The Materialistic Maiden

Where I sip coffee and judge everyone.

Month: October, 2013

In Which I Make Another Attempt At Poetry

Lay by me, my darling,

as we paint the flowers and skies

with hues like the Aegean sea and 

yellow daffodils. 

Twist your hair and observe the 

rain as it pitter-patters

mimicking, tracing the rhythm of your heart;

thinking as piano melodies are plinking,

racing towards the tracks to your soul.

 

Drawings are envious of the eyes

that encompass all; your eyes.

Every flower bows its head in shame

to the spectacularity of your form;

graceful, whimsical, and tantalizing.

Blink blearily and nod your head as

you lull to bed in my arms.

Dream beautiful dreams, stories that can

be put to later use. 

 

Let the flickering flames of the dying fire

warm the last cold bits that haunt you.

Allow me to shoo them away, hush your crystal

tears, and frame your watercolor complexion

in the gallery of my mind.

(I promise I won’t quit my day job.)

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Let Me Tell You All About Mrs. Poe

So, I’m almost certain that most of you who are reading this post know of the writer Edgar Allan Poe, and that, knowing him, you know he married his cousin. (I promise, this wasn’t weird back then.) In this blogpost, I’m going to share some photos, a poem, and other tidbits about her. She deserves more appreciation.

Virginia Clemm was born in August of 1822 to Maria Clemm. The young spritely girl married her first cousin, Edgar, when she was 13 and he 27. What amazes me about this is that she was able to pass as being “21” so they could legally marry. I’m convinced that the man who married them was on drugs. I mean, take a look at the portrait below and tell me that you think she looks 21:

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Here’s a colored version, closer up:

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Alright, perhaps she looks a bit older for her age. But it still amazes me. I digress.

Virginia was known to be a kind soul who enjoyed singing (she was a soprano). I read up that  she was seven years of age when she first met Edgar, after his discharge from the army. Poe moved in with the family in 1833, four years after the two first met, however they would not become smitten with one another until 1835. During this time, Poe was crushing on another woman, Mary Devereaux, and Virginia was their messenger. The romance with Virginia really started sparking when she was supposed to be sent off to live with their cousin Neilson, so that she may receive a good education. Emotional and flustered, Edgar wrote a rather melodramatic  heartbreaking letter pleading to not have Virginia leave him. During this time, he had moved out of the household to Richmond, Virginia, however upon hearing this planned to move back in. This would be the ultimate move to lead Poe to marry his cousin. They married May 16th, 1836, and the rest was history from there, until her death of tuberculosis in 1847, at the age of 24. (Coincidentally, Edgar Poe’s mother, brother, and foster-mother all died at the age of 24 as well.)

Now, on to some more uplifting matters.

Here’s a poem I found that she’d written for Edgar:

“Ever with thee I wish to roam —
Dearest my life is thine.
Give me a cottage for my home
And a rich old cypress vine,
Removed from the world with its sin and care
And the tattling of many tongues.
Love alone shall guide us when we are there —
Love shall heal my weakened lungs;
And Oh, the tranquil hours we’ll spend,
Never wishing that others may see!
Perfect ease we’ll enjoy, without thinking to lend
Ourselves to the world and its glee —
Ever peaceful and blissful we’ll be.”

Here’s a photocopy of the original:

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And now, I will end with a few more portraits/a photograph I had found of Virginia:

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(Here are the links citing where I got the photos and information in this blogpost:
http://www.myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=E_Poe_dnhs_US_2010
http://americanliteraryblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/marriage-of-edgar-poe.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Eliza_Clemm_Poe
http://poecalendar.blogspot.com/2009/08/birth-of-virginia-clemm.html
http://www.eapoe.org/papers/misc1921/deasf78a.htm
http://www.eapoe.org/papers/misc1921/deasf77a.htm
http://www.kevinalfredstrom.com/2009/10/new-and-rare-images-of-edgar-and-virginia-poe/)

Post-Mortem Photography: A Great Interest of Mine

I would like to introduce this subject to those who do not know about it already.

Post-Mortem photography was a big fad in the 1800s, used as a way of preserving deceased family members and/or loved ones while they were still “alive”; basically while they were still in good enough shape despite being dead.

