mollyringle: (Default)
Something I've been pondering: when reading fantasy, how far do you like authors to veer from established traditions for a supernatural creature? If we're dealing with vampires, say, then they can't NOT drink blood. They aren't vampires unless they do. But can the author change other traditions and still make it work for you? It seems to have been voted a bad idea to decide they sparkle in sunlight instead of burning up, so apparently readers do have limits. :D

I'm not actually pondering vampires, though. For my own current idea-in-progress I'm thinking about faery lore. For example, how attached are people to the notion that iron repels fae? Is that a tradition readers like to see, or one they're tired of seeing? When it comes to faeries, what features are you tired of reading about, and what features must be included or else it isn't properly fae for you?

mollyringle: (bat)
Here in Seattle, cool drizzle has moved in, and I was outside just now enjoying it, and listening to Dead Can Dance, and thereby having a delightfully Halloweenish feel to my lunch hour, and that led me to a revelation about Halloween and the Southern Hemisphere:

I have friends in Australia (e.g. writer Dean Mayes​) who have expressed dissatisfaction about Halloween; it seems to them just a pointless imported American holiday. And I've always been all, "Noooo, but Halloween is our one truly cool holiday! All the others are tedious, but Halloween's different and spooky and crazy and awesome!" Which I still believe.

HOWEVER, now that I think about it, I bet the problem is simply this: in the Southern Hemisphere, they've got Halloween in the middle of spring. And you cannot have Halloween in the middle of spring. That makes zero sense.

Halloween (or properly Samhain) is all about the decay of summer into autumn, life into death, the veil between our world and the Underworld becoming thin, and all that spooky goodness. You MUST have it on a chilly autumn night with leaves falling off the trees and scudding along the street in the wind. You totally cannot have it among blossoming bushes and greening gardens.

So, see if this makes more intuitive sense, my Australian and other Southern-Hemisphere friends: picture Halloween on April 30/ May 1. Then picture Beltane ("May Day") on October 31. I'm betting that fits a whole lot better. Right? (This blogger has said as much too. I feel silly that this confusion hasn't occurred to me until now.)

Seasons and holidays: sorted.
mollyringle: (haunted house)
It is ready! Our Halloween multi-reader performance of Dr. Seuss' What Was I Scared Of? and Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky" can be listened to here. It's only 5 minutes long and it's super fun to hear all the voices and accents, so gather your friends (and kids!) around and enjoy.

Super extra thanks to Michael Gordon Shapiro for allowing the use of his beautiful music as the score, as well as for general audio help and for being one of the readers. And great job and a big thank you to all the readers this year. In this usually-online world, it's always a delight to hear the real voices of those I correspond with so much.

- - -

Transcript with readers' names:

Molly: "What Was I Scared Of?" by Dr. Seuss, and "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. Happy Halloween! Don't be scared.
Read more... )
mollyringle: (bat)
Happy October!

I skipped this project last year, but this year am reviving it: the Halloween read-aloud! The selection this year is kid-friendly and only a little bit spooky: What Was I Scared Of? by Dr. Seuss (full text here); with a bonus feature, if we have enough readers signing up, of "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. Sound good? Of course it does!

All ages, voices, and accents welcome and encouraged. Here are the ones we've done before (scroll down to bottom of page)--have a listen to some, if you like. I re-listened to them lately, and they are so cool. As you can see on that page, in past years our brave band of volunteers has read aloud from Poe's "The Raven," Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Stoker's Dracula, and Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Please do volunteer! All you need is a voice and a way to record the lines and send them to me. Your part will be short and manageable, probably only one stanza each (since these are poems). We love including kids, grandparents, roommates, whoever you've got around. Don't worry about the quality of your voice or accent. I'll let you in on a secret: nearly everyone dislikes their own voice and/or accent. What makes these projects cool is the variety of voices coming together on one literary passage.

Simply comment here (or email me, or Facebook-message me...) with the number of volunteers your household is providing, and I'll get you on the list and send you your lines soon. Signup deadline is Friday, October 10. And obviously I'd like to have the whole thing ready before Halloween, so only sign up if you can record lines by, say, a week before Halloween--October 24. IDEALLY WITHOUT ME NAGGING YOU TO REMIND YOU. I don't like to nag.

