This amazing sartorial creation, by Jennifer Pritchard Couchman, is made from a book of fairy tales and worn by writer Claire Massey
The pictures are by Jonathan Bean @Litfest.
The Baba Yaga House
Isabel Winson-Sagan is a resident of Santa Fe, NM, and has a degree from the University of New Mexico in religious studies and evolutionary anthropology. She will soon be attending the University of Aberdeen in Scotland for further work in religious studies. She just bought the trailer for her Tiny House, and will be starting her build in the next couple of months.
If I were forced to provide a single, unqualified answer to the question, “Why are you building a tiny house?” I would have to say: instantaneous love. I was 8 years old when I first saw the inside of an RV trailer, while on a road trip with my parents. Afterwards I demanded of my mother, “Why don’t we live in one of these?” On some level I was wounded. My parents had always known about these perfect, tiny, ship-like houses on wheels, and had chosen to abide in our irritatingly stationary home instead.
To read the whole essay:
The Ballad of Baba Yaga
I wandered through the Cricklewood
On a snowy and wintry day,
Face to the wind, back to the trees
The forest to the West did lay.
I was no child, I had no fear
Of Baba Yaga’s famed disguise.
Her love of children for a meal
Her snaggle tooth and whispered lies.
But winter turned her back on me
And shredded her over long nails
Wandered the hills through the snows
Screeched her high-pitched wails.
She settled in a nestled wood
Beneath wispy branches of pinon
Watched slyly as two children stood
Innocence their faces crowned.
She licked their boots sniffed their toes
Crooning sweet notes all the while
Warm little bodies, bundled up snug
For roasting, or stewing once beguiled
Fear crawled beneath their winter clothes
Crept into skulls lost far from home
Winter unfurled a breath of ice
Gleeful to see them all alone.
Slyly she crept up to their knees,
Another blast of hoary breath
Until their chests were covered full
Fear now turned their face toward death
Her nails worn down to the quick
Through scabbed lips another breath she drew
Gathering arctic force, a full winter’s gale
Innocence and children both she slew
Into her mortar she snuggled down
With pestle for rudder she glided past
Belly content with her childlike meal
She lazily scratched the crack in her ass
Enjoyed a stroll at Peninsula Community College–and why not, accustomed as I am to appreciating a nice campus. This one very different than SFCC, although of course with a similar mission. There is a longhouse on campus, with art gallery and space for cultural meeting and dances…not to mention wi-fi if students need it.
I’ve developed a fascination with casino architecture, born of the Las Vegas trips of several years to visit family for Thanksgiving, which turned into a general liking for the place. Not to mention the Indian casinos of northern New Mexico.
Jamestown S’Kallam has a successful casino adorned with vibrant beautifully carved totem poles that nonetheless manage to look more like a Vegas idea of one than the traditional thing. Designed and partially carved by Dale Faulstich, a non-Native carver, these poles have a bit of cultural crisscross in them I can’t completely unravel. But they are very handsome public art.
On the level of cultural crisscross, there is an extensive troll folly outside of Sequim which ports a complex array of Scandinavia style dragons and trolls.
Basically just out and about in a bit of rural neighborhood-but we left before darkness fell (and went in search of bookstores in Port Townsend) on the off chance that they come to life.
I could go on and on about our visit to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. I’ve become increasingly obsessed with glass, and Tacoma is an epicenter–home of Chihuly. There is a bridge of glass objects across the highway, and a train station turned courthouse hung with Chihuly installations that pretty much defy my descriptive powers–think living coral reef hung in midair in a neoclassical dome.
But I did want to show you GLIMMERING GONE: Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman, a clear glass collaboration between two women.
Remember in the fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses?” How they go down a trap door to three underworld woods–silver, gold, and finally crystal? I think I found that third magical forest.
Last night we were at the Lensic, watching Gounod’s FAUST–the encore of the simulcast from the Metropolitan Opera. The music was exquisite, the staging glamorous and a bit incomprehensible, the experience marvelous–but it left me with a lot of questions.
I won’t try and deconstruct the opera–after all, it is only recently that I’ve fallen in love with the form, after decades of avoiding it. But the main question is–why in the heck would anyone sell his or her soul to the devil?
