Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Magic Beauty

This week's discussion, on Beauty in fairy stories, is to kick of a new direction of discussion, from beauty to myth. I'm excited for the change. I suggested today's topic, as Jenna reminded me in her post, and the topic is an important one to me, but I'm having trouble writing on it. I'm interested in reading Mr. Pond's response, because this is apparently his passion. Write away Mr. Pond!

Fairy stories, folk tales, myths, and superstitions all meld together in my mind. The all belong essentially to a life that is more connected to the land and to the people around us; a life that sees the spiritual aspect of living things. The beauty in fairy tales is this worldview, the realization that anything is possible. It is a beauty that is thrilling, frightening, and joyful. Tales of changelings, of dark creatures that make nights in the woods dangerous, of river haunts who drown the unwary and unbaptized make the forests come alive in imagination, as do the joyful tales, of Eden returning at midnight Christmas Eve - when animals speak, flowers bloom, and lights fill the trees, of the apple-tree-man guarding the orchard, the domovoi guarding the home and sweeping up at night.

Fairy stories demand beauty from us as well - the domovoi will guard the house against it's owners if they offend his aesthetic. He will beat the lazy homeowner, pinch the inhospitable housewife, even dry up the cows if an ill-favored animal is brought it.  The fairy world loathes the unbeautiful - the brutal, frightening, and dangerous they have in abundance, but the unbeautiful they reject; which is one reason I love them, they remind us that failing in beauty has it's consequences.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"If you like metaphysics throw pots."
      ~Annie Dillard

I like metaphysics, as a hobby. Throwing pots is more serious, more a part of life; but I like metaphysics, and so I throw pots. Recently, my husband moved my wheel from the shed to the not-quite complete kitchen where it'll live for a while.

I've missed throwing. For the past year I haven't had the space set up to throw, though I bought a kick wheel before we moved.  My etsy shop has languished and all the my pots have stayed in my mind.

Annie Dillard says it is the material that matters to the writer, the many things of life. I like the material things as  well, and I see what she means - throwing they are a distraction - writing, they inspire.

Daily Life

continuing the discussion with Jenna and Mr. Pond.

The art we see everyday is my passion. The ability to make each day sacred with beauty is an ability I attempt to cultivate by creating a domestic church, a place of beauty to rest in, to refresh in, and to grow in. A place that can both comfort and challenge.

Daily beauty can be simple and pure. The easy images of loveliness that give us joy,like butterflies, flowers, smiling babies, and sunsets.

They can be very human..

or spiritual. And like all beauty, they raise us up, even the easiest beauty is always whispering, "remember your death." Because all our daily beauty is just a preliminary, and that's one reason I love it: daily beauty only lasts the day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

unexpected art

On a overnight greyhound leaving New York just before dawn I sat across the aisle from a man determined to convince me he'd been taken by aliens. I didn't argue, but I think he could sense my resistence to the idea, he kept taking, arguing against points I'd never made, citing proof after proof: his hair color had changed, he dreamt of them. I began to accept that I had hours of aliens ahead of me, hoping he would get off before Boston, or in Boston at the latests, when my seatmate broke in at last, offering me his headphones and a home-made cd. Garage-band jazz is not my favorite, but this was good, it fit the industrial dawn breaking all around us. It fit the abducted man across the aisle, and the mother and child three steats ahead. It fit me. The early morning music made me love my bus-mates, feeling as though we were all together searching for some deeper joy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Masculine and Feminine

Thanks to a Friday night conversation, my mind has been on these words all weekend. I'd really like to get a discussion going, but to being I'd just like to know how you all define these words and what images or attributes they bring to mind:

Masculine, Feminine, Womanhood, Manhood, Feminist, and "Gender roles".

You can respond either in the "comments" section, or by sending me an e-mail at


10 Things about me..

Thank you Jenna for giving me another opportunity to indulge narcissistic tendencies!

1. I have an unhealthy attachment to black clothing. I love it, my husband is working on introducing other clothes into my wardrobe, but black is still my favorite.

2. I love jewelry. I like to wear lots of it, all piled on. Silver and wood and amber and brightly colored stones all go together so well.

3. I wish I had a battery-powered blender, to make smoothies at home. I also would like a battery-powered hair-straightener. Apart from that, I don't really miss electricity.

4. Cosmo radio on the satillite is my guilty pleasure. I'm not sure why I like it, they talk about clothes I'd never wear, and their lives are nothing I would want..I guess that's why it is a guilty pleasure.

5. I can't donate blood. Every time I try they can't find my veins. I end up bruised, pricked, and still as full of blood as ever. 

6. Eyeliner is all it really takes to make me feel all pretty and put together. I have at least a dozen, in varying shades of black and dark brown.

7. I used to dislike St. Therese, she seemed boring and too sweet, until she helped me with a problematic nose-ring, now I pray to her for all my piercing needs.

8. I tape notes behind my icons, requsting specific favors, they've never let me down. The notes serve as a continual reminder, because certain Saints tend to be forgetful.

9. I've been called a snob a lot recently, because beauty is a major priority in my life. Baby clothes are no exception.

10. I love taking surveys. Other peoples thoughts and ideas fascinate and inspire me.

I think I'm supposed to "tag" other people, but I don't really know how to do that, so if you read this, and you have time, list off some things about you in the comments!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through."
  ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

This week I feel as though splitting the sky would allow not only the face of God, but bright sunlight and beautiful blue. Our sky has been grey since Monday, with a heaviness of air and more rain than I'd like throughout the days. I have jeans on the line being rinsed again and again.

On these rainy days I get thoughtful. I try to plan things, be responsible in some way. I've drafted posts to keep me blogging for at least another month. They will all be edited at some point, and either posted or lost. The typewriter is best for drafting. Seeing the posts typed out gives me a push to view them as more than just journal entries.

We lit the stove last night, to drive away the damp chill. I'd forgotten the coziness of being inside at night, with wood burning in the stove and the lamps flickering on books and papers. We listened to the rain patter on the roof, read aloud from borrowed books, and laughed at Petka and Luba as they vied for attention. It was a good night, if only sunny days would follow such nights.

Delayed technique

I have to apologize for not posting my discussion post on the appropriate day. I'd like to blame Yarrow, babies are good excuses, but it wasn't at all her fault. The day was too rainy yesterday, the yurt too cozy, and I was much to set on my continuing fall cleaning project to make it out to a cafe. Instead, we nestled in at home, much to Luba's delight, and I told myself I'd go out to the all-night internet spot while my husband and Yarrow slept. I didn't. By then, a chilly autumn rain outside, and a warm fire in the stove convinced me to sleep as well.

My motivation wasn't helped by the word. I have no emotional reaction to the word technique. When I think of it, I see just the word itself. With a bit of effort, I can give it a fancy script - like a typewriter, but with more curliness in the q and the h. I know that different techniques can give different impressions. I know that learning technique is important, particularly in dance and music, but the word is not one to inspire my imagination or my memory. I've never been particularly dedicated to anything requiring me to perfect a technique.