Thursday, December 20, 2012


Where have I been?  Immersed in design projects, story projects, and audiobooks!  Check out the pictures on my Design site of the beta test of The Dickens Project, whose ultimate realization would be an interactive virtual environment where you could walk in the steps of Ebenezer Scrooge through a detailed virtual environment, guided by a live storyteller and the words of Dickens ... all of them!

The Dickens Project - Virtual Immersion in Literature

FYI : I will be reading the entirety of A Christmas Carol Live in two sessions (half the novella each) in Second Life (c) as I have for the past several years - December  23rd at 3:00pm Pacific Time, and December 24th at 3:00pm Pacific Time. 

The Dickens Project is free, donations accepted to benefit the Community Virtual Library.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DECEMBER 9th: "Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus"

I remember the very first time I heard Frank P. Church's letter from the New York Sun, and really understood it.  I still read it every December, and frequently with a few tears.  He so perfectly states my own feeling that there is so much in this world that is unseen and unseeable, that we really cannot honestly pretend that we have a handle on it all.  Or as Shakespeare wrote,“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”  

It is a time of year when we need belief.  The winter is upon us. Even thought the spring comes every year as the great wheel continues around, we have our moments of doubt in the cold and dark.  Doubts in the world around us, nature, the universe, in others, and most profoundly in ourselves.  The answer is always the same, if we just listen and trust, "Yes ..."  Believe.

Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus by Francis P. Church

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Thursday, December 6, 2012

DECEMBER 6th: "Meet Ebenezer Scrooge"

"Old Marley was dead..."  begins Charles Dickens' classic ghostly tale of discovery and redemption.  From a previous post you'll not that I am working on a Dickens Centenary event in Second Life (c) called The Dickens Project.

Dickens was written to be read aloud.  In fact the author diligently read his work to family and friends.  Remembering there were no radios, televisions, vhs or dvd, much less internet in those days.  Gathering to hear stories read or told was a common social activity.  In fact all those things I listed are also storytelling tools, though one might argue that they are getting more and more impersonal.  But that's another conversation.  Dickens was meant to be read and read aloud.

The language is delicious, and while I might not give it the same quality that a Patrick Stewart, Albert Finney, or Ian McKellen might, it is still a grand story beautifully if not economically told.  I have read it out loud every year for the past four years and every time I discover something new.

Consider reading it yourself!  It can be gotten free at several online sites, including Project Gutenberg.

"Meet Ebenezer Scrooge" from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Friday, November 30, 2012

NOVEMBER 30th: Happy Saint Andrew's Day!

Today is Scotland's National Day.  My family has deep roots in both Ireland and Scotland.  We initially believed, growing up, that this was on my Father's side only with names like Cullen and MacAllister.  But recently we discovered that a branch of my Mother's family was part of a Clan that was thrown out of Scotland for being unruly - by the Scots!  That explains a whole lot about my maternal line. Half of them ended up in Ulster and the other in Holland and Atlantic Germany. 

I also have friends in Scotland.  As the Scottish Referendum for Independence approaches in 2014, this seemed like a timely poem to celebrate Saint Andrew's Day.  I dedicate today's post to them (even though by the time it posts their day will be more than half over) Go raimh maith agat, LmC!

Henry Scott Riddell was a poet and songwriter composing in Scotland in the late 18th Century.

Scotland Yet by Henry Scott Riddell

Recording (c) by Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commercial Use

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

THE DICKENS PROJECT ~ December 14 - 27 in Second Life (c)

For years, I joined those who scoffed at annual productions of A Christmas Carol ... I admit it - guilty as charged! Maybe that's because there are so many bad adaptations and productions out there. It is easy to get lost in the superficial moments of the story and lose the depth it has.  At around 28,800 words it is about a three hour read out loud (less if you are reading it to yourself), and totally worth it.  Dickens packs so much into those words.  From savoring plenty and embracing poverty and need, he covers a lot of ground.

For the last four years I have presented the entire text in voice performance in Second Life (c) and it has given me a refreshed perspective. I now realize why there are people who do not feel their year is complete without some exposure to this story. Every time I read it, I find something new that touches me.

