As you may know, I have not taken off my Lost Boys and Lovers jewels since I received them in the beginning of this, my birthday month. In addition to being stuck in my ways and firm in my opinions and tastes, I put a lot of weight in words (in case you haven't noticed yet...).
The title of this particular one of Sadie's lovely shops got me thinking about about what I might name my place of business (And believe me, there are plans for one...) It's such a lovely, evocative name. Just as shop names, pet names, and kid names (even though those are perhaps not quite comparable), blog-titles are often seem as though a great deal of thought went into them, that there's a story in there, and it might be an interesting one.
Three years ago when I started this here blog, its name came to me almost instantly, though as you can tell by the URL, it originally started out under a different name and was in fact an entirely different log.
As I was writing (read: procrastinating on) my final paper and waiting for my visa I thought to post on feminist-centric culture, Girl Art, as it were, but after a few tries discovered that I rather thought of the blog more as a virtual scrap-book than a series of carefully meditated posts on a single topic.
As you know I did not entirely scrap my original idea, but rather expanded upon it wildly and with reckless abandon. If you asked me today what this log was about, I'd still be hard pressed to answer, though I think the tag-line still stands: Musings On Books, Woods and Other Obsessions. Personally I'd like a little more book, but there certainly have been plenty of woods and a multitude of other obsessions.
My second blog was also easy to name, and I while I was happy to integrate the two (and this has certainly made for a lovely year of blogging), one of the sad things about it was loosing a name so fitting for our life here.
Still, I never considered changing the name of this blog. My filmmaker boss once asked me what fairy-tale most describes me as a person, and though I had not thought of it as such, it is a rather loaded question. Fairy-tales, as we all know, are archetypes, they represent a part of our collective human psyche that we can only access on the most primal level.
Repeated through time, they are so ingrained into us, that though their original meanings have been lost, they still have the power to move us, inhabit our bodies and make our spines tingle. The Girl Who Married A Bear is one of the universal myths in which a young woman is wed to a beast, often an earthly manifestation of an otherworldly beast, a demi-god, an ancestor spirit. Interestingly enough the myth spans both the parts of the world I've lived in stretching from the Baltic over the Ural to these Pacific shores.
In it, a young woman invariably gets lost in the forest and meets a bear, sometimes one that can transform into a man, he takes her as his wife and a litter of children is born to them. Later, the woman brakes some sort of taboo and some hunters (often her own brothers) come to kill her husband. They take her and her children (cubs) to their village (often her own village), but she can no longer live as a human. In the end the woman transforms into a bear and takes her brood back to the woods with her.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have felt a connection to this story, but it was only Gary Snyder's interpretation of the myth that truly explained its appeal to me. In his brilliant collection of essays The Practice Of The Wild Snyder argues that the girl, the woman is already half-way into the forest-world, because she chooses to brake the rules that keep humans safe, chooses at least in part to enter it.
Snyder explains that the woman intuitively bridges the gap between the two worlds. That she is the manifestation of that wild yearning that seems to be a part of the human condition itself: the wish to return to our true home, the one in the forest, the water, the sky.
Long before I married my Ursine husband, (who has been given bear charms and called one since his teenage years,) and travelled West, this was a very good description of me; someone suspended between realms, able to see both but never fully enter either. Though the story does not tell, I imagine the Bear-girl herself remained part human even after she made her decision. Able to see into the other world, the world her brothers, mother, friends and family still inhabited, she might be sitting on a mountain top looking down at the fire lights, filled with longing.
There you have it. I am the girl who married a bear, and have been for close to three years already. Very little about this blog has changed, though of course it has evolved in both subject matter and style. The look of it certainly has remained almost exactly the same, safe for a slight modification on width. Until today.
Like I said before, I don't believe in messing around (with perfection;), certainly not when it comes to something as uninspiring (to me) as blog-templates. I like simplicity, and have felt that I had the look pretty much nailed with the image of a little girl offering something (perhaps herself?) to a bear cub. (It's actually a donut, just so you know. A way to a man's heart is through his stomach.)
Still, with 3 years of blogging and all, along with the biggest, bestest blog-related event ever on the horizon, I figured a little change couldn't hurt. Right. Boy did I choose the worst time possible to dick-around with my blogger-header image. And Mercury isn't even in retrograde...
I'm eventually planning go back to the picture of the little Alaskan girl, but until blogger fixes its little snafu, you get to have your say between these lovely Girl and Bear images I have been contemplating. I am rather impartial to one, but would love to hear your opinion.
These last four are from this mesmerizing book, which chronicles the relationship between the pre-Christian Finns and the ancient forests that were their native environment.
Though our pagan roots and polytheistic plethora of deities are long gone from our collective consciousness (though perhaps not the collective unconscious.), much of it still remains in folk-tales, customs and even place-names. The ancient Finns considered the bear, who's name as such could never be spoken, to be their ancestor, the spirit of the forest who was surrounded by many taboos and called by many pet-names, so as not to invite his presence.
Having come full circle back to the names and naming I would like to hear from you about your stories and inspirations in naming your logs and leave you with this further explanation of mine, far more eloquent than I could ever write.
"He was human to her. And so she entered the in-between world, not exactly human, not exactly animal, where the rain might look like fire, and fire might be rain. And he put her more sharply, more solidly, into it, patting her on the head so she forgot. They went under the tangled windfalls, and when they came out they had passed beneath a range of mountains. Each days is a month, or years. But she didn't entirely forget. We are always in both worlds, because they aren't really two." -Gary Snyder: The Practice Of The Wild-