Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chasing Mary Shelley

Mary Wollstonecraft (Godwin) Shelley
author of Frankenstein--and much more!

When I retired from the Aurora City Schools in 1997, I had just completed a ten-year adventure with Jack London. It started in the fall of 1982 when I'd returned to Harmon Middle School after a four-year absence--trying other things (taught a year each at Lake Forest College and Kent State, two years at Western Reserve Academy). But I'd learned enough about myself that I knew I wanted to teach again in a middle school--and not just any middle school. Harmon Middle School--one of the best in the country, in my view.

Anyway, in 1982 I discovered that the English Department had adopted a new literature anthology, and the novella at the back of that book was The Call of the Wild, a book I'd never read (just the old Classics Illustrated comic--when I was a kid). Well, needless to say, I got obsessed with Jack London and Wild, and by the time my furious obsession cooled, I'd read all fifty of his books, visited many sites related to his life (including two trips to Alaska and the Yukon), and written a YA biography of London (Scholastic Books, 1997) as well as two different annotated editions of The Call of the Wild (Univ. of Okla. Pr., 1995, 1997). (One was a full-meal-deal scholarly edition; the other, for more general readers.)

But by 1997 I was burned out on old Jack. And someone new had moved into my mind and heart: Mary Shelley. It began harmlessly enough. One Halloween late in my middle school career I started talking about Frankenstein, and pretty soon I was off on yet another passionate exploration of a writer and her life. This one, too, consumed ten years of my life and ended with a YA biography (Kindle Direct).

Anyway, a few years ago, I began writing a memoir about my Mary-years--all the reading, traveling, corresponding, thinking, imagining, etc. I called the book Frankenstein Sundae, for a reason you'll quickly see. I haven't finished the book, but I figure if I start serializing it on DawnReader, then I'll have to finish it, right?

I think I've posted excerpts from it here before. Oh well. Here they come again--in order this time. Starting tomorrow (Monday, 27 April 2014) I'm going to begin the serialization that will continue each M-W-F until it's finished. Then I'll revise and publish the entire thing on Kindle Direct.

I hope you enjoy my adventures with Mary Shelley. Like the "Jack London years" they were among the most joyous of my life.

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