gathering moss

The Brave And The Burdened

Inspired by @hellogarbagetime ‘s art and post

This will again be a multichapter fic. I hope you guys like it enough to stay interested :)

It was a warm, spring’s day when Captain Steven Rogers, the leader of the Queen’s commandos, set foot towards the troubled black valley and beyond on Her Highness’ command. It was a direct violation of the ancient rule, a betrayal of the passed-down treaty between the isolated kingdom of Mannahatta and Brookeland; the one which promised solitude and trespassing of none into the former in exchange of the unparalleled metals of Mannahatta for the soldiers of Brookeland. Steve himself had heard and respected this treaty ever since he had been a young lad, too frail to lift a sword. It had been unquestioned and a little unexplained but the people of Brookeland weren’t always known to question their guardians. Young Steve, with his large azure eyes and a sharpened jaw from all the blows that cut it in the alleys, had asked his mother once about it. He had been dragged back from the borders of Brookeland by Bucky, who had not let go of Steve’s frayed collar till he had deposited the lad in his ma’s lap, frowning and glaring like Steve had personally grieved Bucky.

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Books Are Risen Giveaway

A new book giveaway! Follow the directions, because only people who follow the directions will get books. I have duplicates, galleys, etc, to give away. ONE book PER PERSON, US RESIDENTS ONLY. Email me the title of the book you want at roxane at roxanegay.com along with your name and mailing address. YOU MUST EMAIL, not some other form of electronic communication. If you don’t follow these directions, I can’t help you. Please don’t say, “You choose,” because I don’t want to choose. If I respond to you, you won the book. If I don’t you didn’t. (I would reply to everyone but I get a lot of responses to these giveaways.) Have at it! Books are great. REFRESH OFTEN. You will receive your books in a few weeks if you win.


A.J. Verdelle The Good Negress
A.O. Scott Better Living Through Criticism

Abdellah Taia Another Morocco
Adam Hamdy Pendulum
Adaptation of Novel by Jane Austen A Guinea Pig Pride and Prejudice
Adrian Matejka Map to the Stars (2)
Alana Massey All the Lives I Want
Alex Gilvarry Eastman Was Here
Alexandra Brodsky & Rachel Nalebuff The Feminist Utopia Project
Alexandra Fuller Quiet Until the Thaw
Alice Hoffman Faithful
Amanda Maciel Tease
Amber Tamblyn Dark Sparkler
Amit Majmudar Dothead: Poems
Anderson Cooper and Glora Vanderbilt The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss
Anis Mojgani The Pocket Knife Bible
Anna Pitoniak The Futures
Anton Disclafani The After Party
Ayesha Mattu & Nura Maznavi Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women
Ayobámi Adebáyó Stay With Me
Barbara Browning The Gift
Barbara Seyda Celia, a Slave
Ben H. Winters Underground Airlines
Beth Macy Truevine (2)
Bianca Marais Hum If You Don’t Know the Words
c n lester Trans Like Me
Camille T. Dungy Guidebook to Relative Strangers
Cara Hoffman Running
Cat Marnell How to Murder Your Life: A Memoir

Cathleen Schine They May Not Mean to, NBut They Do
Chanelle Benz The Man Who Shot Out of My Eye is Dead

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember
Chuck Palahniuk Lullaby

Claire Vaye Watkins Gold Fame Citrus
Cordelia Fine Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society
Courtney Maum Touch
Daisy Johnson FEN
David France How to Survive a Plague: The Inside STory of How Citizens and Science Tamed Aids
David Hoppe Food for Thought: An Inidiana Harvest
David Shields  Other People Takes & Mistakes
Dawn Tripp Georgia
Debora Greger In Darwin’s Room
Deborah Levy Hot Milk

Diane Von Furstenberg The Woman I Wanted to Be
Dinty W. Moore The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life
Dodie Bellamy the TV Sutras
Donia Bijan The Last Days of Cafe Leila (2)
Donna Seaman Identity Unknown
Doree Shafrir Startup
Dreamland Burning Jennifer Latham
Edited by Ben Marcus New American Stories
Edited by Travis Dinicola & Zach Roth Indy Writes Books: A book lovers anthology