This year, I am developing an interactive virtual venue called The Dickens Project (because other names just became too damn cheesy) which is a beta version of a hopefully more expanded interactive project in the future. It is coming along well with a great group of folks involved from all over the world. It is based around a variety of live readings of A Christmas Carol as well as other works by Dickens.  Check it out!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Review of "Master of My Heart"

An Audible member in the UK posted this review, and I am happy to share it with his permission ... Thank you, Sir!

By John (Dunfermline, United Kingdom) Nov 20, 2012
"It is a real change to hear a story of this kind told in a warm mature voice. The interpretation of the story is wonderful; just as if you are listening to a woman telling of her own experiences.

"The story itself has a true to life feeling unlike any other I have experienced in this genre. There is no high living multi-millionaire Master in this tale but a typical middle class couple leading a real life.

"Listen and enjoy as I did!"

Master of My Heart by Marie Shore (Narrated by me) is available on Amazon in the U.S. as well, and on Audible. If you are into audio books, if you join Audible as a new member and this title is one of the first ones you choose, they kick back a little extra towards the creators. I'm just sayin'!

 NOTE:  This is story is of the erotica genre, and elements of it may not be for everyone.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Part 2: "The Heart of a Woman"

Now for the Lady's Perspective . . .

Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880 - 1966) was an American poet and a member of the Harlem Renaissance.  Johnson was born in Atlanta to Laura Douglas and George Camp. Her mother was of African and Native American descent, and her father was of African-American and English heritage.

Johnson graduated from Atlanta University's Normal School in 1896. On September 28, 1903, Johnson married Henry Lincoln Johnson, an Atlanta lawyer and prominent Republican party member. Johnson's husband accepted an appointment as the Recorder of Deeds from United States President William Howard Taft, and the family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1910.[2] It was during this period that Johnson began to write poems and stories. Johnson credits a poem written by William Stanley Braithwaite about a rose tended by a child, as her inspiration for her poems.

She began to submit her poems to newspapers and small magazines. She published her first poem in 1916 when she was thirty-six. She published four volumes of poetry, beginning in 1918 with The Heart of a Woman. Johnson also wrote songs, taught music, and performed as an organist at her Congregational church.

It is interesting to note that this poem inspired contemporary poet Maya Angelou, and her book of the same name takes its inspiration from Johnson's work.

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Note: Pardon the blonde in the art, but the style and vibrancy of the color reminded me of the Harlem Renaissance, and that's why I chose it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

COMING SOON in Ebook form for Kindle and Kindle Readers!

Coming in December just in time for Holiday Gift Giving: two ebooks of my own collected short stories.  Audio versions to follow in 2013.

Three Irish Tales ~ A trio of short stories inspired by Irish folklore and the author's own Irish family heritage. Includes the legends of the Bile Rath, the Far Liath, and a pesky pouka.

Reflections from The Golden Wheel"I'm not the first person to turn fifty. I am not likely to be the last either, but who knew that so much change would be part and parcel of clocking a half century?"  ...The Golden Wheel is a mix of fiction and non-fiction musings mirroring one woman's journey through the "wheel of the year" surrounding her fiftieth birthday.

I'm finally doing it!  I am finally publishing my own work.  Will post when these collections go on sale.  Might be that you know someone who might enjoy these.  It's a chance to support your local "maybe-not-so-starving-but-trying-to-pay-the-damn-utilities" artist.

Fabulous Illustrations by Micki McIntyre.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Part 1: "The Heart of a Woman"

In the midst of research I found two poems entitled The Heart of a Woman written by two poets both roughly writing at the same time on two different continents.  One a man who was the driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and the other a woman who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.  An Irishman, and an American.  Both poems are short, and I found the differences in perspective intriguing on a subject so legendarily chimerical.  So I recorded both.   Check back for the next post to get the other view.

For the Male Perspective . . .

William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939) An Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms. Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and, along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and others, founded the Abbey Theatre, where he served as its chief during its early years. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman so honoured for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation." Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929).

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Thursday, November 15, 2012


My narration of Marie Shore's lovely story Master of My Heart went on sale last week and has sold copies even!

Master of My Heart features a couple reuniting after many years, and sharing their loving, respectful BDSM relationship - enjoining a journey through life together.  Master of My Heart is a wonderful mix of BDSM, erotica, and romance.