Thank you, and I'm looking forward to hearing what you've got!
mollyringle: (Froud - bad faeries)
One of the nerdy mythology books I have around is this one:



And one of its appendices includes translations of various writing found on bits of papyrus from ancient Greek times. The magical spells in particular interested me (these are part of the Greek Magical Papyri, if you're curious), because they are exactly as bizarre and specific as anything Willow ever whipped up on a Buffy episode, or any Herbology or Potions extra credit Hermione ever undertook. For example, check out the instructions for preparing the Spell To Make Aphrodite Attract One's Lover:

* * *

Offering to the star of Aphrodite: A white dove's blood and fat, untreated myrrh, and parched wormwood. Make this up together as pills and offer them to the star on pieces of vine wood or on coals. And also have the brains of a vulture for the compulsion, so that you may make the offering. And also have as a protective charm a tooth from the upper right jawbone of a female ass or of a tawny sacrificial heifer, tied to your left arm with Anubian thread.

* * *

Even in the age of Ebay, a person would be hard pressed to collect all that stuff. I, for one, am all out of Anubian thread and have no idea where to get more. Do you think dental floss would work?

But that spell is less scary than the All-Purpose Magical Prayer to Selene (who is identified with Hecate here). In that one, you're supposed to carve a three-faced Hecate on a lodestone, then dip it "in the blood of one who has died a violent death." Yikes. Is that just a polite way of saying "sacrifice someone for this spell"? Or are you expected to find a recently-violently-dead person lying around by chance?

"Honey? Do we know anyone who died a violent death today? I need it for a spell."
"Let me check the pantry. Nothing here...oh wait! I found one by the back door. That was lucky."
mollyringle: (bat)
34 wonderful voices from awesome people all over the world, coming together in one file to read a crazy dragon attack scene from a little book called The Hobbit - it has finally come together and is ready as my Halloween present to the world.

Listen here:

http://mollyringle.com/halloweenhobbit.mp3

And read along below to see who our courageous readers are and which lines they are rocking. Thank you so much, all my lovely friends, family, and mysterious-but-so-cool volunteers! And special thanks to composer Michael Gordon Shapiro (also one of the readers) for letting me use his beautiful music in the background.

Happy Halloween!

TRANSCRIPT:

Toby: The Hobbit.

Molly: By J.R.R. Tolkien. This section is from Chapter Twenty-Two, "Inside Information."

Kevin: The dwarves were still passing the cup from hand to hand and talking delightedly of the recovery of their treasure, when suddenly a vast rumbling woke in the mountain underneath as if it was an old volcano that had made up its mind to start eruptions once again.

Shay: The door behind them was pulled nearly to, and blocked from closing with a stone, but up the long tunnel came the dreadful echoes, from far down in the depths, of a bellowing and a trampling that made the ground beneath them tremble.

Phoenyx: Then the dwarves forgot their joy and their confident boasts of a moment before and cowered down in fright. Smaug was still to be reckoned with.

Paul: It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him. Dragons may not have much real use for all their wealth, but they know it to an ounce as a rule, especially after long possession; and Smaug was no exception.

Peggy: He had passed from an uneasy dream (in which a warrior, altogether insignificant in size but provided with a bitter sword and great courage, figured most unpleasantly) to a doze, and from a doze to wide waking.

Zac: There was a breath of strange air in his cave. Could there be a draught from that little hole?

Katy: He had never felt quite happy about it, though it was so small, and now he glared at it in suspicion and wondered why he had never blocked it up.

Ben: Of late he had half fancied he had caught the dim echoes of a knocking sound from far above that came down through it to his lair.

Amanda: He stirred and stretched forth his neck to sniff. Then he missed the cup!

Rich: Thieves! Fire! Murder! Such a thing had not happened since first he came to the Mountain!

Michael: His rage passes description - the sort of rage that is only seen when rich folk that have more than they can enjoy suddenly lose something that they have long had but have never before used or wanted. His fire belched forth, the hall smoked, he shook the mountain-roots.

