Star Child *

I have a friend (crazy, I know). Her name is Alex. Hi, Alex! *waves*. She has read my book, and she likes my book. This makes me happy, of course. Alex is a writer herself (a fantasy one, at that), and it is so lovely to have a friend who can share such things with you, who understands, and who actually knows what you’re talking about when you say ‘Sta’reghiime’, for example.

Do you know what that is? I highly doubt it.

It’s something in my book.

Which you would not know unless you have read it.

Funny how these things work…

A good while back, I was moaning to Alex about the languages I have created for my fantasy world. I wondered what possessed me to do three. Woeful. One language is simple enough, I suppose: that is Kurpian, the language of the Ilimoskus (my main language). The other two are… Well, one is the hardest thing in the world to pronounce/the biggest mouthful language going, and the other has the worst grammar. But who do I have to blame but myself? Why, Jenny? Whhyyyyyyyy? *falls upon knees and howls in despair*

But anyway. I was talking about my languages. Specifically Kurpian. Alex said that it would be cool to learn Kurpian (or something like that), to which I replied, “I’ll give you a lesson someday 😉

(An aside: The Kurpian language is traditionally a syllabic alphabet with limited logograms, which, in English, basically means there are symbols that represent syllables. There are always two symbols that make me smile, though, because “xu” looks like a smiley face with a massive nose, and “ly” looks like a man doing some funky dance. Behold: )

ohk

((An aside aside: Apparently one of the most ‘hated’ fantasy clichés is ‘Authors who go overboard in creating a ‘language’.‘ Oh, and also Anthropomorphism‘Non-human’ or sentient animal races that act, think, and socialise just like humans.’ Pffttt. Well, if that’s the case, AVOID my story at all costs. WARNING–WARNING–I tell you! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES LEST MY TERRIBLE, AMATEUR FANTASY STORY DEVOURS YOUR MIND INTO A STATE OF UTTER PARALYSIS FROM ITS SHEER ATROCITY TO THE FANTASY NAME. I love fantasy. Fantasy is my life. But I hate the fantasy ‘circle’ more than anything. It is the most critical, judgemental and contemptuous of all fandoms. Obviously, I’m not speaking for everyone here, but that’s the general vibe you get. Oh, and by the way, I actually have a very detailed explanation as to why my Ilimoskus are so humanoid, yet if I put such an explanation into my story I would be criticised for rabbiting on about information no one cares about, or for focusing too much on needless history as opposed to storyline. You can’t win, right? Which is why you should live your life true to yourself and write only from the heart. That’s my lesson for the day.))

So. There is a character in my book called Gnotsu Teeze (“NOTE-soo”, by the way – everyone pronounces it wrong). Gnotsu is the wise, wizened, wise man of the story. Obligatory in fantasy, no? A trope, not a cliché 😉 Though, if you ask me, he is more than just a wise elder: he is immensely powerful and mysterious – so much so that his kin do not even realise the extent of this. Gnotsu has dedicated the majority of his life guiding others in their greatest time of need – a carer and protector to all the sad hearts who come his way.

gnot-tt

This is a sketch I did of Gnotsu

Due to this, I often say, “Everyone needs a Gnotsu in their life.” We do. We really do. We all need a mentor to teach us the wonders of life, of nature, of the soul. Oft times I find myself pining for a Gnotsu conversation, to be before his exuding aura of perpetual wisdom *wistfully sighs*. But, it is precisely this teaching nature of Gnotsu’s that led me to write this post. Combining both things together (Alex and Kurpian), who better to consult than dear old Gnotsu?

And so, my friends, I share with you a fictional scenario between Alex and Gnotsu as she has a Kurpian lesson. Perhaps some context is required. Let’s just pretend that Alex woke up, drowsy and bewildered, thousands of miles away from home in an English wood which just so happened to be Kaxenff (that is, the home of Gnotsu). Gnotsu, being the compassionate soul he is, took Alex under his wing and taught her the ways of the Ilimoskus (and we shall ignore technicalities within the story itself, such as humans not being able to see Ilimoskus, but sshhhhhhhhh. Alex is special. She can see the Ilimoskus, ’cause I say so 😉 ).

(To people who do not know the story: There are going to be many strange words in this piece. I shall briefly explain them at the end. Strange words shall be underlined.)

Dear Alex, I know you could do with a Gnotsu conversation. I hope you enjoy this.

Love and light to you, x

***

Alex rushed through the holid, swerving past the kus coming her way as they gave her an array of curious looks. She was late.

