Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson is an epic poem about King Arthur and the Knights of the round table. They search for the Holy Grail which is an allegory for material possessions. SPOILER ALERT: most only find wandering fires. 🔥 😉

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Yes, I read this. And would probably read it again! 💕

I loved the musical ‘Camelot’, used to pretend to conduct its orchestra when I was a little girl—I know, I’m a total nerd!

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PICTURED IS AN ILLUSTRATED COPY 1939 EDITION IN EXCELLENT CONDITION, THOUGH THE DUST JACKET IS A TAD WORN. 😘

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My Summer in a Garden by Charles Dudley Warner

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ As the summer draws to a close I’m compelled to remember the stages of my garden with Mr. Charles Dudley Warner. In 1870 he documented one summer in his garden recording every week. He talks about women voting, his neighbor Harriet Beecher Stowe, the visit to his garden by Ulysses S. Grant, and the curious life of his pet cat, Calvin. I read this on a road trip to Cleveland where I visited the most beautiful cemetery I had ever seen. (Pics of family crypts posted below)

Reaching the end of this book, with my kids and husband in the car, all restless, hyper, and obnoxious, I began to cry because Warner’s beloved cat was dying. He described his passing in such beautiful detail while granting the animal humility and grace. My family saw I was crying and made fun, of course, but I couldn’t stop and continued shedding my tears—laughing at myself also—as we checked into our hotel. .

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Pictured is the 1888 edition. Some weathering with inscription: Lizzie W. Nothe (?) from Parents—Xmas 1889 .

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Find me on Instagram!! @booksandloststories

Hello Everyone,

As some of you know I have an extensive collection of old books–the pic above is only one shelf of four. 😂. They are so beautiful, and the ones I’ve read have stayed with me for years, so I started a little Instagram blog called, ‘Books and Lost Stories.’

I recently got a book deal so I’m amping up my social media game. I’m not a natural at it. I hate the idea of promoting myself, but I do have things to say and things to share which I think will brighten the world and inspire those who might feel lost sometimes. So I’m forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone.

I share each post of my books on WordPress just to spread the inspiration. I’ve been at it for a week, so far I have 31 followers–womp, womp. But I’m happy for the 31! Come follow me there! Instagram is a great way to get a (somewhat) real sense of who a person is behind the words and obscure photos. I always follow anyone who follows me. Thank you!!

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Amidst some of my free writing journals, grammar and spelling mistakes galore, is the first book I read before I sat down to write my first novel. It is like food, cure for writer’s block, and other writing ailments. I still remember and take to heart much of Goldberg’s advice. I read it in college too, but with all the other papers and tests I didn’t give it the attention I should have. I highly recommend it to any writer or writer in the making. 👏🏻 .

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Pictured is the 1986 edition in excellent condition. .

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Days of Wrath by Andre Malraux

🇺🇸 On a day just like today,

though the sky was bright,

clear, and blue,

I present to you this

truth in one, Andre Malraux.

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⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️A story about a communist prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp in the days leading up to World War II. Mostly it contains the protagonist’s rambling thoughts and efforts to not to go mad. Though I read it a couple years ago I remember enjoying it.

Pictured is the 1936 edition. The inscription indicates a brother giving this as a gift to his brother, or perhaps he’s a theologian, who seems to be going on a long journey. “Come back sober,” he writes.

Yes, I think we should all come back sober, like we did that day. We came back sober to our homes, to our radios, and television sets, but today as we do so, we come back with gratitude. .

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In memory of the 9/11 victims. 💕 🇺🇸 #usa

Coming Home…

We have been warned that there may be a shortage of certain flower seeds after the unnaturally wet and sunless summer of 1954, and that it is therefore even more advisable than usual to order in good time.

-Vita Sackville-West
More For Your Garden
January 2, 1955

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I haven’t written in a few weeks.  During my time away, I was working on a couple books but through the toil of turning words, characters, and plotlines, I acquired an unprecedented lack of interest for all things green.

