Brief Work in Progress Update, Oni the Lonely

46K words in the rough draft achieved!

…Not nearly as fast as I wanted to be writing this, but at least it all feels like good words. And where I am in the draft, the very next chapter is going to be the final confrontation with the evils of this book. Which should give Rain and Kyosai sufficient clues that these Evils are only the Minions, and they need to track down the Main Evil to get the curse removed for good.

Current plan: tracking down info on Evil and Curse second book, finally defeating both third book.

Also part of the plan: Dealing with family on both sides, because while best friends and little sisters may be all for this pair, older relatives are… less enthused. Not to mention Rain’s family is still grieving, and that grief has taken some nasty forms. As tangled family relationships are wont to do. That makes a significant part of the background in the first book, and will be more in the forefront in the second. (Or so goes my plan.)

I suspect this is going to take not just careful writing but rounds of careful editing, because I want to accurately portray a grieving character – blunted emotions, flashes of rage and tears, the whole ball of wax – and still make Rain interesting to the reader. Which… implies these books may not appeal to the mainstream viewpoint of, “If you’re still depressed three months after someone died, you need a shrink to prescribe you antidepressants.”

That’s a horrible, inhuman view, and one of the things I think has gone drastically wrong with our culture. Someone once said wounds to the spirit are like wounds to the bone – they heal in biological time. You can’t rush it.

I think we have a lot of people out there who never got time for their wounds to heal cleanly. Just forced by the pressure of popular media culture to go out, no matter what they’re feeling, and be happy, outgoing, extroverted, etc. It’s the kind of thing that drives a person insane.

We need more sanity in the world.

So I’m writing a person who is grieving, and trying to go on with her life, gradually picking up the pieces. While other people around her have their own grief, and their own ways to deal with it – good or bad. And still others come in as (mostly) innocent bystanders….

The curse is lethal. But it may not be the hardest thing to deal with.

Any thoughts?


38 thoughts on “Brief Work in Progress Update, Oni the Lonely

  1. It’s one thing I’ve taken some CEs on, the psychology of grief, especially in the elderly. A large part of it, broken down and translated a bit, is simply, “please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t tell them they’re grieving too long. Especially if they’ve lost their spouse! Most of your elderly have been married for decades, they’re missing a huge part of their life don’t make it worse!” And also the ways it might affect their sleep patterns. That’s one really interesting thing about Lan Wangji in canon, because he is visibly mourning all the time Wei Wuxian is dead, no matter which canon timeframe you use, and no one tells him he’s let it go on too long. Of course they may also have given up by that point.

    We need more realistic portrayals of mourning and the ways it gets actually expresses itself.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I lost a sibling as a teenager and it has taken the better part of a decade for me to truly heal. It doesn’t hurt anymore. Right now. It will on the next anniversary tho.
    My friend lost her best friend and her grandmother last year. They were her closest friends/confidants. It’s been less then a year and her family is telling her she is grieving to much. I about lost my top. An extrovert lost her 2 main support systems while being forced to stay inside for a pandemic. She will be grieving for years! And, she is already on enough medications for depression. I understand Queen Victoia and her decades of funereal black more and more. Its nice to just signal, I’m not done, leave me alone.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. *cheers* I am looking forward to this!

    You can also isolate her in grief by having the people who “support her grieving process” expect her to be in full-on, just got the word, absorbs EVERYTHING grief– where you’re not allowed to try to pick up your life. If you do, then you aren’t really mourning them. (Yep, got that one point-blank, a couple of times. “It’s like you don’t even care,” and yes I do wonder if they hear themselves.
    Only two “you must follow the Process Of Grief” loons.) You can’t be hurting because a chunk of you is gone, you’ve got to make it the center point of EVERYTHING or you’re not “really” grieving. Public tears mandatory. ​Comes up if you so much as breath that folks are pushing you to ‘get over it’, very effective to make sure you don’t talk to anyone. And yes, that is A Bad Idea.

    Vs the more realistic:
    ​”Oooh, this is so cool!” pick it up, turn to go tell….person who isn’t there. And never will be, again.
    ​ (My mom is still doing this with her dad, and he’s been gone decades now.)

    Or that a lot of folks deal with grief by controlling what they can— I will do this Thing Which Needs Doing, I will not cry, I will get to x-point-and-not-collapse. Sometimes the goals are really stupid, too. (“I will smile because she always wanted me to smile.”)

    That should cover both aspects of the “you’re not grieving right, what is wrong with you” dynamic, and catch on shared experiences to draw folks in.- and maybe help someone in the future, as a secondary consideration.


    One of the local churches does a message board with touching or funny-deep stuff on it; one of the sad-touching ones was:


    Seemed like a good place to mention it.


