Fiction – “Mana’s Gold” – and an Update

Or, a retelling of a fairy tale (kind of) and some other news

Hello again Fellow Adventurer,

I hope you’ve been keeping well!

Here’s a story that I wrote a while ago for Microcosms, for which my prompts were “musician”, “Hamburg” and “fairy tale”.

Mana’s Gold

The harp’s music drifted over the still-sleeping town with its looming castle. Though not yet light, Mana sat in the room at the top of the castle’s tallest tower and played the golden harp by the light of a lantern.

As she played the spinning wheel in the corner of the room spun straw into gold all by itself. Already the room was lit in glittering light from the golden thread that she had made through the night.

She stared out of the window. Another day and the moon would be in the right stage of waxing.

The last few pieces of straw were turned to gold and she stopped playing. She had told them that it was the music that was magic and turned the straw to gold. In truth it was the music that kept her unborn child safe.

*

The next night, after the straw had been spun into gold, Mana placed a spell on the harp to keep playing while she took the golden thread and dragged it to the window. She forced it open and spoke another spell. Then she threw the end of the thread into the air and it soared higher and higher until it tied itself around one of the points of the sickle moon. She threw her wedding ring on the ground before gingerly stepping onto the golden thread.

Mana walked and walked until she reached the moon from where she had fallen seven years ago. There she untied the golden thread and sent it back to the tower. She had no need of silly gold when she had golden sunlight, silver moonlight, and her child.

*

The next day the people of the town marveled at the gold thread spilling from the tower’s window like someone’s golden hair.

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On not seeing what is right in front of you

I’m afraid that this has been a bit of a trying time for me and I’m therefore bringing you only a short newsletter. What started with a migraine has ended with a flare of note and another migraine… yeah, not a great time all around for my brain to be creative no matter how hard I tried. I definitely didn’t have enough spoons… Google “spoon theory” if you’re perplexed :)

It was the last straw however. I think my whole body just went into shutdown mode from being utterly burnt out and that the migraines (which were happening more often) coupled with the (worse) flares were its final warning for me to finally DO something, anything, to mitigate the effects of far too much stress and work piled on top of more stress from, you know, a global pandemic and all. I’d borrowed so many spoons from the future that even that was now depleted.

Thing is, I’d been acting like everything was okay and telling myself that everything was okay and that it was only a bit of fatigue. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Oh the lies one can believe.

I’m not going to go into too much detail, but last week the camel’s back broke, so to speak. I think it broke in multiple places, actually. I had to speak to clients and ask for more time to finish work (which I absolutely hate doing), and basically sleep. I also read Dear Writer, Are You In Burnout? by Becca Syme. And, boy, did I need it. And I definitely needed the tough love as well.

I think I’d been living on deficit since the pandemic started (I’d been booked off of work the previous September for burnout and had only just recovered when we went into complete lockdown and I lost my full-time job when the whole publishing company I worked for closed).

I know that it won’t take a week of sleeping in and afternoon naps to make things 100% again. But I figure that it’s a first step at least. Plus I can’t take a complete sabbatical (boo!).

I am taking steps to heal myself, though.

However, this does not mean that I’m going to stop writing. It simply means that I’m not going to be too hard on myself if I don’t work on The Ruon Chronicles for a week because my brain is tired and only want to write or even just plan flash fiction. In fact, not working on fiction and having that outlet is part of the problem, I think. It was all work, all the time. Oops.

Thank you to everyone here for being so great and patient with me when I simply disappeared for two weeks! It’s appreciated more than you know!

Love
Carin