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October 2010

Weekend reading:

Butterick posterAbove: A vintage poster originally published by the Butterick Publishing Co.

Three reading recommendations for you today:

1. Amal El-Mohtar's fine, provocative article on Steampunk fiction: "Towards a Steampunk Without Steam" (over on Amal is the author of The Honey Month, among other works, and co-editor of the mythic poetry webzine Goblin Fruit.

2. The terrific "Fairy Tale Reflections" series that Katherine Langrish is running over on her blog, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles. (And if you haven't read Katherine's most recent novel, The Shadow Hunt, yet: get thee to a book store immediately. She writes Young Adult Fantasy the way Alan Garner writes Young Adult Fantasy: saturated with myth and rich in detail to delight adult readers too.)

3. The "Mythic Friday Interviews" on Lucy Coats' blog, Scribble City Central (with thanks to Kath Langrish for the link). Lucy is the author of Hootcat Hill and other delightful works of children's fantasy.

Have a good weekend.

Doling out the spoons. . .

Cuddle Bunnies copy2

This is, hands down, the best short piece I've ever read on what it's like to live with a chronic illness: "The Spoon Theory" by Christine Miserandino (with thanks to Delia Sherman for the link). 

If you know someone who is ill, it will help you understand why they act the way they do. If you're ill yourself, it provides a useful way of speaking about the constraints of your daily life.  This is particularly helpful for those of us with physical disabilities that aren't immediately obvious. If you look reasonably normal (and many of us with long-term illnesses pride ourselves on living as normally as possible), it is easy for others to forget that you are operating daily within a set limitations: that you're not just being lazy when you walk so slowly, or when you take two weeks to answer simple emails, or when you don't have the "spoons" to answer the phone after a certain point in the evening, etc..

What do I mean by spoons? Read this excellent article and you'll find out.

Back in England...

...and awfully glad to see my husband and pup again. We celebrated with a walk on the north coast of Cornwall, just over the county line from Devon. (We're on a peninsula here, so we've got coastline both north and south, with the wilds of Dartmoor roughly inbetween them.)

A walk on the beachA walk on the beach.

A run on the beachA run on the beach.

Bounding into the wavesBounding into the waves.

Joy An exhilarated pup. (She loves the ocean!)

On the beach

"The truth I do not stretch or shove / When I state that the dog is full of love. / I've also found, by actual test, / A wet dog is the lovingest." -- Ogden Nash


Bird Girl Seeks Loving Home

Bird Girl by T Windling
My drawing above is one of the prizes in the Online Raffle to raise money for the Fantastic Fiction Reading Series at the KGB Bar in New York. (You'll find it listed under artwork.) Other prizes include Neil Gaiman's keyboard, three unpublished stories by Michael Swanwick, story critiques by Shawna McCarthy and Mary Robinette Kowal, plus lots of signed ARCs and books and other cool stuff.

"Bird Child" is an original, signed pencil drawing on plain white drawing paper, lighter and less grey than this photograph makes it look. It's 10 inches high by 7 inches wide.

Raffle tickets cost only $1.00 each, and the raffle runs from now until October 25th. Go here for a full list of prizes, and here for the Raffle Rules. Please spread the word!

Butoh and Paint, Smoke and Ash

Cabaret art by Rick Berry My friend Rick Berry (who is one of the people who first taught me how to paint with oils) has a new series of painting inspired by a stage production of Cabaret -- which can currently be viewed at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH; and also on Rick's website. All of his art is gorgeous, but I've always liked this kind of monochromatic "oil paint sketch" the very best. 

"These are not renderings," he says, "but impressions of dancers from the KitKat Klub, the setting for a production of  at the Oberon Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As I watched rehearsals, the movement coach, Steven Mitchell Wright, had the performers go through Butoh training. I'd heard of Butoh, seen stills from various dances, but never experienced it in action. Crushing really. So instead of doing some sort of rogues' gallery pastiche (as had earlier been imagined being hung in the venue) I did these. I wanted something like images of ghosts projected on smoke and ash. Just at the moment you think you've resolved them, they shimmer and erode before your eyes. Color paintings of a world that's lost all sense of it."

The view out my window today . . .

Vail in autumn

I'm in Colorado now, high up in the Rockies. Yesterday I didn't want to leave New York, but now that I'm here, it fees awfully good to see that big blue Western sky again. Leaning out my hotel window early this morning, I spotted what I'm sure was a golden eagle circling the mountain peaks above -- which reminded me of this poem by the Navajo writer Joy Harjo:

To pray you open your whole self
To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon
To one whole voice that is you
And know there is more
That you can't see, can't hear
Can't know except in moments
Steadly growing, and in languages
That aren't always sound but other
Circles of motion.
Like eagle that Sunday morning
Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky
In wind, swept our hearts clean
With sacred wings.
We see you, see ourselves and know
That we must take the utmost care
And kindness in all things.
Breathe in, knowing we are made of
All this, and breathe, knowing
We are truly blessed because we
Were born, and die soon within a
True circle of motion,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
Inside us.
We pray that it will be done
In beauty.
In beauty.

Stream in front of hotel
Hotel patio