Tunes for a Monday Morning
Harvesting stories

Recommended reading (and listening)

Tilly in the studio

The hound and I are back in the studio, with apologies for being away so long -- due to a combination of health issues (getting better now) and an over-full schedule that I'm just barely keeping up with.

Drawing by Arthur Rackham

Here are some articles, videos, and podcasts I'd like to recommend, a seasonal round-up of my magpie gleanings from hither and yon:

* Sharon Blackie follows Myrddin, Mis, and other wild folk into the woods (The Art of Enchantment)

* Rob Maslen goes deep into William Morris' Wood Beyond the World (City of Lost Books)

* Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk, pens a beautiful essay on the forbidden wonder of birds' nests and eggs (The Guardian)

* Jeremy Miller finds a new understanding of wilderness in an Irish bog (Orion)

Peter Pan in Kensington Garden by Arthur Rackham

* Naomi Shihab Nye discusses poetry and kindness (BrainPickings)

* David Grossman discusses the Holocaust, empathy, and the importance of literature (The Guardian)

* George Saunders discusses the art storytelling (Aeon video)

* Mary Hofffman discusses fairy tales with Katherine Langrish (Seven Miles of Steel Thistles)

* Kate Forsyth returns to Beauty & the Beast by way Anne Frank (Kate's blog)

* Meg Roscoff tells us why we still need fairy tales (The Guardian)

Alice in Wonderland by Arthur Rackham

* Robert Minto reviews No Time to Spare by Ursula K. Le Guin (New Republic)

* Cally Calloman reviews Folk Song in England by Steve Roud (Caught by the River)

* Jon Wilks interviews Steve Roud, asking: "What is folk music, exactly?" (Grizzly Folk)

* Yaoyao Ma Van As captures the over-looked joys of living alone (My Modern Met)

* John Bedell looks at Leonora Carrington's incredible sculptures (Bensozia)

* Skye Sherman looks at a new exhibition of Käthe Kollwitz’s powerful art (The Guardian)

May Colven by Arthur Rackham

And one more:

My erudite friend and up-the-road neighbor Earl Fontainelle has launched a fascinating podcast series on The Secret History of Western Esotericism, exploring "cutting-edge academic research in the study of Platonism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, the Kabbalah, alchemy, occultism, magic, and related currents of thought."

The first four episodes of the series are online now, and I highly recommend it. 

The Fairies' Tiff with the Birds by Arthur Rackham

The art today is by the great English book illustrator Arthur Rackham, born on this day in south London in 1867. A new exhibition of his work has just opened at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy.

Undine by Arthur Rackham


Hi Terri, glad to hear you're getting better and I love the artwork (though personally, I prefer the work of Dulac. Rackham's a touch too 'sepia' in tone for me. Dulac's pallette is so much brighter and varied...Clare's just said that I always have to be where have I heard that before?)

The Studio Door Opens Again

There is a creak
like an old woman's knee
on rising.
a soft puff of air.

There is the sound
of a story escaping,
the runnel of mouse tail
in the gathered dust.

Droop of cobweb
depending from the lintel.
Moth wing reminder
of flight past.

The door is open.
Something grey comes out.
Something new, shiny
like cat's eye,

goes in.

©2017 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

That's precisely how I feel today. How did you know...?

I agree that Dulac's work is extraordinary -- and I'd have a hard time chosing between the two of them as a favourite. But I suppose I lean toward Rackham, because I love the sepia tones...which all around us here in Devon.

Ah, the colours of Autumn I suppose you mean. My favourite time of year! The Autumn Equinox, Samhain, Bonfire Night. Wonderfully spooky and at the same time cozy. Myself and a couple of friends are reading our ghost stories in the local libraries over the next few weeks. I'll also be finding out my copies of M.R.James. One of the publicists at my publishers is the great grand neice of that master of the spooky tale and she was kind enough to send me a copy of the order of his funeral service that took place in the 1930s. It sits very well with my very battered first edition of 'A Thin Ghost and other Stories'.

P.S. I've just noticed that Undine in Rackham's picture only has four digits on her hands. Odd!

Sepia tones in Devon; I presume you mean the wonderful Autumnal colours. This really is my favourite time of the year. The Autumn Equinox, Samhain, Bonfire Night; all wonderfully spooky and yet cozy at one and the same time. Myself and a couple of friends are reading our ghost stories at three library venues over the next few weeks. I'll also be finding out my M.R. James spooky tales, just right for this 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'. In fact, one of the publicists at my publishers is the great neice of the man himself and when she heard I was a fan, she was kind enough to send me a copy of the order of his funeral from the 1930s. It sits very well with my battered first edition copy of 'A Thin Ghost'.

P.S. I've just noticed that Rackham's Undine only has four digits on each hand. Odd!

All these years of reading you and listening to you and talking with you and being your friend?



The land that lies between "Factual" and "True" is the undiscovered country wherein tales are found. One of the most delightful discoveries one can make in this uncharted land is that a story does not have to be factual to be real and true.

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