Intersections: Only one seat left

goose girl 5Hello everyone. The workshops for the fall section of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth filled up fast. I only have ONE seat left for the 6:30-9 pm (MST) session on Thursday night.  The dates we will be meeting online are 9/12, 9/19. 9/26. 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 11/7, and 11/14. (NOTE: This ends up being in mid-morning the following  day [Friday] for participants in Australia.) We will be working with six fairy tales, and participants will be getting a second round of critique on two to three of those stories during the portfolio weeks. Time is running out. I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be fun!

On a side note, if there is enough interest, I may open up another morning or afternoon section on Thursday or Friday. TBD

Week 1 (9/9-9/15): Introductions, Into the Dark Wood (prompts), Module 1 discussion.
Week 2 (9/16-9/22): “Firebird” & Bioluminescence, Module 2 discussion.
Week 3 (9/23-9/29): Swan Maidens & Migratory Pathways, Module 3 discussion.
Week 4 (9/30-10/6): “Pied Piper” & Viruses, Module 4 discussion.
Week 5 (10/7-10/13): “The Nightingale” & Automatons, Module 5 discussion.
Week 6 (10/14-10/20): “The Goose Girl” & Future of Facial Recognition, Module 6 discussion.
Week 7 (10/21-10/27): “Hansel and Gretel” & Genetic Trauma.
Week 8 (10/28-11/3): NO WORKSHOP
Week 9 (11/4-11/10): Portfolio Presentations
Week 10 (11/11-11/17): Portfolio Presentations

Workshop Story Publications

Factor FourIt’s been a great year for participants of Storied Imaginarium workshops. The Fall workshops for Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth are filling up fast.  There is only one seat open in the Thursday evening workshop (6:30-9 pm MST) and two seats open in the Tuesday mid-morning workshop (10 am-12:30 pm MST). The third workshop will most likely be held either Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, depending on participant availability.

In the meantime, enjoy these wonderful stories that originated in past workshops. Welcome to the Storied Imaginarium.

Other VoicesArabella and the Spiders” by KT Wagner, Factor Four Magazine: Issue 4, January 2019. (Intersections: Arachne Myth and Spiderwoman Stories & Cosmic Web Module)

“Urban Moon” by Mercedes Murdock Yardley, Other Voices, Other Tombs, edited by Brhel & Sullivan, July 2019.  (Monstrous Women: The Shifting Shapes of Animal Brides)

A Shake in Her Boneless Soul” by Cassandra Schoeber, Bone & Ink Lit Zine, July 2019. (Intersections: Snow White & Human Neuro-Reanimation)

Interzone“The Frog’s Prince; or, Iron Henry” by N.A. Sulway, Interzone #282, Jul.–Aug. 2019. (Intersections: Iron Henry & Invasive Species)

“Within This Body of Stone I Scream” by Cassandra Schoeber, The Arcanist, Forthcoming. (Intersections: Golem Myths and Ancient Viruses & the Spark of Life)

“Beneath Her Skin” by KT Wagner, The Twisted Book of Shadows, edited by Christopher Golden and James A. Moore, Forthcoming. (Monstrous Women: Matriarchal Monsters and First Females)

not-all-monsters-v2.jpg“Unfettered” by Leslie Wibberley, Not All Monsters, edited by Sara Tantlinger, Forthcoming. (Intersections: Firebird & Bioluminescence)

“The Making of Asylum Ophelia” by Mercedes Murdock Yardley, Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors, edited by Doug Murano and Michael Bailey, Forthcoming. (Monstrous Women: The Female Descent into Hysteria and Madness)Miscreations

Registration opens July 15

nightingale1Registration for the Fall session of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth opens on July 15. There will only be three sections available; time and day for workshops will be determined according to participant availability.

The Fall workshop will be ten weeks long and include six modules. The maximum word count will be 3,000 words for each module. The portfolio will include 2-3 revisions (10K max) and these sessions will take place over the course of two weeks. Workshops will begin the second week of September and will run through mid-November. There will be no workshop during the week of the World Fantasy Convention (Oct. 28-Nov. 3). The price is $500 with a 10% discount for returning participants.

goose girl 5The modules for Fall 2019 will be:

  • “The Goose Girl” & Future of Facial Recognition
  • “The Nightingale” & Automatons
  • “Pied Piper” & Viruses
  • Swan Maidens & Migratory Pathways
  • “Firebird” & Bioluminescence
  • “Hansel and Gretel” & Genetic Trauma

REGISTRATION: To save a seat for Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth, send an email request for an invoice to Carina Bissett at cmariebissett@gmail.com. The fee to attend the workshop is $500, payable to cmariebissett@gmail.com via PayPal. There is a $100 non-refundable deposit required to hold your spot with payment in FULL prior to the first class. Returning students receive a 10% discount. Space is limited.

