Queen of Lists

Even though I’ve started painting again, I’m still feeling absolute terror at the thought of jumping in and starting to write. I am, however, a champion list maker, so I’ve started with that.

1. I’ve done chapter outlines, and character bios/sketches.

2. I’ve done research, everything from myths and lore surrounding psychopomps to silent films by Maurice Tourneur. These have led to various interesting side-paths which are fascinating, but at the same time are probably symbolic of avoidance of actual work. I’ve found some interesting sites though.

3. I’m reinstalling 3D software (which I haven’t worked with for ages). Thinking about doing characters as 3D models, then painting them in the various scenes.

4. Started thinking about doing Kitsune & Kawaii again. Must. Not. Lose. Focus.

On the wall facing me when I sit at my computer is a fake street sign which used to reside on my daughter’s bedroom door: No Whining Place. It’s a reminder to stop pissing around and actually do it. Right now it’s just making me feel guilty.

How far can one go in rewriting a much-loved original book which is quite plainly a Very Bad Book? The original was soppy, sentimental, trite and featured main characters who were at best bystanders. Underneath, however, is a very twisted tale…if I can have the courage to complete gut the original. Scared.

This is a very old piece that I wrote ages ago, which relates to this project: Queen of Shadows.


In the dream I am visiting the Queen of Shadows. It is night, of course, as it always is in her cold marble palace. We are trying on clothes.

Black upon black upon black, in every conceivable material and hue: velvet in the deepest black of space, starred with diamonds; silk in shimmering opalescent folds gleaming with peacock colors; black lace intricate as the fabric of uneasy dreams, convoluted and occult; midnight leather soft as touch, heavy with the souls of animals.

The Queen of Shadows tosses me a high-necked, long-sleeved gown, buttoned from throat to ankle with thousands of tiny buttons: a priest’s cassock, austere from the front, the back completely open down to shadowed cleft. She cannot wear it, as she has raven’s wings instead of arms; pinions rustle open and closed, longing to be able to touch, to hold.

I run my hands up her marble sides, inhaling the heavy myrrh fragrance of her blueblack hair and the stringent scent of feathers. I reach for a half-glimpsed swatch of color: a midnight-blue robe, seamless mosaic of every color of night from palest twilight to deepest 3:00 am despair to fragile predawn. I slide the fantastic robe over her shoulders, deep slits for wings, fanned collar edged with diamond constellations; the Queen of Shadows turns in a dizzying swirl of velvet and satin, mirrored and remirrored in the shifting shadows of her marble hall, wings stretching, fanning. I stand in the center of the maelstrom of streaming fabric and ebony hair and feathers, looking into her deep blue eyes as she closes wings like dream and nightmare around me.

I wake to my own tumbled bed; the Queen of Shadows longs to hold a lover, but she is made only for flight. I lay back beside my lover, who breathes peacefully in the darkness. I have arms, and am good at keeping, holding close…I would prefer wings.


I have been thinking about this for years. Time to finally do it.



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