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Posts Tagged ‘Johnny Depp’

On January 27, 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was born in Daresbury, England. Better known to readers (including me) as Lewis Carroll, he spun one of the most popular stories of the Victorian era, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

It is no wonder Lewis Carroll developed into a storyteller – he was the eldest son in a family of 11 children. As the eldest daughter of 4 girls, I, too, developed storytelling abilities while trying to entertain my younger sisters – so I can identify with a part of his writer’s journey.

But Lewis Carroll’s most famous world – Wonderland – was born not from telling his younger siblings stories, but from telling tales to Alice Liddell and her sisters, daughters of George Liddell. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865 and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found Then was published in 1871.

Though I imagine Lewis Carroll would be surprised by Walt Disney’s interpretation of his book and the more recent films staring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, I suspect he’d be delighted to see his imaginary world come to life on the screen.

So Happy Birthday, Lewis Carroll! If you’d like to know more about the creator of Twiddledum and Twiddledee, here’s a link.

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Ocean Bourne “The library was the only place around where I willingly obeyed the rules.” – Keith Richards

Okay, a Rolling Stones’ quote is not my usual selection, but Keith Richards is a perfect example of someone you don’t think about visiting a library. Yet, this comment from him tells us he values books and libraries above most other things. So whether he appears as Johnny Depp’s (Captain Jack Sparrow’s) father again in another Pirates of the Caribbean movie or not, he’s got my vote for being a cool rock-and-roll guy who respects libraries and books!

I hope you’re enjoying my blog posts and links. Want to show some love? Visit my Amazon page and consider buying a book. 🙂

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Arr! Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day to all you fans of scoundrels and scallywags of the seas and grungy ports. And of course, to all you fans of Johnny Depp, portrayer of the most famous pirate currently sailing the screens of televisions everywhere: Captain Jack Sparrow.

For more on Pirates Day, check out my Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day blog post from 2011.

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Well, shiver me timbers! Once again, September 19th has arrived, and it’s time to celebrate the roguishly fun Talk Like a Pirate Day. The official website offers a new sing-along this year in addition to their usual pirate fare: http://talklikeapirate.com For those of a more delicate disposition, might I suggest viewing the options listed for kids after you enter the site.

Why such interest in pirates? Nowadays, we have Johnny Depp and Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow to thank for renewed interest in these scallywags of the seas – but long before the films arrived in theaters, pirates had captured our imaginations. William Kidd, Black Bart, Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, and others seemed to live a life filled with swashbuckling escapades. They sailed to exotic lands, captured treasures, drank a lot of rum, and had romantic encounters with beautiful women.

And speaking of women, there were a few ladies who cast aside their frilly gowns, dressed in male garb, and pursued the life of a sailor. In the 17th and 18th century, there are records of female pirate captains including Charlotte de Berry, Mary Read, and Anne Bonny. But like their male counterparts, their life of adventure ended badly.

 After a shipwreck, Charlotte’s husband lost the “drawing of straws” selection process, and was eaten by his starving shipmates. Once they were rescued, Charlotte chose to join her dead husband, and jumped from the ship into the sea. Mary Read and Anne Bonny were eventually captured, tried as pirates, and sentenced to hang. They avoided the noose by claiming they were pregnant. Mary died in prison. As for Anne Bonny – she vanished. The romantic in me likes to believe a guard fell in love with her and let her escape, or another pirate was so smitten with her independent nature that he risked all to set her free.

And who can forget Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island? As a teen, I read the novel and saw the movie. The book introduced me (and many other young readers) to: “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest…” (Chapt.1) and “Pieces of eight!” shouted out by Long John Silver’s parrot, Captain Flint (Chapt. 27). The beauty and wildness of the exotic locales visited by pirates was aptly captured by Stevenson, especially in this bit from Chapter 27: “Suddenly a kind of brightness fell upon me. I looked up; a pale glimmer of moonbeams had alighted on the summit of the Spy-glass, and soon after I saw something broad and silvery moving low down behind the trees, and knew the moon had risen.”

But it was the ambiguity of Long John Silver that I liked best in Treasure Island. (Writers take note!) Despicable and likeable, he was the forerunner of Captain Jack Sparrow and his comrades. Robert Louis Stevenson introduced his readers to a most complicated character. And like the charming and deadly, Long John Silver, pirates are to be scorned and envied:

“’John Silver,’ he said, ‘you’re a prodigious villain and imposter – a monstrous imposter, sir. I am told I am not to prosecute you. Well, then, I will not. But the dead men, sir, hang around your neck like mill-stones.’

‘Thank you kindly, sir,’ replied Long John…” (Chapter 33)

The words most often associated with these privateers gone wild: independent, romantic, freedom, and adventure – are, I think, the reason we find the pirate life so appealing. Most of us value freedom and independence. Many of us crave adventure – though more tame than battling opposing pirates with knives, axes, pistols, cannons, and machetes. Lots of us daydream about the romantic life at sea – minus, of course, the scurvy, worm-ridden food, appalling living conditions, and violence.

But let’s set aside the reality of trials and hangings, torture and peg legs, and poor hygiene in the extreme – at least for one day a year, we can shout “Aarrgh!” for no reason. We can relax the  workaday-world seriousness, and greet our office mates with an “Ahoy, mateys” rather than the usual “Good morning.” And we can thumb through a copy of Treasure Island dreaming of adventure.

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