[sticky entry] Sticky: Index

Jan. 11th, 2010 08:56 pm
feralkiss: Clouded leopard walking up to the viewer, intense look and tongue licking its lips. (Default)
[personal profile] feralkiss
Here is the summary of all the writings posted on Animal Quills since its creation, as well as the intro posts (if you want I list you under another name, let me know). The entries are listed chronologically, but you can use the tags system to browse by theme.

Writings and introductions marked with a # are locked entries and can only be read by members, not 'watchers'.

Summary )
sonne_windsoul: (eye eclipse)
[personal profile] sonne_windsoul
[Sort of ramblings tonight that turned into something I felt worth posting in some places.]

Animality, or more accurately, human-animality, is such an essential part of who I am: my very life, self, mind, and soul are painted with it and have been that way ever since at least my early childhood.  It’s not just therianthropy or being otherkin.  It’s not just liking or having a connection to animals or even “animalistic-humanoids”.  It’s not a fetish or being a fan.  It’s the life-blood of me, and though I can describe aspects of it with certain descriptors and labels, it ultimately goes above and beyond those terms and runs deeper than maybe I have tended to want to admit to myself, let alone others.  Why, oh why, have I consistently remained feeling like I am “out of place” or lacking a sense of belonging amongst otherkin, therians, and nonhuman fictionkin (and fictives), seemingly no matter what their ‘type(s) or what they share about their views and experiences?  Granted, yes, I’ve felt connection to such people and online communities—I still do—and I genuinely care about members and groups of individuals in such communities as I’ve sympathized and empathized with them, which has led me to offer what efforts, help, and resources I have contributed in the past (at this point) about 10 years.  And yet, there remains something major, something fundamental, missing for me that these ‘communities’ have come closer to satisfying than any other people, interests, or communities I’ve come across thus far, but that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s not “enough”.  But I don’t even know what “enough” would actually be, let alone how or where to find it, if it even *can* be found.
The focus of my Tumblr blog “Shifting Animality” fits, in general, much more what I’m seeking and wanting to express, but it’s not just what others can so far see on that blog, but also dozens of other posts, many are text-based, some of them by me, that I have saved under drafts, as I wait for the “right time” to post them—waiting for more or maybe the ‘right’ people to follow the blog who will really appreciate that content and, most especially, engage me in discussion about it.  However, it’s also on Tumblr, so the likelihood of getting that better or deeper discussion is unfortunately rather low, even if the medium in ways allows me to potentially have better capacity to reach out and find others of similar mind to share thoughts with.  Why does my damn mind have to have such specific needs for a kind of people that are so hard to find and seemingly so few in this world?  Yet the need is something that remains in me, unshakably, regardless of what I do or don’t do—regardless of pushing it away, desperately hiding it from everyone even trying to hide it to extents from myself for the better part of 20 years or more, and sometimes shaming myself for it (or parts of it).  Sure, I could try to “move on” from the therian and otherkin communities to focus on trying to satisfy this similar but different need and desire, but I haven’t even *found* a place or people to move on *to*.
I’ve offered my help, my writings and thoughts, and so forth in the therian and ‘kin communities for years in large part as a means to reduce the isolation that numerous other therians/’kin can and do feel.  And within the past few years, I’ve come to realize that I, myself, am still isolated too much when it comes to various things regarding my human-animality, and no resources, discussions, increased acceptance in the communities, higher diversity within them, or individuals have managed to remove that feeling.
It also doesn’t help that since probably my early childhood some part of me has felt like I, in essence, “should” be physically nonhuman, humanoid, and it’s of course something that I can never actually have—I completely realize and understand that, yet consciously knowing such doesn’t ultimately take away the subconscious longing for me to be, physically, ability-wise, behaviorally, etc. something humanoid but not actually human.  I don’t actually see my body or human life as a “cage”, and I don’t want superficial body modifications to try to somewhat satisfy my longing, as those aren’t what I’m looking for either.  No one will ever be able to really see me for who and what I feel I really am—a sentiment that I know many therians, otherkin, and fictionkin can relate to, among others.  But maybe when that’s stacked along with other issues in my life, my future, my goals, and so forth, it makes the reality of it harder to bear, especially chronically.  I’m already feeling like I’m basically “floating” through life with no real, set direction, and have been for years, so anything that additionally makes me feel more isolated is enhanced and made significantly more difficult to bear.
What do I want—sincerely, deeply want—at this time?  I’m not actually sure—I keep trying to figure that out and keep coming up with no answer or something too cryptic for me to yet decipher.  However, I can at least say that: I long and crave to have my art and art muse back and well alive again (I fucking miss that so much), and I want to be able to let my human-animality SING through my art (in whatever form) without me goddamn worrying about how others may view it or respond to it.  To let me throw parts of myself in depth and detail, symbolically into my visual art, poetry and poetic prose, and personal essays and tossing them out in some form of public view for others to see and react to, and to not feel like I’m losing pieces of myself or making them vulnerable, but instead *strengthening* and enhancing parts of myself.  I would love for others to find inspiration in my artistic ideas and these aesthetic displays of my soul-parts, and maybe actually get to connect with some of those people and find notable similarity, possibly even friendship or more.
I don’t want my art muse to be hidden, scared, and near-comatose anymore—I haven’t wanted it to be stuck like that for years and years—and I wonder if somehow pouring myself into my art through a lens heavily colored in human-animality is a way to significantly help bring it back from its place of high vulnerability.  No bigger, especially other-people-changing goal here: just to be able to use my art to throw myself out ‘there’, open-armed and exposed, and not regretting it or shaming myself for it, and to stand through it time and again in confidence—increased confidence—for somehow “showing” parts of my true self to the world that I can never show by other means.  To not be so damn “hidden” and loving myself for doing it.
I am a creature of fantasy, of fiction, of humanity and nonhumanity, monstrous and not, and these things do not need to be physical reality for me—they are parts of me, my very Soul, and I continue to live with them entwined and melded into my essence and being.  Wings, claws, fangs, feathers and fur, ferality and domesticity, angels, monsters, chimeric creatures, prey and predator, guides and guardians of spirit and animal; they’re all, and more, parts of me that can’t be seen remotely near the surface but are integrated into the foundations and pillars of that which is Me.  And this is something to embrace and appreciate within myself, not to continually disguise and hide from everyone in nearly any form for the rest of my life.
I don’t want to *shout* my Self to the world, but I do want to let myself breathe and sing it into my art where it can have some form of expression and escape for those more obscured parts of me.
feralkiss: Raven calling. (r_call)
[personal profile] feralkiss
I usually avoid posting anything in here other than actual writings so as to not clutter the community with "publicity", but this actually works: the Werelist is hosting an "Art and Writing Contest" at the moment. I thought people in here may be interested; feel free to post your submission on Animal Quills if it falls in the "written work" category - the contest welcomes entries posted offsite and linked to.

