Maggie Robinson


Nov 15
2007
Blue Plate Special

I eat off the most popular china pattern in the world: Blue Willow. I’ve always loved the rich color and elaborate design, and knew there was a famous legend depicted. Now that I know exactly what it is, my appetite may never be the same.

There are a couple of versions, but basically, a young noblewoman and her father’s secretary fall in love and run off together. Eventually they are found and roasted alive in a fire. Somehow they get turned into birds, which is supposed to make everything all right. I don’t think so. I’ve always been annoyed with Romeo and Juliet, and this is just more of the same doomed love crap.

When I was younger, I enjoyed star-crossed lovers, Heathcliff pining for Cathy, et al. I carried a torch for a lost love for years until my husband charmed the pants off me. Oh, you know what I mean. Now I want that guaranteed happily-ever-after in my books and movies. No Anna Karenina throwing herself under the train or Edna wading into the water in The Awakening. No suffering. No way.What’s the story on your china? What unhappily-ever-after book has stuck with you?

18 comments to “Blue Plate Special”

  1. Elyssa Papa
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     · November 15th, 2007 at 9:30 pm · Link

    GWTW—although the ending makes sense, I really don’t like that Scarlett doesn’t end up with Rhett.

    I also hated the ending of the latest JR Ward book so much that she’s persona non grata, and I won’t read any more of her books.

    But what’s worse for me is this: when you read a romance and you don’t believe in the couple’s HEA.



  2. Gillian Layne
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     · November 15th, 2007 at 10:43 pm · Link

    I’m with Elyssa. I just read a free book I’d gotten this summer, I met the author and she was SO nice! but her story left me cold. I couldn’t have cared less if the h/h ended up together (sigh).

    I want VERY happy endings. Too much sadness in the world.

    (On a happier note…come visit, Maggie, I have something for you…;))



  3. Janga
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     · November 15th, 2007 at 11:30 pm · Link

    I never knew the Blue Willow story, Maggie. I don’t think I eat off story plates. The every-day stuff has some kind of fruit–peaches, I think. And when I dress the table to impress, the plates are off-white with a platinum rim. No stories there.

    I am with you on the HEAs though. I will never read another Elizabeth George book! One of the reasons I read more and more romance is that I can count on the HEA, although I too am bothered those that offer an HEA in which I cannot wholeheartedly believe.

    I don’t think romance readers are the only ones who want their HEAs. Every time I teach Chopin’s The Awakening or Wharton’s House of Mirth. I have students, including many males, who want to rewrite the stories and give the characters a happy ending.



  4. Maggie Robinson
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 12:38 am · Link

    Thanks, Gillian! I’ve e-mailed you. And while I try to be good and check out “regular” books from the library, I must have my romance fixes.

    Ely, some guy has just written a book from Rhett’s point of view. Being the eternal romantic I am, I’ve always thought S & R got back together somehow. I haven’t bought the Ward book either…can’t really get into her whole thing although I gave Butch’s story a shot.

    Janga, my good dishes are Evesham, which have peaches and a lot of other fruits and vegetables. They’ll be coming out of the closet for Thanksgiving. I have resolutely not even picked up the latest EG book to even read the blurb—I was stupefied when I read the last one. I mean, seriously affected. My husband kept saying, “It’s only a book.”



  5. Anonymous
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 4:56 am · Link

    lovely china Maggie! No china to eat of here alas. partly because at this moment it is not a priority, but also because there is not room. but I will check up some of the danish “china” my father recieved as his share when he discovered a boat-wreck while diving. Despite being in the sea for over 100 years some of the pieces are quite nice. I cannot remember what was depicted though. As for tragic lovestories I hate them. In fiction it is an unsatisfactory ending, and in real life I tend to the “get a grip” and “suffering in love, you always suffer as much as you want to. in one tears time it is forgotten..” my best friend hates this cynic part of me.



  6. irisheyes
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 9:16 am · Link

    GWTW also! I couldn’t believe when I first watched that movie that they didn’t get together. Now, being more mature, I don’t think Scarlett deserved Rhett, but I would still have liked him to end up with someone who did deserve him. In fact, the best would have been if he ended up with Mellie and Scarlett got stuck with Ashley! That would have been my HEA. LOL

    I can’t read a book without a HEA anymore. I’ve had too much reality in my life up to this point. I’ll venture into Women’s Fiction, but I still want a little romance and a HEA.

