I am pleased to announce that as of this month, my début novel Tiresias has been rereleased in a second edition e-book through a superior publishing service (Draft2Digital).
If you’ve never read Tiresias, I’ve changed a lot from the person I was when I wrote it, but I’m still proud of what the project meant to me and the fact that it became a Lambda Literary Award finalist— so please think about buying a copy. If you’ve already read it, please consider supporting me by linking the book to anyone you know who’s interested in such varied topics as queer/transgender experience, abuse recovery, or T. S. Eliot. You can currently buy the e-book from iBooks, Barnes & Noble/Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Thalia.de, Bol.de, and Angus & Robertson. Here’s a handy link to find it at any of those places. Other services are still pending distribution.
The book is now out of print in physical form, but whenever D2D starts to provide print editions, I intend to re-release in that format as well.
This is both a small update and a very big one.
As of yesterday, I’ve successfully drafted one out of the three narratives in Armes Prydein (which, if I’ve never mentioned before, means “The Prophecy of Britain” in Welsh). This 207,000-word storyline is currently known as “Pair Dadeni,” or “The Cauldron of Rebirth.” Chronologically, it’s first out of the three, and follows both the childhood and adulthood of a plausibly historical reconstruction of King Arthur, at least as he’s typically called.
This Arthur is not actually a king, while the overwhelming majority of characters and events are derived purely from Welsh legend and an academic understanding of what 5th-6th century Britain was like, researched continuously on my part since 2016. You will find a mythic tone here, and plenty of magic as well, but no French-named knights, no Holy Grail; this Arthur is decolonized, or so I’ve tried to make him. Most of my necessary artistic liberties are still grounded as much as possible in real archaeology, real Brittonic kingdoms and their rulers, and more. Meanwhile, however, “Pair Dadeni” should also distinguish itself from typical historical fiction by centering queer love and foraying wildly into some rather postmodern prose.
I’ve wanted to write Arthur since I was nine years old. It’s very important for me to have finally done so. But all that aside, this is still just one strand of a long, long braid. I’ll probably break ground on the second narrative today — in a few days at the latest.
When is the time for poems?
As an experiment, I started writing them every day, or writing a poem for every day, on the autumn equinox. After two months of starting and stopping and starting again, publishing a few here and leaving most private, then I went on a longer pause. Now, with astronomical winter upon us, and my brain feeling like it has endless dark time available and yet very little time at all — I think I’m going to wait on more poems until I can resolve to do them a different way.
Probably starting in May. That’s when I generally take on new things. And then I’ll probably write poems on just the new moon and the full moon. Doing it every day assumed a lot about where my creative energies really lay. Armes Prydein is eating me alive, in a good way, and then I have the capacity to do a few other writing bits and other artistic bits that I was already doing; beyond that, I have a lot of Life going on, and my various mental health crises keep cycling round and round due to social isolation, pandemic time dilation, and physical ailments. The latter involve things like an iron deficiency, a pending tooth extraction, and Mystery Issues.
If I weren’t writing anything else right now, it would be the time to try poems, but as it stands, it’s become rather clear to me that poems are not what my brain wants to be doing. And as far as the Mystery Issues go, it’s really important that I not overextend myself for the next few months.
Goodbye for now, poetry. Let’s meet again when the time is better. I’m glad I at least tried again; it had been too long, before, and I’m proud of the poems I wrote, including the ones I didn’t share.
By some reckonings, winter is still a few weeks away. By other reckonings, winter just began the other day. By other reckonings, winter started just over a month ago.
Well, whatever the season, it’s overquoted but the fact remains winter is coming, even as the thing we really ought to fear nowadays is summer.
As I start to hibernate and hunker down, entering the darkest and broodingest times, on the one hand I feel the urge to use these months for relaxing, but on the other hand I feel the call of ordeal. I’m making progress with addressing some deep-seated sources of anxiety and pain, and I want to try even harder. There are also various current stressors I can’t just push aside; I have to face them, deal with them daily.
And then there is Armes Prydein, which has now surpassed 137,000 words. Between now and the end of January, my goal is to reach the 1/3 complete mark. I think it’s possible, but that’s some more hard work to start.
There is a lot of work ahead. A lot.
Once I wrote about the rain—
A November night when rain was past
& I was very young or less than half
The age I then became
In those days I had to find pain or invent it
I knew a little but I was safe
From the long pain
The winnowing & worrying & whittling pain
Cutting every last moment
Down to splintered ice
I was young in that November
& thought nothing real of rain or night
Have we ever stepped out of the greylight?
Always we walk in the glooming-gloaming
Born in dusk & returning to it
Feigning steady farmland in sun
But we hunt at heart & we are roaming
Greylight children with our twilight burdens
Laying down to die beneath the stars we named
To feel less alone
Autumn brims with beings I have never been
& holdings I have never had
Cherish it— I still know how
Memories of what I’ve nearly found:
Here the edge of woodland all aflame
In reds too red & golds too gold,
There the young woman in the flannel
Scarfed & mittened & black hair flowing beneath the cap
Across the field by the woods she walks
Carries coffee to a boy she loves
Sips her own & sits to watch the very last carnival
On the last night before the dark breaks out
I was almost her—
I am always her
I wish that I could be a bear,
Content within my cave,
Fed on fish & lacking care,
Too big to not be brave.
I wish that winter kept me warm,
That I could slumber through it:
A bear that slept through every storm
& never even knew it.
I wish I were our ursine friend,
The better to outlast the end.
Poison in the garden —
Poison grew within the garden
Every herb a poison —
Every plant a thing to mind and tame —
But some too much
& we knew
So we uprooted
Lesson from the green witch to the millions —
Know what makes a balm —
Know what makes a bane —
Make no place for the toxin
If you would be undaunted
Am I rushing & floating
Where is my breathing
The air seek the air
& hide in the lair
Shelter weighs above
Weight of roof & rent
What if we ran away
& hide from the shrinking day
Afraid there will be a knocking
Frost in my blood
Scythe upon my skin