flax-golden tales: back in the day

back in the day

My grandmother tells me stories about the way things were when she was young.

Mostly they’re about all the things that I have that she didn’t have, or how things were different. How big the computers were and how phones had wires.

Sometimes she tells stories that her grandmother told her.

Her grandmother lived in a house with a yard. A yard is like a private park, I think.

I wonder what these things looked like, sometimes. I’ve seen pictures, but they’re not the same. I wonder what it would be like to look out a window and see poles and wires that connect conversations.

To see the sunset and the clouds.

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

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miscellany for the 29th day of july

Revisionland has destroyed my ability to blog, have you noticed?

Probably because it means I’m typing most of the day, so then when I go to blog my brain thinks “More typing? Can’t we go do yoga or something?” so then I go and drink iced green tea while I think about maybe doing yoga.

So, miscellaneous things that may or may not be of interest to you, dear reader.

  • My very first phone that does more than making phone calls is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me. I probably will tell you, actually, in some sort of dedicated phone lust post next week.
  • Zebradonkey. I love his stripey legs.
  • Revising is actually going really well. It’s slow, but since it’s more expanding & adding things than just polishing, I think that’s to be expected. Almost at the halfway mark, I think.
  • This bunny is brilliant and I wants it but I do not have $500 for awesome bunny sculpture, which is tragique.

Yeah, that’s all I’ve got. I’m in nonstop work mode. I saw Inception but I’m incapable of talking about it articulately without babbling and I’m very opinionated about the ending. I have flopsy kittens, which is typical for this time of year. I want it to be autumn, cinnamon-spiced and crisp.

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flax-golden tales: strength in numbers

strength in numbers

The first day there was one paper robot and my little brother said it was an invasion.

I told him one paper robot doesn’t count as a whole invasion. There would have to be like, three, at least, to be an invasion.

The next day there were three paper robots.

“I told you it was an invasion,” he said.

The day after that there were at least a dozen of them, and the day after that there were hundreds.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of little paper robots in all sorts of colors, in different boxy paper shapes, spread out over the sidewalk and the street, covering the subway platform while we waited for the train.

People just ignored them, walking right on them like they were left over confetti from New Year’s or something.

“They shouldn’t do that,” my little brother said. “They’re going to make them mad.”

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

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on comments

I’ve seen a bit of discussion lately about moderating blog comments.

I don’t want to do it, but I have my comments set to moderated for one very simple reason.

I get a lot of spam comments.

I mean, a lot.

As in, I just deleted 50 before I started this post. I feel like I can better manage them if I can let them build up in the moderation queue, rather than worrying that they’re all over the blog already.

Also, this means I might very occasionally miss a real comment in all the junk, my apologies for that.

And it’s getting harder to quickly write things off as junk with a quick glance, too. I don’t know what the comment spammers are trying to accomplish but in between the random links I get things like this:

Who was the most important person you spent time with today? (from “direct buy membership cost”)

That is very sublime stuff. Never new that beliefs could be this varied. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to extend such helpful information at this site. (from “louis vuitton handbags”)

Easily, the post is genuinely the greatest on this deserving topic. I agree with your conclusions and will thirstily look forward to your approaching updates. Saying thanks will not just be enough, for that tremendous clarity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay privy of any updates. Gratifying work and a lot success in your business enterprize! (from “childrens table and chairs”)

Keep at it and your blog will be perfect in the future too!  (from “watch Supernatural”)

Also, The Parrot God wants me to buy accutane. Yeah, I don’t even know.

So that’s why my comments are moderated for now. Maybe if it calms down I’ll start leaving them unmoderated again. Maybe.

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flax-golden tales: game of chance

game of chance

Pick a duck, any duck.

But first, you have to close your eyes.

The colors matter, but don’t bother trying to remember which ducks are which color. They spin the bowl as soon as your eyes are shut.

They all feel the same, so you won’t know what color duck you’ve chosen until you open your eyes, and there aren’t second duck-picking chances.

