Lily in Autumn

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris

Tigress by Ellen Tsagaris
This is a story of Jack the Ripper with at Twist!

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name

Ellen Tsagaris' The Bathory Chronicles; Vol. I Defiled is My Name
This is the first of a trilogy retelling the true story of the infamous countess as a youn adult novel. History is not always what it seems.

Wild Horse Runs Free

Wild Horse Runs Free
A Historical Novel by Ellen Tsagaris

With Love From Tin Lizzie

With Love From Tin Lizzie
Metal Heads, Metal Dolls, Mechanical Dolls and Automatons

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The Legend of Tugfest

The Legend of Tugfest
Dr. E is the Editor and A Contributor; proceeds to aid the Buffalo Bill Museum



Like My Spider

Like My Spider
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Little Girl with Doll
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A Jury of her Peeps
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Opie Cat's Ancestors
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First Thanksgiving Dinner
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Autumn Still Life
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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fracking, Musa, and Organic Groceries

Fracking, Underwater Sculptures of Cancun, and Organics for 2012 On this eve of New Years Eve, several interesting stories come up for those who wish to live green or who just cre of the environment. Sunday Morning today featured stories on Fracking and Underwater sculptures in Cancun, which were an attempt to protect the coral reefs. Also, our favorite natural food coop, Pioneer Foods, had some interesting new product. http://www.cbsnews.com/sunday-morning/ Fracking is the process of drilling shale for the natural gas inside of it. If we mine it, there will be enough natural gas for the next 100 years. In the process, however, the groundwater may be contaminated with natural gas. Those who mine for the gas companies have now begun testing before and after they drill; they find that most domestic waters they test already have methane in them, even before drilling begins. The underwater sculptures of Cancun are also a measure to help preserve water related life, the barrier reefs off the coast. A British sculptor. Jason Taylor, casts life-sized statues of real Cancun inhabitants who are cast, and then pose for him. He finishes them off in heavy duty concrete, and then sets them 25 feet down in the water. Sea life then adds barnacles and sea plants so that the eerie inhabitants of stone look like marine topiaries. At 9 feet deep, he has created sculptures of tables, chairs, a VW beetle, and other objects familiar to our culture. It looks like someone stumbled on Atlantis. http://www.aquaworld.com.mx/underwatermuseum.html This time I strolled leisurely through Pioneer Foods and noted that the whole store now contains organic and recycled products. There are even organic sanitary pads and tampons, some in printed cloth, and these are called “Party in my Pants,” and cost a whopping $12.50 each. Not many of these products are cheap; organic, free-range eggs are $3.99 per dozen, about 2-3 dollars more than regular eggs. There were some sales, though, and some items compared favorably. For example, organic hair conditioner was on sale for $6.79, while the Biolage I buy, though more in content costs about $16.00. The organic conditioner is more concentrated, though; I may come out even. I bought a slice of goats milk soap, scented with Frankincense and Myrrh, for $5.79. The same size slice cost me $11.00 at Heritage Natural Foods a year ago. Our Radish magazine had many interesting green articles, too, including one on responsible recycling. There were adds for chocolate festivals and book fairs, as well as various pieces on organic farming and recipes. 60 mins. Will feature a story on brain directed robotics, right up there for my research on automatons and artificial intelligence. Happy New Year to all of Us! May it bring peace to the world.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Ideas for Writing Holiday Memories

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: Ideas for Writing Holiday Memories: Here are some tips and prompts for recording Holiday memories, illustrated, scrapbooked, blogged, written, etc: 1. Read Capote's "A Christm...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy New Year and Photos from Cinicnatti; Long Aw...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy New Year and Photos from Cinicnatti; Long Aw...: I was at an estate sale today, and ran into an old friend. She used to have a shop called De Kleine Winkle, or Little Store. Oh the dolls ...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas and God Bless us Everyone this year of turmoil and controversy. I spent the evening with friends, and old teacher or two, their families and friends with a wonderful, traditional dinner, the first I've had this season. i\I met a wonderful young girl who was also a talented chef and who brought the most amazing rum balls, born of her own self-descrbed disaster with black/white cookies and the wrong oven. I haven't cooked much, not ye3t, but I love to talk and invent recipes. Kianna, the chef, has wonderful adaptations of dim sun, and waffles with chicken , and pate and duck comfit gravy, her version of biscuits and gravy. As far as some tidbits go, I am happy to see that Hallmark gift bags are over 40% recyclable materials. I wrote many cards, and will this year start a tradition of sending new year cards, a new/old tradition that the Victorians and others used and sent for many years, and New Years was an occasion for sending cards bnad giving gifts before then. Etrennes were New Year's gifts, specialites at French dept. stores like the Lourvre in Paris. "Friends" featured a poster advertising these etrennes on their set. I gave to charities, and we had toys for tots at school. We also sent gifts to the Sun Valley Indian School, our "kids" in AZ. I made some gifts, and sent them early, but met with many financial difficulties and other issues this year. The Sandy Hook tragedy changed Xmas for everyone, and it happened on a night filled with wonderful memories, like my first giymnastics meet at 15, Spanish Club Xmas Parties with my mom and her Spanish Club, these were sometimes at restaurants like Chichis, Tortilla Flats, Chimis, and sometimes in the high ceilinged biology classroom at her school, with pinants, and candy. We spent all year traveeling and finidng miniatures to use. This season, I live with the ghosts of Xmas past. Our family home, once full of Xmas cheer, is now silent. My dad never liked the holidys, and now he has a reason not to celebrate. We eat together, but nothing festive, even if I offer to cook. There are no trees or lights, just a small pewter tree shaped candleholder decorated with symbols of the twelve days of Xmas, and a matching pewter santa, both under one foot tall. These I sneak into my old bedroom; they stay in my hope chest which is still there the rest of the year. Presents are few and far inbetween, but I still send them to family around the country, even the world. These are my mom's traditions, and I carry them on. A rotator cuff injury and my bad hand keep from writing more, but Bless all who read my blogs, and all who write, and who inspireme. A blessed 2013 to all!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Bathory 2008, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Long...

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Bathory 2008, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Long...: On this first of December, anniversary of my grandmother Ellen’s death 11 years ago, [she was 98, only admitted to 94, died suddenly after a...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rumer Godden at MMLA, The Secret Garden and Gardens in General

