In Arizona right now, there is a law sitting on the Governor’s desk that will allow businesses to discriminate and not serve those that are gay based on religious beliefs. This legislation got me thinking about labels and how we perceive people when we only look at the surface.
Years back, I had an experience when I overheard an acquaintance tell her friend I was “flighty.” I had a legitimate reaction: I almost whacked her with my wand. Being a sensitive person I have two forms of reactions in my arsenal: I either want to smack people over the head and get bitchy, or I feel hurt. (I usually feel both). And yes I have wings that I only show my dearest and closest friends, so I can take flight sometimes when I need to, but being called flighty pissed me off. This woman knew me at a time when my whole life was crumbling, my beloved dog, Foxy, was in the process of leaving this world, my family was crumbling, and what this woman saw was my world’s ungrounded-ness. She, not knowing me well or knowing any of this, only saw the surface and made an assessment.
The definition of “flighty” found online: “not serious or dependable” “irresponsible” “flakey”
I equate flighty with being ditzy, which would be really nice, as you are never weighed down with thoughts. (Finally, a good night’s sleep!) Ditzy equals lightheaded, not all there, a not super bright kind of formula. I wouldn’t want to be labeled that, ever. The truth of the matter is there isn’t a moment that I’m not thinking three thousand thoughts, including analyzing the meaning of the life while trying to figure out the formula for the back of Post-it paper. And like most sensitive empaths, I’m overly responsible feeling like it’s up to me to make sure most of the world’s population is happy and fully taken care of.
If we believe in magical things like fairies and the light, imaginative, happy part of this crazy world, are we then seen as ditzy and not down to earth? Are we prejudiced against? What if Arizona businesses had signs that said “No folks that believe in anything magical allowed here.” How would these businesses even know we thought this unless we carried a sign saying so?
Now, I can understand why she might have felt that way about me. I can look very ungrounded, flying around the room with a ton of hummingbird energy. That is my natural energy reserve because I am just plain excited and passionate about what this planet seems to offer. But I guarantee my head is not in the clouds but is in a planning/organizing stage. And give me sugar or caffeine and my sensitive, little body will be hanging from the ceiling lamp making giggling noises and I’ll be talking a mile a minute. I can also get overwhelmed with too much information coming in all at once which can give me that glossed-over look.
Over at my Facebook page I have my featured cupcake of the day and I like to share pictures of fairies and sweet dogs smiling. Does that mean I am flighty and not seriously dealing with the big life issues of the day? Nope, the opposite. It’s because I have felt and lived the depth of this world — deep pain, deep love, deep hurt, deep everything — that I know how crucial it is to share the good so we don’t get loss in that pain.
So before we label anyone inaccurately, we need to remember we are only judging the surface, and by labeling, much like those signs that might go up in Arizona restaurants, all we are doing is keeping so many others out, and missing out on the beautiful experience of seeing their greater depth.
*And many of us have experienced prejudice and labeling about just being sensitive or highly intuitive
Is this the New Mythology?
George RR Martin has created extremely popular stories that encompass the past in both book form and television.
More than 24 million books in the series, A Song of Ice and Fire, have been sold.
More than 14 million viewers were watching Game Of Thrones by the end of 2013.
Game Of Thrones, like the European history on which it is based, is filled with treachery, violence, and darkness.
Currently, there are five books in the series. They have continued to grow in popularity since the publication of the first book, A Game of Thrones; they have been translated into more than 20 languages.
The viewing audience for the immensely popular Game Of Thrones TV show on HBO also continues to grow and is now in its fourth season.
European history, particularly the wars and brutality of the middle ages, is echoed in this fantasy drama series. Conflicts over power, violent dynastic struggles,and treachery are ongoing. Locations, including northern Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, Scotland and the United States play a major part in adding an air of authenticity.
In our current era, and in the prosperous tradition exemplified by Disney, the new mythology created by George RR Martin has spawned popular video games as well as a plethora of merchandise (including a $10,500.00 wristwatch) and clothing.
Here is a link to an excellent trailer that provides a brief overview of the first three seasons.
An Interview and Insights from George RR Martin
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin talks to Alan Yentob on BBC Arts and Culture.
In his discussion of influences, Martin refers to Tolkien, and drawing upon the traditions of fantasy literature; he explains how the grittiness of real English and Scottish history influenced his world of Westeros. He says he was also inspired by the plotting and intrigue of Machiavelli's era during the Italian renaissance...
Martin also discusses differences in characterization between his books and HBO's Game of Thrones television series.
Here is a quote by Lord Varys from the video series: “Power resides where men believe it resides; it’s a trick, a shadow on the wall, and a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” ...this reminds me of a famous scene in American Hustle, where Christian Bale (as Irving Rosenfeld, the con man) saysto Bradley Cooper, "People believe what they want to believe."
