Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Character Bio - Able

Well, it's taken me a bit longer to get this up than I was hoping, but here it is at long last! Able's bio. Do please ask him any questions you can think of, and I'll try to post an interview in roughly a week or so. I hope. ;)

Age: About 18 or 19

A hardworking, honorable boy with a sunny disposition, Able has always been more or less content with his life in Stonedon's castle. He doesn't like Stonedon, and knows that Stonedon doesn't like him; but since Stonedon has taken him in as half-son, half-servant, and provided him with the necessities of life as well as with a good education, he tries to show his gratitude by making the best of things. Always, Able strives for the ideals of honor and fealty which he has learned from his teacher and his friends.

For all his life, Able has lived a sort of double existence, spending half his waking hours in the fields and the rest as a nobleman. When he is not at lessons or at work, he spends his spare moments with his sister Ellen, whom he love with all his heart and pities for her discontent. The two can often be found riding Able's griffin, Pierce, in the lonely skies high about the windswept wildlands of Norsia.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Beautiful People - March

Time for Beautiful People again! This lovely linkup is hosted by Cait and Sky, and 'tis positively oodles of fun.


This month I'm going to answer the questions for my character Timandra, from my space opera The Prince's Pendant.


What first inspired this character? Is there a person/actor you based her off?

She just sorta came to me. I needed someone to be a best friend to my timid main character, someone with lots of spunk and courage and high-spiritedness. The first scene I ever wrote in her story was one where Timandra and her best friend Ada were locked in a closet. (Her name wasn't originally Timandra; it started out as Rosalie or something and changed on a page-ly basis until I found the right name.)

Timandra is basically a very vivacious version of myself. I also had about three friends in mind when I designed her.  

Describe her daily routine.

During the school year (she attends a boarding school, Star of Heaven), she wakes up at about 7:30 and usually (since it's a Catholic boarding school) attends Mass at 8:00. Classes start at 9:00 and end at 3:00, with a lunch break, of course. The rest of the day she spends reading or singing or taking long walks or reciting Shakespeare or simply hanging out with her friends - usually her brother Eldon and her friend Ada.

During the summer, there's no routine at all, and between chores and pastimes she spends the day very pleasantly.

If she joined your local high school, what clique would she fit into?

The one full of good girls who talk about nothing but literature 24/7.

Write a list of things she merely tolerates. Ex: certain people, foods, circumstances in her life…

Timandra hates that little word, "tolerate." She agrees with G. K. Chesterton that "tolerance is the virtue of a man without convictions." And Timandra has a lot of convictions. She doesn't tolerate: she loves things with a burning passion and openly scorns anything which rubs her the wrong way.

Still, there are certain things she finds more frustrating than others - such as her older brother Jude's occasional bouts of grumpiness and continual lack of interest in really interesting things.

How does she react in awkward silences?

Almost always by saying something completely random in a very vivacious way. Usually by bursting into a poetry recitation. Quite often a dissertation on Shakespeare.

Can she swim? If so, how did she learn?

Oh yes, she can swim. She grew up in a wonderful wild woodsy place with a river running through it, and went swimming with her siblings all the time.

What is one major event that helped shape who she is?

Attending Star of Heaven has really made a big impact on the way Timandra looks at the world, so her enrollment there was a pretty major event. Also, the events which take place in The Prince's Pendant have made a lasting impression on her.

What things does she value most in life?

Her faith - though that doesn't come out in an overt way, it affects every aspect of her life.
Her family and friends - she'd do anything for them.
Shakespeare. And poetry/literature/etc. in general. Her life is peppered with it.

Does she believe in giving other people second chances? Does she have any trust issues?

She believes deeply in second chances, especially since her beloved brother Jude would probably be spending life in prison if it weren't for forgiveness.

Trust issues? Timandra? Nope. She understands you can't trust everybody, but if she thinks someone is trustworthy she doesn't think twice about it.

Your character is having a rough day…what things does she do to make her happy again? Is there anyone she talks/interacts with to get in a better mood?

She'll definitely recite Shakespeare. Turning her mind to Juliet's problems usually snaps her out of her own. And nothing makes her happier than dramatically falling on an imaginary sword. :)

People-wise, she tends to go to her brother Eldon for support if she's feeling down in the dumps or worried about something. Her best friend Ada is also a very comforting person to have around, as long as she's not worried sick herself. And if she's at home, Timandra's likely to confide in her mom or in one of her sisters.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Timandra! Do you have any interest in Shakespeare? Are you doing Beautiful People this month?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Problem with Tolerance

Among words as well as among people, there is nothing more irksome - or more dangerous - than a wolf in sheep's clothing. Such a word masquerades as something it is not, slinks about a nation's vocabulary with subtle malice, and sows in the minds of people ideas, attitudes, and habits. By the time it is stripped of its mask and shown as it really is, it may be too late to undo the damage it has caused - already, an entire nation may have fallen prey to its lies.