Edward Carey Heap House
Elan Mastai All Our Wrong Todays
Emily Fridlund History of Wolves
Emma Flint Little Deaths
Ethel Rohan The Weight of Him
Eula Biss On Immunity
Garrard Conley Boy Erased
Gary Younge Another Day in the Death of America
Gene Stone The Trump Survival Guide
Gengoroh Tagame My Brother’s Husband
Gerri Hirshey Not Pretty Enough: The Unlikely Triumph of Helen Gurley Brown
Giuseppe Catozzella  Don’t Tell Me You’re Afraid
Hannah Tennant-Moore Wreck and Order
Harper Lee Go Set a Watchman
Heather Havrilesky How to Be a Person in the World
Helene Cooper Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Hida Viloria Born Both: An Intersex Life
Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik Notorious RGB
Isaac Fitzgerald & Wendy MacNaughton Knives & Ink
Isabel VIncent Dinner With Edward
J.M. Coetzee The Schooldays of Jesus
Jade Sharma Problems
Jami Attenberg The Middlesteins
Jane Smiley Golden Age
Jaroslav Kalfar Spaceman of Bohemia (2)
Jasmine Warga My Heart and other Black Holes
Jennie Melamed Gather the Daughters
Jeremiah Moss Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul
Jerry Pinto EM and the big HOOM
Jessica Hopper The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
Jessica Knoll Luckiest Girl Alive

Jesús Carrasco Out In the Open
Jillian Tamaki Super Mutant Magic Academy
Joan Didion The White Album
John Freeman, Ed. Freeman’s The Best New Writing on Arrival
Jonathan Franzen Purity
Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor Welcome to Night Vale

Joe Ide IQ
Julie Murphy Ramona Blue
Karl Ove Knausgaard Autumn
Kate Harding Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture - and what we can do about it

Kelcey Parker Ervick The Bitter Life of Bozena Nemcova
Kemper Donovan The Decent Proposal
Khadijah Queen I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On

Kiini Ibura Salaam When the World Wounds
Kimberley Mcreight The Outliers
Kimberly Mcreight Where They Found Her
Laird Hunt The Evening Road
Laird Hunt Neverhome
Lauren Grodstein Our Short History
Lauren Groff Fates and Furies

Laurie Jean Cannady Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry
Lisa Ko The Leavers

Lisa Wade American Hookup:The New Culture of Sex on Campus (2)
Lori Ostlund After the Parade
Loryn Brantz Feminist Baby
Louise Bennett Pond
Louise Erdich LaRose
Lucy Ives Impossible Views of the World
Lynsey G. Watching Porn And Other Confessions of an Adult Entertainment Journalist

Mallory Ortberg Texts from Jane Eyre

Mara Wilson Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
Marie Vieux-Chaubet Dance on the Volcano

Marina Abramovic Walk Through Walls: A Memoir
Mark Bailey and Edward Hemingway All the Gin Joints (2)
Mary Laura Philpott Penguins with People Problems (2)
Mary Mahoney & Lauren Mitchell The Doulas
Masha Gessen The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy
Max Barry Lexicon
Max Porter Grief is the Thing with Feathers
Meena Kandasamy When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife
Melanie Bowden Simon La Americana
Melissa Ginsburg Sunset City
Michaela Carter Further Out Than You Thought
Mira Pitacin Poor Your Soul
Monica Dux & Zora Simic The Great Feminist Denial
N.K. Jemisin The Fifth Season

Patricia Lockwood Priestdaddy:  A Memoir
Patricia Park Re Jane
Pattiann Rogers Quickening Fields
Penelope Lively The Purple Swamp Hen
Rabih Alameddine An Unnecessary Woman
Rachel B. Glaser Paulina & Fran
Renee Engeln, PH.D. Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obesession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women
Reni Eddo-Lodge Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Robert Wrigley Box (2)
Rosecrans Baldwin The Last Kid Left
Roxane Gay Bad Feminist (5)
Roxane Gay Difficult Women (6)

