flax-golden tales: dirty laundry


dirty laundry

I let my laundry pile up for two weeks before I finally relented and took it to a laundromat, after leaving yet another message for the landlord about the constantly out-of-order machines in the building basement.

I had to look up the nearest laundromat and when I reached the address it wasn’t a laundromat any more, it had been converted to a hat store that still smelled a bit like soap but the hat guy told me how to get to this other laundry place that looks like it’s been here forever even though everything is really bright and shiny.

The machines are all modern and fancy and I can’t figure out where the coin slots are but there’s a lady with bluish-grey hair and cat-eye glasses reading Dostoyevsky behind a counter so I ask her how the machines work and she asks me what it is that I want to wash.

I look down at my bag of laundry and then back up at the lady. Her hair is so grey-blue it’s almost purple.

“Clothes?” I say, and her smile switches to something that looks condescending and pitying at the same time.

“You want the ones behind the blue line,” she says, using Crime and Punishment to gesture in the direction of the line of colored tiles between the rows of machines.

“What do the ones behind the yellow line wash, then?” I ask, pointing at the identical row of machines along the wall.

“Pasts,” she says. “Except for the ones down the end, those are just for sins.”


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

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the vanishing act

I am still working on a long post about books that is not post-shaped yet but in the meantime I am delighted that I can finally recommend a book I read months and months ago now and promptly fell in love with and then pouted quite a bit when I realized I wouldn’t be able to push it properly on people until September.

And now it is somehow September, so now you can read The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen.

I’ve had trouble explaining the book to people. I mostly just want to hand it to potential readers and smile and walk away. The Vanishing Act is about a girl named Minou who lives on a small island with her father, along with a man known as Boxman (so dubbed because he builds boxes for magicians, of the sawing-ladies-in-half-variety), a priest and a dog called No Name. A year ago, Minou’s mother disappeared along with the turtle.

It feels like a fable. It has so many of my favorite things on one tiny snow-covered island wrapped in melancholy.

I’m going to share several covers because I can. It has been out in Australia for a while so I was given the Australian version back in February. I made a pot of cherry green tea and curled up in my office and read it in one sitting. I am not a particularly fast reader but it is a perfectly sized one-sitting sort of book. That cover looks like this:

I’ve been getting a lot of books to possibly blurb, you know, those quotes from other authors that boil down to “yay, you should read this!” A lot of them I simply haven’t had the time to read but I’ve also learned from this process that while I like a lot of books the ones I love are fewer. And in order for me to send a quote it has to be a book I both love and wouldn’t mind having my name on, because it seems my name could very well end up on it.

I am delighted and honored to have my name on The Vanishing Act.

This is my entire unedited blurb, for the record:

This book is a precious thing. I want to keep it in a painted box with a raven feather and sea-polished stones, taking it out when I feel the need to visit Minou on her island again. The best stories change you. I am not the same after THE VANISHING ACT as I was before.

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Autumn is my favorite. Apples and cinnamon and scarves and crispy leaves crunching beneath boots.

I wish you a glorious autumnal equinox, pumpkin-flavored & sweater-cozy.

The black & white renders them slightly incognito, but that field is indeed full of pumpkins:

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flax-golden tales: a room of your own

a room of your own

I built you a hideaway.

Well, fixed more than built since it was already there, but it’s for you. I hope you like it.

I suppose it’s like a room of your own only it’s a room in a tree.

I have asked the squirrels not to bother you, but squirrels are not good listeners so I apologize in advance if they prove disruptive. They can be distracted with nuts or pieces of string, I’m not sure why they like string but they do.

There’s also a flag that used to be yellow but has faded in the sun to a color like butter but you can still use it, you just string it up on the roof when you want company.

(The squirrels do not seem to care about the string with the flag for some reason.)

So now you can have your alone-with-squirrels space and leafy quiet to work or read or dream in.

And if you put the butter-colored flag outside and I see it through the trees I shall come to visit you and I shall bring tea.


