Category Archives: fairies

How Good Things Grow from Bad Things

In the deep woods of the Pacific Northwestern portion of the United States, a great tall pine tree is struck by lightning. Of course, the threat of fire in this day and age is very real. But luckily, this time as the tree falls in flames and ignites the brush around where it falls, the sky opens up and a deluge of rain extinguishes what the lightning has ignited.

Time passes as time always seems to do. The burned area heals. The slain giant is broken down by bugs and heat and bacteria and rot. And before you know it, flowers begin to bloom there. The tree’s carbon-based flesh has fertilized the ground. And where the tree once created shade, there is now a hole to let the sunshine in. Life gets wildly busy growing.

Because of what the tree suffered, the forest floor, especially the part of it where flowers bloom, got its chance in the sun.

The same sort of rule of nature happened in politics in 2016. Bozo the Crime Boss got elected because the wave of pus and anger he surfed into power on had been festering under the skin of the country since Reagan brought judgemental, self-righteous, and fear-mongering rich-types into the political power pinnacles in 1980. The boil finally burst. De-regulating environmental protections has been a Republican priority since Ronnie Ray-Gun put James Watt in the job of Secretary of the Interior just so the forests in National Parks could be opened up to logging and oil exploration. And we have seen in the past few years how badly those changes in policy have affected our lives. The environment is on fire. We don’t have enough trees to absorb all the carbon dioxide that is causing the warming. Most of this country’s fresh water is now contaminated with an industrial waste of one sort or another. But Don Cheetoh’s recent implosion is threatening not only to wither the poisonous fruits of Republican policies but fundamentally destroy the evil-making machinery that the Republicans have worked so hard at maintaining for decades. We human beans who actually value human life over money thought 2016 was a deadly disaster. But it may instead have been more of a lancing of the boil as the twice-impeached Prexydent of the Disunited States did all his high crimes and misdemeanors in the public eye and then was routinely given a pass by Republican leaders in Congress. It reached a point with the stolen presidential documents that his crimes can no longer be covered up. The poisons may well be draining out of the holes the spoiled mango of a man poked into the very skin of our government. Look at how much climate-correction legislation was recently passed by the new, non-Cheetoh President. And look at how polls are suggesting that Democrats might not have to endure the traditional punishments for doing something good for the people that Republicans were so looking forward to. Good things are seemingly growing where the manure of the previous Republican administration has been spread.

Maybe I should be more careful about drawing young ladies in the nude. This is not a sexualized depiction, but not everybody who sees it will judge it that way. Many Texans are convinced nakedness is always a sin.

My own life is also an example of how something terrible grew into something good. As a victim of childhood sexual assault, I spent many years grappling with trauma. But the incident made me a school teacher, determined to fight dark things like sexual assault, violence, and a will to do harm to others with the power of education, empathy, and love. As a retired teacher, I have fully embraced naturism, and am nakedly honest about many things. One of those things is that you really need to endure some badness in your life to truly understand and appreciate the good that directly comes out of having survived that evil.

I should be very clear about the fact that when I was a teacher, I was not also an active nudist at the same time. I never suggested that any child should be naked in public and never saw any of my students nude (a feat achieved by never being a coach of athletics in charge of monitoring behaviors in the shower room after events and practice.) My nudism is entirely practiced after I retired and mostly at home by myself. But it is also a good thing to grow out of the badness that occurred before. It is a chance for me to finally be at peace with who I am inside my own skin (hopefully free of boils.)

Looking out at the end of the drive at our family farm in Iowa.

As I am now a Medicare recipient, I have to face the badness on the horizon that comes with reaching an age considered a fully-lived life. There could be heart attacks, strokes, and possibly Parkinson’s in the near future. I could lose so much of my mental self-control that I end up being charged with drawing child pornography (though I don’t believe I have done any of that. Former President George HW Bush didn’t believe he sexually harassed any young nurses from his deathbed either.) But whatever badness comes, I do believe there will be some mitigating goodness that follows because of it.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 11

Canto 11 – Battle Plans

The meeting that followed the feast was limited to the Mouse King and Zam his wife, Prinz Flute and his three companions,  Lord Lancelot, and the Rascal, who was forced to sit next to PoppenSparkle because he was apparently no longer welcome as Lancelot’s Squire.  Schtinker, of course, wanted badly to be there, but he was taken to the bathhouse with the other Sylph children that didn’t pass the smell test before bedtime.

“I think the solution is obvious.  We use Poppy’s Polymorph Spell to turn as many Gobbuluns into Fairies as it is possible to do.  We bolster our army with the converts from theirs.” Prince Flute looked pleased with himself as he announced the plan to the whole table.

