Saturday, September 24, 2011

Life Without Connections

I am currently at Grace's, using her laptop after a very loooooong day at the Renaissance Festival. Had a wonderful time, but more on that later.

Right now I want to update on my technological status.

We have a Hotspot, which is basically a fancypants version of a mobile USB modem. It bogs down horribly and can usually only handle one computer at a time. Because of this, my internet is basically cut down to e-mail and the occasional few minutes of facebook.

It's been nearly a month since I was at TLC at all. I missed it dreadfully at first, but not so much now. My family needs my attention most at the moment. Still, I miss talking to my friends. Our new house is 1/4 mile from the road, and 40 minutes from our old hometown (where our church and my workplace are). It's quiet, remote, and foreign, and what with no TV and extremely limited internet I feel very cut off from the world. I drove to Grace's in torrential rain because I had no idea we were under flood warnings until right before I left. I might as well live under a rock for all I know of the world beyond the mailbox these days.

I don't mean to sound desperate (okay, I don't mean to SOUND desperate, but I'm feeling it...) but if those of you who have my e-mail or snail mail address could drop me a line now and then, I'll certainly welcome it and reply. Tell me what's new with you and what's going on in your corner of the world. Even if it's just "We went grocery shopping today. I hate the produce section." I want to hear from you.


Friday, September 2, 2011

We're moving! The HORROR!

So... y'all already know we're moving.

 What you may not know is that we won't have DSL anymore. Goin' back to the old "bee-doooo, bee-doooo Khhhhhhhhh..." dial up. And I thought we lived in the sticks now.

And this also means we'll be without it entirely for a few weeks until we get the new phone worked out. We're working on a few options, none of them perfect. Long story short, my internet habits will be making a big change. Don't expect to see me around much this month. :-(

Those of you who have my number can still reach me by phone or text.

Pray for us. There's just all sorts of craziness going on with this move. Seems every time I turn around there's another surprise waiting for me.

Laundry calls. I'd meant this to be longer, but it's time I signed off for the night. God bless you all.

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Are You Ever Disturbed?"

Some say God no longer works miracles. Some say there's no such thing as coincidence. Well, I was reading last night, and call it serendipity, coincidence, or miraculous, it was just what I needed to hear.

Due to working on projects late into the night, it was nearly 1am when I headed to bed and I'd yet to do my daily devotional, so I did so. The day's entry was about friendship with God. A good subject, but for whatever reason I couldn't focus on it. Then I saw the entry for today (the title of this post). And it clicked. It was Divine intervention into my life. Yes, 'twas Mr. Chambers' sermon, not the Bible itself, but the fact that God used the words of a near 100 year old sermon, transcribed by a court stenographer and organized into daily bursts by who knows who, to make sense of what I've been dealing with of late is truly nothing short of miraculous.

"My Utmost For His Highest" Oswald Chambers, Reading for August 26th

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." John 14:27

There are times when our peace is based upon ignorance, but when we awaken to the facts of life, inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When Our Lord speaks peace, He makes peace, His words are ever "spirit and life." Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? "My peace I give unto you" -it is a peace which comes from looking into His face and realizing His undisturbedness.

Are you painfully disturbed just now, distracted by the waves and billows of God's providential permission, and having, as it were, turned over the boulders of your belief, are you still finding no well of peace or joy or comfort; is all barren? Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus. Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. If you allow anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you, you are either disturbed or you have a false security.

Are you looking unto Jesus now, in the immediate matter that is pressing and receiving from Him peace? If so, He will be a gracious benediction of peace in and through you. But if you try to worrry it out, you obliterate Him and deserve all you get. We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him. When one confers with Jesus Christ the perplexity goes, because He has no perplexity, and our only concern is to abide in Him. Lay it all out before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement and sorrow, hear Him say, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's one of those days...

I was reading Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost For His Highest" today, catching up on a few entries I'd missed, and it talked about how self-pity is sinful, and how it stems from self-consciousness (which is not itself sinful, but it doesn't help matters).I don't think this is self pitying, but I believe self consciousness is near impossible to avoid at the moment.

