strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

miscellania August 29, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 11:10 am

If you had told me during my hedonistic forays into Parisian gay clubs that the following year my partying would revolve around full moon drum circles replete with sage and pot smoke, I would have said “Cool”, but I wouldn’t have believed you. Still, that’s where I was last night, hanging out on the mesa with hippies with names like Cobra and Three Trees. I like the desert much better at night. There’s a million stars and it smells of juniper trees, and the coyotes in the distance laugh at all the stoned drummers.

But anyway as of tomorrow I am off to visit Aphra for two whole weeks, so unfortunately for you all I will have better things to do than blog. Like hunt down that sci-fi bookstore I found once that I can’t remember the name of (argh why didn’t I keep my Let’s Go guide?)…


random vampire blogging August 27, 2007

Filed under: books,movies,myth — andygrrrl @ 2:28 pm

So I seem to be on an unexpected vampire kick. Currently reading The Historian, which is creeping me the hell out. Because I am a wuss. I have very low tolerance for horror, and yet I love ghost stories and suspense and gothic supernatural shit, so I usually find myself wide awake at 2 AM with all the lights on, because the movie/book I enjoyed during the day has come back to haunt me and every creak and groan the apartment makes as it settles is one of the undead trying to break in and suck out my everlasting soul.

The Historian, while eerie and atmospheric, is also somewhat ridiculously academic too. It’s probably the only horror/thriller where the hero’s response to any crisis (kidnapped professors, rabidly undead librarians) is “Quick! To the archives! Check the card catalogue!” It’s like The Da Vinci Code meets Dracula, but with actual intelligence.

 Once I got good and sucked into the book, I decided it was time I checked out Interview with the Vampire. I’ve never read Ann Rice, but I’d heard it was made into a good movie. So I watched it last night and wow, it’s really kinda gay, isn’t it? Seriously, it’s just a big gay soap opera. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt rolling around sucking on each other, and then Brad practically kisses Antonio Banderas (who wants Brad to be his “companion”, and I don’t think he’s looking for a bridge partner either), and Tom begs Brad to come back to him, and precocious Kirsten Dunst with her two fashion-conscious Daddy figures. I think Interview with the Vampire will join Shaun of the Dead as one of the few movies that can give me the creeps and make me laugh at the same time (yes, Shaun of the Dead did give me the heebie jeebies. I told you I’m a wuss)

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the Sunday Smooch, it’s just that it’s been a little crazy around here lately.


life as the hanged man August 22, 2007

Filed under: holistic medicine,life,the body electric,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 2:46 pm


I’ve been focusing on my breath lately: inhaling slowly, fully, from the stomach. Most of us breathe shallowly, from the chest, which keeps your body in sympathetic mode, the flight-or-fight stress response. Listening to my breath, feeling how it flows through my body, feeling how it affects my mind and spirit.

This whole desert experience is, I’m realizing, about me learning to be embodied fully. Airy-fairy cerebral me has to learn to move, to listen, to ground myself. To breathe, rather than let my mind always spin its wheels endlessly. To keep my feet on the earth even if my head is in the clouds. It’s hard. Being in your body, really knowing it, means dealing with a lot of stuff you thought you’d forgot about, stuff you just want to ignore (the examined life ain’t a walk in the park, that’s for sure). Emotions and memories don’t just evaporate if you ignore them. They hang out in your body, because your body is your mind. You can comprehend intellectually the idea that the body/mind/spirit are all one, that your body is so very much more than a sophisticated biological machine designed to carry around your consciousness. The intellect can grasp that, but knowing it, experiencing it, is something else altogther. Gnosis. It’s intense. It’s supposed to be. The desert is a crucible, in my life.

Having the moon in Scorpio in my natal chart can be a real bitch. I’m learning to accept that as a Libra, balance is the focus of my life. I’m learning that balance is a dance, a dynamic relationship, not stagnation. I’m learning to have emotions, rather than letting emotions have me. I’m taking flower essences and St. John’s Wort to help me out; not to mute or numb emotions, but to give me the ability to see and understand them instead of drown in them. It’s the difference between, “Huh, I’m feeling kind of down today” and “OMIGOD EVERYTHING’S AWFUL WAAAAAAHHH!!!”

