So long, 2010.

You were interesting.

I spent the vast majority of 2010 living in a black-and-white circus that will be nicely bound on bookstore shelves come September.

It’s still rather hard to believe, but I’m working on that.

This time last year I was still unagented and pulling my manuscript apart again for yet another revision.

Visions and revisions. That’s the way this year went.

2010 sounded like Bernard Herrmann Hitchcock soundtracks and jazz and Arcade Fire and Florence + the Machine.

It sounded like Florence + the Machine a lot. Song of my year, no question:

My New Year’s Resolution is to stop saying (repeatedly) that anything happening to me is weird or strange or crazy. Because crazy is my new normal and I should probably try to embrace that.

I should be more of a believer.

This is all really happening.

The snow outside is melting. I have stars in my hair.

Bring it on, 2011.

frames for nature

Nature doesn’t need frames, I say, but she insists on finding them anyway. Running around like a cameraless photographer as she composes each shot. Leaving to find another when she’s satisfied.

I ask her why, not really expecting an answer.

It’s too much to look at all at once, she says.

Maybe she’s right.

Maybe it’s better to have tastes of it, a narrower focus.

I do it myself now, too. Finding lines of bare trees and glimpses of blue sky.

Nicely contained within decorative arches.

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

peppermint & snow

On Friday, we baked cookies & tartlets & listened to absurd amounts of holiday music. I still find the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” song mildly disturbing.

And we made peppermint bark. I’d never made it before, but I wanted to try something not-cookie, and my Martha Stewart holiday cookbook had a recipe that seemed fairly simple, so we gave it a whirl.

We couldn’t find candy canes (craziness!) but we substituted giant peppermint sticks which were probably more fun to break.

We melted absurd amounts of white chocolate.

We mixed the two together with a bit of peppermint oil & chilled it in a pan & then broke it into pieces:

It is delicious.

We were intending to bring it along for holiday visiting yesterday.

Then we had a blizzard.

And holiday visiting was canceled.

So we’re snowed in with over 2 pounds of peppermint bark. I’m going to have to freeze it or something, we can’t possibly eat all of it between the two of us.

(Besides, I also have chocolate-covered, sea salt-dusted caramels. Those are getting eaten. Savored one by one.)

silver bells

Listen, and you’ll hear.

In the snow-quiet. In the cold that envelops bare branches and evergreens alike, winding around sleds and mittens and waterproof boots.

The bells are ringing. Even if they don’t appear to move. Even if you can’t see where they are hung. Even if you have to listen very, very closely while your fingers and toes go numb.

Be patient.

They need the cold and the snow-quiet to sing so sweet.

Listen carefully, and you’ll hear everything.

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

snowy solstice

We had our first snow of the season, finally! Started yesterday & continued overnight, which meant no late night lunar eclipse watching for us, sadness. Still, it’s nice to have the snow.

I always love the first snow, when everything’s all bright & white & quiet. After it turns slushy, not so much love, but that initial snowfall is always kind of lovely.

It was especially nice to have snow just in time for the winter solstice today, snowy snowy solstice!

The boy got me solstice roses, which are a long story that we do not have time for, but they are tinted bluish-black & marvelously gothic, I’ll take better photos of them tomorrow when I have proper light, but here’s a peek:

It’s feeling very holiday-ish around here, suddenly. Festive & wintery & Carol of the Bells-y. And cold. And snowy.

Trying to hold on to this last week or so before the year falls away from me and December turns into January. Busy, but good busy.

solitary contemplation

There’s a saint in the window of the building across the street.

I don’t know which one, I’m not good with saints.

He faces the window, but he doesn’t look out. He looks down, like he’s distracted. Lost in his thoughts rather than watching the street or the trees.

The building used to be a school, a Catholic one, I think, but it’s closed now. I doubt whoever put him there even considered how he’d look from the outside.

People walking by stop if they notice him. Sometimes they keep looking, long after they must realize he’s not a real person, like they’re wondering what he’s doing.

Meditating on the unknown thoughts of a lonesome saint.

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

paper cranes

Over last weekend, I taught myself how to do something I have always wanted to learn but never actually sat down and took the time for until now.

I learned how to fold paper cranes.

They’re actually not as complicated as they look. I found a bunch of guides online and ended up following this one.

I also learned that laser printer paper does not make for the most precise of paper cranes (some of them look like ducks), but that was what I had.

I folded a lot of them. They were a gift for my editor, though some of them managed to fly over to my agent and a few more are still kicking around the studio.

So yay, I have a new skill. I should get myself some proper origami paper.

really big book

I like books. A lot. This is likely obvious.

I recently bought myself a book that I’d had my eye on for awhile. I wanted it based on title alone (Magic 1400s-1950s!), but then I saw pictures and made grabby hands at my computer screen and then I kind of had to have it.

I think I can safely say that it is now the biggest book I own.

It is the only book I have ever purchased that arrived in its own case, complete with convenient handle for carrying.

Here it is out of its box, with some regular-sized books for comparison:

And open:

It is gorgeous and I haven’t had the time to go through it page-by-page yet, but I’m very much looking forward to it. I kind of want to get a podium for it to sit on, like in a library. When I have the space for a podium. And a proper library.

I also got the not-quite-so-large but still rather big The Circus Book. I’m going to need more shelves.

angel tech support (ATS)

Anyone who finds out is usually surprised that angels need tech support, that it’s even a job. But that’s because we’re good at it.

You’d never know we’re here, that’s the point.

Have you ever seen a cherub? They’re chubby. Those fluffy little wings aren’t enough to keep them up, but they wouldn’t be as cute with a proper wingspan, so adjustments have to be made.

We have other ways to keep them airborne.

It’s all about appearances.

Miracles have to look miraculous.

No one wants to see the wires.

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