Friday, November 29, 2013
As old-fashioned as it seems, some writers prefer the simple comfort of writing with pen and paper and inspiration seems to strike me best this way. (You have to be a fast writer though.) It also gives me an excuse to purchase some really pretty journals -- I like the freedom of keeping the world I'm working on in a journal I can carry around like a grimoire. (It's also wise to have a water and fire proof document safe.) And there's always pressure when I'm hunched in front of a computer screen, hoping no technical oddities will occur because of faulty software or hardware or because Mercury's in retrograde or whatever.
I write the first draft by hand within a few months, then complete the final drafts on the computer for the expediency and clarity of revisions. The world of my book, its rules and characters and locations, may be contained within a physical journal, but the information is also on computer file. I definitely appreciate the convenience of technology, but, as far as dreaming up the films inside my head, being away from it, surrounded by books, is how I prefer to work.
(Illustration: Adelaide Claxton)
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Unchanged in shape since the fall of the Roman Empire, the key has a number of meanings -- trust, secrets, temptation, knowledge, protection, initiation, opening and binding. A key hung upside down near the bed will keep away bad dreams. A silver key means temporal power, while a gold key represents spiritual power. Skeleton keys have the ability to unlock all doors in a building. Hecate, the Greek goddess of witches, is known as a keeper of keys. The two-faced Roman god Janus is picutured with keys, as a god of gates and doorways. The Keys of Solomon are grimoires supposedly relating the spells and rituals King Solomon was taught by the mysterious Queen of Sheba.
In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice finds a gold key that fits into a tiny door for which she must drink an elixir to shrink and enter another world. In the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, another gold key opens a door which leads to an evil fairy who sends Sleeping Beauty into her enchanted slumber. In the fairy tale, Bluebeard, an innocent girl marries a nobleman who gives his bride the keys to the house and warns her not to open a certain door -- behind which are the bodies of his former wives. In Alice, the gold key represents initiation into the world of spirit. In Sleeping Beauty, the gold key reveals a secret, the spirit enemy of Beauty's family. In Bluebeard, the key is temptation.
In Thorn Jack, the moth key plays an important role, opening doors for the heroine that represent initiation into a hidden world.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Masks, used in primitive cultures for a variety of reasons, were also a shield against malicious spirits, or used to frighten them away. And the famous 'Trick or Treat' could be a reference to the faery folk, when failure to leave milk or bread for the faeries resulted in some sort of mischief.
In the Scottish ballad 'Tam Lin', a young woman must rescue the mysterious young man she loves from being sacrificed by the queen of the faeries on Halloween.
'And pleasant is the fairyland,
But, an eerie tale to tell,
For, at the end of seven years,
We pay a teind to hell.
I am so fair and full of flesh,
I'm fear'd it be myself.'
Some great books inspired by 'Tam Lin':
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope (set in Elizabethan times)
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (set in a Minnesota college)
Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones (set in a town in England)