IoH is finally on insta

One of the things I’ve been trying to get myself to do (but couldn’t because I never had the energy to) is expand to other platforms. I think I’ve grown too used to WordPress, and it’s gotten stale. So I decided to start an instagram page, then I decided not to- then I forced myself to, and here we are: Inkofhers. Can this account get a quick “May your owner not abandon you,” prayer? Ameen.

 

E U R Y D I C E

Owing to the Sun’s mournful song, hearts flourish in Grief and Death, and in the other dwellers of the Underworld.

Harpies and centaurs cease their horrors. Hecate eases her burden and the Erinyes their punishments. Even Cerberus tore away with no command, and had all six of his ears lifted, alert. Old wandering souls stilled, solemn after centuries of wailing. They had been searching for meaning or purpose, a reminder of life; maybe in this mortal, they see it.

Orpheus’s is grief that touches even them— these wicked, hideous things, these feared strays. They have no empathy to speak of, no awareness nor heart, but hers had longing roots; it was one beating still. While the guest  fills their realm with the strings of his lyre, that heart breaks at music like dimmed sunlight.

She looks to her companion, finds his features tense and stern. He governs so, and it is the way things are. His subjects are empty, nothing but bones, bare and made of smoke, their ribs covering hollowness as devoid as the Underworld itself. Some were humans once, and upon their arrival they would retain their form— phantom flesh and skin, but not for long.

His ways were born from from loss and necessity. Early, he realized that only reign over this abode is one with no remorse. He has never been passive, but has honored a decision and a responsibility when he was given the Underworld, and an agreement when she gave herself to him. That responsibility he made entirely his, ruled with virtue and the weight of circumstance, and under his laws all was equal. True to his old self, he remains sober and restrained— the most disciplined of his brothers. But she knows that in part, his dispassion is an act; she knows that, under that exterior of steel and ice, he is no stranger to tender perceptions.

So, “Will you not give him a chance?” Persephone asks.

“It is unheard of,” Hades simply retorts. It is a cold, dry aggravation, not like the vicious wrath that often follows those who try to leave the Underworld. “Soon he shall fall hungry and eat from this realm,” he continues, looking at Orpheus in the distance. “Then they will become reunited for eternity.”

“She still bears the marks of the viper,” she says at length. “What a painful death that must have been.”

“And what mercy is there in sending her to live and die again?”

“She deserves a gentler death, a swift passing in old age,” Persephone presses, her palms facing upwards, gesturing at the delicate, grieving melody. “Listen! How loved she is!”

“Compassion is unbefitting to the Underworld,” he tells her, and harshly tucks what else he wants to say between his teeth. His brows are drawn together, casting a flinty shadow on his eyes. He is not angry, she realizes with delight; he is doubting. Hades is dreading that soon, he will yield.

Stifling her amusement, “is it now?” she playfully says. “Strange. I hear its Patron would ascend to earth to seek his consort if her return was delayed by so much as a single day.”

After earning an exasperated sigh, Persephone holds her hand to his chest, finding the steady thump underneath. She wonders if the Ichor running through them both will endure all the coming eternities; she considers death and its decisiveness, the finality.

“They call us immortals,” she tells him. “Do you believe we are so?”

“No,” he says, simply, his black eyes tight on Orpheus. “The desire to be brought my Father’s doom upon him.”

He was the oldest of his siblings, but is the youngest now— the last to leave the bleak shadows of their Father. Persephone muses, runs her hands through the streaks of silver in his hair. Like mortals, he is ageing, his features etched deeper with lore and conflict.

“Can you bear the thought of parting?”

His eyes then find her, and he rises from his seat. “From Demeter? I’d be elated,” he says dryly.

She laughs in surprise. “Well, I like it, the notion of the end. It would bring closure to you and me when we grow tired of ruling.” In the lines of his face she notices an old, wistful sadness. There was no trace of it when earth first split in half and she saw nothing but darkness and his figure, beckoning silently. None of that sadness adorned his face until she began disarming him, undoing that tenacious exterior and finding the truth beneath. It came with his affections, with the solemn acceptance of an inevitable conclusion. Smiling, she continues. “I hope that should Death come, it comes for us both.”

“Yes,” he says, easing.

“You will have to pass first,” she teases. “You are accustomed to waiting..” Her words are split apart by giggles when Cerberus arrives and circles her legs as she pet his heads. “Besides, I do not want you to wind up like poor Orpheus.”

He gives in to a gruff chuckle. “Are you planning my demise to become the solitary ruler of the Underworld?” He says, his voice lighter and lined with mirth, and his gaze gentler. She knows that that is his truth, finds it with an old familiarity when he claims her with the names of red gemstones.

“I could be,” she retorts, considering the unspoken proposal all that time ago. Seven pomegranate seeds that she, with thorough awareness of what they meant, ate with no hesitation. “You should let him take his wife and go,” continues Persephone afterwards, turning her back to him and letting the hound lead her back to the music. “We all know you couldn’t afford another competitor for Cerberus’s affections.”

 

 

 

 

 

(don’t) Live

Run

What from? I would

Ask my dread

But instead it pried open

my ribs, crushed this heart

and, run

it planted into it

Run from what?

Run

until your lungs can carry air no longer

That was then,

be still

Now it tells,

very still

But why?

rest your back upon earth

let her claim you again

But how?

let her vegetate and grow her

life upon you, crush you

with fear, and the weight of your sins

I see,

be still

be earth

I see,

until your lungs carry air no longer

Women of iron (excerpt)

Here’s a part from the WIP project I talked about in my last post:


 

“And truly, she is made of iron. I saw her sail, saw her wrench the authority from Captain during a storm, and command from the stern men twice her size. From the day she planted her sea legs on the deck of that ship we’d recognised her a formidable opponent, then a certain leader, honed and chiseled into discipline by years she’d spent in suffering. She then became either too unafraid to die, or too confident of her plans to overtake Captain, who later gave her his heart and his fortune, and made her his wife.

Lady Eboshi didn’t shy away– took the love and gold he granted, and his heart. I saw her standing over his body that night, when his hometown was burning to the ground. Her dagger had sliced open his jugular, and like the wild creatures she’s always condemned, she carried the stench of blood in her very being.”

Return of the life updates you don’t really need: fierce women, dreamy boys, more magic

Hello hello!

(Yes, I’ve abandoned this blog. I have. I’m gonna punch myself in the mouth for it.)

How are you guys? How’s quarantine treating you? I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

Due to the fact that there practically are cobwebs growing all over this blog, I’ve decided to challenge myself into writing and posting something every single day. I’m thinking starting small, only a week, and seeing where that takes me. The initial purpose of inkofhers was to encourage me to write and post everyday, but I don’t think less than 50 posts in 3 years qualifies as success. (Edit from the future: Something about forcing myself to write just to post destroys the ‘quality’ of my writing. I didn’t want to post pieces I’m not happy with, so I’ll quietly quit the hell out of this. I promise I’m writing a lot more than usual, though!)

Remember how, in my last post, I described a strange need to delve into magic? I did; I watched Ghibli movies, read fantasy (unlike myself) and some more mythology (A LOT like myself), and listened to retellings of fairy tales on podcasts to put me to sleep. A writing project that I ended up prying out of that is a back story/character study of Lady Eboshi’s character (what can I say, I’m just too weak against women being kings). I’m trying to make it so that even people who haven’t watched the movie can enjoy it. It’s turning out much more extensive than I’d thought, so I really hope you guys will give it a shot if when I post it.

On reading: I’ve pushed myself into finishing 2 books in less than a week and discovered that I have, in fact, not lost my ability to read. I just need to relearn how to focus on things that are longer than a single damn tweet. Throughout, I’ve also been savouring the book “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones, the masterpiece behind my favourite movie by the same name. I’ve been enjoying the book tremendously; the characters are so different from the movie it’s just amusing. Movie Howl, the gentle prince of my heart, is a far cry from the insufferable, overdramatic moron in the book (who, in all honesty, still managed to snatch my heart and run with it). Sophie’s steadfastness is the same, and she’s a lovely character. Book Sophie unapologetically slides snarky comments to Howl all the time, and there’s so much bickering it’s had me laughing out loud several times (and I really never laugh while reading).

I’m going to wrap up this babble-turned-book review mess now. Thank you so much for reading if you’re still here. Please stay healthy and safe during these crazy times!

 

freedom in quarantine, and a hunger for magic

Over the past year, I’d been tormented by a single something that had found its way into every one of my thoughts. It had nagged and tugged, begging to be considered, calling out sometimes, and whispering in others. For a long time I ran each of my aspirations and plans through it, and it made it difficult to see what I wanted my future to look like, and what I’m willing to do to get there.

Really, it wasn’t as dreadful as I make it sound, maybe not even at all. But I know that I didn’t really want it, but I had made it an obligation and committed. I’d committed to it initially, when I hadn’t an idea what that year would bring, then it built up with the days and the months until it was unbearable. It was my turn to beg, but I couldn’t possibly pull myself out of it.

But a thought passed by my mind a couple of evenings ago; it was quick and faint and fleeting. What if that thing just undos itself, ends and crumbles before me, while I uphold my perfect, pristine sense of commitment.

I’m a terrible person to myself, so hellbent on fulfilling obligations that are often just excruciating limits I bring upon me. A sane person would at least try to remove themselves from a situation which clearly brings them distress, but me? I couldn’t, it was unthinkable. I’d committed, after all.

But then it did, it ended itself.

