Monday, January 23, 2023


Happy New Year! I'm off to a slow writing start in 2023, but I am on it, and editing has begun on my NaNoWriMo manuscript of Lizzy through the Looking-glass, a continuation of Darcy in Wonderland. I am going to be very honest with you. I have tried in the past to keep my works apolitical, unwilling to alienate the large percentage of my readers who possess ideological views in stark contrast to my own. My rapid dismissal from a certain blogging consortium nearly three years ago after actually opening my mouth regarding what I perceived as a pretty obvious miscarriage of justice did, at first, seem to support that stance. But I am a big believer in not overly trusting one's immediate feelings and reactions to a trauma. Time's perception often changes things. Politics don't really have much of a place in most of the stories I choose to write, just as they really don't in Austen's, either, but my eldest child (the inspiration for my version of Alice) came out as non-binary last spring, and I must write about it. At a time when books on such subjects are being censored, it feels urgent to unflinchingly challenge societal prejudice towards people experiencing gender dysphoria. Lizzy through the Looking-glass has presented itself as my medium, so that is what this book is about. 

OK, so that's the overall theme, but my approach to the story is the same as I took with its predecessor: encapsulating Carroll's fantasy within the orderly world the Darcys' inhabit, parodying and blending the contrasting voices of Austen and Carroll into one wacky tale. For the most part, this task comes easily to me. I have been imbibing the works of both authors for practically my entire life. I had only one big stumbling block imposing this treatment on Through the Looking-glass, and its name is Jabberwocky. It's Carroll's most famous and beloved poem, and for good reason. The musicality of this nonsensical poem is unparalleled. The words may have little meaning, but they paint a vivid picture, nonetheless, and have inspired countless adaptions, interpretations, as well as musicians (more than one band has taken the name, and many have set the poem to music), dance crews, and even its own film. This ground feels pretty sacred. How do I meddle with it?

Well, I have a plan, though I have yet to execute it. I jumped over the poem in November, realizing I would never hit my word count if I got bogged-down in it. In preparation for tacking this hurdle, I have been reciting the poem (like Neil Gaiman above, I memorised it as a child), reading the poem, and listening to the poem A LOT. Living and breathing Jabberwocky. Youtube has been of great assistance. I have dotted this post with some of my favorite versions that I have found on the platform. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Tschüss!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

NaNoWriMo 2022 Winner

Ich bin fertig! 50,677 words. Hallellujah! 

Monday, November 21, 2022

NaNoWriMo 2022 Update

Hello friends! Just a quick post to acknowledge that I am on target, for the first time in three years, to actually complete NaNoWriMo! I'm having a lot of fun with the story and feeling a joy in (and fixation on) writing that has eluded me since the pandemic began. What a relief! Current word count = 34,628. 😅

Back to it. Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating this week. We're doing it up Swiss style, with fondue and Christmas markets. Until next time ...

Monday, November 7, 2022

NaNoWriMo 2022

So, I'm writing. That's the good news. Not what I planned to write. On the eve of November, new inspiration hit, and instead of working (again) on Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice, I began a sequel to Darcy in Wonderland, the long planned Lizzy through the Looking-glass, premised loosely upon recent events in my eldest child's dynamic development. I'm making steady progress, which is great! The word count is currently just shy of 5500. We'll see if I can keep it up. 

It will be in the same vain as Darcy in Wonderland, only my Alice is older than Carroll's is in Through the Looking-glass. I don't want to go into too much detail now (need to writing it, not about it), but here is a small taste. I'm enjoying delving into a poetic parody again:


Monday, October 17, 2022

Hardy Har Har

[Mrs. Ferrars'] complexion was sallow; and her features small, without beauty, and naturally without expression; but a lucky contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of pride and ill nature. - Sense and Sensibility

Halfway through fall break. Daydreams of writing have failed to materialize into anything tangible, but my eldest told me a cute joke which, unaccountably, reminds me of Mrs. Ferrars' furrowed brow. It's a trait I unfortunately share, as I can't help but frown when I concentrate. My kids do it, too, as did my father and grandmother before me. On the bright side, no one has ever accused any of us of insipidity.  

What did the zero say to the eight? 
Nice belt.

A lovely week to you all.

Monday, October 10, 2022

That will do extremely well, Mary. You have delighted us long enough.

I am still catching up on processing and sharing thoughts and impressions from our visit to the United States last summer. One episode I was anxious to share involved an activity I have very rarely engaged in: going to church.

I am far more familiar with synagogues, having been raised jewish, but I have occasionally attended church services, and not just for funerals and weddings. I like observing ritual and find organised religion, even as I don't believe in such institutions, endlessly fascinating. My eldest shares this interest, so it seemed a very natural thing to ask if they wanted to attend a Sunday service and hear their grandmother sing in the choir. They were willing, if not enthusiastic, so we woke up early and went.

It was the funniest service of any denomination I have ever attended.

Now, I don't think the rest of the congregation shared my amusement, but it was all I could do not to laugh my head off. As said, our motivation in attending the was to hear my mother-in-law sing. She's the only regular church goer in the family, and we knew our show of support would be much appreciated. What we didn't account for were the idiosyncrasies of the other choir members. Their numbers were thinned over the course of the pandemic, and several of the remaining choristers were sick that day. Only two members and the director were there to sing. That's ok. Then the "music" began.

Instantly, I found myself transported to the Netherfield Ball. Mary Bennet, in all her glory, was at her instrument. The choir director, who I understand to be a very dear woman, is the only one with a microphone, which sits before the piano, and she sings and plays both loudly and horribly. I never heard a note out of my mother-in-law's mouth. The resemblance to the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, in which Lucy Briers captures Mary Bennet so perfectly, was remarkable:

I'm sitting there, a bit of a stranger in a strange land, itching to share the joke with someone, anyone. My child has fully and totally rejected Austen, and I knew they would only scoff at me if I whispered the source of my mirth. So I sat, grinned, and bore it, trying to control myself. The service lasted an hour, and I was about to applaud myself for not being abominably rude, when they began the hymn "Let all Things now Living," which I had never heard before, but the tune I totally recognized: the old Welsh folk song "The Ash Grove." This is the song that Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet plays at the Lucas' in the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice. I thought I would die of laughter. Fortunately, I had a handkerchief with me, and smothered the noise. I know not what the people behind me thought. Perhaps they assumed I was having some religiously ecstatic fit.

As soon as we got back to the house, I made everyone watch the following clip. Garvie made an excellent Elizabeth, and David Rintoul, I have always felt, looks more like my image of Mr. Darcy than any of the other actors who have taken on the role (read my review of the film here). Enjoy, and please laugh with me. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

It's October! Crap!

I don't know where September went. All my good intentions for getting back into strong writing habits led me nowhere, and next week is already fall break for my kids. I really want to finish A Mixed-Up Mashup as a Twisted Austen piece (it's conceptually different from the other stories, but totally twisted, so I think it fits), and prep for NaNoWriMo next month, when maybe (maybe!) I might FINALLY finish rewriting Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice.

This is where I am. The prospects look dim. Please wish me luck.