Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fine, So I’m Not a Very Nice Witch

Everybody has a holier-than-thou friend or, in my case, a witchier-than-all acquaintance. My pain in the ass friend almost visited me yesterday. She wanted to see my writing studio and bring me a house warming gift—I’m so blessed, aren’t I?

So… she brought me five plants. Tomato, pepper, beet, eggplant, and—are you ready for this?—broccoli.

Let me explain some things. My writing studio is a 28’ x 13’ half cellar with four 24” windows that bring in very little light. My brightest window is in the bathroom. Go ahead, chuckle, it is kind of funny.

“Um… Witchier-Than-All,” I asked, “where did you find a broccoli plant this time of year?”

She beamed (I know this is a cliché, but the triumphant light that bathed her features could only be compared to a kind of psychotic beaming). “I got them online,” she told meI ordered too many, and I figured you could use some. You are always talking about how growing things is good for the planet and for the pocket.”

I blinked. “How much did your pocket spent on this?” I pointed at the poor little plants, which I noticed were wilting in the trunk of her car.

“That’s not the point.” The beam was replaced by a hastily camouflaged scowl. “What counts is that I’m being good to the Great Mother, and I’m bringing living things into my life. I thought you were a nice Witch, and you would—”

“Look,” I said. Okay, I probably yelled it. She was getting loud and I had to talk over her ranting. “It’s not that I don’t like the plants; I love them. The thing is that I don’t have the space or the light to give these plants a good home. I won’t accept them just to see them die. They would do much better with you or someone who can care for them.”

“I don’t even know why I tried. Everybody in the coven said you weren’t a real Witch or a nice person.” With that, she slammed the trunk, got in her Prius hybrid, and drove away. She never made it into my writing studio. Thank gods!

I walked to my writing studio, thinking, fine, so I’m not a very nice Witch; not when being one means compromising my common sense. I miss having a kitchen garden. I love my dragon’s blood plant, and the bamboo and philodendron I grow in a pot and a jar, respectively. They know it, too, for I often tell them how much I wish they had green kin that didn’t mind sharing their bits with my tummy.

But being a Witch is much more than having an altar, burning candles, and surrounding oneself with greenery. It is to have enough insight to understand that good witchery doesn’t involve a one-size-fits-all mentality. The same goes for how we express environmental consciousness—by we, I mean me, and maybe Polgara, too. 
“Until a person learns to laugh at himself, though, his life will be a tragedy – at least that’s the way he’ll see it.” Polgara the Sorceress by David Eddings
      

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Secluded No More… Almost

My so called writing seclusion will come to an end tomorrow evening. I did terribly. I didn’t get done half of what I had planned, and that made me feel crappy—not literally, but that’s another post—and there is not a damn thing I can do to get my time back. Oh well, maybe I could bitch a little less and bring some balance back into my witchy life.

Last week, Serenity invited me to Get Off the Broom, again. She said to make a list of the reasons or excuses that explained why I haven’t been taking the whole getting my butt in shape bit as serious as I should. Um, that answer won’t take long: my body wasn’t inspired. And when in a state of blah, my flesh and bones are worse than the mind of a mule that is extremely proud of having its picture over a ginormous pin that screams, Got of Stubbornness?     
Stubborn Mule Sticker by Inspirationrocks 
But school is back in session, and the long days of writing, reading and arguing will push me get back in track. Weird how people—and by people, I mean me—are more productive when extra busy…

Tomorrow, I’ll do my Daily Thirteen while listening to Here Comes Science by There Might Be Giants. I’m blaming my “Bloodmobile” addiction on the Little Princess.  

And because I luv you a whole freaking lot, let me share bits of the readings that have kept me going these last few days:

Truckers by Terry Pratchett
“Granny’s remedies, made from simple, honest, and generally nearly poisonous herbs and roots, were amazing things. After one dose of stomach-ache jollop, you made sure you never complained of stomach ache ever again. In its way, it was a sort of cure.” A week ago, my stomach was mean enough to make me miss my grandma’s “nearly poisonous” teas.