“Nonsense!”  Lancelot sat with his arms folded in front of him and his reddish, tired eyes glaring at the map on the center of the table.

“Why is it nonsense?”  Flute insisted.

“Because we are doomed here.  The Stoor has his ugly army, and Lord Toxiss brought his vast army all the way from distant Sheek-a-go.”

“The Slow Ones actually pronounce that place Chicago,” Tod corrected helpfully.

“I don’t care what you call it.  The point is… we are so outnumbered, they will overwhelm us, slaying everybody who is not immortal, and then swarming down to Cair Tellos to do the same to them.  We have only one play here.  We make a glorious last attack, kill so many of them before they overwhelm us that they can’t muster a big enough force to overwhelm Cair Tellos.  We will die heroes.”

“You won’t die,” pointed out the Rascal.  “You are an immortal Storybook.  The rest of us will all die for your glory and you’ll walk into Cair Tellos to claim all the credit.”

“You wound me, Rascal.  Did I not save your life a dozen times over in the Battle of the Arcanum?”

“You did.  But you decimated the entire army doing it.  We would have sold our lives better defending the castle rather than fighting them on the open fields.”

“Okay, perhaps we choose to die on the parapets of Castle Cornucopia.  Maybe we can take more of them out if we make them climb our walls and pour down the hot oils as they try to climb up…”

The Mouse King cleared his throat.  “Zam and I have three little mouselings to care for.  And there are hundreds of Sylph and Elf children left orphaned by the war that could use new parents.  We don’t want anyone to die who doesn’t have to.  And don’t we know that at least a few of the Gobbuluns out there are citizens of Cornucopia that have been changed by Lord Toxiss?”

“We won’t do ourselves any good to change a few of the Gobbuluns the way the girl did today.  It won’t make a sizeable enough difference, and she will just exhaust her magic getting Gobbuluns changed so other Gobbuluns can kill them.  It would be futile… a wasted effort.”

“I think, Lord Lancelot, that the point where your heroics are sorely needed, is at the gate where you and your best soldiers can defend and gather the changed ones into the castle as we change them.”  Flute smiled as he obviously was trying to manipulate Lancelot’s ego.

“You cannot change enough of them with one little girl casting one little spell.”

“We can do better than that!” said Glittershine.  “I helped PoppenSparkle write the spell into her spell book.  I already am familiar with the spell.  Tod and Flute can also study it.  We will have four Wizards, not one, changing bad guys into good guys.”

“If we should happen to accidentally win the war that way, what will you do with all the new Fairies?  Where will they live?”

“You know good and well, Lancelot, that the Castle Cornucopia is huge.  We have thousands of towers, secret rooms, mushroom gardens, Fairy houses, businesses, and entertainments in this big, old barn that haven’t had enough Fairy people to live in them since King Pallas and his army were destroyed by Darvon Redsoul, the Great Dragon.”  The Mouse seemed to be getting a bit hot under the collar to Poppy.

“And as Glitter mentioned, there will be four talented Wizards helping to repopulate the place,” said Flute, grinning like a fox.

“Very well, then.  It is obvious that you have to learn the hard way.  I will go along with this plan if only to prove you wrong.”

“Will your plan really work?” the Rascal whispered to Poppy.

“I think so.  I am not as confident as any of the rest of you, but I am just learning how to be a Wizard.  But if Flute believes in the plan, then, I think I believe in it too.”

“I hope so.  I thought it was a great honor to be chosen as Lord Lancelot’s Squire.  But right now, I just need to see him proven wrong… even if it kills me.”

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Stories with Gingerbread

Yes, this post is a shameless promotion. But this is a good book that not enough people are reading to truly appreciate that fact. When I was a boy in the 1960’s, there really was an old German lady who lived in a small tar-papered house, all ginger-brown in color, which we all called the Gingerbread House. She really did love to give out sweets and cookies and popcorn balls to the kids in our town. And she really did love to talk to people and tell them little stories.

Grandma Gretel Stein

Her name, in real life, was Marie Jacobson. She was, in fact, a survivor of the holocaust. She had a tattoo on her right forearm that I saw only one time. Our parents told us what the tattoo meant. But there were no details ever added to the story. Mrs. Jacobson doted on the local children. She regularly gave me chocolate bars just because I held the door for her after church. But she was apparently unwilling to ever talk about World War II and Germany. We were told never to press for answers. There was, however, a rumor that she lost her family in one of the camps. And I have always been the kind that fills in the details with fiction when the truth is out of reach.

Ignore the dates above. The Free-Book Promotion runs from June 24th to June 28.

I based the character of Grandma Gretel on Mrs. Jacobson. But the facts about her secret life are, of course, from my imagination, not from the truth about Mrs. Jacobson’s real life.

