our apologies

Due to unforeseen circumstances, there is no flax-golden tale for Friday, November 26th. This is the very first missed week since flax-golden tales began in July of 2009. I’d tell you how many weeks that is, but I’m not up for the math at the moment.

There will be a new tale next Friday. And of course, you are welcome to peruse the archives at any time.

Thank you for understanding!

An Eventide Edition of what very well may be the final* Snapshots from Revisionland**.

Shiny new fountain pen that my in-laws brought me this weekend. It is my very first new-new fountain pen! All my other ones are vintage.

Left over papadum from dinner:

Hair dye, because my roots were looking confused again:

And champagne, because I got my first advance check in the mail today. That makes me some sort of official author person, doesn’t it?

*for this book, at least.

**I know, I know, I escaped Revisionland on Friday. I’m back in it for the next 24 hours or so, and then… well, we’ll see. I’ll probably still be hanging out in the Revisionland Hotel Bar.

helping hand

The sign said they were Extra Hands, without elaborating on their purpose.

So I asked the shopkeeper what they were for, after he finished getting a stuffed jackalope down from a high shelf for a blue-haired lady.

He told me that they were exactly what the sign said. Extra Hands, for doing anything you might need a hand with.

The blue-haired lady bought a dozen.

I only bought one, even though I felt like they should stay in pairs, because they were kind of expensive.

I was going to give it to my sister for her birthday, but now that I’ve had it for awhile, I think I’m going to keep it.

It opens jars and pours my coffee. It signs for packages and pets my cats.

It’s actually quite helpful.

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


I go through music phases, especially when I’m writing.

I listen to the same things over and over and over. And over.

I’m not always sure what will end up being the soundtrack of Revisonland. It varies. I don’t particularly plan, something just moves into my head and refuses to let me listen to anything else while I work.

This time around it is all Fleet Foxes, all the time.

seasonal binding

My next-door neighbor wraps her trees each November.

Tying up the remnants of autumn in lengths of rope and string.

Binding them to ward off winter.

She explained it to me once, the fall after I moved in, over cups of apple cider held in fingerless gloves.

She does it every year.

I’m not really sure it works.

But sometimes those last few leaves seem to hold on to her trees a little longer.

After the rest of the trees on the street have given up.

Before they finally succumb to the frost.

When the snow comes, she replaces the strings with bright red ribbons.

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

on nanowrimo (again)

I know I’m late to the party getting on my NaNoWriMo soapbox, but I’ve been busy with revisions and most of my boxes are normally occupied by kittens, but since people are still talking about it and all the NaNo-ers are typing away, I figured I’d drag out the box.

I’m just going to sit on it, I’m not climbing up. I’m not really big on shouting about things, and it seems like a NaNo conversation should take place on a chat sort of level, so pull up a box and let’s talk about NaNoWriMo. I’m making tea. Also, there’s an analogy about birdies later.

First, to everyone currently NaNo-ing: HURRAH FOR YOU! I wave little flags made of colored Post-Its in your general direction and urge you to get off my blog and go writewritewrite! Or you know, if you need a break, feel free to hang out and have tea, but writewritewrite later. You’re awesome for taking on a challenge, you’re awesome for sitting down and writing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

And now, you may actually want to leave. Because I can’t guarantee you’re going to like what I have to say next.

Your novel will not be finished at the end of the month.

Yeah, I know. If you’re lucky you’ll have a THE END at the, well, end, and it’ll be a novel-esque document full of 50k+ words, but it won’t be a finished novel.

It’ll be a draft.

Drafts are wonderful, wonderful things, but they are not finished novels.

(On a related note, to quote da Vinci: Art is never finished, only abandoned. But that’s an entirely different post.)

I say this even though it’s been said far and wide over the internet already, because there are apparently people who don’t get it.

For those of us who do get it… here, have more tea. The haters get frustrating, don’t they?

Here’s the thing: if you want to spend your November writing novels or knitting socks or doing interpretive dance about novels about socks, that’s your business.

Don’t let haters on the internet make you think you’re wasting your time.

But be realistic about it. What gives NaNo a bad name, what gets the anti-NaNo people’s rantypants in a twist is the people who query agents on December 1st with drafts instead of novels.

Don’t do this. Please. It’s like spending all of November hand-feeding a little baby bird and then kicking it out of its nest with a combat boot come December.

Let the little novel birdie stay in the nest for awhile. Give it flying lessons. Tell it that it’s a pretty bird, even if it isn’t. It has the potential to be a pretty bird.

Make it a stronger bird. It might take weeks or it might take years, but it will fly better if you don’t kick it out of the nest too soon. If you kick it out of the nest before it’s ready, it’s going to need therapy and it’s not going to trust you anymore.

Now, you may be one of those magical people who writes amazing first drafts. You are rare. I kind of hate you. Your novel birdie is a phoenix. Watch out, its nest is probably on fire.

Most of us do not write phoenix novels. That’s the lovely thing about novels, and novel-writing. There are lots of different birds, lots of ways to reach the same goal. I’d like to think my novels are more like… oh, I don’t know. Let’s go with pygmy falcons. Cute but fierce. Really fluffy-looking at first. Probably not on fire.

Has this analogy gotten out of hand yet?

That’s okay, you don’t have to listen to me. But I feel vaguely qualified to sit on my soapbox and make bird analogies. I do have a novel I started during NaNoWriMo (’06) being published in the foreseeable future. I wrote a long, wandering draft of it over the span of two Novembers and then spent a very, very long time turning it into something book-shaped and polishing it before I let it out of its nest.

And I am still sitting here making it better. It just has a lot more people telling it what a pretty bird it is now.

So to the NaNo-ers: Happy NaNo-ing!

To the haters: Calm it down. Have some tea. Seriously. And if you’re going to claim NaNoWriMo is a waste of time, I apologize in advance for laughing at you.


First there was the mat.

It didn’t say Welcome, but it wasn’t off-putting. And everyone knew how he was about keeping the house tidy. They wiped their paws as requested and were welcomed inside for tea and biscuits.

Then he put the plastic over the living room furniture. Even the lampshades were painstakingly covered. The teapot and the saucers wrapped like presents, though the cups themselves were left exposed for ease of drinking.

(Someone claimed he threw each cup away after it was used, but no one could be certain it was true, as he had a great many identical cups.)

Mostly, the neighbors just thought he was particular, even for a bear.

They didn’t really start worrying until he added the extra lock.

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

calling cards

I decided I needed business cards, but I didn’t particularly want to put “author” or “writer” or “kitten wrangler” on them.

After a lot of pondering and Etsy searching, I decided to go with something along the lines of a Victorian calling card. It seemed appropriate.

So I ordered these from GoGoSnap:

Name on front, website & e-mail on the back. Room to scrawl my phone number if needed. They are swirly gorgeousness & I love them.

Julie at GoGoSnap is brilliant & accommodating & I’m absolutely going back for all my quirky vintage-inspired correspondence needs.

In other news: I still feel odd not doing NaNoWriMo (I keep thinking I’m forgetting to do something) but I am buried in revisions. Revisionland is turning into my natural habitat.  Scrivener 2.0 is making Revisionland a much lovelier place at the moment, though. I may wax poetic on that at some point in the future.