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November 2010

More Wall Trees . . .

Endicott West

For those interested in "domythic" decorating, here are some more Wall Trees for you -- this time at the Endicott West Arts Retreat in Tucson, Arizona (which I helped to create and design, along with Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner). For this desert enviroment, the painting technique is just a little different from the "wall trees" in my cottage in Devon.

Above, the kitchen table in the Main House at E-West sits in a grotto of white sycamores. Below is another white sycamore (they're my favorite desert tree), painted in the rustic little Bunk House in the barn -- which is where I stay when I'm at the Retreat.

Endicott West

The colors I use for the desert Wall Trees are brighter than the ones I use here in Devon. It suits that gorgeous desert light, and reflects the regional influence of Mexican design. (The Mexican border is just a short drive south.)  The branches of of the tree in the photo above go around the corner (on the left) to arch over wooden shelves full of dishes and pottery. On the right, they arch over a dusky blue door that opens into a charming little Mexican bathroom. Alas, I don't have a picture of that -- but here is the rest of the room. (The photos come from a different year, and somebody has swapped the wicker chair for a purple one. Things move around a lot at E-West.)

The E-West Bunkhouse

The E-West Bunkhouse 2

Wall trees at Endicott West

There are also trees in the E-West Library (in the right-hand picture above, and below), spreading their shade over a blue velvet couch and chair passed down from my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother. The walls are painted with adobe clay paint, to which I added chopped up straws and grasses to give them an interest texture.

Endicott West

And here's one of the shy little magical people who inhabit the place, at least in my imagination.... 

Desert Fairy

Miwa Matreyek in Motion



Above: A Miwa Matreyek performance in Oxford, filmed for the TED Talks series. It's a beautiful piece -- and becomes truly amazing about one third of the way in, so stick with it.

Here's the description: "Miwa Matreyek creates performances where real shapes and virtual images trade places, amid layers of animation, video and live bodies. Using animation, projections and her own moving shadow, Miwa Matreyek performs a gorgeous, meditative piece about inner and outer discovery. With music from Anna Oxygen, Mirah, Caroline Lufkin and Mileece."

The link comes from William Todd-Jones (thanks, Todd!), who creates this kind of cutting-edge performance work himself ("The Virtual Cellist," for example) and ought to have a TED Talk of his own. Are there any TED execs out there listening...?

Happy Anniversary, Bumblehill!


Exactly two years ago today we got the keys to our cozy little house, Bumblehill -- pictured above in its lovely hillside setting in a photograph taken from the top of our back yard. Okay, it's not spectacularly historic like my last house, a 16th century thatched cottage; it is modern by comparison, being one in a row of sturdy little houses built for working families in 1919. But we love it for the views, the light, for our His and Hers hillside studios, and especially for the woods and fields behind us, where we wander every day with Tilly.

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to someone in the following way: "Terri used to live in the most beautiful house in the village." And I admit it, that "used to" made me wince! I've decided, however, to take those words as a challenge. It's time to finally take up my brushes and to give our new house the murals that I've been promising to paint ever since we moved in. Bumblehill is a pretty, cozy, comfortable house, but it's not yet a mural-bedecked magical house. And here's my vow: by its third anniversary it will be. That's my challenge for this year!

Last year at this time, I wrote this post about our first anniversary at Bumblehill. It was nice to read it again this morning -- and to hear CSYN sing "Our House" (a favorite of mine since childhood) one more time.

On the road by our house Meldon Hill, photographed from the road in front of Bumblehill.

To sleep, perchance to dream. . .

Tree Bed by Attiladesign
The next best thing to sleeping among the trees is a bedroom turned into a forest. I love (and covet) the "Apple Tree Canopy Bed," above, by Attiladesign in Finland -- as well as the magical two beds below: "Tree Bed" from the Shawn Lovell Metalworks in California, and a fairy tale bed from La Lune Collection in Milwaukee.

Magical Beds
At Weaver's Cottage, the little 16th century stone house where I lived for many years (in the center of the same Devon village where I live now), I made my own forest by painting the shadows of trees on the old cob bedroom walls. Being shadows, they're a little hard to see in a photograph, but they're there. (Click on the photos for larger versions.)

Woodland bedroom, 1

Woodland bedroom, 2

Woodland Bedroom, 3

Woodland Bedroom, 4

My village neighbor Danielle Barlow recently created the "Enchanted Forest Bedroom," below,  for her daughter Maddy. (Lucky girl!) Follow the link to Danielle's blog to see more pictures and read about it's creation.

Maddys room nov 12

A Boy & His Dog, Part II

Howard & Tilly Nov 2010
I love this mid-song portrait of Howard and Tilly. It's now vying with this one as my favorite "A Boy and his Dog" themed photograph.

Speaking of which, Valerianna's comment on the earlier photo ("...sort of Bob Dylan meets Tilly") planted a seed in Howard's mind . . . which resulted in the writing of a fabulous song, When Tilly the Wonder Dog Met Bob Dylan. I'm hoping he'll record it one of these days, and then let me post it here.

Tune for a Monday Morning



It was a cold, grey, stormy weekend, with the whole family, even the dog, feeling grumpy, low, under the weather both literally and figuratively. But this morning the sun is shining on the frost-covered hills, I've got a warm pup and a warm pot of coffee beside me, and that's all I need to re-set my mood-ometer to its default position of optimism. I admit that I actually like Monday mornings: my weekly chance to put any problems from the last week behind and start afresh. So today's video, above, is a lively one from the Irish band Kila, to kick-start us all into a good new week. I hope that your Monday is productive, creative, and inspiring. And be sure to stay warm.

