Category Archives: Inspiration

Things I’ve Found Around the Internet

I am pretty busy getting prepared for the Project Narrative Summer Institute to start tomorrow but I have a few links to share so I thought a post was in order! :).

x. The fantastic journal Interfictions Online is conducting an IndieGoGo Campaign to raise money for the publication – please consider supporting them if you can! It’s a great journal and the perks are pretty wonderful too!

x. Speaking of IndieGoGo Campaigns, you might also consider supporting the fund to save the amazing Talliston House.

x. There is a lovely piece in The Guardian about rain in English literature

x. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has a new, limited edition set of scents based on Only Lovers Left Alive! Gah, I want all of them.

I’m also working on a post about Maleficent so stay tuned for that ;).

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Victorians, Witches Cottages, and Vampires

A few links to share!

x. My dear friend Deborah is trying to raise money to finish her Master’s degree on Charlotte Mew, a sadly not very well-known Victorian writer that deserves far more attention. Please help her out if you can!

x. The British Library has launched an amazing website called “Discovering Literature” and the first things they’ve put up are Romantic/Victorian! There is SO much to explore there, I’m kind of giddy with delight. The Guardian has a good sum up of some of the most fantastic things they’ve posted – many of them Sara and I saw in person when we were lucky enough to visit the library’s “Writing Britain” exhibition!

x. The lovely writer Mary Stewart has died at age 97… sad news, she is the author of an only fairly recently discovered all time favorite of mine, Thornyhold. A beautiful, quietly magical story, I highly highly recommend it.

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x. And lastly, well, I clearly can’t resist this ;). – Tilda Swinton, Vampire Reader: Tasty Treats for Literary Goths!

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Great recommendations.

Now back to reading…!

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Reading, Reading, Reading

Well, summer has started and I am already neck deep in candidacy exam reading. This image illustrates how that feels (I am the sorceress, the dragon represents my exams/reading list :P.)

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I put this image on the cover of my readings binder… it is inspiring! Though I am tiny, I have powers too. See how the dragon is being subdued by the sorceress’ magic? Yes. I also made a spreadsheet. I’ve got a plan, I’ve got this. I hope.

I also have much other work that needs to get done asap (including revising a potential article, submitting for a conference, and two reviews), an institute on narrative theory to attend in June, and a ‘Folklore and Literature’ Think Tank to attend in July. Eep!

A few other things:

x. Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film, is insanely good. The soundtrack is too, I’m actually a bit obsessed with it.

x. Speaking of vampires, here’s some scientific evidence that folklore always knows what’s up – Vampire Therapy Could Reverse Aging 

x. For more Gothic fantastic, the Guardian posted this hilarity - How to Tell You’re Reading a Gothic Novel (in Pictures!)

x. And this is just lovely – Gorgeous Illustrations of ‘Untranslatable’ Words from Different Languages by Anjana Iyer. I’m always fascinated by these kinds of words and this project is very cool.

Also, Sara has tagged me to do a post on my writing process and I promise that that is coming shortly! I hope you’re all enjoying the spring flowers as much as I am :).

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Sara’s New Website!

Just in case you missed this awesome bit of news, my incredibly talented, inspirational, beautiful roommate, Sara Cleto, has a brand new website!

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You may recognize her name from such publications as Cabinet des Fees, Ideomancer, Niteblade, and many others! We have also co-written two poems (with plans to do more in the future!)

She was very resistant to the whole idea of webpages at first so I bought her her domain name for this past Christmas and have been encouraging the heck out of her ever since. It paid off because she has turned out an absolutely fantastic site. So go check it out!

In other Sara news, she wrote me the BEST BIO ever, which is now up on my “Bio” page here:

“Brittany Warman is a magical witch-faerie who mutters at the moon and scratches verse into the bark of trees that have grown for at least a century. She cannot cook, but she hordes jewels and gowns, and she will tell you about your best qualities if you ask her politely.”

