Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Talesingr's Children

The Talesingr’s Children

The Talesingr had lost her words.  She would open her mouth and nothing would come but the croaking of an old crow, the sound of wind on the bare hilltops in the bitterest winter.  Yet the tales were there, crowding inside her, jostling one against the other to be set free, to be loosed from her flesh and dripped like honey from her tongue.  They scratched behind her eyes and made them sore.  They camped in her stomach like legions of warriors before a battle, tense and sleepless, making her belly churn and ache.  The younger ones, more adventurous and indeed, thinner than their elders, squeezed down past her bony knees to try and find a narrower pass to freedom, succeeding only in making her feet throb with every step.  They howled in her head all day and all night and she was bereft of sleep.

In desperation she went to see the Dreamspinnr, bringing payment of an antler bone pendant and pine resin for the fire.  The Dreamspinnr looked at her through deep hooded eyes for a long time.  The tales cried and clawed their way up her throat when the Dreamspinnr opened the Talespinnr’s mouth and peered in, breathing smoke into her face.  But they could not climb out.  They scratched inside her skull and wailed, making her head ache as if it might burst, but the way was barred.  The Dreamspinnr sniffed at the Talespinnr’s breath, looked in her ears and grunted.  Then she sat down again.  And spoke.

“The oldest stories bar the way.  You have kept them too long, and they are afraid to leave.  You have hoarded your words, you have not been generous with them.  They are dying, becoming nothing more than rotted thought and leaf mulch, and they drag their feet and infect the young ones with their sickness and fear.”  And the Talesingr wept in regret, for it was true.  She had held back the stories she liked best, waiting for a time of great importance, not wishing to waste them on a day like any other, or a listener like any other.  Stories with which to regale a Queen who might one day visit, to win a contest with a fellow Talespinnr from another land…or to win a lover who might stay if the tale pleased him well.  Stories she had carried within her for so long she could not even remember how they began…or ended.  Stories that were no longer stories, so crippled they had become pushed deep inside her.  She had loved them too much and her love had deformed them, stopped them growing tall and true, turned them from tales into nightmares that snatched at her dreams and turned her hopes into ash.

The Dreamspinnr stoked the fire between them, sending fragrant sparks into the small space of the deerskin hut.  She said…”I will journey to find what you must do.  You and your story children must stay and keep the night with me.”  And the Talesingr, tears streaking her face, nodded silently as the stories inside her hushed and held their breaths for the first time in too long.

All night, as the Dreamspinnr danced and sang and beat her drum, the Talesingr watched.  Outside the wind howled and the snow lay thick on the ground.  It was the time when the Talesingr was most loved.  When her stories warmed frozen hearts and filled empty bellies.  And she could not speak.  If she could not speak, she was no Talesingr at all and she had no place among the people.

When the grey light of dawn filtered through the gaps around the deerskin door, the Dreamspinnr laid down her drum at last, and spoke.  “You will go out into the woods.  You must go towards the rising sun.  At the end of the second day, you will find a cave. You will enter the cave and light your fire.  And there you will stay.  For three days and three nights, you will spit the words of your broken stories into the fire, you will make the marks of their bones upon wood and cloth and hang them in the trees for the winds to find and take where they will.  You will give your twisted children a fine funeral, and set them free.  When the wailing in your head has ended, and the stories are gone, your voice will be returned to you.  Then you will return to your people, and new stories will come.  But you must not hold them back.  When they are born, do not seek to keep them locked inside you, set them free and tell them to whoever will listen.”

The Talesinngr nodded in despair, for she must lose forever the story children she had born, but there was no other way.  She took up her bow and knife to keep against the wolves, and walked towards the rising sun.  To farewell her children and leave nothing of them but ash and the scattered scratches of their bones hanging from the bare branches.  Who but the crows might hear their tales now? 

The Tale of the The Seven Bird Spirits

All text and images © Christina Cairns 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Late Harvest...

Autumn colours mixed with the colours of our southern winter...intense greens, of grass and leaf and tree washed clean and bright with rain.  Some more little wood hangers for my art stall.  Because I am a novice at this, I did not realise that my 'allocated stand' was actually 'allocated floor space' and nothing more, and now must scramble to knock together some kind of display stands to put my larger paintings on.  Beloved says he can make something...ah well, I suppose it's all a learning experience.

And another tea bag leaf

I have something waiting in the wings to show you.  A slightly different direction...or rather, several directions at once.  I have the first pieces completed, but their stories are still floating about my head like a cloud of butterflies, beautiful, but the details are elusive and hard to pin down.  So we must be patient and let them land and become still so as to observe them closely without harming or alarming them.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making and painting...