Marie Jacobson cooked gingerbread cookies. I know because I ate some. But she didn’t talk to fairies or use magic spells in cooking. I know because the fairies from the Hidden Kingdom in Rowan disavowed ever talking to any slow one but me. She wasn’t Jewish, since she went to our Methodist Church. She wasn’t a nudist, either. But neither were my twin cousins who the Cobble Sisters, the nude girls in the story, are fifty percent based on. A lot of details about the kids in my book come from the lives of my students in Texas. The blond nudist twins were in my class in the early eighties. And they were only part-time nudists who talked about it more than lived it.

Miss Sherry Cobble, a happy nudist.

But the story itself is not about nudists, or Nazis, or gingerbread children coming to life through magic. The story is about how telling stories can help us to allay our fears. Telling stories can help us cope with and make meaning out of the most terrible things that have happened to us in life. And it is also a way to connect with the hearts of other people and help them to see us for who we really are. And that was the whole reason for writing this book.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 10

Canto 10 – In the Home of the Leaf Witch

The Mouse King seemed extremely happy that Poppy’s spell brought him new Sylphs, Butterfly Children, and Elves.  He led all the new folks to the feast hall that had apparently been closed up for a while before their arrival.

“Please,  make yourselves at home.  You are welcome here, as long as your allegiance shifts from the Unseely Court to our people!” the Mouse said enthusiastically.

“You are not going to feed these imposters when they could be put to better use attacking the enemy on the battlefield?” growled Lord Lancelot.

“Nonsense.  These Fey Children are our brothers now.  We need them to fill in for all the families we have lost recently.  We must make them feel welcome.”

A beautiful young-looking Sylph girl wearing only leaves and a simple loincloth came into the room leading a chain of Sylph children, each carrying bowls of freshly made food.

“Zam has welcome feast for all new guys!” said the girl.

“Who is Zam?” PoppenSparkle asked Tod.

“She is.  Zam is the Mouse King’s wife.  She’s a very unusual Sylph, better known as the Leaf Witch.”

Poppy suddenly realized how many of the spell scrolls she’d been given to read since her liberation from the Necromancer had the Leaf Witch’s name on them.

“She has magical skills like yours,” said Flute to Poppy.  “I discovered her when we needed to slay the dragon, Darvon Redsoul.”  He smiled,  beaming with pride at his own accomplishment.

“How do we know we can trust these people?” Lancelot said loudly to everyone.

“What do you mean?” asked the Mouse King.

“Less than an hour ago, all these people were Gobbuluns!  Or am I mistaken about what I saw?”

“You are not mistaken.  PoppenSparkle, my newest apprentice, has developed a rare spell that polymorphs members of the Unseely Court into full-blooded members of the Fey Children.” Prince Flute indicated Poppy where she sat next to him, and all eyes turned to focus uncomfortably on her.

Lancelot focused angry, red eyes on her.  “So, how exactly did you do that, Miss Butterfly Witch?”

“Well, I… uh…”

“I kin tells ya that!” exclaimed young Schtinker.

“Oh?  And how does she do it, then?”

“She makes ‘em smarter!  They changes cuz they is no longer dumb enough to be Gobbuluns.”

“And what does it mean, then, that you sound so dumb?”  Lancelot glared so fiercely that Schtinker hid behind Glittershine’s wings.”

“That’s it!  That has to be how they do it!” shouted a young Elf from across the hall.

“And what do you mean by that, Gobbulun-boy?” Lancelot shouted back.

“I was a Gobbulun just a short while ago because Lord Toxiss had me as a prisoner of war, and he changed me from an Elf into a Cyclopes. He did it with a spray of smelly goo that made me get dumber and dumber until I believed I was a Cyclopes.  The Butterfly Witch changed me back by making me smarter again with her magical mist.”

“Of course!  As simple as that!” said Flute, slapping his bare knee with the eureka moment.

“What do you mean?” asked Lancelot.

“It’s the fundamental magical formula that we have been researching all this time.  The key is knowledge… intelligence!  Our very existence is based on the beliefs of Slow Ones that there is magic in the world, simply not yet understood by their science.  And believing in something can make it so.  So, by increasing intelligence and understanding, you build a foundation to hold up that belief.  The more you know, the more strongly you believe!”

“So, how does that help us at present?  We are surrounded by the enemy, stupid, malevolent, violent Gobbuluns, outnumbering us by hundreds to one.  You want to teach them all basic grammar or something?”  Lancelot was wildly gesturing in all directions as he spoke angry words.

Zam the Leaf Witch suddenly climbed up on the table so she could look down on Lancelot with a goofy grin on her child-like face.  She ignited a purple, magical flame in her right hand.