Now, for those of you who have known me a looonnnggg time it is important to note that this story is a Romance Erotica with BDSM elements in it. This may not be what you are prepared to hear, or a side of me you have thought much of.  If that is not your thing, or makes you uncomfortable you might want to skip it, or just not listen to Chapter 2.

It is a lovely story, and reminds us all that loving respectful relationships are not the soul province of what society seems to deem as "acceptable and traditional."  The recent elections in the US show that is changing on some fronts, but it will take time and lots more baby steps.  It does not matter what lifestyle you clothe it in: a relationship with mutual understanding, solid communication, heartfelt give-and-take, and a deep emotional connectivity are what we all desire.  We all want to be loved in that way. We all deserve to be.

Check out the link embedded in the titles if it interests you!  There is sample on the sales page if you want to listen to a bit.  Thanks for your continued support.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NOVEMBER 14: "The Goblin Market" by Christina Rosetti ~ Conclusion

Yes!  Finally!  It's done, and you can hear the triumphal conclusion to Rosetti's poem.

It is a poem surrounded by differing (sometimes contradictory) controversies, and interpretations. It is intriguing to view those debates in the framework of the eras in which they occurred. If these interest you, I recommend visiting the Wikipedia article as a jumping off point for your explorations.  Thanks for all your patience with this odyssey!

The Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti ~ Part 5 ~ Conclusion

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NOVEMBER 13: "The Goblin Market" by Christina Rosetti ~ Part 4

Good Lord!  What a difference a new hard drive can make! Now that we have most of the other bugs worked out we can get back to recording.  We WILL finish The Goblin Market!

Brave Lizzie goes to seek the Goblin men to save her sister Laura, who is dying from want of the Goblin fruit.  Here we have the second great "fruit assault" of the poem.

Tomorrow, the conclusion!

The Goblin Market ~ Part 4 by Christina Rosetti

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Sunday, October 21, 2012

OCTOBER 21: "The Goblin Market" by Christina Rosetti ~ Part 3

It's Here!  After languishing in the editing suite for two days, the next installment of lustful fruit poetry (smiles) in which Laura develops fruit envy.  Actually I think I dubbed this section "Truth and Consequences."  I've given up trying to catch up, so we are just going to Keep Moving Forward.  Enjoy!

The Goblin Market ~ Part 3 by Christina Rosetti

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commercial Use

Saturday, October 20, 2012

OCTOBER 20th: "The Goblin Market" by Christina Rosetti - Part 2

Whew!  Cold finally subsiding! Here's Part 2 finally!

The poem itself is really written in Acts, like a play.  There are meters and rhythms internal to each Act.  Part 1 is the section I think of as "The Great Fruit Orgy."  The Part 2 is "In Denial" followed by tomorrow's selection: Part 3 - "Truth and Consequences." 

I have performed this many times, but one of my favorites has been presenting it with friend Dubhna Rhiadra in Second Life (c) as a duet reading.  Maybe that is because she always insists on me reading Laura. No, seriously ... she is in Wales and I am in the Pacific Northwest, yet we connect when we read in a way that still stuns me, given that we've never shared the same air space.  There are several colleagues I connect with that way as a virtual perfomer.  It always seems and feels like a miracle, and it always leads to the very best performances.

The Goblin Market  - Part 2 by Christina Rosetti

Recording (c) by Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Apologies. The next installment of The Goblin Market has been delayed by me recovering from a cold.  Progress being made ... keep the faith and check in tomorrow.  It's almost all cleared up, just not before I ran out of audio tracks recorded in my "pre-cold" state.

Have a wonderful sneeze, wheeze, and cough free day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

OCTOBER 17: "The Goblin Market" by Christina Rosetti

Composed in 1859, Rosetti's poem is a continual source of discussion and controversy.  "Critics" and "experts" like to analyze after the fact and find things which may or may not be there, sometimes mixing innocence and salaciousness because they view it throught he frame of their own times and beliefs.  The result often creates controversy and the hint of scandal which might be a little off context. Proto-Feminism?  Bisexuality?  Who the heck knows?  None of us were there.  No matter how learned, we won't ever really know.  i=It is possible Rosetti did not know herself.  Isn't the point of timeless literature that it speaks to people over generations? It's an interesting conundrum, though. It is noted nicely on Wikipedia with some interesting links.

