* Katherine Langrish discusses troubadour knights, hawthorn blossoms, and the month of May, at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles.
* Meg Harper discusses the plundering of gardens and children's literature, at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.
* Libba Bray discusses the dark and difficult part of novel writing -- the part where everything goes wrong. (Howard calls this the "Dark Forest" stage of the creative process, described in a JoMA article on creating Fairy Tale Theater, while Midori Snyder calls it the "I want a divorce" stage of writing a book in her article on the creation of The Innamorati. Delia Sherman proffers sensible advice about it all in How to Survive a First Draft.)
* Speaking of Delia, she has posted a moving Meditation on Mother's Day on her blog, The Grand Tour. She also discusses the new production of Peter and Wendy, while remembering the late, great Johnny Cunningham.
* Colleen Mondor discusses her father, libraries, and the importance of books at Chasing Ray.
* Emiliano Lake-Herrara discusses artistic motivation at The Studio (with thanks to Midori Snyder for the link. Emiliano is Midori's son-in-law, a truly brilliant young artist.)
* Genevieve Valentine discusses dance and artistic obsession as depicted in the three films of Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy, at Strange Horizons. I love those films.
* John Naughton asks why we don't love our intellectuals in Britain as they do in France, in The Guardian.
* Willis G. Regier has a fascinating article on The Philosophy of Insomnia in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
* Virginia Lee presents her gorgeous new painting, Three Hares Tor, over on her beautiful art blog. There are also photographs of her recent show at The Courtyard Cafe in our village, which was enchanting.
* Theodora Goss has made audio files of her magical poetry. The links are on her writing blog.
* Donna Q. shares a lovely, hushed Moment of Zen on Enchanted Spirit: Lens and Pen.
* This week's fiction recommendation is "Creation," a mythic story by the amazing Jeffrey Ford, in Fantasy Magazine. "[The Green Man] appears in the stone work of a lot of cathedrals throughout the world," says Jeff in an interview about the story. "He was one of those mythic entities that was replaced by the Judeo-Christian pantheon, but artists and storytellers kept his memory alive, sometimes subversively, as in the cathedrals, I think because they sensed his message to us was an important one. I liked that idea of paganism lurking beneath the surface of Christianity, hiding out, watching us from behind the monolithic monotheism, whispering to us to remember where we came from."
* This week's video recommendation: Dutch artist Theo Jansen discusses the ideas behind his insanely cool kinetic sculptures: "Strandbeests" who feed on sun and wind.
* One more video recommendation, but with a qualifier: As many of you know, I've long been involved with organizations working to prevent child abuse. The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children has set the abuse-prevention world abuzz by unveiling one of the most powerful video spots I've ever seen on the subject--simple, honest, and wrenching. It's brief but enormously affecting, so please don't click the link unless you're prepared for that. And bravo to everyone involved, including the brave young actor.
* And finally, Rex and Howard have one last Friday post on John Barleycorn before Howard leaves for Portugal tomorrow. Rex will then be blogging solo for the next four weeks -- while Howard's off directing a Commedia dell'Arte version of Shakespeare's The Tempest in Porto, along with his Ophaboom partner Geoff Beale. That's Howard in the picture at the top of this post (from his early Ophaboom days), performing in Germany. Below, Howard and Geoff clowning about on the streets of Copenhagen.
* Update: One more! Elisabeth Kushner discusses Bordertown in daily life at Tor.com.