Children’s Lit; Section C - All I really Needed to Know Rumer Godden’s Adaptation of Iconic Themes in Adult and Children’s Literature Intro: in one of her autobiographies, A House with Four Rooms, Godden mentions four poems by Emily Dickinson, and then writes her own tribute to the poet. (cf The Bell of Amherst by William Luce). In Stanza 2 of “Elegy for Emily,” Godden writes, “The Irish workers, her Friends and servants, Conducted her funeral like a game, Some grave children’s celebration, The toecaps of their black boots, Burnished with buttercups,” And then of Dickinson says, It is she who remains, and weak Alone, are the departed:” In “At the Grave of Emily Dickinson,” Godden writes, “I know you are with me, As always, with these words I write To one who was also not altogether Of this world \” (4 Rooms Appendix pp. 316-19). I’ve been a fan of Rumer Godden since that fateful day when my mother took me into Interstate Book World and bought me my first copy of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. That literary love affair continued to blossom as I discovered her many other books for children and adults. As a graduate student, I wrote to her as part of my dissertation project, and I received a letter back, full of both information and inspiration, and she was writing from Greece, where I was born and had visited. She and I shared many interests, and she, and her friend and her sometime illustrator Tasha Tudor, another of my correspondents, were my muses in more ways than one. All three of us shared interests in children’s literature, gardens, the work of Frances Hodgson Burnett, and dolls houses. The older I got, the more I went back to read their children’s works, and indeed, I never did put away “childish things.” She is an eclectic writer, comfortable with poetry, journalism, fiction, nonfiction, biography, adult or children’s literature, and as Hassell Simpson writes in his Twayne study, Rumer Godden, “As a child, Rumer Godden had found that ‘writing’ need not conform to the immutable laws of the real world” (32). Godden had three sisters; her parents were Arthur and Katherine Godden, and though close to Jon, her older sister, she “believed she never quite fitted into her family structure” like many of her characters, including Nona Fell of MHMF and Bertrand in HITS, or Keiko in GGFH. She spent most of her childhood in what was then Bengal, India, now Bangladesh, and hers was an expatriate family living in a big house in Naraynaganj, affected deeply by Indian life and culture (Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). She went back and forth between England and India for several years. Once back in England, she missed Indian life very much, so that Nona Fell is a portrait of the author (Le-Guilcher). Her headmistress, Mona Swann at her Eastbourne school, mentored her and encouraged her writing and maybe the model for similar mentors of young girls that appear in TDH, MHMF, LP, and PAFL. As a writer, Godden has enjoyed wide and universal appeal, though she is not widely in print, or read today in The United States. As Lucy Le-Guilcher writes in her introduction to her critical anthology of essays on Godden, she “resembles . . . other marginalized women writers whose careers began in the heyday of high modernism and who continued to write decades after World War II”(Le-Quilcher 2010). Le Guilcher mentions Stevie Smith, Phyllis Bottome, Storm Jameson, betty Miller and Olivia Manning, but I would add Barbara Pym, Hazel Holt, and Elizabeth Taylor. LeGuilcher also considers Godden a transnational writer, along with “other Anglo-colonial and expatriate writers, including Phyllis Shand Allfrey, Elspeth Husxley, Jean Rhys, and Katherine Mansfield” (Le-Guilcher 2010). Godden herself might add her friend M.M. Kaye, author of The Far Pavilions, to this list. Her “imaginative vision” is often compared to James Hilton’s Lost Horizon (Ibid). Several of Godden’s novels have been made into films, like cult classic Black Narcissus, The River, In this House of Brede, Enchantment, and the children’s animated classics, The Story of Holly and Ivy and The Dolls House. (See Le-Guilcher, Introduction 2010). Not only is Godden prolific, she is well versed in many genres including “novels, short fiction, poetry, illustrated books about Indian culture and mythology, biography, and autobiography” (Le-Guilcher 2010), and she has written over 60 books for children and adults. As Le-Guilcher writes, “ the most causal glance at her bibliography reveals her appeal to readers and filmgoers of all ages” (Le-Guilcher 2010). The themes she explores in her adult and children’s literature deal with colonial relations, British and Indian women’s roles in the 19th and 20th centuries, and “religious consciousness” (Le-Guilcher, Introduction 2010). Godden is also noted for writing literature for both children and adults with each type of fiction influencing the other. In works like Peacock Spring and Black Narcissus, she often uses the icons and images of childhood to add suspense or pathos to her work. In children’s works like A Dolls House and Home is the Sailor; she places the toy characters in situations that involve adult themes of suspense, betrayal, physical abuse, violence and murder. In other words, Godden seeks to make her adult literature more childlike, but her children’s literature more sinister and often sad. The author will use Godden’s novels and also personal correspondence from Godden to the author to explore these themes. Furthermore, Godden pays homage to Frances Hodgson Burnett both adult and children’s literature, especially when she writes about gardens and orphans. Indeed, Burnett was a great influence on her, (Simpson 102). the influence of The Secret Garden is most prevalent in An Episode of Sparrows. Burnett was one of Godden’s favorite childhood authors, and she remembered clearly the first time she read The Secret Garden, even though it had been over fifty years before (102). While she and her sisters lived in India, they had borrowed a copy of TSG, but had to give it back before they could finish it. Later, they received a box of books form England which contained “the familiar green volume which they eagerly devoured “(102). According to Godden, “its style was ‘dreadful ’--but pompous style and improbably plot did not matter so much. What mattered as the sense of life, of interesting life at that” (Godden quoted in Simpson 102). But in praise of the book and its author, who like Godden, loved children, India, dolls, fairy tales and dollhouses, Godden said, “Anyone who has much to do with children knows that a naughty or disagreeable heroine is far more interesting than a good one,” and cf Mary Lenox of THESG who is orphaned and must live with her uncle, “Is there anything you want? Her misanthropic uncle Craven asks her soon after she arrives. Do you want toys, books, dolls? “ “Might I, quavered Mary, “might I have a little bit of earth?” Godden’s stories are often set just after World War II, and the bleakness of that time, especially when the plot takes place in England, ads to the bleakness and creates a contrast between the beautiful flowers she describes and the grayness of the venue. Earth and dirt hold power in Godden’s books, and they seem to spread and conquer regardless of the valiant attempts of housewives to obliterate them, at least this is true of the dirt aspect of earth and gardening. She writes “. .. earth has power, an astonishing power of life . . . it can take anything, a body, an old tin, decay, rust, corruption, filth, and turn it into itself, and slowly make it life, green blades of grass and woods”(54). Cf Euell Gibbons. , In Search of the Wild Asparagus. Both Godden’s An Episode of Sparrows, which is for adults, and Burnett’s The Secret Garden, which is for children deal with lonely little girls, orphaned or abandoned, who find solace, and then passion, in creating their own gardens. Burnett’s heroine Mary Lenox makes friends by discovering a secret garden long walled up and by involving her guardian’s entire household in recreating it. In the process, a spoiled, selfish, and hypochondriacal child regains both his physical and mental health because he becomes with Mary’s garden, and with Mary. Of her characters, especially the children, Simpson argues that “Rumer Godden’s characters, though generally self-centered are sometimes struck with a frustrating sense of their own insignificance. Especially striking in their consciousness of the vast sweep of events are the children and young people cast adrift, as if it were, in space and time” (61). As Harriet of The River says, “it happens, and then things come round again, begin again, and you can’t stop them. They go on happening.” (quoted in Simpson 61). ES is really the story of a garden (79). Gardens are very basic to Godden and her characters, and as Tip puts it in ES, “under everything’s dirt” (ES 54). It is so important to Lovejoy, that she asks her foster father Vincent, a Van Gosh-like restaurant owner, “What is a good garden” (54). The debt Godden owes to her children’s books in writing ES is that the story is mainly told from the POV of children. In fact, ES owes much of its plot to Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Gardens are crucial to many of Godden’s work; she is able to combine her love of children’s’ literature and child’s play with her repertoire of literary techniques which include cataloging. Throughout ES and her other books, we see Lovejoy naming the different types of plants and seeds she experiments with, and planning a variety of mini landscapes in both her gardens, so that like Michael Pollan in his essay “Weeds are Us,” Lovejoy writes an inventory of her collection (Pollan 1083). This, according to Pollan, is the hallmark of a true gardener. For Godden’s lonely, sometimes eccentric characters, gardens bring life and purpose to living for them, just as the Secret Garden helps the spoiled, unlikable Mary Lennox in a loving, accomplished young woman. For Lovejoy, the abandoned child living in bleak, postwar England, cornflower seeds make her forget her neglectful mother a little (ES 54). Like Godden when she was a child, Lovejoy has issues with fitting in. Creating a garden is also Lovejoy’s attempt to fit in to the postwar neighborhood where her mother abandons her; [LeGuilcher Kindle 2010]. as a displaced “orphan,” she has nowhere to belong, but the garden literally ties her to the earth, shared by all of us. How ironic that she is accused of trafficking in “stolen” earth and trespassing by the authorities and the Garden Society by Angela [think Angel, and the Madonna statute, religion,] when all she wants is, in this case, not a room, but a plot of her own. Once she begins to plant her garden, she begins to notice everyone growing flowers, plants, etc (56). In fact, Lovejoy’s first garden begins to grow in the midst of a bomb ruin and she uses sand to create a seaside garden, similar to that Sian and Debbie have in Home is the Sailor (61). Fearing that creating something beautiful in the midst of such desolation will get her into trouble, Lovejoy is very secretive about her garden (61). Tip’s gang of raucous, bored boys, however, destroy it, “one minute the garden was here, its stones arranged, the cornflowers growing, the grass green; the nest, there was only boots” (96). Tip, the gang leader, had sent he garden before it was destroyed, and this vision, combined with the terrible sight of Lovejoy’s tears, causes Tip sorrow (97).Surprised by his own remorse, Tip help her to find another place for the garden and to rebuild it. Their friendship, and his maturity level, grow along with her flowers. Lovejoy’s garden teaches Lovejoy to read and changes her for the better (66). As English writer Barbara Pym would say, Lovejoy finding passion, or something to love, has improved her life. Lovejoy indeed becomes passionate about anything to do with seeds, garden tools or planting; she is entranced by the garden shop, just as Emily and Charlotte are entranced by the expensive miniature furniture they see in A Dolls House. Lovejoy begins to ask about seeds and planting and at first, haunts the garden counter at Woolworth’s (80). Alas, the garden shop is too expensive for Lovejoy, so she goes to a type of thrift store, Dwight’s Repository and Sale Rooms (6) which contains “flotsam and jetsam” of every type. She beings to learn economics by planting her garden when Mr. Dwight “from under a long clothes baby doll, he brought out a small dusty fork” (67). The fork is a gardening tool, and Lovejoy begins to negotiate price. Later on, Lovejoy finds other ways to ge money for the garden, as he asks her foster father Vincent, she sings in the square for coins, and she also steals form the candle box of the bombed out church , (75), Our Lady of Sion, (71), where she plants the second garden. Ironically, this theft pricks her conscience for the first time, and she later makes amends to The Lady or Madonna, who has much in common with The Kitchen Madonna and other ritual doll statutes in Godden’s novels. The statue of the Madonna impresses her (76). Tip, though a rowdy child, also find peace in the church; the two choose the bombed church ruin as a place for the next garden… they find a place hidden by a wall an decorate it in an old cemetery that is part of the church (107). Pieces of ruined architectural moldings will decorate the garden. It’s star becomes a miniature tea rose Lovejoy names Jiminy Cricket (179). She tries the ruse of getting a penny to write her mother, but Mrs. Coombie knows her Mother’s address (69) so, in a way, Lovejoy’s mother fails her once more time (66). Lovejoy looks for money “ in palaces where money was kept like . . telephone boxes, the coppers put down for newspapers . . boxes on doors in the “Ladies’ “(70). Gardens and pretend gardens appear in Godden’s children’s novels like Great Grandfather’s House and Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and there are shell gardens and tiny flowers in Home is the Sailor. Imagination truly makes Godden’s gardens grow, and in Black Narcissus Sister Phillipa’s dreams of seed catalogs in roses in high altitudes emulate Nona’s dreams for tiny plants and Bonsai trees in MH and MF. In one scene of GGH, Old Mother encourages Keiko to pretend a picnic in the garden: “How do you pretend a picnic? “ “Have it in the garden,” said Old Mother, “a flat stone for a table. You could make it pretty with flowers and moss, maple leaves for red plates. You can cut up some needles for chopsticks. But you need careful fingers” (GGFH 42). Keiko is so inspired by Old Mother’s ideas that she soon makes seaweed, red rice, and noodles out of flower petals and grass. She also writes tiny invitations. The children of MH and MF also use pine needles for chopsticks, and they show an uncanny understanding of the tiny 1-inch, 1-foot or 1 12th scale that most miniaturists know well. Gardens at p. 76 – Mrs. Quinn spends 9 hours gardening e.g., when she seeds sprout in early February, and she goes on gardening when she hears Eustace is killed (78). It’s the war is again. “Memory is the only friend of grief” (79). Her consolation, “Even when one is stricken, much remains; after creative things . . . like gardens … Books like H.C. Andersen and Austen make up library at CC. [Godden was Andersen’s biographer. “Mother killed herself in that garden” Bella was to say and if Mrs. Quinn could have answered, :That is what I should ha e chosen to do” (87). As with Pym, Godden’s characters need a passion, they need something to love to survive, not necessarily a man or woman. p. 88. Mrs. Quinn spends a fortune on her garden ; that and her daughters are her passion” Like E.Sparrows. Also, like passion Nona has for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. See p. 89. Tracy, Mrs. Quinn’s granddaughter says ‘ I don’t like living in books. I like Living . . .” “Cooking and doing the flowers and having animals” (86) Things getting destroyed and rebuilt; pp. 90-91 CC children build grottos, and one is smashed, as Lovejoys’ garden is destroyed in ES and Belinda destroying party by taking Miss Flower in MH and MF. See, also The Dolls House and Little Plum “A garden is not destroyed” says Mrs. Quinn,” but growing out of love itself , with its own contours”(92). See garden built by love in The Secret Garden. At p. 92- CC, Godden writes about the garden in the present tense, it is still living and growing. There are three members on the garden committee investigating an episode of stolen earth. Godden had this happen to her when she was brought earth for her garden in The Mews that had been stolen from public land. Resourcefulness is a theme here, and LovejoyMason’s resourcefulness inc rating her garden is like that of Nona of MH/MF, Emily and Charlotte of The Dolls House, and Premalata in finding her way to the market to buy lights for Diwali. Lovejoy is also an outsider, like the littlie girl Ivy of Holly and Ivy, and Nona, but Lovejoy has been hardened and lost hope, and the following description shows her harshness:” This little girl’s face was more than sly; it might have been carved in stone . . . her eyes were grey and cold as peoples. Her hair, which was very fine and mouse-colored, was cut in a fringe and fell off to her shoulder . . .” (ES 25). Lovejoy is more artful dodger than anything else; she steals, though she does not take money at first. She does take ice cream cones and comics from small children and babies, and without money of her own, her careful stealing is undetected and leaves everyone to wonder how she manages (28). Like Sara Crewe in A Little Princess, Lovejoy, whose name is ironic because she has so little is treated like a servant, but it is her mother who sends her on errands, not a bad tempered cook. Mrs. Mason makes Lovejoy iron and perform housework because she is “too useful to be spared . . .” (34). So, Lovejoy’s talents are not appreciated as Nona’s are, or as Debbie's are in Home is the Sailor, they are exploited. As with the children’s books, inspiration comes to Lovejoy through a small, common object; it is a packet of cornflowers that inspires her to create a garden, just as the little bark boats inspire Keiko and the two Japanese Dolls inspire Nona to make the Japanese dolls house and garden. Notes: Mr. Anstruther is also the lawyer in China Court, and Olivia’s will made the garden possible, though she is a grey, dried up spinster (244-45). Also, though ES is a novel meant for adults, the childlike motifs that appear in her other books emerge along with the garden theme; these include the baby doll, and Mr. Dwight, who is much like Mr.____Twilfix_______, Nona’s friend in MHMF who teachers her about books and Bonsai trees. The children of Premalata and the Festival of Lights, Great Grandfather’s House, The Kitchen Madonna, MHMF, ADH, Home is the Sailor and Little Plum also learn about money, making things, and economics through pursuing a passion of theirs. Hassell Simpson writes that “an essential key to understanding Rumer Godden’s repeated reliance on contrivance and on the perpetual charm of romance [is that] she has not distinguished very much between her novels for adults and her stories for children” (101). Simpson goes on to write that “Both seem to be derived from the same impulses and to be founded on the same theory of fiction” which Godden herself sums up in her essay “The writer must Become as a Child,” which she published the same hear as Hans Christian Andersen: Denying the common assumption that children’s books are simple and easy to write, Miss Godden (at that time the author of three published juvenile books) declared that writing for children requires humility. Pointing to the authors of famous books for children, she noted that true children’s classics never have a “big plot written down, but a little one written up” They must “sound well” to a child’s ear; they must be dramatic, swift of movement, and clear, with “few side tracks” and “no opinions”; and, finally, they must have something more, “an aftertaste, a flavor that lingers . . . a personality” (Quoted in Simpson 102). Simpson goes on to say that, like Andersen, Godden spoke to children in their own discourse; she did not talk “down to them” (102). Rather, she “approaches them on their level. Their interests are hers—dolls, making dollhouses and small gardens and decorated pictures, learning worldly skills and sympathy for other persons and (not incidentally) growing up. (102). While her characters are simple, they are real recognizable people, including Belinda, the willful but loveable Tomboy, and Bertrand, the obnoxious, but bright boy at school who becomes a “regular” guy after he gets his comeuppance. ‘ In GGFH and her other books that deal with miniatures and dollhouse, Godden imitates her illustrator/author friend Tasha Tudor who created miniature dolls feasts in her books, especially The Dolls’ Christmas. Godden’s heroine Lovejoy is a spoiled little girl whose mother is an actress. Her mother abandons her, and the child must find ways to amuse herself, but also to stay with the middle-aged couple who have become her defacto guardians.