Blessed Beltane!

This is one of my absolute favorite songs about Walpurgisnacht, and it is aptly named. Have a blessed day, and I hope the weather wherever you are is good! )o( ❤

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Like Leaves On A Tree

I can’t believe it’s already the end of April! This year is going so fast. Though I must say that I’m quite happy to be having warmer weather. All I can talk about lately is going to the beach and when we can finally get there.  It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m determined that it will soon! Here are some other things that have been on my mind~:

~Saturday was Arbor Day. I didn’t really do much to mark it (it’s not typically a day I “celebrate” anyway, I just sort of keep an awareness of it in my mind), but I did notice all the green buds and leaves on the trees, and I am super grateful for them. ❤

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~My 30/30 is going…not so great. I started out strong, and then have fallen off the bandwagon. I’m really behind right now. At the beginning of the week I’d made a plan to catch up, and then last minute wound up working 12 hour days at the day job the rest of the week, so haven’t really done much writing of anything these past four days. So clearly I am still completely behind, and have a lot to catch up on. Given that I have a full weekend, I’m not confident I can “win” NaPoWriMo (or Camp NaNoWriMo). However I am going to give it my best shot.

~In related news, I haven’t been writing much prose either. Though I have been reading some books lately that are making me itch to write prose again, and I’m really glad about that. I can feel my creative writing gears shaking off their rust and starting to turn again which makes me extremely happy.

~Yesterday was International Tabletop Gaming day. I, my partner, and I gathered together and played a bunch of boardgames. My latest gaming obsession has been A FEAST FOR ODIN. Not just because of the naming or theming, but because it’s a really fun game and the mechanics seem really tight.

~This morning my partner and I spent BAKING. It was sporadic and last minute, but we came away with some delicious mixed berry muffins (which will be a perfect Beltane breakfast!) and homemade biscuits. ❤

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~And finally, a friend introduced me to Thai Coffee. I’d never had it before, but I’ve sort of fallen in love with it. Super good. Definitely recommend giving it a try if you get the chance. (Especially if you are a coffee fiend like me!)

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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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