The Great Werelist Art and Writing Contest of Fall 2014, which lasts from the fall equinox to the winter solstice, is now officially started. The rules are simple: You submit a piece of writing or art, and a the end of the contest period, it gets voted upon, earning you a nifty prize (we do not currently have prizes officially lined up, but we had at least one person offer to do prizes for the short contest done previously, so we should be able to officially put up prizes soon).

The theme for this contest is the way we relate to our theriotype’s species. These should, preferably, not be guides like the ones on Project Shift. While those are an important form of literature in the therian community, this contest is not designed for them.

Entries are split into two parts: visual and literary. Visual art covers anything visual, whether sculpture, masks, drawing, glassworking, or carving. Literary covers poetry and other creative writing. At the end of the period, we will have a two week voting phase conducted via anonymous poll (though if you wish, you’re welcome to state your reason for favoring a particular piece), after which the top three entries in each category will be officially acknowledged.

Entries may either be hosted offsite and linked to, or posted in their own topic (or as part of a topic you’ve made a while back for your art/writing). If you are hosting your entry offsite, to make sure we see it PM the url to either myself or Mobius. If it’s put in a topic here, either PM myself or Mobius a link to the post, or add the tag “fall-2014-contest” to the topic.

Entries must be original and created during the period of this contest, though they don’t have to be done specifically for this contest (if you drew something which qualifies for some other reason, you are welcome to submit it).

This may be reposted or linked to on other sites (LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, et cetera) to gain traffic.

-- Citrakayah

The original topic: http://www.werelist.net/forums/showthread.php?t=34277

If you have any question on whether your stuff is appropriate material for the contest, or any other doubt, please contact [personal profile] citrakayah.
foxboi: brushwork fox, black ink. (dreamer fox)
[personal profile] foxboi
Mods, I apologize if I've already crossposted this here- checked, and at a glance it did not look so.

