Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Cute Bit of Writing // And Let's Talk about Stories

My siblings and I bought our dad a set of Frances Hodgson Burnett books for Christmas.  He is now reading them aloud to the family. 
You know what I never knew though?  A Little Princess as we know it is not the original published work.  In fact, it was much shorter when Frances Hodgson Burnett first published it.  There's an explanation in the beginning of my dad's book which tells all about it, and I found it very sweet the way the author chose to write this explanation. 
Which is why I'm here, actually.  Because I wanted to share it with all of you. 

The Whole of the Story

I do not know whether many people realize how much more than is ever written there really is in a story--how many parts of it are never told--how much more really happened than there is in the book one holds in one's hand and pores over.  Stories are something like letters.  When a letter is written, how often one remembers things omitted and says, "Ah, why did I not tell them that?"  In writing a book one relates all that one remembers at the time, and if one told all that really happened perhaps the book would never end.  Between the lines of every story there is another story, and that is one that is never heard and can only be guessed at by the people who are good at guessing.  The person who writes the story many never know all of it, but sometimes he does and wishes he had the chance to begin again.

     When I wrote the story of "Sara Crewe" I guessed that a great deal more had happened at Miss Minchin's than I had had time to find out just then.  I knew, of course, that there must have been chapters full of things going on all the time; and when I began to make a play of the book and called it "A Little Princess," I discovered three acts full of things.  What interested me most was that I found that there had been girls at the school whose names I had not even known before.  There was a little girl whose name was Lottie, who was an amusing little person; there was a hungry scullery-maid who was Sara's adoring friend; Ermengarde was much more entertaining than she had seemed at first; things happened in the garret which had never been hinted at in the book; and a certain gentleman whose name was Melchisedec was an intimate friend of Sara's who should never have been left out of the story if he had only walked into it in time.  He and Becky and Lottie lived at Miss Minchin's, and I cannot understand why they did not mention themselves to me at first.  They were as real as Sara, and it was careless of them not to come out of the story shadowland and say, "Here I am--tell about me."  But they did not--which was their fault and not mine.  People who live in the story one is writing ought to come forward at the beginning and tap the writing person on the shoulder and say, "Hallo, what about me?"  If they don't, no one can be blamed but themselves and their slouching, idle ways.

     After the play of "A Little Princess" was produced in New York, and so many children went to see it and liked Becky and Lottie and Melchisedec, my publishers asked me if I could not write Sara's story over again and put into it all the things and people who had been left out before, and so I have done it; and when I began I found there were actually pages and pages of things which had happened that had never been put even into the play, so in this new "Little Princess" I have put all I have been able to discover.


~Frances Hodgson Burnett~

Isn't that so cute, though?  I love the way she talks about her characters as if they were real people with minds of their own.  And how she practically scolds them for their "slouching, idle ways" in not making their appearance into the story much sooner.  *chuckle*
Also the point she makes about stories being like letters, with so many things omitted in the telling.  This really struck a chord with me.  I've never written a complete story myself, but from the pitiful attempts I've made over the years, I've long since discovered that it is very hard to express all that one would wish to express.   And I think it must be very true that there is much more to a story than what actually makes it onto the page. 
Tell me, have you ever written a story?  If so, have you ever had characters who surprised you by popping into your story unexpectedly?  And when you were finished writing, did you feel like your story was complete, or did you feel like there was still more to be told? 
Let's talk about it!

Friday, January 20, 2017

A few words to the people of Candleford and Lark Rise {Season 1}

Warning: There will be sarcasm.

Miss Lane,
If you get that tragic, suffering look in your eye one more time I may just have to come over there and shake you.  You've had more than four years to realize that the love you lost, truly is lost.  Regret isn't going to change a thing.  So do try and get over it.  And if the memories really are as painful to you as all that, why don't you try distancing yourself from them a bit?  Like, uh...not spending so much time with a certain person, perhaps?   I know.  It's a long shot.  But it just might do the trick.

I'm afraid you missed all the verses on humility in your previous readings of the Bible.  Why not try reading it through a bit more thoroughly next time?  Who knows?  You might learn something.  Also do try and relax.  You get far too tense and uptight about things.  I'm sure it is not good for your health. 