[Relevant comment by Simpson; “In the eyes of adults, an unfaithful wife may be reprehensible in leaving her children as well as her husband, but she is allowed to do so. In the eyes of her children however, [the mother] has betrayed them . . .” (88).] She is lonely, and does not quite fit in. She saves, steals, and buys what she needs to grow a garden among the ruins of a London bombing until a gang of young boys tramples it. When the leader relents, the two find a new place for their “secret garden” in the ruins of a bombed out church. The bombed sites, reduced to rubble and dirt, are fertile; “these bombed sites … grow 137 kinds of weeds” (54). And like the weeds, the children of ES thrive along with their friendships as they create their gardens. Godden uses this theme of lonely orphans in her children’s books as well. She often writes of the loneliness of being in a strange place, something that affects Nona, Bertrand of Home is the Sailor, Lovejoy, Lise, and Keiko, the sisters of Peacock Spring and her heroines in children and adult books. Nona, like the little girl in Episode of Sparrows, is without family. She, however, has only her father left, and he lives in India. Again, we see the tribute to Burnett, who’s Sarah Crewe, is also a motherless child, sent to London while her father lives in India. Ivy is an orphan in Holly and Ivy, who uses a ruse to runaway from her orphanage at Christmas in search of a family. She gazes at an “orphan doll” Holly in a toy shop, and then is rescued by a police officer who ends up, with his wife, adopting her. British Colonial Literature; When the Empire Doesn’t write Back; Originally, Salman Rushdie coined the term “The Empire Writes Back to the Centre,” as a parody of the famous Star War’s The Empire Strikes Back (Zabus 1). According to Zabus, “Centre defines Britian, back in the 16th century, the age of exploration and colonial expansion during which England became a world power (1). Centre also refers to the 19th century, when English “began to be studied as an academic subject and became linked to the spread of colonial education for the “natives”(1). “Writing back to the center involves rewriting or re-visioning history from the perspective of those colonized, not those who conquer. In other words, when members of the British colonies write back, they tell their own story from their own POV, and thus create counter narratives. Godden’s novels set in India and those that feature Anglo-Indian characters write back to the centre since Godden has lived in India and is familiar with its culture. Her perspective on India and its people is far different from that of Victorian writers who wrote of India and Indians. Godden was herself an expatriate who later missed her Indian home and returned to it as an adult, after she read A Passage to India (1924) she became “aware of her ignorance of the cultural riches of India, of Indian Religion and philosophy, art and literature” (Chisholm 1998 40, quoted in Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). Godden says of herself, “ I was ashamed of my blindness and ignorance, ashamed of how little I knew of India or had tried to know” (Time 1987, 68). She made herself learn about India, her second home, and then addressed postcolonial concerns in her writing. Her writing shows both knowledge and empathy of India and her people (See Le-Guilcher). Moreover, growing up in India in multicultural household taught her appreciation and respect for other cultures and religion. These “religious influences were significant”during her stay in India (Simpson 23). Diwali, the Indian Feast of Lights, figures in many of her books including Premalata and the Feast of Lights. In Godden’s home, Diwali was celebrated by “Hindu, Christian, and Moslem alike; and they all joined in the observance of Christmas” (Simpson 23). In 1927, Godden returned to England and trained as a dance teacher; she then went back to India and opened the Peggie Godden School of Dance in Calcutta, and Indian dance was to influence her writing as well, in A F in Time (1945), KCF and CC (Le-Guilcher 2010). Godden is also seen as a post colonial, white writer, who writes in the last days of the British Empire as it was then know, as Le-Guilcher writes, Godden written “when the British Empires struggled to yield the last vestiges of global Power (Le- Guilcher 2010). Of her geographical settings, which are as much Godden’s characters as any Nona or Belinda, or Tottie, Le-Guilcher and others comment that Godden’s settings “engage a modernist uncertainty about her own position as representing such nomadic Others as gypsies, as well as the displacements of war and discontents of domestic and family life “ (Ibid). This last theme of domestic discontent and displacement often dominates her children’s’ works like Home is the Sailor, A Dolls House, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Little Plum, The Story of Holly and Ivy and Impunity Jane. It is a running theme in China Court, An Episode of Sparrows, Peacock Spring, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, and her other adult novels. It is uncommon for Rumer Godden to write of the “condition of enforced and elected exile within the changing political and cultural borders of colonial and postcolonial nations” (Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). Godden challenged the understanding of what Le-Guilcher calls Middlebrow, or popular culture and tastes with the various domestic roles women played in European and Asian society. For example, Kingfishers Catch Fire “depicts colonial relations as a dark, indeed sometime harrowing, domestic comedy about an Englishwoman’s attempts to go native in Kashmir” (Le-Guilcher 2010). Godden gives women of color, and women under colonial rule, the right not just to speak, but to laugh (Stetz 119-20 quoted in Le- Guilcher Introduction 2010). Godden is herself a displaced person in India and other places where she has lived, sometimes self-exiled, sometimes not, and she uses humor “to show the political and cultural costs of the Englishwoman’s own colonized position, then the middlebrow pleasures of reading domestic comedy assume a critical perspective”(Le-Guilcher 2010). Gyathri Prabhu writes that “class boundaries are both reified and subverted when the subject is a colonial woman single mother with no stable place in either British or Anglo-India Society” [or a child, as in the case of Nona Fell in England, MHMF and LP). Connor writes that Godden’s Anglo-Indian life and writing from inside India gave her the “inside-out” perspective to question whether she and her British characters could even claim ‘national belonging’ ” (84). As a single woman, living independently, she “risked social disapproval (Chisholm 57) and notes that “In Calcutta’s then almost closed society, ‘nice girls’ didn’t work or try to earn their living,” (Time 1987 86). Yet, Godden was a nice girl who managed to support herself and her two daughters on her writing, even when her first marriage fell apart . She was in touch with writers contemporary to her including M. M. Kaye and Paul Scott, writers who also wrote about India and Asia as expatriate Europeans. Much of her work reads like the novels of Pearl Buck and tell main story from the perspective of European and non Europeans, repatriated and displaced. See Raj Quartet’; Godden knew Scott She was greatly influenced by E.M. Forsters’s A Passage to India and she read Virginia Woolf. Some of the displaced characters find their way into her children’s novels. Nona Feel and her Japanese Dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, are displaced persons who become repatriated and acclimated, yet who maintain their uniqueness and diversity. Gwen of Little Plum is out of her class, until her mother recovers and she can join the other neighborhood children. It is another displaced Japanese Doll that links her to Nona’s family and their friendship. The Dolls House: Her first Children’s book, deals with an entire family of very different types of dolls who are displaced persons immediately after World War II, but who inherit a magnificent dolls house. See also The River, shows interest in child characters caught between the worlds of an Anglo-Indian childhood and the adulthood that brings an end to indulgent innocence (Peacock Spring, too, and MJH, MF, goodness herself found it “difficult to adjust to English life” and there she finished in 1946 Xmas, TDH (Le-Guilcher) Between 1951-72, 13 Children’s books (Chisholm 249). Lovejoy, to of An Episode of Sparrows is displaced by the War and by her mother’s abandonment, and in these novels, some benefactor or family group comes together to make the children belong and fit in. In Godden’s books for children and adults, she “shows how the nation constitutes itself in the family where belonging and alienation begin and often end” and where these issues are “also woven together in Godden’s writing about gypsies, as conditions of exile and nomadism intersect with and provide a critical lens thorough which she examines the discontinuities of family life and domestic order” (Le-Guilcher 2010). That children’s writing was important to the author is evidenced in the 12 new juvenile books she wrote between 1956-1972 (Simpson 30). In fact, after returning to England in 1945, Godden became more and more involved with children’s writing and The Dolls’ House, originally illustrated by Tasha Tudor, was published in 1947 (30). Of TDH, Le-Guilcher writes “shows . .. when postwar child-rearing psychologies are dramatized as a children’s story in Godden’s The Dolls House 91947) and Impunity Jane (1955) [about the time Dare Wright was doing The Lonely Doll Books]. (Le-Guilcher). From the start, Charlotte’s and Emily’s cleverness and imagination furnish Plantaganet Doll House, e.g., a marble is Apple’s ball, a purple tiddley wink is a plate for Darner the Dog. The sisters are also living in postwar England, and are preoccupied with money, “ Emily says “ we must make money.” “But how?” asks Charlotte. (“How”) asked all the Plantaganets. “Somehow” said Emily (44). After getting ideas from looking at some expensive dollhouse furniture, the girls hire Mrs. Innisfree to create petit point upholstery for the doll furniture they have. They have some money, and negotiate with her for her labor (55). Mrs. Innisfree offers to pay them for loaning her Tottie, the antique wooden doll who is the anchor of the Plantaganet Doll Family, the girls refuse the money, feeling I would be orally wrong to hire out Tottie who is both heirloom and beloved family member.. Note there is an Ellen in Cromartie and other Indian Novels and one in Impunity Jane. Peacock Spring/Miss Happiness and Miss Flower also The Raj Quarter by Paul Scott Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, 1961, is the story of two Japanese dolls sent to England in a parcel. They are émigrés from every far away, and anxious about their new home, just as Nona, the little girl who becomes their mistress, is a displaced Anglo-Indian child who has had to leave India and her widowed, beloved father and Ayah, to live with her English aunt and uncle. Though English, Nona has lived in India so long, that like some of the misplaced characters of The Raj Quartet, she really isn’t sure she belongs anywhere. Nona is dark, and exotic, she is always cold, and wears exquisite silver bangles as her legacy form India. As a way to make friends and combat her loneliness, Nona adopts the two dolls, learns about Japan, and with the help of her cousins and English family and some interested friends she makes, creates a Japanese dollhouse and gardens to make the dolls feel at home. Nona learns to make things for the dollhouse, and uses pencil boxes as cupboards, and makes rice out of cut up thread, chopsticks out of needles. Godden writes about the book in diary in June 1960 that the dolls’ garden was real, and was created by Anne Ashberry of “Miniature Gardens” who also created a miniature rose garden for the Queen. Premalata and the Feast of Lights and Cromarite Premalata and Ravi are two Indian children with a baby sister and a widowed mother who works all the time, and who has no time for her children, or even to comb her hair (PFL 1). She has sold her bangle bracelets, her dowry, all their possessions save Dhala their water buffalo (10) who is really family and who provides milk and dung for them, and even has sold the deepas or Diwali lights so important to families in her village. Young as she is, Premalata is preoccupied with money, and she delivers the cheese her mother makes as an income to Zamander’s household and remains steadfast in the price she asks, even when the housekeeper Paru Didu tries to cheat her. Both Zamander and Paru Didi are plump, and being fat ias associated with walthe and “good eating.” There are images of the fearsome goddess Kali, and there is an idol maker who plays a role in the book. As poor as they are, even Premlata's family has “doll house sized idols” at home (2). The images of the Hindu deities also play a role in Cromartie v. The God Shiva, an adult novel set in India, another of Godden’s favorite locales for her story is, in part because the author spent many years living there . Zamander is the landlord of the village, and he lives in a big, whitewashed house. His elephant is a friend of Premalata’s (15). He is kind, and when he hears of Premalata’s plight, he give her 35 rupees for deepas, and Prem must now use all her resources and imagination to find a way to ge t back and forth to the market to buy them (19). Like Lovejoy, Nona, Emily./Charlotte, and Sian, of the other children’s novels, Prem has a plan to get to market and to find the things she wants. She gets to the market, and thing learns a lesson in allocation a funds, as she spends money on her family, and then has none for deepas. She begins by buying her baby sister a toy, because Meetu has never had a toy: (29), Later, she haggles over the price as she buys a silver bangle for her mother (29). DISCUSS IMPORTANCE OF BANGLE BRACELETS AND Jewelry TO Indian women, see Indira Gandhi, too. Paru Dido’s throwaway deepas (52) are important symbols, because throwaways are recycled in other stories, took in to toys, e.g, Birdie the cracker doll, the tiddley wink that is Darner’s plate, scraps used to dress the dolls. Like Ivy and the dolls Curly and Impunity Jane, Prem goes on a journey or quest. Like Nona of MHMF, Mama had bangles, but now she only has one copper one, cherished because her late husband gave it her ((4). In Cromartie, there is a statute of a god Shiva, and we learn it is not the price of the Idol that is important, but is’ representation in the house (17-19). The proprietor of the lavish, dignified hotel isn’t upset when the valuable statue is stolen because she has a lovely reproduction in its place, ensuring that the god is present, serving the same purpose that Premalata’s tiny, doll house sized idols serve in her house. “It is not a fake.. it was time [for the antique statue] to move on but very kindly he left himself behind for us” (Cromartie 5) In Cromartie, when he fake idol is worthy of having flowers laid at its feet 917-19), just as candles are offered to Our Lady of Sion in ES, and just as The Kitchen Madonna with her dolls hair nad toffee paper embellishments is just as precious as the finest church statue. Home is the Sailor and China Court : China Court (1961, one year after MHMF): Of CC, it has been writing that “the novels’ intertextual oscillations between Victorian and post-World War II settings and characters, as well as an implied commentary on V. Woolf’s modernism, suggest a dynamically reflexive history of the 19th and 20th century British novel that questions extant boundaries of periodization” (Phyllis Lassner quoted in Le-Guilcher Introduction 2010). Mr. Quinn’s clerk, Jeremy Baxter is kept because he is clever and cheap, and Mr. Quinn “dearly loves a bargain” (68). Anne wants to work for poor people (69). Characters in CC are like those in The Dolls House (75) and Home is the Sailor. “At China Court, loved things were not thrown away”(94). Like Tottie and The Dolls House. p. 98-99 Chelsea Shepard and Shepardess also appear in Home is the Sailor. China is being valued by Mr. Perceval by Anstruther and Firm, who also appear in other books. They are Valuers and Assessors, but don’t know value to family (98). Mrs. Quinn’s children want her antiques assessed so the nature of their inheritance is known. “Like strangers with a guidebook “ in not knowing what to keep or throw away (99). See Miller’s book. Nuns and The Kitchen Madonna: Religion and religious communities are also popular themes in Godden’s adult and children’s books, but she notes in HW4R that when her publishers first asked her to write another book on nuns after In this House of Brede, the book which became Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, Godden replied, “How could I?” Black Narcissus was begun when Godden learned she was pregnant again, and she stayed with her parents in Cornwall, 1938). BN is about Anglo-Catholic nuns in India, and the book received favorable reviews. The book came out in Jan. 1939, like The Grapes of Wrath, Ulysses, and GWTW. The book “turned her at the age of 31 into a professional wrier nad brought her, for the first time, solid critical and commercial success both in the UK and America (Chilsholm 90). VFSTFJ tells the story of tLes Souers de Bethanie (France), a real order whose members when Godden was writing was made up of at least 50% criminals. Former addicts, prostitutes, even murderers made up the ranks of the sisters, while the rest where “regular” nuns who followed a normal calling. They went about with anonymous names. They had houses in Germany, Amsterdam, Italy, and America, and one house in Britain. After she wrote the book, Godden was afraid to go to the book signing; she feared no one would come, but she was showered with flowers and telegrams, and the lines circled the block. She was especially relieved and pleased because the signing took place on Godden’s 70th birthday. In the context of writing this book, Godden was asked “what makes you think your books are different form anyone else’s?” Her answer was “because they were written by me.” (4Rms 313). Religion plays a role in Episode of Sparrows just as it does in The Kitchen Madonna, Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, In this House of Brede and Black Narcissus. The statue of the Madonna which wears real clothes and jewelry is much like The Kitchen Madonna, or the Idols of Premalata and Cromartie v. The God Shiva. She stirs Lovejoy’s conscience after the scheming little girl takes money from the offering box, and she provides a home for the Lovejoy’s garden in the ruins of the church. As with her adult novels about religion, there is religious language ins ES; “Lovejoy did more than think about [clothes]; she had been trained in them as in a religion . ‘One must look smart’ –that was her mother’s creed, and Lovejoy was her mother’s disciple” (ES 29). Great Grandfather’s House: In this short book for children, Godden returns again to the theme of writing about a displaced child who must travel to stay with a relative she does not know well, here, a great-grandfather. Just as she did in Miss Happiness and Miss Flower and Little Plum, Godden showcases her vast knowledge of Japanese culture within the boundaries of her plot. Keiko, a city child, goes to spend time in the country with her great-grandfather. She is not at all accustomed to the simpler life in the rural area, and she often ridicules her family’s lifestyle. Keiko brings store bought toys, far more sophisticated than her little cousin, and she encourages the little boy at one point to throw out his beloved, but worn panda. As in some of her adult novels, especially Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy, Godden emphasizes aspects of farm life, like collecting eggs. She talks again of gardens and self-subsistence. Resourcefulness, yet another theme that permeates her children’s and adult novels is no stranger in GGH, either. As with Episode of Sparrows, gardens and flowers are key to the characters development. In GGH, Keiko learns to make toys out of chips of bark and walnut shells, with twigs for masts and postage stamps for sales. Yosi tries to share his simple toys with her, and to him, they are important because GGH showed him how to make them. They are a tradition. Keiko at first scorns the little boats and says derisively, “But . . . you don’t make toys. You buy them” (GGH 23). After awhile, like the bratty and skeptical Belinda of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, Keiko warms to the idea of making toys and find she enjoys homemade playthings. She learns to appreciate the bamboo hobbyhorses that Gen-Son makes for them (27). Gardens, playthings, resourcefulness, alienation, building families and religion are themes that influence Godden’s adult and children’s literature. Her stories are woven with her own life experiences in India and Asia, as well as her post war Experience in England. As she herself wrote, she liked alternating her adult writing with her children’s writing because she felt it kept her skills sharp. Sharp they were, indeed, so that she has crossed genres and tells stories from post colonial, European, adult, child, female, and religious perspectives that would otherwise not have a voice. Like H.C. Andersen who she admired and wrote of, she wove tales that transcended cultures and generations to teach new pupils all the time. Perhaps one day, her diversity and devotion to humanity will earn her a well-deserved place in the literary canon.