What I do know is, it is a bloody tough poem in any number of ways.  The meter and the rhyme might sometimes be described as "erratic,"  making it very hard to read out loud sensibly.  Plus, as I discovered recording, it is full of multitudes of deadly, complex plosives!  Still, the internal rhythms are compelling and a real delight to read. 

Looks like this will come out in three or four parts.  Check in tomorrow for the next section.

The Goblin Market - Part 1 by Christina Rosetti

Recording (c) by Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Monday, October 15, 2012

OCTOBER 15: "The Changeling"

More delights from the stories of T. Crofton Croker (also author of The Rock of the Candle).  In this one the elves try and play one of their standard tricks on a human mother by switching her lovely baby child for one of their own number, who will undoubtably rain havoc upon their mortal existance.  But Mary Scannell is a wily lass, and knows well enough when she has been tricked.

A good story, and a gentle beginning to the week.  Coming up this week:  more Mary Oliver, William Butler Yeats and The Goblin Market.

The Changeling by T. Crofton Croker

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commercial Use

Sunday, October 14, 2012

OCTOBER 14: "The Guests"

Image from Wikimedia Commons
This comes from Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark, a collection from folklore retold by Alvin Schwartz. Mr. Schwartz seems to have made quite a publishing career in the early 1980's out of reinterpreting stories from folklore, with no less than a dozen titles to his credit - mostly ghost stories, tall tales, and "tomfoolery."

I have some good posts lined up for next week, including more W.B. Yeats, Mary Oliver, and Christina Rosetti's Goblin Market in parts.

The Guest, retold by Alvin Scwartz

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commerical Use

Saturday, October 13, 2012

OCTOBER 13: "A Coward" by W. B. Yeats

From Wikimedia Commons
Pardon the delay in today's post.  Lots of changes to the studio yesterday and some of them are still being absorbed.  Today's post track might sound a bit different to you as we fiddle with the post processing after yesterday's studio upgrades.

Here is today's offering:  another tale from The Celtic Twilight by William Butler Yeats.  I leave it to you to ponder whether you think that the man referenced in the title was better, or worse off, after his encounter with the spirit world.

A Coward by W. B. Yeats

Recording (c) 2012 by Judith Cullen
NOT for Commerical Use

Thursday, October 11, 2012

OCTOBER 11: "A Dream Within A Dream" by Edgar Allan Poe

By Cris Vector on Deviant Art
More Poe! More Poe! More Poe! 

It is inevitable that I would post this Poe-em.  The author is destined forever to be associated with the month of October, and this is one of my favorites.  I looked through my "Complete Works of..." and found any number of candidates for today, but they were all bleaker than this (GASP!).  They were not quite the Poe I am ready to deal with today.

Later in the month, I may lay down some of the short stories as daily posts.  They are longer than I would prefer, most running about 15-18 minutes.  But if you would like to hear me read The Tell Tale Heart, Masque of the Red Death, or The Cask of Amontillado perhaps, leave a comment! Screaming optional.

A Dream Within A Dream (Poem) by Edgar Allan Poe

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

OCTOBER 10: "The Man and His Boots" by W.B. Yeats

Twilight at St John's Point by Jon Sullivan (from WikiCommons)

I love this story!  I have another recording of it buried in the archives somewhere.  It was recorded before the recent "studio improvements."  No doubt I will record it again in the future.  Besides, I have never, ever done this story the same way twice.  It is Yeats, for one thing.  It is also just that kind of story!

For the Curious, this story can be found in Yeats' Celtic Twilight, which is a collection of faerie and folklore short stories that range from the unimaginably metaphysic to the utterly delighful.

The Man and His Boots by W.B.Yeats

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

OCTOBER 9: "The Rock of the Candle"

The actual Carrigogunnell Castle Ruin near Limerick

There's nothing that says "happy spookable month" like a story with an angry hag in it.  Coincidently, about 50% of Irish legends contain such a powerful, unsightly character.It is important to note that they are not always angry, and as frequently  are the source of great wisdom as they are the bane of the citizenry. 

Today's post comes from the folktales of T. Crofton Croker (1798-1854), which can be found many places, among them in a collection by Dover Publications titled Irish Fairy Legends.  It just goes to show you: be careful what you look at, and never leave home without your thrice enchanted magic cap!