Fox is like a companion.

Sometimes we are one as one can be, just me with pointed flicked back (but usually only one) ears; all my teeth at the ready to smell the wind and neatly flick-and-curl around every leaf in the forest on my way home. Or persons in a crowd, more likely.

Sometimes, we are less we, but halfway only me, in an odd ephemeral place that doesn't really distinguish itself well to words or thoughts. Not an in-between point, but still a liminality.

Sometimes, I'm just borrowing a little extra silence powder; my feet are no longer all toes and flat, but tiny lit-in-the-night pinpricks of pressure, the kind of... - remember when you did this on all fours in another life, in another book, many moons ago? You remember how it is to fly sing and dance so now let's combine all of those and put on a soundless (mundane) show of being invisible and stealing those damn sweet things and getting away. Cross reference.

Fox is I, me, companion, not separate, always there, sometimes sleeping like a cat-yawn-stretch-turn. Sometimes dis-consciously forgotten, but never never never not there.

I notice. Others don't unless they're animal too, and even then, we don't read minds, just habits and quirks and, if we're good at it, smells.

(Fox guide is sometimes not there, despairingly empty and I'll keep on trotting forward into my sleep without whispers of guidance, but it's not His or their jobs to be there all the time - just send me mail every once in a while with ordinary things like the milk and my groceries.)

It is my job to listen, always.

It's come to a point where, like learning literary theory, though I'm very capable, intelligent, even by about half of the people I know's standards, I still feel like I've gotten tired of distinguishing between things, tired of the specifics, tired of having to retell a story of an ever-changing beautiful picture.

(Can't you just see all of those be’s and inbetween’s and really - just go and fucking read the whole book will you already? It's all there, I’m all here, plain as day, dusk, and night. I’m separated and distinguished in flames and pages and phrases, writing for myself and you, except, I don’t really have to for myself, so why do I describe and redescribe myself to you?

I feel as if I should be present in your imagination, crystalline, legible… I should I should- But I know this and I may also be dismayingly as clear as mud.)

I don't feel this feeling that I do now in a deflated sort of way for the most part, but really, I know all these atoms and thoughts and furs are one and one only and I can see the parts and pieces, not usually all at once, but I'm slow and aging-edging away from wanting to try and gather words to describe the flash of teeth that are snapping in a strong stance, or just the melting into a warm cozy space and sometimes curling belly up... - back scratches are really the best.

(I digress…)

And the best may simply be to just be and quit describing. It's one thing to want to excavate and discover, another to just feel and be and record the occasional thought that is usually forgotten until it's rust-melded into its surroundings.

I do not like being prompted and forced to search for my calendar and toolbag of words, but every time I read something, it prompts me to have pictures and sounds that jangle in front of my eyes, only to skitter away when it's time that I decide yes, I have enough of these that I could take my ark and rebuild the world in a paragraph.

Fox is an intersection of body, physicality, tweaked and colourful mentality. Fox is with me always, when I'm lonely, sad, - maybe then I don't feel so lonely, except they-and-we also feel lonely so it's twice as lonely sometimes. An odd distinguishing thing, we are.

Him and I; I and me.

(We're wild gods, you and I.)

mountainghost: (Default)
[personal profile] mountainghost
Hello all. I’ve lurked around AQ a bit now and found this to be a wonderful and thought provoking collection of writing from animal people, so I thought it was about time I introduced myself and stared doing a little more writing if I can.

In simple terms, I could call myself a snow leopard person. A year ago, I embarked on a six week snow leopard conservation project in Siberia that I initiated myself. I scaled steep, snowy scree slopes in the biting wind for the chance to stand for a moment by a shallow snow leopard scrape and drink in the views on the edge of Mongolia. It was an unforgettable experience to live in snow leopard country and listen to the locals speak of them and of their own lives, and I’ll do my best to relay some of those stories at some point if there is interest. I’ve given a good number of lectures on snow leopard conservation in my area and have spent years pouring over journal articles, following current research projects and developing personal relationships with those in the snow leopard conservation community. In other words, if you have snow leopard questions or just want to talk about them, ask and I’m quite sure I won’t be able to stop talking. I fervently look forward to the next time that I can heed the siren call back to central Asia…back to snow leopard country.

