Category Archives: My Writing

The Archaeology of Halifax Place

Oh, how I love Nottingham! Such history in our caves.

Nottingham Hidden History Team

by Joe Earp

DCIM100MEDIA Photo Credit: The Nottingham Post.

This photo recently found in our archive has thrown up some great interest. The above photo shows archaeological excavations led by the then City Council’s Assistant Archaeologist Graham Black in 1979/80. The site of excavations was under a Victorian Warehouse in Halifax Place in Nottingham’s Lace Market. In the photo postholes stand out clearly in the sandstone revealed by the excavations. It is in that area that the archaeologists found one of the deep cesspits dating from Viking Age Nottingham.

Other finds were a large Viking building, post holes for one incomplete wall show it was over 40 feet long. A building as long as this must have been a very high status building with some very important owners. A bronze end decoration for a belt and the head of a staff also in bronze were found, both dating from the time…

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Archetypes: Hero

Third installment of this great series which looks at the archetypes of characters! Beautifully explained and it pushes you to get writing – even on those days when you’d rather just pull the quilt over your head! (Like today!)
Happy writing 🙂

Memoirs of a Time Here-After

Life is full of peril. Danger and darkness lurk the corners, and in our blackest moments, most of those journeys would fail if not for the Hero rising up to save the day. He–or she–is the final trump against evil: resilient, strong, and death-defying.

We experience most stories from the eyes of the Hero, and many follow the archetypical journey named after him. The Hero’s Journey, often used to describe works of fairy tale and fantasy (in particular), would not exist without this archetype, the most familiar of all of the Egos.



As I mentioned in prior posts in this series, this collection of posts deals with the archetypes first put forth by psychiatrist Carl Jung, and the use of these archetypes in fiction. Every post deals with the motivations, character profiles, and Shadows (or negatives) of each archetype. This week is the third of the Ego types: the Hero.

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THE TWELVE ARCHETYPES

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Libra Cusp Virgo

As a Libra Sun and Virgo moon , I can honestly say this quote is spot on! Very much how I’ve been feeling this week 🙂

Soul Bites Blog

A friend of mine wrote the following and I can honestly say it is the best representation of this combination of signs I have ever read:

“I love admiring how clean I have made things once I’m done… and then thinking how awesome I am.”

-M.

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The Season of the Witch

Be nice to witches who visit you tonight…

Nottingham Hidden History Team

Frank E Earp

As I sit at my laptop to write this article it is mid October and fast approaching Halloween, the time we all know there will be witches abroad. So, what do you do if you should meet a witch? By all accounts the best way to keep yourself safe is to give a witch all she asks of you. If you are not prepared to do this, then a simple way to avoid her casting a spell on you is to spit in her face. But only if you think she is looking at you in a funny way, spitting is not polite in our modern society. Perhaps it is best then that you should carry about your person some form of protection. You might wish to wear some kind of charm or magical symbol to ward-off the ‘evil eye’. The best of these is a…

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Fridays Flash

I thought I would share a little excerpt from Wytch, which introduces my anti hero, Brom, to a certain extent. It’s more about the messenger, than the man himself.

It’s been a tough few weeks where my writing has been concerned.

Wytch had to take a rest, or rather, I had to take a rest from Wytch. There are several reasons for this – Story line and plot, my two heroes battling it out for stardom, and the time line (again!) It seems that when ever I solve a problem, I create a new one, sometimes even two.

So I put it away.

I worked on some short stories instead.

I worked on my joint project with my writing partner.

I caught up with boring jobs, like ironing.

I caught up with old friends for a ceremony to say goodbye to our friend.

Today, I am trying to get serious again.

I took Wytch out. I looked at my notes and have decidede that there are a few things that just aren’t quite right. I still don’t know whether this is due to my trying to combine two different stoies, or three different time lines. I’m pondering.

However, I promised Fridays Flash, and so far have only provided one. so here’s the second.

Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

 

“The child stepped gently through the red and golden leaves that now lay on the forest floor, highlighted by the light-show of crepuscular rays breaking the monotony of the trees.
She adored this time of day, walking through the woodland, listening to the world around her as it woke from a perfect night of sleep.

The job of bringing in the netting and thread from the stream down below her though, she did not like.
It was her duty as the youngest girl. To rise before her sisters and brother was almost like a punishment to her; she tried so hard to not do things wrong, to go through life quietly and carefully.
She tiptoed along the carpet of moss and stones. Seeds and dust particles circled her as she disturbed the stillness of air; tiny winged creatures hovered around as she knelt at the waters edge.
Pulling on the thread, that her sisters had weaved the previous day, she noticed there was a tension, a tension that she had never felt before, and as she pulled it tighter, winding it around the stick, three fish broke the surface of the water, attached to the hooks on the thread.
She allowed herself a giggle, anxiety released its grip from within her stomach allowing relaxation to return, usually there was only one fish, today there were three, this was why the tension was different.
Silly little girl, allowing superstitions to play games with her mind, she tried to focus on her task, and rid her mind of such foolish thoughts.
However, as she pulled at the fish, she saw that the talisman seal was broke. How could this be? She shivered, as her heartbeat quickened, what would it mean for family.
The forest lights went out, and she felt the cool air change to a hot flash.

