Recommended Reading

The Rose Tree Regiment by Lisbeth Zwerger


It's turning into one of Those Days (and probably one of Those Weeks) when a million different things to do are standing between me and studio time. Since I'm unable to sit and post properly right now, may I recommend a few good reads on other sites for your morning dose of inspiration?


The art above is by the wonderful Austrian illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger.  I'll be back in the studio just as soon as I can be.


Recommended Reading

Jeanie Tomanek

Howard and I truly enjoyed last week's Chagford Show, and also the final Widdershins event at Green Hill Arts on Saturday night. But with all this gadding about, I've managed to pick up some kind of stomach bug. I'm hoping it passes quickly and I won't be out of the studio for long.

Jeanie Tomanek

A few reading recommendations for you in the meantime:

W. W. Tarn, The Treasure of the Isle of Mist by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

Sister Act: female friendship in fiction by Alex Clark (The Guardian)

Simplicity or Style: what makes a sentence a masterpiece? by Jenny Davidson (Aeon)

The Race to Save a Dying Language by Ross Perlin (The Guardian)

Encyclopedia Blue, a history of the color by Bernd Brunner (The Smart Set)

Watch Out, Little Red, on wolves in Germany by Bernd Brunner (The Smart Set)

Bird Song Found to Somehow Protect Babies from High Temperatures (The New York Times)

A World Away, So Near by Julian Hoffman (People Need Nature)

Reclaiming Ritual by Lucy Purdy (Positive News)

Recommended listening: Tolkien: The Lost Recordings on BBC Radio 4 (time-limited)

Recommended viewing: Lunette by animator Phoebe Warries on Vimeo (with thanks to Sarah C. Hines & Jennifer Ambrose)

Bedtime Story by Jeanie Tomanek

The paintings today are by Jeanie Tomanek, whose work graced the poster for the "Power of Story" talk. Go here to see more of her luminous art.

The Return by Jeanie TomanekThe poem in the picture captions is from Evening Train by Denise Levertov (New Directions, 1992); all rights reserved by the author's estate.


Myth & Moor update

Nature studies by Beatrix Potter

Summer outside the studio windows

I'm off-line for the rest of the week, taking some "Studio Retreat" time in order to focus entirely on a work-in-progress. Tilly and I will be back next week.

Here's a round-up of recent reading recommendations to leave you with until then:

Sarah Lyall on Robert Macfarlane's "Landmarks" (The New York Times)

Claire Armitstead on Devon poet Alice Oswald (The Guardian)

Paul Kingsnorth on writing about the animate landscape (The Guardian)

Daniel A. Gross on silence (Nautilus), Rubin Naiman on sleep (Aeon), and Sara Lewis on fireflies (Aeon)

The hound lounging in the studio garden

Akilesh Ayyar on different ways of writing a novel (The Millions)

Ramona Ausubel on how to be a writer (Lit Hub)

Amanda Craig on the summer's best children's books (The New Statesman)

Anne Gracie interviews Eva Ibbotson (The Word Wenches)

Rob Maslen on "Children's Fantasy Literature: An Introduction" (The City of Lost Books)

Daydreaming

Cat sketch by Beatrix Potter

Charles Vess on illustrating "The Books of Earthsea" by Ursula Le Guin  (Tor.com)

Katherine Langrish on dwarfs, pixies, and the "Little Dark People" (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

Rosemary Hill on Beatrix Potter (London Review of Books)

Glynis Ridley on pioneer botanist Jeanne Baret (The Dangerous Women Project)

Hedgehog sketches by Beatrix Potter

Lily Gurton-Wachter on the literature of motherhood (Los Angeles Review of Books)

Lauren Elkin on female flâneurs  (The Guardian)

Jane Shilling on A.S. Byatt's Peacock & Vine, about William Morris & Mariano Fortuny (The New Statesman)

Kirsty Stonell Walker on Frida Kahlo & Elizabeth Siddal (The Kissed Mouth)

And here's a post of mine on why Internet breaks are important, as I prepare to spend time off-line.

Notebooks

Some recommended viewing:

Kevin Horan's glorious portraits of goats & sheep (The Washington Post)

Charles Fréger's portraits of the afterlife at Japanese folklore festivals (CoDesign)

Some recommended listening:

Syria's Secret Library (BBC Radio 4)

Robert Macfarlane on landscape & language (Radio New Zealand)

Reading ''When Women Rose Rooted'' by Sharon Blackie


Recommended Reading

Reading in the studio garden

A round-up of recent reading, magpie gleanings from hither and yon....

