Daily Archives: July 22, 2012

Great minds . . . and a charming ghost

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There are times when I wonder if we are all somehow on the same cosmic wavelength. Today, I re-watched a wonderful old movie.  A few hours later, Mezz posted a comment referring to a wonderful old movie. Yep, it was the same film, 1947’s classic romantic fantasy, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney.  I swear, we don’t collude on these matters.

Cover of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"

Cover of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

Gene Tierney as young widow Lucy Muir and Rex Harrison as the roguish ghost of a sea captain in the film classic.

Set in the early 1900s, the film, based on a book by English author R.A. Dick (a pseudonym for Josephine Leslie) , tells the story of a spirited young widow and mother, Lucy Muir, who moves into a house called Gull Cottage situated on the British coast. The house has a spirit of its own, the sometimes irascible ghost of an able seaman, Captain Gregg, the former owner of the house. Neither he nor she will be scared away. Captain Gregg and Lucy eventually form a friendship and alliance, engaging in some amusing repartee along the way.   He even helps her write a potboiler of a seafaring memoir called Blood and Swash, which allows her to keep her house when her financial affairs take a turn for the worse.

Complications arise when Lucy encounters the suave Miles Fairley, the unlikely author of a popular series of children’s stories, better known as Uncle Neddie.  Fairley is played by George Sanders, so he is naturally charming, urbane and very likely not to be trusted.

When the captain realizes she has fallen in love with Fairley, he chooses to exit Lucy’s life, leading her to believe it’s all been just a lovely dream.  The two will eventually reunite as two souls destined to be together.

It’s a lovely, romantic, touching, amusing fantasy and well worth seeking out.  The film also has a beautiful score by Bernard Herrmann, which the composer considered his best.  Also of note is the fact little Anna Muir, Lucy’s daughter, is played by a young Natalie Wood.

Growing up in the 1960s I was a fan of the television version of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, starring Edward Mulhare as the captain and Hope Lange as Mrs. Muir.  The story was transplanted to a contemporary setting in the U.S. as a situation comedy from 1968-1970.

Edward Mulhare and Hope Lange as the television versions of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

Captain Gregg says goodbye to a sleeping Lucy.

Given the charisma of the roguish sea captain and how good a certain gent looks sporting a beard, is there little wonder some of us imagine Mr. A in a remake?

Aye, aye, Captain!

Addlepated with Sir Guy and LW at TAE

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Sometimes, I feel just like this.

“The word for today, Sir Guy, is ‘addlepated.'”

Ladywriter shoved an errant strand of blonde hair from her eyes and sighed. Sir Guy looked up from Mr. LW’s new Kindle Fire, a freebie he’d obtained through work (the Tall Dark Handsome Sexy Black Knight snuck in and borrowed it while Mr. LW was taking a nap. Even 12th century boys enjoy their high-tech toys).

“What’s happened now, LW?”

She shrugged her shoulders and scratched her head. “Well, this writing software has an autosave feature, which was on, and yet, somehow–I lost an entire scene in Chapter Two of The Lady & the Panther.”

LW gave him a bemused look. “Now, I am not certain if I actually wrote it, or dreamed I wrote it during my afternoon nap. And it was a dandy scene.  Suspense and angst. Anyway, I went back and re-wrote it and added some more. Another 1,200-plus words down, only 95,000 or so to go on this revision of the revision.”

“I knew your vivid imagination would not fail you, dear LW.” Guy rubbed his handsome aquiline nose. “So–you’re writing in your sleep now?” His mouth curled into one of his trademark smirks. “Writing about–ME?”

“Mmmmmm. Your 18th century incarnation with a few tweaks AND the lovely but troubled heroine. As I said, I am not sure if I wrote it while I was half-asleep and then accidentally deleted it or never typed it in the first place. Addlepated. That’s me today.”

addlepated: (adjective) befuddled, confused; eccentric, stupid; senseless, mad

“As you 21st century types would say, ‘Stuff happens.'”

“Indeed it does, Sir Guy, indeed it does.” She sighed. “It just seems to happen to me more it does to the average person.”

“I must say, LW. Life with you is rarely boring.”

She grinned. “Yeah, I could say the same about you, my dearest dark knight.”  She glanced at the Kindle Fire in his lap. “Googling yourself again, by any chance?”

Yeah, he knows you want him. But I can’t blame you one bit.

He cleared his throat. “Not–necessarily.”

“Yeah. right.”

“I am–very popular.”

“As if I needed you to tell me to know that . . .”

“You’re teasing me again, Ladywriter . . .”

“As they say in South Dakota–‘you betcha.'”

The devil, the details, and my muse

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3,600 words. That’s what I’ve completed in the last couple of days.

Actually, I have written more than that, but I move things around, I take out a sentence here, a word there–it’s like a puzzle and you’re trying to get the pieces in just the right places. It’s a good thing I am not writing with a quill pen and ink, for the manuscript would be littered with blots and crossed-out patches, notes scrawled along the sides.  Hooray for modern technology.

English: Quill pen

English: Quill pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s work and it’s a game all at the same time.  Sometimes it’s a frustrating game and you want to hit your head against something hard. But when it flows, it’s good.   When you get into that zone–whether it’s writing, or painting, or playing music or some other creative activity–you lose track of time. It’s pleasurable and exciting.

This is a period story that I’m writing, so the dialogue needs to have the flavor of 18th century England without being so archaic it sounds stiff and artificial to a modern reader.  And then there are the details you must check–the sort of windows one would likely find in a newly constructed London townhouse in 1750, the way a lady’s dress and undergarments would be constructed and embellished, cosmetics and hairstyles of the period, the role of a thief-taker in the criminal underworld–well, you get the idea.  The devil is in the details.

But then again, I know a very talented gentleman who does a great job getting the details right. You may be familiar with him and his roles.

And some of those details are just heavenly.

Ah, Richard Armitage. Endlessly inspiring.