Snuff by Terry Pratchett
“The colonel was, by inclination, a live-and-let-live personality and, frankly, if a gel wanted to go around with another gel who wears a shirt and tie, trains horses and has a face like a bulldog licking vinegar off a thistle, then it was entirely her business. After all, he told himself, what about old “Beefy” Jackson, eh? Wore a dress every night in the mess and rather flowery aftershave for a chap, but when the call of arms came he could fight like a bloody demon. Funny old world.” You can’t deny it, my Wicked Darlings, Sir Terry has many ways with words ;-)

          “Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference.” I think Stephen King pulled this out of my soul, so that my Piano Man could see it in print.

Life is good… 

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Looking Back…

I’ve reread many of my old posts… Some left me giggling, a few crying, and many of them made me go, “My goodness, I’ve grown quite a bit these last few years.” The exercise also helped me decide not to change a thing about my old entries. Remember how I had planned to edit everything? Well, I won’t.

I enjoyed the opportunity of looking back and seeing how I’ve changed, and in what ways I remain the same witchy writer. Some of the changes are not actual changes; not really. Realization and self-understanding are better descriptions for what I’ve gone through.

For instance, in my answers to a meme I posted on January 2011, I said that Sin/Nanna was my patron god and Hekate my patroness goddess. I remember how uneasy I felt when I responded to those questions, but I didn’t know why. Today, I know: I don’t really have a patron god or patroness goddess. I identify with Sin, The Green Man, Hekate and The Morrigan, but I see them as different aspects of One Devine that needs no gender division.

So… I haven’t really changed. It wasn’t that a year ago I believed those gods were my patrons and I’ve changed my mind; no. The truth is that I didn’t understand what my heart already knew. It took me some time to see it.

I also like comparing my 2009 writing to that of today. This was the part that made me giggle the most. Posts and stories that used to take me hours to compose; now they take less than a third of the time. And the writing is tighter and more reflective of what I want to convey.

A writer friend advised me to strip my blog of “bad grammar, sloppy syntax, weak writing structure, and anything that might lead a reader to believe that I’m anything less than a serious author in the making.” I know she means well, so I’ll follow some of her advice. I’ll edit and probably develop selected titles from the short fiction I’ve written for Pagan Culture, but I’m leaving my other posts alone.

I learned something else. I used to think that I didn’t have a diary, but what’s Pagan Culture if not my journal?

Do you treat your blog as a personal, artistic or work journal? Has your blogging theme changed since your began sharing your thoughts with the world?

Now back to writing fiction. I left my main character in a terrible mood… in the middle of her kitchen garden… holding a machete… I don’t remember seeing any weeds. She might behead the lettuce… or the garlic. Um, did I just hear a peppery scream? 
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shoveling Sh*t from a Sitting Position

I haven’t been feeling well these last two weeks. There have been headaches, stomach aches, unfounded inner outbursts, lack of appetite, insomnia, and worst of all, I spent thirteen plus days not been able to add anything good to my work in progress.  

I was stuck on one scene. When it felt like my head was going to explode, I took a break and spent half a day cooking, playing games and watching TV with my Piano Man and the Little Princess. Actually, I determined not to disrupt my misery, but my Piano Man wouldn’t hear of it. He showed up at my writing studio, told me, “Cheer the fuck up.” He kissed me hard, waved delicious creamed spinach and sweet potato casserole in my face, and took me home for a few days.      

I resumed my writing the night after the kiss and the spinach. The storytelling—or should that be story-writing?—didn’t improve, but I was energized with fresh fortitude. I took the scene that was kicking my behind and rewrote it five times. I, while neck deep in despair, knew that everything I had written was crap. But in the words of Stephen King, “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”

So I went back and reread all the shoveled shit. And you know what, my Wicked Darlings? Three of the drafts stunk like a garden of rotten buttholes under a midday desert sun. Then I read the oldest of the drafts, and voilà! I found my way back into the story.  

