Ernest Hemingway, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, New Years

New Years with Ford Madox Ford

A Paris Rose

Gertrude Stein came up with the expression:The Lost Generation, after she encountered a young car attendant who failed to impress her with his mechanic skills. The garage owner confided  that young men were easy to train, compared with those in their mid-twenties to thirties who had served in WWI.  He called them the lost generation – une génération perdue.  Ernest Hemingway popularized the term in his novel “The Sun Also Rises” and gives credit to Gertrude Stein.  It came to refer to a cohort that came of age during WWI and included distinguished artists such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, T.S. Eliot, John Dos Passos, Waldo Pierce, Isadora Duncan, Alan Seeger, Erich Maria Remarque and Ford Madox Ford.

Born in 1873, Ford Madox Ford was a prominent English novelist and editor. At the start of WWI, he worked with the British War Propaganda Bureau, writing two propaganda books.  On July 30, 1915, at the age of 41, he joined the Welch Regiment and was sent to France.  This decision marked the end of his cooperation with the British propaganda machine and changed the direction of his literary endeavours.

As I look forward to a new year, I am inspired by Ford Madox Ford.  When confronted with the reality of conflict, he chose a different path – the truth.  May we remember his courage as we move forward… Continue reading

Celebrations, Christina Rossetti, Christmas, Poets

Christmas with Christina


Every Christmas, I listen to In the Bleak Mid-Winter, never realizing the connection to Art Nouveau and the Pre-Raphaelites.  That is, until recently.  Dante Rossetti’s (one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelites) kid sister, Christina, wrote the poem which was set as a Christmas carol by Gustav Holst and then by Harold Darke.  As an aside, Christina was the model for one of Dante Rossetti’s most famous paintings: The Girlhood of Mary Virgin.
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Celebrations, Christmas, William Makepeace Thackeray

Christmas with William


On Christmas Eve 1863, William Makepeace Thackeray passed away.  He is most famous for his satirical works, specifically Vanity Fair, a mocking portrayal of English society. Even though he experienced great success as a writer, even hailed as equal to Charles Dickens, his personal life was marked by tragedy.  His second child, Jane, died at eight months. After the birth of their third child, his wife, Isabella Gethin Shawe, succumbed to depression.  Even though he left no stone “un-turned” in his desperate search for a cure, she was eventually confined to a home outside of Paris. He once said, “To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best.”

The Mahogany Tree is a Christmas poem that looks back fondly on past Christmas holidays that were spent happily under a huge mahogany tree, which served as shade and a place to house joyful Christmas memories.

May we remember that this Christmas we are making memories for all that follow.

Merry Christmas,  my dear friends! Continue reading

Celebrations, Christmas, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas with Henry

Gold Pointsetta

We all long for peace in our perilously divided world.  So did all those who came before us. The Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” is based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Christmas Bells” written in 1863.  The American Civil War was raging, without any expectation of ending. That same year, and without his blessing, Henry Longfellow’s oldest son, Charles, became a soldier in the Union army.  Henry Longfellow received the news by letter dated March 14, 1863.  Although Charles achieved lieutenant rank, he was severely wounded a few months later in November. On Christmas Day 1863, Henry Longfellow penned this poignant call for peace.  The poet’s despair is captured in the phrase: “hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.” And yet, the bells signal renewed hope that there is indeed the possibility of peace for humanity.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said: “The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service.”  Perhaps that is the first step towards peace.  Continue reading

Awards, Blog of the Year 2012, Mahatma Gandhi, Men in History

Thank You Dear Kitty

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpegIt’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” 
Mahatma Gandhi

Thank you to my dear friend at Dear Kitty.Some Blog for nominating OnTheRoad Bookclub for the prestigious award of Blog of the Year 2012.  I am truly honoured to accept this award – the first star – because it has been granted to me by a remarkable blogger friend. Dear Kitty is building an impressive brand with content that focuses on human rights and environmental concerns. Her posts inspire, even challenge, readers to take a stand for justice and decency.  With every post, and every comment, she is a light shining in the dark places.  I strongly suggest that you visit her blog and join the dialogue.  Together, we can be a positive influence for the good of humanity. Continue reading