Doll Museum: Goddesses and Venus Figures an Update

Doll Museum: Goddesses and Venus Figures an Update: Here is a great site with history of these oldest of dolls or human figures: http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/venusfigures.htm titled Ancien...

Thanksgiving Proclamation By Lincoln

Below is the famous Thanksgiving Proclamation. I note it hear as a tradition of my blogs, inspired by the editor of Godey's, Sarah Josepha Hale:
Proclamation of Thanksgiving Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863 This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving. Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution." Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale's request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops. By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation. The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth. By the President: Abraham Lincoln William H. Seward, Secretary of State

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Emma Cat, aka, La Contessa Gaga Bathory, and I have been watching Sunday Morning, special focus on food. Of course, no program on food is complete without the issue of wasting food. I recommend going online and finding the story on cbs.com today. According to SM, 40%, or 165 billion dollars worth of food is wasted. They talked about places like Loaves and Fishes where rescued food is given to the needy. There are also entire grocery stores created in different cities where those in need can shop, for free. There was a high school teacher who went through grocery store garbage to rescue the perfectly good food that is tossed; I've seen stories like this before, too, over the last thirty years, beginning when I was in grade school. Jewel Osco and other companies have been turning over food that otherwise would have been tossed. Other companies go to farms that are ready to plow over otherwise good crops and hand harvest them for food banks. It is "food for thought."

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs: Our beloved Anne Rice has her People of the Page, and I have my readres/viewers, my extended family which I call The Muses of my Blogs. For...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll-Related Collectibles

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll-Related Collectibles: For those who are looking for doll-related items to add to their collections, here are some ideas: 1. Pez Candy Dispensers; these have cha...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: To the Muses of my Blogs: Our beloved Anne Rice has her People of the Page, and I have my readres/viewers, my extended family which I call The Muses of my Blogs. For...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Where else can you find Dr. E's Doll Museum?