Mrs. Arless,
How ever did you end up with a son so responsible as Alf?  (Just wondering.)

I suggest that you stop bobbing your head about so much.  You might make yourself dizzy.

Mr. Timmins,
I love the way you have of always making people feel so comfortable together.  Like the time your daughter had her young man over for dinner for the first time.   Oh!  You outdid yourself.  What pleasant conversation you are capable of making.  And that grumpy look you had on your face the whole time?  What utter charm! 

Mrs. Timmins,
Keep driving your point home.  It's not a lost cause.  One of these days others are going to realize, just like you do, that children "have to eat."   I mean, naturally, it's an idea which wouldn't occur to most people, so keep spreading the message.  They'll understand one day.

Don't forget, "A penny saved is a penny earned."  (Somehow I think all of that just went over your head.)

Alf Arless,
Next time don't tell your siblings where you've hidden your earnings.  Obviously they are not to be trusted with such a secret.  Oh!  And don't pine over Laura.  You're too good for her anyway.

Mister Philip What's-your-name,
The way you skulk about and pop around corners with that self-satisfied grin on your face is really quite disconcerting.  Not to mention creepy.  I suggest you try a new approach.  It would improve your appearance tremendously. 

Indulging superstitious notions does not become you.  Please stop it.

To the Misses Pratt: Ladies,
Your sense of style is so  I do wonder that the good ladies of Candleford trust you to design their clothing, though.  In fact, I find it quite curious.

Sir Timothy,
Aww.  Did you lose your favorite wittle tree?  Dear, dear.  How very sad.  :(   Still it was a novel idea to go and seek sympathy from Miss Lane.  She always understands.  And your timing, sir, was impeccable!  The way you brought the subject up with your wife standing right beside you was brilliant, man, brilliant.  Your subtlety knows no bounds! 

Lady Adelaide,
Mostly I just feel sorry for you.  But I do have one hint to offer.   When your husband's mourning over his dead tree, do try and be a little sympathetic and not so high-flyingly cheerful, okay?  Because husbands and wives really ought to be an emotional support to one other in such trying times.

Mr. James Delafield,
You move too fast, man.  You move too fast.  No one falls in love that quickly.  Still, I suppose we ought to cut you some slack.  After all, your time was limited.

Come, Miss Lane, don't look so sad.  Think of it!  You now have the pleasure of being tragic over two lost suitors.  That ought to be enough for anyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Period Drama Tag

Hamlette tagged me with this period drama tag back in November.  I've been horrible at filling out tags lately, but I decided I really wanted to do this one, so here goes!  Should be fun.

1. What's your favorite Period Drama movie? 
Oh, honestly.  What are you trying to do, make this difficult for me?  I simply cannot pick an absolute favorite.  That's impossible.  *dramatic sigh*

I'll just give you one of my favorites.  (That's the best I can do.)  And  I think it'll have to be... Emma 2009.  (Surprise, surprise!  Bet you never saw that one coming.)

2. What's your favorite Period Drama series? 

I'll go with All Creatures Great and Small this time since that's what we're currently watching...and it's SUPER good, people.  Really.  If you haven't seen it yet you absolutely, positively must.  (Isn't that so, Evie?  :))

3. Which Period Drama do you dislike the most? 

Oooh!  Do you want a whole list?  I can give you a whole list. Middlemarch, Persuasion 2007, Emma 1996, Pride and Prejudice 2005... all right, I'll stop.

4. Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit? 

Goodness.  I don't know!! can't choose between them.   Next question, please.

5. Your favorite Period Drama dresses?

To be honest, I don't think that much about the dresses in Period Dramas.  I mean, I notice them, but I don't tend to give them a whole lot of consideration.  Still I suppose I have to chose something so here goes...

This one's pretty cute.  The lattice-type work on the sleeves and bodice is so unique.

That collar, though! Isn't it pretty?

I love gingham dresses and the colors of these particular dresses are scrumptious.  Just my style.

6. Who's your favorite Period Drama character? (Okay, pick at least five)

MY FAVORITE WHAAAT?  Oh.  I can choose five?  Well, that's much better.  You give me options.  You make me happy.  (Heehee.) 

In an attempt to be somewhat creative, I'm going to limit my choices to side characters only.  No heroes and heroines. 

