Susan Marie Molloy

🌺 Life in the Oasis 🌴


4 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: “The Creature from Cleveland Depths”

Last week I read a novelette written in 1962 by Fritz Leiber called, “The Creature from Cleveland Depths,” and not only did I learn a lot from this story, but also about its author.

Fritz Leiber (1910-92) coined the term “sword and sorcery” fantasy stories, and he is regarded as one of the fathers of that genre. He was born in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Fritz Leiber, Sr. (also born in Chicago, 1882-1949) was a Shakespearean actor and played in a few movies. In fact, he was in “Samson and Delilah” (1949) which I watched and reviewed on my recent blog, “At the Movies: ‘Samson’”.

Returning to Fritz, Jr. — He wrote a lot of science fiction and the sword-and-sorcery type of short stories and books. Lately, I read quite a few of his works, and when I read “The Creature from Cleveland Depths,” I was surprised at how modern it is, even though it was written 56 years ago.

Here, in a world where people live underground, we get a glimpse into our future, which is now our present: social media, smartphones, drones, and a crazy invention called the “Tickler”, which everyone wears on his shoulder. It speaks through an earpiece. It sends a little tickle through one’s body as it indoctrinates positive thinking, injects drugs, makes decisions for people, reminds people to do certain things, et cetera. Over a short period of time, people become mindless zombies/robot-like beings.

I got a kick out of the scene where individual-servings of martinis in carboard boxes (much like single servings of wine and cocktails in glass bottles we see on today’s store shelves) are offered. Moreover, the mindless fads in this story mimics today’s fads, including one where boys and girls both wear full face makeup, much to the chagrin of the police.

This is a good, fascinating, and quick-reading story that you can pick up for nothing on Amazon Kindle. It was one of the best stories I read last week, and a little creepier that any of the Dick Tracy comics I used to read when I was a kid. But then, that two-way wrist radio Tracy wore—

Yesterday’s fiction is today’s truth.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

Advertisements


2 Comments

Book and Movie Reviews: “‘Way Down East”

It’s a play!  It’s a book!  It’s a silent!  It’s a talkie!

The other evening, my beau and I had a few spare hours to research something to watch in the way of a film. We came across one I never heard of, “’Way Down East,” with Richard Barthelmess, Lilian Gish, Mary Hay, et al. This is a 1920 production by D.W. Griffith (145 minutes running time).

The bare bones plot: The film opens with Anna Moore, a poor rural relation to her rich Boston family, getting ready to visit them in hopes of borrowing a few dollars to keep her and her sick mother afloat. At a party, Anna meets the nefarious Lennox Sanderson, who tricks her into a phony marriage (he’s hot for her; no love), and she quickly finds herself alone with a baby (out of wedlock) on the way and deserted by Lennox. The sick baby passes away, Anna gets a job with Squire Bartlett on his farm, David (the squire’s son) falls for Anna, but because of the guilt of her past, she rejects him. Town Gossip Martha spreads rumors, Anna runs off, only to be caught on an ice floe headed for the falls, and David rescues her from sure death. The films ends with a triple wedding, and life is happy.

Lillian Gish in the famous ice floe scene! (1920 silent film version)

For a Griffith film, this is an outstanding work. I didn’t see anything that was Griffith-esque, that is, racially distasteful. and the like.

 

Rochelle Hudson and Henry Fonda in the 1935 soundie.

 

Curious, I looked around for any other possible film interpretations. There is a 1935 sound version (80 minutes running time) with Henry Fonda, Rochelle Hudson, Andy Devine, Margaret Hamilton, et al. This version starts with the character Anna Moore looking for a job at the squire’s farm. All else in her past is woven into the present story. This version doesn’t end with a wedding, but here, Lennox dies, and life is happy nonetheless.

There’s a book, too. but first, before any of the above, there is the play. It was written by Charlotte Blair Parker in 1897 and first called “Annie Laurie.” It seems it was a big, long-running hit before Griffith purchased it to make his 1920 silent. As of this writing, I haven’t found a copy the play to read.

However, I did find the book, which is a rewritten work of the story by playwright, actor, and director Joseph Rhode Grismer and published in 1900 as, “’Way Down East: A Romance of New England Life”. This version begins – not with Anna Moore getting ready to visit her rich city family, nor with her interviewing for a job with the squire – but with a football game between Harvard and Yale. There is where Anna meets the nefarious Lennox, and the rest of the story follows, with David and Anna marrying at the end, and Gossip Martha intimating Lennox was a scoundrel (as if she wasn’t!).

