Frankenstein

BOOK REVIEW – “Frankenstein”

Mary Shelley, the young author of “Frankenstein,” said she wanted to write a story that “would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.”

I know that it is I who am wrong, for this enduring tale has been popular forever, but I would have to say Shelley failed if that was her aim. First, I should admit that I had never read the book before now. I know that leaves me in the minority, for this first modern work of fiction has been a favorite of readers for over two centuries. I have to say that I was not frightened and I’m more disappointed than I can explain for I picked it as a Halloween read with the express purpose of being frightened. My blood did not curdle. My heartbeat did not quicken.

That being said, it was an interesting read. If there is anyone out there who hasn’t read it don’t let me discourage you. The book follows a different storytelling format which I had not encountered before. From the beginning it was a story told, first by a sea Captain to his sister, then Victor Frankenstein to the Captain and finally, the monster himself telling his point of view to the Captain.

I personally felt sorry for the monster who was somehow put together by Frankenstein from human body parts obtained from cadavers and then instilled with life. Imagine being born as an adult and a hideous one at that! It seemed to me that Mr. Frankenstein had way too much self-pity and very little concern for his creation’s predicament.

I welcome your views of “Frankenstein” and I promise that I will not review the movie which I plan to watch tonight. Better late than never?


Silent Woodland

silent woodland

on an autumn day
i stepped onto a well-worn path
and entered the forest,
enveloped by a blanket of warm rich colors
that pulsed under a vibrant blue sky

as i walked, the path descended
then ascended in return,
creating a repetitious pattern of undulations
like a roller coaster carpet of dirt and rock
beneath my feet

the trail carved its way through the hillsides
that were littered with fallen leaves
and newly sprouted mushrooms

dead trees had become host to a number of
earthen colored fungi,
deeply rooted in the soft decaying bark…

dead trees that in their death, were now spawning new life…
one life gives, so another lives

halfway through my hike i stopped
and noticed there were none of the
usual woodland sounds…
not the soft sigh of an easy wind
nor the chirp of a single bird…
not even the trickle of water
in the now barren stream bed

silence… only silence…

until i began to walk and the dry leaves crunched underfoot…
i could hear the steady rhythm of my labored breathing
and it was then that i realize
that for now and for this moment
perhaps i
was the voice of the forest…
the voice in this silent woodland

Written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly, January 16, 2018

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Photo by Pixabay

Across That Bridge

BOOK REVIEW MONDAY

“Across That Bridge” by John Lewis

John Lewis was a United States Congressman and Civil Rights leader. While peacefully demonstrating he was beaten and arrested forty times and this books draws on these experiences. Throughout this autobiography Lewis, who died earlier this year, stresses how the US protests and demonstrations of the 1960s were peaceful. The demonstrators never fought back and never pressed charges for the violence that they experienced. He uses the lessons of that era to inspire changes to America today. His insights have never been more relevant.

I recommend this inspiring and uplifting read.

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Women Vote!

100 Years of Voting!

Women were granted the right to vote with the 19th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution ratified in 1920. That victory came after over 100 years of fighting lead by strong American women, called suffragettes, who were tired of being overlooked. Those women risked their lives for the right to cast their vote and no doubt expected many changes that have been slow to come, such as improved healthcare and personal freedom of choice.

Today women have twenty-five percent of the seats in Congress. Considering that women are 50.5 percent of the U. S. population that is not enough. The fight is not over for women and we need to support one another in our daily lives as well as in the voting booth. How much longer should women wait for equal pay and recognition? No longer!

To know the full story of women’s suffrage, see “Iron Jawed Angels” free on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOrD0tH_WaM

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“The abolition and suffrage movements progressed when united and were damaged by division; we should remember that.” Gloria Steinem

Photos by Pixabay

 

 

The Fire Eater

I had barely started dating my future husband when he invited me to attend the Kentucky State Fair with him. I didn’t know him well, but I definitely wanted to make a good impression on him as we walked around all the exhibits. I liked looking at the arts and crafts. He wanted to see the livestock. After we had been quietly walking around enjoying these displays it was time to go to the Midway where all the rides, food and carnival entertainment was.

We rode a couple of attractions and then walked about holding hands. The music was loud and cheerful and everyone around us appeared to be having a good time. All was fine until we stopped to see a woman who was being hawked as a “fire eater.”

