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for O Silver Moon

10/19/2017 c15 14elizasky
Brava! A lovely ending. You brought everything back around to the other moon scene — the song, the candle, the empty house — and resolved it without over-explaining.

I'm happy for Nina in her accomplishment — where is she off to? I also enjoyed Leslie's "We're hardly at war with Beethoven." We don't get to see much of her relationship with Owen in this story, but that was a little peek and I am glad to see that she's able to hold her own.

Now I am musing on the future. Would Persis ever want to live in the Glen? Or is there a city life for Carl, perhaps at a university? I am imagining a close relationship among Persis-Carl-Rilla-Ken — Carl and Rilla always were friends, weren't they? And it would be nice if they had one another in the big city.

In all, thank you for this story! I listened to lots of music I never would have otherwise. I can't decide whether I want to read The Wars, though — more of Mrs. Ross and Peggy?
10/19/2017 c14 elizasky
I haven't felt much affection for Owen Ford during this story, but I did feel a certain kindredness with him here. Ever since I started in with this fiction business, I have found myself observing people as characters — it has gotten me through some otherwise unpleasant meetings!

Appropriate that Carl would be saved by an animal. I go back and forth about the eye wound — is it a devastating loss for one whose life revolves around observation? Or is it a lucky break — home and safe with health mostly intact?

Thanks for the peek over Persis' shoulder. It's "we" is it?
10/19/2017 c13 elizasky
That speech at the end was excellent. Good for you, Nina. "I want the world to know I have put myself there" was wonderful. I'm not quite sure what fate she has sealed, but I am eager to find out.

I don't have anything intelligent to say about the music other than that I am listening to it, which I wouldn't be doing without this story, so thank you for introducing me to something new!
10/19/2017 c12 elizasky
I'm intrigued by Nina's mysterious letters. They seem to be good news — why won't she tell Persis about them?

Stuart riding out of the light as a young man, singing, is a beautiful image. All the more beautiful for the tinge of horror to it — to become a man in this world is a dangerous thing. Too young, still, thank goodness, but that image of youthful joy and growing into the bicycle while bringing news of both victory and mass death will stay with me. (Poor Jerry. I'm cringing.)

I could stand for Persis to be a bit more forthcoming about her letters as well (or just let me peek over her shoulder). And I learned a new word (coloratura) so thanks for that!
10/19/2017 c11 elizasky
This was lovely and — dare I say — hopeful? Other than Stuart's horrible family, that is. I don't know what his sister's deal is, but she sounds awful. But the rest of it — boys and girls singing together, the steadfast words of the song, Stuart's little hope/prophesy, acknowledgement of Carl, swapping battles for operas — it was the most sanguine they've been in a while.

Loved the detail of the mixed traffic. The line "a quirk of time made elastic and stretched taut by expectation" was wonderful.
10/18/2017 c10 elizasky
In the archive where I work, we have a collection of letters from a woman whose son died soon after he graduated from college. She wrote on that black-bordered paper for the rest of her life. Decades and decades. I've often wondered about it. Did they stock it at stationery stores? They must have. A special shelf for the mourning paper? Did you buy it yourself, or did people bring it to you like flowers? I wonder how long Anne will use it. She wore mourning for Matthew far longer than everyone expected.

Thank you again for thinking through Anne and Leslie's relationship. We often see the telegram moment, but not these ripples. I have been wondering how to break news like this to the boys at the front. What do you say? At least the black-bordered paper does some of the work for you, if you can bear to have it in the house.
10/18/2017 c9 elizasky
I wish I had something intelligent to say, but I'm just reading and enjoying at the moment. You have woven together the letter-writing theme of the opera and the circumstances of the characters beautifully.