I experience the “shifts” and “phantom limbs”, so-to-speak, of those who feel deeply bonded with a species, though it’s at times exasperating to me to feel like I’m parroting back the same words I hear on forums. However, I’ve long felt more comfortable behind the pale grey-green eyes of a snow leopard and the physical features perpetually flow, ebb and mingle with my own. In short, my bond is with the reality of the flesh-and-blood animal; the snow leopard as it is, to the extent we’ll ever understand them.

My experiences and perception of reality don’t stop at being a snow leopard person, though that can be wordy to explain, so I’ll refrain from doing so here. In my mind I experience forms, animals and elements of the natural world from a variety of perspectives almost constantly, so the content of my stories will range far beyond only snow leopards. Essentially, snow leopards represent my strongest bond with a species on an emotional level, but in a more general sense any other natural form is something my mind lives to explore, with a focus more on the physicality aspects.

A few tidbits about me, to get a sense for the person behind this blurb: I’m a recent college graduate with a degree in geology (and almost in biology as well in all but name). My partner and I just moved into a new place and for the time being I’m dabbling in some things, teaching a fencing class, and exploring the idea of freelance travel writing on the side while I go through the process of researching grad school options. I’m a bit of a dabbler by nature, especially when it comes to all things science so I don’t know what might catch my interest next. I recently worked for a paleontology lab and some environmental remediation projects and before that an immunology lab and a planetary science lab (got to work with date from the Phoenix mission!). I hope to head in the direction of environmental conservation, perhaps with some travel writing on the side, but really, anything that allows travel, excessive outdoor time and the ability to work on snow leopard conservation projects at least as a hobby…that’s all I need.

I’ll close with random stuff I guess. I’ve fenced on the national level for most of my life and I also love sailing, skiing and windsurfing dearly. I also have adorable pet rats, nothing makes me happier than the fall/ early winter season, my boyfriend and I have big plans to someday construct our own part-treehouse, off-grid (as much as possible) home and we semi-seriously want pet emus someday. We have a wonderful habit of trekking off to barely-planned nowhere and setting up camp for the weekend, preferably during the winter. Snow camping! I will try any food at least once, including the horse sausage, barely cooked pig entrails and Mongolian yak cheese I consumed more than once in Russia. My rock/mineral/fossil collection is growing faster than I can manage. I’m very serious in my goal of hiking the Annapurna circuit and also visiting Hemis National Park, among other travel goals in the region. I dream of long-term “useful project” travel, as opposed to being a tourist for two weeks in a place. I…can’t stand chocolate but ginger is my one true food weakness.

That’s enough for an introduction I think. I love to talk when I find the time, and I tend to write in bursts, so posts are likely to be relatively infrequent, but lengthy. Hello again!

PS. I like to go by Ghost online, as tribute to the “ghosts of the mountain” as snow leopards are sometimes called. Their rarity is not romanticized mystery, as the name might imply, but rather in part a result of the challenges the species faces in the wild. The name is out of respect for them.
yourdeer: (Default)
[personal profile] yourdeer
(Rewritten to minimize rant, to add more of my own experiences, and to try to make the words a little prettier. Hoping to submit to the call for therian writings.)

There is a beautiful and romanticized image of the doe: she is graceful, elegant, and delicate. She is shy and unattainable, disappearing softly at the slightest sound. Her eyes are a cliche for the vulnerable, docile feminine, and a glimpse of her, staring back at you for a profound moment before she flies, is precious and moving.

I am not this doe.

In a way, I hate this doe, because no doe is really this doe. This doe is all loveliness, and when we think of her as real, we are ignoring that deer are animals with all the smelly, uncomfortable, awkward, violent, and inescapable truths of being a living animal.

When I ignore those truths I feel like a liar. I have never found it good, in myself, to pretend that what is pleasurable is not also without grace or dignity, or that what is often visceral or disgusting is not also beautiful or pleasurable. To pretend that all is sweet and beautiful is to halve my joys and bury truths, whether it is about humans or deer.

Does are not all gentleness or vulnerability. They are fussily aggressive and can easily be called cruel by human standards. In the hungry depth of winter, a healthy doe, a survivor able to stand her ground against others of her kind, will certainly do so. She will actively prevent other does and fawns from food, even if she has had her fill. She will fend a starving family away from food she has claimed, and wait until they have left before walking away from the excess.

