2019 Summer Reading: Transport Yourself to Another Time

Today, on my Monday Book/Reading feature I present three books that are quite different, but three books that will transport you into another time or place.

Reveries of a Bachelor

by I.K. Marvel
1850

I’ve carried my curious little volume around for years, with now yellow and brittle pages, treasuring it as a nice little book that takes one back to 1850, in the time of the Industrial Revolution and the California Gold Rush.

This summer I’ll be reading it again after many many many years.

Reveries of a Bachelor examines the dream-like lives Americans were living at the time. It was one of the top best sellers of its time but has received little attention from 19th century literary critics. In the text, Ik Marvel theorizes on boyhood, country life style, marriage, travel, and dreaming.

It was one of poet Emily Dickinson’s favorite books.

It is now quaint, and dated, but there are still hard truths of the heart and soul that we can all find in this volume of essays.

If you like social history, or write historic history from the mid-19th Century this book contains a wealth of sentimental information.

Reveries of a Bachelor is no longer in print. You might be able to find a copy online, on eBay, or maybe at your local used bookstore. Some people are asking over $100 for a copy but I know you can find one on eBay for under $10.

This sweet, and sometimes silly book will transport you to another time. Fix a tall drink and spend an hour or two with it under a shade tree or on your back porch with your cat or dog at your feet.

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Author I. K. Marvel

Artful Players
Artistic Life in Early San Francisco

by Brigitta Hjalmarson

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I love this book so much.

From the book jacket: With a handful of wealthy Gold Rush barons as indulgent patrons, an active community of artist appeared in San Francisco almost overnight. A subculture of artistic brilliance and social experimentation was the result in essence, a decades-long revelry which finally ended with the 1906 earthquake. 

Unfortunately when most people think about art from 1849 – 1906 they think of French, or Italian, or German art. Or they think of artist in the Eastern United States. But the real story, the personalities, the talent, and the fun was in California, specifically San Francisco down to Monterey, and even in Sacramento.

This book is non-fiction but it is a well written story and oh so fun to read. You’ll be transported in time with the adventures of Jules Travrnier, Thomas Hill, William Keith, Julian Rix, Grace Hudson, Theodore Wore, Oscar Wilde, and others. It was a time and place where both men and women could break out of the normal constraints and be the artists they wanted to be. Yes, there was drama, and the guys still didn’t want the girls to play in their club house, but it was an amazing time. It is a time and place you won’t want to leave. So pack your tuxedo, your camping gear, and your paint brushes and join the fun in Artful Players.

I read this book in January but I know I’ll be reading it again soon, just to savor it and get in the details once more.

Note: This book is available on Amazon for about $30. You can get a nice copy for a lot less on eBay or other online non-Amazon book sellers. Also check with your local used bookstores.

Chronicles of The One Trilogy

Book 1 Year One

Book 2 Of Blood and Bone

By Nora Roberts

I have book one and two of this Nora Roberts trilogy. Book 3 comes out later this year. I have to admit that I’m a fan of Nora Roberts trilogies. This post appocolyptic series includes magic, romance, and no doubt some nice twists and turns. I haven’t read either books yet. These are on my summer reading list. I will no doubt read them with tall cool drinks on my back deck undisturbed by two or four legged visitors.

I absolutely LOVE the J.D. Robb “In Death” series, and am of course waiting for the next book to come out.

 

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I will never shame anyone about what they read (if you want me to I can give you my shameful awful reading list of books I violently dislike.) I like to read just about anything. My goal is to give you some fun and interesting suggestions, and share books I’ve enjoyed, found curious, or think I’m going to enjoy.

So until next Monday – have fun and happy reading.

And you know, you can always read my blog anytime you want. With over 2,000 posts it is guaranteed to keep you entertained.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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Musings on Inspiration, Change, and Art

Oscar the cat enjoying my art

Oscar the cat enjoying my art. He says I need to start drawing again.

