Monday, January 27, 2014

Pixie in Flight

Fingall's Cave, Staffa

Unknown Location - Wall Sitting

Make the Screaming Stop.

            I’ve been reading and rereading the “finished” chapters; that’s all but the last one. Understand that these have been “edited,” commented on, read dozens of times. I’ve made something like 120 changes, corrections, fixing missing punctuation, spelling issues and the like. This is depressing. Considering all the people who’ve read and commented on this, I’m surprised. Marginally.

            It’s looking good. But the last bits seem to be taking an eternity. Part of the problem is related to issues we cannot control. My aunt had some smaller strokes. My writing partner is having trouble with his legs and is in significant pain with them. … And then there is me.

            I usually post about my health in vague ways. People don’t want to know the details. But today I’m going to tell you about this in some more detail. Transient auditory hallucinations are common with my “disorder.” These are called paracusia and can consist of random noises or hearing one’s name. When I was very young, I would ask who called me. In short order I learned that no-one did – That I hadn’t really heard anything through my ears.

            As my damaged brain slowly depixelates, random audible hallucinations have remained a constant. I’m in good company. Hildegard von Bingen, a woman of nearly limitless talent, had similar, even more dramatic experience. She interpreted it religiously, which is not uncommon. My mother’s side of the family claims a familial relationship with St. Hildegard. I distrust medieval genealogies, but it is possible. Rochelle Suri suggested that Hildegard suffered from schizophrenia. This conclusion seems unfounded. I see Hildegard through my own experience. She’s one of many medieval era women supposed to be in my family tree who appear to have had neurological issues.

            Another Catholic saint to whom I’m supposed to be related suffered what he believed were demon attacks. They yelled vulgarities at him, he said. This falls within a rare type of epilepsy. I’ve always found this story interesting. But now I know what he endured. As my health deteriorates, some of these experiences become realities. And in its new form it is frightening. It’s under control for now. A trip to the doctor and a bit of tinkering with my medications has reduced this to a buzz; it’s also left me tired and mentally foggy.

            I feel as if I’m thinking and walking through mush.


            Eventually, I’ll back off on the medication. If St. Hildegard could handle it, so can I. But at the moment, I’m barely able to work. The way these things work is that for every step downward, I take a half step back. So things will get better, but they will not return to where they were.

            I’ve spent time doing those things that alleviate the stress that comes from all of this. I’ve been sorting through a huge box of stamps Uncle B. gave me. Much of this I have, and, after it’s organized, we’ll sell it for our research fund. But I’ve found nice things I didn’t have. I continue to focus on my Germany and Austria albums. There are so many varieties, and I’ve mostly ignored them. But as I find them I put them in my album. During a break from “edits” this morning I sorted an envelope of Bavarian stamps. Most of them found a home in one album or another. Those I have in my Germany album go into my old Scott brown International Albums. The leftovers into the “let’s sell ‘em box.”


            Reading and playing with my collections helps me stay sane and centered. I can’t tell you how very stressed I am. Still, we’re making real progress getting volume 1 of our new book ready for the press.

            I’m tired of reading and rereading it. But each time through, it gets better. I’m pleased with that. I added to the list of people to thank. I should have made a master list as this work progressed. I don’t have a functioning memory anymore.


            It’s cold and foggy today. I think the weather is making me feel worse.


            I sorted through my young adult books. I’ll donate those I no longer need to the school library.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sent by O. Reader

What were Lot's last words to his wife?

Hey honey - is anyone following us...?

From Harry

This is the beginning of a new story, but it continues a story I wrote almost two years ago called “Stalking the Wild Pixie.” It was posted by Rachael on March13, 2012.



Eventually it will be chapter two of a pixie novel. This is just the beginning of the story, but Rachael asked me for a post so here we go. More to come…

The Missing Pixie (working title)


“Wilber”, the shrill voice of his mother filtered down the basement stairs. He put down the controller to his Xbox.

“What Mom?”

“Phone! Some woman asking for you.”

He sat up. A woman? He ran up the stairs to the wall phone his mother was holding.


“Mr. Ericson? This is Beulah Byrum. I need your help.” That name was sort of familiar, but he couldn’t place it. The voice was more familiar. He knew he’d heard it before.

“Ma’am?” He paused a moment and when she didn’t speak he went on. “Do I know you?

The small musical laugh that came through the receiver triggered more memories.

“You were in my store last autumn making some kind of film. I got your number from the release form you had me sign.”

A flood of memories and emotions spilled out. He was shooting footage for his now defunct TV show. It had been a cheap, local cable program, where he pretended to go searching for mysterious creatures. He was searching for pixies in the George Washington National Forest in the mountains of Virginia. Miss Beulah had given him a great interview full of background information. He painfully remembered the terror of falling down the mountainside and breaking his leg. He also remembered the face of the beautiful naked creature that had floated in front of his face before the fall. The dented video camera that had recorded his miraculous healing by the creature sat on a shelf in his basement workroom.

“Yes ma’am. That’s right. I never aired that show. I had an accident that day.”