Shmuel: He thrust his head in vain at the little hole, and then coiling his length together, roaring like thunder underground, he sped from his deep lair through its great door, out into the huge passages of the mountain-palace and up towards the Front Gate.

Lily: To hunt the whole mountain till he had caught the thief and had torn and trampled him was his one thought.

Kris: He issued from the Gate, the waters rose in fierce whistling steam, and up he soared blazing into the air and settled on the mountain-top in a spout of green and scarlet flame.

Michelle: The dwarves heard the awful rumour of his flight, and they crouched against the walls of the grassy terrace cringing under boulders, hoping somehow to escape the frightful eyes of the hunting dragon.

Justin: There they would have all been killed, if it had not been for Bilbo once again. "Quick! Quick!" he gasped. "The door! The tunnel! It's no good here."

Andrew: Roused by these words they were just about to creep inside the tunnel when Bifur gave a cry: "My cousins! Bombur and Bofur - we have forgotten them, they are down in the valley!"
"They will be slain, and all our ponies too, and all our stores lost," moaned the others. "We can do nothing."

Dougie: "Nonsense!" said Thorin, recovering his dignity. "We cannot leave them. Get inside, Mr. Baggins and Balin, and you two Fili and Kili--the dragon shan't have all of us. Now you others, where are the ropes? Be quick!"

Beth: Those were perhaps the worst moments they had been through yet. The horrible sounds of Smaug's anger were echoing in the stony hollows far above;

Molly: at any moment he might come blazing down or fly whirling round and find them there, near the perilous cliff's edge hauling madly on the ropes.

Carina: Up came Bombur, puffing and blowing while the ropes creaked, and still all was safe. Up came some tools and bundles of stores, and then danger was upon them.

tallfemalemanta (LJ): A whirring noise was heard. A red light touched the points of standing rocks. The dragon came.

Lynn: They had barely time to fly back to the tunnel, pulling and dragging in their bundles, when Smaug came hurtling from the North, licking the mountain-sides with flame, beating his great wings with a noise like a roaring wind.

Joan: His hot breath shrivelled the grass before the door, and drove in through the crack they had left and scorched them as they lay hid.

Cara: Flickering fires leaped up and black rock-shadows danced. Then darkness fell as he passed again. The ponies screamed with terror, burst their ropes and galloped wildly off.

Runefurb: The dragon swooped and turned to pursue them, and was gone.
"That'll be the end of our poor beasts!" said Thorin. "Nothing can escape Smaug once he sees it.

Anka: Here we are and here we shall have to stay, unless any one fancies tramping the long open miles back to the river with Smaug on the watch!"

Judith: It was not a pleasant thought! They crept further down the tunnel, and there they lay and shivered though it was warm and stuffy, until dawn came pale through the crack of the door.

Jed: Every now and again through the night they could hear the roar of the flying dragon grow and then pass and fade, as he hunted round and round the mountain-sides.

Jos: He guessed from the ponies, and from the traces of the camps he had discovered, that men had come up from the river and the lake and had scaled the mountain-side from the valley where the ponies had been standing; but the door withstood his searching eye, and the little high-walled bay had kept out his fiercest flames.

Frank: Long he had hunted in vain till the dawn chilled his wrath and he went back to his golden couch to sleep - and to gather new strength.

Kate: He would not forget or forgive the theft, not if a thousand years turned him to smouldering stone, but he could afford to wait.

Steve: Slow and silent he crept back to his lair and half closed his eyes.
mollyringle: (haunted house)
I'm considering another Halloween literature read-aloud (see 2010's Project Dracula for example). Maybe in honor of the Hobbit movie coming out soon, we could use a spooky section from that. What's the most Halloweenish part? Bunch o' giant spiders? Smaug? Other? Also, would you guys be up for reading parts and actually recording them on time?

