flax-golden tales: deer


I should have made his legs shorter, but other than that I think I did a pretty good job considering he’s my first deer.

Well, he has antlers so maybe he’s a stag but he’s small, so deer seems more appropriate. Also he’s made of logs and sticks so it probably doesn’t matter.

I also forgot to give him a proper name but he responds to “Deer” and seems to like it.

I could have added hinges to his legs, maybe, that might have helped. He walks with a wobbly, uneven gait on his too-long legs. I worry he’s going to fall down but he always manages to right himself.

We’ve been practicing in the yard and I think he’s getting the hang of it, though sometimes he just jumps in little circles.

I asked him if he would have preferred shorter legs but he said no.

When I asked him why he said he likes his long legs because they let him jump higher so he can see more of the world.


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

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on absorbing story inspiration in non-prose form

So Bioshock Infinite came out yesterday and I am being really good today by not playing until I get everything else on today’s to-do list checked off. I just got to “blog post” so here we go. It has a theme and some points, I promise.

I will preface this by (re)stating that I’m not much of a gamer. I am picky about games that I like and I am not widely versed in all the video game wonderment that is out there, but I have dipped my toes in and splashed around in my not-terribly-skilled way. (I remain annoyed that you can’t marry the Khajiit characters in Skyrim, do I at least get some sort of geek credit for that?)

To make everything ever somehow relate to Punchdrunk: I first became acquainted with Bioshock when I heard Sleep No More referred to as “live action Bioshock” which is a fairly apt description for something that’s almost impossible to describe. I’ve been waiting for Bioshock Infinite since 2011 when the first trailer came out, even though aesthetically the first two games are much more up my art deco alley, because floating city = swoon.

This brings me to my (first) point: I love this entire series largely because I am overly fond of architecture. The level of detail is amazing and I seriously spent about two hours playing Infinite yesterday and I’m barely past the intro because I keep stopping to look at things. (I really wish you could play in spectator mode and not have to worry about, you know, shooting things or getting shot at, which I understand is the basis of the game but it can be distracting when I’m trying to look at windows and statues and figuring out how the building docking systems work.)

It is immersive visual world building on an epic, gorgeous scale and still being somewhat in the architectural world building phase of writing a novel it is giddy-making for my storyteller brain.

Which brings me to my main point, because this post needs to have one before I am allowed to scurry off and play more, about how much I learn about storytelling in non-prose formats.

I suppose it goes without saying that I read a lot of books which are inspiring for my own writing (see this post for a recent example and also another Bioshock reference) but I also watch a lot of movies and look at a lot of art and listen to music and lately, play games.

There is some really innovative storytelling technique going on in games and I find it almost as fascinating as the architecture. How information is relayed and how plots are advanced and learning how a world works through interacting with it.

(I kind of want to do a documentary film about immersive entertainment. Need to figure out how to conjure more of that time stuff first.)

I’m a very visual person so it helps to be able to see things so I can expand my own mental treasure trove of images to include more things to build with. I suppose it is the visual equivalent of expanding your vocabulary, creating a visual media dictionary.

And a step beyond the visuals, games and movies and graphic novels and, oh, I don’t know, let’s say, puppet theatre all touch on telling stories without words which is a useful thing to study and figure out how to do, even if you end up telling your own story with nothing but various combinations of letters and punctuation.

That’s not to say that static visuals can’t be just as nuanced and layered. Take this Shaun Tan print I just had framed:

rabbits print

I know the context behind it because it’s an illustration from The Rabbits by John Marsden, but even as a separate single piece it’s full of detail and wonderment. And rabbits.

I’m losing my points here and instead of trying to pick them up I’m just going to throw them up in the air and let them fall in a visual waterfall of sketches and plush songbirds and inflatable presidents. I was going to include something more about graphic novels but maybe I’ll make that its own post some other day. I also still owe a post about cocktails (next week!) and also when my storyteller brain is in full absorption mode it gets a little weird and spongy in my train of thought.

Also, this is why it is sometimes difficult for me to describe my writing process because there’s so much stuff going on in here.

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flax-golden tales: strange tides

strange tides

strange tides

The pirate ship crashed into the living room. If the window hadn’t been open it probably would have smashed the glass, instead it swooped against the side of the couch and hit the coffee table.

My mom said she didn’t want to waste money on an exterminator because they always charge by the size of the ship and not the number of pirates, and this ship was about as tall as the couch but had a fairly small crew.

