Finding Hope(punk) in Dark Days…

Some of you may not know what it is like to try and keep several PreK-K kids quiet in a tiny bathroom while someone is rattling a classroom door knob to see if you locked it properly.

I do.

Continue reading

What I Love…

Tree-Key-Beads

I began this blog just over nine years ago, around my 37th solar return. As I complete my second year of being 44 years old, I am contemplative of the rune jēra: what is my harvest, and what I want to plant next, in this, my 46th solar return?

More to come… soon… promise…

@9:24AM

5/7/21

:: sigh ::

Another year older to celebrate tomorrow.

Already received my first gift.

A lovely “mermaid’s purse” bracelet.

Who am I?

Really.

I don’t know anymore.

I know what I am, who I am, to others.

I don’t know who I am to myself.

Or who I want to be.

Maybe I should begin with what I love.

I love books.

I love keys.

I love Story.

I love nature.

I love the woods.

I love the ocean.

I love geology.

I love astrophotography.

I love inspiration.

I love exploration.

I love parageography.

I love mythology.

I love cryptozoology.

I love botany.

I love natural history.

I love writing.

I love reading.

I love wood.

I love scent.

I love dance.

I love music.

I love wild roses.

I love fruit roses.

I love taste.

I love warmth.

I love Memory.

I love ritual.

I love spirituality.

I love immersive worlds.

I love collections.

I love curating.

I love museums.

I love conservatories.

I love gardens.

I love permaculture.

I love anthropology.

I love costumes.

I love magic.

I love believing in something.

I love innocence.  (I miss innocence.)

I love jewelry.

I love oracle decks.

I love portable art.

I love well-crafted writing instruments.

I love roleplaying.

I love learning.

I love being part of a community who loves reading, writing, collections, learning.

I love being part of a community who loves Story.

I love being part of a community who loves experiences.

:: sigh ::

All of that.

That is a lot of good things to love.

That is a lot of love.

Thinky.

Yes. Today I shall say yes to thinking more and loving more.  Yes!

Things I Know… Senses I Like…

This will be long, but for now, I just wanted to share this little peek inside my soul…

From notes for a creative writing retreat I proposed in May 2008- because I like to model for my participants:

Things I know…

Podiatry
Publishing
Science
Chemistry
Human Biology
Medicine
Children
Pediatrics
Dance
School
College
Communication
Family
Jewelry
Fairy Tales
Fairies
Faery
Mythology
Art
Crafts
Music
Rhythm
Rhyme
Theatre
Nature
Forests
Tennis
Reading
Writing
Teaching
Playing
Romance
Personal Finance
Business
Working
Thinking
Learning
Philosophy

Emotions:

Places:

Been to:
RI
MA
NH
VT
ME
Washington, DC
FL
VA
AZ
Niagara Falls
PA
LAX
New Zealand
CT
US VI
OR
Mexico City

Studied:
Ireland
England
Italy
France

Interests:

Skills:

Tastes I like:

freshly picked wild strawberries and blueberries
warm milk with honey and vanilla
lemon water
wintergreen from a forest path
popsicles made by mom
chicken soup made by grandma
kitchen experiments made by me
childhood candies
candy from the “candy gas station”
cheese with bread, crackers, or warm soup
Italian cream cheese frosting
creamy soups
rice noodles with sweet soy sauce
black bean paste
bacon, whole milk, and real butter
wine and chocolate
white wines and Rieslings from New Zealand
Chartreuse- ancient green waters seeped through moss
single-malt scotch

Sounds I like:

clockwork
gears
a book opening
leafing through pages
wind chimes
tree branches creaking
keys jingling
unlocking a door
opening a door
closing a door
ocean surf
meandering streams
cracking thunder
stones in a bag or palm
blowing air across the lip of a bottle
surf in a seashell
birds singing in the morning

