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September 2012

Publication Day

T1 6x8

Roll up! Roll up! Tilly has opened her bookstall to sell copies of Rex and Howard's newly-published graphic novel, John Barleycorn Must Die: a metaphysical mystery about a magician-sleuth in modern day London. (The name of the novel, of course, comes from an old British folksong and Robert Burns poem.) Please join me in congratulating the two knuckleheads distinguished artists in the studio next door to mine, on this, the book's Publication Day. It's such a pleasure to hold the finished volume in my hands, and to be able to share it with others.

If you'd like to sample the first three chapters of the comic, or order a copy, you can do so on the Barleycorn website.

For those of you who care about the details of book production, the American edition is the better one, beautifully produced by Kablam (a publisher dedicated to comics). But Kablam's international postage costs are high, so there's also a UK edition from Lulu for European readers who are watching their budget. And there's an e-book edition.


Time, space, inspiration

Lady Clare by John William Waterhouse

From "Ode to Slowness" by Terry Tempest Williams (published in Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert):

"I want my life to be a celebration of slowness.

"Walking through the sage from our front door, I am gradually drawn into the well-worn paths of deer. They lead me to Round Mountain and the bloodred side canyons below Castle Rock. Sometimes I see them, but often I don't. Deer are quiet creatures, who, when left to their own nature, move slowly. Their large black eyes absorb all shadows, especially the flash of predators. And their ears catch each word spoken. But today they walk ahead with their halting prance, one leg raised, then another, and allow me to follow them. I am learning how to not provoke fear and flight among deer. We move into a pink, sandy wash, their black-tipped tails like eagle feathers. I lose sight of them as they disappear around the bend.

"On the top of the ridge I can see for miles.... Inside this erosional landscape where all colors eventually bleed into the river, it is hard to desire anything but time and space.

"Time and space. In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breath, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space--an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness.

"Hand on stone -- patience.

"Hand on water -- music.

"Hand raised to the wind --  Is this the birthplace of inspiration?"

Desert Mule-eared Deer

Yes. I do believe that inspiration is born in the land, borne on the winds...in the Utah desert, here on Dartmoor, among the rocks of Central Park in Manhattan, and wherever you're living too. We all need the land, the wild, in all its manifestations --for our art, and for the artwork that we make of our lives.

Brother & Sister by Julianna Swaney

From Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit:

"Musing takes place in a kind of meadowlands of the imagination, a part of the imagination that has not yet been plowed, developed, or put to any immediately practical use...time spent there is not work time, yet without that time the mind becomes sterile, dull, domesticated. The fight for free space -- for wilderness and public space -- must be accompanied by a fight for free time to spend wandering in that space.”

Indeed.

Deer & Jackdaws by Melissa NolanImagery above: "Saint Clare" by John William Waterhouse; a mule-earred deer in the Arizona desert; "Brother & Sister" by Julianna Swaney, and "Deer & Jackdaws" by Melissa Nolan.


Work that matters

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter by Vermeer

From "Ode to Slowness" by Terry Tempest Williams (published in Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert):

"Is it possible to make a living by simply watching light? Monet did. Vermeer did. I believe Vincent did too. They painted light in order to witness the dance between revelation and concealment, exposure and darkness. Perhaps this is what I desire most, to sit and watch the shifting shadows cross the cliff face of sandstone or simply to walk parallel with a path of liquid light called the Colorado River. In the canyon country of southern Utah, these acts of attention are not merely the pastimes of artists, but daily work, work that matters to the whole community.

"This living would include becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind where each dialect is not only heard but understood."

Painting above: "Girl in Blue Reading a Letter" by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)


Tunes for a Monday Morning

Above: "A Moveable Musical Feast" from the great Canadian singer/songwriter and Celtic music scholar Loreena McKennitt...which seems a perfect video to post at the start of our own new Moveable Feast. It's a medley of songs containing "The Gates of Istanbul," "The Highwayman" (a musical version of Alfred Noyes' poem of the same title, first published in 1906) , and "Never-Ending Road (Amhrán Duit)."

Below: "Teignmouth," by the Tricksterish singer/songwriter Patrick Wolf, from south London. The video was filmed at the Hilles House in Painwick, Gloucestershire last month. (via Jen Parrish)


Mother Tongue: A New Moveable Feast

Little People's Market by Arthur Rackham

The Mythic Arts blogging community is hereby initiating a new Moveable Feast, "Mother Tongue," on the entwined subjects of land, language, art, and storytelling. The list of posts on this subject so far is over on the Moveable Feast page...and everyone is welcome to join in.

If you have a dish to add to the Feast (ie: a related post on your blog), please leave a link to it in the comments section here or on the Feast page and I'll add you to the list. (Please let me know where in the world you're writing from.) If you're not a blogger yourself, you can still join in by contributing to the Comments section of each participating blog. 

Let the Feast begin!

The art above is by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939)