If so: yay! Official sign-up and assignment of lines to follow.
mollyringle: (lightning)
Dudes, you've got to read this:

http://www.cracked.com/article_19705_the-5-most-spectacular-landscapes-earth-that-murder-you.html

I have to post this article because it's fascinating, hilarious, and terrifying all at once. Interestingly, the comments on it seem to agree with my instinct: the Strid, the innocent-looking creek in the UK that drowns everyone who touches it, is the scariest. That's precisely because it is so innocent-looking. It's also because, jeez, English landscapes aren't supposed to be deadly! Every other continent, sure--no one's surprised to find Africa featuring twice on this list--but England? Where a gentle 1,000-foot-tall hill is a mighty mountain, and serious weather means a foot of snow? Regardless, it houses The Stream That Will Suck You Under To Unknown Depths and Drown You and They Will Never Find Your Body.

Freaky.

Mind you, I did LOL later in the article when they refer back to "jumping the Pleasant Brook of Death." There is comedy gold throughout here. Dark-comedy gold.
mollyringle: (kodama)
It isn't like me to post something creepy and sad with pretty much no hint of "cool" or "funny." But this is bizarrely riveting, and, initially, scary enough to make "The Blair Witch Project" look like the silly little joke that it is. As the clip's info explains: "The Aokigahara Forest is the most popular site for suicides in Japan. After the novel Kuroi Jukai was published, in which a young lover commits suicide in the forest, people started taking their own lives there at a rate of 50 to 100 deaths a year."

Yikes.

So. These are two segments of a short Japanese TV documentary, each about 10 minutes. (Warning: not highly graphic, but certainly disturbing content.)

When I watched the first section -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CK1KdAha78
- I was mostly just creeped out.

But after moving on and watching the second section -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1eXOXYI3bc
- I settled down to a general sadness, and a great fondness for the kindly geologist with this strange and vital job of sweeping the forest to prevent suicides when he can, and find the ones he couldn't prevent.

Since we're on the subject, I'd like to share the wise words of Ed Chigliak from "Northern Exposure":
"Suicide's not the Indian way. Don't go where you're not invited. Know what I mean?"
A good rule. Make it yours too, my friends.

Edit: For further reading, this blogger traveled to Aokigahara and wrote a detailed account of his journey, complete with some photos and videos. A very chilling and sobering place indeed, and a brave traveler.
mollyringle: (bat)
*cue the screams*
It is here!

Download and listen to Operation Dracula, our intrepid volunteers from around the globe reading an excerpt from the original Bram Stoker. Our selection is the (abridged) ship's log from the doomed vessel, the Demeter, which carries Dracula to England.

Music generously provided by Michael Gordon Shapiro. Thank you so much to Mike as well as all the readers, especially those jumping in bravely at the last minute!

Transcript of lines and readers... )

(If you signed up via LJ, I used your LJ username. If you got volunteered by someone else, or signed up on Facebook, I used your first name. More or less. Thus concludes my organizational system for Operation Dracula.)

In related news, I highly recommend this brief and hilarious comic-strip version of 'Dracula'. Thanks for finding that, Katy!
mollyringle: (haunted house)
And now, a word from the Count...

Vun! Vun beautiful person who has sent in her 'Dracula' line!

TWO! Two lovely people who have sent in their lines!

THREE! Ah-ah-ah! Three vunderful people sending me their fabulous spooky lines!

Come, send me your lines, everyvun! Thank you.
mollyringle: (bat)
I'm working out the 'Dracula' lines and will assign them soon. If you want in at the last minute, I can probably still find you one--just volunteer.

In the meantime, for your amusement and edification, check out [livejournal.com profile] teenybuffalo's Draculas I have loved, a quick photographic rundown of the many Draculas throughout film history. She has given them updated titles, such as "Riverboat Gambler Dracula" and "Retro Beatnik Dracula." See if your favorite Dracula is there, and let her know if she missed him!
mollyringle: (bat)
Okay! Comment here, with the number of participants from your household, if you'd like to be assigned a line or two from Dracula to read aloud for a little Halloween audio project. I'm thinking we'll be doing the log from the doomed ship that carries Dracula (and his boxes o' dirt) to England.

Sign-up will be open until next Monday, Oct. 11. Then I'll close the door, divvy up the excerpt, and hand out lines. You will record yourselves reading them aloud and email the file to me by, say, Oct. 24, one week prior to Halloween. (I think I can take just about any normal audio file, and will let you know if it doesn't work.) I'll piece them together in the right order, apply spooky background music (professional composer [livejournal.com profile] madbard has graciously allowed me to raid his stuff), and put it online for your listening chills in time for Halloween.

