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Penguins and Tea Cups

Stylized image of a penguin standing on a still partially curled square of sod that is resting on a stack of tea cups. There is one tea cup beside the penguin on top of the sod.

Stylized image of a penguin standing on a still partially curled square of sod that is resting on a stack of tea cups. There is one tea cup beside the penguin on top of the sod.

This is a humorous piece I wrote several years ago and I think it is about time I shared it on this blog.

I had a strange dream last night, really strange for me because it didn’t have a proper plot and most of my dreams have a plot. A bunch of birds were creating nests in the yard of the home I used to live in with my mother. My mother just sold her house, so I guess it has been in my thoughts lately.

Anyway, there was a whole flock of these birds making nests everywhere on the ground. They were packed in like sea birds nesting on a small island, all competing for space and I knew that as time went on there would be fewer and fewer nests as the winners forced the others to leave. Knowing what lies in the future is pretty typical for my dreams, as if my dreams are books that I’m rereading.

The strangest part of the dream was the surreal imagery. The birds were all making nests out rolls of sod and collections of china. Each bird had a collection of perfect, unblemished tea cups with matching saucers stuffed underneath their sod blankets. While the ones which had been kicked out waddled away with their belongings, which were tumbled haphazardly into wheeled plastic bins with large stiff rectangular handles that the birds pushed against, like little horses pulling carriages.

But the birds were still leaving stacks and stacks of china behind, littered on the ground and in heaps in the flower beds and I was following after them and their grey rolling bins with my hands full of the perfect tea cups on matching saucers telling those birds that they had to take it all with them. They couldn’t just leave the tea cups because I had no where to put them.

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The Mythcreants podcast image is a stylized white crescent moon inside concentric rings of dark blue and purple that get darker father out.

The Mythcreants podcast image is a stylized white crescent moon inside concentric rings of dark blue and purple that get darker father out.

This is my third time as a guest host on The Mythcreants Podcast and Episode 107 is all about stories that implement social justice messages (or fail to).

“We’ve all got our social justice axes to grind, and as we are joined by Fay for a third week, this is the time to get them out. We discuss several episodes of Star Trek that tried for a positive message but shot themselves in the foot, how Dragonlance needs to understand that racism isn’t just for goblins and orcs, and some basic ways to separate ableism from positive depictions of disability. But somehow, most impressively, we don’t spend the entire episode raving about Zootopia!”

Check it out!

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The Mythcreants podcast image is a stylized white crescent moon inside concentric rings of dark blue and purple that get darker father out.

The Mythcreants podcast image is a stylized white crescent moon inside concentric rings of dark blue and purple that get darker father out.

So excited to be guest hosting on the Mythcreants podcast for the second time! This is a 30 min episode that is a lively three person discussion. Please check it out!

“Once upon a time, Fay once again joined Oren and Chris, this time to discuss fairy tales. The first question on our minds: what is a fairy tale, exactly? Is it any story with fairies in it? Does it need to have a happy ending? We also talk about when a fairy tale transitions into a normal fantasy story, the morals fairy tales are famous for, and why people complain about eagles in Lord of the Rings but not the Hobbit. You’d better listen, or else your kingdom will fall under some kind of unrealistic but very ironic curse.”

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The Mythcreants podcast image is a stylized white crescent moon inside concentric rings of dark blue and purple that get darker father out.

The Mythcreants podcast image is a stylized white crescent moon inside concentric rings of dark blue and purple that get darker father out.

So excited to be guest hosting on the Mythcreants podcast! It’s 30 min episode that is a lively three person discussion. Please check it out!

“Another week brings us a brand new guest host, Fay Onyx of Writing Alchemy. With Fay on board, we discuss how to draw inspiration from roleplaying characters, so you won’t have to let that treasured PC go after the final session. We discuss the benefits of channeling RPG characters into your work, as well as pitfalls to avoid. We hear all about Fay’s RPG inspired system for quickly generating side characters. And of course,  we look at existing novels where the author has done this very thing, just to see how it all turns out. Listen in, and you too can transfer protagonists from character sheet to page.”

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I’m super excited to be releasing the first podcast of my new series!

We return to intersectional fairy tales as hesitant art activist Lector Josue Morales joins Fay for the start of The Wishing Dildo Series in which Prince Hart and Tala embark on their quest for The Wishing Dildo and meet a surprising new companion. The following discussion focuses on the representation of disability in speculative fiction and the difference between using a disabled character to tell an able-bodied story and having a character that represents the experiences of disabled people.

The Wishing Dildo Part 1: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that is true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on a quest for it. As they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

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A web of rope-like fibers twirl and twist together to form a close up picture of a person’s face. Their skin is a medium brown, their features are somewhat feminine, and their eyes are closed. This is intended to be suggestive of both the complexity of experience and of perception.

A web of rope-like fibers twirl and twist together to form a close up picture of a person’s face. Their skin is a medium brown, their features are somewhat feminine, and their eyes are closed. This is intended to be suggestive of both the complexity of experience and of perception.

