2024 Writing Calendar - March

Starting March off strong with my 100th century! I planned to swap to a new challenge ruleset at 100, but it snuck up on me and I’ve got . Writing 100 word entries still brings me joy, but I’d like to shake things up a little. Write some longer-form stuff. Write some stories! Do some worldbuilding. Write more follow-ups to previous entries. And of course more colabs and author swaps with my Writchal co-conspirators. I’ll ease up on the word counting and the daily posting. I’m in this for the full 12 months (and beyond), no need to rush. Thank you for reading!

Day 100 - Century / Soup IV

My friends have gone home, the pots and mugs and cutting boards have been washed up, and tonight one things remains. Penny settles down at the top of her tree, the lights dim, the dishwasher hums, a blank page opens on my screen, and I’m alone on the couch with my words. 100 is a meaningful achievement to me, but today is just routine. I’ve had this exact evening, with the distinct calm it brings, a few times since November 1st. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write of passion, or ideas, or wit, dreams or fantasies, but tonight is simple and peaceful.

Thank you to the writchal24 group for helping make writing so enjoyable these last few months, and especially alice, for getting me into writing centuries last november!

Day 101 - Review of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel

Woah I finally got around to writing one of those book reviews I've been meaning to! For longer writing like this I'm going to give it its own page, so you can find my review here!

Day 102 - Mages I

You want a branch that’s just the right length for the required style of casting: wands for quick hexes, staves for rituals and composites, and longstaffs for deep, complex magic (all hardwood channels are refereed to collectively as staffs). In general, the larger the volume of wood, the higher the capacity, but the slower the flow density. Most mages will carry one of each, but it’s possible to specialize further, especially with runes and flow-carvings.

Despite the claims of your local merchant, the species of tree is irrelevant to mana flow, leaving it an aesthetic or sentimental choice. It’s a simple fact of nature that the capillary density of all trees stay more or less constant across any complete cross-section, regardless of species, age, or branch radius, and thus the only factors worth considering are the dimensions of the staff. It is of course important to choose wood from a tree that has grown in healthy conditions, unless you’re crafting a custom instrument for a niche use-case.

Day 103 - Mages II

It is argued that the largest advantage to using a hardwood staff is accessibility. Arboreal biology is well-understood and remarkably consistent, and so the magical capabilities of hardwood channels are thoroughly documented. The standardization of magical practice makes education and experimentation significantly simpler than more chaotic methods, and has led to the growth of modern schools of magic. Accessibility also refers to the ease of acquiring such a channel; in theory any twig on the ground can be a channel, and even made into a powerful one after a few minutes of smoothing and a single sealing coat, compared to the thousands of hours it can take to weave a full battle-dress.

Day 104 - Mages III

Hardwood staffs are by far the most common channels in the betweenlands due to the mana-guiding abilities of naturally occurring fibrous capillary networks found in nearly all hardwood species, but the range of possible instruments is limitless. A battle-dress, woven of individual fibrous strands, presents an entirely different style of casting. Each strand has very little capacity for mana, but weave enough together, and you get a powerful and flexible channel.

Hardwood staffs are known for their power, with all their capillaries in parallel allowing for very high mana flow, but the channel itself is dead, static. Hardwood mages require external patterns for complex

spells, be they sigils, incantations, or even secondary channels like magnifying stones. A battle-dress is flexible, and while the topography of a dress cannot change once it is completed, it moves in consortium with the mage’s body, granting a continuously shifting landscape of mana flow. The name battle-dress comes from the rhythmic dance a mage uses in combat, with their channel changing form as they shift across the field.

The pattern woven into a battle-dress is similar to flow-carvings on the surface of a hardwood staff. Like flow-carvings, a dress is infinitely customization, woven to suit every possible need of it creator. Battle-dress mages wear their intentions on their sleeves, literally, as the spirals of a combat mage are easily distinguished from the sharp cuts of a transmutation mage, or the tiling patterns of an enchantment mage.

Day 105 - March 13th

Woah, another blog post! This one's kinda long, but I like the way it reads.

