Links to Midnight Rose’s works on line
CABB’s Tunnel Tales
CABB’s Work of Hands
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests?
I come from a close-knit family of 10 and have lived most of my life in upstate New York State, USA. I am a divorced mother of two grown sons. I have two cats: Minx is a big black silhouette with yellow eyes and little Calico lives up to her name and coloring by sleeping in my fabric stash.
I have always had an active imagination and a large dose of creativity. In my youth, I made-up stories and spent hours drawing pictures that included my love of horses and whatever TV show was a favorite at the time. I even wrote down a story or two. My mother introduced me to sewing and crafts. I love to sew, quilt, and cross-stitch. I also enjoy making beaded crafts and designing Ukrainian Easter eggs and Decorated Eggs. I have been dragged “kicking and screaming” into Scrapbooking. I wish to try stained glass and pottery someday. All in all, I have too many craft interests and too little time.
What drew you to the Beauty and the Beast television series and how did it affect your life?
“Beauty and the Beast” has always been one of my favorite fairytales. I thought the Beast was the interesting character and I was always sad when he was changed into a plain, old prince at the end. The Beauty was an extraordinary girl blessed with the insight to see past the surface and see the man within. I have always loved Beauty with her Beast.
So, I guess I was predestined to check out this new show on CBS and pray that they did not destroy my favorite fairytale by turning it into another version of that horrible comedy “Snow White.” I was very relieved that they went with the Lion-type Beast rather then the Boar’s head one. (Sorry, Disney.)
From the first airing of the Pilot, I was intrigued and fascinated by the characters and the settings. We were introduced to Catherine and immediately understood the disenchantment of her life and knew she would find the strength to grow. We knew of Father’s protectiveness and love for his extraordinary son. We were introduced to Vincent like Catherine was, through his compassion, gentleness, and voice. The first time you saw him, you knew Vincent was going to be someone special. (He was the “Beast” from my fairytale.) Their friendship, love, and loyalty warmed you. The Bond intrigued you. Vincent’s rescue of Catherine excited you. In those first few new moments, acceptance and love between two strangers blossomed. This show was going to be extraordinary.
I fell in love with the timeless story of unrequited love. It is the kind of love that was destined to challenge and conquer every fear, barrier, and “impossibility.” Vincent and Catherine’s story and how they found a way to endure despite all the odds enchanted me. I enjoyed learning about the Tunnels and their people. I relish the literature, poetry, and classical music depth to the episodes. I liked the morality plays that were thrown in--- you always came away learning something.
Looking back over almost 20 years, I would hope that BATB has affected me and changed me into a better person. BATB filled an “aloneness,” rekindled my imagination, and inspired me to write and create anew. I have a newfound appreciation for classical music and literature. I discovered that I have the strength and courage to deal with whatever “real life” handed me. BATB is inspiring just through its characters’ lives and in its basic themes. I have never had a “fantasy” help me keep my feet planted firmly in “real life.”
Are you a closet “beastie” or do your friends and family know you are a fan?
I was a closet “beastie.” I endured a lot of teasing about insisting on watching “that silly show” every Friday. I quietly taped all the episodes and finally decided not to say anything else to anyone. For many years it was a secret, private passion of mine. I started a scrapbook of articles and pictures, and when dollars allowed, collected a few fanzines. It is good that no one could get inside my head because BATB was constantly on my mind as I pondered the characters and hatched plots of my own. When I was alone, I would write my stories and then tuck the notebooks away unseen. My mom and sister knew I loved BATB, but I never let on to what extent. Around 1995, my printed BATB resources dried up and disappeared and I thought fandom must have died out.
Real Life went on. Real Life changed. I changed. BATB lived on in my heart and I tucked Vincent and Catherine safely in the back of my mind.
I came online in 2001 and on a whim typed in “Beauty and the Beast TV”. I tumbled happily back into the Tunnels. How I had missed my Tunnels. There were mountains of BATB fanfiction to read and BATB art to see. I would never have dreamed that I would be posting to message boards, talking in chatrooms, sharing my thoughts and opinions on BATB, or sharing my BATB tales with other fans who love this show as much as I. I no longer feel like I was “crazy” or “strange” to love BATB. I belong here and I value the friendships and kindred spirits I have met online.