She had not slept well, awaking before the dawn, and so she had decided to leave Gnotsu’s hohot and go for a quiet stroll through the woods. It was strange to be out in the Ilimoskus’ holid when it was so silent, so deserted, but she could not deny the sense of relief that filled her, for the lack of the foreign beings – kindly as they were – watching her every move meant she could dally and inspect to her heart’s content. She had absent-mindedly watched the sunlight burn the woodland in golden fire, beckoning the Flamikus to awaken, and, while sitting on a log near Idimis, observed kus undertaking their morning duties. She had not been here long, but she had already discerned just how diligent the Ilimoskus were. She had also discerned that they were seriously nosy, yet politely so, if that was at all possible; they forever peered inquisitively over her private doings, and she caught wind of gossip about her, such as, ‘She speaks very weirdly. Do you think she has something wrong with her?’ As gossip went, it was harmless enough, and she could hardly blame them – after all, she was as good as an alien to them, and she did speak very differently to them: her accent was Canadian, and theirs was a rather curious blend of English and… Kurpian? She supposed, were she with another human, she would be gossiping about them, too. It was only when some kus passed close by her, chattering away – and, of course, giving her a lengthy perusal – that she thought about their accent again. But then it suddenly hit her. She had agreed to have a Kurpian lesson with Gnotsu at first light. Dammit! She leapt up and darted away, giving all nearby eyes even more reason to look at her.

Once she had rushed back to his hohot, she saw that Gnotsu was waiting outside, his hands clasped together. Why did that make her feel so terrible? She continued to approach, now at a brisk walk, and Gnotsu spied her from a distance; he watched her every move with a placid expression, and when she was near he bestowed a warm smile.

“I-I’m sorry, Gnotsu!” Alex puffed, stopping before him. “I forgot!”

“Indeed you did. But then you remembered. Do not fret, Nieeb, for the recollection of our minds often fails us when our hearts are preoccupied with deeper things.”

“But… What deeper things?”

“You are new here,” he kindly replied. “This is a strange place to you, and you are in the process of adapting. Do not be hard on yourself.” He turned, holding back the door for her. “Come now, let us begin.”

She pulled a small but grateful smile and stepped inside. She saw that there were two wooden chairs – or, rather, stools – positioned to one side by the unlit fire, and so she headed over and sat on one, feeling much like she was back at school and about to take an exam. Ugh. Thank the gods the Ilimoskus did not have exams as she knew it.

Gnotsu wasted no time in getting down to business, as often was his way, and as he shut the door he spoke in his gentle, yet husky, voice, “If I were to say to you, ‘Ihmoiyon’, what would I be saying?”

“Oh, umm…” Alex sat contemplating, though she felt slightly bewildered after her rush and tried to rally her thoughts into some order. Ihmoiyon. She knew that. Come on, brain. WORK. “Err…”

Gnotsu smiled at her patent forgetfulness. “Shall I help you, Alix?”

She looked to the floor, thinking it would be better if Gnotsu did not see her trying to restrain her own smile. Alix. It did amuse her, how the Ilimoskus pronounced her name. “Uhh… Yeah, that would be really helpful, Gnotsu, thank you.” She looked back at him, having banished her smile for good.

“We greet one another this way in the morning,” he simply said.

“Oh!” she cried. Duh. It was so obvious now. “‘Good morning!'”

He dipped his head ever so slightly as his indication that she was correct, then moved closer to her, but still made the point to stand. “Now, I am going to speak to you in Kurpian, and you are going to tell me what I said in Akklun.”

“You mean English,” she automatically corrected, but then felt a wave of horror wash over her. Did she just imply Gnotsu was wrong about something? Could she be any more moronic? She had only been here a short while, yes, but she knew well enough that Gnotsu was considered the wisest elder in the holid, and no one dared to question him. Though, thankfully, Gnotsu was the most serene and forgiving kus she had met, and his eyes delicately smiled as he clasped his hands together.

“Lopa,” said he.

“…Hello,” she replied somewhat warily, for ‘lopa’ was the only Kurpian word she definitely knew, and all else he said would undoubtedly send her mind reeling.

“Yestana’asko-a Gnotsu od Teeze hon,” Gnotsu continued.

In Alex’s mind, the beginning of that utterance sounded like a complete load of babble, yet it was a particular strain of babble she recognised. She remembered Gnotsu teaching it to her before, and how she had fumbled over the syllables as if it were a tongue-twister. It did not help that Kurpian was spoken quite quickly.

“Every letter ‘a’ in the Kurpian language is short, without exception,” Gnotsu had said. “Like the ‘a’ in the Akklun word ‘apple’.

Alex tried to speak it once more. “Yes-tan-ahhhhs-ko…?” 

Gnotsu grinned, and then broke the sounds down slowly for her. “Yeh-stah-nah-AHSS-ko-ah.”

Alex sighed. “It’s a bit of a mouthful just to say, ‘My name is’, isn’t it?”

“My name is Gnotsu Teeze,” Alex repeated in English, having relived the memory of trying to speak that darn word, or phrase, or whatever it was.

“Yeestona’as-a pleh?”

“What is your name?”

“Very good,” said Gnotsu with a warm smile. “Now, Alix, I would like you to repeat that Kurpian question.”

Her heart plunged into her stomach. Oh, gods. “Err…” she paused briefly, trying to allow Gnotsu’s pronunciation to echo in her mind. “Yee-stoh-nah-AHSS-ah leh.”

“Valeciivie, Alix!” Gnotsu brightly praised. “Much better! Now, I shall speak in Akklun, and you shall repeat in Kurpian.”