Words I like:

alchemy
catalyst
word
world
grain
ink
enchant
listen
eternity
silence
nature
spark
imagination
create
creativity
imagine
hope
story
tale
faerie
fairy
fern
stone
rivulet
ribbon
paper
crystal
cave
muse
museum
egg
peasant
lore
folk
folklore

Sea- Immersion
Cave- Small view, Protection
Harbor- Anchored
Promontory- Outlook
Island- Central view, 360 and above
Mountain-
Sky-

Spatial vantage points
Paths
Events
Destination

Touches I like:

soft linen
rain on my face
stone walls, bridges, and benches
cool curve of a glass bottle
crackling pile of autumn leaves above and below me
tree bark
wooden houses
old doors
mysterious keys
handful of marbles
caresses by a carefree, non-stressed hand
paper- new, old, doesn’t matter
pen or pencil- like an old friend
weight of a book
shelves full of old tomes
pebbles
velvet and velour
thick down-filled comforter
warm wool quilt
thin sheet in summer

Smells I like:

salt water and sand
baking bread
honey cookies
simmering milk
vanilla beans
mulch
rain in the air
earth after a rain
winter crisp air
spring breezes
sweet mallow
lavender and lemon balm
library books
burning pine branches
sap from a broken branch
freshly shucked corn on the cob
wet stone
damp wine casks

Sights I like:

afternoon sun seeping through branches
moss taking over man-made structures
bagful of ribbon and rickrack pieces
old empty bottles on a window ledge in an attic
well-worn path disappearing into the distance
texture of a nutshell up-close
peering into a hollowed-out walnut shell
a nearly-whole geode capturing the light
smoothed stones stacked by the ocean
insides of a clock- working or not
lush gardens hidden behind walls or mountains
untouched land
touched, but unspoiled land
a candle’s flame through cracked glass
stairs that lead to another floor
a room with multiple doors
an empty room
a room with only a large wooden chest in the far corner
old library cards and card catalogues
a room full of books
a hidden door
a keyhole
ring of keys
an old-fashioned nursery
a make-shift summer bedroom on a vine-covered porch

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Continuing the Story- The Dispersal

 

Boilerplate Preface: As we practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING, I have decided to offer some of my after school creative writing workshop notes, tools, and exercises here for children of all ages.  If you would like to share your stories, you may do so in the comments- or if you have your own blog, you may post it there, but please link back to the post that inspired it, and then share the link to your post in the comments.

This is Part IX in this series.  For parts I – VIII, please see the following:

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Introduction

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – The KeyWords Method

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Character Creation and Backstory

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Clan Visitors- Choices to Make

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Flights of Fancy- Myths and Legends

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Challenges- Missions to Accept

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Leveling Up- New Skills and Talents

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

 

Catling Clans:  Chronicles of Phoenix Clan

The Dispersal…

 

Nearly a year has passed…

Phoenix Clan has grown with new friends, even as some have left, returning to their former Clans, exploring, or generally moving on.

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of new leaves and buds, the cats and kittens of Phoenix Clan huddle for warmth, sharing old stories, telling new ones.

Everyone is waiting.

Continue reading

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

 

Boilerplate Preface: As we practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING, I have decided to offer some of my after school creative writing workshop notes, tools, and exercises here for children of all ages.  If you would like to share your stories, you may do so in the comments- or if you have your own blog, you may post it there, but please link back to the post that inspired it, and then share the link to your post in the comments.

This is Part VIII in this series.  For parts I – VII, IX, please see the following:

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Introduction

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – The KeyWords Method

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Character Creation and Backstory

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Clan Visitors- Choices to Make

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Flights of Fancy- Myths and Legends

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Challenges- Missions to Accept

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Leveling Up- New Skills and Talents

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Continuing the Story- The Dispersal

 

  • Character Creation and Backstory– Character Sheets, Dice, & Cat Imagery
  • Clan Visitors– Choices to Make
  • Flights of Fancy– Myths and Legends
  • Challenges– Missions to Accept
  • Leveling Up– New Skills and Talents
  • Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

Catling Clans: Chronicles of Phoenix Clan

Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

The longest day of the year has arrived.

