My Novel Has Arrived

In Buried Truths-A Daughter’s Tale, Heidi Rose is adopted within the first months of her life by an American couple living in Paris. She goes through life dealing with a bizarre mother and a secretive father. As the story evolves, startling truths are revealed—some traumatic and others delightful.

I hope you will consider purchasing this labor of love. Currently available on Amazon in paperback and e-book.

Short Story – The Wigglynoses

Written by Elsa Wolf – Circa 1972

To my rabbits with love-

ChurchNormandyRegionOnce upon a time, long ago, there was a family of rabbits named the Wigglynoses. They had six children; Inky, Winky, Pinky, Percy, Molly, and Olly. They lived in a churchyard under a statue of the Virgin Mary. It was near Christmas now, and all the Wigglynoses were being very good except for Percy. He was a mischievous boy who often disobeyed his mother and snuck into the church when she said he shouldn’t. When it was time for the children to go to see Santa, all the children were very happy. They told Santa what they wanted and if they were good or not, and to everyone’s surprise, Percy told the truth.

As soon as they got home, they went out into the churchyard and found their Christmas tree. Everyone helped decorate the tree except for Percy. After the good little bunnies hung items on the tree, Percy would pull them off and throw them on the floor where they would break into pieces. A half-hour later almost everything was ruined. His father was so angry that he spanked Percy and told him to go back outside and find pretty things for the tree to replace the ones he’d broken. Percy returned and hung the new decorations up while his brothers and sisters put presents under the tree for each other before going to bed.

Percy couldn’t sleep. He went to the doorway of the bedroom and stood by watching Santa put the presents out, but Santa caught him and picked a few presents up and took them away. Percy was sure they were his gifts. Santa didn’t give things to naughty children.

In the morning, everybody woke up and ran out into the living room. Gasping and shouting with delight over the presents they saw; trains and trikes and everything they could ever want. Each thing had a tag attached with their names from Santa, except there were none for Percy. He burst into tears and ran as fast as he could, and Mama ran after him. She said that she was sorry to say that she didn’t think he should get any presents because he’d been a naughty boy. She continued to tell him if he behaved better he would get lots of gifts next Christmas.

Percy screamed in a shrill rabbit voice, “I can’t wait until next year! I must have them now!”

“But Percy, if you’re going to act this way, you’ll never get any presents, and you will be unhappy all your life. You must do what Daddy and I say. It was wrong of you to break our things and wander off when we tell you to stay home. Now, wash your little furry face and go play nicely with your brothers and sisters. Go on.”

“Oh, all right. I’m sorry.” Percy left the room with his ears unnaturally drooping down the side of his face.

 

Short Story – Wax Flowers Written by Great Aunt Elise Rykel, Circa early 1900’s

Dreamily looking out over the beautiful lake which her home faced, Mrs. B. wondered how much longer she would be permitted to enjoy this scene. She had already lived her three score years and ten. Who could tell how soon this living temple, which housed her soul, would cease to function. It would then be given over to the element of heat and reduced to a tiny heap of clean, white ashes. Mrs. B. smiled remembering the objections of her family, to her wish to have it so, but she knew that they would carry out her wishes.

Her thoughts drifted back through the years. She was eight years old. Frightened and trembling she hid behind the door of the room where her little brother lay, quiet and cold, with pennies on his eyelids. Upon emerging from her hiding place, she found that everyone was too disturbed and sad to pay any attention to her.

Her curiosity piqued as she saw a servant put a sheet over the long mirror in the parlor. The marble-top table, in the center of the room, was pushed to one side and the furniture, in general, re-arranged. The next thing she knew, there was a beautiful white casket where the table had stood. Her little brother was lying softly bedded in the white velvet, all dressed up in his Sunday suit.

People came, and among them, the little brother’s kindergarten teacher with the children from his class. One of them placed a lovely bunch of wax flowers in the folded hands of her little brother. She thought they were the most beautiful flowers she had ever seen.