Oh, GODS. Why? Resigning herself to what was sure to be the inevitable butchering of the wonderful, exotic Kurpian language, spoken from her stupid tongue, she softly sighed and nodded, noticing that she was pressing her lips together unusually firmly. Perhaps this was as bad as an exam, in its own, unique way.

“How are you?” Gnotsu asked.

Damn. Damn, damn, DAMN. In world-record fashion, she had already failed. She could never remember how to say ‘How are you?’ in Kurpian. Never. It was yet another mouthful phrase, and she remembered Gnotsu saying that there are actually two ways of asking this question: a formal way, and an informal way. Not that such a recollection mattered, because she could not remember either of them. She slapped her hands to her cheeks and pulled down at them. Why was Kurpian so difficult?

Gnotsu, observing Alex’s blatant struggle, calmly offered some assistance. “Do you remember that we focused on how to say it formally? Since you are not an Ilimoskus, and to appease the unsure minds of my kin, they would appreciate hearing the formal phrase from you. It goes, ‘Aa…’.” He paused, and a hopeful light glinted in the depths of his eyes that this would be enough of a recollection for her.

Alex sat, blankly staring. She feared that his hopeful light was soon to fade, since, even with his help, she could not remember. Though, from his helpful pointer, she remembered that the formal phrase did indeed contain the Kurpian diphthong ‘aa’. Oh, how she hated that diphthong. She could not pronounce it at all – at least not properly. It was the sound of a broad ‘a’, like ‘father’, but combined with this accursed rolled ‘r’ sound. It was like, ‘aaaaaaaRRR’, and she could not roll her tongue, no matter how hard she tried. She always sounded like a growling dog, or, if she did manage to roll her tongue properly, it went totally overboard and she sounded like a speed boat engine.

Gnotsu peered at her closely. “I sincerely hope you are not becoming stressed, Alix,” he judiciously spoke.

She shifted slightly in her seat. How did Gnotsu always manage to make you feel guilty about any emotion or thought you had just by looking at you with his dark, gentle eyes? “I… can’t remember, Gnotsu,” she muttered.

“No,” he said as if he already knew. “It is, ‘Aa-vickarvee pleh?’ Repeat it.”

ARR,” she tried to pronounce with all her might, though she knew she sounded just like a swashbuckling pirate, “-vih-kar-vee leh.”

“You are still struggling with the pronunciation of ‘aa’, but do not fret about it, Child – it is one of the more difficult letters to pronounce, and Kurpian is not your native tongue,” said he. “Therefore, to differentiate between ‘aa’ and ‘ar’, I would suggest you continue to put a greater emphasis on the ‘aa’ sound while you are still learning to perfect it.”

Had Gnotsu just told her to sound like a pirate?

“So, Alix,” continued the old kus, “tell me how you are.”

“Oh, I’m okay,” she casually spoke.

He smiled. “In Kurpian, Alix.”

“Oh! Right. Err… Fo unsc?

He chuckled most delicately as he cast his eyes to the ground, but then he stood in silence, frozen in his stance. “Are you okay, Alix?” he asked with atypical sobriety.

She frowned at his sudden shift of temperament, as well as at the question itself. “Yes…” answered she.

He peered at her with his head angled down most discreetly.

His penetrative gaze cut straight through her and she glanced away uneasily. How did Gnotsu do it?

“What can be gained from lying to your heart?” he quietly questioned.

“I’m not…” she began to reply, but she knew that she had no sharp rejoinder with which to respond. Besides, even if she did, Gnotsu would undoubtedly know it was a lie.

With the softest of sighs, Gnotsu walked over to the empty stool and sat himself down beside her. “All hearts hold sadness from time to time, yet, for one reason or another, we believe it necessary to hold onto it continually by means of denial. This weighs down our hearts, my dear child, for the burden of denied sadness is a heavy one. There is no shame in admitting sadness in the heart, for in this weakness we discover our strength. Tell me, Alix: do you know what happens when we deny the sadness in our hearts?”

Alex was taken aback somewhat by his direct question, so intent was she on listening to his wisdom. “Um… No…”

“It tries to escape,” said he. “In its desperate plight for freedom, it seeks to flee only to discover that the heart resists and prevents it from doing so. Thus, an inner conflict rages, and our souls then intervene, calling out to the heart in an attempt to convince it to set this sadness free. But the noise of the conflict is too loud, and our quiet souls cannot be heard. And so it is our souls are weakened, and, as I am sure you will agree, nieebko, this is not good. We Ilimoskus have a word for such an eventuality: diitharedan – the conflict in the heart and of the soul.”

Alex looked at her lap, feeling overwhelmed; she felt the sadness stir within her heart, clawing at the walls in its bid to escape. She found the courage within herself to look Gnotsu in the eye, beholding his benevolent face radiating solace as brightly as the sun. “How… How do you set your sadness free, Gnotsu?” she weakly asked, blinking numerous times to ward off the watery sheen in her eyes.

He took a moment to reply as the faintest origins of a smile emerged. “Cry,” was he simple answer. He placed his hand on her knee, and Alex felt the fiery heat of his skin even through her trousers. “Tears are the silent expression of our sorrow and our grief, are they not? The sadness flows out from our hearts, and so the heart is empty, but only then, when the sadness is free, can understanding take its place.”