Ever had one of those days where all your faults and failures run through your head in an unending stream? Where you feel overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, and don't want to tackle them, even though you know things will be better if you do?

I seem to have had a week like that. Perhaps more. Not even the things I want to do are very exciting at the moment. Is this what they call depression? Everyone seems distant- even God, though I know it isn't true. I know he's here, but it feels like a huge gap between us. I've prayed for guidance on a big issue and I'm still waffling back and forth, uncertain as to how to proceed.

The voice in my head seems to be trying to convince me I'm worthless, and it's harder to resist than I expected. Now, I don't want "Aww, but you're not worthless, luv!" comments, please. Even if you mean them sincerely, it's not going to help. If anything, it'll make it worse.

I'm at a loss as to how to get out of this pseudo-Slough of Despond. "Let God work through you". How? "Surrender to Christ". What does that look like, practically? There seems to be no clear answer to many of my questions. Bitterness, legalism, derision, prejudice, false smiles... this is what I'm encountering from people I once thought pillars of faith.

I've been saved by faith in Jesus Christ, who gave himself for me. Beyond that fact, my day to day life really makes little sense and doesn't seem to have much point to it.

Maybe I should embark on Ecclesiastes. It sounds like something I can relate to at the moment.

"I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind... And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." ~Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17-18

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 15- Music and the Pen

...or keyboard.

I haven't done a lot of serious writing in a long time, but when I did, I had a very definite playlist I chose from.

1. "Braveheart" soundtrack. Nice and long album of stirring Celtic music.

2. My personal Enya mix. Ebudae was perfect for my scenes on Kyle (that's ky-lee) Island, where the longboats cut fearlessly through the mist, bringing warriors to defend the far-flung shores from their fierce neighbors... I think the best tracks, though, were from her album "The Celts".

3. "Gladiator". Not so much as the other two, but some. I had that album for years before finally watching the movie...

4. On occasion, the "Anna And The King" soundtrack, though oddly enough I found it better for math class. I don't know why, but I'd breeze through an otherwise near-impossible class if I was playing it. "Tuptim" was my favorite track for writing, I think.

Last day... what will I write tomorrow? I'm not sure. I've had a lot of things banging around in my head, but haven't had the brain time to put them to paper or keyboard. I suppose we'll see.

Until then, the Lord bless you and keep you.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 14- Favorite quote(s)

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges

"And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh." Ecclesiasties 12:12

As you can see, I have two that come directly to mind. The first was written on the wall of a library I visited. I know nothing of the author, but I'm inclined to agree that there must be a libraryish part of heaven...

The second is Biblical! My younger sister had no qualms about pointing it out and quoting it whenever schoolwork became too much for her. Right there in the Bible. Too much study is bad for you. :-P
Of course, that's not exactly what Solomon is saying there...
Rather (as I read it), all earthly pursuits are worth less than dust. Only that which serves God is worth anything, and even then it is God working through us that gives it worth.
I seem to be drawn to The Great Divorce (C. S. Lewis) quite a bit today. Specifically the spirit who thought all his earthly talents would be "needed" in heaven, and thought himself a great Tool For God, when in reality none of it was needed or wanted. God was sufficient for all, and there was nothing he could add to make Heaven better.

Not quite sure where I'm intending to go with this... I think what I've said is sufficient. It is up to the reader to remember that apart from God, life isn't worth living.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 13- My favorite book about writing

Say what? My favorite... WHAT?

Well, let us bend the rules slightly.

I have a nonfiction and a novel.

"The Alphabet Makers"
(Currently out of print. Get it while you can!)

My sister gave me this book for my birthday. It chronicles the history of the written word, the alphabets that have been created throughout the years and how they all work. Extremely fascinating for an armchair linguist like myself.
...Can one be an armchair linguist? It's not like it's a physical pursuit. Hrm.

As it is presented by the JAARS Museum of the Alphabet (JAARS being tech support for Wycliffe Bible Translators), it also delves into the necessity of alphabets when translating the Scripture. :-)

"Little Women"

No, it's not strictly about writing, but Jo has a pen in her hand more often than not. When I was younger, this was my favorite book. I had a lot in common with Jo- neither of us quite felt as though we fit in our families, both of us suffered from lack of good (or even interested, in my case) actors and resources, and both of us had a huge inclination to storytelling.