No matter which version of the story you read or watch, it is a good tale of trust, guilt, gossip, evil, and good.

As always, I feel like I hit a goldmine when I find books and plays that precede the movie. I hit the motherlode here.

To watch the 1920 silent: Way Down East
To watch the 1935 talkie: Way Down East
To read the book: ‘Way Down East: A Romance of New England by Joseph Rhode Grismer
To read the play: still looking for it

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


1 Comment

Sometimes, When You’re Not Looking—

I have an outlook on life that the more interesting and more fulfilling things happen when you aren’t looking for that “certain, interesting thing” or for something you just “gotta have.” I believe that sometimes you don’t find what you’re looking for when you’re too focused on something. It spins your wheels, and sure, maybe you get what you think you wanted, but maybe it’s like the Rolling Stones tune, “You can’t always get what you want–but . . . sometimes . . . you just might find you get what you need”.

Example: My long glamorous career came about one day when a lady came to my high school in my senior year to recruit office help for the organization she worked for. My girlfriends wanted to get out of Latin American History class and talked me into it. So, we were excused from class, and off we went to our homeroom to meet the lady to see about a job. Two days later, the lady called me. I landed the job, which turned into a decades-long career. I wasn’t actively looking for a job–I thought the military would be an option—even though graduation was still three months away.  But my career turned out to be travel, benefits, meeting some well-known muckety-mucks, and a solid retirement.

Example: I wasn’t looking to find a nice guy and get married. I was just living my life, believing that que sera, sera. And quite by accident or Kismet, on an average day with 24 hours in it, I met my beau, and he turned out to be the man I was hoping one day to marry and spend my days with. We’ve been together for 12 years, married for (almost) six.

So, today, this leads to my latest “Hey, I wasn’t really looking, but look at the cool stuff happening!” story.

Earlier this year, Jeanie Franz Ransom, a children’s book author, e-mailed me with a copy of her book, “Cowboy Car.” I won it in her giveaway. She asked if I would read and review it. Sure; I’d love to. And I did.

Now in the past couple of months, I had the honor of being asked by several other authors to read their books and give my straightforward reviews. They e-mailed me directly. They sought me out. Nice! (blush)

I am absolutely delighted at being asked by other authors for my opinions and views on their works.

It’s enjoyable, and I am thrilled to gladly do my part that I hope will help authors.

Thank goodness I am a big reader, too!

To see my reviews on these particular books the authors themselves asked me to read and review, click on the links below. Maybe you’ll find something here you’d like to read.

📚 For Grown-Ups:
Subway People by Martin Turnbull
The Trouble with Scarlett by Martin Turnbull
The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up by Jacob M. Appel

📚 For Kids:
Cowboy Car by Jeanie Franz Ransom
Theo the White Squirrel by Robert W. Fuller
Meg & Rob’s Witch Tricks: Book 2 – No Win with a Twin by Daniel Shneor

📌 My Reviews Coming Soon in February (Books for Grown-Ups):
True Grandeur: A  Hollywood Novel by Cal R. Barnes – posted on my February 1, 2018 blog
A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


9 Comments

Putting a Neat Little Bow on 2017

Thank you, Everyone! You made 2017 a good reading, writing, and blogging year.  Following are a few of my thoughts about this past year and how I’m looking forward to the new one.

I Thank You.  I can’t begin to name and thank all of you whose blogs I follow, read, comment, and learn from. The same goes for all of you who followed, shared — particularly by The Militant Negro —  and commented on my blog this past year. These lists are long. Nevertheless, thank you, thank you!  I have discovered many fabulous blogs here on WordPress, and I will say there is a lot of good talent here.  (To see whose blogs I follow, please take a look at my blogroll.)

2017’s Theme. A little over a year ago, I declared that 2017 would be a Year of Change for me. I had no idea how “changed” it would be from any other year. Silly. Silly, because every year, every day, every hour, every moment produces change of some sort. If we recognize that change exists, no matter its enormity or minuteness, or its quantifying levels, we’re halfway there to using it for good, or not. It’s up to us, nevertheless, how we accept, handle, and manage it.

