Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where the drifts get deeper.

The wood grew wilder, her mood milder. And winter eventually cracked and bled the color of roses.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Last year's leftovers.

Found this at the back of the icebox. Scraped off the rime, peeled back the layers of foil, took a cautious sniff, and decided that, with a nice holly garnish, it might just be fit for consumption.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

He who would pun would pick a pocket.

Not exactly drawn in the spirit of the holidays, but, 'tis the season for shearing. It's more 'greyish lamb' than 'black sheep' and, if there's any allegorical 'lord/queen/church' to 'master/dame/little boy' parrallel to be drawn, I've probably missed the mark. But it's gotten me somewhat shakily back on track and has kept me from any, ahem, ...woolgathering.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Don't spray it.

Been overdosing on Mother Goose. Here's a little known jewel:
Whistle, daughter, whistle,
And you shall have a sheep.
Mother, I cannot whistle,
Neither can I sleep.*
Whistle, daughter, whistle,
And you shall have a cow.
Mother, I cannot whistle,
Neither know I how.
Whistle, daughter, whistle,
And you shall have a man.
Mother, I cannot whistle,
But I'll do the best I can.
This, days after my grandmother waggled her finger at me over lunch and said (around a mouthful of raisin bread), "Hsst! Ladies never whistle!" Perplexing when one's only sources of Old World counsel contradict each other.
*Intentional correllation between sleep and sheep?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Also comes in flavors "Smashing Pumpkin" and "Metallica".

Ever wonder what radiohead would sound like in lullabye format? I confess, after the String Quartet Tribute To and Christopher O'Riley Plays...I did.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pale green things.

There was really no use in talking him down--a bullfrog has his pride. And there was no one willing to do it if he would--amphibians are notorious gamblers. Once the notion of a bet is lodged in the clay deposits of their brains, they are intransigent. So between the stubborness of a bullfrog with something to prove and a mass of singleminded high rollers, things were not going to budge. They don't call it a bog for nothing.
And so the bets were placed, and slick fingers passed every type of swampland currency: marshpearls and methane baubles, tiny beetles trapped in amber, and lilypads stamped with the image of All-Father Heron. While a thousand wet voices warbled together, and a thousand webbed feet slapped the stone, and each nicitating eyelid fluttered in an ecstasy of trade, while the bullfrog creaked more with every lungful. Until the whole swamp

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shaking two trees.

Turning your milk to curd and switching your babies out for birchbark. Making your purses lighter and your eyelids leaden. Twisting your evening curls into bramble. The Bad Boys of Unseelie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shades of mediocrity.

Knees have turned uniformly black after last week's tumble.
Adding brocoli to the lunchly mac n cheese for a pep turns my pasta greeeen. With envy.
Seeing red on the couches--spilled red wine and bulldog ooze-face. The wine comes off, the ooze does not.
Sworn off the Raw Sienna 552 that's commandeered every brush I own.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Living in just one mind.

Trying my luck, my hand at Peter S. Beagle's "Two Hearts". If you haven't read it, good christ, already. Gorgeous, as ever.

Hard to pluck the Grifiin out from the shadow of the Harpy--she's so dominant a feature in the lunar landscape of the first book. Furthermore, it was difficult to approve the fevered second monster held next to the Harpy's chillier aspects. The Griffin is all heart(s) and stomach, blood and guts, to her cool. Jaws for the flocks, blood for the fields, and a singleminded focus on rapine without romance. No regard for the myth properties that even the Harpy had sense to acknowledge. Denied even a gendered pronoun, it is simply reduced to a weapon.

So I nocked the thing onto a tightly strung moon and used it according to purpose.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What's your poison?

For every princess that needs a good humbling, there are three kings disguised as beggars and twelve castle kitchens full of ready tasks. It's simply a matter of cultural palate. Do your countrymen prefer mintrels to potmakers, or dishes to drapes*? The author is usually obliging enough to salt to taste.
*The English take to hearthtending, the Germans to food preparation, the French--livestock

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


They all saw her, but of course they let her run. They turned their eyes and scrubbed the kit. Vigorously flavored the stew. Yelled a little too loudly for the pail. In those last seconds while the sun lingered in the streets to set her hair traitorously ablaze, the townspeople that had pitied her and worshipped her mother gave her safe passage into shadow.

And so exhaled their concerns--as much for themselves as for her. For if a king's strength is enough to inflame his people, there was the thought that his madness might be enough to infect them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

W-w-w-want some candy?