“…Understanding?”

“Indeed, Nieeb,” Gnotsu softly spoke, clasping his hands together once more. “For when our sadness is free, the heart hears the soul once more and this harmony opens many a door for understanding ourselves and the world – this, we Ilimoskus call etalaresan. There is much wisdom in sadness, dear one. Perhaps sadness comes merely to teach us, and, in turn, help us be at peace.”

Alex indistinctly nodded, feeling her sadness swell in her eyes. “It’s a comforting thought…” she quietly said, too busy reflecting on what Gnotsu had said to be attentive to the volume of her voice. “But… if sadness brings us peace, why is it so… un-peaceful?”

Gnotsu chuckled. “We can look at the night sky and lament at the darkness while we wait for the sunrise, or, we can admire the beauty and wonder of the stars.”

“So… it’s up to us?” said she. “It’s our decision whether the process is a peaceful one or not?”

Gnotsu dipped his head so minutely Alex questioned whether he had moved it at all. But Gnotsu did not answer. There was quiet for a while as Gnotsu allowed her the time she needed.

She sighed, releasing the tension within herself. She could be peaceful. She could let her sadness be free. For in this weakness we discover our strength. But then she found herself thinking of the stars. Were they strong to shine amongst the darkness? “Gnotsu…” she said. “What’s the Kurpian word for stars?”

Gnotsu smiled warmly at this. “Ilckiido.

“Ill-kee-doe…” she slowly repeated.

“Elu’amel, niee’ckiido-niia.”

Alex stared at him blankly. “What?”

“Be at peace, precious child of the stars.”

This stirred her sadness more than anything else thus far, to such an extent that she knew she could no longer hide it, deny it. And so, looking at her lap, her eyes welled from the pain in her heart, and a tear trickled down her cheek.

***

Thank you for reading, my friends, I appreciate the time you have taken to reach the end.

I can only hope that you may take something from this little story, from Gnotsu and from Alex.

We can reconnect with wisdom in the subtlest of ways, if only our minds our open to receive.

Peace be within you,

~ JKM


Brief explanation of strange, underlined words:

Holid -> The equivalent of a city, in its way

Kus (Ilimoskus) -> The Ilimoskus are a race of elemental beings, at one with nature. The word kus is an abbreviation, but it can also mean ‘folk’. 

Hohot -> The equivalent of a house, or building

Flamikus -> The folk of fire specifically

Idimis -> A place name, a location, the heart/centre of a holid (‘city’)

Nieeb – or nieebko -> Nieeb means ‘child’, but it is often used as an affectionate term of address to anyone younger. Nieebko means “my child”, and is again used as an affectionate term. The ‘b’ is not pronounced: “nee-koe”

If I’ve missed anything and you’re wondering, please feel free to ask me and I’ll add it to this list!

The 777 Writing Challenge – Peek-a-boo, Book 2!

My blogging buddy, Michael Fedison, has been around since the very beginning of my blog, offering support and kindness and encouragement, all of which I am incredibly thankful for. Mike is the author of The Eye-Dancers, which is a fabulous sci-fi/fantasy story about friendship and all sorts – I highly recommend 🙂

Anyway, he tagged me in the 777 Writing Challenge a little while back. And here state the 777 Writing Challenge rules:

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.

How wonderfully simple, no?

Needless to say, my current work-in-progress is Book 2 of the Ilimoskus story. Regular followers will know that I forever refer to it as ‘Book 2’, though this is not because it is untitled – in fact, I named all three books way back when, such was the extent of my planning – but rather I refer to it as such because I wish for its title to remain secret. “Keep it secret, keep it safe.” So much is revealed as the story unravels and I wish no part in accidentally letting something slip, and so, as an extreme caution, my lips have been bolted shut. The nearer completion it becomes, the more I shall tell. But, for now, I must keep everyone in cruel suspense 😉

A while back I was thinking about sketching another character within the story, with the intention to… perhaps… share it with the world. This character is new in Book 2; this character is insanely important. I believe I have once disclosed that there are many new characters in Book 2, and let me tell you that ‘many’ is no exaggeration. You see, Book 2 is a joy for me in a vast variety of ways, though one of the greatest joys is the, I’m sure, long-awaited inclusion of the other ilyorz (or elements, to those of you unfamiliar with the story). Times of Old is wholly set within the Flamikus (fire folk) world, yet Book 2 welcomes the arrival of the Aeriikus (air folk), Agwikus (water folk), and Humiit-kus (earth folk) with open arms. Due to the other ilyorz being in this book, there are many new characters to meet within these other elemental worlds, and in turn many new dynamics and interactions. I so rarely get excited, but the thought of eventually sharing Book 2 with the world makes me buzz! I cannot wait to see what people think of the other ilyorz, or how they react to some of the new characters! And I know there is a good handful of people out there waiting for Book 2, and they have been for far, far too long. Life has been a bit cruel to me these past two years, and so writing Book 2 has been the last thing on my mind… Though I must deeply thank all those patiently waiting, for their interest and love for the story has not waned despite the length of time. It is truly touching. Thank you. And the Ilimoskus thank you, too 🙂 They want their story told as much as I do!

