buoyant solidarity

I like to let my balloons go. Release the string and let them fly.

They clearly want to fly.

I know, it’s bad for the environment. They likely end up broken and sad, tangled in trees.

But I hope that they don’t.

I hope they fly towards each other. Lost balloons and released balloons and rogue balloons, all finding kindred souls on untied strings.

I like to think somewhere they cling together, in a kind of buoyant solidarity.

Tangled bits of rainbow on blue sky.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

It quite suddenly decided to be proper summer around here. In the last week of July. The Kitten Flop Barometer is at Very High Flop.

(Or should that be Very Low Flop, since the floppiness is very low to the ground? Though Bucket is flopped on the table in front of the fan, while Tessa is flopped by my feet on top of a pile of papers that need to be shredded. The Kitten Flop Barometer is not a precise device.)

I seem to be in the middle of all sorts of things which involves a lot of thinking and waiting and not necessarily a lot of interesting blog fodder. Also, it’s hot, which is demotivating.

Things I am waiting for in the mail:

  • BPAL order including bottles of Belle Vinu, Imp & Lawn Gnome
  • DVD of Watchmen
  • New bank card, to replace the unfortunately compromised one.
  • Notice from the bank about all that fun bank fraud stuff. It’s like a money adventure, but not as fun as shopping. When all this is done I am totally buying new shoes.

And of course, I’m keeping an eye on my my e-mail inbox for agent responses. It’s been pretty quiet lately on that front.

I’m writing bits of all sorts of things. I have two big works in progress plus a fairy tale for my writing group and I’m pondering the queens for the tarot deck.

Also, I’m having a sale on original art over on Etsy. Breakdown of ridiculously low prices is over on the art blog. Here, have a very pretty widget to click and go check stuff out:

safe passage

The train is the only safe passage through the forest.

The conductors are armed and trained in combat should there be any… incidents.

(It is a rare journey that passes without incident.)

Looking out the window is inadvisable. Not because of what you might see, but what might see you.

There are things that lurk on the ground and in the trees. There are the trees themselves, which will not let go if they catch hold.

The river, should you make it that far, is cold as ice and deep as death.

During the day, the train is the only comparatively safe passage through the forest.

After dark there are fewer options.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

knights & orchids

On Saturday we went to see Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, which was enjoyable for about an hour and a half and then boring and badly paced for the last hour. And when the credits started I immediately turned to the boy and said “Today we have learned that a good director can elevate a mediocre screenplay to something decent but cannot salvage a final scene as horrible as that one.” Really. Love the direction, love the look of everything, love Luna, love Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliffe has some brilliant comic timing, but that screenplay was awful.

On Sunday we found out someone has been using my debit card to go on a spending spree in the UK. Bright side: some card monitoring place called to alert me, plus froze the card for me. According to the bank I need to go fill out fraud paperwork. There’s some confusion at this point as to what charges went through and what didn’t, but it’s several hundred dollars, at least. Joy.

In better news, I finished the Phantomwise Tarot Knights today. They’re up in the gallery on phantomwise.com. They were rather difficult, but I’m pleased with how they came out. Only 8 cards left, which is just crazy. Since I started in October of 2006 I’m thinking they’re going to end up finished almost exactly at the 3 year mark.

In other news I’m toying with multiple writing projects in hopes of finishing a draft of something by the end of the year, I just got these bracelets from Bullfinch & Barbury on Etsy and I’m in love with them, Tessa is in love with the huge cardboard box, and I’m going to go make dinner now.

In closing, here is a photo of the gorgeous orchid the boy got from his office, apparently they raffle off the old flowers when they replace them and he got this one. We’re trying not to kill it.

the magic business

My father says the secret is making the audience think there’s a trick when there isn’t, really.

The magic business is all about misdirection and flashy handkerchiefs and sparks because real magic is boring if you let people see it without all the flashy stuff over top. People pay for tickets to see the spectacle, not the magic.

You have to make it look difficult, because if it looks too easy the audience thinks anyone can do it and then it’s not special and ticket-worthy.

But never be too good, he says. People don’t like it when you’re too good.

It’s harder than it sounds, to be good enough to be impressive but not good enough to be unbelievable.

Especially when it’s so easy. It’s like trying to make tying your shoes look mystifying.

Maybe it is, to people who don’t have shoes.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern.

books & cats

I just got a box of books from Amazon, most of what I bought with my birthday Amazon certificates, though a couple more are arriving separately. Amazon is tricksy like that. And one can never have too many books.

But yay, books! I decided to stack up most of my to-read pile, consisting of this order, my last Amazon order, and another birthday book.

Mmm… books. This is probably pretty indicative of my taste in books, too. And it pleases me that this pile is oddly color-coordinated. Not sure what order to tackle them in, though. I’ve started Tam Lin but haven’t gotten very far, and I’ve wanted to read Graceling & The Hunger Games for ages. I might make tea later and read the first few pages of things and see if anything refuses to be put down.

(Also in this photo: several Nick Bantock postcards, Little Miss Sunshine, a Treasury of Victorian Designs & Emblems, the Tarot of the Magical Forest & a stack of happy-face Post-its. Cause this is the kind of stuff that collects on top of my printer. Except the postcards, the wall is their natural habitat.)

And of course, since I have a now-bookless Amazon box, it is currently full of cat:

Though since I took that photo Tessa has curled up to the point where her head is no longer visable and it looks like a box full of fur.

Went for a twilight walk last night in this oddly gorgeous weather. Met a black cat who liked pets on the head. Hadn’t met a black cat in Salem before, though we’ve seen a couple. This one was sweet and liked having his picture taken.

Have all sorts of things to do this week. The tarot knights are in progress, sitting on the workbench in blurry shades of grey. I have a huge stack of books to read that will get taller when my box of birthday books from Amazon arrives. And lots of writing to do. But not this Friday’s flax-golden tale, that’s already finished.

I wrote out a to-do list, something I don’t do nearly as often as I should. It is manageable, I think, and doesn’t look as daunting all typed up as it seemed in my head.

I’m also listening to all of my Tori Amos, in order. According to iTunes we have 1.2 days worth of Tori. The boy started it yesterday as cleaning music, and I’m about halfway through The Beekeeper now. Getting very jazzed to see her in August.

simple as kisses

People say he used to be a prince. Probably because it seems appropriate and romantic, traditional for tales about frogs.

Neighborhood girls dare each other to creep through the brush into the yard, to tangle the ropes of his swing or kiss the top of his green, frozen head. They run off in screaming giggles, leaving him alone with his sorrow and no way to right himself.

The rules are not as simple as kisses, not these days.

He is part of neighborhood folklore now, the Prince on his swing. One Hallowe’en someone placed a paper crown on his head but it would not stay, carried off in a rush of midnight leaves by a cold November wind.

But he was never a prince. Just a boy. A stupid, stupid boy.

About flax-golden tales. Photo by Carey Farrell. Text by Erin Morgenstern


Yesterday, for my birthday extravaganza, the boy and I went to the Peabody Essex Museum. We hadn’t been in awhile, so all the special exhibits were new to us, but by far our favorite was the Trash Menagerie, an exhibit teeming with creatures made from recycled materials.

(Sulphur Blue Smeck, 2005, Michelle Stitzlein, mixed junk, 62 x 84 x 11 inches)

This butterfly is even more impressive in person. The stripes on the bottom of the wings are piano keys and the circles at the top are pots. It was impossible to pick a favorite, between the cardboard monkeys and the clam made of cigarette butts and the bunny with cigarette filter fur (bunny was even more adorable in person) and the glowing centipede comprised of bundt cake pans and bicycle brakes.

I love art made from repurposed stuff, and something about repurposing junk into animals is entirely enchanting. I can’t precisely put my finger on why, but the whole exhibit made me very happy. Finding new and exciting things, especially on my birthday, is a happy-making sort of thing.

After museuming we went out to dinner and managed to not get rained on, though it is the second coldest birthday that I can remember having.

We are still munching on funfetti cupcakes and I have a beautiful new necklace, my very first piece from Parrish Relics after years of coveting. Will be posting the first flax-golden tale tomorrow morning, and so far being thirty-one is very nice, indeed.


Today is my birthday.

I have been working on a birthday present for myself, and for sharing. It officially starts on Friday, but it is being unwrapped today to be more festive.

flax-golden tales is an experiment in words and pictures.

For awhile now, the idea of doing short stories based on images has been percolating around in my brain. Something akin to Chris Van Allsburg’s brilliant The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, only with slightly longer tales.

But I didn’t know what kind of images I wanted to use.

And then I was looking through my friend Carey’s photographs, and something clicked. She finds marvelous things with her camera, capturing images brimming with story.

Carey granted me permission to use her photos, so I started writing these tiny stories and stole an appropriate title from a Shel Silverstein poem I have always loved.

And thus, flax-golden tales is born. Please wish it (and me!) many happy returns.

Each Friday, starting on July 10th, I will post a photograph of Carey’s with an accompanying ten-sentence story.

Stories will be posted here on the blog, collected on their own page, here, and cross-posted to the flaxgolden community on dreamwidth. (Thanks to someone absolutely lovely, there is now an LJ-feed over here.)

I’ve had a lot of fun planning this, and I hope it will continue to be a lot of fun both to write & read as it goes along. Comments, questions, concerns & birthday wishes welcome!

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!
— Invitation, by Shel Silverstein