Second sight: Always a privilege of that littlest child with the untied shoes and the flyaway hair.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seven, eight. Stay out late.

There's nothing up there. No life at all. Excepting the mountain, of course, and he's an unreliable sort of ally. And there's no sound--or was none that day. No animal movement, or breath of wind. Only the memory of rain for company. And that too was leaving--offering itself back to the sky in great clouds. Leaving along with any remaining light.

The elements plotted against us.

How shall we punish these two sillies caught out at dusk?
Yes, that will do!

It was a gentle suffocation, to be sure--caught between falling night and the pleasantly perspiring earth. Perfectly poetic. But all I could think of was our stone colored dresses, and our clay-stiff hands and how no one would find us here washed onto and into the rock. The lookouts from the castle had been sharp-eyed once--two generations back. The flocks of sparrows were notoriously careless and cruel--if they even remembered us in the morning, it would be with a snicker. The mountain himself might have noticed--but at the moment was cozying up with a floozy cumulonimbus, settling in for the night, curling us into oblivion with his littlest finger.

Just us and the False Folk. And that thought is enough to make a person cry out in terror. But the closing dark left no room for even a squawk, and our muteness worked against us. So the wordless spaces filled with dark eyes and pale fingers and wide mouths that knew neither song nor rhyme, and we despaired of any rescue.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You really had me goin' there for a minute or two.

Where the edge of the Watch meets the frilled cuff of the Green, there forms a pocket of leaf and iron and the blades of each deter all light. In the deepest shadow of this pocket there is a seat, studded with flowers that nod and are the color of bone. Deeper still there is a thing--shaped loosely into the form of a man. And he does not nod with the flowers. And he does not sit in the seat. He stands, very still, rooted to the ground like a gate of ivy, like a tree of spears.

He only moves within the fringes of sight, and there his face is blurred by fear. Your own.

In the way of all of Those Who Follow, if you look back, you'll have trapped him. If you run without acknowledgement, it will be the reverse.

For the seat is not for him, you see.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wyld Stallynz.

There was a heated debate over who'd get linking rights to the new radiohead cd. Alex got first dibs thanks to an unlikely blurb on NPR, but in honor of that gorgeous, sleepless sound, I'll offer this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

These are the moments.

Smack in the middle of my run, it decided to turn to fall.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Down from the door where it began.

Kept a running log of every vaguely literary place we passed on our ten day loop of the eastern seaboard. Found some (forced some) regional themes.

Headed south (Western PA, WV, NC): Ripley, Starbuck, Tesla Road, Amity, a few Lykan Buslines. Brutish, practical, no nonsense. Perhaps not surprising from the land of Hi-Tech corridors and the GITRDUN license plate.

Going east (Eastern PA, NYC area, Connecticut, Massachusettes): Ichabod Road, Hamlin (as in the Pied Piper of), Cheshire, Buckland Street (LOTR), Peter Pan Buslines. Charming and relatively fresh-faced in the realm of story. All bouncing off one another like so many pins and balls rumbling through the Hudson River hills.

Northward bound (New Hampshire, VT): Glastonbury, Boreas Road, Milton, Minerva. No messing around here. Between bear sign and the steely-eyed locals, there's clearly no room for whimsy. Only contracts signed with Old World gods will save you from being frozen out.

Back home: The Hyde Collection, Moreau (The Island of Doctor), Leatherstocking Region. We're New Yorkers. If we're dealing in fictions or folktales, we want them bound, packaged, and preferably in novel form. Nothing if not neat expediency. And don't forget the tight confederacy of NY city-states (Utica, Syracuse, Ithaca, Homer, Ilion, Rome). The perfect welcome back to the pen weilding, regimented traveller.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fo Fum.

What's up, scanner? I thought we had a deal. You play nice with my lines and I don't grind your bones into meal.

The other side of the Seven Ravens. From where I sit, things are looking more sparrow than crow, but the metamorphosis isn't complete, and it's not quite October.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Crazy Grandma quote of the day.

She'd called the ambulance for what turned out to be vertigo, and phoned me afterwards to crow about her adventures. "Come tuck me in! I'm as tired as a pig in shit!".

I arrived to find her in the kitchen, grinning, berobed, and tucking away at an entire lemon meringue pie.

Me (panting, not a little sweaty): "--Grandma?"
Grandma (winking and gesturing with her spoon at the half-finished pie): "Want some Chinese food?"

Friday, September 14, 2007

And the fire with all the strength it hath.