I helped her gather up all the small objects and books in the room so they wouldn’t plunder, and then we left them in there with the doors closed and the window open.

I overheard the pirates arguing as they surveyed the damage, apparently they had been attempting to commandeer one of the cars parked outside but the breeze pulled them too far toward the house.

Strange tides, one of the pirates kept muttering, strange tides.

It took them three days to finish their repairs. We left a roll of twine and some duct tape and paper clips on the carpet nearby, my mom says that’s the best way to deal with them because it speeds up the repairs. (If you just drag the whole ship outside again they get confused and start pillaging.)

I didn’t see them leave, but I heard the neighbor’s car alarm in the middle of the night and in the morning the ship was gone and there was no sign of them except the broken coffee table and the tiny empty bottles of rum.


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

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this is a random post of randomness and links

I’ve had an insanely busy week and I was going to write a long involved post about cocktails with photos and things but I just don’t have time. So that will be forthcoming. Soonish.

In the meantime, randomness collected in themeless post form. Mostly links.

I really liked this piece about The Importance of Endings over on BookRiot, and not just because The Night Circus is mentioned in it. (Most of it is about Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series which coincidentally I started reading this week and am itching to have the time to get back to it. Tomorrow, hopefully.)

I’ve been posting more on my new(ish) tumblr page, which I’m loving for images and inspirations. I think half of the tumblr blogs I’m following (and therefore lots of what I’m reblogging) are all abandoned architecture, but I like abandoned architecture. Also I find it strange that my spellcheck knows how to spell tumblr.

I’m not caught up on all the episodes but I’ve been loving the BBC Radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere.

Also it’s spring, yay, even though it doesn’t feel particularly springy yet and it was snowing the other day.

I really need to go back to working even though this post isn’t particularly substantial. Ah well. At least there are links.

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flax-golden tales: well-intentioned snow coercion

well-intentioned snow coercionwell-intentioned snow coercion 

We tried to get the snow to come inside so we could keep it.

So we would have it to play with on too-hot summer days.

We left the door open but other people kept shutting it.

The windows wouldn’t open so we made paper snowflakes and taped them to the glass.

We figured that the outside snow would see the paper snow and be intrigued and also know that snow was allowed to come in the house.

(We tried to arrange the paper snowflakes so they’d look like they were having a really good time indoors, like a snowflake party.)

When that didn’t work we went outside and talked really loudly about how great the inside of the house was compared to the yard and how snow would just adore the wallpaper in the downstairs parlor and oh, aren’t the chairs in the dining room so comfortable that they simply must be sat on?

(The dining room chairs are not really that comfortable but we did not feel too bad about lying because snow probably does not sit on many chairs and would likely not be able to tell the difference.)

But that didn’t work either and then the snow stopped so we went inside for tea.

We left the paper snowflakes on the windows, so the snow will remember us when it comes back.


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

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sea & salt & submersion

So last week the power of Twitter manifested Neil Gaiman’s upcoming The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

I said this:


Truthfully I thought maybe someone at his publisher would have a spare ARC, and if I were lucky I’d get one in a few weeks.

Before the end of the day I’d played Twitter tag with publishing types in both the US and the UK and then one lovely person led to another and then the name “Neil Gaiman” turned up in my email inbox, so a couple of days later I had these:


Top one is the US version (I love that cover) and the hardcover beneath it is a special edition proof from the UK. They are both beautiful and they are being treasured and petted and read.

I am a very, very lucky girl and I didn’t have to make out with anyone, but if any of the lovely people who led to this want to take me up on that, that’s totally cool.

I curled up with it over the weekend and I wasn’t sure what to expect because I knew nothing about it. Read it in one sitting and loved it. As I said on Twitter afterward, it is soaked in myth and memory and salt water and it is so, so lovely.

It feels as though it was always there, somewhere in the story-stuff of the universe, and I’m glad Neil captured it on paper so well.

And it made me want to write again.

I’ve been working, sorting through notes and drafts and the last of the cardboard boxes, but I haven’t really been doing much raw storytelling writing in that itchy to put things on paper way and this lit that spark again, which is impressive since it lit it with water.

And I got to email Neil Gaiman and thank him personally for that, which is delightful and yet more proof that Twitter is magic.

(I promise to only use the power of Twitter for good and books and not abuse it.)

So I have had oceans on the brain and then yesterday my teal chairs finally, finally arrived (they’d been held hostage in a warehouse and no one thought to call to arrange delivery until they were inquired about, several times) and they are even more gloriously teal and deco than I’d expected and I love them.