“I know. ‘Lea told me the story. How is your leg?”

“Lea? Who is Lea? You were the only person I met that day… except for the girl, pixie, whatever I saw.”

“ Katra‘lea is her name and why I am calling. Can you come here? She’s lost. I need your help to find her.”

“Is she real? I mean I have video of her, but I look at it and it still seems like a dream. How did she heal my leg? My leg was broken, broken rally bad. How did she fix it?”

“Yes, she is real and I need your help because you are the only other one to have seen her. Please I can’t explain it all over the phone. Can you come here for a few days at least?”

He thought quickly. His job working as a cable TV installer was on again – off again, and had been slow lately. Plus he wanted to get answers about what had happened months ago.

“Okay. I can be there this evening. I have to pack some stuff.”

“Dress warm dear. We have lots of snow here. I have a spare room for you here at the store.”

Wilber said goodbye and went down to his workroom to pack. Taking the backpack out of the closet he stuffed it with a change of warm clothes. He prepared like it was a camping trip with food, water, a good knife, first aid kit, and his emergency gear. Finally he went to the top shelf of his closet and pulled down a small, locked plastic case. Opening it he removed a small pistol. It was a .380 caliber semiautomatic. He had bought it and gotten a permit to carry it after being robbed on a cable service call two months ago.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

From O. Reader

I'm still sickish ...  More than a little. But we have this from O. Reader

It’s all in the genes...

If longevity, or lack of it, is down to heredity – then I’ve still got a few years left yet!

My father lived to be 95. Had they not given him bad news that caused him to shut down systems immediately, he would probably have made his century. He was a health freak. As a child I remember him doing deep breathing exercises every morning – sort of heavy breathing down the telephone but without the telephone – and he could see me off with press-ups, even though I wasn’t born until he was nearly 50 – wiry character as he was.

He put his longevity down to hiking. The earliest photo I have of him is smirking on the top of some mountain before the Second World War – and I hasten to add, a long time before me. He kept on walking to the end. At the age of 95 he walked 13 miles for charity, and saw off companions who were decades younger. He made the news in his local paper – "Mad pensioner walks a dozen miles and lives" sort of thing, and it was probably the publicity (for someone who had once been on the stage) that kept him going as he did.

My mother is still with us at 94. But her case was entirely different. She may have gained some exercise naturally through religious activities, but trailing behind my father when they were "together" was not her idea of fun. She ate all the wrong foods, while laying down the law to others on the latest diet to cure all ills. Her favourite diet was to eat great huge meals – and then two slimming biscuits afterwards. I did try to point this out, but I don’t know what it is – parents don’t seem to appreciate wisdom from their kids – unless of course it is which button to punch on a computer...

So – where does this leave me? I paid to have a full medical examination on reaching a certain venerable age and then had a dream after it. Yes – my cholesterol levels were such that saturated fats could be my sole diet and I would still thrive. All the bits and pieces were working well. Nothing seemed likely to drop off. I could still hear the doctor and see the pretty nurse. The doctor put away his stethoscope and congratulated me.

I smiled. I smirked. I preened. I hopped, skipped and jumped out of that private hospital reception

...straight under a truck.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Goat-Girl in the Dark Woods

I’m sick and overwhelmed with work. We’re really pushing to finish volume one. It’s coming along nicely, but too slowly. Semester two starts this week. We had open house and parent conferences last night. All went well but I’m increasingly on the edge with my health. Maybe I’ll write something about that in a day or so.

Volume one pleases me. We did good work. I wish we had time to explore the blanks, but it’s already a very detailed exploration of the era.

I’ve written three versions of my introductory essay. None of them satisfy me. If I have quiet time at work, I’ll scribble out another.


            A friend of this blog sent the picture below. I really like it. My “other self” is a creature like this – a forest dweller; less tame than I am in reality. Knobby Knees knows this creature.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

To a Public Radio News Director

Your news service is increasingly irrelevant. The BBC isn't "world class" news. It's cheap, and that's why you rebroadcast it. News from darkest Africa presented by a former colonial power is seldom relevant to an American audience.

It's not relevant to me, nor is it interesting.

When the BBC considers American issues, it's usually misinformed or sneeringly anti-American. The BBC may have snob appeal. It has no news appeal.

The Canadian offal that you rebroadcast is worse. As It Happens consistently selects for interview Americans that reflect the hosts' left wing politics. They are never balanced. I'm tired of having my country sneered at by a country that exists because it has a powerful southern neighbor who has no imperial interest in the drunken, under-educated clowns who live north of the border.

I am not interested in a regular news program about illegals and their descendant children. You have passed from irrelevance to offensiveness. As of today I no longer listen to any of your stations. I won't support you financially. I will encourage my family (who do support you) to stop.


R. M. de Vienne

Monday, January 06, 2014

From O. Reader - A Welsh Joke

They found a man lying unconscious in the streets of Pontypridd and phoned the emergency services.
Ambulance please!
Can you tell us where you are?
Gelliwasted Street...
How do you spell that?
(long silence)
Just wait a minute while I drag him round to Taff Street...