Previous month:
April 2010
Next month:
June 2010

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

The auction continues...


Tomorrow (Sunday) is the very last day of the auction to raise health care money for Deb Mensinger, with new items being added daily -- such as the beautiful sketch above, hand-drawn by Thomas Canty into a copy of Water Logic by Laurie Marks (Small Beer Press). So far they've raised $6000. of the $10,000 needed -- so please go bid if you can!

Here's a direct link to the auction.

Here's information on the auction.

Here are direct links to auction items donated by me, Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner & Tom Canty, Charles Vess, Kelly Link, and Katherine Langrish.

The Tales of Scheherazade

Edmund Dulac

The 10th issue of Scheherezade’s Bequest is now online, containing some true gems for fans of fairy tale arts. Scheherezade’s Bequest is a tri-annual offering of fiction and poetry from the good folks behind the Cabinet des Fées website and journal: Helen Pilinovsky, Erzebet YellowBoy, Donna Quattrone, and Nin Harris.

Erzebet YellowBoy has a new website up, by the way: Tria Prima, which is filled with beautiful art and objects like the piece below. (To view the art, the navigation bar is at the bottom of the first page. I mention this because on some laptime screens, like mine, you have to scroll down to see it and it took me a while to find it...but maybe I just haven't had enough coffee this morning....) The image below, writes Erzebet, is a "collaborative work including Sonya Taaffe's poem, Carne Vale. Coffee stained frame encloses a book cover overlaing a collage of binder's materials. The spine has been replaced with bone and coffee stained pages are bound to it with sinew."

Hmmm, coffee seems to be a theme this morning. Time to go brew a fresh pot....

Erzebet Yellowboy

The art at the top of the post is by Edmund Dulac.

The "Beastly Bride" Author Interview Series




Charles Tan has posted more interviews from the authors who contributed to The Beastly Bride, providing an interesting, behind-the-scenes look at the writing of mythic fiction. 

Midori Snyder ("The Monkey Girl")

   (Read this one in tandem with her previous essay/memoir on the Monkey Girl folktale, which is available online here.)

Steve Berman ("Thimbleriggery and Fledgelings")

   (More on "swan maiden" legends can be found here.)

Carol Emshwiller ("The Abominable Child's Tale")

Hiromi Goto ("The Hikikomori")

     A snippet from Midori's interview:

Charles Tan: As a folklorist and writer, what is it about fairy tales and myths that appeal to you?

Midori Snyder: Oh so many ways to answer this question! But here are two thoughts: First, fairy tales and myth are a cherished collective resource of story telling of narratives, iconic figures both human and fantastic, the language flat in some ways to allow the personality of teller to infuse her own creative flourishes, yet studded with richly evocative imagery that captures the emotions of the listener or reader. They center mostly around the areas of greatest social tension in a community -- and those conflicts have not changed over time. We still go through rites of passage, changes in identity, deal with birth and death. And though some of these tales are more than a thousand years old, they still hold us sway -- we are still talking to them, incorporating them in contemporary works, still returning to them like a deep well of inspiration. And second, I love the tension that comes from pairing the real and the fantastic together in myth and folktales-- it creates a unique storytelling experience. It used to be said that the success of fantasy required a "suspension of disbelief." But I have never bought that argument. The success (and indeed the historical durability of such tales) lies precisely in knowing the difference and experiencing the tension that vibrates between the real and the fantastic images. That's where the real story lies -- in making sense of the impossible -- and isn't that akin to task of growing up? Of penetrating the mysteries of love, marriage, children, death -- all the big moments? We listen to the words, or we read them -- but we feel them with our senses, our emotions --made more aware by the seemingly incompatible presence of real and fantastic imagery.

     Links to the rest of the interviews can be found here. The art above is by Harry Clarke.