Curious about what froze my flow? A few things:
- My main character is a bit older than I thought.
- She is best friends with a guy, not with the girl I created for her.  
- Alma Mia Cienfuegos will not allow anyone but herself to narrate her story.

I’m not saying that my character is writing her tale; my stories and my life are mine to sculpt. But in storytelling like in spirituality, things can go terribly wrong when one tries to follow an unbendable plot. It is great to have an idea of where we want our lives and stories to go, but the world is ever-changing. Only those who bend and twist with its turns will live and have a chance at happiness. 
Twisting by Natasha Gunn
    

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spilled Innards

Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12
“Walking out in the middle of a funeral would be, of course, bad form. So attempting to walk out on one’s own was beyond the pale.” Nope, m’luvs, can’t forget your manners just because you’ve reached zombie status.

Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12
“...and it was heaven...even if she was standing in the spilled innards of a disemboweled dreadful.” Love is such a powerful thing. It even affects your sense of smell.

Unstable Environment by Marcia Colette, 2, 5, 9, 12
“I’ll sue the fucking cotton out of his pants!” … I nearly died laughing. Yep, I have the sense of humor of six-year-old boy who has watched too much grownup TV.  

Spilled innards, ha!

In case you are wondering about my Get Off Your Broom progress, well… um… about that… It’s cold. My stomach has been a jerk. It’s cold. I’ve been excising my mind (reading and writing like an mad woman) and my libido stays active. That counts, right? Oh, and it’s freaking cold.

Also, I think my mind knows something about my metabolism. I haven’t been eating much these last few days. Except two days ago… I ate a bunch of chicken soup. And cake. And I have been snacking on leftover meringue ever since. Yum!

Click on the image to see my 2012 To-Be-Read List
1 for Witchy Books, 2 for Horror and Urban Fantasy, 3 for Daring You to Read…, 
4 for LGBT Reading Challenge, 5 for Fantasy, 6 for Zombies, 7 for Dystopia, 
8 for Audio Book, 9 for Outdo Yourself, 10 for 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge,  
11 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, 
12 2012 Paranormal Reading Challenge, 13 Projecto Lecture 8 Inanna

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bruja de Luz and Darkness, Too

“Bruja is the Spanish word for Witch”. It’s not déjà vu, m’luvs; I’ve told you this before on one of my entries about Outside the Bones. But this is not about a book. It’s a post about identity and roots.   

My witchery is more mine that it has ever been. I’ve defined it by adding to my knowledge, making changes to my magic, and at times excluding bits that don’t work for me. I also remind myself that my first spells were chanted in Spanish, and that it was in my mother tongue that an amazing Witch told me, “Bola ’d Fuego, la luz no existe sin tinieblas. Una Bruja con poder entiende la importancia de una vida balanceada.”

I still remember her beautiful serious face, and the way she wagged her finger at me from behind her library counter while sharing her wisdom. She has been gone from this world for a while, but before she traveled to the Summerlands I made sure she knew her words became a mantra. “Light does not exist without darkness. A Witch with power understands the importance of a balanced life,” the power of knowledge and the magic of language.

My Caribbean roots are always with me. In my hips while I dance Bachata, in the aroma of my sancocho, in the heat of my blood, in the stories I write, and in some of the tales I read. This is my 2012 books in Spanish reading list:

1. Anna Karenina by Leon Tolstoy
2. Cuentos eróticos by Chaucer-Bocacci Zweig-Petronio
3. Cumbres borrascosas by Emily Brontë
4. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
5. La fortaleza digital by Dan Brown
6. Grandes esperanzas by Charles Dickens
7. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
8. Historia de dos ciudades by Charles Dickens
9. La máquina del tiempo by H. G. Wells
10. Las aventuras de Huckleberry Finn por Mark Twain
12. María by Jorge Isaacs
11. Oliverio Twist by Mark Twain
13. El principe y el mendigo by Mark Twain

I know that only one of these stories was originally written in Spanish, but the magic of language goes beyond words. It extends to the examination of how others understand ideas. I will read the books I listed above, first in Spanish and then in English. I will read literary criticism in each of the works, too. Then I will see what my witchy brain makes of the whole thing.