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

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two things with links

First thing: I wrote this brief, passionate yet ill-fated romance for Stylist magazine. I wrote the story and then they styled the photo shoot based on what I’d written and I love what they did with it. I tried to keep it a bit open-ended and vague so they’d have room to play with the images and I really think the end result is splendid. (I’ve seen a digital copy of the print version, which is even cooler.)

Second thing: I pulled out my tripod to get some proper photos of my very dark office in order to do this Write Place, Write Time feature on my writing space. It is extremely difficult to take photographs of a small windowless room with a lot of stuff in it, but I think you can get the general idea and also there’s a bunny in a raven mask.

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flax-golden tales: a time machine is not a clock

a time machine is not a clock

Everyone thought it was a clock, but everyone was wrong.

It had numbers, large ones of the Roman variety arranged in a circular fashion which gave it a clock-like impression, but it had no hands, a fact no one noticed until it was fully assembled.

It arrived in pieces without instructions.

It stayed in pieces for quite some time before someone suggested putting it together.

After the layer of dust was removed it did not take as much time as anyone expected to restore it to working order, and they wondered afterwards why they had let it sit abandoned so long.

(Truly, it had been there for such a time that no one could recall where it came from.)

The lights seemed decorative in their excess: scrolled sconces with delicately paneled glass shades, though each lamp was in fact vital to proper function and calibration.

The most difficult part was aligning the lights with their proper astrological symbols, as the lamps were not labeled but would not illuminate unless they were mounted near compatible signs.

Once all the lights were happily aglow and the missing hands were noticed they stared at it in mild confusion and annoyance at the refusal of what they thought was a clock to tell the time.

It was quite a while before someone realized that the square in the center was a door.


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

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bookaversary thank you

A year ago today The Night Circus was published, official US publication date and all. I suppose that makes this some sort of book birthdayaversarysomething.

(I remain inordinately fond of the number 13.)

I am still in a little bit of disbelief that it’s even a proper book. You would think that would have sunk in by now. Though I think the fact that it’s a proper book in a great many languages, including Japanese, makes the whole thing extra surreal.


I can’t believe it’s been a year. It seems like everything went by so fast and yet last autumn seems so long ago.

And in some ways I feel like I didn’t really do that much this year, since the book was already finished and my year was spent on airplanes going from place to place to read aloud and babble and sign a great many copies of it to the point where my signature deteriorated (I am still crossing the t and it has developed an occasional loop after the n) and meet so many lovely people, returning home only to nap for weeks at a time.

Things happened around me, in strange and wonderful ways, thanks to a lot of people.

And now somehow it is September 13th again. Strange time, the way it continues ever onward.

So thank you. Thank you to every single person who has read the book. Everyone who came to events in so many cities that I lost count. Everyone who had a book club meeting with a color scheme.

Every bookseller who has hand-sold the book and everyone at a great number of publishing houses, particularly all my Random House lovelies.

Everyone who has tweeted or reviewed or blogged or sent me email that I am still woefully behind on.

Everyone anywhere who has donned a splash of red not for the book, but for the circus itself. Because really, that’s what it’s for.

Thank you, truly.

I hope your scarves keep you warm as we tumble into autumn, and I hope your dreams are sweet.


(A lucky NaNoWriMo donor will be getting these kittens inscribed in a copy of The Night Circus.)

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flax-golden tales: dangerous games

dangerous games

They play games of chance when the boredom sets in.

The boredom comes often, settling like heavy fog over seemingly endless time.

So they play.

There are complex systems and penalties but rarely rules, and if they do add rules for the sake of variety those rules are often broken.

Not that any rules matter much to them, since they do not wager anything they hold particularly dear.

They risk only the possessions of others. Dreams and wishes, accomplishments and hopes and treasured memories.

If they become what they consider extra bored, the stakes are raised. Wagering fears and loves, trumped only by souls or lives.

There is but a single firm guideline: they never choose their victims, the choosing is always left to the dice.


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

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in lieu of proper post, kitten with a pumpkin


First pumpkin of the season! Mini pumpkin, but still a pumpkin. Almost autumn, hurrah!

Tessa remains unimpressed.



Also, if you did not see it via Twitter, this Night Circus-inspired wedding photo shoot is sublime.


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