Monday, November 4, 2013

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness -- Sometimes The Lady Flew Without Me....
"The lady flies for a lifetime and more, landing when the growing earth calls to her, flying when it does not. Both are enjoyable, and enjoyment is, despite her tears, something she seems to have an aptitude for. She grants absolution wherever she lands, piercing hearts with her forgiveness, for of what do we ever ask forgiveness if not our offences against joy?
"The world enters its adolescence, the land stitching itself together into a recognizable whole, though not without its pains and eruptions. She does not avoid the volcanoes when they spew, recognizing in them the same anger as the water, of effort directed outward, into nothing...
"Not long, she tells the volcanoes. 'Not long before your reach will dig its long muscles into the earth, binding it tightly as a world. One arm clasping another clasping another, holding the burden of life on your collective shoulders. Not long."

The Crane Wife
By Patrick Ness

An original Japanese folk tale of the crane wife was the basis upon which Patrick Ness penned his latest novel, with added inspiration from the Decemberists, The Crane Wife 1 and 2, as well as the 

unique work of Sue Blackwell, although her work in no way correlates with what is described in the novel. While the front cover more nearly represents, and perhaps is, her work, the work described in the novel was with feathers and word cutouts...but there was also magic therein...

"There was no solution then. It was too cold. He
was too cold. The arrow obviously too thick and
strong. It might as well have been made of iron.
The crane was going to die. This reed made of
stars was going to die right here, in his sad little
back garden.
"A tidal wave of failure washed over him. Was
there another way? Was there any other way at
all? He turned back to the door to his kitchen,
still open, letting out every bit of meagre warmth
from the house. Could he carry the crane back
inside? Could he lift it and get it there without
hurting it further?
"The crane, for its part, seemed to have already
given up on him, to have already judged him, as
so many others had, as a pleasant enough man,
but lacking that certain something, that extra
little ingredient to be truly worth investing in.
It was a mistake women often seemed to make.
He had more female friends, including his ex-
wife, than any straight man he knew. The trouble
was they'd all started out as lovers, before
realizing he was too amiable to take quite

I say that sometimes the story flew without me, because the fantasy, the story line will never, I don't think, be truly interpreted from what the author intended. It is complicated, intense, and moves, really, from one story to another. One almost an unworldly fantasy; the other attempting to fantasize within the world... Both about love, I was told, but I could not always see nor relate to that other world.

A world where a crane and a volcano share a life--a love/hate relationship that can never be, but also seems not to be able to be terminated... Perhaps it is a tale of the earth itself? Still, in my fantasy unworlds, I would probably have an ocean loving a volcano rather than a bird...LOL...

The crane was born of a cloud... add that to your contemplation of this part of the story... if it works for you, leave me a comment as to your thoughts... I couldn't fully interpret the need or reason for this alternative story...

Now the worldly story is quite imaginative and intriguing. The crane, it seems, was hurt by an arrow, and arrives in the garden of a man, George, who runs a print shop. George awakes one night to hear something, a kind of keening... Finally, he goes outside and sees the bird, but she is no longer making a noise. Still he thinks that it was the bird and moves to help her... He breaks the arrow, pulls it free, and with little delay, the crane attempts to use her wings and flies off... But not never to be seen again...

Quite soon a woman came into his shop; her name was

And, that day, everything changed...

George is divorced with a daughter who is also divorced. Amanda has a son, J.P. who is obviously the center of their world and loved tremendously. J.P.'s father lives in France, so they don't see him frequently, but he, too, works to keep in touch...

It is a life without color, with joy coming only from the young child. There is a past, perhaps not totally of bitterness, but not one that can lend joyful memories to bring out when needed.

The alternate story, of the crane representing forgiveness and the volcano representing the heat of anger is basically an easy correlation, So, when Kumiko comes into their lives--a shapeshifter, you know, LOL--it is easy to follow her magical touch of forgiveness.

But forgiveness can only fulfill some part of a human... There is the search for, the seeking of love, the love of two individuals for each other. From the past, we can surmise that George will easily give his heart to Kumiko,.. But can Kumiko love in return?

There is one amazing scene that still disturbs me, when George breaks into see Kumiko pulling feathers from her body, it bleeding in response... which is similar to the original story, and she flies away, ending the tale. You see, here, she had brought miniatures to his shop to frame in some way, and when she saw a book cutting made by George, she immediately saw the potential merge of the two works--and they became quite famous and wealthy... But did this represent her love for George? Was she leaving her former world behind, thus using her own feathers? I ponder this, even now, after the book has ended...

For me, an individual who looks to the words to tell me the "total" story, I wanted more, even as symbolically, the story ended... I wanted words, her words...but never received them... or I want to believe she's out there...
still flying...

As a child
I was born on an army base called Fort Belvoir, near Alexandria, Virginia, in the United States. My father was a drill sergeant in the US Army, but much nicer than that makes him seem. I only stayed at Fort Belvoir for the first four months of my life and have never even been back to the East Coast of America. We moved to Hawaii, where I lived until I was almost six. I went to kindergarten there, and we used to have field trips down to Waikiki Beach. I once picked up a living sea urchin and got about a hundred needle pricks in the palm of my hand. I made up stories all the time as a kid, though I was usually too embarrassed to show them to anybody.
As an adult
I've only ever really wanted to be a writer. I studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and when I graduated, I got a job as a corporate writer at a cable company in Los Angeles, writing manuals and speeches and once even an advertisement for the Gilroy, California Garlic Festival. I got my first story published in Genre magazine in 1997 and was working on my first novel, The Crash of Hennington, when I moved to London in 1999. I've lived here ever since. I taught Creative Writing at Oxford University for three years, usually to students older than I was.
As an artist
So far, I've published two books for adults, a novel called The Crash of Hennington and a short story collection called Topics About Which I Know Nothing, a title which seemed funny at the time but less so 10,000 mentions later... Here's a helpful hint if you want to be a writer: When I'm working on a first draft, all I write is 1000 words a day, which isn't that much (I started out with 300, then moved up to 500, now I can do 1000 easy). And if I write my 1000 words, I'm done for the day, even if it only took an hour (it usually takes more, of course, but not always). Novels are anywhere from 60,000 words on up, so it's possible that just sixty days later you might have a whole first draft. The Knife of Never Letting Go is 112,900 words and took about seven months to get a good first draft. Lots of rewrites followed. That's the fun part, where the book really starts to come together just exactly how you see it, the part where you feel like a real writer.
Things you didn't know about Patrick Ness
1. I have a tattoo of a rhinoceros.
2. I have run two marathons.
3. I am a certified scuba diver.
4. I wrote a radio comedy about vampires.
5. I have never been to New York City but...
6. I have been to Sydney, Auckland and Tokyo.
7. I was accepted into film school but turned it down to study writing.
8. I was a goth as a teenager (well, as much of a goth as you could be in Tacoma, Washington and still have to go to church every Sunday).
9. I am no longer a goth.
10. Under no circumstances will I eat onions.
Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Book One of the trilogy, won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize. The Ask and The Answer, the second book in the trilogy won the Costa Children's Book Award 2009. The third book, Monsters of Men, is released in September 2010.
He has also written a novel (The Crash of Hennington) and a short story collection (Topics About Which I Know Nothing) for adults, has taught Creative Writing at Oxford University, and is a literary critic for the Guardian. Born in Virginia, he lives in London.

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