Mr. Bingley; Pride and Prejudice 1995
(Such a darling character.)

Tristan Farnon; All Creatures Great and Small
(Naughty, but loveable.  ;))

Peter Pevensie; BBC's The Chronicles of Narnia
(Oh.  Did I say I wasn't going to include any heroes?  Oops.  Well, he was too good to pass up.  I love Peter!)

Edmund Sparkler; Little Dorrit
(Such a ridiculous, but adorable sort of fellow.)

 [I guess I've got sort of a guy theme going here.  Ah well.  May as well finish it out.]

Siegfried Farnon; All Creatures Great and Small
(Eccentric in the extreme.  And positively hilarious!)

 7. If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you wear? (Pick a Period Drama dress) 

Well, this dress might not actually fit at a royal ball, but I'd love to wear Meg's pink party dress.  It's so pretty!  And I love the sleeves.

8. What's your favorite Jane Austen movie? 

Pride and Prejudice 1995 and Emma 2009.  Please don't make me choose between them.

9. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife

Downton Abbey.  I have yet to see Call the Midwife.

10. Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse or Marian of Knighton? 

Emma Woodhouse.  Sybil Crawley second.  (I've never seen the other two.)

11. Which couples of a Period Drama do you like the most? (Pick at least four) 

Ohhh!  Fun!  Sometime I really need to do an entire post devoted to favorite period drama couples...but for now, here's four.

Emma and Mr. Knightley; Emma 2009
(Somehow they always manage to get into my posts, don't they?)

Alf and Minnie; Lark Rise to Candleford
(One of the cutest couples ever!)

James and Helen; All Creatures Great and Small
(Sweetness in the extreme!)

Amy Dorrit and Arthur Clennam; Little Dorrit
(Heartbreakingly adorable.)

12. And last, which Period Drama villain do you like the most?

Oh, dear.  How will I ever be able to answer that?  There's so many I like, how can I possibly narrow it down?  (Haha!  Just kidding.  I'm not that fond of villains.  Really I'm not.)  Let's see.  I'm sure I could come up with a  better one, but for now I'm going to say Prince John from Ivanhoe 1997 (produced by BBC and A&A).  No, I don't really like Prince John.  He's despicable.  But I have to admit, he's extremely entertaining.  One of the most entertaining characters in the film, actually.  Even more than Ivanhoe.  ('Tis a fact.)

And now I'm going to tag...

Cordy at Write On Cordy!
And anyone else who would like to do this.  Seriously, if you want to fill out these answers, PLEASE do so.  And then let me know so I can read your post! 

Good-night, everyone.  It's past midnight, and considering that I have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow for work I have a feeling it might be a good idea for me to get to bed.  What do you think?  ;)

Monday, January 9, 2017

The New (Winter?) Look

You're probably all getting tired of these posts documenting my new blog designs.  I'm sorry for that.  And I feel for you.  I really do.  It's just that I can't help myself.  (That's a lie.  She could totally help herself if she tried.)  Oh, very well, perhaps I could.  But the thing is, it's such a nice easy excuse for a post, and it makes my number of posts for the month go up with very little effort on my part, and well...I like that.
So yeah.  This is another boring post from my home to yours. I hope you enjoy it.  (Do you enjoy being bored?  There must be someone out there who does.)

The Header:

The Background:

And by the way, the reason my post title is uncertain about the winteriness of this new layout is because...well, it doesn't look very wintery, does it?  I assure you, I meant it to be wintery.  When I started out I had the best of intentions for it to match the current season.  Honestly.  I chose pictures with frost covered windows, for goodness sake.  It was going to be a snow-themed, cozy cottage-type layout. 
But then Emma Woodhouse came along with a splash of spring, and my favorite pinkish colors just wouldn't stop pushing their way in, and before I knew where I was, I was choosing a flowery background and all my wintery plans had flown straight out the window.  (It was bound to happen, you know.  Choose a header with so many windows, what else can you expect?)  You're nutty(I know.
So this is what we've got, and this is what we're going to stick with.  For now at least.
Do you have trouble with your layouts turning out completely different than you
originally envisioned? 
Are you a stickler for your blog matching the current season of the year? 
How was your first week of 2017?