Sunday, July 30, 2006

Techno Dodo Brain

No time to blog as I am going like the clappers on third Faerie book; though, paradoxically, I did post on my book blog today and here I am posting right now. And, damn, I just discovered that I enabled comment moderation on both my blogs and there were comments hiding away in a file that I didn't know about. I am such a techno-dope. I've disabled that feature but have left the human-check-thingie (see what I mean?) to avoid blogger spam.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Cedars of Lebanon

I watch in despair as Lebanon burns once again. Do I have a strong opinion on this? I do. But first, my political stand: I support the right of Israel to exist in peace and I support the right of the Palestinian people to a thriving homeland. Irreconcilable differences? I always believed that a peaceful solution to Northern Ireland was possible and look there. In fact, I remember attending a party many years ago in L’Derry at the invitation of my friend, Roy, a Protestant peace & reconciliation worker married to a Catholic. (Martina: "It really hit me when I saw the lambeg drum in the living room.") The party was for a group of Palestinian and Israeli peace & reconciliation workers who had come to Northern Ireland on a research trip. You want to talk about heroes? I was in awe of them. That such people could exist, such men and women, risking their lives to cross such divides. They told Roy that this was the first step they laboured to get their opposing sides to take: You are my enemy, I hate you, but I will not kill you today. And there they were, taking turns to sing the songs of their homelands (it was an Irish party) and cheering each other on. So therein lies my hope. Here’s my anger: who is making and selling the arms? Who is profiting from this? Where are the factories where all these missiles, tanks, guns, and rocket launchers are being made? Who are the people going to work every day to build them, knowing they are making weapons of death and destruction? Who are the owners of the factories? Who are the salesmen who are making the deals, not caring to whom they are selling instruments of death? Who are the men and women who make money from the death of men, women, and children? And why do we know nothing about them? Why do we know nothing about the arms manufacturers and dealers who fuel all the wars on our planet?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Canadian Summer

Got an email from Findabhair today. She's having a terrific time in Ontario. Wants to know if she can get a tattoo in Collingwood with her friend, Holly. What a soul sister thing to do. I said yes. (It ain't my body.) She also has good things to say about good-looking Canadian boys. Now this was my devious plan in sending her over there. She is to fall in love with Canada and decide to go to college there -- to my alma mater, Trinity -- so she'll move back with me. Otherwise we are looking at the generational curse of my family: loved ones separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Parents, grandparents, children, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews all split on each side. Though popping back and forth like pinballs, it must be said. We need an entrepreneur in the family to start an airline. Enough with the bloody artists!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oh Canada!

Put Finn on a plane for Canada this morning. Trying not to be an over-anxious mother. She's staying with friends in Creemore and visiting family in Toronto. Missing her already! I'll be over myself in November to do some readings in Toronto and Montreal. Will post when and where on my Bookmark Book Blog closer to the time. Meanwhile it's back to work. A little personal note: Emma, one of my cats, is utterly flaked out on the floor beside me. It is ROASTING HOT here in Ireland, mirabile dictu. Going on a week now of unadulterated sun, we are all bizarrely (for the Irish) bronzed and blonded. Well, not counting the many who are red and blistered. Give us another week of this and everyone will be saying "the heat's desperate" and "will it never rain."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stop the Lights!

Well, I really just wanted to note that I am finally posting items on my Book Blog again. I've got a few items and pictures that I think will be of interest to readers.

And meanwhile, here's another magical photo of William Todd Jones caught inside a flaming wheel. I think it's a fabulous image. If you want to find out more about him and his work just Google or Yahoo him. There's loads of entries.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Sash Me Father Wore

Well, not me Da, me Big Uncle Jim from the North. We were the Green side. But Happy July 12th to all you Orange people! May the sun shine on your parade! When I was young in Toronto, the Green side of the Irish community actually marched in the Orange Parade -- Irish dancing schools, the Neil McNeil and De La Salle boys bands, and even the Knights of the Columbus (or is that a false memory?!) And on St Patrick's Day, I distinctly remember the Orange Lodges getting me to do Irish dancing at their celebrations of the day (yes!) as well as the Daughters of the Eastern Star clubs and the Masonic Lodges. That's the way these holidays should be celebrated -- as cultural festivals which both sides can enjoy together. I know that's hard for people in Northern Ireland to envisage because there has been so much bigotry and bloody murder on both sides. Yet it is not impossible, as the Canadian communities from both these backgrounds have proven. Roll on that day and the sooner the better!

