Spoon River Gossip Column

How, as a poet, I didn’t know about Spoon River Anthology is beyond me. I just recently found out about the marvelous poems of Edgar Lee Masters by chance as I was listening to a back issue of Poetry Off the Shelf.    It had been 100 years since it had first been published, and the book, despite being somewhat dated in stories, has never gone out of print. Now talk about staying power.

I fell in love with the tragic poems recited in the podcast, but it was once I started reading them that it really became the good stuff. Sitting down and flipping through the Kindle version ( I now know I must get a hardback copy) I felt my heart start to race and the just utter shock at the stories hit me like I was reading a gossip column about the trials of all of Hollywood.  I sit there and I want to share this titillating story with my mother.  “Did you hear?” is running through the back of my head as I read one more snippet of scandal. The horrors, humor, and tragedy just make my heart start to pound and I am flipping the next page (the crackle of a newspaper is nearly at hand!) and I’m on to the next salacious story.

Back when my mother was in Jr. High, (I believe) my aunt did a skit of sorts reading three poems from Spoon River. Lucinda Matlock, Yee Bow, and Elsa Wertman were those recited. Years later, meaning just a few weeks ago, I was telling my mother all about finding Spoon River Anthology and falling in love with it, and her first thing she said to me was, “Why does that sound so familiar?”  I explained the premise and boom, she was back remembering hearing her sister recite the poems. After I downloaded the ebook, she flipped through it, page after page and found those three poems and said those were the ones she remembered here. Boom, and email from my aunt confirmed it. Clearly the poems have such staying power as to stick in the head of a 14 year old girl, who is now much older.

I can totally understand the appeal of such poems, done in such a loose, informal way, that there is no actual meter or rhyming scheme, because the stories themselves talk of life in such a way that you can relate, even if the poems and situations were written one hundred plus years ago. There is till rape, racism, hate, greed, sloth, longing, adultery, pure love, long lasting love, commitment, abortion, murder…… All of our sins are spilled out for us to ooh and ahh over, with no thought that we are just like them. Written in such a way that you eagerly turn to the next story.

I think every high school drama class should perform a rendition of Spoon River Anthology. Take and mix it up with each class. Heck, I would do it in a heartbeat. If I could stand out there and recite a story that has such meaning and emotion embodied in so few words. Heartbreaking and entertaining, I highly recommend Spoon River Anthology for anyone interested in learning about poetry and having it almost completely understandable. And if you enjoy People magazine, well even better. The gossip rags have nothing on Spoon River’s drama.

If you are looking for a free copy, Project Gutenberg has one, as the copy write is out of date, but personally while I downloaded that one, I like the Kindle Dover Thrift Edition.

Kate

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Current Poetry Reads and Consuming Poetry

My lovely friend Dona has told me I am the poet tender in our writing group, while another person is her poet tender in her other group. I take that as high praise as, while I adore poetry, don’t feel I am that well versed in it. However, I seem to be the one collecting the poetry books and reading the poetry, and currently, reading, writing and consuming poetry. So maybe I am.   I am far from being an expert, which my father says is a has been drip under pressure…. get it? Ex and a spurt?… haha, your joke for the day.  Anyways, I don’t know most forms, though I can give you some basic, and I don’t do meter or metre… whichever one it is…… and I can barely do rhyming schemes. I try, I really do, but I’m best at free verse. I can’t even do blank verse very well, though I have tried. For those who don’t know, blank verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter.

As a poetry writing, reading, consuming whatever, I am currently consuming poetry. I’m reading it daily and hourly and weekly. I went on a poetry ordering binge in my library recently. After receiving those books, I binged again. I can only order ten books at a time. Ten! Who thought that up? Writers need more than the ten books they can order. I need to order at least twenty things at all times. And I only can have twenty things out at one time. Seriously, this library system up here needs to know how writers work! But I seriously digress.  So I have been consuming poetry at every point of the day. I should mention that I am also listening to a lot of music that has marvelous lyrics, which is poetry. The jazz doesn’t count, as it’s all instrumental, but seriously, Miles Davis is a poet with his horn. Oh, gosh I could swoon.