It’s really interesting what these photos looked like. I would like to present a photo before I delve more into this topic:

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Look between the two young ladies. Who do you think is deceased?



If you said the young woman on our left, you’re incorrect. In fact, the young woman standing is deceased. How is this possible! Well back then, photographers would use contraptions to make the deceased bodies standup. (Also, if you look at her hands, they’re significantly grayer than the girl sitting next to her.) Below is a great example that I found that shows a “zoomed-out” preparation of this:

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Although the body is sitting, you can see the mechanics behind the body holding him up. When looking at photographs, one can commonly figure out whether a photo is post-mortem or not based on a stand (or pole) behind the back, if noticeable, or typically a “ring” around the neck or head, as can be seen around this late gentleman’s head. I will late discuss how to tell whether a post-mortem photograph is post-mortem or not without these “hints” to tell us.

Typically in post-mortem photography, as shown above, deceased bodies were posed with their eyes open. However, some were also posed with eyes closed. Below is an example:

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As seen, the baby is the one who is deceased, because their eyes are closed. (Trust me, it’s the baby.) Babies and young children were typically victims of death being posed for these photographs.

An example I will show below is of a deceased child with their eyes open:

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Something I wanted to bring up especially with this photo is, as previously mentioned in my post, there aren’t always ways of telling whether the subject of a photograph is post-mortem or not based on the propping stands. When those deceased were photographed with their eyes closed, sometimes photographers (I’m assuming? or painters) would paint eyes onto the photographs to give the deceased body “eyes.” (I have never come across a photo with said paint on the eyes before, however this is based on what I have read.) Also, although I am by no means a professional, I *believe* this photo of the child above has painted on eyes. If I am wrong, please do let me know!

Something else to keep mind of when determining whether a subject is deceased or not is based on how still or not the subject is. For example, the photo I will show below is of a deceased woman and two acquaintances of hers:
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The woman is perfectly still, whereas the two others are blurred. Back in this early time, photography was extremely sensitive, so often times photographs from this time were blurry because those posing could not keep still. However, if the subject was deceased, they would be stark still in the photo.

With that last statement, I will transition us into a showcase of one more of my favorite post-modern photos and end this with a link to an interesting article I had found. Do you think the men in the article are deceased? Please comment and let me know!

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(I love how doll-like the deceased girl looks!)

http://starryskye.org/blog/post-mortem_photography/ (Link to the deceased men I am a bit skeptical about.)

(Links sourced are below:




http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/VirginiaPoe.jpg)

In Which I Express My Adoration For Edgar Allan Poe

Seriously, it is very strong.

Extremely, extremely strong. I mean

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look at this man. Isn’t he the epitome of perfection? 

(If you save the pictures, or whatever, the links to where I got them are the photo description. So I’m properly sourcing these in a way. Don’t antagonize me.)

“I am free of a…

“I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally.”
W. C. Fields

First off, this is one of my personally favorite quotes. 

Second, I have two papers due next Friday, a statistics exam next Wednesday, and many a mile to go before I sleep. 

I hate my life sometimes. I do not mean this in a brooding sense, I mean this in a I-am-very-stressed-out-where-is-my-coffee-can-I-just-not-sleep-for-the-rest-of-my-life sense. 

In Which I Review Three Children’s Books (I Had to Read Them For Class, But They Are Fantastic) Post Three/Final Post

My final book out of the trio I will be covering today is Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. 

This gorgeous Newberry Honor book takes the reader on a magically enticing journey alongside Minli, a poor, overworked child whose family deals with hardships of near-poverty. Minli, having heard traditional Chinese stories from her father all of her life, decides to go on a journey to find a wondrous mountain where, basically, a male moon spirit resides. This spirit is the one who can change fate and, to Minli’s hope, will change her family’s fortune for the better. 

The story enfolds with Minli meeting an amogolmation of characters, and as the story unravels, the father and other characters tell “traditional Chinese stories” (which may or may not be true?) that intertwine with the actual plot. If it sounds confusing, I promise, the book is much easier to follow and everything makes perfect sense. 

The beautiful mix of these sub-stories that tie-in perfectly with the plot make this book an ingenious and fantastic piece of work. Lin’s creativity makes this book, if you understand what I mean. Not to mention her gorgeous, traditional artwork that is blended throughout the book. Altogether, it just, in one word, leaves the reader in complete awe as they read the book.

