Saturday, June 24, 2023

This Week's Oz Short Story

The next story by Robert Baum I read from the 2022 issue of Oziana was "Early Morning Coffee with Matilda; or Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered (with apologies to Rogers and Hart)". Frank Baum is now trying to make a career as a writer, and he's working on his latest story. But he's conflicted, as he wants to introduce a witch into the story, but knowing a few things about how witches have been portrayed in the past, he's not sure if it's the right thing to do. Early one morning, he consults with his mother-in-law, Matilda Gage, about the issue. Many of you probably know that Matilda was a noted writer herself, and a feminist, and it was from her that Frank learned about witches, both as they've been depicted in literature and those who have been accused of witchcraft throughout history. Naturally, she gives very sage advice, but also helps Frank work through the problem himself. This may not be exactly how the Wicked Witch of the West came to be, but there's no reason why it couldn't have happened this way, either. Dave Kelleher's illustrations are charming and evocative of the turn of the century, and serve the story well.

I'm off on an adventure next weekend, so I won't have a story for you. But that's okay, since the next story is a rerun anyway. "Dinner at the Del" previously appeared in the 2020 issue, but here it has new illustrations by Ellen Rose Frodëlius, including a charming two-page spread of the Hotel del Coronado itself.

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