Cryptozoology, Monday Myth, Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Monday Myth: Welcome

Red Dragon

I am passionate about mythology, all of it, from the lightest to the darkest tales. Monday Myth delves into the most popular to the darkest, dustiest corners of myth from around the world.

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These are the different categories you will see in Monday Myth posts:

Mythology, Fairy Tale, Tall Tale, Fable, Cryptozoology: the lines around the definitions of these subjects are murky, sometimes invisible, and often overlap.

Mythology: a body of stories associated with a culture, institution or person. In the ages past, it meant classical Greek and Roman mythologies. Thankfully all societies and cultures are now included.

Fairy Tale: Once, literally, a fanciful story about fairies. Now it includes stories of fairies, other fantastical beings, and magic.

Tall Tale: Improbable or fanciful story. Usually a little newer than the older fairy tales.

Fable: A story about mythical or supernatural beings or events, often with a moral lesson.

Cryptozoology: A study of magical creatures from griffins and dragons to Yetis and gnomes.Big foot and a rose

Cryptozoology is my favorite and I’ll be sharing my own modern day bestiary.

You can also, periodically, join me in my favorite mythological party games.

“Quick! Choose a pantheon, any pantheon, and name the top ten deities.”

Or How many creation myths can you name? How many many archetypcial heroes can you name? From how many cultures?”

You’re invited to follow me into a journey of the psyche and the richness of culture throughout the world.

I’d love to have you along on my journey and if there is any creature or myth you’re curious about, send me a comment or email and I’ll get to the bottom of the story.

~lisa

Peacock Strut

 

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Bengal Cat Pictures, Bengal Cats, Cat Convos

Cat Convos: Thank you!

Yes, I'm asleep

Kuri: We’re back to cuddles and combining ourselves in Bengal puddles.

Loki: Thank you everyone for your well wishes. I’ve been hanging around, not doing much of anything, but I’m feeling much better right now. I’m taking it day by day.

Kuir and Loki over the dragon

Hiyu: Loki is even playing with us again.

Me: I’m happy to report that tests have come back showing that Loki has the most mild, unaggressive Lymphoma. We’re taking it day by day, but our goodbyes are not immediate.

Loki: The shock of only being given a few months has made me reevaluate my life.

Kuri: Me too, especially since I also had to have my tummy shaved for an ultrasound.

Hiyu: You two look really funny. Makes me glad I’m not a twin.

Me: Hiyu …20100402_214318000_iOS

Hiyu: Self-interest is a hallmark of being a cat.

Loki: Hiyu cuddles with me too. He’s just a little on the opinionated side.

Kuri: We all are. Thought you’d be use to it now.

Loki: I’ve come to realize I don’t need to make many changes to achieve my dreams. I nap, I play, I cuddle, I purr ( maybe catch up on my reading) and I snuggle.

Hiyu: I like how you now guilt them into giving us tuna.

Kuri: and lots more snacks.

Hiyu: I’d give up all the extra tuna just to have you stay with us.

Kuri: Me too.

20131206_000045000_iOSLoki: I know. I love you too.

Thank you Everyone

~lisa

 

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Bengal Cat Pictures, Bengal Cats, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Back Soon

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We’ve been away on midlife crisis.

One of our regularly scheduled, every five years or so, midlife re-evaluation of where, what, how, why. It’s when we step back, reevaluate, and decide what is of the greatest importance at each new stage in life.

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We are sad to announce that sweet, beautiful Loki has been diagnosed with lymphoma and we do not know how much longer he will be with us. It is not a change any of us want.

160409-SX50-6334Most of the path forward remains the same: passionate about writing and creating stories, collecting and sharing world myth, loving my Bengals and immersing myself in the issues of diversity and inclusion.

There may be a little more on CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) and CERT (Cat Emergency Response Team).

Cat Convos will continue.

140927 -  - mediumI may never know what is around the bend, but the Hill will continue its meanders through the space/time continuum.

I’m looking forward to sharing the adventure with you.

~lisa

TLC, Bengal style

 

 

 

 

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Diversity, Rainbow Hill Meanders, Writing

Wednesday Write: Diversity of Hair

 

“There’s no such thing as a bad hair day.” and yet, our hair speaks volumes about us. How we wear it often tells how we embrace our identity.

