Storm’s Coming

Dear Richard,

I got your email. I mean, obviously I got it; else I wouldn’t be replying to it. You can probably see your email at the bottom of my email or something. I don’t know. I guess it depends on your client and your preferences, but yeah. Hi.

Dear Richard Edit 1 - 5 BLOG

It’s morning here

It’s morning here, or I guess it is since I haven’t been up all that long and I’m still in my jammies. My jammies have unicorns. I have matching slippers. If I had to do all this myself, I’d never be organised enough to find my jammies, much less matching slippers, but there you have it. You say you’re lucky. I certainly have had a lot of luck over the past several years. Sometimes good luck, sometimes bad luck, but luck I have had.

Dear Richard Edit 1 - 6 BLOG

The family balcony

This is the family residence balcony, though I do have guests here from time to time: everywhere else is so formal. It’s comfortable this time of year, even though that sky’s beginning to darken somewhat so I’ll have to keep a look out for Weather. I’m a lot less bothered about weather than I used to be, though. There’s a daytime moon here, because I like the moon so I put one there. It just makes me smile.

Two paragraphs in and I’m rambling already. I don’t know what to say to you, if I’m honest. The answer is no; I haven’t Googled you. At first, it was because I was afraid to. If you can see back to the very beginning of the blog, when I first came away, you’ll see that I went to a place where I was discouraged from checking anything about my own potentially contemporary life out. So I left it, and so much was happening it just seemed the right thing to do, to let it all happen as it happened. I didn’t want to see my own funeral notices. I didn’t want to know if that life had ended completely, and where I was there seemed such a lot going on. The more I talk, the more I realise there’s no excused. I should have tried to find you.

Dear Richard Edit 1 - 4 BLOG

You are welcome

Of course, you are welcome to come to Awenia. If you coordinate with me ahead of time, I can offer you a place to stay. There’s space for guests in the Residence, but I don’t know if you’d like it. I’m thinking of one of the floating guesthouses; we have a few that are broken up into nice flats. I can’t put you in the Treehouse, because visiting Fae dignitaries get all puffy if they think that residence isn’t reserved for them.

Dear Richard Edit 1 - 1 BLOG

Floating

Yes, I think the sky is definitely darkening. Behind me here you can see the steps to the Treehouse, and just the edge of one of the floating guesthouses. They’re quite nice.  I can’t concentrate on my book. I don’t know why I brought it out here. Something about floating in the lagoon on a nice day, even if there’s a storm coming, makes me feel peaceful and I need a bit of peace right now. You’ve probably seen the statue on some of our literature: lots of people are referring to it as the Awenia Statue, but really he’s called The Last Hope. He’s a symbol of our Realm, I guess, even though he came from somewhere very far away.

You seem very far away, even though I’m looking at photographs of you now on my iPad, and thank you for the link to your author site: I’ll start reading the first one tonight.

Dear Richard Edit 1 - 2 BLOG

Dabbling

I’m so pleased you embraced writing. I’ve always been such a dabbler in things I never could choose a path to follow that wasn’t the one I stumbled on to while dabbling. And you’ve had a journey that I hope we can talk about when you come to visit Awenia.

“When” is such a funny word, isn’t it? You will have heard that time flows differently in different Realms, but it’s an odd concept until it smacks you in the face, I think. And there’s no easy way to say this, so I’m going to smack you in the face, I reckon. You say it’s been thirty years, where you are. For me, by my counting anyway, it’s just coming up on eight years since the last time we saw one another. That sounds like dancing about. It’s just coming up on eight years since the accident that led me to cross the river into Jasper and begin to discover myself as I was born and not as I was made. As for why I didn’t reveal my Fae nature back then, the truth is I didn’t know it, and that’s a conversation we can have over dinner or coffee or whatever you fancy, but it’s not something I can write down because it will make no sense written down.

Now, I am going to pop off the Rosé floatie and get myself a cup of coffee at the portal café before the rain comes. Then, I think I’ll settle down with a nice ebook I’ve just downloaded. After all, it’s nearly sundown and I’m still in my jammies.

Dear Richard Edit 1 - 7 BLOG

A hope

Our statue is called The Last Hope, but I have many hopes. One of them is that when you cross through our portal and into Awenia that you’ll find many things to like here, and that you and I will find many things to talk about. Probably I’ll wear something a bit more presentable than pyjamas, though.

