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Ah, my fine featured friends! How I have missed you, and yet! This here shall be a quickie post that shall yet say so much if you follow This Link.
Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway Part 2, featuring chapters 10 thru 18 with NEW art in full color will be up at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!
ForGET the pesky parties and fizzy drinks and smooches! Harken to your computers and READ. *OR* you can wait ’til morning. In the meantime, I shall sing to you.
*Clears throat and a melodious sound issues forth*
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.
We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.
Thank you! Thank you! I meant every word. And with that, I shall see you soon, My Trusty Friend!
When thinking on it, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to use as my first last-blog-post-before-Christmas.
We had started working with Nina a few weeks before the holiday season, and were so pleasantly surprised when we received a delightful gift from her. It took me a little rummaging to hunt it down (this time of year I seem to do a LOT of rummaging. “Now, where is that other Santa?” and “Is there not an entire working string of lights here ANYWHERE?!”).
When I finally found it, I was surprised to see that it wasn’t from Christmas 2012, it was from Christmas 2011. Whoa! Two years! How time flies!
Without further ado, here it is:
With warmest wishes
At this special time of year
Wishing you the happiest of cheer
Merry Christmas! You’re my favorite!
And below that there would be a scribble, and you would say, “What on earth is that?”
I would have to confess: it is my signature. Ironically, I am not a very neat writer. But, look! The “poem” itself kind of looks like a Christmas tree! And you ARE! You ARE my favorite!
As we all get a little busy here, I will be going on hiatus. Until we meet again, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Chapter 19 Cheerleader Tower uses a lot of imagery for me.
(Hazel) almost opened her mouth to suggest that maybe they should wait until her mother arrived. Maybe she would know exactly where the Beacon was, but she quickly dismissed the idea. What would they do instead, twiddle their thumbs?
Two thumbs up if you guessed “The Killer Rabbit” scene in Monty Python & the Search for the Holy Grail, where the heroes are warned of a killer beast with bloody fangs that guards a cave. When they ride up (using coconuts for horses), they see the creature, and it is…a sweet, furry, white rabbit.
“What’s ‘e do? Nibble your bum?”
Okay, it’s probably a stretch, but it IS what I was thinking of, and what I think of every time I read that line.
The morning sun was streaming in through the windows, highlighting the tiny particles of dust in the air so that they almost looked like falling glitter, as if they were inside a very large snow globe. At the thought of the attic being turned upside down shaken, Hazel smiled to herself and looked doubtfully up at the ceiling. She could see long slits of daylight here and there. The furniture and lamps would probably crash right through the rafters!
Now, that one’s a little more obvious, is it not?
“Here! Take this with you, Bets!” Dot was holding up a toy umbrella.
“In case she falls? I doubt she’d even have time to open it up!” said Hazel.
“No, silly! To help her reach!” Dot answered.
Hazel giggled, imagining herself waving to a rosy cheeked Betty as she languidly floated down, umbrella held aloft.
That one’s the clearest of all. Happy Thursday!
The first snow I saw, when I was about 10 or so, was a surprise. “Ah-HAH!” I said to myself. “It’s NOT little balls like it looks in those ‘Peanut’ comic strips…”
It’s FLAKES. Lovely, fragile flakes.
For me it causes Snow Envy: I get it when other places get more snow than us.
It’s also made my Bucket List: Before I die, I want to do as they did in “Little House on the Prairie” and take hot maple syrup (ideally, I would tap it from my very own maple tree, but I don’t have one, darn-the-luck) and pour it into clean snow (this part is very important) and make candy.
I love the way it glitters in the moonlight.
I love it when it snows SO much, that I miss the sight of grass because I haven’t seen it for months on end. I secretly wish I could move Iowa up farther north. But here Iowa is, so here I shall stay.
Of course, driving in it…now, there’s another story…
Chapter 19 Cheerleader Tower is up!
As the hours count down to tonight’s midnight premiere of Chapter 19 Cheerleader Tower (and I may have to re-think that title. It’s whatever strikes me at the time, and at the time, I liked it. Now all I can think is, “Hmm. ‘Cheerleader Tower.’ I’d be at the bottom of that, I bet,’ and let’s face it, nobody wants to feel badly about themselves, not even for a minute. But I digress), I’ve received two more new sketches from Nina, including one that is exceptionally BRILLIANT.
The first. This is from Chapter 17 The Ending & The Beginning. It’s Hazel’s first morning at the Hollyhock Hideaway, and she carefully climbs out of bed so as not to wake the dolls. A refresher of my sketch I call “Do Not Disturb”:
Next, here’s the second sketch for the chapter, entitled “The Spider Queen.” When Ruth starts acting strangely, Hazel frets that perhaps Ruth has only pretended to be nice.
Maybe Ruth was The Queen of the Giant Spiders, which would explain why she always wore black, and she’d been feeding Hazel moldy food this whole time to fatten her up for Priscilla, and the transformation of the home had only been an illusion created to make it appear to be wonderfully magical and clean and to keep her here willingly, and instead Hazel was actually still living in filth, surrounded by ghosts masquerading as dolls.
I love the little details, like Dot being lowered with a spiderweb, and the expressions on Ruth and Hazel’s faces. Can’t wait to see them in color!
For some reason, now I’m craving pancakes…Of course, I wouldn’t want mine festooned with spiders.
Or, would I…..?
Happy Tuesday, all! Happy One-Week-From-Christmas-Eve day, no need to panic! Hope all is well!
Mrs. Lovett, originated by Angela Lansbury on Broadway, is a role I’ve always wanted to play. I think it’s fair to say that would be highly unlikely here in the wilds of Iowa, but I shall use her and one of the beautiful songs by Stephen Sondheim in today’s post nonetheless and I shall perform the role with spotty frequency here in the wilds of my own home, and all my pets shall mentally applaud and silently demand encores.
I’m sure of it.
So’s, anywho! I went to the doctor’s office last Friday. Apparently, you have to be near death for them to operate right away. Also, you need to have money or some kind of insurance. D’oh! It will happen, but it will take some time.
In the meantime, like most of you I’m preparing for the big day. CHRISTMAS! And I can hardly wait. There’s that word again! “WAIT.”
Not an easy thing to do!
Hush, love, hush,
Don’t distress yourself,
What’s your rush?
Keep your thoughts
Nice and lush,
Slow, love, slow.
Time’s so fast.
Now goes quickly, see
Now it’s past!
Soon will come,
Soon will last.
…’Cept, probably a lot less dramatic this time. Perhaps even anti-climatic. But! Just in case: Secretly, for the past month or so, I’ve had what I have (probably pretty accurately) self-diagnosed as an incisional hernia. All fun and games and “Oh, look! There’s an ALIEN in my belly!” – until you get a cold, complete with a classic Agle cough. Then it’s…
So today I have an appointment to see what’s what. Hopefully, I’ll get surgery to repair it. Hopefully, it’ll be quick. Most likely, the doctor will say it’s no big deal and can wait. But this dang cold. This dang COUGH, namely. We’ll see! Wish me luck and say a little prayer!
In the meantime, we’ve received another GLORIOUS color version of art from Nina. Behold, “The Portal” from Chapter 16 The Ending & The Beginning:
It was a cabinet of sorts. More like a standing cupboard atop four long legs, making it nearly chest high. It wasn’t that large; in fact she could almost wrap her arms around it. The legs were curved and graceful, and the entire piece was an unusual shade of deep blue that nearly glowed. There was a painted design that looked random until you got closer. Only then did you notice the whimsical fairies and flowers and trees and dolls and drums.
To Ruth it looked like a living thing, as if it could speak, as if it could move, and the blue of the cabinet seemed to be growing more and more vivid with each passing moment.
Nina captured my vision PERFECTLY.
Happy Friday and have a GREAT weekend!
Hazel’s whole persona in Chapter 18 The Message in the Back of the Book is like that of the crew of one of my best-loved movies, “Galaxy Quest.” Quick movie synopsis: The alumni cast of a cult space TV show have to play their roles as the real thing when an alien race needs their help.
When the aliens proudly present their real, life-sized ship to the actors, the faux crew’s reactions are excellent. I especially love Alan Rickman, one of my all-time favorites, response. “Oh. Hmm…” he says.
And that in a nutshell is Hazel in Chapter 18. The others, even Ruth, are looking to Hazel to perform her first task as Holder and she gamely takes on the role, confidently (in appearance, at least) going to the back of The Doll Book of Rules to find the hidden message.