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Where else can you find Dr. E's Doll Museum?: You can find us on Twitter, hashtag "Dr. E's Doll Museum." Facebook: Dr. E's Doll Museum We show up on Linked -in under my name, too. or ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy Japanese Doll Festival for Girls and My Thre...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Happy Japanese Doll Festival for Girls and My Thre...: Today is the day of the Hina Matsuri or Japanese Doll Festival. For great histories of this wonderful holiday, read Miss Happiness and Miss...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: The East Coast and What Doll Collectors Did before...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: The East Coast and What Doll Collectors Did before...: We would like to send our prayers and best wishes to all our friends on the East Coast hit by Sandy. Special greetings go out to Obscura, T...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Laura

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Laura: Here is some is some information about Laura Ingalls Wilder; I've been privileged to visit some of the historical sites and have a good coll...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century and the Histor...

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century and the Histor...: Doll Museum: The Early 19th Century and the History of Paper Do... : Now it is time to return to our doll chronology by turning to the early...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Disappointments and then Some

Below is a Whitman poem I like very much. I hae been reading a lot of nature writing, and get quite lost in essays like Pollan's "Weeds are Us" and the "Ecology of Magic." I lead a bookgroup on Kinsolver's The Lacuna, and marvel at how she touches on Frida Kahlo, Art, Writing, Dia de Muertos and so much I am interested in. My hands still bother me,and I am fighting stress rashes, too, but keep typing. I find there are not enough hours in the day anymore. It is cold now, and we celebrated Halloween with a small fire built in a metal wheel barrel. Cofee tastes good hot and a littl bitter, adding that little extra bite, and we are back to stanard time. I'm reminded of law school where I didn't see daylight from at least November to March, and woke in the dark, and came home in the dark. I pickied the last two green peppers and the last four tomatoes of the season, and took in and covered plants and lawn ornaments. We put our our little graveyard for the holiday, and bought more candy than we needed. And time goes on, withor without us. My knitting beckons, like Betsy Devonshire, needlework and knitting help me to think. One surprise, Pete Seeger is following us on Twitter as Dr. E's Doll Museum. This is quite an honor. We were snubbed by Writing World; I will no longer be posting the newsletter. Moira Allen, the editor would "rather" we not post, eventhough she clearly labels the newsletter "free to share," and it is a free newsleter. It's no different than my handing out or giving it to a friend to read. Ironically, I have ov er 50,000 folks who read or view my 8 blogs; that is probably a lot more than subscribe to her free tidbits. She can't stop me from posting, but I am not in this to tweak or irritate anyone. A Noiseless Patient Spider A noiseless, patient spider, I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated; Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself; Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them. And you, O my Soul, where you stand, Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres, to connect them; Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor hold; Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul. Walt Whitman

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Yellow Brick Road

My friend's sloping driveway was covered in several inches of glowing gold leaves today. It looked like The Yellow Brick Road. It is 80 year today, and very strange. It looks like Autumn, feels like late May. But, everything is glowing with beautiful death, reds, and oranges, blazing yellows. There are branches outlining the sky, looking like dead hands supplicating heavenward with long, skeletal fingers. There is an elegiac tone to everything. We are gearing up for Halloween, and I am going to make Sugar Skulls for a book group on La Lacuna by B. Kingsolver. I find her and David Abrams to be among the most spiritual writers I have ever read. His "Ecology of Magic" is not to be ignored. I am studying more about another interest of mine, water sustainability and aquifers. I learned that as a result of the New Madrid quake, the Mississippi changed its course. We recently celebrated the anniversary of the loma prieta 1989 quake, which I was in. I still hear the radio playing "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." I have a doll that is a survivor of hte 1906 quke, too. Six months to the minute, on the anniversary of the 1906 quake, we had another major after shock. This was a truly humbling experience for me. I am planning to winterize some of my plants, my Harlequin petunias if possible, my Geraniums, a couple begonias. Many of my plants were eaten or destroyed by the capricious weather patterns. I was reading about Fractals, and how random much of what is really patterned and organized seems. Something I can relate to. The holidays approach; I am looking forward to them, and unpacking old family ornaments to use this year, remembering when all my shopping was done the day after Xmas for next year. I am slowly gathering gifts for our charity, The Sun Valley Indian School for Navajo children, and for my family. Much of Christmas died with my mother, as did all good things, but his year, I feel her spirit in all of this. I plan to bake again, and to store goods for candies to give as gifts. Start browsing craft magazines now, and look for coupons and sales. I love running around Black Friday to taste the sights, but I don't want to have to shop then. I was never last minute. Mom and I shopped ahead, then sorted and labelled who got what. I used to wrap on Halloween night and do Xmas cards over Thanksgiving. My classics were pecan pie, Dear Abbey's recipe, cranberry bread, and mom's Oyster Dressing, with the family joke that they forgot the oysters one year, but told everyone they melted. Mom made baklava and melomakarona, and we ate pheasant, duck, or smoked turkey. I decroated the table with all my little pilgrims and Gurley candles, and we had special table cloths and placemats. Mom made my Halloween costumes by hand, a Greek gypsy when I was five, a witch, a pioneer girl, a Vampire. A Raggedy Ann that should have won a prize. She only bought three costumes for me; Lamb Chop, when I was 3 or so, a Fairy when I was seven because I loved it, and a Spanish Gypsy from Madrid when I was 9, a terrific souvenir I still have. I wore the dress through College for different events and a homecoming float. She dressed the dolls, too, and they often tricked or treated. At 12, we made an Anne Boleyn gown and fantastic paper mask from bags and her old debutante gown. We made cutouts and bought new ones for our window, and got the biggest pumpkins we could out in the country. It was a simpler holiday than today, but we had a wonderful time. Happy Trick or Treating, and Happy Holidays to all.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: How we read Changes Faces

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: How we read Changes Faces: From the newsletters of one of my alma maters; the changing face of reading.  How do you read? The Changing Face of Reading Tonight, wh...

Monday, October 15, 2012

On Autumn from La Lacuna

Below is a wonderful passage from Barbara Kingsolver, La Lacuna at p. 279 about fall, which captures the spirit of the season where, as today, the leaves literally glow, some sporting two or three colors of red, organge and gold: "A glittering shower falls at a slant across my window. Some form of god has come to visit our dark autumn tunnel, like Zeus making himself a beam of light to impregnate Danae. INt his case, ti is not really glittering light but beech leaves. You've never seen anything as dramatic as these American trees, dying their thousand deaths."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: The Peter Headed Huret

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: The Peter Headed Huret: Good Morning! I am looking for any information and photos about the whereaouts of this doll. It was once in the Maureen Popp collection, a...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pasta Libido Putanesca

Yes, this is a real recipe. I came up with it after having dinner at my in-laws for my husband's birthday. He got a card that started "You know you're getting old if..." and one of the answers was "You think libido is a kind of pasta." So, I came up with the recipe below. I hope you like it! My 80+ something in-laws and their friends got a big kick out of this! Pasta Libido Putanesca
One pound fusilli or other very kinky, curly pasta ¼ c shrimp, boiled pink and saucy ¼ c very fresh naked [shucked} oysters ¼ cup green olives with a raving red, spicy pimiento center, Spanish are the sultriest ¼ cup passionately black olives, pitted ¼ c mushrooms, the more magic the better, but any type will work, bottled up, with great need to be released, or canned. 4 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, because your heart will soon be choked up ¼ c Virgin olive oil [but not for long!] ¼ cup tender lobster meat ¼ cup firm, very ripe, blushingly red cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced ½ c Red, Red wine, the kind that goes to you head quickly and makes you swoon Capers, either the kind you cook with, or the kind you will have after you eat this dish One copy of A.N. Roquelaire’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty [To browse while the pasta simmers in its own juices]. One good biography of Casanova [To read with dessert} Sauté the tomatoes, artichokes, and mushrooms. and olives in extra Virgin Olive Oil. Spice up with ½ tsp. oregano, another tsp. basil, lovingly drizzle to taste with salt and pepper. Add a naughty dash of coriander or fresh cilantro. Add the red wine. Let simmer about 6 minutes on low heat [we’ll definitely turn it up later!] add the Olives and the drained seafood, which has been patted dry, very slowly and gently. Let it all simmer and bubble, but don’t let it boil over [don’t you boil over either!—not yet!] Meanwhile, cook pasta to slight al dente in a pasta pot; drop into boiling water. Drop sparkling shower of Olive Oil into the water. Don’t overdo the pasta! When all has reached its peak, drain the pasta, add to pan with other ingredients, and stir. Then, pour into a pasta bowl, gently toss, sprinkle with cheese and fresh ground pepper. Salt to taste. Serve with liberal glasses of good red wine and warm Italian bread. Serve with a salad of tender greens and Green Goddess. Between courses, recite Elizabeth Barrett Browning by candlelight. Serve on china plates representing Nude Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Use heart shaped napkins and placemats. Play Johnny Mathis for mood music in the background. For dessert, we recommend Godiva Chocolates, Courvoisier Brandy, and Death by Chocolate soufflé. Julia Child has a good recipe. During dessert, peruse the Divine Marquis’ Philosophy in the Bedroom.
What happens at dinner stays at dinner.

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: New Information on a Beloved Book about a Doll

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: New Information on a Beloved Book about a Doll: Original Hitty Hitty (short for Mehitabel) is a tiny wooden doll found by author Rachel Field in a New York City antique shop in the wi...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Corn Dollies

As many of you know, I am a doll collector with a large collection planning a museum, hence my blogs Dr. E's Doll Museum and Doll Museum. I will probaly copy this information there as well. I love the most unusual dolls best; corn dollies fit into that category. Many are not even of human shape; they are abstract, many circular or triangular, two geometric shapes associate with women's bodies. They play a role in the harvest festival, and often were kept in the home for one year, then burned, and a new doll was displayed. I first read about them in Volume D, "Dolls" of the 1956 World Book Encyclopedia. Among my other collections, I collect Volume D and other doll related volumes of old sets of encyclopedias Von Boehn, Laura Starr, Mary Hillier, and Leslie Gordon also write about them, and they are featured in books on crafts and Wicca. There is a book that comes up on Google images, too. Below is a history from a site in Wales that I was very impressed with. They also sell. Enjoy reading this timely and seasonal piece about a beloved craft.
A little bit of Folklore
SHORT HISTORY Corn dollies date back to pagan times. Straw symbols, such as corn dollies or the harvest maid have always been associated with the gathering in of the crops. They were made in the field from the last sheaf, and many different designs came about from various areas.
In the early part of the 19thC, English farmers in rural areas were carrying out ceremonies of which the original meaning was completely lost. Eg: the worship of the goddess of the corn. The art of making the corn dolly was handed down from father to son, and the whole ceremony ended with the triumphant return of the last load with the corn dolly held in the arms of the prettiest girl in the village. It was then hung up in the farmhouse until the following year. There are many variations of this story.
Corn dollies made from wheat, is what the peoples of the British Isles call “corn”, it has deep pagan symbolic roots. Corn dollies are given for many occasions. A rattle could be given for the birth of a child or for a naming ceremony (christening). There are many House Blessings which make a lovely gift at any time, especially for Weddings and people moving house. Corn dollies seem to be getting more popular with a different variety of uses, for eg: Wearing the dollies hanging on belts, or decorating a hat with, wearing them as necklaces or bracelets or brooches, you can easily modify them for your own personal use, Harpers & Queen used my dollies in a photo shoot. Country Homes & Garden displayed one of my dollies in their October 2006 issue. World of Interiors magazine May 2009 has one of my Harvest Mothers on display. The traditional corn dolly often called a `Nek` is one I recommend for fertility, all though all corn dollies are connected to fertility and our mother the earth. The Harvest Mother is very symbolic of Mother Earth and often used in pagan or wicca rituals. Scottish TV has used my corn dollies in childrens programmes. Diva Opera Company has used one of my dollies in their production of Eugene Onegin by Tchaikowsky. It was used in the scene where the peasants come in from Harvest and they present the dolly to the owner of the estate. If you go to Jamie Olivers restaurant Fifteen's Trattoria you should find a couple of my dollies hanging up amongst the dried chillies. A collection of my dollies were used for the London and Paris Fashion Show September 2009 for Designer Vivienne Westwood. best; corn dollies fit into that category. Many are not even of human shape; they are abstract, many circular or triangular, two geometric shapes associate with women's bodies. They play a role in the harvest festival, and often were kept in the home for one year, then burned, and a new doll was displayed. I first read about them in Volume D, "Dolls" of the 1956 World Book Encyclopedia. Among my other collections, I collect Volume D and other doll related volumes of old sets of encyclopedias Von Boehn, Laura Starr, Mary Hillier, and Leslie Gordon also write about them, and they are featured in books on crafts and Wicca. There is a book that comes up on Google images, too. Below is a history from a site in Wales that I was very impressed with. They also sell. Enjoy reading this timely and seasonal piece about a beloved craft.