What does all this have to do with identity and roots? Simple, my Wicked Darlings, I am no longer the girl who listened in front of a library counter more than twenty years ago. I am a Witch who loves diversity, balance, growth…

My twelfth grade AP Spanish Literature teacher might explode with linguistic indignation if she reads what I’ll write next, but life happens and I love who I am. I’m a Bruja de luz and darkness, too. Mrs. Ramírez is one of the most intelligent people I ever met, I’m sure she’ll understand what I mean. If not, well… life happens and we live.
 Click on the image to see my 2012 To-Be-Read List
1 for Witchy Books, 2 for Horror and Urban Fantasy, 3 for Daring You to Read…, 
4 for LGBT Reading Challenge, 5 for Fantasy, 6 for Zombies, 7 for Dystopia, 
8 for Audio Book, 9 for Outdo Yourself, 10 for 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge,  
11 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, 
12 2012 Paranormal Reading Challenge, 13 Projecto Lecture 8 Inanna
PBP Week 3

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Double Witchy Cat Dare You...

Yes, cat; not dog. Who said puppies get to have all the daring fun?

I’m daring you to read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, a book that does something to remind you that “the planet that feeds you, dresses and shelters you…” needs help staying alive.

It might be a bit weird, but this nonfiction book has always felt like an example of real life urban fantasy to me. Carson was a heroine of her times, and ours, too. If you like books about individuals who kick butt, then go ahead and give Silent Spring a chance.

And in case you are not already tired of me running my pie hole about, um… myself, I’ve been multi tagged for more. Yep, the lovely and all around witchy writers of In The Arms of Mother Earth, That Witch Is True, Aoibheal’s Lair, By Land, Sky and Sea, The Silence of the Moon, and The Witch of the Howling Creek said I must bless you, although annoy you might be more accurate, with random information about me. I’m an Aries, so of course I’m just too happy to oblige!

11 Random Things about Me:
   1. I’m a giver, but not a very good sharer.
   2. I don’t like anyone sitting on my writing space.
   3. The same goes, times three and a few hexes, for my altar.
   4. Liars have no room in my life; even if we share blood.
   5. I don’t understand intelligent narrow-minded people.
   6. “God-loving” religions that condemn people to eternal suffering, just because they don’t share their views, make my head want to explode with confusion.
   7. Skinny jeans look ridiculous on me, and I’ve often tried them on and laughed at myself.
   8. I find freckles on pale skin extremely sexy.
   9. I can’t separate sex from love, and I like that about me.
   10. I believe that to be openly gay, and happy in today’s society, is admirable.
   11. I miss my dog every second of the day.

Now I’ll answer the 1st and 11th question from every person who tagged me. I was supposed to answer eleven from each, but that’s a bit much. I’m playing it lazy…

From TanaéWhat one piece of art has moved you more than any other? Frédéric Chopin’s “Vals Opus 69 No.1 Op. Posth.” performed by my Piano Man. It leaves me in tears nearly every time.
Name the first word or image that comes to mind. I thought about Sweet Williams after a warm Caribbean rain.
From Hannah: Where is your favourite place? Why? I love Flushing Meadows Corona Park in summer nights… when the moon is dark and the stars bright.
What is your favourite song? “Pelo Suelto” by Gloria Trevi; read You’ll Dance When I Die to know why.

From Vickie: Who is your favorite author and why? A Terry Pratchett, Gabriel García Márquez, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Neil Gaiman hybrid.
On the weekends, if you have time, sleeping late or afternoon naps? Definitely naps!

From Dana: You have 48 hours left to live: what do you do with them? I have no idea, but some of it will have to do with sex.
What’s your favorite secret indulgence? Dulce de leche ice cream and burned peach pie. Okay, so is not really a secret.

