Archives - February 2012

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Feb. 27

Maycomb County

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Small Town America

I have always loved a small town.  Big cities are nice places to visit, but, as the old saying goes, I wouldn't want to live there.  And small Southern towns really pull at my heartstrings as I was born in one myself. Gary, Texas:  population 200. 

 

Literature is peopled with small-town characters, like Scout Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird fame.  Harper Lee's description of the town, through the eyes of Scout, resonates with me.  I can feel myself standing in the middle of the town square on a hot summer day.

 

Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it.  In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square.  Somehow, it was hotter then:  a black dog ...

Feb. 14

Witch-Wife

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My Valentine to You

When I think of Valentine's Day, I think of love.  When I think of love, I think of poetry.  When I think of poetry, I think of Edna St. Vincent Millay.  I  know I have posted this poem before, but it bears repeating.  This is Millay's "Witch-Wife:"

 

She is neither pink nor pale,

   And she never will be all mine;

She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,

   And her mouth on a valentine.

 

She has more hair than she needs;

   In the sun 'tis a woe to me!

And her voice is a string of coloured beads,

   Or steps leading into the sea.

 

She loves me all that she can,

   And her ways to my ways resign;

But she was not made for any man,

   And she never will be all mine.

 

Happy Valentine ...

Feb. 13

The Best Opening Line Ever

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Dickens

Even though I am partial to Melville's infamous "Call me Ishmael," Charles Dickens, without a doubt, wrote the best opening line of any novel.  It comes from his Tale of Two Cities and stands alone with no explanation needed from me.

 

It was the best of times,it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short,the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being ...

Feb. 7

Charles Dickens

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Birthday Boy

Today is Charles Dickens's 200th birthday.  He is probably the most famous British writer -- right behind Shakespeare, of course.  The name Dickens is unusual.  During his lifetime, it was used as an interjective exclamation:  "What the dickens!"  It was also a substitute for the word "devil."  The word was first noticed in print in Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in the phrase "to play the dickens," which meant to create havoc and mischief.  How appropos.

 

And while we Americans have had a love affair with him for scores of decades, the feelings were not necessarily reciprocated.  He said the following while on an American book tour:  "I am quite serious when I say that I do not believe there are, on the whole earth besides, so many intensified bores as in these United States.  No man ...

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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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