And they made me realize that my decorating concept is basically Bioshock.

I can think of worse decorating concepts than “underwater art deco city.” And I like it, it’s cozy. It’s a flavor I can work in.


I’d been thinking about the new novel as an air and glass sort of thing, where the circus was very much paper and fire and earth. And it has been curled up near the sea but I hadn’t thought of it as a water creature until now, and in its way it really is.

It’s very much like figuring out the soup you are cooking needs more salt. It seems too simple but it’s true.

It took oceans on the brain and teal chairs to realize it, even though I think it was there all the time.

Now that I’ve finally had the time to write I’ve been gathering up all my ideas and bits and pieces of scrawled drafts and I’ve been dipping my toes back in to get myself re-acclimated. I think I hadn’t been sure what this story was or wanted to be and over the last week I’ve had a couple of those salt water epiphany sparks and while I don’t know what it wants to be, exactly, I have a better idea.

I figured out over the last two years that while I can write little bits of things I can’t develop a whole novel-world unless I can shut everything else out and live in that world. I need that full-on imagination submersion. And for various reasons I’m only now getting to the point where I can do that.

I’m remembering how to breathe underwater so I can properly submerge myself.

I know I have something here, and I want to get it right.

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flax-golden tales: in gratitude to the lions who guard the saints

the lions who guard the saintsin gratitude to the lions who guard the saints

To the lions who have taken their solemn vows

To keep ever-watchful eyes on all that approaches

To carry concerns and worries so that others may continue without fear

And who bear burdens not their own upon their backs.

For your generosity we offer our gratitude and small sacrifices of time

We bring flowers and wine and wishes for your good health

Prayers for strength of body and mind.

We hope you hold your posts with pride

And remember always that whilst you guard the saints

The saints guard you as well.


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

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tumblr & yarn

So I asked Twitter if I should have a tumblr since it’s the one other social media thingamajig that intrigues me and the general consensus was that it would eat all my time but I should have one anyway, so I do now even though I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet. I suspect it will take me a while to get the hang of it.

It can be found at the likely guessable address of

Right now it’s just lucky cats and poetry but I suspect there will be more stuff, particularly things from Instagram and will likely be a good in-between betwixt Twitter & here for things that are too big for tweets but too insubstantial for here. Not that we stay all that substantial over here. Have yet to decide if flax-golden tales will be cross-posted.  I might pull old ones to feature over there, since there’s a lot of them now. (This week’s will be #191)

I also believe I promised a picture of the scarf I had been working on forever that’s the first thing I’ve knit in ages.

new noro scarf

It’s several different variegated Noro yarns striped in a 1×1 rib pattern because I am a knitting masochist and also I like knitting things that look cool but don’t require much math or counting.

In other news, I am finally almost to the point of being caught up with things and unpacked that I’d wanted to be at the end of January, so that’s something. I am having ideas about things and generally in one of those buzzy moods that comes from being extra creative and also eating too many Cadbury mini-eggs. Went to the Morgan Library over the weekend and saw their lovely Drawing Surrealism exhibit and it jostled my imagination in just the way I’ve been itching for something to jostle it.

So I have a sugar & surrealism infused brain and a scarf and a tumbly tumblr and almost all of my furniture (my teal chairs are being held hostage) and somehow it is March. All strange but all good, I suppose.

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flax-golden tales: order here

order hereorder here

I noticed the neon sign in the kitchen before I went to bed, in that too-tired haze that also leads to mistaking the cat for a dragon. (Though I have seen the cat breathe fire, even in mid-afternoon. I don’t know much about cats and my roommate says it’s just a trait of the breed, whatever breed it is.) So I thought maybe I imagined it.

But in the morning the neon sign was still hanging from the ceiling in the kitchen and while I got my coffee I wondered what “REDRO” meant and then I realized I was looking at the back and it really said “ORDER” in glowing red over a white arrow pointing down accusingly at an unassuming square of linoleum near the sink.

“What’s the sign for?” I asked my roommate when he shuffled in wearing his bunny slippers with the dragoncat draped around his shoulders. The cat sneezed a little puff of smoke.

“It’s for ordering things,” he said, pouring two cups of coffee, one for him and one for the cat. “I thought it might be useful, just stand under it and say what you want and it’ll show up.”

I figured it was for ice cream or pizza, but it works for anything.


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

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