Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Garden of Darkness - WEP GARDENS Challenge

Darkness hides in the bright colours. . .tread lightly. This is my Garden.

Taken at Monet's Garden in Giverny, Fr., by DG Hudson

All around me, the scents of wisteria, and honeysuckle weave into my dreams. The smells of summer nights settle heavily in my mind.  It's my favourite time, the resting time of flowers when the stamens release their pollen, as the air cools. My flowers fill the air with the smells of perfume, of rare tea and fragrant herbal sachets.



Rose Portrait, by DG Hudson, Rainforest Writing


It's the dark hues, the sultry warmth, and earthy smells that lure me back again and again. The Temptress grows here, a deep, blood-red old-fashioned rose that smelled of the fields of flowers in France. Just watch for the sharp, sickle-shaped thorns. Next to it is Chicago Peace, with its petals painted warm orange with ivory and pink shading. Clematis, the charmer vine, climbs the old arbour in the corner, showy with its large purple blooms.



Wikipedia Creative Commons - by Michael Palmer*

Come into my little sheltered garden and if you look closely, you will see roses with thick large thorns, and thorny brambles forming a natural barrier on the edges of my hideaway. Many para-gardeners, or hedge witches don't know about thorn horticulture, or understand the properties of the thorn itself. I do. I know the uses of the Black tulips, their petals closed in the evening air, and the blue flower of periwinkle nestled against the dark green leaves, but the best, the Grand Black Rose, I do not yet know. It was a gift and I have yet to study it.

Clomp, clomp, clomp! A small stop. Then, the sound started up again. The noise came from heavy footsteps on the flat stones of the garden path, a meandering line paving the way to my secluded spot. Someone was coming, as if on a matter of importance. . .who would dare interrupt my retreat?

Then, I saw the creature coming towards me,  He looked like the hunchback who terrorized Paris, a fictitious man. Yet, here he was. And here I was, alone.


"Begging your pardon, m'lady," he said, "but I have been told to bring you out of this doomed garden."

"Doomed? Why do you say that?"

"I'm forbidden to speak for the master, but I bring a message: Himself would like to see you. . ."

"Oh, would he? And where would Himself be that I should come to him?"

"He is waiting below in a carriage." A Carriage? What is Himself thinking?

"I will do this thing you request, but I must grab a shawl."


"This one?" The hunched over creature held up my red shawl, the colour of fresh blood.

Damn him. How did he do that? "That one will do."

She twirled the shawl over her shoulders as she rose from the bench. Himself had better have a good reason for this. I'm vulnerable outside of this place of sanctity.

They walked down the stairs toward a dark black chaufferred carriage. A curtain pulled aside. . .

"Herself is lovely this night. I have a errand for you, my dark one."

"What if I don't agree?"

"Oh, but you will. You are under my protection, and under my spell. Herself has no choice."

"Perhaps."

"Agree and you will be released from the dark garden. You will have the light."

In answer, she turned, slipping the knife made from a giant thorn that absorbs moonlight into her hand and stabbing Himself right in his eye, then using it to slit his throat.

"I happen to like the dark garden. Himself does not know me well. . ."

The little hunchback had disappeared in smoke as Himself melted into a puddle. They had not known about the giant thorn's magic.  She quickly stepped down from the carriage as it too disappeared and made her way back down the stone path to her refuge, humming to herself.

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Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and tell me how you feel about gardens or gardening. Do you like to grow flowers or veggies or both? Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read a short fantasy. . .!

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WEP - A GARDENS short fiction post



The Gardens prompt is all about creativity. What picture comes to mind when you hear the word 'garden'? It may depend on whether you like to garden or just like to observe the artistry and style of other gardens. Denise and Yolanda, or literary hosts for WEP would like you to tell how the prompt inspires you. . .enthrall us, please.

