Magpie Monday

All that was bright and shiny in my eye last week….

Well, not all—I’ll probably need to do another Magpie post this week to share everything I thought was worth sharing!


When I was young, I used to play over and over this record my parents owned of popular 1970s songs (I can’t believe I didn’t wear out that vinyl!), and one of those songs was “The Lord’s Prayer” by Sister Janet Mead. Two important things to note: (1) I still love this song, and (2) this song is part of why I love Catholics so much.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure yet how I feel about this video, but I think I really like it. I just couldn’t resist the song title: “How Not to Be Surprised When You’re a Ghost.” Charlotte Church’s voice is as lovely as ever. ETA: I’ve listened to this song multiple times writing this post, and it’s official: I love it.

The imagery in this video/short film directed by Bartholomew Cubbins for Thirty Seconds to Mars’ “Up In the Air” is evocative, though if you have photosensitive epilepsy you might want to forgo watching it.

Yeah, I get that folks think Innocence is channeling Lady Gaga big time in this music video for “This Is Love,” I mean, Itotally get that. But I still think it’s a fun song, and I like the style and palette of the video, so here you go.


My love of structure was smitten by Linda Clare’s Writing to the Rule of Three.

Amazing Stories on What to look (and look out) for in short-fiction contracts.

Cameron Cook shared the link to What’s the Point? Five Writers Offer Lifelines for Post-MFA Despair by Bryan Furuness at Brevity, which I think is really worth reading whether you’re post-MFA or post-BA or post-workshop, etc.

Many thanks to Christopher Barzak for posting the link to this infographic on Facebook: How Does the Act of Writing Affect Your Brain?

Alex Bledsoe on Cultural Strip Mining vs Good Manners.

Because they’re always good to think about: 11 Neil Gaiman quotes on writing.


The ten most heartbreaking moments in comic book movies—a list that should actually include “super hero” in the title, since other movies based on comic books also have heartbreaking moments but aren’t in this list. Via.

If you’re excited about the relaunched X-Men comic with an all-female team (and if you’re not at least a little excited, do I even know you?), you’ll want to check out this interview with the book’s editor, Jeanine Schaefer.

X-Men #1 variant cover by Terry Dodson

Two fantastic Justice League of America mash-ups this week from Super-Team Family!

The latest chapter of The Strange World of Martin Kardec is up at Juan Santapau’s The Secret Knots.


The New York Times‘ Joshua Weinstein wrote an article about Subway Ballet, which I thought was an interesting evolution of subway performance. Here’s the accompanying video (via):

Ah, the supercut! What did we ever do before the supercut? Hollywood Movie Dance Tribute, set to Men Without Hats’ The Safety Dance, is a great example, though, of fine editing—note how well actions sync with beats throughout the video. One question: where’s the (in)famous dance scene from Teen Witch? “Look at how funky he is.” Via.

Kate Beaton shared this video on her tumblr with the comment, “That guy on the far right, he’s actually good!  Guy in front needs to take it down a notch.” So true! The clip’s from The Judy Garland Show in 1964.


I love this photo by Dieter Krehbiel of Café Merci on Boulevard Beaumarchais in Paris, courtesy of Erin Morgenstern’s wonderful tumblr. How magical he makes the place look!

Café Merci on Boulevard Beaumarchais in Paris, May 2013. Photo by Dieter Krehbiel

Now this, mes amis, is a reading chair! Via.

What a lovely reading room this is—that window wall is amazing. I wonder where those steps lead?

All those books, and the kid’s playing a video game? Ah, well….


I know many, many Whovians down in Whoville are upset about the news that Matt Smith, the 11th (or is it 12th?) Doctor, will be leaving the series after this year’s Christmas special. To ease the pain a little, I offer the third episode of Doctor Puppet, The Doctor in the Garden. If Alisa Stern‘s delightful short doesn’t bring a smile to your heart, nothing will.

Tom Law’s fourth-year film at CalArts, This Actually Happens A Lot is really great (via):

Official trailer for Neil Jordan’s Byzantium starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronaan:


Open your ocular mouths and prepare to be fed:

From The City (excerpt) by Stella Gemmell; and The Elephant in the Room by Paul Cornell (a Wild Cards story)

From Swamp Biscuits and Tea: The Death of Love Project by my friend Julie Day

Edward & Amelia vs The Vampire King, Chapter Fifteen: Nightfall by Russell Hinson

Flax-golden tales: Worldbuilding Assistance by Erin Morgenstern

From Daily Science Fiction: Private Memories by Michael Haynes; The Left Side of Your Lover’s Broken Face by Brynn MacNab; A Little Sleep by Melissa Mead; Nitpick by K.S. O’Neill; and An Exodus of Wings by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam.

If you’re looking for a fun read, check out Mur Lafferty‘s The Shambling Guide to New York City, which sounds like it will be exactly that:

A travel writer takes a job with a shady publishing company in New York, only to find that she must write a guide to the city—for the undead!

Because of the disaster that was her last job, Zoë is searching for a fresh start as a travel book editor in the tourist-centric New York City. After stumbling across a seemingly perfect position, though, Zoë is blocked at every turn because of the one thing she can’t take off her resume—human.

Not to be put off by anything—especially not her blood-drinking boss or death-goddess coworker—Zoë delves deep into the monster world. But her job turns deadly when the careful balance between human and monsters starts to crumble—with Zoë right in the middle.

If you’re looking for some more good reading, Johann Thorsson’s suggested 5 magical books by women is pretty darn good, which I can say because I own (or will own, as soon as it’s published next month) all of them: Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (short-story collection); Moscow But Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia (also short stories); The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (novel forthcoming in the US); The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (short stories); and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (novel).


Matthew Clarke and Warmland Films started a series called Convos with My 2-Year Old, described as “Actual conversations with my 2 year old daughter, as re-enacted by [Matthew] and another full-grown man.” The result is funny and weird, and I love funny and weird. Here are the first two episodes:

It’s Not About the Nail, Jason Headley‘s short film, is pretty funny. Thanks to Liz Hand for the link on Facebook!


I saw this photo on Facebook (thanks, Laura!) back in January, and today seems like the right day to share it. Colosso dell’Appennino (The Appennine Colossus) was sculpted in 1580 by Giambologna in Tuscany, Italy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this mammoth piece in your backyard?

Colosso dell’Appennino (1580), sculpted by Giambologna (1529-1608)

This piece by Phillepe Ramette, The Shadow of Myself, is just wonderful, but I’m a sucker for shadows. Click to embiggen! Via.

The Shadow of Myself (2007) by Phillepe Ramette

Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock’s Ballroom Luminoso installation in San Antonio is amazing, so amazing that I want to visit San Antonio to see it in person! (And visit The Jims, of course.) O’Connell and Hancock turned recycled bicycle parts into these jaw-dropping chandeliers that hang from an underpass. Just a heads up: the images below are massive. Definitely check out the link above for more pictures! Via.

Ballroom Luminoso, unlit, by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock

Ballroom Luminoso, lit, by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock

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