Thursday, October 20, 2011


Website or Something Like That .

Stinky that it has to conform to teacher-things, but a helpful little space nonetheless. It makes me more organized, I think. But someday I want a real website, full of things from my writing tidbits. Maps and drawings and character descriptions--ah. Delightful.

Monday, September 5, 2011



"I’ve murdered. I’ve lied. I’ve loved.” His voice cracked. “What an illusion! What a tangled, fantastic illusion it all is!...”

From "The Door Tree", Chapter 15

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vast and Uncharted Things


"The world is a cold and unusual place; there is no magic here."

Another little blip from the novel, this. More to come.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011



I've been dreaming of fantastic realms lately--places that have been in my head for years, seldom put into pictures. But pictures come, eventually, from these crystallized visions. This is the world in my head. A small part of it, at least, where stories take place and all sorts of characters, both great and terrible, live and masquerade through miniature dramas.


The Merchant is hard to put to pictures. He is easier to describe in words. There is nothing spectacular about him. He is as plain and grey as an overcast sky. I think I've finally gotten him close to as I see him. Pale, dour, and unimportantly handsome. Dry, spidery, and quick.

More to come.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Cain the Weary, sovereign of Balnora, has died. His throne has been seized by his brother, whose tyrannical regime threatens to gut the kingdom from its very bowels. The practicing of the Arts, the magick that sustains the land, is abolished in the name of the gods. The Southernlands, the long autonomous wilderness that sweeps the bottom half of the Balnorran map, faces conquest by the new northern regime. Balnora stands divided. Armies rise in the north as the southerners shrink back into their grisly woodlands.

In the midst of this grand upheaval, a new Count, clambering from the trenches of poverty, has ascended in the sector known as Polydeukes, the southernmost hold of the northern Balnorran kingdom. From magickal merchant to novice noble, Frank Augustus has wormed his way through the ranks, through the convenience of marriage, to the status of Count d'Polydeukes--but he has not done so alone. Frank has entered a drastic deal with the devils that lurk, unseen, below the known fabric of the world. In exchange for his soul, he is made rich and secure in a land that faces uncertain times.

The Door Tree is the first in a series of three novels conceived and written by K. Binning over a series of seven years. The Door Tree is perhaps the most viscerally moving of them all. Set in a world vaguely reminiscent of our own, The Door Tree is a story that attempts to chronicle the bleakness of a world the apocryphal gods have ignored, where demons from dimensions long forgotten crouch expectantly amongst the darkest corners of humanity.