The day came when they put a cover on her little brother’s white bed and over the dainty wax flowers. Nothing seemed to matter from then on. She left with the family and soon found herself staring into a deep hole lined with green boughs. Someone was holding her hand, and the good neighbor, Mr. Graham, held a huge umbrella over her father and mother, for it was a cold, rainy day.

She shuddered, as they lowered the white casket, with its shining silver plaque engraved with the little brother’s name and birthday fastened on the top, into the deep hole. Again, from then on, nothing seemed to matter for a long time.

She heard much talk among her parents about buying a new plot. Nice Sundays were spent riding around to places which her parents called cemeteries. Her father seemed to be especially interested in examining the soil and finally found a place which was very sandy and, as he said, dry.

On a bright day, not a Sunday this time, the horses were hitched to the carriage, and again she found herself beside a deep hole lined with green boughs. There were men there. They lowered some heavy ropes into the hole and brought up a long box. As it came up, dirty black water streamed out of it from all sides. Horror-stricken, she watched them place the box on the ground. There came to view a blackened, water-soaked thing that she knew contained her brother’s lovely white velvet bed. In terror she watched the men shine up the blackened silver plaque and heard one of them say that they would not advise opening the casket.

Oh, the little brother and the wax flowers! Were they black and wet too? Then and there, her mind reached out into the future and she chose for herself a tiny heap of clean white ashes.

Sequel

On a hot day in mid-summer, Mrs. B. was on a mission of charity in a congested district of her hometown. Every foot of space was built up. It seemed, on this day, there could hardly be breathing space for those living in the district.

She came upon two little boys sitting on a narrow strip of ground between the curb and the sidewalk. The ground was covered with cinders which they were scraping to get at the earth beneath. One of them succeeded in getting a little heap, and the other tried to help himself to some of it. Protectively the hands of the successful one closed around his treasure, and he cried out, “That’s my dirt.”

With a wistful expression on his face, the thwarted one got up. Between trucks, streetcars and other traffic, he dodged across the street. He pressed his face against a high iron fence which enclosed a large park-like area. This area had, at one time, been on the outskirts of town. But the town had grown into a big city which had crept all around this place. Trees, grass, flowers, paths winding in and out, up and down the alluring soft rolling ground, greeted the child’s eyes. Why couldn’t he play there and touch the good mother earth to his heart’s content? But, no, he turned away. This place was not for play. People came there to mourn and weep. It was a cemetery. Long narrow mounds, marble stones of all sizes, occupied the ground where he would have liked to dig and play.

Suddenly, there came upon Mrs. B. the recollection of the little brother, the wax flowers, the white box.

Ah, ye who mourn, remove the high iron fence, the monuments; level those mounds. Dedicate this beautiful spot with its shady lanes, its grass, its flowers, to the living memory of your dear ones. Give over the cast-off garments of flesh to the cleansing element of Light instead of darkness. Let not any child starve for its little heap of dirt to play in…

Short Story – The Legend of Lady Kogo By Gretchen Rickel Wolf, circa 1994

Japanese Doll

Costumes by Elsa

This is a tale of old, of long long ago, in the 7th century. It is the tale of the legendary beauty, Lady Kogo and her music, and the man who was Emperor of Japan at the time. This Emperor was a good and kindly man, much revered by all his subjects. But nevertheless, he was a sad and lonely man. In all his vast and beautiful palace, he had but one friend, the good and faithful Nakakuni, who had been his tutor when he was a boy.

There was a wicked and evil influence abroad in the palace so that even his Empress and their children loved him not. The powerful Taira No Kiyomori, the father of the Empress, hated and despised him because he was so jealous, wanting himself to be Emperor. And so, it the Emperor lived in lonely isolation, spending most of his time alone in his chambers. Often, he would sit by the window looking out on his gardens, the vast expanse of flowers and trees, and think to himself that all of this mattered not without others to share it with warmth and love. Often, he wished he were a simple man, a peasant, and wondered what life would be like with work every day, and a family to come home to at night.

