Happy Birthday, Anne Elliot!

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Anne Elliot is 231 years old today. I think it’s safe to say she’s more popular today than she was when Persuasion was published in 1818. I wish her well, and raise a glass to the girl who got a second chance!

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Skynet is Smiling

Note: I wrote this blog post using Google Docs tool, voice typing. So no, not all the mistakes are my own.

In the winter you expect to be sick at some point cold flu heart attack from shoveling the driveway something is going to be follow you at some point during the winter months. So, here I am sick as a dog with some sort of gastrointestinal distress. we’ve changed our diet too low carb and I think that may have something to do with it. I don’t have any intention of running into the kitchen in scarfing down a bunch of crackers, but I think today is going to be a high water consumption day.

As an added bonus the dog is vomiting in the kitchen. Fun times

I’ve been messing around with dictation. I’m using Google’s typing with voice. it actually works very well considering it’s free and it’s Google. I suppose everything I dictate is being written down somewhere and kept for future reference just in case I offend all the wrong people. Which is completely possible.

I am having enough success in dictating to the computer that I think I will get a microphone. I have watched a couple of podcast of people who have gone to this method of writing and both say that having a decent though not terribly expensive microphone can make all the difference in the accuracy of the text that you wind up with. Next paragraph

I’m not sure I’m ready to try and write a story this way. with voice typing there is a limited amount of formatting commands that are at your disposal. I don’t want to have to edit for a longer. Then I am writing. Yesterday, I wrote a 3000 word outline of a short story I’m working on and that went very well but the text was very garbled. part of that is that there are a lot of names that even with the names loaded in Google’s dictionary for my account the typing app doesn’t seem to recognize. My hope is that a microphone will solve that.

Above I mentioned a short story I’m working on,. this will a be the second short story. The first one I got four thousand words into and realized that it’s a great story but it’s not going to fit in the Anthology it’s 4. But at least I have four thousand words on what will probably be a novella length peace. The new outline is for a story that I have been noodling with for a while. all I have to do is make myself go light and funny and stay out of the dark corners. that’s hard since it’s in the corners where we always where I always seem to find the most interesting things to play with.

The gastrointestinal distress is burbling a lung and I have to go and I have to go and relieve some stress.

I’m thinking about just posting this as it is without editing out all of The Oddities of Google’s voice typing. it’s actually a lot like hurried texting. I’ll think about it. Later

NOTE: (This note IS edited.) That wasn’t bad for a meandering, unscripted mind dump. And it sounds somewhat like me. I have a tendency to edit the original voice right out of things. I tried WORD’s dictate feature earlier. It has fewer commands than Google Voice Typing. If I keep dictating, I think I see having to buy some software in my future.

Take Care, Sue

Wentworth Wednesday

Persuasion_369In the opening of Chapter 18 of Persuasion, Anne receives a letter from Mary, dated February 1st. How exciting! We are all together in the same dreary days of winter. The letter was delivered by the Crofts, who came to Bath for the Admiral’s gout.

I guess gout was shameful as everyone seemed to be keeping it hush-hush.

Anyway,  in this letter, Anne gets the good news about Louisa and Capt. Benwick. And, Mary tells her that Charles wonders what Capt. Wentworth will say. Anne, in the privacy of her own room and thoughts wonders too. “She could not endure that such a friendship as theirs should be severed unfairly.

I’ve always thought that Anne Elliot and Elinor Dashwood were the most alike of the Austen heroines, but I see now that maybe Anne has a lot of Jane Bennet in her. This is somewhat like Jane dithering about poor Mr. Darcy and then about poor Mr. Wickham.

No matter. Frederick and Anne will have to sort themselves out in a few days. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

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I sure don’t feel 65!

And to Ciaran Hinds, happy birthday on Friday.

Wentworth Wednesday

BeFunky_Stenciler_1This is the last entry to Wentworth Wednesday. It’s taken me a while to figure out what to write, because, frankly, the last chapter of Persuasion is meh. Boring even.

The last chapter does the perfunctory job of tying up loose ends. We are told Sir Walter comes to think more highly of Frederick and so does Lady Russell. We find out that William Elliot takes off for London and that Penelope Clay eventually joins him. Mary takes credit for having Anne stay with her over the autumn, and thus making the reunion possible. Mrs Smith is also credited and is rewarded when Frederick helps resolve her husband’s estate. Ho-hum.

The most exciting thing we learn is the somewhere along the way Anne acquires a landaulette. It was a sassy little conveyance for its time, but we don’t even know what color it is. And what Frederick is doing is anyone’s guess.

