Jane Eyre retold in The Wife Upstairs

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Photo by Ryan Searle on Unsplash

The Wife Upstairs: A Recreating of the Classic Jane Eyre

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins is a retelling of Jane Eyre for a modern audience. Set in an ultra-wealthy subdivision of Birmingham, Alabama. The Wife Upstairs is the story of Jane, a girl with a dark, troubled past, who takes a job as a dog-walker to the affluent citizens of Thornfield Estates.

When she pauses in the middle of the street to look at the most beautiful, oldest, and most interesting house in the neighborhood, a red car zooms out of the driveway, knocking her over and causing her to collide with Eddie Rochester. …


A Sciku acknowledging an unexpected detective

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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

Dried up detective of the deep: a science-haiku, “Sciku”

Common old seaweed
Seeps secrets to scientists,
Telling tales of death.

The Crash of the California Fisheries in the 1950s

Most of us have probably never heard of the crash of the California sardine fisheries in the 1950s, a bust that was heard around the world. The capture and canning of sardines was a massive industry in California, the largest industry of its kind in the Western hemisphere, pulling in more than a half-million tons of the tiny fish every year. The sardine fisheries in California employed over 30,000 workers and more than 4000 fishermen in the 1930s and 1940s.

Sardines are small, oily fish that were part of the food-chain that fed sea-birds, bigger fish, and marine mammals. But humans were the biggest consumer. During the depression era, sardines were in huge demand, a true budget food. Sardines were cheap, and families could make meals of them by mixing with tomato sauce and pouring over rice. Or, as my dad would often do, just eating them with crackers. During the Cold War, the government bought sardines for the military and for stocking in bomb shelters, but by the 1960s, sardine consumption began to decline. …


Distributed posts from January 1-January 14, 2021

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Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

Why I write on Medium

I read a lot of articles on Medium, hundreds of pieces about how to make posts go viral, get 1000 followers, or make money from posting frequently. In the end, while I read those articles hoping to pick up some tidbit of knowledge that I haven’t seen before, the reality is that I write on Medium for different reasons:

  • To write the ideas in my head, not to write what everybody else is writing. I write in the hope that somewhere out there people exist who might be interested in the same things that intrigue me.
  • To find THAT audience for my work — those people who relate to what I write. …


An art primer for writers

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Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

What is great art?

Would anyone argue that Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, or Rodin were not great artists? Probably not, but nailing down what makes “great art,” is not an easy task. Robert Shimshak, an art collector, defined it this way:

“Good art is timeless. It will assume a new relevance to each generation, and to yourself as you grow. It will connect to the past and feed the future. It has a simple and rigorous beauty that commands your gaze and thoughts whenever you look at it. The best work will break your heart. As a collector, you will know it when you see it. It’s personal. You will not have to be convinced by anyone to acquire it; it will be something you simply must have. …


by Elizabeth Wetmore

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Photo by WORKSITE Ltd. on Unsplash

The Title: Valentine

Don’t be fooled. Valentine is not a romance novel filled with hearts and roses. It’s a gritty, hard-hitting book about the fight for justice, the effects of rage, the weight of ongoing grief, and the reaction of women to the tragedy of one young girl.

Shakespeare wasn’t referring to book titles when he said, “What’s in a name? A rose (or a book) by any other name would smell as sweet.” The word “Valentine” doesn’t begin to depict what’s inside this book: cruelty, compassion, rage, loneliness, fear, and abandonment — none of them are words that I’d associate with the word “Valentine.” …


A hot-mind sciku

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Photo by Peter John Maridable on Unsplash

….“An idea ignites,
Fast, white-hot, raging, changing
the world forever.”

The concept of fire in the creative process

The first time I heard the phrase, “fire in the belly,” I knew exactly what it meant — only I felt it not only in my belly but also in my head, my fingers, my toes, my heart. I feel that creative urge — that insistent drive to produce —glowing embers heating me from the inside out.

My experience is not unique. Creativity is often associated with fire. Consider these statements:

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch

The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness. — Joan…


Be a rebel

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Photo by JJ Jordan on Unsplash

Are you a lover of puns, like Shakespeare?

I love puns. They’re fast and playful, shooting out like popcorn from a hot skillet, tasty tidbits of language that delight and surprise me every time. My love of puns is partly genetic — my dad was a punster, and my brilliant, articulate sister can spout sharp witticisms in less time than it takes a snake to flick its tongue.

By loving puns, I put myself in good company. William Shakespeare, was a fan of them, too. He injects puns frequently in his plays, a technique that keeps the audience entranced with the words, looking to catch the double meaning. …


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Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

How one book experience affects another

I fell in love with Fredrik Backman’s earlier book, A Man Called Ove, but it was definitely not love at first sight.

At first, I was offended by Ove’s rude behavior, his surly nature, his honed and hurtful insults. But the skill of the author, Fredrik Backman, made me fall in love with Ove — once his backstory was revealed. It became one of those books that stuck with me, that I think about it occasionally, reminding myself that until we know a little bit about a person’s life, we shouldn’t judge their behavior.

Ove is a difficult man, but like so many of us, in spite of our flaws, there is goodness in him, and readers see how that goodness affects the lives of others. …


Pieces distributed from 12–18–20 through 12–31–20

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Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

Fifteen months on Medium, and I still have no clear-cut answers for what gets distributed and what doesn’t. I had a couple that I thought for sure would be curated, but weren’t.

These three made it, and I’ll take it. Every speck of distribution dust gets scattered to a wider audience. I’m always happy about that. I still don’t make much money, but I’m building a strong body of work! I figure if I keep it up, someday I may be in that small percentage of writers who make more than $100 a month…I’m still waiting!

Let’s do it. If others can, so can we! …


A Novel by Fredrik Backman

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Call it “Literary Luck”

Sometimes, I read something that, by coincidence, is perfectly timed with an upcoming holiday. Occasionally, what I call “literary luck” strikes, and I get a new perspective on a current trend from the book I’m reading. Once in a while, I read a passage that smacks me with wisdom connected to a particular day of the year.

My timing was perfect. I finished reading Fredrik Backman’s novel, Anxious People on December 30th. Right before the turn of the New Year, I gained a bit of serendipitous insight. Backman pulls no punches in reminding me that we are not just what’s happened in the past. …

About

Melissa Gouty

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Creative content for the literary world. Follow me at LiteratureLust.com, Twitter, or Facebook.

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