He took to sitting at the window long into the dusk after he had watched the sun go down on another sad and empty day. And one evening, at this time, he thought he heard in the distance music very faint, but nevertheless beautiful music. He listened for a while, and then it ended. The next evening, at dusk, it was the same, sweet music coming to him from a distance, bringing him comfort, and a feeling of contentment.

Finally, after many days of hearing this music every evening, he decided he must know where it came from an who made it. So, he sent the good and faithful Nakakuni to seek it. Nakakuni followed the sound of the music, which led him to the river. He walked along its edge until he saw, in the distance, a lady sitting at the banks of the river with her Koto—Japanese harp—and then he knew from whence came the music.

This was Lady Kogo, she of great beauty. Her hair was like black satin, and her skin like the petals of a magnolia blossom. She was playing a sweet, sad melody. As Nakakuni approached her, she had sad thoughts in her mind and was thinking now of going into the river where, for a while, her robes would bear her up, and she would drift on the waters and look into the skies and into the blossom and the trees for the last time. Her robes, having become heavy with water, would take her underneath where her life would end, she would be tormented no more by her sad thoughts, and her terrible loneliness which had become unbearable since her brave and noble husband had lost his life in battle. Though mortally wounded and in great pain, he had led his men to victory, vanquishing a formidable and dangerous enemy.

Nakakuni, the Emperor’s emissary, approached her slowly and gently, for he could see she was indeed very sad, and he could hear that the music she was playing was ‘inori’ (a prayer). He spoke to her softly of the beauty of her music and how it drifted on the winds to the Emperor in the palace, and how he, sitting by his open window every evening, was brought great peace and comfort. And so, the Emperor wished her to come to the palace and play for him there. And Lady Kogo knew that if the Emperor so wished she must accede to his command.

And thus, it was that the Lady Kogo went from her home in Kyoto to the palace every evening at the hour of sunset and played her music for the Emperor through the dusk until nightfall. The Emperor had at last found peace and happiness in the music of Lady Kogo, and she was relieved of her terrible loneliness and unhappiness which she had endured ever since the death of her husband.

One day, after many, many moons of playing for the Emperor as she finished her last melody, she slowly raised her head and looked into his face. She had not done so before because of the awe and reverence in which she kept him. Her head was always bowed, but this time she felt compelled to raise her eyes and look into his, and their eyes spoke to each other of love. And this love for each other was expressed by her through her music as it became sweeter and more intense, and the Emperor received it with great joy.

As time passed, this was perceived by the evil and wicked Taira No Kiyomori, and he became more consumed with hatred and jealousy of the Emperor than ever before—not only because he craved to be Emperor, but because he was jealous of the Emperor and Lady Kogo. And so, in revenge, he plotted to take her away from the Emperor. He would capture her and lock her in the darkest of dungeons where she could never be found. Now, word of this terrible plot came to Nakakuni, as he had spies among the followers of Taira No Kiyomori, and he warned the Lady Kogo. She fled from Kyoto to go into hiding, no man knew where.

Now, the Emperor was distraught and overcome with grief at the loss of Lady Kogo and her music. So horrified and angered he was at the wicked Taira No Kiyomori for his dreadful plot that he banished him to the Isle of the Great King Cobr, far out on the old and windswept sea, inhabited only by snakes and scorpions. It was said that the combined venom of a snake with that of a scorpion caused a long and agonizing death.

Seventeen long years passed as the good Nakakuni searched the land for Lady Kogo, and never found a sign or trace of her. The Emperor grew more and more distraught, and his health was failing and worsened daily by the loss of his loved one, and the good Nakakuni vowed to himself that though very old and weak and frail now, he would never give up his search. He was determined to find the Lady Kogo and restore her to his Emperor. So, he traveled around and around the countryside, always hoping, always believing that one day he would find her.

