Arcturus

Arcturus by EPOD of USRA

When you stare at the stars long enough they start to do this silly little swim. For a moment, maybe a millisecond, you believe what you’re seeing is true. Your heart jumps and you rub your eyes and you try to refocus them. What did I see? Why? Between one star and another, you see that there has been no change in distance or location. You breathe deep. You may be still, but you are always making micro movements. Your heartbeat, inhale and exhale of your lungs. Your body is a chorus of stirring. Stillness is just another state of movement. Logically you know this. But your mind keeps being dragged back to that initial feeling of belief. because it exhilarates you. Because you want to make a home in the feeling. Fires in a Black Sea swirling just for you.

Of course you want more. You always want more. so you are drawn to believe what your eyes have told your mind they see. You wait and you stare and you speak softly to yourself: “this is Arcturus.” It is fixed. A landmark. You’ve aimed telescopes and your heart toward it for years. For ages before you, there have been legends, poems, splendid things inspired by the light it gives. Eons before human existence, unseen, unloved, it never ceased it’s shimmering. 37 light years. 11 parsecs separate you. But it dances and you’re dizzy in your foolishness and love and it suddenly feels within reach. A living thing. It breathes. Maybe you’ve dipped your longing in and stirred the sky. What hubris. Van Gogh knew what I mean.

You can suddenly perceive the spinning, the roll of the earth along the path it has carved in spacetime, Falling toward the sun. And how we sail blindly. All of it. Ever expanding outward. How it has started to decay. Moving ever toward entropy, half as luminous as it was 2 billion years ago. Lights slowly going out one by one. A carnival at closing time. Your minuscule life laughably short. An iota. A grain of time.

And what if it has already collapsed in on itself? Arcturus. The guardian. The last gasps still hurdling toward us, 370,000 years late. Corpse light in a haunted sky.

Nothing lasts. Rather than being dismal, this is heartening. It elicits bravery.

I will love in full measure.

I will love in full measure when it is returned and even when none is given me.

Eppur si muove.

A Dirge for the Barely There

You were more than
A trail of blood,
More than the fires
That forged the iron in it.
Weak gravity
And heavy elements.
Eons in the æther
Before you came to me.
You were more than
These filaments,
Proton and electron
And the atoms they knit,
And in that great
Undying place,
Where we will not
Be created nor destroyed,
May we one day collide
And know we knew
And shared
The same space,
Though you were barely there
And I only just.

-MJG 2021

The Sound and the Shape

I spent a whole evening with your names. I know almost all of them by heart. Names are a sacred thing. The sound and the shape of them. I’m honored and I’m glad to know them, to be able to arrange them, to give them a place in a very important part of my life that you helped make a reality. The manuscript for Last Road is in the hands of the printer. Vodka and cranberry to celebrate. Another to toast you.

Empty and desolate is the sea.

I buried you

In the marrow

Of my bones.

I carry you

In this wreckage.

This derelict

Body full of

Curses and portents,

Salted wounds and

Blood in the water,

Tall ships on

Strange shores.

Satellites in

Perpetual free fall

Following stars

Named for

Blasphemed

Gods,

All their supplicants

And temples

Long since consumed

By fire

Or by moorland

Drowned

And exhumed

A cuneiform adorned

Tomb

-MJG 2021

E pur si muove

There are only 8 days left to get a copy Café Macabre II , now fully funded and working on the 5th stretch goal. My story The River, is included in this volume with accompanying art by Keyla Valerio. Café Macabre is an anthology of horror stories and art by women. Check it out here, and grab some Kickstarter goodies.

April 2021 picture prompt challenge image by Rie Sheridan Rose

My April Ladies of horror flash fiction piece Petra’s Journey is live over at spreadingthewritersword.com. These flash fiction pieces are a fun and expressive challenge, and I am grateful for the opportunity. Hope you enjoy!

Get in the Game is a comic anthology which includes my 8 page story Under the Root, Illustrated by Emily Zelasko and lettered by Jim McClain. It’ll be available at Barnes and Noble and your local comic shop starting this Wednesday. Signed copies are also still available from my storefront here.

Last Road to the Backwoods had a smashing campaign on Kickstarter! We fully funded and then some, due to the amazing support we received. If you missed the campaign and still would like to get a copy, we have pre-orders open at my storefront here

Ann Hodges and the hole a meteorite left in her ceiling – Smithsonian

I am still plugging away on Sylacauga. The picture above, the look on her face was the driving force behind wanting to write about the meteor event. The anthology will consist of 3 stories entitled Signs, Wonders, Miracles surrounding the fireball witnessed in the sky that eventually came to rest in Mrs. Hodges’ living room. I will be self publishing it this fall.