Faust, in this production, is played as a nuclear physicist, producer of A-bombs that lead to mushroom clouds. Robert Oppenheimer, of course, comes to mind. He compared himself, after the test explosion of Trinity, to Shiva the Destroyer, muttering “I am become death, shatterer of worlds.” His biographer calls him Prometheus–stole fire (for the good of humankind?) and suffered. Faust the alchemist, trying to change one element into another, seems an irresistible comparison, even if it didn’t quite work on yesterday’s stage.
So, some archetypes will sell their souls for knowledge. The other reason, rather inexplicably, is musicaL genius. That is, the only American citizen I know of reputed to have sold his soul to the devil was the great Delta bluesman Robert Johnson. In Thomas Mann’s “Dr. Faustus” the hero is based very partially on the composer Arnold Schoenberg, who invented the modernist 12-tone scale. Not exactly a Mississippi guitar player, but with the same story.
So…why? And here is my real question–what would you sell your soul for? Let’s regard this as a literary question, to avoid any gentlemen with pointy tails popping up and waving contracts in a puff of smoke. The devil, after all, is nothing if not a legalist.
Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the Aspen Ballet’s Nutcracker at the Lensic. It was delightful, but let’s face it…it wasn’t the REAL Nutcracker ballet. That one will always be, for me at least, the New York City Ballet’s Balanchine version.
We went every year when I was growing up. Even now, I can’t totally understand the depth of my feeling. First off, there was the party, with the glittering grown-ups and the subterranean, often violent, life of children going on underneath.
And then there was the perfect…perfect…moment where the Christmas tree grows and grows and everything gets larger until the house falls away and even the snowflakes are enlarged–into gorgeous ballerinas swaying as confetti falls. There is no moment in performance–not the Rolling Stones or Shakespeare or even Cirque de Soleil–that has moved me more.
The second act lacks the narrative and catharsis of the first, but it does have…the dance of the coffee! (Or Arabian dance) This sinuous Hollywood style belly dance was proclaimed vulgar by my mother but all across the audience bored and dutiful fathers woke up from their daughters’ dreams of tutus to see something they liked!
The Aspen Ballet’s Arabian dancer hung daringly from silks and it was gorgeous…but alas, not vulgar.
I can’t hear certain notes without seeing the New York City Ballet. I was ten years old before I realized to my horror that there were other versions! Visiting friends in Berkeley, as a treat we were taken to the local Nutcracker. I was stunned. It was not RIGHT.
That was my loss of innocence. Soon I was a teenager, arguing with friends about versions of songs, whose was better, Pentangle or Joan Baez. Once again I was convinced, Joan Baez was real etc.
As an adult, I’ve tried to be less conservative. I’m a poet after all. I officially believe in influence, variation, experimentation. Just not when it comes to my Nutcracker Ballet.
BEATLICK PRESS: Writers with something to say!
LATEST PROJECT: La Llorona
Beatlick Press is accepting submissions for a subject anthology featuring the La Llorona myth. The publisher will consider original printable material. (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, interviews, photographs and fine art.) The bulk of the visual material will appear in black-and-white with the cover in color. Deadline is Sept. 15, 2011. If you wish to submit for this publication please place poems in the body of an e-mail or as an attachment to:
or snail mail:
45 Garden Park Circle NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
Include name and contact info with your mailing address and a 50-word bio.
SHORT STORIES, ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS
5,000 words or less. PG-13
Any reasonable length. Previously published works will be considered. PG-13
Submit artwork digitally online or on a CD by snail mail, formatted as JPG or PDF file. Color entries will be converted to grayscale. All interior pages are in black-and-white, the cover will be in color. PG-13
All rights revert back to the author or artist upon publication.
One copy of the publication will be paid to each author and artist.
Send an email or letter to Pamela Hirst, publisher, or Deborah Coy, editor, with the word “query” in the subject line or on the envelope.
La Llorona” (“The Weeping Woman”) is a popular legend in Mexico, with many variations. The basic story is that La Llorona was a beautiful woman by the name of Maria who killed her children by drowning them in order to be with the man that she loved, but was subsequently rejected by him. (He might have been the children’s father who had left their mother for another woman.) Then, after being rejected by her lover she killed herself. When Maria reached the gates of heaven, she was asked, “Where are your children?” and she replied, “I don’t know, my Lord.” She was not permitted to enter heaven until she found her children. She now wanders the Earth for all eternity, searching in vain for her drowned offspring. Her constant weeping is the reason for her name. In some cases, according to the tale, she will kidnap wandering children or children who disobey their parents. People who claim to see her say she comes out at nights or in the late evenings from rivers or oceans in Mexico.