Friday bletherie

I’ll end the week as I began: by letting you all know that Wise Fools, the new issue of Unsettling Wonder, is newly available to buy. I’m going to keep flogging this one because I love it, and I think its hilarious and sad and beautiful. Listen!

Not in my time, not in your time, nor yet in your grandfather’s time–but in someone’s time, surely–there was and there was not, a boy.

That’s the opening of Austin Hackney’s story ‘The Tale of Tom Fool’, a story that makes me laugh and cry and wonder. It gets better—it’s unexpected and sweet and haunting. And the whole issue’s this good.

The print editions are beautiful even though I designed them, and there are beautiful e-editions designed by Erzebet Yellowboy, and it’s full of beautiful illustrations and beautiful stories and—and you need a copy because you can always have more beauty in your life. Plus it’s got sad fox by Laura Anderson in:


Also, on a similar note I’ve got a fairly momentous announcement related to Paradoxes soon, so you can look forward to that appearing early next week. Which gives you plenty of time to go buy Wise Fools. Do yourself a favour and don’t miss this one.

monday is publication day

Accepted wisdom for the blogosphere says that the big thought-pieces get posted on Monday, and the link round-ups get posted on Friday. Except that, Monday notwithstanding, I’ve got some links I’m really excited about. Accepted wisdom, accepted schmisdom.

First, the new issue of Unsettling Wonder launched today. I’m so proud and excited about this issue, it’s a really great array of talent and story and art, and if you love fairy tales and folktales and the mythic arts—actually, if you just love beautifully made stories and journals—I promise you’ll love this.

Second, if you’re looking for a big thought-piece for a Monday read, well—here’s what I wrote for the Unsettling Wonder blog on Friday. If you like what I write here, you should give this a read, because I almost posted it here—it’s par for Paradoxes, but on balance I put it at UW instead. You should be able to tell why.

And lastly, everybody but everybody that cares about writing and publishing and all related arts should read this new Interstitial Moment from Jane Yolen. She writes the truth, and beautifully.

titles and Kipling: a correspondence


I recently enjoyed a lively email exchange with the remarkable Katherine Langrish, as she was kindly giving advice about the last stages of a YA manuscript I’ve been working on for rather a while. We started by talking about fish (it made sense at the time) and wound up discussing YA literature in general and Kipling in particular—and round about the time I was enthusiastically looking up quotations from The Jungle Book, it occurred to me that you all might like to get in on the conversation. Here it is, then, reproduced with Kath’s kind permission. Chime in the comments, or email me directly, or both. Enjoy.

The agent just said to send [her the manuscript] whenever it was ready—[…] One thing I have no clue about is a title–even a working title. But I’ve already drafted a short pitch for my second novel…yeah, I’m a nutter…. 🙂


Do try and come up with SOME title, even if something vague, before you send it out.  Anything!  What’s the river called?  ‘The Falls of Something?’  Doesn’t matter what it is, the poor woman is going to want some mental tag for it, and it looks feeble not to name it anything.


I wonder if eels is better than herring, for descriptive purposes.

The title is–gah. A few ideas floating round are ‘Once, Twice and Again’ (a line from Kipling), ‘The City on the Falls’, ‘The King’s Own Players’, and–less seriously, perhaps, but is shows the general desperation–’Fateful Shaman Saina’.

An intriguing idea I had today was ‘Bitter Karela’, again from Kipling, though that’s would be an oblique choice, and may make readers think they’re getting a book about someone named Karela. ‘Remember the Wolf is a Hunter’ was another possibility, the wolf being a main symbol throughout–but if I put the word ‘Wolf’ in the title then everyone and (especially) their aunt will expect paranormal romance. Perhaps a better title is ‘Wood and Water, Wind and Tree’.

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all things must pass

Hi tavqyrad! It’s been 3139 (wow, that’s a big number) days since you joined Xanga…

I’m getting ready to delete my Xanga account. Most of you probably don’t even know I ever had a Xanga account. Funny, but it’s true. I won’t link back to it, because the link will be dead before too long. There’s a Kickstarter going to to keep Xanga alive, but that should probably be called a Jumpstarter. There seem to be a few hundred people interested in paying money to keep it going, and some with very good reason—a lot of stories of loneliness and hurt and tragedy, and finding a loving supporting community on Xanga.

I’m not among them, though. Like so many of my generation, Xanga was just part of my undergrad experience, more or less. I Xangaed from November 2004 to January 2008 with increasing irregularity, so do your own calculations for guessing my age. Looking back over it, a lot of the later posts fretted over my apparent guilt-complex about not blogging enough. My penultimate post reads:

If I updated my blog, as if it were a blog, who would notice?
And for those of you who would notice, is it really the best way to communicate with you?
Does it really matter?

Posted 1/26/2008 5:57 PM

[Obligatory screenshot:image

It’s worth noting how much higher resolution my current monitor is than Xanga seems to have anticipated. Also, notice that Firefox is helpfully suggesting I meant, not Xanga. That’s interesting! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as tanga—it takes twa, no? ]

This was followed a few days later by a straw poll on what readers might like to see on my Xanga. The rest is silence.

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nothing to say

imageI have nothing to say today, although some News Of Interest is forthcoming. So here’s the Google Ngram results for ‘I have nothing to say’ (click to embiggen). The results seem to suggest a sharp decline in the recorded use of the phrase since 1900, which may also suggest that we have more and more and more to say as a culture, and less and less likely to think (or admit) we have nothing to say.

I can’t say I’m surprised. I also can’t imagine that everything we’re rushing about to say as a culture is of substantially greater import of what people may or may not have been saying in 1813. James Hogg’s long poem The Queen’s Wake was first published that year, for instance—that’s something.