“You is not getting it, Lancy.  Is not smartness from the head we is talking about.  It is from the heart.  Knowledge and Love combined is what be magical.  Miss Poppy-Sparky is right to change Gobbuluns to Fey Children.  Even they is knowing it be more right that way.  You needs to try a dose.”

Whatever the purple fire in the witch’s hand was, she launched it directly at Lancelot’s chest.  But when it struck the area where his heart should be, it burst and dissipated.

Lancelot looked dumbstruck.  And then, obviously, that was immediately converted to shame.  He turned and left the feast hall with his head hanging low.

“Lord Lancy have been doing the fighting thing for too many, many years.  He be kinda down-hearted. We forgives him.  He will get better.”

The feast settled down into conversations and the enjoyment of Fairy dishes like mushroom tips, bean sprouts, dandelion butter, and mint leaves.  The relieved residents of Cornucopia welcomed the new replacement Fairies that had once been Gobbuluns.

“She’s a treasure, that one,” said Flute, pointing at Zam.  “No one gets the better of her in her own feast hall.  Not even Lord Lancelot.”

“What was that spell she put on Lancelot?” Tod asked.

“A heart spell of some kind,” answered Glittershine.  “But didn’t you notice?  It didn’t reach his heart.”

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PoppenSparkle’s Summer Vacation

Many doctors’ appointments, eye treatments, and needed exercise to combat diabetes have all conspired to fill my time to the point that I haven’t gotten publishable work done on the writing projects. So, today there is no completed Canto 10 to share on the novel-writing day. It will be called In the Home of the Leaf Witch when I do have it published.

So, today I will share some meta-data that you might be interested in if you wonder at all how a novel project proceeds in the mind of an extra-goofy writer.

Poppy’s little novella (a book between 15,000 and 25,000 words in length) was conceived as a sequel to The Necromancer’s Apprentice, which is both a parody of the story The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the Mickey Mouse version, and a coming-of-age story about a Sylph girl named Derfentwinkle. Derfie is an enslaved servant of an evil Necromancer at the beginning of the story, sent on a suicide mission against the leaders of the good fairies in Tellosia. She ends up captured alive by an eccentric Sorcerer named Eli Tragedy. He reforms and trains her to spite the Necromancer, his old enemy.

Derfentwinkle is the main character of her story, and the sister of Poppensparkle in this story.
PoppenSparkle is a Butterfly Child. That means she is a Fairy who can fly with butterfly wings. Her sister saved her from the Necromancer, and it was discovered that she has rare magical talents that the Kingdom of Tellosia desperately needs.

The Fairies of Tellosia are tiny compared to the human beings they live around. They call humans the Slow Ones because humans are easily fooled by Fairy glammers and disguise magic.

Glittershine is one of PoppenSparkle’s teachers.

Poppy’s magical education begins as a journey on rooster-back from the Fairy Castle of Cair Tellos to the distant Castle of Cornucopia where a war is raging and several critical magical problems have to be solved.

Prinz Flute, the son and heir of the High Wizard of Tellosia, has taken over Poppy’s education.

So, if you are actually waiting impatiently for Canto 10 to drop and appear on this blog, keep an eye on us here at Catch a Falling Star. It will get published as soon as it is acceptably written and edited. And if you are not waiting for the next installment in the way readers once waited for the next chapter of Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop, thus contradicting Mickey’s delusion that he is in any way like Dickens as an author, you can continue to glance at the pictures, ignore the text, and move on without clicking the “like” button like most readers do.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 9

Canto 9 – The Mad Fight

Prince Flute’s rooster riders made a mad dash for Castle Cornucopia.  They all knew that their presence was desperately needed.  But more than ever was their presence required since Poppy’s new spell provided an answer to the war problem that the Fairies never had before.  Bad guys could be changed into allies by magic.  And once having a taste of life as a Sylph or an Elf, the Gobbuluns definitely preferred to stay in their new bodies on the side of the Fairies.

“We promise to fight hard for the Cornucopians,” said the Elf, the fastest learner of Fairy English.  “There is no going back for us.  And even if we have to fight and kill our former friends, they are such low and horrid creatures that we will not shed a tear over them.”

“Not ebben for me wifey!” added one of the Sylphs.  “She be too uglee and stoopid for keepin’.”

They all rounded the final turn, and Castle Cornucopia was laid out before them.  It was, of course, actually a Slow One’s barn with Fairy ramparts and towers added to all the wooden walls, but disguised by magical glammers that made the barn appear to be a normal functioning palace for milk cows.

But the truly unbelievable part was the fact that the entire defense force, instead of manning the fortified walls and ramparts, were out in the middle of the field to the east of the castle, surrounded by a sea of raging green Gobbuluns and enemies from the Unseely Court.