When I was in elementary school, my friends and I had an American Girl Club. We made foods and crafts from the American Girl books, and learned about the various eras.
One Christmas, we had a talent show. For my talent I wore my Kirsten dress (as close to Civil War as I could get), carried my beautifully large copy of Little Women, and recited "In the Garret". Even today it stirs my heart with familiar comforts.

Four little chests all in a row,
Dim with dust, and worn by time,
All fashioned and filled, long ago,
By children now in their prime.
Four little keys hung side by side,
With faded ribbons, brave and gay
When fastened there, with childish pride,
Long ago, on a rainy day.
Four little names, one on each lid,
Carved out by a boyish hand,
And underneath there lieth hid
Histories of the happpy band
Once playing here, and pausing oft
To hear the sweet refrain,
That came and went on the roof aloft,
In the falling summer rain.

Meg on the first lid, smooth and fair.
I look in with loving eyes,
For folded here, with well-known care,
A goodly gathering lies,
The record of a peaceful life
Gifts to gentle child and girl,
A bridal gown, lines to a wife,
A tiny shoe, a baby curl.
No toys in this first chest remain,
For all are carried away,
In their old age, to join again
In another small Meg’s play.
Ah, happy mother! Well I know
You hear, like a sweet refrain,
Lullabies ever soft and low
In the falling summer rain.

Jo on the next lid, scratched and worn,
And within a motley store
Of headless dolls, of schoolbooks torn,
Birds and beasts that speak no more,
Spoils brought home from the fairy ground
Only trod by youthful feet,
Dreams of a future never found,
Memories of a past still sweet,
Half-writ poems, stories wild,
April letters, warm and cold,
Diaries of a wilful child,
Hints of a woman early old,
A woman in a lonely home,
Hearing, like a sad refrain
Be worthy, love, and love will come,
In the falling summer rain.

My Beth! the dust is always swept
From the lid that bears your name,
As if by loving eyes that wept,
By careful hands that often came.
Death cannonized for us one saint,
Ever less human than divine,
And still we lay, with tender plaint,
Relics in this household shrine
The silver bell, so seldom rung,
The little cap which last she wore,
The fair, dead Catherine that hung
By angels borne above her door.
The songs she sang, without lament,
In her prison-house of pain,
Forever are they sweetly blent
With the falling summer rain.

Upon the last lid’s polished field
Legend now both fair and true
A gallant knight bears on his shield,

Amy in letters gold and blue.
Within lie snoods that bound her hair,
Slippers that have danced their last,
Faded flowers laid by with care,
Fans whose airy toils are past,
Gay valentines, all ardent flames,
Trifles that have borne their part
In girlish hopes and fears and shames,
The record of a maiden heart
Now learning fairer, truer spells,
Hearing, like a blithe refrain,
The silver sound of bridal bells
In the falling summer rain.

Four little chests all in a row,
Dim with dust, and worn by time,
Four women, taught by weal and woe
To love and labor in their prime.
Four sisters, parted for an hour,
None lost, one only gone before,
Made by love’s immortal power,
Nearest and dearest evermore.
Oh, when these hidden stores of ours
Lie open to the Father’s sight,
May they be rich in golden hours,
Deeds that show fairer for the light,
Lives whose brave music long shall ring,
Like a spirit-stirring strain,
Souls that shall gladly soar and sing
In the long sunshine after rain.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 12- A Song About Writing

When I saw today's challenge, only one song came to mind.

"They DIE!"

 I don't know the origins of this song. I believe it was writen by a NaNoWriMo participant, and is part of a larger work. I would credit him if I knew his name. It was introduced to me by way of some internet friends who are also NaNoers.

A struggling novelist tries his best to finish a scene in which a man comes home to find his wife guilty of something or other. While it may sound oddly disturbing to some, I think every writer can relate to the poor man at some point in his/her career.

And it's hilarious.

