Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why We Need Dolls In Our Lives - Ruby Lane Blog

Why We Need Dolls In Our Lives - Ruby Lane Blog: Why We Need Dolls In Our Lives:  No culture has been without dolls. In some societies, the doll figures that remain seem to be more idol or ritual figures, but the same cultures refer to dolls as children’s toys.  They might be very simple compared to their idols or decorative figures, maybe a decorated twig... Read more »

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: What is writing?

Miss Charlotte Bronte meets Miss Barbara Pym: What is writing?: What is writing?   Now that I’ve forsaken all else to write fulltime, I’ve actually had time to think about what I’m doing.    ...

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Books and Literary Life; Two Memoirs

Lately, I've been reading Larry McMurtry's memoirs, the two books listed in the title.  He shows us what I've always believed, that reading and writing go hand in hand.  One can't exist without the other.  Here is a quote I found particularly inspiring:

Seeing my books reminds me that in a modest way at least, I'm part of literature and the whole complicated cultural enterprise that is literature.  . . . The commonwealth of literature is complex but a sense of belonging to it is an important feeling for a writer to have and to keep."

From Literary Life.

In talking about his book collection and the books he has amassed for his book stores, he confirms the importance of books themselves.  A Kindle, magical a it is, simply does not give one this feeling of belonging to a community of writers McMurtry calls "immortals."   As he says, "sitting with the immortals doe snot make one an immortal but the knowledge that they're around you on their shelves does contribute something to one's sense of what one ought to try for  (157)" [as a writer].

Monday, May 7, 2018

Monday, April 16, 2018

Dolls Gotta Have Heart; Raggedy Ann, Legends, and History for Over 100 Years - Ruby Lane Blog

,Raggedy Ann was always one of my favorite dolls. I remember listening carefully, fascinated when my third grade teacher read the stories to us.  I think we made it through all the books. I used to enact them with my own dolls.  Years later, I saw the museum before it closed, and was able to go to the festival.  Now, I have neighbors named Ann and Andy!  My mom made a killer Ann Halloween outfit when I was six!  Love Gruelle and his books!

Dolls Gotta Have Heart; Raggedy Ann, Legends, and History for Over 100 Years - Ruby Lane Blog: Raggedy Ann has been a beloved doll and literary character for over 100 years.  Her face has graced countless story books, coloring books, paper dolls, toys, radios, canned goods, and posters about Diphtheria and Smallpox vaccinations.  Raggedy Ann and her brother, Raggedy Andy, have starred in their own animated films, and Raggedy Ann has flown... Read more »

Friday, April 6, 2018

Firestorm: a Review

Firestorm, but Iris Johansen.  A Book Review
Image result for Firestorm by Iris Johansen Public DomainPublic Domain Image
For years, my closest friends, also mystery fiends have urged me to read Johansen. After a windfall of books that included one of her novels came my way, I eagerly picked up the book.
The first chapter reminded me of the opening scene of Legal Eagles, which is one of my favorite movies.  A young girl awakes to fire, a horrible fire, and loses her mother.  Fast forward and years later, she is an arson investigator, who is a little psychic.  Shades of Medium, another favorite, albeit on TV.
We meet the murderer/rogue govt. agent/arsonist from the beginning.  So, we don’t wonder about “Who done it?”  Yet, as the novel progresses, it is the violence and the fiery murders that become the real characters and runaway with the action.
The murder’s motives are not convincing; he isn’t the kind of pyromaniac I met up with in my days of working in law offices. In fact, some of them are pretty unassuming.  I sat in a locked conference room facing one down, and I asked point blank, “did you do it?”  Oh, no, of course not!” he insisted, all innocent and doe-eyed.  We ended up not taking the case; a few months later, he was arrested and guess what!!?? He did it and then some.  Other than the evidence that buried him, there was no initial clue that he was a fire bug.  Just a nice, average guy that liked to set fires and leave.
The story is masterful, and she is one of the most successful authors in her genre, but the characters are cardboard, they go up in flames in more ways than one.  If you forgive the pun that dies and is resurrected into analogy, the characters are just fuel for the flames.  They go up like Birdie, the hapless celluloid doll set on fire and murdered by the evil, but gorgeous Marchpane in Godden’s The Dolls’ House, or like the little paper ballerina who immolates herself on the remains of Hans Christian Anderson’s “Brave Tin Soldiers.”

Monday, March 26, 2018

Why We Love Dollhouses (And You Should Too!) - Ruby Lane Blog

Why We Love Dollhouses (And You Should Too!) - Ruby Lane Blog: The first dollhouses on record are probably the Dutch cabinet houses and Nuremburg doll houses, meant more for adults as cabinets of curiosities than for children.  The novel The Miniaturist is based on these. One great example that still survives is Mon Plaisir, from the 18th century. The Nuremberg House open, 1673 via Victoria and... Read more »