Review: Gypsy by Gypsy Rose Lee

The subtitle of this book is “Memoirs of America’s most celebrated stripper.”  Stripper.  Going back to a time when that meant someone that didn’t take off all their clothes to reveal the glory beneath and thus titillate, but in that the act of stripping itself was the titillation.  In the days of burlesque, strip acts were production numbers on stages with full orchestras and costumes, and scenery. Indeed, those were the days, and Gypsy Rose Lee was the greatest of them all.

Look at the woman in the picture of the cover to the right.  You see that beautiful woman in a provocative pose, and you know that she is a beautiful woman.  If you wanted to sum up her life story with one easy parable, she would be “The Ugly Duckling”.  That isn’t to say that she was ever ugly.  This volume contains the pictures of her as a little girl, and they aren’t ugly.  She was, however, the eldest of two sisters, and her younger sister, actress June Havoc, was the little porcelain doll that became her mother’s pride.  Next to her, little Louise couldn’t match up. Read More »

Autumn’s Hope

A short post for a busy time of year.

Autumn is always a bittersweet time of year for me.  As a child, it brought serious dread as bringing back the torment of school.  At the same time, I loved to learn and loved having a huge library to play in.  In one year at that school I talk about in the last two posts, I read over 250 of the library’s books.  I’ve always been something of a ferocious reader.  That year I think I took it to extremes. Read More »

The Smiling Girl and the Frowning Girl

DespairPicture, for a moment, two little girls in grade school. On report card day, they take home their cards, one with a smile and one with a frown.

The smiling girl’s card reads: “Demonstrates fantastic leadership skills in group situations.”

The frowning girl’s card reads: “Needs to learn to work cohesively in a group setting instead of always trying to take control.”

The grades on the card show that the frowning girl has better average grades than the smiling girl. They live in the same neighbourhood. They are the same race. Their families are in the same economic bracket. The only difference between the two girls is their social standing. The smiling girl is popular; the frowning girl is not. Read More »

Dagger in the Back by the System

Back findingAs an artistic, intelligent child, far older than my years, I was never a popular girl.  At my first school, waves of popularity came and went like the tide.  Therein, old friendships existed based on time served more than mutual interest; mainly, we had all been together since we first entered school and thought we’d always grow up with one another.  Then, I moved away.

Before I moved, I had the position I like to call “Story Teller”.  Or, in geekier parlance, Game Master.  I created the universe and basic plot that we’d play out in our recess breaks.  My games were popular because they utilized the entire school grounds.  I relished that role and enjoyed the company, but honestly, I didn’t care if I had anyone playing along.  I’d play off on my own in my little world, writing out loud as I now write novels and short stories.  Granted, I was “That Strange Little Girl”, however,  I was, at least, their strange little girl.

When I moved away, I was still “That Strange Little Girl” but without the familiarity.  Read More »

Writing Exercises – The Clearing

Clearing(I’ll sometimes take a picture and write a story based on the impressions it gives me. This one of the starts to one of these stories.)

Tria pressed her back against one of the last trees before the clearing broke, like a wound, through the ancient forest. The canopy did nothing to stop the torrent of water as it washed over her dark blue cloak. Despite the weatherproofing, the cloak had seen many seasons worth of weather. Beneath it, her dark green deerskin tunic and dark brown leather pants and boots were logged with water to the linen undershirt and trousers beneath that she wore. Her black hair was braided tight and twisted about her head. Despite the years since she had left her people, she could not lose the taboo a blade touching her mane would be. For her people, the lesson to never cut hair after the adulthood ceremony was, literally, beaten into each person at the onset of puberty. Read More »

The Forest Path

When I reached grade one, my parents started having me walk with another girl on my street, we’ll call her Brenda, to school. It was probably a kilometer walk. Brenda was physically bigger than me, although in the same grade. She was also a complete and utter bossy bully type. She resented that she had to walk me. On the back home from school (and sometimes on the way to), she’d stop in at her grandparents’ house. She told me to hide around the side of the house on the commemorative trail-way/park beside their house so that I was out of sight, I assume now because she didn’t want to have to share the treats they gave her with me.

About mid-first-term, it started to rain and I didn’t want to wait in the rain. I walked right up to their porch and sat down on their swing, where her grandmother saw me and asked who I was. Brenda tried to tell her that I wasn’t anyone she knew, and I told them that I was the girl that walked home with her every day, and I was not going to wait out in the park in the rain until she was done getting a snack. Brenda grabbed the sleeve of my jacket and pulled me by it all the way to my house, practically pushing me into the mud of my front yard, where I defiantly stuck my tongue out at her retreating back as she stomped off through the puddles to her house. Read More »

Friday Writing


(Sometimes, I put myself into “automatic” and write whatever comes to mind to unwind. This is an example of such)

He saw her, and when he did, he nearly crushed the crystal goblet in his hand. She still had stars for eyes, coral colored lips curled into the familiar, breathtakingly beautiful smile. He could hear her laughter through the stretch of years better than he could hear it across the crowded ballroom. Against the wall, he was inconspicuous as she walked into the room. Yet, somehow, her eyes went straight to his, out of the hundreds. He saw there his universe reflect back to him. A warrior cry of triumph wanted to rip itself from his throat in what would have shattered the same inspiration. Her eyes had a fleeting moment of pain that made him more ashamed than he could ever name as much as it thrilled him. Yes, he had seen her. Moreover, she had seen him, and she still knew him. Read More »

Review: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

By Shannon HaleI was in Junior Kindergarten when I got my glasses for the first time; say, around 4-years-old.  From about that point on, those gobs of muddled characters on the pages beside pictures began to make sense, and I began to devour anything I could get my hands on.  While my reading level was incredibly high, I had a special love for fairy tales.  The more obscure the fairy tale, the better.

One day, I found a tattered volume of fairy tales in one of my usual weekend trawls of local garage sales.  It was a book of Brother Grimm fairy tales.  There were a few tales I already knew, and one I had never heard of before.  It was called “Maid Maleen” and it became, and has remained, my absolute, all-time favourite fairy tale. I read it so many times that I knew every word by heart and that poor abused (although not by me) book fell apart.  Whenever I would have classes in school about fairy tales, I would tell the tale, even though often my teachers had never even heard of it.  Later, I bought a book of “The Complete Brothers Grimm” mostly to have a more durable copy of “Maid Maleen” in my possession.

That’s why when a friend told me that there was a book called “Book of a Thousand Days” written by Shannon Hale that she highly recommended, and I read that it was based on “Maid Maleen”, I knew I had to read it.  I went to the library and borrowed it and had it read in a day.  Later, I went and bought myself a copy and read it as if it were the first time.  Every time I’ve re-read it, it draws me back in with the same sweetness. Read More »

A Day Delayed

Today’s post is missing in action thanks to my being sick all day. I shall post a review of The Book of a Thousand Days” by Shannon Hale tomorrow.

Deep Sea Dreams

OceanI’ve gone on at length about my rather intense dreams, which are in full colour and within which I feel pain. Usually, I have a common thread going through my dreams; water.

Even as a child, I was obsessed with water. From the time that I nearly drowned when I was around Kai’s age, I become obsessed with being in the water as much as I possibly could. I couldn’t get enough. I took to swimming lessons like a pro. When we moved to my parents’ house in the country and had our own pool, I would swim in it at all hours, at all temperatures, from the time we opened it and it became “safe” to swim in, until the very bitter (and I do mean that literally) end of summer when my dad forced me out to close it. The majority of my summer days were spent swimming, often as much as 12 hours a day. Read More »