Monday, 8 January 2018

Review: Imajica by Clive Barker

ImajicaImajica by Clive Barker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Of all the books which have ever spoken to me, this one shot straight up among my absolute favourites. Deliciously transgressive in the ideas it conveys, this story has profound things to say about sex, love, gender, death, gods and magic. In exquisite language, the book alternated between raising the hairs on my back, making me cry out of joy, depriving me of breath in anticipation, and tugging at my heart in anguish, throughout its entirety of 800+ pages. Revelation is not too strong a word to describe my experience reading this.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Scotland




Happy new year from Scotland! I'm having a pretty excellent time. There is change and hope and sacredness up on the horizon. Here's to surviving another one.

Love and adventure,
Winterdragon

Friday, 29 December 2017

Quoth 2017

I've no desire to sum up the year for all to see this time around. Instead I've dug through my collection of quotes, and leave you with a sample of them which more or less cryptically sums up my life this year. All the books quoted are well worth reading, for the record. Happy new year, bitches!

January
Real magic can never be made by offering up someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back. The true witches know that.
— Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn)

February
"Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."
- Kurt Vonnegut

March
Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.
— Neal Stephenson (Anathem)

April
Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” 
— Leonardo da Vinci

May
It hadn't been a good day; sanity was a distant memory.
— Terry Pratchett (Pyramids)

June
Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn't sure he can accomplish. It can be running a mile, or a 10K race, or 100 miles. It can be changing a career, losing 5 pounds, or telling someone you love her (or him).” 
― Scott Jurek (Eat and Run)

July
The right use of knowledge is fulfilment.
— Ursula K. LeGuin (Four Ways to Forgiveness)

August
Moderation? It's mediocrity, fear, and confusion in disguise. It's the devil's reasonable deception. It's the wobbling compromise that makes no one happy. Moderation is for the bland, the apologetic, for the fence sitters of the world afraid to take a stand. It's for those afraid to laugh or cry, for those afraid to live or die.
— Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior)

September
"I don't know that I ever wanted greatness, on its own. It seems rather like wanting to be an engineer, rather than wanting to design something - or wanting to be a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip."
- Roger Zelazny (Prince of Chaos)

October
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven
— John Milton (Paradise Lost)

November
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
— Ambrose Redmoon

December
Let it come, at last, and bring an end to the tyranny of hope.
— Clive Barker (Weaveworld)

Love and time,
Winterdragon

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Sacred music



“We LOVE chorale music. Especially if it's pagan!”

My neck hurts, my throat is sore, and my head is pounding. But I'll be damned if I'm not brimming with joy and life.

What a concert. So much energy. And seeing a violinist, a harpist and a hurdy-gurdy player headbang in unison is a rather majestic sight.

To think that I have ears and eyes and legs enough to experience such music. If that's not bliss I don't know what is.

Sometimes I am the happiest dragon in the world.

Love and music,
Winterdragon

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The flood


Things are under water which should not be under water. Beings are dead who should not be dead. Thoughts are in my head which should not be in my head. The flood is deep and muddy. The current is strong, and the water is awfully icy.

But who's to decide what should be and what shouldn't? My sense of right and wrong is very strong, but I might be wrong. Once upon a time the desert canyons on Mars were rivers. And the path which is now a lake used to be the bottom of a sea.

Things change. That's the one thing to which we can truly cling. One day this too shall pass, but for now the bridges are still standing. Not everything will be swept away by this flood, and one of these days the entire lake might freeze over.

Life isn't fair, things just happen, and sometimes the heart is so heavy it seems to desire melding with the Earth's core. But music, and the power of creation, makes it a little easier to carry.

Love and water,
Winterdragon

Monday, 20 November 2017

Celebrating transgender day of remembrance


I'm sitting here celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance by eating cake. This is a day where we're supposed to remember and honor all those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence, so this might seem a touch morbid. But yes, I'm fucking celebrating.

I'm celebrating that I am transgender (words which accurately describe me, arranged from general to specific: genderqueer, non-binary, agender), and that I am still alive. This is a triumph! A huge success.

So cheers to all my transgender friends for making it through another day! Our existence is worth celebrating. Because despite the state the world is in, we have to do our best to live with hope in our hearts. 

Despite the fact that there are people out there who want to see us dead for no better reason than that we exist. Despite the fact that some of these people might know our address.

Despite the standard waiting-time for medical help to transition is being measured in years, and that some are denied entirely.

Despite the fact that our existence is constantly denied. Despite the fact that children are raised into thinking there is something wrong with them, that teenagers are thrown out by their parents, that grown-ups are abandoned by their significant others. Despite the fact that we're outlawed in many countries.

