Writing

Strange Folklore – The Barometz

Strange Folklore – The Barometz

When I think of plantish animals I think of things like the stick bug, or maybe insects that look like leaves.

When I think of animalish plants I think of the Venus fly trap or the pitcher plant.

But only a couple centuries ago there were documents detailing the strange characteristics of something that is both animal and plant.

The Barometz

The barometz, or Vegetable Lamb of Tartary, is a mythical animal/plant hybrid originating somewhere in central Asia.

(image source) https://deimos-remus.deviantart.com/art/V-is-for-Vegetable-Lamb-543468018
-used with permission

Let me pitch this thing to you:

There’s this plant somewhere around the Caspian Sea. It has these fluffy white flowers, but they aren’t really flowers. They’re sheep. And they are mean buggers. They try to bite and kill anything that gets too close. If you are brave enough, you can kill them by cutting them from their stem. And, get this, their meat is sweet and succulent like crab meat. And, if you put their bones in your mouth you can see the future!

Crazy huh? I mean, that is some out there stuff.

Origins

This crazy cryptid seems to be a mishmash of folklore originating around central Asia during the middle ages. A king thought that it must exists, given that there were so many stories about it. So he sent someone out looking for it. And that person,  Sigismund, Baron von Herberstein, lied. He lied and wrote it down in books that were copied down through the ages. (This is very similar to what happened with barnacle geese during the middle ages.)

Much of the barometz’s features are similar to that of a cryptid from Jewish lore known as the Yeduah (Faduah). Its bloom is a small human, rather than a sheep. Witches use their bones to divine the future. Also, they are aggressive and will grab and kill anything (dogs, other Yeduah, children) that get too close. The traits of these two mythological plants seem to be interchangeable.

I first came across the wonderful Vegetable Lamb of Tartary in an art book called Beasts! In it different artists each draw their own interpretations of different cryptids from different cultures. The image of the Barometz in this book looks like an evil little cotton ball with blood dripping from it’s tiny maw. I saw this image and I was hooked. I had to write some sort of story involving them.

So, if you are a Patron of mine, be on the lookout over the coming months for a short story involving these strange critters.

References

https://www.nybg.org/poetic-botany/barometz/
https://www.wired.com/2014/04/fantastically-wrong-vegetable-lamb-tartary/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable_Lamb_of_Tartary
https://abookofcreatures.com/?s=barometz
Beasts! Book 1 – edited by Jacob Covey

 

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October Writing Update

October Writing Update

Happy Halloween! You may not think it is Halloween, and you are mistaken. This is the month of Halloween. This whole month is for spooky, creepy, and scary things. This is the time of year when everyone watches their favorite horror movies through parted fingers. I love it.

Writing Update

But this isn’t a post about Halloween. (There will be a special post for that later in the month.) This is the first of my monthly writing updates.

This month I am working on a rewrite of a short story I through together earlier this year. I sent it off to beta readers a few days ago. It is an awesome feeling the burden of progress for that project out of my hands, at least for a little while.

I’m also still trucking along on my horror novel. Chapters 1 through 3 are officially posted and live on my Patreon, for my $2 and up Patrons. I’ll have chapter 4 revised and ready for you by the end of the month. I’m finishing up the first draft of chapter 8 as well. Here’s something exciting though: yesterday, while writing on my lunch break made it over 40,000 words! It has taken a long time to get to this point, but I do feel my pace quickening. Having paying folks waiting every month for the next chunk is definitely keeping my butt in the chair and hands on the keyboard.

NaNoWriMo

If you are not part of the nerdy writer crowd on the internet, you probably didn’t know that next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). Every year in November people across the world each crank out a 50,000 word novel. This is a meteoric feat to accomplish. I’ve tried it twice in the past, and both times have failed to meet the lofty goal. This year I’m giving it another go.

This time, I’m not doing a novel though. I’m keeping it loose, and I’m going to write 50,000 words of short stories. I don’t know how many stories this will be. I figured I would just write each one until each is done then move on to the next. I’ve got a few different ideas jotted down.