    The worse is that I’ve heard of women picking up a book assuming it’s romance because of the marketing and packaging and it doesn’t have a HEA. In that case I think I’d have to hunt down the author or publisher and string them up.



  7. Maggie Robinson
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 9:23 am · Link

    Irish, I know just what you mean. When I was younger, I truly though things had to be sad to be meaningful. What an idiot I was. Obviously I read too much existential philosophy. I actually WANTED to cry at the movies. Now I just want to laugh.

    Anon, your remarks remind me of that scene in Moonstruck where Cher says, “Snap out of it!”



  8. MsHellion
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 11:40 am · Link

    You know what story irks me? King Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot. This triangle drives me crazy! Here King Arthur is absolutely crazy about Guen, and she likes him too…or so the story goes, but then Lancelot blows into town and he and Guen fall madly in love, though they feel horribly guilty about it.

    Then Camelot, the ideal kingdom, falls apart because of this traitorous love affair. Arthur dies; Guen die or goes to a nunnery…and Lance is dead too! (Or in some stories, he becomes a monk.) Crazy! Absolutely bonkers!

    Grrr. That’s the premise, isn’t it? You’re married to a stable, responsible, not-too-bright, but really-nice-and-caring guy, and then the perfect man comes in the next scene to prove if you’d just waited another 6 months, you could have had him instead! But Lancelot *wasn’t* perfect–he was an annoying conceited ass! Grass is always greener premise! Argh!

    Romeo & Juliet is a cautionary tale written to show teenagers shouldn’t have sex before they have the sense God gave a goose! Which is when they’re about 25. Stupid blighters.



  9. MsHellion
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 11:41 am · Link

    I’m with you, Irish! Too much reality; my fiction NEEDS a HEA!

    And Scarlett didn’t deserve Rhett.

    I did. I would have known exactly what to do with a man like Rhett. *LOL*



  10. Keira Soleore
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 1:10 pm · Link

    Maggie, I love the blue-n-white china you have and would love to have some. Mine used to be generic white corning ware. Now, it’s of slightly better quality and has a platinum ring around it.

    I have two fine bone china mugs for coffee, and I swear coffee tastes better from those mugs. My
    next best choice for coffee would be the Starbucks paper cups. Metal and plastic are at the bottom of the list.

    Hellion, you’re always so funny.

    These days, I find that I read far more romances than any other books, for the same HEA reasons. But my movie interests are far broader, though comedy and horror are out.

    I thought The Girl with the Peal Earring was a love story doomed from the beginning. I was happy with the ending of My Fair Lady. I’m horrified at Helen’s murder in EG’s book, and while my heart hopes, my head cannot put Lynley with Havers.



  11. irisheyes
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 1:49 pm · Link

    Hellion – I knew there was a reason I never watched a King Arthur movie! What a downer. You know what other movie I saw a couple of months ago that really ticked me off – The Break Up with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. When the credits started rolling I actually screamed at the screen – “WHAT!” It wasn’t really that great of a film, IMHO, but I felt as if I invested a good 90 minutes in it and deserved to be rewarded with a HEA.

    Movies are especially hard these days. NOBODY makes them with HEAs anymore. Can’t win an Oscar with a HEA! Something really horrific has to happen to showcase the talent of the actor/actress.

    The plate thing is funny. DH and I were out shopping the other day and were looking at new dinnerware. Every time either one of us picked up something nice and classy we both shook our heads and said “Breaks too easily!” I’m resigned to not having anything nice until I get rid of the kiddies! I’m a big believer in kids are important than things, so I figure it’s easier not to have those really expensive things around! LOL



  12. Maggie Robinson
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 5:56 pm · Link

    Irish, I’ve had the Blue Willow dishes for over 25 years—used them everyday with four kids. I started out with 2 sets of 8 place settings, and now have about 8 place settings, LOL. My youngest daughter wanted to take them to Boston with her when she moved into her first “big girl” apartment, but I couldn’t let them go.