*

So! When tagged for this challenge, I was curious to know where Page 7 landed within the story of Book 2, and, due to my bolted lips, I wondered whether this landing would tell of something I was not willing to share. This would have made things quite the pickle, I’m sure you’d agree. In reaching my Page 7, I discarded the boring title pages of the manuscript, so, technically, this isn’t actually from the true Page 7, but it is Page 7 if counting from the very beginning of the told story. If that makes any sense. I have said “Page 7” too much.

To my relief, Line 7 on the not-true-but-still-is-Page 7 could not have been better. Anyone would think this had been strategically planned, it is so perfect. For those unaware of ILIMOSKUS**, the story is split by being told between two perspectives: fantasy (the Ilimoskus world) and reality (the human world). There are, therefore, principal Ilimoskus characters and principal human characters. The last few chapters of Times of Old are set wholly with the Ilimoskus, and so there may be a few readers out there wondering whatever became of poor Elizabeth, for last we knew she was in a dreadful state. Well, my friends, these wonderings may cease at the beginning of Book 2, for the book begins with the human world. This Page 7 lands within the first chapter of Book 2 – a human chapter.

And now, here is the excerpt:

Anastasia was about to fire back, but then she noticed the horror on her sister’s face as she looked into the sky behind her. Confused, she turned to look too, but there was nothing to see. Walking the remainder of the way to reach Elizabeth, she critically said, “What are you gawping at?” once arriving in front of her.

Elizabeth’s eyes followed its trail of flight. It was another great yellow bird, exactly like the one she had seen that fateful afternoon. Although her heart once again spun into overdrive, the bird was merely gliding around in silence, yet the lack of its piercing noise made it far less daunting. “C-can… Can you not see it?” she asked faintly, pointing up at it. “How can you not see it?”

Dun-dun-duuunnnnnnn. Well, not really. If you have read the first book, you will understand the impact of that there excerpt. Though, if you read Times of Old‘s blurb, it is hardly a secret:

‘Throughout this ever-growing tension, Fii’dezrhu Reotum – a rebellious Flamikus – discovers a momentous secret he then acts upon by venturing to the forbidden human lands; while there, he inadvertently reveals the Ilimoskus’ existence to one young girl.’

All Sherlocks out there would likely have clicked that this ‘young girl’ is indeed Elizabeth 😉 Needless to say, this ‘great yellow bird’ is a creature within the Ilimoskus world (called an espi’motoff, for those of you who wish to know).

I’m not going to lie, I am now slightly stumped on what else to say about this. I shall thus embrace my bolted lips once more. Though, for all of those people out there waiting for Book 2, I will say that I am very nearly halfway through the story. It’s only taken me three years to get to this point, but, you know. Whatever. How it pays to dally with the snails! And with the snails I shall stay. It’s exciting, though. I’m excited. I love Book 2.

*

And so now I move on to tag other writers and their WIPs. I’m supposed to tag seven, though would you believe it would seem I hardly follow any writers who have a WIP… Unless I’m just blind and unobservant, of course – which I wouldn’t put past me. But anyway, I tag:

Valourborn

Like Star Filled Skies

Concerning Writing

They’re all great writers, do check them out 🙂

***

Thank you for reading! I always appreciate it. I hope that little excerpt was a tantalising insight. Please, try to remain seated throughout your hysteria. I know it’s difficult. Hopefully I will have some more news soon. Keep your eyes polished! (Not peeled. Who wants peeled eyes? Such grim imagery.)

Icktis que yer kard fait ya phyde urma, dear world.

“May the light from your heart always guide you”

***

** For those unaware of ILIMOSKUS, it is a deep, environmental fantasy story about a race of elemental beings (fire, earth, air, water) colliding with the world of humans. Please click on this link if you would like to discover more. **

Sketching with Sincerity

Salutations, all!

So.

My inspiration has been absent for months now, and recently life has been a trial, so I apologise about my lack of posts and thereof lack of creative posts. This is yet another not-very-creative post… I’m not really sure where to go.

‘He was endlessly spinning on the spot amidst the heart of thick smoke, and it stung his eyes so he could not see, losing all sense of purpose and direction, so even the smallest step forward was a blind one.’

A little quote from Book 2, there. That pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling for months – on a creative level, you understand. Yet again, progress on Book 2 has been unbearably slow, due to other life influences and my emotional state. Ughhhhhhhhh. This broken record will surely result in my insanity, I’m telling you.

Anyway…

Recently I’ve taken it upon myself to re-write some Ilimoskus songs from Book 1. Why I’m making more work for myself, I don’t know, but it feels right to do this. I’ve been sat at my piano losing the will to live, though, for making Kurpian rhyme is quite possibly one of the worst things on this earth. It is so difficult with all it’s stupid syntax and grammar rules. What idiot created such a moronic language? … 😉

With this new-found focus I have for my story this year, it is only natural I should link things back to it. Today is Prince Stevick’s birthday – all snow! – and as a little ‘gift’, if you will, I said I would draw him something for it. Ilimoskus-related, of course.

