Wednesday, January 25, 2012

across the skies

There were stories of snow drifts so deep entire villages were buried, and stories of nights so cold no one who went to sleep ever woke up again. Yet there were also stories of ice palaces, entire kingdoms carved and fashioned from the white granite cliffs of the mountains, with huge bonfires always lit in the center courtyard, and deep hot springs warmed by the volcanoes slumbering under the mountains. These stories told of a race of tall, thin people, whose skin was as pale as the snow itself, whose hair was the color of the bonfire, and these people were the soul of the mountains. They played trumpets and flutes, they sang from deep in their chests, long, tuneless chants that reflected the sun breaking through the clouds and protected them from the dangers of avalanches and volcanoes.

a dram for the lads, a dram for the lassies, and a dram for the haggis : happy birthday, Rabbie Burns

underground restoration efforts in Paris!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

faded maps

We left when the moon was full and the littlest cousin had toddled her first steps from the kitchen table to the doorway, we left after spending the winter studying maps and star charts, learning how to use a compass and navigate by the heavens. We drew up plans and lists, we packed, sorted, compressed, repacked, we made our tents and sorted seeds, grains into containers to carry with us. So much I did not do, I did not learn to splint a broken bone or to use an ax on timbers larger than myself, I did not study botany or animal engravings to distinguish what was medicinal from what was poisonous, what was predator and what was prey. I did not learn to shoot a gun or how to set a trap.

The gone-away world / Nick Harkaway.

cold but not too cold (or maybe that's the coat)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I knew that skeletons were not devoid or absent of life, but were merely something more than sleeping, for around the corpse of any animal recently died or at any cemetery the air was heavy with souls waiting to repossess their bodies. I knew that Leap Day was just hiding in the cusp of midnight on the years when it didn't happen, and I knew those missing days were waiting for me, making plans of their own. I knew the shadows of buildings could move, that walls were flexible and not solid, but I didn't know that I knew any of these things, until so very many years later, so many keys gathered and lost in the twilight of childhood.
The other city : a novel / Michal Ajvaz

walks through woods, the crunch of ice underfoot

Thursday, January 5, 2012

moments of significance

{this is from the same prompt as this essay from April, 2009}

When the mailroom clerk brought around that day's deliveries, in amongst the bills and magazines was an altogether different sort of envelope. It was a shiny, shiny emerald green, and when it was tilted this way and that in the light, it turned to silver and to deep blue. My name was scrawled across it, not the crabbed scrawl of a ball point pen nor the calligraphic scrawl of a wedding invitation, but something resembling the feather-nib scrawl of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was ink, and it was both formally scripted and somehow imperfectly written. There was no return address.

The toaster project : or A heroic attempt to build a simple electric appliance from scratch / Thomas Thwaites. 
The night circus / Erin Morgenstern.

those deep cold days of the young year