Silver Unicorns short fiction

So over on Twitter is an early (read: pre-editing) release of a short story involving the Silver Unicorns.

Labour Day weekend means extra Silver Unicorns 🦄

Eliisa, Shayna’s twin, is going to Have Words with her when she finds out one of the reasons she’s conflicted about the prospect of longevity.

But so, too, will Arwen … a longtime friend and sometimes lover.

The #SilverUnicorns ride again (finally! And … literally)

Today is a Gaming Day.

And … now … shortcodes 😭

Further Adventures of The Silver Unicorns 🦄

The live tweet begins now (14:00) and will end around 22:00.

The Adventures of The Silver Unicorns!

My wife and I … okay, sorry, interjection time: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS NEW STUPID ARSED “BLOCK EDITOR” WORDPRESS HAS MADE?!? ARE THEY INSANE?!

Ugh, gross.

This thing is awful. Anyone who knows who I have to kill so this goes away please name them in the comments, thanks.

Anyway, Silver Unicorns. Adventures. D&D. Cormyr.

I live-twit the sessions on … well … on Twitter, obviously.
I’m going to try to compile the story to-date here, then I’ll make it a regular thing to post the threads here each time we do them.
DAMNIT ALL! WHY CAN I NEVER REMEMBER THE STUPID SHORTCODES?!?

Okay, got it. Most of these are threaded but I’ve no skill with these damn shortcodes so … figure it out. And if you know how to make them display better PLEASE TELL ME!! 😭😭







This next one mentions some pirates. At the time there was a somewhat concurrent D&D game of some practical Harpers. That game is on indefinite hiatus until the GM can find adventures suitable since they’re all either for level 1 or level 15 with almost 0 in-between.




















Okay, I’m like 26.97% sure that’s all of them to date. That was WAY harder than it needed to be. Some stuff with WordPress has definitely taken a turn that makes me use this image:

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Ta 👋, love 💕, and please don’t die of the COVID-19 plague 🦠

Now & Forever: A literary analysis

You know, if you look closely at my Now & Forever series there’s some very interesting symbolism in there when you know what to look for*.

I mean take the girls, Sally & Lauren. They probably represent the world and America**!

Sally, obviously, is the world. Besides the obvious answers of being able to claim citizenship of three nations while growing up in a fourth, and being a polyglot, she’s the worldly one so experienced in foreign cultures and scenery. She’s also the utterly unconservative one with a sort of humanist approach, to say nothing of the more progressive mindset from being accepting of diverse religions as well as her trans family member, openness to polyamory, etc.

Lauren, on the other hand, represents America. She’s a strange mix of forward thinking and traditional, even conservative … dare we say ‘prudish’?! She’s little travelled, not especially well versed in foreign matters and language, white as rice, and about as Christian as Mary.

So by the twain meeting and having their influences on one another they represent America’s need fo embrace the rest of the world and step forward into a new, more global reality. But at the same time the world shouldn’t forget tradition and morality in its quest for progress.

It really sounds good, this stuff.

Sadly it’s all nonsense.

“But, Jaye! Death of the author! They just might!”

Listen … get lost with that or we’ll try a new concept called Missing and Presumed Dead of the Literary Analyst.

They could symbolise literally anything. They don’t symbolise a single bloody thing. I don’t have any truck with symbolism. Hate it. Drives me mad.

Look, I don’t build my characters. If you want to say I’m doing anything other that tuning into some parallel Otherwhere then my characters are a subconscious composite. They’re people I know, have known, have met, or characters from things I read, watched, or listened to. Some folks do this on purpose. Me? They’re in my imagination, how they came to be there I haven’t the slightest idea nor do I actually care. But if I thought about it I could probably work out where I got aspects of this out that person’s tastes, habits, personality, whatever.

I mean, fine, some work is garba—I mean symbolic. Analyse till you’re brains runnel out through your nostrils. Bet if you posted that to YouTube you’d get a million likes in 30seconds. That says horrible truths about humanity … anyway the point is that people see what they believe is there. They see what they need or want to see. Anything in any work of fiction can be symbolic of literally anything you can convincingly (or given a lot of “symbolism” in Little House you don’t even have to be convincing, just that particular sort of deranged lunatic that pronounces ‘nut case idiot’ as ‘feminist’).