And with it, the first summer storm.

It arrives suddenly.  First with silent lightning.  Then with brilliant flashes.  It never reaches the camp of Phoenix Clan, but is an astounding show of light and dark, colors and shadows, individual clouds in a brilliant indigo sky.

Just as suddenly, the sky clears.  A brilliant sun shines in the distance as it begins to set.

In the middle of a clearing, where there had been a fire from the Great Storm, something sparkles.

Everyone heads towards it, some cautiously, some racing.

Persephone tells everyone, “These are Firestones.”

She passes one to each member of Phoenix Clan.

“When you take out your Firestone, no matter where you are, always remember- you have a home with Phoenix Clan.  Always.”

Everyone cheers and begins to celebrate as the sun blazes on the horizon.

What do you bring to the celebration- from your old clan, from yourself, from what you wish to see?

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Leveling Up- New Skills and Talents

Boilerplate Preface: As we practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING, I have decided to offer some of my after school creative writing workshop notes, tools, and exercises here for children of all ages.  If you would like to share your stories, you may do so in the comments- or if you have your own blog, you may post it there, but please link back to the post that inspired it, and then share the link to your post in the comments.

This is Part VII in this series.  For parts I – VI, VIII-IX, please see the following:

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Introduction

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – The KeyWords Method

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Character Creation and Backstory

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Clan Visitors- Choices to Make

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Flights of Fancy- Myths and Legends

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Challenges- Missions to Accept

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Continuing the Story- The Dispersal

 

  • Character Creation and Backstory– Character Sheets, Dice, & Cat Imagery
  • Clan Visitors– Choices to Make
  • Flights of Fancy– Myths and Legends
  • Challenges– Missions to Accept
  • Leveling Up– New Skills and Talents
  • Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

Catling Clans: Chronicles of Phoenix Clan

Leveling Up– New Skills and Talents

An older, ragged Elder she-cat appears to you.

Only you.

She asks for your assistance.

There may be an obstacle she needs moved or overcome.

There may be someone who needs help and she cannot.

There may be an errand she needs run for her.

A quest.

A challenge.

She may need herb medicine but she forgets which ones or where to find them.

She may be having dreams that she doesn’t understand.

Can you help her?

What have you learned that could help her?

How have you grown?

What new skills or knacks do you have?

Which do you still need to work on?

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Challenges- Missions to Accept

Boilerplate Preface: As we practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING, I have decided to offer some of my after school creative writing workshop notes, tools, and exercises here for children of all ages.  If you would like to share your stories, you may do so in the comments- or if you have your own blog, you may post it there, but please link back to the post that inspired it, and then share the link to your post in the comments.

This is Part VI in this series.  For parts I – V, VII-IX, please see the following:

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Introduction

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – The KeyWords Method

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Character Creation and Backstory

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Clan Visitors- Choices to Make

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Flights of Fancy- Myths and Legends

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Leveling Up- New Skills and Talents

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Continuing the Story- The Dispersal

 

Catling Clans: Chronicles of Phoenix Clan

  • Character Creation and Backstory– Character Sheets, Dice, & Cat Imagery
  • Clan Visitors– Choices to Make
  • Flights of Fancy– Myths and Legends
  • Challenges– Missions to Accept
  • Leveling Up– New Skills and Talents
  • Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

A wind storm rises.

Members of Phoenix Clan who were out visiting their old clans have been separated on their return trip.

Those who remained at camp took shelter deep in the caverns of the tree, but got lost.

What happened to your cat?

Where did they go?

How did they find their way back?

What did they discover along the way?

What did they find?

What can they bring back?

What can they share?

What did they learn?

 

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Flights of Fancy- Myths and Legends

Boilerplate Preface: As we practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING, I have decided to offer some of my after school creative writing workshop notes, tools, and exercises here for children of all ages.  If you would like to share your stories, you may do so in the comments- or if you have your own blog, you may post it there, but please link back to the post that inspired it, and then share the link to your post in the comments.

