Thursday, January 05, 2006


I'm happy to report that Kate Bernheimer has taken my 4,500-word essay "The Third Bear" for her essay collection, Brothers and Beasts, to be published by Wayne State University Press in the Fall of 2006. Other contributors (I believe) include Charles de Lint, Robert Coover, Christopher Barzak, Gregory Maguire, Neil Gaiman, Ben Rosenbaum, etc. It's the companion volume to a volume of essays on fairytales by women writers, and will be taught by universities across the country. Below find a little teaser of the essay. I'm pretty pleased with it.

In other news, I'm working through various deadlines but hope to have New Year's photos up soon, along with a bunch of interviews and other interesting things.



THE THIRD BEAR--excerpt from Part I


The first bear may be uncouth, but not unkind, despite appearances. His English isn’t good and he lives alone in a cottage in the forest, but no one can say he doesn’t try. If he didn’t try, if the idea of trying, and thus of restraint, were alien to him, the first bear wouldn’t live in a cottage at all. He’d live in the deep forest and all anyone would see of him, before the end, would be hard eyes and the dark barrel of his muzzle. The third bear would be so much in him that no first bear would be left.

The first bear is a man’s man, or, rather, a bear’s bear: “golden brown, with enormous claws on his padded feet and sharp, pure-white fangs bigger than a person’s hands, and eyes a startling blue.” This bear smells like mint and blueberries, and his name is Bear.

One day, a girl named Masha gets lost in the woods. Bear finds her and takes her back to his cottage. He refuses to show her the way home, for his cottage is a mess and, as I may have mentioned, so is his English. Masha can help him with both disasters, although she isn’t happy about the situation. She thinks Bear is the creature her parents warned her about when they told her not to go into the forest. But Bear is the first bear, not the third bear. In an odd way, Bear has saved her from the third bear.

Of course, Masha doesn’t see it that way—and why should she? It’s largely a matter of degree, and not just because she can’t imagine what worse might happen to her. Bear is gruff with Masha, makes her work long hours, and ignores her pleas to be shown the way back to her village. As far as Masha’s concerned, this is as bad as it gets...