Monday, March 8, 2010

This Glitteratti Life (Part 5,284)


I'm still working hard on the Darger and Surplus novel, which is going like gangbusters and should be finished any day now.  As a result, I'm not engaged in a whole lot of exciting extra-curricular activity nowadays.  But last night Marianne and I had Bob Walters and Tess Kissinger (who, when they're not being our friends, are the mainstays of the Walters & Kissinger Studio -- click here to view some very cool dinosaur reconstruction art) over for dinner.  Much good conversation, and I won five bucks betting on the best-picture Oscar.

So I am content.

And a linguistics note . . . 

I was reading an article about Joanna Newsom in the NYTimes and (no coincidence) listening to one of her songs on YouTube yesterday.  Midway through the ensuing conversation, Marianne said, "Did you just use the term 'elfy-welfy'?"

"Yes," I said, surprised.  "Didn't you know it already?"

As it turned out, she didn't.  And if she didn't, perhaps it will be new to some of you.  So here's the definition:

Elfy-welfy:  adj.  Sentimentally fey; light and wifty; overfond of unicorns, rainbows, and sparkly gauze wings you can strap onto your back at an age when it's no longer cute.

Tolkien was never elf-welfy, though C.S. Lewis came close once or twice.  The phenomenon is not rare, however.  I've read (or, rather, begun) more elfy-welfy fantasy books than I care to think about.   Fortunately, time and trauma have mercifully blotted their names and those of their perpetrators from my memory.

Above:  Bob and Tess.  I swiped this picture from a Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting notice I found online.  I hope that's okay.



David Stone said...

And then there was the comic Elf-Quest, which one-upped "elfy-welfy" by combining it with New Age noble savages, peaceful villagers, psychic powers, wolves (that psychically communicate with their elf "partners") etc.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, if it's your cup of tea, of course... *ahem*

Lars said...

So that's Bob Walters.

He illustrated my one and only Analog story.

OK, my one and only story, period.

I was happy with what he did with it, though.

Michael Swanwick said...

Yeah, Bob was a great B&W SF illustrator. He gave it up because there was so little money in it. And here I forcibly stop myself from drawing larger conclusions about internet piracy of my work.

When Sean was young, he LOVED Elf-Quest, and this (along with other enthusiasms) taught me not to react to such things with knee-jerk elitist snobbery. Art which gives good people genuine pleasure is good.

There are a couple of exceptions to that last, but unfortunately, I hit the "Publish" button before I could type their names.

David Stone said...

I really liked EQ when I was in my tweens/early teens too (how could I rip on it so well if I hadn't read it?). A few years back I donated my collection of TPBs to the local friends of the library used bookstore. I hope they were found by some lucky kid who can appreciate them.