The Mid-autumn festival in China venerates 嫦娥 (Cháng’é), the moon goddess. Like the rituals in last week’s post, the folktales about her reflect the season’s liminality and uncertainties, as she moves from mortality to immortality, from living on earth to living on the moon.
Autumn is a liminal season, and so we turn to festivals that celebrate limninal spaces: summer and winter, birth and death, wandering and belonging, time past and time future, heaven and hell.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering here about stories that speak from wounded, devastated earth—that come out of a place of suffering together with the world we inhabit.
“The world is made of dirt. A rock doesn’t have feelings.” The flaccid man in the documentary glared out of …
As I was working on research for something else entirely, I stumbled upon a collection of Monguor folktales, collected from …
Lately, my thoughts on folktale have been turning primarily around questions of space and landscape—the ways in which the places we live and how we treat those spaces shape the stories we tell. We draw our stories from the natural world, just as we perhaps draw our desire to create and imitate nature in our creations from a rarified instinct towards making things.
Every day at 5.30 p.m., just outside the university campus where I live, someone blows up a mountain.
The new issue of Unsettling Wonder ‘Why Would Anyone Enchant That?’ is now available. A little girl accidentally turns the sky …