The public popularity of George RR Martin and his new mythology is also well illustrated in this anecdote from a book tour that followed publication of his fourth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, Feast Of Crows..."Meanwhile, crowds have been lining up for hours on Mr. Martin's publication tour to hear him read. 'It's unlike anything I've ever seen, except for hosting events for rock stars,' said Carolyn T. Hughes, an events coordinator for Barnes & Noble at Astor Place in Manhattan, where Mr. Martin read in November. ' " Dinitia Smith, NY Tmes, December, 2005
A Critic Writes ...Here is an excerpt from Emily Nussbam's New Yorker Review
“Game of Thrones” is an ideal show to binge-watch on DVD: with its cliffhangers and Grand Guignol dazzle, it rewards a bloody, committed immersion in its foreign world—and by this I mean not only the medieval-ish landscape of Westeros (the show’s mythical realm) but the genre from which it derives. Fantasy—like television itself, really—has long been burdened with audience condescension: the assumption that it’s trash, or juvenile, something intrinsically icky and low"...
Children will find food for nightmares, confusion, and violence in the series. For example: a captive woman with no weapons must fight a fierce bear; a wedding feast becomes a murderous bloodbath; a young teenage girl watches her beloved father have his head chopped off amidst a cheering crowd...sweet dreams kiddies.
Here is a quote from the powerful, beautiful, and ruthless Cersei Lannister: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
Traditions from the Past...
Author Phillip Pullman, discussed the passing on of fairy tales, folklore, and legends from the past in the Guardian. He was prompted in this by the publication of his own excellent retelling of fairy tales by the brothers Grimm.
"But a fairy tale is not a text of that sort ( stories written down word for word). It's a transcription made on one or more occasions of the words spoken by one of many people who have told this tale. And all sorts of things, of course, affect the words that are finally written down. A storyteller might tell the tale more richly, more extravagantly, one day than the next, when he's tired or not in the mood. A transcriber might find her own equipment failing: a cold in the head might make hearing more difficult, or cause the writing-down to be interrupted by sneezes or coughs. Another accident might affect it too: a good tale might find itself in the mouth of a less than adequate teller.It is understood that during the Finnish reformation in the 16th century the clergy forbade all telling and singing of pagan rites and stories. In conjunction with the arrival of European poetry and music this caused a significant reduction in the number of traditional folk songs and their singers. Thus the tradition faded somewhat but was never totally eradicated..." Read it all...here is the Link: Pullman. The illustration by Arthur Rackham
The Missing Pet Nightmare
More than 1,000 pets have gone missing in just the state of Ohio over the past eleven months. The nationwide total is in the hundreds of thousands!
Many of these pets find themselves in shelters hoping their families will find them, but sadly many don't make it out alive. Author C.A.Wulff
with the help of her coadmin at Lost & Found Ohio Pets
has written Finding Fido
to address this sad reality.
This Barking Planet book gives solid advice on how to prevent losing a pet, tips for what to do if you find a stray animal, and a step-by-step plan in case the unthinkable happens and your pet goes missing.
100% of the proceeds from sales of this book benefit The Beagle Freedom Project,
an offshoot of Animal Rescue Media Education (ARME)
, which works to rescue dogs used in laboratory research and place them in loving, forever homes. Available in print and for kindle. Your purchase helps animals worldwide.
Does Success Spell Nightmares...Today's New Mythology...
The Desolation of Smaug, Frozen, and Hunger Games-Catching Fire, roll on...these movies, made from Classic Fairy Tales and YA literature, are all great popular and financial successes. The 3 films combined revenues exceed one billion dollars ! However, there are other vital considerations...
Frozen is scary for some young children.
Smaug and Hunger Games are guaranteed to frighten, confuse and give children nightmares.
The Game Of Thrones is dark and violent and not for kids.
The New Media and the New Mythology
Fairy tales, folklore and mythology were once part of an oral tradition. With the spread
of books and literacy, they were reinterpreted and passed on to all ages. Now we have many more forms for passing on what was once primarily an oral tradition: movies, games, apps, websites, TV shows, and music. Adults, young adults, and children are surrounded by the new media marketplace.
Common Sense Media, utilizing reviews by parents, kids and educators, makes age appropriate recommendations for the new media.
Here are their recomendations for today's new mythologies: Smaug - age 11 (based on 52 reviews) ; Frozen - age 5 (based on 109 reviews); Hunger Games,Catching Fire - age 13 (based on 96 reviews); and Game Of Thrones - not for kids, minimum age-16 (based on 77 reviews).
