nostalgia

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.

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Year’s End

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

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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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.

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.