I am totally using this from now on :P.

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News on a Snowy Day

Ah, Ohio. Polar vortexes were not part of the deal when I signed up to come here! The ground is currently covered in snow and the temperatures are the coldest I’ve ever been exposed to – this means, however, that it’s a wonderful day to write and read and share some thoughts and news here :).

x. First, I am so proud to announce that my poem “Rep/ercussions (Carmina)” appears in the latest issue of Stone Telling entitled “Body.”

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This double issue features some incredible work and I’m so honored to be a part of it. This poem in particular is one of the most personal, difficult poems I’ve ever written and speaks to an aspect of my life that I don’t often talk about. I suppose in some ways this is a sort of ‘coming out’ for me as a person with a serious mental illness but it felt important to me to try to illustrate obsessive compulsive disorder in a way that speaks to my own experience of it. The term “obsessive compulsive” is used very casually far too often and I hope this poem shows a different, more complex side of it than what is normally considered. Please check out and support this beautiful and important magazine and stay tuned for their new blog with more notes on this piece from me!

x. On a more spooky note, my flash fiction piece “The Second Mrs. Chapman,” has been published in Firbolg Publishing’s new anthology The Rogues Gallery: The Illustrated Police News. You can pick up the Kindle version of the anthology on Amazon.com for only $1.99 so check it out and be prepared for a collection of seriously weird, delightful stories! Mine is very steeped in fairy lore (of course!)

x. The amazing Ada Hoffmann, a writer whose work I always, always adore, was kind enough to list my poem “Loveless (I Am the Snow Queen)” as one of her favorite poems from last year. This made me incredibly giddy with joy :).

x. I recently stumbled upon this really cool online project called Subverting Laughter. It is an online “re-imagining” of George MacDonald’s Victorian Fairy Tale The Light Princess “through an international collaboration in visual art and reflective blogging among MacDonald researchers from Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Scotland, and the U.S.A.” They aim to use “a mixture of media to inspire new discussions of the tale in an online space, allowing a wide range of audiences to engage with MacDonald’s Victorian text. Each digital storytelling post responds to a chapter of The Light Princess through an illustration, a link to and a recording of the original text, and then a reflection on the chapter.” To me, this is exactly the kind of work that people should be doing with all kinds of texts – I love the combination of the digital and the fairy tale and this is such a cool way to do it. I hope this inspires more people to try projects like this (myself included!) and I look forward to following their work!

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a beautiful day!

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The Wind Howls Outside My Window

Two big pieces of news! First, I am so honored and excited to report that my poem, “WereMoonMother,” is one of Mythic Delirium’s featured poems for November! This means that you can now read it for free on the Mythic Delirium website. I am particularly proud of this piece so please do check it out if you can – I promise it is delightfully bizarre ;).

MD-meSecondly, my paper proposal was accepted for The 35th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts! I’ll be presenting a piece called “Circumnavigating a Subversive Otherworld: Catherynne M. Valente’s Fairyland as Folkloric Liminal Space” and I’m really excited about it :).

A Few Cool Things I’ve Come Across Recently:

* Speaking of CMV, she just did a great “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit!

* The French Oral Narrative Corpus is quite nice!

* “Why We Need Fairytales: Jeanette Winterson on Oscar Wilde”

* I absolutely *love* this retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood”! It’s called “Redden” and it’s a comic by Maya Kern.

The wind is absolutely howling outside my window while I read The Sorrows of Satan by Marie Corelli. This is appropriate I suppose?

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A Bit of News & Fun

x. I have to start with this “On the Fastrack” comic because it’s so great :).

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x. Beyond the Pillars: An Anthology of Pagan Fantasy has just been released from Bibliotheca Alexandrina Press and features a poem of mine previously published in Eternal Haunted Summer called “Diana Remembers Actaeon” – it looks fantastic and I can’t wait to read it!

x. The Huntington Library in California has a fantastic exhibition going on right now called “Illuminated Palaces: Extra-Illustrated Books from the Huntington Library.” It features all kinds of books that have been “grangerized” or “turned [...] into extraordinary “illuminated palaces” — repositories for original art, prints and engravings, maps, autograph letters, and the excised pages of other, more famous books” (quotation from the webpage!)

