Our latest story
The trees in this part of the Dragonwood are thin and lanky, like growing boys, like her own willowy limbs, but Lina has no interest in the trees, or young men, or the body that conveys her, stomping feet falling where they will. Her thoughts are for the great lizards, those remote majestic beasts sunning themselves on the high rocks jutting from the tree line. She looks up to patches of hot blue sky through the canopy of green leaves far above. Her feet are bare. It is the hottest part of the day, and everyone else is resting in the stone-coolness of the house. Around Lina the air is thick, dark, and green, sitting on her skin, sinking into her hair to run down her neck in rivulets. Every time a twig or stone digs into the sole of her foot, her heart leaps. Soon, she tells herself. Soon. Please.
She pauses her stomping to lift her hair against a light breeze. Heavy and thick as her arm, the braid falls to her feet and even a little beyond, dragging on the ground, pulling her head back until her scalp aches. Strands escape constantly, wispy things flying about her face. She wishes she could cut it off, pluck the hairs from her head, shave down to smooth unburdened scalp like her grandfather, like widows and oracles, bald beneath wimples. If her aching scalp were bald as a dragon’s egg, she would throw the bones and divine her own path, be reborn from that egg and fly away with the dragons. But she cannot—Lina is not an oracle, a widow, an old man, or a great lizard. She is not free to do as she pleases. Lina was bought from a witch, on the promise that her hair remain unshorn. Lina was seen by the oracles as the wife for the Prince. She will marry him in a week’s time, and become not only a wife and a princess but her family’s greatest honor. The Prince’s tower looms in the distance, beyond the Dragonwood. No matter which direction she walks, the tower grows closer.
Familiar in Her Angles – E.A. Brenner
The Yarnball Woman – Michael Milne
Graven Image – B. Morris Allen
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost – Douglas Anstruther
Most of my adult life I lived in New York City. I marched in the first Gay Pride Parade in 1970. After leaving music, I supported myself writing how-to books in finance, and textbooks in music; my formal education was in music theory and composition (UNT and Princeton). I’m an old man now, and I live in a small Texas town where I’m very out of place. I was accepted into and survived the Odyssey Writers’ Workshop in 2010. That’s where I really learned to write.
Q: What is your favorite word?
A: Tintinnabulation is my favorite word. How musical it sounds. How magical. For me, this word always evokes a picture of fairy bells ringing in the breeze.
Octavia Cade has a PhD in science communication. Though seaweed was her first biological love, she’s currently researching the germination triggers of New Zealand’s only seagrass.
Q: Is there a specific environment you find most conducive to writing, and is it different for different kinds of scenes?
A: The only place I can get any writing done is in my home office. I’ve never been able to write in public places like coffee shops, and I can’t get any writing done if there is any kind of distraction (including music). In order to write I need quiet, stillness, and the comforting/sinister presence of the Dalek sculpture I keep on my desk.