Discover more from Pangrammatike
Hello, Mesahelepui, Tsulav, &c., &c.
This is my first post, and we'll dig into what this Substack is about.
My name is Kaye. I write conlangs, poetry, essays/primers, and stories. The greetings in the post title — mesahelepui and tsulav — come from my conlangs Tveshi and Narahji respectively. I have about eleven conlangs, plus … an uncounted number of naming languages that I’ve made on the fly for writing purposes.
If you’re diving into this Substack from my Wordpress blog KALLISTI, welcome. If you arrived at it in some other way, welcome.
The primary goal of this Substack is to serve as a hub for my creative projects, especially those that are out-of-scope for KALLISTI. Over the past few years, I’ve dipped my toes into self-publishing with a poetry chapbook Acts of Speech and a practical, nuts-and-bolts-with-some-theology primer The Soul’s Inner Statues. I’ve also written a primer on self-study in the Platonic tradition, a free-to-you set of prayers to use in ritual for Hellenic Gods, and a plethora of religious essays on KALLISTI — some of those went into the bones of The Soul’s Inner Statues, but others — on compassion meditation and community and such — postdate the publication of that book and are more standalone. One of my main theological fun spaces is thinking about Platonic theology in conversation with astrophysics.
As you can tell, most of what I write is religious — polytheistic, focused on Gods and our relationship to them.
Nonfiction isn’t all I do, though. Since I was first taught meter as a kid, I’ve written poetry. Since my preteens, I’ve written stories. Since my mid-teens, I’ve written conlangs. What inspired me to move in that direction — that all-encompassing worldbuilding — was a mixture of admiration for Tolkien’s creative process (despite not really being a Middle Earth fan; I’m not a High Fantasy person) and Le Guin and Wolfe. As a girl, I thought that deep worldbuilding was required for speculative fiction, that the immersion was a given. What makes me tick when reading fiction isn’t usually escapism. It’s the scenario planning: Take a group of people, throw them into a situation, and hypothesize about what happens. I love learning what the authors think their characters would do.
When I write fiction, I draw from all of this. I use a single setting for (almost) all of my work across a very wide time period. My speculative fiction is polytheistic. Some of the deities are built up for the work, and others are Gods familiar to me (and maybe to you) whom I’ve integrated into the work via the question “so what would worshipping this deity be like in the setting I’ve created?”
I have a traditionally-published short story, “Ash Shades,” in The Society of Misfit Stories Presents … (February 2019). That story explores how people give last rites when they are uprooted from all that is familiar and Earth-y, when they have to figure out on the fly what to bring into a new environment based on what is available around them.
However, most of my writing is a bit too artsy for the market.
Self-publishing gives me the freedom to develop the narratives the way I want and to make the art the way I want to make it — to worry less about profitability and focus instead on the joy of experimentation and taking fantastical scenarios to their most realistic conclusions.
And maybe contribute to what polytheistic fiction can be. And maybe, somewhere, find others who are curious about similar things and who want to read this.
My first fiction book, a novella (about 40,000 words) called The Village of Strong Branches, will be released on July 29. Print and ebook preorders are open. Print may take a bit longer to show up in the distribution channels, so here’s its ISBN: 9781735740645.
Stay tuned for the book cover.