Dec 23 2012

Good news! BlogHer’s own Rita Arens, Senior Editor, has moved ahead in the publication of her latest book, The Obvious Game. On Thursday, December 20, 2012, she shared the Cover Reveal for this, her first young adult novel and invites you to the party.

Those of you who know Rita as the party girl she is, will not be surprised she comes through the door with party favors for all. Not only has Rita shared the cover, but she graciously tips off her friends, they can scoop a pre-pub discount from the publisher. Inkspell Publishing has scheduled The Obvious Game for a publishing date of February 7, 2013 and you, and you, and you as well, are invited to order it at a 30% discount on paperback and e-book by clicking here.

Rita Arens authors her first young adult novel, due out February 7, 2013.

When I went to BlogHer ’12, I was amazed to see real live BlogHer celebrity avatars walking around the New York Hilton. I was like “I Love Lucy’s” Lucy Ricardo sightseeing with Ethel, star-stuck in Hollywood. “Oh my goodness! That person looks just like DENISE!”  “Look over there! That must be ELISA!” “Wow! Can you believe I was twenty feet away from DEB ROX?”

And, so it was when I saw RITA ARENS, sitting with her sister, giggling and laughing, looking just like her avatar. BTW, when I say “her avatar,” I mean the earlier version where she was laughing, not the new blue one where she is looking dignified, sophisticated and like a published novelist. Although her previous avatar looked lively and endearing, nothing prepared me for seeing Rita in real life. If I had to sum her up in one hyphenated word, it would be “Fun-Seeker” with capital letters.

For many BlogHer ’12 events, we met in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton. It was a tremendously large meeting space. But, even so, I could easily look over from my table and see Rita and her friends. Every time I saw her, she was giggling, sometimes throwing her head back as she started off again on another laughing fit. It was infectious and I wanted to get to know her better.

It was real life experience arising out of the online women’s forum known as BlogHer, with its never-ending opportunities.  And now, reading up on Rita’s BlogHer posts, her web site posts and her journalistic resume, I am getting to know her better. Because of that, I am also looking forward to reading The Obvious Game in February and have pre-ordered my copy.

Rita has widened her publishing horizons with The Obvious Game. Well known for editing the award winning anthology, Sleep is for the Weak (Chicago Review Press 2008), Rita has focused on editing professionally as she is BlogHer’s Senior Editor,  directing assignments and syndication. Rita is a wordsmith who multitasks better than most. In addition to her position and her books, she also maintains a web site, Surrender, Dorothy. Her web site’s title alludes to her living in the State of Kansas, of The Wizard of Oz fame, with her family at their home in Kansas City.  Writing The Obvious Game adds “novelist” to Rita’s extensive list of accomplishments and, being forward thinking, she is already working on her second novel.

Sleep Is for the Weak

A cover any parent can understand.

Thinking of Rita’s latest book, memories of my own teenage years are fought with remembered uncertainties and misgivings. When I read comments about The Obvious Game, I feel teenage worries coming back, like they were yesterday.  I immediately can relate to the “…hunger, pain and uncertainty of adolescence” as Ann Napolitano says in her comment below.  When I was growing up with these adolescent thoughts, the closest thing we had to young adult novels were Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Rather than trying to relate to those literary figures solving crimes and driving around in “roadsters,” it would have helped reading about kids my age, addressing and working through real life problems. Now, how helpful to have a literary genre specifically devoted to young adults. Even more so, how nice to have accomplished authors focusing their efforts on such youth oriented self-healing. Looking back, I believe the most important thing for a teenager with problems is to feel connected, not isolated and alone. By reading The Obvious Game, more young adults will be able to reach outside of themselves for answers. What a great self-help opportunity in a great read. My inner teenager says, “Thank you, Rita Arens!”

The Obvious Game is a story that will touch the heart of each reader as they experience the painful reminders of high school and dealing with the hardest part of growing up–learning to accept yourself.  Diane must face her biggest fears as she deals with her mother’s illness and her first love.

Pre-order now at Inkspell Publishing Website at a special discount of 30% on both paperback and e-book.