Here is a current list of what I have read and am reading.

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon. I can’t say enough about that book other than I swoon.

 

Patient Zero by Tomas Q. Morin.  This guy has become my newest favorite, not to mention a muse in a poem.

 

Elegy for a Broken Machine : poems by Patrick Phillips.  Quirky, irreverent, spot on.

 

Falling Awake by Alice Oswald.  Strange enough to make me cringe, but I like it.

 

Essential Bukowski : poetry by Charles Bukowski.  This guy is certainly edgy. But I like it. A lot.

 

Catalog ofUunabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay.  Unique and kind of edgy and sing songy and and and…

 

The Selected Poems of Donald Hall by Donald Hall.  I haven’t quite decided if I like these or not. Some yes, some no.

 

So these are just a sampling of what I have out. I actually have a couple more, but I don’t like them. At all. So I won’t be mean and list the authors. I also haven’t listed the three Billy Collins books I recently took back, because, well I have raved about the man enough, haven’t I? And I have a stack of more books coming soon, I hope. So, happy reading time. Overwhelming reading sometimes.  I think my writing is changing. For the better I hope.

What are some poetry books you recommend? Or authors you like. I love getting recommendations because, well, I’m consuming it!

Kate

One of the Few – A Review

I was given the opportunity to read One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview by Jason B. Ladd, when the author contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to review his book. I snapped at the chance as I have never had an author ask me for a review.

One of the Few is Jason’s personal account of his life in the marines and his coming to faith. The book is divided into three parts,  Part One being Jason’s story of being a ‘military brat’ and going into the service and finally deciding to be a fighter pilot. We learn about some of his family life and his relationship with his wife who was a Christian, while Jason was not. Then one little question from Jason’s wife starts Jason on the path to discovery of Christ.  As he traverses the training of being a pilot, he also searches out what being a Christian is about. Part two takes a look at the concepts of certain versions of Christianity(I say this because it’s not a ‘this is the only way it is’ in my opinion depending on which area of Christianity you are in) and having a worldview and bouncing those beliefs off of what is going on in life.  Part three is supposed to be about using Jason’s background in peace, war and defense to prepare you for the spiritual warfare you will encounter in life and how to deal with if you are struggling.

The first part of the book captured my interest in the training Jason did in the military, along with little bits and pieces of how being a person of faith applies to life, but towards the  end of Part one, I started to not understand what Jason was getting at in regards to military training and applying it to faith. I also struggled with all of the military acronyms. In my opinion, if you are going to have that many acronyms, have an index of them at the end of the book or beginning or somewhere because, after only one explanation of what the acronym is, I forget it. Then when they are used over and over, I have no idea even what I’m reading. That happened a lot.

By the time I got to Part two, I struggled with what the core of the book was. I honestly am not even quite sure what part two was about except for segments on various Christian ideas. I wasn’t sure how it applied to anything except for feeling like it was a ‘do this, don’t do that’ rambling sort of narrative mixing in Jason’s continued research into being a Christian. While it’s supposed to be about putting your Christian faith up against what you see in the world, and is it right or wrong, I never got that impression.

