There’s very little I have to say in this posting. A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. One might also say that a poem is worth a thousand pictures. If that’s true, then you’re getting a 1,007,000-word value here — one amazing poem and seven amazing pictures. (That’s as mathematical as this blog will ever get: it took me about five minutes and a calculator to figure that out. . . . Don’t even ask me about going to St. Ives!)
These extraordinary works by fans of “The Star Shard” are used with the permission of the young artists and their parents. My deepest gratitude goes to all of them — both for creating these images and for allowing me to post them here.
Oh! — all right, you do have to wade through some news from me first. I finished the latest round of revisions to The Star Shard (novel version). It grew from about 53,000 words to almost exactly 55,000. My agent gave it a very careful read-through and made extensive notes for me on some concerns he had. He pointed out 72 separate things he wanted me to re-examine, ranging from cutting or changing a word or two to rewriting entire sections. He emphasized, of course, that his suggestions were merely that — ideas for me to evaluate and make up my own mind on. I only disagreed with him on 5 of them. I left those done my way, and I convinced him to withdraw a 6th point (as being not a concern); so that means I took his advice on 66 of his 72 suggestions. (This posting is just determined to get mathematical, isn’t it?) So his time was well spent, and I am extremely grateful to him — the book is much stronger as a result of his attention. He has a great critical eye and knows his business. So now let’s keep our fingers crossed that our interested editor will be as excited about the new draft as we are, and that he’ll be able to persuade the powers-that-be to turn The Star Shard into a book!
One final note: I’m quoting here from a letter by “Star Shard Luver,” written February 12, 2009 and posted in the “This Issue” section of the Chatterbox in Cricket Country on the Cricket Web site:
“Yes, you should read it! The story is so awesome, and you can read any parts you’ve missed on Cricket‘s site. I read all the time and I have been reading Cricket for years, and it is the best story EVER! From the point where Loric and Cymbril talk for the first time the story just flies, and I never want it to end!” (On the site, Cricket also asked readers how they think “The Star Shard” will end — alas, the end is coming with the April issue — and speculations are running wild!)
Okay! On to the main event! Soli Deo gloria, and thanks to The Die-Hard Star-Shard Fan Club!
Look at those fantastic boots stitched of leaves! I love the sword and sheath, those great stunted swamp trees, and the shading around Loric’s eyes! (And also the luminous quality of his eyes!)
I love the colors and the poses of the cats! And did you note the differences in their expressions? The tom is serious, probably worried about Cymbril out on that high ledge; Miwa has her enigmatic, knowing smile. She’s the Mona Lisa of cats!
Isn’t this an excellent costume design? I’m impressed by the deliberately asymmetrical cut of the shirt, and by the wrinkles/folds in the trousers. And again, superb face quality!
I just love the hem of the dress, and also that beautiful, dreamy facial expression! Notice the delicate collar bones that real girls have. And the leaves on the dress — a very Sidhe design!
I totally admire the use of color, pose, and motion here! We’re looking at a living instant frozen in time. Andrew, you’d better become a professional artist! Maybe a manga artist. . . .?
“Little Thrush of the Iron Cage”
Little Thrush gently singing
A dreamer’s song of a wide bright sky
Caged by fate
You dance in the day
Yet in the night you cry
Tears shining with lost hopes
Drift away, little bird
To the distant clouds
Spread your wings
Know that the rain
Cannot reach the sun
As long as your heart still sings
Hope is eternal, little bird
Believe once more in her quiet power
Even though the bars
Of this cage are cold
The warmth of inner light
Can shine out and melt the deepest fog
Showing a tomorrow where you can
Sing your truest song
I held off my comment until after the poem, because the poem and picture go together. Isn’t this breathtaking work? What strikes me so deeply about the picture is its use of symbol. Cymbril doesn’t really have wings, but by depicting her that way, the artist is drawing the parallel to the “caged bird” motif. I love the colors, lines, and pose here, too, as if she’s just floating there, an angel in the air. And the poem — such exquisite use of language! And such a message of hope!
Look at the way the artist has used her pencil in evoking the hair, the shirt, and the chain! The chain looks hard and cold, and everything around it looks flowing and soft. How do such young people know so much about art already? What will they be doing when they’re old and gray and 20? I can’t wait to see what they produce!
Haven’t we just seen and read some wonderful things? This blog is greatly honored by these young artists and poet. May they continue to create their work and develop their skills for their ongoing part in the Great Song!