Praise for The Obvious Game:

“I couldn’t put down THE OBVIOUS GAME. Arens perfectly captures the hunger, pain and uncertainty of adolescence.” — Ann Napolitano, author of A GOOD HARD LOOK and WITHIN ARM’S REACH

“THE OBVIOUS GAME is a fearless, honest, and intense look into the psychology of anorexia. The characters—especially Diana–are so natural and emotionally authentic that you’ll find yourself yelling at the page even as you’re compelled to turn it.” — Coert Voorhees, author of LUCKY FOOLS and THE BROTHERS TORRES

“Let’s be clear about one thing: there’s nothing obvious about THE OBVIOUS GAME. Arens has written a moving, sometimes heart-breaking story about one girl’s attempt to control the uncontrollable. You can’t help but relate to Diana and her struggles as you delve into this gem of a novel.” — Risa Green, author of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF THE PINK CRYSTAL BALL

 “THE OBVIOUS GAME explores the chasms between conformity and independence, faith and fear, discoveries and secrets, first times and last chances, hunger and satisfaction. The tortured teenage experience is captured triumphantly within the pages of this unflinching, yet utterly relatable, novel. – Erica Rivera, author of INSATIABLE: A YOUNG MOTHER’S STRUGGLE WITH ANOREXIA


See Rita in action, in an Interview.

Pre-order The Obvious Game now at Inkspell Publishing Website at a special discount of 30% on both paperback and e-book.

About The Author:   Rita Arens is the author of The Obvious Game and the editor of the award-winning parenting anthology Sleep Is for the Weak. She writes the popular blog Surrender, Dorothy ( and lives in Kansas City with her husband and daughter. The Obvious Game is her first young adult novel. She is at work on a second. Rita has been a featured speaker at BlogHer 2012, BEA Bloggers Conference 2012, BlogHer Writers 2011, BlogHer 2011, Blissdom 2011, Alt Summit 2010,  BlogHer 2010, BlogHer 2008 and BlogHer 2009, the 2008 Kansas City Literary Festival and 2009 Chicks Who Click and appeared on the Walt Bodine Show in 2008.   She’s been quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek, The Associated Press, Forbes Woman, the Wall Street Journal, Businessweek and Businessweek Online and featured in Breathe magazine, Get Your Biz Savvy, The Kansas City Star (archived material available on request), Today Moms (Today Show blog) and Ink KC.

Website/blog: or  ;  Twitter: ; Facebook: ; BlogHer: ; LinkedIn: ; Pinterest: ; Amazon:

BlogHer '13

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Filed under: Beauty,Literature — admin @ 7:31 pm Comments (1)
Nov 21 2012

Oh, it always sounds so simple: a month’s worth of posts in thirty days and thirty nights.

Following the adage of easier said than done, however, the less time I have to finish something, the harder it is to do, which is a problem.

What’s the problem? Well, when I finally get time to myself to sit down and enjoy my writing for BlogHer, it’s when I’m really tired and would rather be slipping in between the covers, than into a desk chair to work the keyboard. But, work it I must, If I want to display that little success square “I Did It! NaBloPoMo 2012” on my web site.

Every night, I have to give myself the pep talk. The “outta’ the locker room and on to the field” mental boost to keep me going, just one more night. I treat myself to some drama as I imagine I’m Gloria, played by Jane Fonda in that movie that came out when I was a senior in high school, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t they?”The film was about The Depression, the futility of life and how, sometimes it goes on past one’s level of endurance.

One of the famous movie scenes from 
“They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”
by Director Sydney Pollack.

How I enjoy feeling sorry for myself. Whining as I sit here, moping around, wishing I had started earlier. I torture myself by looking at the bed. It is so close. So warm. Electric blanket turned on and up to level two. I pour salt into the wound of reality as I know I could quit NaBloPoMo at any time, finally descending into an eternal eight hour sleep, but also sliding down into the land of the wannabes. Somehow, I hang on my partner and start dancing, shuffling my feet over the dance floor and fingers on the keys. Whine. Whine. Whine.