    Coming up on five years since my sister didn’t wake up from a nap. I still go “ooh, I got to send this picture to–” and then remember, and I’m still pissing off some folks because I refuse to fixate on it. I don’t need to count the days to the anniversary of when she died. I grieve that she isn’t here, but I’m not going to build my life around it, making a point of reminding myself of every detail of may have been. I get reminded enough by just living, which is a testament to her.

    Forcing focus is not healthy in general, and I don’t need it– it would be like keeping a cast on a broken leg after the bone has started to knit. (Hey, casts aren’t healthy, either– just less bad than walking on a broken leg.) Same way, denying that there’s grief at all is like trying to run on a broken leg. The best way to deal with it is to pay attention to the damage, and how it’s healing, and go off of that. If your leg isn’t broken, but gone, there’s a healing process for that and getting use to the artificial leg. Ignoring the prosthetic is bad, be it pretending that there’s your original, healthy leg there, or that it’s still a bleeding stump.

    And as you point out, current culture does not like that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. These are great suggestions, thanks! I already have some of these types in the story, but this will add detail for characters that come out of the background in books 2 and 3.

      *Nod* I’m pretty much marking my mourning period as more starting this March than last August, because prior to then we had… so much to do, and my brothers making everything as difficult as possible all the way.

      Current culture is sideways to sanity. And the lockdowns are making it all worse. About all I can think to do is write more sane people in fic and hope for the best.

      Oh, fun fact for you: technically speaking, the definition of an oni isn’t so much a supernatural creature as something intrinsically opposed to the rule of the Emperor. (Hence why hero samurai had to hunt them down and destroy them.)

      That’s right. If you go by the definition, all us ornery Americans… are oni. *G*

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Was pretty sure you did, but on half a cup of coffee I tend to ramble. 😀

        *Nod* I’m pretty much marking my mourning period as more starting this March than last August, because prior to then we had… so much to do, and my brothers making everything as difficult as possible all the way.

        Important point I haven’t much considered– the point where it hits you as a start.


        Oh, that is a delightful twist, and I must find a way to use it!

        (Not in the least because I was suddenly hit with an image of off-the-grid sorts being Japanese style fay, and it tickles my sense of humor.)

        Did they have anything like the way some saints were able to convert monsters into being helpful creatures, changing that intrinsic nature so the Emperor could have cool magical support classes?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Ugh. Yes. There’s nothing worse than forcing grief or forcing non-grief, or any kind of forced conformity of feeling. Dorothy L. Sayers’ book Gaudy Night has a really good quote about how you can’t force feelings or thoughts on people, and I think there’s a similar conversation in The Nine Tailors.

      I’ve done a fair amount of funeral choir stuff, both for people I know and people I don’t. Weddings, too, and other worship. And basically, the trick is to put across the music with both solemnity and feeling, but also to leave room for people to respond in their own way. People hate being forced, being taken over or overwhelmed. And personally, I think that for funerals, both unrelieved sadness, and unrelieved happy-clappiness, are wrong. Even someone who believes in eternal life is being separated from the loved one. I like me some black vestments on the priest, even while I’m chanting solemn joyful farewells like, “May the angels lead you into Paradise.” Especially when.

      You can’t really feel all the feelings yourself, fully, because you have to put them across and not lose composure; and it doesn’t let other people feel the feelings themselves. And when you’re doing sacred music or music in a sacred context, it can’t be all about me, or even all about the audience, because it has to be mostly about God and prayer. Wakes are similar; you have to let people work things out freely, within a very loose structure.

      There are a lot of different ways that people approach grief, too, and in my family we have a pretty dark sense of humor about it, which we expect that the deceased family members share with us. (And all funeral choirs have a dark sense of humor. There was one lady who kept thinking up names for it, like “The Adios Chorale,” but she was there singing every funeral our parish had. Gave lots of her time, and she was a grieving widow herself for years and years.)

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Woohoo! I’m glad to hear of progress on Oni.

    Other topic is much heavier, and I’m not sure I want to talk about ti.

    I hadn’t been aware of a push to ‘get over’ grief. Makes sense that these cookie cutter jerks would try, so I’m glad I take my counsel from folks a bit more discerning.

    It is possible that I’m mostly done grieving some grandparents who passed between a decade ago, and decades ago. I do still dream of the house my maternal grandparents lived in, so…

    Nothing else I feel comfortable saying, ATM.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There is indeed a push for it; I’ve run into some very flippant people. “Oh, she died? Really? BTW did you hear your brother has a new house?”

      Very short and censored version: I did not, because we’re not on speaking terms, because whichever brother it was (she didn’t say) left me and Sib responsible for everything (including all the care and ALL the bills) before the funeral, for the funeral, and after the funeral, and then got to walk off with a large chunk of change after screwing us over to ensure we had to sell the house for below-rock-bottom prices or be faced with them running up bills to “repair” it.