And, indeed, one day he heard the strings of a Koto—and no one played the Koto like the Lady Kogo herself. And once again, as he had done many years ago, he followed the sound of the music, and once again he found her at the edge of a river playing a favorite song of the Emperor called ‘Tsuioku’ (Remembrance). She was older now, of course, but still very beautiful. Yet, once again, very sad as she had given up hope of being reunited with the Emperor and was going to go into the river, where her robes would become heavy with water and take her below.

Once again, the good Nakakuni approached her slowly and gently and saw that though older and sad, she was more beautiful than ever. She was like a slightly faded rose, being more delicate and subtler than in the full bloom of youth. As she saw him, her face showed such joy that the good Nakakuni’s mind wandered and thought of her as the young woman he had encountered many years ago at the edge of a river. But then, recovering, he assured her that Taira No Kiyomori was gone forever that she could return to the palace in great safety.

They returned to the palace where the evil was no more. Taira No Kiyomori and his daughter, the Empress, whose mind he had poisoned against the Emperor had also died. The Emperor was soon restored to health, and his happiness was greater than ever. The Emperor’s children were restored to him, and all those who now inhabited the palace became his faithful followers. The good Nakakuni, so very old and frail, and wearied to the point of death from his long and grueling travels, was nursed back to health by Lady Kogo. He was given a high and honored place in the palace, many precious gifts, and the rest of his days were filled with joy and happiness surrounded as he was by the love and devotion of all who knew him and his great good deed.

The enchanting music of the Lady Kogo, forever more, was a blessing to the place.

Adventures; England & France Spring 2018

A wise woman I know told me, I should write about my travels in a summary with a couple of notes rather than a bulleted list. I’m here to say I believe she’s right. Some of the places I visited are mentioned below. However, please look at my web page (elsawolfbooks.com) and click on ‘Travel Logs’ to get complete information with direct links to the sites as well as few noteworthy hotels. Wishing you grand adventures.

England is a place I’ve been a dozen times over thirty years. I enjoy London, but I much prefer the countryside. In Newbury, we attended a #Shakespearian production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. The production emphasized the writer’s humor and was a refreshing surprise. To continue our appreciation of the arts, we took a pre-arranged and rarely offered, tour of Highclere Castle where the series #Downton Abbey was filmed. img_20180522_094846630_hdr-e1530990288264.jpgThis turned out to be one of my favorite spots with a bonus lecture from Shrabani Basu, the author of the book #Victoria and Abdul. Our next stop; Harrogate to eat delicious sticky toffee pudding at Graveley’s Fish & Seafood restaurant, to visit a couple museums, and to learn how to play #PokémonGo while walking in the Valley Gardens. We had the pleasure of seeing a delightful novel turned into a film, #The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. In other areas around Harrogate, we visited Newby Hall in Ripon and RHS garden in Harlow Carr. In both gardens, we walked through glorious gardens in bloom. The areas are flanked by tea houses (#Betty’s Tea House & #Mama Doreen’s – clotted cream on scones, a must try). At Newby Hall, there is a tiny museum within the gardens featuring Sesame Street’s #Fozzie bear, Mr. Bean’s and Judie Dench’s teddy bear. Just across the green is a collection of 70 doll houses contributed by Caroline Hamilton & Jane Fiddick. Days later, in the Lake District, we found a place that housed miniature #Beatrix Potter characters in Windermere and walked the dales in the areas surrounding Ambleside. We also had the pleasure of cuddling with several rescued #owls IMG_20180529_130619113_HDRup close in Grasmere. Followed by a sheepdog trial training session with actual sheep in the Yorkshire Dales.