EDIT: Thanks to the efforts of our intrepid Rhoswen, I have been reminded that this is sung by The Playwright in the little-known musical "Enter The Guardsman". Full apologies to author, composer, and performer for my misrepresentation of their work.
She was kind enough to link me to this YouTube video of the same song performed by a contestant from American Idol. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 11- Favorite Female Author

Oh you WOULD ask.

When I first read that, I thought, "Female author? Do I even read female authors?" Then they slowly started coming into my mind and I consistantly headdesk'd through the list.

Books written by women are rather hard to come by on my shelves (I say "shelves", because there are several).

Let me see if I can list all the female authors. The longer I look, the more I see.

Jane Austen
Natalie Babbit
Charlotte Bronte
Agatha Christie
Kate DiCamillo
Jennifer Freitag
Karen Hancock
Abigail Hartman
Kristin Heitzmann
Liz Curtis Higgs
Lorna Hill
Dorothy Sayers
Rosemary Sutcliff
Linda Windsor

And I think that's all.

The reason I had such a time of it is that most of them only have one or two volumes to their name, as far as my collection is concerned, whereas male authors sprawl out sometimes to the point of owning a shelf of their own.

Once more, this is a tough answer, because my favorite book and favorite author do not match.

The Gothic Novelist

My favorite book is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I can't say she is my favorite author, though, because that is the only work I've read, and so cannot judge her abilities and artistry in general.

"Oh, comply!" it said. "Think of his misery; think of his danger, look at his state when left alone; remember his headlong nature; consider the recklessness following on despair--soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?"

Still indomitable was the reply--"I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad--as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth--so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane--quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart is beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot"

The story of Jane is a good one. Though her worldview is a mixture of paganism and Christianity, Jane recognizes the problems and hypocrisy of the church of her time, knowing that it doesn't match the scriptures. As she has no one to teach her properly, she muddles through at times, but she holds to that which she does know when times are tough. No matter how much she wants to toss the Bible and God wholesale out the window to follow Rochester, she "plants her foot" and keeps to the laws of God and man. She may only have a faint understanding of Christ, but she believes him.
And in the end, having surrendered her dreams to Him, she receives back a hundredfold more than she could have ever imagined.


The Lady Murder Writer

As for storytelling, Dorothy Sayers wins by a mile.
Lord Peter Wimsey is my favorite detective of all time. Better than Sherlock Holmes. Better than Miss Marple. Miss Sayers had the ability to write a character who was Sherlock Holmes and Bertie Wooster rolled into one. No small feat, that.
She wrote other characters, too. All of them are brilliant. She even wrote a radio drama of the Easter story. I wish I could get hold of a copy.

I think my favorite of her books is "The Documents In The Case". It isn't a Lord Peter story. It stands alone. But what makes it so unique is the lack of a detective. What you hold in your hands is more or less a dossier of the case- statements, evidence lists, etc. No detective to follow around. You have to notice the important things yourself. The storyline is that one officer has sent it to another, because he needs fresh eyes on it. I can't recall if it's a cold case or what, but the second officer writes his answer in the end, giving you the solution to the tale. I think it was also accompanied by a confession from the killer.
And those witness statements aren't as helpful as you'd expect. People forget things, misremember them, think irrelivant things are important and don't talk about the important stuff...

It's brilliant, that's what it is.

Well, life goes on a pace. I have a business to tend to today, so I shall say farewell and God bless.

EDIT: Of course, there is an Austen Quote for everything, as proven earlier in this post...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 10- Time for Q & A

Q: What is the most important thing I should know about writing?

A: I'm betting Jenny will have the same answer, but honest, I came up with this on my own.

No, really. I did.

Read good books. And by good books I mean meaty classics, or as Jenny says, "dead people". In my experience, like it or not you will write what you read. So if you want to write a good book, read some. Learn the richness of the English language from authors whose works have stood the test of time. Shakespeare, Austen, Christie, Sayers, Lewis, G. A. Henty (track him down if you haven't heard of him)... Real authors, if I may be so snooty-sounding. That's not to say you can't read current works. Not at all. But if you want to write lasting books, read lasting books.

