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IMG_0765To the tune of oxymoronic incongruous\appropriate music, 300 fresh-faced, happy teen-agers in red and white caps and gowns commenced real life Saturday in Pennsyvlania’s Peters Township. The high school band did not give up on churning out Land of Hope & Glory until it lauded every last grad into a seat on the football turf prior to being called to cross the stage to get a handshake and diploma.

Few realized the mind-blowing march music also has words. The setting of majestic trees, and sunshine that emerged late in a thunderous day thrilled us grandparents. We were among thousands of proud family members invited to honor the young ones’ achievements. People on the public bleachers looked on from the other side of the stage.

“Why does Britain Use Our Graduation Song As a National Anthem?” http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/lost-in-the-pond-how-americas-graduation-march-was-actually-a-product-of-england/

1. Land of Hope & Glory was composed by Englishman Sir Edward Elgar in 1901 as part of a series of marches called Pomp & Circumstance. When Queen Victoria died and her son, King Edward VII, acceded to the throne, Elgar was asked to compose appropriate music. The new king liked the section of Pomp & Circumstance we now know as Land of Hope & Glory so A.C. Benson composed words to it.

2. Benson’s words to the favorite stanza which is replayed incessantly are:

Land of hope and glory, mother of the free

How shall we extol thee, who art born of thee?

Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.

3. It became a very popular patriotic song which Elgar called the “music of a lifetime.” It bragged about England’s three centuries of worldwide imperial conquests. While he was still alive, the lyrics helped Britain win world war one.

4. In the 1920’s Elgar was awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University. At the end of the ceremony, Land of Hope & Glory was played as a recessional. The crowd liked it so much they have played it every year since. Other universities all across the United States followed suit. More and more are playing it until this day. Now it has reached down even to elementary school and kindergarten levels.

5.Vera Lynn’s recording of it stirred British courage as they went on to win world war two. Meanwhile, it was picked up to be played when British athletes won medals at the Olympics. Several football teams in the UK rewrote the words to make it ‘their’ song. It was almost chosen as the British national anthem instead of God Save the King.

6. The BBC philharmonic orchestra in London plays Land of Hope & Glory on its ‘Last Night at the Proms’ every summer. The audience rises to sing the words, waving their union jack flags in an electrifying display of patriotism.

Wild Roots Worth Honoring in America’s Future

Reference: https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-17/wild-english-roots-song-youll-hear-every-graduation-summer

1. Nothing is more powerful than being imbued with patriotic emotions in one’s childhood. My mother took me to England when I was four and when I reheard Land of Hope & Glory now, at age 84, I imagined I saw the Buckingham Palace guards marching as the words went round and round in my head. I did not feel vicious, just thrilled, strong and ready to face the music of life, so to speak.

2. Other writers on this subject point out the empowering, stirring music (see links above) casts off and loses its outdated messages of racism and expansionism “in the pond” on the way to America.

3. We forgive our parents’ mistakes and are one big happy family, appreciating our inherited influences and parents’ love and guidance as we set out in our own direction.

4. This was a good message for the grads to absorb on their hopeful, glorious night. Now they commence living in a world made more secure by their maturing emotions and thoughts.

May they be blessed and find wide and mighty opportunities for fulfillment, success and happiness!

A beautiful expression of the value of blogging.

This post, of photos taken in and around Greece, is dedicated to you. Opa!
(Athens)

Creativity is one of the most personally helpful gifts a person can possess.


It gets you through all sorts of negative situations, because it pulls you out of yourself, and your individual worries and concerns.

I think the willingness of bloggers to put their creativity out in the universe, consistently, in a blog, is a huge act of individual human courage.

This individual blogging courage and creativity results in a blogsphere replete with fascinating, absorbing and intriguing blog posts, that offer an improved alternative reading and viewing experience, that is a refreshing alternative to mass media.
(Above four photos were taken on the island of Corfu)


Being part of a worldwide community of talented and supportive bloggers broadens our horizons and perspectives, and enhances our lives.
(Stairway Hotel Bretagne Athens)

It enables bloggers to form…

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shopping

We’ve just returned from a first visit as house guests at a beautiful friend’s circa-1923 lodge and garden in Gulfport, Florida. These few bits of advice helped us wise up and fit in fast:
1. For a few dollars, you can buy a pair of aqua shoes to wear in the water. They protect your feet from the sharp edges of broken shells, for example.
2. Sunny Florida is also often windy. It’s good to have a hat that ties underneath the chin, especially for boating. The Gulfport marina was celebrating its Funday, so we were invited on a private yacht cruise with hot dogs and iced tea afterwards. I learned this tip the hard way; my mauve hat with the wide brim is now bobbing up and down on its way back to China.
3. The way to swim in the ocean waves is to proceed sideways, parallel to the shore. It is much more exhausting if you try to let the tide push or carry you. Try it and you will be amazed!
4. Keep your eyes open for manatees bathing below the surface in a quiet stream while you are kayaking, pelicans fly overhead and an egret watches from shore.
5. Florida wild life often shares the same inner premises as people in a way not seen or tolerated in northern cities. A possum nonchalantly passed through the semi-open patio of a trattoria as we ate appetizers. The black non poisonous snake lurking around the mansion court’s garbage bin is regarded as a valuable guardian who keeps the rodent and beetle population down.

