I love it when a historian echoes one of my hunches. I read a lot of history: biographies, memoir, overviews, always have since I was a girl and became intrigued with the Plantagenets and Elizabeth I. I think I’m looking for tone, the shading I’ll paint under the story I write. I really don’t know; I just absorb and let the vapor appear filtered through whatever it is that makes up me.
So, I’ve read dozens of biographies about Louis XIV, and only this one—by a woman—and just read this week said what my gut told me as I wrote a piece of Louis’s personal story in Before Versailles. “The young King, entranced by the sincerity and intensity of Louise’s feelings towards him, loved her as he had never loved before, and was never to love again.” (Therese Louis Latour 1924) As I read other biographies, in which Louise de la Valliere is a footnote, glanced at and abandoned by the writers, I always felt there was a unique tenderness in the love affair. And that’s what I wrote.
It’s nice to have my hunch validated, even if the writer isn’t current or well known. I think much of what I do has to do with subtlety. And I must trust subtlety.
Grace notes: Saw a dove sitting in her nest in one of my trees. Nests used to mean much to me; they were a symbol of my own task in this younger life I was living.
Posted in Before Versailles, books, creativity, Dark Angels, fame, fiction, friends, George I, historical fiction, history, Houston, inspiration, journaling, Karleen Koen, life, Louis XIV, Louise de la Valliere, love, memoir, Now Face to Face, romance, romance writing, sensuality, story, story and character, story and theme, story and writing, Through A Glass Darkly, writing, writing process
Tagged "Louis XIV", "Louise de la Valliere", creativity, history, hunches, inspiration, love stories, romance, tenderness, writing, writing process
Well, blast it, I’ve gotten myself reinvolved with Elizabeth I (not writing about her, only reading an excellent biography by Alison Weir). I can’t resist her, even though the Tudor days are not my cup of tea, too brutish and woman-hating for this lily-livered coward. But I do love Elizabeth I, and as always, I am intrigued with the love story between her and Robert Dudley. What did they do, exactly? What didn’t they do? How must she have felt when she learned of his secret marriage to her red-headed cousin? What did she expect from him? As I age, I respect more and more the political line she grasped and held tight to, that she would not marry. A married queen, a pregnant queen, would lose much, for princesses and queens were ultimately brood mares and breeding or not, always inferior to the men in their lives. But still she loved. My favorite Elizabeth-Dudley duos are Glenda Jackson-Robert Hardy, Anne-Marie Duff-Tom Hardy (Hardy’s crooked front teeth-yum!) and Helen Mirren-Jeremy Irons. Kinda, sorta, but not really Cate Blanchett-Joseph Fiennes, just because Cate is so spectacular. The Mirren-Irons duo play the two in their older age, creaks, groans, a full and loaded and simmering history, and it’s quite touching, the simmer no longer at boil but not turned off, either, a low heat all the more sweet for its past betrayals and humanness.
Who’s your favorite love story?
Posted in Before Versailles, Dark Angels, historical fiction, Karleen Koen, Now Face to Face, Through A Glass Darkly
Tagged Alison Weir, Elizabeth I, favorite Elizabeth I's, love between elders, love stories, reading biography
There are three love stories around me…..
Second Grandson, 15 months, has fastened onto a white bear with a soft, soft fur and dangling legs and arms. He carries the bear around everywhere, tries to share food and water with it, wants it in the crib at night for sleep. He talks to it in the not-quite understandable burble that is definite conversation, has all the tonal inflections and facial expressions of conversation. It makes my heart glad that his little heart is large enough to love something tenderly already, to take care of it, to need it……
Second Cat has a cat’s fishing pole with a hodgepodge of old ribbon and who knows what that I’ve fastened on the end when the feather died a grisly death. Now there is a definite hierarchy in our house. First Cat decides who gets on the bed to sleep with us, and it is seldom Second Cat. But I’ve been noticing that Second Cat stretches out in the hallway nearby, and in the morning, the fishing pole, which had been propped up against a corner, is under her. She often brings the fishing pole with great yawls for us to play with her, and she keeps it by the food bowl, where both cats keep all important toys, so I know fishing pole, whom I call Baby, has importance in her life. But it struck me the other day that she was sleeping with Baby because she wasn’t allowed on the bed with everyone else. She might not have us, but there is always Baby.
Finally, Mother, who has Alzheimer’s, has a white long-haired chihuahua named Zoe. Zoe goes with Mother wherever she goes, and Mother shares food and kisses with her all the time. Zoe will stand guard while Mother putters around and will come to fetch one of us if Mother is too long out of sight. How Mother loves that dog, frets and fusses with her. Mother knows the dog’s name when she doesn’t know any of ours. There is real caring between them. I feel like Zoe is a little animal spirit sent to oversee. It gentles me on days when I don’t feel gentle.
We all need things to love and fuss about, don’t we? We need to feel cherished and to cherish in return. I often write about kinds of love in my novels. My conclusion is: tenderness is best. What’s your love story? What’s your conclusion?
Posted in Before Versailles, character, Dark Angels, family, historical fiction, history, Karleen Koen, life, love, mothers, Now Face to Face, spirituality, story, Through A Glass Darkly, writing
Tagged Alzheimer's, being loved, cherished objects, love stories, loveys, loving others, what do we love, why do we love
Been obsessed all week rereading the story of Wallis Simpson and King Edward, the king who abdicated his throne for “the woman I love.” It would have been the biggest story of the 1930s except for something called the Great Depression and that other event called the beginning of World War II. The King’s Speech got me started, watching Bertie step into a role he didn’t wish for because of his brother’s abdication. And then I found an old volume of letters between Wallis and Edward and a biography. Their affair became a grand romance, but even with all the money, it couldn’t sustain itself, though his devotion to her never wavered. I was reminded again of how cunning one must be to survive in high circles of power, of how when the establishment spurns, it’s a tsunami, crushing everything in its path. I’m reminded of the narrowness of what is called morality, how culture shapes it. She was a divorced woman, a label which offended many. She was cunning, but not cunning enough to do the homework she needed to have done to have helped salvage him. I’m reminded of Marie Antoinette, only grasping her power when it was too late, because she was too busy playing. Play isn’t a luxury those in circles of power can indulge for too long. And love. What is that creature exactly? It can’t be simply lust to endure. Truth, duty, honor, gratitude, a certain purity of heart must underpin its fragile tendrils, as well as a sense of community and purpose. At least that’s what I theorize as I wind my way into my crone years and attempt to understand as fully as I can the unicorn we call love.
What do you know that I don’t about love? Tell me.
Posted in Before Versailles, book covers, books, character, creativity, Dark Angels, fame, historical fiction, history, Karleen Koen, life, love, story, story and character, Through A Glass Darkly
Tagged Duchess of Windsor, Duke and Duchess of Windsor, King Edward, King George, love stories, Marie Antoinette, the Great Depression, The King's Speech, Wallis Simpson, what makes a love story, World War II