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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of more.

The brevity-is-best rule seems to be supported by a much sounder maxim which reads: “Always send them away wanting more.” But that is a one-sided view. We can observe this maxim by giving them less than they want; we can also observe it by making them want more than we give them. The latter policy is clearly better.

Henning Nelms

—posted 172 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of pleasure.

Before my first queer encounters, I had never fantasized about strictly pleasuring my partner. If my fantasies included me, they were muddied by abnegation and rooted in haphazard thrusting that happened to me. Who else could my fantasies include, you ask? Jessica, the cousin from Run’s House; the woman who ran my favorite boutique; Jennifer Lopez, and Wesley Snipes in Money Train—anyone but myself, really.

But the more I fantasized about women—local artists and coffee shop baristas—the more frequently I entered my own fantasies. And I began to fantasize about the pleasure I could give and could receive by other people desiring me. As I read about Delany performing fellatio on strangers at The Venus and The Capri, people he’d never invite home or have non-sexual relationships with, I began to pleasure myself in a plethora of ways and unabashedly.

I followed the footsteps of The Mad Masturbator, a man Delany encountered in the theaters who masturbated so much he could literally fall asleep while other people got him off, and touched myself as frequently as possible. It took years, but finally I discovered what Oprah and my mother meant when they said I could do it myself.

Natalie Frazier

—posted 180 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of confidence.

Using the last name of LaPlante, they lived on Commerce Street, a quiet, well-kept trailer park in a more run-down part of Dallas, from April 1949 until March 1950. Their neighbors regarded Sally as a typical 12-year-old living with her widowed father, albeit one never let out of his sight except to go to school. But she seemed to enjoy taking care of her home. She would bake every once in a while. She had a dog. La Salle provided her with a generous allowance for clothes and sweets. She would go shopping, swimming, and to her neighbors’ trailers for dinner. And while La Salle, as LaPlante, set up shop again as a mechanic, Sally attended Catholic school once more, at Our Lady of Good Counsel. (It, too, no longer exists, absorbed into Bishop Dunne Catholic School by 1961. The trailer park will be replaced this year by a posh apartment complex.)

A copy of Sally’s report card from her time at Our Lady of Good Counsel between September 1949 and February 1950 indicates she was a good student, with her only C+ grade coming in Languages in her final month there. Otherwise, she got primarily As and A-minuses, with the occasional B, the latter mostly coming towards the end of the school year. Her worst subjects were Geography and Writing. She also missed 10 days of school in September because she was hospitalized for appendicitis, spending at least three nights at the Texas Crippled Children’s Hospital (now the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children).

Sally’s apparently happy demeanor in Dallas grew more pensive after the operation. Josephine Kagamaster, the wife of La Salle’s business partner in the shop, remarked Sally did not move like “a healthy, light-hearted youngster,” and heard La Salle say the girl “walks like an old woman.” Otherwise, the consensus about Sally and her “father” was that they “both seemed happy and entirely devoted to each other.” Nelrose Pfeil, a neighbor, said, “Sally got everything she ever wanted. I always said I didn’t know who was more spoiled, Sally or her dog.” Maude Smilie, living at a nearby trailer on Commerce Street, seemed bewildered at the idea of Sally being a virtual prisoner: “[Sally] spent one day at the beauty parlor with me. I gave her a permanent and she never mentioned a thing. She should have known she could have confided in me.”

Sarah Weinman

—posted 190 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of incantations.

Max then goes on to make a point that I might well have made myself if I’d thought to put it so explicitly: while the technologies in our far-future SF now look more and more like numinous magical powers, our daily life is perfused by magical devices that obey relatively predictable rules—utter the right incantation and Siri tells you the weather. Which means we as readers are coming to expect an almost mechanistic causality to inform the magic in our fantasies.

Charles Stross

—posted 198 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of longing.

The 12th century was the age of courtly love: songs of courtship and admiration, tales of daring knights and worthy ladies. The courtly love tradition is thought of as quintessentially heterosexual, and yet a few works survive in which a woman addresses her sentiments to another woman, such as the lone surviving lyric of Bieiris de Romans. And during that era, in a convent somewhere in the vicinity of Tegernsee in Bavaria (Germany), a cloistered woman longed to be reunited with a dear friend. She poured her heart out in a passionate poem, written in Latin and, by some quirk of fate, copied into a collection of writings that survived the ages. Her name is unknown—she identifies herself simply as “A” and her love only as “G”, whom she addresses as “my only/singular rose.”

To her, G’s absence is “like someone who has lost a hand or a foot” and she laments, “I want to die because I cannot see you. What can I—so wretched—do? Where can I—so miserable—turn?” Her thoughts turn to past delights: “I recall the kisses you gave me, and how with tender words you caressed my little breasts.” And yet perhaps there was more to their story. “Come home, sweet love!” she concludes. “Prolong your trip no longer. Know that I can bear your absence no longer… remember me.” Shall we not imagine that G returned to the woman who found her “so lovely and full of grace [and] who… with such deep affection loves me”?

Heather Rose Jones

—posted 206 days ago

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Fall down seven.