By the time I got to Part three, I was entirely lost. You could take each segment withing each chapter on its own, possibly, but combined, I never quite figured out what was going on. Basically, the book is combined of a bunch of essays that don’t necessarily connect enough to understand what the total package is. Jason explains what the three parts of the book are about in the introduction, but I felt like he was unable to accomplish it in a concise manner where you understood how each point related to each other.   Roughly five pages into part three , I felt like Jason was not  accomplishing the third goal he had laid out  in his introduction. From this point, I struggled with finishing the book. I had already needed to skip ahead in Part two, hoping that the book would make more sense if I read Part three. Another problem for me was Jason takes an incredibly academic look at Christianity. For me, who grew up in the church, reading all of the more in-depth theological discussions left me feeling tired and bored and scrambling to figure out how it related to Jason coming to be a Christian. Jason also states his opinion about his specific beliefs as fact, a problem I’ve found with Christian authors. For a person who has not been a Christian for very long to state things that way, tends to turn me off a bit. Religions are made of opinions and my opinions are different than Jason’s so they cannot be stated as fact.  I actually felt like Jason had a great idea for this book, but then he jotted it out so quickly, it appeared to have lost its outline which he states in his introduction.

In the end, I’m not quite sure who would find this book helpful other than those questioning their faith and wanting to look at a more academical approach to faith, though at the same time, I felt like it was only barely scratching the surface and wasn’t quite helpful enough for even that.

Another little tick that I found frustrating was all of the notes at the end of each chapter. In most traditionally published books, the notes are at the end of the book, which I find, leaves a clean look to the book. Rarely do I read any of the footnotes or notes in a book, so having them contained at the end of the book leaves a more clean look to reading and gives less of a distraction.

Unfortunately, I find myself having to give this book only 2 out of 5 stars.

Kate

Getting Smacked in the Face by Censorship in Today’s Society

Over the years I’ve read about censorship with books, from the Nazis burning books, to various other books being banned throughout our country for various reasons. Books, like Harry Potter and Maya Angelou’s ‘Why the Caged Bird Sings’.  Books that were banned for their content, for no other reason than the content made someone uncomfortable.

But I thought in our ‘enlightened’ time of free speech (though I have seen plenty of instances where even that right is protested by the youth of today…) that censoring books was gone. Don’t get me wrong, I have had people gasp that I read and like Harry Potter, yet they are perfectly okay with The Lord of the Rings……. crickets chirping…….. really people, there is no difference other than J.R.R. Tolkien was a catholic…   I never thought I would run into ‘hiding books’ because they were a certain kind of book.

Last week I wrote about my book display the librarian allowed me to set up, see the post Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys, and how the prudish women volunteers (yes, I am going to call them that even if the title hurts) were uncomfortable with romance books being set up on a table that had, in the past, been used in the children’s section. See the display made them uncomfortable…….

Censorship at its best all starts with someone being uncomfortable.

‘I don’t like what that book is about’,  ‘I don’t want to read about racism in our country’,  ‘I don’t like hearing about childhood rape’, ‘Sorcery is a bad thing, children can’t read about that’, I don’t have a romantic life, I don’t want to read about romance and possibly hot sex’……..  The last line is my own addition to what I feel might be the root of the problem in my case. Am I trying to be mean? No, just making an assumption. Because not wanting romance sitting out where everyone can see it, (Come on people, children are oblivious to A LOT!) says to me that you have a more psychological problem with sex and romance.  Which is rather ironic in my mind because I can bet you, had I put a display of Shakespeare’s plays out, no one would have said a thing.  Or maybe a display of Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck, who are considered some of our greatest writers who wrote about love and sex! I’m sure a display of those would have been fine.enhanced-buzz-11259-1379943626-5

Again, it goes back to one’s perceived discomfort with something. As a whole, people don’t want to be around something that makes them uncomfortable. We avoid it and try to stay as far away from it as possible. As a voracious reader, one whom the volunteers at the library have dubbed ” one of our best customers”, I have read my fair share of things that have made me uncomfortable.  Eli Wiesel’s ‘Night’ comes to mind as a book I highly recommend and everyone should read it, but it gave me nightmares and a case of depression for weeks.  See, the things that tend to make me uncomfortable tend to deal with the sufferings of mankind. Not a sexy bed scene. Sure, I have read graphic murders in a mystery book— won’t read about that again— and some sadistic sorcerer murders in another young adult book — definitely won’t read that again— but that’s all you do. You put the book down.

