May 252016
 

052516 Blog

Did Shakespeare vent his spleen in Henry VI? Was the dialogue of his characters a convenient excuse for describing France’s savior with vitriolic adjectives? St. Joan didn’t deserve to be called: a mad chambermaid, a beggar’s brat, algayne of the devil, drab of Lorraine, Armagnac’s whore, or the devil’s milkmaid. The virgin leader of France’s dispirited troops beat the round heads fair and square. Of course, saying she could pull them down from the clouds themselves didn’t endear her to England. St. Joan called them god-damns because of their constant swear words. She promised her own army they would be victorious if they stopped taking the Lord’s name in vain. And does France appreciate their heroine, or is she relegated to encouraging young women that their dreams can be made real. I think she will haunt France until she is given her due recognition, despite the grand Shakespeare’s ill muse.

May 182016
 

051816 Blog

St. Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of France, of course appeared to Joan of Arc when she witnessed the English robbing her village of livestock to feed their armies. And when Romèe, Joan’s mother, refused to force her into marriage, St. Margaret of Antioch became her steadfast companion. Margaret’s mother, portrayed symbolically as the Satan-dragon who gave her birth, failed to protect her daughter from death, when Margaret refused to marry. And St. Catherine, who convinced fifty of the wisest men in Alexandria to follow the Lord, stayed by Joan’s side to answer each argument with common sense.

Mark Twain, Bernard Shaw, Henry Adams, Francis Gies, Lucky Foster Madison, Regine Pernoude, V. Sackville-West, and Brian Tyson all would have wanted to bend the sweet damsel’s ear if they hadn’t been born too late in history. Where writers failed her, architects might yet fulfill St. Joan’s need to be recognized today as the temporal savior of the nation of France.

May 112016
 

Joan_of_arc_miniature_graded

Sackville West, in his book “Saint Joan of Arc,” tries to prove every miracle of Joan’s. However he concedes Joan used every method necessary to succeed in freeing France from the English. Did she contrive with her uncle to persuade the general to provide her with troops by the miracle of hens laying eggs after she prayed, or did the peasants hide the eggs he daily requested? Did she recognize the Dolphin in his disguise or did her Voices point him out with supernatural means? Whatever her guile, she convinced her troops to stop swearing if they wanted to win France back.

What has been your most successful manipulation of others?

May 042016
 

The idea of “St. Joan’s Architect on Mont Saint Michel” paranormal novel possessed both the setting and the haunting element, but the characters at first refused to appear on the page. As the mother of two sons, my relationship with my own mother felt less resolved than perhaps authors’ with daughters. My two older sisters and younger brother left Mother little time to nurture a third daughter, who drained the family’s limited finances with doctoring for her crossed eye, broken ear drum and dropped foot. Mother’s death in 1994 annihilated any chance of reconciliation.

So the empty page beckoned to create my daughter, an architect about to start college. As a psychic and multiple married mother, I could immediately layout the conflict between the daughter’s hopes of happy ever after and the stymied ghost-buster mother.

Feeling welcomed by Joan of Arc, once my heroine arrived on Mont Saint Michel; she imagines never leaving by marrying a citizen rather than going off to college. Her widowed mother is about to marry her fourth husband, which means abandoning the heroine’s home town. The first candidate for marriage is an artist who sketches the heroine in a nude pose. However, he’s been engaged for four years to a young woman about to return to the island from college. His cousin, the hero, however is visiting the Mont for the last time before he begins a predestined life as a shipping magnate in his father’s business. He’s loathe to leave Mont Saint Michel for this his last summer vacation. After his first sight of the heroine as she steps aboard the Mont, he’s determined she’s his soul mate.

And this author’s beat goes on.

IWSG 05-04-16

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

IWSG awesome co-hosts for the May 4th posting of the Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! 


Apr 292016
 

I remember Mark Twain’s epiphany. As a boy in Hannibal, Missouri the page of a book about St. Joan flew across his path. He ran home to ask his mother if such a person actually existed in history. Assured the courageous damsel was real; Samuel Clemmons determined to be a writer. His daughters testified that whenever he read the last chapter of his book about Joan of Arc, he wept.