The Rock of the Candle by T. Crofton Croker

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Monday, October 8, 2012

OCTOBER 8: Happy Columbus Day!

Taking a brief respite from the serious pursuit of Autumnal Poetry and Ghost Stories for a bit if silliness.

Today's selection is appropriate to the U.S. observance of the day.  This is what what I learned in elementary school (probably 1st or 2nd grade), and if you went to Public School in the 1960s and 1970s there is a chance you too might have this little ditty tucked away in the deep recesses of your brain, along with the Patches Pal Pledge and the words to the Super Chicken Theme Song.

Tomorrow we'll get back to the literature.  Given what we know about Columbus, and given the changes in political and social appropriateness, this song is long out of place.  But for today, let's just relax and have a bit of nostalgic fun.

Enjoy Columbus Day Song! (with apologies to whatever long gone maker of school room music books was responsible for this)

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Sunday, October 7, 2012

OCTOBER 7: Selection from "True Irish Ghost Stories" ~ Part 2

More from St. John Seymour and Harry Neligan's compilation of true tales from across the Emerald Isle of "Haunted Houses, Banshees and other Supernatural Phenomena" entitled True Irish Ghost Stories.  In today's selection, a reckless Irish Lord gets a second chance to mend his wicked ways.  Will he take it?  What happens if he doesn't?

Selection from True Irish Ghost Stories ~ Part 2

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Saturday, October 6, 2012

OCTOBER 6: Selection from "True Irish Ghost Stories" ~ Part 1

This is one of many, many stories from St. John Seymour and Harry Neligan's compilation of stories of "Haunted Houses, Banshees and other Supernatural Phenomena" entitled True Irish Ghost Stories.  In this particular account, and enraged ghost or demon is dispacted in a very uniquely Irish manner by the local Parish Priest. 

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Told you there'd be stories!  Another tomorrow.

Friday, October 5, 2012

OCTOBER 5: "Into the Twilight" by W.B. Yeats

Yarralumla: Autumn Twilight

I do adore Yeats!  I had a whole pile of other possible things for today sitting out to try on my tongue this morning. Ultimately this book ("Celtic Twilight") fell open to the last page by accident and I thought " What is that?"  read it (it had been a long time) and then answered myself "THAT is today's post!"

Found the lovely photo on an edublog site that was shut down over two years ago, so hopefully no one will get their knickers in a bunch that I used it.  It's a beauty!

Into the Twilight by W. B. Yeats

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Wee stories for the weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

OCTOBER 3: "El Dorado" by Edgar Allan Poe

It is just not October with out a little Poe. Or a lot of Poe.  There will be a lot more of Poe this month, so let's start out with this one ... a gentle favorite. It sometimes feels like the cycle of bills and paying them is like the search for the mythic City of Gold.  But lately I have discovered that less is actually much -- much more.

Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

OCTOBER 2: "The Coach of Life" by Alexander Pushkin

Years ago, when I still thought international law was where I was going (I now shake my head in wonder at that notion) I studied Russian, and my dear college roomate Jeri landed me a bunch of book on Russian literature.  The yen for the dashing legal life passed, disabused by the call to the arts, but the books remained and years later I discovered the loveliness of Pushkin's prose and poems.  Thanks Jeri!

Everything else I looked at this morning was far more "spookable" and we have a lot of month before us, so I chose this one.  It's a little more reflective, but still in good tone for the season.  Enjoy!

The Coach of Life by Alexander Pushkin

Recording (c) 2012 Judith Cullen
NOT for Commerical Use

Monday, October 1, 2012

OCTOBER 1: "The Stolen Child" by W.B. Yeats

"The Stolen Child" by Telzey
A new month and a new project.  Have a platter full of recording to do this month. I decided just this morning that doing a short "wake up" track each day was just the way to get warmed up and motivated.  Plus, it's a great month for stories and poems of the mythic and super natural!

So, let's begin the "spookable month" with a favorite! 

The Stolen Child by W.B. Yeats

Recording (c) Judith Cullen 2012
NOT for Commerical Use

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Great News! More Audio Books!

I am pleased to announce that not only am I working on Author Rae Lori's A Kiss Of Ashen Twilight audio book (Go Rae!) which is Book one in her Ashen Twilight Series ....

