Camp NaNoWriMo? Over tomorrow. And I realized again why I never do camp… it just doesn’t feel urgent enough. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t worth it. I’ve started all 4 stories and finished 2 of them (one, it turns out, is going to be incalculably long. The other involves domestic violence and was harder to write than I anticipated).
I have decided to let myself be a “winner” by validating, though, because I wrote well over the 10,000 words I committed to. I think I may have even gotten 2 things that are publishable out of it, though they will need a lot of work.
The one GREAT thing that came out of all of this is Lyra Marsh. I’m not sure what kind of a thing she will eventually be, but I might end up setting her up a blog where she can write about her trials and tribulations as an undergrad at Pragnum. That’s my first thought. I’m trying to share more of my work on this thing, so I made an inspiration board for her on Pinterest, here. And below are the first few of her entries as a teaser. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has ever drawn a witchsona, because you all are inspirational and Lyra is the proof. J
I’m sort of in love with this girl. Picky-Picky is also my favorite.
Okay, so isn’t the first post on a blog supposed to be about who you are and why you think you want to blog? That’s what they tell me. Here goes:
I’m Lyra Marsh, student at Pragnum College, majoring in Warding, with a minor in Charms. I used to live in the dorms, but my cat, Picky-Picky, couldn’t be there with me. She’s a tortie; a mostly black cat with a splotch of orange on her eye and chest and little white feet. Which means we broke the rules, of course, and got thrown out. Picky-Picky is a non-negotiable subject.
Oh, not thrown out of college. Just thrown out of the dorms. I’m not that crazy.
Besides, what else would I do? Go to a regular college and major in Colonial Salem? I mean, there’s only so much history can teach you about how it’s better to just shut up about magic.
You would think that Pragnum would be more understanding about familiars, wouldn’t you? But supposedly I’m “too young” for one, as they “only come to older witches who have reached their majority.” Maddening. We don’t all work on a schedule, Pragnum. As someone who knows about protection, I can tell you that familiars come when you need looking after the most, not when you reach some sort of predetermined age.
All that shit about not needing protection now that I’m living in the dorms, where the school will protect me. Nice try.
I don’t know. Maybe Picky-Picky has too many cat like qualities to pass muster or something.
Wow. I really got off subject there.
So, in any case. Picky-Picky and I are looking for an apartment. With no roommates. I just got a job at Brew-tiful, the café down the street, and the owner is willing to work around my school schedule. With that and the money I’m bringing in from selling charms on Etsy, it’s looking like I can afford something, anyway. And I’m gonna ask mom to pitch in what she was paying for my dorm room.
Basically, that’s why I’m starting this thing. I thought people might like to know the exploits of me and Picky-Picky as we adult in the real world.
With tips for living as a magic-user of course. There aren’t many of us, but we matter too, damn it.
Found an apartment! It’s super adorable, and I can’t wait to move in. It’s tiny. Just one bedroom, and I’d be surprised if it was more than 500 square feet. But it’s perfect. There’s a bowed window in the front that didn’t quite show in the photos, where my work desk will fit perfectly. There’s also a strange, scrolling radiator in the bathroom. The house is quiet and peaceful, with a lot of light coming in, too. The bedroom will fit a double, I think, if I push the bed up against the wall on one side. It’s one of those bungalows built in the 1920s that all look out on a central lawn. There’s even a little porch.
I didn’t take Picky-Picky with me to the open house, of course, but she liked the pictures on craigslist. She only stopped purring when she started patting at the rent amount. Damn cat.
I can afford the rent. Alright, so I’ll have to sell a few more charms or pick up an extra day at Brew-tiful. I can make it. It’s the deposit I’m going to have to ask mom for. Which she might give me, though I’ll definitely have to sit through a lecture about my rule breaking propensities first. Again. Ugh.
I know what you’re thinking and I DID check out the other tenants before I filled out the credit check form. Can’t be too careful. I touched the stoop railings with my hands when I was walking past: in love; cozy and safe; kinda sad; exuberant; and placid, is what I read from all of them. No red flags here.
And also, I gotta admit that I told the paper to make me look responsible after I filled it out. Which is cheating. But I really love this place. We have to have it, Picky-Picky and me. Have to.
So, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about magic, and I want to say that it works differently for everyone. You just sort of have to learn how it goes as you do it. For me it feels a lot like breathing, I guess. I mean, I breathe things in and I know about them, or I can breathe words out and tell things how I want them to be.