It made me laugh that this chapter all about letters is the first appearance of Owen Ford in the flesh.
10/17/2017 c7 elizasky
That was lovely. I always think it is a treat to learn about something new — a poet, a genre, an art form — from someone who loves it. I have too many memories of poetry being flung at me in school by indifferent teachers and then coming back to it as an adult and thinking, "Oh! This isn't what I thought it was at all!" So thank you for this gentle introduction (and for the author's note at the top, making it easy for me to find what to listen to as I read).

Coming back to the theme of connection and separation — you really do create the sense that Persis is alone in that house. Owen is a spectral non-presence, Leslie is in and out, and Nina is as often a voice over the fence as she is a person. Now add to that the image of Persis staying in the house lest she come back to find it blasted, and it's a solitary existence. I know it can't be a giant house, but it feels cavernous, and her haunting it like a gothic heroine in a manor house. Oh, maybe it isn't that dire — the kitchen is cozy enough in tea and gingham, and she has her drawing and all, but I do have an image of a big, empty house around her. I suspect that candle will help her as much as Carl (practical brain says, "don't burn the house down;" romantic brain says "what a lovely symbol").

And those little rituals of safety — this one was sweet, but heartbreaking.
10/17/2017 c6 elizasky
Oooooh, an unexpected development! Carl is excellent for fanfic. Not quite as blank a slate as Shirley, but his fixed traits could go in many different directions. I like that you've combined his bug-watching with a certain inattentiveness to social niceties that recalls John Meredith's singular focus on matters theological (it never occurring to him that a soldier on the doorstep is not something a family wants to see, getting distracted by the dragons, etc.). The elaborate tea and bowls are nice ways to incorporate Persis' Japanese travels as well.

I'm not quite sure how old Persis is. Younger than Ken — should I be thinking of her as Una's peer?

I did smile at Ken's admonition to be careful — unless you put Carl's character through some real acrobatics, I don't get the impression that he's the type to make the girls plead headache. And coming from Ken — I can only imagine Persis' exasperation at having his own follies ascribed to her. I'm interested to see where you take Carl and Persis - what might they have in common? (Not that it's a foregone conclusion that they're a couple, but obviously you brought him to Toronto for a reason.)
10/17/2017 c5 elizasky
I think this is my favorite chapter so far. You've established the characters and the relationships and the letter-writing and now they're beginning to play together in more complex combinations. The peeks into Anne & Leslie's friendship are resonating with me — that delicate balance between being vulnerable with your friends and protecting your children at the same time. There are a lot of those half-truths flying around at the moment.

The theme of the power of writing/speaking as a charm against loss runs through this chapter, from Leslie's letter to Ken's reluctance to make an unkeepable vow and Persis' insistence. It is making me wonder which other characters would feel that way and which would eschew it as superstition. What rituals give comfort in this terrible moment?

Your dialogue is lovely and vibrant here. Having three in a conversation, all with their own little cross-currents, isn't always easy to write. I'm very impressed that you keep it peppy while also adding in all the lovely texture of the knife clicking against the butter dish and all the other little sounds and details that put the characters in physical space.

And just that hint about the distance between Jem and Walter . . .
10/17/2017 c4 elizasky
I was very glad to read this chapter. Not just because I loved to see more of Anne and Leslie's friendship (which I did), but because it has been helpful in clarifying something for me. I recently wrote a Very Honest letter from Anne to Diana Wright circa 1916 and have been fretting over "sending" it — even if Anne thought these things, would she put them in a letter? But I think she would. To Diana. And Leslie. All the brave front we see in Rilla of Ingleside has to have an outlet somewhere, and Anne is a writer. I was trying to decide whether she would channel it all into the sort of poems that she scares Gilbert with in The Blythes are Quoted, but I think you are right that she would be open with her dearest friends — maybe Phil, too. They all have sons. They all understand.
10/17/2017 c3 elizasky
Good old Ellen. I always loved her for cutting through some of the sweetness of the Glen (even if she was terrible to Rosemary).

A good and necessary chapter establishing the relationship between Ken and Persis. I don't know that I've ever known a pair of siblings in real life who are as close and affectionate as this, but it is right in line with what you read about in Victorian and Edwardian sources — both novels and letters. I wonder whether it's a cultural shift or if I just don't know any siblings who are this close and demonstrative. I'm one of five and we get along fine, but there's no way I'm kneeling at any of my brothers' feet. But then, I also don't know many intergenerational friendships as close and loving as the ones LMM writes.

I'm wondering what Ken's letters to Persis will be like. The boys generally do a lot to protect their loved ones in those wartime letters, but these two are very close — he even tells her about Rilla when there's not very much to tell. I wonder if his letters might be a bit more confessional than ordinary, or if he will try to protect her, too.

I laughed that "something sensible" is Doc.
10/17/2017 c2 elizasky
Ok, as someone who works in an archive, I hate Owen Ford. I don't care who you are or what you have done — nothing will endear you to posterity like NEAT and LEGIBLE papers. (Gives me a good sense of what his novels might be like, though.)

I didn't know The Wars, but have now read a synopsis. Having that bit of information, I will endeavor to forget it and follow where you lead. Little Stuart is delightful (and heartbreaking in his well-heeled neglect).

Do the Fords have servants? I would have thought they would have.

Finally, a song I know ("Marching to Pretoria") — perfect for a young boy, though I suppose Nina would not be very impressed.

So far, I am reveling in the atmospherics of this story. Beginning with the ignored premonitions of rain in the opening and now the continued painting of a life of luxury (Leslie at the opera, the self-important shorthand), this is a world on the brink of being ruined. It's not an idyll in the way the Glen can sometimes slip into — there are too many loveless houses and too much separation between family members to make it cozy in the same way. But it is a beautiful world coming in for a smashing. Listening to the music you mention as I read is no doubt helping with this — you should put up a playlist!

One thing I've noticed is that these characters are all estranged or mediated in some way in your narrative. Persis connects with Ken through a letter, with Leslie through the phone, with Owen through his notes. Nina has an aunt, but we don't see her. Stuart is off on his own. That distance between characters is notable and makes the connections (Nina-Persis; Stuart-Persis) notable.
10/17/2017 c1 elizasky
Stuck on a train all day and looking forward to this. I know nothing of opera, but I have an iTunes account, so I am learning about Handel as I read. Thanks for that! I did attend a performance of Handel's "Esther" a couple of years ago (my sister-in-law sings), but spent most of it enjoying the 18th-century instruments as curiosities since I don't know enough about music to really get into it (though I gathered from the program that "Esther" is rather more interesting historically than musically).

This is a side of the LMM universe I have spent very little time thinking about — the world of (relative) money and (unimpeachable by North American standards) culture that the Fords inhabit in Toronto. I confess that I didn't care at all about Ken in Rilla of Ingleside — there was not much to him. So I'm looking forward to getting know him and his family as actual characters. I don't know that I'll necessarily like him (preening peacock! showing off in front of all the country girls because he can), but I'm already enjoying the dynamic he brings to the Glen group. His slightly snobbish perspective on the Glen ("exercise in proofreading") combined with his genuine affection for the Blythes/Merediths lets him skewer the place effectively, but with love.

The bits you show of that gathering are evocative. I loved Nan arguing for the sake of it and Jerry having a bit of Scripture tucked away for every occasion. That's something important to remember — that the manse kids' first reference would be the Bible before the poets favored by the Blythes (not that the Blythes don't have Scripture at their fingertips, too).

"Laughter tucked just inside the corner of her lips" was lovely.

I will reserve comment on Nina until I know her better. At first blush, she seems like a handful.

I'm also wondering about Leslie and how she has adjusted to this world of travel and shopping and opera and fancy schools. Does she revel in the luxury? Does she feel out of place? I don't know whether we'll see more of her relationship with Owen, but I am curious.
11/28/2015 c14 DaffyMaiden
This breaks my heart in the best way.
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