"Beatrix Potter, Enyd Byton, and the 'pictureskew' " by China Miéville (The Guardian)

"John Masefield and British Fantasy of the 1920s" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Irish Fantasy Writers and the Easter Uprising" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Synchrony in Howl's Moving Castle" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Maps of Fantasy Worlds" by Annalee Newitz (Io9)

"Why Do Adults Read YA Fiction?" by Austen Hackney (AH blog)

"Malefice" by Leslie Wilson (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

"Tiny Fairies" by Katherine Langrish (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

"Victorian Fairies and the Early Work of J.R.R. Tolkien" by Dimitra Fimi (Working With English)

"Fairies, Demons, and Ghosts in Shakespeare" by Dimtra Fimi (Oxford University Press blog)

"Wonders of the Northland: Hamlet and Macbeth" by Rob Maslen (The City of Lost Books)

"Estella Canziani: Piper of Dreams" by Christina Ruth Johnson (Enchanted Conversations)

"The Frog-King, or Iron Henry" by Mari Ness (Tor.com)

"A Field Guide to Mythic Monsters," reviewed by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

"Irish Bards Could Kill Rats with Poetry" by John Kelly (Slate)

"Word Obsessive" by Susan Price (Nennius)

"A’ghailleann: On Language-Learning" by Iona Sharma (The Toast)

June idyll

"What the Green Man can teach us" by Paul Kingsnorth (The New Statesman)

"The Nature of Britain" by Elizabeth Yale (Aeon)

"The Palm Trees and the Poetry of W.S. Merwin" by Casey N. Cep (The New Yorker)

"The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson" by Ferris Jabr (The New York Times)

"The Politics of Place: Terry Tempest Williams" (Scott London Interviews)

"Who Owns the Earth?" by Antonia Malchik (Aeon)

"The Songs of the Wolves" by Holly Root-Gutteridge (Aeon)

"A New Origin Story for Dogs" by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)

"The Metamorphosis: What's It Like to Be an Animal?" by Joshua Rothman (The New Yorker)

"Rewilding Human Nature" by Lucy Purdy (Positive News)

"Schooled in Nature" by Jay Griffiths (Aeon)

"Opening Our Eyes to Beauty" by Fiona Reynolds (The Guardian)

"Heartwood," story and art by Jackie Morris (The Tree Charter)

Sunbathing hound

"An Open Letter to the Hat-Wearing Dog from Go Dog, Go" by Raquel D'Apice (Ugly Volvo)

"On the Invisibility of Middle-Aged Women" by Dorthe Nors (Literary Hub)

"Women and Water" by Victoria Leslie (The Dangerous Women Project)

Marina Warner on Angela Carter (Discovering Literature: 20th Century)

"Georgia O'Keefe and Juan Hamilton" by Charlotte Cowles (Harpers Bazaar)

"Borges and $" by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens (Longreads)

"Ray Bradbury: Between Dystopia and Hope" by Patrick West (Spiked Review)

"The Thing With Fathers: The New Poetry of Fatherhood" by Stephen Burt (Boston Review)

"Louise Erdrich: By the Book" (The New York Times)

"Jenny Diski's In Gratitude" by Heidi Julavits (The New York Times)

"Fictional Homes in New York City" by Michelle Colman (CityRealty)

On Laurie Anderson's new film Heart of a Dog by Ryan Gilbey (The New Statesman)

Laurie Anderson on childhood, storytelling and hiding by Paul Holdengraber (Literary Hub)

Maira Kalman on mistakes, optimism, dogs and art by Jessa Gross (Longreads)

First Light A Celebration of Alan Garner

Katherine Langrish on Alan Garner and First Light (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

A conversation with Philip Pullman by Katy Waldman (Slade)

A conversation with Max Porter by Carmen Maria Machado (Electric Literature)

Rebecca Solnit on social change and hope (BillMoyers.com)

Rima Staines calls for a roots revolution (The Hermitage)

Sarah Smarsh on why art is more necessary than ever (On Being)

Samira Thomas in praise of patience (Aeon)

Lin-Manual Miranda's commencement speech at U Penn (Heatstreet)

Stories for creating a more hopeful world by Sita Brahmachari (Guardian Children's Books)

And now a bit of shade

 And some recommended viewing...

"Six Forgotten Female Pioneers of Photography" by Sara Crompton (The Guardian)

"Everday Life in 19th Century Cornwall," photographs (The Guardian)

"Indian's Disappearing Musicians," a photo essay by Souvid Datta (The Guardian)

"The Shinto Onbashira matsuri in Japan," video (Aeon)


Recommended Reading

Comfort in Quilting by David Wyatt

From Irish Fairy Tales  illustrated by Arthur Rackham (1920)

The bug that I'm down with is still going strong, so I can't yet predict when I'll be back in the studio. In the meantime, here's some recommended reading for you...