You say, “Oh, I can’t read this anymore.” You don’t go out and try to ‘burn’ all those books you don’t want to read. You don’t tell someone they can’t read such and such because it makes YOU uncomfortable. You just deal. Life is about dealing with uncomfortable things, not letting them define you, but realizing that they are out there.

There will always be books that are going to make you uncomfortable, and books you don’t want to read.  That is your choice. Your freedom. But it is also the freedom for others to read those same books and for you to not tell them they can’t.

CensorshipNow my display was ‘ruined’ and the attitude of those involved with removing the display and the librarian compromising to the point of a form of censorship, is not okay. Granted the books are still out, albeit, high on the top shelf where no child could, gasp, reach them, but still….. Children are going to be confronted with romance books. Go to any grocery store and, gasp, the romance books are where children’s books are. The grocery store isn’t going to hid the adult books from kids. And we are not talking porn magazines and such.

This image was borrowed from Melville House, where it illustrates an article  if you click on the image. garydrobson.com

Romance, love, sex, are all part of life…… uh and the reason we have kids…..   Hiding it in itself is childish.

Again, I will clarify the fact that I kept the more questionable romances in the back of the library, I.E. Fifty Shades, etc. But to remove the other normal ones from any child’s eyes is so ridiculous. Again, it is showing your issues.

People tell me to keep fighting, Mims and Shala, thank you, and others, Dona, who understand my not wanting to offend people. My first post/rant was not posted on Facebook because I’m connected to the librarian and others that are part of the library. But as someone reminded me today, none of these volunteers cared about offending me. SO this is one post that is going up on Facebook because this is a bigger issue than just my feelings getting hurt or my display and ideas being moved.

Censorship is clearly alive and well, unfortunately so. And there is a good chance you will find that in rural areas people’s ideas and beliefs trump the right o read what we please without interference.

Not that anyone has ever stopped me from reading whatever the heck I want, but I don’t need to be judged by it either.

Oh, and the whole point of the library is to encourage people, not just children, to read, including books that have been banned……….

Kate

Emilie Loring’s Novels as a Film Guide

I was sitting there last night watching White Christmas, a film I love and should be a staple at Christmas, and as I watched Betty get all mad at Bob and storm off, I thought, wow, this is really like an Emilie Loring novel.

Now granted, there wasn’t much mystery involved, nor was there  a woman scorned trying to win back someone.  There wasn’t a whole exact specificity that made it like an Emilie Loring, but I still say it was.  The shenanigans and how everything was solved in the end.  Even to the misunderstanding of Betty and her running off to the Carousel Club, and Bob going to see her and trying to fix it.  It really is semi similar.  Maybe that’s why I love the story as I do.

And recently, watching the film Aloha with Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, I thought the same thing.  The film has mystery, intrigue, romance, a woman who wants the hero back, a new woman, a new love interest, people wanting to settle down, a villain.  It’s all there. Updated, with some sex, but still, the premise of the film is very Loring-esque.

You have the guy that comes back home, to Hawaii, there’s the girl who’s his guide, and while she likes him, she’s cautious about him, there’s the ex  girlfriend who is kind of interested in the guy, there’s the business man who has sketchy business dealings…. Will the guy end up with the girl? Or go back to his ex? And what about that sketchy businessman? Did I mention that the guy used to be in the military?

I mean, really, could this be any closer to an Emilie Loring book?  I honestly don’t think so.

So now my new mission in life is to watch films with this style of storyline.  Technically, Pride and Prejudice is along these lines.  Okay, it’s a lot like an Emilie Loring.  And maybe that is what makes these such classic stories.  They have a specific theme that pits good against bad, and guy against girl.  And the guy always get the right girl.

A story isn’t any good with out a little intrigue and conflict.  While White Christmas doesn’t have much intrigue, it still has conflict.  And singing….. the singing makes up for the lack of intrigue.