As occupies the vast majority of our conversations, a little while back we were talking about Countdown (what else, really?). Those of you not from the UK – and thus unfortunate enough not to know what Countdown is – it is a game show. Visit Stevick’s blog to see for yourselves. Now, Stevick is deeply in love with Susie Dent who is the lady behind Dictionary Corner on the programme, and he declared that she is more beautiful than the moon, which I found to be quite something, given how much Stevick loves the moon. And so, naturally, I thought about the Ilimoskus.

The Agwikus (water folk) are linked to the beautiful moon, and thus you will commonly see them out embracing the night-time, for this time resonates in their souls. And, the moon is linked to the sea and tides, and because the Agwikus dwell in the sea it is only natural they should have such a deep connection to the silver circle of the night’ – as the Ilimoskus refer to it in their tongue.

All this then made me think of something else Stevick and I once talked about. Yeeeeeaars ago, I once made a little personality quiz entitled ‘Which Ilyor Would You Be in?’ or, in English, ‘Which Element Dwells in Your Heart?’ I told him about this, and as a laugh I did this quiz with him last year. And which element was he? Water. The Agwikus.

Which takes me back to Susie Dent and Stevick’s declaration that she is more beautiful than the moon. “Darling Susie”, he said – a play on my ‘Darling Moon’ song and poem.

And so, behold the little sketch I did:

susie-niia

As you can see, here is Stevick the Agwikus hailing the Darling Susie Moon by the coast.

And he is proclaiming:

deckur

“Thial, Susie-niia! Thial, Oceaniia! Helchir’abeiim od amoat! Smiigok wri yer lu!”

“All hail Darling Susie! All hail the Darling Moon – the most beautiful of all! I so live for your words!”

Which Stevick does, you know. He lives for Susie Dent’s Origins of Words.

(I love the Kurpian word oceaniia. It reminds me of ‘oceanic’, and I love the sea. But, this Kurpian word actually means ‘the beloved moon’, or rather ‘darling moon’. And the sea and moon are linked anyway! It isn’t pronounced “ocean-ee-ah“, though, it’s, “oh-see-ah-nee-ah”. Which I think is quite fun to say, personally.)

junu

Jun umeraard-ite, Stevick!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

From Jenona,

x

***

On the subject of gifts, I would like to take this moment to thank my wonderful friend Alex for the gift she sent me at the beginning of the year. I truly love it.

alexnecklace

She sent me this necklace (ignore the little cross, that’s not part of it). That she made! Amazing. Touched beyond words that she did this for me. She said the green marble reminded her of nature, and that in turn reminded her of me, and the little acorn top came from an oak tree in her neighbourhood. Not only do I now wear a thoughtful gesture of kindness and friendship around my neck and close to my heart, but also a little part of Canada. ^^

Thank you so much, Alex!!

It blesses me, and may you be blessed in return.

***

Finally, I end with this:

I tried to draw Fii’dezrhu the other day and it nearly reduced me to tears because I cannot draw and I most certainly cannot draw those DARN Ilimoskus. Honestly. Why are they so against letting me draw them?! (or why am I so bad at drawing them…) But, here is the no-where-near-finished sketch I did of Rhu…

rhusketch

Ugh. Can you see those circles on his shoulder? That is the outline of little Flee. Now, I say ugh, but I don’t think this sketch was too bad. But then I made the mistake of using colour over it (because if I am drawing these Ilimoskus then I want their features to be fully appreciated!), and by doing this I completely ruined it. Sigh. So now I have to re-draw Fii’dezrhu. Every single time I use colour on a close-up sketch, I ruin it. I don’t know how I manage it. It’s quite a skill, if you ask me. Maybe I should keep the close-ups merely as pencil, and the distance sketches can be colour…

But, here’s something: a beautiful friend of mine contacted me the other day asking questions about the Ilimoskus. I rang him, wishing to get to the bottom of this sudden questioning, and it turns out he wants to create/draw the Ilimoskus on this photoshop program or something. He wants to bring them to life for me. I love that man, the beautiful soul he is. So, maybe someday I will be able to share his drawings with you. I’m sure they’ll be magnificent.

He’ll do them far more justice than I will trying to draw them, anyway o_O’

Rise Above, Be Reborn

Here I am, running freely through Ilimoskus Valley. It is my hope to talk openly about much to do with Ilimoskus this year, for previously I had done so rather sparingly, as though I did not want to bother others with the mention of it. But, I realise now that the Ilimoskus story – the Ilimoskus world – is as much a part of me as my very breath, and to hold it in denies my heart of all its core values. So, here’s hoping for wonderful things to come out of this year!

