The Gap Between Good and Evil

Jack looked around the dark, tight space. He looked up and loose dirt sprinkled into his eyes. He was utterly, utterly alone. “Oh no,“ Jack said. “This won’t do at all.“

And, without even trying to, Jack made the world.

—Kelly Barnhill, The Mostly True Story of Jack

In any case, Arnold Fiske couldn’t shut up about it.

By noon the next day, the whole town knew. And the whole town talked about it.

A Sasquatch. The widow and a Sasquatch. Ain't that just a kick in the pants.

Two days later, the pair had been spotted in public, walking along the railroad tracks.

And again, picking their way across the bog.

And again, standing in the back of the crowd, at a liquidation auction. The Sasquatch sometimes wore Mr. Sorensen's old seed hat and boots (he had cut out holes for his large, flexible toes), and sometimes wore the dead man's scarf. But never his pants. Not even some kind of shorts. Or, dear god, at least some swimming trunks. The Sasquatch was in possession, thankfully, of a bulbous thicket of fur, concealing the area of concern, but everyone knew what was behind the fur, and they knew it would only take a stiff breeze, or a sudden movement, or perhaps the presence of a female Sasquatch to cause a, how would you say—a shaking of the bushes, as it were. Or a parting of the weeds. People kept their eyes averted, just to be safe.

—Kelly Barnhill, "Mrs. Sorensen and the Sasquatch"

If you can make a passage about Sasquatch dick be delightful, you are my kind of person. Kelly Barnhill, one day I hope to give you a hug.

Show me your heart

When Violet woke, she could hardly move. The ground beneath her feet was uncannily warm, as was the breeze blowing into her face. Her right arm hurt to bend, and her eyes were swollen shut.

“What’s happened?” she said to no one in particular, noticing with some distaste that the breeze blowing at her smelled uncannily like sulfur.


—Kelly Barnhill, Iron Hearted Violet

The magic wanted to be used.

"Wolf," Áine said.

The wolf whined and dropped the rope over the edge.

"If this is just a ruse to make sure you can eat me later, "Ned heard Áine say, "I will never forgive you." Ned saw the rope go taut, pulling against the knot on the tree.

Hand over hand over hand, Áine pulled herself over the edge of the cliff, and began walking her way up the slope, still holding onto the rope.

Ned's heart thundered in his chest. Be safe, he pleaded to Áine. Be safe, he urged the wolf.

You know, the magic began.

"SILENCE," Ned ordered.

And the magic was silent. And that feeling—both wonderful and terrible—from the swirl of the magic begin to ease. It was dangerous, that magic. And no matter how hard anyone tried to force it to do good, it wasn't enough.

It wasn't good.

Still. As Áine came closer and closer, he knew that no matter how wicked the magic was, he would use it again to save her. Again and again and again. Even the wicked can do one good, brave thing.

She is alive, he thought. She is alive, she is alive, she is still alive. Though he hardly knew her, and though he knew, as certain as he knew that his feet touched the earth and not the sky, that she was not his friend, not really, his heart soared all the same.

He reached out his hand to Áine, and she took it.

—Kelly Barnhill, The Witch's Boy

This woman writes kid stories that remind me of how to be a man. I hope to thank her in person one day.

In Which Luna Tells a Story


Once upon a time there was a girl who had memories that followed her like shadows. They whispered like ghosts. She could not look them in the eye.

Once upon a time there was a man in a robe with a face like a vulture.

Once upon a time there was a woman on the ceiling.

Once upon a time there was black hair and black eyes and a righteous howl. Once upon a time a woman with hair like snakes said, She is mine, and she meant it. And then they took her away.

Once upon a time there was a dark tower that pierced the sky and turned everything gray.

Yes. This is all one story. This is my story. I just don’t know how it ends.

Once upon a time, something terrifying lived in the woods. Or perhaps the woods were terrifying. Or perhaps the whole world is poisoned with wickedness and lies, and it’s best to learn that now.

No, Fyrian, darling. I don’t believe that last bit, either.

—Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon

This book. This perfect, perfect book.