"A Conversation with Phillip Pullman" (Slate Book Review).

"An Interview with Jenny Diski" by Robert Hanks (The Guardian).

"Witches Brew: Patti Smith's M Train" by Evelyn McDonnell (Los Angeles Review of Books).

"The Books" by Alexander Chee (The Morning News).

"Writers, we need to stop saying this" by J.H. Moncrieff  (blog post).

"Paint by Gender: The Shoes Under the Art World" by Pat Lipsky (The Awl).

"Why are Old Women Often the Face of Evil in Fairy Tales and Folklore" by Elizabeth Blair (NPR Books).

"Richard Dadd: the art of a 'criminal lunatic' murderer" (and fairy painter), by Paul Kerley (BBC Magazine).

"The Greatness of William Blake" by Richard Holmes (The New York Review of Books).

"Salthouse Marshes" by Robert Macfarlane and Adam Scovell (Caught by the River).

"HS2: The Human Cost" by Patrick Barkham (The Guardian).

"Finding Time" by Rebecca Solnit (Orion).

"Rebecca Solnit on Modern Noncommunication" by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings).

"In the Eyes of a Bear" by Julian Hoffman (Zoomorphic -- a fine new magazine dedicated to wildlife and the more-than-human world).

"In Search of the Mountain Ghost" by Katey Duffey (Zoomorphic).

"The Last of the Granny Witches" by Anna Wess (Appalachian Ink).

"The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy" by Sarah Boxer (The Atlantic).

"The Tea Party in the Woods: a Modernist Fairy Fale by Akiko Miyakoshi" by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings).

"A Mythological Dreamworld: Inside Sophie Ryder's Spellbinding Home" (The Telegraph, via Tanith Hicks) -- an inspiring glimpse into the magical home of one of my very favorite artists.

"The First Person on Mars" by Sarah Smarsh (Vela Magazine). I love Smarsh's autobiographical essays, drawn from her working class background...and this one is particularly good.

"The one with the Storyteller" by Joel Defner (Serial Box). Although ostensively an essay answering the simple question "What is your favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episosode?," it's actually much more: a meditation on the importance of stories themselves. Whether you're a Buffy fan or not, please don't miss it.

"Saved by the Invisibles" by Jonathan Carroll (Medium). Brief and lovely.

Tilly sillinessArt above: "Comfort in Quilting," a painting in the Local Characters series by our friend & neighbor David Wyatt; and an illustration for James Stephen's Irish Fairy Tales by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). Photograph: Tilly looking rather less elegant than Ozzie, the gentle whippet in David's painting.


Recommended Reading

In the field

I'm working on a long post for tomorrow, so today it's just a quick one with some recommended reading, and an update on Tilly's progress.

Our brave girl is doing better in her second week of post-operative recovery. She's now allowed to take gentle, ten-minute walks to build up her strength again...although she still has to wear her onesie (to protect her stitches), and put up with the indignity of a onesie-inspired new nickname, Little Sausage. Here she is in a nearby field, where I took a morning coffee break while she sat quietly beside me, content to watch, listen, smell the wind, and dream of longer walks to come.

Sniffing the wind

Below, a round-up of interesting articles that I've come across recently:

* "Imagination and the Age of Reason: Magic is Metaphor for Power of Mind" by Joanne Harris (Foreward Reviews)

* "Books were my crazy, wise companions in a conservative world" by Elif Shafek (The Pool)

* "Falling under the spell of fairytales and myths" by John Dugdale (Guardian Books)

* "'Get your head out of that book!': Children's stories that inspired leading writers," edited by Antonia Fraser (Guardian Books)

* "A pictorial celebration of the life and work of Joan Aiken" by her daughter, Lizza Aiken (Guardian Books)

* "The Tale of the Seven Stories" by David Almond (Guardian Books)

* "There Are No Recipes," advice for aspiring writers by Ursula K. Le Guin (Guardian Books)

Watching, hearing, smelling, waiting

Streamside

* "Reader, You Married Him: Male Writers, Female Readers, and the Marriage Plot" by Alix Ohlin (Los Angeles Review of Books)

* "Should Ethnicity Limit What a Fiction Writer Can Write?," an interesting essay on a contentious subject, by Susan Barker (Los Angeles Review of Books)

* "Friendly Fire," Andrew O'Hagan on the importance of friendship, and on making moral choices as a writer (Bookanista)

