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September 2008

I'm taking a short hiatus from this blog. . .

...while I run off to get married. Yeah, I know: excuses, excuses.

In the meantime, here's a video by that great Scottish duo, The Proclaimers. This one is for Howard, who would have liked a Vegas wedding (in an Elvis Chapel), but has settled for New York. Thank heavens.

Edited later to add: At a wedding party thrown for us back in Chagford, Elvis (a.k.a. Nick Baker) made a surprise appearance and sang "Love Me Tender" to us...so Howard got his Las Vegas moment after all. (Nick, you're a prince.)


Coyote_speaks Coyote Speaks, the new book by Endicott Studio regulars Ari Berk and Carolyn Dunn, is finally out! Aimed at young readers, this handsome volume provides a terrific introduction to Native American myth, ritual, and symbolism, in all its rich diversity. Profusely illustrated with paintings, carvings and photographs (including one from another Endicott pal, Stu Jenks), it's a book I'll definitely be giving out to the young folks on my Christmas list this year (paired, perhaps, with my own Coyote Road).  And speaking of coyotes, Carolyn's 2002 poetry collection Outfoxing Coyote is also a gem.

Carolyn, by the way, has two mythic poems in the current issue of The Journal of Mythic Arts.  And Ari has been named the new editor of the Folkroots column in Realms of Fantasy Magazine -- which is a position I recently stepped down from, after 14 years in the job. I'm delighted that Ari is taking it on -- Folkroots couldn't be it in better hands.



Guarina Lopez Photography

Gurarinalopez I've never had children myself, but there's also never been a lack of young people in my life -- including one soon-to-be Step-daughter, two God-children (acquired in the usual way: their parents asked me to take that role), and one "Fairy God-daughter" (so-called because we adopted each other as family). I've known my Fairy God-daughter, Guarina Lopez, since she was a whip-smart, book-loving teenager who never went anywhere without her camera in tow. She grew up, became a professional photographer, and has just debuted a stunning new website of her art: Guarina Lopez Photography.

Guarina specializes in portraits of adults and children that range from gorgeous to hilarious -- in fact, some of you might know her work already through her portrait of writer Justine Larbalestier. In addition to portraits, the new site also features a wonderful feminist exploration of women's bodies and concepts of beauty, and arresting pictures of places and spaces from Roosevelt Island to the flea markets of Paris.

"I began photographing when I was 13," Guarina says, "after seeing a book of works at the local library by the photographer Diane Arbus. My inspiration came from the homeless people that I saw on the street and the vagrant group of parentless kids I came to hang out with. In my younger years I had always been interested in the curiosities of the human body and found solace in the 1932 film 'Freaks,' as well as books about medical deformities. What it all comes down to is the human condition. I will forever be interested in the spirit of those deemed less fortunate and the forgotten. I don't think I ever felt a sadness for their differences but instead a beauty, a kind of admiration for the ones that are too easily overlooked or looked upon indifferently. I suppose I still think I can garner wisdom from these forgotten people; that perhaps I can learn to see the world as they do."



Crow Country

41uqmeiiuhl_sl500_aa240__2 With corvids on my mind recently, Mark Cocker's latest book, Crow Country, caught my eye at my local bookshop -- and I highly recommend it. Cocker, an English naturalist, came across an enormous flock of crows near his home in the Norfolk countryside, and decided to follow their journey as they traveled north through England and Scotland. This is a fascinating look at the life of crows, on the state of counry life in Britain, and on the relationship between humankind and our winged brothers and sisters.



Photo_11

I recently moved from a PC to a Mac -- and I hereby apologize to all my friends and colleagues who have been urging me to make this switch for years now. I admit it. You were right.

Learning a new operating system is exasperating, of course, but I'm slowly starting to find my way around it . . . and I love stumbling across all the funny little extra programs that came ready-loaded on my laptop -- like the one that turned me into a comic book character (above). All that's needed now is a superhero cape, and voila, I'm ready for action.

A friend suggests designing superhero outfits with "4F" on the chest (where Superman has his "S").

"And what on earth does that stand for?" I asked her.

"The League of Feminist Folklorists & Fantasists. Don't F**k with us!"



Lori Field exhibition

Lorifields_3

If you live anywhere near Nashville, don't miss this exhibition by Lori Field, another terrific artist who works with animal-human transformation imagery.  You can see more of Lori's dream-like paintings on her website . . . and I highly recommend her blog: "Saints, Warriors, Tigers, Lovers, Flowers, Art."

I'm not as familiar with Anna Jaap's work, but her website contains some lovely imagery.



Bird_girls_2Due to last week's story on crows, I still have the birds on my mind...

...specifically, this poem by Mary Oliver.

In another poem, she writes:

Drive down any road,

take a train or an airplane
across the world, leave
your old life behind,

die and be born again~
wherever you arrive
they'll be there first,

glossy and rowdy
and indistinguishable.
The deep muscle of the world.

-- from "Crows" (New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992)