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November 2008

Midsummer Nights Dream Charles Vess

I'm still too distracted by house-buying and book-finishing to post here properly, but in the meantime check out Charlie Vess's blog (November 25th entry), where he details the on-going process of creating a bronze fountain, for a public plaza in Virginia, inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I finally got to see Seth Lakeman in concert on Sunday night, after two years of near-misses in all my previous attempts to do so. Lakeman is a local lad, specializing in songs inspired by the history and folklore of Devon and Cornwall, and the Great Hall at Exeter University was packed with an enthusiastic crowd. Despite a hyperactive light show that ocassionally made it hard to actually see the musicians (at least from our vantage point in the balcony), it was a terrific performance full of dazzling musicianship. Lakeman on fiddle is truly a wonder to behold.

The video above features one of the songs he performed, "Solomon Browne," off his lastest CD, Poor Man's Heaven -- though for me the highlight of the night was his solo performance, with fiddle, of an earlier song, "Kitty Jay," based on the legend of Jay's Grave. (Check out this interesting little video about the song's creation.)

I doubt I'll be able to post again this week -- I'm in the middle of buying a house and finishing an anthology -- but I'll be back when life slows down long enough. And as soon as I can get my hands on a functioning scanner, I've got some new paintings and drawings to share. 

Iain Blog Nameplate Final

My friend Iain McCaig has an amazing new book out: Shadowline, from Random House/Insight Editions. This stunningly beautiful volume compiles many years worth of paintings, drawings, film designs, book illustrations, and much, much more. The sheer range of Iain's work is jaw-dropping -- even to someone like me who has loved his art for years -- and the text is a delightful, insightful exploration of the process of telling stories through still and moving images. (Don't let the cover price put you off; this lavish volume is worth every penny and then some.)

Iain was born in the U.S., raised in Canada, studied art in Scotland, began his book illustration career in London, married a lovely woman from Portugal (with whom he's raised two childen), and has worked on films in California and around the world.  You can see some of his work here (on the Endicott Studio site ) and here (on the Gnomon Workshop site). He's also got a new blog in the works.

Iain McCaig fairy



Yes we can...


...and yes we did. Very happy today.

And very sleepy, since I stayed up till four in the morning, UK time, to wait for election results with other American ex-pat friends here in Devon. Walking home through our village in the wee hours of the morning, I was filled with wonder that I'd lived to see a mixed-race candidate win the highest office in the nation, uniting supporters of all ancestries, ages, and backgrounds. (And oh, I'm so proud of my old home state of Pennsylvania -- where I personally think it was my hard-working, union-supporting brothers who put him over the top.)  Then my husband and I listened to President-Elect Obama's stirring acceptance speech on the radio. I like the fact that he talked about the hard work ahead, the importance of community service, and that we're all going to have to roll up our sleeves. I'm also delighted (and relieved) to have an unabashedly intellectual president, who understands grammar and speaks in complete sentences. As someone with working class roots who benefited greatly from a government assisted college education, I've found the strain of anti-intellectualism in modern politics both puzzling and troubling. Instead of saddling hard working men like my brothers with the demeaning label "Joe Sixpack," let's help their kids get good educations too. And then, like Michelle and Barack Obama, who knows what they might grow up to be.

Post script: I love Garrison Keillor's toast to the Obamas, which is on here.

Goldstar by T Windling

I've just learned that the Endicott Studio's Journal of Mythic Arts has won The World Fantasy Award -- which is a very lovely way to end its eleven-year run. (For those who don't know, the Summer 2008 issue was our last.)  We won in the "Nonprofessional" category -- I'm not sure why -- perhaps because the Endicott Studio is a nonprofit organization. (All profits made by JoMA and other Endicott projects go to charities for abused, homeless, and at-risk children.) Well heck, however they categorize us, Midori and I are delighted. We're very grateful to the WFA judges, to all the good folks who have worked on and contributed to JoMA, and to the fantasy community for supporting Endicott and mythic arts.

The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales (part of the "mythic fiction" series I edit with Ellen Datlow) didn't win in the Best Anthology category, but I'm pleased to report that the award went to an excellent book: Ellen's horror fiction anthology Inferno. Hooray, Ellen!

A full list of winners and nominees can be found here. Congratulations to everyone.

Election day fast approaching, and I'm a complete bundle of nerves. I'll be spending the night watching the returns (at an ungodly hour here in the UK) with the other American ex-pats in my village. Our host has already bought champagne for a celebratory breakfast the next morning. (Lordy, how I pray that his confidence is not misplaced.)  Here's my video pick for this history-making election, from Old Crow Medicine Show. Filmed in New Orleans, it reminds us of one of the many reasons why fair elections and good government matter.