Missed the Auralia’s Colors readings?

Here’s another chance:

I will be reading from Auralia’s Colors, and paying tribute to the great Madeleine L’Engle, at Village Books in Bellingham, Washington on Wendesday, November 28. The fun begins at 7 p.m.!

So, come to the land of Luci Shaw… the festival in Fairhaven… and let’s be thankful for fairy tales. Thanksgiving will last a little longer this year.


I received a letter from a reader that was quite a bit different than the others so far, so I think I’ll share it.

I can’t take credit for Rachel’s experience with Auralia’s Colors, as the book is like a box into which I packed all kinds of souvenirs and gifts from other people. I’m just thrilled to see that my collection of impressions is, in fact, provoking somebody to think about art… because I learned a lot about art, and the call of an artist, by following Auralia through her story.

Rachel says:

I came over [to England] with dreams of reading Auralia’s Colors in some exotic setting. … I was prepared to be entertained, even dazzled but I did not expect an engaging story that also rung out that messy intersection between that very visceral longing for beauty and art and the power of that beauty and what it does to us all. Can beauty be captured, can it be demanded, and can it be freely given? What of power and beauty?

It’s ironic that on the day that I was reading of Auralia’s beautiful cave and her struggle to complete her work, I was at an antique fair in Farnham with only a few coins in my pocket. I felt dazzled by the colors and the mass of treasures on display and I felt my own poverty of spirit. I was the traveler and I was reading of the traveler(s) and it was as if my reality was supersaturated by the book. Your engaging stories should be jacketed in warnings of inflammatory material. I am struggling for my own bit of beauty in my painting and your work went to the deepest nerve of my being.

There were a million details that I loved. It was a fun read when I wasn’t being totally messed with and I loved your characters and the beautiful details you put in to delight the attentive reader. Thank you for a wonderful book!

Rachel, who is a graphic artist and painter working for a while in England, adds,

We miss being home but there is the opportunity for incredible focus here. I’m only 20 years away from a masterpiece myself so I’d better get to it!

She’s being humble. I’ve seen her work. She’s already in masterpiece territory. She just needs the time and resources to keep working, and the world will be a better place.

Oh, for a world in which adequate time and resources were available for all artists!

By the way, if you’re a writer or an artist looking for inspiration, here is an artist’s “survival kit” for you… or at least the beginning of one:

Art and Fear – David Bayles and Ted Orland 

Art & Fear explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn’t get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. The book’s co-authors, David Bayles and Ted Orland, are themselves both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world. Their insights and observations, drawn from personal experience, provide an incisive view into the world of art as it is expeienced by artmakers themselves.

This is not your typical self-help book. This is a book written by artists, for artists — it’s about what it feels like when artists sit down at their easel or keyboard, in their studio or performance space, trying to do the work they need to do. First published in 1994, Art & Fear quickly became an underground classic. Word-of-mouth response alone-now enhanced by internet posting-has placed it among the best-selling books on artmaking andcreativity nationally.

Art & Fear has attracted a remarkably diverse audience, ranging from beginning to accomplished artists in every medium, and including an exceptional concentration among students and teachers. The original Capra Press edition of Art & Fear sold 80,000 copies.

Also essential:

The book-release party is over, but Third Place Books still has plenty of copies (signed) of Auralia’s Colors in the Staff Picks section.

And Adam Walter‘s review is on display.

(click to open full photo)

(click to open full photo)

You’ll find Auralia’s Colors at borders. No, not the bookstore (although it *is* there too)… but literally… at borderlines.

Poet and writer Tara Mansbridge had a long wait at the border between the U.S. and Canada.

Others might have suffered a nervous breakdown. But Tara, industrious as she is, found a way to cope.

And she sent us a glimpse of her secret:


Thanks to Tara, and to Bryan Owens, for sending this in!

[This was first posted late Saturday night at lookingcloser.wordpress.com.]

I’m weary, and it’s late, but I need to take a moment and thank everyone who came to tonight’s Third Place Books “release party” for Auralia’s Colors.

It was so great to see so many of you. Even my landlords came! Tommy and Vivian Fong sat right in the front. And I owe them so many thanks for giving Anne and me such a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Auralia grew up under their watchful care.

Thanks to Michael Demkowicz, my teacher and friend, for making the trip all the way from Portland, Oregon. And to Doug Carver who came from Alberquerque, New Mexico for this occasion!

Thanks to so many who showed up from my church, including Pastor Michael and Sandy Kelly. And to those from Seattle Pacific, including Luke Reinsma, Linda Wagner, Frank Kline.