Notes & Credits:
My jammies: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Flannels & Halter (Get them at the 1313 Mockinbird Lane Main Store!)
My slippers: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Flannel Slippers (Get them at the 1313 Mockingbird Lane Main Store!)
My Hair: Wasabi, Summer (Get it at Summerfest!)
My Skin: Ritual, Elspeth in T1 (Because NOBODY does pale and luminous like Ritual! You can get this and other Ritual skins at the Ritual Main Store. Elspeth comes in a host of tones, including some beautiful fantasy colours.)
My Eyes: S0ng, Marina Eyes
My Eyelashes: Shiny Stuffs, Bouquet Of Lashes
My Lipstick: theMARS, Sanity Lip
My Body: Maitreya
My Head: Lelutka, Lake Evolution Mesh Head
My Ears: Swallow, Elf Ears High Definition

Other Cool Stuff in these photos:
My Castle: Rivendale, Dreamy Castle (best contemporary faerie castle on the grid)
My Deck Furniture: Artisan Fantasy, Gazebo
The Visible Floating Guest House: 22769 / bauwerk, Somewhere Only We Know House
The Awenia Statue: Death Row Designs, Last Hope Statue
Lotus Flowers and Lily Pads: Rivendale
Partially Visible Treehouse: LAQ, Serene Tree & Windmill Home
Rosé Floatie: Granola, Salt Water Rosé Float (At Summerfest!)

The Known Alone

Dear Gwyneth,

I’ve begun this letter many times. Sometimes I even finish it. The first time, maybe even the first ten times, I wrote it, it started, continued, and ended with apologies. I think I’m past that now, which is one reason I hope that once I finish this letter, I may hit “send” and not regret it too much.

It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom. —Wallace Stevens

Well, we are more than three months into a pandemic lockdown as I write this, and I am in the known alone, because venturing into the unknown isn’t practical right now.

Snapshot_005 BLOG

So, I Googled you.

So, I Googled you. Of course I’ve done this many times over the years. I don’t know how long ago it was when I discovered you had a blog, but I’ve been reading it off and on, in between teaching terms and workshops. I don’t know if you’ve Googled me. All that software that says it’ll tell you stuff like that costs money and looks a bit dodgy if you ask me.

You remember that big old house my parents inherited from my granddad? You can see it out the window in the photograph above. Yeah; it’s mine now, for about ten years. They’re rolling over in their Tory graves every time they think of me now, because about ten people are living there at the moment. Usually I live there too, but the whole pandemic thing scared me when it first started, so I locked myself down in the garden house.

Snapshot_002 BLOG

I’m lucky.

I’m lucky. But then I think I was predisposed to be lucky. Now I just try to be grateful for it while not being an arsehole because of it.

I don’t think I ever took you and Fen and the others to the garden house; my mum lived here most of the time because she and my dad couldn’t stand one another. The garden is full of her things, and it’s a good place to remember her.

Snapshot_001 BLOG

I garden.

You’d laugh: I garden. Well, I keep the garden from dying. Most of these are wildflowers my mum loved, hollyhocks and Queen Anne’s lace and some campion, lots of clover. Oak, birch, and cherry trees, and I’m uncomfortable this year in the midst of all this growth.

Most of the kids in the big house are students of mine who either pay some rent or need a place to crash when their lives fall apart. They are respectful kids—I say kids; they’re older than you and I were when I last saw you. Anyway, they take pretty good care of the place and I have only had to go up there once since March when the country locked down.

Snapshot_009 BLOG

Time and time

Time and time. It’s funny: all that time we knew each other, all through uni, or mostly through uni, anyway, I knew you were special. I never would have guessed you were one of the Fae, though. I’ve wondered, often, why you hid it. Your parents seemed perfectly human, no Court allegiance sigils on the door, and you, I mean, I would almost have said that you were not at all concerned with the magical world. I guess a lot of us humans try not to be; it’s easy to have an inferiority complex if you consider that someone you know could be holding phenomenal cosmic powers, to quote Aladdin because I don’t know what else to quote here and my life revolves around other people’s words, except when it revolves around my own.

Snapshot_006 BLOG

And yes; I’m bored.

And yes, I’m bored. Don’t get me wrong: I live a lot of my life online, and so some things haven’t changed all that much. Classes go on, virtually. Workshop pieces trickle in via email. The publication date for my next book is still the same, though we’re concentrating less on physical book sales than ever before.

I would have said, at the beginning of all this, that my life wasn’t going to change at all, that I’d just move out to the garden house and treat it as a writing holiday, and for the most part that’s been true. It’s not as if I have a family, a wife, even a girlfriend.

