This blog post for Friday began as many things. In actuality it should have been completed before the late hours of the Friday it was begun. Yet, there was a book laying between the words. This book lay so heavily between the language of the blog post that was to be that it bled between the letters and made the blog post its own.
I am not a person typically inspired by a book's characters enough to create a doll as a miniature reenactment those characters. Not that any personalities manifested indelibly by words woven by a book author are not inspirational... often they are. Often many literary characters are fodder for more imaginative play outside the confines of the writer's words. However most characters don't flame in my breast with enough fullness and fire that I desire to see a miniature of them rest within my hands. Most characters don't have enough breath outside my imagination, outside the many incarnations that advertisers can create or outside that which some other person's imagination molded into being that I wish for more than the books in which they live.
But these books were different. These characters peopling it more alive. These were characters beseeching my heart and hands to 'listen' and feel further. In this, the books that bled into this blog post were far different from the terrain of other books I've read. Because, as I've noted, the characters were so rich in life and so vibrant with energy that they cried to be lifted from the black and white of their eager words, to be filtered through the sieve of imagination into a more physical thing to be touched and caressed and felt. I have read a mountain of books and only these caused me to cry literal tears as the final word passed beneath my eyes into my thoughts.
The characters living in these books were stars in my imagination whose skin, whether of wood, grass, jewel or flesh tumbled beneath the fingers of my imagination crying out to be held; crying to live beyond the pages of the book in which they were born. These characters have life beyond the pages and have need of only someone with enough talent to breath into the proper fleshing of them that they might be a bit more real.
These books are the breath of a movie that should be made. Peter Jackson is the only voice I can see making the black and white inked flesh into a technicolor beast breathing glamour and fire. He did so well with Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit that currently he is the only book tamer that I can see corralling the many colored creature contained between the pages of these books. My imagination cries for a taste of that cinematic treat like a child cries for spun sugar at the carnival.
All images are photographs of the books I was gifted by my eldest daughter. She wanted so much for me to read these books she sent them to me from Australia.
Cover art for In the Night Garden by Jon Foster, cover art for In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Michael Kormack. All interior illustrations in both editions by Michael Wm. Kaluta. Published by Bantam Spectra.
In lieu of a cinematic treatment I could see a doll fashioned from any number of brilliant characters enfolded within the pages of the books. There are so many characters to choose from. The book contains modern yet old world fairy tales lusciously painted with flowing script in such a way that between each tale the reader is left salivating for the next tale. The reader is left devouring what words remain on each page until the next must be turned for a further taste of the feast.
This is one feast where each course presented perfectly compliments the next courses to come. The diner is never left too full or too hungry... at least until the end when the feast is finished and the last plate is cleared from the table. Then and only then does the diner cry for such a sumptuous feast to not be over.
What books left me with such a hunger for more; with sorrowful tears when the feast was over and the last dancer left the stage? The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente is the dinner theatre of two books that left me in want of more. The story begins with In the Night Garden and culminates successfully In the Cities of Coin and Spice.
The stories within these two books are gorgeously rendered with a hand that must be dipped in fairy dust and phoenix blood as the stories burn in the imagination like an unquenchable conflagration-- leaving seeds of fae-wonder to grow in the wake of the consuming flames. Not often does a book torture my heart so, yet these books did.
I cried for the heroes and glowered in anger at the vice of the villains and hoped for all the wanderers to find surcease and succor amongst their own. I fell in love with all the characters as their richly embroidered lives were woven into a glamorous tapestry before my thoughts. When it was done I wished to take some characters home to the crook of my arms and croon more stories to them under the light of a full and fat moon. I wanted to hug them in my arms and tell them of truth and love and beauty and of forever afters that never die. I wanted to share them with the world they shared with me so they might breath more than in just my spirit.
So between the words of the original blog post they crept on silken feet. Silently invading the digital page to claim it for their own domain. Even if they are not made into anything more than the words I pour forth here they have still lived beyond their original black and white pages and hopefully have grasped a chance to invade your heart and imagination as they have invaded mine.
Perhaps one day some creative fire will find its way into the hands of some inspired and talented doll-maker and their hands will burn with creation as a character is shaped and formed to leap and dance from the pages where he or she was carefully kept for just that day. Or maybe I will get lucky and a grand movie will be made.
Thank you, Catherynne M. Valente, for creating these mesmerizing stories that have plucked tenaciously at my heart strings. I look forward to reading more and hope I have inspired others to dip their fingers into the pages of your books and immerse their minds in the tales you weave.