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November 2012

Book characters and imaginary friends

The Mock Turtle, Alice, and the Gryphon by Arthur Rackham

“Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.”  - Ray Bradbury

"It's true that writing is a solitary occupation, but you would be surprised at how much com- panionship a group of imaginary characters can offer once you get to know them." - Anne Tyler

“All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you.”   - Diane Setterfield

Wonderland by Adelaide Claxton

Old books

Art above by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and Adelaide Claxton (1840-1900).



I posted the picture above on Thanksgiving Day last year, and I'm re-posting it now because it says all I want to say -- although I'm celebrating the holiday in America this time, an ocean away from my sweet pup and and our beloved Devon hills. (If you find the type hard to read, click on the image for a larger version.)

Speaking of pups, for fellow dog lovers I recommend a new article by Virginia Hughes on how a dog sniffs, at the science blog The Last Word on Nothing. "It’s humbling to think of how much of this big wide world my microsmatic self will never get to experience," she says. "The only whiff I get comes from watching my dog’s delight." The last picture below relates to the topic, and is also re-posted from my picture archives.

Tilly on Nattadon Hill

Reading the Wind

Also, please don't miss Annie Lamotts's lovely Thanksgiving essay, in praise of books, writers, and bookish families, in The New York Times.

Chasing wonder

Illustration by Howard Pyle

"At its best, fantasy rewards the reader with a sense of wonder about what lies within the heart of the commonplace world. The greatest tales are told over and over, in many ways, through centuries. Fantasy changes with the changing times, and yet it is still the oldest kind of tale in the world, for it began once upon a time, and we haven't heard the end of it yet."  - Patricia A. McKillip

“Nothing can be more limiting to the imagination than only writing about what you know.”  - John Gardner

Illustration by Howard Pyle (1853-1911)

What we need, what we remember, what we are

Light on the Central Park Reservoir...

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”   - Philip Pullman

...and a Pointillist flotilla of ducks.

"Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit."    - 

Neil Gaiman


The Ugly Duckling by Wm Heath Robinson

Images above: Ducks on the Reservoir in Central Park, Manhattan; and "The Ugly Duckling" by William Heath Robinson (1872-1944)