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Little Tale of a Dryad

Here's how it happened.
I was having a quiet breakfast with a teacher attending the Educator’s Conference, part of the Mythic Journeys Conference in Atlanta, and up comes Brenda Sutton, one of the Mythic co-ordinators, with William Todd Jones (see satyr below on the left). She introduces us.

Todd: We’d like you to play Gwendolena, the wife of Merlin, a wood nymph.
Me: I’m a big long in the tooth for a wood nymph, amn’t I?
Todd: No, you’re perfect. You’re tiny and blond and you look like a fairy.
Me (highly flattered and sucked in like a Hunt’s tomato): Okay, I’ll do it.
Brenda (into her headset): We’ve got a nymph. The nymph has been found.
Brenda (to me): You should hear the com chatter on this.
Me: Could you call me a dryad?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

My Two Husbands

Bet that caught your attention!
The two satyr lads in this pic were my two husbands in The Life of Merlin performance, (written by John and Caitlin Matthews) at the Mythic Journeys Conference in Atlanta last month. I was the wood nymph, Gwendolena, wife of Merlin. William Todd Jones on the left was Merlin, while Toby Froud on the right was my young second husband whom Merlin killed with a deer's antlers. Nope that's not me in the pic, but the gorgeous Wendy Froud (mother of Toby) whom I tend to think of as the High Queen of Faerie. She is the creator of many fabulous creatures including Yoda of Star Wars. And you probably won't recognise Toby as the baby from Labyrinth. Okay I am going to stop name-dropping right now. (I was just saying to David Bowie the other day that name-dropping is a very unattractive trait.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tolkien Over Pullman, No Contest

Picked up The Wand in the Word, an excellent book at the American Library Association Conference in New Orleans (ah, New Orleans). The subtitle is "Conversations with Writers of Fantasy" and it is compiled and edited by Leonard S Marcus. Some of my favourite fantasy writers are included such as Susan Cooper, Garth Nix, Brian Jacques, and Madeleine l'Engle. (The two women I read as a child, the two men as an adult.) The only sour note is Philip Pullman attacking, yet again, JRR Tolkien. A dwarf insulting a giant. Yes, I enjoyed His Dark Materials but it is not the masterpiece that is The Lord of the Rings, nor is it a work I would ever re-read. More importantly, it is not a work that would change my life, help me through a dark time, or inspire me to be a better person. These latter descriptions describe the writings of the two great men that Pullman constantly attacks -- CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. At this point, me thinks he doth protest too much. There's something personal here. Did the two professors fail to recognize the 'genius' of the young Pullman when he was at Oxford? Is he still fuming over that fact and taking his revenge now that they are dead and cannot defend themselves? A petty little man when all is said and done.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

Bonne fete du Canada! (Je m'excuse, but if anyone knows how to get the 'e' with a proper accent on Microsoft, please let me know and I'll correct it.) This is a pic of the flag I have hung in my front porch. I am missing all the celebrations back home! When I was a kid, it wasn't a big deal. No wonder. It was called "Dominion Day". Puis, le 27 octobre 1982, le 1er juillet devint officiellement "Fete du Canada." Back then, we didn't have a national anthem or a flag either -- just God Save the Queen and the Red Ensign, the flag of the British Navy. Pierre Trudeau changed all that, our greatest and sexiest Prime-Minister. Must remember to add him to my list of heroes on my website FAQ page. He was a red rose on our country's lapel.