It's Julie here from Black Mermaid Productions (or Black Mermaid or BMP however you've come to know us best). I'm the writing half of the creative team. Storytelling is my domain, plus the majority of our website material, which is my contribution to the business of Black Mermaid.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. I'm sort of the 'country mouse' to Jozef's 'town mouse' – I live in rural farming district about 60km out of Sydney while Jozef lives in the heart of the city. The mouse reference is tied to an old Scandinavian folk tale, which I remember from a beloved children's anthology The World's Best Fairy Tales, edited by Belle Becker Sideman and illustrated by Fritz Kredel (published by Readers Digest in 1967). The story is about two mice that enjoy each other's worlds on mutual visits but also face each other's challenges and adversaries during their house swap so to speak. The final theme is rather like The Wizard of Oz – there's no place like home.
Well Jozef and I also share that view to some extent – we love our respective homes although we do enjoy visiting each other during our various business meetings or story sessions. My studio overlooks a line of gum trees filled with willy wag tails and blue wrens. The hill behind them slopes down to a dam that has recently broken its banks from the constant rain we've had over the last few months. We don't begrudge it a bit – we've had drought conditions in the three or so years preceding 2007/08 where the paddocks were reduced to straw and dust. Now the grass is lush, beautiful and thigh high. My studio is the official Black Mermaid business address, while our official postal address is in the city about 15 minutes walk from Jozef's office. His apartment is bursting with art books, comics, action figures, dolls and other reference material. My studio is also filled with books and publications of a different type – my entire collection of The Fortean Times magazines and countless book on forensics, myths and legends, the elemental world, personal growth and therapy and a whole bunch of graphic novels.
As I write I have two tiny 4 week old kittens that are sipping milk near my feet. I am an avid animal lover and I am particularly connected to cats (possibly because I'm both a Leo and was also born in the Year of the Tiger). These yet unnamed kittens were dumped in a box on a neighbour's front yard less than a week ago. She would have taken them in, except that she flew off to Alaska last Sunday for a six month stint on a ranch. One of the kittens is a champagne colour; the other is a patchy grey. They were completely traumatised when I got them – now I am happy to say they purr and do roll overs when I give them a cuddle. They fit in the palm of my hand. (I'll keep you posted on their progress, along with the five slightly older feral kittens I'm also fostering on another part of the farm. These ones are robust, roly poly and positively bursting with cheekiness. They are all looking for good homes. Hint! Hint! to cat lovers living in Sydney and its surrounds).
Oh, and if you aren't yet singing the title to this particular blog item yet, it comes from a song from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King and I (besides being a book lover – a nice piece of alliteration there, so be impressed, be very impressed – I LOVE Broadway and Hollywood musicals!).