Thanks to Cheryl McKeon and Adam Walter for helping me get the event set up… and to Steve for that gracious introduction. It was a pleasure to be introduced by Steve, who has worked in both of Seattle’s best bookstores since before I started writing Auralia’s Colors. (I remember seeing him at the Philip Pullman reading for The Golden Compass when it first came out, and there weren’t very many people there.)

The store sold out of Auralia’s Colors, so it was a good thing we’d brought an extra box full of copies! Everybody who wanted one got one (or two, or three).

There were so many more. I’d thank you all if I wasn’t falling asleep right now.

Thanks, of course, to Anne, for putting up with me while I stressed a little about getting ready in time.

It all went perfectly, and I had a blast. Two weeks, and two unforgettable book events. I could get used to this.


You can now peruse a gallery of images from Saturday night’s reading and booksigning for Auralia’s Colors at Third Place Books in Seattle.

And you can read a couple of reports from the front lines here (by Jennifer Staab) and here (by Jen Zug).

Did you miss The Kindlings Muse on Monday night? Now you can listen in! The Kindlings podcast is here!

From The Kindlings Muse site:

Madeleine L’Engle, CS Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien each embraced the Christian faith and found in their imaginative fantasy a way to explore and understand it.

Yet to this day, some Christians see no place for fantasy literature. Tonight’s subject is Fantasy & Myth: Christian Contributions & Consumption.

We explore the subject with author & film critic Jeffrey Overstreet whose most recent book Auralia’s Colors is a work of fantasy; Greg Wright, Senior Editor of HollywoodJesus.com, author of Tolkien in Perspective: Sifting the Gold from the Glitter and Peter Jackson in Perspective: The Power Behind Cinema’s The Lord of the Rings; and Jenny Spohr producer of The Kindlings Muse.

In other news… Dick Staub, Jenny Spohr, Greg Wright and I are going to be recording monthly film podcasts and providing them for you, free of charge, soon. So stay tuned! The first edition is already in the bag.

Jedadiah came to The Kindlings Muse on Monday, and he has this to report.

Barbara Warren has just reviewed Auralia’s Colors in her newsletter. And, well… I’ll let her speak for herself, because I’m a little dizzy from the surprise:

I flat out loved this book. How would you like to live in a world where color had been banned? As an individual who has recently had cataract surgery and can now truly see colors again, I find this too horrible to contemplate. No brilliant blue, rich green, or royal purple. No radiant red, or blazing yellow. Well, that’s the way it is in Abscar, by edict of the king. Only drab, dingy shades of gray and brown allowed. All the treasures of a happier time have been locked away in the king’s palace.

Then Krawg and Warney, who were supposed to be gathering berries for the House of Abscar, found an infant girl lying in a muddy footprint. They took her home and she lived with the Gatherers, a community of convicted criminals, living in exile, and condemned to work their way back into the king’s good graces. They called her River Girl. As the baby grew older, things began to change. Auralia, the name she gave herself, had some mysterious power to take the ordinary objects and weave them into marvelous creations full of magnificent colors, some never seen before.

Auralia knows things she should not be able to know, and she doesn’t understand how she came by the knowledge. Her love of color and her cheerful disdain of life inside the walls of Abscar put her in direct conflict with the king’s laws. But the mysterious Keeper, whom no one has ever seen, has a plan for the River Girl, far beyond anything she has ever dreamed.

This is Jeffrey Overstreet’s first novel, and it has it all; enchanting characters, a lyrical, almost poetic writing style, and nerve-wracking suspense. This is book one in his new fantasy series and I’m betting fans will line up for book two. Highly recommended.

Auralia likes to party.

September 18, 2007

Many, many thanks to the crowd that filled all available chairs in The Next Chapter bookstore last Saturday night.

Many thanks to John and Sharon Connell for being such generous, gracious hosts there.

Thanks to all who listened while I shared the story behind Auralia’s Colors, and read Chapter One.

Thanks to the heckler who stood across the street from the store and shouted at me.

Thanks to my parents for driving all the way from Portland, Oregon. And for teaching me to read and write. And for burying me in books.

Thanks to everyone who bought a copy of Auralia’s Colors there. I’m getting better and better at signatures all the time, thanks to all of that practice.

Thanks to everyone who attended The Kindlings Muse last night, where I talked with Dick Staub, Greg Wright, and Jennie Spohr about fantasy, faith, and imagination. (The podcast will be posted soon!)

Thanks to everyone who attended, wined, dined, and asked questions after the discussion.

Thanks to Dick Staub and Jennie Spohr for organizing such a stimulating event.

Thanks to everyone who purchased books there as well. It was a pleasure to meet you all.

Now… on to the biggest event of all… the Third Place Books release party for Auralia’s Colors, this Saturday at 6:30 p.m., in the Lake Forest Park Towne Centre in north Seattle.

I hope I’ll see you there!