From "The Door Tree", Chapter 8

He exited the estate from a back door and crossed the gardens in the moist, young night. Crickets leapt at his feet. His heart rose against his bones, invigorated. The night air was so fresh that it burned to breathe. He began to walk quicker, his pace rising, until he was cutting through the lawn at a sprint.
He passed through the darkness with such swiftness that his eyes began to water. He clambered down from the manor, leaped over the wall surrounding the grounds, and sped down the hill, his feet pounding into the dirt at a maddening pace. Air sprang at his face and clawed through his hair, illuminating his lungs and urging him onward. His coattails whipped behind him like wings, his stockings bunching at his ankles. If he spread his arms, he reckoned he would fly. His lightness allowed him to run easily, feather-like and scarecrow-like. The stiff partition of woods came suddenly, but his speed did not slow. The trees yawned and moved their branches aside as he ran.
He was expected; he was welcome here.
Frank could hear the door tree loudly now, muttering to itself. It was becoming impatient. He forced his legs onward, the tree’s voice splicing, imploding upon itself until multiple voices quarreled amongst each other, their gossiping moving in undulations, like some great, primordial wind.
When he came to the door tree’s clearing, the speaking stopped and all was silent. Each of its orifices glowed. The large chasm at the base of the trunk was open and visibly sordid with wine.
Frank did not come for wine this evening.
A growl ripped from the depths of his chest, mustering every ounce of effort left in his frail body. “DEMON!” he snarled. “Witch! Come out and show yourself, hag, for I’ve a mind to speak with ye!”
The ground rumbled beneath his feet. He stepped back, catching himself, his iron gaze unwavering. Breath whistled through his bared teeth.
“Come, you swamp-dwelling fiend! Show yourself, for I’ve inquiries to pry your little black heart! You dishonest wench!” He paused, his chest heaving so hard that his bones strained against the buttons of his silken vest. “What have you fucking done to me? You’ve taken my life into the roots of this tree. You’ve stolen my thoughts, my tongue, my blood! For the sake of the fucking gods, emerge!” His voice crackled off into silence. A sob tore from his lips. “What do you want of me?!”
The door tree’s lights flickered, and a low moan seethed through its trunk, its branches, its roots—for Frank could not tell from where the sound came. The tree had an atmosphere all its own, a lone needle between the thin sheets of dimension that drove its worming roots down and down into infinity. For only a moment more the lights remained, and then the windows crackled shut one at a time, until only the great, pregnant base of the tree was left. The tree shuddered, bark rippling, and closed, swallowing the light and wine into its endless, rotting entrails. When the bottommost portal opened again, all was dark except for the hag’s white eyes, peering from inside.
“What do you want, Frank Augustus?” the hag’s voice slithered from the void.
“I want answers, you fucking hag,” Frank shot boldly in reply. “What have you done to me?”
“You know that all too well,” the hag replied. “My tree and I—oh, the good, wise thing!—have provided you with a modest fortune. Are you not basking under the skies of luxury? Isn’t your stomach full and your pocket heavy?”
His nostrils flared. “How…dare…you,” he sputtered, pointing a finger accusingly at the brittle woman. “I am married and uncertain; I am an earl that does not belong. I know nothing of riches, of land. I do not love my wife. I am hungry; I cannot eat. The mere stench of food is maddening. I pace like a caged animal. I exist only to dash to this horrid welt of rotting wood every evening to collect wine.” He looked to the witch, tears beginning to well in his eyes. “Why must you continue to call me here? Why must that—that—thing screech so? It calls, it whispers. There is never a quiet moment. Even when I sleep—when I dream!—all I think of is the tree.” He grasped his clothes, pulling at the lacy cravat around his neck. “Do you see these clothes? I have never been so rich in my life. You imply that I ought to thank you—ought to be grateful! But what thanks should I have for the dominance of my soul?”
The hag chuckled; her clicking little laugh sent dry sobs through Frank’s chest.
“How did you manage to get my blood, to glean my soul?” he whispered forcefully, through clenched teeth. He choked down his sobs bravely. “The wound bleeds, it will not stop.” He swallowed. “I should have died long ago.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Spider Plants and Beltane and Such

Two things.

First, I have two happy little spider plants living on my windowsill, thanks to Em. One's name is Abbot and the other is Louise. I wasn't sure they'd live, but they seem to be doing swell. They were in a baggy for over 24 hours--or at least until I was able to go out and forage for dirt. I hope they make lots of baby spider plants.


Second, I had a beautiful birthday party, complete with friends, tea, Indian food, book stores, and lots of practical gifts. My newest addition to my cupboard space is my new Breakfast at Tiffany's Mug, given by Holley. It's got this gorgeous yellow inside that makes coffee look the yummiest.


I haven't been able to blog as much as I would like; maybe this will change during the summer. And that's sad, because often I feel like my life is full of happy little magical moments that I wish so desperately to capture in writing and pictures.

I'm home this weekend for the Easter holiday. I tend to think of it as an early Beltane. It's colder here, up north four hours from college, but there are glimmers of spring here and there. I went rollerblading today and picked out the little plant sprigs amongst what's left of the snow. Mom and I went for a windy walk to gather aluminum cans, and to visit my sister where she works at a local dairy store. Between homework and curriculum writing, I'm having a nice time and enjoying the whole not-conforming-to-a-schedule thing.

Tomorrow I'm assigned to hide eggs. There's a big green one with five dollars inside that I'll take special care in hiding as difficultly as I can manage!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Early Mornings

I must keep myself in line. I'm slowly loosing touch with the lovely time of day that is dawn. I find myself slipping to sleep far past the chiming of my alarm, only to awake hours later when the sun has already risen. There is no magic to that kind of predictability!

Last year, waking before dawn was a vernacular practice. I'd meet with Emma almost every morning to run or walk about the town until the sun came up. Then we'd sit and drink coffee for a few hours and discuss writing projects and other wonderful things. And after that, I'd gleefully caper back to the apartment to find my lovely partner, still deep in the cavernous land of Nod, and slowly snuggle beside them until tired fingers lifted to brush at waking eyes.


I miss that.

