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Picturing a World

Bring-backs and takeaways

Okay, now I'm even closer to finishing a problematic short story than I was earlier this month when I wrote Out of the Woods. What has given me new energy to get to "The End" is a new question: What does the main character bring back?

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Artists’ fans

Blog post alert: It's always fun to run into something that combines your interests—for me, in this case, Huguenot fan makers. For reasons of family history, I've been paying attention to Huguenots lately. Fans as part of fashion is a natural for a writer of historical fiction. Characters in Where the Light Falls carry fans, and artists' fans were part of the 1879 Impressionist show they visit. Here Gauguin follows his predecessors' lead. For more examples of artists' fans, see Fan Club: painted fans in European art 1 and Fan Club: painted fans in European art 2.

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Pareidolia on Jupiter

Website alert: Does anybody else perceive a rider on the back of a horse in this detail from NASA's video animation of a flight past the planet Jupiter?!? And if so, is an elephant-headed rider looking over its shoulder or is that an elaborate hood? I'd love to see the photographs from which this segment of the video is projected. Meanwhile, whether you are as taken by this imaginary cosmic figure as I am, do check out Ride With Juno As It Flies Past the Solar System's Biggest Moon and Jupiter. It's mesmerizing

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Out of the woods

First off, apologies to Su Blackwell: I've lost the citation for this piece, but it's just too emblematic not to use. I'm nearing the end of the first draft of a short story. I'll come out of the woods soon, but I'm not sure whether what I'm bringing with me will ever be truly satisfactory.

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But is it art?

Rivers Have Wings, The Yellow Smoke That Rubs Its Muzzle On The Window-Panes (2021)

Blog post alert: Suppose you fed a phrase into a computer and it spit out a picture. Well, that's what happened when a computer-savvy artist used a program described in James Gurney's New Tools for Text-to-Image Generation. Perfect for producing jigsaw puzzles! But It also set me wondering about Text-to-text generation.. Yup, happening and been happening . So now I can't help wondering how a short story written by one program and illustrated by another would turn out. Hmmm, maybe an idea for a story written by a human being?

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Elevated follow-up

And just for the fun of it, two more images to illustrate Rachael Robinson Elmer's milieu from an article on Japonisme from the Khan Academy. I hesitate to draw any analogy to the writing-school obsession with "point of view" that emerged at about the same time, but somebody else may already have done so— either seriously or in a lampoon.

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Rachael Robinson Elmer

In my work-in-slow-progress, "Anonymity," I have given my main character, Mattie, an apartment near 110th Street in New York and sent her walking through Morningside and Central Parks. In order to do so, I've looked at lots of historic photographs of the area, which was being built up in the first decades of the 20th C. It looked raw. By contrast, this postcard by Rachael Robinson Elmer makes it look lush and glamorous in a very urban way.

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Vess on illustration

Blog post alert: As soon as I saw Charles Vess's illustration for Joanne Harris's story, "The Barefoot Princess" at Myth and Moor, I ordered a copy of their book, Honeycomb (from a local independent bookstore, naturally). Then I poked around and come upon Honeycomb – An Interview with Charles Vess.

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Nikolai Astrup

Exhibition alert: Yesterday, for the first time since the 2020 lockdown, my husband and I went to a museum exhibition, namely Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts (through September 19, 2021). It had been scheduled for last summer and was the closing that disappointed me most after COVID hit. I was delighted therefore, when I learned that it would be delayed rather canceled, and I can assure you that it was worth the wait. 

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