“Life Begins When You Get Back Up” – a Memorable Day at School

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Here is a beautiful post from that extraordinary teacher, Jennie!

A Teacher's Reflections

 Music brings joy to children.
Books bring questions and thinking.
Teachers bring love and answers.

Today at school was a day I’ll always remember.  So will the children.  Emotions ran high.  In Dickens’ words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  It was COVID, overcoming fear, needing to be held, singing and dancing, and reading aloud one of the best children’s books – perfect for the day.

It started in the morning with Eddie.  He just stopped.  He folded his arms, scrunched up his face to keep from crying, and refused to talk.  All the coaxing in the world did nothing to help him talk.  Finally I said, “Eddie, come here” and pulled him onto my lap.  He curled up.

I knew what to do.  He wanted to be rocked.  I remember listening to a song recently on the radio that has a chorus:

“Rock…

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Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau: A Review

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telling sonny

Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a poignant, bittersweet, and powerful novel of love, loss, and an exploration of both New England and the vaudeville circuit in the first half of the 20th Century. She shows the reader a world that few have known personally and of which few are aware, and she draws the reader into that world seemingly effortlessly.

Gauffreau skillfully tells the story of Faby Gauthier and her life in Vermont both during and after she met, was seduced, and married a dancer named Slim White on stage and Louis Kittell in his real life. Sonny is a selfish man who uses his sophistication to take Faby’s virginity and impregnate her. At this time, for a girl with a child on the way, this was a difficult situation. Gauffreau handles the story beautifully. It is neither overly sentimental nor it is maudlin. Gauffreau weaves her story and tells us the lives of people and how they survive.

Gauffreau, through excellent dialogue and description, creates this past world and in an historical and literary novel, pulls the reader into the tale and makes us care about Gaby and her son.

Gaby is faced with having to tell her grown son who is waiting for his wedding that his father, who abandoned them is now dead from a car accident. Gauffreau adds this layer of tension to this novel and does it quietly and with precision and care.

This is a tale of quiet strength and desperation, of love and abandonment, and of death and life. It is a novel of family, of connection, and ultimately of love.

Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau is a sweet, lovely, insightful, and compelling novel, and I give it my highest recommendation.

Please Join The Underground Library Society!

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ULS Logo 3

I am again asking for those who would like to join the U.L.S., the Underground Library Society, to join and write a guest post. I put this request out several times over the course of a year, because I hope to have more people join in the cause.

In an earlier First Year Class at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, The U.L.S. — The Underground Library Society — was created. It is in the spirit of the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. In that novel, all books have been banned, and a few people “become” books by memorizing them, in the hope that, one day, books will be permitted to exist again.

In that spirit, I am putting out the call once more for like-minded people to join The U.L.S. All that is needed is to choose a book you would memorize if the need ever arose. The type or genre of the chosen piece does not matter.  There is no restriction on what you would become. You do not, however, actually have to memorize  the book now. If you wish to join, simply write a guest post in which you say what book you would “become” and why.

I have had several other bloggers join the U. L. S. Join the movement!

I hope many of you choose to join.

If you are a member and wish to add another book that you might become, you are welcome to do another post!

In the past, I have mentioned that I would become one of the following books: The Lord Of The Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

If you do wish to do a post, please email me at frenchc1955@yahoo.com  and write a guest post as a Word doc. Thank you.

Charles F. French

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I am looking forward to hearing from new members!

Please, come and join in the fun!

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Please read this wonderful post about Romeo and Juliet from Vanessa at FOODINBOOKS!

Food In Books

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo? Well, it’s Valentine’s Day so really, what other tale of star-crossed love, murder and suicide could I possibly blog about on this day of hearts and romance than Romeo and Juliet? Seriously though, during my recent move, I finally found my huge book of Shakespeare’s plays which had been lost for awhile, and decided to browse through it and see what culinary inspiration I could find.

I’d forgotten what a beautifully written play it is, and for a tale filled with men fighting, bloodshed, poison and death, it’s actually quite hilarious in certain parts. The Nurse, for example, is a marvelous comedic foil to Juliet’s drama, and I never truly realized how wonderful the character of Mercutio is, by turns witty, sarcastic, declamatory and with some really humorous lines, though he is also pretty crass at times, especially at the Nurse’s expense. There…

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Creatures of the Breton Night

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Please read this excellent post from Bon Repos Gites!