The Folklore of Ivan and Koschei the Deathless

kosheiWe have all heard of Baba Yaga at some point — in art, literature, even gaming.  But Russian lore talks about a lot of interesting witches and sorcerers, about going on life-changing quests and completing impossible tasks.  However today we will be looking at one in particular — a certain immortal sorcerer who murdered a prince over and over again until he was defeated.  I am, of course, talking about Ivan and Koschei the Deathless.

Their story begins with Ivan’s parent’s death.  Ivan’s sisters marry wizards disguised as birds and, after discovering how lonely it is being, well, alone, Ivan sets out to find them.  He meets Marya — a warrior woman — along the way whom he marries.  However, Marya sets off to war, warning Ivan to not open a specific door.  Which, no surprise, he does.  Ivan discovers an old, withering man, draped in a dozen chains, begging for water.  Ivan brings him barrels of it, which the man uses to revive himself, shedding his disguise, breaking his chains, and revealing himself to be none other than Koschei the deathless.  Koschei swears he will kidnap Marya for revenge and disappears, leaving Ivan alone in the now empty room.koshei 2

This is where the crazy adventure begins.  Ivan finds them, saves Marya, only to be caught by Koschei’s faster horses and then murdered.  Each time he is killed, however, one of this sisters’ husbands save him until eventually they tell him of a faster horse he can find if he only visits Baba Yaga.  So, Ivan sets off to Baba Yaga’s house, survives and passes her three tests, and obtains his incredibly fast horse.  He then sets out to save Marya and, eventually, kill Koschei the Deathless once and for all.

Their story is one of adventure, death, and impossible tasks.  Koschei the deathless could not defeat Ivan in the end, despite being all-powerful and immortal.  And though he was defeated in the end, he will live on in stories as the evil sorcerer, waiting to send the young hero on his quest of self discovery.

 

For more reading on Ivan and Koschei the Deathless (sources):
https://www.slavorum.org/koshchei-the-deathless-legend-of-immortal-slavic-villain/
https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/slavic-legend-immortality-koschei-deathless-002717
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZdhJ9e8NzQ

Myths of Spring — Part 2

Today is the day — the first of two — in which the Earth’s equator passes directly through the center of the sun, causing the day to be balanced in both light and darkness.  This phenomenon is called the Equinox — more specifically, the Spring Equinox.  Days like today were rife with superstitions and myths and legends and everything in between.  However, today we will be looking at another couple of myths from around the world  that talk about the change of seasons.  Last time we took a look at both Chinese and Greek mythology — at the kidnapping of Persephone and at the candle dragon himself.  But now?  Now we will see what the Canaanites believed as well as the Norse in regards to the change of seasons.

springAccording to Canaanite beliefs, the changing of the seasons happened after Baal — the god of storms — defeated the god of the sea to become king of the gods.  Baal thought himself to be above all, and so he ordered that Mot, the god of the dead, was to not set foot anywhere on the earth except for the desert.  Mot, forced to wander the desert, turns around and invites Baal to the Netherworld for a “visit.”  Baal is, in turn, forced to go in order to save face as the new ruler of the gods, however when he gets there, Mot tricks him into eating the food of the dead: mud.  Thus, Baal is trapped in the underworld and the world dries up into an eternal summer — crops do not grow, the land becomes scorched, and the heat causes the waters to dry.  While Baal is away, Baal’s wife — Anat — prays for her husband’s release.  The gods refuse to help her, so she herself descends to the Netherworld to plead with Mot directly. Mot of course refuses, and thus an infuriated Anat battles the god of the dead and defeats him, wounding him so badly he cannot stop her from taking Baal away.  Rains were restored, but because Baal ate the food of the dead, he is required to spend a part of every year in the Netherworld, and at summer’s end he can come back and heal the world once more.

sprin3Our second myth today is a funny one, since many versions of this myth exist and they all contradict each other.  The beginning is usually the same: either Frigga (Baldur’s mother), Odin (Baldur’s father), and Baldur himself begin to suffer from nightmares about Baldur’s death.  Frigga goes around and has every living and non-living thing swear that no harm will come to Baldur — with the exception of mistletoe.  The other gods make a game of throwing things at Baldur and watching them bounce off harmlessly until Loki convinces a blind Hodr (in some versions of this myth, he is Baldur’s brother) to throw a spear that Loki guides.  This spear is made of mistletoe, and when it pierces Baldur’s chest, he drops down dead.

spring2This is where the myth changes.  In some versions, both Hodr and Baldur die — Hodr being killed for murdering his brother.  In these pre-Christian versions, Frigga begs Hel to release them and they are allowed out — separately — for half of the year only.  Hodr, because he is blind, is associated with darkness and explains the winter seasons while Baldur was described as a god of light and therefore was the other half of the year — summer and spring.  Other post-Christian versions of this myth tie Baldur to Christ in that he will only rise once more after Ragnarök, returning from the land of the dead.  However, these post-Christian versions also depict Baldur as being passive as objects are thrown at him while pre-Christian versions show him as being battle-ready at all times.