I can make fun all I want but people are going go read my books and try to dig for depth that just isn’t there. I can’t stop it. I can just tell you, they’re full of it and not to let them get to you. It’s all perfectly face value. The people have depth (at least, I rather hope so), but not the … other business. I mean I make points but they’re obvious points that aren’t even points that ought to need making, like that sexuality is not itself sex. That homosexuality is nothing to do with fetish and perversion. That perfectly ordinary people with perfectly ordinary hopes and dreams can be attracted to someone the same gender. 🤷‍♀️ Truly radical and revolutionary stuff here.

Applicability. If you find meaning in anything I ever write, bully for ya. I doubt I put it there but if you can use my words to articulate a point or a thought? Go on with your mad self. It’s sincerely awesome. But that’s you. That’s your imagination, your creativity, your experiences putting it there, not me. I mean if it’s something absolutely beyond brilliant I’ll happily take credit for it (probably not really) but you know maybe just read stuff for fun. Bet ya over half the things they made you analyse in school didn’t actually mean anything beyond what was on the surface either.

* There’s not.
** Only, they don’t.

P.S. this new mocking of literature as a study is brought to you by my bored arsed mind suddenly pointing out how some nutter might perceive Sally & Pixie, and cemented by thinking up ‘Missing and Presumed Dead of the Analyst’. Thank you. Good day.

World building

I admit, Now & Forever doesn’t have a lot of actual world building … the beauty of setting it in a couple years back America. I even get the school calendar & course list (yes, including the yoga and the UWA math courses) from an actual Catholic high school from the region of WA the stories are set. When you can cheat, do it with enthusiasm.

That’s not to say I don’t have SF/F fiction that isn’t published yet.

Also, I’m a gamer.

World building checklists and worksheets are, as with characters, nothing to start from and maintain a facsimile of sanity.

One ought to approach world building from a narrow close focus. Have your notions then broaden your views and ask: what must be true for this to be true? Sometimes you have to scrap notions other times you give rise to a rich, organic world.

Take the Forgotten Realms. Ed Greenwood has been asked “do you have all this worked out, or do you make it up on the spot?” to which he answered “yes … and yes”. If you have a living, vibrant world thriving in your mind then you can seamlessly stitch the known and the spontaneous together and dare anyone, even your own clone, to spot which is which.

It helps to have very broad education. Not schooling. You can be a kindergarten drop out with a broad education so long as you’re literate. Concentrate on the soft sciences. Hard science is more malleable than it likes to admit. Focus too hard on what we “know” about biology and you’ll pass up an awesome creature as “impossible” only for us to find one in an ocean lava flow. History, sociology … these, so long as you follow their methodology more intimately than their actual “knowledge” you’ll be alright.

You don’t need to have every trade route mapped out to the gram of copper and the commodities rates for sugar, but it helps. Economics are a major driving force for wars and strife. Good to know where silks are easy or hard to get.

In my scifi stuff it’s hard to get good strawberries. Seriously. Earth has fewer and fewer farms, many of its colonies rely on a war-born artificial ration processor that sort of 3D prints things that let you not starve to death, and their FTL is not up to par. What strawberries are available off Earth are carried by alien traders who have better, but much smaller ships. It’s expensive. One day there may actually be an interstellar war over strawberries! Likely? No, but who knows?!

There’s one world where an entire galaxy’s goods can be, somewhat, easily found along with examples of its cultures. Off that world? No one’s ever heard of them.

This is: know your scale and perspectives. In the Realms, just because Drizzt is important in the far north, he’s virtually a rumour in Waterdeep, virtually unknown in Cormyr, and is unknown in parts beyond. Elminster has had a long and meddlesome life. His name is probably known to many. That he yet lives? Where? How old is he? No. Many of his exploits? Fictions, legends, exaggerations, truths, follies, falsifications, mistaken identity …

Look at out own world. Hard as it is for some to believe, there’s folks who don’t really know who Beyonce is. If they’re from certain countries/cultures they’re bound to know the name, but do they know the face? The music? The profession? Not necessarily.

Keep your places … humble and remember, someone important enough will be known in the next village (or star system, or galaxy) to be sure. But past it?

Also remember, you don’t have to actually know the bestseller list for a region, but you should have a concept what’s In so you could write one up in a trice without much thought.

I might write more on this soonish. But for now I’ve exhausted my thought, utterly forgot if I have or had a point whatsoever, and needs must get onward to the grocery store.

Mental health, medication, and creativity

So, apparently (read: according to my wife), it’s a Thing (read: trending a bit on Twitter) to claim that untreated mental illness is a font for creativity.

Holy wow.