FLASH FICTION, POETRY, NON-FICTION, PLAYSCRIPTS, ARTWORK OR PHOTOGRAPHY.  It's your choice of medium, and genre, but the word count should be about 1000 maximum. Check out more details at the WEP site, and there you will find the entrants participating in this challenge! Be sure to enjoy the variety of garden delights by visiting the links and commenting. 

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Dark Purple Clematis Image
by Michael Palmer:
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Diana Gabaldon's 'Drums of Autumn' - A Review

Knowing what the future holds can be a curse. . .

From erstwhile travellers passing through with no fixed address, or evidence of killings and the burning of property, the warning signs are clear. Roving bands of looters and opportunists are combing the ridge areas trying to find out who is on the side of the Crown and who is with the rebellious colonists. The drums are starting to beat a refrain: war is coming. Even when you know what is on the horizon, as Claire does, you know that the juggernaut of war can't be stopped.




DRUMS OF AUTUMN

The story of Jamie and Claire Fraser, the two main characters, is primarily about the Highlanders. This specific novel is one of a few set in the years leading up to the American Revolution, when the 'colonies' decided to make a stand for their independence.

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The story begins in Charleston 1767, where Jamie and Claire have come to see their nephew off as he goes back to Scotland. Only, it doesn't happen that way, much to the nephew's delight. On their arrival, Jamie is surprised to learn that Jocasta Campbell, his aunt, wants him to assume control (with her as advisor) of River Run - her plantation estate. Jamie balks, not sure he wants to accept. His aunt is a formidable woman who likes to run things her way and he knows that. 

Jamie has also been offered land in the highlands of North Carolina, with the proviso that he becomes the leader of those he settles on the large property he will get from the Crown's representative. This suits Jamie better, having been laird of his own property in his past. Of course, Fraser's Ridge becomes a gathering point for many of the Scottish who arrive after the Battle at Culloden. Claire becomes the 'doctor-healer' of the area, even though some still view her as part healer, part witch.

This is a well-woven tale of early America. I enjoyed it as I have all of Gabaldon's books. This novel, Drums of Autumn comes after Voyager and before The Fiery Cross. All focus on the coming American War for Independence, but at a personal level.

This book will be of interest to those who reside in the southeastern USA, as most of the action takes place on that coast and further inland in the eastern coastal mountains.  It will also appeal to those who enjoy reading about the clans of Scotland in the 1800s and their lives as colonists in the 'New World'. The historical details enrich the story and reveal a life before electricity and formal medicine. Recommended, of course.

I'm currently reading  the next Gabaldon book, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and a steampunk story, a Roland Yeomans book, The Not so Innocents Abroad. 

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Does this book sound like something you might be interested in reading? Are your ancestral roots in the southeastern USA? If you're a Gabaldon fan, have you read this one?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond.  Thanks for dropping by! 

I apologize for he infrequency of posts, but until I get the family issues stabilized, I'm going to be posting as I can. Hope your summer is going well!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, a Review

If ever you think to go to sea. . .




Perhaps you should think again. . .

"In retrospect, we can see the warning signs of impending trouble, but in reality, the momentum has begun by the time we notice a change in the air." (from narrative in Voyager)

At the beginning of this novel, after the Battle of Culloden, Jamie is discovered on the field, his injuries severe. With assistance he recovers, but must hide from the English patrols combing the Highlands, intent on killing all Highland Clan men and some families who fought against the Crown. Jamie, thinking Claire dead to him and safe in the future, becomes a groom for a sympathetic noble as the only way to get him out of the prison and safe from those who attempt to harm him. This situation isn't as benign as it seems. There will be consequences. . .

Meanwhile, 200 years in the future, Claire is trying to discover if her husband in the past, the beloved James Fraser, lives after the horrific slaughter at Culloden. She has travelled to the UK and searches various churchyard cemeteries to find an answer. She is still getting help from Roger and her daughter Brianna, the only two people who have heard her story and believe that she did travel back in time.