The book is perfect for a cold evening beneath warm blankets, alongside a cup of tea and perhaps calming music to set the mood. I give this book 5/5 stars. 

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The picture above was taken from the following link:
Amazon

If you wish to learn more about this story or the author, please take a look at her official website:
Official Website

In Which I Review Three Children’s Books (I Had to Read Them For Class, But They Are Fantastic) Post Two

My second book out of the three I will be covering today: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

I am positive most of you will recognize Applegate from the Animorphs series that she and her husband wrote. Now, she is flying solo with this Newberry winner about a gorilla named Ivan who is held captive in a shopping mall. He is then transported to a man named Mac’s “circus,” where he begins our story. Ivan is surrounded by many animal friends who are trustworthy and kind, however Ivan wants more. (I will stop there, as I don’t want to spoil anything.)

This story was based on true events with a gorilla named Ivan back in the nineties, who was indeed held captive in a shopping mall. Bizarre, right? Due to the amount of animal activists pleading for Ivan to be set free, he finally was set free into a zoo where he initially had a difficult time adapting. At the age of fifty, Ivan passed away. Applegate was unable to ever see Ivan amidst developing and writing her story, however she attended his funeral.

I greatly recommend this novel if simply for its wonderful message of animal rights. It is well-presented and told, being from Ivan’s view, and well-executed.

(I apologize if this is a rather small review of the book. I recently presented, as of two days ago, a group presentation of this book and am a tad burnt out. I will provide more links below for those interested in finding out more.)

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This book cover was taken from here: http://www.amazon.com/One-Only-Ivan-Katherine-Applegate/dp/0061992259/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381518291&sr=1-1&keywords=the+one+and+only+IVan

You can go here to Applegate’s profile site to find out more about the author: http://theoneandonlyivan.com/author/

If interested in helping with animal cruelty and animal rights, I highly recommend visiting the World Wildlife Fund website. There, you can donate as little as $25.00 online, or if sent a letter in the mail, can donate as little as $1.00, to help towards a specific endangered animal in need, stopping deforestation, as well as other disasters in nature occurring throughout the globe. Please give this website a look if interested: http://www.wwf.org/

And finally, here is a link to an NPR article that is most interesting. It is an interview with Applegate that also discusses her book and the original: story: http://www.npr.org/2013/06/13/191053327/headline-here

In Which I Review Three Children’s Books (I Had to Read Them For Class, But They Are Fantastic) Post One

I am taking a Children’s Literature Class in college, with the hopes of one day publishing a children’s book. I’m not too fond of most children (there are a select few I can tolerate, a few who even give me that warm, maternal feeing most women get around kids) however I figured if writing children’s literature was my way to get into the writing industry and make me an author then, eh, seize the day. Thus, this class, and thus I am reading many a children’s book. And now the reviewing begins.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin.

This book takes place in Russia, as one may guess, and centers around Sasha Zaichik, a young boy who’s living in the midst of Stalin’s reign. Once Sasha’s father is stripped from him for forming against Stalin, Sasha’s world begins to change. As we follow this character, the reader sees the character development and change through Sasha as he starts to realize that his perfect life which he thought was all thanks to Stalin, is no longer as organized, perfect, or beautiful, and that the great leader he once admired is not one to hold in high regard.

This book touches perfectly on communism during that era, the manipulation of Stalin and his power, as well as teaches children courage to conquer their fears and make necessary change for themselves.

This book may seem like a short, easy-reader chapter book, however it is so much more than that. The book lightly discusses topics such as death during that time; how people were taken away and brutally shot or murdered; and the separation of family into tight apartment houses, where each person had to dutifully share the bathroom (one bathroom, yes, between multiple people), as well as other dark, controversial topics.

I highly recommend this read. It is a quick 160 pages for the adult and highly educational, as you see this fictional memoir through the eyes of a child. It is engaging and a page-turner.

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I took this image from the following link:
http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Stalins-Nose-Eugene-Yelchin/dp/0805092161

Also, please check out the author’s official website for this book:
http://www.eugeneyelchinbooks.com/breakingstalinsnose/

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