Clouds, Part 3
Tunes for a Monday Morning

Recommended Reading:

Buttercup hill

* My favorite post of the week is A Return To How they Drank at Midori Snyder's In the Labyrinth, in which 6th graders write poems inspired by a previous post, How They Drank in the 40s. Marvellous.

* My favorite essay is Jonathan Franzen's "Liking is for Cowards. Go with What Hurts," in The New York Times...which starts off as a discussion of modern technology/social networking and ends as a discourse on the importance of love in the glorious and messy real world we live in. "Love is about bottomless empathy," writes Franzen, "born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self." So true.

* Over on The Guardian's book blog, Sarah Crown discovers fabulism (sparked by Téa Obreht's Orange Prize win), which Crown is positing as a brand new trend. I finished the article and thought, "Well, this is clearly a reviewer unfamiliar with the literary end of the fantasy field, in which fabulism has been the 'new thing' for about 20 years now." But reading through the post's comments, I find this from Crown: "I read plenty of SFF, but this feels texturally different for me - SFF and fairytales/fabulism seem to me to be palpably different things, just as SFF and magical realism are. This isn't to reduce either of them: Isaac Bashevis Singer and JRR Tolkien, for example, are not operating in the same genre - but that doesn't mean I don't love them both." But fantasy isn't just Tolkien, for heaven's sake; it's Kelly Link, John Crowley, Elizabeth Hand, etc. etc. etc., who have much more in common with Singer and Obreht than they do with Tolkien. I can't believe it's 2011 and we're still having this argument about whether works published under the fantasy label can also be literature. <sigh>

* Katherine Langrish has started up her Fairytale Reflection series again at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, and the first one is from, um, me. (Thank you, Kath!)

* Helen Castor discusses the symbolism of the rose in her review of The Rose by Jennifer Potter, in The London Times.

* Jessica Loudis discusses Asti Hustvedt's new book Medical Muses: Hysteria in 19th Century Paris on the NPR website. There's also an excerpt from the book itself, and it's absolutely fascinating -- particularly if, like me, you have an interest in 19th century art and life.

* Meghan Cox Gurdon discusses "Darkness Too Visible" in young adult fiction in The Wall Street Journal. Midori Snyder agrees, and Linda Holmes disagrees. They both make good points.

* Kathryn Schulz discusses profanity and Adam Mansbach's Go the Fuck to Sleep in the Books section of New York Magazine.

*Theodora Goss discusses "The Half-and-Half Life" on her writing blog. As a writer, she says, "you are always only half in the world. You are also at the same time half somewhere else....It can be a little scary, living half in and half out of the world. On the other hand, the world becomes a magical place, filled with stories."

* My favorite source of daily inspiration is Jude Hill's beautiful Spirit Cloth blog, which I imagine that many of you follow as well. Three of Jude's posts particularly resonated with me recently: Transparency (in which she gives us a glimpse at a 40-year-old drawing that is truly charming); There Are Days (oh yes, indeed there are); and Looking Through Process (which speaks to me as a fellow hanger-of-stuff-on-studio-walls).

* Art recommendations this week:

First, an "On Your Desk" photo picturing the drawing board of Pauline Baynes (1922-2008). Jen Parrish, who sent me the link, comments: "I was really moved by seeing her work desk. Maybe that I had just discovered her work and to realize she had passed so soon after this photo was taken... the frailty of life and the passing of time." For any of you unfamiliar with Pauline Baynes, there's a good post about her life and work on Brian Sibley's blog.

Also: Have a look at "Violet Goodenough," a lovely prose-poem zine by Cathy Cullis at Nevering (via Jude Hill), and Debbie Styer's post on "The Art of the Autochrome" at Bluehour Studio. Don't miss the very beautiful new forest paintings by Valerianna Claff at RavenWood Forest, and Tom Hirons' magical leather masks at The Hermitage. And Howard is back at John Barleycorn (just barely) -- as well as here at Bumblehill, to Tilly's joyous relief.

* Fiction recommendation this week: Alaya Dawn Johnson's delightful Bordertown story, "A Prince of Thirteen Days," in Fantasy Magazine.

And speaking of Bordertown, I love Dylan Meconis' step-by-step guide to how she drew her Bordertown comic, "Fair Trade" -- which is both interesting in an arts-process way, and very funny.

* Video recommendation this week: Natalie Merchant sings old poems to life.

Have a good weekend.

Tilly and the buttercups

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