THE LIFE OF THE SPINNING-WHEEL, THE ROCKING-HORSE, AND THE RABBIT
Once upon a time, though I can’t say exactly when, there lived in a far-off country a spinning-wheel, a rocking-horse, and a rabbit. They knew many of the people in that country. They lived in a house with many pretty things in it, such as I am going to tell you about: amethysts, turquoises, opals, pearls, diamonds, and rubies, and precious stones of all kinds.
One day when Mrs. Spinning-Wheel had her head stretched out of the window looking down upon the glorious garden of flowers, she was saying to herself, humming a low, sweet little song—”Oh dear! how I wish Mr. Horse were white!”
Mr. Rabbit was hiding in a corner behind the door, and he heard what Mrs. Spinning-Wheel had said. “Ha! Ha!” said Mr. Rabbit to Mrs. Spinning-Wheel, with a wiggle of his nose, “Mr. Horse shall be white, as white as you want him to be!”… Read more
It’s been far too long since I’ve posted more of Barbara’s stories and other writings. I have several items to add, and I’ll try to arrange them in chronological order. Unfortunately most are undated, including this early verse that I think Barbara wrote around 1920, when she was six. Barbara was probably inspired by one of her picture books: my guess would be “The Real Mother Goose”, illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright and published in 1916 by Rand McNally & Co.
A MOTHER GOOSE CIRCUS
Oh you should see the sign on the billboard down the street! A mother Goose Circus is coming! said Allan to Joe. Hurrah!, Joe exclaimed. Perhaps, if we are good we may go. You have never seen better boys than Allan and Joe were all that week. They remembered to shine their shoes. They did not once forget to say Thank you and If you please. They were very very good that their mother began to worry that they were ill. Father knew better than that for he had once been a boy himself.
At last Circus Day arrived and the boys started for the show. How fine the canvas tents looked in the grass field!… Read more
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!