The other night my husband and I were watching something about the Lost Neck, I mean, Loch Ness Monster. A guy came on who was a cryptozoologist. I told Teddy I wanted to be a cryptozoologist. He said he wanted to be a luxury lifestyle consultant like David Bromstad on “My Lottery Dream Home.”  Seriously you have to love David Bromstad.

Then we laughed. Our kids could tell their friends, “my parents are a cryptozoologist, and a luxury lifestyle consult.”

Then we realized that they already say, “my dad is an antiques dealer and my mom blogs about Vampires.”

I used to be an artist but I forgot how to draw. I think I’m forgetting how to write most of the time too. I’m forgetting a lot of things. My world is getting smaller, yet it is more complex, and growing, and changing.

As life changes our inspiration changes. It is kind of like the moon, waxing and waning. In that way Werewolves are lucky. They have a degree of certainty in their lives.

Anyway, until I can learn to get my passion back for drawing (it was beaten out of me, long story you don’t want to hear) I’ll be inspired by other artists. I will also try to inspire those who do art or want to create.

Hey, please don’t send me “you can do it” messages about this. I appreciate it but I’m fine, really.

I’m going to be an art museum docent. I guess I already am, as I plan my final tour before I graduate and become an official docent. This is super exciting.

Now that my children are grown I’ll be teaching a new crop of children all about art, and history, and all manner of related things. I hope to inspire the young hearts and minds so that they might one day take on the world with wild abandon.

Wild abandon is something we all need. I watch my children, as grown as they are, and hope that they learn the fine line between control, and passion.

I hope they learn not to listen to assholes. I hope they know that deep down inside that in the long run their opinion about their own lives, talents, and passions is all that matters.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Culture

Dear Diary,

Tonight I cut myself while shaving my face. I did not bleed as I had not eaten yet. I realized that if I did eat I would start to bleed. That would be a problem as I had put on a white shirt. I had rolled up the sleeves to right below my elbow. Modern women find that “hot.” I am not sure what they mean by “hot” except maybe they are so excited that they age a dozen years in their excitement and stop having children but I know that is not what hot means. I also know that my lover Gillian would slap me if she knew such a thought had come into my mind. What do they call it? Hot flash? A hot flash. I would cause a hot flash. I do not think that is what women mean by hot when they see my sleeves rolled up.

I am a Vampire. Hot is not a good description for me. I once heard a woman say I was smoking hot. I went into the restroom to find a mirror. There was no smoke coming out of me or my clothing. I was going to ask her to explain but ended up going to her house and drinking her blood instead. If a woman wants me to be hot then I shall be hot.

In order to make my cut go away I put my finger on the wound and said a few ancient Vampire words in order to heal myself. Then I left my house. As I drove I wondered if a hot flash was anything like a flash mob, then I thought of something else.

After going out to a local club for a quick bite I noticed a spot on my shirt. I was bleeding. I covered my cut with a paper napkin until the bleeding stopped. I hate it when I leak. It has been what some call one of those days.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today I met my friend Constantine at the art museum. When I was Vampire King of my own Vampire Kingdom there were no museums. I had paintings, and sculpture, and skulls, tapestries, and strange bones on shelves. I would let people into my castle to see the objects. We did not have churches in the Vampire Kingdom so I displayed interesting things people brought me from far away places.

While I was locked in a crypt for the 18th – 20th Centuries museums came into vogue. Constantine told me that museum comes from the word muse, or as a shrine of the muses. This museum phenomenon is all new to me. I do not think I have a muse. I only have an um.

Constantine was late. I walked into the vast building, connected to an older vast building. Herds of children followed old people called docents out of the lobby, up stairwells, and elevators. I walked the halls alone finding myself surrounded by strange things.

I find almost all things strange in the 21st Century but the museum seemed to be a repository of strangeness. The strange galleries were filling up with children who seemed to love the random splashes of color, and disturbing sculptures. I could hear someone asking the children about the purpose of the horizontal lines. I had to leave before I was caught up in the frantic excitement.