Books like Harry Potter and Twilight are extremely popular now. But do you know who Mrs. Radcliffe is? She was an extremely popular author during Jane Austen's life, yet I doubt you've heard of her beyond a few mentions in "Emma" and "Northanger Abbey". That a book is popular now does not mean it will continue so.

Choose your materials carefully. "What goes in must come out", as an old song says.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 9 - What's my what? (plus tangent)

Here we are at day nine of the Eat..Sleep...Write: 15 day writer's challenge!

Today's assignment: "What is your current writing project?"

I would have to say... This.
These blog entries and weekly letters to The Penslayer are my only regular writing of any kind at the moment.

I'm in the midst of The Comitatus Britanniarum (a story blog with Jenny, now labeled ` for some reason as yet unascertained), but as we are both almost in over our heads with other work, it's more or less paused.

If I may spiral off into a tangent...

I am enjoying weekly letter writing. It gives one another anchor into the passage of time. When you have a life that is more or less the same every day, it's things like that that remind you yes, time is passing on. Today is not the same as yesterday. It is coming on Autumn, soon it will be Spring. I think my visit with Jenny was the only real "Summer" I was able to experience this year. It flew by in a whirl of projects. Winter did the same, with rehearsals that took me through the beginning of March. In short, it is August, and I feel as though I've scarcely drawn breath since before Christmas.

So I think I was wrong. Rather than reminding me of the long, large passings (months, seasons, etc.) little things, marking small increments, help me remember the in-between. That there are a whole three weeks before September. That there are nearly two months before my October deadline. That there is time in between that exists outside of deadlines and goals. Time in the here and now to be noticed and enjoyed. It deserves our notice, does it not?

Someone once said "Every moment is a gift. That's why it's called 'the present'."
Diary writing, letter writing, these are ways to recount, remember, and enjoy the present and recent past. When I write my weekly letter, I look back and notice the things that made this week unique to all others. And as I know I will be writing at the beginning of next week, as I go about my days I think, "I must remember this, to tell Jenny".

So thank you, Jenny. Because of you I now have a reason to reflect on and recognize the small things that deserve notice.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day... 8? Writerly Video

I didn't know of any writing videos, so I made one. Sorry I couldn't embed it. Blogger only takes stuff directly off your computer or from YouTube. >.<

I dedicate this specifically to Abigail Hartman ( ), in memory of some giggles we had over a particularly bad bit of writing...

Sunday, August 7, 2011


It's late.

I'm not a writer.

We're going to go back to 1st grade.

My favorite writing genre is fantasy. I like it because I like to read fantasy. It is fun. When you write fantasy, you can make up your own world and put in mountains and swords and stuff. I really like swords.

I also like to write mysteries. They are fun because you make a story and then have to do fake stories to cover it up and make it hard for people to figure out. I wrote two mystery parties and it was very hard but very fun and people liked them.


Okay, it's true. I didn't know what "genre" was in first grade, nor did I have a clue how to spell it.

But as I said, it's late. Hopefully tomorrow will bring something more interestingly presented.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 6- Writer's Bucket List

I don't have an official "Bucket List", myself. This spring I accomplished something I'd wanted to do since I was an elementary schooler- Perform at a particular local theatre. I look at it and say "Even if I never do it again, I've done it. I got a part, rehearsed like crazy, overcame my fear of the set, and did 8 shows."

Another was to go to Ballet Magnificat!'s summer program (no, that's not a typo). I did that a few years ago, and taking classes from dancers I've so looked up to was surreal and amazing.

Yet another point which proves I am not a Writer.

But there are two places I'd like to visit, which loosely have to do with writing.

The Kilns

The home of C. S. Lewis, one of my favorite authors, has been a goal of mine ever since I learned I could visit it. Actually, this outing encompasses all his homes, plus Cambridge and Oxford, if I'm to be totally truthful. ;-)

Trinity College, Dublin

This is the place wherein resides the famed Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript that is a glorious example of the hard work and artistry Irish monks put into their scribal tasks. It's also a reminder of a little known fact. The Irish scribes saved civilization.
That may be a slight exaggeration, but if you study the era you'll find that about the time that all the classical Greek and Roman works were being destroyed in their own countries, Ireland was cut off from invasion by a natural disaster (wish I could remember what). Therefore, their copies of Homer, Aristotle, etc. survived and were copied, while many of the copies in Rome and Greece were lost.