On the floor beside her, were two hooves, almost cloaked in green fabric, she followed the skirt upwards to a brown leather corset and the woman who wore it. Her hair looked like horns and she had dark coal eyes, she was holding a finger to her lips and slowly smiled at Sala.

“I need you to go to your brother and tell him it is beginning. “
She spoke quietly but with a warm intensity, not quite a demand.
“Do you understand me, Sala?”
Sala nodded, she didn’t know exactly what this meant, but she had heard the tales about broken seals and hooven creatures. She thought her grandmother and brother were just entertaining her, she never believed it could all be true.
The woman stood, and began to make strange markings on the tree.
She glanced around at Sala and raised her voice this time.
“Go. You must go. Do it now Sala.”
Sala turned and ran, she left the fish and the thread, she left the forest, and she didn’t look back.”

 

 

 


The Wytchwood Tree

For this weeks Fridays Flash, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into the past. By looking into the past, we learn who we are in the present and also our potential for the future. I haven’t spoken much about my heroine, Emeline, so I think I might concentrate on her for a couple of weeks. Here is how she was created – In a way!

It was as though no one saw the crows, all seemed deaf to their calls, they even ignored the feathers they dropped. Rare indeed.

Not one person chose to hear their messages.

Lugi called his crows back after a while, it was no good, had the witches turned their backs? He stalked over to the Wytchwood tree and leaned his forehead against the wide trunk. Blonde and brown bark grown into narrow avenues and hills stretching up from earth to air, rough and smooth, up and down. He stroked the trunk and the tree moaned and moved, its branches shivered overhead.

Pan would not show himself. Silly boy, thought Lugi. For ones who deliver courage and strength to all who ask, they run and hide in fear when someone enters the forest, they couldn’t keep a little for themselves? The tree sighed. “Oh, who asked you.” said Lugi.

He pushed himself away from the Wytchwood and stood for a moment. “So what do we do then?”

The tree sighed again but dropped a seed.

Lugi stared at what lay at his feet.

“I couldn’t.” He spoke quietly, not taking his eyes off the seed. It was the size of a crab apple, with a smooth, brown casing. The seed within held ancient magics, if planted at the right time, and in the right place, Lugi knew that as the seed grew, and its roots sought out the nourishment of the earth, the Lullie would grow with it. A renowned female warrior, the Lullie would posses the magics of the Wytch, but also the darkness of the Woo. For every wytch born, a wytchwood was first planted.

Rare it is for a crow to drop its feathers. Rarer still that a wytchwood may drop a seed. 

His crows circled above him and called out for him to take it. Lugi remained stationary, he knew he would, but he didn’t dare pick it up.

“Do it!” a voice called from behind him. “If the Wytchwood has spoken to you, and you know how to do it, then the only thing left is to, well. Do it.” Pan stood with his chin tilted up to Lugi, his hands resting beside him with a curved bow in one. “Too cowardly am I?” he asked pursing his lips and pouting in jest. “Look at you, you’re too scared to plant a tree!” The two laughed together at the simplicity of the action, yet they both knew the dangers.

Lugi’s crows had stopped their squawking; flown south to deliver the message to the Volva.

All they needed now was the Nixen and there would be no excuse, no reason not to. Lugi looked up to the moon, its waning phase cast a shadow of concern over the bright wisdom of the Goddess. “We’ll have to wait.” said Lugi. “Yes.” Pan agreed. “We wait. We allow the wolf to pass. The stag will eventually show himself and then we will work.”

“Who do you think she will be?” Lugi stooped and picked up the seed, holding it in his hand. Such a small thing, such promise of life.  


Fridays Flash

Every Friday I’ll be posting a flash fiction or a character interview from Wytch.

A glimmer, or indeed a flash, into the story that one day, *sigh* will be finished!

This week, my first week, is Destiny-ations, a little look at Ellen, one of my minor characters, who I thought deserved a voice of her own.

My destiny was the same as my mothers.

Hers, was identical to that of her mothers before her, and so on through the ages. All identical. 

I didn’t want identical. I didn’t want the same. I didn’t want to tread where others had previously trodden. 

I am aware that there are some folk who like to walk in the footsteps of those who have since passed, to step through the echoes of time, but my life – my story, isn’t his-story, nor is it her-story. It is mine.

I was born during the Sacred Moon, just as my mother had been, and her mother before her.

Tiresome. To know that from the moment I was born, my path was awaiting those first tentative steps upon it, to carry me from that moment to my last. An identical path. It angered me.

