Friday, December 2, 2011

Rebecca's Choice

Have recently watched (about the fifth time) the 1952 MGM movie version of IVANHOE, which occasionally strays to somewhere more or less in the near vicinity of the novel. (Took me years to learn to enjoy the movie on its own terms.)Just before the final, climactic battle, Rebecca (Elizabeth Taylor) stands at the foot of the stake, between Brian de Bois-Guilbert (George Sanders) and Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor). The two knights are about to engage in a trial by combat to the death. If Bois-Guilbert wins, Ivanhoe will die and Rebecca will be burned at that stake. Bois-Guilbert is in an unwelcome situation: he really loves Rebecca, though he will owe it to his knighthood to fight his best. At the last minute, he tells her softly that if he should concede the trial by combat, he will be forever disgraced in his knighthood but Ivanhoe will be declared the winner (without any danger to himself at all) and Rebecca will live. Bois-Guilbert is ready to bear the disgrace and humiliation, if only Rebecca will come live with him and be his love. (I paraphrase somewhat; I have not yet learned the movie line by line.) At this point, something very large in me always wants Rebecca to answer, "Brian, baby, you're on!" Now that they can do so much with computer graphics, think they'll ever be able to give us a doctored version of the movie with that outcome?
Critical and popular opinion seemed always to be asking about the novel, all through the 19th century, how Ivanhoe could prefer Rowena to Rebecca. (Joan Fontaine as Rowena leaves less of a question mark in the movie.) The question that always hits me, even in the movie -- where they managed to give the hero a lot more heroic stuff to do -- but most especially in the novel, is what on earth can Rebecca see in Ivanhoe? In her place, I'd certainly at least take Brian's offer under serious consideration.

Friday, November 18, 2011

All But a Pleasure

I have just written a novel of about 73,000 words in approximately two months, from initial idea to finished holograph draft. It was an invigorating experience, and one i cannot remember ever happening to me before. I seemed to be more "at play" than "at work" on ALL BUT A PLEASURE. Now, i've been in this game long enough to know that such ready inspiration is no indicator at all of the ultimate worth of any work, and may as easily point to pure trash as to pure gold. The best thing would be to let it mellow about a lustrum (5 years) and see if i still like it myself. Unfortunately, right not i need royalties and have to try bouncing it in its as good as "raw" state off a few editors at once. Starting with a search for a new agent to replace my last one, who unhappily moved out of his body a few years ago.
As i was beginning it, the host on TCM spoke of how Faulkner wrote his novel SANCTUARY, the basis for the movie they were premiering that evening, in 3 weeks, for the money. Obviously, my two months is a snail's pace compared with Faulkner's effort; and he at least did -- presumably -- make money with his novel, where mine could easily fizzle. It's aimed at the romance market; and who ever heard of using a mildly masochistic sesquipedalian virgin as the hero of a modern romance novel? (My toes got cold enough that i added a second pair of lovers with a hero more nearly fitting the template, just to play it a little safer.)
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Enough, already!

No longer do I feel flattered by invitations to add me to online contact lists. They mean that either these people are paying no attention to my blog, or else they think I'm a liar.
To anyone out there who has paid attention to my blog and refrained from inviting me, MANY THANKS!
Send me a good, old-fashioned email, and I will try to answer it, sooner or later. Depending on what may be going on in my life away from the computer, it can sometimes take me a little while. Meantime, LoL.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thanks, but no thanks, PLEASE

People are STILL requesting to add me to their online contacts. Again, many thanks for the compliment, but I simply don't indulge in this kind of activity, nor do I ever have "online chat time," if that's what it's called, either scheduled or otherwise. There's nothing personal when I decline your invitations: I must decline EVERYBODY'S invitations.
I don't know what happened to my old website, or when; but if it's going to cost me dollars to get it back, that may just have to wait a while. I've been out of contact with just about everything since my mother's stroke early this past Feb. She is 91, spent until Easter in the hospital and adjoining nursing home. Then back at home from Easter Monday until just last week, when we finally had to put her in a nice, friendly and clean assisted living facility. My time is still going to be quite limited, what with going back and forth to visit her (50 miles round trip), and meanwhile seeing if I can't crack into the modern romance market to take a bit of the pressure off my financial situation. Have been reading romances like crazy these past months: turns out that, if you get the nice, thick ones, there's an amazing lot of doggone good storytelling here, the kind of storytelling that attracted me to adult fantasy forty years ago.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Legend of St. Valentine

When I was a child, my mother told me a legend she had read about St. Valentine and the origin of Valentine cards: not having much money himself, the saint had written letters to various people. His ink turned to gold on the page. It remained gold for every recipient who saved and cherished the letter, but for anyone who tried scraping the gold off, it turned back into dried ink.
I have since been unable to locate this Saint Valentine legend anywhere else, nor has it as yet turned up in such of Mom's old scrapbooks as remain in our keeping. Can anyone out there in cyberland help me? (Use email, please.)

Sorry, I just don't do online chatting with anybody!

Please, please, PLEASE, stop inviting me to join your online chatting contacts! I appreciate the compliment, but I don't do online chatting at all -- my time is too limited, my schedule too erratic -- and it pains me to have to "decline" all these offers. Stick to email, okay?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bibliography addition

Don't have much time to write these days, but I am doing occasional columns again for GASBAG, the news magazine of FUMGASS (Friends of the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society.; or UMGASS, 911 N. University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1265)
And a little blurb by me about how much I like "Salt Your Own Chowders" has started appearing in the Vermont Country Store catalogues.

Apologies for refusing invitations

People had been sending invitations to my email. As nearly as I understand, they wanted to join me in ... do they still call these things "chatrooms"? I felt very sorry to have to refuse the invitations without explanation, but could find no way to explain that the closest I get to this activity IS oldfashioned email. Suddenly last month I noticed a little symbol that apparently makes it appear the owner of the address is indeed open to such invitations. So the inviters were acting in good faith, and it must have looked as if I were being rude to them, individual by individual! Let me hope the people most concerned check this blog and see my heartfelt apology to them. I have, I trust, put the little symbol on the setting that shows the true situation.
There are two reasons I don't join in this kind of activity. One is that a number of years ago I saw printouts from a chatroom, and felt appalled at the hard, insulting anger much of it showed. Perhaps this kind of thing is easier when people are learning the power of words and cannot either see face to face or even hear voice to voice the persons they're communicating with. Anyway, I felt no desire to participate in such an exercise, ever. The other reason is that my present day-to-day life is such that it leaves me little wiggle space for any reliable scheduling of what time I can snatch for myself (and usually need for resting; while computer time can invigorate, I do not find it at all restful). Someday, perhaps, time will start seeming so long for me that I will rethink my old decision not to participate in chatrooms or their equivalent. Sorry, it has not arrived yet, as anyone can see by how rarely I manage to post blogs.