"Ahead of her was a tremendous ryhthmic swirl of wind and flame, but it was wind and flame quite different from the cherumbim's; this was a dance, a dance ordered and graceful, and yet giving an impression of complete and utter freedom, of ineffable joy. As the dance progressed, the movement accelerated, and the pattern became clearer, closer, wind and fire moving together, and there was great joy, and song, melody soaring, gathering together as wind and fire united.
And then wind, flame, dance, song cohered in a great swirling, leaping, dancing, single sphere.
..."What was that?"
..."The birth of a star.""

--from A Wind in the Door,
Madeleine L'Engle (November 29, 1918-September 6, 2007)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Maybe not in the strictest sense, but spoonfuls can be quite enough. Spoonfuls of airy powdered-sugar fun.
And liters of body wash.
Because New Orleans stinks. Literally.
Perhaps it's the layers of heat--heat of a thousand categories. Or perhaps it's the irrepressible plant life left to rot and riot and rot again. Or the fluids produced by body and building--sweat and piss and beer and coffee and fourth-story runoff--travelling in milky rivulets down every street, over every stone, between unwary toes. But the smell has a presence, if not a name. And it clings to that fat insistent dance partner that is Southern summer.
A city of glorious excretion, but I fear it's never coming off.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

As the crow flies, you fools.

Ravens everywhere yesterday. I spent the afternoon portioning off the sky to accommodate groups of seven. Sometimes--the auguries--they need a helping hand.

Sometimes not. Last night at Barnes&Noble, I'd seen myself off to the back aisles. Nothing so comforting as the serene ballroom progression from L's to M's in Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Le Guinn... McCaffrey... McKinley... and two-two-three, and three-two-three and bow. I blindly struck out a finger at the first spine, and withdrew--of all things--a retelling of The Seven Ravens.

Those odds? A little troubling.

Monday, September 03, 2007


A: Come up and join me?
C: Thanks, but no.
A: Hmph. Then stop exhaling my way. Your breath is searing the upperairs.
C: And your arm is too short by at least an eighth.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Different phases.

--where she paints her cheeks and hennas her hair, and slows her paces long enough so that darkness pools in her footprints. And she sends her pale hounds away and calls her red hounds to heel. And the bear is caught dangling in a net, while the scorpion falls beneath a dozen angry snouts. And she waits throughout, in a knit of shadows that stains her pale dress. And then bends, with her pack, to a hideous feast.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eau de Gerda.

Beginning to think that The Snow Queen is less about devotion than abduction? Well you'd be right. What is it occurs in the mind of a woman past a certain age that makes her frantic for the possession of bottled youth?
It's the strictures of fashion, isn't it? Raise those necklines, loosen those cinches. You'll find an immediate drop in the urge to distill the Essence from every rosy cheek. And a generation of Gerdas free to ramble while a gracefully aging Auntie Horde retires to fireside respectability.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brave (new) world.

What does it say about a person's work when he tries for innovation and ends up mulling around his roots? Not much, I suppose. Experimentation is nothing if not starting from the beginning.

A thunderous clap would have been nice, though--to herald The Tempest.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Proud Parent

This weekend witnessed the rebirth of Alex sat grim-faced at his post, hands hovering over the myriad shining tools--and I paced the linoleum with loosened collar and wild eyes. There are still a few wrinkles to smooth, but the goal of updating has been achieved.

Check out the headers. The idea to use handwriting was an Alex original, and I think it was well done--softens the antiseptic bent, livens things up. Though I'm not convinced that the standard cast of fineline piggies and frogs really gels with my psychopathic script.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Pay no mind to the stream of nearly-the-sames that is about to come. There's method behind it. Changes are being made in the matrix.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

No one's interested in something you didn't do.

Shockingly, The Poetic Edda and The Gormenghast trio are providing weak creative ballast. Not that I wouldn't recommend them to the staunchest wordsmith in need of a nap, but not for the sketchbook are they. One operates on the most massive of scales while the other travels in an obsessively tight circuit, and I like my 'verses somewhere in the middle, preferably in a tame European countryside--hedgerows optional.
So, back to the Snow Queen, and more productive weekdays.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hans off.

