Myth & Moor update

Tilly in the woods

I'm almost frightened to say this lest I jinx it, but we seem to have a working Internet connection again. After many engineer visits and replacing of phone lines and puzzled scratchings of heads, the last set of repairs seems to have changed something. It's still rural Internet and not super-fast, but it's usable (touch wood), and we're not getting kicked off of it every five minutes. We are back in the modern world at last, and now I just hope we can stay here.

I have a gazillion missed messages to catch up on, which I'll be focused on for the next few days -- and then I'll be back to a regular Myth & Moor schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 1 (after the three-day August holiday weekend here in the UK).

I hope you're all having a good end-of-summer, and staying safe. Tilly sends her love.

Reading in the woods

The poem glimpsed above is "Letter From a Far Country' by Welsh author Gillan Clarke


Myth & Moor news

Illustration by Milo Winter

Myth & Moor has been nominated for the 2020 World Fantasy Award, which is lovely news to wake up to.

It's up against some very stiff competition in the awkwardly-named "Non-professional" category, which is the catch-all category for everything that doesn't fit in any of the others (Best Novel, Best Short Story, Best Anthology, etc.), such as small press magazines, podcasts, and not-for-profit publications like Myth & Moor. This is Myth & Moor's second nomination, and I'm deeply grateful to the 2020 panel of judges for this honour.

My congratulations to all of the other nominees in every category -- including my good friend and Chagford neighbour Wendy Froud, who is up for Best Artist. Two nominations from one small Dartmoor village! Or possibly three, if you count Kathleen Jennings, also in the Artist category. Yes, I know, she's actually from Australia, but she's spent so much time in Chagford over the years that we consider her part of our community too.

The winners will be announced at the World Fantasy Convention in late October -- which was due to be held Salt Lake City this year, but has been moved online due to the pandemic.

Illustration by Chris Dunn

The illustrations above are by American book artist Milo Winter(1888-1956) and British book artist Chris Dunn. And speaking of Kathleen Jennings, who is also a writer: Do not miss her new novel, Flyaway, which is absolutely stunning.


Myth & Moor update

Sleeping Beauty by Honor Appleton

I must apologize once again for the lack of Myth & Moor posts last week. Howard and I are still getting hit by waves of post-viral illness and fatigue from the virus he brought home from Spain back in February. We still don't know if it was Covid-19, or another virus with similar persistence; we couldn't get tested back when we first had it, and the antibody tests we took recently were inconclusive. All we can do now is take it slow: work when we can, rest when we must, take care of each other and try not to worry.

The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Helen StrattonSince energy is in limited supply, we are rationing it carefully. Last week, Howard took care of family matters and household chores so I could focus on delivering the keynote speech for the Francelia Butler Children's Literature Conference at Hollins University in Virginia (via Zoom), followed by a week of visiting online classes for Hollins' Children's Literature and Book Illustration MA program -- which was a lovely experience. The speech will be on YouTube at some point, and I'll let you know when it's up. 

This week, it's my turn to support Howard so that he can focus on upcoming theatre work: a single-day around-the-world tour of his online theatre show, Theatre is Dead!; and preparations for a five-week run of Punch & Judy at the Teignmouth and Exmouth seasides starting next week. We're happy and relieved that P & J is going ahead, since so much other theatre work has been lost due to the pandemic -- but he has a lot of organizing to do to make sure the puppetry pitches are socially-distanced and safe.  

I'm planning to be back on Myth & Moor more regularly this week ... but post-viral recovery is unpredictable, even without an underlying health condition, so if I suddenly disappear again, well, you'll know why. I'm grateful to all of you who have been supporting Myth & Moor through all of these ups and downs ... and I'm just plain overwhelmed by the support for our first Bumblehill Press publication, The Color of Angels. It's enormously encouraging. Lunar and I are working on getting more publications up for you very soon. It seems to me that myth, art, and story are more important now than ever.

I very much hope that you are all doing well during these uncertain times. Thank you for being part of the Mythic Arts community. And please stay safe.

Nurse Tilly on the job.

The art above is by Honor Appleton (1879-1951) and Helen Stratton (1867-1961).


Myth & Moor news: announcing Bumblehill Press

Winged Dear Tapestry

I'm very pleased to announce that we're dipping our toes into the water of publishing with the establishment of Bumblehill Press. To begin with, the press will be focused on bringing some of my backlist of short stories and mythic essays out in ebook editions...but once we get the hang of this, who knows where it might lead?

Drawing by Walter CraneThe first publication is "The Color of Angels," a short story about a London artist who flees to the myth-haunted hills of Dartmoor as her life and her health start to crumble around her. The tale is loosely connected to my desert novel The Wood Wife (the protagonists of each, Tat Ludvik and Maggie Black, have been close friends since their university days), but can be easily read on its own. It was first published in The Horns of Elfland, a lovely anthology of magical stories about music edited by Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Donald Keller back in 1997, and now sadly out of print. In a review of the book at the time, Charles de Lint kindly had this to say:

" 'The Color of Angels' deals with the creative impulse and the complexities of human relationships, but here the focus is on printmaker Tatiana Ludvik, who is undergoing a crisis of faith. That, combined with the frustration of how multiple sclerosis is steadily weakening her body, sends Tat from her London studio to a small chapel in the Devon countryside that she had renovated in the days when she was stronger....The Devon countryside becomes as much a character here as the Sonoran desert did in The Wood Wife, while Windling's narrative skills seem to only grow stronger, particularly in how she balances her lyrical passages with those more firmly rooted in the grittiness of everyday life." 

Our ebook edition of "The Color of Angels" is available on Amazon here (U.K.) and here (U.S.). 

