Tag Archives: Literature

June Fairy Update–Beth Trissel


cailin_fairyNiece Cailin, our resident fairy expert, celebrated the birthday of her newest fairy, Taler, today.  We contributed presents, and a good friend sent fairy furnishings. Cailin has excitedly redone her fairy garden and is at work compiling a fairy journal. She tells me that I should be able to see fairies in my garden because I’ve attracted some of the more readily discerned kinds, if I’ll keep my eyes open. I like to think I do. Cailin confided her sadness that many people do not believe in fairies. My oldest daughter Alison said, ‘think how God feels.’  Many don’t believe in him and he even created us. Good point.

Ian and Cailin fighting wind fairiesBack to Cailin. In her journal she warns, “Outside is dangris becas of wind fairies.” And that has certainly been true for much of the country this late spring/early summer. Very scary. Cailin and her cousin, my grandson Ian, created shields and swords out of cardboard boxes (I hoard them) and joined forces with the good fairies (rose, animal, healing fairies…) to wage battle against the wind fairies. She says, ‘Wind fairies are evil and powerful. Never get near or be bad to one. If you make them angry they will make sparkly lights flash through your room and send leaves in a swirling circle, like a small dust cloud, all around.’ So beware.

Above: Cailin and Ian fighting wind fairies on my sun porch–a problem because they can come through windows. But not doors. And not windows with shades or curtains. My thoughtful five-year-old granddaughter Emma, upon learning the rules of wind fairies, noted all the windows on the sun porch and asked why they’d taken position out there and not a more secure location? Well, that’s where the action was.

Cailin fighting wind fairies

Cailin opening her fairy presents above.

Cailin fighting wind fairies above:

Cailin’s new fairy garden below:

Cailin's fairy garden (2)

“You have to write the book that wants to be written.”~Madeleine L’Engle–Beth Trissel


A few favorite writing quotes.

old books

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” 

 Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.” 
 
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar: A Novel

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 
 Mark Twain (I took his advice, to a point, and deleted needless ‘verys’)

Book, History, Writing, Old, Pen, Antique“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 
 Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Saul Bellow (True)

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” 
 Lloyd Alexander

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” 
 Anaïs Nin

Mother and Child - Education--Victorian Era“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” 
 Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.” 
 
Meg Cabot

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” 
 
Winston Churchill

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” 
 
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” 
 E.L. Doctorow (I talk amongst ‘myselves’)

woman reading“You can make anything by writing.” 
 
C.S. Lewis (His Chronicles of Narnia are my all-time favorite stories)

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” 
 
Stephen King, On Writing

“Write what should not be forgotten.” 
 
Isabel Allende

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Thomas Jefferson

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” 
 W. Somerset Maugham (My favorite writing quote)

Rose LetterAnd the best for last: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 
 Madeleine L’Engle (Author of A Wrinkle in Time, a favorite story)

Fairy Alert–Beth Trissel


Some of you may remember earlier posts inspired by our resident fairy expert, my niece Cailin, now eight. A soulful eyed sprite, Cailin glimpses a realm unknown to most of us, though imagined by me.  She creates homes for fairies in her backyard and assures me that they love my garden, even have a fairy school here. Good to know my flowers are appreciated by these ephemeral beings. Cailin and her fairy friends have enhanced our lives with wonder.  Big news–she discovered her first baby fairy.

Sunday afternoon I received an excited phone call from Cailin with descriptions of this marvelous find, also questions as to how she should care for such a unique infant. While Cailin and I were speaking her teenage sister, Lizzy, walked in the door to cries of, “Lizzy! Look! I found a baby fairy!”

The story of Cailin and her latest fairy find, Taler, is a fascinating revelation, one that unfolds daily as she learns more about her new charge. As my sister tells the tale: “I was downstairs doing laundry when Cailin came rushing down the stairs. I heard, “Mama! Mama! Guess what?! Guess what I have in my hands?!” Her hands were cupped, and held close together, her face with an expression of sheer delight and anticipation as she couldn’t wait for me to see and discover what was in her hands. She then said, “I found it in the grass, and Andy (her stepfather) said I can keep it! He said I can keep it and take care of it!” (*Image of Cailin and her fairy,  Taler, above.)

