Random Bit of Beauty

WHAT’S PLAYING: DuffyWarwick Avenue

A little out of it today. Look, a swan!

Swan

Pretty.

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The Ever-faithful Lily Wanda

WHAT’S PLAYING: Duffy “Syrup and Honey”

Once upon a time, the Choctaw held a Green Corn Festival to show love and gratitude to the Great Spirit who had given them so much. The Queen of the festival was Lily Wanda, the most beautiful maiden in the village.

When time came for the Chief to speak, he stepped forward and the people fell silent.

“My people,” he said, “The Great Spirit has been good to us. Green Corn Goddess has watched over our corn. Rain God watered it and Father Sun warmed it. We give them thanks. I have long wondered where Father Sun sleeps. Someone must journey to find the answer. This traveler will face great danger and hardships. He may never return. But, if he can find the place, he will be great among men.”

sunset-big-orange-sun-setting-over-ocean

After the Chief had spoken, the silence was unbroken but for the wind that sighed through the trees.

Finally, a brave young man named Oklawana stepped forward. “My Chief,” he said, “I will go and find where Father Sun sleeps.”

Lily Wanda cried out in distress. “No, no, do not go, Oklawana!” she said, pushing through the crowd to stand before her lover. “You will never return!”

Oklawana turned to Lily Wanda. “I must go. Our chief wishes it. I will return with great honor and claim you for my bride.” He took her hand. “I leave my wampum belt with you. It tells the story of our people’s councils. Guard it well until I return.” Then he made four bundles of sticks for the four seasons of the year. “Count these for me as the seasons pass.”

Unable to speak, Lily Wanda nodded and took the belt and sticks. The next sunrise, she watched her sweetheart start his long journey.

Young-Native-American-Girl

Every day, Lily Wanda prayed to the Great Spirit to send Oklawana back. She counted the bundle of sticks as the seasons passed. In the evenings, she sat in her doorway watching for his return. In time, she went up on the mountain and built signal smokes to guide her lover home.

Seasons passed and Lily Wanda grew old. She still counted the sticks and guarded the belt. She watched and prayed. One day as she prayed at the mound of Nanih Waiya, a stranger came to her.

“I saw the signal smoke and came to you,” he said. “Lily Wanda, do you remember me? I am Oklawana who went in search of the sleeping place of Father Sun. I have come back to you.”

“That is not true,” she replied. “Oklawana has been dead for many years. You are some other.”

“Is this the belt he gave you?” he asked, pointing to her waist.

“Yes, I have kept it for him but he does not return.”

“I gave you the belt. Don’t you remember me?”

“No, you are Halvah, the story-teller. Let me be.” With these words, Lily Wanda died of a broken heart.

Oklawana caught her as she fell. He carried her body to the village and found that no one knew him.

nanihWaiya

“I followed Father Sun day after day, season after season,” Oklawana said wearily. “Finally, I saw him sink into a great blue lake, and I could not follow him. I have wandered many years trying to find my people, but you do not know me. My Lily Wanda did not know me. Now she is dead.”

Then he sank to the earth in despair and died of grief.

The people buried him and his faithful Lily Wanda together.

Website Coming Soon

WHAT’S PLAYING: DuffyRain on Your Parade

Holy sh*t! I have a website!

Well, not really. Not yet. But it should be up and running by the first of the year. It feels strange, topsy-turvy. I haven’t even published (or finished) my book yet, and here I am already setting up an author website and Facebook page. Is it just me, or does all of this seem a little backward?

Turns out, it isn’t. I’ve talked to half a dozen authors, agents, editors and marketing execs, and they all agree that the best time to start building a platform is now. I don’t really like the term “platform”. It makes me feel as though potential readers are little more than a surface on which I’m supposed to build my career. That doesn’t sound…well, right. I’m not trying to sell anybody anything. (I don’t have anything to sell.)

I’m doing this to connect with potential readers and people in general. I have to admit that it’s a little odd though. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding people, closeted in my room safe from the minefields of social interaction and the subsequent humiliation that comes with it, that actually trying to attract other people’s attention is like trying to speak Russian while walking a tightrope suspended over Niagara Falls.

Let’s jut say it usually doesn’t end well.

To be brutally honest, I suck at it. I joined both Twitter and Facebook, but have yet to post on either site. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it’s just that I can’t imagine that anyone would want to hear it. My friend, M, has graciously agreed to help me set up an online profile, but I keep chickening out. Every time she starts explaining the various ways to manipulate social media, I suddenly turn into a moron. It’s not that I’m not interested or that she’s a bad teacher, it’s just that when it comes to certain things, my brain shuts down.

I usually wind up feeling the need to assure her that I really am smart. (I am. Really. I swear.)

And that brings us to the website. What the hell am I going to do with it? To that end, I’ve signed up for a Social Media 101 course. Don’t laugh. Some you probably don’t know much about nuclear chemistry.

So there.

Some cool links for you:

http://halfwaybetweenthegutter.wordpress.com/

Fearless honesty and haunting poetry. This young woman’s journey is not for the faint of heart, but the fact that she’s still trying to move forward makes her an inspiration.

http://astoryeveryday.com/

This is for anyone who has a story they want to share, fiction or nonfiction. Send them a story, long or short, or even a picture, and they will post it for the world to see. (Disclaimer: despite the title, they don’t really post stories every day, but it’s still a cool place to drop by.)

http://www.john-shirley.com/blog/

John Shirley’s blog. Full of current and relevant observations and strong opinions on such. Warning: you may come away smarter or at least, more aware than you were before.