Showing posts from January, 2011

Augusta Evans Wilson

My article is finally out! Yay!

Alabama Heritage

Worried about Egypt... safe. Violence will not help matters.

Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness saga...

I posted about this a few days ago. I have been reading Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness, the first book in a saga that is, I believe, six books long.

In general, I really like historical long as it doesn't burden me with factual information. In my opinion, the historical aspect of things should be the backdrop--not the overwhelming plot. Because, let's face it, we all know what happens if someone is writing about a well-known historical event. Instead, the focus should be character development and how the plot (embedded in that historical moment) contributes to character development. How people cope with a moment in history is fascinating.

Now, Into the Wilderness is not a novel without faults. But what novel doesn't have faults? Sometimes it is way too predictable. There is a huge part of me that says this is more romance and adventure than historical fiction (but I am totally okay with that). And, I think that the Elizabeth and Nathaniel, the romantic pa…


I love you, but please don't wake me up at 2 a.m. again this morning. :)

Oh, well. You can wake me up whenever you want, I guess. You are the best dog EVER, after all.

Can I marry a fictional character? Please?

So in love with Nathaniel Bonner in Into the Wilderness. Yes, if it were possible, I would actually consent to marry him. And those of you who know me...well, you know that is saying something considering my love of my independent life. I have been known to quote Letitia Elizabeth Landon's "The Marriage Vow": "The altar, 'tis of death! for there are laid/The sacrifice of all youth's sweetest hopes."

:) not totally anti-marriage...but, wow, it would take a really special man...

RSC: Not at all happy with you.

Dear RSC,

I am not at all happy with your decision to replace Antony and Cleopatra with Julius Caesar. Now my one trip to see the RSC this year has been taken away. I have already seen Julius Caesar and I really wanted to see Antony and Cleopatra...and now that hope has been ripped from my mind in a most violent manner. You just don't understand! I love Antony and Cleopatra!! I need to see it!! UGH!!! THE AGONY!!! Come on, RSC!!! Somewhere in your vast network of decision makers has to be my "man of men"!!

Okay. Maybe I am being a little dramatic. But this is the only thing I had to look forward to this summer. I, however, will forgive you if the company manages to run the play while I am in England (in two years).

So sad,

Sweet Melanie's Shower!

Today, my best friend since seventh grade had her baby shower! (Due in March!!) Melanie looks great and will be having a beautiful baby girl. I can't wait!! The shower was great and she and the baby received some beautiful things. Here are some photos from the day:

Some of the food...

Melanie and I (I am only a bit taller in this photo because I have on heels...but we are about the same height.)

Melanie opening gifts...

Melanie and her mom...

Melanie and her mother-in-law...

Melanie and my mom...

Melanie and Donna (Donna is Melanie's husband's aunt, and she hosted the party)...

Overall, a wonderful day!!

Black Swan

Today, Jeff (my cousin) and I went to see Black Swan. Wow. I am totally stunned. I am not a Natalie Portman fan at all, but she was amazing in this film. (As was every other actor cast in a part in the movie...beautiful and tragic and true.)

Surprisingly for me and you, I am not going to say a lot about this movie. First of all, it is still very new and a thriller in many ways...and I don't like spoilers. Secondly, the movie will be different for everyone who sees it. It is about many different things. The overarching idea is the destructive nature of the quest for perfectionism. Many of us can identify with that concept. And when I watched the movie, I recognized that a lot of my own destructive nature/habits and my approach to life can be very like Nina's before she becomes the Black Swan. There were points when I wanted to cry and when I hated myself as I watched, because I am her in a lot of ways. For me, it isn't the body thing or dancing, but it is the letting go an…

My new obsession:

I really love the Into the Wilderness series. It is a sequel to The Last of the Mohicans. Now, many people don't enjoy Cooper. I can deal with him because I am used to description in my reading.

This series of books maintains the allure of that world but has beautiful description and lots of dialogue....very good dialogue, I might add. More on it once I finish (and that could be a while because it is long and I am working on a dissertation...or should be).

From the holidays...

Over the holidays, I got to have a short visit with my cousin T. (Theron)who lives in Oregon. He came to town with his sister, Laura, and her mom and dad, Jeanne and Theron. (Jeanne is my dad's older sister.)

So, thanks to Uncle Theron, I have some updated pictures to post!

(T., Laura, Jeanne, and Theron)

(T. and Grandma. She looks great after physical rehab!)

(Laura and I)

(T., me, Laura)

Too much fun! come back soon, T.!

Old family photos...


My great-great grandfather, William Neville.

My great grandmother, Irene, with her half-brother (Morell Keith Neville, who became Governor of Nebraska in 1917), and my great-great grandfather, William Neville.

(Photos added to the web site linked by the photo by my cousin Shari.)

Other family photos of my great grandmother and her mother in this post.


Well, the first week (really, a half week) of school is over and the weekend is here! What will I do? What exciting things can I get up to? Where will I go?...


Yes. That is right. I have a dissertation to write.

Oh, well. Good times, anyway!

A Rant about MTV's "Teen Mom 2"

Tonight, I came across Teen Mom 2. I decided to see what was up because I enjoyed last season, especially the really tragic issues that emerged out of that series. I still think that Catelyn and Tyler are amazing people.