    Hellion, I was totally sucked into Idylls of the King in high school, and wrote about a million Arthurian term papers, read tons more books, even visited the ruins at Tintagel. Poor Arthur.

    Keira, I love b & w dishes and have other patterns too. There’s nothing so cheerful, if you forget about the dead lovers-turned-birds. I read GWPE before I saw the movie (which was gorgeous but incredibly slow) and knew doom when I saw it.



  13. MsHellion
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 6:31 pm · Link

    EXACTLY, poor Arthur! I loved him…what a great guy, and that silly twit “falls in love” with Lancelot. Egads! Someone should make that poor king some cookies or something…

    Oh, Irish!–I loathed that movie. What a horrible waste of my good money! I think I might have loathed it more than The Royal Tenenbaums, and that’s saying something. They marketed it as a comedy, and there was nothing remotely funny in it.

    Thank you, Keira. *blushes*



  14. Ladytink_534
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 7:46 pm · Link

    I have to say Gone With the Wind too. If you like the happily ever afters and historical romance you should try Teresa Medeiros and Brenda Joyce’s books.



  15. terrio
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     · November 16th, 2007 at 7:51 pm · Link

    You know, I didn’t know the ending of Anna Karenina and now you’ve ruined it for me. LOL! Well, one less book I have to read.

    I’m afraid I have the cheap white corningware of which Keira has moved up from. LOL! I like them. No china here. Maybe someday but I doubt it. I’m not a china kind of girl

    Many books have stayed with me but I’ll narrow this down to two. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and Cane River by Lalita Tademy. Both were striking, made you mad at the heartless things that happen in this world and made you happy none of these things had happened to you. But most of all, both books plant themselves in your mind and refuse to let go.

    I’m in Lancelot’s court. *g* He’s younger and cuter and I can see any girl falling for him over that boring old king.



  16. RevMelinda
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     · November 17th, 2007 at 1:21 am · Link

    –You’re married to a stable, responsible, not-too-bright, but really-nice-and-caring guy, and then the perfect man comes in the next scene to prove if you’d just waited another 6 months, you could have had him instead!–

    Hellion, isn’t that the Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld story?

    Maggie, I have a serious dish addiction. There’s the fancy, once a year bone china set bought at Harrod’s in London (Wedgwood). There’s the bone china set brought back from Japan by my dad in the 50’s. Then there’s the everyday floral set; the green-and-yellow daisy set for springtime; the burgundy Santa Fe type set for fall; the Christmas dishes; and the other Christmas dishes. Oh, and I forgot the Paris dishes. (All are settings for 8 to 12.)

    My dish collecting has been brought to a standstill by the lack of shelf space. But once the kids move out. . .



  17. Maggie Robinson
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     · November 17th, 2007 at 9:28 am · Link

    LOL, RevM, the kids will want to take some of those dishes! I just couldn’t give them up…even though I flirted with the idea of new dishes myself. But no. I forgot, I have the cutest snowman plates for Christmas, too.

    Terrio, I can’t bring myself to read the Lovely Bones. They’re going to make a movie of it, and I won’t see that either.

    Lady Tink, thanks for stopping by again! GWTW seems to top everybody’s Un-HEA.

    Hellion, to be fair, didn’t old Guin meet Lancelot first when he escorted her to her wedding? Must refresh legend.



  18. TiffinaC
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     · November 18th, 2007 at 10:27 am · Link

    Did I miss a week or something and forget to come over here?

    Dishes, I love dishes. I have the family china, given to me on my wedding day, passed down from my Grandmother… they are royal dalton and no pretty pictures, just a pattern around the edge. I have yet to use them. I’m the BIGGEST klutz going and I feel I will be the first one in family history to break one.

    I have everyday fruit picture plates, also royal dalton…and some generic blue plates that I can break. 😀 We started with eight, we now have four settings. We can’t even keep real glasses in the house. We buy the plastic variety. once many moons ago we had real glasses, alas, I broke them ALL! LOL

    I’ll admit I never read Karenina because of the unhappy ever after (saw the movie I think) I need HEA’s… I thrive on them. I want to chuck a book that has in intentional heartbreak theme to it.