And not only have I been contracted to do the audio book of Marie Shore's lovely short story Master of My Heart ...

But I am officially doing the audio book of friend MJ McGalliard's first novel Beggar's Day, Book One: The Beggar Prince which I read selections of in Second Life (c) in May and June, the five sessions  available on the Seanchai Library YOU Tube Channel.  NOW we can here ALL the good parts and none of the introductory "ummmms"!

AND there are a couple of more promising projects in the offing.
HUGE thanks to MJ McGalliard, Shandon Loring, Jeff Lombardi and Lachy McCurdy for the continual support and encouragement!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Sera's Punishment" An Original Short Story

A friend introduced me to the literature of author John Norman last Fall, and his "Gorean Chronicles."  It turned out to be the fodder for many interesting conversations.  I have to confess I find I can't read any of the work without reaching for a big red pen and a pair of sharp scissors.

None the less, this Spring I found myself struck with the notion of combining elements of his world with a favorite of mine, the work of C.S. Forrestor and his Horatio Hornblower series.  Sera's Punishment is the result. 

It is about punishment, yes.  But it also about what happens to a person in isolation: how they lose themselves in a kind of precursor to death.  It should be ambiguous what the protagonist's final words really mean.  What do you think?
CLICK HERE to listen.  Enjoy!

(c) Judith Cullen 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Drabble! Drabble! Drabble!

Photo Courtesy of Crap Mariner - 100W Story PoohBah
 Wikipedia defines it thus: "A drabble is an extremely short work of fiction of exactly one hundred words in length, not necessarily including the title. The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author's ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in an extremely confined space."

I have been dabbling with drabbling the last month or so through my friend Laurence Simon's 100 Word Story Podcast and his Sunday Weekly Challenge.  He doesn't get his knickers in a bunch about it being exactly 100 words.  But those of you who have been on the receiving end of one of my more epic emails know that brevity is a very good exercise for me.  I have enjoyed the creative economy of it.

Here are three of my Weekly Challenge submissions.  Click on the key word and follow the link to hear the audio clip.  Enjoy!
(c) Judith Cullen 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"The Sphinx" by Edgar Allan Poe

Virtual Storyteller, Caledonia Skytower

 A favorite short story of mine is Poe's The Sphinx.  In my Complete Works of ... it is classifed under "Humor and Satire."  It still bears the unmistakable tint of macabre.  An emotionally distraught man is filled with apprehensions of doom and death during the cholera epidemic in New York City of 1832.  The stress of this emotional state causes him to see omens and portents where they may not actually be and to, literally, blow them out of proportion.

Much thanks to my dear friend Shandon Loring for helping assemble this presentation.  It is posted on YOUTube under my virtual story self, Caledonia Skytower.

To enjoy, please CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Letters of Abigail Adams, 1763 - 1776 (Selections)

Okay, I admit it ... I have longed to produce these letters since way before there were movies or specials on the A & E channel.  I always envisioned them as a theatrical presentation I would create, and never dreamed I would perform them myself.  Yet, I had the great pleasure of doing just that this week with one of my favorite reading partners in Second Life.

Today I am indulging myself by recording some of the selections I read earlier this week.  It is my own personal celebration of Independence Day, and a private tribute to a woman whom I have long admired.  So sit back and enjoy - as an indulgence I have not been quite as precise about editing as I might be.  I just enjoyed the language, thoughts, and heart of this remarkable woman.

CLICK HERE to listen to Selections (Updated Audio!)

Or go to the Seanchai Library YOU TUBE Channel and hear me (through my virtual storytelling self) reading selections from the correspondence of Abigail Adams and John Adams with my dear friend Shandon Loring on July 2nd. Skip to 4:00 to miss all the rambling introduction "ums" and get right to the letters.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"My Calliope" - An Original Short Story

A new, original short story based on a wee visitor who came whizzing into my office a few evenings ago.  Yes, yes ... I have replaced the window screen.  It was a great opportunity to wash the windows.

My Calliope by Judith Cullen
(c) Copyright 2012

CLICK HERE to enjoy! (Updated Audio!)

AND Part Three of Mj McGalliard's BEGGAR'S DAY is up on YOU Tube.  CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BEGGAR'S DAY - Part 2 is up on YOU Tube!

More joy from MJ McGalliard's first novel Beggar's Day, Book One: The Beggar Prince.
We had a great time last night!

CLICK HERE to hear the selection from Monday, June 4, 2012

CLICK HERE to learn more about the author and his book!

FForward to 5:45 to skip the embarassingly "ummm" filled event introduction (I REALLY must script that!) and get right to the story. Remember: It was Live!

GREAT NEWS! More Books!

I have been working with author Rae Lori in the virtual world for a couple of years now, and we have spoken of doing an audio book of one of her novels that I have done a lot: A Kiss of Ashen Twilight.  Today, we finally talked about it in concrete terms, and it seems the time is right for us to make this shared dream become a reality! 

We will also be doing several short stories of hers, and I will have the links posted here as soon as they are ready for public consumption.  Rae does a very wide selection of work, much in the fantasy genre.  CLICK HERE to learn more about Rae's work at her website.

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight is part of a series by the same name that explores a world of immortal beings walking among us: Vampires, Lycans, and Shifter-Elves.  The adventures include events happening in current times, and flash-backs to centuries-old experiences of these individuals, as we begin to understand the relevent events in their long lives that are coming to fruition now, in the present.

We did some sample tracks last summer, when we first explored this idea.  CLICK HERE to listen to this selection from the Prologue of A Kiss of Ashen Twilight.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

BEGGAR'S DAY - Part 1 on YOU Tube!

Good Friend MJ McGalliard e-published his first novel Beggar's Day in November.  You know how it is when a friend writes a book? ..."Oh wow!  That's great ..."  Then I read it!  What delightful fun!

MJ agreed to let me read Beggar's Day in the virtual world, and we even made an avatar so he could come in and hear it himself!  With his permission, we have recorded it and posted it on the Seanchai Library's YOU Tube Channel.  It is a live performance, so as a piece of video or a strictly audio track, it has many imperfections.  You'll hear me laugh, react to things and even greet people arriving ... things that you cannot see on the screen.  That's the joy of live performance!

CLICK HERE to go to the Seanchai Library's YOU Tube page and listen in!

CLICK HERE to go to MJ's Beggar's Day site and learn more about the author and the the book!

CLICK HERE to go to the Seanchai Library (a virtual Library in Second Life) blog page and see the schedule for Beggar's Day and other literary presentations.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Oak of Culleen: The Legend of the Bile Rath ~ by Judy Cullen

The "Bile Rath" (or "Bile Ratha") is the legendary Tree of Life, or Sacred tree in Celtic Mythology.  From a more practical point of view, the large forests of Ancient Ireland were often victims of warfare, burned to the ground as a part of seiges.  Often , the one or two trees remaining after such a conflagration were considered sacred from that time forward.

This is an original short story, written by me in honor of World Storytelling Day 2012, whose theme was "Trees." It has the lore of the Bale Rath, interwoven with bit of my own family history, and themes of death and rebirth that have been much on my mind these days.

(c) Copyright 2012, Judith Cullen

CLICK HERE to listen!  (Unedited Track - Minimal Processing)

Interested in other short stories I have written?  Click Here and enjoy a few of them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Sense and Sensibility" by Jane Austen

There is something about reading classic authors like Jane Austen.  It lets you savor the language like so many delicious courses in a fine meal.  Austen's characters are so rich, and her stories so strong.  I also like that her ladies are never cardboard ladies in distress.

There have been some excellent screen (large and small) adaotations of Austen, though Emma Thompson's screenplay of this book for the 1995 film remains one of my favorites.

A Selection from Chapter 16.

CLICK HERE to listen! (Unedited Track - Minimal Processing)

"OR State Highway 20" a Short Story by Judy Cullen

Yaquina Head, Newport OR
A little musing piece of mine about a drive to the Oregon Coast and the nature of vacations, of "letting go" and simply being.  A little trademark personal humor as well.

(c) Copyright 2011, Judith Cullen

CLICK HERE to listen! (Unedited Track - Minimal Processing)

Friday, January 20, 2012

"The Reluctant Dragon" (excerpt) by Kenneth Grahame

Illustration by Maxfield Parrish
The Reluctant Dragon is an 1898 children's story by Kenneth Grahame (originally published as a chapter in his book Dream Days).  The story takes place in the Berkshire Downs in Oxfordshire (where the author lived and where, according to legend, St George did fight a dragon). It is Grahame's most famous short story.