And God, I was so overwhelmed with a shower of complex feelings, with profound relief, and happiness twinged with disappointment. I think I was sad at the thought of parting with this thing that I’d tossed about my mind for an entire year, or maybe I was sad at the time I’d spent worrying about it, just for it to eventually vanish into thin air.

Right now I’m still trying to get used to this newfound freedom. I’d once read comparing toxic relationships to a bad toothache. My relationship with that reality was similar: painful, I didn’t want it, but I feel its absence now that it’s gone, and I continue probing that gap with my tongue, trying to make sense of it just being not there any more.

And no, it wasn’t a bad relationship, and it wasn’t something as horrid. It was a huge step into something I’m so unfamiliar with, such uncharted territory, something I was so scared of, and most importantly, something I wasn’t ready for. It’s over now, and I should probably stop giving disclaimers (lol).

Since my metaphorical shackles broke, I’ve been craving all things magical. In fiction I found myself seeking forest sprites and elves under odd mushrooms, old spirits haunting the woods, fairytales. This penchant for fantasy is very unlike me, so stern in the books I read, recently having been stuck in the “if it doesn’t benefit me or add to my knowledge, I don’t want it,” nightmare. I’m just feeling free of the harsh judgement I held towards myself; maybe it’s why I let myself want the childish magic I’d loved as a kid.

In real life I’ve been thinking of what comes next, finding it okay to have dreams and aspirations, unapologetic and unfiltered. I had taught myself to want the bare minimum just from the fear that I’ll want something and never get it. And while I’m still far from perfect, I know that I’m learning to take myself less seriously everyday, to fear rejection less, and to want more. It’s painful and scary, the thought that things I so deeply desire might not be mine. But hey, what if someday, they do?

 

Short Story: She of the Depths (2/2)

Read part one here


They make a habit of meeting when the full moon peaks. It’s far too short, barely a night’s length.

He talks a lot during those, enough for them both, about books and maps and compasses. Humans use the stars to find their way around the oceans, she learns, and they ink parchment with symbols to communicate.

She huffs when he tries to teach her. On the sand, she draws the sun. ‘No time.’

So speak until the seconds are filled to the brim.

Continue reading

Short Story: She of the Depths (1/2)

Like her wholly-marine counterparts, the Angler siren was conceived from destruction. A vicious act brought her to life, the disintegration of another, the utter breaking of flesh and bone. Like her wholly-marine counterparts, she’s been wed to the depths since her beginning, condemned to be bound to its cold and its danger. But unlike them she rose from the breaking of spirits too, and unlike them she isn’t a creature of grotesque features, of frigid eyes, and teeth protruding, sharp and threatening.

In truth, she is the complete opposite of that. 

Continue reading

Dystopian mornings in London

I tragically fell into the habit of visiting a certain coffee and tea house every morning.

One of the very few things I know about myself for sure is that I’m a creature of habit. Routine grounds me, prevents my mind from running off into whirlwinds of worry and doom about there not being enough time (time for what? I don’t know, really, but I always feel like I’m about to run out of it.)

So when I realized that my sanity depended on the little chalkboard that said, “Coffee room open,” before the staircase that leads to the basement, I knew I was deep trouble. The fact that this certain coffee shop was a whole 5.5 thousand kilometres away from home wasn’t about to make anything easier.

(For the better part of 2019, I lived in London. I stayed there for another month and a half of 2020, but I didn’t develop this infatuation with that coffee house until the last two weeks.)

But I still went everyday, tormented by the thought that I’ll have to tear this part from my daily life soon. My mother joked that I met a lover there; that would explain why I was so dedicated.

(I didn’t.)

Inside the coffee house is another staircase, steep and a few hundred folds as claustrophobic as one outdoors. It takes you down to the cafe, and it honestly is a magical, magical thing how descending down that narrow set of steps brings about new sounds and noises and light, a little morning tucked in a coffee-scented basement in London.

I would drink my coffee in peace, with myself and everything else. I’m such a conflicted person inside, an anxious, angry mess. But I don’t think about it, or about life and what it may bring. I just have my flat white in such a serenity so foreign to me and the constant grinding in my brain.

This may sound incredibly romanticized, the half-hour I spend in a café being nothing more than daily routine to many. But it’d become a sort of ritual, a cherished and private escape from myself before anything else. I would read a tragic non-fiction book, Midnight in Chernobyl while listening to its audiobook, because I like it that much, and because Russian names are very difficult to keep track of.

In a sense I didn’t become unaware of the madness of the world above that little basement, but I just for a half-hour detached myself from it. There’s no dystopia more vivid than this reality– and I can’t tell if it’s a coping mechanism, our brain’s final attempts at grasping whatever thinning strands of hope it can find, seeking comforts enveloped within this world, hidden in its folds. But if it’ll spare me the torment of all this dread I’ll take it, delusion or not, for a few minutes of my day.