I'm set on reviving these pre-dawn rituals. I have an arsenal of coffee and a stack of books to brave the cloudy, shrouded hours. Hopefully I can succeed. I have a goal to sneak outside and take pictures of the dark, chilly, slumbering world, as vast and uncharted as wilderness.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Plattecon: Loot Acquired

Plattecon 2011 was this weekend. She got to sit at a wee little booth and draw pictures for money and sell paintings and such. She made a good deal of money--and acquired some fantastic loot along the way!

She acquired...


A Dungeons and Dragons pamphlet about her character's race, the Dragonborn!



Two Lord of the Rings games--"The Duel" and "The Search"!


A chainmail bracelet!

It was a successful weekend, don't you agree?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Coffee, Clay

Oh gosh, she's been terribly busy. But what's new in that? She always seems to find herself busy, regardless of the time of year.

Here, as promised, is the next in her Favorite Places series, and here she'd like to feature the one and only Badger Brothers Coffee , located just down main street in Platteville! The BBC is a perfect place to stop for a scone, spot of tea, fancy caffeinated beverage, or simple cup of coffee. Luckily, the coffee shop is located just a block from her apartment, and just about two blocks from campus, making it the ideal place to study then pack up and hurry to class!


She paused there briefly last week to study for an exam, greeted with a cup of warm vanilla rooibas tea and a chocolate chip scone!

Did she mention that she's confronting her fears about sculpture? Now, we know her to be an artist favoring the two-dimensional. She prefers to draw and paint rather than sculpt. But fears, begone! She's trying her hand at sculpting again, and has a few works-in-progress worthy of showing.


This is based on a painting, done in the 1790s, of Shiva and Lakshmi riding upon the great eagle, Garuda.


She's designing a lesson plan for a high school art history class. This plaque will eventually be painted on in the style of ancient Greek vase painting.


And here it is, her magnum opus of the past few weeks! She needs to get a more up-to-date photo on this one, but here's an in-progress look at her dragon! He's yet toothless.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Things She Loves About Platteville: Driftless Market

She lives in a town called Platteville, nestled in the wild, hilly driftless region of Wisconsin. Platteville is a city on the fringes, straddling the highway between Madison and Dubuque, just large enough to host a university, and small enough to walk across town in an less than an hour. Here, she is listing some of her most favorite places in the city. The first item on the list: The Driftless Market.


The Driftless Market is a fantastic place, especially if you're into healthy, fresh, local food. The store's numerous wares change seasonally, as they are supplied by local gardens and farms. Driftless Market features a small eatery and deli, where one can stop in for a quick lunch, a general store, and a miniature art exhibit, featuring the work of, you've guessed it, delightfully local artists and sculptors (this area of the state is a hotbed for artsy communes!).

One of her most favorite facets of the Driftless Market is the fact that they carry alternative food. You see, she's one of those distastefully liberal vegetarians. Driftless Market, however, comes heroically to her aid, with plenty of organic tofu, tempeh, and homemade walnut burgers. Even if you're not a vegetarian, Driftless is worth the visit. The small selection of meat offered is free-range and organic, and, unsurprisingly, locally raised.

Another great part about the market? No plastic allowed! That's right! The store has a loosely-enforced BYOB (Bring your own bag) policy, limiting the number of plastic and paper bags distributed. And if you forget your bag, not to worry! They're often more than happy to lend you a small tote bag to carry your groceries home in.

You can visit their site here.

Up next: Badger Brothers Coffee

Friday, January 21, 2011

Goals for a Clean Slate

It's a little late to compile a list of resolutions, but be assured, there is good reason for a late list. These resolutions have taken thought--they've not been hasty in the making.

This year, she would like to...


Do the dishes more. This is something she struggles with. There's nothing more irritating than dirty, month-old dishes. She would like to keep them cleaner, and have less mess in the end. This goal applies as well to the whole apartment. Clean houses are far less worrisome. There's less of a clutter, less of that terribly persistent grimy feeling, less of an incentive for unwelcome pests to visit.

Read more. There's a growing number of books on her reading list! Recent titles include White Magic Series Book 3: Shattered Dance by Caitlin Brennan , and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister . This month's book club selection, Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voight she's re-reading for the second time as well. This year she wishes to read a larger variety of books and is challenging herself to explore new authors and genres.