For those who don't want to buy from the Evil Empire, we're at work on an ebook edition from the ethical publishing platform Hummingbird, and we'll let you know just as soon as that's available. Right now, Hummingbird publications are only available to readers in the U.S., so we're looking for a similarly ethical company covering the UK and the rest of the world.

Lunar Hine (my editorial assistant) and I are still learning how to make this all work, but as we do, we plan to bring you more publications in an increasingly efficient manner. I want to mention that this project has been made possible entirely by the kindness of Patreon supporters, whose generosity helps to fund Lunar's time as managing editor of Bumblehill Press.

I'm so used to promoting the works of other writers and artists here on Myth & Moor that I admit I'm feeling a little shy about promoting these new publications of my own. But I do hope you like "The Color of Angels," and looking forward to cooking up more mythic works for you in this format.

Walter Crane

Many thanks to Ellen Kushner and Holly Black, who have been urging me to do this, and to Alan Lee, who has provided behind-the-scenes help. Many thanks and much love to all three of them for their friendship and support.

Art above: The "Winged Deer" image is from Les Cerfs Ailes, a 15th century French tapestry. The drawings are by Walter Crane (1845-1915).


Myth & Moor update

Reading by the Edge of the Marsh by Dennis Perrin

I'm out of the office due to health issues, but hope to be back tomorrow with more book recommendations for you.

Girl in a Hammock by Winslow Homer

"She’d opened the book she bought today. She’d started to read, from the beginning, quite quietly, out loud. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us. The words had acted like a charm. They’d released it all, in seconds. They’d made everything happening stand just far enough away. It was nothing less than magic. Who needs a passport? Who am I? Where am I? What am I? I’m reading."  

- Ali Smith (from the Autumn volume of her "Seasonal Quartet")

Girl Reading by Bertha Morisot

Tomorrow, back to the sea....

Grace Reading at Howth Bay by Willian Orpen

The Little Mermaid in Her Element by Helen Stratton

Words: The quote above is from Autumn by Ali Smith (Penguin 2017). The quotes in the picture captions are from a variety of sources. All rights reserved by the authora. 

Pictures: "Reading by the Marsh" by Dennis Perrin, "Girl in a Hammock" by Winslow Homer (1836-1910),  "Girl Reading" by Berthe Morisot (1841-1895), "Grace Reading at Howth Bay" bu William Orpen (1978-1931), and "The Little Mermaid" by Helen Stratton (1867-1961).


Time and creativity

P1600494

I'm out of the studio today due to other commitments requiring attention -- including a commitment to myself to take some walking-and-thinking time to focus on a difficult passage in my novel-in-progress. I'll be back here bright and early tomorrow morning, and Myth & Moor will resume!

The Bumblehill Studio

Studio 7

''Midway through writing a novel, I have regularly experienced moments of bowel-curdling terror, as I contemplate the drivel on the screen before me and see beyond it, in quick succession, the derisive reviews, the friends' embarrassment, the failing career, the dwindling income, the repossessed house, the divorce....

''Working doggedly on through crises like these, however, has always got me there in the end. Leaving the desk for a while can help. Talking the problem through can help me recall what I was trying to achieve before I got stuck. Going for a long walk almost always gets me thinking about my manuscript in a slightly new way.''

- Sarah Waters ("Sarah Waters' Rules for Writers")

Studio 2

''To allow ourselves to spend afternoons watching dancers rehearse, or sit on a stone wall and watch the sunset, or spend the whole weekend rereading Chekhov stories -- to know that we are doing what we’re supposed to be doing -- is the deepest form of permission in our creative lives. The British author and psychologist Adam Phillips has noted, 'When we are inspired, rather like when we are in love, we can feel both unintelligible to ourselves and most truly ourselves.' This is the feeling I think we all yearn for, a kind of hyperreal dream state. We read Emily Dickinson. We watch the dancers. We research a little known piece of history obsessively. We fall in love. We don’t know why, and yet these moments form the source from which all our words will spring.''

- Dani Shapiro (Still Writing: The Perils & Pleasures of a Creative Life)

P1600493

Words: The Sarah Waters quote is from "Sarah Waters' Rules for Writers" (The Guardian, 23 February, 2010). The Dani Shapiro quote is from Still Writing (Grove Press/Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013), which I recommend. The quotes in the picture captions are from a variety of sources. (Move your cursor over the images to see them.) All rights reserved by the authors.

Pictures: My work studio,  a small cabin by the woods on a Devon hillside.


The Bumblehill Studio Newsletter

The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen illustrated by Edmund Dulac

We're very pleased to announce that the Bumblehill Studio now has a newsletter!

For those of you who have said you'd like a way to be alerted about new Myth & Moor posts, the letter will contain a round-up of each week's offerings, plus links to anything else I've published online and any events I'm participating in. There will also be a few reading recommendations, and occasional links to new works by other folks in the Bumblehill community. 

Lunar Hine, my editorial assistant, will oversee the letter's production and send it out to subscribers once week. We promise to have mercy on your email Inbox and keep it short and sweet. 

You can subscribe here (and easily unsubscribe any time you like).

Drawing by Arthur Rackham

The painting above is by Edmund Dulac. The drawing is by Arthur Rackham.


Wildflower Week

Devon wildflowers

As the weather warms and wildflowers emerge, I've been asked to re-publish some of my previous posts containing flower and herb folklore, and I'm happy to oblige. I hope you'll enjoy revisiting these pieces. (New posts will resume on Monday.)

This will also give me some extra time to catch up on my Patreon page and other projects -- all which came to a sudden stop in the weeks follow my youngest brother's death, even though he wouldn't have wanted that. I keep thinking of these words by Anaïs Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Grief is hard, and the global pandemic makes it harder still. But it's time to begin unfurling.