At last after much research, Claire realizes that she must go back through the 'Stones'. She wants to know if Jamie survived, but doesn't know if her luck with the Stones will hold. Only one way to find out. . .and on her re-appearance back in the 1700s, James Fraser is shocked, worried and glad to see her, but he's changed. Claire feels something is being hidden. . .In Jamie's world she has been gone twenty years. Then the action begins, with assassins after Jamie, who has been preparing inflammatory and seditious notice sheets (broadsheets). After the furor dies down, they must leave Scotland to find a kidnapped nephew in the West Indies area of the Caribbean. The action is constant on the ship and in the New World. 

In the years preceding the American War for Independence, the small embers of the words freedom and no English taxes began to stir the populace. I recommend this book. I read it quicker than my normal speed, as I kept wanting to know. . .and then?


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Have you read Outlander or Voyager, or one of the other titles?  
Do you like your historicals to have a bit of the fantasy/scifi (as in time travel)? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond.  Thanks for dropping by!


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Why keep reviewing Gabaldon books that have been out for a while. . .?

Note: I met Diana Gabaldon at a writing conference. I had scheduled 15 mins crit time with her.  She is a warm, friendly person who gave me a few great suggestions on my manuscript. I never felt rushed as we talked for 15 minutes. . . I discovered her writing when I first picked up Outlander, about three years ago.


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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z = ZELDA Fitzgerald, Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

 Zelda was accustomed to a glamorous lifestyle and liked being the centre of attention.  Her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald tried to give her that illusion for a while. 


Zelda Fitzgerald, age 17 - PD*


Z = ZELDA Fitzgerald, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Zelda Fitzgerald (née Sayre; July 24, 1900 – March 10, 1948) was an American socialite and novelist, and the wife of American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda was noted for her beauty and high spirits.

She and Scott became the emblem of the Jazz Age, for which they are still celebrated. The immediate success of Scott's first novel This Side of Paradise (1920) brought them into contact with high society, but their marriage was plagued by wild drinking, infidelity and bitter recriminations. Ernest Hemingway, whom Zelda disliked, blamed her for Scott's declining literary output, though she has also been portrayed as the victim of an overbearing husband. 

Zelda first met the future novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald in July 1918, when he had volunteered for the army, and was stationed at Camp Sheridan, outside Montgomery. After showing Scott her personal diary, she found out later, that he used verbatim excerpts from it in his novel.  At the conclusion of This Side of Paradise, the soliloquy of the protagonist Amory Blaine in the cemetery, for example, is taken directly from her journal.

Scott and Zelda quickly became celebrities of New York, as much for their wild behaviour, as for the success of This Side of ParadiseTo their delight, in the pages of the New York newspapers Zelda and Scott had become icons of youth and success—enfants terribles of the Jazz Age.

Zelda received offers to write from other magazines. In June, a piece by Zelda Fitzgerald, "Eulogy on the Flapper," was published in Metropolitan Magazine. The article was intended to be information on the decline of the flapper lifestyle. 


In April 1925,in Paris, Scott met Ernest Hemingway, whose career he did much to promote. Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald became firm friends, but Zelda and Hemingway disliked each other from their very first meeting. It was through Hemingway, however, that the Fitzgeralds were introduced to much of the Lost Generation expatriate community: Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Robert McAlmon and others.

In April 1930, Zelda was admitted to a sanatorium in France where, after months of observation and treatment and a consultation with one of Europe's leading psychiatrists, Doctor Eugen Bleuler, she was diagnosed as a schizophrenicAfter being diagnosed, Zelda was increasingly confined to specialist clinics, and the couple were living apart when Scott died suddenly in 1940. Zelda died later in a fire at the hospital in which she was a resident.

In 1932, while being treated at the Phipps Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Zelda had a swell of creativity. Over the course of her first six weeks at the clinic, she wrote an entire novel and sent it to Scott's publisher, Maxwell Perkins.