Roxane Gay Hunger (Galley) (3)
Roxane Gay Difficult Women Audiobook (2)
Rumaan Alam Rich & Pretty
Ruth Bader Ginsburg My Own Words

Ruth Fowler No Man’s Land: A Memoir
Ryan North Romeo and Juliet
Sabaa Tahir An Ember in the Ashes

Samantha Hunt The Dark Dark
Samantha Irby We Are Never Meeting in Real Life

Sarah Knight the life changing magic of not giving a f*ck
Sarah Manguso Ongoingness: The End of a Diary
Sarah Perry After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, A Daughter’s Search
Sarah Pinborough Behind Her Eyes
Shann Ray American Copper
TED Fellows Swimming Against the Tide
Therese O'Neill Umentionable
Thomas Page McBee Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man


Yellowed Poem Sits Abandoned Smoking A Joint Cynic Like Cyanide

Nobody really cares for the craft
what spurns what churns what garners
the generic mass of words spewed
frothing at the seams of time
because pain is one and the same
love is a feeble fable of folly
gone are the truly impassioned
gems that survive the test of time
so like stones rolling gathering no moss
it’s laughable how much we ache
only to be forgotten when the next poem
comes skipping along

“Don’t You Boudé” Anger and Grief Relieving Spell

Hey y’all! This one’s for all you Southern witches. This is actually a trick my grandmother taught me when I was little that I later adapted for witchcraft. Swamp witch that I am, it’s pretty intuitive stuff. All you really need is Spanish Moss and some anger or grief.

This is a spell for when you’re spitting mad. For when you can’t forgive. For when it’s been a week and you’re still looking for a fight. When you’ve cried all the tears you thought you had and still they keep coming. This is a spell for all you polite Southerners whose fingers are itching for that shotgun or failing that, that curse you’ve been dying to use.  

Now Spanish Moss has a reputation for being used primarily in negative witchcraft. It’s used in curses, War Water, gris-gris, and in poppets and other sympathetic magic.

The reason for this is its absorbent properties. Spanish moss can absorb up to ten times its weight in water, and similarly, it soaks up magic and energy quite effectively. For our purposes, rather that use that to store negative energy for a curse, we’re going to use it help you get rid of all that anger or grief without actually taking it out on anyone.  

Ingredients:

     ⚜ Spanish Moss

(Optional):

     ⚜ Plastic Ziploc Bag

     ⚜ Pen and Paper

I’d like to start off by saying I’ve never had a problem with chiggers. I used to play with spanish moss all the time as a kid. I wore it like a wig, and not once did I get chigger bites. The reason for this is I generally pull the moss right off the tree. Chiggers don’t infest moss until it’s hit the ground, so if you stick to the stuff actually in the branches you should be fine.

Clean the Moss: For the more cautious, gather the spanish moss while wearing gloves and seal it in a plastic bag for a few days before use. (I’ve also heard microwaving it for a few minutes works.)

Gather up the Negative: Start off by holding the moss and meditating on the negativity you want to be rid of. This can be your own negative thoughts or exterior negative influences in your life.

Pin it Down: If it helps you, you can also write down on a slip of paper the thing or person that is bringing negativity to your life and wrap it into the strands of the moss.

Tell the Moss: Press the moss to your lips and name all those things making you angry or sad. Focus on taking that negative energy and breathing it out into the moss. Let the moss soak it up. (My grandmother always told me to yell it as loud as I could, but if that’s not possible, do what works for you. Whisper it, say it, think it, write it.)

Give it Back: Once you’re done, take the moss and put it back on a tree secure enough that it will stay, but still with enough room to drape.

As the wind blows through the moss, it will take away all that anger or sorrow with it.
Normal Horoscope:

Aries: All symphonies, whether they be harmonious or discordant, will end.

Taurus: Even the prettiest roses have thorns, some things are worth the nicks and scratches aren’t they?

Gemini: You best is all anyone can ask for, but that doesn’t seem to stop them does it? Nod, smile, agree, then do whateverthefuck you were gonna do anyway.

