Noël — A Christmas Song by Barbara, 1925


Last week Ross Carter kindly sent me an audio clip of the melody Barbara composed for her 1925 Christmas card. I had not heard the song played before and it was quite a joy. I decided to loop the mp3 and add Barbara’s lyrics in my appallingly accented French. My apologies to Barbara.

A Peek into Barbara Newhall Follett: A Life in Letters

Thank you to my wife Resa for flipping through the pages.

Barbara Newhall Follett : A Life in Letters


Finally, it’s here! My big book for Barbara—a 638-page softcover edition and an ebook for Kindles and other devices. Both have over 40 photographs. I’m VERY pleased with the end result!!

I’m waiting to hear from Amazon about incorporating their “look inside” feature so you can take a look for yourself. (UPDATE: “Look inside” now incorporated.) If you don’t like Amazon it should be available from other retailers very soon, and in real book shops too if they choose to stock it (which they should).

If you’d like to purchase the softcover, you’d be doing me a favor by buying from Amazon’s CreateSpace page. If you’d like the ebook, it’s cheapest ($9.99) on Amazon, but again you’d be doing me a favor by downloading from Smashwords ($12). There you can download a quarter of the book for free, to get you hooked!

Welcome redux


Farksolia has been getting a lot of traffic due to Lapham Quarterly’s reposting of “Vanishing Act,” which went semi-viral on social media and was picked up by BoingBoing, the Paris Review, the New York Times, etc. To answer a few of the questions I’ve gotten lately:

  • Barbara’s first book, “The House Without Windows,” although not in print, is available as a download on Chippy’s site.
  • My Big Book for Barbara—”Wings! Barbara Newhall Follett: A Life in Letters”—is not quite ready for publication. Soon!
  • Here is the piece I wrote to celebrate Barbara’s 100th birthday last March 4th.
  • No, I don’t know who holds the copyright to Barbara’s published work. Knopf has not been helpful at all in that regard. I hope all this new attention in my half-aunt will one day lead to her two books getting back in print, preferably with a companion volume of “Lost Island” and her other stories and essays.

Silver Magic



On Christmas morn,
Children, first looking from the windows,
See how desolate and bleak the garden is.
Withered the flowers, butterflies flown,
Summer gone from the woods.
But hist!—magic!
Out there, the leaves that flutter down
Are elfin butterflies, pearled with frost-patterns.
Flowers and ferns of the garden
Have come in fairy lace on the window-panes.
And what is this,
Wound about with climbing vines of the garden all turned 
to silver,
Lighted with candles that make fireflies
In every shining ball and glazen pendant?
Summer has come into the cottage!
It is May in the hearts of the children:
And sweet as songs of the thrush at twilight
Are the Noels raised by their happy voices.
Fairies, oh! fairies,
Come dancing soft as shadows,
Set the wood a-whirl with snowy wings.
Weave your iridescent webs,
Wind them in beauty about the Tree:
Touch it with wands of frost
Until it is tipped and trimmed with icicles,

Barbara Newhall Follett — Christmas, 1924