Monday, August 24, 2015

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!


And, I’m back. Took a couple of days off while I let the neurons cool down. They overheat sometimes.

I love to read different books—keeps the creative fires lit. Sometimes it’s comic books. I still love my DC comics. My two favorites haven’t changed much, at least as far as my interest, in 50 years. It’s still Batman and Superman. But I’m having trouble sometimes keeping up with the recent changes in the DC universe. Bruce Wayne was Batman, but he was killed, then got juiced with some immortal stuff, and now Bruce Wayne’s back, but he has no memory of ever being Batman. And Clark Kent lost the glasses and suddenly a lot more people have (finally!) figured out he’s really the Super-Dude. But he’s a lot less super than before, and he’s a lot more street savvy.

Crazy, huh? Yes, but it’s fun. As long as they keep with their plan, I’m cool. Let’s just go with it and don’t do one of those things where now Bruce has his memory back and he’s the Bat Guy again. I like the change, let’s just keep it rolling.

Sometimes I’m in a Gothic mood and want to read some Poe or Lovecraft. Especially in the fall. Just feels right as the wind’s blowing harder, the days are shorter, and I just saw a raven outside the window.

Other times it’s some Thurber. His insight into what it’s like to be a fallible human, his clarity of language, and his sharp humor are perfect at times.

But right now I’m on an L. Frank Baum kick. I read “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” a few years back and love it. What’s great about it is that it can stand alone from the movie, which I also love. One of the things I like about the book is that Dorothy really did go to Oz, carried there by the twister (cyclone in the book). It wasn’t the result of sever head trauma as it was in the movie. I remember when I first found out, as an adult, that she didn’t actually visit Oz in the movie. It was just a dream. I felt a little ripped off.

So, recently, I read “The Marvelous Land of Oz”, the second book in the series. This time we start off in Oz, with a young boy named Tip. Dorothy’s not in this one at all, as she’s still back in Kansas. The adventure this time focuses on Tip’s escape from an old witch named Mombi, who has kept him as her slave for years. Now, he’s on his way to Oz to get help from the Scarecrow, who rules benevolently over the Emerald City, thanks to his magnificent brains.

And now I’m on to the third book, “Ozma of Oz”, which brings Dorothy back into the story.

These are terrific books with great adventures and characters, written by an author with a fantastic imagination. He gives us Jack Pumpkinhead, and a Woggle-Bug, and Tik Tok (a copper, mechanical man). And I never realized it before, but he loves to play (or prey) on words, as do I. Here’s an example:


Dorothy is looking for entrance into a palace, when she reads a sign that says, “Please knock at the third door in the left wing.” She learns that the left wing is on the right because “…there used to be three wings, and two were torn down, so the one on the right is the only one left.” Rim shot, please.


It’s also enjoyable reading because it’s from a time many years ago, and the expressions are a little different. At one point, Billina, a talking chicken, fights a rooster. She says afterwards, “Didn’t I do him up brown?” One reference I read said this expression indicates this means to “…trounce, or defeat thoroughly.” Here’s the link to the reference source: http://alt.usage.english.narkive.com/qBDpXnFm/to-do-something-up-brown.


Besides all else, this is a terrific series to read. We get new characters (so far) in each book, and the books refer to previous works. We get to know and love these characters.


What’s my point to all this rambling? Just that as writers we need to read. This writer, in particular, needs to read everything. Sometimes it’s light. Sometimes it’s a book that hurts my head. But all authors have something they want to tell us. Whatever you like to read, enjoy it. And above all, have fun.


Keep writing, friends.

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