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August 2011
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September 2011

Recommended Reading:

Thistles 2Thistles in bloom in front of the "John Barleycorn" office.

I'll be getting back to the lengthier "Recommended Reading" lists once life around here settles down a bit (though when that's going to be, I hesitate to predict), but in the meantime, here are a few magpie gleanings to pass along:

* First, as I mentioned yesterday, the new issue of Stone Telling magazine is wonderful.

* Second, I've been catching up with all the fabulous posts on Katherine Langrish's Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, such as Mystical Voyages, Parts 1 & 2, new Fairy Tales Reflections, and book recommendations. Great stuff here, as always.

* If you're an Anglophile, or just love classic British literature, you'll find lots of good book recommendations in Colleen Mondor's "Hail Brittania" column, at Chasing Ray.

* Amal El-Mohtar has posted a gorgeous quote from Coleridge's notebooks ("Why do you make a book?") over on her blog, Voices on the Midnight Air. This one is definitely going into my Favorite Quotations file.

* You may have seen this link already since it's been making the rounds, but I love the post on building a house for less than $5000 on ciracar.com. What a charming hobbit-hole of a place!

* Video recommendation this week: Mark Tiedeman interviews Ursula K. Le Guin.

* Art recommendation this week: Christina Cairns has finished a very beautiful new painting at A Mermaid in the Attic.

And an update on art and artists from my village:

* Wendy Froud gives us a glimpse of her current desktop over on the Realm of Froud blog (and of Buster the cat in a very undignified position).

* Danielle Barlow discusses horses and knitting this month at Notes from the Rookery. (Reading Danielle's blog is always like taking a good deep breath of Dartmoor country air. I just love it.)

* There's  exquisite new art, end-of-summer adventures, and Dartmoor photos at Rima Staines' The Hermitage.

* Virginia Lee goes underwater for a thoroughly magical new portrait painting. (The tiny merchild curled in a shell is an image that threatens to break my heart with sheer loveliness.)

* David Wyatt has posted some terrific pages from his graphic-novel-in-progress, Sunsound, over on his Posterous blog. More, please, David!!! (Be sure to follow the thumbnail links at the top to view all four pages.)

* Howard & Rex have listened to the Will of the People and have posted more 1st-draft pages from their comic on John Barleycorn. They say the plot-line has changed somewhat since this early draft was written...but I'm loving seeing the roots of the JB story all the same. I'll find it interesting to compare such scenes to the final draft of the graphic novel, for I love seeing the creative process at work -- the changes, large and subtle, from revision to revision. And that reminds me of yet another quote, which I'll leave you with today:

"I love revisions...We can't go back and revise our lives, but being allowed to go back and revise what we have written comes closest."  - Katherine Paterson

Have a good weekend.


Friday morning: Living in Gratitude

Our house in the early morning mistEarly morning mist over our house, Bumblehill.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."  - Melody Beattie

"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink." - G. K. Chesterton

Dog in motionBlack dog in motion on the slope of the hill glimpsed in the picture above.


Stone Telling

Stcover-iss5 Don't miss the new issue of Stone Telling Magazine, which is focused on myth and mythic poetry this time out. The poetry gathered here is simply stunning, the photographic illustrations are terrific, and the Roundtable on Story and Identity (Julia Rios with Mike Allen, Erik Amundsen, Shira Lipkin, Koel Mukherjee, Delia Sherman, and JT Stewart) would be worth the price of admission alone -- except there is no price of admission, all these treasures are generously offered up free of charge.

You'll also find an insightful review from Mike Allen, a discussion of multicultural myths and poetry from Emily Jiang, and some very kind words about The Journal of Mythic Arts from Amal El-Mohtar, Brittany Warman, and Alan Yee. (*blush*)

Midori Snyder and I do miss JoMA...but we're thrilled beyond telling that a younger generation has picked up the editorial torch and is lighting new pathways into the mythic tradition. The editors here are Rose Lemberg and Shweta Narayan, with editorial assistant Jennifer Smith.  It's the magazine's fifth issue, and it's going from strength to strength. Bravo to everyone involved.

And thank you.


The Dog's Tale: What I Did on My Summer Vaction

by Tilly Windling-Gayton

Tilly's Summer Vacation

Here's what I did.

I crossed over a stream:

Crossing the stream

I climbed up a hill:

Nattadon 3 - Aug 2011

I checked to see if the blackberries were ripe yet (they weren't):

Looking for ripe blackberries

I walked by the river with my family:

River walk

I chased a stick:

Fetching a stick 1

I brought it back again:

Fetching a stick 3

I was startled when three more black dogs appeared:

3 more black dogs

I got very wet:

Wet tilly

I found a very smelly ball:

Ball

I gave up the ball in exchange for a very big bone:

Bone 3

And I fell asleep in the sun beside my People, dreaming of the cats and rabbits I musn't chase (but in my dreams I do).

Snoozing back home


Remembering

Pat & baby me

 

Today, it is ten years since my mother died, in eastern Pennyslvania. When she lost her battle with lung cancer, she was not much older than I am now -- for she'd been just a teenager when I came tumbling, unexpected and fatherless, into the world. That she would lose the battle was something we all knew, but it happened a good six months sooner than expected. I'd been making arrangements to travel from England to Pennsylvania to relieve my exhausted half-brother from caretaking duties when I woke bolt upright from sleep one night, knowing, somehow, that she had gone. My brother called 40 minutes later, confirming what I already knew.

Today, it is also ten years (and nine days) since the World Trade Center came down in New York, ash blanketing streets I'd often walked when I lived and worked in the city.

Tomorrow will be ten years from the day that I hurriedly traveled back to the States in time for my mother's funeral. At London's Heathrow Airport, the numb shock I felt at my mother's death was mirrored in every face around me, for most of the world was also in shock as the Twin Towers lay in ruins. The airport was thick with soldiers and fear as international flight schedules slowly resumed. My New-York-bound flight was half empty of course (who in their right mind would want to fly then?), the passengers eerily silent, sitting fearful and white-knuckled all across the Atlantic. A bomb scare diverted the plane to Canada, but I made my way back to New York and then on to Pennsylvania, to a small, private death in a country that had bigger things to think about and to mourn.

Thus today, not September 11th, is the day of remembering for me. Tomorrow I'll go back to books and art, to walking in the woods and loving the land and dealing with some difficult things that are on my plate right now.... But today is for remembering. For forgiveness of the past. For gratitude for the present.

My mother was not an easy woman. Our relationship was not an easy one. But I deeply value the gifts she gave me: a love of beauty, the ability to cope with change, and a capacity for working hard. Today is a day of remembering a quiet young girl named Patricia Ann, who had a baby much, much too young. And did the best she could, in a hard situation. This beautiful poem is for her, with compassion, and with love:

"Flare" by Mary Oliver.

As Oliver says: "A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world...."