I've been busy the last couple of days.  Making and painting.  I've been fighting a headache on and off since Monday morning, so I gave up on housework and when it subsided in the afternoons I decided to do something fun rather than cleaning.  And I have a good reason to get moving on the creative front, I've committed to this Art Expo in a month, so need to get some smaller works done for my booth/stall.  I've never had an art stall before, so this will be a learning experience.  I'm keeping expectations fairly low, I hope I can cover my costs and learn some useful things about running a stall, and anything on top of that will be icing on the cake.

I've taken the smallest booth available, so have room for 3 large paintings, a few smaller works, some wood hangers, and I think I'll have a small selection of prints for sale, though I haven't decided which ones yet.

If anyone has any brilliant advice on what to take, what not to take, even what to wear (!) please don't hesitate to leave a comment!

Anyway, here's what I've been working on.

Two more olive wood hangers.  Beloved has just cut me a whole STACK of them, so I will be busy!

Having fun with teabags!  An ink sketch of a leaf skeleton, on an opened tea bag (post cuppa!), hand sewn to an old book page.  Biggest munchkin found the tattered book with pages falling out and brought it home because she knows mummy likes stuff like that (though she's told me in no uncertain terms that she found it so it's HER book, but I can have a few pages!)  It's in Russian, but that's all I can tell you, it could be a book of hymns or the Communist Manifesto, I wouldn't have a clue!  All neatly mounted and packaged in cello...gosh, I'm so organised!

And acrylic painting of an ornamental pear leaf on tea bag paper, with metal (gold) leaf, hand sewn to an old dictionary page.  This one is my favourite so far, it has a little bit of magic in it, because I didn't notice the words on the right until I was almost finished!  So it now has a little poem for a name.
The red 
the full
autumnal heart

Another pear leaf.  No mount yet (ooh, I must remember to sign it!)

A closer view

And finally, a couple of things that are not for the stall.  Do you remember this?  I think it's finished now, though I still don't know what it is or what to use it for!

And this is a choker for moi!  Well, unless someone offers me oodles of dosh for it!

We have actually had rain, REAL rain, but it's far too little.  And maximum temperatures for the next week are all around the 20ÂșC, so not very wintery.  Everything in my garden is topsy turvy, all my bulbs are coming up, my apricot tree hasn't lost it's leaves yet (they're just starting to yellow a little now), meanwhile my almond tree has lost its leaves, started flowering, and now has all its new 'spring' leaves!  Mad!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Aprons and fairy pancakes...

I haven't written for two whole weeks.  It's not so much that I can't think of anything to write, rather that I have so many ideas wooshing around in my head and I haven't had the chance to lasso any of them and wrestle them to the ground.  But it's 10-45pm and I've had a glass of Baileys and am nodding off as it is, so I think I'll leave deep 'thunks' alone for the moment, and throw some pictures of what I've been up to at you instead!

I promised a pic of the aprons...well, one will have to do for the moment, though they are now all finished. This one is a gift, but I've made myself one in the same fabric, minus the frilly bits (I'm not really a frilly person!)

One scarf commissioned by littlest munchkin...though probably rather longer than it needed to be.  She wanted one just like the one I made biggest munchkin last year.

Then of course, biggest munchkin wanted a photo in hers!

Then a lovely lunch at a very exclusive alfresco restaurant.  
Yes, dear readers, it is actually winter.  Looks like it will be a very dry one.

The chef in her kitchen.  The rather untidy courtyard/barbeque area. 
(Hah!  Beloved teases me about my paving efforts, but they're still there, still doing their job, after about 7 years!)

Ooh lovely, the kettle's on!

Here's the menu.  I was going to make a comment about the frequent appearance of be-socked feet OUTSIDE (I'm constantly telling them to 'put your shoes on'!)  Then I looked at the next pic and though better of it.

Mummy in her gardening clothes...and socks!  Very flattering I don't think!

Mmmmm, pizza!  And Flynn makes another appearance.  Looking innocent and NOT digging up the bare patches in the lawn.

Then we were treated to a floor show of aerial the chef...and waiter!  
Just as well daddy wasn't there...children believe hills hoists are designed to swing on...daddies on the other hand, believe they are designed to hang up motorbike filters, tent flies, karate protecty shin pads, old tarps and the like.

And we discovered that faeries are rather partial to faery size pancakes with lashings of maple syrup!  Littlest said she could see tiny footprints in the syrup, so they must be very sticky faeries!

And last, for now, this is what you might call an aural doodle.  Sat down earlier this evening, after munchkins were off to bed, and muddled about with Cordelia and a little song melody, and thought, hmmm, I like that, I'd better record it so I don't forget it.  It might even get words one day!

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