So the first draft of no. 29 clocks in at 19,167 words, which I think is the longest first draft I’ve done (for as long as statistics have been kept, at any rate). And only a couple days past two weeks late on the initial deadline! —But there’s one scene that doesn’t exist yet, really, and one that needs to be radically uprooted and then maybe replanted upside-down, and there’s the one I decided to leave in its current form until I had a better idea of just how much off the leash I could let it get, which at least I think I might have now, but the overall point is this is also perhaps the messiest draft I’ve ever sat back and said okay, it’s done, let’s revise, but here we are.

The thing about this one is it’s the seventh of the volume, the seventh of the season, and like the first seventh it comes after an overture, an opening, a statement and initial elaboration of a theme, and so one might play a little, mess with structure, ring some changes, take a chance or two as one steps aside and contemplates for a moment where we’ve gotten and where we’re going. And it just so happened that iTunes decided to play a song from Merrily We Roll Along as I was sketching the initial outline, and, well, so.

(One might also note the seventh card of the Major Arcana is the Lovers, but I honestly have no idea why we keep bringing this up.)

—I wrote the draft from end to beginning, is the thing, and now I will revise it from beginning to end, and not having done it this way before I’m not sure what to expect, but at least it helps to explain the shagginess of the current circumstances. Let’s tentatively suggest that I might be done in January, with Patreons to receive copies at that point, and it might then appear here in February, but don’t let’s take that too seriously just yet?

—posted 277 days ago

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Now, I’m not insisting this is what the official portrait of Jo Maguire, Duchess of Southeast, Queen’s Favorite and King’s Huntsman, Widow of the Hawk and First of that Name, would look like…

Jo Maguire, Duchess of Southeast, Queen's Favorite and King's Huntsman, Widow of the Hawk and First of Her Name.

Sharnee Gates, styled by Dogukan Nesanir, photographed by Ronan Mckenzie

—posted 285 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of liberty.

Here; put on the red cap of Liberty; thrust it on your head. If you would be saved, you must come to Paris with me. There is a plot—a plot; but I will not forsake you. Madame Rouge et Noir and—others—others are in it, and you cannot escape. Come; come at once. I have discovered the secret entrance to the closet, and can take you down, and we’ll go to Paris with the mob. You shall lean on me, and I will carry you if you are tired. It is Lord d’Eyncourt himself who commands. You come with me to Paris. Ah, Mademoiselle—Madame, I mean—do not hesitate; for it is to prison our King goes, and our Queen; and you would be free, and you would help. Don’t hesitate, but come!

L.T. Meade


Redcap. One of the most malignant of old Border GOBLINS, Redcap lived in old ruined peel towers and castles where wicked deeds had been done, and delighted to re-dye his red cap in human blood. William Henderson gives a full account of him in Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties (pp. 253–5). He describes him as “a short thickset old man, with long prominent teeth, skinny fingers armed with talons like eagles, large eyes of a fiery-red color, grisly hair streaming down his shoulders, iron boots, a pikestaff in his left hand, and a red cap on his head.” Human strength can avail little against him, but he can be routed by scripture or the sight of a CROSS. If this is held up to him, he gives a dismal yell and vanishes, leaving one of his long teeth behind him. The wicked Lord Soulis of Hermitage Castle had Redcap as his familiar, who made him weapon-proof so that he was only finally destroyed by boiling him in oil in a brazen pot on Nine-stane Rig.

In Perthshire, however, there is a milder Redcap, a little man who lives in a room high up in Grantully Castle and whom it is fortunate to see or hear. The Dutch redcaps, or Kaboutermannekin, are of the true BROWNIE nature and typical brownie tales are told about them.

[Motif: F363.2]

Katharine Briggs

—posted 293 days ago

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of love.

Oh, I know the kind of love it meant. Fictions of the fourteenth-century jongleur. Friendship run riot. Pointless nestlings; sharings of tacky dreams and tawdry aspirations; promises of emotional dependency that pass for constancy; fumbling manipulations in the backs of cars; the sweat of the connubial bed. That kind of love may be thought free, and considered dear at the price. But in fact it is not free at all. One pays endlessly for the shabby amateurism of romantic love.

Maximilian Strange

—posted 307 days ago

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Six of the best.

So back in July I set down a marker, as I usually do, picking a deadline for drafting the next chapter, and knowing, as I usually do, that I’d hear it go whooshing by overhead, only to set another, as I usually do, and another, and maybe even another after that, and as I usually do I picked a deadline that would require an average of about 300 words a day, since I know myself, and my limitations, even if I’m not always as honest as I might be about it, with myself, as I’m usually not, but anyway, the math and the calendar worked out such that I ended up putting that pin in Saturday, the 17th of September.

Only this morning I went and wrote down the 17,817th word of no. 28, and finished off the first draft five days early. —I’m not quite certain what to do with myself.

—Oh, there’s the edits, and revisions, the laying out, the prep work for ebook and website and ’zine, the usual, and patrons should expect to see it in October, and paper copies too, and then everyone else in November, though I’m not making any promies yet, the cup not yet to the lip and all.

So! That’s the news from Rip City. —Expect more when there is more.

—posted 376 days ago

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