Hello, Hello….lights back on….”THE ZAR TALES” now published….well, the proof first.

"The Zar Tales", just published.....will be on Lulu.com very soon.

I am a bit punch drunk right now.  Came back on line and was hit with 500 emails…..some needed answering.  Most I deleted.

Important things first:  THANK YOU all who were concerned enough to write and ask about Fred and then about our electrical ‘problem’.

It’s fixed.  We will never be able to go on vacation again…(the money!!!) but….the toaster works faster, the water is hotter, the clothes dry faster, the lights are brighter, the stupid electric toothbrush buzzes faster.  Hmmmm.

Who knew??? Husband’s previous wiring was not the best…but he tried.  Actually the electricians were impressed that Harry Homemaker did such a good job…not up to code, and some things…well, not the best of electrical practices (a LOT of juice on a very small box….) but I really think they were AMAZED that the house hadn’t burned up before now.

And after all this….so are we.

Fred is doing much better…and yesterday went back to work.  Even when he was in the hospital and then home….guys were calling him asking him where such and such were…and I just about blew it.  But his boss, Frank (blowing kisses to Frank) was super, and cut him a lot of slack.  But Frank is that kind of man.

Bill Penrose called Tuesday (???) and said that “The Zar Tales” was ready for proof copy….and I did the final publishing buttons just now.

First things first.  This book would NEVER been published AT ALL….without the expertise of BILL.  He did everything on that end and I can’t thank him enough.  Bill (and Nick Nicholson, both)  also gave  some great suggestions when I was in rewrite of this book.

By the way, some have expressed confusion about the title.  And yes, it’s a bit confusing.

“The Zar Tales” is a collection of  short stories (I think three) and a few (very few) poems.  It also  includes “The Zar Tale”…..a novella.  That is the bulk of the book.  (I am proud of this novella, because …well….I FINISHED it!…LOL!…and the way my life has been going…that is something here.)  There is an essay on “Hyperarousal Trance” at the end of the book.  It is my investigation and practice of HT. Mileage might vary.

While I was off line, I wrote a couple of blog entries.  Now, they don’t seem necessary.  One was falling to a rant, but those who know me,…well….I rant.  It’s my idea of exercise.

I DID write a couple of chapters of “The Kimono” and finally have worked my way out of the ditch of that novel.  I’m going to try to finish it this summer….have set that deadline.  I might even go for a big publisher…just because I love rejection soooo much.  We will see.

Again, thank you, friends…for your loving concern.  Knowing I wouldn’t have to face things alone made a big difference in my attitude here….which is improving.  A bit.

Lady Nyo

Just for the hell of it….and to entertain my friends here??? …. I am posting a chapter of “The Kimono” I came across this am.  It’s in the middle of the book as it stands, but rereading it today,  gives some information about Japanese culture and male/female society.  Mari is still in the flush of excitement after meeting this 16th century daimyo (Lord Mori)…Sexual excitement.  She was transported by this magic kimono from the 21st century to the 16th….and back again.  Apparently she has this possibility until Lord Mori takes the kimono (Daddy takes the car keys away!!!) away from her and decides he wants to use her for his own purposes.

(In this chapter, Miyo is the Japanese historian who befriends Mari in the 21st century Japan:  she shows up later in the novel, but I found her a charming woman.  She reminds me of a Japanese woman I have met. Steven is Mari’s husband…short, bleak sex scene…not a good marriage here.)

*******

THE KIMONO, Chapter 9

“Mari. Mari?”

“Mari, didn’t you hear me?”  Steven walked up behind Mari as she shut down the computer.

“What?  You watching porno?  Japanese porno any different from other stuff?”  Steven sounded like he was in a good mood.

Mari turned around in her chair.

“What’s wrong with you? Look like you’ve seen a ghost, Mari.”  His eyes scanned her face as she tried to grin at him.  She didn’t think she was convincing.

“Nothing’s wrong, and I wasn’t watching Japanese porno, Steven.  You know me, I hate that stuff.”

“Yeah, yeah, you made that clear before.”  Steven swooped down and planted a kiss on her forehead. He bustled about taking off his suit coat and tie.

“You’re home early today. Has anything happened?”  Mari made an attempt to sound normal, but thought,–  why today of all days?

“Can’t I come home early and play with my wife?”  Steven moved behind Mari, rubbing her shoulders.

“Steven, I’m going to Miyo’s later for tea.”

“Good, tell her hello for me. Now, get on the bed and do the wifely thang.”

Mari was in no mood to have sex, but she couldn’t think of a way to refuse. She was his wife and she had strayed.  Of course, he would have no idea how far.

She was hardly aware what Steven was doing as he tried to stroke her to arousal. He sucked on her nipples and diddled her. She remained a dead log.  He grunted and groaned and she answered with moans, but they were just window dressing. She ended up faking it. Finally he flopped onto his back, breathing heavily and drew her, folded, to him.

“What’s wrong, babe?  You weren’t into it.”  Steven nuzzled her neck, blowing her black hair, making her shiver and finally, her nipples responded.

Mari lay  with tears slipping down her cheeks, trying not to sniff.   She wished she could feel more guilt in cuckolding him, at least some guilt.  But she couldn’t.  She was caught between two worlds, not only between two men, and one with two swords in his belt.

“I’m alright.  I have a headache.”  Even to her it sounded lame.

********

“You see, Mari”, said Miyo over the rim of her tea cup, “ the wife had much power in feudal Japan.  It fell to them to save husbands from disgrace and counsel in crisis.  They were to bring them to their senses when their good judgment lapsed. Wives and mothers evoked the moral authority for men’s success  in the outside world.”

“Rather a tall order, don’t you think, Miyo?” said Mari, sipping her hot tea.

Miyo laughed. Though older by three decades, she was a historian and known for her papers about women in feudal Japan.

.

“Oh, there was so much more.  Men and women occupied two different spheres.  The women’s inner sphere was called ‘nei’ and the men’s outer sphere ‘wai’.

“What do you mean by inner and outer spheres, Miyo?”

“Oh, I should explain better, forgive me,” said Miyo with a little bow.

“Women were generally cloistered.  Their world was rarely more than the family compound, inside the gates and walls.  If they were wife or mother or mother- in- law, they would be in charge of all foodstuffs, the clothes, the education of the children, and the arrangement of the life inside the walls.”

Miyo went on.  “If the men were away, the women were responsible even for the crops and animals.  Of course they were in charge of the servants.  Plus, they were expected to spin and weave.”

Miyo took another sip of her tea.

“You know, Mari, all this centered on the concepts of virtue and modesty.  A respectful woman was not seen in public.  Her life was constricted by the ‘nei’.”

“As to the ‘wai, that of the men’s sphere, well, very different.”  Miyo nodded her head for emphasis.

“Men were expected to be out in the world.  Of course, if they were merchants or artisans, travel was constant. They also attended the academies and examination halls, traveled to courts. Sometimes they could be gone for years.”

“But what of the women, say within the high elite, Miyo?  Were they just ornaments to their husbands?”

“Well, that’s a complex question.  At the highest level, say in the courts, around the Emperor, or even in the Tokugawa era, the women were extremely educated.  We think of our college degrees as education?  Well, a court lady and even a courtesan, if she were to be successful, would have to master and command a 1000 verses before she was considered acceptable.”

Mari’s face showed her surprise.  “She would have to memorize these?”

“No”, said Miyo.  “She would have to write them, recite and memorize them.”

At the look on Mari’s face, Miyo laughed, her voice sounding like tinkling bells.  “Many of the court ladies would publish, or rather their favorites would collect and publish their verses.  This was a way to advertise their abilities and also gave honor and luster to their husbands and lovers.”

Mari thought of the few haiku and tanka she composed before Lord Mori. He would have known other women who surpassed her poor skills at verse. He could have not been that impressed with her tanka.

“What else did women do, Miyo?”

“Oh, lots of things.  If they were of an elite household, they would be in charge of the servants, the accounts and generally the day to day issues.  However, if she were of a household near to the court, she would have officials to do this for her.  It would be beneath the status of her husband for her to mettle in household affairs.  She would be commanded to produce beautiful embroidery.  This was the mark of virtue for women of her stature and caste.”

Miyo took another sip of her tea.

“It is interesting, neh?  The first sign of rising status for men was to avoid manual labor.  For women it was never so.”

“What do you mean?”

“In a word, Mari: virtue.  A woman must always be employed.  Idleness in a woman signaled wantonness.  It could also compromise her status in the marriage market and her standing in her family.  She must always be gainfully employed. And that usually meant spinning and weaving.  Prostitutes and courtesans were lowly precisely because they neither spun nor wove. It wasn’t just a sexual matter.”

Mari thought of the baskets of colorful silk and wool skeins she saw in the women’s quarters in Lord Mori’s castle.  There were small looms for the weaving of cloth but she didn’t see any woman at labor. Perhaps, she thought, they were all preparing for Lord Tokugawa’s visit.

“Of course”, Miyo’s words cut into Mari’s thoughts, “love and lust were seen very differently by men.”

“How so?”

Miyo smiled and sipped her tea.  “Myths of desire held different cultural messages, Mari.  Men looked for an encounter with a divine woman, a woman who inspired their lust but would enable them to transcend worldly desire and passion.”

Mari heard Miyo’s words and her body reacted to her memories. She was still caught up in the sexual passion of Lord Mori’s hands, his cock and power….and his ropes. They moved her, he moved her. It was nothing she ever experienced before.

“Mari, are you familiar with the history of women samurai?” Miyo’s voice cut into her thoughts.

“No, not at all”, said Mari as she put down her teacup.  “I thought that was just male warriors, nothing to do with women.”

“Oh no, Mari, it ebbed and flowed, depending on the century and region, but there were some very famous women samurai in our history.”

Miyo laughed again at the expression on Mari’s face. Surprise was there but Miyo could not have known what else.

“Oh course people only think about male warriors, but women had a role to play, too.”

Miyo leaned over and poured more tea into Mari’s cup. She settled the teapot on its trivet and settled herself back into her chair.  Her eyes twinkled, signaling her pleasure at an audience, even if it was only one slight woman.

“Women samurai were generally of a household of male samurai.  They were bound in loyalty to their husbands, who were bound to their own lords above them. All were to serve like ducks in a row.  The wife to the husband, and he, in turn, to his superiors. What people don’t generally remember is that women samurai also had the duty of revenge.”

“What do you mean, Miyo?” asked Mari.

“Oh, there were many cases of women defending a castle when the men were depleted through battle.  Women would dress as men, in full armor and ride with soldiers in the field and encourage them on.  They carried the naginata into battle.”

“What’s the naginata?”

“It’s a spear with a hooked sword on the end.  It is appropriate for women to use because it kept the opponent at a distance. It would take skill, but not brute strength.  Even today there are associations for young women to learn the naginata here in Japan.”

“And” said Miyo, her eyes brightening with some memory, “there was a very famous battle in the mid 16th century called the Battle of Nagashino.”

Mari’s eyes widened and her hand started to tremble. She put her cup down.

“If I remember my research” said Miyo, her eyes now distant, thinking, “ it was an interesting example of a samurai woman’s bravery.  This woman was accompanying her lord into battle. He met death and she led the charge against the enemy.  She was only killed by an arrow to the heart.”

Miyo took another sip of her cooling tea.

“Her lady- in- waiting cut off her head and escaped.”

Mari felt dizzy. She thought she would pass out.  Miyo’s voice seemed far away.

“Mari! Mari!  Are you ill?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

*****

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

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6 Responses to “Hello, Hello….lights back on….”THE ZAR TALES” now published….well, the proof first.”

  1. Dorian Mcclusky Says:

    This blog is great. How did you come up witht he idea?

    Like

  2. ladynyo Says:

    Oh, over almost two years of writing it, it kind of shows you what is necessary to write.

    Sometimes. it’s just life and responses to it all.

    Thanks for reading.

    Lady Nyo

    Like

  3. shia1 Says:

    I am so excited that you are publishing a new book! Congratulations!

    Hoping you have great success with it.

    Bet you feel accomplished and thrilled at finally finishing it. You have great friends in Bill and Nick.

    I am glad that things are better for you, I hope your husband is doing ok.

    Good Luck….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    shia

    Like

  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Sweetie!!

    Well, Nick isn’t answering anything electronic and I am worried about him. It’s his birthday month and I just sent off a package to Aussieland, but damn if I know where he is right now. That’s worrisome.

    The Book: Geez, shia, right now I can’t even get my mind around it. I am grateful for the work that Bill Penrose did, but I just have had to put it on the back burner because of all these other issues up front. Fred is working today, yikes! and is tired. After about 3 weeks of not working, now they have him overtime. Go figure.

    This book was simmering for so long….wrote it last year, and just..well…let it simmer. I really want to get together “White Cranes of Heaven” because it’s all poetry, and you know how I feel about poetry.

    Of course, poetry is so subjective….and what one likes, others don’t. But there is an enormous freedom in poetry and it pushes you mightily. Last year I thought that I had dried up on all things poetical, but I guess I haven’t. It gives me a deeper satisfaction that just prose doesn’t.

    Life does get in the way of things, right? Hope you and yours are well. There is never a dull moment, and when there is….that’s when we should dig deeper into ‘stuff’.

    We lost the entire freezer and I have to go shopping for food, but I just don’t know what the hell to buy. I’m off meat so veggies are mostly fresh….and I can’t come up with any recipes. Remember that part of your blog where you ran different recipes? I need some!

    Love and Hugs, shia.

    Jane

    Like

  5. Berowne Says:

    Congrats on the book! We have some vegetarian recipes we use for our Thanksgiving potluck, like pumpkin risotto and RRVs with EVOO (roasted root vegs with extra-virgin olive oil. I’ll root (ha, ha) around for them.

    Like

  6. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! Thank you, Berowne!

    I just can’t eat meat…..told you last night I was going to have a steak…and it tasted…like bland leather. That pumpkin risotto and roasted root veggies sounds wonderful.

    Thank you, dear friend!

    Jane

    Like

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