Tag Archives: Narnia

Don’t Forget the Signs–Beth Trissel

One of the all time favorite books from my childhood is The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis, a story in his Chronicles of Narnia.  From WikiNarnia: “The Silver Chair tells the story of Eustace Scrubb‘s second trip to Narnia, accompanied by his friend Jill Pole, who had never been there before. The two of them are running from bullies at their school when they enter a door to hide, and find themselves in Aslan’s country, next to a great cliff. Trying to show off, Pole wandered close to the edge, and in an effort to keep her from falling, Scrubb fell off of the cliff himself. Because of this, the lion Aslan tells Jill the task that he has for both of them, but that her part would now be harder because she made Scrubb fall off the cliff. She needed to remember The Four Signs they would need to find Prince Rilian. Once she remembered them, Aslan blew her into Narnia to join Eustace.”

Yes, that’s pretty much how the story begins. Aslan also blew Eustace to Narnia first, kind of important to note, but back to the signs. Sobered and fascinated by them, I thought surely if I’d been entrusted with such a sacred task, I would have repeated them faithfully. But that darn Jill grew weary of her daily recitation and slowly forgot this vital guide for their perilous, all important journey.

I’ve often wondered about those signs and what they meant in the broader sense. As a Christian, C.S. Lewis incorporated spiritual symbolism into his work. Likely the signs have to do with the important Biblical teachings we’re not to forget, the Divine truths that guide us on life’s paths. I thought maybe saying my prayers everyday were my version of the signs. Like Jill, I also weary of those. Whatever they are, I have this sense I ought to remember… Aslan helped Jill out when she ‘fudged the signs.’ I trust God will nudge me in the right direction also.

And in the words of Aslan, the great lion himself, “Courage, dear heart.”

***Above Image from the original film version of the story, currently being remade and will, no doubt, be spectacular. And, of course, Aslan’s image.

The Perfect Sign Post for my House–Beth Trissel

From Crown Publishing page on FB. Go and like them at: https://www.facebook.com/CrownPublishing


I Remember When–1960’s Nostalgia

The bubble-head Barbie came out in the early 1960’s, her hair style influenced by Jacqueline Kennedy. When I was eight, I was  overjoyed to receive a red-headed one for my birthday.  Presents were simpler and fewer in those days. Most of my Barbie’s wardrobe was laboriously made by my mother, the ‘store bought’ outfits being too pricey for us. Even so,  my grandmother felt we were quite spoiled.   Anyone who lived through the Great Depression did.  Plus she grew up in China, the daughter of missionaries.  Talk about poor…that dear lady once sewed a collection of my great uncle’s old ties together to make a skirt for me.  I was a teenager, so didn’t wear it.  She always told me there was no room to stand on pride when you were hard up.  But I took a stand on that occasion.  Now I wish I’d saved that skirt.

Books were particularly special in my childhood, my collection small and continually reread.  The thrill of my life was when my mom ordered a box all the way from England filled with C. S. Lewis‘s the Chronicles of Narnia, not yet available in the U.S. To say I was influenced by The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe (and the rest of the series)  is an understatement. I’m still looking for Narnia.  I assume everyone is, but apparently they’re not all…weird.

Given my love of reading, trips to the library were savored. With three younger children to take care of, mom let me check out as many books as I could manage myself.  Thin arms laden, the pile stretched from my knobby knees up to my arched chin as I staggered to the car with my take.  I devoured everything, fiction, nonfiction…even the biography of Lotta Crabtree, which I suspect most children haven’t read.

I remember dirt roads with bumps we’d beg to ride over fast, and endless highways before the age of the interstate.  Traveling from one place to another in our old Chrysler was an arduous affair with warm sandwiches smashed in between wax paper and tepid, metallic sips of water from my father’s Marine Corps canteen.  And that had to date back to the Korean War, unless it was his father’s and then we’re talking WWI.   Air conditioning in the car was unheard of then and rarely enjoyed anywhere.  Mostly public buildings.  Few homes possessed such comfort.  Only a fan stirred the heavy stillness of our sweltering summers.  We finally got air-conditioning  in our farmhouse when the older children were well into elementary school with one window unit in the family room where we all camped out together when the nights were really hot.  We now have several units, the height of comfort, except for the parts of the house that don’t.