Heading down to the Peak District brought us more treats. A sheep appeared randomly and insisted on a rub down nearby an organized outdoor rope and balance beams course. In Bakewell, we biked (I used an electric assist bike, my companions did not) on the Monsal trail, and visited flower show and the estate at Chatsworth House. After more walking adventures in the Peak District (Buxton, Hathersage, Matlock, Bakewell) we hopped on the regional train and then the Chunnel to Paris.

Paris has always been my first choice, but I’m glad to say I have expanded my horizons. Our first idea was to meet relatives and tour central France, but they sadly had to cancel at the last minute. We changed our plans, left Paris by train to Rouen to see a Joan of Arc site and two museums—it was a quick day but gave us a chance to acclimate to the French language and ways. We rented a car in Rouen and drove back to Monet Gardens in Giverny. The garden pond was beautiful overall but paled by comparison to the English gardens from the prior three weeks. After an intensely emotional tour of the D-Day invasion sites IMG_20180612_135543374_HDRwith the Overlord touring company, the visit was cut short. We intended to drive to numerous spots after our tour, to have a closer look at the 82nd-Airborne museum and other sites such as Mount Saint Michel down the coast, but alas one of us lost a passport, and we had to return to Paris. The American Embassy was amazing. Arriving early, and being first in line helped us get a temporary replacement within an hour. After a bit of relaxing, we made the best of our time and walked up to the Louvre. On the way, we passed by a couple of goats tied up in grassy gullies trimming the greenery. Looking passed them we caught a glimpse of a human couple. The man was on one knee proposing to his lady love. This inspired us to go to the Shakespeare & Company bookstore that is filled with books written in English, a mascot cat, and a cubby to write a note or two on their manual typewriter. A short walk behind the shop is a place that makes delicious chocolate crepes (Boulangerie Saint Michel-31 Rue de la Huchette) in the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank. To continue… go to my travel link.

 

Adventure; Jane Austen

Attending the Jane Austen Festival in Bath England prompted me to do some research. http://www.janeaustenfestivalbath.co.uk/

HERE IS WHAT I FOUND ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Novels– The Watsons (1801-unfinished), Sense and Sensibility (1811), Price and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Sandition (1817-unfinished), Northanger Abbey (1818), Persuasion (1818)

Short Story – Lady Susan (1794)

Write up below about Miss Austen from https; https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/jane-austen/

Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775. She had a public baptism several months later, on April 5th of 1776. Rather than being reared by her mother in her family home, Austen was sent to live with a nearby woman named Elizabeth Littlewood, who cared for her a year or more. According to the tradition of the family, Jane and her sister, Cassandra Austen, were sent to Oxford to be educated. Unfortunately, both girls came down with a case of typhus, leaving Jane near to death. Subsequently, she was sent back home to be educated until the age of three, when both she and Cassandra were once more sent away, this time to a boarding school. While there, they studied French, needlework, spelling, music, and dancing, all considered a necessity for a girl at the time. By December of 1786 when Jane was eleven, they returned home, as the Austens did not possess the necessary funds to send them both to school.

The remainder of Austen’s education came from a combination of reading, and impromptu tutelage by her father and older brothers. Her father encouraged both Jane and her sister to learn to write, providing them with unlimited access to his personal library, as well as supplying them with the materials needed for their writing. It is thought that from as early as 1787, Austen began to write poems, stories, and plays.

In adulthood, Austen remained at home with her family and partook in the common activities of a lady in her time, including playing the piano, attending to female relatives during their childbirth, supervising servants, attending church, practicing her needlework, and socializing with family, friends, and neighbors. She also continued to read and write avidly. She began writing one of her earliest pieces – a comedic play called “Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man” – which was completed in 1800. Not long after, Austen made the decision to begin trying to write for profit and turned from writing satirical pieces to more sophisticated writing. This new tactic produced what is considered to be her most sophisticated – and most ambitious – early piece, a short novel entitled “Lady Susan”. It featured the first of many of Austen’s leading ladies known for their intelligence; the titular character is a sexual predator who uses her cunning, rather than her so-called feminine wiles alone, to manipulate and betray those around her.