*

And nor will I stay quiet about my mental health. I have a mental health problem. I am ill. And I have been for far too long, in honesty. Eight years too long. Modern society still sneers down on mental health as not being much of a problem (certainly in the UK, anyway), but truly I tell you to know that it is. It really is. Nobody asks to become ill. Do you think anyone asks for a mental illness? It is hideous, for you are trapped within your own mind, and every new step you take somehow leads you back into darkness, back into the eternal loop from which it seems impossible to escape. It is tough to get over an illness. I believe it is probably tougher to get over a mental one. The mind is a complex thing. Still! I am undergoing ‘treatment’, if you will, and I am sure I will be free eventually.

Fellow sufferers, to you I say: Please do not give up, please do not be overwhelmed. I know it is so, so hard, and there are some days you wake up and think, I cannot do this anymore, I cannot go on this way, and I know it can be tempting to do something about those feelings, but that is not the way. I know how lonely it feels. I know how forsaken life seems. But please do not give up. There is a way out of the darkness, and you find the light by seeking help, by forever seeking your inner strength. You will pull through. You can and you will.

Of course, finding your inner strength and clambering out of the darkness does not dig up roses, but rather it churns up thick mud and thorns spit in your face. But those thorns can only blind you if you let them, and the mud can only suck you under if you stand still. I don’t claim to have all the answers, of course I don’t – no one does – but I do know that finding the beauty and wonder in the world, in the tiny little things, allows the sun to shine upon you, and that is precious. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that the most beautiful people in the world are the ones who rise above their gloom and grab the sun for their own, shining its light – as well as theirs – upon the rest of us. A special grace and power comes to those who rise above the darkness. And their hearts, once so scarred and hopeless, turn into diamonds. Unbreakable and so, so beautiful.

But anyway… Enough of such sober matters. (Just don’t give up. Mental illness or no.)

*

I am here to talk about my precioussssssssss **gollum!-gollum!** That is, Ilimoskus. Lots to tell, lots to tell!

ONE) This is the most important, and so it comes first. I should have blurted this out ages ago, but, you know, I’ve been busy planting flowers in my mud. THIS POST <<- announced that my book, Ilimoskus: Times of Old, was no longer available for purchase, due a blumin’ publishing nightmare. BUT!! No more is this so! Back at the beginning of December (or maybe even the end of November, actually, I can’t remember) I was told that the book had been picked up by another company, and, thusly, it is back for the world to read. Hoorah, eh? So. If you would like to read the story, know now that you can. Jolly times.

TWO) I say ‘jolly times’, and indeed it is, but I was actually slightly miffed by this because I wanted to re-edit the manuscript before I put it back out to the world. Obviously that has not happened. Never mind. I’ll do it at some point. I am still re-editing Times of Old at the moment; I’ve cut some bits out, and I’ve made some alterations, such as the school uniform design for Anglarne Hill Independent School in the human world (which includes altering the colour of the house of Danebury, if anyone has read it and cares… It is now green, not red). I have also changed the little ‘dedication’ bit right at the beginning of the book… In my work-in-progress Book 2, the ‘dedication’ page is not a dedication at all, but rather a poem, and I have re-done Book 1’s to be of the same nature, and telling the same ‘story’, I guess. Because it might be a century before the new version is out, I shall share the new poem/dedication for Times of Old with you now:

‘A fire flares within a heart

as stone shields around;

in stormy skies it falls apart

into a sea where dreams so drown.

Can it see in the dark?

How does it stay so strong?

From where does its new life spark?

Do the depths help it belong?

The darkness beckons, olden one,

but you can see the dawn;

let these times go by – be done! –

for you will be reborn.’

THREE) The last thing to mention is a little something I have planned, which should be a treat for those who like the story. I had previously done this little sketch of the four ilyorz (or, in English, the four elements: fire, earth, air, water):

fourilyorz

But, long have I wanted to do more sketches of the Ilimoskus world and the characters in the story. And so, whenever I find the time, I have been trying to work on my drawing skills to do all my elemental friends justice (as within my artistic capabilities). My plan is to draw the most significant characters in the trilogy (which is a ridiculous number, I’ll have you know) and share them with the world on a new page on my website, in a gallery of some sort, with a sentence or two describing them. I thought it would be a nice thing to do! It will obviously take some time to draw them all, so I’ll upload the images as and when and subsequently announce it on my Facebook page and/or Twitter. Or maybe on here, actually. Who knows. But, given I haven’t even started creating the new page on my website yet, it’ll take a while until it’s sorted. I’ll keep you updated.

But, I also thought – assuming I find my sketches of the Ilimoskus at least tolerable – that I might create another page for them specifically, going into more depth about the four ilyorz (elements) and their clothing style. Because why not, I think you’ll find. It’s interesting, honestly 😉 You can see it slightly in the sketch above, but that isn’t really showing it very well. And, not only do they have different clothing styles depending on their ilyor, but they also have different clothing styles depending on their leoges (another strange word, yes: see here for clarification). There is great depth to the Ilimoskus world indeed!

And hey, maybe if I get really carried anyway, I’ll draw all the Ilimoskus creatures, too 😉 (which I’ve actually already done, just not very well since they are all in my rough notebooks).