Cancer: Rome wasn’t built in a day and a lot of the people building it had second thoughts over whether it was going to be a nice place to hang out or not. Give yourself time, you have plenty.

Leo: Bravery is a rare thing, but it can often be substituted for a combination of stupidity, stubbornness, and sheer blind luck. 

Virgo: Just because there is enough dead skin in your mattress to build a second you doesn’t mean you should. That would be fucking weird.

Libra: The stars think you’re a pretty cool cat. Print out this horoscope as an official certificate of coolness.

Scorpio: A rolling stone gathers no moss, and with modern technology you can buy moss by the pound for like 39.99 a bag. 

Ophiuchus: Everything you know is probably wrong, but that won’t really change anything about the world so there’s no reason to worry.

Sagittarius: The stars know you’re having a hard time. Just know that the world can only hit you one day at a time. Try not to let thoughts of tomorrow ruin today. It’ll be here when it gets here.

Capricorn: Today I gave myself a second degree burn by spilling throat coat tea on my hand. What may soothe one problem may cause redness, blisters, and rashes for another.

Aquarius: Tonight is the perfect night to take tasteful nudes under cover of the starlight and never show them to anyone but yourself. The stars shine for nobody, but they are still beautiful.

Pisces: The problem with setting yourself on fire to keep others warm isn’t that it hurts. Its that eventually, you burn out.

ReBoot Season One Sentence Starters (Part Three):
  • "Leaving? So soon? How rude."
  • "Now that is one strange lady."
  • "We've just bagged the treasure of our lives."
  • "You did not win my game but maybe I can help anyway."
  • "Look, the only way to figure it out is to try one."
  • "Alright guys, remember. The password is belly button. And no girls allowed!"
  • "The jam is moldy in the kitchen and the rolling rabbit gathers no moss."
  • "Then how come security's so interested in you?"
  • "It seems to me you still have some time."
  • "How dare you interrupt me when I'm putting on my face!"
  • "I said I was sorry."
  • "No! I am not calling him."
  • "Strategic plans? I'm just gonna try to win, that's what."
  • "He slices, he dices, he cuts julienne fries!"
  • "Dude, where am I going?"
  • "I think I've been working too hard."
  • "Chance has nothing to do with it."
  • "Is your car actually... running?"
  • "Ancient languages? Mega boring."
  • "They task me and I shall have them."
  • "We're all stuck playing our roles."
  • "Right. I'm going in."
  • "Do you mind?"
  • "Who wants to know?"
  • "Did you miss me?"
  • "At least he won't be as inconsiderate and random as some people."
  • "I'm not unidentified, my good lady."
  • "So, where exactly are we?"
  • "I hate being reduced."
  • "You'll have to sit this one out."
  • "Why don't you just go on without me?"
  • "We need that access key."
  • "That's right, take advantage of Mr. Nice Guy!"
  • "What do you suppose that means?"
Normal Horoscope:

Aries: The weather outside is frightful. The thin black things that hide in the snow may scare you but they are only curious.

Taurus: A friend is a treasure these days. Protect them as you would yourself.

Gemini: As the year comes to a close, something else does with it. Now is a time of endings and with them new beginnings.

Cancer: The problem with the unexpected is that oftentimes we think we expect it.

Leo: The vast vast nebulae that you look up to communicate over eons by slowly shifting their mass. Life is a slow dance.

Virgo: Grow something. It will teach you patience, and how to grow things. Both are useful.

Libra:  All wounds heal and now you have a free knife! Score!

Scorpio: Dogs are happy because they never imagine themselves anywhere but where they are.

Ophiuchus: When egos clash, sparks fly.

Sagittarius: People often combine mental and emotional health. Consider the difference between what you know and how you feel.

Capricorn: Souls grow like moss. If a piece comes loose, it will grow back in time.

Aquarius: Coping mechanisms have their place. That place is not the middle of a target on a Sunday.

Pisces: A rolling stone often has a lot more fun than one gathering moss.