Holiday Short Stories By WWK Authors Presented This Season:

11/30 KM Rockwood's "Holiday Summons"
12/06 "Death By Dictionary" by Gloria Alden
12/12 E. B. Davis's "The Christmas Tree"
12/18 "Femme Fatally Yours" by Paula Gail Benson
12/24 Kara Cerise's "The Ho-Ho Plan"
12/30 "Last Minute Shopping" by Shari Randall

For another free short story, check out E. B. Davis's "The Christmas Cookie Conviction" on Kings River Life online magazine at: http://kingsriverlife.com/12/06/the-christmas-cookie-conviction-a-christmas-mystery-short-story/

Put A Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman on your holiday list. Three WWK authors have short stories in this Mozark Press anthology. Look for "Moving On" by Paula Gail Benson, "Sauna" by KM Rockwood, and "Wishing For Ignorance" by E. B. Davis. Paper or eformat are available at Amazon.


Gloria Alden has released the fourth book, The Body in the Goldenrod, in her Catherine Jewel series. It's available in print and in eformat. Here are two links to the book: Amazon and Kobo. Put it on your "TBR" or Christmas list!

Carla Damron's latest project, THE STONE NECKLACE, a literary novel about five lives that intersect, and are forever changed, by a senseless accident, has been picked up by Story River Books for publication in 2016. Story River is an arm of the University of South Carolina Press and is under the leadership of editor-in-chief author Pat Conroy. Congratulations, Carla!


A great stocking stuffer, Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays is available at Wildside Press or Amazon. This anthology includes short stories by WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances").
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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Remembrance of Things Passed and Past

Elaine commented in her blog on the history she learned from writers. I’d seen movies and plays that reconstructed history and showed inequalities in the different social classes in the UK but two radio documentaries had the most influence on my youthful thinking.

From the age of nine, my parents left me on my own and, since my dad refused to buy a TV, I’d listen to the radio. One documentary re-enacted court trials with the goal of showing how justice could be sabotaged by prejudice. One trial I particularly remember was that of a man accused of killing his wife. He was tried during times when adultery and one night stands were not discussed in polite society. Since he was an adulterer, it was much easier to convict him of murder. Long after he was hanged, his innocence of any crime was discovered.

Another documentary chronicled the efforts of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper. He fought long and hard to have a law passed to forbid the employment of women and children in coal mines. Many British people in the nineteenth century didn’t know women and children worked in mines. Lord Ashley’s vivid portrayal of the working conditions of these women and children was an eye opener to people of the time and to me. Women had carts strapped to their bodies and they pulled these carts to the surface. He also persuaded the industrial_revolutiongovernment to pass the 1833 Factory Act ( a bill not as extensive as he would have liked) that forbade the employment of children under nine in textile mills, and limited the working hours of children, nine to thirteen, to eight hours a day. When I listened to these documentaries, I identified with the children about the same age as I was.

When I was a student at Northeastern University, a woman from Iran told us that the many Persian carpets we wanted in our homes were made by children working in dark, uncomfortable surroundings. That may not be true today.

One professor who taught British literature at that university stepped outside the usual curriculum and spent twenty minutes discussing Victorian working class poetry. A woman wrote an erotic poem using the imagery of her hand loom and a shuttle. The professor hastily 7PKWF00Zexplained that he didn’t think the woman had a loom fetish. No, she was using images and lightening her working day with a poem.

They weren’t taught in this class but other Victorian poets wrote political poems. This poem appeared in a newspaper called The Northern Star.

How comes it that ye toil and sweat

And bear the oppressor’s rod

For cruel men who dare to change

The equal laws of God?

How come that man with tyrant heart

Is caused to rule another,

To rob, oppress, and leech-like, suck

The life’s blood of a brother?

The sex and identity of the poet, AW, is unknown. There were many other anonymous poems printed in the newspaper between 1838 and 1852. One poet wished she could write better and blamed her poor education for the quality of her work.

Aware of the many inequalities that existed throughout history, I was entranced by a constitution that promised equality. I had no idea that the men who drafted that constitution left voting to white men with property. I thought Americans fought for freedom from British rule and taxation, and then had to set up laws for their new nation and society.

Are there pieces of history that echo down time for you, even in today’s world where children learn to value the future above all else?

4 comments:

Ellis Vidler said...

Pauline, I had no idea about the poetry or Lord Cooper's work. Now I'll wonder about my 1940s rug and who made it. I always have visions of women working on looms in sunny places. The pictures are interesting too.
The poem you quoted might be adopted by workers today in so many places. Very powerful.

E. B. Davis said...

Hearing tales of other children's plight, I think is especially interesting to children, who now are protected, in some ways, too much and too little. When I was an adolescent, the poem, "The Sleepers" by William Davies struck me. His observations were so spot on. Born in 1871 in Wales, he lived to see many changes in laws, and perhaps, spurred on those changes.

Pauline Alldred said...

Thank you for your comment, Ellis. When I think of how tired I sometimes feel after a day's work, I can't imagine how bad it must have been for textile and mine workers.
Hi, Elaine. It's good to think that writing could help make necessary social changes.

Warren Bull said...

Literature like Oliver Twist, Uncle Tom, and other novels have brought social issues to the attention of people were more comfortable ignoring them.