From Diandra: What was your worst date, and why? It was my last date before meeting my Piano Man. After I told the guy that I wasn’t interested, he told me he “could buy women like me a dime a dozen.” He yelled the words as I walked out of a crowded restaurant in New York City. Yep, Mr. Wall Street Broker was extremely classy.
Where do you want to be in three years? I want to be writing, loving and witching successfully.

From Willow: What is one hairstyle you’ve always wanted to try but have stopped yourself for one reason or another, be it a different hair color, extensions, whatever? None really; I’ve done anything imaginable to my hair.
Do you have, or have you ever made, a witches’ bottle? Yes, many times. Actually, I will make one to charge under the following Dark Moon.

Twelve questions, huh? I don’t like that number. Guess you—each of you—get to ask me the 13th question. Wouldn’t want me to have bad luck, would you?

Now, because I’m a bit lazy and because I would hate to waste perfectly questions, I’ll tag eleven Wicked Darlings, and suggest they answer the 3rd and 9th questions from the ones who tagged me. Yes, m’luv, you’re it!

1. KimR

Please visit any of the lovelies who tagged me for the game rules. And do share your thoughts, if you decide to take my dare and read Silent Spring. While you are it, stop by Tinga’s Reviews and see who else is daring you to read.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Proud of the Lines in the Silver Glass

The last relationships I was in, before falling broom over heels for my Piano Man, were with models. I married one, was engaged to another, and ran for the hills before the third gave me enough reasons to strangle him. They were good men, and they loved me dearly. But looking back, I feel I didn’t love them enough to notice certain things. Or maybe I didn’t know what to look for.

You are probably wondering what I’m talking about, huh? I know, my Luvs, I get loquacious when I think about uncomfortable pasts… but I have a point. It has to do with the behavior of one of my ex’s. I haven’t seen him in years, so some of these might no longer be true—I hope it isn’t. He loved his face, his body, his hair, and the way women and men went crazy at the sight of him. One summer, during an award ceremony, we had our first and last fight. I thought he had gotten upset after my red faerie dress, hair and sparkly tattoos got more attention than he did. But I think I was wrong…
                                                                             
My Piano Man and I went to see “Follies”, last week. And in the gloominess of a decaying stage, littered with the sad present-lives of its fallen stars, I understood that the man who I was with all those years ago was not upset because my dress, hair and tattoos had mesmerized everyone. He hurt because earlier that night, I discovered my first gray hair.

I was so happy about finally getting some sage that I failed to notice his desperation. My gray hair horrified him. I smacked his shaky hand when it approached my head with a pair of tweezers. I had been glaring at my ex, when he said, “You are right, pulling it out will only encourage more to come out. We’ll dye it tomorrow.”

I ignored the comment and went to the party with a smile that kept me in a glorious blaze. In my witchy soul, age, experience, lines on a happy face, gray hair… are proofs that one has lived; evidence that a heart has danced at the beat of the Earth’s rhythm for a while. Gray hairs are sage badges. A Witch finds pride in becoming a Crone.

“Follies” presents stars that have lost their glow, but that is not the show’s main theme. The musical is about how “dreams and reality collide for one triumphant, haunting and unforgettable night when former members of the “Weismann’s Follies” reunite on the eve of their theater’s demolition. Two couples remember their glorious past and face the harsher realities of the present…”

That last sentence was the bit that made me feel terrible about my ex and many others who hold their “glorious past” as the best thing they will ever have. When that ‘best thing’ is a face, a voice, a body, youth… years become a curse, rarely a blessing. Life must be a terrible thing to endure when one is not proud of the lines in the silver glass.  
Look at this hair and this smile, stunning has no age.
Isn't my friend, Lee Rockwell, a beautiful being?  
Now I understand the forlorn expression under the mirthful makeup...  
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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Reckless Witch

I read an average of 100 books a year, give or add another hundred—I know *sigh* my name is Magaly Guerrero and I’m addicted to words. Out of the 100+++ books I read last year, you might find 13 or fewer that are nonfiction.

