All posts for the month October, 2014

About cookies and cats

Published October 23, 2014 by The Merida Review

I am not a climber. I do what I have to do, but I don’t go out looking for adventure. I don’t need to know what’s on every shelf in the room, or in any other rooms. I don’t need to know if there are better dolls in the dining room or better booze in the kitchen. I am pretty content in my own little world.

Unlike other dolls, I might add. My friend, Penn, laughs at me, calls me an old stick in the mud, but Penn is much younger, and he’s vinyl, for god’s sake. If he falls, he bounces. I’m much more fragile. I’ve seen many a bisque doll fall and break their faces. It’s the stuff of nightmares. But I’ve known many bisque dolls that just don’t seem to care, who love the danger, I guess, who don’t want to spend their lives worrying about the consequences.

And I’m not above listening to their adventures, living vicariously, I guess. Though, warning! you can’t believe everything you hear. At least, not with this bunch.

You’ve heard about the time, I’m sure, that the Grand Duke sobered up and realized he’d spent an entire day on the wrong shelf. Everybody’s heard that story. If there’s any doll that should have a biography written about them, it’s the Grand Duke. But, instead, who chronicles the life of dolls? Me, the dullest of them all. Instead of hearing about great adventures and drunken revels, you get to hear about who’s wearing what and who’s sneaking around with whom. My sincerest apologies for this. Alas, alack, and all that.

There is a new-ish doll, Vanessa, rather silly, I think, but Penn just seems to be infatuated with her. She’s one of those 1940’s hard plastics, very lovely, but the kind that tend to go all yellowish and smell bad, you know? I don’t know what he sees in her, but I sure hope he wakes up sometime soon! I mean, really now. He chases after her like a puppy dog. It’s embarrassing. And don’t say I’m jealous. I wouldn’t stoop to being jealous of a hard plastic doll. Not in this life. Someday he’ll come to his senses and things will get back to normal, but for now it’s Vanessa this and Vanessa that, ad nauseam.

Vanessa wanted to throw a party, I guess, and she very sweetly wished she had some of those butter cookies that Elizabeth had at hers. If she was only a brave soul like Penn, she’s sure that if Penn took it into his head to go fetch butter cookies, it would be as good as done, but, no, she is a timid little thing, and, oh dear, what can she do?

Of course, Penn fell for it and next thing you know he’s rounding up Annie Oakley (talk about fearless!), and off they went on this big quest. Off to the kitchen to scale the heights and raid the cookie tin. Next thing we knew, there was this huge crash – I guess the cookie tin went over – and we all waited with bated breath as slow minutes ticked past, but no one came. Slowly, we began to breathe again. Gradually, we resumed living.

They couldn’t get the cookie tin back up to the counter, though. There was nothing to hold on to, Penn said. So they tried to make it look as though it was an accident, the tin just fell off for some reason, the lid popped off – as it had bent some, it wouldn’t go back on, anyways. Humans can be pretty gullible, but this was really stretching it.

So Vanessa got her butter cookies, albeit a little crumbled. And the rest of us got a cat. Our owner thought she had mice, it was the only explanation she could come up with, and next thing you know, there’s a hulking white cat padding around on silent feet. One more obstacle to contend with. It prowls around when you least expect it, but it actually seems pretty harmless, and it can’t communicate with humans, so no matter what it sees, it can’t tell. We’ve been experimenting with it, seeing how far we can push it – the biggest danger seems to be if it leaps up onto a shelf. Things go flying. So far we haven’t lost a doll, but it’s been close. Vickie (our owner) is not very happy when this happens. Perseus gets yelled at. That could even be spelled Purrseus, but I can’t confirm it at this time. Humans can get pretty silly over cats. I haven’t seen any evidence of Perseus learning not to jump on shelves, however. Perseus just seems to do whatever it is that Perseus wants. Maybe the humans will get exasperated with it and send it away.

Maybe they’ll figure out we never did have any mice! Of course, then they’d need another explanation for the cookie tin on the floor.

Meanwhile, we’re all invited over to Vanessa’s for a party and I would never hear the end of it from Penn if I don’t show up.

I wonder what there’ll be to eat? (Ha ha ha ha!!!)


What goes on in my head

Published October 16, 2014 by The Merida Review

I stand on a shelf all day. It’s what I do. I’m a doll. Every now and then, someone notices me and says something about how lovely I am. The rest of the time I just stand there staring off into space and thinking about all sorts of things. Sometimes I just daydream, sometimes I think about important things, sometimes I think about books I’ve read or things my friends say. There is a fine art to standing on a shelf all day. I have to be perfectly still. I’ve had plenty of practice. I’m 150 years old.

I guess you can say I have a “rich inner life.” If I remember correctly, that’s from Paul Scott, somewhere in one of the books of the Raj Quartet, just describing some person in passing, some person we will never meet again (one of the things I like about Paul Scott!). I am lucky enough to live in a house with a pretty amazing book collection, it’s a first for me, and I’m trying to do all the reading I can, because who knows what my next house will be. I really have no control over my life. I drift in and out of other peoples’ lives. I’m a doll.

Ok, I’m a doll worth big bucks. People always appreciate me when I’m around. I haven’t yet had an owner who’s gotten tired of me and sold me off. I stay places for relatively long times. I try to imagine a collection so fantastic that I would be just simply one of the crowd, it could happen, I suppose, but it hasn’t happened yet. And my current owner is young, for a doll collector. I think I’m here for a good long time.

Sometimes I get fantasies going that seem more real than reality. I have a lot of time to work out details, go over and over every little nuance. I had a great one going last year, after I read Pride and Prejudice. It’s not that much of a stretch for me to picture life in the early 1800’s, after all. I knew people who lived then. But that’s not what got me hooked, it was the quiet romance, the understated courtship. The layers of meaning under polite small talk. It suited me. I started out with the characters as they are, and I shaped them to fit me. It was fun. Friends started trying to snap me out of my dream world, but honestly, that was one hot dream world. And you can’t really explain. No one understands. Hey, I was imagining I was dancing with Darcy and…..

nope, people just laugh. Who knows what they think of as they stand for hours! Some of them, I swear, just click off and think of nothing. My friend, Penn, thinks of nothing but clothes. Honest. I love him dearly, but he is just obsessed. Our world is so small (like Jane Austen’s), not much changes. I live in a quiet part of the house. Peaceful. Which is nice, but it can get very boring. I live with the very best dolls in the collection, I am proud to say. My friends are very desirable dolls. Well, not Penn. He’s a sweetie, but he is just a modern vinyl. I love him like anything, though. We all do, which is why he’s in our little crowd. He is just adorable. Even if all he ever talks about is fashion.

And gossip. We gossip. Oh lord, we gossip. No one is safe from our acid tongues. Nothing is sacred. Everybody’s ears are always burning, all the time, because we are all talking about each other. Even me! But I can’t imagine what people have to say about me. I am such a boring little thing, really. I mean, how many times can you say that I look nice? I lead a very dull life. We all lead dull lives, of course, standing on shelves all day, but some of us are duller than others. I don’t have any little clandestine affairs going on, I don’t gamble or drink too much. Nothing really for anything to talk about. I imagine they make something up instead. (It’s what I would do.)

If they could see inside my head, however, that’s another matter. They would have no end of things to talk about. I am reading a book called Rebecca right now. I am having quite a time in my “rich inner life.” It’s about this poor innocent girl from humble circumstances that marries way beyond her scope of experience. I haven’t got very far into it, yet, don’t tell me how it goes! I don’t want to know! But she bumbles through this big house, trying to pretend she knows what she’s doing, and getting embarrassed left and right, while her dark and mysterious husband, who I’m SURE loves her! is too busy or too bothered to notice. I don’t know where we’re going with this, but this is just fertile fields for fantasy here. I pretend I’m – what’s her name, now, gosh, I can’t remember – well, I pretend I’m the main character, who is NOT Rebecca, that’s the old wife. I don’t know why they named it that, when the book is obviously about um…yeah…the new wife. Me. Of course, I’m the one caught in the new life beyond my control, though in my fantasies, and I have several, I need to choose which is the best, it’s what I do…in my fantasies, I usually fare much better than she does.

I read in little chunks, as I have time. I get through books very slowly (imagine long it took me to get through all 4 Paul Scott books!), but I am a doll, I can’t get too comfortable till I know everyone is safe in bed and gone for hours and hours and hours.

Sometimes I am very melancholy, and I go over and over all the memories I have of my first owner, Amelia. I get in these moods where I am worried I’ll forget, and I try to remember everything I possibly can about our time together, try to remember really hard, if that makes any sense, so the memories are sharper. Sometimes I think of all the years I’ve been around and all the places I’ve been and all the collections I’ve been part of, all the dolls I’ve known…you just can’t help it sometimes, these black moods just overtake you. I try to stay positive, I try to enjoy the now and look forward to the future, but sometimes, I regress a bit.

It’s the helplessness that gets you. I don’t choose where I go, how I live. I am bought and sold, I am a possession. Although, I’ve got to say, compared to other dolls, I’ve really had it pretty good. There are lots of worse situations I could be in.

Okay. Enough of this. I have to get out of this mood!!!!!


Yet another demonic doll

Published October 16, 2014 by The Merida Review


I predict a riot: French cinemas axe Annabelle screenings after unrest

Prequel about a demonic doll caused riots, leading cinemas in Marseille, Strasbourg and Montpellier to cancel screenings


Doll face … Annabelle. Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures/AP

Horror movie Annabelle has been withdrawn from several French cinemas after the spooky prequel about a demonic doll saw teenage filmgoers rioting in auditoriums.

Managers in Marseille, Strasbourg and Montpellier have cancelled screenings until further notice for security reasons after under-16s began fighting, throwing popcorn and even ripping up theatre seats.

Didier Tarizzo, owner of the 450-seat Les 3 Palmes cinema in Marseilles, told the Times that more than a thousand people had arrived for a screening of the film on Saturday. “Some didn’t have the most elementary notion of how to behave,” he said. “They were throwing popcorn and talking at the top of their voices or walking round.

“It’s not up to me to teach young people how to respect the law,” added M Tarizzo, when asked why he had cancelled future screenings. “What worried me was that a cinemagoer irritated by all the noise could have had a go at an adolescent.”

Film critic Alain Grasset told French news channel BFMTV: “It’s a very young audience, for whom the screening is a time to let loose. They go to see it as a joke, but it’s a pretext to go a little wild.”

It’s not the first time a horror film has sparked teenage riots in France. According to Le Parisien, a similar phenomenon took place during screenings of Paranormal Activity and Sinister, with the latter film pulled from more than 40 screens in 2012.

Annabelle is a prequel linked to the 2013 horror smash The Conjuring. Despite receiving lukewarm reviews, the film has been a global box office smash, taking $129m (£80.6m) worldwide so far on a budget of just $6.5m.


(From the Guardian)