Nor do deer always flee in the face of danger - several accounts chronicle deer attacking dogs and humans when threatened, in some cases quite brutally. Not many animals hold up closely to their romanticized stereotypes when their survival is put into question, but the desperate deer can be the exact opposite of its gentle popular image. Its slim, delicate hoofs become formidable and unexpected weapons that bruise, lacerate, and break bones. There is no obviously toothy snarl – with no top teeth, an open mouth is not incredibly threatening – there is less expression in the face than in thin legs flailing and aimed to hurt.

In these, I know my distrust and the unexpectedness of it when I express anger. I know the stamp and the annoyance of simply remaining unwelcoming until someone I dislike just goes away. I know the attack that is dormant until one of my own, rather than me, is threatened. I know the unpleasantness of social distrust and dislike that is present in most creatures, but I know it in the often-quiet, near-expressionlessness of deer.

The deer is no peaceful vegetarian. We now know that deer do kill, sometimes to eat, and that they will scavenge corpses – in winter, yes, but also in the rich-grassed summer. The beached fish, the young grounded bird, the dead rabbit or pile of refuse have all found their way into the deer’s ruminant stomach.

I have never linked my diet and the deer’s – there are few things that are as wonderfully, pleasantly human to me as the way we prepare food. And yet we are both omnivores, and I take some pleasure in knowing that there is no “only this” or “none of that” even in the deer’s diet.


Deer are not always shy or skittish, nor does shyness equate to solitude. There is coalition between the whitetail and the turkey; there is play with rabbits or raccoons; there is tolerance of the lone coyote or the harmless pet dog. There is not even always shyness of humans – as many longsuffering suburban or rural gardeners can attest to. The safe deer can be a bold one or a friendly one, and deer have been known to take social interest in many other species including geese, rabbits, and cats, among others.

The deer that is bold in safety is the deer that I am. Skittish and untrusting until someone has proven themselves to be no threat, I have utter openness with those closest to me – I can do exactly as I like, most of the time, and fear nothing. And as the deer, I like to keep those I feel safe amongst close to me.


Deer are not all grace and preciousness. They are cervids, and cervids are very olfactory animals. As deer, to communicate is to smell; as nonhuman mammal, a primary tool in this communication is urine. To advertise one’s presence is to wallow in one’s own fluids or to mark one’s hoofs with urine. Courting, and therefore mating and surviving, is dependent on what we might think of as a disgusting fact. And yet we would not have deer without it.

As a human, it puzzles me to be leery of sex fluids. Barring concerns related to pregnancy or diseases, it is an alien concept to that some may enjoy sex but be discomfited by the thing that gives the activity its smell, its texture. Thankfully, I do not need to use urine to communicate my interest in my partner, but to rid myself of the smells of sex is a sad thing. It may be a human impulse, but knowing that the deer does what it can to strengthen its smell during the rut allows me to accept my own tendency to wallow in the smell of the body.


It is rare that in the realm of animals we see a mating that we can call romantic or dignified. Deer are no exception whatsoever. And in the indignity of the mating animal, I can remember that the cultural image of human sex as a flawless, seamlessly, gracefully passionate event is only a construct by omission. The undignified vocalization, the silly sound or awkward movement, is no less wonderful than the more idealized aspects of the experience: I know this in the grunt and bellow and low-thrust neck of the deer.

The grace of the doe, the elegance, is not what makes me deer. The romantic stereotype exists, certainly: A deer does flee, and I do usually feel more inclined to flight than to stand ground. The deer can be elegant, and there are times when I feel lightness of foot and ease of movement in a tall, heavy-boned but lithe body. The deer is vulnerable, and I feel vulnerable in the way that I recognize deer are very, very easy to kill – living in a rural place with a deer population larger than the human one, I saw a great deal of dead deer, and the mortality of the whitetail was impossible to ignore in a hunting community that also supports a healthy population of eastern coyotes.

And yet I do not feel graceful. Usually I feel colossally awkward, and something about deer speaks of that awkwardness to me. Being spooked about nothing, the awkward indignation of being disturbed, the skittering flight, the leggy leaps and funny-mouthed chewing – these are all deer. Some of these things are aspects of the romantic stereotype, but I do not perceive them in a romantic way. I do not think being deer makes me beautiful, desirable, or delicate.

