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A possible forward for the Wicca and Divorce Book

This entry is part 1 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

I was reading the book Epilogue: A Memoir
and the author’s discussion about her husband’s death, about her grief, about her attempts to find new companionship brought to mind my divorce and my grief over it. It also made me think of an acquaintance going through a divorce, and how what she’s written of her experiences are so very similar to my own internal life when it first happened. It’s also brought to light one of the reasons I’ve had so much trouble getting the book on Wicca and Divorce of the ground: yes, it’s been years, yes, I’ve moved forward into a new relationship, but no, I’m not quite done and it’s not the sort of thing I can or should force. Emotions and loves don’t wrap up in end in neat little packages and it’s a disappointing behavior of modern life that people think they should; I blame this idea on too many people modeling their emotional lives after thirty minute sit-coms. Living doesn’t give you neat conclusions; otherwise you wouldn’t shit yourself when you die.

With that perspective, this is what poured out of me this afternoon.

Making it Personal

This entry is part 2 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch
La Conscience (d'après Victor Hugo)
Image via Wikipedia

I have this almost childish need to hide behind my writing. I use big words, skimp on the imagery and pretty soon there’s this wall of words in front of my reader, just because I feel like I am the elephant in the room – and I’m clearly all self-conscious about it. I’ve had it pointed out to me before. I didn’t like it, and it stayed with me – because it’s a real problem.

Such is the case with my Wicca and Handparting (Divorce) book that I’ve  been working on since 2002. I’m facing the double whammy: I’ve never before completed a work of its intended length (around 360 pages) and the subject…well, the subject is very unpleasant, which is one of the reasons other authors have stayed away. No one wants to deal with divorce. No one wants to talk about glaring relationship mistakes best moved on from, or reveal what protection they had to create for themselves.

I sure as hell don’t.

However, every time I do expose myself to my community I find several other someones foundering as I did, and while I can’t have their answers for them, I can hopefully give them something that would work as a flotation device or at the very least as a doorstop while they’re hauling their stuff out of their old residence.

Ultimately, as much as I really don’t want to, I have to make what I’m writing personal. I don’t have the option of hiding behind some priestessy title or carrying on about the laws of my tradition – I have no tradition (and I’m happy that way, as I find my conscience just fine without making it wear a corset.) Just like a few thousand others, I just have had to figure it out for myself, and the process was very, very painful.

I have to tell what I went through. Otherwise, there are thousands of books already written and I have nothing to add.

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Resources on Witchcraft Claims in Custody Cases

This entry is part 3 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch
Our Worlds Divorce album cover
Image via Wikipedia

While the focus of my book is on the emotional and magical aspects of divorce between two adults, custody is the place where it most frequently gets ugly. Some of you may come here looking for resources, support, a sign it’s happening to someone else.

The Wild Hunt blog tag on custody cases has an excellent series of specific incidences where a former spouse used popular superstitions about non-Abrahamic religions to manipulate the outcome of a custody battle.

You can also find resources on the Witch’s Voice:

Pagan Divorce and Child Custody

Federal Decisions on Child Custody (US based)

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The Wicca and Divorce book

This entry is part 4 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

I’ve had this book on Wicca and divorce hanging over me for a few years now. I have two outlines, and somehow magically recovered material that really had been deleted several months back – at that time it seemed it was irrecoverable. But when I went on a file cleaning mission on my server, lo and behold, there it was last week, just waiting for me.

I’ve veered away from working on the book for several reasons, the biggest one being my qualifications: technically, I have none. This is all about magic to help ease the transition, because all that other stuff can’t even be handled properly by the qualified professionals.

I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a marriage counselor. I’m a priestess, but I’ve never led a coven and while I’m certain that will happen in the future if the circumstances are right, right now it’s just not going to happen.

I am a woman who has been divorced, who is also Wiccan. I got to discover firsthand that while I would say almost the majority of magical types in my area have experienced at least one divorce, for those going through divorce there was almost no support, and for the younger divorce’ there is significant and nasty stigma.

I’m not discovering a new world here. Other women have written guides on divorce survival. And, given the people out there who are determined to run around declaring who is and isn’t Wiccan apparently as their faith practice ((it sure doesn’t seem like they’re doing anything else)), I’m concerned this book, even if it does get published, will end up being just pissing in the wind because someone will get so hung up on the “legitimacy” of it that any information offered just won’t get used.

It’s an uncomfortable but real subject, and most of what’s out there starts off with “so, you failed.” Which is such judgmental, self-serving bullshit. It’s also really not fun to write, and as a newlywed, a bit awkward – although at least this relationship with my husband has already existed a very long time.

As I restart and rethink my approach once again, I’m asking a bizarre and improbable question: how can I make writing about dealing with divorce at a magical level fun?

