Last week Ross Carter kindly sent me an audio clip of the melody Barbara composed for her 1925 Christmas card. I hadn’t heard the song played before and it was a joy. I looped the mp3 and recited Barbara’s lyrics in terrible French. My apologies to Barbara.
Finally, it’s here! My big book for Barbara—a 638-page softcover edition and an ebook for Kindles and other devices. Both have over 40 photographs. I’m VERY pleased with the end result!!
I’m waiting to hear from Amazon about incorporating their “look inside” feature so you can take a look for yourself. (UPDATE: “Look inside” now incorporated.) If you don’t like Amazon it should be available from other retailers very soon, and in real book shops too if they choose to stock it (which they should).
If you’d like to purchase the softcover, you’d be doing me a favor by buying from Amazon’s CreateSpace page. If you’d like the ebook, it’s cheapest ($9.99) on Amazon, but again you’d be doing me a favor by downloading from Smashwords ($12). There you can download a quarter of the book for free, to get you hooked!
Farksolia has been getting a lot of traffic due to Lapham Quarterly’s reposting of “Vanishing Act,” which went semi-viral on social media and was picked up by BoingBoing, the Paris Review, the New York Times, etc. To answer a few of the questions I’ve gotten lately:
Barbara’s first book, “The House Without Windows,” although not in print, is available as a download on Chippy’s site.
My Big Book for Barbara—”Wings! Barbara Newhall Follett: A Life in Letters”—is not quite ready for publication. Soon!
No, I don’t know who holds the copyright to Barbara’s published work. Knopf has not been helpful at all in that regard. I hope all this new attention in my half-aunt will one day lead to her two books getting back in print, preferably with a companion volume of “Lost Island” and her other stories and essays.
On Christmas morn, Children, first looking from the windows, See how desolate and bleak the garden is. Withered the flowers, butterflies flown, Summer gone from the woods. But hist!—magic! Out there, the leaves that flutter down Are elfin butterflies, pearled with frost-patterns. Flowers and ferns of the garden Have come in fairy lace on the window-panes. And what is this, Wound about with climbing vines of the garden all turned to silver, Lighted with candles that make fireflies In every shining ball and glazen pendant? Summer has come into the cottage! It is May in the hearts of the children: And sweet as songs of the thrush at twilight Are the Noels raised by their happy voices. Fairies, oh! fairies, Come dancing soft as shadows, Set the wood a-whirl with snowy wings. Weave your iridescent webs, Wind them in beauty about the Tree: Touch it with wands of frost Until it is tipped and trimmed with icicles, Sparkling—gleaming!
My book for Barbara—Wings!—is coming along very well indeed. It’ll be a long book full of her writing with a few notes by me scattered about. I await interest from Alfred A. Knopf, et al. Assuming that no major publisher is interested in such an esoteric book in 2014, I’ll publish it myself. Happy birthday, Barbara!
Farksolia is on hiatus while I work on my book for Barbara. It is well underway and it will be wonderful. I hope to publish it next year for her 100th birthday. We’ll have to see how that goes, though.
1922 — Kitty’s Christmas Supper : Barbara’s Christmas card for her mother.
1923 — The Tree
1924 — Silver Magic (my photo of the original Christmas greeting is very blurry, but fortunately I have a copy of the poem from another source.There’s a rare typo in the latter, two-thirds of the way down: “thrust” should be “thrush.”)
1925 — Noël
The small text at the bottom reads:
Barbara Newhall Follett, the daughter of Wilson Follett, is twelve years old and already has achieved something of a reputation as the authoress of “The House Without Windows.” In this Christmas song, of which she wrote both the words and the melody, she has chosen French as the medium for the beautiful tale of the birth of Jesus. She tells first of crossing the world to come to the manager [sic], then of the wise men, their guest and their gifts. The shepherds leave their flocks to follow the light. Miss Follett closes with an exquisite stanza—”Oh Jesus, may Gow blass [sic] you. Take what we bring in our hands. He smiled out from the arms of Mary. Oh, the devine Child.”