certain, ask a cat. And if you get answer, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

(The I AM FRANKENSTEIN cover painting is by Richard Newton, who also painted my I AM DRACULA cover.)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

HEL too

To go with my previous blog about Hel and that Goddess' influence on my writing, this post from Seth Lindberg BLOODSONG! VALKYRIES OF HEL --the new Bloodsong novel I am writing, and about the upcoming ebook omnibus release of the original Bloodsong trilogy, with newly revised and expanded text, from Event Horizon: BLOODSONG! HEL X 3

To continue the Norse theme, a grouping of "Bind Runes" comprised of my initials, which together in my design represent the generalized shape of Mjolnir, the sacred magical Hammer of the God Thor. Look for more on  Runes in upcoming blogs.


For my second blog post, here is a drawing I created of the Norse Goddess of the Underworld, Hel. This misunderstood Goddess has been a muse-like, inspirational element in many of my written works, my Bloodsong Trilogy, for example, and my HWA Stoker Award finalist short story in 2007, "The Death Wagon Rolls on By."

The Goddess Hel is described in old Norse lore as being half living, half dead. Also described as half light, half dark, the dark half is usually thought of as the dead half. But in the oldest of Earth's Goddess-oriented cultures, it is believed by some authorities that white was representative of death, being the color of bones. Dark was therefore considered representative of life, being the color of rich earth from which living things grew. So, my portrait of Hel in this drawing shows the living half of her face as black and featureless, in total shadow, and the dead half of Her face as skeletal white and skullish.

Hel's hair I have made serpentine, Medusa-like, as is appropriate for Underworld Goddesses, serpents being an ancient symbol of wisdom and power rooted deep in the Earth. I gave Her another ancient power symbol with the horns upon Her head. An eclipsed Sun (which was also a female power, the Goddess Sunna, in Norse lore) tops it all off, sunlight hidden, momentarily, by the orb of the Moon.

I have been encouraged by many readers to continue my work with Hel and with my Bloodsong warrior woman character. A significant encouragement came from a reader who read Bloodsong's original trilogy (Warrior Witch of Hel, Death Riders of Hel, and Werebeasts of Hel) in their Russian language hardback editions (2002 from Alpha-Kniga). The reader in question, Cornelia Queen, attracted my attention on a facebook page-- Fan Club of the Goddess Hel --where Ms. Queen posted drawings she had done of Hel, from what was, it seemed to me, a totally original viewpoint, concentrating on aspects of Hel's life usually ignored by the myths, such as Hel's childhood with Her mother, the trauma of Her physical appearance, the childhood loneliness of being separated from Her mother (and brothers) by the Gods under Odin's rule, and the loves of Her later life, in particular with Ullr, God of Winter, Who could only be with Her half of the year, returning to the Underworld to be with Hel each Spring (Spring Equinox, when, in Ullr's absence, warmth returns to the surface of the Earth), and leaving Hel each Autumn (Autumn Equinox, when, with Ullr's return, winter comes again to the world of humankind). Here is a link to a poem about Hel and Ullr that Ms. Queen (yes, she is also a poet) posted on the web. I wish I could read it in its original Russian, but it is still extraordinarily effective, in my opinion, in her own English translation. "Hel to Ullr," a poem by Cornelia Queen

I would therefore like to consider my drawing of Hel posted here, in my second blog, as a token of my appreciation to Cornelia Queen's work with Hel in helping me see Hel (and my future work with this enigmatic Norse Goddess) in new and unexpected ways. Here is a link to one of Ms. Queen's Hel-art creations, this one concerning Hel's lover, King Dyggvi, who probably predated Her love with Ullr. Hel and Dyggvi, "Night of Love" by Cornelia Queen  

In my Bloodsong novels, I used an "old saying" that I invented (as far as I know), "Hel Laughs Last." If so, might She not also laugh at the beginning and in the middle? For all I know, She might even take a moment from Her busy schedule caring for the Homeless Dead to grin at a drawing posted in a blog. So! Here's to You, Queen Hel, and here's hoping we can all laugh last at the end!

--original U.S. editions' cover paintings for the Bloodsong Trilogy were by Boris Vallejo.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Alert! Our President mixed SF franchaise references!

I posted the following extremely important entry on facebook this afternoon, and then decided it should also be my first entry on my very first blog. I mean, like, if people refuse to Keep Watching the Skies for Things like they should, at least they should be alerted about this!

 Our President has sorely disillusioned me. Are you sitting down? Got a grip on something solid? Okay.

President Obama mixed SF franchaise references. And nobody seems to care!

He was explaining to the press that he was a president, not an emperor, with reference to not being able to change stuff without the approval of Congress, when he remarked that he could not change minds by using a "Jedi mind-meld."

I waited for someone to call him on this serious SF franchaise mix-up, but no one did.

What's the world coming to? The Leader of the Free World thought mind-melds were done by the Jedi?

Not only were those not the Droids he was looking for, they weren't the Vulcans, either.

I am crushed. All my hopes for the future are dashed. But I'll be okay. Don't worry. I'll pretend to be a Klingon piloting an X-Wing wearing a Serenity Red Shirt while humming a John Williams Star Trek theme. That'll do the trick. And dream of Ripley offing another Terminator.