I write, read and breathe dark fiction. If you don’t believe me, just go ahead and read my bio. I have nothing against writing that discusses facts; as a matter of fact *grin* I’m a fan of dictionaries, biographies, almanacs, and most books about herbs. But I LOVE stories with characters that emerge right out of the deepest places in writers’ hearts and heads.

My latest portion of fictional ambrosia was served by Debora Geary. Her novel, A Reckless Witch, is life, excitement and magic whipped into the most delicious of tales. I will probably read it again. I love it because it fully reflects a vital part of my inner witchy self. If you have the chance to read it—and I pray you do—please let me know what you think. Better yet, write about it and tell the world what you liked most.  


My favorite part is the main character. “As a child, Sierra Brighton traveled the world. She swam with the baby whales, danced in storm funnels, and lived in complete magical freedom. And then Momma died and Sierra ended up in foster care, an unhappy and very secret witch.” But don’t despair, my luvs, for Sierra finds a witchy family. And together, they discover the power of eclectic witchery, the importance of trust and the magic of fifty foot waves.    
Hope you are having a wonderful Friday the 13th, my Wicked Darlings. I celebrated this wondrous day by reading 13 books from the 1st to 13th of January. I’ve quoted my favorite bits out of every tale I read. Hm, I kind of like this quote sharing idea. I might do it every month... Here are some for January:

1. A Reckless Witch by Debora Geary, 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11  
“The water can be fearsome. A joy, a partner, but also a life-taker.” I choose to focus on the ‘joy,’ ‘partner’ and giving bits ;-)

2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, 5, 7, 8, 9  
“I always channel my emotions into my work. That way,” it helps me share the good, the bad, the things that really piss me off, and of course, all the yumminess, too.

3. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, 1, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
“When you’re happy for yourself, it fills you. When you’re happy for someone else, it pours over.”

4. The Fall by Guillermo del Toro, 2, 5, 9, 12 
“Even if one understands that what one is doing is mad, it is indeed still madness”

5. Fledgling Witch by Karen Nilsen, 1, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12
“I’ve taken a lot of time devising insults for you.”

6. Hammered: Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, 12, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12
“Excellent!” Jesus beamed at him. “Now go and stake some vamps. Especially the sparkly emo ones.” This made me laugh for a long, long, long time. Thanks, Kevin!

7. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, 5, 7, 8, 9          “It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.”

8. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12
“Walking out in the middle of a funeral would be, of course, bad form. So attempting to walk out on one’s own was beyond the pale.”

9. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher, 12, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12
Chili dogs, funnel cakes, fried bread, majorly greasy pizza, candy apples, ye gods. Evil food smells amazing—which is either proof that there is a Satan or some equivalent out there, or that the Almighty doesn’t actually want everyone to eat organic tofu all the time. I can’t decide.Another gigglier!

10. Spirit of Flight by Rene J. Smith, 1, 9
“Magic is believing in yourself. If you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

11. Strange Candy Laurell K. Hamilton, 12, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12
“Moonlight shivered through the curtains.” I love this quote because I can see it happening, can’t you?

12. The Witch of the Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, 1, 8, 9, 10, 11
“What a pity that every child couldn’t learn how to read under a willow tree.”

13. The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
“Of course, I wouldn’t know a snowy egret if I were pissing on one. Lunch?” I’m crazy about this quote because with 15 words the author tells me exactly who the speaker is. Of course, Daryl Van Horne also shows his uniqueness when he says things like, “I always like a little pussy after lunch.”

What have you read lately, my Wicked Darlings? Anything witchy?
***
 Click on the image to see my 2012 To-Be-Read List
1 for Witchy Books, 2 for Horror and Urban Fantasy, 3 for Daring You to Read…, 
4 for LGBT Reading Challenge, 5 for Fantasy, 6 for Zombies, 7 for Dystopia, 
8 for Audio Book, 9 for Outdo Yourself, 10 for 2012 Pagan Reading Challenge,  
11 2012 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge, 
12 2012 Paranormal Reading Challenge, 13 Projecto Lecture 8 Inanna
PBP Week 2