When Scott finally read Zelda's book, a week after she'd sent it to Perkins, he was furious. The book was a semi-autobiographical account of the Fitzgeralds' marriage. In letters, Scott berated her and fumed that the novel had drawn upon the autobiographical material that he planned to use in Tender Is the Night, and which would finally see publication in 1934

In its time, however, Zelda's book was not well received by critics. To Zelda's dismay it sold only 1,392 copies, for which she earned $120.73. The failure of Save Me the Waltz, and Scott's scathing criticism of her having written it—he called her "plagiaristic" and a "third-rate writer"—crushed her spirits. It was the only novel she ever published.


On the night of March 10, 1948, a fire broke out in the hospital kitchen. Zelda was locked into a room, awaiting electroshock therapy. The fire moved through the dumbwaiter shaft, spreading onto every floor. The fire escapes were wooden, and caught fire as well. Nine women, including Zelda, died in the fire. 

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Save me the Waltz
Zelda Fitzgerald, Author




Save Me the Waltz is the only novel by Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. Published in 1932, it is a semi-autobiographical account of her life and marriage to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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Did you know Zelda Fitzgerald had written a novel? Have you read This Side of Paradise? Zelda's book was written partly as a response to questions which had arisen from F.Scott's book. Were F. Scott's accusations correct? He had used her material without her permission. . .

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Thanks also for visiting my blog during the A to Z. I appreciate it!



Cover depticting F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
'The Beautiful and Damned'**


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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge


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References:

Zelda Fitzgerald Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelda_Fitzgerald

Save Me the Waltz - Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Save_Me_the_Waltz

Cover image of  Zelda's book - Public Domain


**The Beautiful and Damned (book cover) See REVIEW here.

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.
This image might not be in the public domain outside of the United States; this especially applies in the countries and areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada, Mainland China (not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland


IMAGE: Portrait of Zelda, 1919, (PD* = Public Domain)

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923. 
This image might not be in the public domain outside of the United States; this especially applies in the countries and areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada, Mainland China (not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany, Mexico, and Switzerland

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Y = YEOMANS, Roland - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

For the Letter Y, I'm taking creative license and featuring a Y name blogger, His name? 

Roland Yeomans, from Writing in the Crosshairs. His last name conveniently starts with Y. 


Roland Yeomans, Writing in the Crosshairs, 

Y = Yeomans, Roland, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Fellow blogger and prolific writer, and also emergency blood courier, Roland Yeomans, is my entry for the letter Y. I've read a lot of Roland's books and reviewed them. I have a preference for his tales of Egypt, and old New Orleans, especially Meilori's. After midnight, people come and go in the club, or sit and chat while they try to dodge the undead and unsavoury characters.

On a good night, Meilori's could have the Lost Generation wandering by or at the tables. On a bad night, it could be the dreaded Daystar or a Nazi general bent on revenge. . .

Roland weaves stories with the dialogue of various writers of the past, he creates a world for a young bear named Hibbs, a blended-family for a boy named Victor Standish, and a club owned by a ex-Texas Ranger, which occasionally doubles as a portal to other realms or times.


Roland's blog 'Writing in the Crosshairs'

A sampling of a few books to whet your imagination:


Ghost of a Chance - Who or what are they looking for? 
One of my favourites. . .





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Her Bones are in the Badlands.
Dust--lots of it--large movie cameras and a mystery. . .another favourite







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The Not-So-Innocents Abroad - NEW
Steampunk saves the day?





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Do you follow Roland? Which of his stories do you like? (New Orleans stories, Meilori and McCord, Egyptian sand dunes withTesla's hovercraft)? How about his venture into Steampunk stories?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by. PS - Roland doesn't know he was selected as my Y author. Surprise. . .!

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

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Roland Yeomans Blog
http://rolandyeomans.blogspot.ca/

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

X = X, MALCOLM - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

He came from a childhood marked with violence, and he took a different road than Martin Luther King. Both suffered for their people.



Malcolm X - c.1960s - PD

X = X, Malcolm, Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ

For some to say Malcolm X 'got what he preached about (violence)' is callous and shows a lack of understanding at what motivated this man. He cared about his fellow African-Americans and he focused on that. At the time, civil rights workers, students and protesters were being shot and harassed for trying the passive approach with peace marches, etc.