(Some of the blue ones aren’t actually blue, by the way.)

And it looks like there’s a decent percentage of yellow ducks, but hardly anyone ever gets a yellow one, which is too bad.

Really, you’re pretty safe unless you get a pink one.

Then, well…

Pick a duck, any duck.

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

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more snapshots from revisionland


Kettle corn.

Tessa on the air conditioner.

Bucket on the floor.

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flax-golden tales: the horse collector

the horse collector

The horse collector lives at the end of the street. He only pulls the curtains back on Tuesdays, from half-past seven in the morning until half-past four in the afternoon.

The horses in the windows are different each week. Different colors, different poses, different sizes.

It’s been going on for years. As far as anyone can tell, each horse displayed has never been displayed before, and after its particular Tuesday, it will not be displayed again.

Sometimes the neighbors wait outside on the street to see them when the curtain opens, pretending that they just happen to be there, walking dogs or out for the morning paper, pausing in front of the horse collector’s house, terribly interested in the overgrown hedge or the cracks in the sidewalk. They don’t often talk to each other, as if they are embarrassed to admit that they are out on the street so early on a Tuesday, waiting for such a silly thing.

The day the rocking horse appeared in the window, one of the waiting neighbors couldn’t help but giggle, and another smiled back, and they discussed the horses for awhile.

Somewhere during the conversation, they realized that no one had ever seen the horse collector himself.

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

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Today I am 32 years old.

Which means this blog is 2 years old.

Also, there are cupcakes.

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flax-golden anniversary

This week, flax-golden tales is one year old.

This is a flax-golden tales anniversary post.  I might add a photo of a cupcake to it later, once I get around to baking cupcakes. The cupcakes are for my birthday, tomorrow, but I can share.

For anyone who might be new to the blog or hasn’t clicked over to the informative flax-golden page, flax-golden tales are photographs by my lovely & talented friend Carey Farrell accompanied by original ten-sentence short stories by me. New tales have been posted every Friday since July 10th, 2009.

You can read the entire archive here. They are also posted on

To date, there are 52 tales, in 520 sentences and approximately 6,800 words.

I really didn’t know what would happen beyond the first two or three tales, and the evolution and diversity of them has been a pleasant surprise.

I had considered stopping after a year, but Carey keeps taking fabulous photographs, and I think they’re still a good flash-fiction type exercise for my brain, and they’re great fun to write.

I’m going to keep them going for at least another year. After that, we’ll see.

It’s hard to choose, but so far I think my personal favorites are:

buoyant solidarity

in tandem



excerpt from a notebook found in the woods near what used to be I-93

Do you have a favorite tale? Inquiring minds want to know. And if there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to know about flax-golden tales, now’s the time to ask.

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new office

Months ago, the boy asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

I said I wanted a new desk chair, because I’m boring. Also, because I spend a large amount of time sitting in it, and the one I had lacked any real back support.

Somehow that turned into maybe also getting a new desk. So we had a planned before-birthday excursion to IKEA to spin around in chairs and see if any of their desks would fit the studio.

And the day before said excursion, my iMac decided to be cranky to the point of being worrisome, especially considering it’s my primary writing computer and no longer covered by AppleCare.

So, even though my birthday is not until Thursday, I have a brand new home office.

Old version:

Apologies for the glare. This was, I believe, my dad’s desk from high school, painted over several times.

New version:

We actually found an IKEA desk that fit perfectly, including a shelf that runs along the back of the drawers that collects all the cords and protects them from cord-gnawing kittens. My new chair is fabulous, and I cannot even tell you how shiny & wonderful the new iMac is, it’s amazing what only a few years difference in technology makes. I keep scrolling on any screen that will scroll just because the mouse has touch-screen-esque scrolling.

So happy happy early birthday to me, especially since I’m going to be glued to this spot for the foreseeable future.

We moved the old desk out into the hall for now. It has been claimed already.

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