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I personally *love* this practice and think it’s fascinating. Check out the book in the picture above – it has a “Beauty and the Beast” illustration! I have a very small collection of these book/scrapbooks that I’ve gotten from various places (one my Dad found in a collection of stamps he purchased and I bought a fairy tale themed one off of eBay a while ago) and I hope one day to be able to scan them and put them online. I wish so much I could see this exhibition but luckily there are lots of cool things about it to explore online!

x. As you may have noticed, the blog has a new/old look! It’s similar to the one I had a while ago but with much less complicated (and less likely to get screwed up) code. I felt like it was time for a change and I like it! A bit more gothic and mystical and swirly (which are all always good things.)

I was so productive yesterday, it was amazing! I hope I can replicate that energy today… there are still, of course, about a million things to do. However – my room is now crazy clean, everything is washed – clothes, towels, and sheets, everything is filed, AND I got a bunch of school reading done. Gold stars all around. Here’s to today being even better!

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A Collection of Lovely Things This Morning

A small collection of lovely things for you to peruse this morning…

x. Mythic Delirium 0.2 has been released and is available for purchase here! It contains my poem “WereMoonMother,” a piece I am especially proud of. I’ll make an exclusive post about this when my poem is featured for free on the website in November but I highly recommend purchasing the whole issue if you can, it’s incredible :).

x. The Public Domain Review’s Pinterest is absolutely awesome. So many cool pictures to check out!

x. Karen Russell, one of my all time favorite writers, was recently awarded a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship! I love the video interview with her they have.

x. An absolutely gorgeous post on fox lore by Terri Windling :). I feel that the fox is one of my spirit animals (not to mention I just love them) and this post is wonderful. It made me go back and look at one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written, “Kitsune, Fox,” a short story published in the sadly now gone Jabberwocky Magazine in 2011.

x. I love this video by Mary Epworth -

I just discovered her work and it’s really, really great. Also, ah, I want her outfits, especially that fantastic black dress!!

Hope you’re all having a good Thursday so far!

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Inspirational Writing Quotations

I woke up this morning and wrote, which I haven’t been able to do for a long time. I shouldn’t have done it, probably, there are many more pressing things that have to get done, but I’m so glad I did. I wish I could hang on to this feeling and write every day, regardless of what else has been going on.

I’ve been collecting inspiration writing quotations for quite a while now so I thought now might be a good time to finally share… these are quotations that inspire me in my own writing, maybe they will speak to you somehow too :).

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“… a writer is very like a witch. With her cat, making magic with words. And maybe changing the world, just a little.” – Theodora Goss

“It’s magic – it’s not about magic, it’s not like magic: It IS magic. It’s real magic. […] Incantations, spells, ceremonies, rituals – what are they? They’re poems. So, what’s a poet? He’s a shaman, that’s what he is. A fucking good poem is a weapon. Not like a pop gun. It’s like a bomb. A bloody big bomb.” – Ted Hughes

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“I believe that Magic is Art and Art, whether it be music, writing, sculpture or any other, is literally magic. Art, like any magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness… Indeed to cast a spell is simply to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness, and this is why I believe that an artist or a writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a Shaman.” – Alan Moore

“Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away.” – Carl Sandburg

“We write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely . . . When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.” – Anais Nin

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“Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.” – Ernest Hemingway

“So long as I have questions to which there are no answers, I shall go on writing.” – Clarice Lispector

