Canadian Orders: Flat-Rate Shipping on Orders over $75 | Orders Over $150 Ship Free!

Liquid error: Argument error in tag 'include' - Illegal template name
 

The Lost Words

The seeds of the idea for The Lost Words came from Robert’s earlier book, Landmarks. My idea was simple: to take some of the nature and landscape words from that book - common words that were falling from common usage - and make gold leaf, icon-like images on one page, with the dictionary definition on the opposite page. A wild dictionary, if you like. I wrote to Robert to ask if he might write the introduction. And this is where the book grew, because he saw something more, asking if I might work with him on a book.

So, it was Robert’s idea to make this a ‘spell-book’ – to have three spreads per word, the first marking a loss, a slipping away, the second being a summoning spell, and the third being the word spelled back into language, hearts, minds and landscape.

It took a while, working through other thoughts and ideas, before we reached this point. But how to illustrate an absence from language? That was the problem. And finding the solution was where the work lay.

Sometimes it seemed obvious. Sometimes it took a week of walking and worrying away at a problem to find an answer. And I think that the words and images each informed the other.

Now and again, if I moved ahead, I would have to redraft. I thought one day, when I was stuck on a problem, that I would just paint the raven idol. After all, what could Robert write that would make me paint it any differently?

Then his raven flew into my inbox, and from that moment I could only work on the raven, redrafting my images. I wrote out the words, and they flew in my dreams. I’d just picked up my puppy, Pi. We walked up the hill to watch the ravens fly and she ran away and off and over the hill, and when I called her she came back, with a raven feather in her mouth. A gift from the wild. The perfect answer to the unvoiced question I was asking the ravens. Wild magic.


Related Items