* "Art is a Form of Active Prayer," on Melissa Pritchard's A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write, by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

* "An Introverted Writer's Lament" by Meghan Tifft (The Atlantic)

* "When you lack self-confidence" by Sarah Elwell (Knitting the Wind)

Water & wildflowers

* "Cat Pianos, Sound-Houses, and Other Imaginary Musical Instruments" by Deirdre Loughridge & Thomas Patteson (The Public Domain)

* "A Lazarus Beside Me," an encounter with W.B. Yeats, by Avies Platt (London Review of Books)

* "My Gypsy Childhood" by Roxy Freeman (The Guardian)

* "Photographic Pres­ence and Contemporary Indians," a photographic project by Matika Wilbur (Yes Magazine)

* "Our Footprints on the Earth," on defending beauty and wilderness, by Ilira Walker (The Dark Mountain Project)

* "Restoring Peace: Six Ways Nature in Our Lives Can Reduce the Violence in Our World" by Richard Louv (Children & Nature Network)

* "Look, Don't Touch," an essay on children and nature by David Sobel (Orion Magazine)

* "An Uncommon Gratitude," an essay on place, loss, and unexpected gifts by Trebbe Johnson (Orion Magazine)

Brave Little Sausage

ProfileThe poem in the picture captions is from Dark. Sweet. by Linda Hogan (Coffee House Press, 2014); all rights reserved by the author.


Recommended Reading

Five Little Pigs by Elizabeth Shippen Green

A round-up of recent online finds:

* Simon at the Corymbus blog on music and wilderness (Corymbus).

* Sarah Elwell on elemental writing (Knitting the Sky).

* Warren Ellis on writing from a littoral space (Medium).

* Martin Shaw on hares and madrigals (Westcountry School of Myth & Story).

* Shazea Quraishi on bears and coming of age (The Guardian).

* Matthew Nowlan on wild children in recent fiction (Electric Literature) -- plus a previous post on wild children in folklore here on Myth & Moor, in case you missed it.

* Rhian Sasseen on the dearth of women hermits (Aeon) -- which brings to mind Sara Maitland's A Book of Silence.

* Laura Miller on "The Bloody Chamber," Angela Carter's classic volume of de-constructed fairy tales (Salon).

* Peter Bradshaw on "Tale of Tales," a new film based on the fairy tales of Giambattista Basile (The Guardian).

And one video:

* A short film about Yinka Shonibare's art project "The William Morris Family Album," on show at the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, London, until June 7.

From The William Morris Family Album re-imagined by Yinka Shonibare.jpgArt above: "Five Little Pigs" by Elizabeth Shippen Green  (1871-1954) and William Morris' Family Album re-imagined by Yinka Shonibare.


Recommended Reading

An etching after Bruegel, 1817

Recent items of interest...

* Photos of UK writers' houses: Jane Austen, the Brontes, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Lucy Boston, Agatha Christie and more (Guardian Books). I want to visit them all.

* Tracy McVeigh looks at the re-wilding movement in Great Britain; and George Monbiot, author of Feral, celebrates the return of British otters (Guardian Wildlife).

* Artist Chris Maynard pens a beautiful essay on "Why I Find Feathers Alluring"  (Center for Humans & Nature blog).

* Artist Jackie Morris explains how she fell in love with peregrine falcons (Guardian Books).

* Stuart Kelly appreciates the very magical work of Bill Willingham (Guardian Books).

* Maria Tatar discusses the enduring appeal of Peter Pan (Huffington Post).

* Elizabeth Svoboda reflects on the power of story (Aeon Magazine).

* Cory Doctorow gives some excellent writing advice (Locus Magazine online).

* And finally, sadly, a beautiful eulogy for Charles Bowden (1945-2014) by Richard Grant. Chuck Bowden was a tough and brilliant Tucson writer whose work I've admired for many years: Blue Desert, Desierto, Frog Mountain Blues, Seasons of the Coyote, and so many other fine books. There was absolutely no one else like him, and he will be deeply missed. (Aeon Magazine)

Cat sketch by Arthur RackhamArt above: "Concert of Cats," a 19th century etching after Bruegel (via Bibliophila),  and a cat sketch by Arthur Rackham. These are for Stuart, Phyllis, Valerianna, and other cat fans here. But don't tell Tilly.