This is Part V in this series.  For parts I – IV, VI-IX, please see the following:

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Introduction

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – The KeyWords Method

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Character Creation and Backstory

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Clan Visitors- Choices to Make

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Challenges- Missions to Accept

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Leveling Up- New Skills and Talents

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Continuing the Story- The Dispersal

 

Catling Clans: Chronicles of Phoenix Clan

  • Character Creation and Backstory– Character Sheets, Dice, & Cat Imagery
  • Clan Visitors– Choices to Make
  • Flights of Fancy– Myths and Legends
  • Challenges– Missions to Accept
  • Leveling Up– New Skills and Talents
  • Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

You have heard a story about cats that have wings like birds.

Do you believe they exist?

Do you think they are cats who are friends with birds?

Do you go in search of one?

Do you dream about them?

What would you do if you met one?

Do you have wings?

Do you hide them?

Do others know?

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Clan Visitors- Choices to Make

Boilerplate Preface: As we practice PHYSICAL DISTANCING, I have decided to offer some of my after school creative writing workshop notes, tools, and exercises here for children of all ages.  If you would like to share your stories, you may do so in the comments- or if you have your own blog, you may post it there, but please link back to the post that inspired it, and then share the link to your post in the comments.

This is Part IV in this series.  For parts I – III, V-IX, please see the following:

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Introduction

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – The KeyWords Method

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Character Creation and Backstory

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Flights of Fancy- Myths and Legends

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Challenges- Missions to Accept

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Leveling Up- New Skills and Talents

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

KeyWords Creative Writing: Catling Clans – Continuing the Story- The Dispersal

 

Catling Clans: Chronicles of Phoenix Clan

  • Character Creation and Backstory– Character Sheets, Dice, & Cat Imagery
  • Clan Visitors– Choices to Make
  • Flights of Fancy– Myths and Legends
  • Challenges– Missions to Accept
  • Leveling Up– New Skills and Talents
  • Summer Celebration- Festivals and New Traditions

A clan had a lot of their apprentices disappear during the fire and have come looking for them and found us.

What do you do when you see them?

How do you greet them?

How do they respond to you?

Do you go with them or stay with your new clan?

 

Writing My Own Myth(ic Life) – A Guest Post on Parchment and Quill

I find it interesting that this came to me, the words flowed, at least on this theme (hopefully more!) on this day that many (not all, I know) celebrate Mothers.  I personally celebrate the day before my son’s birthday.  I call it Mahmah’s Day, and I (try to) take it as a day for me, visiting a local botanical garden and a museum of natural history, as I did the day before he was born.  He was “late” and I did not want to be induced, so I tried to relax.  It had been raining for about a month.  It is raining (and snowing) today.  I don’t really celebrate today for myself as it is often around, if not on, my own birth-day.

But today words were born.

And maybe a new part of me and my life is too.

And that is something to celebrate.

Kerrie McNay, May 12, 2019

 

Last year I was asked to write a guest post for my friend H.E. Curtis’s blog, Parchment and Quill, about my experience as a parent and my involvement in the arts with my child.  It took me a few months to find the words, but I began as I do… with a list of KeyWords.  (See below.)

I found myself jotting down the names of mothers and daughters from stories, especially from the pantheon of Greek goddesses and my favorite fairy tales.  I thought of the fun little speech I made at our school’s open house, where I used some of my new circus skills (learned after my own child went to circus camp) to invite parents to join the Parent-Teacher Partnership, especially the importance of balance, and how it’s okay to “drop the ball” when juggling our lives.

In the end, I just let the words flow, writing them down as they came.

I hope you enjoy them, and definitely explore the rest of Parchment and Quill for more inspiring writing!

Guest Blog: Kerrie McNay- Writing My Own Myth(ic Life)

 

 

Parchment and Quill KeyWords