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the storyteller with her pockets full, in between tales on the old road

Dear friends, several moons ago I shared a mental image of Baba Yaga standing in the airport with a wheeled suitcase. I don't recall the exact context, but someone replied saying they'd like to read that story. So I wrote it. 

The book is resting now in quiet for a while, which is a new practice for me. I try to walk in medicinal ways, and right now going slow is what I need. Many people with chronic illnesses speak of spoons, but that metaphor has never quite resonated with me. I think instead in terms of footing it through the wind: slow or dance-like or running or resting: going or not-going while the sky rushes or drifts or pelts down or holds you still. But I can never go anywhere, nor even rest awhile, without something in my pockets. So I've been thinking about the next story. I've been taking out gathered acorns, breaking them open, to find the charms inside. One is a stolen moon. One is a secret in a house full of strange and beautiful stories. One is a woman walking her grandmother home along sacred paths using a map of flower, sunrise, stone, memory. One is a moonbear weeping in the night. I don't know which of them I'll eventually write. I've been speaking with story itself (writing early pages, seeing if tale-voice matches my voice). I've been asking people what they'd most like. We'll see, we'll see. The part before writing is always the hardest part.

photograph by eduard i. militaru


  1. oh, i am sad for the moonbear, though all i know of him/her is this weeping in the night...

    i like the sound of the woman walking her grandmother home. i like all the acorn-contents, really...

    "spoons" never worked for me as a metaphor, either. i use it, because it's what others understand, but it doesn't resonate for me. your analogy of walking through wind makes some sense to me. i often think of it (the pain and weariness of chronic illness) as feeling as though i have been wrapped in faery webs, that i push against and feebly try to bat away/extricate myself from in order to move and do things. little faery fuckers, obviously not very well-intentioned. goblins or such, with pointy noses and pinchy fingers and swathes of rain-coloured webbing to immure me in... webs which of course are invisible to everyone else, so they wonder at the lying about, and the fatigue, and the forgetfulness. all they see is a great lazy lump of a woman, who does a thing and then rests; who limps like an ancient thing when she gets up again, and forgets why she came into a room...

    bloody-minded goblins!

    1. I have ambivalent feelings about the moonbear, he is shall we say an interesting character ;-) I am so sorry for your pain and fatigue, you described it vividly, I wish for some wonderful cure for you. One of the saddest things about chronic illness is how people don't see or believe it. Even if they believe your diagnosis (which can be a difficulty in itself for some) and even if they accept you have those symptoms, they can't seem to wrap their heads around it. It's like people who have money, even a little bit, can't understand why some people aren't able to meet them for tea in a cafe or even go to the park with them, they just can't comprehend poverty. Or white people not being able to comprehend the black experience. Or neurotypical people not being able to comprehend depression. Sometimes I think its not that humankind lacks a willingness for empathy but an actual ability to bend their brains that way.

  2. Always, these seemingly small, quiet posts of yours hold so much - so many ideas and emotions.

    And Moonbears...and the time before writing being the hardest (ohyes).

    Also, I've honestly never heard, despite my own chronic illness(es) of the "spoon" metaphor. I have no idea to what you refer...I've probably missed something very obvious, but there you go!

    As for people not seeing it or believing chronic illness - despite a diagnosis...this year I encountered someone who suffers from chronic illness who didn't believe that I do. I apparently "look ok", so it can't be very real or serious. So its a funny thing, hey?
    But to me, empathy rests in imagination, and those with little imagination often lack the empathy that is built not only from direct experience, but from another world of feeling. xx

    1. I love the idea that empathy rests in imagination, that is so true. The spoons metaphor is where you have only a certain number of spoonfuls of energy per day (or none - you'll hear people say "this is a no-spoons day"). I don't know what's wrong with me, I just can't get my brain to accept it. Maybe it's my anti-trendy shield working too well, lol. Spoonfuls of energy are just too outside my body, you know?

      Yeah, the moonbear is probably going to get his tale told. And sung. And dredged out of old, threadbare poems from a place that doesn't exist. :-)


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