That’s how I figured out the neighbors. I breathed in and could sort of taste the ‘in love’ on my tongue, or the ‘sad.’ And that’s how I told the page to make me look responsible. It’s totally controllable, when I’m using it and when I’m not. It’s like the difference between saying to yourself “raise your arm,” but leaving your arm at your side, or actually raising your arm up. I can tell a thing to be something without making the telling magic.
Which is why when I told my last boyfriend to go to hell, he didn’t actually go to an alternate plane of fire, just back to his mom in San Francisco. Although…
No, I’m kidding.
There’s also like a… how do I say this? I’m not super strong or anything. I’m getting a little skill in warding because of all the classes I’ve been taking, but I probably couldn’t have sent Kevin off to hell if I’d legitimately tried. That’s too big for me. Keeping pots stirring while I’m on the phone? Sure. Telling my favorite shirt to come to the top of the hamper? Of course. But I can’t even make the busses in this damn town run on time.
The reason my charms work is because I think really hard at them while I’m putting them together, and they want to make bad guys overlook that TV set you have in the living room. I mean, as an example. I’ve coached them into wanting it.
It’s why I’m so good at wards and charms. They’re subtle, and they last longer and are more potent if they think they want to do what you want them to do. There are some kids in my class who are that “wham-bam” kind of magic you think of, but that’s not me. And it’s not most of the folks in my major, either.
So the answer to any magic question is that it varies so much that it’s crazy. And I happen to be the subtle kind, not the explosion kind. But maybe you know a little more about me now?
And P. S. No, I’m not revealing the location of Pragnum. That’s stupid and could get me in a lot of trouble, since it’s supposed to be secret and all unless you’re a magic user. No, it’s not like ‘Hogwarts,’ (which doesn’t exist, by the way) and you could go there if you were able to find it. In fact, it’s pretty easy to find. Which is why I can’t say anything more about its location. So there.
Move In Day has officially come and passed. Whoo hoo!
Except, damn it mom, I don’t need you to send me any more charms. She’s freaking out about me living alone, even with Picky-Picky around. And she keeps sending me these stupid amateur charms that just stink of incompetence. I can make better stuff than that and I’m not even out of college yet. Geez. And does she think I don’t have any warding on my place at all?
I’m not stupid, mom. I’m being careful. I put the “nothing valuable, nothing magic” ward on my place the night I moved in, and I have charms at every window and door now too. Ones I made, not that crap you sent me. Yeah, it’s imperfect because I had to do the inside of the house and not the outside since I share a couple of walls, but that’s what the charms are for.
The place came with a refrigerator and a stove, and nothing else. The fridge is an old mustard colored thing with a peeling sticker on the handle that’s supposed to make it look like wood. But it cools, so that’s all I care about. The pilot lights on the stove always stay lit, too, so I’m going to have to watch Picky-Picky. She knows better than to bat at that stuff, but if it flickers she wants to eat it. Too cat-like for her own good. SMH.
Mom doesn’t live around here, but Jules, my old roommate, is from just down the street. Her parents were awesome and let me raid their garage for furniture. I have a funky mirror, an end table for the bed I bought, and an old desk with some chairs for a kitchen table. The desk is this huge sturdy thing that someone painted army green, and there’s one tiny drawer in it. None of the chairs match, but all of the seats are upholstered in this awful gold brocade. I started knitting colorful covers for them yesterday. They’re gonna be like a patchwork rainbow when I’m done. Granny square for the win.
I bought a mattress at Goodwill (it’s refurbished, not used. Don’t get grossed out). I bought my couch at Salvation Army and I LOVE it. It’s one of those low-backed things from the 60s covered in green velvet. Who cares if the pillows are too slouchy? The only room that has curtains is the bedroom, and that’s also the most furnished. I mostly just moved my dorm stuff in there, and it looks good. Even if I am sleeping under a twin comforter on a full sized bed. I’m the only one sleeping in it anyway.
The most important part is my work desk. That was in my dorm, too. Can’t go anywhere without it. I set it in the little bowed window, and I can look out on the big tree in the neighbor’s back yard while I work. Kinda like living in a forest. It’s one of those Victorian roll-top desks with a thousand cubbies for all my stones, seeds, pits, feathers, wires and things.
Picky-Picky has already gotten into a spat with the neighbor cat down the street. I told her it isn’t fair of her because she turns on the super speed and the other cat doesn’t even have a chance. She doesn’t seem to care. In fact, she turned her upright tail to me when I was lecturing her and cleaned her face. I get it, brat. Now leave the neighbor cats alone.
So basically we’re right at home.