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The next thing I knew I was awakening with a circle of people around my date and me. I was lying down in the dirt and had a crowd bigger than did the fire eater! This was not right! Apparently seeing a woman put a blazing stick down her throat was not my idea of entertainment and I fainted. So much for first impressions!

 

“The great day of the Fire-eater – or, should I say, the day of the great Fire-eater – has passed.” Harry Houdini

 

Photos by Pixabay

A Very Special Month

  • ADHD Awareness Month
  • Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
  • American Pharmacists Month
  • Bat Appreciation Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
  • Computer Learning Month
  • Country Music Month
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Dyslexia Awareness Month
  • Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
  • Emotional Wellness Month
  • Fair Trade Month
  • Family History Month
  • German-American Heritage Month
  • Global Diversity Awareness Month
  • Gourmet Adventures Month
  • Halloween Safety Month
  • Health Literacy Month
  • I’m Just Me Because Month
  • Italian American Heritage Month
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Month
  • Long-Term Care Planning Month
  • National Animal Safety and Protection Month
  • National Apple Month
  • National Applejack Month
  • National Arts and Humanities Month
  • National Audiology Awareness Month
  • National Biscuit Month
  • National Book Month
  • National Bullying Prevention Month
  • National Caramel Month
  • National Chiropractic Health Month
  • National Cookbook Month
  • National Cookie Month
  • National Cosmetology Month
  • National Country Ham Month
  • National Crime Prevention Month
  • National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
  • National Dental Hygiene Month
  • National Depression Education and Awareness Month
  • National Dessert Month
  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • National Dropout Prevention Month
  • National Ergonomics Month
  • National Family Sexuality Education Month
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15
  • National Kitchen and Bath Month
  • National Pasta Month
  • National Physical Therapy Month
  • National Pickled Peppers Month
  • National Pizza Month
  • National Popcorn Poppin’ Month
  • National Pork Month
  • National Pretzel Month
  • National Protect Your Hearing Month
  • National Roller Skating Month
  • National Seafood Month
  • National Stamp Collecting Month
  • National Toilet Tank Repair Month
  • National Window Covering Safety Month
  • National Work and Family Month
  • Organize Your Medical Information Month
  • Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month
  • Polish American Heritage Month
  • Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
  • Spina Bifida Awareness Month
  • Spinach Lovers Month
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month
  • Vegetarian Awareness Month

Whew! Are you tired yet? If you celebrated all these topics for all of October you are. Some are serious and some silly. Some just plainly do not go together like vegetarian and pork month! I was going to write about this being Cybersecurity Awareness month but I got curious about just how many causes were designated this month and found this list by Lahle Wolfe in an article.

I think the lesson to be gleaned from this list is that if you have a business or special interest choose some month other than October to raise awareness. October is very busy!

The Tree House

The pandemic has changed the way we do everything. All visits with my friends and family are outdoors and that is fine in the nice weather we’ve been having. Recently I was invited to a friend’s house in Floyd Knobs, IN. It is in a beautiful setting with trees of all kinds around the house. It is often referred to as the “Tree House” because the deck surrounding the house is in the tree tops.

We had a nice visit, solving all the world’s problems as we often do when getting together. Without the Corona Virus I probably would not have spent several hours at the tree house. I am grateful for that afternoon.

I keep trying to find the positives, the gains, during this time of so many losses.

The Jane Austen Book Club

Monday Book Review

“The Jane Austen Book Club” by Karen Joy Fowler

Another older book that won the New York Times bestseller prize. Another book made into a movie, this one by Sony Pictures. The author has written five other books, none that I had heard of before picking up this one.

This review will be quick. If you are a fan of Jane Austen, you’ll probably enjoy it. If you are not a fan, don’t bother. Two stars at the most in my opinion.

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The Loss of a Dog

Why is it so hard to lose a dog? Having a dog die is heartbreaking. Having to euthanize one is worse. I had that experience many years ago and years after that with a cat. As much as I love my cats, I believe that the bond one has with their dog is stronger. It is hard to explain why but it must have something to do with dogs having spent the last several centuries adapting to the lives of humans. While some dogs have been bred to have dual roles as hunters or shepherds most have evolved only to be our companions. 

Dogs are like a friend who never brings up our weak or negative points. Dogs accept us unconditionally. Our dogs are always glad to see us and with their eyes they thank us for every morsel or treat that we provide to them. 

If you’ve never owned and loved a dog, don’t be surprised when someone who does have a dog becomes grieved at its loss. There is no service, no newspaper write up, no visitation to comfort the owner but don’t miss the fact that the owner does need for you to care. They may be hesitant to show their grief, but it is there just as it is with the loss of a friend for a dog is a faithful friend. 

