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Mystical Realms Newsletter for June, 2009

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  • jef.murray
    Greetings! Welcome to my newsletter for June, 2009! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me. To receive
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 8, 2009
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      Greetings!

      Welcome to my newsletter for June, 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.


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

      Summer is upon us. And aside from our customary charges (Ignatius the spoiled-rotten hamster and about 20,000 honeybees), we're now managing our neighbors' menagerie while they're away. New wards include snails, guppies, tadpoles, three dinner plate-sized turtles, and Olive the Bassett Hound.

      The poignant part of caring for all of these critters is that we're reminded of God's immense imagination as well as His sense of the strange. As warm weather sets up shop, there is hardly anything odder than watching three enormous turtles vie with each other for bugs, or spying tadpoles transforming themselves from fish into frogs. And Olive the Bassett Hound (her full name…she demands formality) is an education in herself; she snuffles the moist morning vapours, inspecting every blade of grass and each new scent she encounters along our creek-bed walks.

      Summertime reminds me of how little we know about the world around us. This Middle-earth is filled with glorious glens and deep leafy dells, each flush with unnamed flora and fauna. It moves in odd rhythms: stillness by swollen streams at dawn, followed by the rise and rout of thunderheads in the heat of afternoon.

      Summer is cicadas and crickets and katydids, each with its own distinct dialect; and lightning bugs, called by northern folk "fireflies" or "glow worms", that first appear high in branches, then descend as the days ripen. As children, we would catch mason jars full and leave them as fairy lights on our windowsills at night; then release them and start the game over again the next day.

      Even after I developed a Tolkienian disdain for fairies, I always found deserted country lanes and fields to be pregnant with mythological possibilities. I would sit still on the verge, chiggers notwithstanding, and listen intently to every sound issuing from the forest. I sat still as stone and waited for wayfarers. I was rewarded time and again by squirrel, chipmunk, opossum, ground snake, and even deer.

      But what I really wanted was to spy out a Hobbit, or a wood Elf. A knight on his charger or a passing angel also would not have been taken amiss. But none of these came. For them, I resorted to mind's eye or to paint and brush.

      But the important part is that all of these _could_ have come; when summer sports, all things are possible.

      I'm like Puddleglum in C.S. Lewis' The Silver Chair. If told that in this world there are no Elves, or Hobbits, or knights in shining armor, if someone presumed to prove there were no angels or saints, then we would all be beggared. A world without these would drown in despair, and my heart whispers "deceit" when a Christopher Hitchens brays on his bugle.

      Years ago, long after I had first consciously assented to the tenets of the Catholic faith, there came a point when my heart caught up with my head. There came an overwhelming maelstrom of emotion, as I realized, to the core of my being, that all that I had read in the Bible was fact. I almost gasped out loud as I grasped that angels and demons, saints and the Savior, were not some delusion developed to tame toddlers, but literal truths.

      And life seemed infinitely dearer to me with that realization; the universe itself seemed to expand as I pondered such power, such potential, such promise....

      But now, summer is again upon us. Enigmas abound. Guppies are growing and tadpoles transforming. Now is the time to return to the woods in search of Bilbo and company. Now is the time to mimic the brave and chivalric knights and to seek out adventure in sunny dales and glen's gloaming.

      At the sounding of the Solstice, angels abound...don't let them pass you by....

      May your summer be blessed with infinite imaginings….
      Jef


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

      - 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.

      - In the "what will Jef get involved in next?" category, there is an interview with me and a former colleague at http://www.thebreastcaresite.com . The context of the article hearkens back to a past life of mine in which I was very active in promoting the concept of simple living (aka "Voluntary Simplicity" or "VS"). Living more simply and consciously allows you to do what is most important in your life, and allows you more time for prayer, for family, for contemplation, for creativity. Lorraine and I used VS concepts to step back from full time, high stress jobs so that we could focus on writing and painting, respectively. The full article can be read at: http://www.thebreastcaresite.com/tbcs/Renewal/EmotionalRecovery/VoluntarySimplicity.htm .

      - 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
      regularly!

      - 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. M
    • WendellWag@aol.com
      The following quotation is going around the Internet.  I don t know who originally wrote it: There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 9, 2009
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        The following quotation is going around the Internet.  I don't know who originally wrote it:

























        There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life:  The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged.  One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.  The other, of course, involves orcs.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • mwilt
        The author appears to be John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey At least, when he subsequently commented on it in American Prospect, he didn t attribute it to anyone
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 9, 2009
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          The author appears to be John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey

          At least, when he subsequently commented on it in American Prospect, he didn't attribute it to anyone else (scroll down to see Rogers's comment).

          mary






          ----- Original Message -----
          From: WendellWag@...
          To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 3:17 AM
          Subject: [mythsoc] A quotation going around the Internet





          The following quotation is going around the Internet. I don't know who originally wrote it:

          There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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