Walk more. There is a certain beauty in walking, in going places without mechanical aids, solely utilizing one's own to feet. She lives within walking distance of the University and her place of work. She balks against walking when it's cold, but how much work is it (really?) to put on a few more layers and head outside? The benefits are fantastic--less of a gas bill, exercise, adventure.

Run more. If there is beauty in walking, then certainly there is magic in running. She's elected not to do outdoor track with the University team. Her indoor season comes to an end in early March. But that shan't stop her! She would very much like to run the 40 miles per week following the season, if not more! For she's signed up for a half marathon. She's run one before, a few years back. It was an excellent endeavor--thirteen miles of not-too-fast-not-too-slow running through a remote northern rail trail.



Also, one can't forget the next cross country season. This fall will be her final year running for the University. Wow! A senior runner already! How the four years fly!

Weight lift more. She's grown fond of weight lifting. This is the boyish part of her showing through. She admits she's a little competitive, and as an athlete, lifting is a staple of her career. However, she wishes to continue her weightlifting, and perhaps glean a shiny new set of abdominals. Lifting is truly worth the results, and her University, by the by, has just installed a new weight room. It's a treat, even if she decides to read while on the stationary bike instead of lift!

Study religion more. The Bhagavad Gita is staring at her from her shelf. A few books on Wicca remain unread. She's considering buying the Lotus Gospel. She's been thinking expansively on religion, her curiosity bolstered by doubt that there is any real necessity for religion at all. However, she nonetheless remains an open minded soul, whose religious path has fluctuated throughout the years. From a devout Catholic to an atheist, to a pantheistic humanist dabbling in Buddhist philosophy, to an animist-pagan path, she is uncertain of where she lies. She cannot cope any other way with this uncertainty than to learn more.

It's odd, really, for the more she learns the more she doubts. But the more she doubts, the curiouser and curiouser she becomes. Doubt is a powerful thing. Certainty seems almost anti intellectual.

These goals seem simple, but naturally, the year shall tell if her resolutions hold true to their intent. She challenges you to make realistic resolutions as well. Can the weight loss and think of health instead. Visit your library more. Think outside the box. There's a fresh new year ahead, all clean and ready for wonderful mistakes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Horse Sense and Fantasy

As usual, she's been reading. This time, it's a collection of novels by author Caitlin Brennan, called the White Magic Series. She's read the first book and is nearly finished with the second. All that remains is the third.




These are fantasy novels, set in the middle of the empire called Aurelia. Aurelia lies on the brink of destruction, for a royal bastard, hungry for the throne and title of emperor, has aligned with the barbarians to the north. They are partially his kinsmen, and he plots to overthrow his father and his empress regent sister. Unexpectedly, his 'dead' brother has returned to thwart his plan. Called Kerric in the common tongue but known as the dead son Ambrosius, he was Called to the magickal Mountain long ago to be a First Rider, or one who spins out the future on the back of the stallion gods. He defied his right to the throne to become a Rider, and thus is called 'dead'. With the aid of the first female Rider, Valeria, he follows his brother wherever he goes with the intent of restoring the very empire he's been exiled from.

She will admit, she's been enjoying the books. They're a lighter read. Anything can be lighter after a summer of The Count of Monte Cristo! They're somewhat passively written, and she has no taste for passive writing. The characters are at times unbelievable and out-of-character, but nevertheless, the enthralling fantasy plot and workings of horse magick keep the books interesting. She sincerely looks forward to the final installment of the White Magic Series.


She's changed her blog.

This massive overhaul is one of obsession.

You see, a few years ago, she had a dream.

She envisioned a sleeping woods, an army of dark, silent trees that whispered amongst themselves as she passed. She came to the center--to the largest tree, and in a grand chorus of all the earth's voices, the tree came to life. A hundred sparkling doors and windows flung open, beams of light cutting in every direction. And inside the tree, scenes of the universe dwell. She saw what had been, what was, and what could be.

This is the nature of the door tree, that is, to show, to tell. To prompt inquiry and thought.

This blog mimics the nature of the door tree, and here, you shall see bits and pieces of her life.

So, delicate watchers, take heed and notice the changed title, the new url, if you should wish to follow this blog henceforth.

A thousand illuminated promises,

Sunday, January 16, 2011




Jeffy, our child, lives in a cage lined with blue paper. He comes out at night and sparsely during the day. He's almost a year old--only a week until his birthday! She's considering a party, where all of Jeffy's closest friends gather and eat cupcakes and talk about all the silly things hamsters do.