Mystical Realms Newsletter for August, 2008
Welcome to my newsletter for August, 2008! 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 new
paintings and events are at the bottom of this email.
The earth has changed. Not in the light. Not in the heat. Some
delicate tremor has passed through the web of air-sea-earth. There's a
restlessness that wasn't here a week ago .
I first noticed it on the beach last week. I was limping down the
sand in the early dawn, taking small breaths because I'd bruised my
rib body-surfing the day before.
And there they were.
I couldn't focus on them at first couldn't figure what I was seeing in
the sand. Tire tracks? No. Marks where someone was rolling a log or a
barrel down to the waves? No.
Then it struck me. A sea turtle. A sea turtle had crawled up the
beach just hours before to lay her eggs.
Sure enough, when I scanned to my right, I saw the "tank treads"
heading in a huge "S" up to higher ground. There, they stopped beneath
shaggy sea oats, then returned again a few steps ahead of me, plunging
straight into the surf. The new eggs must be, even now, under many
cool inches of sand, ripening.
On our return home from Florida, more change. Figs that had been
the size of thumbs were now nearly as large as tennis balls. Pea sized
muscadines had swollen into blue black orbs within whose depths I
could see myself stretching out my hand to pluck.
There's a hint of hurry, a whisper of urgency to all of this.
Everything is ripening, ripening, ripening; but there's only so much
time to ripen before time is up.
Seasons of fruit, and grain, and turtles come to mind, each
swelling unto bursting in its allotted hour. And human beings? Surely,
we are meant to ripen?
C.S. Lewis once wrote "every time you make a choice you are turning
the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something
a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a
whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are
slowly turning this central thing either into a Heaven creature or
into a hellish creature ."
All our life long. All of the whole of our season in the sun. And
along the way, we are either ripening toward goodness, toward truth,
and toward beauty, or we are withering, withering away: like grapes
broken from the vine; like turtle eggs abandoned on the broiling sands.
I can't stop the change coming. I can't extend my moment in the
sun. All I can do is to sense this urgency and to act upon it.
Time is short. Carpe diem.
Nai Eru lye mánata (may God bless you)
- I'll be giving a talk at this year's Dragon*Con (D*C)
conference in Atlanta, and I'm hoping to see many of you there! The
conference runs from Friday through Monday of Labor Day weekend (Aug.
29-Sept. 1), and I'll be speaking on Friday at 1pm and Sunday at 10am.
You can see the complete D*C Tolkien Track schedule details at
www.tolkientrack.com/schedule.html . The larger write-up of my talk is
as follows, and I hope many of you will find this intriguing:
- - - - - - - - -
Middle-earth as Muse: Using Art to Explore Tolkien's World
A Chat with Tolkien Artist Jef Murray
In this panel, Tolkien Artist/Illustrator Jef Murray will be exploring
how artists "sub-create" using Middle-earth as their inspiration, and
offering his own work as an example. The panel will be interactive,
with participants encouraged to ask questions about Jef's work and
techniques, and to share their experiences of trying to capture some
glimmer of the magic of Middle-earth through their own art/music/writing.
J.R.R. Tolkien fully hoped and expected that readers of his works
would feel inspired to celebrate Middle-earth through their own
talents. And whether you are an artist, a sculptor, a poet, a costume
designer, a musician, or just an interested Tolkien fan, this panel
will provide a place to chat with a fellow artist and to share your
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- Divining Divinity, the first book of verse by Joseph Pearce,
which includes my illustrations and cover artwork, was just recently
reviewed in Dappled Things. You can read the review by going to:
- Lorraine and I will be attending the upcoming Tolkien
celebration, "A Long-Expected Party" (ALEP) in Kentucky, on September
25th 28th, 2008. I was also delighted to have been asked to develop
some of the images that will be used for the event. You can see one of
these on my website at:
. The official website for ALEP (and registration info) can be found
at: http://www.alongexpectedparty.org/ . Some other ALEP-themed images
The Party Tree -
Outlandish Folk -
- Although I will not be able to attend this year's Oxonmoot in
England (September 25th-28th see
http://www.tolkiensociety.org/oxon/2008/Info.html ), I will have
prints and perhaps some original works included in this year's art
show (provided courtesy of ADC Books www.adcbooks.co.uk ), and may
have some images included on badges and/or publications. With luck, a
collaborative piece that Becky Carty-Hitchin and I worked on will be
used as the main image for the art show.
- 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