Tatiana and Olga 2010

Tatiana and Olga  2010

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

There's someting to be said for deadlines

For one technical  reason or another, the computer I have been using doesn't have long to go. I had a good number of tribute videos for both Romanov and Brontës that have been " in production" some, for years, waiting for art work  I had planned  to do for them. I know how to make and upload from this current system....( that's another thing. My internet server wants me to "upgrade". 

Whenever I see the word, " upgrade" my veins " run ice" as Charlotte would say . Along with the order to upgrade, they always enthuse " you will be able to do more!" after the upgrade.

Indeed one does more! Because " upgrade " invariably means  tasks are now more complicated to perform lol ) anyway, rather than my original  and grander plans,  I decided to put in a few watercolors and or moor photos , finish and  upload the videos . There was plenty in the videos already to warrant a  go ahead 

The Romanovs are front and center in this post as we are very near to  the 100th anniversary of their deaths 

Romanov video


 A remarkable milestone; when I became interested in the family, the children would have been in their 60's!  This video is about the time Marie went off with her parents in April 1918. Many people do not realize the Romanovs were separated for a brief time during their captivity . 

In April of 1918, officials arrived, supposedly to take the Tsar to Moscow for trial . Alexis was simply too ill to travel; so Olga , Tatiana and Anastasia stayed with him.  This was why the executioners  did not find a corset of jewels on  Marie's body, like they did with her sisters. The corsets were fashioned after Marie left with her parents and Alexandra  sent a coded message back to the other daughters.  It has been speculated Marie did not have hidden jewels because she was not trusted...hardly!
Ural Soviet claim the Romanovs

 There is also  good deal of speculation as to just where the Romanovs were  going. Her parents sent Marie to the guard's train car to find out. The guards themselves must not have known, because Marie didn't learn anything!  Eventually, after a good bit of traveling, the train was blocked, there  was a stand off and the family was handed over the Ural Soviet. They were then taken to Yekaterinburg. In May, Alexis and his sisters joined their parents and Marie, so the family was together again; only to be murdered on July 18, 1918.  

Just in time for this milestone, Helen Azar's  new book

In the Steps of the Romanovs: : Final two years of the last Russian imperial family (1916-1918) (In their own words)

I find the last part of the Romanov history among its most interesting. It has long been shrouded in mystery, particularly for the English reader ...but no more ! Thanks, Helen!

Brontë video

Here is Brontë video  long in production. The Brontës. To the Marriage of True Minds

Many hold the vision of the Brontë sisters, forever unfulfilled, pining on the moors; unhappy.That is not my vision. One of them at least knew the full measure of love and really if any of them were destined to do so, it would be Charlotte, the author of " Jane Eyre ". 

It's astonishing what Charlotte did in order to marry Arthur Bell Nicholls. She met Arthur secretly on the moor, behind her father's back.  Then Charlotte took on Papa in two, epic Parsonage shaking battles. Please don't tell me she was dragged to the alter! lol  Adding immeasurable to the her drive, imo, was the desire to  know physical love. Charlotte was not to be denied that.  For her, it had to be achieved within a marriage and so marriage became Charlotte's  aim. I believe her marriage to Arthur  was all she dreamed of in that regard .

The summer of a first draft 

I found this definition bought on by completion,( be it video or whatever)  effected my work on the  Brontë novel as well . I can see its shape at last and committed to a first draft in the fall . Up to now I could not apply  a  time resistant on it, not having a clue of what I am doing. 

But I feel now I can and my husband plans to take vacation time then to edit the manuscript. I have dyslexia ...believe me, I need an editor more than most! In fact I could not  read properly until I was 12.

 What is interesting about that is,  I can clearly remember the moment I understood these markings, words , were meant to create a picture in one's mind. Then  the realization crashed in " like lighting". It was a Random House, Landmark biography of  Annie Oakley.If you are of a certain age, you'll remember them. It was a series of biographies  written for children, but by pronate authors. Remarkable idea. Back in the day ,what displeased  me when I opened it was, there were very few illustrations . It was mostly all text and  I was use to pictures helping me to figure out what was going on.

However then came the moment after slogging along, when the words themselves created a picture in my brain. It actually had a physical sensation. So by the time I closed the book for the day, the world had altered forever  and I became a constant reader...indeed, besides during the day, I would read with a flashlight under the bed sheets. I had  a lot of catching up to do

 So I'm committing to a draft in the fall...Still, new scenes are coming in ALL the time, often prequels to scenes I wrote years ago, which is fun. And just the other day I decided to make a point  to incorporate  the character's dreams that have popped up along the way . Having characters speak of  their dreams is interesting. It's fiction within fiction and events are even more free .....and heaven knows the Bronte's fiction  itself is full of dreams! Fewer people appreciated an altered state more than the Brontës!