Childhood trips to the movies can be numbered on my fingers.  Maybe not even using  both hands.   Cinderella and The Sound of Music stand out in my memory.  My college English teacher father, who spent several years getting his doctorate, wasn’t overpaid.  And then I married a farmer, also not overpaid.  As for television, a small black and white set sufficed until I was thirty-something.   Only recently did we acquire a more advanced means of obtaining channels other than the battered antenna, constantly zapped by strong winds, that required my hubby to climb up on the garage roof for adjustments and yell down at the person in the kitchen doorway below, “Can you see it now?” The answering shout was relayed from the person in the living room until better reception was achieved.  I was delighted to discover  Netflix.

As for clothes, refer to the long-suffering mother mentioned above and selfless grandmother at their sewing machines, and hand-me-downs.   I reveled in what some would call a ‘missionary barrel’ of hand-me-downs when my father was in graduate school, my younger sister on the way, and our family as poor as church mice.    I thought a pair of ‘to me’ fashionable flats made me look like a movie star and dreamed big dreams.  When I reached the advanced age of thirteen I was awed by a pair of fish net stockings and my first ever lipstick, a pale pink by Bonnie Bell.

Back to fashion.  When my children were small, I labored at my sewing machine and even made over some of my own clothes into little shirts, pants, and smocks for them (and embroidered the fronts). Again, mom and grandma sewed much appreciated contributions, and Grandma knitted sweaters.  Children weren’t expected to be as well dressed in my day, or my children’s, as they are now.  As long as we had something suitable for church, and when I was small that meant petticoats, white gloves, and a hat.  Sales had to be really good for my mom to buy ‘ready made’ clothes.  Ditto for  my kids.  They even sold sweet corn at a roadside stand in the summers to earn money for back to school clothes.  But all of this built character, right?  Made us more appreciative of what we have.   (*Image of little Beth)

No Kleenex in my childhood.  We used handkerchiefs which were washed, and if one was  fastidious, ironed.  Some of them were quite fancy, possibly family heirlooms.  Again, I wish I’d saved some.  I’d dress my Betsy McCall doll in the prettiest ones.

Furniture?  In our family, with rare exceptions, you inherited it, or someone still living gave you some pieces, or you made/refinished them yourself.    Food?  A lot of home cooking/canning.  Some less than appetizing meals when mom got into a hardcore health food phase.  My sister recalls groats, but only once. Again, I can count on my fingers, maybe with both hands, how many times our family ate out as I was growing up.   And eating between meals was frowned upon or we’d ‘spoil our dinner.’  An occasional snack, maybe.

Didn’t like your supper?  Too bad.   Probably why I have the urge as an adult to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.   But we kids played outside all the time and were wiry and fast.   Little danger of obesity among the youth back then.  Those were the ‘Timmy and Lassie days’ of riding our bikes all over the neighborhood as long as we were back by suppertime.  Now we want to know where our children are every second, and understandably so with all the pedophiles at seemingly ever corner.

Have we really come all that far?  In some ways, yes, in others, not so much. When I was young, we feared the Russians, the Cold War, and Nuclear proliferation.  Now, its Muslim Extremists.  And they’re worse than anything I recall, and I was one of those kids who had to hide under their desk in elementary school as part of a practice drill for what to do if…as though that would have saved us from a nuclear attack.  We also practiced taking alternate routes home which had me stopping off in a golf course to play–alone–at the age of eight.  Great plan. (Not me in the pic, just a random child from that era doing the desk drill thing).

What are your memories?  Do you lament the old days?  Those Russians don’t seem so scary now, huh?