Then, when my blogging thoughts, whatever they are, are finally posted, I feel such relief. I switch from Gloria staring at the water, to a self made Jane Fonda on the red carpet, dressed in Dior. Oh, what agony and what reward I take myself through every night. And, tonight, unusual for someone who loves to talk, I couldn’t think of what to say. On top of being Gloria, staring at the water, I was afraid I’d never reach the red carpet for my preening session.

So, take five.

Imagine my delight when I was making Comments tonight, getting ready to agonize myself into an undirected NaBloPoMo post and fortuitously came upon the ad for the “BlogHer ’12 Voices of the Year” e-book. What!?!? It’s out?

Well, I thought, I can’t start agonizing, yet. I have to Amazon the e-book to Kindle!

And then, I had to start reading it, because Voices of the Year at BlogHer ’12 was a phenomenal experience, just as Dawn from AlphabetSalad says it was. Being a little jaded that I’ve “seen it all,” I had no way to know how impressed I would be by the Voices when I first attended BlogHer ’12. Each reading was profoundly memorable. I had underestimated the impact and was, at times, moved to tears and then, unstoppable laughter.

So all I can say is, the Voices ’12 e-book is out! It’s available and you’re going to want to download it to your electronic device, read it and call it your own. Run, do not walk your fingers to click on the hot link above, because your BlogHer sisters, and some brothers, have volumes to share. No, make that Voices to share and an e-book, not a volume.

And, BTW, I’m “on the red carpet,” with my post done for tonight.  🙂

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May 14 2012

“LISTENING is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other.”

       —Julie Maloney, Founder/Director, Women Reading Aloud
How much there is, we know nothing about. Everyday, there is something new to learn.
We walk on a path throughout our lives, but until we come to new people that cross our trajectory, we are limited in what we know and can learn.
Daily, though, things happen, new contacts appear and we meet new influences which cause us to rebound in unexpected ways. Like a cue ball launched on a pool table, we travel one direction then sharply turn in another, influenced by forces we were not expecting when we met somebody new.

Knowing Zoe Artemis led me to meeting Julie Maloney. Getting
to know Julie led me to the Amherst Writers and Artists, with
their founder, Pat Schneider and her philosophy of authorship.

I betcha’ Julie Maloney never saw herself as leading writing retreats to Greece. But, one day she met Zoe Artemis and both their lives changed forever. Zoe was leading the tours and had been for many years when she got sick. During the summer of 2011, Zoe knew she would not be strong enough to make the trip and encouraged Julie to lead the group without her. In the photo above, we see Julie on the Island of Alonnisos in the Aegean Sea, feeling on top of the world.
Julie founded and directs the writing organization, Women Reading Aloud. WRA is dedicated to encouraging each writer to find her voice and, following the Amherst Writers and Artists Method, believes each person is a writer who deserves encouragement.  WRA is a non – profit organization devoted to the promotion of women writers. Julie’s goals for WRA include the development of a radio talk show highlighting non-celebrity women writers from all walks of life. Writers will read excerpts of their writing on air and have a conversation about their work.

Julie is a dancer, choreographer, writer,
author, poet, designer and photographer.


From her biography on “Julie Maloney, the third of four daughters, was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She has worked in the arts as a performer and educator her entire life. She holds a B.A. in English from New Jersey City University and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Julie performed professionally for several modern dance companies in New York City and was the artistic director, choreographer and principal dancer of the JULIE MALONEY DANCE COMPANY for thirteen years. The University of North Carolina has honored Julie with a Distinguished Alumna Award. Julie is a writer, photographer and teacher. She is the founder and creative designer for MANGO – a company that offers inspirational note cards, writing journals and books. In 2003, Julie founded WOMEN READING ALOUD, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting women writers through special events and workshops. She is a trained workshop leader in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method and leads writing workshops throughout the year.”

Julie has a lovely selection of stationery and
journals sold on-line through Mango Press.


In addition to WRA and distributing products through Mango Press, Julie is fully engaged in the writing life. She has written a new novel, titled The Lender, after traveling to Germany to do extensive research.

