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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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:

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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.