Thanks for reading!

“And yet it moves (E Pur Si Muove) is a phrase attributed to the Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) in 1633 after being forced to recant his claims that the Earth moves around the Sun, rather than the converse. In this context, the implication of the phrase is: despite his recantation, the Church’s proclamations to the contrary, or any other conviction or doctrine of men, the Earth does, in fact, move (around the Sun, and not vice versa)” -Wikipedia

Tracks and Traces

Shigir Idol, photo by Constantin Voutsen

Have you ever heard of the Shigir Idol? It’s a 17 foot wooden statue that has been carbon dated to about 12,000 years old. Roughly at the end of the last ice age. Its named for the peat bog it was found in, on the eastern slope of the Middle Ural mountains near Yekaterinburg. It’s a striking sculpture, featuring several human faces and geometric lines and shapes. After being microscopically studied, it was discovered that the Shigir Idol’s features and designs were carved with half a beaver jaw with teeth still intact.

Since reading about the Shigir idol, I’ve been running my fingers over the grooves in my mind. Over and over again, tracing the carefully carved lines, feeling the smooth wood, stopping at every angle and turn. A prayer of sorts. A map leading backward. Veins. Beckoning mountain ranges and lakes and forests. An unimpeded night sky full of constellations. I wonder if it was meant for that. I wonder if, 12,000 years ago, the people responsible for creating it could fathom my doing so? I think they did. I think they meant for us to. It feels arrogant to make assumptions. Almost sacriledge.

The face at the “head” of the idol is placid, peaceful and seems to be singing. or breathing into the cold air. Or pleading. Or any number of things. But it is undeniably human.

I think about 12,000 years in the bog. The murky dark cast about with scattered sunlight only occasionally. The moss and the rock. The sediment. The sediment that drowned and preserved it. An ancient lake gasping. A toppled giant forever asleep. Why are tears so close when I do so? Why am I so moved? Why is it so easy to feel the weight of the clay and the water?

I feel a sort of kinship with both the Shigir Idol and the artists who created it. An eternal reaching forward. Toothed beaver jaw, warm wood, calloused hands. Shaped and molded, tracks and traces, whispered truths and prayers. Nightmares and daydreams. Falling. Sinking. Turning to stone unseen. 12,000 years undreaming. Hieroglyph after hieroglyph. Surfacing in pieces. Messages and lessons in the lesions.

Last Road Reviewed

Max from Booknest.eu dropped a glowing review of Last Road to the Backwoods today and we are over the moon!

“Every page reads in an eerie, creepy way, eventually resulting in a terrifying event or scene. This is a well-written book, broken up into three parts, with a plot that remains engaging through its mysteries and revelations.”

Read the rest here.

4 days left to pre-order! Only on Kickstarter!

Macabre Ladies

Illustration by Keyla Valerio for The River.

Leah McNaughton Lederman, editor and author extraordinaire, asked me a series of questions about my writing process, my advice to young authors, and The River, the piece I wrote for Café Macabre II. You can read it in it’s entirety here.

And make sure to pre-order this amazing anthology full of stories and art by talented women!

Running up that hill

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Last Road to the Backwoods is now officially funded on Kickstarter!

As I type this, I am still overwhelmed with all the feelings that come with it. I am so excited that you will soon have our novel in your hands, but not only that, I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support it has received.

A Kickstarter campaign comes with an unexpected and intense rollercoaster of emotion. Looking back, I was unprepared for just how hard we would work, how long the days would feel, and how much every view, every pledge, every share would mean to us.

We only have a week to go! And now that it is nearing the end, it all feels like it sped by so quickly.

I love writing, I love creating, and I cannot express the depth of my appreciation that you’ve allowed us the room and afforded us the ability to do so. So many times in my life, I’ve dreamt of this very thing.

Pre-order our unsettling, weird, intense occult noir horror novel here

Last Road to Fully Funded

We are only $186 dollars from fully funded on the campaign for Last Road to the Backroads. With 10 days left, I’m confident we will hit our goal and get our book into your hands. This was a passion project my husband and I worked on while separated by the Atlantic Ocean and the worst pandemic in 100 years. Unsettling, surreal, and suspenseful, I feel it perfectly encapsulates how we felt at the time, translated into an occult noir horror that will leave your heart racing. Check it out here: http://kck.st/30Vxaqp