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An African-American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the 1950s and '60s. A passionate, naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted blacks to cast off the shackles of racism "by any means necessary," including violence. The fiery civil rights leader broke with the Nation of Islam shortly before his assassination. The men charged with his killing were also members of the Nation of Islam.

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska. Malcolm was the fourth of eight children born to Louise, a homemaker, and Earl Little, a preacher who was also an active member of the local chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and avid supporter of black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Due to Earl Little's civil rights activism, the family faced frequent harassment from white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and one of its splinter factions, the Black Legion. 

In the beginning of Malcolm X's political activities, he would give lectures and met many world leaders. As he started to become a threat (more popular) than the leader of the Nation of Islam, he began to receive threats. There is much that takes place during the height of his activities, too much to include in this post. See the wiki link below for more details.

On the evening of February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where Malcolm X was about to deliver a speech, three gunmen rushed the stage and shot him 15 or more times at point blank range. Malcolm X was pronounced dead on arrival at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital shortly thereafter. He was 39 years old. The three men convicted of the assassination of Malcolm X were all members of the Nation of Islam: Talmadge Hayer, Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson

Malcolm X's legacy as a civil rights hero was cemented by the posthumous publication in 1965 of The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley

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The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Co-written with Alex Haley


The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Cover



The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between human rights activist Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley. Haley co-authored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X's 1965 assassination. At once a harrowing chronicle of American racism, an unsparing self-criticism and an inspiring spiritual journey, the book, transcribed by the acclaimed author of Roots, shows us another side to the man.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a spiritual conversion narrative that outlines Malcolm X's philosophy of black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. After the leader was killed, Haley wrote the book's epilogue. He described their collaborative process and the events at the end of Malcolm X's life.

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Other titles which Malcolm X either co-authored or wrote himself (some published after his death). This partial list from Goodreads author information.

By Any Means Necessary (speeches, interviews and a letter)
Malcolm X talks to Young People (speeches in USA, Britain, and Africa)
The End of White World Supremacy 1971
The Diary of Malcolm X
The Jackie Robinson Reader 
Malcolm X on African American History
Several additional books of speeches at different time periods

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Did you know Malcolm X wrote or co-wrote books? (These are not fiction, but rather political and historical history of a certain time periodDo you know who Malcolm X is or have you heard of him?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! (my energy is lagging but I'll make it across the finish line. . .)

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

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References:

Wiki on Malcolm X (there is much more detail here)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_X  

The book - The Autobiography of Malcolm X
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Autobiography_of_Malcolm_X


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 March 12, 1964 Image of Malcolm X

PD. "No copyright restriction known. Staff photographer reproduction rights transferred to Library of Congress through Instrument of Gift"


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W = WILDE, Oscar - Author, A-Z Blog Challenge 2016

A flamboyant peacock, perhaps, but also a man with intelligence, wit, and style.

Oscar Wilde, by Napoleon Sarony - WC-

W = Wilde, Oscar - Author
Theme = Authors, AtoZ


Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. Wilde's parents were successful Anglo-Irish Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life.

At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but was refused a licence for England due to the absolute prohibition of Biblical subjects on the English stage. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London.

Criticism over artistic matters in the Pall Mall Gazette provoked a letter in self-defence, and soon Wilde was a contributor to that and other journals during the years 1885–87. He enjoyed reviewing and journalism; the form suited his style. He could organise and share his views on art, literature and life, yet in a format less tedious than lecturing. Wilde, like his parents before him, also supported the cause of Irish Nationalism. When Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder Wilde wrote a series of astute columns defending him in the Daily Chronicle.

With his youth nearly over, and a family to support, in mid-1887 Wilde became the editor of The Lady's World magazine, his name prominently appearing on the cover. He promptly renamed it The Woman's World and raised its tone, adding serious articles on parenting, culture, and politics, keeping discussions of fashion and arts. Two pieces of fiction were usually included, one to be read to children, the other for the ladies themselves.