Illustration by E.H. Shepard
Jack Zipes is one of the most prolific and respected scholar-authors in fairy tale and folklore studies. He has long been a critic of Disney's sweetening and romanticising -- as in Cinderella -- of classic tales. He spoke with Annabelle Smith of the Smithsonian about mainstream movies adapted from fairy tales. The interview, relevant today, was actually conducted shortly after the release of Snow White and the Huntsman..
"There has been interest in fairy tales since the 1890s. All of this spectacular talk is not really a new interest in fairy tales, but a new way to exaggerate and embellish productions that cost millions of dollars. What’s new is the hyping—films that are just absolutely mindless can make it seem like you are going to be sent into a world that will astonish and delight you for a couple of hours while you eat your popcorn.
What’s your opinion on the adaptations that have come up over the years?
We have every right and should adapt tales because society changes. But the Grimms would flip over if they were alive today. They were better known during their time as scholarly writers; they were in the pursuit of the essence of story telling. By collecting different versions of every tale they published, they hoped to resuscitate the linguistic cultural tradition that keeps people together—stories that were shared with the common people. In these adaptations you can gain a good sense of whether artists are writing to make money or to celebrate themselves. As critics, we owe it to our culture to dismiss 95 percent of the stuff we see..."
"Wild Dog crawled into the Cave and laid his head on the Woman’s lap… And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend'.”
Just So Stories -- Rudyard Kipling.
No, Dogs Aren't People...
Jason G Goldman, developmental psychologist, science writer, and blogger in the Scientific American (The Thoughtful Animal Blog), responded to a New York Times op-ed article that posited that dogs have emotions like humans. Here are excerpts from his thoughtful article entitled: No, Dogs Aren't People
"Are dogs really people? Gregory Berns seems to think so. On Sunday the New York Times ran an op-ed by Berns, a neuroeconomist and author, titled “Dogs Are People, Too.” But all the puppy-friendly Halloween costumes in the world can’t turn a dog into a person...
Perhaps domestication has allowed us to see a bit of ourselves in our canine companions. We made dogs
in our own image. We were so successful in domesticating dogs that they even outperform chimpanzees when it comes to understanding human social cues. Unlike other animals, dogs do not need their desired behaviors to be reinforced with food; praise from a human is reward enough. Given their unique place in human culture, it’s easy to see why we look into Fido’s eyes and see ourselves reflected back..."
The photos above, from PAL (People Animals Love), are clear examples of the canine connection, the bonding and caring between dogs and people, and the primary factor in our relationships with dogs. PAL works with therapy dogs to bring friendship and healing love to people of all ages. PAL posts this motto on their site..."HUMANS LEND A HELPING HAND, ANIMALS LEND A HELPING PAW"
Click the link for a wonderful video smile for dog lovers, children and even those who are not dog lovers...How To Pick Out A Dog, wherin Harvey, a dog, creates his own myth.
The Literary Voice of the Brothers Grimm
Every book, whether written for children or adults, has a "voice". It may be, "See spot
run", or "It was the best of times , it was the worst of times"; there is always a written
"voice". What voice did the Grimms use in their fairy tales?
"The Grimms' fairy tales are not written in the language of real children, nor do they seek to evoke the sounds of childish speech. Rather, the Grimms synthesized folk stories, personal remembrances, and an already rich tradition of literary fairy tales (from those of Charles Perrault in the 1690s to those of Clemens Brentano in the earlly 1800s) to create a literary language akin to their sense of early language itself"...Seth Lerer,in his Children's Literature, A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter
The Castle and the huge surrounding forests are covered in snow. Inside the castle are the kidnapped children. There will be war unless the dogs can free them.
Here is an excerpt from the review of Castle In The Mist by Ann
Staub on Pawsitively Pets..."The dogs lead the evil Prince on a hunt to capture them in an effort to save the kidnapped children. This part of the story is very exciting and has great suspense. It's fun to read about the dog's strategies in outsmarting the Prince's soldiers. As I'm sure you're all aware, dogs are very clever creatures and this book showcases their intelligence perfectly!...I'd recommend Castle In The Mist for children as well as adults. "
Read sample chapters of all the books in the Planet Of The Dogs series by clicking here: Books
Our books are available through your favorite independent bookstore or via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Powell's...
Librarians, teachers, bookstores...Order Planet Of The Dogs, Castle In The Mist, and Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale, through Ingram with a full professional discount.
Therapy reading dog owners, librarians and teachers with therapy reading dog programs -- you can write us at email@example.com and we will send you free reader copies from the Planet of the Dogs Series...Read Dog Books to Dogs....Ask any therapy reading dog: "Do you like it when the kids read dog books to you?"
The Canine Connection and Can Do Canines
We live in an era where many wonderful organizations, supported by volunteers, dedicated staff, and caring people are utilizing the canine connection and the special abilities of dogs to make an enormous difference in the lives of people with severe and often dangerous handicaps.