My research about Mont Saint Michel found the dates around 1421 coincided with Joan’s history. Also the Mont was the only hold out in the war against the English takeover of France—hence my connection for “St. Joan’s Architect.” The Mont might have been her only place of refuge when history lost sight of her for four months.

04-29-16

1995 Trip to Mont Saint Michel

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Apr 202016
 

Mont Saint Michel’s Grand Staircase leads to the Abby. My long awaited 1995 trip included pilgrimages from all over France. One over weight woman was on her knees on the rough stone step. I reached out my hand to assist her up; but she waved me off.

I was ten when I put stones in my shoes to walk up and down our staircase to release souls from purgatory. One trip convinced me those people would need to look elsewhere for help. Mark Twain said suffering only makes us selfish and is of no worth. I agree. I think our Creator loves us enough to want us happy.

I think every stone in the Mont contains cast off sins of living people who reached for their higher selves. God bless them.

2016-03-02 15.25.14

Apr 132016
 

How many years had I planned to visit Mont Saint Michel? The old Sunday night Disney program began with Tinker Bell swirling her magic wand around a castle. When I first saw the outlines of the small island in my local St. Charles, Illinois newspaper’s travel section, I mistakenly identified Disney’s castle. Symbolically the fate of my future rose before me. I kept pictures of the Mont constantly near me. It hung above the desks of my secretarial jobs in Jackson and Ann Arbor, Michigan. The place remained a constant goal.

St Joan's Architect - Cover

Apr 062016
 

–the taste of Mother’s cream puffs for supper. On the farm she had all the necessary ingredients. I remember Daddy making strawberry ice cream with the dry-ice steam rising from the bucket while he turned the handle.

I remember my sister Lori’s salt apple pie when she changed the sugar to the salt canister in Mother’s kitchen. I took the first bite of the fragrant pie. We could smell it above the barn’s odor. I rushed out the front door to spit. Daddy followed me to spit his out too. Then he threw the salt contents of the clearly marked sugar canister out the front door. The grass died where it fell and didn’t grow back all summer.

I remember the taste of Brillo soap from the spaghetti my first husband heated up in the frying pan that I couldn’t get clean. He was hospitalized with food poisoning. I hadn’t swallowed more than a fork full

He’d been taught to finish his plate. His lips turned blue and he had green circles under his eyes.

I remember the salty splendor of barbecued kippers my friend, Robert Koelz, offered me.

If taste and odors keep the reader chained to the fictive dream, maybe I should edit/add one example to each page of my WIP, Home from the Woods.

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. 

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Twitter hashtag is #IWSG


Mar 302016
 

morning-break-in-the-garden-timothy-easton-

As high as the tree tops across the peony garden the mist blocks our view. A slight warm breeze moves the white cloud across the ground revealing more and more of the budding peonies.

I’m sitting with my friend, Paula as we eat lunch. I motion for her to notice the moving cloud.

She’s very stoic. I think I remember she said she’d seen it before. Not me! This is the earth moving below my feet. Why is she not as dazzled as I am? She’s going to be my maid-of-honor but she doesn’t like the groom. To her all professors make snide remarks to lowly secretaries.

Not Paul. He marched with us around the administration building to protest the parking fees secretaries were made to pay. Duderstadt, the president then, crossed our picket line. “Hi, Paul,” he said. Paul answered him with his first name too.

Paul has never talked down to another human being. Needless to say, I lost Paula as a friend. She never initiated any contact. One time she only spoke to mutual friends I invited on a trip to Detroit’s State Fair. She even complained when I sent two birthday cards to her. Adding up frustration toward a person leads to the friendship going down the drain.

Mar 232016
 

Dear Rohn:

As I said to you when you handed me your book about Salome, I had a number of things on my desk to be taken care of before I could get to your book. I spent some time today reading it. I am not a literary critic. I am not an editor., I am not a book reviewer. I do know a little about Salome, indeed that is all anybody knows. So as a writer of fiction, you had a big opening to imagine what her life might have been like. You chose one path, Oscar Wilde chose another, someone whose name escapes me at the moment wrote an opera about her. One person imagined Salome was in love with John the Baptist and kissed his severed head when it was brought in. Where few facts are known–and few facts are known about her–one is allowed to guess at what might have been. Yours is as good supposition as any.

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