HOWEVER: I REALLY object to what this television show has become. Gone is any meaningful commentary/documentary style television. Like The Real World, the first season was relevant and meaningful. There were no expectations, so no one was trying to make problems or dramatize anything. However, now, just like with their other reality shows, they have chosen people who are a "sure thing" as far as creating drama.
Normally, I would have no problem with that concept. I understand marketing and making money. However, MTV has crossed the line now. Take a look at this article:

This mom, Jenelle, has had problems for years...has been in trouble for years. For MTV to …

Lovin' the books!...And I love this!

(Probably need to click on the video so you can watch it on You Tube...stupid widths again!)

First day of school!

Well, today was the first day of school (spring semester). Overall, I think it went as well as it could and my students seem fine. I teach at 8 and 12. I don't mind getting up early, but I hate having a three hour break in between classes. It is fine on the day I hold office hours, but the other two days...yuck.

Today, I spent the entire time editing my chapter. It was 62 pages and I was able to cut it to 55. I just can't see any more cuts to be made, but I think that is because I am just sick of looking at it. Actually, considering I added another complete section and a conclusion (probably a total of about 10 pages), I think that I cut a significant amount. But, still, more is to be done! I sent it on to my director because I need a second pair of eyes at this point.

So, I am exhausted. My eyes hurt and my brain hurts! So, this is all I am capable of typing right now. :)

Casey in the snow/ice...again!

Well, we really were lucky that the bulk of the snow and ice missed us. I have no problem with snow, but when ice causes power lines to fall down...well, I don't like that so much. In Alabama, we also can't drive in the snow very well because we have no equipment to clear roads or to sand them. So, ice paralyzes us. And I hate sitting at home. I really need to work on my dissertation and doing that at home is nearly impossible.

So, instead...

I took Casey's "snow" photos (see previous post for explanation):

(Casey sniffing a tree stump. I just bathed him a couple of days ago and he is going through a big shed, so you will probably see little pieces of hair sticking out! But, as you can see, we really didn't get "snow" as much as ice pellets. Still, it is white and on the ground, so Casey and I will pull out the camera!)

(Happiness for my dog is cold weather and walking on snow/ice...even at 15-yrs-old.)

(One of my favorites...this is "pure" Ca…

Just something funny...

This afternoon, I went to a local bookstore and browsed for an hour or so. While I was there, a group of three 15/16-year-old girls were trying to find Spark Notes for The Scarlet Letter (already a bad sign).

Anyway, they moved out into the main aisle and one of them started looking at books on a table. She suddenly said to her other two friends, "Hey. Do you guys know who Keats is?"

They were only about three or four feet from me, so I overheard this conversation and my ears perked up when I heard "Keats". I thought that she was talking about a book on the table...a book of poetry by Keats or something.

So, the other girls shook their heads and said, "No." One said, "Who is he?"

And the first girl said, "Well there is only one Keats!"

I thought: Very true, my dear.

And then she says: "You know. He is that guy in fourth period...he is really moody but I have a funny story about him."

This is the only Keats she knows. But she is onl…

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

I never had a chance to post about reading Kelly Creagh's Nevermore. I finally got around to some pleasure reading right around Christmas (shortly after finishing The Film Club). Anyway, I really enjoyed it. The ratings on Amazon were great so I thought that I would take a chance with buying a hardcover (something I rarely do). I was pleasantly surprised. I wondered how the author would approach Edgar A. Poe in a story about high school students...and she did a fantastic job. I also wondered how this book would give me something different from all of the other teen novels. Let me just say that I was very happy!

Nevermore pairs a goth guy (Varen) with a spoiled cheerleader (Isobel). The romance is very slow to build and the character's personal lives are very complex, always proving that you never really know what goes on behind closed doors. I think that Creagh captures a lot of things really well about high school and adolescent relationships. Also, in the background lurks a m…

Bright Star

Last night, I finally had a chance to sit down and watch the movie Bright Star. Many of you have probably seen it, but this was my first time. My friend, James, recommended it to me quite some time ago, but it finally came up on the Netflix queue! I loved the film, but there were things that annoyed me...not because the film was made poorly or anything, but because some of the characters annoyed me--specifically Fanny Brawne. Now, this doesn't mean that I ended up not liking the movie. I guess what I am trying to say is that the strange (and, yes, sometimes annoying) complexity of her character is what makes the movie great...even if I wouldn't want to be around her in real life!

The movie is beautifully made and very romantic (not with a capital "R"). Keats is my favorite Romantic poet, so I wondered how I would enjoy the film. The movie follows a brief period in his life (three years, I think) when he fell in love and cultivated a relationship with Fanny Brawne.

What do you think about this decision?

"New Edition of 'Huckleberry Finn' to Lose the 'N' Word".

I do understand the sensitivity issue, but I also agree with a comment that I saw on Facebook this morning. The writer of this comment on Facebook correctly pointed out that if you take the word out then you essentially pretend that racism is not an issue in the book and you cover up racism during the time period as well. The relationship between Huck and Jim, and the culture of racism that surrounds that relationship, is, indeed, a sensitive topic. But it is an important topic. If you ignore it, then you ignore so much that is important about that book.

I have often heard that this book is banned in schools because of the 'n' word. I am TOTALLY against banning books. I don't understand the fear that surrounds letting anyone read something. I have seen the fear in others, however.

When I was between the ages of ten and thirteen--an age when many kids today turn to the teen or young adult se…

2011 is here!