There is no romantic close.

I suppose it’s no one’s fault. I am the child of the movies and so I expect to go out on a high. There are no intimate, sensual words whispered by a roaring fire. No exciting moment of joy where Frederick takes her in his arms and they kiss under a tree. There is no sigh of satisfaction as the screen fades to black.

I am also a child of the 70s where the myth of Happily Ever After was exploded in favor of the Ambiguous Ending, or Happily For Now. Unfortunately, Jane Austen didn’t even give me that.

Here is the last line of Persuasion: “She gloried in being a sailor’s wife, but she must pay the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance.”

Okay, I do sigh, but not in a good way.

This is why I have decided that when I read Persuasion next, I am ending with Chapter 23.

The last scene of Chapter 23 is the evening party at Camden Place. Anne and Frederick are admiring some of Elizabeth’s house plants. All the loose ends are waving in the breeze, but we don’t care because they are secretly re-engaged and sneaking in a tete-a-tete right under everyone’s noses. Anne is still glowing from the walk on the gravel path, while Frederick is still contrite about his mistakes over the past several months. It is perfecto!

Here is now—for me anyway—the new last lines of Persuasion: “Like other great men under reverses,” he added with a smile, “I must endeavor to subdue my mind to my fortunes. I must learn to brook being happier than I deserve.”

kiss

Anne smiles and leans into him. The voices of the party come up. The music rises. Camera fades to black.

Finis.

Now that’s a Happily Ever After I can sigh over.

Thank you for sticking with me through Wentworth Wednesdays. Let me know what you think about my having the temerity to change Austen.

All My Walking Dead Children

 

!!S P O I L E R    A L E R T!!

There are no spoilers in this post. It was written before The Walking Dead season finale.

I never saw All My Children's Erica Kane Deal with this stuff!
I never saw All My Children’s Erica Kane Deal with this stuff!

When I was eight, I spent the summer with my grandparents in Chatsworth, California. This was a big deal as I lived in north Idaho. I got to fly by myself, visit the cockpit, and get a set of captain’s wings. It was also the first time I ever saw a grilled tomato. Full breakfasts were served in those days and even a child got a pretty decent meal.

I remember a lot of things from that summer but the most special thing was sitting down with Grandma, at three in the afternoon, with a can of root beer and a small bowl of puffed cheese snacks to watch All My Children.

All My Children was one of a dozen soap operas that populated daytime television in the 60s. When I was an adult, I moved to the Midwest and everyone called soaps, “stories.” Hence the title of this post.

This weekend my daughter and her two kids were over at the house, and an advertisement for season finale of The Walking Dead came on. My daughter was holding my little grandson and she said, “Look, Elijah, there’s an ad for Grandma’s story.” She had me Dead to rights.

I gave up soaps years ago. They are all the same story line, and now I see they were mostly the same characters from the 80s and 90s. I haven’t missed anything. But I did become the new kind of Deadhead. (I think some viewers are young enough to have missed The Grateful Dead and don’t know that name is already taken.) But there are Walker Stalkers, Deadites, or the Watching Dead. Though, none of those really fits. I’m just a fan.

When the show came out in 2010, I heard about it. If you were minimally online, you heard about it. I didn’t care. Once in the distant past, I had tried watching the movie, The Night of the Living Dead, and was bored outta my skull. This lead me to believe that zombies just weren’t my thing. They weren’t then, and they really aren’t now.

The appeal of this gore-fest for me is, there moral questions that come up for those surviving a zombie apocalypse that just never make it past the, d*mn-I-broke-a-nail problems of the clean, well-dressed, well-connected doctor/lawyer/billionaires that populate the standard regular soap opera.

But on TWD you have to deal with questions, such as:

  • Weaponry: blade or a gun? Perhaps your best success will be with a blunt object and brute force?
  • Is it best to soak rotting flesh stains, or can you just pretreat?
  • Who do I trust, and will I destroy their brain if they die so they don’t turn into a zombie?
  • If a zombie is clutching a bag of Cheetos, once I dispatch said zombie, is it safe to eat the cheesy bits of heaven if the bag is still sealed?
  • Are zombies the person they were when they were alive, or are they nonpersons, and okay to use as targets?
  • How do you raise sensitive kids in a world where sometimes compassion involves breaking someone’s neck?
  • Am I really a horrible person when the only other person in my group, who loves pickled beets as much as I do, turns, and I’m j-u-s-t a little bit glad because that leaves more for me?