For reference (and a much better explanation) look up "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill. 

Now I must be off to visit some out-of-town family. Pray for the energy I need for it!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 5: Least Favorite Character EVER!

Forgive the drama. I have a headache.

Can I blame it on the subject of today's post?


Oh well. I tried.

I'd have to say my least favorite is the aforementioned Arlon the Blade. Can anyone say Stereotypical Sadistic Villain? Arlon is completely driven by mad revenge. That in itself isn't too bad. Making him insane was kind of cool. But really. One does not become the leader of one's own private army by killing anyone who looks askance at you.

Arlon obviously suffered from having never read the Evil Overlord List.

When I finally laid my book aside in favor of other pursuits, he had begun to have the makings of a good villain. I gave him a more believable backstory and drive- still a bit wonky, but it was closer to something acceptable.

I wish I could bring myself to finish the story. I have it all outlined, I just never got past part 1 (It is either a 4-part long novel or 4 small ones. I've yet to decide). Once it's been written and edited I think I'll have something to be proud of, but the monumental overhaul necessary is daunting.

Still, these days I feel sorry for Arlon. He was just getting his feet under him when I abandoned the project. Maybe someday I'll take another crack at it.

Would any of you care to read it if I did? (Be honest. I won't mind negatives).

EDIT: Just remembered I have an awesome drawing of him, went to get it, and remembered it's in storage. >.<
Ah well. Perhaps there will be a gallery when I've moved and have all my treasures back.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day Four, Supplemental

(Yes, that was a Star Trek reference)

This isn't meant to sound like a pity party, honest. But reading other entries in this challenge, it's becoming clear to me.

I am not a Writer.

I write, and I'm fairly good at it. I'm not horrible, at least. But a Writer I am not. A Dancer, a Designer, a Seamstress, this is where my art comes through. I am, however, determined to finish this challenge, because I'm stubborn like that, but I know it's not me.

I have so many friends who are Writers. I can't really say that my writing was an attempt to fit in, for I began it when I was the only one among my circle. But now I'm the little fish in a big pond, so to speak, and I think I find my true joy elsewhere.

The realization is freeing, in a way. I no longer feel inadequate, just different, and that I've always been, wherever I am.

"This world is not my home."

Day 4- Most Influential Author

Well, it didn't say most influential, but I'll go with it.

I'd have to say that the person who most influenced the style of my first true "book" is the late Brian Jacques, author of the extremely popular "Redwall" series. I didn't really plan it that way, but upon re-reads I found Arlon to be HEAVILY influenced by Cluny the Scourge (to the point that Arlon's full name is Arlon the Blade. Ohhhhh the shame...).

To be fair to myself, Jacques is the master of the Quest Story, which mine was. Certain parallels had to occur at some point or other.

While the Redwall series does become formulaic as time wears on, the original trilogy is wonderful, and a few of the others stand out brilliantly as well. Rakkety Tam, for instance. Who would expect a squirrel with a Lowland Scot accent? And his friend a Highlander?

Rakkety, Rakkety, Rakkety Tam,
The drums are beating braw.
Rakkety, Rakkety, Rakkety Tam,
Are ye goin' forth to war?

The other author to inspire me came in late on the scene. I'd already begun writing my book when I finally read Tolkien's works for the first time. Once I did, I recognized how needful history, geography, and culture were to such a story as mine. And he spurred me to look into linguistics, which showed me just how horrible my scatterings of a language were. The reform was massive. I now have three variants of the Shankee Alphabet. Thank you, Professor (?) Tolkien. Your help was invaluable.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Writer's Challenge, Day 3

Well, here it is on day 3 of Eat...Sleep...Write: 15 day challenge !

Do I have to?

I mean, Day three is... well... Do I really have to talk about my first writing attempt?