Aloha has plenty of all things.  Romance and intrigue and conflict.

Does anyone else have some good films that have this story line?  Oh, Sabrina with Humphry Bogart and Audrey Hepburn is a lot like this story line as well!

Clearly I have a Loring vibe still.  I think part of that is because I am reading Patti Bender’s blog as she write’s Emilie Loring’s biography.  Could it be any better than that?  I love this. I’m so excited about it.  And she also has read Loring’s books over and over.  So I get to hear about one of my favorite subjects. Emilie Loring novels.  I think I’m in heaven.

Kate

Why I Write – Writing 101

My review is the third paragraph. I am so thrilled and wowed, and kind of jazzed my name is in a magazine

My review is the third paragraph. I am so thrilled and wowed, and kind of jazzed my name is in a magazine

This past summer, I wrote a review for the Persephone books Classic, The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield-Fisher.  It took me entirely too long to read the book()because of just me, not the book) and write a review.  But I sent in my review, back in August and I just received my Persephone biannual. In the section  Our Bloggers Write, my review, or at least a part of it, was included with other reader’s words. This is why I write. Not for accolades, though those are always nice, but I want a voice. I want my voice to be heard. I have connected with other authors from reviews I have written, which is great. I love being able to talk to other published writers. Sometimes I feel like they are in this other realm of writing that I might never reach, but then I have to remember that they are just people as well.

Last night reading the same biannual as above, the list of events for Persephone Books was listed and one caught my attention so much so that I had to write about it in my journal. This is what I said: ” I was reading the back of the Persephone Biannual where the events were listed, and  there is this event on November 28th where they will be “selling our books beside the fire at the Christmas Fair.” And boom! I was transported to the smell of snow, the sounds of children singing Carol of the Bells, and the Harry Potter/Columbia[California]/British Christmas feel. Like it was time to start decoration and reading books with a Christmas theme in them. Suddenly You comes to mind first…”  The book mentioned is by Lisa Kleypas, a favorite romance writer of mine. Please do not judge that I like cheesy romance books. Oh the horror that I don’t read just literature.  But it’s getting on the Holiday season and I want to read about it, and write about it. I have a piece of flash fiction I did a couple years ago that has a Christmas theme, and I’ve wanted to expound on it for years. There is something so delightful about having a Christmas vibe to a piece of fiction. You can read two of my holiday pieces below.

A Christmas Dance    (I was channeling Emilie Loring when I wrote this) and Eve and Noel – Flash Fiction

This is why I write, above that is. I write because I will read something and I see a scene. I see a picture and there is a story behind it. I watch a bird take flight and I’m remembering my childhood and mentally writing a children’s story to something as simple and small as an acorn  in a bird’s beak.  I am forever having ideas pound, pound, pound in my head. For years I daydreamed, not knowing what to do with all the thoughts crashing around in my head. I didn’t have an outlet because I hated writing in school. I didn’t understand how to get a story out. I remember one instance where I was supposed to write a story about a monkey and instead I wrote a mini paper. It was a frustrating time. Writing was always frustrating until I Mrs. B found a new method of teaching me to write.  It was a ‘boom’ moment where suddenly it made sense. But even then, in my teenage years, while I would write hoping to write like Emilie Loring, I didn’t write constantly. I semi dabbled in it, spending more time reading.  It wasn’t until I hit 18 that I really started to write. Nothing really good, though Rena, my heroine still has her book, but it has changed drastically from the beginning.

I never knew what to do with all those thoughts floating around in my head. What does a child who hates to write, do with all those thoughts in her head.  If I could go back I would teach the inner me that it’s okay to write whatever you want in a journal and it does not have to be a day to day account of what you did. I would talk about what Susan Wooldridge said in her book about a journal.  Gah, if I had  Poemcrazy back when I started really writing, maybe life would have made a whole lot more sense.

