the friend factory

It’s the latest craze in dolls, so she simply has to have one.

I can’t really complain, I remember my own rabid Cabbage Patch days.

I told her to think about it, explained over and over that it would have to be her only birthday present but she never even waffled, it was all she wanted.

She carried the catalog around constantly. She even took it to bed with her.

I called six weeks in advance and I still only got an appointment because someone canceled, they said the wait was nearing three months but they tried to give cancellation spot priority to birthdays whenever possible. I joked that people probably lie to get them, then, and they told me I had to send a copy of her birth certificate for verification.

On appointment day, they gave us a tour of the facility before they took her to the lab for testing, explaining the manufacturing process and how “friends” (they never call them “dolls”) are uniquely calibrated and programmed to be exactly what each child needs in a playtime companion.

I thought it was kind of creepy, but she adored every minute. Especially the factory floor with row after row of empty heads.


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







It is a gorgeous day today, springy and warm and bright. Took the long way back and forth from the post office and brought the camera, some additional shots are over on the oft-neglected Flickr photostream.

death awaits you all

Most of them stand on the steps in front of the doors for some time before making their decision.

Marking the the obvious differences and missing the subtle ones.

(The bunny is the most obvious difference. The hand-drawn bunny sitting patiently beneath a shining sun, distracting from the fact that the doorknobs do not match, that only one door has a mail slot, that the doors themselves are painted two slightly different shades of black, one glossier than the other.)

Most take their time, but some choose quickly, as though they already knew which door they wanted before they arrived.

There are all kinds of seekers, drawn to the doors for their own private reasons, on their own personal quests.

Businessmen in suits and small children in striped socks.

Bike messengers and conquistadors and leaflet-carrying proselytizers.

But they always choose the bunny door.

And they’re always wrong.


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

I am cleaning my studio today, and amongst all the other questionable artifacts tucked into dust-covered corners (spools of fishing line? a Ouija board? a May 1999 NYC subway map?) I found a pile of old photos & I thought I’d scan a couple to share.

So this is me in New Hampshire circa 2004, with an apple and far too much hair:


And this is me in South Boston circa 1980, with a fabulous hat:

a small, solar quest

We went looking for the sun today.

We started early and packed a lunch of fresh baked bread and cheese and apple cakes with honey.

We each brought a thermos full of mint tea.

We wore cloaks of proper colors to alert the wolves that we were only on a temporary errand through their woods and meant them no harm.

We sang songs as we walked and sometimes the birds added layered harmonies. We stopped several times to clear the path of fallen branches and once to give a piece of cake to a squirrel who gave us hazelnuts in exchange.

We saw no evidence that we were on the right path. No hints of warmth or tell-tale light playing over the trees.

Late in the day, the wolves brought us mittens and we shared our tea with them, but they couldn’t offer us any advice.

We were about to give up and go home when we found the sign.


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

circusy things

A roundup of circus-related news & such for a rather grey Monday:


THE NIGHT CIRCUS received a starred review from Kirkus. *star-shaped confetti*

THE NIGHT CIRCUS was chosen to be one of the six (6!) books presented on the Book Expo America Editors Buzz Panel. Which is absolutely marvelous, particularly because my editor has a lovely speaking voice.

Note how it is on the adult panel, not the YA one. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is not YA, despite the fact that I am still seeing it mentioned as YA around the internets. It has adults who are young in it. It also has adults who are old and adults whose age is difficult to discern and the story itself covers about thirty years worth of time. The book itself is not YA. It is adult or general or whatever not-YA is called these days.

Also, I saw this once and figured it was just a random, possibly autocorrect-influenced mistake and now I’ve seen it three times so it’s clarification time: THE NIGHT CIRCUS is about magicians* not musicians. I don’t know where that started, or why it’s perpetuating, but no. Not musicians. Magicians.

And I am told from reliable, inside sources that there are circusy things going on at the London Book Fair even as I type.

Oh, and I gave the circus its own website page, I will be gradually adding more info and such over there.

I think that’s it for the moment, but I am certain there will be more to come.


*not even the best term for them, really, but there isn’t a better one.


shadow angels

Angels lurk in shadows.

Not many people know that.

They like to think that angels hang out on clouds with harps and constant sparkling sunshine bouncing off of their halos.

Sure, a few of them are sun-dwellers, but most angels are sneaky.

They’re hiders by nature. They blend the rustling of their wings with the sounds of nearby pigeons to disguise it.

They wait in shadows and darkness and the bleakness of winter to drop blessings and luck and wonders on passersby.

Preferably the people who think that there are no angels anywhere, in shadows or in sunshine. Those wandering souls who don’t believe in such things.

Because angels like it best when they’re unexpected.


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