Bonjour From Brittany

The windswept moors and uncultivated lands of Brittany have long been linked with the ghostly activity of the dead. However, the beings that traditionally inhabit these areas in Breton folklore are the malevolent children of the night. For it is not only the dead who inhabit the gloom; dangerous and evil beings, who are not of the race of men, roam abroad during the hours of darkness and to encounter them could be fatal to us mortals.

Many stories, from across the region, warn of the dangers that await those traversing the lonely places after dark. The Breton nights belonged to the black dogs and to the korrigans; a race of capricious magical dwarves who emerge from their subterranean domain to haunt the moors and the ancient sites between dusk and dawn. They amuse themselves by disturbing the peace of the countryside and playing tricks on passing travellers, never…

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(Black) Women in Horror Month: How What We Think Horror Is Determines Who “Writes” It (Part 2 – Weaponizing Theory)

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Here is part 2 in KC Redding-Gonzalez’s excellent essay!

Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues)

When we ask for names of female writers of color in the Horror genre, we (as the alleged Horror mainstream) might expect to hear two: Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison.

Yet we also expect to hear that Morrison only wrote one Horror novel (and that one so Literary that the only thing making it the least bit Horror is the ghost that animates its prose) and that Butler is really more of a science fiction writer.

Why do we do this? Why do we take certain works and decide that some anonymous Horror authority has plucked certain criteria from these writers’ stories and found them “wanting”? And is it any coincidence that this keeps happening to writers of color in our genre, and has gone retroactive in our judgement of writers from the LGBTQ community in Horror?

What exactly are we using as justification for exclusion of these writers from…

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A Few Quotations on Finishing First Drafts

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Here are a few quotations about creating first drafts to inspire all of us to keep writing:

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(https://pixabay.com)

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” 

                                                               Mark Twain

jodipicoult

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“You might not write well every day,

   but you can always edit a bad page.

   You can’t edit a blank page.”

                                                                 Jodi Picoult

William_Faulkner

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

                                                                      William Faulkner.

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“You can do it. You can write that first draft, so that you can then go on to the act of revision. But the first draft must be completed before you can achieve your finished book, and you can do it” (21).  Get The Draft Done! Helping Writers Finish Their First Draft.

                                                              Charles F. French

A Tale of Two Dale Chihuly’s – Part 1

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Here is a lovely post from Jennie, the excellent teacher!

A Teacher's Reflections

Dale Chihuly’s glass art is magnificent.  I have been fortunate to see two of his blown glass sculptures, each with a different story that inspired me in unexpected ways.

“It happened like this…”

The first Chihuly I saw was at the National Liberty Museum in historic Philadelphia.



“Flame of Liberty” 
stands twenty-one feet high.

I was at a wedding in Philadelphia, and the afternoon was free.  As history buffs, hubby and I went to the historic district to see Carpenter’s Hall.  With less than ten minutes before five o’clock when everything closed, we noticed a museum directly across the street, the National Liberty Museum.  It appeared to be an old bank building, so we dashed over and went in.  Thunderstruck would be the exact word to describe how I felt.

The breathtaking structure is mounted on a mirror and rises above, through a circular opening into the second floor.  Visitors…

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Feathers, Fortresses & Flora~

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Here are some wonderful photographs from Cindy Knoke!

These are just three of the many reasons I love Oz. Most of the creatures are very friendly!

Tasmanian countryside.

Old church, in the former penal colony,

Port Arthur, Tasmania.

Tasmanian,

flora is unique and stunning.

Old Government House, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney.

Flower Arrangement in the Government House. We met and chatted with the Governor of New South Wales while touring Government House where she lives (I told you, Oz is a friendly place!)

Royal botanical garden Sydney.

Cheers to you from just a few of the reasons I love Oz~

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Quotations On Friendship–In Memory of My Departed Friend and Brother, Neil A. Frederick

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This post is dedicated to the memory of my true friend and brother, Neil A. Frederick. May you rest in peace.

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“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

                                                                          Helen Keller

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.”

                                                                         Washington Irving

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    (https://pt.wikipedia.org)

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, for in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

                                                                          Khalil Gibran

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“True friendship is one of the most valuable treasures of life, not in the way of worldly goods, but for our souls, our spirits, and our beings. True friendship brings its own kind of love and the ability to be oneself with that other person.”

                                                                        Charles F. French