Which reminds me. I’ve got another idea to take note of.

Closing

I think that’s all for this month.  Stay tuned on the blog for Joe’s Photo of the Week every week as well as a new series detailing my adventure in re-reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series all over again.

Ta ta for now,

Joe

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Recently I stumbled across an interview with Justin Cronin, author of horror bestseller The Passage, on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9cRQbeMsF0) In it he said this:
I have one rule with characters. I have to know what they're not telling anybody. If I know what they're not telling anybody, I really know who they are.
This is great stuff, and is something I need to keep in mind myself for my own writing.

Learn More!

Learn more about Justin Cronin and his writing here: http://enterthepassage.com/
Justin Cronin on Characterization
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Shadows Chapter 2 Comes out Tomorrow on Patreon

Shadows Chapter 2 Comes out Tomorrow on Patreon

It’s time for me to unleash the next chapter of my current horror novel in progress, Shadows Beneath Us, upon my Patrons. I hope you’re ready and have already signed up to be a Patron. It’s only $2 a month.

The Book

Shadows Beneath Us is about an heir to a large criminal organization who hears voices he thought he’d gotten rid of in the past, a little girl who just moved into a new town and is starting to see things in her shadow, and a family trying to escape captivity. But something deeper and more sinister is coming up through the shadows.

A Little Sample

Just in case you’re not yet convinced that you must absolutely read this novel here are a couple links to samples from the first two chapters:

Patreon

I am using a tool called Patreon to publish the story as I go along to my Patrons. This is a system that allows people like you to support content that you like. This is an amazing system and is a good example of the rise in alternative publishing options. Therefore, help me cut out the middle man and get the story directly to you.

So, become a Patron today and get access to the first 2 chapters first thing tomorrow morning.

https://www.patreon.com/jwdonley

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Chapter 1 is Set Loose Upon the World!

Chapter 1 is Set Loose Upon the World!

Well…

I finally went and did the thing.

That thing that I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time:

Share my stories with you

If you like a good scary story be sure to check out my Patreon.

Patreon is a platform that allows you, the reader, to support content that you like.

For only $2 a month you will get to read a new chapter of my current novel or a short story every single month.

Once I get a few more patrons I’ll record a little intro video of myself talking and stuff. (I’m a bit terrified of being in front of the camera, than alone in front of a video camera, so this is a big deal) So if you want to see my talking face talk about my writing on the internets head over to Patreon today and sign up!

https://www.patreon.com/jwdonley

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Help Me Write Stories!

Okay. So I want to write stories. I want people to read my stories. But for that to happen I actually have to sit down and write the stories. This is a ridiculously difficult thing to do. I’ve been working, on and off, for the past two years on a novel. Also, I’m finishing up a couple different short stories.

This is what I need. I need a way to be held accountable and also a way to share these stories with others, to share these stories with you.

Enter Patreon

Patreon is a wonderful platform. It’s based after an old Medieval practice of families of power and money paying artists to produce their art for them. These medieval patrons gained prestige for seeking out the best artists for their personal court.

Fast foward to now, and Patreon has found a way to put this same system into place. But in this case you don’t have to house and clothe me to help me produce my art. So, you only have to pay me the amount of a coffee each month. And when you become a paying patron I will give you one short story or one chapter from my novel every month. For only $3 a month you would be pressuring me (in a good way) to get my butt in the chair and write!

And, once I finish a novel or write enough short stories for a collection, I will find someway to reward my loyal patrons. This may be a free digital copy of the text, or a steep discount on the physical copy. I may even toy with some other possible rewards. If you’re interested, please let me know what sort of things you would like.

What Sort of Stories?

What kind of stories should you expect from me? Well, if you like a nice and spooky story you’ll most likely like my writing. I tend to enjoy reading H. P. Lovecraft, Laird Barron, Shirley Jackson, Mark Z. Danielewski, etc. Consequently, I imagine that anything I write may be along the lines of those writers. So be sure to watch for the first chapter of my novel on August 1st. So, become a Patron, help to encourage my writing.

Posted by Joe in Writing, 2 comments