An Earth Day Celebration

Tomorrow is Earth Day, so in early celebration, I wanted to share some of the nature pictures I’ve been taking recently. All of these were taken at my favorite park that I go to usually once or twice a week when the weather is warmto write and read. I might even try to some Yoga there this Summer~

These photos were taken right after a short, spontaneous rainstorm happened. I had arrived at the park intent on writing some poetry, and just as I stepped out of my car the sky opened up and rain POURED down. So everything in the photographs has that beautiful, just-after-it-rained glow to it. ❤

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If you look close enough you can see water droplets on the petals~

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Nature grows everywhere.

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I don’t actually know what flowers/trees these are, but I adore them~!

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Movie Review: Live Action BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

So, I finally got to see the live action Beauty and the Beast. For awhile I had debated whether or not I wanted to spend the money on it, but eventually it won out that I went to a theater. I have many thoughts about it, but let’s get my biggest gripe out of the way first: gay Le Fou.

Le Fou was not gay. Or at least, he was gay in as much as Dumbledore was gay (in the movies, not the books).

In the animated version Le Fou was Gaston’s lacky. The side kick and comic relief. He very clearly wanted to BE Gaston. It was said that in the live action remake it was going to be more clear that he was in love with Gaston. It was not. If anything it was more clear that he wanted to be Gaston. The way he copied his motions, the way he talked to himself in the mirror right after Gaston did it…it just all felt like he was trying to copy Gaston. The ONE moment it felt like he might be actually interested in Gaston was during Gaston’s song and Le Fou found a clever way to wrap Gaston’s arms around himself. But that was the closest thing you could even question.

There was even a moment in the movie where Le Fou could have blatantly said “I’m gay” and he didn’t. Gaston had asked him why no girl had snatched him up yet since he was such a good guy. Le Fou’s answer was “people say I’m too clingy”. That would have been the perfect time to say “I’m not into girls”! I understand that when in that position a lot of people who aren’t out yet will dodge the question and give a “cheat” answer–I’ve done it myself in the past. But for a character that is supposed to be OPENLY GAY, to have them answer in a way that doesn’t affirm that gay identity felt wrong. (Furthermore I wish Gaston had just known that Le Fou was gay instead of it having to be a Thing.)

As far as the “gay moment” goes, it was so small you could blink and miss it. I’m talking less than 30 seconds, at the very end of the movie as the camera pans out. Le Fou, like everyone else in the cast, is in the palace dancing when he starts dancing with another guy. That’s it. In a crowd this size, if people were to misstep this is a thing that could very easily happen to anyone. I didn’t see that they shared any “look”. They danced for mere seconds and simply didn’t act like it was any big deal, like they would if they were swapping dance partners per usual.

Le Fou was also just as pathetic (despite being very well played by Josh Gad) in this version as in the animated version, though he wasn’t any kind of comic relief and did have more of a role. That being the person to try to calm Gaston down and help him keep his temper in check. He was still a minor character though, and in all honesty it still stands that if there was no Le Fou the story wouldn’t be effected at all. So I’m a little upset that Disney made a character that wasn’t important to the plot the gay character.

I’ve heard people say “just be happy Disney is trying”. Okay, but…they aren’t trying? It feels like they are paying lip service to the LGBT community and just doing a thing to be able to say they did it. It doesn’t feel like a genuine attempt by any means, and that makes it feel very cheap. When you make a character that doesn’t really matter to the story gay it feels, in a way, like you’re saying LGBT people (or characters) don’t matter. Or at the very least we are there, but not important enough to get our own stories or even really be recognized. Especially when the supposed gay character doesn’t come across as gay at all. I LOVED when Rowling said Dumbledore was gay, but then was very disappointed when that gayness didn’t even get mentioned in the movies. I didn’t want it to be a conflict of the story, but I wanted it to be known and so obvious that it didn’t take the author confirming it. I didn’t want it to be hidden or ignored. And Disney did the very same thing. They said this character was gay, but they didn’t portray that. They threw in something that could so easily be missed and it doesn’t even really feel like there was a gay character.

So those are my thoughts on the gay Le Fou. VERY underwhelming. As for the rest of the movie?

I think they did a fantastic job with it. The live action went into more detail about what happened to Belle’s mother, which I was very glad about. They also explained what happened to the Beast’s parents, and made him a little bit more of a sympathetic character. And the movie gets points for having Sir Ian McKellen in it…because Sir Ian McKellen. Overall, I much prefer this version over the animated version, but they definitely could have done better with a gay character. Much better. It actually felt like there wasnt a gay character at all. If there hadn’t been all the media hubbub about it before I saw the movie I wouldn’t have even known. That’s not really how you have a gay character.

If I ignore the major way Disney screwed up having their first gay character, then I give this movie a 4 out of 5 stars. If I take into account all the issues I had with Le Fou himself, then it gets dropped down to like a 2 stars. I WISH Disney had done a better job with it, because the movie was amazing. The special effects, (most of) the writing, the storytelling…all of it came together in a really good way to make a very enjoyable movie experience. One I would happily experience again. But if I take into account the great disappointment I felt regarding Le Fou my rating drops dramatically. But I’m not rating this based on one character, I’m rating it based on overall story, effect, and enjoyability. Overall I think I’d give this a 3 out of 5 stars. Perfectly enjoyable, but I can’t ignore the whole Le Fou thing.