Once finished, Austen began work on her first full-length novel, “Elinor and Marianne”. It was later published anonymously in 1811 under a different title, which became one of her most famous works – “Sense and Sensibility”. With only a brief break in-between in which she harbored a crush for a visiting nephew of neighbors, Austen promptly began working on another novel, “First Impressions”, which would later become another of the stories she is most famous for, “Pride and Prejudice”.

“Sense and Sensibility” features the lead heroines Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who are sent into crippling poverty following the untimely death of their father. While Marianne finds herself torn between John Willoughby and Colonel Brandon, Elinor struggles with her love of Edward Ferrars, who happens to be engaged to another woman.

In “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth Bennet lives with her family and, as the oldest sister, is put under increasing pressure to find a man suitable for marriage. She is introduced to the off-putting yet handsome Mr. Darcy, and while it is obvious that there is a connection between the two, Darcy’s inability to speak to his feelings for Elizabeth remains a constant threat to end their blossoming relationship.

In 1804, Austen’s father was suddenly and fatally struck by illness, leaving Jane, Cassandra, and their mother in a bad financial bind. Though Jane’s brothers offered to make yearly contributions to the three women, for the next four years it was plain to see that the women were in monetary straits. They were forced to either rent from a small apartment, or to live with nearby relatives.

In December 1809 she received her first – and only – marriage proposal, made by the brother of old friends, Harris Bigg-Wither. Though she was not attracted to the man, the marriage offered many advantageous opportunities, such as the provision of extensive land for Jane to ensure the Austen family could settle down on. Austen never did record in either a letter or a diary what she herself made of the proposal. Surprisingly, though, the marriage proposal eventually fell through, and – ironically – for the remainder of her life one of the most celebrated romance authors lived without a significant other.
By 1811 Austen successfully published “Sense and Sensibility”, which became completely sold out by mid-1813 given its widespread praise and high acclaims. Given its popularity, she was also able to publish “Pride and Prejudice”, “Mansfield Park”, and “Emma”, additional titles which are still very well-known today.

In early 1816, at the still relatively young age of 41, Jane Austen began feeling unwell, and eventually deteriorated further in a long, painful, and drawn-out death. Despite being unhealthy, Austen continued to be productive, finished one novel before beginning on another. She refused to acknowledge the disease as anything worse than rheumatism, either to delude herself into thinking she was fine, or to keep her family and friends from worrying. Eventually as the disease progressed, she found it was a struggle to do once-simple tasks such as writing or even walking. Sadly, she passed away by mid-July 1817 at Winchester Cathedral, in whose graveyard she was later interred. She was given a retrospective diagnosis of Addison’s disease in 1964, but this was later changed to a different pronouncement of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Several other claims have been made regarding what sickness killed her, including bovine tuberculosis, which is contracted by consuming unpasteurized milk, and Brill-Zinsser disease, which is a recurrent form of typhus, relating back to the illness of her early childhood.

Following her death, her siblings had two more pieces of her work published, “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey”. Her brother Henry was the one family member who went public about Jane being the one who had written all of the previous famous novels. Surprisingly, though we view Jane Austen as one of the most prolific female authors of her time, she was not well received by the members of high academia until the mid-20th century. Prior to this, she was only popular among the general population.

In popular culture, Jane Austen features herself as a character in 2007’s “Becoming Jane” starring Anne Hathaway, the television movie starring Olivia Williams of the same year entitled “Miss Austen Regrets”, “JANE, the musical”, and as the narrator of the video game “Saints Row IV”. “Sense and Sensibility” became a television mini-series in the years 1971, 1981, and 2008, and was made into a movie in the year 1995, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. “Pride and Prejudice” was adapted for the television in 1952, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1967, 1980, and 1995, and was made into a feature film in 1940, 2004, and the 2005 version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

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