We love reading introductions to blog entries like the one Steven E. Schend wrote in response to our weekly blog topic "The Wizard of Oz":
While I'm technically staying offline this month to get back on deadlines and to reclaim my life from internet-addictions, Baum's book was too important to me not to blog here.
L. Frank Baum's creation has become an indelible part of the cultural landscape, and especially so for writers. With its perfect hero's-journey structure, delightful characters, and the elaborate settings, Oz has captivated readers and inspired new art ever since The Wonderful Wizard of Oz's publication in 1900. Whether they wrote about the books, the 1939 MGM musical, the 1970s African-American vision of The Wiz, or about later adaptations like Gregory Maguire's Wicked or the recent television miniseries Tin Man, this topic struck a deep nerve with Red Roomers. Several even admitted they didn't particularly like Oz or Baum, and gave some pretty interesting reasons for that, too.
Red Room author Grant Hayter-Menzies offered one copy of his newest biography, Mrs. Ziegfeld: The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke (McFarland & Co., 2009) to one blogger Red Room's editors have chosen to feature. A quirky gem of a post by a former Red Room member—unfortunately, no longer available—sweetly summed up the dislocation Dorothy felt when she stepped out of her Kansas farmhouse and into Munchkinland. (Grant's essay about making a presentations about Burke, who played Glinda the Good in the 1939 movie, and what he learned about the other iconic witch, is featured on Red Room's homepage this week.)
Several other blog entries vied for our attention:
- Maya Gottfried's post about growing up as the granddaughter of the actor who played the Cowardly Lion builds to a compelling, climactic list. Read Because, because, because, because, because...
- Paul Miles Schneider's account of meeting Margaret Hamilton (not wicked at all) is touching and real. Read An Early Audience With the Wicked Witch of the West.
- One of Baum's descendants provides a creative solution in Jack Shakely's touching and funny An Oz Memory.
- Sherry Stanczak's new inspiration for the story is informed by her Christian faith. Read A New Take on the Wizard of Oz.
- J. Ruth Gendler recalls how Oz helped her adapt one of her books as a theater piece. Read Courage, Compassion, and Wisdom.
- Eugenia Kim's story about getting to know the various versions of Oz is really about staying close to her brother. Read Orange Peels and Oz.
- We had to laugh at Patricia Wakely Wolf's reimagining of Dorothy as a Facebook-obessessed, text-messaging contemporary girl. Read Dorothy Does It All By Herself.
There are many other wonderful entries, and we hope you'll enjoy them all.