Private Landscape

 “Julie Maloney’s poems in her collection Private Landscape move with the exquisite grace of her abilities as a dancer and choreographer. Dream narratives sing in delicate imagery. Pain of cancer is here, honestly revealed and transcended; love is here, in its greatest giving. There is not a trace of easy sentimentality. This is a collection to remember, at once personal and universal.”           –Charlotte Mandel

Poet, Sight Lines; Editor, Saturday Press
Poet/Lecturer, Barnard College Center for Research and Women
NaBloPoMo May 2012

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Feb 10 2012

Third in a series of three.

Settling back down into my chair in the corner, I began to read Becoming Flame, a book authored by BlogHer’s own Isabel Anders, an associate of Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time.

Ah! I thought. Some light reading. Something to take my mind off of the heavy, HEAVY spirituality of the Co-op. Surely this thin little book wouldn’t take long to read. I figured I could finish it in the two hours I had to wait for my ride to arrive.

Just taking in the back cover gave me pause, however. Reading, “What could be more natural and timely than…A poetic exploration of the large and the small issues of women’s life – nested, braided, interwoven, never fully unraveled – in precise language that retains the mystery but awakens the soul? “

I was taken aback and could only utter, “Huh?”

Becoming Flame is a book that is so rich with poignant
twists of common sense, it is hard to take in much at once.

Just as the Co-op had toyed with my sense of time, whipping me back and forth between 1975 and the present, the book began to play with my sense of spatial constraints. This thin little book began to grow, until I was, like Alice down the rabbit hole, shrinking and becoming insignificant next to it. The prominence of the pint size behemoth began to consume me. Like a scholar who studies to discover how much they don’t know, I began to flip through the book, trying to take it all in at once, hoping to contain it as it continued to enlarge up and out of my hands and mind.

I tried to devour the pages, reading as fast as I could to get a sense of the largeness of this little book. I thought that if I could measure it, I could control it, keeping it within the bounds of what I could understand. I was undone, myself however, as the book held firm, whirling and expanding while I was carried on high in a vortex of feeling, insight and expression. My chair began to raise off the floor and swirl around carrying me up into Isabel Ander’s feminine domain, the vast group experience of women, the shared ancient knowledge passed down from Mother to Daughter.

With my head in danger of touching the ceiling, Becoming Flame became much like a fine wine. I couldn’t just drink in the knowledge, but had to sip each phrase, acknowledging the bouquet, and swirling the shared images in my mind’s eye. Here, I realized was a book of deep thoughts to be savored. Collected vignettes of dialogue exchanged between a mother and daughter, putting into words things that, for the most part, usually go unsaid.

As I read Becoming Flame, the spiraling vortex of the
UofMD art student, Jenna Parry, painting on the wall
merged in my thoughts with the verbal images
presented by the book.

In her Introduction to Becoming Flame, Isabel offers that she has studied “the profound evocative legacy of Hasidic dialogue, or of a rabbi or holy man debating truth with his disciples.” She shares she intended to “…employ the same conversational form, drawing from my experience as a women and a mother, and in a similar manner to convey some essentials of feminine collective wisdom, focusing on the process itself, as wisdom is ‘kneaded’ and ‘made’ like bread.”

The title hints that the wisdom offered by Becoming Flame is enigmatic as is all knowledge and spiritual enlightenment. All great words of wisdom are not easily understood, digested and internalized without great study and sacrifice

“What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?,” a disciple asks his master. The Holy One answered, “When you have knowledge, you use a torch to show the way. When you are wise, you become the torch.”

So, we learn that words are not wisdom, but the transmutation of words, shining by the light of each person’s soul and collective experience, are wisdom. The words are reflected by the soul and become flame and the soul itself, in transmuting the words into wisdom, becomes flame.

Women, each one standing on the shoulders of the mother
who has come before, create an endless column of female
humanity rising from promordal history without beginning
and up to the present as described in Dr. Clarissa Pinkola
Pinkola Estes’ book, Women Who Run with the Wolves.

