My Friday Post: The Kitchen God and His Forgiving Wife

 

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 I’ve been doing some background research for my second children’s novel which is set at the time of Chinese New Year, so I’m dedicating this post to The Kitchen God, also known as the Stove GodZao Jun, Zao Shen, or Zhang Lang.

The Kitchen God watches over families and records their behaviour, good or otherwise, so beware!

Each year during Chinese New Year the Kitchen God reports back to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, Yu Huang, about how well the family members have conducted themselves throughout the year.   A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen. The family have a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth is full of sticky glutinous rice, he will not be able to speak out about the family’s wrongdoings. Others give glutinous rice balls served in sugar soup and brown sugar bars as a bribe for the Kitchen God to say favorable things about the family.

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Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake

 

After the thank you dinner, the picture of the Kitchen God is burned and thereby sent back to heaven. A new picture of the Kitchen God is hung in the kitchen after the start of the Chinese New Year festivities.

The story of the Kitchen God is an interesting one, to begin with he’s just an ordinary mortal, Zhang Lang, a wayward fellow who has an affair with a younger more attractive woman. The heavens aren’t impressed by his behaviour so as a punishment he’s struck blind, and his young lover leaves him. In a nutshell his forgiving wife takes him back, as he seems guilty for his wrong-doings, and he is so remorseful for his adultery, that he throws himself onto the fire.  All very dramatic! Well, that’s one of the stories anyway, there are several spins on it, but this one sounds the one I’d be inclined towards accepting.

The picture below is a statue of  the Kitchen God and his wife in a temple in Chenghu, China.

 

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Statues of the Kitchen God in a temple, Chenghu.

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/China/Sichuan_Sheng/Chengdu-1023458/Things_To_Do-Chengdu-Wenshu_Temple-BR-1.html

 

He’s represented here in a clock. The hands of time, ticking away from one Chinese New Year to another, so watch out, be good! Don’t be greedy!

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Here he is with some of the Chinese New Year signs. I’m a bit confused by the duck. I didn’t think a duck is one of the Chinese signs, (maybe he just waddled in,) though the rooster, pig and dog are. Anybody can clarify the duck’s role for me? Is he just visiting?

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He’s looking very splendid here watching over some food.

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I think the Kitchen God has found out that someone’s been badly behaved! Look at those eyes! No getting past them!

 

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Before I disappear into the kitchen to do my impersonation of a domestic goddess let me share with you a book that I discovered today while typing up this blog post.

Guess what, the book has The Kitchen God in the title, and he’s joined by his significant other!

The Kitchen God’s Wife, by Amy Tan.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events tha led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.  

 

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Happy Friday. Be good! Eat lots of yummy food! Enjoy your weekend.

Oh, if you’ve read The Kitchen God’s Wife, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

 

 

Links:

http://fengshui.about.com/od/use-of-feng-shui-cures/qt/Kitchen-God-Feng-Shui.htm

https://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-food-of-chinese-new-year/

https://marshmallow92.wordpress.com/special-food-serving/chinese-new-year/

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

2015 One Word Challenge

 

thAA3AUTLHOne Word Challenge from Rebirth of Lisa – Choose just one word, instead of making empty resolutions, to meditate upon and be driven towards for the entire year. Use this word as inspiration throughout the year to make yourself and the world better. You set the rules.

Choose your word and join the challenge. We will make monthly updates to share how each of us is making a difference in the world with our word. I will post a monthly prompt on the first Thursday of each month. Be sure to ping back to the monthly post…. I look forward to reading your words and seeing your updates!

The One Word Challenge idea originated from Vera Jones, Lisa’s friend on FB. Here’s the links to find out more.

https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/new-year-new-challenge/

https://rebirthoflisa.wordpress.com/2015-one-word-challenge/#comment-2744

My word choice is Hope, because I’m hoping for a lot of special things this year, so fingers crossed.

Hope is the spark of life. Share your flame.

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Quotes with the theme of hope:

While there’s life there’s hope. Marcus Cicero.

 

Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
– The central theme of the prison drama Shawshank Redemption. Frank Darabont directed ‘The Shawshank Redemption. ’ In this excellent film hope prevails.

 

The winds of hope carry us soaring high above the driving winds of life. Ana Jacob.

 

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We have this hope as an anchor for the soul. Hebrews 6:19

 

Don’t lose hope when the sun goes down the stars come out.

 

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”   Emily Dickinson.

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Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers. Robert Green Ingersoll.

 

Learn from yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for tomorrow. Albert Einstein.

 

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”   Tom Bodett

 

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”  Alfred Tennyson

 

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”   Barbara Kingsolver

 

 We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.” Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses.

 

Hope is a waking dream. Aristotle.

 

Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.” Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

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I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”  Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl.

 

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Stephen King.

 

Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

 

Yesterday is but a dream,
Tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” Kalidasa, The complete works of Kalidasa.

 

What are you hoping for? Do tell!

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

My Friday Image and Poem: A Worldwide Web Shane Waltener

A Worldwide Web  Shane Waltener

 

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This litte poetic ditty was inspired by this wonderful sculpture which I had the pleasure of seeing in all its splendour at Juniper Artland, Wilkieston, Scotland. You may remember that I mentioned this wonderful inspiring Artland before in several blog posts, the original being on the 15th of June 2014.

 

A Worldwide Web

Looking through your mesmerising eyes

There’s no way to look away,

Speckled shadows dance and play,

In this Worldwide Web of Enchantment.

 

Looking through your murmuring eyes,

There’s no way  to steal away,

Deceitful shadows flit and play,

In this Worldwide Web of Allure.

 

Looking through your mocking eyes

There’s no way to break away,

Fine gossamer lines wrap and entwine,

In this Worldwide Web of Delusion.

 

Looking through your morbid  eyes,

There’s no way to run away,

The script is already written,

In this Worldwide Web of Drama.

 

Looking through your lost greenery of truth,

There’s no way to rip away,

Do I vindicate or blame you?

In this Worldwide Web of  Uncertainty.

 

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica.

Words, and Photo, good or bad, are my very own!

 

Hope you enjoyed my Friday image and poem. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

 

Links:

https://www.jupiterartland.org/artwork/a-world-wide-web

http://shanewaltener.blogspot.co.uk/#4199122337725407763

http://shanewaltener.com/

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/in-the-studio-shane-waltener-artist-8812518.html

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of all material in this blog post without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to this blog’s author with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you.

My Friday Secret Images: The Corpus Christi Clock

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In my earlier blog post today, Secrets and Lies, I mentioned that I would be revealing one of my secret sources of inspiration. Well here it is, The Corpus Christi Clock in Cambridge, a stunning timepiece that is featured in my writing. The clock is a very popular tourist attraction that’s frequently photographed. People tend to respond to the clock in many different ways. I found the grasshopper thought provoking and weird looking. What do you think? Are you enticed by its fine gossamer wings, or repelled by its stinging tail?

I discovered a couple of interesting videos on Youtube about the Corpus Christi Clock and I’ve shared these on my Tumblr site, here’s the link: http://kyrosmagica.tumblr.com/.

I’m not going to tell you any more about the grasshopper other than to say he plays a very interesting part in the mysterious Crystal Cottage.

I’m excited to say that writing inspiration can be found everywhere, all you have to do is look with a keen eye. Museums, Art and Photography displays can provide such a wonderful source of ideas. In fact, I’m desperate to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to view the Silent Partners Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish exhibition. Sounds weird but interesting! It’s free too, where else can you get entertainment for free? Ok, libraries you say. C’est Vrai. Absolutely.

Here’s the link and trailer about the Fitzwilliam’s Silent Partner’s exhibition: http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/silentpartners/

Enjoy. Have a very Happy Weekend, and if you’ve been shopping this Black Friday hope you’re aren’t too exhausted. I’ve ignored the Blackest of temptations and stayed well away from the shopping queues. How about you?

Photos: My own.

Writer’s journey – How did it all happen?

Well how did I start writing? It was quite odd really. I used to write as a teenager. At the time I had a ginger tom cat called Chester, Mr. Popularity, everyone loved him. He liked to venture afar and we would often have to rescue him. I remember one occasion in particular, my brother and I ended up trudging through the woods, in Blackhall in Edinburgh, to pick him up from a house in the vicinity. He ended up at the most peculiar places. One time he chose to visit a house with thirteen cats! He is a tom cat with attitude!

I told you he liked company. So it seemed natural to  write about cats,  and I kept a diary. My dad was and still is one of my other great sources of inspiration.  He has travelled extensively to the Far East, and Middle East and is a wonderful raconteur.

As far as my writing is concerned the inevitable happened.  I was the typical teenager. I got distracted. I found boys, discos, parties, and my writing suffered. Somehow I didn’t pick it up again for a very long time. This is a regret. A massive regret. But what can I do? I can’t travel back in time, I don’t have a Tardis. So I just have to accept that the time is right now.  You see, I’m still this young girl at heart, just stuck in an older and maybe wiser body. I have experienced more, travelled more, lived more, so hopefully that will make me a better writer.

Several events came together to ignite my desire to write again. First of all I read a lot.  At the time I was reading Dorian Gray and it was definitely a novel that captured my imagination and set my mind free. Also my eldest daughter was studying GCSE Art and I took a sudden interest in art and photography. I’m not saying that I can paint or draw, though I wish I could. No, I enjoyed watching her artistic development and I enjoyed sharing ideas with her and encouraging her.

All of these influences helped me to write my first book, a children’s/YA fantasy set in Cambridge, which I have now published. The female protagonist in my novel is a teenage girl who paints a puzzle of art. But it is by no means a novel simply about Art. She expresses her sadness, and discovers her magical powers, through the medium of painting and via crystals and well the rest you will find out when you read the book. Let’s just say that a lot happens and I think that it will keep you entertained!  Well I hope so anyway.

Also I know this sounds crazy but my other source of inspiration was a black cat, a  throw back to Chester.  I had never seen this strange black cat before and suddenly he just started appearing in our garden. There was something different about him. He appeared  like a miniature panther, all glossy and splendid, looking for attention, with his mesmerising eyes, I fell under his spell. He liked to show off, he would disappear into thin air, climb to ridiculous heights, or chase his tail around the garden like a demented clown. He just had to play a part in this book too. Lets just say he has a subsidiary part to a main character, who is male, young and very interesting too, just like him. That was the beginning. Looking back I am amazed that from just a few initial thoughts my idea just seemed to grow and grow. Now my debut novel is nearly ready for the final edit. How did that happen? I couldn’t be happier in fact if I had a tail, I’m sure I would be whizzing around and around chasing it with excitement!

Update: I  released my first book The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone in August 26th 2017 in kindle form via Amazon. The paperback is now released too.

M J Mallon _ YA Author

To buy follow this link:  http://mybook.to/TheCurseofTime
Unique Selling Point: Unique, Imaginative, ‘Charming, enchanting and richly layered this is purely delightful.’

“This delightful book will appeal to teens and young adults who love stories filled with magical crystals, dark family curses, and mysteries waiting to be solved around every corner. Each chapter leads you on a journey of discovery where Amelina earns the right to use three wizard stones to reset the balance of time and finally break the curse that holds her family hostage. A captivating tale!” – Colleen M. Chesebro (Editor)

Bye for now, xxxxx

M J Mallon Author – The Curse of Time – Book 1  Bloodstone

My links: 

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Collaborative blog: https://sistersofthefey.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
Founder of Facebook – #ABRSC Authors/Bloggers Support Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon
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