“It’s all things mythic, fantastic, supernatural, as well as “the real” that combine in such a way that I feel represents the universe/world best for me, personally. Every time I begin writing a story that seems mostly realistic, at some point it takes a turn into one or more of these other modes of seeing and thinking, and I think it’s because “the real” is not enough to encompass all that I see and want to articulate in my writing. There is a writer named Michelle Richmond who blurbed my second book, and when I saw what she wrote about it, I felt she had expressed my mode of writing more succinctly than I have been able to so far, so I’ll quote her here: “Christopher Barzak spins the familiar yarn of the everyday world into a magical universe.” It’s the familiar encompassed by a much bigger and magical universe that does indeed attract me as a way of seeing and writing.” -Christopher Barzak

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“One of the biggest, and possibly the biggest, obstacle to becoming a writer — I’ve said this from a slightly different angle in another answer — is learning to live with the fact that the wonderful story in your head is infinitely better, truer, more moving, more fascinating, more perceptive, than anything you’re going to manage to get down on paper. (And if you ever think otherwise, then you’ve turned into an arrogant self-satisfied prat, and should look for another job or another avocation or another weekend activity.) So you have to learn to live with the fact that you’re never going to write well enough. Of course that’s what keeps you trying — trying as hard as you can — which is a good thing. As I started off saying, writing takes practice.” – Robin McKinley

“Fantasy is not antirational, but pararational; not realistic but surrealistic, a heightening of reality. In Freud’s terminology, it employs primary not secondary process thinking. It employs archetypes which, as Jung warned us, are dangerous things. Fantasy is nearer to poetry, to mysticism, and to insanity that naturalistic fiction is. It is a wilderness, and those who go there should not feel too safe.” – Ursula Le Guin

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“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.” – Carl Sagan

“[Poetry] was a form of incantation, a means of welding the world inside his head to the one that surrounded him, words the fiery chain that bound it all together.” – From Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand

“I have tried to write stories that go into the underworld of myth and bring out life and fire — where the old world looked at a woman alone and immortal and said: she must long to die, I have tried to say: look at her live!” – Catherynne M. Valente

“Who are you, reader, reading my poems an hundred years hence? I cannot send you one single flower from this wealth of the spring, one single streak of gold from yonder clouds. Open your doors and look abroad. From your blossoming garden gather fragrant memories of the vanished flowers of an hundred years before. In the joy of your heart may you feel the living joy that sang one spring morning, sending its glad voice across an hundred years.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“[My characters are] conglomerations of past and present stages of civilization, bits from books and newspapers, scraps of humanity, rags and tatters of fine clothing, patched together as is the human soul” – August Strindberg

“Artistically, [success] means getting as much truth and fondness for life as I can into a story without becoming sentimental — making a beautiful weird little life-evoking machine out of words.” – George Saunders

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“… I thought I wouldn’t write a _poem_, but just write what I wanted to without fear, let my imagination go, open secrecy, and scribble magic lines from my real mind…” – Allen Ginsberg

“Now I see at last, Kostya, that in our kind of work, whether we’re writers or actors, the important thing is not fame, or glory, not what I used to dream about, but learning how to endure. I must bear my cross, and have faith. If I have faith, it doesn’t hurt so much, and when I think of my calling I’m not afraid of life.” – Nina in “The Seagull” by Anton Chekhov

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As you can see, I’m especially fond of equating writing with working magic because that’s precisely how I see it. I’d love to know what quotations have inspired you?

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Mythic Delirium Kickstarter Signal Boost!

Hi all! I wanted to take a moment and share a new Kickstarter campaign that’s very close to my heart – Mythic Delirium: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry

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If you know Mythic Delirium in its previous incarnation as a print speculative poetry ‘zine you know that it’s one of the most amazing places for speculative work out there. I am so so excited that Mike Allen is expanding out to fiction and creating a new online presence and I am especially excited to mention that one of my poems, “WereMoonMother,” will be featured in the second new online issue!

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Having a poem accepted by Mythic Delirium has been one of the highlights of my writing career so far and I can’t wait to see these new issues. The new version of MD is going to completely rock the speculative fiction world and deserves your support! :).

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