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“My cause of death today is Beauty”: Mr. Sunshine

“Yesterday seemed like a distant past, today felt unfamiliar and tomorrow was terrifying. It was a time of turbulence. All of us, each in their own way, were living through the rapidly changing Joseon.” For the “Little Gang.” 🌸 [Note: I was careful not to include any significant spoilers here, but only to discuss the characters as they are introduced early on ~ with a warning.] In the midst of a rewatch of my first K-drama, My Mister, my brother and I started the 2018 historical drama, Mr. Sunshine (미스터 션샤인) and were shortly after joined by several others, including
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In Defense of Woundedness, of Failure, and of Frodo: A Personal Reflection with Tolkien’s Letters

[ALERT: If you are not familiar with the end of The Lord of the Rings, do not continue…] I originally published this post on my now-too-Dickensian site around Hobbit Day, 2021, and thought that our #TolkienReadingDay would be a good opportunity to republish it at its new home. At the time, I was reflecting on the nature of friendships near and far, including once-inseparable friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and on friendship in general, of the beauty hidden in human (and hobbit) failure, and of Frodo. His image was haunting me then, particularly on a Sunday when
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All Relationships are Precious: A First Encounter with K-Drama and “My Mister”

My Mister opens in a typical office setting, bright and bleak as a winter afternoon, everyone absorbed and professionally distant in their open-office “teams.” The only signs of anything green and growing here–passing shots, no more; the merest hint of new life springing up–are the office plants, watered by someone who is mostly invisible to the viewer. Shortly after, a comical sequence ensues as some of the office staff are sent into a panic by a flying bug—turns out, it is only a ladybug—as if something as vulnerable and colorful and living as that little ladybug has no place in
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Arresting Strangeness: The Green Knight

This will be a short post, no more than an update. (Honestly I don’t think I’ve tried posting with this new WP format on the app before ~ in the midst of travels and adventures of my own ~ so it may come out a mess anyhow.) My own adventure began earlier this week, when our band of scattered siblings (my brother John said, “Muster the Rohirrim!”) came to answer the call of one of our own ~ my brother and his wife and newborn ~ in making their move from North Dakota to Oregon.   The journey West…there is
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Remembering Roger Rees, and his Nicholas Nickleby

“Is this a theatre?” whispered Smike, in amazement; “I thought it was a blaze of light and finery.” “Why, so it is,” replied Nicholas, hardly less surprised; “but not by day, Smike—not by day.”  ~Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby by Sydney Wren Originally published at All the (Dickensian) Year Round It begins so innocuously with those quirky, slightly dated-sounding notes (now forever beloved) of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 1981 filmed stage production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Who knew that this brainchild of Trevor Nunn, in collaboration with John Caird and adapted for the stage by David Edgar,
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Current Delights and Distractions in Genre Fiction

Well, I have promised the start of a long Dickens reading marathon, beginning with his earliest published serial novel, but I confess that my current novel-in-progress, and a couple in gestation, have led me down the rabbit hole of genre reading. (But I almost always have some Dickens reading or listening in the works anyway, and I have indeed restarted Pickwick, which always “illumines the gloom” of daily life!)
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The Impact of Dickens: An International Conference

It was a joy to drop in this morning on the opening of the Zoom-based international conference on The Impact of Dickens, which will continue today and tomorrow, and to hear the introduction by the delightful Pete Orford, and that of Ian Dickens, the great-great-grandson of the great man. Before getting ready for work, I was able to view a good portion of the first panel, including Katie Bell‘s presentation on the impact of Dickens on the southern gothic novelist and short story writer, Flannery O’Connor. She pointed out that the dark humor of both Dickens and O’Connor depends on
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Fulfilling Little Nell’s Wish During Quarantine

Our state, Oregon, went into full lockdown in the middle of March this year (2020), and has been in the gradual reopening process over the past months. As I’m among those who was never able to work remotely, working as I do with superheroic adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (or, different-abilities!) in a group home setting, I’ve not been able to focus as much time and energy on writing and on research as I’d like. However, I have been delving into a big Dickens readathon ~ or, perhaps more appropriately, re-readathon. I’ve recently started the renowned Dickens biography by
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A Victober for John Henry Newman

“The heart is a secret with its Maker; no one on earth can hope to get at it or to touch it.” John Henry Newman Reading challenges have not often been on my to-do list, even though I can see how they could be great opportunities to find inspiration from others doing something similar. It’s entertaining and inspiring to see the different takes and offshoots from each challenge, and perhaps–just perhaps–one will find the Holy Grail: a real gem of a book that you otherwise might never have found. While doing my own prep for NaNoWriMo this year–or was I
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