I read constantly. Books, books, and more books are my world. I cannot get enough books. And I read good books and consume the words and the styles and the stories. I envy  writers who write something that I know I will never be able to write. I eat books that have a story that hits me in my chest and I walk around in a mental daze for days reliving the magic that has whirled me off into another world. I rarely think of books as another world or door I open and enter, but the minute I open the pages of a book I love, I have the image in my head. I can imagine the scene just so, and certain books I have read over and over, my initial image is still there. I read Emilie Loring’s and the image is always the same. So I read to meet those characters again.    I write to see if I can be as good as these writers. Writers I respect and admire. I want to be as good as them. I want some of the qualities of how they write. I read some books and think to myself “gah, I wish I could write that way.” Of course, I really don’t want to write just like them. I want my own voice. Which I do have. And because I read so much, I feel I have several voices, several writer’s voices in my head telling me how to write. The one I hate the most is Stephen King’s voice as he is forever telling me to cut the adverbs. Damn Stephen King.

And recently I have to keep remembering Anne Lamott telling me to shut those voices (mostly characters) up. Tell them to be quiet so I can write. So many voices in my head. No, I am not crazy. Maybe some schizophrenic people just need to write to quiet the voices….. Writing this I worry that someone might think I’m crazy, but other writers know.

People that do not write don’t get all of this. I don’t expect them to. I watch my father when I go off on a tangent or daydream and sometimes he just stares at me like I’m out in left field. I might be. I might actually be on the cliffs of England wondering what the sea spray is like.  You might never know, because five minutes ago I could have been in the Sierra Nevadas with Tyler and Phaedra as they are driving up the Sonora Pass…. (they are both characters as well……) Or I might have just killed off my character with Chocolate Pudding.

This is why I write.

Kate

Emilie Loring – Day No. 18

I have mentioned extensively about one of my favorite, if not total favorite, authors; Emilie Loring. I’m sure half of you don’t have a clue who she is, but I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about this wonderful author. So bear with me.

I was first introduced to Emilie Loring when I was 16 and moving my way up in the library books from young adult to adult. My mother was hunting through the large library and came back with two of her books and I was hooked. My first Emilie Loring book I fell in love with, and to this day is till my favorite, is Here Comes the Sun. That is the cover from the one I remember, which is kind of funny because the girl is a blonde. It took me forever to re-imagine her as a blonde.

The books are wholesome, which is pretty much the formulaic way of Emile Loring. Her books are so clean I would let a 14 year old read them with no issue at all.  They are romance books, but they have mystery and portray family life, love of country, love of the military, and the true honest love of two people.  They are romance the way romance should be written, which is why I still return to them over and over. Sure, the more modern romances are fun, but they are filled with a fair amount of sex… Which again, can be fun, but sometimes you just want the story. And these books, while somewhat predictable, are just a lovely story.

So, the books are inspiring, but the woman herself is inspiring. Emile Loring didn’t start writing until she was 50, in 1914, and continued till her death in 1951. So she wasn’t rushing to write and publish at a young age. I think that’s great. Here I am, trying to  publish, having some writers say, “Oh you gotta publish now,”  while others, like Susan Wooldridge, have told me, “slow down and just focus on your blog. Publishing will come later.”  Emilie Loring’s life fits with the latter.  Which is helpful.

Sometimes I really feel like I need to just get something published, but there are writers out there that haven’t published till their later years. If it takes me till I’m fifty to publish, well I guess it takes me till. I’m fifty.  (oh please no!!!)

Also, Emilie Loring is inspirational to me because of the style she describes things. She describes landscapes and flowers and clothing in a manner that is unique. With lots of fragments that make up a paragraph in an amazing style. And the woman loved her flowers, and gorgeous flowers too. She’s always talking about flower borders.

The men are dashing, the girls are sweet, the villains vill quite well.  All making for a very good story.  I highly suggest Emilie Loring books to young women growing up.  They are sweet and inspirational without having to be a Christian book.  And yeah, I might go on and on about Emilie Loring, but it’s because she is the inspiration for why I started writing. I would not have written my first very bad start to a romance when I was 16 had it not been for her.