“What’s this?  Why is Lancelot attacking rather than defending the castle?” Prinz Flute was shocked.

“He be mad, dat one!” called out Schtinker.

“We have to help them survive.  That is the entire defense force of the castle about to be slain!” cried Tod.

“No, no, no…!” called out Glittershine.

Flute turned to Poppy and put a hand on each of her arms.  “Can you polymorph a really large number of Gobbuluns into Fairies?”

“I… I don’t know.  That takes an immense amount of power.  It will completely exhaust me, and I doubt I can change enough of them to make a difference.”

“Can you try, please?  As many as you can, on the side closest to the castle so the encircled army has a way to escape.”

“I will do the best I can…”

PoppenSparkle gathered all the energy her tired body could hold.  It wasn’t enough because she hadn’t absorbed enough sunshine since she had changed the four from the abandoned barn.   But it would change a few dozen completely.  She crackled with the summoned charge of energy, and then carefully spied out the area of fighting Gobbuluns she meant to target.

The power left her fingertips as soon as she uttered the trigger word and formed into a lightning bolt before becoming the transformational cloud over the writhing Gobbulun bodies.  They twisted and morphed as if they were made of clay and became mostly naked and poorly armed Sylphs, Elves, and Butterfly Children.

“Men of Cornucopia!  Follow me back to the castle!” shouted Prinz Flute, dashing forward to toss fireballs with his wand into the crowds of green Wartoles that hadn’t been touched by the polymorphing cloud.

“No!  Hold your ground men!  We will be covered in glory this day, even if we all die.”  Lancelot seemed outraged at Flute trying to take command.

“Look at all these new Fey Children on our side, Lord!  We now have a chance to hold the castle.  Why should we still go through with the plan to sacrifice ourselves?  We don’t have to die now!  And you will not die in any case.”  The Rascal was obviously defying his master.  But it was effective.  The Sylphs under Lancelot’s command broke ranks, fighting only to protect their escaping  brethren.  The mass of Fairy warriors flooded back towards the castle, carrying Flute’s rooster riders and all the newly made Fairies with them.

At the castle gate, Lord Lancelot, King Mouse, and Prinz Flute all pulled up short of it to shout at each other.

“How dare you countermand my battle plan?” roared Lancelot.

Prinz Flute, taken aback, quickly replied, “How dare you try to get everyone killed in spite of the fact that I provided you with a means to survive the day, and possibly win the war?”

King Mouse was a Pixie, of the kind that take on the partial form of woodland creatures.  His head and paws and tail were all very mouse-like, while his body was very hunman-shaped and capable of wearing a suit of Fairy armor.

“I know your status as Tellosian Hero means you outrank me, Lord Lancelot, but as King of Cornucopia, I side with Prinz Flute on the question of whether today is the day we all die or not.”

“Well, we can’t exactly reform the troops and attack again now.  But I would rather take the fight to them than hole up for a siege and defensive last stand.”

Prinz Flute seemed to be actively trying to calm himself.  Poppy appreciated how calm he could make himself in dire situations.  “You must come in and listen to the new plans I have formulated.  I have made a breakthrough in magical research that might win the day for us without fighting battles against foes that outnumber us.”

Angry as Lancelot still seemed, he nodded his assent.

The Rascal ran up to him to make a report on the retreat into the castle.

Lord Lancelot eyed him coldly.  “I have no time for disobedient underlings.  Rascal, you are dismissed from my service.”

Crestfallen, the boy turned and walked back into the castle without making a report.

“Now that we have more men to defend the walls with,” said King Mouse, “let’s retire to the throne room and discuss further strategy.

Flute signalled to Poppy, calling her to him.  “You have saved the day yet again, PoppenSparkle.”

“I only did the magic.  You made it happen.”

“You look exhausted, little one.”

She smiled.  She was actually taller than Flute, but not about to contradict him.  He put his arm around her to guide her.

Lord Lancelot stood in the gateway, looking at the stupidly confused horde of Gobbuluns.  He finally turned and entered too so that the gate could be shut and barred.

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From a Fairy’s Point of View

Ar·cane

/ärˈkān/adjective

  • 1. understood by few; mysterious or secret:”modern math and its arcane notation”

Yes, “Arcane” is one of those vocabulary words that a former teacher like me needs you to learn in order to appreciate the meaning of this goofy little post Arcane knowledge is something not known to most, and possibly not even understood by science in general. The things I will relate to you in this post were learned the hard way, by capturing, threatening, torturing, and finally bribing with cookies a grumpy, disagreeable, and very, very old Elf Sorcerer named Eli Tragedy. Difficult as he was to talk to until you break out the ginger snaps and macaroons, the old grizzle-grump did have a lot to say about Fairies.