---And I have the greatest BATB email pal that has become a very dear friend to me in “real life.” Hugs!
In “real life”, I am still quiet about BATB, but there are BATB posters on the walls of my bedroom and BATB mementos in a cabinet. My “BATB Stash” is taking over my closet. Vincent and Catherine live close in my heart and are often on my mind. My quiet obsession has mellowed into a deep passion, reflection, and appreciation of the show. A few trusted and understanding family members have read my tales, and have smiled as I have met fellow fans. My sons are understanding of their mother’s “hobby” because they have their own fan-ish pursuits. I have found a balance between my “real life” and my “tunnel life” and I am happy and at peace.
Your love of BATB has led you to express that feeling in a variety of ways, most uniquely in a collection of writings called "Two Cents," which you offered to Winterfest Online, for which we thank you very much. Could you tell us what "Two Cents" is?
“Two Cents” has become a collection of essays on each of the BATB episodes. I certainly did not set out on such a goal. I started out just quietly, shyly participating in CABB’s Episode Discussion Group. I answered a few questions about each episode and read other fans’ opinions and insights. No one had ever asked me before what I thought about the episodes and I quickly discovered that other fans thought the same way I did. I became braver and began to share what I felt was important and interesting about each episode.
I write down my personal thoughts, opinions, insights, and speculations and I am amazed that they keep becoming epistles. (I need to learn to summarize. LOL) Just remember that my essays are only this fan’s humble opinion and worth about “two cents.”
When you first began posting to the Episode Discussion Group, beginning with the pilot episode, “Once Upon a Time In New York City”, over 4 years ago, did you have any idea that your examinations would grow and develop and become a "regular feature" as they did overtime?
A “regular feature”??? Is that what “Two Cents” have become? I am humbled. Thank you for the compliment.
Honestly, I look at my essays as simply my contribution to Episode Discussion. My postings are no more or less important then everyone else who posts to ED. I worry that I overwhelm the other people who post and in no way wish to discourage them from posting what is on their hearts and minds about each of the episodes. We all have a different way to express our thoughts. I have learned so much from other fans’ insights. ED has enriched my love and understanding of BATB a hundred fold.
Over a year ago, my email pal suggested that I should collect my ED postings and present them together. The final form was unknown. We were editing them when the opportunity arose to share them though Winterfest Online and possibly find them a home online. I am amazed and humbled by all the interest in them.
“Two Cents" was posted on an open discussion group to share your thoughts with other fans on each episode. You did it consistently for 44 episodes. Besides participating in the conversations, was there a more personal reason why you felt the need to write them?
No one had ever asked me what was my opinion of the episodes. I had never really nailed down what I personally thought and, I suppose, submitting those thoughts and speculations to paper gave them weight in my own mind. They helped me make sense of what I had long wondered about, what I thought was true, what I had assumed to be true, and faced issues I did not want to deal with. I have hashed out a lot of thoughts with my long-suffering email pal and kept our heads spinning with questions upon questions upon questions. The feedback from ED assured me that I was on the right track with my personal analysis of the show and its characters.
Did you learn anything about yourself as you examined and wrote your thoughts on Beauty and the Beast?
I have been thinking about Vincent’s and Catherine’s characters and lives for a long time. I have found that my thoughts and opinions have matured as I have matured as a person. Experiences in “real life” can change your outlook. I look at episodes differently then when I did back in 1987.
Sometimes, I wonder if I look at Vincent and Catherine through “rose-colored glasses” just because they are beloved characters. I wonder if they have become what I need them to be, rather then who they truly are. I have come face to face with their truths and found a “ring” of truth in my own life, be it good or bad.
If I have learned anything, it is that I sometimes need to stop and examine more closely why I think the way I do about something that concerns me. Why does it invoke a certain reaction or thoughts on my part? Why do I feel the way I do? I suppose it is an awareness of self-examination. <shrug>
What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Episode Discussion Group?
I love to read other fans’ opinions, thoughts, and insights. Some summarize the whole episode or share a favorite character, quote, or moment. Others grab a favorite scene and point out something that I never considered before or even noticed. Other participants find the theme in the title or dialog that makes the whole episode come alive. There are fans that share what they know about the music and literature used. Each episode is seen differently by each fan and each person’s thoughts and contributions enrich our appreciation and understanding. It is fun and enlightening.