To believe that being deer is a naked positive, without its stupid, its gross, its unpleasant-to-think-of, is to lie. Yes, there are things about deer that I think are lovely and ideal and that I relate to, often very much. I love the flick of the ears, the clarity of the gaze, the small cloven hoof poised not quite touching the ground, the flag of the tail, the sudden and fleeting bounding away. These are things that I can feel. But I can also feel the awkward stretch of the neck for browse, the indignation of being encroached upon, the need to hide, to flee, to fear. I can feel the undignified sound of the grunt and wheeze, the frozen discomfort of surprise and being caught in the headlights of night blindness, the flailing hoofs, and the hurried skitter away.

I can't deny the beauty and seriousness of feeling deer, or of following a deer path through the woods. I can't ignore the rough comfort of bark and the darkness of the woods’ smell, the depth of moss and flat beds in tall grass. But I also can't ignore that deer paths are liberally punctuated with droppings, that fur and gristle sticks to the front bumper for too long, that the deer’s bawl and bellow are ridiculous on the ears, or the way a buck’s carcass hangs without ceremony in November. The subtlety and quiet of the deer path, yet unavoidably littered with small piles of scat, for me, is an adequate metaphor for my experience of being doe: I can acknowledge the beautiful and wonderful, but must take into account the awkward and uncomfortable as well. I would not be deer if I could not accept both the loveliness and the unpleasantness of the doe.

[personal profile] emilyshadowwalker
(I hope this is okay as a first post. It'd probably would have been more polite to do an introduction post first, but the guidelines weren't exactly clear about whether that was a requirement or not. If you require a certain clearance or acknowledgement before posting, I'd be more than happy to take this down/have it taken down)

Some therians subconsciously view people as prey. There’s a sense of superiority, an underlying knowledge that everybody around you is a step down on the food chain. They don’t acknowledge it, but it’s there all the same. In the wild, an ordinary lion is going to eat an average human. In a shopping centre surround by slightly overweight, lumbering, distracted people, a hungry lion would be having a field day. At the least, there’s an understanding that ‘I have teeth and claws and am bigger and stronger than you,’ which leaves a lot to be desired when there’s any possibility of a physical altercation.

You’d probably assume that on the other hand, there are therians that are instinctively afraid of humans. Maybe a wary, easily startled deer, or a rabbit, caught in the headlights. Maybe these therians flinch at sudden movements and sounds, or freeze and then skitter away when someone elbows into them in a crowded space.

As someone who identifies as a wolf, I fall into the latter category, perhaps surprisingly considering others I have spoken to. I have maintained, and will always maintain, that wolves; natural, wild wolves, are shit scared of people. A wolf isn’t going to attack a person. It’s going to run away at the very sound of someone approaching. And that’s the truth for me as well. I’m acclimatised to people. If someone walks into me, I can deal with it and internalise it, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a part of me that treats everyone as suspicious. I never really understood that, when you’re in a room and a stranger walks in why, do people automatically assume they’re okay?

Realistically, unless they’re wielding a sawn off shotgun, strangers in the same space as you are not out to get you. This isn’t paranoia, and your chances of getting murdered are statistically pretty low. However, that doesn’t necessarily make other people safe. They’re unpredictable and a little crazy, and the problem with being as I am is that I am all too painfully aware that my teeth are not well suited to biting, and I am not stronger than most people, and I am not even faster than people. If somebody limps, my eyes are drawn to them. If they are ill or weak or slow, there’s a certain manner of singling them out from the group. Yet even then there’s a knowledge that they are not easy prey. They are not to be underestimated.

The instinctive reaction for some people appears to be aggression, and that’s not how I experience it. When cornered, probably, when defensive or protective, likely. But put me toe to toe with some guy outside of a tournament and I’m going to run the heck away as fast as I can.

Last year, I was bitten by a large, white, German Shepherd type dog whilst delivering papers. My reaction was not to growl, or to attack, or even to run away. I stood there. I looked at my arm. Saw the puncture wound. And then I calmly instructed my friend to ring my dad so he could take me to the hospital, as my arm was shaking too much to hold the phone properly. I distinctly remember apologising profusely to the woman who owned the dog and telling her that I was perfectly fine, because English politeness dictates that I should comfort the slightly hysterical woman regardless.

