About the author
Or: who does this guy think they are, anyway?

A passport cover
The inside of a passport

Ah, you’ve made it! I’ve gone by many names over the years, but for our purposes, you can call me Xanthe Tynehorne.1 I’m a Dutch citizen by birth, but for many years now i’ve lived shunted up against Hadrian’s wall in green and pleasant England.

In meatspace, i enjoy having a good walk, exploring and learning about my local area, and trying (and failing) to pick up new skills. (One day i’ll find a good rhythm to practice my drawing regularly. One day.) On t’internet, i enjoy hanging out with friends, lurking around local fora, and, of course, tending to this humble forest.

Whence the Tynehornes?

Hexham, Newcastle, and Ashington all lie in Northumberland, a county of England wedged right up north against the Scottish Border. In the Netherlands, Hoorn is to the north of Amsterdam; Utrecht is south of them both.
A map of the undermentioned places, to help you get orientated. (Poland sold separately.)
Two sailboats are parked in front of a row of quaint old Dutch buildings.
The old port of Hoorn. Alf van Beem

The paternal branch of my family hail from the proud seafaring city of Hoorn, in North Holland. In the sixties, it was designated by the government as an overflow town for those fleeing cramped and crowded Amsterdam2 — think like the new towns of Britain, but building on a preëxisting urban core — and my family took up the offer, bringing with them their belongings, talents, and accents. (Via surnames one can also trace the family history back to the province of Utrecht, but records are flaky, and in any case i feel no particular attraction to some random lord’s estate.)

I’m told i’ve got a bit of Polish and Gypsy in me, via my oma and opa, as well as a distant kinship with the mononymous Dutch singer Gordon.3

Winding gear at a disused mine juts up into the sky.
Ashington’s disused Woodhorn colliery, now a museum. Draco2008

The maternal branch of my family, meanwhile, have lived in the industrial heart of North­umber­land for as long as anyone can remember; my grandfather was a coal miner before Thatcher shut it all down. My mum consciously affected an RP accent when raising me; nevertheless, Geordie words and Pitmaticisms have been clawing their way back to my tongue since secondary school.

That side of my family also count a fair few Jehovah’s Witnesses amongst their ranks. My mum, thank goodness, got out when she came of age; she and papa raised me fiercely secular. (This is foreshadowing.)

Gender, or, why i enlisted in Tiresias’ army

Ah, that perpetual bugbear of history. The long and short of it is that i don’t particularly consider myself either male or female — i rather like to think that i combine the best aspects of both.

English is surprisingly yet a bit skint on good words to describe the bimodal valley between mounts male and female, but gun to my head, if you asked me to pick one to describe myself, i’d call myself a Hermaphrodite, imperfect a term as it may be. I aspire less to the scrawny, trim-haired youngster who tries to look like neither sex, which has become the popular stereotype of non-binary4 people, and would much rather present myself as the complete opposite: a buxom, bearded she-bear who looks like some (botanically) perfect fusion of both.

As far as *hushed whispers* “The Surgery”®™ is concerned, there have been significant advances in recent years that let someone have both sets of down-there bits. It’s a far cry from true Hermaphroditism yet, and i probably wouldn’t want to take them in their current state, but who knows, maybe twenty or so years down the line

An xkcd comic, riffing on ‘The Matrix’. In the first panel, Morpheus hands Neo the red pill and blue pill, saying ‘…or you take the red pill, and i show you how deep the rabbit hole goes’. In the remaining panels, Neo crushes up the pills and snorts them.
In short: this XKCD comic is me, but the red pill is œstrogen and the blue pill is testosterone.

Faith (and other beliefs)

The crumbling ruins of a Roman bathhouse.
The remains of the Roman fort at Vindolanda, near Hexham. Voice of Clam

I am a Pagan, holding faith in the Gods of old — particularly i worship the deities of the classical world, historically praised all the way from Britain to Bactria. As mentioned, i was raised an atheist, but as i grew older, i had a sneaking suspicion that there had to be something up there (or down there, as the case may be). I found the answers provided by the major monotheistic faiths unsatisfying, but when i looked into polytheism, something in my head just clicked — it all made sense.

There’s no reason for me to bore you to death with my political beliefs. Suffice it to say that i think humans are, generally, nice, that people should be free to do whatever they ruddy well like so long as it isn’t hurting anyone, and that stubborn misanthropy and hatred should be stamped out wherever they rear their ugly head.

→ See also: What i believe, The Forest of Shrines

About the site

A computer from 2007 running Windows XP.
My first experiences on the internet were on a computer not too unlike this, running Win­dows XP. © Les Chatfield

I’m young enough that i’ve never known of a time without the internet. My dad was a big-shot network engineer; my mum used IRC chats and BBSes to escape her restrictive household — it was almost a given that they would give me near-unfettered internet access from far too young an age. It’s long lost now, but on that early edition of Internet Explorer, they’d set up for me a list of curated bookmarks; endless rabbit holes of twisty little passages and personal sites tailored to just my interests. That was where my love story with the world wide web began.

Many years later, in 2017, i started toying around on the free web host Neocities, eager to find respite from the venom and vitriol of social media. The site lay dormant for years — and then, in the spring of 2020, the funniest thing happened

Stuck indoors with sod all else to do, where others baked sourdough, i tended to my website. Four years and countless redesigns, relocations, and renamings later, The Satyrs’ Forest, now hosted on a beat-up old laptop in an office drawer, is still kicking — so let’s hope it stays that way, aye?

The biggest inspirations for this site in the beginning were doubtless those of the conlangers David J. Peterson and Jan van Steenbergen, the latter even a fellow Horinees.5 Though they may not know it, i am forever indebted to them for passing me the flame of inspiration to make silly little websites on the internetz.

The fun part

→ See also: Xanthe does Proust’s questionnaire

Contact the webmixter

If you want to get in touch, please send an email to webmixter at satyrs dot ee yew. I don’t check my inbox too often, but unless you’re an arsehole or a spambot, i’ll try to respond, promise!

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