Such a poisonous word, one frighteningly prominent in today's America, is "tolerance."

"Tolerance?" gasp the masses. "Surely you can't be serious! Tolerance is a word of truth and beauty and goodness, a word we need to clasp to our bosoms and engrave in our hearts! It is not poison!"

To these well-meaning masses, I say: "tolerance" has deceived you. You do not know what a serpent you shelter beneath your roof.

This "tolerance" does not mean mere absence of bigotry. It does not mean acceptance of other races. It does not mean patience with followers of other religions.

"Tolerance" means "not caring."

It is a lack of hate, perhaps; but it is also lack of love. It is lack of anger, but it is also lack of passion. It is lack of racism and bigotry and prejudice; but it is also the lack of heroism, and courage, and sacrifice. It is a lack of anything, a manifestation of nothing.

Tolerance paints in gray, cold colors. No spark of passion enlivens its brush-strokes; it knows no vibrant crimson, no verdant green, no fervent azure - not even a blazing white. It is simply (to borrow G. K. Chesterton's words) "an absence of color," a void, a gap. It is as dull and lifeless as the cement walls of an unfurnished and abandoned basement.

What is tolerance? It is nothing strong; it is nothing brave; it is nothing sincere. It is simply laziness, a stubborn uncaring act of looking the other way. It sees something disagreeable, feels a vague sense of discomfort, and says, "I will say nothing; it is not mine to judge. What do I care?" One who accustoms himself to this way of thinking will soon care about nothing at all. And what is a life of caring for nothing? Spare me from such an existence! - I would rather live languishing in a dungeon for something I believe in than reveling in a sumptuous palace with nothing to love but my food and my bed.

Love! - that is the solution the world really thirsts for. In the depths of our souls, it is love we really long for, even when we speak of tolerance.

How different love is from tolerance! Tolerance sees something and promptly looks the other way - says, "I do not care." But Love looks at something with a burning passion and says, "I do care!" If it is something wrong, then Love shouts, "No! This thing is evil; it harms that which I would shed my blood for. I must oppose it - for I care."

Who wants to be tolerated when one could be loved? What has tolerance to say in the face of flaming charity? Nothing. It will sit there in its polite silence, and stroke its neatly-trimmed mustache, and straighten its perfect tie, and say, in a yawning sort of voice - "Why, I might not be very exciting, but that's just the point. We modern advanced people have gotten over excitement. We are civilized."

We modern advanced people are horrifically polite.

Since when has Truth been polite? - this is Love's retort to Tolerance; for Truth and Love are inseparable friends, chaste paramours, and one never shows his nose unless the other is close behind. Truth is never polite, never politically correct, and Love always carries a flaming sword. Wherever they go they shed light and life and health and courage, a forgetfulness of worldly honor and a desire for the good.

Perhaps what Truth's torch reveals is unpleasant, a festering sore - Tolerance shames the Truth, and not the disease. Perhaps Love shouts "Injustice!" at some screaming act of discrimination - Tolerance tells Love to hush, and not offend the discriminator's delicate ears. Always Tolerance is silence, consent, politeness, while Truth and Love like thunder and lightning are noise, protest, and a mad military charge.

Love and Truth come at a price. They are very uncomfortable; they are very impolite. But once they are established as king and queen of a culture - well! Watch how well everything flourishes. There will be more tolerance then than there is in a culture founded on Tolerance.

For Tolerance is merely a drain, sapping life from a people as well as sickness, and when it is done with its doctoring it leaves a pale invalid, too weak to stir from his bed. But Love and Truth are a raging river, rushing into a nation with such force and vigor, such life and health, that the disease will have no choice but to flee.

And then what flowers will bloom! what festivals will make merry the night! what joy will fill every heart!

Tolerance, in its proper place, is a result of something, not a means to an end. Did I say it was an evil thing? Not necessarily; it is only evil if it is blown out of proportion and used as an all-powerful tool. In America's current state, Tolerance has grown to a monstrous and unnatural size, ruling over national manners and convictions. But this same Tolerance - or at least a distant cousin of its, a cousin which bears an identical name - really does have its proper place: a small and humble place, not as an all-powerful monarch but as the flowers which grow outside the castle walls. It cannot do much itself, this little tolerance, cannot motivate people to great deeds - but it is there, the natural offspring of fiery Love and dauntless Truth.

But never must Tolerance be an excuse for giving up, for giving in, for looking the other way. The moment we ignore some wrong or keep quiet in the face of some outrage because it "is not polite," Tolerance has overstepped its boundaries - become a roaring monster rather than an ornamental elf. It is this bloated tolerance which is responsible for all widespread evils in the world. For where would Hitler have been, had he been opposed early on? