Sunday, 24 July 2011

Books I Have Read-The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is an amazing story. I have always wondered about it. It has been mentioned over the years and created into one film that I know of but I wouldn't be surprised to find it had been made into more and even plays.
Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote the story in 1911 and even though it is a simple plot I found myself not caring.

I wondered if she wrote it not just because of her love of gardens but because she had suffered the same type of thing or saw what dark thoughts can do to people. The terrible life she and her family led after her father died (1853) and the family was plunged into indescribable poverty in the Victorian slums of Manchester must of had an effect on her and everyone she saw. Fortunately the family moved to the USA in 1865.

I do not know if I enjoyed the story because I like gardens or if the mind of Mary, Colin and his father remind me of my mind. What it used to be like.

The Secret Garden - the robin is on the cover because he started it all

I had suffered with depression for twenty years and the theme of the story is -
"Two things cannot be in one place.
Where you tend the rose, my lad,
A thistle cannot grow."

She is talking of thoughts.

"Much more surprising things can happen to anyone who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable, determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot ...."

"While the secret garden was coming alive and two children were coming alive with it, there was a man wandering about certain far-away beautiful places in the Norwegian fjords, and the valleys and mountains of Switzerland, and he was a man who for ten years had kept his mind filled with dark and heartbroken thinking. He had not been courageous; he had never tried to put any other thoughts is the place of the dark ones."

later in the story
"He sat and gazed at the sunlit water and his eyes began to see things growing at its edge. There was one lovely mass of blue forget-me-nots growing so close to the stream and its leaves were wet and at these he found himself looking as he remembered he had looked at such things years ago. He was actually thinking tenderly how lovely it was and what wonders of blue its hundreds of little blossoms were. He did not know that just that simple thought was slowly filling his mind - filling and filling it until other things were softly pushed aside. It was as if a sweet, clear spring had begun to rise in a stagnant pool and had risen and risen until at last it swept the dark water away."

I can tell you from experience that it is VERY hard to keep that one beautiful thought in your mind. It is like a tiny speck of light in a huge room filled with dark smothering gloom. The only way the speck can survive is if it is fed another beautiful thought and another and another so that it can grow. Eventually pushing out the darkness that seeps into every part of a persons body and makes them sick. This, for me took years as it is VERY difficult to remember, to wish, to believe that your life can be any different from what it is. It is as if you are lost in a deep dark hole. You can not see the bottom, the sides, the edge and you do not know how you will EVER get out but in the end I did it and here I am. You can to if you just believe in yourslef.
The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Published by Puffin Classics

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

My Craft Room Grows Up

My craft room has grown up and becomes a studio. Well one of them has anyway. I have two rooms but the other one is more like a store room for my models and it is so full up that I can't get in there. It also means I can't get the 'things' that are in it out. This is something I'll have to sort out but not now. It has taken a long time to get this room set up.
My new desk where I will create amazing things. Well I like to think so anyway
This lovely desk was given to me by some friends and it really makes the room feel like a studio. I'm going to be able to create lots of interesting stuff in this room.

With me, and I would think it would be the same for everyone else, I like to surround myself in the things I like. I am going to see about putting some of the pictures of Van Craig's dolls up on the blinds. I have my models around and I'd like to get my portfolios in there somewhere but I don't want to clutter the place up. I used to able to work with my stuff everywhere but now I need it tidy.

I keep my beads, greeting cards and the Kitchen of Pebble Cottage here
I keep most of my beads on these shelves.
I find, for me that the state of my studio, my house and my garden all represent my state of mind. Everything is fine untill I get stressed and then watch out. Everything gets picked up and placed any old how and months later when things are better and I open my eyes think. Strueth!

I was given, by some friends, the wooden rotating CD staker which I have used for craft. I love it.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Books I Have Read -Antonis S and the Mystery of Theodoe Guzman

Learning from other writers is something I am always attempting to do. I read every night. It gives my mind something else to think of. I have just finished reading
Odo Hirsch

This is the first one that he wrote in 1997. In 1998 it was short listed for the 1998 National Children's Literature Award at the Festival Awards for Literature, was an Honour Book in the 1998 Children's Book Council Book of the Year - Younger Readers Awards and won the inaugural Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature in the 1999 NSW Premier's Literary Awards.
He was born in Australia were he studied medicine and worked as a doctor. He now lives in London.

I collect Odo Hirsch books and found the beginning of this story was not written in the same style as the other books I have of his work. By the time I got through half of the book I could see his style come out in his work and by the end of it I was really pleased I had found the book at the recent Life Line Bookfest held on the Gold Coast. 

The book is about a young boy (Antonia S) obsessed with finding out why an old man (Mr Guzman) in an apartment of The Duke's House (were they and other people live) why he hardly ever comes out of his apartment. When he does it is not for long.
Through various means and hows he finds out that the old man was a very famous actor.
Antonio S decides to put on a play. It eventually has the desired effect and he meets this old man and learns from him what it is to be an actor.

The last part of this book is very stirring. I could 'feel' the sense of loss for the actor and sense of wonder for the boy.

When it comes to writing. There is a section in the book that I feel every writer could use to help to understand their characters.

(Mr Guzman speaking) 'The very first day I spoke to you, Antonio. You asked me a question. You asked whether I knew the words of every character I had played. Do you remember? What did I say?'
     Antonio thought. 'You said all you had to do was think about what they were like.'
     'Yes. All you have to do is to remember who is the character that you are playing. If you know what he is like, what he is really like, if you have that in your head, the words will come.'
     'Is that all?'
     'Is that all? Isn't that enough?' Mr Guzman laughed. He stood up. 'It is more than it sounds. Wait here, Antonio.'
     Mr Guzman walked slowly out of the room. When he came back, he was carrying the carved figure of Paul Snee in his hand. He put it on the table beside the sketch pad and sat down again.
     'Look at him, Antonio.'
     Antonio looked. Paul Snee gazed angrily back.
     'Think of who he is. What he feels, what he thinks, what he sees. He sees you! He is looking at you. Now see yourself, Antonio, through his eyes.'
     Antonio glanced sharply at Mr Guzman. Mr Guzman nodded.
     'You are now a boy who is trying to tell jokes and can't remember them. You see another boy looking at you. You are frustrated. You are angry. Can you feel it?' Antonio stared at Paul Snee's figure, trying to feel his anger.
     'Forget the words, understand the character. When you come back to the theatre, you will see the figures on the stage. Do not simply look at them. Use them. They can help you. Put yourself inside them and look out. Feel the wood of the stage under your feet, The stage is now your world. The figures are your fellows. You walk amongst them.' Mr Guzman paused. (end of passage)

Didn't I tell you it was something worth reading, something worth knowing.
Antonio S and the Mystery of Theodore Guzman written by Odo Hirsch and published by Allen & Unwin.