After reading the letters of Vita to Virginia Woolf I put Vita down for a while, her books sat on my shelf unopened.    I became so entrenched in my own writing I completely forgot the garden.   It went alright for a while.  Some of what I wrote turned out well and I was proud to call it my work.  But the creative juices eventually ceased for lack of nourishment and writer’s block hit me.  I wondered what had happened to spur the drought.  I read Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, thinking the prose would inspire something in me, but it had the opposite effect.  If anything, it spurred a desperate yearning to be a better writer and work more intensely on my craft.  Forget the garden all together for there is real work to be done.

The writings of Virginia Woolf make everything I’ve ever written seem trivial and frivolous.   She holds a profound understanding of humanity at a distance, yet so close to the chest.  She writes with a cold intensity that could only be matched in warfare, yet soft like a passing thought or a summer’s breeze.  How does she do it?  The word genius comes to mind – that word which separates the masters from mere tradesman.

I finished the book last night; placed a four star review on goodreads and lifted Vita’s More For Your Garden off my nightstand.   Reading just a couple lines brought me home again and I instantly remembered why I was drawn to her in the first place.   Vita Sackville-West is my muse and my inspiration – not only for the garden, but for my writing.   She takes nothing away from her readers.  She will not strip you down and smugly examine you.   Instead, she will let you be just as you are, but nurture your growth.  Right there with you, she’ll hold your hand through the journey; a comfort and a joy.   She is a reminder of the consistencies in nature – the earth will always smell like earth, a rose will perpetually surprise you with its beauty, and if you cut a branch it will sprout anew.

Vita possessed the grounding element which Virginia lacked.  On the other hand, Virginia possessed a keen understanding of the human condition which Vita lacked.  I find this balance in their writing useful for my own.  However, there was nothing more refreshing than opening Vita’s little garden book after so long a winter; like a sudden warm breath of freesia and jasmine in the cold.  Indeed, it is good to be home.

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Garden For The Eyes-Write For The Ears

The watchers out on the grass could see the interior of the rooms illuminated by the savage glow.  The paneling of the hall had caught, and even as they looked they saw the canvas of a portrait give an extra little spurt of a yellower flame and flutter without its frame to the floor.  This was the odd thing to observe: the mingling of such small detail and Wagnerian holocaust.

Vita Sackville-West
The Easter Party; 1953

Since we are approaching winter it seems appropriate for one to think about hunkering down with some good books-or perhaps finishing that novel or collection of poems you’ve been working on.  Can I please then, for a moment talk about writing?  I just finished the most glorious little forgotten book.  As most old books are forgotten let us not forget Logan Pearsall Smith and his little book of reminisces, The Unforgotten Years.  Beautiful little piece of history.  I was excited to sit and read each weathered page of my old copy.

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There seems to be a lack of appreciation of good writing today.   It seems the style that has come into fashion is a very dry prose with an over use of BIG words.   In reality, by doing so and too often, they are only extracting the richness out of their descriptions.  When reading some of the modern works today.  It feels as though the heart is taken out of the prose.  The humanity, or the human condition is no longer a factor to be examined.

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Ironically Smith complains about this same thing occurring in his old age with youthful writers over one hundred years ago.   He says:

“The truth is that almost all that makes the reading of old books delightful is neglected by those who wield their steel nibs in the age of steel.  There were arts, there were blandishments, there were even tricks, which were intended to beguile the older generations, and which have succeeded in beguiling subsequent generations as well.  In the first place good prose used to be written, not, as it is written to-day, for the eye alone, but also for the ear.”

When read aloud your writing should sound as elegant as intended.  If the reader must stumble over ostentatious verbiage most of the time- your point will be lost.  You see what I did there?   At least in my humble opinion this is the case with writing today.

Now, back to the garden for it too must hunker down and get to work.  Like the roses which must turn their fine petals of silk into rose hips for the birds, you too must do this with your writing.  Give the world something to feed upon that will enrich as well as  caress the broken hearts and the lonely souls of this world.

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