Friday, September 28, 2012


When there is a Mother below, there is no Daughter beside, and Mother beside mourns her.

People move on with their lives.

They don't forget--of course they don't forget--but the things that consumed their lives take up smaller pieces. We are born to survive, and though that is true of creatures bound by more traditional rules of evolution, it is particularly true of those who are immortal.

Immortals are not known for reproducing regularly. They live, individually and eternally, or they do not exist.

The seasons follow Mother beside's moods. She does not always force this, though she can. Often, it is simply the natural way of things. Often, none but Mother beside could say whether the moods follow her weather, or the weather her moods.

When her daughter is away, she mourns, for she knows her daughter's hurt, and for this is the closest thing to death that Daughter beside is likely to experience.

Yet, still. People move on with their lives. Mother beside is no different in that.

There is winter, and there is snowfall, and these reflect her moods. The weather reflects her emotions. The gods give us names for many things, and concepts for more. Though the word is not named after her, there is a word for Mother beside's happiness in the midst of her mourning.


Friday, September 21, 2012


It's a fairly standard classroom. On a northwest corner, which means it has a splendid view of the main green area and a parking lot, and that the sun gets in everyone's eyes if no one draws the shades in the afternoon.

There's a clock, though it is perpetually frozen at 7:15. I've never been sure if that was 7:15AM or PM, though I wonder every time I go in the room. Chances are good no one knows--it's been stopped long enough to be relegated to, "No one considers telling maintenance" status, and chances are good that there had been no classes between 7 and 7 the day it stopped, so even the first class who saw it stopped probably wouldn't know.

I'm the timekeeper, because I always wear a watch, and because I check it nigh-compulsively, so I might as well be. Classes end ten minutes before the hour, so the church bell that chimes on the hour only tells us when class starts, not when it's finished.

The timekeeper is usually more important than I am, I'm told. Someone has class just after choir, and so we have to end at ten minutes before the hour on the dot, or else they'll be late to math, or biology, or whatever else. This year, no one has class after choir is supposed to end, so the whole affair is rather more casual.

Our director doesn't keep us. Or rather, she doesn't make us stay. Every time, she'll ask, "Do you mind staying a few more minutes?" If someone says yes or has an uncomfortable look, she'll dismiss us. If everyone is just looking around, checking for anyone else to have an issue, we'll sing for a few minutes more--five or ten, twenty once when we had a concert the next week.

In an old room, where the sun shines too brightly in your eyes and the clock hasn't told time more often than twice a day for some years, I have my favorite class.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Between this post and the previous, this blog hit 5,000 views.

Once upon a time, I wrote a story. Well, truly that would be something like several thosandce or millionce upon a time, but I finished this one, which takes it down by a few orders of magnitude.

Specifically, I wrote this story--a mash-up of Stardust and Thor--while on an exceptionally long pair of plane rides and a layover when I should probably have been doing homework. I was flying back from a visit to Oberlin, and now I am beginning school here, and should probably be doing homework. Symmetry!

Below the story are several comments, all of which I appreciated. One word, however, surprised me. The word was, "Gaiman-y". I'm sure the commenter thought that I had been trying to emulate Neil Gaiman's style, as he had written Stardust, and so I took the comment for the compliment it was. I appreciated it beyond that because I admired Neil Gaiman's style. But, since A)  I like to think I have a style of my own, B) Neil Gaiman can change style quite a lot between his books when it strikes his fancy, and C) I had never read Stardust, only seen the movie, the fact that someone thought I had mimicked his style struck me as odd. So, as one does when someone makes a comment I do not understand, I reread the story.

Oh, I thought. It's a fairy tale.

Which, in a way, it wasn't at all. Fairy tales are supposed to come from aural tradition, and have specific rules which I bent and skipped around every which way. But, in another more important way, of course it was. I was taking the stories of my culture, the world I knew, and putting them together in the fairy tale format. The fact that I happened to be adding together a movie based on a series of comic books based on a mythology and a movie based on a fairy-tale-ish book and then pushing those through the oddity that is my mind didn't matter terribly much. Or rather, it did.

Fairy tales are retellings. Even fairy tales like Hans Christian Anderson use the stories we grew up with, the rhythms and patterns we have in the back of our mind that tell us what should happen next. I used the patterns in the readers' minds, and used a few cues to tell them which headcanons I was accepting, and which I was tossing aside. There's no more obvious way to introduce an AU than describing canon and then saying, But that's not this story, and if there was a more obvious way to establish that I was trying to keep their personalities functionally the same, I did not know it. Having reread the story and thought, I reread the comment and smiled.

And that, dear children, is the story of how the most perplexing comment became my favorite.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Persephone, Kore, Prosperina

She was taken, a long while ago, longer ago than any could remember. Her mother found this, and so flew into a rage, or fell into a depression, but the important thing is that her mother was moved to an emotion, and that her mother was the mother whom we may call Mother Nature, Mother Earth, Harvest.

Mother lost her child, lost her to the barren below, and so all above became barren. Unlivable, nearly--not truly unlivable, as you know for we are not all dead, but many died, and many other prayed to Mother and to Father and to anyone above who might listen.

Father above came down to Father below on behalf of Mother beside, and asked Father below to give Mother beside her child.

The child was strong. People forget that sometimes. They take her image and dissolve it into one of tears and suffering and silliness, forget what she did. Sometimes we forget that the ability to endure is a virtue. Or we focus on the fact that she ate six seeds--six seeds of fresh fruit, when she had gone without any food, of above or below or beside, for so much longer than the months that we wait until harvest. She made one mistake, and that was important, but its importance is no reason to forget her strength.

The ferrier, the one who fed Persephone-Kore-Prosperina-Sleeping Beauty-daughter-child the pomegranate seeds, told Father below that she had eaten. Father below was pleased, for eating food of a realm binds one to that realm, and so now the daughter of Mother beside would stay with him.

Father above mediated, and decided that the daughter should remain below for one month for each seed she had eaten, and above for the other six. Half the year she is Daughter beside, and half Mother below.

Half the year she stays happily in her mother's place for her, where she dances in the light, and her mother makes light for her.

Half the year she sits by the one who stole her, and though her mother is moved by emotion, she sits unmoved by anything, and she endures.

(There was one good thing, in Father below's home. A young man came through, who had the power to move her to tears. But that is his tale, and this is hers.)
© 2009-2013 Taylor Hobart