Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'd Sooner Go To Middle Earth

"On Fantasy"
by George R. R. Martin
The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real ... for a moment at least ... that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I'd sooner go to middle Earth.

Originally published in The Faces of Fantasy: Photographs by Pati Perret copyright © 1996 by Pati Perret
Copyright © George R. R. Martin. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Living the Dream

This morning I had ice-cream for breakfast. Strawberry cheesecake ice-cream. I don’t think we had strawberry cheesecake ice-cream when I was a kid, but if we had it would have been an ambition of mine to have it for breakfast.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Silly Fun

Thank god for people with too much time on their hands for I now bring you The 100 Cheesiest Movies Quotes of All Time. I’m not quite sure if it’s what Sergei Eisenstien had in mind when he invented montage, but it’s an amusing way to pass ten minutes. I’m particularly pleased it includes my favourite ever Rocky moment. Forget Gorbachev, what about Sly?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Winter Photos

More pics I took of what will no doubt come to be known as the Big Winter of 2009. They're not of the snow but, in my opinion, the most beautiful weather known to mankind- cool, crisp air to refresh your every breath, bold blue skies framing natures canvas. These ones are of a sunset though.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Spell to See Fairies

Apparently all the fairies left these isles during the 17th century in protest of the anti-Christmas, anti-fun policies of that much loved king-who-wasn’t-a-king, Oliver Cromwell. I never realised the wee folk were Christians, but there you go. Anyway, if you ever wanted to see some Sidhe for yourself try this little enchantment which I found in an old children’s book. It’s sourced from an ancient manuscript and supposedly used to work. So if you give it a go and your sight remains fairyless, then you’ll know the rumours were true.

1. Gather the flowers of roses and marigolds while looking toward the east. Take the petals and soak them separately in spring water for one week. Stain off the petals.
2. Pour a small quantity of each liquid into a crystal glass bowl.
3. Add some virgin olive oil, and beat the mixture until the oil turns white. Then pour it into a glass bottle. 
4. Add hollyhock buds, marigold flowers, young hazel buds and the flowers of wild thyme to the mixture. The thyme should be gathered from the side of a hill ‘where fairies used to go often’.
5. Add grass from a fairy throne and leave the bottle in the sun for three days for the ingredients to dissolve.
6. Rub a very little of the mixture on each eyelid and you will be able to see any fairies who are around.

There you have it. Something to do next weekend, and heaps safer than the usual methods of seeing fairies. Just don’t tell anyone what you’re up to unless you fancy being chased across the fields with a butterfly net!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Love Winter

A random selection of photos I took over the past couple of weeks. We rarely get snow before January here in Ireland, and even then barely more than a clattering. But this year it's been white for weeks. The picture below is of a historic castle bridge in my home town and was taken on Christmas Day. I'm planning on using it for my cards next year. Check out the icicles under the arches, they were about two feet long!

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