Ode to my Red Gel Pen

Ode to my Red Gel Pen Hail to thee, gelatinous muse, Paper’s life’s blood inks crimson hues. River of life for words my way, Filling my page with thoughts That would sway. Staining my fingers, my clothing, Bright red, Sending rouge beacons of prose Through my head. You prod my calendar’s memory With check marks so bright, You mark out my errors, Grammatical plights, To my students, red writer, Dread angel of praise, Friend or foe, grim reaper Of F’s or of A’s For many lost scholars, You’ve helped make the grade. Scarlet river runs deep My thoughts-not so much, Without you clasped tightly, My fingers lose touch.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger: Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger : A good writing prompt for memoir: 1. Where were you September 11, 2001? 2. Describe your...

So much to write, so little time!

My mind is like a partially shattered jigsaw puzzle these days. Some pieces connect, most barely dangle by their hinges. The dangling chads have nothing over my thought processes. I have lots to write and post about my recent forays to the aquarium, and reading of Rachel Carson, Muir, Thoreau, Evelyn White, and others. I've pondered a lot the distinctions, if any, between scientists and naturalist, and have experienced the joy of delving enthusiastically into disciplines long admired, but no necessarily my own-- or are they? Microbiologists, scientists in general, seem to have a lot in common with miniaturists, that deliberate focus, painting on one inch pieces of ivory, as Jane Austen may have called it, living in the intense miniature worlds of Thoreau's ant wars. Ture miniaturists devoted to scale work under magnifying glasses and microscopes, too. There world is infintisemal, and the question becomes how do all those tiny parts fit into the whole. Reading Wordsworth, Whitman, looking outside, especially at waterways with new eyes. Then feeling uncontrollable rage at how my child with special needs is being treated by our own Dist. 41, my mother's place of employ nearly 40 years, my alma mater. Boycotting band and all activites by one "Maestro" Karlyn, because he can't seem to realize that Band is about music appreication, and tolerance, and love of music, not how many haf-a___d awards the director can stuff into his merit file. I wish upon his miserable children and himself the bad treatment my child is receiving at his hands, the after effects of his immature outbursts, his bad temper, the abusive us/them atmosphere he is creating in a group of children who should be learning harmony, musical and otherwise. Dist 41, RI/M, shame on you; you violate the ADA with each blast of your foul, collective, corporate breath! Enough; I think of little ways of saving water, of recycling, of picking up the litter others throw when I can, and I do it. I tell my kids to turn over old ads and used papers and use them as notepaper, something we did in school even in the 70s, with no one telling us to. One of the architechts behind the EPA died this week, and I hope to post the obit soon. We can take a lesson from him; the evironment is not a political issue; it is a life issue. He was a moderate republican and passionate environmentalist who brought about many reforms. Still watch cooking shows passionately, but no time for now to cook or develop recipes. I hope to do more by the holidays, for there is a certain peace and spirituality for me, a connectedness, in creating my mother's recipes, or making up my own. There is indeed peace in the kitchen, ad I often forget time and miseries when I'm there.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: From Pro Blogger: A good writing prompt for memoir: 1. Where were you September 11, 2001? 2. Describe your favorite childhood routine? Who was there? Wha...

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Some Lyrics and Songs inspired by Erzebet

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: Some Lyrics and Songs inspired by Erzebet: All lyrics written by Dani Filth, all music composed by Cradle of Filth. No. Title Length 1. "Once Upon Atrocity" (Instrumental) 1:42 ...

Barbara Kingsolver on Food nad eating Local

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle While I don't always agree with her politics, I find her a valuable and intriguing author. I've taught her in classes and mentioned her in my bibliography on dolls. I've watched her TV interviews and admired her poise, and had one moment of seren dipity when I wanted to read The Poisonwood Bible and the next hour, it turned up at a church rummage sale. Have not felt well at all; this is the time to turn to my books and my dolls, to things that I love and that nourish the soul. Enjoy: About Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Since its release in May 2007, Animal Vegetable, Miracle has helped launch a modern transition in America’s attitudes toward food. In this lively account of a family’s locavore year on their farm in Southern Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver and her coauthors unearth the secret lives of vegetables and the unexpected satisfactions of knowing their food producers — and sometimes their dinner — on a first-name basis. A Family Collaboration The family’s year long experience leads them through a season of planting, pulling weeds, expanding their kitchen skills, harvesting their own animals, joining the effort to save heritage crops from extinction, and learning the time-honored rural art of unloading excess zucchini. Barbara Kingsolver’s engaging narrative is enriched by husband Steven Hopp’s in-depth reports on the science and industry of food, and daughter Camille’s youthful perspective on cooking and food culture. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life, and diversified farms at the center of the American diet. http://animalvegetablemiracle.com/book.htm

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Wonderful Blog

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Wonderful Blog: This artist does fantastic work with antique ephemera, found objects, dolls, miniatures, and vintage holiday ornmanents. Enjoy! http://ull...

