War Horse

War Horse

I must have been living under a rock.  I’ve only just now heard about Spielberg’s production of War Horse, a novel by Michael Purgaro.  War Horse has already won the Tony award in the UK as a play (yes, a play with puppet horses); is now playing on Broadway in New York to sold-out audiences.  The movie will be released in Canada near Christmas.  Published in 1982, this inspiring story, told by the horse himself, has finally reached the silver screen.  I can’t wait to read the book and then see it interpreted by the incomparable Spielberg.  Go to the following sites to see the movie trailer and to see a wonderful monologue by the author, Purgaro, about the genesis of the book.  

Read More

Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited

As I slog along in life, it always throws me when just a smell or a place or a person can propel me into a hellish period of my past, one of many temporal nodes decorating life’s stress lines.  At those moments, when my spirit is overtaken by such an unbidden mnemonic, I am returned, violently, to a place of powerlessness.  The memory overwhelms, not just current reality, but erases for the time being all the self-growth, the va-et-vient of character as it is hammered-and-tonged in the forge of life.  It all sounds too precious, I know, but the return to that place of suppression of self, of terror of doing the wrong thing (by someone else’s lights, not yours, never yours and so how do you know if and when you’re doing their “wrong”?) or of  being abused for inscrutable and clearly irrational reasons, paralyzes the soul.  You are back there where there is no escape, no justice, no appeal to reason and all recourse is just a hollow calling out into the dark of the night where no one will hear and no help is about.  All the wisdom you’ve hoarded and transformed into the personal inner resources you call upon to rescue that damaged, deadly memory seem to have gone on the lam somewhere–somewhere, anyway, where you can’t access and apply them.  

Read More

My Gentle Reader: Smart Readers, Part Three

My Gentle Reader: Smart Readers, Part Three

Note:  Do not read this until you’ve read the ending to Ground Manners. A Novel !

Another Note:  When the novel, as a literary genre, first gained ground in the mid-17oo’s (Fanny Burney, etc), the author often interpellated the reader (i.e., spoke directly to the reader in the novel) and referred to him as “gentle reader” hence the title of this blog.  “Gentle” at that time implied “someone of good or high breeding”.  The “novel” was very much a new way of writing at that time whence the word “novel” meaning “new” in French. It’s not that I don’t think you already know all this…it’s just that I’ve forgotten most of what most Arts students have yet to learn, and I wanted to test what’s left of my own knowledge.

To read how the conversation you’re about to read came about, go to my previous blog post, Readers Smarter Than I Am.  When a reader with a wide-ranging intelligence like Roxanne’s takes the time to comment and ask questions, you can bet that it’s a treat for the writer. More, it enlarges and refreshes my own view of the work which, after having lived with the story and the characters for three years, can become trite and stale, though the actual writing of it was indeed full of passion and fury and all those other emoticons.  

Read More

Readers Smarter than I am: Pt Two in French

Roxanne, the gentle reader I spoke about earlier, has agreed to my posting of our email conversation.  I will post that shortly.  In the interim, I received another excellent Review; a disguise for yet another exceptional exercise in Literary Criticism…it appears below.  If you can’t read French, go to my blog www.cynthiaderrico.com  in a few days for the English translation.   What Madeleine wrote is a balanced and precise review which appreciates the novel and takes the writer (me) to task.  I love it.  I met this woman at Curves.  Please applaud Madeleine de Laat–her frankness and precision–and go to my book site to find out who she is (click on the Quebec flag on the Home page).

Dans ce premier roman, l’auteure nous révèle son grand attachement pour la race équine et l’environnement.

Read More

Readers Smarter than I am

Readers Smarter than I am

I just had an amazing exchange with one of the readers of my novel, www.groundmannersnovel.com .  This reader delivered insights into my own writing which I probably would never have seen, and did it with such elegant simplicity–no big words, no head-scratching complexity–that I can’t help thinking that readers like this make my work look good.  At the very least, they make me seem smarter than I actually am.  

Read More

The Princess and the Pea

Before I post the fabulous photos Deb and her husband, Ron, took of me while I was at their “horse heaven” in Abbotsford, I need to think through (which, for me, always means “write through”) the many comments and opinions I’ve heard thus far about Ground Manners. A Novel.  I suppose I could describe my readers as either general fiction readers or horse-owning readers.  The general readers enjoyed the storyline and/or the historical bits and/or the narrative style (which some thought poetic and others thought easy to read).  I was thrilled when Evelyne Villers, journalist and horsewoman, caught the few witticisms laced throughout the text here and there.  I’m not sure anyone else did, or if they did, they didn’t see fit to mention them.  That omission brings me to the horse-owning readers.  

Read More