When I was a little grade-schooler, I decided to write a story about my favorite toy, Huggy Puppy. Yes, his name is Huggy Puppy. Yes, I did say IS, and yes, I still have him. See?

He's doing the best he can to look young and cute again. But considering he's over 25 years old now, it's getting harder.

Anyway, my book was all about Huggy Puppy, and how he lived with his mum and siblings on a farm. She told him not to go past the fence, or a fox might eat him. But of course he went anyway, because that's what curious little dogs do. Naturally, the fox appeared and scared the little pup half to death, and he went yelping home to Mum, having learned his lesson.

You know, if half my life wasn't currently packed up in storage, I could transcribe the whole story for you. But chances are you've already read it. The basic plot (as outlined above) was ripped nearly wholesale from a book I'd just read at the library. Yes, I began my career as a plagerist.

"Well, if you have to borrow, borrow from the best!"
"Where'd you get that?"
"I borrowed it."
(lovingly quoted from Jungle Jam and Friends)

Somewhere, probably amongst my old school things, is a very thin tome created of a few pages of composition paper, bound with yellow yarn. The front has a cutout to show the illustration of the main character within (Yes, Huggy Puppy willingly posed for me. And it's not too bad a picture, either.).

Now I think I'll go off and do something creative with textiles...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Day 2. Favorite Male Author

This is actually tough. I kind of have a triumvirate (is that the proper word?)

Triumvirate: (from Latin, "of three men") is a political regime dominated by three powerful individuals...
Thank you, Wikipedia. Yes, I think that's fairly close.

Oh wait, there's a fourth. >.<

We'll just go with it.

The Storyteller

At the top, my favorite storyteller has to be J. R. R. Tolkien. No one will ever be able to create such a complete fictional world as his. I stand in awe of his history, geography, and linguistics, which add so much to the story. Even if you don't read the Silmarillion or the Children of Hurin, the stories are woven into Lord of the Rings, and even The Hobbit. There is so much richness hinted at, it feels like a real world.
It's also Tolkien I have to thank for my interest in linguistics and philology. It is at present little more than a hobby, but I probably wouldn't have even gone that far had I not read Tolkien's books.

The Writer of Deep Truths

Next on the list is C. S. Lewis for his ability to write deep truths into his works. Even in his children's literature you find such themes, yet they are expressed so simply and lightly, you don't feel like you're reading a Book With A Moral And Lesson To Be Learned. You are reading a lovely book which delves as deep as the salamanders without piling all the rubble on your back in the process.
The same can be said for his Space Trilogy- although in that case often there is a great weight as you read, but it is the weight of realization. I have never felt so insignificant, weak, and gloriously triumphant in my life as when I read those books.
And his lesser-known fiction and that which I've read of his nonfiction is equally thought provoking without dry solemnity. How true are his words- "Joy is the Serious Business of Heaven".

The Pseudo-Historian (In a good way)

Stephen Lawhead earns my admiration for his ability to re-tell ancient legends by setting them down in real locations at real times, interacting with real people. I do not enjoy all his works. There are some that went a bit overboard in the choice (or less than choice) language, or the sexual content, or even the violence.
(One note: Avoid "Patrick" at all costs. The content overshadows the story to the point of vulgarity, unfortunately.)

But I'd have to say that the Pendragon Cycle and the King Raven trilogy are my favorites. One of his earliest works, The Dragon King Trilogy, starts off as a near direct homage to Lord of the Rings, but eventually takes a turn which makes the rest of the story it's own entirely. Who would've thought to put a Native American-style culture smack dab in the midst of wizards and castles? And then make it work?
But it does work, and Toli is one of the best friends any man could ever have.

The Psycho (In a good way)

The viceroy to this triumvirate, if it is possible to have such a thing, is Ted Dekker, for his mastery of The Switch and his ability to bend your brain in ways it's never gone before. Of late his works have leaned more towards horror (or at least paranormal) than psych, but there are very few I haven't liked. "Thr3e" is a good introduction to his works. I shan't say anything about it, though, for fear of giving something away.
My favorite, though, is "Saint". Saint relies on many of his other works as backstory (at the very least read The Circle books and then Showdown), but is simply explained as The Bourne Identity meets superhero comics with a dynamic spiritual warfare twist. I confess I am a Saint fangirl.