Handparting book project gets mention on Runesoup

This entry is part 5 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

The book on handparting I’m working on passed 50K this weekend. It’s still a rough draft, but this means that the word-clay I need to work is really coming along. Next will come the web page, with the survey, and I will begin collecting interviews on the subject. This will happen around rewrites, and I may shop this around to different writer’s groups to get a variety of feedback.

I’ve gone into this knowing that publishing is a completely different game than a)the pagan market perceives it to be in the first place and b)what it actually was in the first place. I am an internationally published author. When I introduce myself, I generally get a response of, “What was your name again?” I think that sums up international publication for most of us, and I don’t expect that to change because I actually write a book as opposed to my smattering of short articles. ((Also, finding some of my work floating around the Philippines made me really wish I had a proper agent.)) Fortunately, I’ve gotten bits of help and nudges along the way – Lisa of Cybercoven.org ((read her book Magical Connections, it’s good!)) has definitely sent some good information my way, as have local members of my writer’s group who also know the metaphysical publishing field. ((Not sure how public second friend wants to be, thus not linking at this point.)) Yesterday, after finding the post through a comment over on Lupa of Therioshamanism’s livejournal, I discovered RuneSoup. The post was the Five Laws of Occult Economics: Why We Suck at Money. There’s more digging to do, on this, of course, and I am a true Scorpio in that I’d like to pluck at the underlying attitudes while people get mad at me for making their internal buildings collapse, but for the on-the-table reasons that you can’t ignore, this pretty well covers it.

I read through the blog post, found it valuable, commented as such and marked it in my “Read It Later” plugin. Apparently Howard likes to get to know his readers, because he contacted me today to tell me he wrote about my project on the Divorce and Wicca (or whatever title gets picked for it) here – I’m example 5.1. I think his plan is intriguing, and while I have every intention of hiring a publicist and actually have a specific publicist in mind, I can’t see how that person would object to me doing a chunk of the legwork myself.

While this book isn’t nearly as fun as the Urban Wicca book I have on backburner, I suspect it will be received more easily since it is unlikely to challenge any (Wiccan) assumptions. I suppose writing this is after all the literary equivalent of eating my vegetables first. At least it’s not brussel sprouts.

I am grateful for the help and tips I’m receiving along the way. Article writing, once you get into a groove, is relatively easy. But writing a book is daunting, because there actually aren’t many places that spell it out all at once: a marketing plan should look like this, a book length should look like this, a query letter for an agent should look like ___, for a publisher like ____ and you can do this and this with proposals, etc.

I’m not a babe in the woods in this, but I am a toddler. I appreciate all the points I get that encourage me to er, toddle along.

The first draft is done!

This entry is part 6 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

Como Garden and Conservatory June 8 2009

As of Thursday: The first draft on handparting and Wicca is done! Joy!

Now there’s a whole lot more work to do, of course, but this is the first time I have written a work that long, ever. I realize that it’s a long road ahead, but hopefully with careful care and a little help from my friends I can bring this puppy into print (or digital issue) once I get all the phases done.

As the next part of my work, I’m also going to be posting a very long survey online, and asking people who are Pagan and divorced in the Twin Cities area if they’re willing to sit down and do an interview with me. I would like to get as many of these interviews on camera as possible, because I plan to open a web page with a few of these videos. I may be able to string together an online documentary if the interviews are of sufficient quality.

Along with the survey I will post the outline and sample chapters (after much rewriting, I’m sure.) I am seeking an agent to represent me. I’m also wondering if I should start a Facebook fan page under my own name. While Facebook is the devil, it does have marketing clout.

I’m already feeling quite celebratory, and I had friends over last night as a sort of indirect celebration.

And now, more work ahead.

One small thing. It works.

More progress on Divorcing a Real Witch

This entry is part 7 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

I’m only now taking baby steps into writing the proposal, and I started with a rewrite of my chapter outline. This will definitely not be the final draft, but I thought I’d give you all a peek at the chapter titles so you can get the jist of the book:

Foreword: Why I wrote this book

Chapter 1: Why divorce when marriage is optional?

Chapter 2: The impact of divorce on family and friends

Chapter 3: Untangling the entanglement: the magical benefits of handparting

Chapter 4: Spells and magic to assist handparting rituals

Chapter 5: A year and a day, the end

Chapter 6: Oathbreakers and Warlocks

Chapter 7: Divorced witches under 30

Chapter 8: What to expect when you’re divorcing (and a witch)

Chapter 9: Rebounds, retrogrades and Saturn returns

Chapter 10: Life after handparting

Chapter 11: Between divorce and dating

Chapter 12: I’m single and Wiccan. Now what do I do with me?

Appendix – this will list resources helpful to divorcing pagans. Right now it’s just a book list including the works of Julia Cameron and Z. Budapest’s Summoning the Fates.

Looking at it here, it needs some re-ordering in the middle, but I can work with it.