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Go on and check it out!

Kate

 

Ladies in Literature – Day No. 12

I have another post planned for fierce, kick-butt women in fiction later in the month, but this is about women in general that I like in books. It’s kind of varied, and kind of just a personal opinion piece, but I wanted to share. I was going to write about women artists, but since I was seriously blanking on female artists, that topic has been scrapped. So, onward.

Emilie Loring Books (some of my favorites)

In books I have a fairly large selection of women I love. It probably doesn’t hurt that I love reading so um, well books are going to be my area of love.  Someday someone is going to call my on my Emilie Loring addiction…. Oh wait, the ladies at the library have already done that.  Neva’ mind.  I absolutely love almost every gal in the Emilie Loring books. They are girls  with moxie and love, and kindness, and sometimes they are weak, and stupid, but I feel I can relate to them. (yes, even the stupid parts because sometimes I can be kind of stupid.) They are like the ultimate good girl, girly girl, best friend girl. I would love to know these girls!  And just like them, I love the four women of Norah Robert’s Bride Quartet. I love these gals. They own businesses, they are fierce, but they are also such girls. Sexy and sweet, they make my day.

The Bride Quartet by Norah Roberts

The Bride Quartet by Norah Roberts

I like girls that have cool jobs, but not the typical doctor, lawyer, cop, etc jobs. I like jobs that a middle class girl would do.  That’s partly why I love the girls from the Bride quartet. One is a photographer, another a baker, the third a florist, and lastly the manager of a this whole bridal planning company.  They are jobs I would do. I love the complexity of the positions. They are not just fluff pieces.  Those are the kinds of girls I love. They are normal. They are not fierce strong women in the sense of say Katniss or Triss from Hunger Games and Divergent, respectively.

I love Anne Elliot from Persuasion. I pick her specifically because while I love Elizabeth Bennett, I actually prefer the Lizzy Bennett from the Kiera Knightley P&P better than the book.  But Anne Elliot is this woman who has had her heart broken and has had to remain with her family who doesn’t really appreciate all of who she is. And yet, she still has this amazing outlook on life. She isn’t bitter so much as just older. She has grown and knows her heart better than when she was young and could have married Captain Wentworth. The fact that she still cares for him after all the years of separation is kind of just romantic. I actually know to some degree what it’s like to long for someone for years.  I actually had the option of possibly being with this person years ago, but turned him down because at the time it was more than I could comprehend. I was too young and didn’t know myself as much as I do now.  For anyone curious, he’s in my Cast of Cooks. I’m betting you can figure out who it is. So I get Anne. She’s steadfast and far from Emma’s flightyness. (I like Emma but she is so flighty)

Honestly, off the top of my head, these are all my top favorites. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but there are about 20 Emilie Loring books I love, and the four Norah Roberts books, then the Jane Austen books. That adds up to being quite a few books. So I shall end for now.

Notable mentions are the gals in these books:

Sunday’s at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (all the women are so unique in this book)

So tell me, who are some literary women you admire or think they are just fun to read about? I’d love to know. I’m always on the lookout for gals to read about. I’d love any suggestions.

Kate

 

 

 

 

Women As Writers – Day No. 10

I had another post planned for today but with it being day ten and being exhausted with the writing, something else came to my mind. Being a female writer.

sad-writerBeing a writer now, especially easy, is a very accepted thing. You tell someone a writer and boom, they are impressed. It’s really hard to believe that it used to be a male dominated world. Poets were male. Writers were male. Playwrights were male. I can probably list on one hand the female writers of the 1800’s. Even into the mid 1900’s there were very few female writers.

Now, I would say that writing is a predominantly female profession. You hear more about a woman writer then male and there are a lot of women writers. More than three quarters of the authors I read are women writers.  They dominate the fiction world especially, throwing in all the romance genre, along with young adult.  Young adult is specifically filled with women writers.

