STEVENSON, THE POET

Robert Louis Stevenson left a legacy of both prose and poetry.

Did you know that the man who wrote DR. JECKLL AND MR. HYDE also wrote children’s poetry?

In the process of moving I found a book, THE CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES, which my husband had saved from his childhood. Not in pristine condition, since it was dated Christmas, 1937,. it is slightly tattered from use and, some of the poems checked off with pencil, perhaps to mark as his favorites.

The author, Robert Louis Stevenson, is probably familiar to most of us, having read TREASURE ISLAND and KIDNAPPED as children. He is well known as creating books and short stories of horror and suspense, but who would suspect him to write such delicate and innocent poetry that would appeal to a child?

Click here for a very nice children’s book selection .

One of my favorite poems from the book is MY SHADOW

“I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head:

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

 

There are three more verses to follow, that are equally as charming.

.Another little gem is a short verse that you can easily envision, AT THE SEASIDE;

When I was down beside the sea

A wooden spade they gave to me

To dig the sandy shore

 

My holes were empty like a cup.

In every hole the sea came up,

Till it could come no more.

 

This famous writer of many great and powerful stories had never lost the wisdom of a child.  A quote attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson is as follows: ‘DON’T JUDGE EACH DAY BY THE HARVEST YOU  REAP, BUT BY THE SEEDS THAT YOU PLANT,”  Oh, that we could all live by his words.

THE GREEN COUNTRY

THE GREEN COUNTRY gives a glimpse of the hardships faced by the early settlers. It also shows their determination to establish a new way of life.

As a writer interested in history, it seemed only natural I should write about Pennsylvania and what an important role it played in our nation’s beginnings.
In a previous Blog entitled, THE STATUE OF LIBERTY, I had entertained the idea of leaving your home and migrating to America and what a wrenching experience that would be. My novel, THE GREEN COUNTRY is based on that premise and how Pennsylvania was settled by the Quakers, among others.
Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

“Leaving their home in England in 1683 to escape Quaker persecution, the Turner family braved the crossing of the Atlantic to establish a life in the new untamed country. The voyage and their early settlement had its share of challenges, but Rachel, the eldest daughter, held onto her promise to return to her homeland after helping her family make  their claim in William Penn’s territory of Pennsylvania. She hadn’t counted in falling in love with the pristine green country. Then her plans began to take an unexpected turn when she met an indentured servant named Jonathan.”

 

 

SILENT THUNDER

How has the subject of extinction impacted your llife?

 

Some of my short stories, or acting on them in real time, came to be because I felt passionate about a subject.
I have several such subjects rolling around in my head all the time as

I’m sure they are in yours…like your child’s safety on the school bus. or meal planning for the proper nutrition, or getting the most for your dollar at the super market. The ideas are endless. Well, your passion with anything but sex, that is. In my opinion there’s too much written and shown about that subject at present.

One passion that led me to write SILENT THUNDER, in my TRAIL OF LEAVES short story collection, was the extinction of animals from the earth. This story came from my heart.

It was inspired on a trip to visit, among other interesting places, the Smithsonian Institute.  I saw for the first time what a real, but preserved, beautiful passenger pigeon looked like.

My Trail of Leaves Book coverI had often thought of the extinction of animals and I felt cheated out of never having been able to witness their grace and beauty, but that brought all my feelings on the subject into some sort of uncomfortable focus.

The story centers around a man, who knew what a passenger pigeon migration looked and felt like, and his desperate hunt to prove the extinction story was a myth.  How it impacted his family was left to my imagination. I can only hope it will resonate in yours.  Now days, there is a conscious effort to save plants and animals. Even then we seem to be losing ground.  Are we really doing enough in this race for all of us to survive?

What are some of your passions?  Are you able to act on them? By writing about them?

The Pagoda

The Pagoda in Reading, PA is detailed in the book FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOUNTAIN by Corrie Crupi. It is an historical account, including pictures, of the area.

 

Recently I read a beautifully written book about the Reading Pagoda that my grandson had purchased on a recent trip to that PA city.

The book is entitled FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOUNTAIN by Corrie Crupi. It details the history of the now historical Pagoda and the surrounding area. It tells how the Pagoda came to be in Reading, PA.

