L. Frank Baum
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To be alive, or not to be alive? That is The Question. When it came to the part where Hazel and Ruth would start helping lost dolls, refurbishing them so that they can be loved again, how to handle that part of it? Should they go dormant while they were being worked upon? Wouldn’t it be a little odd to have a talking head?
“This won’t hurt a bit,” Ruth said as she picked up what looked to Hazel like a very sharp and deadly pair of scissors. “I need you to firmly pull Pinky’s arm out away from her body,” Ruth softly explained to Hazel.
“Wait!” cried Hazel. “How do you know it won’t hurt?”
Ruth smiled at her. “Because everything I’m about to do here, I learned to do on Elizabeth. And Elizabeth’s just fine. Aren’t you, Elizabeth?”
Hazel looked warily at Elizabeth, who nodded.
“Now, I need you to firmly pull Pinky’s arm out away from her body,” Ruth repeated.
Could you go to jail for doll murder? But Elizabeth smiled at her reassuringly, and she didn’t look scared, so Hazel took a deep breath and did as she was told.
I really, really thought about this. I wanted to avoid that whole part of the story altogether and just perhaps neaten their hair and have new outfits made for them, but my brothers insisted. So I wrote the chapter a little tongue in cheek. And they liked it! So we kept it.
Pinky lives and is aware during the whole thing. I can thank Mr. L. Frank Baum for that. The Oz books are my earliest influence. I loved them all and have read and re-read every one that I’ve been able to get my hands on! In Oz, magical creatures live even when they’re in parts. And secretly, I still talk to these girls when I’m working on them. If it’s good enough for the creator of Oz, it’s good enough for me!
Happy Friday Eve Day!
For all the fact that I’ve always loved to write, you never really know your style for writing a book – until you actually start writing it. Some authors’ books take place over days and weeks. For myself, I find it hard not to account for every minute of every day. Especially with Hazel’s birthday shortly on the horizon, and the reappearance of her mother, leading to the necessary “my-work-here-is-done” disappearance of Ruth!
So how, then, to get the Hideaway in ship shape, especially when it was in such terrible shape to begin with? Days and days of scrubbing and dusting and scraping and painting? No! With MAGIC, of course!
And not only for time’s sake. I love magic and have always firmly believed in it. I’m sure I’d be hard pressed to find any of you who haven’t seen the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” and perhaps more than a few of you who have read the book.
For some reason, I secretly think I’m the only one who knows of the other stories, although I’m sure that’s not the case! But under that illusion, guess what?! L. Frank Baum, the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” wrote 14 more in the series! So, 15 altogether! You heard it here first, folks! The “Oz” books were the Harry Potter of their day.
I loved those stories.
Dorothy goes back to Oz and has many more wonderful adventures, and becomes good friends with Ozma of Oz. It’s hard for Dorothy to leave! But she must! She can’t abandon Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and have them wonder where she is forever and ever! So Glinda the good witch promises to look in her magical book at Dorothy in Kansas at a certain time every day, and if Dorothy wants to come back to Oz, she will make a sign and Glinda will transport her.
I cannot tell you how many times my 10-year-old self stood in my room and made that sign, HOPING. Not because there was anything I wanted to escape, I had a wonderful childhood! But because I wanted to see Oz so badly.
So, Magic. Always.
The Portal is based on a piece of furniture I fell in love with at a store nearby. I couldn’t afford it, so I reluctantly left it behind, and when I went back, it was gone! I was so sad, kicking myself that I hadn’t done SOMETHING to get it. But the next time I went back, it was there again! Like MAGIC. Like it was meant to be! I put that piece on layaway and months later, there it was in my living room with the wonderful old dollhouse given to me by the delightful Doris (also a work in progress that will be featured in a future book) resting on top. The Portal is in the very same place that it resides in the book: right next to the fireplace. Some day I’ll paint it to match the text in the book.
There you have it. Except for one last thing: When I changed the story from Ruth’s point of view to match more of a nearly eight-year-old Hazel, I had to lose some words I dearly loved because they wouldn’t come out of an eight-year-old’s mind. Like STOIC. There, I said it! STOIC! It’s what Iowans are when they wave! Stoic and wonderful.
Tomorrow. Nina’s art for nine, or “Sometimes You Have to Let It Go.”