6. The northerner who moves in with cans of pesticide is looked at askance as someone needing to be educated. It is important to keep the delicate natural world in balance. Wasps and bees don’t just sting, they are also pollinators, some of them super and endangered. “If you don’t bother it, it won’t bother you,” is the motto to
follow.

7. Little gheckos, something like lizards, are everywhere so learn to love them! Fortunately they are cute, charm a lot of people and eat annoying small insects. It’s upsetting if they die from pesticides aimed at other targets.
We thoroughly enjoyed our first extended visit to Florida and look forward to returning some day soon.

Happy Reading from

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.margaretvirany.com http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

newspaperdress

Author Margaret Kell Virany in newspaper dress sets up before selling books at Ottawa’s Singing Pebble bookstore. In answer to queries, she told them a dear friend/fan gave her the dress after seeing it on a dummy in a Rockefeller Center boutique. Virany also sold a book or two at this lovely social, civil, cosmopolitan bookstore alive with fresh air.

Victoria_College

This fairy tale castle of a university has a text engraved over its entrance (left). Pretty vines at times obscure it but make a lasting picture to hang in a home to inspire kids.

A child made cozy with books from the earliest age will do well at school and live a good life. This is true and vital especially  in the midst of the electronic revolution. Here are six cues to help make old-fashioned happiness come to your young ones:

  1. Post a beautiful picture, not just a framed text, containing a good book quote that is meaningful to you on a prominent wall in your home.
  2. Tell a circle of children a classic story relevant to them. Then have them each draw a picture of it.
  3. Give them each a colorful sticker to decorate their work as a seal of approval so they’ll be proud of it.
  4. Read a story to a child at night so she or he relaxes and falls asleep peacefully. Do not allow electronic phones, i-pods, etc. in the bedroom.
  5. Build a bookcase out of  boards and bricks someone else is discarding if you have no other way of getting one. It adds color, can hold things and even divide areas.
  6. Fill it with enticing books bought cheaply at community sales. Let the books’ spines expose their titles and their cover graphics excite curiosity. If they are good books, they will find takers.

My Particular Story

What set me up to writing this blog post was news received on Palm Sunday that our church is headed for closure because of indebtedness. For me it is a loss of literature and I will fight not to let that happen. 

When our congregation started nearly two centuries ago, the one book that needed to be taught to a child as early as possible was the Bible. At age four in 1937 I recall emerging from Sunday nursery school into the spring air feeling happy and confident. My story picture had a singing robin on it. I too was one with nature. God saw the little sparrow fall and counted every hair on my head. We were both that important!

When I learned to read I made out the words, “The Truth Shall Make You Free”, not quite hidden by vines clinging around the imposing door of Victoria College at the University of Toronto in a picture hanging in our front hall. 

That pretty much explains the path my life took. God really went up in my estimation when I learned the text was biblical. He had nothing to fear from my intelligence, my curiosity, my independence, my desire to be free, read, study and write to my heart’s content. In fact, that’s what He wanted. Somehow I had no trouble growing into the habit of metaphorical thinking. The spirit of love and creation would always be the strength inside, ahead of, around and behind me — even if churches close and we have to regroup around family and more literary ways.

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.margaretvirany.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

Enhancing-ImagesIt is one thing to have your blog flashed across the earth on the world wide web and another to have someone actually read it. Cozybookbasics has reached a peak of attracting readers in 95 countries of the world, enough to turn the WordPress Stats map orange with delight all over. Come with me to celebrate and see what trips any blog post may be able to take. The link shows the colorful flags of my readers’ countries:

https://wordpress.com/stats/day/countryviews/cozybookbasics.wordpress.com?startDate=2017-03-29&sum
marize=1&num=-1

Gray patches in the Middle East and Central Africa still challenge my blog’s universal presence as a reminder of passionate love for written creatures.

