August 12, 2021

Sleepless August

Sleepless August

I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping this year, which used to happen every year around this time, and hasn't as much lately. When I began this entry, it was 5pm and I was trying to decide between coffee and a nap, and barely keeping my eyes open. As I finish it, it's the next day, 10:30 at night and I'm wide awake. (And then I forgot to hit post.)

I'm making good progress on the list. I finished a novella by Margaret Killjoy last night, titled "The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion". Killjoy is the founder of the Appalachian feminist atmospheric black metal collective called Feminazgul that I mentioned last post. The story was excellent, I thought. Drifters, anarchists and squatters have built themselves a paradise in abandoned Freedom, Iowa... and summoned the spirit of a blood-red stag with three antlers to help keep it the way they want it. Now the stag has changed... or has it? And it's up to Danielle Cain and her newfound friends to try to figure out what to do about it.

I'm watching the Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor, and listening to NoSleep, Creepy, The Ghosts on This Road, and A Scottish Podcast, and I've also watched the movies Synchronic and Lake Mungo. Bly Manor is a take on the Henry James story "The Turn of the Screw", and is delightful creepy, but unfortunately seems like it's heading for a Bury Your Gays ending. NoSleep and Creepy, of course, are venerable podcasts that collect short horror, the former original stuff written for the show, and the latter popular creepypastas. The Ghosts on This Road takes the form of two anonymous paranormal investigators, reporting to each other and their listeners what they're currently looking into. So far, no overarching plot, but I'm only three episodes into a thirteen episode series. A Scottish Podcast is about a man named Lee who wants very badly to start the next big paranormal investigation podcast, and be as famous as The Black Tapes. He ropes his old friend Dougie into helping, and strikes up a bargain to be supported by the biggest gangster in Glasgow. And soforth. It's a lot of fun, a lot of swearing, and an occasional bit of creepy fun.

Synchronic (from the writer and directors of The Endless, which I watched last year) is a strange, meditative, existential horror sort of movie, with an occasional does of what the ever-loving fuck. Anthony Mackie (MCU's Falcon) plays a New Orleans EMT during the popularity of a new designer drug called Synchronic. For older folks, it just fucks with the perception of time... but for younger people, whose pineal glands haven't yet ossified, it can actually cause time travel. Mackie's character turns out to have a rare type of brain tumor... and his partner and best friend's daughter has disappeared while taking Synchronic. The fear of it, though, was the fear of the mundane gone strange.

Lake Mungo I was expecting to start out as a faux-documentary and then turn into a Paranormal Activity sort of thing. It never took that turn, though, and instead remained a quiet film about grief and secrets, with a ghost in. Maybe. I really liked it, but except for one jump scare, there wasn't much fear in it. It seemed appropriate that, while I watched it, I strung a mourning necklace for my cat.

The ritual I mentioned in the last entry as, with its approach wracking my nerves, for the Now Aedes Iani, went very well, and was extremely well-received. I'm very happy with the whole thing.

I'm using rib bones as rhythm instruments for chthonic trancework, in the same style as the spoons I talked about back here. They're just beef ribs I bought at the grocery store and cleaned, and then carved out dents to make them easier to hold and handle. I actually had to do that twice, since I put them in an unwise location the first time, up at the top end. They're quite long, so that makes them heavy and unwieldy. So I carved them again, at the middle.

A beef rib carved with two sets of dents for fingers.

The post header shows how I hold them. They make very satisfying clacking noises that are great for dancing to, and for inducing trance. I'm quite excited about these as a ritual tool now. I'm planning to take up scrimshaw to decorate them. We'll see how that goes.

Rainbow-tasseled dancing spoons.

And while watching Bly Manor, I made rainbow tassels for the antique Anatolian dancing spoons I picked up on sale from Etsy. (There's actually two pairs.) They're held the same way as the bones, or rather vice versa.