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May 2010

Sir Lanval update


The Chagford Filmmaking Group is wrapping up the filming of Sir Lanval here in Devon this weekend. The film has been shot in both Devon and France as part of the Shared Legend project created in collaboration with the Centre de l'Imaginaire Arthurienne in Brittany. Sir Lanval is based, appropriately enough, on a story by Marie de France (a French poet who lived in England in the late 12th century), directed by Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, with a script by Elizabeth-Jane and Ari Berk. Good luck to everyone involved -- including my stepdaughter, who is catering the film (as well as acting in it), and my mother-in-law, who's working on the costumes. May your energies, and the weather, hold out for two more days!

For more information, visit the CFG's website, or follow the progress of the film on Facebook, here. The CFG is a nonprofit group that was created to support fairy tale films and involve local kids in the filmaking process. They are always in need of funds, so if you can donate to their Feed a Fairy campaign, the fairies would be grateful indeed.

The "Beastly Bride" Author Interview Series


HJ Ford 1


Charles Tan has posted more of his excellent interviews with the authors in the Beastly Bride anthology -- providing real insight into the pleasures and challenges of writing mythic fiction:

Lucius Shepard ("The Flock")

 Richard Bowes ("The Margay's Children")

Nan Fry ("Rosina")

Johanna Sinisalo ("Bear's Bride")

Shweta Narayan ("Pisaach")

Ellen Kushner ("The Children of Cadmus")

Stewart Moore ("One Thin Dime")

A snippet from the interviews:

Charles Tan: What's the appeal of the Beastly Bride concept for you?

Shweta Narayan: Oh, it's such a wonderful concept! Shapeshifter stories in general speak to me -- not only because of my [inter-cultural] marriage but because I'm a third-culture kid, an Indian who grew up almost everywhere but India, and I don't fully share a culture with anyone I love. So characters who can pass as members of a culture, while being something else entirely inside, give me a thrill of recognition that no other archetype does. And in the Beastly Bride(groom) stories, they get to try out living with someone else, and they let *us* get at, and think about, all the anxieties and joys of loving and living with someone from a different world.

Stewart Moore: I'm very interested, in my professional life as a student of the Hebrew Bible, in borderlines, border crossings; in how, when and why we decide who's in and who's out.  The Beastly Bride at one and the same time incarnates the border between human and animal, reality and fantasy, and, by her existence, negates it, denies it is a true border at all. It turns out to be a zone of contact, a place where possibilities multiply, and the Beastly Bride   is both our guide in this zone, and the first, best guardian of it.

Links to the other interviews can be found here. The Victorian fairy tale illustration above is by H.J. Ford.

The Enchanted Hills

Bluebell Path

For a precious few weeks, when the bluebells bloom, the fields and woods behind our house become a fairyland. I take my dog and my morning coffee with me and sit in the middle of an ocean of blue...and for that moment, everything is perfect. Health problems and deadlines and other worries slip away. The world is beautiful, mysterious, and full of magic. The sun is shining and the air is sweet as honey.

Bluebell Woods


England spring 

Part of the magic, notes Adam Nicholson ("In Praise of the Bluebell"), is the bluebells' transience. "The flowers have to beat the closing over of the tree canopy and their rush to become themselves is what makes them taut and glossy, with so much damp in them that you can't rub one bluebell leaf past another. The mineral green leaves cling to each other, like wet flesh to wet flesh. It doesn't last. As soon as they are perfect, they are over. Within a couple of weeks, the entire population will be drowned as if a flood has run through the wood. Now is the moment: it's when spring turns into summer."

Tilly among the bluebells

Tilly at the leat