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Autumn of our Discontents

For those of us who love to read, books, Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, whatever. More and more books are done of recycled paper. This is always hopeful. Have also been exploring new horizons and helping scientist friend do soil and water samples, watching caterpillars grow from larvae, collecting leaves and rocks, potting and pruning. Reading a lot on conservation of water, and about industries, farming, chocolate making, gold mining, that require huge amounts. Also seriously into nature writing, and I recommend the Norton Anthology of Nature Writing. All this brings peace, and spirituality, and a closeness to things not retail and man made. But, I do love my books, and my piles of papers and articles, and my stolen moments consist of settling down with Emma Cat and some good coffee on a cold afternoon, just to read. Or, to sit outside on my patio, as the world dies and dyes itself colors, as a magic carpet of red Japanese maple leaves surround me, reading till the light fades.
The Author's Bookshelf **************************************************************** WANT TO AVOID THE TOP 5 DEATHBED REGRETS OF WRITERS? You can, when you ask yourself five important questions. Stephen King and J.K. Rowling did this, and look where they are now. Find out how to get the writer's life you've only imagined and avoid regret. http://www.awaionline.com/go/index.php?ad=605048 ***************************************************************** WRITE FOR CHILDREN. Achieve your dream of becoming a published author. Writing books and stories for children is a great place to start. Learn the secrets 1-on-1 from a pro writer. Train online or by mail. Free Test offered. http://www.writingforchildren.com/H3146 ***************************************************************** THOUSANDS OF WRITERS USE FANSTORY.COM FOR: * Feedback. Get feedback for every poem and story that you write. * Contests. Over 40 contests are always open and free to enter. * Rankings. Statistics will show you how your writing is doing. http://www.fanstory.com/index1.jsp?at=38 ***************************************************************** DON'T GET SCAMMED! Choose the right Self Publishing Company for your book. What you need to know before choosing a self publishing company and the questions you should ask. http://dogearpublishing.net/self-publishing-companies.aspx ***************************************************************** YOU WILL NETWORK WITH 30+ EDITORS Over 400 editors contribute their unique news and views each year. That's news and views to improve your chances to get published. Monthly newsletter. Get 2 issues FREE. http://www.thechildrenswriter.com/AY461 ***************************************************************** BOOK TEMPLATES REDUCE YOUR WORK AND WRITING MISTAKES. Formatted Word book templates are a godsend for writers. Templates for eBooks, Kindle, PDF, MOBI, printed books, and more. Available in all popular sizes. See them now at: http://www.booktemplate.org/ ***************************************************************** COLUMN: CRAFTING FABULOUS FICTION, by Victoria Grossack Stories within Stories ================================================================= A great novel is often not a single story, but rather a complex and artistically arranged compilation of one, two, or many stories. This column takes a look at some of the ways you can weave stories together, and some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with the different methods. Frame Stories ------------- Usually set apart from the rest of the novel, a frame story often sets up how and why the story is told. The events of the frame story often occur in a different time than the rest of the novel. Often there is a prologue at the beginning, and an epilogue at the end. In some books, the frame story is revisited periodically throughout the novel. Frame stories have been around for centuries, probably millennia. A famous example is "One Thousand and One Nights," in which the Persian king was so angry with women that he married a new virgin every day and killed her the next morning. Only the vizier's daughter, Scheherazade, kept her head by telling her murderous husband part of a thrilling new story every night --and not telling him the end until the next night. (How many of us would want to rely on our storytelling abilities to save our lives?) Another celebrated example is Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales," in which a diverse group of pilgrims en route to Canterbury hold a storytelling contest. Prologues and epilogues allow you to give additional information, or extra perspectives on your story. You can use the prologue to create a level playing field. For example, in our novel, "Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus," we mention in the prologue that Jocasta inadvertently married her son, Oedipus. In a way we did not like to write this because it's the "big surprise" of the novel --but plenty of people are familiar with the Oedipus myth anyway, and besides, we were explicit about the incestuous relationship in the title of the book. So, by telling people this in the prologue, we were able to set up why Jocasta finally spills the secrets of her life. However, you should be warned that some readers don't bother to read the prologue or the epilogue -- especially not the prologue! They seem to feel that it is not part of the story; perhaps they confuse it with dedications, acknowledgements and prefaces. One way to avoid any misunderstandings is to rename your prologue "Chapter One." In a way this is cheating, but heck, who cares? Nests ----- Frequently stories are nested within other stories. The frame story is generally the outermost story, in which the rest of your novel --either one long main story or a series of other stories --is nested. However, some authors have more than one layer of nesting. They begin the first story, which we'll call *A.* Before *A* is finished, they break off to start story *B.* And before *B* is finished, they break off to start story *C.* The author can continue with this approach, adding more layers. Eventually, one hopes, the story will return to the original threads, and resolve, generally in reverse sequence, the issues raised in *C,* *B,* and *A.* This approach can add depth and perspective. However, it can also be a strain on your readers, as they try to keep the different stories straight. Even when *A,* *B* and *C* contain the same characters, they may be taking place at different times, or from different points of view. This kind of book can be challenging to read, and you should ask yourself: is it TOO challenging for my readers? You should also ask yourself what each level of nest adds to your entire book. Sometimes each level is crucial to what you are trying to achieve. Other times, however, it seems to indicate that the author could not make up his or her mind on which story to tell. Other times the author seems to be procrastinating telling the real story. Serial Stories in a Single Place -------------------------------- Another approach is to tell a series of stories, often about a place. This technique was perfected by James Michener, who often chose a particular spot on the planet, began with the geological processes that formed it, and then continue with various animals and people until reaching the present day. The same structure has been used by others, as in Steven Saylor's "Roma," and Edward Ruthersford's "London: The Novel." This technique is hard to do well, because unless you make the book really long -- and many Michener tomes run past 1000 pages -- not all the stories may have enough space to develop thoroughly. Often some of the episodes are good, while others feel forced. And even when everything is done well, the reader will form emotional attachments to characters, only to have them destroyed and replaced when starting the next story. Still, if done well, the result may be masterly, as in Michener's "The Source," a look at a tell near Jerusalem and the different religions that developed or visited there over the millennia. A-story vs. B-story (Subplots) ------------------------------ Many works of fiction have stories that are intertwined. In other words, you can't neatly pigeonhole them as frame story or as a series of stories, because they appear at different parts of the book. Nevertheless, in most works you can tell which plot is the main plot (also known as the *A story*). By definition, the other plots are subplots. Usually they have less action; less development; less time on stage. We see this often in TV series, especially those with large casts. Often it is difficult to give all the recurring characters a pertinent role in the A story --so they participate mostly in the *B story* (or even a *C story*). Many authors merge their A and B stories. Occasionally, this merging feels contrived, as was often the case in Nancy Drew books. Generally the stories should be related in some way, even if it is simply the development of a theme. Character Arcs -------------- Character arcs refer to the development of your characters throughout the storyline. Throughout your novel -- or series of novels -- your characters should learn and grow. Each character should have a starting point in your book, including a certain viewpoint, wants and desires. By the end of the story, most of your characters should be in a different place, with their desires either thwarted or fulfilled, and their outlook on life changed or deepened. The subject of character arcs is so important that it is worthy of several additional columns. Here we will just mention that it is important to tell the story of each of your characters, too -- another type of story for our collection. Anecdotes and Other Tiny Tales ------------------------------ The word anecdote come from the Greek, meaning unpublished or not given out, and comes from a book published in the 500s called Anekdota and which contained plenty of stories about the Byzantine court. Gradually, the term ANECDOTE was applied to any short tale utilized to emphasize or illustrate whatever point the author wished to make. A short tale can enter your novel in many ways. Perhaps a traveler is recounting where he came from (in which case it is also back story). Perhaps a witness, during a trial, explains what happened. Or perhaps a preacher tells a parable, or a bard sings a song. Some anecdotes may already be familiar to your stories. In our series set in ancient Greece, although we focus on the experiences of mortals, we frequently include myths about the gods. We try to add depth to these myths, often already well known to the readers, by showing how the characters react to them. For example, the hero Pelops in "Children of Tantalus" is inspired by a bard singing about how Icarus made wings of wax and feathers. If you include familiar anecdotes or fables in your story, enrich your readers' experience with a new interpretation. Conclusion ---------- This article has gone through many of the different types of stories found in novels. In a sense, classifying the stories within stories is like trying to pigeonhole a platypus -- what purpose does it serve, when the boundaries are so fluid? And yet considering the different forms may help you control and improve the different stories in your own work. >>--------------------------------------------------<< A version of this article appeared at the Coffeehouse for Writer's Fiction Fix. Victoria Grossack studied Creative Writing and English Literature at Dartmouth College, and has published stories and articles in publications such as Contingencies, Women's World and I Love Cats. She teaches a variety of writing classes at http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/courses.html. Victoria Grossack is the co-author of the Tapestry of Bronze series (Jocasta; Children of Tantalus; The Road to Thebes; Arrow of Artemis) based on Greek myths and set in the late Bronze Age. Besides all this, Victoria is married with kids, and (though American) spends most of her time in Europe. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking and bird-watching. Visit her website at http://www.tapestryofbronze.com, or contact her at tapestry (at) tapestryofbronze (dot) com. Copyright 2012 Victoria Grossack ***************************************************************** A FREE MASTER CLASS IN CREATIVE WRITING SUCCESS. Enrol FREE in a 14-part 'mini course' in short-story writing success. This highly acclaimed Writers' Village 'Master Class' shows you how to get published - profitably - and win cash prizes in fiction contests. Discover how to open a chapter with 'wow' impact, add new energy to a scene, build a character in moments, sustain page-turning suspense even through long passages of exposition... plus 97 additional powerful ideas you can use at once. Enjoy the course without charge now at: http://www.writers-village.org/master-classes ***************************************************************** WRITING A MYSTERY OR CRIME STORY? Forensic Science for Writers: A Reference Guide can help. Based on a long-running course offered in colleges and universities, this survey shows you how to create believable plot twists and enhance your stories with realistic forensic details. Available from Amazon and other bookstores. For details visit http://forensics4writers.com/the-book ***************************************************************** NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF WRITING ================================================================= The Writer is saved ------------------- Good news! On August 22, 2012, Boston-based Madavor Media, a privately held niche and enthusiast media company, acquired The Writer, one of the oldest continuously published magazines in the U.S. This is a homecoming for the magazine, which was first published in Boston in 1887. For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/9cbdnba Erotic Trilogy Heats up summer for Bookstores Across the World -------------------------------------------------------------- According to figures released by Random House this morning, sales of the trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey have lead to a bumper sales year for bookstores across the world. Random House has seen a 20% increase in book sales in the first half of 2012 alone. For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/8dexpfe $69m Payout by US Publishers for Price Fixing ---------------------------------------------- Hachette, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster have been made to settle an anti-trust lawsuit worth $69m after being found guilty of price fixing with regards to e-books. The money must be paid to consumers who suffered as a result of the price fixing. For more on this story visit: http://tinyurl.com/8ftbnbo ***************************************************************** FEELING PRESSURED TO PRICE A JOB? Follow the 3-step process in Freelance Fee Setting: Quick Guide for When a Client Demands a Price NOW. This brief e-book is by the author of the award-winning What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. Get it now at http://tinyurl.com/86qfupw ***************************************************************** BURRST.COM - A NEW FREE WRITING SITE FOR FEARLESS SHORT FICTION Unlike other websites for writers, Burrst focuses on sharing short pieces of fearlessly written fiction. Each day members can post one 'burst' of 1,250 words or less to be read, listened to, liked and commented on. Find out more at http://burrst.com/about/ ***************************************************************** Writing Jobs and Opportunities ================================================================= Steam eReads Open to Submissions -------------------------------- Call for Submissions: Steam eReads is Australia's premier epublisher of hot romantic fiction. We are currently accepting submissions of 55,000 - 90,000 words for full length fiction, and 15,000 - 30,000 words for our 'Short n Spicy' series. For submission guidelines please visit: http://www.steamereads.com.au Writers' Haven Open to Submissions ---------------------------------- Writers Haven is an idyllic way a writer and a poet can express their creativity. It has been running successfully and has completed six refreshing issues. Every style of writing is appreciated and encouraged. Nayanna Chakrbarty, the editor, provides 3 themes in advance to help plan the writing experience. Multiple submissions accepted. Submission Guidelines: http://www.original-writer.com/submissionwritershaven.html Verse Land Poetry Magazine: http://www.original-writer.com/verse.html Kentucky Flash Story -------------------- We are now accepting submissions for a collection of sudden fiction about/from Kentuckians, or with the theme of Kentucky or the south. Your work can be anything from hint fiction (25 words), to a 2,000 word short story. Please edit and fine tune your text before sending it in a .doc, .docx, or rtf file. Inside your file, provide a bio, and one sentence describing each of your submissions. You can submit up to five works at a time. Bios should be in third person, and begin with your name. For instance, "firstname lastname is blah, blah, blah." You only need one bio per submission package. The one sentence describing your submission should include your title. If you have five submissions, provide five of these sentences, one for each submission. No fees ever, but also no payments. You will be provided with a free ebook to share with your family and friends. You can also use it for publicity. A printed book will be available for sale on Amazon at a reasonable price. (less than $15 in most cases. Send all submissions to parker.owens@gmail.com. More information at http://kystory.wordpress.com ***************************************************************** FEATURE: The Future of Science Fiction and Fantasy ================================================================= By Michele Acker What is the future of Science Fiction and Fantasy? Are the genres fading? Are writers running out of ideas? Have audiences grown tired of the same old thing? Not at all. In fact, according to several prominent agents, whether written for middle grade, young adult or adult audiences, the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy are going strong and will be for a long time to come. There's more crossover now too. While teenagers have always read adult fiction, with the popularity of books like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, adults are reading more middle grade and young adult fiction now than ever before. Although some agents may disagree on which of the two genres is strongest, Science Fiction or Fantasy, they all agree that we'll be seeing much more of both in the future. I interviewed seven agents -- Eddie Schneider with JABberwocky, Sandy Lu with the L. Perkins Agency, Lucienne Diver with the Knight Agency, Miriam Kriss with the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, Jean Naggar with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Nancy Gallt with the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency (she is also the agent for Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series), and Jessica Faust with Bookends -- and asked each of them four questions regarding Science Fiction and Fantasy. This is what they had to say. 1. What do you see as the future of Science Fiction& Fantasy? ------------------------------------------------------------- Eddie Schneider: I think that SF/F is one of the healthiest genres in literature right now, so I'd say more growth and diversification. With the latter, I think we're going to see greater diversity both in the variety of subgenres (helped along by the e-book industry, which is able to prove to publishers that things they think won't work, do), and in terms of subject matter and authorial background. I think we're finally going to start to see good SF/F novels that should've been translated into English years ago get their due, and the chorus of voices will be more nuanced than it's historically been. Sandy Lu: Science fiction, which has been overshadowed by fantasy in recent years, will be in demand again. Urban fantasy, one of the fastest growing genres in the past few years, is on the decline. The market is saturated with vampires, werewolves, zombies, and psychics, the readers are quickly growing tired of them. They will want something with a basis in scientific theories, such as cyberpunk, alternate worlds, or space opera. Lucienne Diver: It's always difficult to predict the future. Trends come and go, sometimes nearly overnight, like mash-ups, and sometimes lingering, like urban/contemporary fantasy. What I can say is that sf and fantasy are eternal. Epics are eternal. Anything that deals with the human condition and high stakes, whether they be espionage, magically or murderously induced, will be perpetually popular. Miriam Kriss: We're definitely seeing a return to more traditional high and epic forms of fantasy, with a modern feel, and a hunger for near future stories, rather than space opera. We've also been seeing steampunk crop up in both YA and adult SF/F -- even in romance! Jean Naggar: There will always be a future for science fiction and fantasy, and I include futuristic as well as dystopian novels. We all love peering into weird fantastical worlds, seeing wonderful alternate universes developed by others, playing with the "what if..." and taking a break from the harsh realities of the international political spectrum in our real world. Since science fiction and fantasy are among the most creative genres, I cannot speculate where the next talented imaginative writers will take us, but I am sure that the journeys will be worth the trip! Nancy Gallt: I think readers will always enjoy the genres, as they have for generations. 2. Do You Feel YA is dominating the genre? ------------------------------------------ With the success of books/series like The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson, do you feel YA is dominating the genre? Eddie Schneider: No. Fantasy for adult readers, in particular, is proliferating, and there's a whole class of excellent authors that's cropped up in the last few years, including but not limited to JABberwocky clients Brandon Sanderson, Peter V. Brett, Jon Sprunk, Myke Cole... Sandy Lu: It's actually the other way around. SF & Fantasy is dominating the YA genre. Lucienne Diver: I think that partly the recent domination of YA is because it's not so divided into genres. YA is its own category, and to an extent that gives authors more freedom to cross boundaries and pull in whatever elements they'd like. However, I wouldn't say that YA is dominating the genre. Look at the Game of Thrones series by George R.R. Martin or the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. There's a lot of great and bestselling adult sf/f as well. Miriam Kriss: It might be more appropriate to say that the genre is dominating YA. There are still plenty of big name SF/F adult series that are doing wonderfully, including the tremendous success of Game of Thrones. In YA the trends right now are Horror and SF, which a great way for readers to be exposed to the genre and grow up hungry for more. Jean Naggar: The YA market is particularly strong at the moment, but rather than dominating the genre, I think it is opening up the connections between readers of all ages, making crossover books and movies more and more frequent, and making intergenerational book conversations once again the norm, rather than young readers only finding age-based material. Nancy Gallt: Percy Jackson is technically middle grade as Percy was only 12 when the series began, but I think SF/F have always been YA genres, it's the age when that kind of imagination and speculation are at their peak. Jessica Faust: I feel like YA is hot right now, but I don't know that YA is dominating any genre other then it's own. YA books should be sold in the YA section and SF/F will remain a primarily adult market and sold to adults. I do think there's a lot of SF/F or paranormal in YA right now however. 3. Are Adult SF & F Authors Jumping on the YA bandwagon? -------------------------------------------------------- Eddie Schneider: I think there are quite a few authors who are excited about the idea of writing for a teen audience. While there are a few who've done it for commercial reasons, there are so many more who've done it for the artistic challenge of telling a really tight story with great characters. Teens have strong crap filters, and will skip over something that tries too hard or feels inauthentic, hence the challenge. Sandy Lu: Yes, definitely. YA is a quickly-growing market, and some adult authors, not just SF & Fantasy ones, such as Gail Carriger and Philippa Gregory, are also writing YA now. Lucienne Diver: Yes, but when urban fantasy became hot, I saw a lot of authors jumping on that bandwagon as well. I think a lot of authors simply have more ideas floating around than they possibly have time to write and when something skyrockets like YA has, they may choose to focus on those ideas that previously might not have had the best chance for breaking out. Miriam Kriss: There are definitely authors who are doing both and doing it well. My own authors Lilith Saintcrow and Kate Locke, who write YA as Lili St. Crow and Kady Cross respectively, have found their YA and adult audiences to have a great deal of crossover and the pen names they've chosen are meant to be deliberately obvious so that readers know which they're getting but at the same time can find them easily. Other authors, like Jenna Black, write both YA and adult fantasy under the same name. Nancy Gallt: I think a lot of adult authors are jumping on the boom in children's books in general--look at James Patterson. Jessica Faust: I can't say for sure about SF/F, but we're definitely seeing it in other genres. I'm not sure if people feel it's going to be easier, they'll sell more books, or they've just always had a desire to write YA, but we're seeing a lot of adult authors switching over. 4. What are the current trends in SF & F? ----------------------------------------- First it was dragons, then kick-ass females in some state of undeadness. Now with all the vampires and werewolves out there, what are the trends? What sorts of characters are in demand now, or will be in the near future? Eddie Schneider: I shy away from this sort of thing personally; I'm much more interested in books that have a strong and distinctive authorial voice, than books that deliberately aim for the zeitgeist (trends) -- in the long run, I think authors of the former stick around and are able to make better careers out of it than authors of the latter. They also write more interesting books, at least in my opinion. That said, there IS a trend toward darker and more realistic SF/F, and I'm happy to see this. Sandy Lu: Hard science fiction may be returning, and the boom in fantasy may be on the wane. Robots and aliens may be the next big thing. As for characters, the demand will always be the same: multi-dimensional characters with deeply human stories, who the readers can identify with, fall in love with, or love to hate. Lucienne Diver: It's very difficult, but not impossible, to find a new angle on vampires. I think the way we'll expand and diversify is by bringing in other cultural traditions. For example, the mythology and superstitions surrounding vampires or shape shifters or zombies or what have you differ vastly from one culture to another. I'd love to see more non-European influences. Miriam Kriss: Well as I said, there's a big push to find the next George R. R. Martin or Brent Weeks on the fantasy side and a lot of interest in both near future stories and steampunk. Jean Naggar: Hard to say. The imagination is a wide-open playground, and the next trend is as close as the next writer with a wacky take on creatures and our world. Nancy Gallt: A good story and a fresh approach will always be in demand. But perhaps the best summary came from Agent Jessica Faust. When asked what the next big thing is, what agents are looking for, she replied, "I think most editors, and probably readers, are looking for the next thing, but no one knows what it will be quite yet." So, for those of us who write Science Fiction or Fantasy, it's good to know there will always be a market for our work and an audience who appreciates it. >>--------------------------------------------------<< Michele Acker is passionate about writing. She has had two stories, Blood Debt & The Price of Magic, released in a new anthology called, The Stygian Soul. She is also a contributing author in a new non-fiction book called, The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction, due to be released next spring by Dragon Moon Press. For more information on Michele and her books, check out her website: http://www.micheleacker.com/ Copyright 2012 Michele Acker For more information on writing Science Fiction & Fantasy check out our section at: http://www.writing-world.com/sf/index.shtml **************************************************************** EBOOK SELF-PUBLISHING EXPLAINED An epublishing revolution is sweeping the industry. We explain what is happening and show you how to self-publish your own eBooks. http://www.PublishYourOwnEbooks.com ***************************************************************** Free Stuff for Writers: Web-Based Tools That Require No Downloading ================================================================= By Aline Lechaye Fall is typically a season of change. It's the time when the leaves on the trees start falling, the time when you realize that the year's almost over, and the time when you start thinking that maybe it's time to stop procrastinating and get some things done. Whether you're thinking about starting a new blog/website, digitalizing some papers that have been around collecting dust since forever, or organizing your contacts, we've got free tools you can use. For you CSS/graphic art/web design fanatics out there, css Zen Garden (http://www.csszengarden.com/) is the place to find inspiration. For everyone else, it's also a great place to find inspiration, if you happen to be making, say, your official author's website or a promo website for your latest book. Click through the example CSS files displayed to the right of the page, or go to the archives ( http://www.mezzoblue.com/zengarden/alldesigns/) to find all the CSS designs the site has accumulated so far. Note down the design elements, color combinations, and overall styles that you prefer. Even if you're not an expert in computer code, you'll at least have an idea what you're hoping to see in your own website. Plus, the designs are just breathtakingly amazing--definitely worth a second look. Free OCR (http://www.free-ocr.com/): Thanks to Writing World publisher Moira for sending me this nifty little web tool that extracts "text from any image"! (Obviously, there's got to be some text in the image for the tool to extract. This isn't a tool for finding hidden messages in the Mona Lisa.) OCR -- Optical Character Recognition -- is a type of software that recognizes text present in an image, and then extracts it into a text file that you can edit. Free OCR offers text extraction for multiple languages, but the images uploaded cannot exceed 2MB, and cannot be "wider or higher than 5000 pixels". Also, you can't upload more than ten files in an hour. Sure, it's not perfect, but it beats typing out a whole page of text by hand. It seems like there're so many social networking and instant messaging services online nowadays that you have to be constantly on high alert just to keep up with everything that's going on. However, using eBuddy (http://www.ebuddy.com/), you can now stay connected with all your friends and contacts on Google Talk, MSN, Facebook Chat, Yahoo Messenger, and so on, no downloading or software installing required. Furthermore, eBuddy works on your iPhone or Android phone as well, so you can chat on the go. They also have a free SMS delivery app which you can find at http://www.ebuddyxms.com/. Need to send a fax to someone who doesn't appear to have an email? (Well, maybe their internet's down. These things happen.) Use FaxZero (http://faxzero.com/) to send free faxes to any fax number in the United States or Canada. You can attach multiple .doc or .pdf files to the fax. If you'd like to send a message with your fax, simply type it into the text box provided. The free service does attach ads to your faxes, and there is also a limitation on the amount of faxes you can send. Learn more about how FaxZero works at http://faxzero.com/faq.php >>--------------------------------------------------<< Aline Lechaye is a translator, writer, and writing tutor who resides in Asia. She can be reached at alinelechaye@gmail.com. Copyright 2012 Aline Lechaye **************************************************************** THE WRITE SITES ================================================================= InfoPlease.com -------------- This is a fantastic site to browse when you are thinking up new article ideas or angles, or looking for that extra zing to liven up your article or story. http://www.infoplease.com/ Creativity Portal ----------------- I just found this site and will be visiting it a lot! It is packed full of tips on how to boost your creativity, not only in writing, but in your life as a whole and has a free newsletter too. http://www.creativity-portal.com/ CharlotteDillon.com ------------------- Although this site is aimed at romance writers, it is actually, useful for fiction writers in all genres and even nonfiction writers too. Click on her links for writers and discover a whole load of handy resources including the handy guide to being your own editor. http://www.charlottedillon.com/WritersLinks.html ***************************************************************** SERIOUS ABOUT WRITING? Join the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, the professional association with a career-building difference. We partner with you to create a strategic online presence with genuine credibility. You get a free NAIWE-linked website (and more) so you'll be where people come to find writers. Join us today at http://naiwe.com! ***************************************************************** AUTHOR'S BOOKSHELF: Books by Our Readers ================================================================= Destiny of the Wolf, by Theresa Grant Forensic Science For Writers, by Phillip Jones The Musical Adventures of Professor Anacrusis I: The Surround Sounds of Music, by Chrissie Tetley Superhero Origins & Mystique: The Quest for Superhuman Solutions, by Karl C. Hendrixsen (Kindle) To Love Again, by Theresa Grant Find these and more great books at http://www.writing-world.com/books/index.shtml Have you just had a book published? If so, let our readers know: just click on the link below to list your book. http://www.writing-world.com/books/listyours.shtml ***************************************************************** ADVERTISE in WRITING WORLD or on WRITING-WORLD.COM! 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