More updates on the Wicca and Divorce Book

This entry is part 8 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

It may not look like it right now, but progress is being made. I just sent off the intensive survey questions to a friend who will overview them for really obvious bias and inclusiveness. I’m trying to work in questions for those without gender identity, as I believe that is a factor I overlooked when writing the first draft of the book.

Towards the end of demonstrating I’m marketable, I’ve also opened up my own fan page on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook, please join and please recommend to anyone who would find my work relevant. Believe it or not, Facebook actually has a decent amount of marketing clout, so just by joining you are helping me bring this book into being.

Divorcing a Real Witch: Update

This entry is part 9 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

I thought I’d let a few of you all know how it’s going on the Divorcing a Real Witch project. In sum: slow and steady. The initial beta test of the poll on Wiccan divorce experience failed, so we (meaning my husband) moved it to a different server, and after an initial slow load time it appears to work in every browser. So now I’m looking for new beta testers.  Contact me if you’d like to test the poll for me.

I’m also working on the second draft of the first two chapters, and trying to assemble something remotely usable as a proposal for prospective agents. In the process I’ve become frustrated with others in my craft and my Craft. I’m starting to suspect the reason I get so many patronizing and useless responses is because certain people just don’t want to admit it when they don’t know something. This reveals a lot about the reason for the abysmal state of publishing on pagan topics. ((Seriously, “try Writer’s Digest” or “Writer’s Market” is not a helpful response, since I already did it. Pointing me to AgentQuery after I MENTION AgentQuery is also NOT useful. And telling me to “do my homework” when I’ve just demonstrated that I have deserves no more and no less than a middle finger up your nose. Grr. ))

A short update on Divorcing a Real Witch, and Pagan values month

This entry is part 10 of 25 in the series Divorcing a Real Witch

The update:

060310 007
actually, I'm in my mid-30s.

For those of you who do follow my other blogs, particularly Fat Chic and my livejournal, you know I’ve been out for a blogger’s conference hosted by Lane Bryant. If that tells you anything about my core values, it tells you that I’m far from anti-establishment. I think the establishment, such as it is, belongs to me, and I’m willing to work with that. The weekend preceding the conference was the wedding of some dear friends, and as their official sanity anchor it meant strategic involvement on my part. This has thrown me a bit off my schedule, and has led to spiraling despair usually dumped in a notebook and shelved.

I was on a strong track with the writing last week, but even a short trip can throw me off, so I’m once again revisiting the carefully constructed habits. Making sure I exercise daily. Eating a decent breakfast. Trying to organize the time I spend with friends well. Stashing all the things that make me crazy and insecure so I’m fit for interaction with society. Making time for yoga, meditation, prayer and sunlight.

Also, stuff is broken. My livejournal crossposter is indeed neither crossing nor posting. The survey for Divorcing a Real Witch only loads if the planets configure and someone sneezes at the right time. The humidity has worn the adhesive off the picture hanging strips that attach images to the walls of my home, and my husband just drilled holes in our apartment wall because wireless became completely unreliable for three weeks.

So, this said – I’m getting back on track as best I can. I’ve been discovering a yen for writing fiction, and the noose-like conviction I indeed cannot write fiction is fading. I am still writing and revising the book proposal for Divorcing a Real Witch, and researching markets, researching PR, researching who to talk to and when. I am steeling myself for rejection and lots of “this is not what we’re looking for at this time” type stuff – back when I really trolled the field in my 20s, I was always invited to submit again, but rarely if ever did. I’m sure the same will happen with my fiction when I get that ready, too.

So there is is, you have your benchmark of where I’m at. Oh, and here’s a sample Table of Contents on the book.

Pagan Values Month
I do intend to participate in this, although my thoughts are considerably scattered on the topic – because it’s a scattered topic. There are few things that make me feel simultaneously hopelessly ahead and hopelessly behind as talking to other pagans, not just about values practice but about anything, really. While I realize those most into obtuse obscura are the most full of shit, I’m sensitive despite my tough demeanor and I occasionally end up getting conned for awhile.

I may not stick to this outline, but I think for this year, I may focus on a single aspect of pagan living/values and take it from there. Logically, a series on values surrounding divorce would probably be the closest to my wheelhouse right now, followed closely by values concerning marriage.  Last year’s discussions focused on sex, but I did get a big sidetracked.

I guess I’d overall like to focus on the following:

1. When is divorce acceptable, and when is it required?

2. Why get married at all?

3. Perceptions of freedom within a marital agreement (or why I struggle in marriage more than I do in long-term relationships)

4. Life besides parenthood

There is also a discussion I’ve wanted to bring up: pagans are a community of people with strong values, but we are not necessarily a community of shared values. For instance, I know individuals who consider cursing the worst thing you could do to yourself and someone else – and others who see refusing to curse a wrongdoer as a moral failing in itself. See? The topic spreads like dropped marbles.

I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and taking part of this stuff on this week, so stay tuned. Just keep in mind that because I’m Wiccan, I am fully prepared for my values to change as my situation changes.