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Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Literary Do-Gooder. By John von Daler

                     She always wore her calico, #Dorothy of Oz-dress at two in the morning in front of the computer. It made her feel like a brave woman in a dangerous fairytale.


                The missions she in all secrecy carried out in the basement concealed beneath her ranch-style home in Tulsa were all merciful, positive, and hopeful. That they also were illegal made no difference to Felicie Finis. She would withstand even the Wicked Witch of the West to reach her goals.
                I just can't stand it, she reasoned at least once a day. Maybe I can't change the world, but at least I can change all those sad portrayals of it. At least the mirrored image will be positive.
                Felicie had always been a great reader, or at least since the local library had started a reading campaign for kids when she was four. You got stars beside your name on a poster hung in the entranceway: READERS UNDER FIVE, the sign read, THE FOLLOWING CHILDREN HAVE RECEIVED A GOLD STAR FOR READING NO FEWER THAN  50 BOOKS FROM JUNE 1 TO SEPTEMBER 1.  Felicie was mentioned there together with four or five other girls.
                Since then she had gone on to read a large part of the canon of great literature from the whole world. But so much of it was tragic, painful and heart-breaking. After years and years of reading, the whole thing had gone sour on her. Now she wanted to make some changes.
                She reasoned that world problems like Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq or any of ten or fifteen African conflicts were completely out of her hands. Those events were controlled by irreversible facts. Even her own life seemed more or less outside her control.
                Not so, fiction, opera, drama. Now that the internet had made the art of the world available, with her ever-increasing knowledge of hacking, HTML, and other useful techniques Felicie had decided to change art into something positive, happy, and rewarding.
                So it was that she went into the basement every night at about two a.m. to make some changes that would count. She started with #Hamlet.
                Using the library copies that Google so helpfully had scanned in and made available on the internet, Felicie started making her surreptitious changes. #Hamlet was probably the greatest work of literature with which she was familiar. The Prince himself was the greatest icon of western culture, the ultimate doubting hero. But why did he have to die?
                So Felicie artfully altered the play. You might assume that with a few twists and turns the whole thing would look different: Hamlet gets up, dusts himself off, thanks Laertes for the sword fight and closes down the drama. But it was not that easy. Fortinbras had to be taken care of. And what of "Good night, sweet prince"? It had to be re-written or at least re-positioned. No easy matter.
                Felicie toiled every night not only with the technical problems involved but with the artistic solutions necessary to support the changes she so desperately wanted to make. She successfully re-created many of her favorite works of art. When she finally clicked on the "find and replace all" that automatically found and altered every digital copy in the world, she felt great relief in her heart
                Here are some of her masterworks:

                #Puccini's Tosca kills Scarpia, but Cavaradossi survives the firing squad and lives to make love to her since fortunately she has not leaped into the waiting arms of seven concealed stagehands.
                Darnay and Carton survive the revolution in Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities". We do not learn who gets the girl.
                Andersen's The Little Match Girl gets some food from a rich friend and lives to start her own fruit company.
                The Salesman no longer dies in Arthur Miller's play, but softens up and spends his last days in the bosom of his family.
                The drought miraculously disappears in #Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and everybody stays in Oklahoma in the pouring rain, planting corn and peach trees.
                Oedipus no longer mistakenly marries his mother.
                #Scarlett and #Rhett stay together.
               
                Felicie still toils away every night in Tulsa. And she has even put her days to use. She wants to change King Lear from the very beginning so that his daughters all will love and honor the old man while agreeing not to divide up his kingdom. They all decide to stay with him until his death. Rewriting a whole Shakespearian play has not been easy for her.
                 Do you have a drama on which you want Felicie to work her wonderful tricks? She has another thirty years or so to accomplish a whole lot of good. You can contact her by twirling around three times, tapping your feet and making a wish - and the wish had better be positive! I myself got her to let Humphrey and Ingrid stay together in Casablanca. It was simple really. He kisses her and while they are kissing the plane takes off without her. 

Felicie won't change anything
in "Pieces".
Buy the book and see.
Just click on the picture
(and click your heels three times):

               

                

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