Friday, January 27, 2023

Let's Talk Books: Rooms of Their Own by Alex Johnson

"This is a book about...
rooms that tell stories."

The weekend is here, and I'm sorry that I don't have a new post for you today. I've been writing a guest post for InScribe which was published this morning. In it, I chat about a new book I have been slow reading. Called Rooms of Their Own, Where Great Writers Write by Alex Johnson, it's a new favourite for me. To read more, click HERE.

I'm including a couple of illustrations from the book to whet your appetite:

Beatrix Potter's writing retreat at Hilltop

Isabel Allende's writing studio in California

It's snowing here this morning. And the temperatures have dropped back down to more normal winter  temps (-14C). We were enjoying above freezing temps earlier in the week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Till next week then...

Heart hugs,

Saturday, January 14, 2023

A Short Review: Miss Marple, The Life and Times

The Life and Times of Miss Jane Marple

"There is no detective in England equal to a spinster lady
of uncertain age with plenty of time on her hands."
Rev. Leonard Clement, Murder at the Vicarage

I think it was Miranda Mills from Yorkshire, UK, who recommended this charming book a few weeks ago on her lovely vlog. My interest was piqued and I ordered a copy. Such a familiar, cozy read it's been over these past few wintery days. As one reviewer puts it, 'a great treat for Agatha Christie addicts'. And yes, it has been a treat.

Author Anne Hart shares how she enjoyed working on this short biography of the beloved fictional female sleuth, Miss Jane Marple. (She's also written a biography for Hercule Poirot). The Marple book was first published in 1985—with the 'kind' approval of Agatha Christie's daughter, Rosalind Hicks. The revised edition, with the charming book cover you see above, was released in 2019.

In this slender volume, Anne Hart describes Miss Marple, where she came to live, who were her friends, hints of her family and upbringing, and how her crime detection path began. Ms. Hart gathers all the clues and descriptions found in the twelve Miss Marple books and twenty short stories. And in weaving together these bits and pieces, she gives the reader a fuller picture of the bright, elderly woman behind the fluffy yarn and knitting needles. A bibliography at the end of the book includes not only a list of all the Marple novels and short stories but the various Marple stage, film, TV, and radio productions (and who played in them), as well as the audiobooks and who read them. This biography is a lovely companion to tuck alongside all your favourite Christie novels.

If you are a fan, you've probably heard the tale of how years before actress Joan Hickson ever played the role of Miss Marple, she played other roles in several Agatha Christie productions. When Agatha saw Joan Hickson in one of these productions, she told Joan, 'I hope one day you will play my dear Miss Marple'. Of all the actresses who have played Miss Marple, Joan Hickson is my absolute favourite. In my view, she seems to have best captured the old world feeling I get when I read the books. All three women—Agatha, Joan, and Jane Marple—seem to have similar backgrounds, being brought up in the late Victorian to early Edwardian eras.  

For interest's sake, Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and died in 1976; Joan Hickson was born in 1906 and died in 1998; and from the novels and stories, as Miss Marple reminisces about her childhood and youth, we get the idea that Jane Marple was created to have a similar upbringing, very late Victorian to early Edwardian. Joan Hickson would certainly have understood the times the old spinster was thought to have known and experienced. Maybe that's why Joan felt so authentic.

I hope you've enjoyed this little book chat, and I do hope your weekend is unwinding in pleasant ways.

Heart hugs,

Monday, January 09, 2023

Making 2023 A Fresh Beginning

Dear Beautiful Friends,

"Every moment is a fresh beginning."

Happy New Year!
Here we are at January 9th already,
and my first post since before Christmas.

Christmas was unexpectedly quiet and we were alone (family members
were sick). Our muted celebration was still fine; we made do. Everyone
is back to feeling better at last. New blog ideas are on my mind of what
I want to share with you in the coming days. But other things have
needed tending to (I can't multi-task as I once could, so it's one thing
at a time these days).

 To hopefully make your visit today worthwhile, I share a thought from
author Paul Coelho I find fitting as we get the new year underway:

"It is always important to know when something has
reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing
chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is
to leave in the past moments in life that are over."

Oh my, I find the words of that last line most befitting these days.
When I turned 60, the milestone of a new and different decade became
my season for gathering the memories of my life lived thus far. It was a
time to remember and to put things in order. I've written some of my
stories, put photos together, created narrative timelines for future use,
revisited the good times, and let go of the less than stellar ones. 

This spring I shall turn 66, and I have sensed a shift in my heart over the
past few months. The season to gather the old memories is, for the most part, over.
Now, there's an eagerness to release these former things of my earlier life
—including old habits and traditions, old thinking, even long time favourite items
that once gave delight but no longer serve the current me. And, to let go of what is
finished and also what remains unfinished, especially if its 'best before' date is well past.

In this new season, I'm eager for fresh beginnings. I want
to make new memories, explore new ideas, read new authors,
try new ventures. Oh, and write new blog posts and other lovely things.
I'm looking forward to experimenting with fresh recipes and replacing
what no longer fulfills. All the while making more space in my life to spend
with the people I care about, including you, who follow me here on my blog.

I am excited for 2023. No doubt, there will be days requiring much
much grace—our torn, sore old world is still very much tilted sideways—and
things don't always go to plan or desire. So we rely on the good Lord's grace
that is always available when we ask. I ask it for me, and I ask it for you as well.

Thank you to those of you who have enquired about me, asking me
how I'm doing—I so appreciate your love and concern. I am well,
just taking care of needful things at present. That's why
I haven't been around.

I will be back soon as I can. Hope you are well in body
and soul. Wishing you a beautiful, grace-traced year ahead.

Heart hugs,

Photo credit: Image by Cally Lawson from Pixabay