Having just finished The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli, I've gone back to reread the book to try to understand it point by point—that is, to work through my own confusions and queries. One way, of course, is to go slow and ponder. Another is to call in speculative fiction—to read stories that flesh out concepts that are quantified by physics and mathematics. Exhibit 1: Lifelode by Jo Walton.
Picturing a World
I came across Looking down to Horsleyhope Mill a while back. It seemed to me you could convert it to a hobbit village or imaginary farm in an earlier era as the setting for a story. I never got around to trying to sketch what I had in mind, but, by golly, John S. Goodall did a wildly better version in The Story of a Farm, one of his wordless books with cunning foldovers that show transformations. Luckily, our public library system has a copy. I borrowed it, loved it, and have just ordered a clean used copy at Biblio.com.
How often have I said, "You haven't read a book 'til you've read it twice"? Well, it's true. Having read Murder Most Royal by S. J. Bennett over Christmas, I went back and reread Windsor Knot, the first in this murder mystery series with Queen Elizabeth II as the detective. I liked it better the second time around and, incidentally, admire the way Bennett set herself up for a lifelong series if she wants it. (NB: Her upcoming A Death in Diamonds is set in 1957).What does this have to do with the chocolate biscuit cake?
I was gobsmacked on Wednesday when I stumbled across this painting of a marionette theater in a garden by Liu Songnian. Even after editing four books on the Song Dynasty, I had no idea such puppets existed in China at that time! What I was looking for were reminders of late-medieval Western toys for my fantasy-in-progress. Now ideas are popping about some sort of magical Silk Road on which puppeteers might travel. Serendipity for sure.
An article, "This is a wake-up call': Booker winner Paul Lynch on his novel about a fascist Ireland, prompts me to write briefly about Lynch's deeply immersive novel, Prophet Song. What I have chosen for today's illustration, however, is The Great War, a wordless panorama by Joe Sacco. Why? Because, given the threats that loom over us today, I've been musing lately on how art can best capture the lived human experience of the nightmares we inflict on each other and ourselves.
We had to put our beloved Corgi down in November, but we have left his outdoor water dish for the birds and chipmunks who visit it from time to time. I hasten to add that our Palmer slept in OUR house, not a doghouse. All the same this picture made me smile wistfully. As for the artist, I can find little about Elisabeth Sinding (1846–1930) except that she was a Norwegian who studied in Christiana (now Oslo), Dresden, and Munich. No thought, no suggestion: sometimes a picture is enough.
Blog post alert: In A question, Jackie Morris recounts being caught by surprise when asked, "What brings you joy?" All of her answers are worth reading (do click on the link), but I've selected one to imitate. She and a friend collaborated on the bracelet shown here. It embodies her chant/charm/poem: "full moon, owl flight, stone speaks, witch light."