Saturday, October 18, 20014

The Gardinel -- a re-post

The following is a re-post from five years ago. It's the origin of a short story I wrote that I'll be telling you more about come Wednesday   . . .

A recent blog post by my son Ethan, documenting their search for a house in the Atlanta area, commented that Some of the houses we looked at were like Manly Wade Wellman's gardinels, with that feeling that they might chew you up and digest you if you lingered overlong. Maybe it was just the Atlanta climate, muggy and so damnably lowland July, that made us feel like the house was breathing on us all sticky-like.

I've read Manly Wade Wellman's fiction and The Kingdom of Madison, his charming little book about our county, is a much-used reference. But I had to remind myself about gardinels because Ethan's words have given me an idea . . .

So I turned first to Mr. Google.

"They look some way like a shed or cabin, snug and rightly made, except the open door might could be a mouth, the two little windows could be eyes. Never you'll see one on the main roads or near towns; only back in the thicketty places, by high trails among tall ridges, and they show themselves there when it rains and storms and a lone farer hopes to come to a house to shelter him. ... The few that's lucky enough to have gone into a gardinel and win out again... tell that inside it's pinky-walled and dippy-floored, with on the floor all the skulls and bones of those who never did win-out; and from the floor and walls come spouting rivers of wet juice that stings. ... and all at once you know that inside a gardinel is like a stomach."

"Come Into My Parlor" by Manly Wade Wellman, 1949.

Oooh!!! Creepy!

Now as far as I can find, the Gardinel, (like the Flat and the Behinder) is not authentic Appalachian folklore -- it's probably Mr. Wellman's imagination at work. But it certainly has echoes of the alluring and deadly Gingerbread House that nearly did for Hansel and Gretel as well as Morgan Le Fay's castle of lard and other dainties that was set as a temptation for Wart in The Once and Future King. And, I realized, to some extent, In a Dark Season's house at Gudger's Stand (also in the standalone The Day of Small Things) is a figurative gardinel.

And now I want very badly to write a short story about a modern-day Gardinel  . ..

Monday, October 20, 2014

Still in the Garden

 What's left of the garden was still untouched by frost on Saturday when I took these pictures..

I went looking for greens to have for supper . . .

A few weeks ago these plants were bug- and worm- eaten, leaves reduced to green lace. I pulled off all the crummy leaves and fed them to the chickens. While we haven't had frost, it's been cool enough that the worms and bugs have mostly disappeared.

Beautiful Curly Kale . . .

Tuscan Black Kale (Nero di Toscana). . .

Red Russian Kale . . .

And good old Georgia Collards.

Nasturtium vines have climbed up into the asparagus...


Tender catnip for the kittehs . . .

And even a few green peppers for us! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mid October

October is half gone . . .

Time to plant some pansies . . .

The saffron crocus is blooming . . . 

The broiler chickens are growing apace . . .

And now that the garden is all but finished, the laying flock is free to roam.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pour Prendre Conge

In a more leisurely time, when ladies and gentlemen had calling cards and social obligations could be fulfilled merely by leaving a calling card at an acquaintance's house, it was the custom, if this was a farewell call, to write the initials PPC in the upper lefthand corner  -- pour prendre conge -- for leave taking.  
Perhaps then, the spectacular leaves that Autumn scatters so freely are her calling cards --pour prendre conge . . . 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Love, Hate, and Facebook -- It's Complicated

I blame it all on the Publicity Department at Random House. Some years back, they encouraged me to do a newsletter for readers of my books. After a few years the newsletter morphed into a blog and, at some point, the Publicity Department suggested sharing said blog through Facebook for a wider reach. 

And I did, thinking, no big deal, just post the blog and walk away . . . no need to get involved or anything. 

What happened was the opposite of non-involvement. I found a whole world of fascinating people out there -- not all nice but fascinating in their variety. I joined a few groups directed at Appalachian folks and have heard some great tales -- it's like listening to my neighbors talking. (Sometimes it is my neighbors.)

I've reconnected with friends from as far back as grammar school and with cousins I've not seen in half a century and family members I don't see as often as I wish I could, I've enjoyed chats with a friend in Vienna. I count as friends people I've never seen  -- and somehow feel there's something pure about a friendship that is completely based on words and shared interests. What would I do without Mario's nudibranchs, Amanda Kyle William's' hilarious updates, and Jim Wright's right-on rants? 

Yes, there are things I love about Facebook. (And I haven't even mentioned all the cute animal pictures.)

 On the other hand, Facebook sometimes makes me crazy. There are the folks who are convinced that same-sex marriage means their own little fundamentalist church will have to marry any gay couple that walks in the door. And the ones who send around memes saying that God will do something for you if you share this meme immediately. (Like She's not busy enough with all the prayers about same sex marriage.) 

I won't even start with the BENGHAZINAZIEBOLA conspiracy theories . . .  yeah, I know, I could de-friend or block those people but that would be sticking my head in the sand. I really want to know what people are thinking and I really would like to understand. So I stay tuned  . . . in spite of the things I hate about Facebook. (And I haven't even mentioned all the sad animal pictures.)