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Mystical Realms Newsletter for December, 2008

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  • jef.murray
    Greetings! Welcome to my newsletter for December, 2008! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me. To
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2008
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      Welcome to my newsletter for December, 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
      events are at the bottom of this email.

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

      I was pulling cables, replacing my 1970s-era stereo receiver with one
      that worked properly. It was late. I was tired. I didn't want to go
      downstairs to get the right tools, so I tried to strip the coax with a
      small pair of scissors…and promptly jabbed them into my right thumb.

      No worries, I'm thinking, I'll just bandage up and finish the job. I
      did so, but in the process proceeded to slit open the top of my left
      middle finger as well.

      Now, all of this is not by way of proving my ineptitude, as if such
      proof was in short supply. But, once bandages were set and bleeding
      staunched, I found myself with a case of limited functionality. I
      couldn't wash hands without wetting bandages. I couldn't grasp
      anything heavy without my thumb pitching a fit. I couldn't cook supper
      because that involved lots of water and deft knife-work, and I was two
      digits down.

      I had to start really paying attention to what I was doing.

      It's amazing what we miss when we move through life without attending.
      Amazing how I'd never really noticed how cleverly the thumb is set up
      to grasp things, how supple an un-bandaged finger is. Makes me
      wonder…how many things do we not appreciate until they're gone,
      however temporarily? And even when removed, how many miraculous things
      do we still have going on around us, unnoticed?

      Maybe limitation is the ultimate path to wonder.

      G.K. Chesterton once claimed that the most important part of any
      picture was its frame. He wasn't extolling the virtues of professional
      picture presentation, but the necessary demarcation between image and
      non-image. If there was no frame, there could be no picture, because
      all would be picture. We need the frame in order to see what's really
      on the canvas.

      Likewise, with damaged digits, my world is slightly reduced, perhaps,
      but it might also be just so changed that I can see things more
      clearly: things like the love of a spouse helping replace bandages or
      fixing supper for her anguished artist. Like the joy of not feeling
      that I have to constantly be working on the next task, but can instead
      pause and notice the golden autumn sun flooding through the windows at

      I'm not promoting self-mutilation as a means to meditation. But with
      limitation, life can become leisurely. The routine can become regal.
      And, at this time of the year, when every moment seems to be filled
      with fluster and fanfare, an adagio is a welcome antidote to the
      allegro of Advent.

      My prayer for you and yours during this season of watchful waiting is
      that you will not anguish about the New Year, will not fret over
      finances, nor worry about work shortages. But, rather, that you will
      take stock. Look around you at the limits that you have been given,
      and within those bounds, build a haven for Love and for Light. It is
      not too late; Christ is coming.

      Nai Eru lye mánata (may God bless you)


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

      - I will have two new book illustration announcements to share in
      January. The books in question should be of special interest to J.R.R.
      Tolkien fans and historians. Stay tuned!!!

      - Related to one of the above, I should have specifics to share in
      January about another art exhibit in England that I will be
      participating in come spring…again, stay tuned!!!

      - The Northeast Tolkien Society (NETS) folk have announced the
      availability of their 2009 Tolkien calendar. This year, I was
      privileged to contribute the cover design and B&W sketches for many of
      the interior calendar pages. You can order the 2009 calendar at

      - The good folks who brought us A Long Expected Party in Kentucky have
      just announced the availability of souvenirs from the event that
      include the use of four of my painting images (The Road Goes Ever On,
      Outlandish Folk, Many Paths to Tread, and The Party Tree). Mugs,
      steins, T-shirts, etc. can all be viewed and ordered by clicking on
      the following links:

      - John Ottinger is a very gifted blogger and reviewer of sci fi and
      fantasy books. He and I met at this year's Dragon*Con, where he asked
      me for an interview for his online blog, "Grasping for the Wind". You
      can read the results at:

      - 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
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