Not So Easy Being Green!

Weekly Photo Challenge: It IS Easy Being Green!

Well, actually it’s not so easy to be green in March in Montreal!

Easier in England where I’ve spent the last few weeks. It was a very stressful and sad time. But every morning during the 45 minute drive to the hospital I would soak in the colours of daffodils, primroses, and the blossoming trees…

In particular I found the sight of the green, green fields spreading out each side of the road very comforting.

When you see something green you know it is alive, right? It also means balance, calm and harmony. So it is a great color to have around when you are trying to restart yourself after a hard day. It is the reason we feel so great when we are out in the open. Color Psychology

I arrived back in Montreal just in time for the biggest snow storm of the winter so it was back to white. It snowed again all day yesterday (Friday). No green in sight….

Montreal Musée des Beaux Arts

..until I came across the photo below as I was cleaning up my desktop. I had to use it!

frog - Montreal Botanical Gardens

The frog was in the reeds at the edge of a lake in the Montreal Botanical Gardens (2013 Montreal International Mosaïcultures).

Kindly Advice to Beguile Your Lonely Life

The Girl's Own Paper and Woman's Magazine, February 1914

When I picked the February 1914 issue of The Girl’s Own Paper and Woman’s Magazine out of my Time Capsule, I had an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.

The column “Literary Club” (which runs across several pages) reminded me of the first time I received feedback on a piece of fiction.

Naturally I knew my story would blindside the workshop leader and seven other writers around the table – it was the most brilliant story ever to be exposed to human eyes. It would change the course of literature forever.

There was a moment’s silence once the workshop leader opened the discussion, then a snigger, quickly stifled.

“It’s Disney on acid,” said the person to my right and the group dissolved into hysterical laughter. It took all of ten of the forty-five allotted minutes to dissect and toss out the story, wrap up the discussion and head out for a lunch break.

Having endured a painful education in accepting criticism in dance where it can often be phrased and felt as both intensely negative and personal (what’s ‘wrong’ is you/your body), I found the responses amusing. But I’ve never looked at that story again.

I thought what I’d do here is merge snippets from the “Literary Club” column writer’s responses to various poems to create the ultimate feedback letter, and then write a poem using lines and images given in the responses. The poem proved too much for me! I just couldn’t manage it! Can you?

The Girl's Own Paper and Woman's Magazine, February 1914

*****

Rose of York,

I like your verses.

I should rather demur to the words “sea-girt bay.” An island can be sea-girt, but I don’t quite see how this phrase can apply to a bay of the ocean.

I don’t think I would begin by speaking of “a fellow spirit with whom to converse.” You don’t exactly “converse” with a spirit. You enter into communion with a spirit.

Then this is rather a truism: “It is not the lot of every human creature to be endowed with gifts above those of the average man.” Of course not, for what then would become of the “Average”?

You must not make “on” and “song” rhyme.

I do not think that “the waves falling on the rocks” sounds well.

I confess it would have pleased me better if the Divine Vision had – as surely would have seemed natural – awakened an ultimate response within the breast of the suffering woman.

You are too fond of phrases.

Do not say “then when”

You are inclined to dwell too much on unimportant details.

You rather confuse ideas.

Tautology occurs rather often.

You skip over years in a bewildering manner.

You mix the present tense with the past rather awkwardly.

I do not know why the poem is called “The Crown of Life.”

“I’ll haughty talk of men” is not grammatical.

Your final sentence will never do – it drags on for nine lines.

I have altered the last line.

I sympathise with you, and should encourage you to beguile your lonely life by writing. It is good for you, and, of course, you may improve with practice. Do not be discouraged. You should try again.

Your friend at “The Literary Club”

The Girl's Own Paper and Woman's Magazine, February 1914

Atop the High Wire

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop
Atop

I’ve always had trouble watching artists take daring risks, such as this tightrope walker crossing St. Denis Street during Montreal’s Cirque Festival in 2016. Usually I cover my eyes and ask my husband to tell me when it’s over!

Montreal Cirque Festival 2016

But he was having so much fun that I couldn’t not watch! Even though there was nothing between him and the hard street below.