The spell words are…

“I can tell the story from here if you don’t mind. Mickey, you are a gigantic Slow-One nimnul with the thinking capacity of a block of ice in July weather!”

“I would be happy to let you take over the writing, Master Eli. But explain things like what a Slow One is, or a nimnull.”

“I can do that, but I will have to cast certain spells that cause Slow Ones, especially big, dumb nimnul ones like you to have to laugh at what I say in order not to completely forget it. I just now said the secret words aloud to cast the spell, but whoever is reading this won’t be able to remember them being in this paragraph because you didn’t laugh and the spell is working. Don’t believe me? Look at the picture of stupid Bob and brilliant me and read them under our picture. They don’t appear there, do they? See! the spell is working.”

This picture is the perfect encyclopedia illustration of both what a nimnul is, and what a Slow One is.

Nimnul 

– Insult, implying that the one being insulted has low intelligence, roughly akin to “dummy” or “idiot”. (from the Orkan Dictionary as composed by Mork from Ork)

Slow One

-Mild insult- What Fairies call anyone larger than three inches tall and not as quick of mind as the Fey Children (Also known as Fairies, Elves, Sylphs, Butterfly Children, Fauns, Satyrs, Brownies, Knockers, Gnomes, and Whisps- though some Whisps are also almost as dense as a Slow One.)

Dollinglammer, a typical Butterfly Child maiden wearing nothing but her wings and a hair braid.

“Now, if you don’t mind me saying so, the best way to get to the heart of the matter about how Fairies see the world is to call in an actual Fairy to testify. I, of course, am an Elf, and technically one of the Fey Children too. But I know more magic than any of your Slow Ones’ heads can possibly hold. So, I will leave the froofroo and unimportant stuff to this shamelessly and inexplicably naked fairy, Dollinglammer, to explain. (She is my student… far dumber than me… but way smarter than you.”)

“Master Eli, they might like to know how you came by knowledge of their scientific term, “nimnul,” which I cannot tell them, because that was long before I was born.”

“Okay, Dolly. I got that danged Orkan word by watching a TV show in the late 70’s and early 80’s called “Mork and Mindy.” It was a documentary about an alien from the planet Ork who was stranded on this planet that we Fairies call “Middle Earth” and foolishly fell in love with a Slow One female named Mindy. She covered up her entire body with sweaters and coveralls and blue jeans to the point that I have no idea if she was pretty or not, or if so many sweaters made her sweat too much. You can never tell such things by looking at a Slow One’s TV set. The blamed things have no odor-vision function whatsoever.”

“It is a shame that Slow Ones are addicted to wearing clothes and don’t know the joy of flitting about through nature completely and naturally nude.”

“Shut up, Dolly. You do things the opposite way far beyond reason. But, as I was saying… We Fair Folk get to watch TV for free in Slow-One homes. People who are only three inches tall and disguised by magical glammers can seat an entire audience under the legs of Slow-One easy chairs. The only part where we have to pay for the exhibition is the fact that the stupid Slow One always gets to pick what documentaries appear on the screen. That’s how we end up watching goobers like Sean Hannity and that orange-faced guy so much. “

Fairies are much more disciplined than Slow One children are. We have never seen a Slow One child beheaded for talking back to their elders.

“Oh, and tell them about the magical people the little Slow Ones watch on a thing called Cartoon Neckwork!”

“Dolly, you were supposed to be telling them about the whole Fairy point of view thing! And the documentary channel is called Cartoon Network. Though you never see those creatures in the wild. You tell them all about it.”

“Well, you see, on the tellubishion thingy there are magically animated people made from drawings that come to life, with some of them being ducks and rabbits who insult each other, and ducks who wear sailor suits, and Flintstones… whatever they are…”

“Okay, okay… That’s enough of that drabble. I can safely say there are many kinds of magics and miracles that Slow Ones use that we can’t replicate. And we do find cartoons mesmerizing. But that’s all immaterial now. I am not saying one thing more until stupid, Slow-One Mickey finishes making those sugar cookies he promised me.”

If you would like to learn more about it without continuing to make cookies, there is a book about all of this…

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 8

Canto 8 – The Abandoned Barn

As the group continued to ride the roosters, little Schtinker could not stop talking.  Poppy talked to him as soothingly as possible, hoping to calm him and quiet him.

“We is headed to badness!” insisted Schtinker.

“You should say, We are headed for trouble,” corrected Poppy. 

“We are headed for trouble.  That knight don’t care bout ennybuddy but his own self.”

“You mean,  That knight doesn’t care about anybody but himself.

“See there?  You know it yourself!” said the exasperated Schtinker.

“You know,” said Flute leaning over from his rooster saddle to look Schtinker squarely in the eyes, “This kid is learning to speak better almost instantly.”

“This kid can thinks bedder dan he ever does before.  Troll thinking comes hard and slow.  But my mind is getting faster da more I uses it.”

“Let’s make for that abandoned barn over there.  We need to study this polymorphed little phenomenon a little bit closer.” Flute pointed at the huge rotting structure that had once been the kind of fortress for cows that Slow Ones called a barn.

“But it is urgent that we get to Castle Cornucopia fast,” warned Tod.

“I have an idea that we may benefit more by what Poppy has learned to do with her magic than any sword swings or fireballs we could add to the battle to come.”  Flute grinned as he spurred Tannehauser towards the run-down old barn.

“You is no knowing what you is doing, Prinz-guy.  Dat barn be da home of Gobbuluns!” warned Schtinker.

“Yes, I know.  But tell me, Stinky, do you really want to become a Troll again?  Or would rather stay a Sylph boy?”

Schtinker got suddenly wide-eyed and serious.   “You mean I can be dis permanent-like?”

“He can, can’t he, Poppy?”  Flute asked.

“I would have to make a difficult spell translation to turn him back into a Troll, and I like him better like this.”  PoppenSparkle smiled at the wiggly former Troll.

Schtinker gave her a hug for the sheer joy she had apparently filled his little Sylph body with.

Once inside the old barn Flute made the group dismount and gather in a circle amidst the old tractor-tire ruts on the barn’s dried mud floor.

“Poppy, I need to cast a rather invasive spell on you to measure things in your mind. You will have to disrobe for me to do it,” Flute said. He was not asking for permission.

“Sure. I prefer to be naked.” Poppy had no trouble slipping off the bikini-like armor that protected her from mind spells. Her butterfly wings magically unfurled.

Flute pulled a scroll out of his pouch attached to his loincloth. “Messen Sie die Metriken in ihrem Kopf. Finschole!” Sparks flew out of his fingertips and embedded themselves in her forehead. Poppy’s field of vision turned into multicolored clouds.

“Aha! It’s just as I thought. Her polymorph spell not only reshapes the body, it boosts the intelligence in the parts of the brain of the subject that serve the principles of light. It’s a mix of changing the shape and changing darkness into light.”

“So, what does that mean?” asked Tod.

“Let me test the boy to make certain of it.” Flute cast the same spell on young Schtinker.

“Just as I thought. We can turn Gobbuluns of various sorts into Sylphs, Elves, or Brownies simply by turning their inherent darkness into light.”

“Weez doan no wut you iz talkin’, but weez tanks you for bringin’ us chickie meatz an Fairy bodeez to eats!”

Four Gobbuluns gathered together atop a rotting hay bale with mushrooms growing on it. They were armed with spears that were basically sharpened sticks.

Prinz Flute looked them over humorlessly, then broke into a huge smile. “Poppy, I think we may have just found some recruits for the upcoming battle. Can you morph them the same way you did Schtinker? Please?”

Poppy leaned into the spell and enveloped the three Wartoles and one Cyclopes in her spell cloud.

The Gobbuluns didn’t even have time to scream. The cloud dispersed leaving behind three Sylph warriors with iron-tipped spears and one Elf with an Elven bow and quiver of arrows.

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Fundamentally Mickey

What does it mean to be fundamentally Mickey?

Whew! What a hard question to answer.

Mickey is a nickname, a cartoonist’s pen name, a wererat from Tellosia, the secret kingdom of fairies hidden in a willow tree in Rowan, Iowa, called Norwall in Mickey’s Hometown Novels.

Mickey is a cartoon mouse with purple fur who talks too much in writing and not enough in real life.

The difference between a John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, and a Mickey is that John Green became a recognizable personality on YouTube before becoming a published novelist. And he is younger with more opportunity to go and do what an author has to go and do to market a best-selling novel. Mickey markets worst-selling novels. But their writing styles and writing goals are remarkably similar. (Do you feel the urge to argue that point? You may have to buy and read a worst-selling novel or two to prove me wrong.)

Mickey thinks of himself as a nudist. He plans to revisit a nudist park this Saturday if his body doesn’t fail him again and prevents him from making that long drive. He essentially makes himself spiritually naked by revealing all his inner secrets and emotions by writing them all in this blog and his silly books. Some readers find that the naked people in his stories wreck their enjoyment of the books. But those readers generally have bad things in their imaginations that don’t necessarily come from the characters taking their clothes off. And not all of Mickey’s books have nudist characters in them. Most do not.