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Tell me, Child

Tell me child have you heard
The song of the stars
The hum of the trees
The beat of the Earth?

Tell me child have you felt
The rhythm of the sea
The music of the dolphins
The poetry of the beach?

The me child have you learned
How to listen,
How to hear
How to feel
The message of the Universe?

~Raven Rose, 2017

(This is the raw, unedited version.)

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From the forthcoming Pagan poetry collection, Through the Mists, which will be released sometime in the Autumn of 2017.

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Camp NaNoWriMo and National Poetry Month!

Tomorrow is the beginning of April and therefore the start of Camp NaNoWriMo and National Poetry Month. What does a Pagan author do when the two fall together? Work on a Pagan Poetry Collection of course! I was going to do the “write a poem every day in the month of April” thing anyway, and this just kind of gives me guidance, encourages that pattern, and allows me to work on a thing I’ve wanted to do for years.

And I do mean years. I began writing poetry the moment that I first got into Paganism. I’m not sure why I immediately started writing poetry at that point, but I did. I had a brown (fake) leather notebook that I carried about with me everywhere and I filled it with poems. Every time my mom would turn around I was writing. If it wasn’t in my journal it was in this notebook. Oh how I wish I still had it. The poems in it were mediocre at very best, but it would be nice to read back through it and see where I was in my poetry and what my 16 year old self put to verse.

In those years I found myself wishing for a collection of Pagan poetry, but I found none. Not even online. So this project is sort of a gift to my teenage self, and to anyone else just starting out (or well seasoned!) on their Paganism journey. I’ll give more details about it’s contents and such as the month progresses, but just in the minimal planning I’ve done there are seven section or categories of poems. I didn’t actually want to plan too much as I wanted to let this be more of an organic “go where the muse leads me” sort of thing, and I’m excited to see what all I come up with!

If you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo and want to be part of my cabin, send me a request! To everyone else, happy National Poetry Month!

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Merry Ostara!

I can’t say that Ostara is my favorite holiday, but it’s in my Top Eight. 😉 That said, this year I am immensely glad that it is here. It’s been a relatively mild Winter all things given, but I have started feeling that itch again. The itch to be outside, to see green things, to see critters running around. I long to lurk in parks reading and writing and taking pictures of beautiful flowers.

Ostara marks the coming of that time. Trees haven’t started budding quite yet, but they will any day. Only the bravest of flowers have bloomed, but more will soon follow in their petalsteps. Now is the time when the Earth is stirring and waking up from her long Winter slumber. Now is when Persephone returns to Demeter (at least this is what intuition tells me). Soon things will start coming to life again.

I hope you all have a beautiful, blessed day!

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Camp NaNoWriMo?; Or, Too Many Projects!

I’ve decided this year for the first time ever that I’m going to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo. I think what made me decide was the combination of simply loving the community that regular NaNoWriMo brings, and the fact that April is poetry month. Every April I strive to write one poem a day for the entire month (thus resulting in me having 30 poems at the end of the month). This year I’m finally working on a thing I’ve wanted to write since I was a teenager, but just never put the time or energy into (for various reasons), and all these poems will be contributing to that.

If you guessed that I’m working on a poetry collection, you’d be right!

I’ve avoided talking about this for a myriad of reasons, and I still don’t want to talk about it too much. BUT I will say that if you’ve been keeping up with my monthly goals, you will note that every month I’ve had the goal of “write 5 poems”. That has been my way of slowly working on this while allowing myself time and energy to work on my prose projects.

I’ll give more details on this project as time goes on and I get it closer to completion, but a working title that I have for this project is THROUGH THE MISTS.

However, with all of this in the works, I’ve considered giving myself a second Camp NaNo project–a prose project. Remember that short story anthology I mentioned last month that I wanted to have ready to release in June? That’s still a thing…sort of. I’ve changed things a little bit. Instead of releasing an anthology at the beginning of June, here’s what I’m planning to do. Right now, my passion and muse are geared towards SOMEONE LIKE YOU and THROUGH THE MISTS. So that’s where I want to put all of my focus. Instead of releasing an anthology at the beginning of June, I’m thinking of releasing SOMEONE LIKE YOU at that time, and then throughoutu the month of April posting a few FREE lesbian short stories. At the end of the month then I would compile them all into an anthology and sell it with a few previously unreleased stories thrown in.

This is what I’m thinking of and will probably end up doing. The problem with being a writer who has a million ideas and things she wants to release, but not enough hours in the day is that sometimes things get shuffled around like this. I’ll give more details when we get closer to April and I get things more finalized.

In the meantime, if you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo let me know your username in the comments and we can be cabin buddies. I’m Ravenscribe over there (just like on regular NaNo)!

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A Winter Wonderland

So, I hate Winter. Like…if I never had to have cold weather again I would be PERFECTLY happy. Bundling up in heavy coats, shivering as I walk to and from our car, needing hats and mittens…not for me. I really wish I could just have Spring, Summer, Autumn and that was it. I was not made for cold weather. However, there is one thing I like about Winter: the way the world looks covered in snow and ice. Don’t get me wrong though, I still hate those two things. But their ability to change the way the world looks for a short time is truly magickal. I was out on adventures today and couldn’t help stopping to grab a few shots. ❤

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There are a few more photos posted over on my Flickr, if you would like to see more~

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