My Interview With Mistress Bella

Interview with Beth Trissel

Help me welcome,The Wild Rose Press author, Beth Trissel.
Care to share a short bio with us?
Certainly. I’m a Virginia author of historical and light paranormal romance with the Wild Rose Press. I also write creative non-fiction pieces about rural life. The beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains are my inspiration.
Can you tell us about your latest release and/or past releases? Light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love (fall 2008) won the 2008 Preditors&Editors Readers Poll for Best Romance Novel. In May 2009 I had three historical/light paranormal romance novels released in a whirlwind month: Daughter of the Wind, Enemy of the King, and Through the Fire (finalist 2008 Golden Heart). All have received excellent reviews and each won book of the week at Long and Short Reviews.
Tell us about the heroine and hero of the above books. I’ll focus on Daughter of the Wind: Young Scots-Irishwoman Karin McNeal longs to know who she really is. Former Shawnee captive Jack McCray holds the key to her past.

What inspired Daughter of the Wind? A tragic account I came across in my studies of the early Scots-Irish about a captive woman who fell in love with the son of a chief. As the result of a treaty, she was taken from her warrior husband and forced back to her white family where she gave birth to a girl. Then the young woman’s husband did the unthinkable and left the tribe to go live among the whites, but such was their hatred of Indians that before he reached his beloved her brothers intercepted and killed him. Inconsolable and weak from the birth, she grieved herself to death. Heart wrenching, it haunts me to this day. And I wondered…was there some way those young lovers could have been spared such anguish; what happened to their infant daughter when she grew up???

What can we expect from you regarding your future writing?
More historical/light paranormal romance charged with mystery and adventure.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? New time periods/settings take considerable more research before I can write the story.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? My favorite author since third grade is CS Lewis with his wonderful Chronicles of Narnia series. He taught me to believe in the power of pretend.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? At about that time.

How long does it take you to write a book? That varies from 3-6 months to several years, including research.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? I try to write every day but particularly like the days where I can get in some good solid blocks of writing time.

Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)? Not that I’ve noticed.

What do you want to know about the future? Are we gonna survive 12/12/2012. And no, do not go see that movie.

Are you a morning person or a night person? I’m beginning to wonder if I’m either one. Need more coffee.

Do you like thunderstorms? Ever heard of getting struck by lightning?

What is the best way for readers to contact you? Email : bctrissel@yahoo.com

Anything you would like to add? “Never give up! Never surrender!” (Galaxy Quest).

Thanks so much Beth for stopping by. We wish you the best of luck and really look forward to what you have in store for us next!

Mistress Bella

Rip Rap Hollow in the Blue Ridge Mountains

“The quality of mercy is not strained,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blessed;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes…”

The heavy rain has given way to a misting drizzle, but streams of water are pouring down from the hills, making new ponds and creeks. This spring is awash in moisture and amazing after last summer’s searing drought. I am struck by the intense beauty around me, and I thought I was already seeing it, but it is so much more somehow. The grass seems to shimmer, yet there is no sun out today, and the meadow is so richly green it’s like seeing heaven. The barnyard geese are enraptured, as much as geese can be, with all the grass. If there is a lovelier place to revel in spring than the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains, I don’t know it. Narnia, maybe.

I’ve been thinking about my favorite places. The pool I like best lies in the woods near a place called Rip Rap Hollow in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A most splendid falls cascades up above, but I like the pool far more. We always meant to go back, but never have. The cold water ripped through me like liquid ice and is as clear as melted crystal. I could see the rocks on the bottom, some slick with moss, others brown-gold in the light where the sun broke through the leafy canopy overhead. Trout hid beneath big rounded stones or ones that formed a cleft, but the men tickled them out to flash over the flat rocks strewn across the bottom like a path. Drifts of hay-scented fern rose around the edges of the pool, warming the air with the fragrance of new mown hay, and made the shady places a rich green.

Now, that’s a good place to go in my mind when I’m troubled. The problem with cities is that people don’t learn what really matters, don’t really feel or know the rhythms of the earth. When we are separated from that vital center place, we grow lost. Sadly, most people will never know what they are lost from, or where they can be found.