In October 1889, Wilde had finally found his voice in prose and, at the end of the second volume, Wilde left The Woman's World. The magazine outlasted him by one volume.


The Picture of Dorian Gray

The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others. The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves", sees his finished portrait, he breaks down. Distraught that his beauty will fade while the portrait stays beautiful, he inadvertently makes a Faustian bargain in which only the painted image grows old while he stays beautiful and young.


The Importance of Being Earnest


Wilde's final play again returns to the theme of switched identities: the play's two protagonists engage in "bunburying" (the maintenance of alternative personas in the town and country) which allows them to escape Victorian social mores. Earnest is even lighter in tone than Wilde's earlier comedies. Mostly set in drawing rooms and almost completely lacking in action or violence, Earnest lacks the self-conscious decadence found in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salome

The play, now considered Wilde's masterpiece, was rapidly written in Wilde's artistic maturity in late 1894. It was first performed on February 14,1895, at St James's Theatre in London.  Earnest's immediate reception as Wilde's best work to date finally crystallised his fame into a solid artistic reputation. The Importance of Being Earnest remains his most popular play.

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Queensberry and Douglas

Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, was known for his outspoken atheism, brutish manner and creation of the modern rules of boxing. Queensberry, who feuded regularly with his son, confronted Wilde and Lord Alfred about the nature of their relationship several times, but Wilde was able to mollify him. In June 1894, he called on Wilde without an appointment, and clarified his stance: "I do not say that you are it, but you look it, and pose at it, which is just as bad. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you" to which Wilde responded: "I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight."

After Wilde's court trial for which Queensberry had accused him of homosexual activities, he is corralled by lawyers intent on destroying his reputation. They dig up potential witnesses in the London underworld which Wilde was known to frequent. His friends urge him to escape to France, but he stays to face the courts. 

In 1897, in prison in England, he wrote De Profundis, which was published in 1905, a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. In France, he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. 

Wilde was released from prison on May 18 1897 and sailed immediately for France. He would never return to Britain or to Ireland. He spent his last three years in impoverished exile.

Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (now known as L'Hôtel), on rue des Beaux-Arts in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. "This poverty really breaks one's heart: it is so sale [filthy], so utterly depressing, so hopeless. Pray do what you can" he wrote to his publisher

Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on November 30, 1900Wilde was initially buried in the Cimetière de Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were disinterred and transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the city. His tomb there was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein, and commissioned by Robert Ross, one of Wilde's long-time friends.

In 2011, the tomb was cleaned of the many lipstick marks left there by admirers, and a glass barrier was installed to prevent further marks or damage. The image shown below I took in 2010. I won't say anything about the marks on the tomb except that to me, they indicated the adoration that is shown to Oscar Wilde.



Tomb of Oscar Wilde, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris by DG Hudson 2010


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Have you read any of Oscar Wilde's writings? Have you seen his tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery? Do you think a person's private life should pre-condition a judgement on their literary work OR should we view their work separate from their private lives?

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by! Sorry for the length of this post, but Oscar was an interesting guy. . .

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A to Z Challenge - 2016

It's April again and time for the 2016 Blogging from A to Z challenge  This is my 4th year participating in the challenge! (Previous A to Z  posts at the top of my blog page tabs are: Art A-Z, French Faves, Paris, Etc. 

Thanks to originator Lee (Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out), and the co-hosts and co-host teams who make the challenge run smoothly. See the list of participants, and other important information at the A to Z Blog site.  The basic idea is to blog every day in April except Sundays (26 days). On April 1st, you begin with the letter A, April 2 is the letter B, and so on. Posts can be random or use a theme.



Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2016 - Badge

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References:

Oscar Wilde - Wiki
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde 

W = Wilde Thing. A to Z Blogging Challenge 2012

Post about Oscar Wilde and his tomb in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.ca/2012/04/w-wilde-thing-to-z-challenge.html

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