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27 December 2012 @ 11:34 am
I finally started posting (as in the first one is up) my Honey-Month-inspired earings to Etsy.

Do please have a look at my interpretation of Tithenai's "Peach Creamed Honey" poem.

The verbal description:
A sensual invitation: Ingots of buttery amber, rounds of pink shell, mookalite, and honey-rich carnelian, accented with this collection's signature silver bees.

Amazon. :-)
05 April 2012 @ 11:10 am
This gorgeous post by asakiyume just had to be put up here.

Originally posted by asakiyume at No. 2: The Bees
The bees were humming and purring in the cherry blossoms this morning. I took a video, for the sound of them:

And then I thought I'd hang a bee poem on a municipal blossoming tree somewhere in the next town:

The Bees

You can't really see the words, but this is what it says:

Set loose amid the blossoms
the battalions sing
their every care and joy
the petals and perfume
for whose reward their toil
they tender; their legacy
not smoking earth and broken bodies
but the apple in your hand
and the honey on your tongue

(Edited to correct the video at asakiyume's request)
Current Location: Glasgow
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
Current Music: quiet
07 December 2010 @ 07:13 pm
Hi there! :-D

So I've been quasi-dilligently working away on necklaces inspired by Miz Tithenai's poetry and, having finished six Honey Month necklaces yesterday, I got it into my head that I should post the pictures here.


Blurry pics of Honey Month 1-5 Behind the CutCollapse )

I've not included #28 (yellow jade and mahogany obsidian) because I haven't taken a picture of it yet.
07 December 2010 @ 10:10 pm
Happy Feast Day of Saint Ambrose, patron saint of bee keepers and honey makers!

I love learning this today. I'm born on Saint Lucia's day, December 13, and love knowing that there are feast days relative to my interests in my birthday month.

May all your own feastings be sweet.
Current Location: Penryn!Home
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: Radiohead, "Sail to the Moon (Brush the Cobwebs of the Sky)
08 September 2010 @ 08:59 pm
I thought I’d share some memories from my recent trip to Slovenia, honey country, as I think of it now.

Slovenia is famed for its honey. ‘Famed’ might not be the most obvious word to use in the same sentence as ‘Slovenia’, I know… Still, their honey is a national pride, and a very good one, too.

But first let me tell you a little about the country itself.

Slovenia is tiny, about the size of Wales. Like Wales, though, its inhabitants can boast that if it was laid flat, it would be much larger. The North is covered by mountains, grey and rocky, but rounded like the Italian Alps instead of the sharp crests of France. The South is a labyrinth of caves, chasms and pits that hang below the ground instead of towering over your head, filled with the glittering crystal of stalactites, so eerie they seem to have been versified into existence by and opium-addicted English poet. Covering that landscape are vast extends of forests, and where there are no forests anymore, there are orchards. Villages lost in the middle are so quiet and clean they don’t look real at all, and you can see ten metres deep into the greenish water of the rivers.

I know it doesn’t sound true. But it is.

There are so many things growing in Slovenia that the country is a paradise for bees. They are kept in places that look like massive chests of drawers, painted in many colours and sown between the mountain villages:

There was a time where peasants painted wooden boards with scenes from the Bible and everyday life and fairytales, and nailed them to the drawers. Some of them depicted young men fighting over a girl, or the devil sharpening a gossip’s tongue on a whetting wheel, a surprising design for a place where they made honey, one may think. Did they hope to make it sweeter in reaction to the biting sarcasm? I don’t know.

The hives are still there, all of them, and if you travel to any city, you will find honey everywhere. On little stalls on the market place. In shops entirely dedicated to honey. In vending machines in the middle of nowhere that sell raw milk and yogurt and cheese, and jars of the most delicious organic honey you can imagine. You can find purple honey that’s flavoured with blueberry juice, nuts and dried fruit floating in honey, honeycombs, honey wine, honey cakes. The jars are arranged on large shelves like watercolour tubes in an art shop, in a rainbow that looks so pretty you’re almost afraid to buy one jar for yourself, as if by taking only one you would lose the harmony of the sight. But you do, eventually.

I wonder what that honey country is like in the cold months, if the beehives look so bright, the honey stalls so sunny, the rivers and forests so delicious. Maybe I’ll go back and find out.
25 August 2010 @ 11:23 pm
Around these parts, contests tend to be settled by cat. In this case, I wrote everyone's name down on a small slip of paper - several slips of paper if you earned more than one entry - and folded them up into itty bitty, attractive little paper missiles. With a handful of paper, I caught my enormous tabby cat Tiger Jack's eye and deliberately scattered them to the floor.

Well, he was at my side from across the room in the blink of an eye, sniffing and looking at me, sniffing and looking at me - and then, in a trice, he'd hooked a single folded bit of paper out of the rest and thrown it to his other paw, revving up for a fantastic game of kitty hockey.

I stole it from him, of course, to see who'd won. (Don't feel sorry for him - he immediately grabbed another and dashed off to the nearest bit of linoleum, where he knows he gets better play.)

Without further ado, the winner of a lovely Papaveria Press trade edition of The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar is...


Dear lady, please private message me with your address by Monday and I'll have it in the mail to you first thing! Congratulations!