Day 107 - Eye Contact

It’s hard to take a picture of a cat. They’re always in motion, full of angles obscured by fur that catch the light in a particular way. Penny’s always been one for eye contact. Long, continuous, communicative eye contact. Across the bedroom, down a hallway, out under the couch. See and be seen. It’s hard enough to take a normal picture of a cat, but these glances are something you could never capture in a lens. She never looks into the camera the same way she looks at you. She can’t pretend the way a person can. It’s always genuine.

Entry 108 - Josh Anderson

Girl help I wrote a little tiny 2000-word piece on Josh Anderson of the Montreal Canadiens instead of doing my assignments.

Entry 109 - Words

Is this what I want, really? Nothing wrong with the superficial, we all need our distractions to get by but- I was scratching at something deeper before. There’s a lot of understanding of myself I can gain from writing these. Maybe this is just the backswing, maybe I just want to let myself enjoy things without thinking too hard. I went from non-stop socializing these last two weeks to suddenly spending three days mostly alone, and my words flow more freely now than ever before. I’m not saying these things out loud, and these aren’t just thoughts transcribed, it’s something in between.

Figured out how to use the Neocities API now! It's far easier than I expected, should have been using this earlier

Entry 110 - Circle of Life

In the murky riverbed, deep beneath the rusting bridge, the once mighty Novabus lies in silence. A feast, for this aquatic ecosystem. A swarm of Logitech mice wallow nearby, feasting on scraps, trusting their numbers to protect from predators. The lean and toothy 9-gear road bike ignores them, gorging itself on rear tire. A family of routers cautiously approaches the open side door. Nearby, ancient Dell laptops slowly fan the currents, filtering newly-introduced microplastics from the water. Within days, the bus’ circuitry and trappings will be picked clean, leaving naught but a steel skeleton to be assimilated into the landscape.

Entry 111 - Betrayal

My love, do you trust me? Our preparations are set against the forces the bind us. Together just might be enough. Eventually it comes down to this- a moment of pure vulnerability. We’ve thrown our lots in together, supposedly. You know the rules, and so do I. A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of. You wouldn’t get this from any other guy. I just want to tell you how I’m feeling- gotta make you, understand. Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you. Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye, never gonna tell a lie and desert you. <3

Entry 112 - Greenbelt

We’re getting on the 61, and travelling west. It’s a commuter line, running express to the heart of Ottawa and back out past the greenbelt to the suburbs. We’re not heading there, though. We’re getting off in the very middle, at Moodie B, the intersection of the queensway and highway 59 next to a half-finished light rail station, surrounded by hibernating farmland and the occasional government campus. Follow me into the grey and green, down the trans-canada trail.

In the summer, by bike, this section of the path is a delight. Flat, protected by the wind, and perfectly straight for nearly 2km. The trees curve inwards over the asphalt, guiding you through shimmering green arches away from the city. On March 24th, on foot, it’s a half-hour trek past dead trunks and frozen marsh. It’s hard to gauge distance somewhere you’ve only ever been by bike. I came here to think and to feel, so this suits me fine.

Ahead the path splits three ways. One goes south, a twisting path over creeks, through trees, and past clearings of native grains, towards Kanata. It’s beautiful (in the summer), but too long to take by foot today. One goes west, shortly ending at a federal research campus that was Canada’s first connection to ARPANET. The last goes north, turning into Rifle Road, one of the least pleasant cycling experiences of my life that unfortunately leads to a beautiful view of the Ottawa river. If you take this last path, but keep an eye open right before you hit the road, you’ll find a gap in the trees on your left leading to a gorgeous clearing next to the steep banks of the creek. Even now, with the grasses dead and hollow and the water barely flowing, it’s almost picturesque. But we’ll come here later.

How about we spare ourselves the half hour of monotony and take the first right? There’s a gap in the fence, where paved path yields to gravel. If we follow this the whole way we’ll be led straight to the empty husk of the old Nortel main campus, currently inhabited by national defence. The teal pyramid can be seen from far, far away down the river, one of my favourite landmarks in this city, its presence giving a sense of distance to western bike rides. Best to stay away, horrors dwell there.