...and when grandmother told any stories, he would interrupt her with “but;” or...get behind her chair, put on a pair of spectacles, and imitate her very cleverly, to make people laugh. By-and-by he began to mimic the speech and gait of persons in the street. All that was peculiar or disagreeable in a person he would imitate directly, and people said, “That boy will be very clever; he has a remarkable genius.” But it was the piece of glass in his eye, and the coldness in his heart, that made him act like this...His games, too, were quite different; they were not so childish. One winter’s day, when it snowed, he brought out a burning-glass, then he held out the tail of his blue coat, and let the snow-flakes fall upon it. “Look in this glass, Gerda,” said he; and she saw how every flake of snow was magnified, and looked like a beautiful flower or a glittering star. “Is it not clever?” said Kay, “and much more interesting than looking at real flowers. There is not a single fault in it, and the snow-flakes are quite perfect till they begin to melt.”

The Snow Queen

It's no secret that Andersen hated children and the aristocracy, but apparently his disapproval extended to skeptics, actors, and, seemingly, number theorists.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Godless sea.

And when the seas receded, they left a seed which sprouted and grew tall. And the birds would dart like minnows through its hair while the sweet, sensitive deer schooled in its shadows. And it mocked the desert summers with a submarine grace and chided the winters with whalesong. And when the simple townsfolk ventured out, they would croon and bow and garland it with sage. And they called it Lan-yir, Messenger of the Waves, and tended it with great care.

And generations passed, and in the fifth and twentieth year of King Meshna the Forthright, Lan-Yir was consumed with trembling and its heavy pods burst with effort and poured forth from themselves wondrous clouds of--


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A chemical reaction.

I stared at a screw on the wall for so long yesterday that it leapt in fear from its post. But rather than fall to the ground, it sprouted wings and dipped, top heavy and grunting, out the door. Seriously.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Jesus in the sheets.

Been stuffing in earfuls of the The Knife. Ignoring the natural comparisons to T.A.T.U., it makes for wild listening. And a seriously creepy video.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Still slogging through The Snow Queen.

And grappling with the timeless 'blank page' issue. Drawing an open book presents the illustrator with a very real dilemma. To fill or not to fill. Theoretically the attempt at script should always be made--but the problems of precision and content are immediate and daunting. Should the artist take a stab at what is really the author's job and cross the line between illustration and documentation?
On the other hand, an unfilled page is glaring--potentially suggests indifference, lack of inspiration, or (god forbid) craftlessness.

I go back and forth. And am never quite satisfied with either result.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Head in the waves.

When at a loss, remember that mermaid silhouettes are always in abundance.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Castle onslaught.

There's been a recent trend dealing in the debunking of fairy tales. I'd go so far as to say that the modern writer considers it his duty to participate in the demystification of myth. And while there are a few commendable reasons for doing so (historicism, humor, feminism), the market has been overrun with retellings--some with premises so superreal as to be mundane. Bookstore aisles are swirling with narcoleptic Sleeping Beauties, compulsive Cinderellas, and wicked witch chem majors. I read a version of "Tam Lin" set at a college where the beloved was captured by study, and a modern day "Red Riding Hood" where the wolf was merely a predatory man.
Many are clever, some are brilliant, most are filtered through a sharp, skeptical lens. Precise, but narrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Just" a rose.

I could agonize a few days more over something to say, or I could just post the damn pic.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Every blue-eyed floozie.

Came across this fantastic blog which left me variously appalled/in stitches. And, of course, spurred into imitation. Good fun, despite the art world's unbudging stance on large women--and its subsequent refusal to represent them as anything less than ludicrous, bullish, generally pantless, and, in most cases, besotted with tiny men.
But I'll follow along. And who better to link her with than Hermes? If the Greek pantheon has a trickster god to offer, it's him. Fine fodder for a Lasso of Truth. And perfect cuddle material for any undersexed behemoth.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Where everyone's the same.

Was recently sent this findyourspot quiz. It offers up perfect-match cities and is longish but interesting.

Amongst a smattering of Washington, Texas and Georgia(eh?) locales, my number one came up Olympia, Washington. Predictable enough, considering a lifelong goal of moving back.

Perhaps even less suprising were Alex's top two results.

Thassalotta frequent flier miles.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Beware of a man of one book.: Never attempt to controvert the statement of anyone in his own special subject. A shepherd who cannot read will know more about sheep than the wisest bookworm. This caution is given by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Recently purchased a copy of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. $5.35 at Milwaukee's best used book store. Now, I'm not posing it as a Dictionary Game replacement, but perhaps as potential alternative...?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fodder for the animals living on an animal farm.

A piggywig hamming it up.

Lear's representation is more traditional, but I like my swine in suits. There's something unsettling about a pig's bare ass. A phobia that probably owes it dark origins to the cartoon industry and its limited flesh palette.

