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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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:

HPKORT_med-1

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

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.

a thing of beauty etc.

If you love beautiful books, and you love e-books, and you love folklore and fantasy, then you want to know about this. Papaveria Press has just launched a new online shop, what could accurately be called an ebookstore. It’s the first and I suspect only time I’ve been moved to email a website designer to tell them their online shop was beautiful. Check it out for your aesthetic pleasure, but don’t be too surprised if you find a new e-book you can’t live without.

now my charms are all overthrown

or, Mr Pond in Print and other stories

My esteemed compatriots in the blogalectic, Jenna St Hilaire and Masha, have each written a striking and eloquent engagement with the other’s view on art and beauty and entertainment. I urge you to read both ‘By Any Other Name’ and ‘Words, words, words’. Shakespeare quotations seem to be in season this week, so I’ve adjusted my title accordingly.

And since their posts compliment each other so well, I’m taking the advantage to give you all a respite from my ideas concerning art and nonbeing, and to fill you in on several happenings.

If you ever wondered what fairy tale scholars do all day—well, I guess this won’t help you that much, but I’ve just had an article published at Enchanted Conversation. It’s called, fittingly enough, ‘Enchanted Conversations: The Reverse Adaptation of Fairy Tales in Online Culture’, and you can read it here. I originally presented it at the Never-Ending Stories children’s literature conference at Ghent University, and a heavily revised and expanded version of it is forthcoming next year in an academic anthology of the same name.

Not only that, but I’m delighted to tell you that Harry Potter for Nerds (Unlocking, 2011) is now available for purchase on Amazon.com (and Amazon.co.uk, for my British readers). It looks like Travis Prinzi has pulled off yet another winner of an anthology. I’ve got a chapter in, called ‘“Just Behind the Veil”: Death in Harry Potter and the Fairy Tales of George MacDonald’. Do pop round to let me know what you think once you’ve read it.

And then, this:

Wolf had heard scary tales about this hill. Stories of blue elf-fires, burning at the mouths of long-abandoned mineshafts and tunnels. Stories of bogeymen and ghosts.

Up on the very top, he had heard there was a road. A road leading nowhere, a road no one used. For if anyone was so bold as to walk along it, especially at night, he’d hear the clamour of hounds and the blowing of horns, the cracking of whips and the rumbling of a cart. And out of the dark would burst the Devil’s own dog pack, dashing beside a black wagon drawn by goats with fiery eyes, crammed full of screaming souls bound for the pits of Hell…

That chilling passage comes from the critically-acclaimed Dark Angels [The Shadow Hunt] (HarperCollins, 2010) by Paradoxes friend and regular Katherine Langrish. She’s just released the book trailer, and rather than embed it here for your viewing pleasure, I’m going to send you all to go watch it at Katherine’s blog, Seven Miles of Steel Thistles. Because if you watch it over there, you might wind up winning three signed copies of the book.

Katherine writes breathtaking and eldritch stories might be impossible to describe without using Lovecraft, Wynne Jones, and Dahl as adjectives. Her deep knowledge of folkloric tradition and oral storytelling combines with historical accuracy to create a rich and enchanting read. Add to that characters that are deeply and sensitively drawn, and—why don’t we just plan a group outing to Waterstone’s or Borders right now and have done? If—as might be the case, airfare proves too expensive at short notice, then we can be comforted that these books are available on Amazon, too.

And now it’s a sunny day in Scotland, so I tarry here no longer. Whatever you read this weekend, read well.