As is my pattern, I almost always read several, often many, books at once. I like doing this for a couple of reasons. First, most obviously, it allows me a variety of genres to choose among depending on my mood. For example, I’ve been focusing on the deep, rather heavy topics of death and grieving this year. But to keep it from being all-consuming, I’ve generally got some young adult fiction open, some kind of art book, perhaps a mystery, and often something I might consider more spiritual or philosophical in nature. But the other reason I find it interesting to do this is how often I find threads of connection between all the disparate things I’m reading. When that happens it feels like it exponentially deepens my experience, and of course, I love what I consider the “cosmic winks.”
Today I’m filing my 14th entry in the 100 Untimed Books challenge under prompt #84 – How Loud Your Heart.
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg is the first in a series of young adult fantasy books. This story focuses on a young woman, recently graduated from magic school and about to embark on her apprenticeship with a master magician where she will bond with the material (paper) she’ll work with for the rest of her life. It’s a disappointing assignment to her, as she’d hope to work with a different material (metal), but there are so few “folders” (paper magicians) left in the world, if she wants to practice magic it’s this or nothing. Almost immediately she gets pulled into danger as her teacher is targeted by a criminal magician working with outlawed flesh magic. In a brave, entirely clueless, attempt to save him and his literally stolen heart, she embarks on a grand adventure. Part of the journey involves traveling through her teacher’s heart, into the four chambers, representing love, hope, hate, and doubt, and thus she learns a great deal about him and herself as well.
I’m not going to pretend this is great literature, but I did find it somewhat charming. It definitely appealed to the origami enthusiast in me, and I love the idea of enchanting paper. But I also liked the idea of dividing the heart into those constructs. My muse is thrilled with this idea and inspiring me with all sorts of ideas. I suspect there will be some heart art happening here at some point.
In keeping with my practice of awarding a rating based on floriography, the language of flowers, giving a hint at the plot as well as my appraisal, I offer a bouquet composed of White Lilac for youthful innocence; Larch for audacity and boldness; Crimson Polyanthus for the heart’s mystery; and Venus’s Car for fly with me.
I couldn’t resist photographing the book with some folded paper flowers. In The Paper Magician the master paper folder magician has a garden filled with paper flowers.
Speaking of flowers, one of the flowers I awarded in my floriography rating was Venus’s Car. Isn’t that a fabulous name? It’s only recently that I discovered that it’s an alternate name for what is more commonly known as Bleeding Heart. Coincidentally, with the extremely late Spring we’ve had, my Bleeding Heart plants are still in full robust bloom. I love those little beauties, along with so many of the other flowers that are considered “old-fashioned.” I planted the Bleeding Hearts in honor of my grandmother who loved them, and now they’re intricately tied to my memories of her.
I’ve loved origami since I was a child, and remember the very first “kit” of instructions and assortment of papers I received. I’ve been all about paper since I was the very littlest of kids, and my love has never diminished. While I was poking through some things on my studio desk this weekend, I came across a prototype I had been working on last year that I hadn’t quite perfected, and then, as is the way sometimes, completely forgot about. To re-discover it was quite a delight. It’s a fold within a fold that creates a little book, and I think I’ve figured out what I need to do differently to make it work. Sometimes it takes an absence to clarify things, and I think perhaps I needed all that extra time also to come with the myriad of ideas that now want to be expressed in that particular book form. There’s a lesson in that for me, and one that I have repeatedly received and repeatedly forgotten. I often fret because my timing on things never seems as linear and straight-forward as I imagine it is for others. But it almost always turns out perfectly for me if I just give myself the space to let things unfold without pushing.
There’s one more origami garden connection I want to mention. Artist Kevin Box has worked with four origami masters and created metal sculptures of paper origami structures and they’re being displayed in botanical gardens. Here’s an article with a short video interview of him talking about his work.
So there you have it – paper, hearts, flowers, folders, books and magic. Find any of those things interesting? Are you a paper lover? Prefer Bleeding Heart or Venus’s Car? Read anything interesting lately? Do tell – you know I love to hear.