Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Thursday, May 31, 2012

March Meeting of the Pym Society

Greetings! The 2012 North American conference in March was a huge success, with record attendance and lots of new faces joining the regulars. The conference report and photos will be in the Spring issue of Green Leaves, which should be going to the printer in the next few days, and the papers have been posted on our web site. Photos are available on our Facebook page -- please Like us if you have not already done so! We have had 30 new members join so far this year, which brings the active membership in North America up to almost 250. Remember that memberships must be renewed every April, so if you have not already done so, please renew today for 2012. You can do this online or fill out and print a form to mail in with your check; details are on the web site. Note that we have added a new category of reduced-rate Student memberships. Our next event will be a garden fête for BPS members and their guests on Sunday June 24th from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. at my home in Cambridge, MA. You can bring finger food to share, or contribute $10 for beverages and supplies. RSVP by June 20; I'll send detailed directions to everyone who signs up. One of the benefits of membership is the right to attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM), held at Barbara's Oxford college, St Hilda's. This year's AGM will be 31 August through 3 September and the theme is "Barbara Pym and Gardens"; details and the booking form will be posted on the web site in the next few weeks. Call for Papers: The fifteenth annual North American conference will be held on 15–17 March 2013 at Harvard University. The theme is ‘100 Years of Pym’. The North American organizing committee is soliciting proposals for talks at the conference. Please send a 100-150 word proposal by 19 November 2012 to barbarapymsociety@gmail.com, and include the words ‘NA conference proposal’ in the subject line. Conference registration and meals will be paid for speakers; and there is a $350 honorarium. If you have any academic friends or colleagues who might be interested, please pass this along to them. The record-setting conference attendance meant that we had a healthy surplus after all the bills were paid, and we'll use that money for special events at next year's centenary conference, including a service of Solemn Evensong and Benediction on Friday night and a champagne and birthday cake reception on Saturday afternoon. We will do our very best to make the 2013 conference the Best Ever, so plan to be there if you can! We'll announce the program and open registration in early December. Best wishes, Tom Sopko, North American Organizer The Barbara Pym Society

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Kewpies

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Kewpies: Collectors' Concerns; KOVELS Kewpie Dolls Q: My daughter found these adorable Kewpie dolls at a church rummage sale about eigh...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and the Hammer Film

I finally got my copy of this long awaited DVD. Since I read Hill's novel, I have thought of few other films, only Dark Shadows, which I saw Sunday. The book was chilling, more so because it is deceptively short and illustrated as though it were childrens literature. It isn't. The film was dark and decrepit, but more sad than scary. You have to feel the mother's grief; Jennet turns to bitterness and vengeance, and that is her sin. Even reuniting her with her child does not satisfy her. But, the plot is changed significantly in the film, with more characters, lost children, and plots. Eel March House is horribly inhospitable; no one in his/her right mind would stay there alone in the day, let alone at night. TWIB is more banshee than ghost; she is more like a bad camera trick than anything else. The opening scene of the three little girls moving from a dolls' teaparty to jumping from their attic bedroom window is the most frightening scene of the film. It does not exist in the book, which opens at Christmas with Arthur's second family. The dolls are creepy, and there are many of them. Besides the bluebird toy china, the three little girls have a rag doll, a penny wooden in a bed, a couple china heads that look old, and an anachronistic seventies porcelain doll, the kind made in taiwan or china. In the nursery in Eel Marsh House, there are real automatons with Jumeau heads, mechanical monkeys and tin clowns, perhaps a doll house [the cinematography is too dark to tell], and lots of Victorian cards, a toy boat, a mechanical rabbit and cat. There is another acrobatic clown and most play music. One mistake, in a letter not part of the novel, Jennet, in the film, is addressed as "Ms. Jennet Humphrey." Ms. was not used till the mid 1970s. It was not used, nor did it exist in 1889. I enjoyed the film, but it was very, very sad and depressing. The horror is in the mother's loss, and the fact that nothing can stop her grief, which destroys everyone.

To an Athlete Dying Young

For my friend, Steve: Well, two weeks and $400 later I am once again feeling much better; how clear everything looks after a good night's sleep and minimal pain. I think stress and allergies are what are going to kill us, at least most of us. Maybe we should step up our efforts in med research to cure them. It has been a trying couple of weeks, peppered with good things like our fantastically successful launch for The Legend of Tugfest, some great antiquing, blissful weather, good friends, and time to spend with family. There were lucky days where I found a dollar in tne middle of nowhere, or heard from an old friend, and devastating days, where a friend chose to end his life, though he was very young, and another decided not to speak to me because his misguided professional ambitions and personal greed overtook his feelings for me and his friends. Oh well. Some of us will grow up. It is also a much smaller world than we think, and I discover this everyday. We are all related in some way, both good and bad. Our local grocery is now carrying black petunias. Black flowers are "in," and I plan to plant a few more pots. The moles and vholes seem to be leaving us alone, though I pretty much came face to face with a raccon the other night. Am still looking for new ideas for water sustainability and concerving our oceans and rivers. Would love to hear of any books or materials. I'm also into nature writers these days, and would be happy to take book recommendations. I'm am involved once again in the local bookfairs and will try to sell books at several bookstores. My goal is go get my name out there as a writer/poet, and I am getting some place and am very greatful to 918Studio, Rivertown Creative and MWWC. In some ways, I probably owe them my life and well-being. Happy planting, and here is a poem in honor of my late friend S, a marathoner, and of his sister-in-law, who as it turns out, I've known for quite some time.
To an Athlete Dying Young The time you won your town the race We chaired you through the market-place; Man and boy stood cheering by, And home we brought you shoulder-high. To-day, the road all runners come, Shoulder-high we bring you home, And set you at your threshold down, Townsman of a stiller town. Smart lad, to slip betimes away From fields where glory does not stay And early though the laurel grows It withers quicker than the rose. Eyes the shady night has shut Cannot see the record cut, And silence sounds no worse than cheers After earth has stopped the ears: Now you will not swell the rout Of lads that wore their honours out, Runners whom renown outran And the name died before the man. So set, before its echoes fade, The fleet foot on the sill of shade, And hold to the low lintel up The still-defended challenge-cup. And round that early-laurelled head Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead, And find unwithered on its curls The garland briefer than a girl's. Alfred Edward Housman

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Memoriam Anne Boleyn May 19th

Every year I mention her; she's fascinated me since I was 8 or 9. The cruelty of her fate, the saddness in her life, the isolation and fear she must have felt. I've written many papers about her, a poem, one novel, and I used to draw her all the time, and even created some paintings about her, a couple dolls, a shadowbox. I studied her trial, and gathered quite a library of books about her and the Tudors.
Today she is some romantic, tragic figure, swept up and destroyed by her passion, victim of a dashing but abusive husband, very The Other Boleyn Girl and The Tudors. I would argue that she was noble-born [with more Plantaget blood on her mother's side than Henry[, smart, educated by the most important women of Europe [one of her school mates was a very young Charles V]; proud, witty, and lively. She was taught to be outspoken, and this may have been part of her downfall. She was braded a "whore of the tongue" and supposedly reduced Henry to tears more than once. She was a victim of her father's ambition, as was were sister Mary, and her brother. She was related to the King through blood [her mother was a distant cousin] and through marriage [one first cousin married is illegitimate son, the Duke of Blount].
She didn't have six fingers or three breasts; the Spanish ambassador began that rumor, and I think he was nine when she died. He had never met her. Her enemies pitied her, and Catharine of Aragon and Mary I admitted they hated her, but that she had not done anything to deserve her fate. Catharine died in January 1536, Anne in May. C. stated before she died that she pitied Anne for what woudld befall her. She new her royal husband well.
Princess Diana's fate brought no light on Anne, with a rash of new bios and novels, and The Other Boleyn Girls and The Tudors. All tend to protray her as a victim of her own passion. I think she was more; she was well educated and knew it, loved her family, was a dutiful daughter, and content to marry Harry Nothumberland, and probably in love with her distant cousin, Thomas Wyatt, the great poet. She was no excellent woman who made tea in time of serving, but maybe she was. She did her duty and was suffered for it, and all that talent and beauty was destroyed on a sunny Spring day in 1536. Elizabeth I tried in her own way to resrotre her mother's reputation, and she kept her mother's ring and her mother's badge, The White Falcon all her life. In the tower today, in an isolated room, there is a rude sketch of the falcon on the wall, missing its crown. Defiled was her name full sore, and this is the saddest truth of all.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Metal Heads and Musings

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Metal Heads and Musings: Today's blog is an excerpt from my book on Metal Dolls. I hope you enjoy it. I am still looking for clear photographs for this book, and y...

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: 3 am is the Darkest Hour of the Soul

Memoir; Writing your Life Story: 3 am is the Darkest Hour of the Soul: Or, so said to that effect F. Scott Fitzgerald. Barring Saturday, I haven't slept since Friday night with one thing or another. So, I tri...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: A Newsletter

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: A Newsletter: My God; what I've been through just to find my blogs today! GBS what have you done to us!! Here is a newslatter, very interesting, honoring...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Doll Museum: The Doll Book Again

Doll Museum: The Doll Book Again: I will follow with a series of posts on Starr's wonderful book. It is available as a free eText on the web. I don't find the writing archa...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: A review

An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: A review: From the unofficial site: In a medieval Europe, the recently widowed Coutess Elisabeth (Ingrid Pitt), rules over her subjects with cold dis...