Two Observations and Tips

I’d love to know what magic search word lit up a single reader living in each of  Cameroon, Costa Rica, Albania, the Ivory Coast, Honduras, Brunei, Puerto Rico, Azerbaijan, Myanmar, Qatar, Venzuela, Moldova, Kuwait, Haiti, Mauritius, Kenya, Afghanistan, Barbados, Papua New Guinea and Egypt. Thanks for their initiative. It’s worth spending time on a careful choice of tags; I usually have ten or twelve.

It’s good for a blog to have an all-inclusive title. I used ‘cozybookbasics’ to write two posts — one on ‘How we Fell in Love, Built a Canoe and Got a House’ and one on ‘How to Build a Canoe the Aboriginal Way.’ A freelanced article on the latter topic started our home-based business on top of our journalistic careers. This blog post is our most successful, attracting over a thousand readers. Most of them live in 15 former USSR countries. The blog is shared on wooden boat building sites in the Russian and Polish languages. It was written in short cutlines underneath pictures so was easy to translate.

  • If you are a WordPress blogger, here’s how to get your map:
  • Click on My Sites at the left top of your edit page
  • Click on Years at the right of the top line
  • Scroll down and click on Countries on the right
  • Click on All Time at the right of the top line
  • If you are not yet a WordPress blogger, look on Google to find out how to become one. I found it free and easy to arrange.

Voilà! Smile and admire your own collection of big numbers and trophy flags — even if, like me, you’re still near the beginning of becoming a truly global blogger.

Happy Reading & Writing

www. amazon.com/author/margaretvirany  www.margaretvirany.com

Kells Pasture

It’s Cozy

  • Stay for a week in a thatched-roof cottage near Waterford, where Vikings set foot
  • Watch Irish Sea fishers catch seafood to replenish what you’re eating for lunch
  • Imagine impish fairies hiding outside your door, coating the postcards you’re sending home with magical whimsy
  • Breathe in the smell of wild flowers, the bog, and pervasive, mystifying mist

It Has A Book . . .

  • Take a copy of your family memoir, A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, to the Mayor of Kells. Have faith that  “A book always finds its own readers”
  • Look at stone ruins, graves and gates adorned with Celtic art, and the refuge to which monks fled from a bloody Viking raid to pen what’s now known as The Book of Kells
  • Deposit a copy of your book for reference at Trinity College Library, Dublin, resting place of the original manuscript
  • Hope that, along with an explanatory letter, your book will be cataloged as a legitimate addition to the long and quaint path of Kells memorabilia

It’s Basic

  • Search out Ireland’s soul. Pick up a rental car at  Dublin Airport early Saturday and count on luck to survive driving on the left side into the city.
  • Stop at a central café to ‘people watch’; read the daily paper to get a handle on the pulse of the times and the place
  • After walking around and sightseeing, have a beer at the James Joyce pub. Try to grasp what he was up to with writing Ulysses, The Dubliners and Finnegan’s Wake
  • Attend a music-only sung service at Christ Church on Sunday. This Celtic church was erected in the 11th century; the choir dates back 400 years.
  • Spend a day motoring out to the Ring of Kerry on the south coast to see magnificent scenery.

It’s Irish

  • Indulge your Irish genes by telling local people your great-grandparents were poor tenant farmers in Armagh County who emigrated to America in 1850 to find a better existence
  • Go to a concert of Irish dancing in the spirit of your grandmother who expected everybody to ‘step around’ fast to do the work of the farm
  • Be careful whom you tell your grandparents’ name was Campbell; old clan warfare hatreds still run deep
  • Spend what you can on souvenirs, such as linen and lace, and take all the pictures you can to keep your visit alive and help the Irish economy

This  blog complicates the  mystery of why anyone would write a family memoir entitled  A Book of Kells, Growing Up in an Ego Void. (Our surname was Kell and I was a preacher’s kid. There’s some doubt over whether our family originated in a community of ninth century monks).

Margaret Kell Virany, lang & lit lover, Norrie Frye note-taker, journalist, editor, autho

 http://www.cozybookbasics.com

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

1. Keep your eye on the ‘events’ calendar in newspapers and online if you are an indie author of a nonfiction paperback book. This genre sells best person-to-person. It doesn’t sell as well as fiction does in e-book form. My income tax figures show I made 80% of my money selling books on the ground from September to December and perhaps you are the same. March is the time to start making phone contacts for another successful year.
2. Go back to your 2016 phoning lists. You may have missed some events because you were too late calling. I just phoned about one such event planned for late September each year and discovered the registration opens April 1st.
3. Many cultural organizations have annual conferences with book tables authors can rent. This is a new venue for me to try this year and I’m very excited about it. Last year I missed out on selling to the West Quebecers and members of the British Isles Family History Society but I won’t make the same mistake in 2017!
4. Even if you go into book stores for signings, it is still seasonal. You have to go when they are busiest. There’s fierce competition between authors to get one of those good spots. I was missing a receipt for my income tax return so, just now, I phoned the bookstore where I had sold nine books to get it. I took the opportunity to arrange to sell my books there again on the Saturday before Mother’s Day in May.
5. The store clerk put a bee in my bonnet by asking, “Do you really think it’s worth it? I mean, if you have already been here?” I must try to get into some bookstores where I failed before, not always the same ones. However, last time I was in her store I sold to every person I tried to persuade, except one, and I’ll try my best to do that again.