What steps did you go through as you wrote each commentary and how did they evolve over time?
I begin by watching the episode and jotting down important dialog, and write notes and questions that arise as I go along. Then I view the episode again, carefully watching actions, words, and expressions. Next, I pull out my numerous sources and read what others have said: writers, producers, directors, actors, and critics. Then, I take a day or so and ponder the episode. Finally, I begin writing.
I like to consider how each character is affected by the events of the whole episode and how they interact with each other. Sometimes, I found that working through the episode scene by scene was the only way to tackle it or picking up a common theme. I have been known to delete everything and begin in another direction. I will confide in my friend and “sounding board.” Sometimes the words flow and other times they fight me all the way.
Did you ever find that your opinion on an episode changed as you examined it in preparing to write your two cents?
There are episodes that I do not like or are just not up to par and until now, I have been quick to dismiss them. However, upon closer examination they yield their own gems, their own important moments. There is something to learn from every episode.
I try to approach each episode by considering what is being presented in that story and how it builds upon the episode before it. I try to ignore the knowledge of the episode that comes next, as if I have not seen it. I am not interested in being critical of all the episode flaws and tear the episode apart. I am interested in the growth of the characters.
Was there an episode that continually seemed to defy your efforts to explain it? Why was that?
The Trilogy, “What Rough Beast”, “Ceremony of Innocence”, and “The Rest is Silence”, was particularly difficult. I really struggled with how and why Vincent was reacting. All the issues in his life are tangled up with one another and I found myself going in hopeless circles.
Has there been a particular insight into an episode that you found intriguing and unique?
Hum….I can not think of one off hand. I have looked at all the episodes a little too long and too close. Personally, Vincent intrigues me, so the “study of Vincent” as a whole as been insightful. To actually be brave enough to expose my own thoughts on the matter to the entire world as been a unique journey for me.
I do love other fans’ insights and perspectives. They can see a scene totally different than I, and let me see it in a whole new light.
Do you have a favorite episode? What makes it a favorite? The storyline? The characters? The dialogue?
Hum…just one? I have always enjoyed “When the Blue Bird Sings.” It has the right touch of magic, mystery, and humor.
I have discovered that each episode has its one or two scenes that are among my favorites.
How did you feel when you posted your reflection on the final episode of the second season, “The Rest is Silence?”
I was glad I was finished with the hardest episodes. I actually took a day off of work to finish “The Rest is Silence” Two Cents. I needed the whole, uninterrupted day to myself to collect my thoughts and write them down. The issues in these episodes are so hard to untangle.
When the Episode Discussion Group had finished their exchange of ideas on “The Rest is Silence”, the members decided to go back and begin again with the first episode. Why start over?
Personally, I had enjoyed the first journey through the episodes. We had many new people join us along the way and it only seemed right to start over again.
This time instead of the “US airing” order, the episodes are being discussed in “production” order. Do you feel this makes a difference in how the episodes are perceived?
The biggest difference in “airing” vs. “production” order is in the first ten episodes of Season 1. So far, I think the order does change your perspective a bit. The episodes build on each other in a different way.
Are you finding the discussions as interesting and thought provoking as the first time around?
Yes. We have a different mix of fans participating. The change of order brings a fresh, new perspective.
You are also the author of numerous BATB stories that can be found on Tunnel Tales. batbland.com/cabb/tunneltales/tunneltales.html Was writing something you had done before being involved in BATB or something that grew out of it?
I started writing stories in my teens. The first tales were about a girl and her horse. There were several TV shows that I loved and, apparently, I was writing fanfiction before it had an official name. I purchased my first BATB fanzine and thought, I can do this---even for my own private enjoyment.
Which of your stories do you like best and why?
I like the short, sweet moments best of all. They just roll onto the paper with little effort. Some are humorous and some are serious. Very little plot-- just moments in Vincent and Catherine’s lives.
“Interlude with a Cloak” http://batbland.com/cabb/tunneltalesOR/roseinterlude.html is a special favorite inspired by and written with a friend. It sprang from our mutual admiration of Vincent’s cloak, how it was used and what it meant.