And so he stands properly accoutred, just in case--

--because, there's the strong intimation that he is waiting for our protagonists to show. Angling his cane. Combing his whiskers. Making halfhearted attempts at the odd truffle to maintain appearances. But he rather prefers crisp linen, and white gloves, and the company of bees to more porkly pursuits. And when word floats down of two travellers in dusty wedding clothes entering the wood, he forgets that he's a pig at all. And so selects the most flattering of his poses and thrusts his snout high and sells the family ring for fame and a shilling.

Worth a watch.

Pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sense of our lives.

Rough draft? First draft? Final draft?!? Jeepers, I just don't know.
I've cast back the dining room curtains to burn out the allergens and the current plague of indecision.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

First stones.

And the crow led little Gerda to the back door, which stood ajar (whoops).

More from The Snow Queen's--

-Bustling back entrance.

Obligatory bird standing by--aid to my suspicion that crows are the ancestral chroniclers of all things Faery. Seriously. Take a flip through ten children's books. I'm willing to bet that in seven you'll find a crow skirting the verge in some illustration. Blinking at the audience. Documenting quietly into the underbellies of leaves. I'll stand by those numbers.


And sometimes bees.

Though this particular crow is serving multiple purposes. In multiple skits. There's a pointy-chinned king in there. A pauper dressed as a prince. A goosegirl. Two arguing nuns. A tailor with a wagonload of invisible thread. And what looks to be a geisha buying (or is it selling?) lamps. A little gratuitous perhaps, but why not use one bird to kill, well...a couple of stories?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Campaign trail.

"This town has enough problems without having to worry about ghosts and goblins."
H.D. 1989

For Gabby's perusal.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Up and at them.

But finally allowed that angels are essentially the superheroes of a prewar generation. All she needed was a suitable moniker.

J: We can call you Sweet Sixteee, Grandma. Or The Silver Nibbler. Maybe The Baker's Bane. No, I've got it! Grandmacaroon!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Up on the top shelf where mama keeps the cookies.

I had a conversation with Crazy Grandma yesterday that went something like this:
G: You promised Grandma a picture, sweetie.
J: Well, what do you want?
G: Angels!
J: Angels, Grandma? Are you sure you don't want a nice dragon? Maybe some talking mice? How's about I draw you as an angel? That could be fun.
G: Hsst! Don't make fun of your poor Grandma!
J: I would never.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

To show virtue her own feature.

One day, when he was in a merry mood, he made a looking-glass which had the power of making everything good or beautiful that was reflected in it almost shrink to nothing, while everything that was worthless and bad looked increased in size and worse than ever.

--From Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen

I was lost for ideas and thought to seek stimulus from the personal favorite of a personal favorite. I'd never read The Snow Queen. It's fantastic--despite my fears that approaching it with agendum would wither its effects. Seems I work well through second-hand inspiration.

That being said, I'll hold off my ramblings on The Differences Between Art and Illustration for another day.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Deja Hue.

Not many changes through the years. The sweatshirt varies. And the state of fade on the cargo pants. Otherwise, remaining a faithful fan of swirling a little milky craze into the dayz.

Needing a refresh in materials.

There are only so many times you can cut your india ink before it starts to lose its grip.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


If you don't know it, read it.
It's catchy, it's weird, and, aside from a few extremely unfortunate lines, may be the cleverest bit of anthropomorphism this side of Carroll.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Flight of the Possum.
Haven't the foggiest. I recently passed a shop on Elmwood that carried some distinctly impractical umbrellas--flimsy, frilled, definitely not rain-ready. Sunbrellas. Parasols, if you prefer your english uncorrupted. They weren't selling, but I figured their appeal since the Diamond Jubilee and the invention of SPF has been reduced to a small clientelle of badgers and owls. Nocturnals on the lam. Second-shift skunks. Or the odd, thrill-seeking vampire.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Chanti-where and Who-let?

"The Bremen Town Musicians".
I'm not sure why this tale in particular takes such precedence over "The Fox and the Cat" or "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" or any of a dozen obscure, insipid (and rightly ignored) animal stories. I never had any use for them, especially outside of an Aesop-type format. I'll take amphoras over glass slippers any day, but remove the Greekness and you're left with what is essentially Barnyard Entertainment. Booh.
In fact, I don't think our heroes ever even make it to Bremen. And there's nary an instrument, nary a song. Just a bunch of frightened thieves, and the honest desire to turn the page.