Once more, I highly encourage youngsters, oldsters, foreign speakers of English, and those with strong regional accents to apply, as well as all average folk. The more varied the mix of voices, the cooler the end product. It says, "Literature is a realm any person can enter freely, and appreciating it will therefore save the world and keep it safe for democracy." Or something like that. In any case, our project will say, "Halloween is fun!"

To listen to the previous projects, check out 2007's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" or 2008's "The Raven". We didn't do 2009. I had a young infant and stuff.

Edited to add: For those curious, the entire text of Dracula can be found here for free (and probably other places). Our section begins with "Log of the 'Demeter'" (the ship's name)--though whether we cover the whole thing or just the more exciting middle-to-end section of the log may depend on the number of participants.
mollyringle: (bat)
For past Halloweens, as you may recall, I had lots of you read spooky lines aloud from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" or "The Raven," and spliced them together into little audio projects. Anyone interested in doing the same this year for Dracula? If so, which passage should we choose? Something sort of early on, from Jonathan Harker's journal? The increasingly terror-driven ship's log of the doomed vessel that brings Dracula to England? Vamp Lucy getting dispatched? Or what?

I do also like the idea of reading the poem "The Gashlycrumb Tinies," but it's not really long enough to accommodate all the readers who are likely to want a pair of lines. And two lines each would be best, given those short little couplets. So, perhaps Stoker.

The official sign-up will come within the next couple of weeks, and you'd get assigned a line or two each. Recording them on your computer's microphone makes for the best sound quality, but phone posts are all right too. Bring your family and friends. All accents and ages welcome, as a wide variety of voices makes for the most fun.
mollyringle: (Hughes - Night)
I should start by saying this ramble comes from someone who hasn't read the whole series yet. I only just started book 3 (Eclipse), and the fact that I picked it up at all after the many annoyances I found in book 2 (New Moon) is at least one compliment I can pay Stephenie Meyer. I do want to know, at least on the surface, in a soap-opera way, what happens with these characters. There's also the desire to obtain the whole picture so I can ridicule it, or at least critique it, better. I admit that. But both desires are there for me, conflicting and warring and sparkling absurdly in the sunlight. I haven't had such a bipolar reaction of being compelled to read more and wanting to smack the author and the characters every other chapter since discovering Thomas Hardy about ten years ago.

As I've recently discussed on Facebook and elsewhere with [livejournal.com profile] dirae, [livejournal.com profile] kenshi, and others, the "vampiric death = sex" metaphor shines glaringly clear the more you read of the Twilight series. (And it was immediately and almost hilariously obvious in the film, with Robert Pattinson using all his considerable James Dean angst to convey vampire-Edward's difficulty in keeping his hands, teeth, and other body parts off that jailbait girl-crush of his.)

But Edward's way of dealing with it is the dull, mildly religious-conservative route: abstinence only. In some ways I find it refreshing, I suppose; a book for teens that's free of sex, drugs, or swear words. On the other hand...is that really the teen life any of us knew?

When Joss Whedon introduced his teenage heroine (Buffy Summers) to a "nice" vampire (Angel), and later a not so nice one (Spike)--well, I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer yet (which everyone should), but much more dramatic things happened. Believe me, the subtext of "vampires=sex," and the correlating "sex can equal death," rapidly became text. Buffy's interactions with Angel and Spike illustrated it loud and clear, and with about fifty times as much fascination, humor, and heartbreak as the chilly Cullens have inspired in me so far.

Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite veered other directions with their vampire series. Rice's vampires were, she claimed, chaste, but please; every scene was about how sensually obsessed they were with each other. Brite just went ahead and made her vampires all promiscuous lovers, having them use sex to draw in mortal victims as well. You want a really sharp, horrifying picture of the "vampire sex as death" thing, even involving teenagers, go read Brite's Lost Souls.