And thank you, everyone, who spread the word and introduced yourself and shared your creativity! I hope we can look forward to much more of the same to come.
25 August 2010 @ 05:16 pm
Hello, everyone! I am terribly sorry for the delay in picking a winner for a copy of Amal El-Mohtar's The Honey Month from Papaveria Press! I've just finished compiling the list of entrants and will be selecting the winner by random cat paw tonight. The winner will have until Monday to get me their address, and I'll ship then.
07 August 2010 @ 02:02 pm
They were four maidens, swimming in the tideless sea. They were maidens, but they were turned into islands.

Pirates from Greece and Barbary often swooped on the kingdom, yet the king let his daughters swim in the high sea, alone. His warriors liked to watch them from their ships, glittering like nereids, and hoped to catch a peek of their naked breasts, yet the king let them swim. It was said that the maidens could swim so fast that their hair turned into seaweed and their arms into foam, and if you tried to catch them your hands would close on sea water, and you would only hear their laugh.

One day the king heard bells, and saw foreign sails on the horizon. He ran to the shore and heard his daughters playing. The enemy sails
were approaching and he called out to them, Swim back!

They dove into the waves and darted to the shore. They were so far, the ships so close. And what king believes folk legends about seaweed and invisible girls?

So he prayed that the gods would spare his daughters’ honour. And all the time they swam, desperately. One, the fastest of all, was almost touching the shore. But her father prayed on. Soon the gods heard him: for the honour of a king’s daughters, they can be moved to act. One by one the girls froze. They swelled and rose in the waves, their bodies breaking, screaming in agony, engulfing the pirates’ ships in their death of rocks and salt. For they were dying; and the swiftest one gave one last cry to her father and clung to the shore and her arms turned to sand, and her pleading tears gathered in a bitter pool between them.

They’re maidens still, stranded in the deep sea. But they grew fruitful: like Daphne gave men her laurel leaves and Arethusa her sweet waters, their rocky limbs bore myrtles and arbustus trees. Summer or winter, they flower, green and fragrant with pines, shrub oaks and heather, and centuries have made them drowsy and appeased. Yet how could they forget how their father prayed on, when they called to him for mercy? How he gave up their lives while his warriors feasted in the port? The gods made the arbustus trees bloom with chaste white bells in their honour, every spring. But the islands couldn’t forget, and when the flowers turned to fruit, their berries were prickly, hard and tart, and bright red, like the blood the maidens never got to shed.

So the gods sent the bees and told them to turn the flowers into the whitest, sweetest honey they could make. But the bees knew how the maidens had been wronged, and thought that men shouldn’t forget. They harvested the thick white honey so the gods would be pleased, honey whose first taste was sweet on the tongue. Only after came the bitterness: a choking taste like poison, coating the throat, stinging the palate, yet mingled with such delicious softness that it is impossible not to taste it again, and again, until it is so bitter that the eyes fill with tears and the throat contracts into speechlessness, so strong is the taste of grief long forgotten, so pungent it made even the gods cry.

Thus the bees keep the memory of the island maidens.


This was inspired by the "legend" (thought it was probably made up somewhere in the 19th century) of the Iles d'Or, or Golden Islands, in Hyères, on the Mediterranean coast of France; and also by the very particular taste of arbutus honey. Plants from the Mediterranean shores are tough and fragrant, but not sweet, nor easy to appreciate; and arbutus honey is rather hard to find, although well worth the experience.

For those of you who have never seen one, here's what an arbutus (or "strawberry tree", although the Latin name sounds less trite) looks like:

arbutus tree with berries
02 August 2010 @ 01:03 pm
Hello, lovelies! So, how many of you would like a copy of The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar?

As you all know, no doubt, The Honey Month is a delicious collection of poetry and prose by tithenai, synthesizing the sensuous experience of honey with a kaleidoscope of dream worlds-- faerie-creatures and harbor-maids, fallen stars and kissing bees-- in a lambent creative fusion.

It is very easy to secure a chance to win this lovely trade edition from Papaveria Press! Observe:

1. Promote this community in your journal!
(Simple as that. Just leave a link here so I know where to look for your promotion.)

2. Introduce yourself to the community in our Meet the Muses thread!

3. Post a creative piece (poetry, prose, art, music, you name it) inspired by bees or honey to the community before August 16th!

You can do any or all of the above - each item accomplished will put your name in the hat. I'll draw the lucky winner on August 17th!

Note: Those of you who have already introduced yourselves or posted something creative, I'm retroactively including those as earned chances to win The Honey Month. If you already have a copy or don't want to be included in the drawing, just let me know.
27 July 2010 @ 04:37 pm
Even as I type this, our Other Mod, Amal, has an interview being aired with Alan Neal of CBC's All in a Day! He's talking to her about The Honey Month on Radio 1 (91.5 in Ottawa). If you're local, tune in now - it started at 4:30 PM!

For those of us who can't listen on the radio, there's a podcast at the station's website.

Also, this is as good a place as any to tease you: I happen to have an extra copy of The Honey Month languishing on my shelves, waiting to be claimed by its one true owner. Could that be you? Giveaway details go up tomorrow!