Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More Random Thoughts

For you out there who are published authors and those of you who want or plan to be, here’s a very thoughtful little article from the New Yorker magazine that may give you a little chill. Think of the awful old curse: May you live in interesting times. These are interesting times in the book publishing business.

I sometimes wonder why I like old things. Antique furniture, old books, old-fashioned clothes, old movies. I wonder about the people who lived with these things when they were new, how were they different from us, and how were they alike? I have a hat that was old when my mother was born, I am building a collection of old-time radio shows, I am a big fan of the TCM channel, I even have a coin collection consisting of English silver hammered coins, one from each reign beginning with William the Conqueror through the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I. The prize of my collection is a groat (four-penny piece) from the reign of Richard III.

When the weather turns nice, as it is doing right now in Minnesota -- oh, the blooming trees! -- I start to think about horses. I used to ride, and wish, at this time of year, that I still did. I suppose I could go out on one if we stuck to a gentle walk, but my spine is too arthritic for anything more adventurous. Makes me sad, because I loved riding very much. I remember coming home from my first riding lesson and my mother saying, “Oh, you smell like a horse!” And me replying, “Yes, I know, do I have to take a bath?” I still think horses smell nice.

Thinking about those coins made me recall a mnemonic for remembering the kings and queens of England starting with William the Conqueror used by British school children in the Victorian era. It goes, “Willie, Willie, Harry, Stee - / Harry, Dick, John, Harry three, / One, two, three Neds, Richard two, / Harry four, five, six, then who? / Edward four, five, Dick the bad, / Harries twain, Ned the lad, / Mary, Bessie, James the vain, / Charlie, Charlie, James again, / Bill and Mary, Anna Gloria, / Four Georges, William, then Victoria.” Ha, I can still recite it!

To my readers in Fargo, ND, Wolf Point and Cut Bank, MT, Spokane and Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Sacramento, CA, and Salt Lake City, UT, look for me in your town in June. (We’re also stopping in East Glacier Park, MT, and Reno, NV, but I’m not making an appearance in either place, but will just be playing the tourist.) See my web site -- -- for a complete schedule.


Peg said...

Tried to find the New Yorker article - the link didn't work, and unable to locate in the New Yorker search engine, because I didn't have the article title. Do you have the title?

Linda O. Johnston said...

I checked out the article you linked to, Monica. Wow! I'll be blogging tomorrow about something related to old-fashioned print books. A lot of readers and authors, too, are thrilled with the new electronic forms of reading. I'm not there yet, but I'm open to learning. I've heard of authors who become very successful with online publishing, then also move into print.
I enjoyed the rest of your post as well.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Monica, I wish my son had heard of your rhyme for recalling the British rulers when we lived in the UK!

Monica Ferris said...

I think it's important to guess right which way book publishing is going -- it can affect an author's future to guess right, or wrong.

That mnemonic rhyme helped me when I was trying to study medieval English history on my own. (I found I lost interest after Elizabeth I, for some reason.)

Betty Hechtman said...

I have probably commented on my kindle before. Let's put it this way. I haven't used it for so long, I can't remember where I stuck it.

Your trip sounds exciting.