Recommended Reading:

Reading in the Woods by T Windling

I haven't done a reading round-up in a while, so here are my magpie gleanings from hither and yon:

*  Jay Griffith's "Hearth: A Thesaurus on Home," a thoroughly gorgeous four-part mediation on the concept of home, highly recommended. (Stay Where You Are)

* Terry Tempest Williams reflects on "The Glorious Indifference of Nature," and also discusses the subject with Jennifer Sahn. (Orion Magazine)

* Jane Shilling's "How Pastoral Writing is Being Redefined" looks at new nature writing in England by Jay Griffiths, George Monbiot, Sylvain Tesson, and Philip Hoare. (The New Statesman)

* Robert Macfarlane explores "The Eeriness of the English Countryside" as expressed by writers and artists from M.R. James to Alan Garner.  (The Guardian)  

Tell Us a Story by T Windling

* Jack Zipes explains "How the Grimms Brothers Saved the Fairy Tale." (Humanities)

* A. S. Byatt reviews The Story of Alice: Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst. (The Spectator)

* Stephen March contends that genre fiction has become more important than literary fiction. (Esquire Magazine)

Fox Child by T Windling* Sherwood Smith analyzes the differences between Jane Austen's fiction and Georgette Heyer's. (Book View Cafe)

* Maev Kennedy on the discovery of Fanny Cornforth's lost grave. (The Guardian)

* Maria Popova spotlights Thinking with Animals: New Perspectives on Anthropomorphism by Lorraine Daston and Gregg Mitman. (Brain Pickings)

* For National Poetry Month, ten poems about animals, many of them mythic in nature:

"The Strange People" by Louise Erdrich, "Fox" by Adrienne Rich, "The Animals in That Country" by Margaret Atwood, "Toad Dreams" by Marge Piercy, "Birthdreams" by Laurie Kutchins,"Deer Dance" by Linda Hogan, "The Girl Who Married a Reindeer" by by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, "The Bear's Daughter" by Theodora Goss, "A Poem About the Hounds and the Hares" by Lisel Mueller, and "Mongrel Heart" by David Baker.

* And one audio piece: Elizabeth Knox delivers a knock-out inaugural Margaret Mahy lecture, podcast by Radio New Zealand. I hope you all know The Vintner's Luck, The Angel's Cut, Black Oxen, The Dreamhunter's Duet and Knox's other stunning novels; and the late Margaret Mahy's too for that matter.

Reading in the woods, with daffodils

Wild daffodils


Recommended reading, with bears

Once upon a time, with bears

The White Bear by Jackie Morris

Recent items of interest...

* If you're not already reading Maria Popova's excellent Brain Pickings blog, these two pieces resonate with our discussion of perfectionism and creative confidence here last week: "How We Become Who We Are" and "The Pleasures of Practicing."

* Longreads (another excellent site) has asked several authors and editors for their favorite online essays of 2014. I recommend Rebecca Solnit's "The Art of Arrival" in particular, which relates to themes we talk about here on Myth & Moor, but all the other pieces listed are thought-provoking and beautifully crafted as well. Taken together, they provide a masterclass in the art of the literary essay.

Drawing by Kay Nielsen* In "Why we need fairy tales now more than ever," Rowan Williams (theological scholar and former Archbishop of Canterbury) discusses three new books on the subject by Marina Warner, Jack Zipes, and Malcolm C. Lyons (The New Statesman).

* The Goblin Fruit poetry journal has posted its delicious winter issue, with a fine "Handless Maiden" poem by Mari Ness and other magical offerings.

* The new issue of Interfiction Online was published back in November, and I've been remiss in not mentioning it until now.  I particularly recommend "Open Spine, Turn Page" (nonfiction) by Carrie Sessarego. "This is the true story of how I journeyed through an interstitial world," she writes, "and how that journey transformed me. It’s also the story of how fiction saved me. Some of these memories are confused and some may be entirely false, but they are the memories I carry, and so I call them true."

* A few good books for winter reading (or re-reading): Arctic Dreams, nonfiction by Barry Lopez; This Cold Heaven, The Future of Ice, and In the Empire of Ice, nonfiction by Gretel Ehrlich; The Reindeer People and Wolf's Brother, novels by Megan Lindholm (a.k.a. Robin Hobb); and The Ice Bear, a picture book by Jackie Morris, whose "White Bear" painting is above.

Bear Mates

Dreaming of Artic Dreams by Barry LopezArt above: "The White Bear" by Jackie Morris and an illustration from ''East of the Sun, West of the Moon" by Kay Nielsen (1886-1957). Photographs: Polar Bear Mother & Cubs and Polar Bear Mates (from wildlife information sites, photographers uncredited, fairy tale words in the former added by me), and Tilly contemplating polar bears with the help of Arctic Dreams. Previous posts on winter and bears: "Following the Bear" and "Embracing the Bear."