I’ve never understood this bittersweet narcissism within myself. I love to wander lonely streets in unknown cities. To find a cafe and order a coffee and think to myself — here I am, known to no one, drinking my coffee and reading my paper. To sit somewhere just barely out of the rain, and declare that my fortress. I think of myself in the third person: Who is he? What is his mystery? I have explained before how I’m attracted to anonymous formica restaurants where I can read my book and look forward to rice pudding for desert. To leave that warm place and enter the dark city is a strange pleasure. Nostalgia perhaps.
[Roger Ebert, “All the lonely people“]
The internet has a strange sense of death. There is a rush for immediacy, for action, for content of all kinds. Functionally, it’s like that unknown city, rush and bustle and bother and noise noise noise. Especially noise. There’s noise of colour and noise of words, noise of image and noise of news, noise of opinion and noise of importance. Anything less than the loud alarum clamour of constant updates is seen as death. Or at least terminal illness.
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
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.
The 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:
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.
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.