Reading Becoming Flame jarred my psyche and my soul. I began to wonder what IS IT about collective feminine knowledge that is so deep and hard to understand at first read? The last time I had such a profound experience in reading, needing to separate each phrase, sometimes each word, for study and research was when I read Women Who Run with the Wolves, a book on the best seller list for 145 weeks in the early 1990s.

I began to think that while world history, written by the sword, rather than by the chalice, is raw in its power, feminine collective history has been intuitive, felt deep in the soul rather than spoken with the overt command of those conquering in the physical. While common knowledge has been spoken and written in the marketplace, in government and in the destructive councils of war, feminine knowledge has been more commonly shared during life moments and at the hearth, while creating soul, mind and body.

And so, Isabel Anders has written of the intuitive wisdom of women as they patiently intone knowledge to their daughters, an intimate sharing of the true light, love and continuance of their being. This collective feminine knowledge prepares women to live on the physical plane where the spiritual is merged with the physical and where intuition cannot always complete with the heavy burden of opposing physical strength.

Rising from primordial history, generations of
connected women, come forward to mentor
contemporary mothers and daughters today.

And why is unseen intuition considered less effective as a modality of strength? Waiting to speak can take great strength of character and willpower. So can the strength of focusing on the mundane everyday creation of body and spirit.

I am always perplexed by people who say they don’t have time to cook and eat together as if anything in their day is more important than feeding the body that cradles the soul.  It is the mundane that creates and sustains life. Each physical body recreates itself every six months. To do so requires incoming foodstuffs of specific metabolic vitamins, fiber and minerals, therefore a meal is the elixir of life, holding the spirit in physical form.

And so, as an example of one of Isabel’s many diologues between a Mother and Daughter, here we read them speaking to the everyday of food preparation:

The Daughter wondered that the Mother could spend so much time
lovingly tending the fire, stirring the soup, and baking the bread.

“Do you not tire of such mundane tasks?”

“This substance.” the Mother explained, breaking bread, “makes
possible the ‘alchemy’ of life. Through it the roughness of grain
is transformed into the fine constituents of Being…
How can this be called mundane?”

The Daughter said, “all of our work is so material, kneading
dough, plowing the garden, tending the fires without and within
…It is difficult to believe in the Unseen that surrounds us,
even on nights crowned by burning lights in the heavens.”

The Mother replies, “But, your own breath teaches you that there are
interim states between spirit and matter.  The elements that are
not seen: the wind, your breath, the Spirit that moves among us,
show themselves only in their effects. Therefore, which is more real?
The Sources or their effects?”

…from Becoming Flame.

If you have an interest in Isabel’s book,
hover your mouse over this link:
Becoming Flame: Uncommon Mother-Daughter Wisdom


Jenna Parry’s original work, Nebula Painting #1, has been used in situ and as a component of the accompanying two dimensional assemblages.

NaBloPoMo February 2012

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Filed under: Beauty,Literature — admin @ 6:43 pm Comments (0)
Jan 03 2012

Winter has a harsh beauty that renders warmth
and snugly comfort all the more attractive.

Whenever I want to feel better about what is going on in my life, I read a few lines of poet Emily Dickinson’s. Considering how somberly pensive she must have been every time she wrote, her words lighten up any situation I’m facing. Whoa, did the woman have a case of the blues! And yet, much like winter, her poems being harsh and resonating with pathos, make a person glad to have intermittent problems rather than feeling maudlin all of the time like she must have felt. Reading Emily Dickinson, at times, is like hitting one’s head against the wall.  It feels so good when you stop. Each poem is a gift, just like winter’s cold is a gift creating the anticipation of warm fires and close friends as welcomed changes.