It’s an interesting thing to think about considering most of the classics of old are written by male writers and the books were good. I love some of the classics. I love the poets from long ago. But what I find even more interesting is how much I enjoy the way a man writes poetry or the fiction from ‘long ago’.  I love how women write. I can totally relate to what they are saying, but the way a man writes feels like he’s writing it to me. He is whispering something rather amazing to me.

So while I love being a woman writer, I sometimes feel like I can’t ever express the lyrical romance the way a man can. Now I don’t think male writers of today have this ability. Shakespeare, Tennyson, Scott, Dumas, etc…. Have a way of writing romance that is so perfect I want to spin around in a circle of happiness. I cannot write like that, nor have I ever read anything a woman has written that is like the way they can write.

It’s an interesting thought. I would say the same applies to music. Male singers have this way of singing about women in a pure, poetical way that I never see female singers be able to do. Women never describe men in the completely romantic way so many songs directed at women are done. Male singers just seem to hit that perfection that women can’t or don’t repeat.

So, in conclusion, I think a lot of women writers could learn something from male writers. I also think the reverse could be said in the detail department. That’s another whole post, but male writers, especially now, do not deal in detail….

Kate

My Sister Get’s Austen

My sister, whom I may have mentioned from time to time here, was born with Down Syndrome. She’s a year older than I am, but about 10 inches shorter and a much more simple mind. We fight, we don’t get along, we are best friends, she’s kept me young, I’ve made her old, we didn’t pick each other, we want each other’s space, we want each other to move out, it’s complicated, we are sisters. Oh and she’s a year older than I am, but about fifteen years younger in mental capacity. So sometimes I don’t always give her credit.

Cover of "Sense & Sensibility (Special Ed...

Cover of Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition)

Yesterday, she delighted the heck out of me.  Wednesday is Her movie day. We do not miss it, and if we do, it ends up on Thursday. Well, this week she decided she was going to watch Sense and Sensibility for the first time.  The really good one with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman…… (pardon while I drool)  The reason she chose this was because of the Jane Austen set of books I brought home last week. See here. She saw the covers and loved them, and said she had to read one. She picked Sense and Sensibility to read first. (I’m thinking to myself, okay, right, she is going to read a book I can’t understand half the time, but fine, whatever.)

Then she decided she needed to see the movie first. Personally I thought this wise, because hey, then you have a basis and well, I’m sorry but Jane did not describe her characters quite like we see them in the movie. Thank god for Alan Rickman… and Hugh Grant….

So she’s watching the movie and I ask her how it’s going.

“I love Willoughby,” she gushes. “He’s so cute!”

I just nod my head and inwardly laugh, hoping she will get what’s going to come.

Greg Wise as Willoughby

Then I come in and ask her again, about two thirds of the way through.

“Do you still like Willoughby?” I ask

“NO!” she says, emphatically. “I don’t like him at all! He’s not nice. I like Colonel Brandon.”

“So do I,” I grin. How does this girl, who doesn’t get the plot of a lot of things, read through all the mess of Jane Austen and figure this out? But clearly, she has it down. Especially when the film ends she comes to me and says, ” I love Colonel Brandon. He’s so handsome. If I could pick any man, I would want him.”

Sigh. Oh she is so right. (this might because she love’s Alan Rickman in general [she loves Prof. Snape] but still) Though she hasn’t seen Persuasion. (Wentworth) Or Emma. (Knightley) And I don’t think she’s paid that much attention to Mr. Darcy. Just wait till I show her those.

So, tell me then. Why don’t men get Jane Austen? If my sister can get why we all love Jane Austen, why can’t a man get it?

Men! I ask you this. What don’t you get about women loving Jane Austen? Or have you read something of hers? Or do you disagree and actually like Jane Austen? I want to know what you think.

Signing off

Kate

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