My instinctive reaction to fear is not then, to act aggressively. It’s to freeze. The image is easy to recall, the dog is running towards me, and the last thought I can remember is ‘Oh, shit’ before I put my arm up to my chest/face area to protect it. I didn’t move from the spot. And when people scare me, get too close, behave in a way that makes me uncomfortable, that’s also my reaction. I stop internally, I stifle any feelings deep inside, and I carry on.

People are not something I see as prey. I see a herd of horses or deer, and there’s that instinctive reaction, the rush of knowledge and longing. A group of people do not bring about the same effect. A group of people make me want to be invisible, quiet and small and unnoticed. I want to be able to pass by quietly, so I do.

This isn’t to say that I am shy, or do not interact with people. I have brilliant, wonderful friends, a girlfriend, and I’m more than happy to be the person who goes and asks a stranger where the closest bathroom is, or order food from a waitress. I can walk head held high down the street all I like, and make cocky arguments in debate with total strangers, but I still have an instinctive reaction of suspicion and negativity towards people’s intentions which as a rational, thinking human, I like to optimistically believe is not true. 

People are a lot like wolves, in the end. A lot of what I feel, everybody feels, even if I base it in something rather more eccentric. I believe that if you pitted a human and a wolf against each other in a room, chances are the wolf would come out on top. But probably not before it tried to run away first.

yourdeer: (pull)
[personal profile] yourdeer

Sometimes, horse is comfortable. There is respite, relaxed head angled towards the ground with eyelashes drooping close to one another, and there is high-spirited energy and determination, and there is strength for another’s need. But frequently, horse is irritated, angry, tired, panicked, overworked; it is an intolerant nag with thick legs, a heavy nose, and a poor temper. When I am horse, I am a huge animal – a creature that belongs in front of a plow or cart with straining legs or heavy clattering hooves, rather than one of flowing mane and gracefully bent trotting legs. I am not frequently a fun horse to be around; I am fussy and likely to kick, and will only grudgingly enjoy the pleasure of the curry-comb or carrot. But when I do, I will sigh heavily, close my eyes, and lean into it, grateful.

Anger, irritation, overwork, panic, and yet determination and pleasure to serve: I am horse in these states because other animals don’t fit the way I feel these things.

My anger does not have sharp teeth or claws or an agile, twisting body. It has flat, mean teeth, blunt hoofs, and weight, and sudden unexpectedness. It is not predatory – it simply desires to rid itself of all that is in its way. It will not rip or tear or devour; instead, it will bludgeon, and it will crush.

My irritation is the sharp slam of hoof on stall wall. It is the likelihood of lashing out with a swift and bruising kick or flat-toothed bite. Don’t come near me, don’t touch me, don’t make me do. It mistrusts. It has flattened-back ears and locked thick knees and obstinacy.

Horse is the foul mood of overwork, of being overburdened. It is the difficulty to relax after being demanded to do what benefits others. Though I need to feel useful and take great pleasure in it, there is that point where I balk, resistant to being useful for a moment longer. It is the indignant squeal, the little tricks to make it harder – puffing up to sabotage the tightening of the girth, keeping my head out of reach of the bridle, nearly squashing your foot without a thought. There is the bitter anger at those who should be working alongside me, but aren’t, and the open rage at the lazy thing pulling in the traces beside me.

There is panic, too, at being too crowded or faced with those unthreatening threatening things that come as sudden changes. It is a rearing, bucking sort that nearly topples itself and will damage others as much as it will break me. Though my body remains still, internally I rise and plunge, wild and sweating with white-rimmed, rolling eyes. It breaks when the crowd is gone and I am in the fresh air or home, or when I am spent, legs shaking, head down and done.

In these times, when I am the horse that is nag, it is comforting to remember that I am human, though somewhere inside there is an unpleasant and unhappy equine. I remember, when I am one human body packed tightly among many on the commute home, that I can will myself to stand still; picturing what I would be if I were the kicking, rearing horse reminds me that in my human body, I can remain as I am without hurting myself or those around me. I can quell my panic and wait to get home. The horse that I am would kill without qualms or intention, and most likely end up with broken legs myself – as a human, I can grit my teeth until “Next Stop: Washington Square” and then rush through the crosswalk and home.