What do you do if you are confined to a wheelchair and you are unable to open a door and retrieve a cordless phone?
Can you hear a smoke alarm, a doorbell, or a ringing phone?
Do you have an autistic child who may suddenly become excited and run into danger?
Do you know a diabetic who was alone, didn't know that their blood suger was low, and had a seizure?
Seizures can also come from epilepsy and other sources.
Can Do Canines help people with a variety of disabilities and handicaps. As an example: their Seizure Assist Dogs help people before, during, and after the seizure takes place. Dogs can warn when a seizure is coming. Dogs stay with a person who suffers a seizure attack, licking their face and comforting them while the person is recovering. The dog is trained to bring an emergency phone or to get help from another person. In addition, the dog can wear a backpack with pockets that hold medicine and medical alert information...for more information on these wonderful therapy service dogs, visit Can Do Canines.
The Kalevala...the Mythology of Finland
February 28 is Kalevala Day in Finland...Flags will fly from virtually every building and home...
I wrote of the Kalevala in our last blog. This ancient tome contains the folk legends of Finland, passed on through the centuries in rhythmic verse by rune singers ( story tellers). The Kalevala, when published in the mid-nineteenth century -- after 600 years of Swedish rule -- swept through Finnish consciousness, igniting feelings of national identity and a great flourishing in all the arts.
I have learned that there is now a Kalevala Children's Game
Kalevala Children's Game...
There is also the wonderful children's book of the Kalevala, written and illustrated by Mauri Kunnas
No Books in New Library in Texas !
As reported in Galley Cat by Dianna Dilworth
"Bexar County, Texas has opened a new library that has no books inside. Instead the library is outfitted with iPad stations and iMacs loaded with digital books available to check out, making it the first digital library in the country..." Here is the link: BiblioTech
DOGS for KIDS...Information from Way Cool Dogs
The Best Dog Breeds for Children: Which One Should You Choose?
"When it comes to choosing the best dog breeds for children, it’s no good simply choosing the dog you think is cutest or the breed from their favorite film. Different dogs need different levels of care and attention, some dogs get more excitable than others, and some are more placid. You need to take everything about a dog breed into account before deciding that it’s right for your family and home life! We’ve compiled a list of the best dog breeds for children to help you get an idea of the kind of dogs you should be looking at..." Read on to learn more: Children
The illustration, by Stella Mustanoja McCarty, is from Planet Of The Dogs.
Biscuit and Gravy
Thanks to Richard Bradley (A Rock In My Shoe), in our December Christmas blog, we have published photos of his dogs dressed for the holiday season. Alas, the dogs, Darcy and Caboose, have passed on but their holiday spirit remains. Richard's new dogs, Biscuit and Gravy will carry on this tradition in our next December blog.
A Book Of Enchantment
Maria Tatar's book, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, is beautiful.
The insights are equal to the wonderful array of illustrations in color by Edmund Burne-Jones, Gustave Dore, Arthur Rackham and seven others.
There are 26 annotated classic fairy tales and biographies of the authors.
This book is itself a classic.
"Language exists less to record the actual than to liberate the imagination." Anthony Burgess
Therapy Dog Uses Surfboard
The Human Canine Connection has infinite variations...
in this video, an Irish Setter named Ricochet, rides a surfboard and opens the door to self confidence and joy for children with disabilities.
Close Reading...Information and Insights
by Monica Edinger, dedicated 4th grade teacher, author, and children's book lover who writes from decades of caring experience ...Here is an excerpt:
"I’ve been curious about the attention now being paid to the skill of close reading, something I began doing with my 4th graders decades ago. Judiciously. By that, I mean I only do it enough for the children to see how much pleasure they can take in the experience, but not enough for it to become a chore. Frankly, some of the current suggestions I see for close reading concern me because they seem utilitarian in the extreme and leave out the joy that the experience can be..."
New York Public Library's Children's Literary Salon is pleased to announce our program this coming Saturday, March 1st at 2:00 p.m.
Photography and Children's Books: A Complex Pairing
Photographers Nina Crews, Joanne Dugan, Charles R. Smith, and Susan Kuklin, all of whom work in the realm of children's literature, discuss the highs and lows of this skilled but rarely properly credited art.
This event will take place in the South Court Auditorium.
Sunbear Squad posted the following Watch Tips for February
Urgent: Extreme cold kills outside tethered dogs and cats, especially those animals without heavy coats, the malnourished, the very young and the elderly. Tethered animals in southern regions are at higher risk for hypothermia because they have not grown heavier coats over time like they would have in cooler climates. Watch for animals that don't have adequate shelter; speak with owners or call the authorities immediately. It's important that the shelter be sited correctly also...
Read more at SunbearSquad
" The dog was created especially for children. He is the god of frolic." Henry Ward Beecher