Seriously, there are great questions that come up in this show. Some of them I push aside in favor of just rooting for the bad-guy-turned-good, Daryl. I cried with Carol when her young daughter staggered out of burning barn, clearly now a zombie. For all the jokes, I hope Carl grows up to be a decent, non-psychopathic, young man for whom killing is the only skill he has to offer the world. And I always sigh when Maggie and Glenn find each other after some horrible separation.

Yup, The Walking Dead has replaced the standard soap opera as my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Wentworth Wednesday will return next week at its regularly scheduled time.

Wentworth Wednesday

Chapter 22

Chapter 21 has Wentworth in spirit only so I decided to go on to Chapter 22. This is Anne and Frederick’s first meeting since his hasty retreat from the concert, and Anne’s finding out all of William Elliot’s dirty secrets. This is the end of the chapter when our couple finally begins to thaw and speak. There are of course interruptions galore. And finally, an interruption of epic proportions. I decided to write my own version, from Frederick’s point-of-view. I hope you enjoy it.

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Getting around Musgrove was awkwardly done, but I made it to the fireplace. By Anne’s side. She doesn’t look up. She has every right to be cool. I was an idiot flouncing out of the concert like a pettish schoolgirl. Well, never mind the manoeuvres, just go right at it, Captain. “You have not been long enough in Bath to enjoy the evening parties of the place.”

That sweet face looks up and smiles. I am not sunk just yet. “Oh! no.  The usual character of them has nothing for me.  I am no card-player.”

“You were not formerly, I know.  You did not use to like cards; but time makes many changes.”

“I am not yet so much changed.” Anne paused and frowned just a little. It was impossible to tell if it was genuine distress, or mere teasing.

“It is a period, indeed!  Eight years and a half is a period.” There, it is done. For the first time, one of us has dared to mention the past. Her frown blooms to her usual, tentative smile. This is hope—

“Anne, let us go now, before anyone else arrives.” Henrietta stands over her, holding out her purse. I suppose I could insinuate myself and offer them my services as escort. “May I offer—” The door opens and more visitors are announced.

The room grows instantly silent. The smiles disappear and everyone ceases to move. Or breath. I turn and see the reason.

“Sir Walter! Miss Elliot! You honour us with a visit,” Mrs Musgrove is neatly up and out of her chair to greet the esteemed guests.

I toss a glance at Harville and he’s stunned to his whiskers. He’s been in the midst of the Musgrove chaos enough to know that not many forces in nature have the ability to quiet it. Well, even a bucket of icy water can quell amorous cats. Icy describes that sister—

“Captain Wentworth, we meet again.” The old block bows as if we are good and fast mates. To Mrs Musgrove, he says, “The Captain was with us at the concert this past Tuesday night. It was a magnificent presentation, I must say.”

Adding me to their party. Cheek indeed.

“Captain Wentworth.” Miss Elliot suddenly has the time and energy to greet me. Imagine that.

Anne is unreadable. I think it embarrassment for she stares off just enough to mimic attention. I shall play nice and bent my knee to the pair of them. For her. For her alone.

All the neat and tidy nothings are being exchanged. Let them coddle one another, I shall slip out in a moment and wait for Anne and Miss Musgrove downstairs. There is plenty of the day to be salvaged.

Miss Elliot is extending an invitation to Mrs Musgrove and looking around at everyone. There will be no slipping away for me. Yes, just lay the cards on the table. Despite the elegant gloves, you wouldn’t want to get any on you if there happens to be an accidental touch.

“And one for you, Sir.” She extends a card particularly to me. Yes, make me come and fetch it. As if I should ever the Elliot threshold again. It is the longest three steps I ever walked in my life. There is no bow—my pride won’t bend that far—and my nod is too shallow to be understood as real respect. “Thank you, Miss.”

They are suddenly gone and the whole company magically returns to its previous happy self. Even in retrenchment, the Elliots must still have the finest paper and engraving. Tearing it up would give me such pleasure. Even fine linen paper gives a tug of satisfaction when you give it a good—

“Only think of Elizabeth’s including everybody!” one of the ladies whispered.  “I do not wonder Captain Wentworth is delighted!  You see he cannot put the card out of his hand.”

Anne watches. I could not do that to her. And it is not delight, Mrs Musgrove, merely my astonishment at how easily utter disdain shifts and becomes respect. No, not respect. Utility. Like a mallet when you need one.

Musgrove comes close and nudges me. “Come on, Wentworth. I have tickets to return.” The room is called to action and we all are separating. There is no salvaging this day in my favour.

I put the card in my pocket and that gives me some ideas about tomorrow.