Writing, Published Books, and Photography. Another change was writing more, and my skills improved. Perhaps that led to more of my poetry being published. Moreover, one of my photographs for a writing anthology’s cover was chosen, and several more photographs and my poetry, were published in it, too. I’m chuffed.

Left the Old Job.  About a year ago, I knew there were changes afoot with the ol’ job. I already planned on leaving that long, horrifying, so-called career I had.  (Oh, the stories, or book, I could write!)  Life would – and did – become blissful again without the lousy job and its surrounding aggravations.

Staying in Touch. Remember letter-writing, phone calls, emails, visiting? Yeah, me, too. That’s how I continued to stay in touch with my friends and family. As long as we’re on the subject, when did it become de rigueur to use Facebook messenger only? Give me a box of nice stationery and a good Cross pen, and I’m ready–

Social Media Change.  No longer do I feel like a dirty voyeur being force-fed pictures of dead or near-dead relatives laying in the hospital bed, the perfect marriages and angelic children, announcements of divorce when those “perfect marriages” fell apart, hatred, the passive-aggressive posts, the Woe-Is-Me Crowd, and particularly the incorrect quotes and statistics on memes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  I left Fakebook as a whole at the beginning of the year, returned for a five-week engagement in October-November, and left again – this time permanently (except for my author page). Those couple few weeks where I popped back in solidified my thoughts that Fakebook is a vast wasteland for The Bored, The Braggarts, and The Attention-Seekers. “Silent noise,” I call it, and I am done with it. And you know what? I’m back to my old self: calm, cheerful, creative, and relishing all the productive time within my days.

Reading.  I went crazy with reading this year.  Goodreads is a good way for me to keep track of what I read, what I like, what I want to read, and to connect with other readers and authors.  This year, I read 245 books.  How did I do this?  For one, I don’t watch television.  Cut out that crap, and voilà! you have more time to accomplish real, productive things.  At work, I was able to read in my office, in between doing nothing (it was a horrifying job with no work).  Plus, many of the books I read were a length that could easily be read within the course of the day or within an hour.  I discovered a lot of writers, too.  Expanding my horizons, you see.

The Lost Art of Thanking.  This year opened my eyes to the lack of thanking, which seems to have become a new national pastime, with its passé, quaint little politeness that went the way of good manners.  This year, I was dumbstruck at the lack of thanking for the simplest things.  People don’t thank for holding a door open for them, they don’t thank for a gift made or bought for them, they don’t thank for that unsolicited compliment you give, they don’t thank for anything.  I’m speaking in generalities here; some people do thank.  However, I notice it’s more people who don’t, than do.

Tales from Daily Life.  My beau and I are enjoying our lives more and more each day, and I shared our experiences with you during this past year.  We did a little travelling. I visited my hometownCooking is still one of my passions.  We saw a lot of new movies this year, one of which we thought was bad, but most we liked.  Nevertheless, there’s a lot to do and see in our world.  Yes, there was a lot more that happened in 2017, and much of it was good,  and some not.  

Peeking into 2018.  I’ll continue to share my experiences, and keep the positive theme of my blog.  Something new is that I plan to set aside a day each week to share a blog or two of yours that I find inspirational, educational, or just plain re-bloggable.  I’m working on three (yes, three!) books to be published this year.  I’ll be gardening more.  Golfing is in sight for me.  I have some art projects that I’ll finish.  I plan to re-acquaint myself with the art of sushi-making at home.

I hope you had a good, productive, happy, and healthy year, and I wish for you the type of 2018 you want and deserve.

Tonight my beau and I are headed to a New Year’s Eve party, and I’m looking forward to turning the page on the ol’ calendar.

Be happy you’re alive. Be happy you have today. Look forward to tomorrow.

See you next year (ha ha ha).

As ever,

Susan

To see what was up in 2016, read “Wrapping Up 2016.”


2 Comments

My FREE Books – Good Through December 27 – 29, 2017.

I am offering my poetry chapbooks for free on Amazon starting today; some run through December 29, and some through December 31.  Look for me, Susan Marie Molloy, on Amazon.

This is my last free offering of my poetry chapbooks for this year. Pick up one, pick up all. I appreciate it, and thank you. Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!

As ever,
Susan