Emily Dickinson # 258

There’s a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons —
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes —

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us —
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are —

None may teach it — Any —
’Tis the Seal Despair —
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air —

When it comes, the Landscape listens —
Shadows — hold their breath —
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death —

Look at that: she turned out so many of these things, she gave up on giving them titles and just started numbering them. The woman was a sorrow factory. The words she chose in the poem above are heavy, encumbered with intent, each one carefully selected to be a weighty pebble added to the reader’s cart. Oh good grief! Make it stop! And yet, don’t you feel what I feel? Aren’t you glad when the poem comes to an end? Don’t you feel better? And yet, the words are so interesting, don’t you go back and read it again to spiral into its deeper meanings?

They say you have to read good literature three times to fully appreciate it.  At least, that’s what my English teacher in High School said.  Three times. Once to get use to the vocabulary and learn new words, if necessary.  Twice, to get the flow of the words, the cadence, as she would say and, finally, a third time to integrate the two, savoring the words, cadence and meaning at all once in a crescendo of literary enlightenment.

The promise of velvet green vistas heralding spring’s return is the
elixir that gets me through winter’s cold and damp.

Now, compare the weight of Emily’s words above in Poem # 258 to this poem she wrote about spring. Why, one might almost consider it a “ditty” it is so much lighter in its tone:

Emily Dickinson # 812

A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period —
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay —

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

See? Here Emily Dickinson is skipping and humming a happy spring tune, as well as she could skip and hum anything. The words are of fewer syllables so they flow more quickly, creating a lightness that seems positively cavalier compared to the winter poem. It’s still heavy with that “trade encroaching upon a Sacrament” image at the end, but oh! so comparatively happy and free, I feel giddy. What a wild trip I’m on with you, dear web site visitor.

If you would like to read poetry with more comprehension so that my English teacher, Mrs. Miller, would be proud, here’s a pdf with points for more effectively reading and understanding poetry.

If you appreciate the great minds of literature and science and desire a contemporary twist to quoting famous sayings, including some of Emily Dickinson’s best one liners, go to Thinkershirts to promote 5000 years of “wearable wisdom” by clicking here.

If you are interested in Emily Dickinson and not above sneaking into her bedroom unannounced, this is a lovely introduction to be enjoyed by clicking play:

Emily Dickinson of Amhurst, Massachusetts was one of America’s
most prolific female poets. Although she wrote 1,800 poems,only
twenty were published in her lifetime, perhaps a big reason for
her being so down in the dumps…all those rejection letters.


This is a lovely volume of Emily’s poems. Hover over the link below to preview:

The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Filed under: Beauty,Literature — admin @ 5:16 pm Comments (0)
Nov 02 2011

Sunday morning comics were a favorite treat in the 1950s.

Times were pretty simple in the 1950s on Sunday  morning. Blue laws required all stores be closed, unless you needed a medical drug prescription for those who were ill. Drug stores were allowed to be open, but all sales areas other than the prescription counter were roped off denying access. Sundays were a day when a child’s world stood still and the only thing there was to do was be with the family. We didn’t see that as a bad thing. It was comforting. It was a day to breathe and recreate, and by recreate, I mean re-create.

In the 1950s, life on Sunday Mornings was pretty predictable.
Reading the Sunday comics while Dad read the paper and
Mom made breakfast was a big deal…every Sunday.

My Dad was a newspaper reporter for The Evening Star. He read two papers every Sunday: The Washington Post and The Sunday Star. In metropolitan Washington, D.C., there were two papers. The morning paper was The Washington Post and, in the late afternoon, The Evening Star was delivered. This delivery schedule changed on Sundays, when both papers came in the morning and The Evening Star mysteriously transformed itself into The Sunday Star.

The Evening Star began printing news in 1852, before
the Civil War. For most of its 130 year history, it was
Washington, D.C.’s paper of record, closing in 1981.

Because Daddy read two papers every Sunday morning, my brother and I figured we were very lucky. We got three sections of comics to read and with which to play.  Two from the Post and one from the Star. So we ran down the stairs before breakfast and before getting ready for Sunday school. We grabbed the comics with gusto, opened them up and placed them on the living room floor. We were too little to vertically hold up the pages to read “like big people,” so we knelt on the rug on all fours to read each word and savor the artwork.

This little girl is reading the comics just like I did. That’s
what “everyone” did before church on Sunday morning.

