Archive for October, 2011

October 23, 2011

Photo Poetry: Week Four


Across the frozen snow I go

Up slope and slough and ice to find

A treasure bright as Sun’s white glow,

precious as diamonds, and I know

it’s worth what I’ve left behind.

October 23, 2011

Magic Studies: The Beginning

A 'wand' my husband carved for one of our daughters...

A ‘wand’ my husband carved for one of our daughters…

MadnessMelody and I began collaborating on a letter-based story a year or so ago, and we’ve decided to pick it up again.  MadnessMelody writes as Justine.  I write as Mother Humphrey.  Here are the first two letters.

Dear Mother Humphrey,

I thank you for agreeing to take me as your apprentice by correspondence. I promise to be an obedient pupil whom you can be proud of.

I have already obtained most of the supplies that you instructed me to get in your acceptance letter. I was wondering if you could explain where I can get dried toad nose? My local magic shop does not carry it. I also can’t find a black cauldron.  My magic shop only carries pink ones right now.  Will that do?

I don’t have all the herbs yet, but they are being shipped to me tomorrow. I promise by the time you send my first lesson I will be ready. Also you said you would send me the magic text that I needed, depending on how far I pursue this. Well, I assure you that I intend to keep practicing magic for my entire life. I will spend my time as apprentice , then a sister, a daughter, and a Lady.  I will not quit until I am a Mother or even a Hag. So you see, I intend to be a very committed student of the arts. I have even set up a workshop in my mother’s basement.

I know that most 14 year olds who want to study the arts enroll in Old Mother Hubbard’s School for the Magically Inclined, but my mother needs me at home and we really can’t afford a boarding school. I understand that I will have to work twice as hard as boarding school students to be a good and safe witch but that will not be a problem. I can do it just fine. I will keep you apprised of every thing that happens in the course of my studies as you instructed.

Again I thank you for this opportunity and hope to hear from you soon.

Your dedicated apprentice,

Dear Justine,

The authorities have cracked down on correspondent magic courses this past year due to several unexplained disappearances, a few fires and one minor earthquake in the techno district. Magic insurance has become astronomical because of the safety hazards. Registration fees and licensing fees are no joke, either.

As an instructor, I am obligated to make sure my students are both safe and discreet in order to help keep these costs down. I’m sure you, or at least your mother, are aware that I don’t normally take on apprentices as young as you are and I very rarely take on correspondent students, but your mother was an excellent student herself. I trust that you will be as self-conscious in your studies and magical practice as she was. Just don’t get sidetracked by the night creatures that abound around the Caelum Spaceport and you will do just fine.

There are several good sources for dried toad noses, but most of them can’t be found by technosearch. Normal humans still don’t want to know too much about their magical counterparts. For that reason, I’m sending your lessons to you in the form of real books rather than as electronic text. I’m sure you will roll your eyes at this because books are outdated, cumbersome and relatively expensive, but they are also less easy to track. (They have other uses as well. If you mean what you say about being a serious student, we’ll talk about that in lesson 39.)

For dried toad nose, my personal favorite supplier is Duncan Dunsz, the apothecary near the bottom tier of the manufacturing district in your area. I don’t know how he does it, but he always has plenty on hand and they’re better quality than you could find at your local magic shop or at the occasional open street markets.

I have to buy in bulk because of shipping costs. It also takes a full two days for me to receive the shipments. You should be able to hoverskate there from where you live, but a word of warning: Duncan is always up to something. Don’t let him entangle you in any half-wired plan of his.

A pink cauldron will do nicely as long as you don’t add peanut butter or other nut products to your potions. The nut oils tend to make the enamel peel off the outside and can cause uncertain chemical reactions in the potions themselves. Ask your mother about how she accidentally blew up my brand new, hot pink designer-label cauldron with her Triple Fudgy Walnut Warts when she and I were students.

On second thought, don’t. That tends to make me second-guess taking you on as a student. Let’s forget I mentioned it.

Your first book is called “Witching Necessities.” It should arrive any day now and will cover the first fifty lessons. We will cover lessons as quickly as time permits. As soon as the book gets there, read the first chapter, entitled “What Witches Do” and send me a brief electronic synosis of what you have learned. Meanwhile, sort your herbs as they arrive into three categories: poisonous, nonpoisonous and ‘not sure.’

We will talk again soon.

Your magic instructor,

Mother Humphrey

October 23, 2011

Guest Writer Spotlight: Madnessmelody

I have a young friend writing with the privacy name of madnessmelody.  She has a blog where she’s been trying out some new things and writing about what she’s learning.  She’s also begun to post a book on wattpad.  I read her posts the other day and was amazed at how vivid her writing has become in the last year.



Although I haven’t seen humor in any of her work that I’ve read recently, she’s a natural at throwing in things that make me giggle out loud.  I’m planning to see her work on a bestseller list someday.  Check out her work on wattpad (it’s called Forever Burning) or on her blog.  I’ll be following her work myself.

And, when she lets me, I’ll write her name here and get a full-fledged interview.

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