            But besides all this there is determination and hard work. There is the big, hearty energy to give to another, to take directions and leap forward with them, to pull with all my strength with the result of joy and satisfaction, shared. There is the plodding work, the steady, persevering, low-headed forward movement towards the end goal of rest or praise. When I return home, it is the comfort of cozy stall or pasture, of my own space where I can do as I like, whether it is to roll without dignity or to sleep or to frolic. There is the feeling that horse was first remembered from, when deer pulling carts didn’t make sense, but horse, yes – heavier hooves and a more purposeful movement forward, carrying the purpose of others besides myself. It is, too, the rollicking carrying of big love, the wealth of my heart in the wagon on which perch the people I love.

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[personal profile] citrakayah
(Posted with permission from Feral and Yourdeer)

We are looking for essays from therians to be included in a publication, tentatively titled Under the Skin: Therian Community Voices. The goal of this project is to compile written works by therians or animalistic otherkin which describe their experiences with therianthropy/animality.

If you have essays, stories, or poetry about your animality, or on topics such as shifting, phantom limbs, discovering your theriotype, species dysphoria, or anything else pertaining to your therianthropy, please consider submitting them for this publication.

Nominations are also welcome if there is an essay or poem written by someone else which you would like to suggest to us to potentially include in this work.

Submission requirements:

    • The topic of the work must pertain to therianthropy or experiences of animality from therians and otherkin.
    • The work should be creative and original; consider what makes this experience unique to you, as we want to share a wide variety of experiences and voices.
    • The work must be completed to a relatively polished degree. Please check for grammar, spelling and continuity. If you have a learning difference or if English is not your first language, or if for any other reason you need assistance bringing your writing to a higher level of craft, contact us - we can help.
    • Works of up to 5,000 words in length will be accepted.
    • The author must be available to be contacted for copy-editing.
    • You may submit as many works as you wish; however, only two pieces per person will be selected for inclusion.
    • Please list an author name you would like to go by for your accepted submissions.
    • The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2013.

To submit your work or someone else’s, or to ask any questions about this project, please email it to yourdeermails@gmail.com, or post to the “Under the Skin” subforum in the “Werelist Media Center” section of the Werelist forums, making a new thread for each submission.
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[personal profile] elinox

I was thinking this morning that I should submit something here and these thoughts came to me. Warning: some of this might be a little gory for some folks. 

 “From one monster to another.” – Dr. Whale, Once Upon A Time

Wolf is not a cuddly puppy. Despite the romanticized ideals society has attached to wolves, they are not the soft and gentle, noble creatures, often portrayed in popular media. Sometimes, I am not a noble wolf.

During the winter months, when wolf is more prevalent, I want to use my teeth to tear and bite at my meat. To sink my maw into hot, fresh blood and sate my hunger on my prey. I want to use my blunt claws to rip at the underbelly and get at the tender innards too.  I want to crack bones with my jaws to get at the delicious marrow inside. Then I want to lick my fur clear and sleep for days.

In the midst of hunger, I see weak humans around me and children as prey. Easy prey. Soft, tender flesh which is easy, too easy, to tear into. Wolf sees humans as lazy, slow and fat and there for the taking. If it limps, my attention is instantly snapped towards it. If it shows any sign of being weaker than the herd, it’s also singled out immediately. Wolf’s mouth has been known to water at all the food nearby.

But the hunter is also wary, knowing these pink monkeys are nothing if but intelligent and therefore dangerous. When I find myself slipping into the starving wolf’s mindset, I need to remind myself that humans are not food, despite being so easy to kill.

My fur is not clean, but rather is flea bitten, has burs, sometimes with patches here and there, and is mangy. Not cat-clean. Not rabbit-fur soft. Rough and wiry to the touch. And wolf does not like touch. Humans touch to show affection, but they do it wrong to wolf. Wolf touches noses, and smells companions, rubs heads and along bodies, wags tail, paws at the ground. Sometimes mouths pack mates. Wolf does not like to be petted, wolf likes to initiate contact.

Sometimes wolf will lick in fondness, to invite proceedings and nuzzle. But then wolf wants to bite during romantic interludes, to pull away and snap to draw blood. To snarl and growl and not in an enticing way. The reaction to pain, intense sensations, heightened emotions, is always to bite. Wolf courtship is rough and not romantic.

Wolf wants to hunt, eat, sleep, fuck. Wolf is definitely not the family dog.


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Animal Quills is a creative community for animal-people to share and discuss their written works. Over a hundred essays are archived here (many of which in locked entries). We focus on the concrete "here and now" experience of being animal inside, and other related musings (see our About page if you want to post).

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