Year’s End

Farewell to the Year of the Unlucky Number–which paradoxically was a heck of a lot better for me than 2012 ever was, so make of that what you will. And to you all, a very belated Chanukah, a mid-stream Merry Christmas (day 7 of 12), and a really rather early Happy New Year 2015.

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been—well, I’ve been sick, honestly. And writing scintillating, sparkling, wonderful blog posts was beyond me as I huddled around, feeling rubbish. As was writing dull, grumpy, turgid, uninteresting blog posts, for that matter.

But this is not a confession of blog-guilt. Nor even a New Year’s Resolution to blog more (which would be the quickest way, I think, to ensure never blogging again). Like the great John McIntyre, I’ve embraced a policy of not blogging unless I have something I want to say. And I usually do, in that sunny, cheery, talkative way I have (“Ha,” say his colleagues, and “Who?” ask his friends). And if this blog has been overly taciturn, blame it chiefly on my increased distaste for wittering, on and offline, and the uncertainty that comes with age that one’s own opinions are really as great as all that. Continue reading

Mr Pond in Print

In the course of the past several days and weeks, perhaps you have had occasion to stop and wonder, ‘That Mr Pond—just where is he?’ Well, I can lift that worry right of your backs, by telling you the answer.

I’ve been writing and publishing, mostly. Sister Fox’s Field Guide to the Writing Life, by Jane Yolen, was made available for pre-order this week over at Unsettling Wonder. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done on this book. It’s a new collection of Jane’s mythic arts poetry, and is as wonderful and moving and provoking and beautiful as that suggests. You can find more about it here.

TNFT-Cover-Final-Webhe embookenation of this blog is now complete in manuscript, and has been sent to the publishers. Its working title is A Land of Giants: Growing Up with Fairy Tales, Dragons, and Harry Potter. Not sure how long production will take, but I’ll give your periodic updates as the process goes. I’ve had a lot of fun working with Unlocking Press in the past, and so will be looking forward to this process.

Third, speaking of Unlocking Press, I’m very happy—nay, veritably delighted—to announce the release of New Fairy Tales: Essays and Stories, edited by yours truly and the wonderful Defne Cizakca. It’s available for purchase on Amazon here, or here if you’re in the UK, both in print and e-book formats. Other outlets to follow soon. There are so many reasons why you’ll want to buy this book—here’s a few:

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l’shanah tovah

I just wrote a post for Unsettling Wonder that featured Jane Yolen’s comment on my previous blog post here. If that sounds convoluted here’s the link that explains everything. It has more of my thoughts about mythic arts in. And, more importantly, features Jane Yolen being insightful and eloquent. So you probably want to go read that.

But before you go, let me bid you l’shanah tovah and give you warmest wishes and every blessing for the New Year. And speaking of people being eloquent, here’s Barack Obama offering his own good wishes for the holiday and the year ahead. Well worth your while watching this.
I can’t help but notice that the president looks nearly as exhausted as Neil Gaiman at the end of a signing tour. But it’s a beautiful speech for all that—a much needed and very welcome message of hope.

mythically speaking

Today as I was engaged in revising the embookenation of my blog, I found myself jotting a few paragraphs of new, exclusive content (ahem) about the mythic arts. That’s where a lot of my creative writing CV to date seems to belong, and so inevitably it appears in my writings on writing. But this got me wondering again about that curious little genre marker, Mythic Arts. I tried to find an explanation of the term’ s origins (QED) at the Endicott Studio, but they’re under construction. So I was left to my own musings—and now you are, too.

Generally speaking, we could say that mythic arts is anything that would go well with illustrations by Brian Froud—call it the Froud Test, if you will. Perhaps it’s not even a particular style as much as a sensibility, marked by a profound respect for folklore and folk belief, a strong sense of roots and traditional arts, and an almost Romantic appreciation for—and fellowship with—the natural world. Its interest lies not just in literary tradition, but in the whole culture of practice and ritual and art; consequently its influences and expressions tend to be more diverse than some other genres. And it seems to be where most of the best fairy tale retellings and collections and anthologies are found.

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Mr Pond is a pseudonym

I just wrote a somewhat light-hearted post about The Many Lives of Mr Galbraith over at the The Hog’s Head. Or rather, I wrote a post about how I was going to write a post, but there have been so many posts written about J. K. Rowling’s secret identity that I eventually found someone who’d already said all I wanted to say. You might want to read it if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Which, if you’re reading this, you probably are.

Also, have you been following Katherine Langrish’s Magical Classics series over at her blog? You should be. Follow it because it’s awesome, and it’s talking about all my favourite books. And as an added bonus, I’ll be contributing a post shortly about The King of Ireland’s Son, by Padraic Colum. I’ll post a link here once it’s written and live. This is a wonderful book, and I’m thrilled to have a professional excuse to reread it. You’ll love it too—listen:

Laheen the Eagle spread out her wings and flew away, and the King’s Son journeyed on, first with the sun before him and then with the sun at his back, until he came to the shore of a wide lake. He turned his horse away, rested himself on the ground, and as soon as the clear day came he began to watch for the three swans.