I remain optimistic. I’ll let you know. There are many wonderful readers out there and I hope you’ll have the joy of meeting and selling to them, just as I do year after year!

www.margaretvirany.com   www.amazon.com/author/margaret virany   www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com

_57

In her tales, author Ronee Henson’s birth in June, 1937 is joyous for a few minutes, until her boy twin dies. Within days, so does her eldest brother — of diphtheria. From then on Mother often sighs, “Ach, ja,” and Father becomes enraged for no reason. Instead of drawing together for comfort, each person in the family mourns in their own way. Henson  writes, “Only I, the baby, prattle happily to the sunbeams that find their way into my buggy when it stands in the garden.”

Plot of Faces From Another Time
What Henson has to “prattle” about is the normal, happy childhood, good upbringing and education she had against all odds. It is an ironic book because she is growing up with a brutal war all around her and an abusive father in her own home. The village is suspicious of strangers yet absorbs a multitude of refugees

  •  She starts from a focal point in the church graveyard,  followed by a walk, and lets the names and buildings she sees revive her memory. The book darts back and forth in time.
  • The big crisis in the middle arises when ‘LittleOne’ can’t stop Father from killing Liesl, her pet rabbit and best friend, to make soup. That same night Father beats her brother severely. Both children develop fevers. Mother confronts him, makes him face up to what he has done and makes him help her wrap wet rags around them so they will get better
  • The anecdotes and characters are unified by a theme of compassionate community. Of several role models (e.g. her Mother, Oma and teachers)  one is more poignant and powerful than the next. The deep pathos of the soldier’s story is the climax just before the end of the book
  • The book ends with a wedding feast in 1997 where Henson revels in taking part in her childhood friends’ big celebration, with children of their own who have grown up to be good people. The justice of the peace makes the guests promise to support the young couple so they will do well too
  • In the epilogue, the family moves to the United States in 1949 and Henson has lived happily and compassionately for 68 years after, so far.

Style & Structure

  • Gifted with a phenomenal memory, Henson pictures the story in her mind, then sketches in facial features, gestures and minute details of surroundings
  • Deft economy of words propels the action with the reader totally involved
  • She uses the device of pathetic fallacy beautifully. It is an excellent way to express her theme.  For example, “the old intimacy of sea, wind and salt air still wove its magic for me” and “the wind roars across the countryside… like many voices crying.”

The War Setting

  • The North Sea’s North Frisian coastal flats in northeastern Germany, full of beaches, tides, marshes and meadows, have been inhabited since the Stone Age
  • When world war two breaks out in 1939 Father, being multilingual, gets a job monitoring the BBC News for the German army  from a post in the fishing and farming village of Schobüll (pop. 500.) The family’s house is on the main street
  • Heavy troop-filled trucks roll by them headed towards Denmark all the night of Apr. 8, 1940
  • ‘LittleOne’ dives into their backyard trench whenever sirens sound an alert that Allied planes are flying over. She sees a crash and explosions; the earth shakes
  • Refugees from east Prussia and every other variety of dispossessed people turn up on their door step; some steal all their garden vegetables at night
  • Villagers crowd in around their radio to hear the BBC confirm the rumor the day Hitler dies. The obligatory portrait of Hitler has already been taken down from the wall
  • Everyone suffers from severe food and fuel shortages. They wind rags around their bicycle wheels and walk on wooden clogs or bare feet
  • Returning soldiers in terrible shape straggle back. Mother is insulted and ‘LittleOne’ is bullied when the British Tommies come. They apologize; an officer comes for tea
  • The refugee flood escaping to the “free” north peaks after the Russians invade on the eastern front and Berlin falls
  • Residents revert to the churning, grinding, foraging and clothes-making methods of feudal and primitive ancestors
  • Shops are empty and money is worthless until the currency reform in 1948
  • Authorities cram two more families into their house. Everyone is malnourished. Diseases and intestinal parasites spread. They are inoculated at a clinic.

I have read this book three times and can highly recommend it. Each time I learned something new and appreciated Henson’s literary talents more. I hope it will be made into a movie because, with all the human interest and minute details recalled by Henson, the director has half of his or her work already done expertly.

http://www.margaretvirany.com   http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany