Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Fiction, sort of

Well, is it hot enough for all of you? I, for one, have had enough of the heat and humidity. So has my mother. This awful, oppresive heat has kept her from spending time at her favorite place in the whole world, her pond.

So, mom, this week's post is again for you. But I hope the rest of you will enjoy is as well, after all, we all need places like this in our lives.

Special post No.1: Pond Magic

Thursday, June 24, 2010

100 Entries Celebrating and Some Housekeeping

Hello, Ladies & Gentle Nouns!

A few items of housekeeping and then an update on our dear friend, Thaddeus!

First of all, we've reached 100 entries here on Fantastic Spatula! A hundred different ways of making magic! A big thanks to everyone who has been with us since the start and for those who have all too recently joined us. You've made this a fun beginning! (Because really? It is just getting started...[insert crazed, maniacal laughter here])

Second, we are still looking for contributers for our Feature Fridays! If you would like to share the ways in which you make magic, please feel free to email me. (lucydylanwiggins (at) gmail (dot) com)

Thirdly! ...Well -there is no third. But this entry would look awfully naked with only two things wouldn't it? ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Fiction

Evening, folks. How 'bout this heat, huh? Ah, but the longest day is behind us and its all downhill from here.

My post last week was a tad dark, so here is something a little lighter, a little more whimsical.

Post No. 9: Water

Monday, June 21, 2010

Angel in the Stone

Michelangelo's Pietà. Photograph taken by Aurelio Amendola and featured in Michelangelo: La Dotta Mano.

Yesterday, my parents’ minister told a story: the great sculptor Michelangelo stood in front of a slab of marble, considering his work; when someone asked about his art, he replied, I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

Often I look at my own half-formed attempts and see a rough, uncut mass but have no hope of finding the angel within.  I see the formlessness and emptiness present before creation, but do not feel the presence of the Spirit hovering at my side. 

But the Spirit is there.  For the Christian artist, it can be the Spirit of God, with whom we partner in the act of ordering and naming*.  The Spirit can be of art itself as Robert Henri explained:

  Art when really understood is the province of every human being.
  It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing. 
  When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for a better understanding….
 He does not have to be a painter or sculptor to be an artist. He can work in any medium. He simply has to find the gain in the work itself, not outside it.
  Museums of art will not make a country an art country. But where there is the art spirit there will be precious works to fill museums. Better still, there will be the happiness that is in the making. Art tends towards balance, order, judgment of relative values, the laws of growth, the economy of living – very good things for anyone to be interested in.

I’m struggling through rewrites now, trying to order the chaos on the page, and feeling as though I have to go it alone.  I don’t.  None of us do.  We all have the Spirit of art with us, however you interpret it.  As Henri says, it is alive in us.  We can see through our protective stone exterior and see the angel within.  We can carve into ourselves until we set it free, give it space to grow and silence where we can hear it speak.  

Michelangelo's Pietà

* This sentiment is shared by many artists and elaborated on in far more eloquence than I can achieve by Madeleine L’Engle in Walking on Water.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Magi's Gift: Part II

Baba Yaga sends her love. I think she's enjoying her margaritas on the beach a little toooo much. Knowing her she's probably also taunting the younger men around her. (Anyone wonder why she's my kind of woman?) ;)

Home. It was a word he had often heard, but had never felt. For the word Home, is just as much an emotion, as it is a place. It is just as much spiritual and emotional, as it is physical. And as much physical pain as he had experienced in his lifetime, all of it and more, could never be the equivalent to the pain of never having, never feeling, home.
Yet, there he stood. On the bow of the ship that was sailing across the sky, taking him where he had never been; taking him home.
The rudder of the ship cut through clouds and daylight like they were barely there at all. The wind filled the sails and the ship sailed on at a lazy speed. Other passengers walked about. Many of them returning passengers who had ridden the Skye Boat many a time, others were frightened. They wore amusing expressions on their faces as the ship sailed over top continents, and stars, and galaxies. 
Thaddeus, too, was afraid, but his many years of hardship and struggle under the curse had at least taught him the ability to hide his emotions behind a metal mask. As he stood, one foot on the floor, one foot against the wood of the mast, he realized all that he had really learned and experienced. He was experiencing what the Riverman had called, “The Epiphany”, the moment when you realize just exactly what you have suffered through, and why. Smiling then, letting one expression slip through his steel, trap-like lips.
Soon all the people on board, crew and passengers began scurrying about the deck. All the sails were being opened and every hand was needed up top to await their approach to the Truth. Truth was a shield, invisible until approached. Everyone knew about that the Truth was real, but no one was sure where it existed. Truth would surprise you when you least expected it, and it alone could reveal who you truly were on the inside, as well as making it present on the outside for all the world to see.
      Truth was what Thaddeus had been waiting for. In the next moments to come, Truth would reveal who he really was. The Curse had led him to be many things: human, machine... Although he had been these things, facing the Truth and who he really was, was indeed the most frightening thing he had ever faced to this day. The Riverman was right, coming home was the most terrifying moment of his life, and there he stood, at the end of the boat, the first one to face the Truth.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Fiction

This post is a little shorter than usual, life got in the way today and as a result I am almost $300 poorer; but at least my Jeep starts now.

Anyway this post today is for my mother, who suggested I do something a little more Lovecraftian in nature. Mom, without you I wouldn't know what Lovecraftian meant nor would I be able to write about something as obtuse as true horror (not that I do it well enough, but....).

Without you, I'd probably be writing about angsty teenage vampires. (Oh, snap!)

Prompt No. 8: Dark

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend Magic: The World Danced

Happy Monday.  Is anyone else sleep deprived from watching World Cup games?  My husband couldn't believe I got back into bed this morning while I blow dried my hair.  But the electric atmosphere of the Cup is worth the bleary eyes and loss of communication skills beyond grunts and nods.  I celebrate for every player because of the years each one spent pursuing his dreams, pushing himself when the odds seemed impossible, and ignoring the criticism and naysayers.  When you put it that way, they seem awfully like artists.

So let's stand up and celebrate.  For your favorite team.  For the dream realized.  For the part of yourself you can see in them.

And let's dance.

South Africa after the first World Cup goal scored on African soil.  The nation banned from play for decades because of internal division unites the world.  That is reason to dance.

And world leaders celebrated, too.  People who changed and healed the world danced.  Fast forward to the 44th second.  I think watching Archbishop Desmond Tutu dance is worth following the link.

And others danced, too.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Magi's Gift

[Hey All, Baba Yaga has declared that she deserves a vacation. I tried to talk her out of going, but she already had her shades on and her sunscreen packed. My guess is that she's sunning out on some beach in Carolina. (Lucky wench.) So this week I bring to you a friend and character I've had rattling around in my head since, you know...birth. Hope you enjoy!]

Lightening cracked across the dawn sky. He awakened with a shot. Momentarily filled with alarm his orb eyes flitted from side to side, not quite aware of what they would awake to see.
The night terrors still haunted his mind. He could not quite shake the scenes and memories that slowly crept up on him every time he slept. Sitting up straight in his chamber bed, he breathed a sigh of relief as he finally came to his full senses. His hair was damp and matted against his head. Long wisps clung to his forehead; as he pushed the moistened strands out from his eyes and behind his ears he pushed back the covers and carefully put his bare feet on the floor. Hands on the edge of the mattress, his head hung low, he breathed in and out until the frightening images had ceased.
Slowly, he rose from the bed and surveyed the room. The rest of the covers had been kicked off completely and the pillows flung about the room. What sheets remained on the bed were soaked with sweat; there were holes in them from where he had ripped them in his sleep.
He ached; he stretched his long limbs and, going to his bureau, pulled out a pair of fresh under clothes to change into. Getting out of his drenched night clothes proved difficult. He was still sore from all of the changes he had undergone in the last few days. As he dressed himself in the crisp, fresh, and light shirt and pants, he noticed his new body again. His hands amazed him. They were thin; his fingers long and full of skill. His hands were tense, but calm. They had strength, but also a tenderness that had betrayed him before. Before the change, when he had been in a different body. Being human again was a new sensation; he had not been a human in twenty years. He was barely a toddler when he was taken away by the Magi, and made to undergo the family curse.  He had been scared of course, what child wouldn’t have been?
“Do not be afraid, Thaddeus.” The hooded figure had said, as the boney hand reached out from its cloaked sleeve to pat the bald head of the boy child. “This is but the easiest step. It is always much easier to get into danger, than it is to get out of it.” His eyes welled up then, he knew it was likely he would never see his parents again. His parents had already lost so much so soon. He was one of the two children who had survived the fire, the slaughter that claimed the lives of his brothers and sisters the year before. “Do not be afraid,” the hooded figure said once more. “If you survive the curse of your family, coming home again will be much more frightening.” The skeletal hand withdrew from the boy’s head, “You have strength; you just don’t know it yet. All will be well, Thaddeus.”
From that day on he was Thaddeus no longer. As soon as he and his mysterious guide reached the other end of the misty river, and he stepped out of the creaking boat onto the dock, he was no longer Thaddeus, and he was no longer a child.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

Back At It

Onion Head Monster postcard for the "Hang In There" show opening
Paul Friedrich 2004.

