Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Cleaning—Not an April Fools’ Tale

Yes, a history of spring cleaning exists.  Dating back about 3,000 years ago in Persia, spring cleaning began as a ritual of the Persian New Year which was usually March 21st, the first day of Spring.  The traditions and rituals continue today, but it is now known as the Iranian Norouz.  The practice of “Khooneh tekouni,” which means “shaking the house” is the first Spring Cleaning ritual. Everything that can be is taken outside and shaken and cleaned.  Inside, the floors and walls are all washed.  Fresh flowers are brought in for good fortune for the new year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Virginia Women Writers at Home #4

Rita Mae Brown (1944 - )

Our fifth Virginia author brings us to the late 20th century as into the past. Though born in the Hanover, Pa horse country, Rita Mae Brown, through her father, claims Virginia roots, all the way back to “when the earth was cooling.”[i] Currently she owns a farm in Nelson County where she writes about Virginia history and indulges in her animals and in the very Virginian sport of fox hunting. Both appear in her novels, especially a cat, “Sneaky Pie Brown,” who co-authored nineteen “cozy” mysteries. Another mystery series centers on Brown’s foxhunting club.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Virginia Women Writers at Home #3

Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945)

Ellen Glasgow, like Johnston, was sickly and also had a reputation for resisting conformist strictures. Her father was an industrialist in the new south. She lived in Richmond and spent summers at plantations in the area. Her works followed romanticism to realism writing styles, Virginia plantation life to urban life, and pretty feminism to active feminism.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Virginia Women Writers at Home #2

Amélie Rives (1863-1945)

Amélie Rives traced her American ancestry back to colonial Virginia. Her great-grandfather Dr. Thomas Walker was a friend of Peter Jefferson. After Jefferson’s death his son, Thomas Jefferson, became Dr. Walker’s ward. Her grandfather, William Cabell Rives, was a senator and an ambassador to France. Robert E. Lee was Amélie’s godfather. Her home was Castle Hill (begun in the mid-1700s) in Albemarle County. Here famous founders and shapers of the young United States were frequent visitors. Unlike many other Virginia plantations, Castle Hill was not touched during the Civil War.[i] 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Virginia Women Writers at Home

We are saluting Women’s History Month with a series on women authors whose temperament and writing characterize Virginia women We will “snapshot” five authors and one work by each of them to illustrate how writers reflected in their lives and in the themes and settings of their works a distinctive “Virginia-ness.” Our last criteria: the works had to be a “good read.”