More news from the Border

Btown highway sign The new Bordertown book (discussed in my last post) contains a mix of writers old and new. Half of them (like co-editor Ellen Kushner) are writers who first created the series with me, back in our wayward youth -- while the other half (like co-editor Holly Black) are younger writers who grew up with the Bordertown books, and whose work was influenced by the urban fantasy genre that they helped to pioneer.

Janni Lee Simner, one of the latter, has just written a lovely little piece, "Running Away to Bordertown," about the magic of writing and reading urban fantasy. 

Annette Curtis Klause, also one of the latter, writes about her own journey to the Border on her blog, Human Oddity.

Snow maiden A Vedernikov, 2000 And speaking of good blog posts, are you all keeping up with the "Fairytale Reflections" over on Katherine Langrish's blog? The latest entry in this fabulous series is by Delia Sherman, discussing The Snow Child.

News from Bordertown

Bordertown art by Steve StoneHere is the cover art for the new Bordertown anthology, a fat collection of brand new Bordertown stories to be published by Random House in May, 2011. (Click on the art to see a larger version.) The cover painting is by Steve Stone, and the design by Ellice Lee. Our Random House editor is the valiant Mallory Loehr, assisted by Chelsea Eberly.

A limited number of Advanced Reading Copies of the book were handed out to reviewers at the World Fantasy Convention, and more will be sent out closer to the publication date. There's also a new Bordertown website in the works, and I'll link to it here when it's ready to debut.

Our first “unofficial review” comes from One Minute Monkey, the LJ page of Michael M. Jones (book reviewer for The Green Man Review and other publications):

This is over 500 pages of fiction and poetry, revisiting the Bordertown setting which helped lay the groundwork for today’s urban fantasy bonanza. Not only have many of the original contributors showed up for another go-around, but they’re joined by a fair number of today’s hottest writers, those who pretty much GREW UP with Bordertown. This isn’t a rehashing of the old days, this is a love-fueled rock n’ roll continuation and updating where a new generation meets the old gang. (And in my opinion, they came up with a perfectly appropriate way to make those intervening 13 years between installments seem like 13 days… heheheheh.)

Updated to add: Here's Michael M. Jones' full review, which is our very first!

And f.y.i., here's the volume's complete Table of Contents:

edited by Holly Black & Ellen Kushner

Introduction – Terri Windling
Introduction – Holly Black
Bordertown Basics (Letter from the Diggers)
Welcome to Bordertown – Terri Windling & Ellen Kushner
Shannon’s Law – Cory Doctorow
Cruel Sister (poem) – Patricia A. McKillip
Voice Like a Hole – Catherynne M. Valente
Stairs in Her Hair (song) – Amal El-Mohtar
Incunabulum – Emma Bull
Run Back to the Border (song) – Steven Brust
Prince of Thirteen Days – Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Sages of Elsewhere – Will Shetterly
Soulja Grrrl: A Long Line Rap (song) – Jane Yolen
Crossings – Janni Lee Simner
Fair Trade (Comic) – Sara Ryan & Dylan Meconis
Lullabye: Night Song for a Halfie (song) – Jane Yolen
Our Stars, Our Selves – Tim Pratt
Elf Blood – Annette Curtis Klause
The Wall (poem) – Delia Sherman
Ours is the Prettiest – Nalo Hopkinson
We Do Not Come in Peace – Christopher Barzak
A Borderland Jump-Rope Rhyme (poem) – Jane Yolen
The Rowan Gentleman – Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
The Song of the Song (song) – Neil Gaiman
A Tangle of Green Men – Charles de Lint

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Annette Curtis Klause has written a good description of its premise:

Bordertown elf by Iain McCaig

"The gate to Elfland has reappeared in our world," she explains, "and around it stretches a border where neither magic or technology works quite right. Bordertown is a place unlike any city but also like a bit of them all. Runaways come from both sides of the border to find adventure. Elves play in rock bands and race down the street on spell-powered motorcycles. Humans have the freedom to recreate themselves but have to cobble together ways of doing what was once for granted with a combination of iffy magic and ingenuity. But all isn’t fun and happy-ever-after in the clubs and squats of the bohemian Soho neighborhood or even in the high-priced elvin homes on Dragon Hill. Borderland elf by Iain McCaig Prejudice, addiction, and revenge walk hand in hand with the artists, poets, and musicians of the city, gangs of elves and humans are constantly at war or in uneasy truce, and surviving sometimes depends on discovering skills you didn’t know you had."

 Bordertown, says Holly Black (in her Introduction to the new volume) is "a city where the capricious and dangerous elves of folklore (even if they called themselves something else) walk around in leather jackets, drink alongside human artists and poets at bars, and, most of all, exist in a world that isn’t long ago and far away. Bordertown is always close by, just around a corner, the place you can run away to if you dare...."

 In the photo below, Holly and Ellen sign ARCs, hot off the press, at the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, Ohio (October, 2010): 

Until the new Bordertown website is up, you'll find a bit more information on the series here -- and there's information on the creation of the new anthology on Ellen Kushner's blog. Two good Bordertown fan sites are The Hard Luck Cafe and The Yellow Brick Road -- and go here for a charming little ditty called the "Bordertown Waltz" by reader Gina Donahue. The little Bordertown sketches above are by my friend Iain McCaig, who knows the back streets of B-town well.