I’m super excited to announce that after a long delay caused by a nasty virus that Writing Alchemy Podcast Episode 13 is finally up!

This interlude episode is all about intersections, with a focus on fatness, disability, gender, and queer identity. Guest Kristina Gibbs-Ruby reads a powerful spoken word piece about bullying and fatphobia while Fay reads hir popular article, “Why Having Conditional Privilege Is Not the Same as Simply Being Privileged,” which delves into the complexity of invisible identities, privilege, oppression, gatekeeping, and the struggle to be recognized as real through hir personal experiences.

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This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

I’m very excited to announce that Part 1 of “The Wishing Dildo” is complete and ready for you to enjoy!

Summary: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that is true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on a quest for it. As they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

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Why We Need Fairy Tales

The image is intended to be symbolic of the magic of fairy tales. An old book and old bell sit on a rough wooden surface. Perched on the book is a yellow and brown butterfly and perched on the bell is a brown and white butterfly.

The image is intended to be symbolic of the magic of fairy tales. An old book and old bell sit on a rough wooden surface. Perched on the book is a yellow and brown butterfly and perched on the bell is a brown and white butterfly.

As a person with high anxiety, I have long loved fairy tales. So I guess it is not so surprising that I started writing them. In college I analyzed fairy tale symbolism in women’s studies classes, but once I was writing my very own intersectional feminist fairy tales, I needed to think about fairy tales and their many, many layers in a whole new way.

In the USA fairy tales have been largely discounted as a form of literature. They are considered children’s stories and thus are treated as less deep and meaningful. In addition, fairy tales are often romances, another genre that is looked down on as less meaningful. And yet, fairy tales are rich with symbolism and meaning. All of the things about fairy tales that on the surface seem simple, like their formulaic structure and happy endings, actually can serve to create a container for the exploration of intense topics like death, abuse, and injustice. And, as I learned from writing them, their symbolism can contain endless layers.

Well, not too long ago, I was listening to the podcast Why Are People Into That? and I suddenly asked myself, “What is it about fairy tales that appeals to me?” and “Why do I write fairy tales?” Then a rush of thoughts about all of the unique things fairy tales have to offer came pouring out.

So here it is. My list of the things that fairy tales do which make them amazing works of literature and why I find them so compelling:

 

  • Happy endings: Many fairy tales contain a promise of justice and happiness at the end. This is something that I love because we live in a complex, uncertain world, and the kind of certainty that fairy tales offer is reassuring. That in itself is valuable, but the happy ending plays another role in the story; it creates the feeling of safety that is necessary for many readers to be willing to dive into intense themes such as violence and abuse.
  • Deep symbolism: This is such a rich area that I will give just a few examples. Deliberately murderous family members can be symbolic of toxic family dynamics that threaten to harm the essence of who we are. The monster who takes off their animal skin to turn back into a human reminds us all that the most important parts of who we are lie under the surface. And love’s magic power to break curses shows us the power of love to help us all heal and connect to each other. This wealth of symbolism is also a big responsibility for writers, because, as is clear from many historical fairy tales, this potent symbolism can also reinforce sexist, racist, ableist, and anti-Semitic messages if we aren’t careful.

Continue Reading »

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I have just posted a preview of Part 1 of “Tala, Prince Hart, and the Wishing Dildo” for all of you to enjoy!

This story is being edited right now and the final version will be up in late December with the podcasts of this story due to begin in mid-January of 2017.

Summary: It is said that the Wishing Dildo can grant any wish relating to sexuality or fertility, as long as that wish is consensual. Prince Hart sure hopes that’s true as he and his friend, trickster Tala, embark on their quest for it. And, as they travel, they soon discover that sometimes the greatest adventure is the people you meet along the way.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

This image is meant to capture the feeling of an exciting adventure. A road traverses a rocky, mountainous landscape that is dramatically lit by the setting sun.

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I’m happy to announce my 12th episode of Writing Alchemy. I’ve been podcasting for over a year now! This is my first interlude episode and I’m excited to bring you the work of another intersectional writer while I work on finishing “The Wishing Dildo” which is planned for publication and podcasting early 2017.

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In this romance-themed interlude episode, Yolanda Wallace reads from her contemporary lesbian romance 21 Questions, in which Kenya Davis meets bartender Simone Bailey for the first time. Then we delve into themes, representation, and inspiration in Yolanda’s writing.

21 Questions: Kenya Davis’s ability to find the perfect employee is unparalleled. Her ability to find the perfect mate? Not so much. After she takes a chance on speed dating, she finds herself with not one but two chances to find true love. But with her spotty romantic track record, how can she be sure which woman is Miss Right and which is only Miss Right Now?

Simone Bailey works as a bartender at one of the hottest nightclubs in South Beach, has more female attention than she knows what to do with, and spends her spare time following her musical ambitions. Then she meets Kenya Davis. After her initial attempt to charm her way into Kenya’s heart fails, she resolves to reach her ultimate destination one question at a time.

Listen now!

 

[Image description: Black and white side on view of a large old book with pages bent up to form a heart.]

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