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Abáloc-- and this and my other worlds...

Beneath the Hill

Mr. Dekany's mine...

Mr. Dekany, in Beneath the Hill had his own dig-it-yourself little coal mine, but he understood the fascination that holes in hills have for dogs and children, so,

"At a point about six feet into the hill, Mr. Dekany had closed the passage by fastening a heavy fence gate between the two stout old wooden supports to a heavy overhead beam. Beyond the gate the children could dimly make out a heavy pick and broad shovel leaning against a wheelbarrow. Opposite the wheelbarrow was a heavy wooden bin full of coal. Farther on was nothing but damp blackness...."

But Mrs. Dekany had been at her kitchen window when the children came out again, so the next weekend Mr. D., knowing that the gate was see-through and tempting, rounded up some boards and hinges and a padlock, and cut an old door down to size to shut the outer entrance, too. Read More 

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JLC, Map Freak...

I've been a map freak since I was a child. I don't remember how young I was, but Daddy had a globe on his desk that I loved to play with, tracing fantastic journeys. Later, in school, there were large, colorful maps that pulled down over the blackboards from rollers high on the wall that fascinated me. And then I began to draw my own. Imaginary landscapes. Imaginary worlds. And, much later, when it came to writing books, I found that almost every one needed a map--or maps-- if not to put into the book itself, then to draw beforehand, so that as I began to tell the story on paper, that story's world could become as real to me as the everyday one. The first story map I drew was for Beneath the Hill, at left. It had bits and pieces of the real world in it, but like almost all of my story maps, it has a warning on the back: Follow At Your Own Risk. One reader of one of my books and his mother lived not far from the real-world location at the bottom of the book's map, and set out to find the house that the burglar raided. They got lost.  Read More 

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"And the Bane grew green"-- but not very.

"And the Bane grew green" was the ending of Beneath the Hill. That was true, but I'm afraid it was also wishful thinking. Because the topsoil was gone, the grass that grew there was for a long while pretty scraggly. It's greener now, but there are no trees. In an untended pasture, the surrounding woods will creep in year by year to reclaim it, but, sadly, their seedlings do not take root in the Bane's stony soil...

The Arthurs are gone. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur retired to Florida to be near Margaret (Miggle), who is a professor of Marine Archaeology at FSU. Trish and her husband, Frank Allan, live over White Oak Ridge, in Colwyn. Morton, the youngest Arthur, lives with his wife and family in Oakland, California. The new owners of the farm are a Jack and Frances Shadwell; they're due to move in next week. The rumor is that Frances is a soils reclamation scientist. Interesting! Read More 

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...and suddenly, it's not our farm..

It was the Arthur family's farm, familiar, but different...

And it happened so quickly! I had got as far in my story ideas as having five children on a farm much like our own, threatened by strip mining, who encounter mythical beings out of the past...

...Those "Fair Folk" lost at sea! Who else! Read More 

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"Mythical beings out of the past..."

After the storm, lost at sea...

"Mythical beings..." Not very long after my rediscovery of E. Nesbit, I began reading up on fairy-survival tales. In Britain medieval fairy beliefs had survived through Elizabethan times, and in some rural areas on to the edge of the twentieth century. In one old book I came across and made a note of a report by a long-ago antiquarian of an old Welsh farmer’s account. He had seen one night a long torchlit cavalcade of the Fair Folk leaving the land of men forever, riding across the hillsides and down to the River Conwy. It was there that they took to boats and traveled north to  Read More 

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Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...

Our barn, home to horses Rusty, Dusty and Merrylegs.

Hello again! Almost a year later!!! No way to run a blog, you say, and I absolutely agree, but the past year has been filled to overflowing. This past week I have at least come up for a gulp of air, and my calendar ahead is showing enough little white spaces that I think it's safe for me now to vow to  Read More 

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If at first you take a pratfall...

As I was about to say in my last post ... I sat down to "think up" a subject for a story-- but neither sitting down or Thinking produced the sort of Light-Bulb Moment I had been hoping for. Granted, when every fifteen or so minutes a heavily laden coal truck comes rumbling down your country road from the strip mine up the way to rattle your bedroom windows as it passes the front yard, it isn't easy to concentrate. I couldn't seem to get past the tired (I thought) old motto, "Write what you know," that Miss Lambert, my high-school English teacher, espoused (along with possibly every other high-school English teacher in the Universe), but that seemed to me a feeble approach. I already KNEW what I knew, so where was the fun, the excitement in that? (There are obviously answers to that question, but they're beside the point here.)

All this was so long ago that I can't swear to it, but Read More 

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