What it takes to write 

What it takes to write something this involved, vast and complex, is just about all one has ; particularly if one is more than middle age like myself .  I had an interesting conversation with someone. We were speaking of my book and writing. Turns out they would like to do that themselves. I was encouraging of course. They asked me if I belonged to a writer's group. I said "No". Then they said , " Well maybe you should start one." I said "  I can't , I'm writing."

Writing, folks, is writing. It's not talking, blogging or tweeting about writing. 

I will go on to say, the more one speaks/ reads  about writing ,the further away one gets from it. It's actually helpful to cut things out so one must turn to the writing itself.  

I'm also not allowing new friendships to develop, as there's no spare wherewithal for them and it would not be fair. I can barely retain old ones, and in some cases, I haven't. I'm hard driving a streaking  chariot that will not stop for anything as it may not start again. There have been points in my life where I did stop my life for others. I can't at the moment. Things will be different once the book is done. But this is how it is now. People will understand better when  they are elderly themselves or they won't and that's fine.

Another things needful to write is to be able to say, " I approve of me and that's enough" and mean it . Old age is great in this way . If enlightenment hasn't happened in the course of life, the lack of energy that occurs  in old age's wake,  brings it on lol. One is too tried to care about the little stuff  =  Zen Master.

The difference in energy is, I believe , a main cause for the "generation gap" . Doing anything costs the older person far more of their energy budget than it does for a young one....so we may disapprove of what  seems, no, what would be for us, a wasteful side track ... because we haven't as full an energy bank account to draw upon lol. We know from experience there isn't all the time in the world!

 Another thing that drives me on, is I so want to share this with other Brontë fans. I believe they will love it and really, it is other Brontë fans who  will mostly see how I weaved in  the history...and much history not found in a Wikipedia post.

Brontë shopping bag / 1990s / artist ; Mark Summer


It's a small Arthur World  

Last May when my husband and I were in Haworth, we had an interesting meeting, though we didn't know it at the time how interesting it was! Driving from the airport, we had seen yellow berries on the moor and saw a small bush with the same in the Parsonage's garden. A lady was tending the front garden and we asked her about it . She could not have been nicer and more helpful!

We were taken with her little dog who , so faithfully stood guard over her as she worked and I took several photos of him to send to her later via the Parsonage. We did not exchange names. I was going to send the photos addressed to " The garden lady c/o the Brontë Parsonage."

On patrol at the Parsonage


But  months later I learned who she was and the name of the little dog in an amazing manner. Well after our Haworth visit , a  friend told me there was a new novel told from Arthur's view point!  Naturally I went looking to learn about it. It is called, " The last Brontë "  and when I read about it, and saw the author's facebook page, I found the garden lady at the Parsonage was the wife of the author! Wow.

It would have been something if when we spoke to her, I had mentioned we were in Haworth because I'm writing a Bronte novel based on Arthur Bell Nicholls!  I think she might have dropped her trowel lol!  How many people are doing that? Not many I would think.  Most authors seem to concentrate on the Professor it seems to me .  I have to marvel when I think how we met her! It's a small Arthur world after all lol! 

"  The Last Brontë " is about Arthur Bell Nicholls and is written by S. R. Whitehead. I can't read it myself while I'm writing my own. I want to keep my own vision of Arthur, clear.  However Mr. Whitehead offers the first chapter online and I read that to experience the Arthur " voice" the book has. I was relived to see its " voice" was different from mine.

It's interesting  that Mr. Whitehead and I both choose to have Arthur believe CB was a child when he first sees her. However in my version, ABN merely sees her on the lane and as she comes closer, realizes his mistake . I have to say Mr. Whiteheads scene is much better and far more amusing! I look forward to reading how he handles their letters etc. because what I have read in the first chapter is very well written . The book has rightly been met with acclaim. Bravo!

There was another Arthur based Brontë novel published last year as well " Mr. Nicholls ; A Brontë Story " by Juliet Heslewood. But the story is told  from another person's perspective  and an interesting one too ; Johnny Robinson. Johnny was  pupil of Arthur's and he certainly  appears in my book since he was a real person and  spoke of Arthur in his own old age. He was a witness to the wedding and more besides!  I look forward to reading this book down the road as well when my own is finished!

Cézanne Portraits at the National Gallery of Art,      Washington D.C,

 My husband and I recently traveled to Washington to see the Cézanne Portraits at the National Gallery of Art. The show is a mind blower. When one thinks of Cézanne, one think of Province landscapes and apples still life ! Being a portrait painter myself, this was a particularly noteworthy show for me...and I suggest people do not miss it . Not only are the portraits  great, but I can see his other works better after attending this show. Cézanne is indeed the father of Modern Art . 

Our Lily  2001-2017  


Lily in the studio

Late last year we lost our beloved cat, Lily. In fact she passed the same day Emily Bronte did, Dec 19. Lily was ...well words fail me.  We are so blessed to have these beings in our lives and really; who cares for who? They are looking out for us. If you have had and lost a dearly loved pet, you'll understand.

Love 'em while you have them .

Okay, back to work! Have a great summer!


Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna

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