Writers should always think about hair and headwraps and what it says about our character, not only what we want to say about our character, but a lot about how our character views themselves. For some races (race being an arbitrary construct), it makes more of a difference than most of us realize.

I first learned of this issue from the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference “Writers for Diversity” session by Eliana West. She has twelve rules for dealing with black hair. Among her rules: “Don’t touch, ask to touch, or comment about wanting to touch our hair. Don’t ask if our hair is real, don’t call it unprofessional, don’t suspend our children from school or fire us from our jobs for wearing our natural hair.”

Wait, whoa. Are those issues? I was shocked at my ignorance of an issue that clearly is very real.

I have a young black character who wears her hair in braids. I didn’t think about how her hair choice made such a statement about who she was, or that she would face discrimination based on her hair choice.

I suggest a Netflix romantic comedy called “Nappily Ever After” if you’re interested in how black hair choices make a difference in how one perceives themselves and how others perceive them.

For a visual presentation of Western vs. Natural Hair look at the wonderful before and after pictures at TeenVogue https://www.teenvogue.com/gallery/10-girls-on-embracing-curly-hair?

Or check out All Things Hair to see amazingly beautiful celebrations of black hair. https://www.facebook.com/Lisafarrallhairstylist

As to my character, her hair remains the same, but I have learned of depths of her character of which I was previously unaware. She is with me on this journey and she is teaching me about the world outside. A world of bias I thought only existed in the past.

Before next week, I suggest watching a wonderful Ted Talk by Dr. Myrtle Bell called “Diversity Hats” which explores all types of diversity and bias in the American culture. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj9kIhp46-A

~lisa

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Cryptozoology, Mythology, Rainbow Hill Meanders, Writing

Monday Myth: Cryptozoology

Big foot and a rose

 

Cryptozoology is one of my favorite parts of being a fantasy writer. I’m always exploring myths and legends around exotic creatures that may or may not exist.

Cryptozoology is well-stated in Wikipedia as Cryptozoology is the study of rumored or mythological animals that are presumed by many to exist, but for which proof does not yet exist.”Green Dragon

It is also described in (IMHO) the best site on cryptozoology: http://www.newanimal.org/ by Jamie Hall.

Cryptozoology is the study of animals and other creatures that have not yet been accepted by science as real. In other words, it is monster-hunting. Cryptozoologists look for creatures like sea serpents and the yeti, hoping to gather enough evidence to prove that these beings exist. They also look for more commonplace animals, such as the ivory-billed woodpecker, the giant vampire bat, the inflatable hedgehog and the pygmy elephant. Creatures that are under investigation by cryptozoologists are called cryptids.”

There are many dedicated people that devote their time, and in some cases their careers, to finding these elusive animals.

Unfortunately cryptozoology is plagued by hoaxes, and pseudoscientists even though there have been cases of cryptids being discovered and handed off to the field of zoology.

Do I believe in most of these myths and monsters? Not really, but I love the ideas of them. I love their mythic symbolism and messages and I really enjoy all the “what if” moments that come from exploring them.

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I will also be the first to celebrate if any of them are found.

Cryptozoologists are not ghost hunters or devotees of the supernatural. To once again quote Jamie Hall http://www.newanimal.org/:

Cryptozoologists are a specialized branch of monster hunters. Since their ultimate goal is to discover either new species of animal or new subspecies, the science of cryptozoology is rooted in biology. The more a creature shows evidence of being supernatural, the less likely it is that cryptozoologists would be interested in it. Not many cryptozoologists investigate the strangest things like ghostly demon cats, Mothman or werewolves. Ghost hunts are left to the paranormal investigators and a few fringe cryptozoologists.”

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2015-SX50-0037Some of my favorites from the cryptozoological zoo that inspire me and my writing are: Dragons, Kraken (giant squids have now been found), Sasquatch and Yeti, Fairies, Living Dinosaurs, and Thunderbirds. See http://www.newanimal.org/ for a complete list of the diversity of creatures.

Another outstanding list of the creatures of cryptozoology and the facts known about the animals can be found at http://www.unmuseum.org/lostw.htm where descriptions of such animals as Nessie of Loch Ness, snakes as long as railroad cars, and their crypto alumni list reside.

