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March 2017

The Long Tale

Catskin by Arthur Rackham

"[W]e have, each of us, a story that is uniquely ours, a narrative arc that we can walk with purpose once we figure out what it is. It's the opposite to living our lives episodically, where each day is only tangentially connected to the next, where we are ourselves the only constants linking yesterday to tomorrow. There is nothing wrong with that, and I don't want to imply that there is ... just that it felt so suddenly, painfully right to think that I have tapped into my Long Tale, that I have set my feet on the path I want to walk the rest of my life, and that it is a path of stories and writing and that no matter how many oceans I cross or how transient I feel in any given place, I am still on my Tale's Road, because having tapped it, having found it, the following is inevitable. Not easy -- it will probably be hard, and may be steep and thorny or wet and muddy or beset by badgers, but to not follow it is inconceivable because it is mine."   - Amal El-Mohtar

Nattadon Hill 1

The quote above comes from "Tapping the Long Tale," a lovely piece Amal wrote in 2011, which I recommend reading in full.

I'm thinking today about all the places I have travelled through (literally and creatively) as I've followed my own Long Tale...and wondering where it will take me next....

Where will yours take you?

Nattadon Hill 2

Nattadon Hill 3The illustration above is by Arthur Rackham.

Secrets revealed....


At last, dear people, here is the little project I've been working on (in addition to my manuscript-in-progress, of course, which remains on-going).

You'll have noticed that Myth & Moor has a brand new look, as I hadn't updated the blog in years. I've also updated my author website, as that was getting pretty darn old too.

But what you'll find here is much more than that, as you'll discover if you follow the links on the right-hand side of the page. I've made a large number of essays and articles on myth, fairy tales, and mythic arts available here. Some come from the old Journal of Mythic Arts, others have never been online before -- presented with new art, recommended reading lists, and other resources. I want this work to be freely available to all readers interested in myth and mythic arts.

We've talked about "gift exchange" on this blog, and how certain stories and certain kinds of art pass as gifts through the generations. This is my gift to the mythic arts field: articles on these things we love, put out there for anyone who may be interested, or seeks information, or who simply needs to find them.

I remember being a young girl myself who needed to know about myth and fantasy -- back in the days before the internet, before easy access to fantasy books or fairy tale scholarship, before the mythic arts community existed, before I ever dreamed there could be such a thing.

This site full of articles, art, and other resources is for that young girl, and  every young person like her. But especially it's for you.  I hope it's useful. I hope it's enjoyable. I hope you will accept this gift from me ... and that it has been worth the wait.

Tilly by the stream

The walk off the cliff...

Faith by Jeanie Tomanek

I'm ready now to show you the Secret Something I've been working on -- which, I hasten to add, isn't a huge or elaborate Secret Something, but one I hope you will like nonethess.

Then I woke up this morning and suddenly realized that today is Black Wednesday: the day my adopted country walks off a cliff. Our unelected far-right-wing government has trigged Article 50, the legal beginning of our exit from Europe. I knew this day was coming, of course, but the amount of grief I'm feeling has stunned me nonetheless. My husband and daughter are losing their European citizenship, and we (along with so many millions of others) are losing the country we love.

Tomorrow I'll be back here with stories, art, mysteries revealed, and rambles through this beautiful place we call home. But today I must grieve for all we are losing, for the dark place where we are standing, and for all the ways that life is going to get even harder for those of us in the arts. I'll try to step into that darkness with faith, like the figure in Jeanie Tomanek's painting above. I'll strive to build ladders to help the most vulnerable among us, or at least hold my arms out to cushion their fall. I'll continue to work to build a better world through art, activism, community, and love.

But today, dear friends, I'm just devastated. Today is a day for grieving.

Endurance by Jeanie Tomanek

The paintings above are "Faith" and "Endurance" by Jeanie Tomanek; all rights reserved by the artist.

Tunes for a Monday Morning

A dog from a medieval bestiary

Above: A classic British folk song, " Whilst the Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping," performed by the great Chris Wood and Andy Cutting at the Southwell Festival. (I woke up with the first line of the song running through my head: Oh, I have a dog and a good dog too.... Tilly loves that part.)

Below, so the poachers don't get the last word:  "I Am the Fox," performed by Nancy Kerr (whose work I just love) and James Fagan (of the The James Brothers) at the Bath Folk Festival.

Above: Nancy Kerr and James Fagan again, performing their gorgeous song "Queen of Waters."

Below: "Seven Years," a beautiful tune by Andy Cutting, performed by Cutting with Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr.

And one more: "Atheist Spiritual: Come Down Jehovah," written and performed by Chris Wood. I'm not an atheist myself (I'm an earthy old pagan), but this song speaks to me deeply nonetheless.

Dog in paradise


Woodland gate

Howard is up in London this week (teaching puppetry) and our house is remarkably quiet. So I'm using this opportunity to take a "Work Retreat" over the next few days, focused on getting my little Secret Project finished at last.

Woodland gate

The Secret Project has taken longer than I ever expected -- but then, it's just a side project, not my main job (which is a manuscript-in-progress), so I've been piecing it together in fits and starts, before and after my regular work day. I've turned into a Studio Hermit this month, with little time left for anything else -- so it's high time to get the SP done. (And the manuscript too. But that's a another story.)

Please wish me luck. Tilly and I will see you all again on Monday.

The Thorny Paradise

Hillside selfie