That day ended the romance of our marriage; the old feeling from thereon became but a precious and irrecoverable remembrance; but a new feeling of love for my children and the father of my children laid the foundation of a new life and a quite different happiness; and that life and happiness have lasted to the present time.
–from Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy, 1859
My novella, “A Portrait of Happiness and Love,” is inspired by Tolstoy’s novella, Family Happiness.
Not only that, I was given the great honor to write an introduction to Wiseblood Book’s reprint of Family Happiness. It can be found at Wiseblood Books and on Amazon.
They walked into the sitting room. Genevieve had somehow maneuvered through the throng of Israelites, and was lifting a small figurine off a shelf. She turned it over in her hands and glanced at Tom. He moved as close to the shelf as he could get and leaned over, balancing himself on one of the cement hoods. He took the figurine from Genevieve.
“That’s for you, Allie,” Genevieve said, holding onto the shelf.
Tom handed over the figurine, and Allie looked at it, rubbing her thumb along the sanded wood. It was a boy in a robe.
–from “An Abstract Copy of My Heart,” A Flower in the Heart of the Painting by Amy Krohn
Genevieve and Allie are my favorite characters in the book. To find out more about them, pre-order my book today at Wiseblood Books!
(wooden figure pictured is by Kenneth Anthony Krogmeir, American, 20th century)
“On his easel rested a painting of Kristen in a modest black dress. She sat primly in the exact center of a blue-gray couch, her hands folded in her lap, her bright face, erased of emotion but shining with freshness and youth, a flower in the heart of the painting.”
–from “A Portrait of Happiness and Love,” A Flower in the Heart of the Painting by Amy Krohn
My new collection of stories is coming out November 1st. You can pre-order it now at Wiseblood Books. For the next few weeks this blog will provide insights and quotes from the book that you won’t get anywhere else! I hope you enjoy it.
The Letter, Marguerite S. Pearson, 1938
A print of this painting hangs above my stairwell. It is framed rather grandly, and I also respect it in a grand way. It represents a high standard of femininity. The woman is both modest and beautiful, domestic and educated. It also represents a woman writer. I believe personal letters, which are now out of fashion, have literary merit. What difference does it make if one writes to a small audience or a large one? The same act of writing is involved.
It was a fine spring morning in the forest as he started out. Little soft clouds played happily in a blue sky, skipping from time to time in front of the sun as if they had come to put it out, and then sliding away suddenly so that the next might have his turn. Through them and between them the sun shone bravely; and a copse which had worn its firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily. Through copse and spinney marched Bear; down open slopes of gorse and heather, over rocky beds of streams, up steep banks of sandstone into the heather again; and so at last, tired and hungry, to the Hundred Acre Wood. For it was in the Hundred Acre Wood that Owl lived.
–from Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, 1926
I recently read this paragraph (found in Chapter Four, In Which Eeyore Loses a Tail and Pooh Finds One) to my children, and I made a mental note of its beautiful description and lively metaphors. It sounds like something one might find in a work written for adults, and yet it is entirely appropriate for children. Thank you, Mr. Milne, for writing intelligently to the children!
Woman’s Head Almost in Profile, Leonardo da Vinci, 1480
The lightness and sensitivity of this metalpoint drawing breathes feminine grace into a simple portrait. Though she does not have much expression on her face, I can see this woman is gentle and kind, lovely both inside and out. Perhaps she is gazing into the eyes of her baby. She looks thoughtful, as if she might be treasuring things and pondering them in her heart.
An autobiography that leaves out the little things and enumerates only the big ones is no proper picture of the man’s life at all; his life consists of his feelings and his interests, with here and there an incident apparently big or little to hang the feelings on.
— from The Autobiography of Mark Twain
On this quotation, I hang my interest in things Twain–his books, his life, his big moustache and white suit, and probably mostly, his Mississippi River. If you read his autobiography or Life on the Mississippi, I think you will find, hanging amidst humor and anecdotes, his tender spot for beauty and peace on the great Mississippi.