The Fox Smiled, Famished

February 6, 2020

Gather around.

Gather around the largest fire of all,
large enough to warm the lands
on the other side of the world,
to brighten all your moons.

My burning coat swells redder by the day.
My teeth are curls of flame, my tail a flare.
My tale? Come closer. Hear it.
Closer still – the ending is a secret.
Each of you will hear
as I whisper in your ear.
Other planets joined this circle before yours, yes.
I cannot fathom where they’ve gone.
Come closer yet and I’ll share my guess.
You’re practically standing on my nose,
basking in my boiling breath.

Let me pick you up, little world,
little pup in my jaws.

Mike Allen

a strange thing happened

February 6, 2020

“I wonder what you would say to me, Maria dear, if you could talk?”

She glanced casually at Maria’s serene little face. Then a strange thing happened. There was a shift in the air, a shimmer, and something changed. Was it Maria’s face, or was it the world itself? For the briefest moment, Maria’s (Doll) features became fluid with expression, and Heloise heard a voice, as clear as a bell, and yet inside her head, answering promptly:

“I would say, I love you.”

Heloise froze.

“Oh, Maria, dearest,” she whispered with all her heart. “I love you too.”

Cassandra Golds
The Museum of Mary Child

But a hole appeared

February 6, 2020

We watched the tundra, but the tundra, they say, is watchful too. The people say, ‘It’s like something’s looking at you’

There are stories of disappearance and reappearance out on the tundra.

Was it John [a Yup’ik colleague on the dig] who told the story of the two men out on the tundra in fog? The fog was so low, just above their heads. But a hole appeared in the fog and from the hole they could hear laughter and merriment. ‘Give me a leg up,’ said one of the men. ‘I want to see what’s happening.’ ‘Okay, but you must reach for me in turn, and pull me up too,’ said the other. So the first man entered the world above the cloud, but at that moment the hole closed and the bank of fog moved on, and the first man was never seen again.

Kathleen Jamie
In Quinhagak, Surfacing

For me, life becomes real when I write it. What I don’t write is erased by the winds of oblivion. I forget a lot, my mind betrays me. I can’t recall places, names, dates, or faces, but I never forget a good story or a significant dream. Writing is a silent introspection, a journey to the dark caverns of memory and the soul. Fiction, like memory, moves from revelation to revelation.

Isabel Allende
Why I Write

Why does one feel so different at night? Why is it so exciting to be awake when everybody else is asleep? Late—it is very late! And yet every moment you feel more and more wakeful, as though you were slowly, almost with every breath, waking up into a new, wonderful, far more thrilling and exciting world than the daylight one. And what is this queer sensation that you’re a conspirator? Lightly, stealthily you move about your room. You take something off the dressing-table and put it down again without a sound. And everything, even the bedpost, knows you, responds, shares your secret…

You’re not very fond of your room by day. You never think about it. You’re in and out, the door opens and slams, the cupboard creaks. You sit down on the side of your bed, change your shoes and dash out again. A dive down to the glass, two pins in your hair, powder your nose and off again. But now – it’s suddenly dear to you. It’s a darling little funny room. It’s yours. Oh, what a joy it is to own things! Mine – my own!

Katherine Mansfield
At the Bay

we write fantasy

February 6, 2020

In the end, we write fantasy not so much about mythic powers as about that battling mixture of good and evil that’s in the minds of all men and all women. About how bad things can be done in what seems to be the service of good, when someone forsakes humane doubt to follow that terribly dangerous thing, an absolute certainty. Look at these people, we’re saying to the kids who read us: look at them, none of them is all good or all bad, but each one has to choose his or her own way between the two. Look at these people, they are us, they are you.

We don’t say this in so many words, of course. That sort of thing went out with the Victorians. We tell stories, we paint pictures with words, we try to cast that spell by which something flows directly from the imagination of the writer into the imagination of the child.

Susan Cooper
Libraries are the frontline in the war for the imagination
The Guardian, Wednesday 11th December 2013