Once in a while there was a fun game, toy or puzzle included in the comic pages which really heightened the Sunday morning experience. A paper doll with clothes and accessories was the best of all. We would paste the page on shirt cardboard and cut them out.  I was fascinated by placing the garments on the dolls and seeing them immediately “change their look.” But, my once in a while Sunday funnies paper doll experience is eclipsed by the frequency of comic strip paper dolls found in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. That’s when “Tillie the Toiler” reigned supreme. Tillie had paper dolls in her comic strip every week. What heaven that would have been. I was born ten to twenty years too late…

Tillie was ready for any adventure while being
coiffed and fashionable.

So, now you understand that I love paper dolls because of many Sunday morning simple pleasures. I love all paper dolls, any size, gender or age. Most of all, though, I especially love the ones that came “for free” in the pages of newspapers and magazines as they were surprises and intermittent. I thought anyone could buy books of paper dolls at the drug store or Five and Dime if they had the money. I was a non-commercialized purist. I thought having mother call me over to look at a newly found paper doll, hidden in the pages of a magazine, was a special treat and an unexpected pleasure…

FREE Download

If you would like a special treat and
an unexpected pleasure from the
SunbonnetSmart Vintage Paper Doll Collection,
click here to download this Tillie The Toiler.
Print her out. Cut her out and have fun!


The Golden Age of the Newspaper
by George H. Douglas

“From the arrival of the penny papers in the 1830s to the coming of radio news around 1930, the American newspaper celebrated its Golden Age and years of greatest influence on society. Born in response to a thirst for news in large eastern cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, the mood of the modern metropolitan papers eventually spread throughout the nation. Douglas tells the story of the great innovators of the American press men like Bennett, Greeley, Bryant, Dana, Pulitzer, Hearst, and Scripps. He details the development of the bond between newspapers and the citizens of a democratic republic and how the newspapers molded themselves into a distinctly American character to become an intimate part of daily life.

Technological developments in paper making, typesetting, and printing, as well as the growth of advertising, gradually made possible huge metropolitan dailies with circulations in the hundreds of thousands. Soon journalism became a way of life for a host of publishers, editors, and reporters, including the early presence of a significant number of women. Eventually, feature sections arose, including comics, sports, puzzles, cartoons, advice columns, and sections for women and children. The hometown daily gave way to larger and impersonal newspaper chains in the early twentieth century. This comprehensive and lively account tells the story of how newspapers have influenced public opinion and how public demand has in turn affected the presentation of the news.”

If you have an interest in previewing this book documenting the
contributions of newspapers to American life, hover your mouse
over this link: The Golden Age of the Newspaper

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Filed under: Beauty,Literature — admin @ 6:27 pm Comments (0)
Oct 01 2010

How could I have a web site theme of The Depression Era and not mention John Steinbeck’s book, The Grapes of Wrath written in 1939? I couldn’t. Nope, can’t be done. The Grapes of Wrath has to be mentioned and in detail. So, here goes….

On the Amazon web site, one of the reviewers sums it up pretty well. Let’s hear from Ned Middleton, a British professional underwater photo-journalist and author, when he writes,

“Today the world is either in recession or emerging from the dark grip of this latest financial catastrophe. Whilst we may live in a time when millions of families are no longer allowed to starve to death – well, not in the developed world at any rate, I earnestly believe there are lessons to be learned from this book about the rich and powerful who care not for their fellow man but only for personal gain. More importantly, those lessons are as relevant today as they were in 1939.”

Yep…I’d say that connects the Depression to the Recession better than I ever could. But wait, there’s more! Here are two current videos that connect the dots between John Steinbeck’s book and our times as well:

How John Steinbeck came to write The Grapes of Wrath.


Gabe Johnson, New York Times, discusses
the similarities between the 1930s and today.


If you are interested in previewing the book, hover
your mouse over the link: The Grapes Of Wrath

For an enlightening discussion on the connection of The Grapes of Wrath to the struggle of the Exodus in the Old Testament click on this link.

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NaBloPoMo November 2012