"The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed, And the crack in the teacup opens A lane to the land of the dead."

-W.H. Auden

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Enchanted World

If three mystical references to 1987 weren't enough already, tonight I give you The Enchanted World.

I don't know for sure when these books first began to be published (even wikipedia dates them to a vague "the 80's") but for me they figure importantly in my memories of that year.

The Enchanted World series was only available through mail-order, and - having always been one to burn the midnight oil - I recall seeing the rather intriguing commercials in the wee hours of the night. There were several, but this was my favorite:
They were beautiful books which (alas) did not fit into our budget, but my cousin Anna's parents were more indulgent. The books were sent one per month, and by the the time I arrived at Anna's house that Summer, she had several. Wizards and Witches, Fairies and Elves, Ghosts, Night Creatures, Dragons, and Water Spirits, I think she had by then. They were Anna's prized possession, and of course I dove right into them.

They were utterly fascinating, not the least because they were chock full of art.
So much of this, to me, blended with the atmosphere of Anna's house, and of course the mysterious aura of Anna herself. We'd burn incense - Gonesh #6 Perfumes From Ancient Times (mine, bought from the hippie record shop*) or violet Spiritual Sky (hers, bought at the renaissance faire). In fact, the combined scents from all the incense we had stored in Anna's room made the entire hallway smell like a temple. Add in Anna's lace tablecloth cloak, her glowing-eyed anthropomorphic tree and Stevie Nicks' Blue Lamp  and you may start to get a clear picture of what things were like that Summer, down near the ocean where ghosts drift close at hand.

I don't know how many volumes of The Enchanted World Anna eventually collected. It was maybe 14 or so before she stopped. I was never able to order a set of my own, but happily, years later, my mother-in-law gave me her old set. All the favorites are there, with the exception of Night Creatures. It pays to marry into a family of bookworms.
Lacking Night Creatures, It's one of my hopes this year to procure a copy. Then one day I'll pass the books on to my own children.

Not quite yet, though.

*Sundance Records In San Marcos, when they were in the little shop downtown. Where I'd once bumped awkwardly into Stevie Ray Vaughan (I didn't recognize him at first because he wasn't dressed like a pimp.)

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