Mickey is not a real person. That is not the author’s real name.

But Mark Twain is not a real person either.

Neither is William Shakespeare. (You are welcome to argue that if you like.)

Mark Twain is on Mickey’s side about Shakespeare not being real.

Mickey believes there is real magic in the world. Of course, Mickey is pretty much crazy and claims to be a wizard. But he defines magic as, “”The use of undiscovered science or uncommon artifice by individuals who are gifted with possession of arcane and rare knowledge.”

But being fundamentally Mickey is not something I would recommend as a life course for anybody else in this world. Mickey is stuck with being Mickey in the same way that you are probably stuck being you. And we simply try to be the best Mickey or the best you that we can be because we don’t have any choice but to be the best of whatever we are stuck with being.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 7

Canto 7 – Dat Killah Nite

When Fairies die, at least, when the good ones die, they do not leave a corpse behind.  The magical energy they are made of, originating from the sun, disperses into the air, sometimes leaving tiny bones behind, but usually leaving nothing. 

When the corrupted minions of the Unseely Court, the evil Fairies, die, they turn back into the mud and clay they were originally animated from.

So, a battlefield of a great Fairy battle would look exactly like the Arcanum looked as the little band of Fairies led by Flute entered into its vastness.

“The bodies of Gobbuluns are everywhere,” said Flute as he pointed out several lumps of Wartole-shaped mud and clay.  There were a couple of Cyclopes-shaped mud piles as well.

“There was a huge battle here?” asked Tod.

“Obviously.  First the dead Trolls, and now this.”  Flute shook his head sadly.

“Did our side win?” asked Poppy.

“There’s no way to tell.  If the Fey Children won, there should be living soldiers and Fairy beasts on the field.  The dead have returned to the air.”

“But, Flute, perhaps the winners have already left for home.  You don’t know for sure that we lost.”  Tod looked extremely upset.

“We shall see.  We must search the battlefield,” said Flute as he picked up a fallen banner from the Castle Cornucopia.

Glumly they continued to search the battlefield.

Suddenly, little Schtinker in Poppy’s lap became highly agitated.

“Dat killah nite!” cried the squirming boy Sylph.

“What are you talking about?”

The Sylph pointed at a silhouette on the top of a nearby knoll.  It appeared to be an armored Sylph knight astride a ridinghawk.  Next to him was a younger Sylph astride a pigeon.

“Hail and well met!” called the knight.  “You are late to the battle, Prinz Flute.”

“Lord Lancelot!  How did the battle go?”

With a short swoop, the hawk brought the famous knight near to where the roosters had stopped.  To their credit, neither rooster flinched at the presence of a red-tailed hawk.

“We would’ve lost had not the yon squire known as the Rascal and I cleverly used my immortality as a Storybook to slay the remaining Gobbuluns from the air after the Legion of Cornucopia overwhelmed the Dark Lord Ebon Sneezer.”

“None other of the Cornucopians survived?” asked Tod in horror.

“The Castle Guard remains at Castle Cornucopia,” said Lord Lancelot.  “All the rest are dead.”

The Rascal on his pigeon fluttered up.  “Lord, we must return to the castle quickly!  The Storr and Lord Toxiss will be sending a siege army there.  They will be overwhelmed without us!”

The Rascal looked at Lancelot with an expression of urgency on his young, dark-eyed face.  The knight looked back at him exhausted and pale.

“We go, then.  Prinz Flute, we need your aid, both magical and swordical.  Or our ally, King Mouse, will be lost.”

 Almost immediately the hawk launched into the air.

The Rascal looked at Flute and his companions, smiled a weak, dispirited smile, and took off on the pigeon.

“We no go wid dat killah nite!” protested Schtinker.  “Heem will murdah all ob us!”

“What is the urchin saying?” asked Tod.

“I think he saw Lancelot kill the other trolls and is afraid he will kill us too,” said Poppy.

“Nonsense.  He’s a great knight and trusted friend.”  Flute shot a disgusted glare at the child.

“Heem let alla guyz in heem armies fit furst,  den heem killah alla Trollz wayne dey iz dead.”

“Is he saying that Lord Lancelot wastes the lives of his troops even though he’s immortal himself?” asked Glitter.

“Surely not.  The little stinker doesn’t really know how to speak the Slow Ones’ English,” said Tod.

Poppy tried to calm Schtinker.  But he was deeply agitated.  And as to whether Schtinker could talk or not, she wondered at the fact that Lancelot had used the word, “swordical.”

“The situation is dire, no matter how you look at it,” said Flute.  “So, we go to Castle Cornucopia immediately.”

They spurred the roosters to run to the northwest.  But Poppy did not feel good about it.

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