These myths from both Canaanite and Norse mythos are both examples not only of spring/seasonal myths, but also show how myths have changed over time.  From Baldur’s myth which has so many versions including his rebirth, to the myth of Baal which has many versions as well — including one where every seven years the two fight, the winner deciding if there will be a good season or a drought.  The truth is, there were many myths, legends, fables and stories, some of which do in fact explain away the changing of the seasons.  But let us remember today that with the start of spring, there is a god walking out from the land of the dead somewhere.  And whether they be Persephone, Baldur, Baal, or some other god/goddess, let us rejoice with the return of all things green and celebrate.

 

For more reading on spring myths (sources):
http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/alvismal/11baldr.pdf
https://norse-mythology.org/tales/the-death-of-baldur/
https://historylists.org/other/baldur-god-of-norse-mythology.html
http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/3351/Exploring_The_Canaanite_Pantheon_Baal

Workshop Registration Open

lrrhamandadiazRegistration is open for the second Spring section of Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales and Myth. This generative workshop will be held from the first week in April (1-7) through the third week of May (13-19). No workshop during the week of May 6-12 due to StokerCon. The themes for this section include “Bluebeard” & DNA Databanks; “Thumbelina” & Microbes and Mites; and “Little Red Riding Hood” & The Natural History of the Color Red. There are a couple of open seats in the Monday session (2-4:30 pm MST) and a possible opening in the Tuesday session (12:30-3 pm MST). I will consider opening an additional session on Wednesday (1-3:30 or 2-4:30 pm MST) depending on interest. The Thursday evening session is FULL.
 
Note: This fairy tale art is by Amanda Diaz Photography. Her work is gorgeous and, best of all, she offers photography workshops. You can see more of her work on her website.

Myths of Spring — Part 1

With spring just around the corner, a lot of our ancestors would celebrate the change in weather and the return of green by telling stories and gathering for f estivals.  Of course, today we are fully aware of the rotation of the Earth around the sun and on its axis, giving to us the scientific explanations for the change of seasons.  But what did they think back then?  How did our ancient predecessors explain these changes?  What were these stories?  Instead of looking at all of them, we will be taking a look at a few over these next two weeks, leading right up to the Spring equinox.  So today?  Let’s take a look at the myths of Hades and Persephone and Zhu Long, the Candle Dragon.

LMG100045When talking about the changes in season, the Greeks looked to the gods and their troubles which affected the mortal world.  The story of Hades and Persephone explains these changes as Demeter’s mood swings — Demeter being the mother of Persephone, the Goddess of Spring.  A quick look at this myth has Hades kidnapping Persephone, and Demeter — the Goddess of the Harvest and Agriculture — begging Zeus to give her her daughter back as she fails in her duties.  Persephone of course eats three pomegranate seeds before Zeus can interfere, which forces him to decide that for half of a year she is to be with her mother while the other half she is forced to return to Hades.  During the times Persephone is gone, Demeter becomes inconsolable, neglecting her duties and letting the world around her wither and die.  However, when Persephone is returned, Demeter jumps back into action, revitalizing the land.

spring 2Following in the same fashion, the Chinese myth of Zhu Long the Candle Dragon explains not only one, but all the seasons, as well as the changes in night and day.  You see, Zhu Long — or Zhu Yin — was a huge, scaly, red dragon that was shaped like a serpent and had a human head. According to myth, one of his eyes represented the sun while the other the moon, and when they were open it was daytime, while at night his eyes were closed.  In his mouth he holds a candle that lights the gate of heaven, and his breath is what changes the seasons.  You see, when Zhu Long exhales he casts winter across the land, but when he inhales he brings summer.

These are but two of many myths that discuss the change of seasons.  So whether you believe that a God kidnapped a Goddess or a giant, serpentine dragon is inhaling to bring about the summer, just know that the days will be getting longer and longer until we find ourselves enjoying the Spring Equinox once more and welcoming back Hades’ Dread Empress, Persephone herself.

 

For more reading on these two myths (sources):
https://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/myth-of-hades-and-persephone/
https://www.theworldofchinese.com/2015/06/the-legend-of-the-candle-dragon/
http://www.ancientpages.com/2016/01/15/legend-of-the-candle-dragon-that-could-lighten-the-darkest-gate-of-heaven/