Despite the fact that many of us have no reasonable alternative to spending our whole lives in the closet, hiding our hearts behind identities forced upon us.

Despite the fact that most of us are to some degree suicidal.

Despite all this, I mean it with all my heart when I say that things really do get better. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not for each single individual. But in the grand scheme of things, and for us transgenders as a people (we're millions), it serves a purpose to live with the conviction that a brighter future is ahead.

We will turn things around, because we're not alone. There is support and understanding to be found in other transgenders, and we have allies.

Want to be a good ally? Want to be a force in the world to counteract the hate which is literally killing us in the streets? Here's a bunch of things you can do.

  • Educate yourself. Read up on transgender terminology and facts. Start with Wikipedia rather than pestering transgender friends/acquaintances/strangers.
  • If you have a transgender friend or family member, join an organisation for allies. Offer to escort your friend to the pride parade or queer happening of the week/month/year.
  • Realise that words have power. Do your best at using people's preferred pronouns and names. Practice goes a long way.
  • Stand up for your transgender friends so they won't have to spend all their energy defending their identities. Correct other people using the wrong pronouns, join demonstrations, argue against people saying stupid or offensive things.

I will end this day lighting a candle for all those unfortunates who have already been lost. To the violence of others, and not least to suicide.

Then I'll finish my cake, and go to sleep in the hope of a brighter tomorrow. Thank you, transgender friends out in the open. Your courage is inspiration. Thank you, transgender friends still in the closet, for making it through another day. Your existence takes a very special kind of courage. And lastly, thank you cis-gendered friends who through your actions prove yourselves allies. Your taking a stand is a matter of life and death.

Love and power,
Winterdragon

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

In your mind, in the world

At this time, when the night is embracing the day ever more tightly, 
I'd just like to say to whoever might be reading this: 
yes 
Yes, there is room in the world for you 
and it is unbelievable how enough you are. 
Look up: the stars are smiling at you. 
Look down: the Earth is there to support you. 
Look around: there are people who give a shit about something.
Look inside: your heart is still working
despite all it's been through.
The air is ripe with possibility
and there will be time enough to sleep.
So go somewhere
in your mind, in the world
and keep on telling your stories.



I wonder if I'm allowed
just ever to be

Love and a feeling of going,
Winterdragon

Thursday, 9 November 2017

See all the love that's in me

6701 words. I'm behind, but not hopelessly so. With some discipline and an effort, I can slay the beast of procrastination and do this thing. I'm still recovering from a cold and one hell of a party last week, so I guess it's no wonder I haven't managed to keep my wordcount up. Not that I'm complaining in any way. I love my job and I experienced such marvellously deep connections to people this past weekend that my soul is positively thriving. There is hope and love will conquer fear and there is such an abundant joy within me that I'm surprised sunlight isn't seeping out through the pores of my skin. And on top of it all, it's november, and a smell of winter is in the air. So if you're feeling a sting of melancholia at the season, I guess that must be because I'm hoarding the delight. I'll likely give it back when spring rolls around, but right now life is fucking grand.


You've got so much to say 
say what you mean 
mean what you think 
and think anything
why not?

Love and joy,
Winterdragon

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

NaNoWriMo—so we meet again

And so the madness begins. 1669 words, and off I go. That's a decent start. NaNoWriMo, that's what I'm talking about. An international competition where you challenge yourself to write a 50000-word novel in 30 days. The November insanity which has had me writing a trilogy of fantasy books. This year there are no freaking studies in the way oh my gods what an unbelievable relief and I am free to begin an entirely new story. So I'm writing erotica! Not exactly for the first time, but certainly at novel-length for the first time. Queer erotica, because let's be honest, who isn't fed up with the ever-present heterosexuality?



So yeah, that's gonna be my life for the next month or so. Feel free to join me in the writing madness, and please understand my prioritising words above socialising. Not dead, just writing. Who else is joining this year? Let's write until our fingers bleed!

Love and writing,
Winterdragon

Thursday, 26 October 2017

The deafening noise my heart makes

It's as if you're pulling your fingers through the darkness within me
with all your words and your voice and all of that art
and the desire
to burn all my bridges, to sail all my ships
to completely surrender in the face of the deafening noise
my heart makes whenever I'm around you
and I'd like to run out
to scream at the stars, to cry at the moon
to damn the sun for setting without taking me with it
this shortage of breath, these tears burning
so secretly behind my eyelids
are they symptoms of hope
or a prayer (don't leave me here alone)
wasn't love supposed to taste like freedom?


Far worse to be Love's lover than the lover that Love has scorned


Love,
Winterdragon