It has been a while, I know. But, I'm back. Hello. This morning's post is a stand alone.

Happy Wednesday from one of my favorite North Carolina artists.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer Fiction

What a lovely day this has been! The wind was blowing and the shade was cool. I imagine that the summers in my little fictional town are like this; people don't mind being outside and in each other's company. I also imagine that days like this are no fun when you're alone.

Prompt: Alone

Monday, June 7, 2010

Spare the Period, Spoil the Ride

Photo courtesy of Ralph Tuck, II

Behold the power of punctuation. I can't tell if this place is a used car dealership or a brothel. 
(The best part?  My brother made the bus carrying the varsity tennis team pull over so he could get the photo.  Gotta love a baby stickler.  Happy graduation to him!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Feature Friday

spell magic
Originally uploaded by cookie_crumbles
Hi all!
I know you're not used to Friday updates over here at the Fantastic Spatula! But all that's about to change...

Are you a writer? A painter? Photographer? Artist? Creative Being? How about an aspiring filmmaker? Or a general prodigy of untapped brilliance?

Well boy howdy have I got some news for you!

The reason we've yet to get our greedy, grubby hands on our Friday slot is because it's been reserved...for you. From now on Fridays we will be putting the spotlight on other Fantastic Spatulans from across the globe, in a bit we call "Feature Friday". And we want you to contribute! Nothing is too big, or too small, or too out there, (we luff us some Space Cadets!). So please feel free to share!

If you would like to contribute your talents, please email me a sample of your work and a short bio at: lucydylanwiggins (at) gmail (dot) com.

"Let the wild rumpus start!" ;)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Finding Baba Yaga

Baba Yaga moly
Originally uploaded by the messy nest
Hello, everyone! I trust we all had a good Memorial Day weekend and a short work week? I know I did! Though with the good times came the stresses and the fumblings. But we won't dwell on that...

This week, in leau of another snippet in our Baba Yaga Saga, I thought I'd expound a little on why I started writing her story in the first place.

First of all, I don't know of any little kid that isn't intrigued by fairy tales. We all loved to see the hero/heroine beat the baddies and get the guy/girl in the end. Usually there is a moral, or lesson, to be learned. But that soaks in more subtly. Give a kid a story with dragons or faeries and everyone's a happy camper.

Then there's me... while I did love a good fire breathing dragon getting the scales beaten off of him by some dashing dude, I much more preferred another character: that crazy lady that lived in the woods.

I'm not sure why, but I always felt sorry for her. There was never much information about her to go on. How did she come to live in the woods? Was it by her choice or someone else? Did she really eat children for dinner? Was she really magical or just nutters? Just trying to get to the crux of her character was enough to compel me to try and weave a story around her.

Another thing that led me to love her was her unconventional wisdom and knowledge. For all intents and purposes, Yaga is an "old soul". And as someone who reads too much into things, I always loved that this batty woman in the woods was the one everyone went to for all the answers.

Imagine not knowing what to do with your life, which direction you should go it, or how to solve the riddles of your being. For the sake of story, the answer to all the questions of our hero could be found in the woods. Where Baba Yaga would wait for you.

There are a lot of different takes on Baba Yaga. She's been incorporated into numerous tales, including an appearance in the comic "Hell Boy". What I had noticed was that people tend to stick to the traditional archetype- the Yaga who was witchy & evil. What I have attempted to tell in my take was a Yaga who was more of an earth mother and caregiver. Not so much evil, as merely misunderstood.

Granted, I still like the image of a batty old bitty who'd rather skewer a couple of rowdy young'ns and use their skulls as decorations. One of those people who, if she likes you- she loves you. If she doesn't like you- she'll probably at least think you're tasty.

So call me crazy, but I think she's ten kinds of cool. Hope you do too!

Stay tuned next week for next adventure! Same Yaga time, same Yaga channel! :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Fiction

I'm very excited today! Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" was released today and I got my very own copy sitting right here beside me. It is such a bright and colorful movie and I felt inspired.

My odd fictional town gets a little color boost!

Prompt No. 6: Colors