 Yoga is a big part of this, and tai chi as well. It’s incredibly freeing to find myself focused on nothing but my body, my breath, and movement. I’m learning to see opportunity instead of obstacles. Yeah, I’m unemployed, and flat broke, what a stroke of luck! Now I can meditate for 30 minutes a day if I want. I can build strength and stamina at the same time that I calm my mind and balance my energies. I’ve learned simplicity. I’m learning gratitude. I’m eliminating the words “ought” and “should” from my vocabulary, as well as their synonyms. I’m trying to practice patience, as I wait for my circumstances to adjust. I’m learning trust, and confidence, and the maturity to distinguish needs from wants. So when I do finish my schooling, and get a job, and start doing all the things I think I need to be doing, that I don’t have the money for at the moment, I’ll be stronger, centered. I feel capable. I’ve never felt capable before.  It’s nice.

Image from The Gaian Tarot


Obligatory Becoming Jane Review August 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:59 pm

Short version: Ugh.

Slightly longer version: Dear Hollywood, Jane Austen is not Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth Bennet was a fictional character that Jane Austen made up, because she was a great writer. Please refer to OED definition of “fiction.” It is not cross-referenced with “autobiography.” Yours Insincerely, Andygrrl.

Extended Version: I think this is compelling evidence for a case that Jane Austen is one of the most abused and willfully misunderstood writers in the English language.  Her works are romance novels much in the same way that Hamlet is a murder mystery. The film-makers are just astounded that a woman could have made art the focus of her life, rather than love and marriage. They seem to view her career as some sort of consolation for losing Tom Lefroy, a kind of wish-fullfillment. I’m not a purist, I never have been, and being a hard-core romantic I would like nothing better than to find out that Austen got a good snogging at least once in her life. But you have to be truthful about who she was as a person and a writer, and the film doesn’t really care about that. What it really wants is Pride and Prejudice II: Revenge of Lady Catharine! This film is not about the woman who wrote,

” I could not sit seriously down to write a serious romance under any other motive than to save my life; and if it were indispensable for me to keep it up and never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I had finished the first chapter.”

And it’s insulting to assume she couldn’t have written her novels without first hand experience (because I’m sure Shakespeare had to kill a few people and dabble in witchcraft before he could write Macbeth). It actually is kind of enjoyable, if you pretend that it’s not about Jane Austen but about a girl who comes from some unknown part of England where they’ve adopted American consonants and inflections (seriously, Anne Hathaway’s dialect coach should be shot) who happens to scribble a bit and thinks eloping to Scotland is a fabulous idea.

I’m starting to really dread when book adaptations are released. It’s just so annoying. The trailers for The Dark is Rising look pretty ominous (for one thing, they’re calling it The Seeker, and for another, they’ve made Will a smart-ass X-box playing American skater punk, which is disheartening to say the least).

But I’m recently in love with Whale Rider, so I’m going to go comfort myself with the director commentary.


The Sunday Smooch August 19, 2007

Filed under: dyke,poetry,Sunday Smooch — andygrrrl @ 1:52 pm

I feel like I need some poetry this week. A little Elsa Gidlow:

For the Goddess Too Well Known

I have robbed the garrulous streets,
Thieved a fair girl from their blight,
I have stolen her for a sacrifice
That I shall make to this night.

I have brought her, laughing,
To my quietly dreaming garden.
For what will be done there
I ask no man pardon.

I brush the rouge from her cheeks,
Clean the black kohl from the rims
Of her eyes; loose her hair;
Uncover the glimmering, shy limbs.

I break wild roses, scatter them over her.
The thorns between us sting like love’s pain.
Her flesh, bitter and salt to my tongue,
I taste with endless kisses and taste again.

At dawn I leave her
Asleep in my wakening garden.
(For what was done there
I ask no man pardon.)


The Sunday Smooch August 12, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 1:13 pm

The “Fuck, Being Unemployed is Stressful” Edition

Everybody has their way of handling stress. My dad drinks, my mom cleans the house obsessively, my brother takes his dogs for a walk. Some people do yoga, some people take an epsom salt bath, others eat chocolate. Some like to chant “OM” or focus on an image that will help put the  mind in a more relaxed, positive state: a field full of wildflowers, a sunset, a calm ocean.

Personally, I find this image induces lots of happy thoughts in my frazzled brain:


Ah. See, I can already feel my nervous system switching to parasympathetic mode.


Feministe guestblogging

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 12:31 pm

Hey folks, remember way back in May when I said I got an invite to guest blog at Feministe?

Well, I said yes, and then some stuff in my life changed, and I realized I can’t do it. For one thing, I don’t feel I’m up to it, and for another, I don’t have the regular internet access I used to.  I sent an email to this effect but it turns out that, for whatever reason, the message never got across. I should have followed up on it, I know, since I never got a response. But anyway this post is to clarify that I can’t guestblog at Feministe this week, for various reasons, including a new class starting tomorrow. I apologize for any confusion and inconvience I’ve caused.

Just another day chez Andygrrrl: Situation Normal–All Fucked Up.