For that matter, going back farther, anyone over the age of about 16 who reads Bram Stoker's Dracula can clearly see the Victorian horror of female sexuality inherent in the story. Demure young women get forced to taste blood, and they turn into red-lipped, heaving-bosomed seductresses whom one must stake and decapitate as soon as possible. Yet there's a thrill in it too--everyone knows that Dracula and his she-vampires are considered sexy and alluring, at least in the lives they've taken on outside the book. Within the book itself they're not exactly painted in the most flattering terms. But the fact remains, Stoker isn't afraid to let more bad things happen to more good people than Meyer seems to be. When Stoker writes about his vampire sneaking into a young lady's bedchamber, that vampire isn't there to "watch her sleep." He's there to bite her neck, feed her his blood from his bare chest, and Make Her His.

Speaking of watching her sleep: again, anyone over about 16 who reads the Twilight books is a bit troubled by the stalker-like, semi-pedophiliac nature of Edward Cullen. For whatever reason, it hasn't occurred to young teens on the whole, but a man sneaking into your bedroom night after night, without your knowledge, just to watch you sleep, is scary, not romantic. Call the freaking cops if this is happening to you. Furthermore, we adults immediately find it weird that 100-year-old immortals would want to attend high school over and over, instead of, say, college at least. But you know who finds the scenario just perfect? High school girls, that's who. And that's part of the allure of the Twilight series as a whole: we are entirely locked into Bella's first-person, impulsive, obsessive, honest, female-adolescent point of view. Even when she annoys the hell out of me, I find it weirdly interesting to read what is, in effect, her diary. I just wonder if the books might not benefit from the point of view of an actual adult once in a while too.

(Yes, I hear Meyer's writing a new one from Edward's point of view. But he's not exactly your usual adult, so we'll see...)

On a note unrelated to sex and death, but still related to realism in the teen world, there aren't nearly enough cell phones or computers in Meyer's books. The kids mostly call each other on land lines and pass each other handwritten notes. It's almost as if...gosh, as if the author is someone my age who's remembering how things were back when she was in high school. I still don't text-message, so I feel her reluctance to fake it in fiction. On the other hand, teens are eating this series up despite the anachronism. Goes to show, there's no predicting what will fly and what will crash in the world of fandom.

All the same, vampires have been done to (sexy) death. Guess I'll have to try my hand at making Greek gods, fairy folk, ghosts, or selkies the next hip thing instead.
mollyringle: (haunted house)
Okay, here's the good news I didn't exactly present coherently yesterday:

My novel The Ghost Downstairs can now be pre-ordered on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. Hurray!

These JUST went up, so not all the details are ready (book covers, blurbs, etc.), but the publisher will get in there and remedy that before the official release date.

Note that this pre-ordering is only for the paperback edition. The ebook edition probably cannot be ordered until the release date (April 3), but then of course it arrives instantly when you do order it.

Naturally I'll be happy to send autographed bookplates (stickers) to anyone who wants one to stick inside the book. Also, soon I'll have the first chapter up on my site for you to read while you wait for your full copy. I'll keep you posted on those developments.

---

In other news, thank you for sending in so many great ideas for ghostly reads. Your favorite ghost stories, along with those of everyone else I asked, can now be read in one big list on Amazon's Listmania.

(If I didn't add yours, it's only because I couldn't find it.) I even went ahead and added The Ghost Downstairs, in the hopes that others will discover it via our list--along with many other good books!

---

Next post (two in one day; this won't happen often): a perfume giveaway to celebrate!
mollyringle: (girl reading with moon)
My novel The Ghost Downstairs comes out in less than a month now, on April 3 (*dress rehearsal of confetti! whee!*), so in honor of that, I ask you:

What are your all-time favorite novels (or shorter stories) featuring ghosts?

The ones that come to mind for me are from my childhood, and are YA books: The Ghost Next Door by Wylly Folk St. John and Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn. In addition, I rather enjoyed Nora Roberts' "In the Garden" trilogy, which dealt with a haunted house owned by a garden nursery proprietor. And who could forget Jacob Marley and the three Christmas ghosts coming back to haunt Ebenezer Scrooge?

