Out for a Walk


Bronte Country
Bronte Country

“As early as 1850, Charlotte had observed that “various folks are beginning to come boring to Haworth, on the wise errand of seeing the scenery described in Jane Eyre and Shirley”. 

Something to add to your Bronte file, directions for walking in Bronte Country. This comes from Juliet Barker, Bronte biographer extraordinaire.

“To Hear My Voice is a Temptation…”



I have been glued to Twitterfall all week reading the words of the Iranian opposition. When I stare at the dark screen of Twitterfall, and the rolling scroll of plaintive instructions, defiant calls for change and cries for help, I picture thousands of moths drawn to a bright light. They are beating their wings against the windows of the world and it is breathtaking.


Blogs like this one by Sheema Kalbasi are fascinating. I purchased her anthology of poetry, “The Poetry of Iranian Women” this week and it is incredibly powerful.


The Poetry of Iranian Women - Sheema Kalbasi
The Poetry of Iranian Women - Sheema Kalbasi


The Persian people have a rich history. All I can think is what a shame it is the world is so full of conflict. The Persian people have a history of tolerance and compassion. Cyrus the Great freed the Jewish people and gave the world its first Charter of Human Rights. 


“When he conquered Babylon, he did so to cheers from the Jewish Community, who welcomed him as a liberator – he allowed the Jews to return to the promised Land. He showed great forbearance and respect towards the religious beliefs and cultural traditions of other races. These qualities earned him the respect and homage of all the people over whom he ruled.”


The Middle East needs Cyrus today.


Click the links and read about him. 





I won a contest. I had to choose a fragrance and write an essay. It was a whim. What fun, fun, fun!

I am good. Not that I have always been this way. I ate an entire bottle of baby aspirin when I was two. My mother found me happily savoring the last, tangy precursors to Sweet Tarts sitting on the powder pink tile floor of our bathroom in my Pepto Bismol pink footie pajamas covered in raspberry colored chicken pox spots. God, I loved baby aspirin.


 My mother, however, knew what roughly fifty baby aspirin could do to twenty five pounds so she scooped me up in my pajamas and rushed me to the clinic and they strapped me to a gurney and flew into a room and shoved a clear plastic tube down my throat and pumped my stomach before I could even say, “Hey!” 


When I was done, while I waited for my mother to finish talking to the doctor, a kindly nurse asked, ‘Do you have any brothers or sisters? A kitty or a dog?’ and even though I did indeed have a brother AND a sister and not one, but two kitties, I lied. I felt very grumpy and retaliatory so I said in a typical terrible two sort of way, ‘No.”  I wasn’t very good that day.


Fast forward forty nine years. The other night, I found my mother who is now forgetful, fragile, elderly and living with me, sitting in her rose pink pajamas on the edge of her bed, sticking her fingers in a bottle of cherry baby aspirin after she has already had her daily allotment. Even though I am often weary of changing the sheets and making sure she is clean and dry and her hair is combed,  suddenly I am back on the pink tile floor.  I am two years old again and I see her as she was, young and strong and pretty. I remember the feeling of her heart pounding against my head and I recall how she drove like a maniac to the clinic to get my stomach pumped, how she raced into the building like an Olympian sprinter and made sure I would always be safe and sound. 


I sat down next to her on the side of her bed and I realized she wasn’t much bigger than I was then.  I scooped her bird bone body up against mine and gently took the aspirin out of her hands and kissed her on the forehead. Keeping her with me is the only option I have because she was such a good mom and now, I try to be a good daughter because it is a giant circle and it’s all good…


Have You Read “Trimalchio in West Egg?”


One of the most challenging things a writer does is choose a title for a piece.  It is a real gift to come up with something that fits the piece and grabs the reader. It is the ultimate first impression. This article reveals the working titles of some of our most iconic novels. 

“What’s in a name?” asks Juliet. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yet, in this 60th anniversary year of Nineteen Eighty-Four (a brilliant title), you can only wonder about the fate of Orwell’s masterpiece if it had been published under its working title of “The Last Man in Europe”. And what about Portnoy’s Complaint (“A Jewish Patient Begins his Analysis”) or The Waste Land (“He do the Police in Different Voices”) or Gone With the Wind (“Baa! Baa! Black Sheep”)?

Would you have read Trimalchio in West Egg? How about The High Bouncing Lover? No? Then you would have missed reading The Great Gatsby. As far as I am concerned,  The Last Man in Europe is the best of the bunch…

“It is work however that I cannot do in the evening for if I did, I should have no sleep at night…”


A new online, digital archive of original manuscripts will soon be available for viewing. The scribblings, crossouts and letters of many literary giants from Charlotte Bronte to Oscar Wilde wil be accesssible to all the scholars and novices (like me) who would die to see source material we would never previously have had a chance of seeing. The collection includes”handwritten versions of Blake’s The Four Zoas, Emily Brontë’s Gondal poems, and complete drafts of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist.”

Also available the “heartbreaking correspondence by Charlotte Brontë as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her sister, Emily, and the poor health of her younger sister, Anne.”

And Emily’s Gondal poems – thrilling.