Down a hall I found myself alone, surrounded by paintings of mostly outdoor places. I stood in front of a painting of singular beauty. The scene was that of a marsh, or field on a foggy morning, with a group of trees in the background. It was simple, yet drew me in unlike any other piece I had seen.

A hand settled on my shoulder and a voice spoke quietly next to me. “I knew the artist well. He painted that right before he left California. It was because of a woman. She was cheating on him. I miss him.”

“That is a sad story my friend,” I said. “What happened to him?”

“I was going to go back to the East Coast where he’d set up a studio, but he’d died. I should have changed him into a Vampire when I had the opportunity, while he was still here. I think he would have done well as one of us,” said Constantine.

Constantine spends a lot of time at the art museum. He is there on Thursday nights and other adult events. He said there were lectures and films to see. He says it is his favorite place to dine because he likes the crowd of art lovers. He says art makes their blood sweeter.

As we walked around, he told me stories about the artists and the artworks. He explained the different art movements, even with art that does not move. Yes indeed, there is art that moves.

At one point two lovely young women stood near us. All young women are lovely are they not?

I glanced over at them and smiled. Constantine did the same.

“Are you two models? Actors maybe?” One asked while the other just smiled.

We told them no. They smiled and walked on, talking to each other about how handsome and cute we were.

“What do those charming women mean by cute? Is it different in a museum setting? Either way I have yet to understand exactly what they mean. A kitten is cute. A baby is cute. We are not kittens or babies.” I said to my friend.

Constantine just laughed but failed to answer my questions.

I asked him if any of his art was in the museum. “Not yet,” he said. “Maybe I’ll donate one of my 17th Century pieces, but I have to admit my early 20th Century landscapes are more popular.”

Constantine has always been an artist. He has also always been sly and quick to take advantage of easy situations. He is an extremely successful Vampire.

I will come back to the art museum. Maybe I will get a membership.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Five years ago I was rescued from my entombment. Trapped in a crypt for three hundred years left me completely in the dark. Maybe that is not the correct expression to use since I am a Vampire and being in the dark is not that bad of a thing.

I am 675 years year old yet my points of reference and my appearance is that of a Millennial.

I have experience but my technology is too old.

Once I even told someone that I was raised in a religious cult in an isolated mountain town and home schooled by coyotes and squirrels. I could not tell them that my isolation was due to being locked in a crypt with five dead bodies, and with a wooden stake through my heart.

I know that my style is such that my friends need not call the five Queer Eye men to make me over.

I know that my hesitation and naivety can charm both men and women. I know my good looks can do the same.

But when someone asks me if I am straight and I check my posture that is embarrassing. It was two years before someone told me that “straight” was someone who is attracted to the opposite sex. I do not know these new words.

I do not want to act like an old man. On the other hand I have met old men who would be considered “exceptionally cool” by a Mellinnial, or anyone else who is alive and not a Vampire.

My head is spinning. It is time to sleep. Good night Diary. Close up. Go to sleep. The cats are waiting on the foot of the bed and wish for me to join them.

~Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

Click HERE to see all of Vlad’s Vampire Diary entries. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Oranges: Doodles #1

My husband and I were watching a movie and, well, I’m got bored. There was a pencil and paper handy, so I started to doodle.

This is Friday, so I’m wondering what to do for the next 50 Saturdays.

Blood Oranges: Doodles with Juliette

So here we go. Blood Oranges #1

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If you have a doodle to share let me know at juliettevampiremom@ gmail.com

In the meantime I’m going to whip up some silly doodles for no good reason, for the next 50 weeks. Maybe I’ll even add in a poll or two.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Inspire (it isn’t a dirty word)

In my home I have a wall of bookshelves. Don’t we all. There are also more books scattered all over the house on other shelves as well. One of my favorite quotes of all time is from film maker John Waters, ““If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ’em!”