Hopefully when you answer with your favorites, I'll remember some other good ones, or discover some new gems.
mollyringle: (haunted house)
Thanks so much to everyone who volunteered to be a pinch-hitter, but as it turned out, every last one of the original volunteers came through! Everyone's so great. Come here; group hug.

So here it is for your downloading pleasure. Read along below, and marvel at how Poe brought out the cute and/or sexy in everyone's voices. Great job, all!

Happy Halloween...

- - -

Titles - [livejournal.com profile] lemonlye and Zach (age two and three quarters).

[livejournal.com profile] gavinworld: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,

Starr: While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

[livejournal.com profile] mikailborg: " 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door;
Only this, and nothing more."

[livejournal.com profile] lalael: Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.

Runswithlag: Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow for the lost Lenore,

[livejournal.com profile] ekatarina: For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore,
Nameless here forevermore.

[livejournal.com profile] shmuel: And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;

[livejournal.com profile] krazycat: So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,

[livejournal.com profile] zonga: Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more."

[livejournal.com profile] hess42: Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;

[livejournal.com profile] serai1: But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,

[livejournal.com profile] katymulvey: That I scarce was sure I heard you." Here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Amanda, age 6: Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;

Ben, age 7: But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word,

[livejournal.com profile] astroman_rich: Lenore?, This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word,
"Lenore!" Merely this, and nothing more.

[livejournal.com profile] all_timeqb: Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,

[livejournal.com profile] dirae: "Surely," said I, "surely, that is something at my window lattice.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore.

[livejournal.com profile] kalquessa: Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore.
" 'Tis the wind, and nothing more."

[livejournal.com profile] kirstenfleur: Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven, of the saintly days of yore.

[livejournal.com profile] snorklewacker: Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door.

[livejournal.com profile] new_iconoclast: Perched upon a bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

[livejournal.com profile] maidenjedi: Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,

[livejournal.com profile] bluesound: "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wandering from the nightly shore.

Minyaliel: Tell me what the lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore."
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."

[livejournal.com profile] halfmute: Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning, little relevancy bore;

[livejournal.com profile] lemonlye: For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door,

[livejournal.com profile] radiofreecarbon: Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

The full text of "The Raven" is here.
mollyringle: (Gothic Choir)
Dude. My mom recently collected old family stories from her side, via various far-flung cousins, and this one stands out. To say the least.

The Nolans were a large family of Irish Catholic immigrants living in the Midwest in the 1870s, and were devastated when the mother died of illness. In accordance with her deathbed wish, her daughter Rosa willingly joined a Catholic girls' school in Iowa. After that, at about age 16, feeling that the best way to help her bereaved father and brothers was to pray for them and serve God, she joined a convent.

Her dad and brothers didn't entirely like this idea, as this was the type of convent where once you got in, you didn't talk to the outside world anymore. In fact, the nuns enforced the rule so strictly that when Rosa died some time later, nobody informed her family. Her father only found out by traveling to the convent and asking about her. The nuns' explanation was something to the effect that Rosa belonged to God/The Church now and not to the world.

Well, the dad did what any good father would. He went home and collected his sons, and they all drove the wagon back to the convent under cover of night, snuck into the cemetery, dug up Rosa's coffin, and took it home to rebury it, allegedly somewhere on the farm.

As you can imagine, Nolan family feelings for Catholicism after that point weren't of the fondest, but apparently several did remain with the church.

But seriously. Dude. Grave robbing. I am so going to write a short story about this.
mollyringle: (haunted house)
Why the haunted house icon in the midst of the winter holidays, you ask? Because way back around Halloween, I won the haunted house short story competition at TheNextBigWriter.com, my workshopping site of choice. Prize was $30 and I'm much delighted. Before you get too ecstatic for me, I'll mention there were only 11 entries total. All the same, I happily invite you to read my entry, "Mr. Flannagan's Garden," which has finally after a long delay been put up on TheNextBigWriter's sister site, Booksie.com.

Word count is just under 5000. Rating is PG for "some scary images," as the movie biz would say.

I'd like to fix it up for a dark fantasy fiction magazine if anyone has suggestions for a good one. Asimov's?

In any case, happy holidays (late or timely), and stay out of the creepy gardens.

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