      …Yeah, I’m still angry.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Whatever money it cost you and your sib, my thought is that cutting ties was cheap at the price.

        Seriously, those are the kind of people who appear in true crime shows. And if you had hung around them much longer, I think you had good odds of showing up in that episode as a dead victim or an imprisoned criminal, or possibly both.

        So although I’m not going to tell you to stop grieving your annoying family, living and dead, I am going to tell you that you deserve some goodies today.


        Liked by 2 people

      2. Let’s just say there were some days where it was less about reminding myself of true Christian morality and more about, “You do realize, Self, that prison libraries would suck. And there likely wouldn’t be anime. No want.”

        …Obviously I must write faster. *G* Typing up some now, in fact….


  5. My parents were married for forty years. My mother died about 6… 7? Years ago, now. My father pretty much did nothing but sleep in his easy chair (when not working) for over a year afterward before he started to show signs of life again.

    Me… I had aural hallucinations. Had me seriously worried about my sanity for a bit, before I figured out WTF was going on. Without getting into details, Mom’s last year was a prolonged slope of brain tumor-induced dementia, and I got hypersensitive to listening for any “danger signs”, b/c she might get up and wander in the night, and possibly fall down, or just call for help.

    After the funeral, I would keep hearing her call my name, *when I was in the shower.* Usually if I was taking a shower late at night, or was otherwise extra tired (my own sleep patterns weren’t great afterwards, either). I eventually figured it out: the combination of fatigue, lots of white noise, and the aforementioned hypersensitivity, combined to make it easy to think I’d heard her — just barely, though the noise, as I *listened* for when she was sick and I was in the shower.

    Likewise, during the day, I’d have “peripheral vision hallucinations,” so to speak — a vaguely similar physical appearance, from the corner of my eye, would have me *violently* double-taking in stores, on sidewalks, etc, for *months* afterward.

    When your brain is accustomed to regular input from/interaction with a person, and that person is suddenly gone, your brain will often start “finding them” in “white noise”. I expect this may be an explanation for Electronic Voice Phenomena.

    We also made architectural changes to the house during her illness, some of which are still in place.

    So, yeah, prolonged grief and coping with same… I certainly can’t throw stones. Can’t guarantee I’ll enjoy *reading* it, but I won’t be shaking the book screaming “GO GET PROZAC!” at the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mom has severe MS and I have been her caretaker since I was about 16 (I’m 28 now). She hasn’t passed yet, but we have her on hospice and a feeding tube so…Anyway I was going to tell you that I do the same thing-have for years, especally since she’s been getting worse. There has been more than one occasion where I will think I *just barely* hear mom calling for something and come out and find she’s asleep. I can and have woken out of a dead sleep because mom is making her moaning ‘I need something’ noise. Whether or not she can a) remember or b)use words to tell me what she needs/wants is another matter.

      Just a heads up to tell you you aren’t alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. *points at the 90s Batman that was in the Justice League and JLU continuity*

        People are hungry for folks who have trauma, and heal. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be now three generations of folks who point to an aimed-at-kids cartoon for their favorite Batman.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, hey, you probably already know this… but it turns out that the six-pointed star shape basket weave, like the one that gets used in a lot of furniture and baskets in the US, is called “kagome” in Japan. It turns up on yukata and onsen yukata a lot, from the 1600’s on, because it’s supposed to be a sure ward against oni.

    And yeah, I guess you don’t really want oni to come up on you while you’re in the bathhouse.

    Don’t know if the name “Kagome” uses the same characters.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. One of my instinctual reactions was ‘that is /not/ freaky’.

        Okay, MIT is a ‘top school’, and the publication is likewise something that attracts strange, possibly disturbed or dishonest researchers, but the stuff looks reasonable. It is interesting, but reasonable.

        The BBC article probably makes it sound weirder, because journalists usually do, but it breaks down into three or four types of research that are fairly normal.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, baby name sites say that the name is translated “pattern of holes” or “basket holes”– but better yet, there’s a kind of ring-around-the-mulberry-bush/ashes ashes all fall down game crossed with tag, your Oni sits in the middle with their eyes covered, the other kids join hands and sing a song that starts Kagome, Kagome, and at the end they guess who is standing in front of them. They’re right, that kid becomes the new Oni.

      Which makes Inu Yasha even more amusing. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Doesn’t use the same characters.

      Lattice can be written in Kanji, but Kagome’s given name is in Kana. Or, yes and no.

      Inuyasha wiki translates it as bird cage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do they HAVE rawhide woven seats in the Ozarks?

        I know they’re popular in Nevada, my grandfather made some, and the pattern does look like that kagome weave Banshee found…..

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, if we’re going to bring up Animated Batman comforting a grieving child, well… the ultimate is probably:

    (ever notice who the Bathound in Batman:Beyond was named after?)

    Liked by 1 person

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