Are You Looking Forward to MARY POPPINS RETURNS?

Hollywood these days seems far more interested in remakes and reboots than in original films and TV shows.  December 25, 2018, Disney will be releasing a sequel to its beloved classic Mary Poppins.  The new movie is called Mary Poppins Returns, and it’s due for a Christmas release in 2018.

As I reported in The Inquisitr this summer, the sequel will star British actress Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack.

[Image via Fuse TV, from a tweet May 31, 2016]

Neither Emily Blunt nor Lin-Manuel Miranda are strangers to Disney movies. Emily voiced Juliet, the heroine of Gnomeo and Juliet, played Miss Piggy’s receptionist in The Muppets, and starred as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. Lin-Manuel wrote music for Disney’s upcoming 56th animated feature Moana and for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also played Shag Kava in SW: The Force Awakens and Reggie in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

Many people don’t realize that P. L. Travers wrote more than one Mary Poppins book, or that the literary version of Mary Poppins is very different from her film counterpart.  From 1934 to 1988 there were NINE Mary Poppins books, including one cookbook. As shown in the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks,  P. L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) was dismayed by the changes Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) made.

The new movie will be directed by Rob Marshall, who directed Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  The songs will be written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, but it’s far from impossible that rapper/actor/singer/songwriter/scriptwriter Dr. Lin-Manuel Miranda might not collaborate with them to add some lyrics or even a new song. David Magee, the scriptwriter for Finding Neverland,  will be writing the script, using Travers’ other Mary Poppins books for material.

Mary Poppins Returns will be set during the Depression. Emily Blunt will recreate the role that won Dame Julie Andrews her Academy Award, the “practically perfect” nanny Mary Poppins, come to help a now grown-up Michael Banks with his children.  Broadway’s darling, Lin-Manuel Miranda, will be playing Jack, a lamplighter.

Image result for meme tardis mary poppins

[Meme via Google Images, original images via Disney]

Mary Poppins, being both magical and “practically perfect in every way,” will (of course) not age from the 1964 Academy Award-winning movie to the sequel in 2018.  Some fans think this is because Mary Poppins, like the Doctor, is actually a Time Lord.  There are several stories at FanFiction.net exploring this possibility, including one where Mary Poppins is the Doctor’s older sister.  Do you think Mary Poppins is from Gallifrey, or do you think she’s a graduate of Hogwarts?

Are you looking forward to seeing Mary Poppins return to London?

College Visits — Chattanooga and Clarksville

Tennessee has an odd custom called Fall Break.  Students get a week off in mid-October.  Some people say it’s leftover from when youngsters had to help with the cotton harvests, other people say it’s to make up for school starting in August.  Whatever the reason, we took advantage of the time and scheduled some campus visits for my son.  He’s in 12th grade, and if all goes well, he will be starting college next year.

He is interested in UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and we had visited there this summer.  His father suggested making a second trip in the fall, to see what the campus was like when there were more students there.  I suggested detouring north to Clarksville, for some comparison shopping at APSU (Austin Peay State University).  He’s been to the University of Memphis for a campus tour, to Rhodes College for a Knowledge Bowl tournament, and to Lyon College for the Arkansas Scottish Festival.  Before he makes his mind up, I want him to consider several schools so he can make an informed decision.

Saturday we left home, later than my husband wanted, earlier than I expected to get out the door.  We drove to Jackson, TN, and stopped for breakfast at Denny’s.  We continued eastward, stopping at Franklin for lunch at Culver’s.  We passed fields white with cotton, and fields where cotton or hay were being harvested, and pastures of cattle.  The trees, for the most part, were still green; fall foliage was just barely beginning. Then on to Chattanooga.  We ran into traffic snarls in the mountain, road repair plus an accident or two, which delayed us considerably.  We arrived in Chattanooga, checked into our hotel, dropped off our luggage, and went to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, where we had dinner at the Grand Junction Deli, and then rode the Halloween Eerie Express. It’s a train ride that leads to a Halloween stop with storytelling, a fun house, carnival games, etc.  It’s meant for grade school kids, but it was fun anyway.

Sunday we went to Raccoon Mountain to visit the caverns.  There were several impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and columns.

After exploring the part of the cavern open to the public (only a small fraction – the rest isn’t safe for casual visitors) and the inevitable gift shop, we had a late but hearty lunch at Cracker Barrel, then returned to our hotel for a rest.  We went downtown in the afternoon and rode the free electric shuttle bus.  We did some window shopping and a little exploring of the city that might become my son’s new home for the next four years.  Afterwards we went back to the hotel and dinner at Wendy’s.

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Horse and carriage, with the Tennessee Aquarium in the background.

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The Market Street Bridge over the Tennessee River.

Monday was the big day, the campus tour.  We looked over the buildings, classrooms, administration, student center, etc.  We visited a dorm room (many dorm rooms at UTC are apartments with four small bedrooms, so students have apartment-mates but not roommates, sharing living room, bathroom, and kitchen).  We had lunch at Crossroads, the school cafeteria, and discussed the various meal plans.  We double-checked that my son’s paperwork was in order.  That evening we ate dinner at Mr. T’s, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, which in my opinion has the best pizza in Hamilton County.

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University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Tuesday we went back to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, to see the old trains and to take an unhurried look at the gift shop.

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We had lunch at Hardee’s, and went downtown to explore further.  We checked out the English Rose, a tea shop that we might visit on a future occasion.  Again we rode the free electric shuttle bus. We wandered down Broad Street, window shopping (and stopping at All Books for some actual shopping), and went past the Tennessee Aquarium down to the Tennessee River.  The Riverwalk is thirteen miles long.  We strolled a mile or two, no more, and stopped at the Southern Belle for some air conditioning and cool drinks.  We walked back to the shuttle bus depot, and transferred to the northern route, which goes across the river to see a bit of that part of town.  Then we went back to our hotel and had dinner at Fazoli’s.14657543_1520826247933631_2366822946987861780_n

Wednesday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed northwest to Clarksville.  Unfortunately, we were unable to take the train.  We had lunch at Culver’s, then went to APSU, where we met with the head of the computer science department and he explained the various concentrations within the computer science major before we took a campus tour.  Afterwards, we went back to Culver’s for ice cream.  We debated staying in Clarksville overnight, possibly doing some sightseeing in the morning or heading for home.  (Clarksville is supposed to have several good museums, parks, and Civil War sites.)  Being sight-see’d out, we debated Hwy 79 (allegedly shorter) vs Hwy 24 to Hwy 40 (allegedly easier) and started for home.  We stopped for dinner at Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen in Hurricane Mills.  My daughter said she wasn’t feeling well, and the driver was tired, so we decided to call it a night and spent the night in Hurricane Mills.

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Browning Building, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN

Thursday, back on the road.  We stopped for a comfort break in Jackson, at the Casey Jones Village, then on to home.  We took it easy the rest of the day, beyond going out to the grocery store to restock the refrigerator.  And now it’s Friday, and I have a suitcase of dirty laundry to wash.

Well, that was my week.  How was your week?

Space Pirates and Trophies

Well, I didn’t win a trophy, but I did win the the eSpec Books Flash Fiction Contest for September.  TS Rhodes and I tied for first place, Author Rhodes with a more traditional pirate story and me with a truncated version of my space pirate story, “Captain’s
Claim.”

Very truncated. The version I’m currently editing for professional submission is roughly 2,300 words.  The maximum word count for the flash fiction contest was 919 words.  Talk about killing your darlings!  First I cut the adjectives and adverbs.  Then I cut the physical description.  Did the reader really need to know that Captain Carswell looks too young to be in command of a starship?  Does it matter that the first officer is African-American, and how do you describe someone of African-American heritage whose ancestors were from Earth, but is neither Terran nor American himself?  I cut the characterization out.  I cut the foreshadowing for what comes in the sequel I’m planning.  I cut out all the Mr. This and Miss That — it’s a rather formal society; Captain Carswell addresses her pilot as Mr. Fernandez rather than just Fernandez, and it changed the flavor to cut out the honorifics.  Finally, I deleted as much as I could, wept bitter tears, submitted it, and they liked it.

One of my beta-readers disliked this particular story (the original version, not the truncated version).  In part, because I am misusing the word privateer in her opinion.  Captain Janet Carswell is a privateer, commander of the HIMS Bandersnatch. She has an imperial letter of marque, which permits her to attack enemies of the Albionese Empire, including pirate ships.  When not actively hunting pirates, the Bandersnatch and her sister ship often hire out as escorts to unarmed merchant vessels.  My beta-reader says that since privateers were only licensed to hunt their nation’s enemies in the 17th and 18th centuries, I can’t redefine the word to make it an interstellar bounty hunter now.  I say that words change meanings all the time, and would certainly change over the centuries.  Janet is a naval reservist in the Albionese Navy, but the rest of her crew is civilian. In part, she disliked it because it was too talky.  There, I agree with her.  The story needs more polishing before it’s ready to be submitted elsewhere, either as an independent short story or the prologue to a novel.

“Captain’s Claim” is something I’ve been playing with off and on for quite a while now.  Its influences include Andre Norton’s Scarface, Jane Yolen’s Pirates in Petticoats, Michael Jackson’s Captain EO, and Melinda Snodgrass’ Tears of the Singer.

Feel free to check out the truncated version of the story here.  If and when I sell the longer version, I’ll be sure to post it on my blog.  (And Facebook, and Twitter, and yelling in the streets … etc., etc.)

haggis-rampant-w-abc-book

Unrelated to pirates, Haggis Rampant, the Louisiana-based bagpipe and bodhrán trio, was kind enough to recommend my children’s book R is for Renaissance Faire on their Facebook page. Copies are available through Amazon as either an e-book or a paperback, or if you prefer an autographed copy, through the Mid-South Renaissance Faire.

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Photo credits:  the picture of R is for Renaissance Faire, open to the R page, is taken from the Haggis Rampant Facebook page and was briefly their cover picture.  The featured image at the top of this blog is a picture of Captain Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, and is in the public domain due to its age.