Now you’re deep into the greenbelt, with wetlands all around. I used to say this area felt like an intersection of Minecraft biomes, where the selection of plants changed to a different set so abruptly, with three distinct set of flora. Coming back years later, I can see the difference is elevation. The watery indents, currently frosted over from the last breaths of winter, are covered with cattails and other tall reeds. Just a bit above the waterline, you have tall grasses and bushes. Further from the water are collections of beautiful multi-coloured mosses and lichen on exposed rock.

Back to the trail. This part’s hard to describe, but the moment the next paved section of the side path comes into view, turn around. Just off the route where you came, about 30m behind where you find yourself now, there’s a circular clearing you might have missed coming through in the first direction. Roughly northwest from the centre of this clearing there’s another path through the trees- look for the indented grass.

On the other side of these trees, a wide clearing covered in the most beautiful lichen I’ve seen in my life. Finally, after the greys and browns of hibernating trees and grass and reeds, vibrant reds and teals and greens and purples and whites stretched out over the rocks. Most interesting is that strips of red lichen seem to show the path to take- compared to the others (which I tried not to disturb), it feels springy and light- maybe it’s the most durable to being stepped on? Regardless, take your time exploring this clearing, and stay on the red lines.

This area of greenbelt is abundant with branching side trails and sub-side trails. While I miss the speed and effortlessness of a bike, many of these paths aren’t accessible with one, and coming here on foot was well worth the long walk. It’s surprising how subtle the entrance to a path can be- and how well I managed to pick them out in the forest. Don’t forget to stop and sit, it’s easy to lose track of time and not notice how long you’ve been on your feet. When the summer comes, with its sun and rain and vibrant greens, I’ll be back. Maybe having seen these places half-dead will make them seem all the more alive.

City views

Written by Snow as part of an author swap!

  • 1. crossing the river from charles mgh to kendall/mit on the red line, out the left side
  • 2. walking the smoot bridge across the river from cambridge to boston
  • 3. from the top of the hill at middlesex fells
  • 4. driving into the city on route 2
  • 5. driving on the zakim bridge at night when it's lit up
  • 6. on an intercity bus as it pulls into south station
  • 7. leaning over the bridge at the boston public garden
  • 8. from the citgo sign
  • 9. watching planes come in from castle island
  • 10. from any window

  • 24.03.27

    Written by Lucah as part of another author swap!!

    The fence is hardly enough. The pack of horses dart off into the distance where tall grass parts with the wind (make way). Where to? Far off is where. Effortlessly maneuvering pure muscle. Dust kicks up with considerable delay, clouds forming where they have long since passed. Ok stop - they bring friction down against the momentum, already built with such ease. Kicking up to hind legs, then, then, stamp. Silence. Make a guess to temperament, eye contact and all (you were always my favourite). Of your connection, wonder if you’ll ever be able to relate to the freedom past limerence.

    Entry 115 - Walking

    I want to give thanks to whatever’s in my head that puts one foot in front of another when I decide to walk somewhere. I know I sure as hell aren’t doing that, walking seems like a bitch of a process and I’m happy to delegate it. Even on the really bad days, when my executive isn’t functioning and I have to do everything myself manually, when I have to drag my toothbrush back and forth and back over and over across my teeth like a cinderblock, I still don’t have to make myself walk. Never slowing down like memory recall in a tired mind, never freezing over like social intuition after an overwhelming day, always pulling through like the trusty analogue gauge in the plane cockpit when the power fails. When I decide I’m walking somewhere, just it happens, without fail. Thank you.

    Entry 116 - Divine Benefits

    Benefits of becoming a paladin:

  • Immunity to fear condition also prevents anxiety!
  • The angels in the electric pylons you pass under on the way to work will grant you their blessing
  • Aura of protection: your friends feel safe and empowered around you!
  • Your parents would probably be very proud
  • Disease Immunity: useful now more than ever
  • Heavy armour proficiency now comes with forklift certification!
  • Divine smite: Comes up way more often than you'd think

  • Detriments of becoming a paladin:

  • Insatiable desire to challenge every police officer you meet to a duel to the death may consume your life
  • Vampire girlfriend becomes very tricky, not impossible
  • If you’re seen using healing hands you may be canonized against your will
  • The whispers of the old ones are never ceasing
  • Raccoons will try to kill you on sight
  • Divine smite: You need to be very careful when operating heavy machinery