As we established before https://crookedcreek.live/2019/12/05/benefits-of-owning-a-dog/ dog owners live longer and research shows they live happier. Dogs give back so much love and devotion for what they receive from us. 

“May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am,” someone has said. 

“When the dog looks at you, the dog is not thinking what kind of a person you are. The dog is not judging you.” Eckhart Tolle

Title portrait of Luke by Artist Pat Brooks

Late Migrations

Monday Book Review

“Late Migrations” by Margaret Renkl

This is another book borrowed from a friend, that I would not have chosen to buy, but which I thoroughly enjoyed. I keep wanting to call this a “feel good” book, but then I recall that it contained some painful stories of disappointment and loss.  Somehow the author manages to make these comforting along with all her accounts of kids, birds, and butterflies.

“Late Migrations” is a compilation of short stories and that makes it easy to pick up and put down at leisure. I recommend this book which is filled with love.

Margaret Renkl is an opinion writer for The New York Times where her essays appear weekly.

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Ghosts

Do you believe in ghosts? I cannot honestly answer that question. I’m open to the possibility but that is based upon the experiences of others rather than anything that I have personally witnessed. Stories from people who I trust have certainly made me wish for a personal encounter.

A friend of mine has had several unnerving experiences with ghosts. One each in her hotel room in Coronado, California and in Talbott’s Inn in Bardstown, KY were very convincing. The first was the sound of a moaning woman repeatedly throughout the night in what turned out to be a haunted room well known to the hotel. The other, closer to home, was a chair moving and banging to the floor with no one touching it.

My daughter once took a photo of a covered bridge in Indiana and when she looked at it later there were two people in the picture who were definitely not there when the photo was taken. Both the photographer and another witness can testify that there was no one on the bridge. The man and woman in the photo have on period work clothes and look at ease. Here is that unaltered photo.

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I cannot explain such phenomena, can any of you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences or opinions.

 

“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts.” Stephen King

 

The Accidental Tourist

Monday Book Review

“The Accidental Tourist” by Anne Tyler

This is an old book that I borrowed from a friend. It was published in 1985 and made into a movie with A List actors. It’s a New York Times bestseller, so it has to be good, right? Actually it was a pretty good read.

It is about a quirky family that sticks together a little too closely after they reach adulthood. That dynamic affects their relationships with others, especially their spouses. I would have preferred a different outcome for one particular couple, but then it would not have had the surprise ending.

Anne Tyler is a prolific and entertaining writer. I’ll give her 3.5 stars for “The Accidental Tourist.”

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October

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence” describes a range of situations from emotional and physical threats to injury or even murder. There is nothing “domestic” about “violence.” “Relationship Violence” is sometimes used in media reporting and I strongly support this more accurate terminology. Some prefer “intimate partner violence,” but in my opinion this comes up short. First, it obviously leaves out victims whose abuser is someone other than a partner. The abuser could be any relative or friend with whom one has a relationship.

Statistics indicate one in three women will be the victim of intimate partner violence, but including other types of relationships would most certainly increase the statistic greatly and there is no reason to limit attention to a particular type of relationship or gender.

Be aware and report violence whether experienced or witnessed.

Autumn Poem by Sylvia

silent woodland

on an autumn day
i stepped onto a well worn path
and entered the forest,
enveloped by a blanket of warm rich colors
that pulsed under a vibrant blue sky

as i walked, the path descended
then ascended in return,
creating a repetitious pattern of undulations
like a roller coaster carpet of dirt and rock
beneath my feet

the trail carved its way through the hillsides
that were littered with fallen leaves
and newly sprouted mushrooms

dead trees had become host to a number of
earthen colored fungi,
deeply rooted in the soft decaying bark…

dead trees that in their death, were now spawning new life…
one life gives, so another lives

halfway through my hike i stopped
and noticed there were none of the
usual woodland sounds…
not the soft sigh of an easy wind
nor the chirp of a single bird…
not even the trickle of water
in the now barren streambed

silence… only silence…

until i began to walk and the dry leaves crunched underfoot…
i could hear the steady rhythm of my own labored breathing
and it was then that i realized
that for now and for this moment
perhaps i
was the voice of the forest…
the voice in this silent woodland

written by: Sylvia L. Mattingly,  January 16, 2018

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Photo by Pixabay