Signs that spring is coming
"Into the Woods" series, 45: Elemental Magic

The week ahead

The muse of the Bumblehill Studio reflects on the week ahead

This is an "off line" week for me -- which is something I do periodically in order to keep my digital life in balance with the tactile life of earth underfoot, sky above, and the natural world around us. I'll be diving into a new creative project this week, immersing myself and finding its particular rhythms without interruptions or Internet distractions. Tilly and I will be back on Myth & Moor on Tuesday, March 17 (and I'll respond to comments left here then).

The tools are all in place.

A muse must have a sense of humor.

In the meantime, some reading recommendations:

* "In the Memory Ward" by Adam Gopnik, about Britain's most eccentric library (The New Yorker)

* "Frames of Reference," a good piece on the writing craft by John McPhee (The New Yorker)

* More writing advice: "Writing Women Characters as Human Beings" by Kate Elliot (

* "Thorns in My Throat: Writing Through the Scars," a moving essay by Shveta Thakrar (The Toast)

* "Don't Judge a Book by its Author," a smart, provocative article on book/author labels and "authenticity" by Aminatta Forna (The Guardian)

* "The History of 'Loving' to Read" by Joshua Rothman, a reflection on Deidre Shauna Lynch's Loving Literature: A Cultural History (The New Yorker)

* "Thoughts upon watching people shout people down," on modes of reading and Internet controversy by Elizabeth Knox (Knoxon, via Ellen Kushner)

* "On Not Going Home" by James Wood, a beautiful essay on states of exile in life and literature (The London Review of Books)

* Another take on the subject: "Where is Home?"  by Ruth Behar (Aeon Magazine)

* "Rapt: Grieving With Your Goshawk," Kathryn Schulz's review of  H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (The New Yorker)

* "A Primer on My Favorite Short Story Writer" by A.N. Devers, a short but impassioned piece on the fiction of Kelly Link (Longreads)

* "The Joyful, Gossipy and Absurd Private Life of Virginia Woolf" by Emma Woolf, the author's great-niece (Newsweek)

* "Down and Dirty Fairy Tales," an interview with fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar (Salon)

* "The Reindeer Riders," photographs of the nomadic tribes of Outer Mongolia by photographer and scholar Hamid Sardar-Afkhami (Messynessy Chic)


If you're anywhere near the South West of England, don't forget that Chagword (the Dartmoor literary festival held here in Chagford) is coming up this weekend. There will be book talks and other events for adult, teenage, and young readers -- including Philip Marsden's talk on Rising Ground: The Spirit of Place, and a session with author Geraldine McCaughrean and artist David Wyatt on the creation of Peter Pan in Scarlet. There are still tickets left, but they're going fast!

And speaking of David, he's having a studio clear-out sale of paintings in his Etsy shop right now.

Peter Pan in Scarlet, David Wyatt

Earth underfoot, sky overhead.

I also want to put in a word for my good friend (and Chagford neighbor) Gary Burdis, creator of Potentials, a one-on-one Life Coaching service. He is open for new clients at the moment -- and I can say from personal experience that his work in this field is extraordinary.  Although he's coached a wide range of clients, he's especially good at working with creative people and engaging with issues involving the creative process (goal-setting, creative blocks, etc.).  You don't have to live here in Devon for he also does counseling and coaching by Skype, and I recommend him very, very highly.

Have a good week, everyone, and I'll see you again next Monday.

And so the week begins.