Hazel turned the crackly pages to the very back, even though she was curious to see the whole thing. She saw tantalizing glimpses of paper dolls and tombstones, and she found herself wondering what on earth tombstones would be doing in a doll book, even as she realized that she was somewhat avoiding getting to the very back. Mr. Horace had said, as Elizabeth had reminded her this morning, that there would be blank pages that could only be read by the right person. She had already failed to see the dolls come to life without the aid of the necklace; what if she failed at this too?
It just goes to show you. In movies, in books and occasionally in life: Sometimes you simply have to fake it until you make it.
This is from an early, early version of the book. Before Hazel was even an inkling. It’s about how Ruth came to find the Portal and it was almost instantly scrapped by my brothers. “A little too…um…”
Forward, perhaps? Something along those lines.
But haven’t you ever seen something that you had to have? Haven’t you ever been following the crowd as they make their way past row after row of stuff at an estate sale, or an auction, or even a really good sale at a store? And it’s something one of a kind. And you have to have it.
If you’re too obvious about it, someone else might notice your interest and as is human nature, they would want it too. So you feign complete indifference to said item until you reach it and it’s right in front of you. Then all pretenses are off. You clutch it in your hands. “MINE!” your brain triumphantly yells. It IS yours.
And no one can take it from you EVER.
The shop felt crowded, although there couldn’t have been more than a dozen customers milling about. Ruth took a deep breath but felt the familiar sting of tears at the back of her eyes. It was too soon. Not wanting to weep in public, she quickly turned to leave when a brilliant flash of blue caught her eye.
In that instant her main overriding emotion was no longer grief. It was jealousy. Fresh, healing, raw jealousy.
Jealousy that someone else would buy what was surely hers before she could get her hands on it, even as she wasn’t quite sure what “it” was. She made her way towards the back of the store where the furniture was kept, to the place where she had seen that brief flash, all the while not taking her eyes off of it, impatient when someone would block her view.
People passed it as if they didn’t even see it, as if it meant nothing. For one heart-stopping moment an older couple paused in front of it. Ruth found herself gritting her teeth to keep from shouting when the woman rested her hand absentmindedly on it, but they moved instead towards a worn leather recliner a few spaces away.
Ruth finally reached her destination and once there, she placed her hands on it and refused to budge. Instead she firmly planted herself and waited for a wandering store clerk to happen by, not daring to simply remove the tag and take it to the cash register. What if someone else picked it up in the meantime, what then? No.
She didn’t inspect it, she didn’t check it for soundness or to see if the legs were level, she didn’t try and figure out where it would go or if she really needed it; All she knew was that she had to have it and that she would not rest until it was safely in her possession. She floated behind the clerk as he carried it up to the register, she paid and then supervised the loading of it into her car, although she remembered little of any of that or the drive home.
And now, here it was. And her heart was still pounding. And she still couldn’t believe it was really hers. She set it in the middle of the living room and quickly walked back to her front door, locking it firmly, before returning to examine her find.
Like the one on my upper forehead! It came from out of nowhere! *FOOP*!
DON’T LOOK NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME, I WILL KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
Where did that age spot come from? Was it from…
…The day at the beach when I almost drowned my sister? She lived, lucky me! And I say that because I like having her around, not because of the whole I-didn’t-have-to-go-to-jail thing.
…One of those countless May Day performances in elementary school? Because as everyone knows, May Day is lei day in Hawaii…
…The time my seven-or-so-year-old self stood on top of my friend Holly’s rabbit hutch so I could sing my favorite song “Let It Snow” in the middle of summer in Hawaii to get my first crush Kevin Gull’s attention as he played in the neighborhood park just over the fence? And yes, I got his attention. He looked at me very strangely. I have no idea why…
Regardless of when that age spot – MEMORY spot – was made, or the one on my left cheek, or the one on the back my right hand, and all the future ones that are coming next and I have no idea where they will make their appearance, that is how I’ve chosen to view them: as the lovely things they are. Memory spots.
Reminders of good times past and harbingers of the good times to come, because here is my plan: If I can make my face one solid age spot, then nobody will notice a thing! I’ll just be a little tanner, is all…Therefore, I shall continue to venture out into the world as soon as I get over this cold, and ADD to my collection!
But the fiiirreee is soooo delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
Tonight at midnight, Chapter 18 The Message in the Back of the Book!