But I’m restless now. My friend Des, you won’t know him, tells me it’s impossible to be restless if you never go anywhere in the first place.

But that’s really why I’m writing.

When all this is over, I want to visit Faeryland. The most recent craze to “go with the fairies” has died down a bit, and I know your Realm is a tourist spot. I’m not asking for special treatment, or a place to stay: I’ll arrange it all through DreamTime travel; they’ve got a pretty good reputation and I have a little spare cash lying about.

Snapshot_010 BLOG

This is Covie

This is Covie— he used to be called just The Book Dragon, but now he’s Covie The Book Dragon, because aside from the cats (they’re not around right now) and the birds, he’s the only creature I see on a daily basis. Every day I ask him if he has some new books for me. He never answers, because he is a plush dragon guarding a small pile of books. I promise I’ve not gone mad here.

Anyway, I’ve got this far without apologising or trying to promise you anything except for that bit about not being mad above, so it’s looking promising.

When all this is over, I’d like to plan a holiday to Awenia, spend a few weeks there, and maybe we could see one another? It’s been thirty years; I think that’s maybe long enough to rebuild.

Snapshot_004 BLOG

I’m still short.

I’m still short. I still like some of the same music, but I stopped dyeing my hair black and I binned the eyeliner collection years ago. I mean, I could probably still rock it if I put my mind to it, but I’d mostly rather put my feet up and enjoy my middle age at this point, you know?

You don’t have to answer this email. But I’m putting all my contact information at the bottom here, so you can get in touch if you want to. If you would rather I didn’t visit Awenia, that’s OK; just please let me know. Otherwise, I’m thinking this will all be over probably in the autumn, and I’ll plan to visit for a couple of weeks maybe in early October so I don’t run into your Samhain high season.

I think I’m going to press “send” this time.

Love (not that kind; the kind old friends share),
Richard Caper

Notes & Credits
Plot:
Gwyneth, the primary narrator of Three Twisted Knots, is a character I’ve been roleplaying and writing stories about for almost eight years, and she is why there’s a blog here at all. Richard Caper is a blast from the past, one of the people who was with her in the automobile accident that set her on the path she now walks. He has featured prominently twice in the blog, and here are those links if you would like to read more of his story. 
The keeping of journals
“The past is never where you think you left it.” –Katherine Anne Porter

Richard Caper Avatar:
Body: Signature Gianni
Head: Lelutka Evolution Skylar
Skin: Poema, Zeus (Get it at Vintage Fair!)
Eyebrows: Arte, Fiore brows
Hair: Dura, Game 4
Facial Hair: Volkestone, Zek
Clothes: Cold Ash, Chelsea Boots, Larkham Jeans, Montana Tee
Eyes: Euphoric, Natha
Earring: Kunst, Eden
Necklace: EarthStones, Hoot Owl

Environment:
Location: Awenia (not currently open to the public)
Exterior—
Garden House: Trompe Loeil, Soleil Garden House
Big Trees (oak, birch, cherry), all from Heart
Flowers & Underbrush, all from Heart, except
Rose Field: {anc} Sugar Rose Field; and
Grass Clumps: The Looking Glass, The Shrine Tree Grass Clumps
Outdoor Table: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Tea Time Table & Chairs
Rockery & Birdhouse Tree: The Looking Glass, Harmony Garden Birdhouse Tree & Rockery
Gate and Fence: Pandemonium, Tall Pointed fence & gate
Fox Fountain: Foxwood, Fox Fountain
The Big House: Compulsion, Tudor Manor
Path: Happy Mood, Dirt Road
Interior—
Desk & Clutter: Nutmeg, Familiar Mess Desk, Chair, Cabinet
Bed: Nutmeg, Disarray Bed Dark
Lounge Furniture: Nutmeg, Dreamy Pastels Armchair, Coffee Table, Floor Pillows, Sofa
Dining Nook Table and Chairs: Apple Fall, Pottery Dining Table and Chairs
Breakfast Food: Apple Fall, Elvira Plate with Egg, Avocado, & Toast, Plate with Sliced Grapefruit, Rose Tea
Tea Pot: The Secret Store, Folk Teapot – Olive
Napkins and Towels: Second Spaces, Kitchen Colletion, Napkiins & Towels
Covie The Book Dragon was portrayed by the 2016 Lucentia Dwagi, a treasured memento of Fantasy Faire from 2016.