Montreal Cirque Festival 2016

The Black Pearls

The Strand, October, 1948

Today’s inspiration from the Time Capsule comes courtesy of The Strand, October 1948. I used captions of illustrations from several different stories in this edition of The Strand to start off a new story. The first five sentences as well as “a stealthy encroachment of chill into his bones” are borrowed captions.

 

The Strand, October, 1948

The Strand, October, 1948

 

*****

Morley sprang up, dark-veined with rage.

Even Slick was startled. “It’s an impossible job,” he said.

The room was ice-cold and dark.

The figure on the bed came suddenly to life. “Did you not hear me? Go,” he ordered, sitting up and pointing a bony yet commanding finger at the door. “Get the Countess. Bring her here.”

“You’d put us in danger again, Squinty? You can’t ask us to bring the Countess here,” said Morley. “What about her bodyguards? And her husband’s spies? They’re everywhere. And they’re well-armed. Didn’t we go through enough getting hold of those pearls for you?”

“I said, bring her here.” Squinty sank back into his pillows.

Morley’s veins throbbed. The Countess! The rustle of her silken dress. The smooth slope of her bare shoulder. Her creamy neck. The string of black pearls around it! Each pearl a perfection!

Oh, how the very memory of those pearls caused a stealthy encroachment of chill into his bones.

“The Countess! The Countess! Always the Countess!” snarled Morley. “Why don’t you think of us for once?”

“You?” Squinty gave a feeble laugh. “Think of you?”

Morley ground his teeth, or what was left of them. He cursed the night he’d run into Squinty in a low-down tavern on the wharf. If only he could have foreseen how he’d end up paying for those free drinks!

*****

I particularly enjoyed a section in The Strand called “Useless Information.” Did you know, for instance, that “The first Victoria Crosses were made of bronze obtained from Russian guns captured during the Crimean War”? Or that “In flight the wings of the common house-fly make more than 300 vibrations per second”? Or that, because of an earthquake “In 1158 the river Thames ‘was dryed uppe, that all London might walk over the same dry-shod'”?

Nerve Trouble, Dry Cheese and Other Complaints

Farm Field & Fireside, Friday April 27, 1928

Inspiration from the Time Capsule: this week I pulled out the April 27, 1928 edition of Farm Field and Fireside.

Finally my curiosity about French Polishing has been answered – I might actually try it (“1 pint of methylated spirits and 6 oz of the finest orange shellac”). And I was intrigued by all the possible ways to use the huge elder beside our house other than to make jelly (see quote at end of this post). 

Each line used below is from a different section of the newspaper – creating “alternative” problems and advice.

*****

Could you kindly tell me if there is
A Guide to Descent?
Does the eldest son take all?
(The game is to have only one left on the board.
The rules applied Continue reading

Shrewd Dude – From The Horse’s Mouth

Woodbine Racetrack Program 5 June 1976

Inspiration from the Time Capsule: This week I pulled out the Woodbine Official Program from 5 June 1976. Our first summer in Toronto, our first time at the races there. I wondered if we’d put a bet on the horse called Em and S seeing as my husband’s name begins with M and mine with S.

What wonderful names the horses have – Henry the Hammer, Bye Bye Paris, Indigestion, Sharp Sherry, Creme of the Crop…

*****

 

Henry the Hammer was a Shrewd Dude. He knew the fuss over Little Stanley would Blow Over. There was simply No Logic to all the outrage. It was probably Indigestion. They’d all had far too much Continue reading

Madam Blanche And The Office Cat

The Evening Gazette, June 16 1930Inspiration from the Time Capsule: this week I’ve repurposed headlines from The Evening Gazette, June 16, 1930 – mixing and matching real headlines to create alternative news. If you feel inspired to write the story that should go with one of these headlines, please paste the link to your story in the comments box below so we can all enjoy!

*****

The Evening Gazette, June 16 1930

Sermon By Madam Blanche
The Best Dressed Woman
Is Set For Tomorrow
Extraordinary Value

*****

The Office Cat Marches Toward Utopia

*****

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Aimee “real hurt”

*****

Psychology In Everyday Life Will Have An Adverse Effect

*****

“Ideal American Girl” To Become Missionary
Denies Charges

*****

Pickpockets To Arrange Lawn Party Thursday Evening

The Evening Gazette, June 16 1930

Eye-Arresting Legs Free To Enjoy Their Vacation