Okay. To be fair, sometimes it very well may be. There are those whose art IS their mental illness, or more precisely their illness is the inspiration for their art. For these folks, I suppose, it’s reasonable to assume treating the illness may hamper their art. Would Stephen King write the horrors he does if he were medicated to cope with his nightmares? (Is that even possible?!) I mean, obviously, until he ran out of the memory of any not-yet-written nightmares … but after?

A frequent example is Van Gogh … no idea why. For one, in some respects he WAS medicated. Not well, but he was. And even modern meds … well … in some ways there’s no difference between using opium and using Xanax besides the side-effects. But never mind that he blows the argument that way, which can be counter argued that booze and getting high aren’t medicating, how about the fact he painted such beauty and life in spite of his “tortured soul”? I’m pretty sure his depression didn’t create his work, it just cut it off at the age of 30.

My wife, is less creative unmedicated. Without meds she can not write. She’s also arguably not a functional adult or even a strictly function hominid lifeform, but she can’t write for her anxiety issues.

Me? I can’t actually say. I mean if my oestrogen levels sink below some threshold it triggers depression (this is a woman thing … cis/trans doesn’t matter … men suffer similarly for low testosterone … fun fact for the day) so I suppose my HRT is medication for depression, but my depression is far more complex than that. I don’t medicate, though. Not really because I l’m afraid I couldn’t write without depression. If I’m depressed I avoid writing, after all … partly because it goes in dark directions and I’m not into goth fic so generally hate what I write, but also because I can’t seem to get the motivation and focus to. But when depression isn’t dragging me down I quite enjoy writing. So, arguably, meds would be a Good Idea. I just look at the side effects of anti-depressants and figure I’d rather cope because they would make me depressed.

I’m not going to take a side in the argument. There shouldn’t be sides, nor should there be an argument. Mostly, I think, the ‘illness is art’ are quite mad and part of a group I wrote about before who feel Art Must Be Torture! (Load of bollox).

Thing is, we’re all different. Maureen in Ready or Not has very firm opinions on not taking meds for her depression. Because for her they are more torture than benefit. She knows her little sister enough to advise her against them as well because it’s a likely point in commont betwixt the siblings to hate the sensation of being confined to a certain parameter of mood; it’s too suffocating. Now, trial and error with other medicines, other doses, may have been good but she couldn’t tolerate the way they left her feeling until that magical cocktail is discovered. She does actually use medical marijuana for insomnia and her depression it’s later revealed (uh … spoiler alert?)

The flip side of the coin are people “meds are why I’m alive now! Meds are miraculous and everyone should medicate!”

No. As is my wont I’ll stay right here in the realm of reality and rationality. Each human is unique. That uniqueness is important. Nothing works universally. Some people should definitely medicate, some definitely oughtn’t, still others can take it or leave it. Let’s chill and let it go.

My single point of firm belief is that some drugs are over prescribed. Many psychiatrists and psychologists do feel too many GPs will see someone seems stressed or down and give them a psych drug with no further evaluation, no actual attempt at therapy. Some GPs and psychologists alike are a little too happy to give Timmy and Suzy a Ritalin script … even when they don’t need it and thus a creative child becomes a zombie. But this is not a mental illness thing, this is a modern western (especially the for-profit American) medical profession thing and pathologicalising and medicating everything & sundry. So, ultimately, I suppose it comes back to moderation.

It’s amazing. Nothing is good in extremes. Change for the sake of change can be as terrible as holding onto tradition too strongly. Even rights have an interesting point of moderation: your rights and mine should not impede each other. Thus laws against theft, murder, wanton discrimination … these are sensible. Your right to religion shouldn’t impede my right to service BUT my right to service shouldn’t impede the rights of a church or church affiliated service (but that service shouldn’t get anyone’s tax dollars either, it’s only fair after all).

I ramble. If you haven’t caught on to this you’ve not been paying attention. But really, this is one of the internet’s more colossally asinine arguments. Let artists medicate or not. And if an artist may be in danger for their mental illness, let’s recommend they may want to seek help … conversely those suffering for their treatment should be encouraged to cease or reevaluate said therapies. It’s balance, baby.

Goodnight.

P.s. I can’t concentrate to go back over this for proofreading, so hopefully my recent bouts of extreme dyslexia this week won’t have impacted this too badly.

More Sports Journalism!

I tried to live-tweet a hockey game tonight. It was, unfortunately, actually the lead up to a hockey game that started after I was ready to go. But I did my best.