Why “Bright Weavings”?
Why did I spend many months designing this website, and why do I continue to spend so many hours updating, improving and running it? Well, if I try and describe what GGK’s books mean to me, I run the risk of getting emotional and tongue-tied. I could talk about the fascinating and complex themes that he engages with, from myth, good and evil, nationalism, identity, and the longing to bequeath something to the generations to come, to the exploration of the intricate permutations of art, song, and poetry that so distinguish his books. I could describe the wonderfully real people that inhabit his creations. I could talk about the witty conversation and profound thought that characterise all his books. And these are all good reasons to love them. But the reason I spent so much time on this website, and the reason I have been passionate about GGK’s books ever since I found them about a decade ago, is because they transcend the bounds of what even excellent literature achieves. They leave a lasting and profound impact on the reader’s life and thought. And here’s where I get tongue-tied, because how can you convey this depth of impact? I’ll leave it to another gifted literary man, C.S. Lewis, to express at least part of what I mean. In his book, An Experiment in Criticism, he writes:
The first reading of some literary work is often, for the literary, an experience so momentous that only experiences of love, religion or bereavement can furnish a standard of comparison. Their whole consciousness is changed. They have become what they were not before…what they have read is constantly and prominently present to the mind…[they] mouth over their favourite lines and stanzas in solitude. Scenes and characters from books provide them with a sort of iconography by which they interpret or sum up their own experience.The great artist – or at all events the great literary artist – cannot be a man shallow either in his thoughts or his feelings. However improbable and abnormal a story he has chosen, it will, as we say, ‘come to life’ in his hands. The life to which it comes will be impregnated with all the wisdom, knowledge and experience the author has; and even more by something which I can only vaguely describe as the flavour or ‘feel’ that actual life has for him…[it will] allow us temporarily to share a sort of passionate sanity.
I love that phrase, that idea. Passionate sanity. Could there be anything better? That is what GGK’s books bestow upon us, and that is why I created this site. Why Bright Weavings as a domain name? Well, if you’ve read The Fionavar Tapestry, you’ll understand the source and thus, I hope, the allusion. Guy Kay’s books are bright weavings, and they are the subject of this site.
For those of you who’ve never read GGK’s books, I invite you to take a look round, find out a bit more, and perhaps sway you to pick up a book. For those of you who are already fans, I provide you here with all those things that I searched for when I first discovered the internet. Interviews of GGK, essays by him on his writing and on myth, essays by others on his books, news, art, reading passages, and much more. After you’ve had a look round and hopefully enjoyed some of the great stuff we’ve got here for you, if you have a comment you’d like to share, a suggestion, or even an interesting question for GGK that you want to be sure will get to him, just send it in to me. I’d love to hear from you.
Introducing the Site Owner
This site isn’t about me, so I’ll be brief, but I thought some of you might want an introduction. My name is Deborah and I’ve lived in Jerusalem since 1995. I grew up in London, England, and studied English Language and Literature at Leeds University. I’ve worked in various editorial positions, developing my web design skills along the way, since I started my career. I was senior editor and then editorial director at The Toby Press, a small independent publishing house, for eight years. Since 2010, I’ve been a freelance editor and writer, and you can see my own personal ‘business’ website, if you are so inclined, at http://www.bookshaper.net. Since 2007 I’ve been married to the most wonderful man ever, Jonathan Bailey, and we have two beautiful sons, Adiel and Matanel. That’s me on the right – that photo is getting kinda old, but in the interests of nostalgia (and vanity), I’ll leave it there and not replace it with a newer one! I’m interested in many things, including literature (obviously), religion, history, and music. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t read – and school reports bear that out – already at the age of 6 they commented that when I read I became blind and deaf to all around me! If you’re here because of a love of GGK’s books, then there is a good chance you’ll like other books that I love, so I’ve included some recommendations – favourites from my shelves. I came to fantasy and myth by way of Tolkien, whose devotee I became at the tender age of seven, and whose genius I still deeply admire. I discovered GGK’s books when I was about 16, and they rapidly came to hold prime place in my affections, for all the reasons I’ve described above. But anyway, that’s enough about me. On to the others who need to be mentioned…
A great many people have been instrumental in the creation of this website, and here is where I get to officially thank them. Without exception, everyone I contacted was helpful and encouraging. It has been a wonderful experience for me to ‘meet’ so many talented, warm, and giving people in the process of putting the site together. First and foremost, I have to thank Guy for allowing himself to be persuaded that this site is a good idea, and for all his help and support in making it what it is. This hasn’t once become a chore for me, or a burden to regret, it’s been an absolute pleasure from beginning to end.
Neil Randall made this site possible by giving me space on his server with which to develop the site. Martin Springett’s warmth, enthusiasm, and entertaining subject headers have become just as important to me as his wonderful artistic and musical talents have to the site. Thanks must go to Penguin Canada for having allowed me to use their cover designs within my previous site design, and to Cathy MacLean in particular for adapting her beautiful covers for my use. Those icons can still be found in various places on the web where people have used them as click throughs to here, even though I decided to go wild and spend even more of my time on a redesign for the site, during which my graphic experimentation meant that they unfortunately got left behind! I would also like to acknowledge the other cover artists whose work I adapted to use in my redesign – I used elements from Martin Springett’s Fionavar covers in the side navigation bars, and elements from both Marie De Sousa’s and Gerard Gauci’s covers for A Song for Arbonne in my site title graphic. All the contributors to the site have been great – but I’d like to mention Dena Taylor, Janeen Webb and Holly Ordway in particular for their big contributions. Amanda Potts is a fabulous graphic designer who was always more than happy to answer any of the myriad graphic queries this less experienced designer flung at her. Thanks must also go to Ariel Caine for converting music files for me. He’s a gem of a sound engineer. Finally…I must mention here all those people, friends, family and colleagues, and they know who they are, who had to put up with me being more than a little obssessed with the site during its creation.
2013 Update: I’d also like to formally acknowledge and thank Alec Lynch, one of the original Bright Weavings ‘cabal’ who has become my trusted lieutenant on the site and currently does all of the updating, as with a husband and two little boys to look after, plus work, of course, I no longer have as much time as I once had to dedicate to my ‘hobbies’…
Contribute to the Site
There are many ways that you can contribute to this site, if you would like to. If you want to submit a review or an academic essay, a picture you’ve drawn inspired by the books, or even a song you’ve composed based on one of GGK’s, this is the place to do it. I’m not going to post contributions completely indiscriminately, but I do want this to be a forum which people can contribute to, so you won’t have to pass impossible tests or anything; I have various ‘judges’ on standby who will be happy to make the call on which artistic, music or academic contributions from readers will appear on the site. If you have an opinion on the site, please feel free to share it with me. If you have a question for GGK, then why not submit it here? Time permitting, he may choose to answer interesting questions in mini-essays that will appear on the site every so often. So – for any or all of these reasons, or maybe one I haven’t mentioned – send me an email. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
If you have enjoyed the site in such a way that you feel you would like to contribute materially towards its upkeep, then there is a way to do so in an anonymous (if you wish), secure way. And thank you very much!