Rosy Cole

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Rosy Cole was born and educated in the Shires of England. Her writing career started in her teens. Four apprentice works eventually led to publication of two novels. Life intervened, but she returned to authorship in 2004. She has worked as a Press Officer and Publisher's Reader. Among widespread interests, she lists history, opera, musicals, jazz, the arts, drawing and painting, gemmology, homoeopathy and alternative therapies. Theology also is an abiding interest. As a singer, she's performed alongside many renowned musicians and has run a music agency which specialised in themed 'words-and-music' programmes, bringing her two greatest passions together. Rosy's first book of poetry, THE TWAIN, Poems of Earth and Ether, was published in April 2012, National Poetry Month, and two other collections are in preparation. As well as the First and Second Books in the Berkeley Series, she has written several other historical titles and one of literary fiction. She is currently working on the Third Book in the Berkeley Series. All her books are now published under the New Eve imprint. Rosy lives in West Sussex with her son, Chris, and her Springador, Jack, who keeps a firm paw on the work-and-walkies schedule!

Still Unshapen

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Destiny waits in the hand of God, shaping the still unshapen...
T S Eliot

Like it or not, authors are becoming accustomed to promoting their own wares. We're encouraged, even compelled by publishing contracts, to hitch a ride on the latest gravy train and exploit every trend vaguely attuned to our theme; the location, what's in the news, what chimes with the destinies of the fast and the famous. Spin-offs abound. Stunts may be marvelled at for their ingenuity. Some of it is amusing, some of it illuminating, much of it spurious. It's almost become superstition, as if we hope a little of the stardust will rub off on our ventures and they will be carried along on the prevailing current, never mind that it is in full spate and there are vast quantities of flotsam.

The Jane Austen connection is one of the most powerful to excite interest in recent years and I have to admit has been used for the last edition of my early second novel, My Mother Bids Me, which is set in the Regency era and is woven in with the events leading up to the Battle of Waterloo.

The odd thing is that Jane Austen wasn't particularly successful in her own lifetime and it's rather sobering to think that we might only be appreciated long after we're dust. Yet it must be a sign of destiny when some spark is caught way after the fact and fanned into a conflagration.

I don't know what to think about the latest discovered drawing purported to be of Jane Austen. The jury's still out, but I do note that the academic most convinced that it is of the author publicised her views to coincide with the launch of a biography and who can blame her if all the evidence she has seen stacks up that way?

I had to smile, too, at the time of the Royal Wedding, when it was claimed that Catherine Middleton's ancestry was linked to Jane Austen. Wasn't marrying an heir to the throne kudos enough?

Now Tom Fowle, who was engaged to Jane's sister, Cassandra, is mentioned in the First Book in the Berkeley Series. This gentleman was educated by the Revd George Austen, the girls' father, and was chaplain to Lord Craven, the 5th Earl of Berkeley's nephew, when he set sail for the West Indies with his patron, contracted yellow fever and tragically died. In the film Becoming Jane, they changed his name to Robert for fear of confusion with the lawyer, Tom Lefroy, whom Jane was attached to at that period. The family was known to the nefarious cleric, Hupsman, who officiated at the fake marriage between Lord Berkeley and Mary Cole. His mother had been governess to Berkeley's sister, Lady Craven, later Margravine of Anspach.

Mary Cole is not in my genealogical tree, nor my late husband's, but I sometimes do feel a frisson that my full name incorporates hers, a name which I didn't own when I discovered her. Also, my first attempt at writing historical fiction, aged 13, did feature a heroine called Kate Barclay (the shades weren't fully on my wavelength in those days!).

I wonder what mileage there'd be in revealing that my maternal line lived a few miles from Steventon Rectory where Jane Austen was born, and Chawton House where the family moved, now the Jane Austen's House Museum?

Whether any of this ranks as destiny is dubious. But shall I tell you something really amazing? For The Wolf and The Lamb, I researched the forebears of the second husband of one of Mary Cole's sisters who came to figure significantly in the forming of the American Constitution and in southern American history of the early 19th century. It transpires that that line coincides exactly with the ancestry of a Green Room (formerly a Red Room) colleague with whom, unbeknownst, I have formed a warm friendship.

What are the chances? The Swiss psychologist, Jung, might call it synchronicity, Douglas Adams would call it 'the fundamental interconnectedness of all things', John Guare might put it down to 'six degrees of separation'...

To me, it's pretty mind-blowing!

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Recent Comments
Stephen Evans
Still is my favorite word.
Monday, 20 October 2014 20:15
Rosy Cole
Monday, 20 October 2014 22:44
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2 Comments

Universally Acknowledged

 

Jane Austen's House Museum  

 

An open letter to Jane Austen on her incredible posthumous success...

 

Dear Miss Austen,

Who would have guessed that the microcosm in deepest rural Hampshire you depict so tellingly would have been invaded by a clamouring public right across the globe two centuries later?

You little suspected, when you kept the creaking hinge in the door you scribbled behind, that the product of your guilty secret was destined to be sprung upon a readership from Alton to Alexandria, Towcester to Tasmania. One hardly dares reflect how a spot of goose lard  might have robbed our English literary heritage of one of its gilt-edged treasures.

You taught many of us the meaning of 'valetudinarian' and 'solecism' and 'cotillon' (or cotillion), not to mention 'arch' and  'hauteur' and 'silver loo'. You beguiled us with intrigues and candlelight and misapprehension, destinies forged over the chink of teacups. You delighted us with tomboyish Lizzie Bennet romping around the chicken yard and fields, her hem slimed in cow-dung, her petticoats dew-drenched, whilst her mischievous tongue craved the next dialectic adventure. You gave us Fitzwilliam Darcy who inspired the smouldering ice of Mr Colin Firth and the lovelorn gravity of Mr Matthew McFadyen. You gave us absurd Mr Collins at whom we might justly poke fun, memorably captured by Mr Tom Hollander.

That early book failed to achieve an airing for many years, but I will always think of it as the best and most representative of your talents; your astute observation, exquisite wit and verve. No wonder your quill scratched in haste behind closed doors! You wicked girl!

Yet, for the life of me, I cannot understand the fascination for photos of Bath where modern young women, got up in their period bonnets and frocks, pay tribute to your works. They have none of the atmosphere of an aquatint, or a painting by Mr Reynolds, Mr Romney or Mr Gainsborough. Or a passage from one of your books. I ask myself why, in an age that revels in Rowling and Tolkien, Avatar, space odysseys, vampires and the chilling macabre, the fast and furious, even in Georgette Heyer, you have gone from strength to strength? Perhaps it is partly because Miss Heyer helped to span the breach of the centuries that you've flourished outside the walls of academe, well beyond your era.

Your world was so cloistered and constrained, not to mention mannered, every move orchestrated like a minuet.The quaintness  of it! The mortifying fear of having put a foot wrong! No one cares a button for their reputation nowadays. As long as the keen appetite for publicity is satisfied, one is alive and well. And who would have guessed the Napoleonic Wars were in progress with British servicemen deployed across the atlas? Who would suspect that monarchs had been guillotined and that bloody Revolution was in full spate less than a couple of dozen miles across the Channel? You did admit you found it difficult to imagine a discourse between gentlemen over their port, or in their clubs, so that even a peep through that squint was denied.

Above the culture and propriety, could your appeal be that the K per annum shouts loudest to us? The 'success' of your characters was so often underscored, in the most genteel fashion, by fiscal benefit. We understand the language of income all too well, though we no longer accept that it should only rightfully accrue to the humane, the industrious and the guiltless. Sound principle is rarer than it was then. Human nature may be what it has ever been, but there are reaches it has been unwise to pioneer. Many realise this. We have a phrase for it: Don't go there, we say.

Perhaps we are hooked on the sheer power of your storytelling, in narrative rhythms that echo in the soul, unlike our truncated phrases pandering to a short attention span and the cost of paper and ink. (Deplorable as it may seem, your elegant prose wouldn't pass an editor of recent decades.) And it cannot be for your spelling of 'connexion', or of  'surprize' and 'crape' in the style perpetrated by our transatlantic cousins.

No, the secret must lie within our hankering for a world that is gone, where, come what may, nuclear annihilation was not a possibility and where the decline and fall of civilisation was safely confined to the prolix pages of Mr Edward Gibbon.

You have also indulged us in our well-developed love of gossip. What would you have made of Tatler, OK and Globe, I wonder?

And last, but not least, there's not a shadow of doubt that we yearn for sterling romance, for the days when a fine tension between the sexes was strung out to breaking point in that rapturous sanctum behind the bedroom door. It is true that some sections of Georgian society suffered no curb upon their amorous activities, but doubtful that they would find any appeal in intimate union accomplished beside the office Xerox, or in the neighbourly confines of the stationery cupboard during the first ten minutes of encounter.

Ah, what we have lost...

If only we had not opened all the doors.


Yours wistfully,

 

Rosy Cole

 

Copyright

© © Rosy Cole 2010

Recent Comments
Orna Raz
Dear Rosy, Thank you for the beautiful letter which reminds me how a proper letter can still touch the heart. I saw today in the... Read More
Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:48
Rosy Cole
Thank you so much for this kind response, Orna. I was discussing this very thing with my son, Chris, earlier today (who is recov... Read More
Friday, 17 October 2014 12:29
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Lady Poverty

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On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, October 4



Lady Poverty, I wed thee,
Stripped of raiment woven gold,
Seeing that 'twas Love that bled thee,
so my soul should not be sold.

I lay down my velvet mantle,
Shoes of hide from Tuscan Plain,
Coins of silver by the handful,
A rod of iron, pursuit of gain.

Oystered silk, embroidered tabard,
Fair exchange for daily bread,
Feeds the famished, shames the niggard,
Recognises leper's tread.

I renounce the life that shone bright
In revelling of troubadours,
Dancing in the streets past midnight,
Masking Satan's deadliest hours.

Sir Brother Sun and Sister Moon,
Read repentance in my alms,
Squandered riches garner no boon,
Sackcloth habit hath no charms.

Brothers Wind and Air, I call thee,
Sister Water, Brother Fire,
No more shall my deeds appal thee,
Heaven my faint heart will inspire.

Mother Earth who well sustains us
With fruits and herbs and radiant flowers,
Banished be the greed that maims us
And destroys the peace God showers.

Sister Death, your toils benignant
Shall release us, not alarm,
To that Country, our assignment,
Where no fiendish spirit harms.

So bear witness to my marriage,
Lord of Heaven and earth and sky,
Birds and beasts assist my courage
We shall gain Eternity!

 

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(Artist Unknown)

Copyright

© © Rosy Cole 2012 & 2013

Recent Comments
Anonymous
Loved this. So many reasons. So much history.
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 18:47
Rosy Cole
Delighted you enjoyed it, H, and many thanks for saying so. I do like to try and revive a context, even when the subject has unive... Read More
Thursday, 16 October 2014 15:20
Anonymous
There is so much about writing that can't be taught. I don't even think I can give examples. I only know the real thing when I see... Read More
Sunday, 21 December 2014 05:35
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5 Comments

Equinox

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Virgo greets Libra,
pinion of the solstices
holding in tension
summer light and winter dark
a truce between them

tides mock ebbing sap
harvest moon a memory
echoes of dancing
in barns crammed with tarnished stalks
severed from quick grain

birds seek the high wires
melodies upon a stave
designed to carry
messages of other sorts
of hope purged of pain

the season's foils come
spinning down in gales a-whirl
deep-tinctured hues of
the Renaissance period
an eloquent twist

mortal senses pique
at summer's reckless reprise
while subtle odours
of decay spike mists filming
a pumpkin-gold sun

Earth already boasts
proliferant mysteries
flagging the far side
of the arc with lustrous jade
blades of next year's wheat

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Recent Comments
Anonymous
Virgo greets Libra. They tell me I'm both. An opening line like that will get my attention. Another verbal rhapsody I'll need to r... Read More
Sunday, 21 December 2014 05:56
Rosy Cole
So you're on the cusp, Charlie... Thank you. And enjoy!... Read More
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 13:30
1737 Hits
2 Comments

Writing For Life

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