John Waters also said, “It wasn’t until I started reading and found books they wouldn’t let us read in school that I discovered you could be insane and happy and have a good life without being like everybody else.”

But back to what I was looking for. I was looking for a book about California art, but ended up on the other side of the wall looking at poetry and literature.

Then something in my mind just shattered. It was my current WIP (work in progress.) The structure is there but there had to be more. The characters need to care more about each other.

So there you have it.

Over the years, and I’ve been over quite a few, we adults find that things like work (jobs), school, judgmental friends and relatives, and society in general has totally beaten any inspiration and creativity out of us. Or at least they try damned hard to.

I never understood the disdain some people have for creativity, change, innovation, and inspiration. The artist is revered but damned if anyone wants to study art. The writer is mocked as a quaint hobbiest. The inventor is mocked with the mythical idea of the man who would rather spend his life inventing a better apple peeler, or mouse trap than feeding his children.

My advice to my children, and anyone else who finds everyone around them is trying to suck every bit of inspiration out of them, is don’t listen to them. Shut out those who say no. Shut out those who make condescending remarks. Shut out those who say your creativity, be in art, music, writing, or even science, is a waste of time. Shut them out. Make them more of a pariah than they want to make you.

Inspiration isn’t just some stupid workplace poster that usually insults rather than inspires.

Inspiration can come in any form. It can be love. It can be acorns that have fallen on your car. One idea inspires an entirely different idea out of nowhere. Just go with it. Don’t think about it too much. Just don’t listen to the assholes. They don’t want you to be inspired. Being inspired makes you dangerous. That is a good thing.

I also tell my kids that if they’re around those who are boorish and lack imagination, and lack empathy, and want to be jerks, to just keep their ideas to themselves. You don’t have to share your world with assholes.

Creativity doesn’t have to be monetized either. Don’t ever forget that. 

And when you’re young, and even if you’re not, it is OK to just move on.

Let yourself shine, even if it is just on the inside. Have satisfaction knowing that you aren’t like them.

Then share with those who care, and understand, and those who feel safe sharing their ideas with you as well. Yes, know you can always be inspired by listing to others. Your story is wonderful, but it isn’t the only story. Don’t shut others out.

In the meantime, since I’ve turned this post into a vent rather than what I was going to write (don’t mind me, I have other things to share so just move on to the items below.)

I recommend you check out the books below. These are four of the books that distracted me and got me thinking about other things. They are by two authors I admire and respect. I am honored to consider both friends.

They both have a reverence for words, and actually see the world around them. They’re observers of life, and love, and everything.

You might be inspired. You never know.

Sack Nasty
Prison Poetry by Ra Avis

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Dinosaur Hearted
By Ra Avis

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Centripetal Force and Other Stories
By Jon Obermeyer

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Wingspan
By John Obermeyer

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One last quote. This is something we don’t say often enough to each other.

You are loved.
~ Ra Avis

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For those looking more for the Vampire side of things, I understand Vlad will be back soon with mire diary entries.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winding River – A Mystery

 

While going through a pile of old artwork I found this large format photo. It is about 16 x 18 inches and printed on heavy paper. It was printed in the 19th – early 20th Century. I don’t know who the photographer was, or who printed the photo. It is an original photograph.

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About a month ago I saw a photo of a painting of the exact same scene. The photo was from the late 19th Century. The scene is in the Rocky Mountains, maybe in Colorado. I don’t remember the what/where/who of that painting.

I’m putting the following questions out to my readers, and art/photo/Western historians. I don’t know the answers to these questions so any help would be WONDERFUL and I’d be grateful to you forever:

Who was the photographer?

Was this the Winding River and are the mountains in the background the Rockies?

Who painted this scene?

What is the painting and where is it located? Is it in a museum?

If you know any of the answers let me know. Yes, this is a mystery. Let’s solve it together.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman