#FolkloreThursday: #storytime by Joanne Harris and the Storytime Band

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If like me you have not been able to catch the live version of Joanne Harris’ #storytime, you’ll be glad to know that this CD captures the experience rather well (I suspect). Music, song and story blend together to create a magical experience with the freshness of a live performance.

Folktale aficionados will find Harris’ stories to be in a familiar vein that we have all imbibed since childhood. Yet her fairytale narratives offer original takes on those tropes that will surprise and delight you. If you follow @JoanneChocolat on Twitter you know her impromtu #storytime threads are always surprising, often timely and generally hook you quickly.

This CD gives me ideas — always a good sign.

Buy the CD direct for just £5 and get it personalised.

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Out-Create the Destruction

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Corinne Mikael West

Thanks to the fabulous Pam Grossman mentioning this in an interview, I have been recharged by the great quote from the always delightful Tori Amos:

“You have to out-create the destruction
– it’s the only way.”

(By the by, have you been listening to Native Invader? It’s really terrific.)

I realise that this is what I feel subconsciously in these (make no mistake about it) perilous times. Yes, work to undo the evil at every step. Yes, raise our voices in protest, in resistance, in outrage at the seemingly endless venal obscenities!

But I am not a politician. I am not an organiser. I am a creator and I will create because that is my path of resistance. Create and re-create everything they try to destroy. Create the community and its strength that we need. Create the vision that will give us hope. Make every day a resounding yes to all that they claim is impossible. Do not give in to their selfish mediocrity.

I’ve been filling the well of my head with artists like Corinne Mikael/Michelle West (I love this image because it looks like she’s lecturing on how abstract-expressionism will sort things out) and of course my trimulierate Varo, Carrington and Fini. Reading The Militant Muse which has fed that need for examples of unruly artists making their way through explosive, soul-sapping times. Hanging on to the hope of a better future:

“When the heroic male narratives of modernism begin to fade, we may, eventually, be ready to recognize this amazingly idiosyncratic body of work.”

Prophetic words on Hedda Sterne but much more widely applicable, I hope, in the coming days.

Pre-Order: Inanna’s Ascent

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Out in July it’s the goddess-inspired anthology Inanna’s Ascent: Reclaiming Female Power. I have an essay detailing the inspiration for my novel Owl Stretching which incorporates elements of the ancient Sumerian tale of Inanna’s Descent.

Pre-order here.

Edited by Trista Hendren, Tamara Albanna and Pat Daly

Scheduled for July 2018
With contributions by:
Amanda Lee Morris, Annelinde Metzner, Annie Finch, Arna Baartz, Chantal Khoury, Daphne Moon, Rev. DiAnna Ritola,  Donna Snyder,Genevieve Deven, Glenys Livingstone, Ph.D., Hayley Arrington, Iriome R. Martín Alonso, Iyana Rashil, Jaclyn Cherie, K. A. Laity, Laura Shannon, Lennée Reid, Liliana Kleiner, Lori Newlove, Lyn Thurman, Melanie Miner, Melissa Stratton Pandina ,  Molly Remer, Nina Erin Hofmeijer, Nuit Moore, Patricia Ballentine, Sofia Wren, Sinem Koca, Susan Morgaine, Talia Segal, Tamara Albanna, Tara Reynolds, Trista Hendren and others.

Out Now: Madonna of the Wasps 5 #WiHM

41r0rlouarlWhat better way to wrap up Women in Horror Month? The final chapter of The Blood Red Experiment is out now! Read the exciting conclusion of Madonna of the Wasps and all the gialli in this collection. The breakneck pace whips along to the unexpected end — how will all the threads be brought together? It’s a mystery!

Buy it here.

My Blakean Muse

Rouze up, O Young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the Camp, the Court & the University, who would, if they could, for ever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War.

William Blake, Preface to Milton

I have had some insight into a revision I need to make to my novel Hire Idiots. I’ve neglected to make clear the important role played by quislings.

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Quislings are the reason the neoliberal effort succeeds. The hard-line zealots would get nowhere without them. They help normalise, apologise and internalise the reframing of education as assessment. Their efforts to ‘not make waves’ allow the system to drown in mediocrity. It’s always easier to ‘go with the flow’ in the short term, but the long term effects are deadly.

I’ve had more insight in recent years about my inability to conform to neurotypical conventions. Despite accusations, it’s not a pugnacious desire to ‘think outside the box’; it’s a kind of blindness. I can’t see the box.

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William Blake: Apollyon Attacks Christian, Pilgrim’s Progress

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dream Poem for Sunday

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s our Sunday poetry offering by Wendy Goldberg; I think it’s got just the right touch of melancholy for an ending.

We’ve had a wonderful time sharing our writing, music and art. Keep dreaming, remember refill the well, and as the dames would surely tell you, make sure someone’s got your back while you dream. 

Dreaming

Perhaps it would be like no poem would ever be forgotten,
if we remembered every dream we ever had.

The day would be as surreal as the night,
populated with a memory that does not exist,
a narrative running counter to the light.
Would people say in the café, wiping sugar off the table
I am a flyer or I dream of water?
Would lovers whisper sexual non-sequitors
about images that abandon all sense of plot?

Perhaps those taboos would go silently unshared,
and if nightmares could not be broken with the day,
we might keep those secret yet.

But, we would remember all —
from an angel in the deep midnight womb
telling us the mind of God
to our last twilight vision in sickbeds
where dreams glide away like a grey sky
sliding its palms on an endless, still sea.
As we breathe at night, we breathe in day
like the way we dream
about the dead in that first year of grief.

Instead, mornings have merciful hands,
wiping a fogged-up mirror, and we see
the same story we keep telling ourselves.

Ione’s Dream Festival: Dream Music

Ione Dream FestThe SpeakEasy dames are hosting Ione’s Dream Festival this week: check it out on Facebook. Here’s tonight’s entry by singer-songwriter Julie Beman:

“Memory This” is a song about two dreams, but it also sounds dreamlike due to various production choices made during development and engineering.

The song opens with a mellotron, moody and wonky; its sound is a staple of both science fiction and prog rock and its “out-of-tune-y-ness” serves to destabilize. The piano brings in a feeling of being grounded, but only until the vocal, awash in reverb and delay, introduces a dream. After four lines the vocal splits into elaborate harmonies. As all of the parts are sung by the same person, there is a hall-of-mirrors quality to them; one person has multiplied into many. Strings are typical dream-fare. Panning moves the sound in space, denying it an opportunity to “land.” The song ends with an improvisation, an act of creation that will happen only once, much like a dream.