Reading it was like reliving my past. At times it took my breath away. I grew up in Reading, in the shadow of the Pagoda, often taking the trails mentioned in the book. I remember hiking up the half rotted wooden steps from City Park to the Pagoda.  It was no easy climb. but well worth the effort, for what lay at the top of the mountain was an amazing discovery, THE PAGODA.

So many of the names of places came instantly back to me. I had enjoyed campfire outings at Egleman’s Park where Hessian prisoners had once been housed during the Revolutionary War. I often played tennis with my high school friends near Pendora Park, and I recall picking huckleberries on Neversink Mountain. Oh, the memories that the reading of that book evoked.

The Pagoda was constructed to hide the eyesore stone quarry that defaced Mount Penn. It was the hope of builder, William Witman, to replace it with a luxury hotel. When his application for a liquor license failed, he ‘gifted ‘ it to the city of Reading. The upkeep of the Pagoda has been constant challenge for the city and PAGODA-SKYLINE, INC.  Over the years it has seen many changes including added lighting, windows on the once open top floor, and a gift shop for the tourist attraction and others.

Making frequent ‘hikes up the mountain, on the road instead of the steps, I could never understand why there was no clapper in the large bell on the seventh floor of the pagoda. I have since learned it is a gong, not a bell. It was brought to life when a visiting official from Japan, where the gong had originally been housed in a Buddhist temple, brought a wooden mallet and performed a ceremony on behalf of the people of Reading and Hanno, Japan.  The mallet produced the sounds it was made for. The ceremony added a tonal conclusion to its history.

The book is a fascinating read. It is filled with great pictures, considering the times. It is well worth the effort to see the PAGODA and other historic sites if you live in or are visiting in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania.

The book is entitled FOOTPRINTS ON THE MOUNTAIN by Corrie Crupi. It ia published by R-E -P Commercial Printing, 340 Court Street, Reading, PA 19603.

Bedtime Stories

Make precious memories by reading bedtime stories to the child in your life.

 

 

  Did anyone ever read to you as a child…like bed time stories?

 

I remember how special those times were, even though some were of gory Grimm’s fairy tales. Strange what we remember…like tonsillitis paired with bedtime stories. Well, they can’t all be wonderful. You imagined yourself as a fairy princess or a knight in shining armor.

Anyway, they were special times.  Maybe they even encouraged you to want to read on your own. I know it did for me.

My more recent recall is when my grandchildren stayed over and Grandpap made up stories to put them to sleep. They were enthralled with his imagination.  He made them up right on the spot, and he had their undivided attention. I didn’t listen in. I recognized these were his special times with the kids. He always came out of their room smiling. The tales he told those kids had them asking for more.  Precious memories!

I hope you are giving your kids or grandkids some memories of bedtime stories, whether from a book or your own experiences. I know they will treasure them forever.

 

 

 

 

 

When is a Book Not a Book

All about the kindle. Being flexible to a challenge.

 

When is  book not a book?

Do you feel, as I once did, that you have to hold a book for it to be ‘real’?  That is part of the pleasure of reading, the feel of a book in your hand. Right? Well, my daughter didn’t listen to my ranting and she bought me a kindle anyway. It wasn’t too many reluctant ‘books’ later, I began to realize what I had been missing.

I had been having reading problems due to cataracts, and the kindle allowed me to select a print size that made reading more comfortable and a pleasure again. I found the e books cost less than the hardcover I  used to buy  In addition it saved storage space by having the books always available on the ‘cloud.’ I liked that the ’page’ was always lit, so it permitted me to read at night without disturbing my husband// There are also a selection of free and discounted book available for you to choose from.  I was quickly sold.

To add to my new found delight, there are apps that allowed me to do a myriad of things, like following my grandkids on Instagram and, being the game player I am,.it gives me access to those word games I crave. I even surprised myself and learned to text. After this lesson in being open to something new, I can only say, sometimes accepting change is a chore, but it will keep you more flexible for the next challenge that will surely come  your way,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Films vs Books

A film, based on a book is sometimes disappointing. Important information is often missing. Reading the book is often more rewarding.

