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.

more fanbots

I’m rather enjoying the quality of spam that’s appearing on this blog, lately. A robot calling itself “Apartments in Mesa” is nothing short of enthusiastic:

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so
much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a
bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.

A great read. I will definitely be back.

OK, I’m a little worried that I’m reading a robot’s mind—in fact I’m worried that robots even have minds (no offence, Apartments). And I’m more than a little worried about that last part. The Terminator wasn’t even that emphatic: “I’ll DEFINITELY be back!” But maybe Apartments in Mesa will take the automated advice of its learned colleague, UV Polish:

Hello Dear, are you in fact visiting this website daily, if so afterward
you will definitely obtain fastidious experience.

That’s the thing about this new generation of fanbot: they’re definite. They will definitely be back daily to obtain still more fastidious experience from my excellent blog. Which makes me wonder if the bot known as 4Beta is being unduly critical:

I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t solid., but what if you added a title that makes
people want more? I mean whiskers. The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond is kinda plain.

Although you know what? I actually kinda like that. So forget The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond—
I hereby rename this site WHISKERS.


a metamorphic announcement

So. I’ve been hinting at you for weeks now, waving foreshadowing curtains and setting-up significant clues. It’s all been very Nudge Nudge around here, to be honest—like living in a house decorated by Chekov.

But now it’s time for you to know. Actually, a little while ago was time for you to know, but my computer ate my last blog post and I had to start over from scratch. Never mind that. What’s important for you to mind is this:

I am embookenating my blog.

Putting it another, clearer, way, I’m in the final stages of preparing a book drawn largely from what I’ve written here at Paradoxes. The remarkable John Granger is publishing it through Unlocking Press, and has believed in and supported the book longer than I have. At the moment, I’m calling it A Land of Giants: Growing Up with Dragons, Fairy Tales, and Harry Potter. And it’s full of the sort of weird stuff you find at Paradoxes.

I guess I could have given it the subtitle Towards a Personal Revelation of Aesthetics, because it recounts the lumbering, stumbling, staggering course I took in the early days of this blog toward understanding what it means to make good art (to borrow a phrase). So you’ll find bits on the Grimms’ tales in there, some stuff about writing fairy tales, thoughts on mythopoesis, and exclusive, never-before-seen literary criticism on Harry Potter. The structure of the book moves from childhood and fairy stories, to adolescent and coming to terms with the Holocaust, and ends at the launching off place—where I realised I wanted less to write about writing, and that it was actually time to write. To make good art. (There’s that phrase again.)

I’m almost done revising the full manuscript, and all being well it’ll be available for purchase this autumn. Watch this space, as I’ll be giving bits and blurbs and a table of contents, and updates on production as that happens.

Nevertheless! Paradoxes will remain open for business and blogging as usual—I shan’t abandon you in an imwritingabookohmiGAWD fug of silence. So stay around, and forgive the occasional promo post, like this one! This of it like that guy who’s always whipping out his wallet to show you the same picture of his kid, and—whaddya know, I’ve got this great picture right here. It’s the cover illustration, by the astonishing Peter Herron:


Remember, you heard it first on Paradoxes. More anon.

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.