I was a little hesitant, and asked her to show me what she held. She carefully opened her hands so her treasure wouldn’t fly off and looked up at my face, knowing I would be just as excited as she was…then it dawned on her that I couldn’t see it. She said, “It’s an ‘everything fairy’ – that’s why it’s invisible” (well,  to most). She explained she was walking along with Sara (her sister) and they were having fun with “Mr Moustache” (the caterpillar they’d discovered) when “out of the corner of my eye,” she says she saw a glimmer in the grass. Before it got stepped on or stolen, she reached down and scooped it up just in time.

At first Cailin didn’t understand why she’d be there, a little baby fairy, all alone. She feared her parents had abandoned her. But then Taler told her the whole story as the evening wore on. Apparently, her parents were trying to hide her from the Wind fairies (a terrible whooshing sort of fairy that would want to get her as an infant and raise her as one of their own). They hadn’t abandoned her, they were trying to protect her. Cailin said she still needs to watch out for the wind fairies, because they’re still searching for her. Taler (very sparkly) may be of royal blood as well. And, an everything fairy is quite rare. She has the potential for amazing powers. After the enthusiasm of showing me her fairy had calmed for a second, she asked, “How do I take care of a baby fairy? I’ve never taken care of one before.” That’s when I announced, “We should call your Aunt Beth. She might have some good ideas about that.”

And I did, of course. I suggested a small warm box lined with something soft for a bed and a diet of nectar, honey or sugar water, hoping she doesn’t attract ants, as a butterfly is the closest creature I can compare a fairy to.

(Playground for fairies and bed, with tiny teddy, for Taler)

Also of interest to note, Cailin was hoping Taler would be more turquoise, because that’s her favorite color, but Taler is pink and purplish, also has tiny stripes on her arm–a recent discovery. Cailin isn’t yet sure why. When she first found Taler, furled wings concealed much of her, but as they’ve opened Cailin is better able to see more of her. Oh, and Taler can teleport. Not from room to room, but her house to mine, one place to another. With help, I think Cailin should make Taler’s story (and more) into a book. Stay tuned. The adventure of Cailin and her fairies may be coming to an Amazon near you.

(Cailin and her fairy garden pictured above. Drawing of Taler.)

Interested in Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs?–Beth Trissel


Faerie-Folks , Are in old oaks .”

I am teaching an Herbal Lore Workshop, actually, several this year. The first is with Savvy Authors from Mar 11, 2013 – Apr 7, 2013.

For more information and to register for the workshop with Savvy click:  Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs

banks of herbs

St. John’s wort and cyclamen in your bed-chambers keep , From evil spells and witcheries , To guard you in your sleep .”

“I borage , give courage .”

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me…”  ~Danaher, 1756.

“When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight.” ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

A Fragrant Connection to The Past Through Herbs&Heirloom FlowersRowan tree and red-thread

Put the witches to their speed.”

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

“Where the yarrow grows , there is one who knows.”

If ye would herbal magic make

Be sure the spell in rhyme be spake.”

For Lovers (or Potential Lovers) of Herbal Lore–Beth Trissel


herb garden“The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk.”  ~Jacqueline du Pre

“More in the garden grows , than the witch knows.”

“Sell your coat and buy betony.”

“No ear hath heard no tongue can tell, The virtue of the pimpernel”

“Treoil , vervain , st. John’s wort dill

Hinder Witches of all their will.”

English country garden flowers and herbs“The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows…” ~William Cullen Bryant

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…”~William Shakespeare, 1611.

“Sow fennel , Sow sorrow .”

“And because the Breath of Flowers is farre Sweeter in the Aire (where it comes and Gose, like the Warbling of Musick) than in the hand, therefore nothing is more fit for delight, than to know what be the Flowers and the Plants that doe best perfume the Aire.” ~ Francis Bacon, 1625.

“Plant your sage and rue together,

The sage will grow in any weather .”