 

Films vs Books

Were you ever disappointed when you saw a film that was supposed to be patterned on a book you read? Did you find it lacking in so many ways? Actually what you missed most are the details and the dialogue that glued the story together. You felt cheated that so many important pieces were taken out of it, which would have made the whole much  more enjoyable.

It makes you wonder how the scenes were selected to be to be deleted or kept. Often these scenes didn’t seem to bridge the logical sequence and there were often omissions of important information that would have explained how you got to a certain conclusion. For instance, in Dan Brown’s DA VINCI CODE, I don’t mean the novel itself, but the factual research is awesome. It was instrumental in helping to explain the setting, such as the scenes in the Louvre, the history of the church .and the descriptions of the cities. As a writer I am amazed by the length of research that must have gone into it. I also felt that much of it was denied to us as viewers. You have to wonder how the length and detail of GONE WITH WIND would have fared in today’s market.

The time factor that dictated  where only so much material to be presented. What to omit is the burning question? Sometimes the film story moved at a faster rate, and in the haste some of the rich fiber of the book was lost. Even though it was a good movie I felt somewhat disappointed in it . Reading the book is often more rewarding. Have you ever felt the same way about a film?

Finish The Things You Start

You will have a sense of accomplishment.
You will influence those around you.

Do you usually finish the things you start?

Oh, I don’t man that sweater you’ve been knitting for the last four years or those crossword books that have so many blank puzzles. I’m as guilty as you are for letting some things slip away undone, but for started way back when, or the wood project you are crafting. You will find a real sense of accomplishment and in the process you are encouraging the people around you, like your spouse, or especially your children. Don’t we all learn by example some unknown reason, I always try to finish a book. There’s something in me that demands a conclusion. I guess that odd determination is what kept me writing eight books and now working on my ninth. But then it happened again. Another book I was reading nagged at me to finish it.. Try as I might, I couldn’t find something worthwhile to keep me with it. I still have to admit it’s good to finish what you start, whether it be that sweater or the quilt you?

 

Favorite Authors

Making lists of books you’ve read.
Keep your reading fun.
Try new genres

Who are some of your favorite authors?

If you are new to reading you may not have zeroed in on which writer gives you the most satisfaction or take away from their work. A more seasoned reader will give you a list that may surprise even them..A long time ago I learned from my very dear friend, Elsie, to keep a list of every book and author I have read. This advice has come in so handy. It saves me money from buying a book I’ve already read and it helps keep track of a series I’m following, also of new writers.  Making the list can be a fun experience, both surprising and rewarding.

To add to my TRY SOMETHING New mantra, I am reading a fascinating new book, LEONARDO DA VINCI. By Walter Isaacson. Did you know that in his day DaVinci wasn’t considered to be a genius? He was thought to be merely curious!  I’ve always been a great admirer of Da Vinci and I am learning many things about him. There’s another plus for my mantra, YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN.

Over the years I find reading more than one book in the same time frame has become comfortable for me. If for some reason I find the one a little deep or disturbing, or even boring, I can switch to the other to give myself a break. Whatever your method of reading, keep it fun. Find a comfortable spot, have a cuppa, as the English say, and let your curiosity carry you away.

 

Reading, The Great Escape

Wouldn’t it feel good to get away from “it all” for a while, to be able to lock your cares away and sail away to some enchanted place?

Wouldn’t it feel good to get away from “it all” for a while, to be able to lock your cares away and sail away to some enchanted place?
 I have discovered how to achieve that freedom. Reading has become my friend, my escape from the hard knocks of life. It has helped me on the path to better understanding myself and my world. The more you read, the more you will want to read. It is one of the few times addiction becomes a positive. Reading allows you to slip out of the hum drum, and engage yourself in a completely different place. It brings your life into a new dimension, even improving yourself without being aware of it. It’s like being educated without even signing up for anything.  It is traveling to places only dreamed of on an effortless carpet.  There will no longer be the confines of your physical restrictions. If the lack of funds, a wheelchair or some infirmity has prevented you from taking that bus or plane, your body is able to take wing without the trappings.

 Whether mystery is your calling, or romance, history, fact or fiction, reading about any subject you choose will open your world.