My Birthday Blanket

The blanket on my bed is very old and very worn. In some areas, the fabric is so frayed that it’s practically non-existent. It had to be mended so I started covering the worn areas with fabric scraps. Once I got started patching, I couldn’t stop until I’d covered the blanket’s entire surface.

Mending the blanket had made it beautiful because mending is a form of aesthetics.

BEFORE

AFTER

I now call the blanket My Birthday Blanket because, while working on it the day of my birthday, an idea moved into my head—growing old is not the problem as much as it is how one grows old.

Sometimes, for life to be beautiful, you have to do your own embellishing.

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Posted in Beauty, Muy Marcottage, Textile Arts | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Soothing Words for Bumpy Nights

During the night, I often wake up and have difficulties going back to sleep. My doctor suggested listening to audio books. So now the search is on for freebies online.

Audiobooks on YouTube:

My  Audiobook Play List on youTube HErE

Audio books on Archive:  (letter “A”)

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” HERE

“Mrs Dalloway” by Virgina Woolf HERE

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin HERE

“The Twin MysterY” by Nicholas Carter HERE

“The Odyssey” by Homer HERE

“Letters of Two Brides” HERE

“Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare HERE

“The Secret Garden” by Mary Hodgson Burnett HERE

“Arabella Stuart” by G.P.R. James HERE

“Letters of Two Brides” by Balzac HERE

“Joan and Peter” by H.G.Wells HERE

“Beyond Good and Evil” by Nietzsch HERE

“’Twixt Earth and Stars” by Radclyffe Hall HERE (poetry)

“Twelve Creepy Tales” by Edgar Allan Poe HERE

“35 Sonnets” by Fernando Pessoa HERE  (poetry)

“A Brief History of English and American Literature” by Henry A. Beers HERE

“A Ballade of Suicide” by G. K. Chesterton HERE

A Book of Myths by Jean Lang HERE

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear HERE (limericks)

A Book of Sibyls: Mrs. Barbauld, Miss Edgeworth, Mrs. Opie, Miss Austen HERE

A Contented Man by Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev HERE

A Confederate Girl’s Diary by Sarah Dawson HERE

A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays by Willa Sibert Cather. HERE

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson HERE

A Charming Fellow by Frances Eleanor Trollope HERE

A Changed Man And Other Tales by Thomas Hardy HERE

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen HERE

A Double Barreled Detective Story, by Mark Twain HERE

A Dream Play by August Strindberg HERE

A Few Figs from Thistles by Edna St. Vincent Millay HERE (poetry)

A Florentine Tragedy and La Sainte Courtisane, by Oscar Wilde HERE

A Garland For Girls by Louisa May Alcott HERE

A Gringo In Mañana-Land by Harry La Tourette Foster HERE

A Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories by Bill Nye HERE

A House Divided Against Itself by Margaret O. Oliphant HERE

A Letter From A Girl To Her Own Old Age by Alice Meynell HERE

A Prairie Sunset by Walt Whitman HERE

A Rubaiyat Miscellany by Omar Khayyám HERE

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne HERE

A Rogue’s Life by Wilkie Collins HERE

A Legend of Montrose by Sir Walter Scott HERE

A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman HERE

A Phantom Lover, by Vernon Lee  HERE

A Philosophical Enquiry by Edmund Burke HERE

A Pinch of Salt by Robert Graves HERE

A Poor Wise Man by Mary Roberts Rinehart HERE

A Ride Across the Peloponnese by George Macmillan HERE

A Sicilian Romance, by Ann Radcliffe HERE

A Thrush Before Dawn by Alice Meynell HERE (poetry)

A Thousand Miles up the Nile, by Amelia B. Edwards HERE

A Tree with a Bird in it a symposium of contemporary american poets on being shown a pear-tree on which sat a grackle by Margaret Widdemer HERE

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by Mary Wollstonecraft HERE

A Voyage to the Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac HERE (fantasy)

A Wodehouse Miscellany by P.G. Wodehouse HERE

A Woman of No Importance, by Oscar Wilde HERE

A Woman’s Life by Guy de Maupassant HERE

A Year’s Spinning by Elizabeth Barrett Browning HERE

Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey by Washington Irving HERE

Adam Bede, by George Elio HERE

An Anonymous Story by Anton Chekhov HERE

Al Que Quiere! (and 18 more poems) by William Carlos Williams. HERE

Agnes Grey, by Anne Brontë HERE

Agatha Webb by Anna Katharine Green HERE

After the Divorce by Grazia Deledda HERE

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington HERE

Alexander’s Bridge by Willa Sibert Cather HERE

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, by Henry Fielding. HERE

Among the Tibetans, by Isabella L. Bird HERE

All Along The River by Mary Elizabeth Braddon HERE

Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy Maud Montgomery HERE

Annie Besant, by Annie Besant HERE

Around the World in Seventy-Two Days by Nellie Bly HERE

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis HERE

 “At the Bay.” Katherine Mansfield HERE

Auguste Rodin by Rainer Maria Rilke HERE

Aunt Jane’s Nieces, by L. Frank Baum HERE

Autobiography by John Stuart Mil HERE

 Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis HERE

Anarchy, by Errico Malatesta HERE

 Andersen’s Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Andersen HERE

Kastle Krags: A Story of Mystery by Absalom Martin HERE

Antonia by George Sand HERE

Aphorisms, by Oscar Wilde HERE

Arms and the Man is a comedy by George Bernard Shaw HERE

Grandma’s Recipes for Mother and Daughter by American Molasses Company HERE

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If you have any suggestions regarding audiobooks, please comment. Thanks.

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My Archive reading List

There are many books worth reading on Archive.org.  I’ve made lists of books that I want to read and chronically misplace them. So I’ve decided to keep my list here.

Archive.org Reading List:

A natural history of the senses by Diane Akerman HERE

Bobbie Ann Mason: a study of the short fiction by Wilheim Albert HERE + (short stories)

Across an untried sea: discovering lives hidden in the shadow of convention and time  By Julia Marcus HERE

Creative Visualization by Shaki Gawain  HERE

Difficult women by David Plante HERE

Edward Hopper an intimate biography by Gail Levin HERE

Encounter by Milan Kundera HERE

Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb HERE

Spellbound: studies on mesmerism and literature by Maria Tatar HERE

The hard facts of Grimm’s fairy tales by Maria Tatar HERE + (short stories)

The mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliff HERE +

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco HERE +

The Things We Used to Say by Natalia Ginzburg HERE +

The secret self: a century of short stories by women anthology HERE + (short stories)

Under the Andes by Rex Stout HERE +

The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio HERE +

I Shock Myself by Beatrice Wood HERE + (autobigraphy)

The Beautiful an Introduction To Psychological Aesthetics by Vernon Lee HERE +

Ghosts : a natural history: 500 years of searching for proof by Roger Clark HERE +

Vernon Lee: aesthetics, history, and the Victorian female intellectual by Christa Zorn HERE +

Walter Pater: the aesthetic moment by Iser Wolfgang HERE +

The Blackbirder by Dorothy Hughes HERE +

Dark Certainty by Dorothy Hughes HERE +

Verdict Mystery Magazine HERE +

Maigret Afraid by Georges Simenon HERE +

The lady with the little dog and other stories by Anton Chekhov HERE + (short stories)

Collected Stories by Raymond Chandler HERE + (short stories)

The short story: 30 masterpieces edited by Beverly Lawn HERE + (short stories)

The Brontë myth by Lucasta Miller HERE +

Selected tales of Ivan Turgenev by Ivan Turgenev HERE + (short stories)

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Flash Fiction

Literary myth claimed that Hemingway, at lunch with fellow writers, bet $10 that he could write a six word short story. He then wrote, the legend goes, “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn” on a paper napkin then passed it around. The other writers had to admit that Hemingway won the bet. Lovely story but contemporary scholars seem to believe that, more than a short story, the famous baby shoe line was originally a newspaper advertisement.

Flash fiction is trying to tell a story with the minimum amount of words possible—no more than 1500. It is so short that the reader is needed to give it closure.

But Hemingway did write a book of flash fiction, In Our Time (1925), a collection of short stories and vignettes rotating around the years before, during, and after WWI.

Virginia Woolf was also experimenting with flash fiction. In 1921, she published “A Haunted House,” the first story in the only short story collection published during her time. It’s the story of a married couple whose house is haunted by the ghosts of a married couple. The ghosts constantly manifest themselves but with no intention of causing harm. They are simply searching for the love they had when alive.

Italian novelist, Italo Calvino, wrote a series of flash stories re: the city that he transformed into the novel Invisible Cities (1972). He said he had been inspired by Augusto Monterroso’s story “The Dinosaur” that is simply this: “When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there.”

For more than 40 years, Joyce Carol Oates was married to the writer Raymond J. Smith. When he unexpectedly died, Joyce wrote “A Widow’s Story”. Here is the complete text: “I kept Myself Alive”.

Short story writer, Lydia Davis, is the daughter of Hope Hale Davis (1903-2004) writer, feminist, teacher and found of the women’s pulp magazine “Love Mirror”. For a while Hope was even part of a soviet spy ring. Lydia’s ex, Paul Auster, is also a storyteller.

In Can’t and Won’t, Lydia has turned letters of complaint into short stories such as “Dear Frozen Peas Manufacturer” where the author complains that the dull yellow green color of the peas on the packaging doesn’t do their product justice.

Nigerian poet and novelist, Ben Okri, writes “stoku”. That is, according to Okri, an amalgam of short story and haiku. It is a story as it inclines towards a flash of a moment, insight, vision or paradox. Oki’s stories are modern day parables where sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish illusion from reality causing you to make the wrong choices. So, instead of going to heaven as planned, you wind up in hell.

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Related: Very Short Stories + The Short Story I Wrote Inspired by Wes Anderson and Carlos Castaneda + Hemingway and Baby Shoes + Critical essays on Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time by Reynolds, Michael S. on archive.org + Distinguishing between “Flash” and “Sudden” Fiction + Sudden fiction international: sixty short-short stories book on archive.org HERE + The short story according to Woolf + Translation: The Dinosaur (El dinosaurio) by Augusto Monterroso + Book Twitterature: The World’s Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter + Flash Fiction Collection established at the Ransom Center Texas + Flashes On The Meridian: Dazzled by Flash Fiction +

GREAT DAY COMING BY Hope Hale Davis on archive.org HERE

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Wolf Bait

The year I started middle school, that song was always on the radio: Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood, You sure are lookin’ good, You’re everything a big, bad wolf could want…

At the time, I was into bouncing around the house wearing my worn and scruffy go-go boots (they slide easily across the wooden floors) and not analyzing the lyrics. But listening to the song years later, it seems as if the singer aka the wolf is preying on the young girl via lies and deception so he can take advantage of her.

Angela Carter (1940-1992) was a British writer, magical realism style, who challenged the way women were treated in fairy tales. In The Bloody Chamber, Angela borrowed themes from Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and Alice in Wonderland for her story “Wolf-Alice”.

Alice was raised by wolves and has no idea that she’s human. Then one day hunters invaded the wolf den where she’d been raised. Her foster mother, a wolf, was riddled with bullets shot by the hunters. Initially the hunters thought Alice a cub. But when they realized she was a human, they took her to the nuns who washed and scrubbed her hoping to turn Alice into a human again. But when the Mother Superior tried “to teach her to give thanks for her recovery from the wolves,” Alice expressed no thanks preferring to scratch the floor or crouch in the corner where she defecated in front of the nuns. Poor Alice only reminded the nuns that not all prayers are meant to be answered. So they sent Alice packing off to live with the Duke in his castle.

The Duke was a strange dude. He was so old that his skin, like weathered parchment, looked like it could easily crack if he were to sneeze. He slept in an antlered bed and opened his eyes only “to devour the world in which he sees, nowhere, a reflection of himself.”

Alice, now living with the Duke and his strange habits, has her own habits, too. Her panting tongue hangs out her hands and knees calloused from walking on all fours, and her poor nose, in hopes of better understanding her new environment, keeps her nose quivering as she continues to sniff the world around her.

She, herself, sleeps in the warm ashes of the hearth” curled up like a cat then wakes up to sweep the floors and make the Duke’s bed.  And, “like the wild beasts, she lives without a future. She inhabits only the present tense…”

One day when Alice was exploring the castle, she bumped into a mirror. Alice was so lonely that she “rubbed her head against her reflected face” hoping to make friends.

did the nuns place Alice, a young girl despite her wolf-like behaviour, in such an ambiguous and potentially dangerous situation.   Thrown to the wolves…had they not consulted God in their prayers?

At night while the Duke was roaming the graveyards, Alice explored the castle. A favorite pastime such trying on the gowns once worn by the Duke’s grandmother. By now, “her relation with the mirror was now far more intimate since she knew she saw herself within it.”

One night “she trotted out in her new dress to investigate the odorous October hedgerows like a debutante from the castle.” Alice walks by the church where “the congregation in the church was ineffectually attempting to imitate the wolves’ chorus” in an attempt to lure the Duke so “intent on performing his cannibal rituals.”

…she’s enjoyed her reflection wearing the wedding dress so she goes out and wanders towards town. A young bridegroom is plotting the duke’s death—revenge for the duke killing his wife. People in the church are changing as the duke approaches…he’s bombarded with holy water and silver bullets.

The reeking scent of the church incense made Alice, dressed as a bride, suspicious so she starts to run. Then a battery of silvery bullets fly towards the Duke. Seeing the Duke wounded, Alice jumps from behind the tombstones and runs towards the castle with a limping werewolf running behind her.

Humans cannot understand the Duke.  They want to kill the beast because they can’t understand he has no choice. It is his nature.

Once lying on his black bed, the wound duke howls in pain. Alice, suspicious, prowls around his bed. She remembered her own pain and how her adopted mother, a wolf, used to lick her wounds (Animals instinctively respond to injury in other animals by licking their wounds). So Alice, without hesitation, began to like the Duke’s face. And, as she continued to lick, the Duke’s reflection slowly became visible in the mirror. 

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