“Snakes will not go  Where geraniums grow.”

Formal Garden, Flower Bed, Old Ruin, Gothic Style, Monastery, Abbey,  Church, herbs“My gardens sweet, enclosed with walles strong, embarked with benches to sytt and take my rest. The Knotts so enknotted, it cannot be exprest. With arbours and alys so pleasant and so dulce, the pestylant ayers with flavours to repulse.” ~Thomas Cavendish, 1532.

“Where the yarrow grows , there is one who knows.”

If ye would herbal magic make

Be sure the spell in rhyme be spake.”

herb garden with chairWoe to the lad  without a rowan tree-god.”

“The fair maid who , the first of May

Goes to the fields at break of day

And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree ,

Will ever after handsome be.”

St. John’s wort and cyclamen in your bed-chambers keep , From evil spells and witcheries , To guard you in your sleep .”

“I borage , give courage .”

“Good morrow, good Yarrow, good morrow to thee. Send me this night my true love to see, The clothes that he’ll wear, the colour of his hair. And if he’ll wed me…”  ~Danaher, 1756.

“When daisies pied and violets blue, and lady-smocks all silver white. And Cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, do paint the meadows with delight.” ~William Shakespeare, 1595.

Rowan tree and red-thread

Put the witches to their speed.”

“Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Poor Richard’s Almanac

Faerie-Folks , Are in old oaks .”

***I’m teaching an Herbal Lore Workshop, actually, several this year. The first is with Savvy Authors from Mar 11, 2013 – Apr 7, 2013. For more information and to register for the workshop click:  Herbal Lore and the Historic Medicinal Uses of Herbs

Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde–Beth Trissel


Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.  ~Jean Anouilh

Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame.  ~Henry David Thoreau

 We loved with a love that was more than love.  ~Edgar Allan Poe

 “Do I love you because you’re beautiful, 

Or are you beautiful because I love you?”

 “Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defense.”  ~Mark Overby

Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river.  ~Malagasy Proverb

Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker. ~Author Unknown

 Love one another and you will be happy.  It’s as simple and as difficult as that.  ~Michael Leunig

 The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough. ~George Moore

Absence diminishes small loves and increases great ones, as the wind blows out the candle and fans the bonfire.  ~François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

We choose those we like; with those we love, we have no say in the matter.  ~Mignon McLaughlinThe Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.  ~Rose Franken

Love is like dew that falls on both nettles and lilies.  ~Swedish Proverb

It is astonishing how little one feels alone when one loves.  ~John Bulwer

‘Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark our coming, and look brighter when we come.  ~Lord Byron

 Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is a winding path walked arm in arm.  ~Robert Brault

 Love is the poetry of the senses.  ~Honoré de Balzac

 Love is a game that two can play and both win.  ~Eva Gabor

Without love, the rich and poor live in the same house.  ~Author Unknown

We don’t believe in rheumatism and true love until after the first attack.  ~Marie Ebner Von Eschenbach, Aphorism

True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.  ~François, duc de La Rochefoucauld

Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.  ~Elinor Glyn

Our Frosty Autumn Garden in the Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel


“Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow.”
–   Author Unknown

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand, shadowless like Silence, listening
To Silence.”
–   Thomas Hood

“…the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
 in the sun.”
–   W. S. Merwin,  
The Love of October

“Then summer fades and passes and October comes.  We’ll smell smoke then,
and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a
sense of sadness and departure.”
–   Thomas Wolfe

“Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity;
but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.  What man can stand with autumn
on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling
hills that reach to the far horizon?
–   Hal Borland

“There ought to be gardens for all months in the year,
in which, severally, things of beauty may be then in season.”
–  Sir Francis Bacon

“Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies
a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and
chilled.  The season comes full with the first frost, the
disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of
the season’s last crops.”
–   Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

“Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined
And spreads a common feast for all that live.”
–   James Thomson

“The wind-blown leaves turn
Dancing the golden sunlight
across the tired floor.”
–   Matt Dimmic

***Photographs of our garden by my talented daughter Elise