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20645Mystical Realms Newsletter for July, 2009

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  • jef.murray
    Jul 2, 2009

      Welcome to my newsletter for July, 2009! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me. To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) or at:
      http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms . Notices of events and items of interest are at the bottom of this email.

      Pitchers ===============

      There are 4 new paintings posted on my website, and all are Tolkien-themed. These include: "Berserker", "The White Tower (of Elwing)", "The Gates of Moria" and "The Black Ships (of Umbar)". You can see all of these by going to http://www.JefMurray.com and clicking the "Newest Works" gallery button at top left, or by clicking:


      As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on these new works!

      Ponderings ==============

      I'm dragging the suitcase up from the basement. Each summer, Lorraine and I spend a week at the beach, usually with other family members. In previous years, I've notched up plenty of bruises and abrasions while body surfing with my great-nephews. Their decades-younger rubber bodies seem immune to the surges and slaps of tropical storm-tossed breakers; mine, on the other hand, always comes home battered.

      But this year, we're largely going it alone. The reasons are legion, but a combination of economics, our niece having her first baby, family illness, conflicting schedules, and innumerable other hiccups will put Lorraine and me into our usual two-bedroom rented condo all by ourselves. We'll have Aunt Rita over for supper several times, of course, and Cousin Julie will visit, but this will be more of a "desert experience" for us than we've had in years.

      In a former life, when Lorraine and I were both full tilt at demanding careers, we built a house in the marshes and used to escape to it as often as we could...sometimes monthly. We craved the enforced silence of no people, no email, no newspapers, or magazines, or television. We trekked and boated through the marshes, lunching next to wall-to-wall carpets of fiddler crabs. We fed smoked mullet tidbits to blue crabs and watched as they tried to prevent minnows, conchs, and other crustaceans from getting a share of the spoils.

      But this year, we'll be at a real desert, because beaches are just that. Unlike salt marshes, the pristine white coasts are relatively devoid of life. Yes, there are mole crabs and ghost crabs; there are dolphins and minnows and sandpipers; there are even sea turtles tractor-treading their way up the slopes to lay eggs. But much of the beach is stripped clean by sun, wind and wave. It speaks not so much of God's fecundity, as do the salt marshes, but of His changelessness.

      It's odd to ponder changelessness at the beach, because at first glance everything there would seem to be in flux; dunes meander, sea oats shift and scramble; houses are built and then blow away.

      And yet, the sound of the sea is always the same: the roaring of ripe waves as they crash, the piping of gulls and terns, the sea breeze tuning up empty coke bottles. And the smell of the sea is always the same: tangy, wild, thick like soup, the hint of decay beneath the smell of suntan lotion.

      These things get under your skin. They touch that part of you that was once a toddler, digging holes just beyond the surf and munching sand-spiked tomato sandwiches under beefy blue umbrellas. When we're at the beach, we're the same people we were last time, and the time before, and the time before that. All that's happened away from the waves is just filler.

      This is timelessness…a rupture in routine; a tabling of the typical. With clocks stopped, we see the beach as truly "charged with the grandeur of God." On silver shores, the Infinite stoops down and watches us play in the sand. He whispers to us in dappled winds. And when towering August clouds are tinted pink, then gold, then purple with setting sun, I cannot help but think, pointing to regal billows, "that's where God lives!"

      So, back I go to packing. I'll take my sketchbook, of course. And, if I'm feeling particularly industrious, I may even take a simple set of watercolours.

      But I probably won't use either. You see, when you're spending the week with God, you don't really need to be doing anything else.

      Nai Eru lye mánata (may God bless you)


      Prospects ===================

      - For those of you across the pond, the next meeting of the Three Farthing Stone smial will be on Sunday 12th July 2009 at The Bell Inn, High Street, Moreton in Marsh. 01608-651688. There will be a noon meet, a 1pm luncheon, and 2:30pm (until late!) meeting thereafter. If you'd like to attend, you can contact Malcolm at malcx@... . Although Lorraine and I won't be there this time, Andy will have a number of new paintings and sketches of mine to show to smial members…I hope folks enjoy seeing these!

      - Although it's still a trifle early to be sure exactly when I'll be presenting, I've been asked to speak once again at Dragon*Con this year (see http://www.dragoncon.com ). As always, Dragon*Con will be held over Labor Day weekend, and I'm hoping to see many friends there. I may even make it into the parade on Saturday morning if I'm not painting (and if I'm not detained on MARTA for having my Claymore strapped on)! I'm tentatively scheduled to speak on Sunday afternoon, but will update my website with the finalized time when we get a bit closer.

      - The St. Austin Review (StAR), now has a new, blog-based website at http://www.staustinreview.com/ . The new site includes more timely info on current issues, plus a blog (The Ink Desk) that will include writings by many of StAR's regular contributors. Please take a look! The essays and observations posted will be changing

      - ADC Books now has an online catalog featuring Tolkien-themed original paintings and prints from Ted Nasmith, Ruth Lacon, Peter Pracownik, and myself. In addition, you'll find collectible items and rare books featured in the ADC Books catalog. Please take a look at www.adcbooks.co.uk.