So there you have it. My favorite male authors. Others I enjoy include Shakespeare, G. A. Henty, G. K. Chesterton, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. And the list keeps going, mind you...

Writer's Edition 15 Day Challenge- Late for Day 1

Saw the Penslayer's doing this and, well, I think I follow Jenny around more than she follows me around. ;-)

Not sure I actually have time for this, but it seems easier than the Beautiful People posts. Just jabber about my favorite character I ever wrote, right? No problem. And yet this is my second draft, a day late. I think this proves I've let my writing skills drop considerably in favor of my other pursuits.

All the same, I'll give it another go.

My Favorite Character:

Gerard Rhodri, Terebinthian

Now, this is a place where Jenny and I came up with the same thing separately, before we even met.

Honestly, we did not know we had characters with the same name. It was entirely unplanned, I assure you, and the cause of no little surprise and amusement between us when discovered.

The name, however, where the similarities end.

My Rhodri (henceforth refered to as Gerard) was made for a Narnian RPG. I had a huge backstory for him- pretty much from birth to his late 20's- but I didn't really know much about him- how he interacted with others, what he enjoyed, what he hated, whether he had a temper.

He eventually resolved himself into a bundle of passions. Almost right out of the gate he fought a talking tiger which had attacked a small animal (to be fair, the tiger didn't realize it was a talking beast). The both of them nearly died from it, but did recover and much later became close allies.

That soon proved to be his character in a nutshell. Fiercely protective of his people (which in Narnia includes animals), he holds his temper against most insults- sometimes just barely, but he does it- but doesn't tolerate any assult of those he loves.

But there are a few things to be careful of around him. Don't insult his superiors- he gives his loyalty only to those he finds worthy, and he holds leaders to a high standard. So you start trash-talking them... you'll get a warning, but only one. Keep it up and you'll be breathing out your mouth for the next few weeks.

Worse is if you insult a woman. Any woman. Even so, he does have some level of restraint. He'll yank you out of the hearing/sight of said lady and then punch you.

He has a penchant for pity-parties and worrying himself sick, which really bothers me. We're working on it, and he's improving, little by little. He improved a great deal after finally putting his trust in Aslan, and now I think the continued improvement is due to his fairly new wife. Another player created a young woman named Marelina, Telmarine lesser nobility in exile. Somehow she always knows what to do to yank him out of his funk. And yank she does. Somehow, before 48 hours had passed in their acquaintence, she knew getting him to buck up would be more effective than the gentle consolation one would expect from such a lady.
I am quite proud of him these days. Currently Lois and I are in the midst of a loooooong drama which is about to culminate in the birth of their first child. He's doing well. No angst or dramatic worry (though I have to admit he had a scene or two of that earlier, but there was good reason. Honest.).

We also met his family- rough and tumble bunch, they are. I've likened them to tiger cubs. Of course, they're all grown up now, and there are nieces and nephews tumbling about under the table, but all in all 'tis a fine bunch to fall in with.

I believe I am beginning to ramble. But in conclusion, I'm happy to see Gerard grow as a character. I think he might be worth transplanting into a story of my own someday...

Monday, August 1, 2011

The usual formalities

Hi, it's me again. This is where I'll be coming for all those musings that don't fit in A Whimsical Adventure or Thoughts From Barton Cottage.

Actually, as I am soon to move out of Barton Cottage, I've decided that my BC blog will now become my Reviews blog- favorite books, movies, TV shows, etc.- and probably not updated near enough.

Whimsical Adventure will continue as it is- Etsy stuff, project diaries, etc.

THIS is where you'll find the rest of me. I'm thinking about working out some sort of blogging schedule. What with facebook, twitter, forums, and blogs, I am spread so thin over the internet these days.

I'm still trying to figure out what Xanga used to call the "look and feel" of this blog. Is the background too busy with the picture and all? I tried a plain background, but I really want dark on both sides and light in the middle.

Comments of any kind appreciated.

God bless!