I was no different to any other newborn, that the Water Raptures visit to deliver their fate, the only difference was that we all knew my fate. This is how it has always been in our family, destined to be the Quenes hand. Our destiny set.  

True. We are each destined. All the many roads take us to the same end, the destination of which is certain. It is the choices we make upon our travel to that end, that are not so certain. The choices determine how we arrive, whether we stroll to our destiny taking many detours, resting at the wells to drink, or rush to greet our destiny in haste and in thirst.

I have been blessed. I see those things that others can not, and I drink deeply at each well. However, it is something I had to learn.

I found my teacher, my guide, quite by chance, because of the tedium I felt about my destiny, of following in my mothers footsteps. I never bothered to look ahead, after all, I knew what lay there. Still, I was a curious child and instead of looking down in misery, I looked elsewhere, for adventure.

I peered around corners and doorways, into yards, through fences and gates. I climbed trees to find the horizon that others could not yet see, I opened boxes that sat upon shelves holding their secrets under closed lids and sometimes locks.

If I was spoken to, I rarely looked upon their face, I studied the way their hands moved as they spoke. If their hair was shiny and oiled or dirty and dry. I looked at saliva bubbling in the corners of their mouths and if their eyebrows were neat or untamed. I was always looking for something else, something that others may not see.

Out on walks, I tripped and stumbled, bruised and grazed, always because I paid attention to different things. I was 9 and returning home with lavender bread that my mother had sent me out to collect. On that journey back, through the trees that lined the stony path, the sunlight cut through the branches and stopped me in an instant. 

It had been raining and the air snapped around me, a thundery cloud above, threatened to soak the land below it once more.  It’s scent surrounded me, a primal musty smell that leaves an after taste in your mouth of damp earth. I always loved that smell, it reminds me that there is something more to where you stand at that moment, something bigger than time itself. With the smell enveloping me, and the sunlight bathing me, I felt as though I was standing in magic itself.

Dust particles danced gracefully around me, I saw flickers and orbs of colour. The branches swayed in the breeze chasing the light away. When it returned, it bought with it the sweet sweet song of the thrush. Transfixed was I, caught in the beauty of nature. Entranced by magic indeed.

Had I have not disliked my future so much and refused to look at what was in front of me. Had I have not looked up instead of straight ahead, I wouldn’t have seen that show of magic. I wouldn’t have looked around for more, and I wouldn’t have seen the gate.

The gate was small, woven from hawthorn, hazel and gorse, a simple gate, and the simple gate was ajar. Me, a rebellious child, I could not resist such a temptation to see what that gate would open to.

That gate saved me. It saved me from myself. It showed me that my path was a blessed one, regardless of the fact that the path was the same as my mothers, and her mothers before.

As I stepped over the threshold and into the garden, I was greeted by yellow flowers, green herbs, red poppies and even weeds. A host of plants, rich in fragrance, that all looked to have been planted with care, consideration and love.

I’d never met a wytch before, and when she spoke to me, I didn’t look to see if her hair was oiled or dry, I didn’t notice her eyebrows or if the saliva collected at the corners of her mouth, I simply stared at the eye. The one eye that was turned inward. It was as though someone had erased the colour, the iris, the pupil, it wasn’t turned inward. What stories had I been told!

She spoke softly, yet laughed loudly. That day, my first day of meeting her, she showed me that standing in magic was a rare treat indeed, but to walk in magic was rarer still.

She taught me that it didn’t matter that my path was the same, that all roads lead us to our end. That it was the people on our path that would make it so unique.

Such a simple notion. This woman gave me, a nine year old, time and understanding to explain the meaning of our destinies. In gratitude I left her the loaf of lavender bread, my mother was so angry with me, but it abated when she saw the difference within me regarding her life that I had to follow. 

I visited the wytch twice a week, from that day, until her death.  

Forever teaching me, guiding me, showing me how to look for the beauty in all things, even those that appeared ugly to me. She taught me about herbs and flowers. About the birds and different insects that each held their place within her garden, our land.

She taught me how to see the various avenues and lanes that branch off the main road, that each one is a choice, a possibility, an adventure. 

Throughout my life, she was the one who made my path unique. This beautiful woman taught me everything I know, she enriched my world and showed me that looking ahead is full of joy and beauty. That we need to stop and rest, to look around, to drink, so that we won’t trip or thirst. She taught me to be a witch.

Our destinies are the same, yet we are each unique.

Whilst we travel on the same road toward the same end, we can still experience different aspects that life has to offer. It doesn’t matter that someone once stood where you now stand, because it is who stood with them that counted. It is who stands with you that matters to you. It is those people who make your path worth travelling.”  

Ellen appears in Wytch at various points within the Royal storyline.

She lives at the capital city, Magda, in Dagda Mead.

She is excellent at keeping secrets, will occasionally meddle in other peoples love lives, and stands tall and strong in her convictions.

In memory of her mother and to commemorate the day in which her views of her mother changed, she bakes lavender bread at every Sacred Moon.

 


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