The tale, “Shakespeare” http://batbland.com/cabb/tunneltalesOR/roseshakes.html was one of the first stories I wrote and it was good enough to earn me an A+ in a college composition class. <smile> (That is about as brave as I have ever been.)
Why did you feel the need to write your own tales?
BATB captured my imagination. I would spend the week between episodes rehashing the story or expanding it with countless “what ifs.” Vincent and Catherine began to live in my heart and mind and with it came “countless stories” that begged to be written down. Some have made it onto paper and others still swirl inside my head.
What made you decide to share your stories online?
I happened to mention I wrote stories during a Chat and I got my “arm twisted off” until I agreed to submit a tale to CABB. I submitted “Shakespeare” and the rest is history. (Again, I was very brave.)
What do you like to hear from your readers?
I like to hear that they enjoyed the story.
What do you consider your greatest compliment?
My favorite compliment came from my brother after he read “Interlude with a Cloak.” He said I took him on a journey of discovery through description and texture; poetic, rich, and profound. “This reader traveled the circular path and wound up back at the same point but discovered that he was not of the same mind as he was when he left.” (quote, PK)
Are there other stories waiting to see the light of day?
Maybe…. I wrote most of my stories over 15 years ago. The stories were all handwritten in notebooks and they are slowly making their way onto the computer. (Great way to practice typing skills. LOL.) The ones that remain need a lot of work. “Two Cents” has taken up most of my computer time in the last few years, but I hope to revisit my notebooks someday.
Besides writing, your passion for Beauty and the Beast has led you to create beautiful BATB eggs.
How long have you been designing and
and what inspired you to try this delicate form of artwork?
A lot of crafts and sewing projects I have tried have been inspired by just being introduced to them and the curiosity of trying it myself.
I started working with delicate eggshells when I learned to decorate Ukrainian Easter Eggs over five years ago. I saw Decorated Eggs demonstrated on a TV craft show and looked them up online. The beauty of them intrigued me and I bought a couple of books on how to make them. Themes and designs are only limited by your imagination. I could not resist making a couple of BATB designs.
You can find more eggs by Midnight Rose here: batbland.com/cabb/workofhands/workofhands.html )
You have also channeled your seemingly boundless enthusiasm for BATB into making detailed Vincent dolls. What was the spark that caused you to try your hand at creating your own Vincent(s) in miniature?
Over the years, I had seen dolls made in the authentic clothing and likeness of famous people. My sister and I made our own Barbie doll clothes. I thought I would give doll-making a try. Vincent was the perfect inspiration.
I love Vincent’s outfits and his cloak. Part of the inspiration was to figure out how his costumes were made. Making a doll seemed like a good way to do it. It was the challenge of the project. I started with a basic 12” male doll. It took me three nights of “trial and error” to sculpt the “Vincent” face. His face and hands had to be painted and I had to make a wig. Then, I had to hunt for fabric that would recreate the texture and look of his clothes on a miniature scale. The dolls have certainly come out better then I ever expected.
How many are you planning on making?
My plan is to make six dolls showcasing several of Vincent’s ensembles. I have made three of the six. Winterfest outfit, Masques costume, and the gray vest with the white bell sleeves (which is my favorite). The others are his original clothes from Once Upon a Time…, the patched tunic from Orphans, and the vest with the buttons and cord from 3S.
You can find more pictures and information on the dolls here: batbland.com/cabb/workofhands/workofhands.html
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers about yourself, your contributions, Beauty and the Beast or fandom in general?
BATB fandom will only stay alive if each of us continue to contribute to it. We all have a talent; we all have a way to participate by sharing something of ourselves with others, no matter how big or small. It can be stories, art, media, discussions, opinions, and insights…or a quick, short note telling someone that you appreciate what they have shared with you or a word of encouragement. Be brave---that’s how I tumbled into participating. I am glad I did. I wish I had the time to do more. Fandom needs new contributors to pick up the torch and carry on what others before them have started and carefully nourished over the years. I hope the Tunnels never become lost.
Follow your Muse, no matter where it leads.
Never trample on another heart’s Muse.
Thank you for welcoming me into the online Tunnels and giving me a place to belong.