Click here to listen to a selection!

"A Bundle of Sticks" based on the Fable by Aesop

Illustration c1920
Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica are a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many of the stories, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" derives), The Tortoise and the Hare, The North Wind and the Sun, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and The Ant and the Grasshopper are well-known throughout the world. (from Wikipedia)

Click here to listen!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Storytelling in the Virtual World? What does that look like?

Part III of Anne Usru's "Breadcrumbs" 1.16.12
It is difficult to describe what a virtual presentation of literature or traditional storytelling looks like.  It really involves seeing it to understand how the virtual world can be a tool for presenting and promoting reading and literature.  It is already used as a resource by people with disabilities, and educational institutions to overcome boundaries of physical space and distance.

Here are some YouTube videos produced by a gentleman in Holland of live story/literary presentations.  They do not include audio of the events, so they are an incomplete example.  Hopefully they are a starting point in answering the questions posed in the post title:

  • Caledonia Skytower reads Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol at the Evolution Kingdom, December 2010.
  • The Seanchai Library celebrates Chinese New Year 2011.
  • Bard on the Virtual Beach: a virtual festival of the works of William Shakespeare (produced by me).  The event presented over four hours of readings from Shakespeare involving eighteen different perfomers from three continents, and was attended by over 100 residents of Second Life.

The Conclusion of Anne Ursu's "Breadcrumbs" 1.23.12

Second Life viewers are free to download.  System requirements are available at the download page.  There are also Third Party Viewers available that are not the direct property of Linden Labs, and are also free to download.

If you are interested is stepping into the virtual world to evaluate its potential yourself, I would be happy to assist you.  I am hoping to add live video (with audio) of a presentation of works in the public domain very soon.

About Me and Stories

Since 2008 I have been presenting literature and stories live in voice on the internet in the metaverse of Second Life.  I have presented a wide range of stories from Aesop, Shakespeare, Yeats, Grahame, and more contemporary authors like E.B. White, Kate DiCamillo and Gail Carson Levine.

Information on some of my presentations in the virtual world can be found at the Blog site for the Seanchai Library, a part of the non-profit Community Virtual Library in Second Life that promotes stories and literature through live voice readings. I present and perform as "Caledonia Skytower."

Works Presented in Live Voice in the Virtual World since September 2008

A representative list – not complete.  Approximate alpha by author’s last name. 

  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • Peter Pan (edited from the original) by J.M. Barrie
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, selections from The Marvelous Land of Oz and other short stories by L.Frank Baum
  • Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus
  • The Penderwick’s & The Penderwick’s at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & selections from Through The Looking –Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • How to Train Your Dragon & How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell
  • Tales of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, & The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Selections from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes & The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Dream Days & The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame
  • My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
  • The Nutcracker (translation) by E.T.A. Hoffmann
  • Secrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby (by special permission from the Author)
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly
  • The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith
  • Selections from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and selected stories from The Fairy’s Return by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • A Kiss of Ashen Twilight by Rae Lori (by special permission from the Author)
  • Beggar's Day - Book One:  The Beggar Prince by MJ McGalliard
  • Winnie the Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
  • Selections from Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
  • The Irish Dresser by Cynthia G. Neal
  • The Borrowers, The Magic Bed-Knob, & Bonfires and Broomsticks by Mary Norton
  • The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlynn Dunnett
  • Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr
  • Selections from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • A Cricket in Times Square by George Sheldon
  • Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Dracula – a radio play by Larry Albert based on the original by Bram Stoker
  • Mary Poppins & Mary Poppins Returns by P.L. Travers
  • Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
  • The Quiet Man & Other Stories by Maurice Walsh
  • Charlotte’s Web & Stuart Little by E.B. White
  • Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R Simon
  • Selections from The Celtic Twilight by W.B. Yeats
  • A variety of selections including prose and poetry from J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Jane Austen, Bram Stoker, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Aesop, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Melville, Jules Verne, Robert Burns, Robert D. San Souci, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and many more. 

Just because an author does not appear here does not mean I have not read from them.  As you can see from the representative list above, in over four years, and over 450 hours of live voice presentations, there has been a lot of literary territory covered.