Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hello, Clancy!

A good friend at the writers group I attend brought me a new supply of fabric and yarn to use for dolls. Completely unsolicited. Just a thoughtful and genrous surprise. The friend is Pat Sheehan. So I used some of what she had given me to make a doll for her. She named him "Clancy." Here he is.

Pat was born in Belfast. You might suspect the Irish inclination from the name she gave the doll.
     Another special thing about her is she has written a memoir, a charming memoir, about the transition when her family moved from Ireland to Los Angeles when she was a teenager. Can you imagine the culture shock? We writers looked forward each week to her next installment--learning about life in Belfast and the adjustments necessary in accepting the lifestyle of LA.

The book is still available on Amazon. I heartily recommend it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Terry Jones and Steve Ellis

I checked to see if Terry Jones' Who Murdered Chaucer? and Steve Ellis' Chaucer at Large are both available on Amazon. They are. So that means to me that they would not be hard to find. Neither book is new, but they are exceptional at increasing the perception of Chaucer's image. He was much more than just a storyteller when he lived.

     I've mentioned Who Murdered Chaucer? before. It's an important book; it has an important message. It is NOT a literary look at Chaucer. Far from it. Instead, it creates the milieu in which he lived. And you get a picture of Chaucer the man and how he fits into the forces at work around him. You also are led to ponder a strange lack of information.
     The idea of Chaucer's "murder" started out as a fun piece, an entertainment at a literary gathering. The questions raised intrigued the participants. Several experts from different fields, along with Terry Jones (he of Monty Python fame), felt driven to go deeper and produce a book so their findings and speculations would "shed more light on this rather shady corner of history," as Terry Jones explains in the foreword entitled, "How this book came about."

 The story contained in Steve Ellis' Chaucer at Large is said, by a noted Chaucer scholar, to be "often quite extraordinary and it has not been told before." Ellis' book, in contrast to Jones', IS a literary look at Chaucer. The focus, however, is entirely new. This is not an analysis of the Tales, but a presentation of how the poet's imagination has been adapted in the English-speaking world from the 1800s into the 21st century. Chaucer is found at "the heart" of the literary outreach of our culture. Novelists, poets, authors of children's books--stage , television, radio and film--all find inspiration and challenge in the medieval poet. Ellis finds him "elusive" and "intriguing." As a new collection of information, I found it surprising at times.
     And, if I may digress, it delighted me that Ellis, in his conclusion, touches upon the fact that the Pilgrims never reach Canterbury.  "The Tales does not need 'finishing' because it stands in its present state as 'an artistic unified whole,' its so called incompletion part of a deliberate design." It does my heart good to see it stated so clearly, to recognize the destination as beyond the end of the narration.

The two books are very different. Neither is a formal presentation of research. Though they both are built on research, their aim is to intrigue the general reader regarding Chaucer, the great English poet. Try them. The image you hold of Geoffrey Chaucer will be altered significantly.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Curly works

I tried something new for making curly hair on a doll. I'm pleased to say that it worked out just fine. When I'd finished the first doll with the new style of hair--I named her Elena-- I took it to show my friend Lorraine. As I handed Elena to her she immediately hugged the doll. Well, that's a clear sign that little Elena would have a happy home with Lorraine.

 Lorraine immediately accepted the responsibility.  Makes a "mother's" heart grateful.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Celebrating Chaucer in the New Year

It seems worthwhile to assemble my Chaucer possibilities for 2016. After all, that's the passion and purpose of my online connections.
     First that comes to mind is the talk I give on YouTube.

Chaucer: what is hidden in the Canterbury Tales by Dolores Cullen

It's quite popular. My grandson is the producer of the video; he graduated from the Loyola Marymount Film School.
      Also on YouTube is a radio interview: 

                    Chaucer: Dolores Cullen interviewed by Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold, the interviewer, is exceptional. He, no doubt, has read all of my Chaucer books and all the articles I've written! That's obvious from the content of his many questions.

     Then there is this blog:

 It gets hits from all over the world. Chaucer says a lot more than what is regularly taught in classes. It's time we question previous opinions. That's what they are opinions, some published 100 and more years ago. For instance, Chaucer has concealed a whole other world in just the Canterbury Tales. "Discovering" it could give new life to Chaucer--and to medieval literature, in general.
     Finally, if you have a problem finding my Chaucer books to purchase, may I direct  you to my website?

The three books are now online. They can be read--rather like using a Kindle. They can even be downloaded or printed out. And you can easily click to the YouTube and blog entries (all of the above) from the home page.
     I'm planning on making 2016 a great year for Chaucer.

[P.S. You can see the dolls I make on this blog. That's what I do in between my Chaucer thoughts.]