“The past is never where you think you left it.” –Katherine Anne Porter

I guess because I have been writing happy stories in my journal and not thinking about anything that is going on in Ashmourne, I have been thinking a lot about the past. The quote is from Ship of Fools, which I loved when I read it as an undergraduate and was looking forward to teaching one day. I probably won’t ever get to do that now.

But because I wrote that little fairy tale, I have been thinking about the past. And wondering, you know, where everybody got to, what happened, what really happened, after the car accident, how they all are, if they all are.

And this morning, the strangest thing happened. When I opened my journal to write, four photographs fell out. Old-fashioned photographs, the kind my female caretaker used to keep in books as if they were precious keepsakes — and I guess they were.

Fen took this on my iPhone, right before we left for Shining Lands.

Fen took this on my iPhone, right before we left for Shining Lands.

But these photographs — they were never printed. Fen took them all, on my iPhone. She always did that: she’d take your phone and take a photo if she wanted you to have it, then maybe take the same one on her phone for herself. It was her thing. Anyway. It was a few days before we left for Shining Lands. We were in London — well, the three of us were anyway. We went to Forbidden Planet and had lunch in Soho Square. That’s Richard on the left.

This bench was awful!

This bench was awful!

Fenella talked Richard and me into sitting on this godawful bench near St. Thomas’ Hospital — you can see the Houses of Parliament in the background. It was so dirty!I couldn’t stand sitting on it for very long, but she just laughed at me. She took my phone and made us sit still long enough for her to take this picture.

And that's where it gets really weird.

And that’s where it gets really weird.

And that’s where it gets really weird. See, I could almost believe that maybe I’d forgot about us going to Boots or something and printing those two pictures out straight off the iPhone. But the next ones … no. The picture on the right was taken on the first day at Shining Lands, in the lodge. Lots of people camped, but I hate camping, so we got space in the lodge. I remember her using my phone to take this picture: we were so bored because the event didn’t really kick off for hours and we were already garbed up. We were so bored, we actually played chess. Richard kicked my arse.

Fen was so happy when I told her we'd kissed!

Fen was so happy when I told her we’d kissed!

Richard first kissed me that evening on our way to dinner. Fen was so happy when I told her we’d kissed! She actually bitched about me not letting her photograph the event — can you believe that? She made us pose for this picture so she could immortalise the moment. But there’s no way any of these photographs could ever have been printed. Because they were taken on my iPhone, just days before the car accident happened. And the next two? I don’t even remember them being taken, although I do remember being in those places with Richard.

It's surreal.

It’s surreal.

It’s surreal, which isn’t any different from the other stuff that’s happened in my life in the past year — but my life Before (there I go capitalising Before like it’s a Place again!) does not fit into my life Now. And my life Before was very simple, and linear, and everything fit into its own special place. It doesn’t feel right for that life to somehow overlap into this one. I shouldn’t have these photographs. I shouldn’t have anything but a memory of those few days with Richard, before everything changed. This is the little bench seat in the lodge common room; we spent a lot of time there in between different events, and some of them were even held in the lodge.

Right before we left?

Right before we left?

This last one must have been taken right before we left — I remember those big trees were near the lodge carpark. I don’t remember Fenella taking a picture of us there; in fact, I’m pretty sure my phone was out of battery because I forgot to plug it in the night before. We had a fight over whose phone got to use the car charger first when we got into Fen’s car. She won, of course. Right before we left. This photograph was taken right before we left Shining Lands. Which means it was taken just an hour or two before everything changed, before I passed out and woke up on the side of the river and the Boatman carried me into my new life.

What does it mean? Six photographs that can’t ever have been printed just falling out of my journal and onto my bed? At least four photographs that probably couldn’t have been seen by anybody, unless maybe Emma or Richard took my phone — because I don’t think Fen and Kevin made it — and had them printed, saved them somehow. I can believe Richard might have printed them, but how did they get here? I don’t need any more mysteries: I have too many things to keep straight as it is, and I’m going to have to talk about current events in the next entry, because it’s all just threatening to spill out of my head right now, even though I’m staring at these pictures and realising I’d almost forgotten what Richard looked like, and I haven’t thought of his face in I don’t know how long. And the photographs won’t last long here. I’m going to have to sketch them before they fade away. Maybe I’ll just sketch one or two of them, so I can remember Richard. Who I thought I left in the past. But, as KAP says, the past is never where you thought you left it.