So, yes! New things, new times, new hope. It is my aim this year to be kinder to the Ilimoskus story, and to be kinder to myself regarding it. I am telling you, I have been vicious to myself – and kind of vicious to my elementals as well (sorry, my friends) – over the past four years or whatever. Ilimoskus is a labour of love, not some hideous punishment I must endure, and so I have come to realise that this kind attitude is the one I must keep, despite external pressures or what have you. And, in being kinder, my love for it will ever soar, and I will travel to great heights with it, I am sure.

But I shall leave you now with two sketches I have already done of some characters within the Ilimoskus story. The main human characters!

Ana_Liz

This is Anastasia (right) and Elizabeth (left) Gott. They are sisters – Anastasia being the eldest. Here they are modelling the newly designed Anglarne Hill school uniform. Elizabeth (or ‘Lizzie’) is the main, main human protagonist within the story.

Dem_Leon

This is Demetri (left) and Leon (right) Carter. They are non-identical twins! They too are modelling the newly designed Anglarne Hill school uniform (don’t you just love the trousers?). These two are lovely characters, if I may say so 😉 – especially Demetri (or ‘Dem’, as he is often called)!

***

Fun, pointless fact for you all: Within this post, I have said that ilyorz means ‘elements’ in English. This is not actually true. That is just the easiest translation. The Ilimoskus word for the four elements of nature is rather ilimoss.


Thank you for reading, everyone. I know my posts can often be quite lengthy, and so I deeply appreciate anyone who takes the time out of their day to read my words.

Be well and true,

and rise above the beckoning darkness

to be reborn with your diamond heart

so to dwell amongst the stars

for evermore.

~~

With Regret…

Okay. This is very important. I have news. About ILIMOSKUS. And, unfortunately, it is not of a joyous disposition.

I cannot actually believe I am sat here typing this right now, but we all know how life likes to launch bombshells at you when you’re minding your own business strolling through a pleasant, golden meadow.

Now. How many of you know how torturous writing the Ilimoskus story has been for me? How many times have I threatened to throw it all away completely, to give up and never look at it again? How many times have I threatened to unpublish the story from the world altogether? So many times I have lost count. But, despite all the tears, despite all the unbelievable grief it has caused me, I refused – and still refuse, actually – to give up. However. I am afraid I have been on the receiving end of one of life’s bombshells. It would seem I should watch my tongue, because what I once threatened has now become reality.

But let me cut it all short.

Due to unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances, it is with deep sadness and regret that Ilimoskus: Times of Old has been unpublished. It is, from this moment forth, unavailable for purchase. Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. If you were planning on buying the book… Honestly, I really am so sorry. This was not the plan.

So. What does this mean for the Ilimoskus story? What about Book 2? Will it still be written? Is this the end for Ilimoskus?

Book 2 will still be written. As will Book 3. This is not the end of Ilimoskus.

Again, I am so sorry. I cannot apologise enough. I am sat here in confounded shock, quite frankly. But hey. Such is the way. Though, I think a long, lonesome walk is in order…

I wholeheartedly thank everyone who has supported me and the Ilimoskus story. I cannot hope to describe how much it all means to me. I couldn’t have done it without you. I feel as though I have let you down, though. And I am sorry. But, my dear friends, please do not be dismayed…

Times of Old will be back. ILIMOSKUS will be back.

Of this you can be certain.

***

I wish you well,

and may the light from your heart ALWAYS guide you.

– JKM

Oceanic Emotion

I am going to do something which I believe to be quite unconventional for me, though, in actual fact, it is not. It just feels like it is. I’m not sure why. I want to share something with you. We all know how private and hushhush I am about what I do and what I write, but I’ve decided to talk a bit about Book 2 of the Ilimoskus story. Possibly one of my favourite aspects of the whole story, truth be told.

Because I am in love with the sea.

Whenever I listen to this song, it forever makes me think of Book 2, and in particular, the Agwikus – not surprising, really. It also makes me think of a particular sub-story. Whenever I happen to skim over particular sections of the story, or write a scene linking back to those sections somehow, I get this song stuck in my head. And it will not shift. It has got to the point where this song, in my mind, defines Book 2, and even a gentle thought of the book’s storyline and characters lends me to humming this song for the entire day.

It’s just as well I love the song then, really, or else that would be a little bit awkward. I love how the bleeps of the music at the beginning (and throughout) actually sound like an undulating wave.

The sea is a very important concept for some particular characters and sub-plots within the story. Anything the sea touches is encapsulated in depth, mystery, secrets, innermost longings and desires, passion. Emotion. 

‘Deep within him, where the essence of his soul bound to the peripheral of eternity, he could sense something. His spirit was trying to listen. But to what?’

Does the sea not whisper to you? Does the sea not beckon? Does the sea not want you to understand? Does the sea not sing?

Maybe someday, when Book 2 is out amid the world, you will be able to dive into the depths of oceanic emotion and discover the mysteries for yourselves. Delve into the canyons beneath the waves and feel the intensity try to crush you. I am telling you, there is nothing else quite like the sea within the Ilimoskus story. Sure, there are fires, storms and clear skies, and there are stones and there are trees, and there are stars and moons and suns, but none of those come close to the endless deep blue secrets of the sea.