The crypto alumni are large animals that have been discovered in the last century.

What are your favorite cryptids? What creatures of myth, legend, and rumor call out to you?

Favorites will move to the head of the pack for future blog posts.

Unicorn

May you all find your unicorns, fairies and friendly dragons.

~lisa

 

 

 

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Bengal Cat Pictures, Bengal Cats, Rainbow Hill Meanders

Cat Convos: We’re Busy

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Me: It’s time to write your Friday blog post.

Kuri: We’re busy.

Me: Too busy to blog?

Loki. Kuri & Hiyu: YES!

Me: It looks like you’re too busy napping?20100312_160034000_iOS

Kuri: We have a lot to process.

Me: That’s why the three of you have become a snoring Bengal puddle?

Hiyu: The twins snore, I don’t.

Me: What are you processing?20131206_000045000_iOS

Loki: Our new powers.

Me: Dare I ask?

Kuri: There’s a button on top of your laptop. If I rub my cheek on it, I can make the screen go black.

Hiyu: On your Xbox, I can push a button and make a tray come out.

Loki: And I can bat the tray back in.

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Kuri: We have demands.

20140324_002510475_iOSHiyu: We want motion-sensor sinks.

Loki: And fans we can leap through.

Me: Not going to happen.

Kuri: We can shut off your computer, your television and your games. You’d best give in to our demands.

Me: I’m busy.

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Hiyu: You’re looking at a computer screen that we can turn off.

Me: (typing earnestly before they shut off my Surface) “Ways to Bengal-proof.”

~lisa

 

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Diversity, People, Rainbow Hill Meanders, Writing

Wednesday Write: Diversity for All

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“People are people and each person comes with their own unique story.” – Lisa Kraft

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I was fortunate enough to attend the Writers for Diversity session at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference. The founder Eliana West runs the Facebook group Writers for Diversity. She is one of those miraculous leaders who saw a need and rose to the challenge. She runs Writers for Diversity as a closed safe group where one can have respectful conversations about all types of diversity.

I thought my quote above covered all I needed to know about diversity and acceptance. I found myself more naïve and ignorant than I ever expected.

While my belief is true, there are so many other factors I had never considered. People are also their culture, history, and the unique challenges that come with membership in non-mainstream groups.

Writers for Diversity is about all non-mainstream groups: ethnic, handicaps, self-identifications, culture … and many more. I, as an Accessible CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) instructor, have worked with wonderful people with many different self-determined handicaps. For Redmond, Washington CERT there is no separate, but equal classes. We accommodate everyone as much as our budget allows. The caveat is that translators are expensive so we can only offer full accommodation every three years.

I would feel horrible about that, but I took my Train-the-Trainer class with many of those from the first accessible class and these incredible individuals have taken the curriculum back to their own. If I guest teach at any of these CERT programs, then I’m the one who needs an interpreter.

20170104_034940000_iOSFor writers who are writing diverse characters, spend sometime thinking about your character and what they bring to your story. Simply changing the race of your character to fulfill a diversity quota, is like splashing new paint a wall. No matter what color you paint it, it’s still the same wall.

Your character should be relevant by the culture they bring. The unique challenges they may face. They should add a richness of who they are based on culture, history and location. If you can change their color at will, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

Another issue that often comes up in writing is writers asking the token minorities they see to tell them everything about the race or non-mainstream lifestyles they want to represent. See paragraph above about when and why you should writer diverse characters. Ask yourself if you can represent everyone in any group you belong to. (And yes, I ended a sentence with a preposition, but to write “to any group to which you belong” certainly sounded incorrect and pompous in a blog such as mine)

This is perhaps the longest post I have ever written and I have barely scratched the surface. Stay tuned for more Wednesday Writes in which I will dive deeper in the diversity of issues.

While you wait for next Wednesday’s post, I suggest reading a wonderful article by R.F. Kuang called “The Racial Rubber Stamp”  https://www.sfwa.org/2018/01/racial-rubber-stamp/

~lisa

Join me on this journey of discovery and send your own questions and issues you see. I will try to address each one I receive.

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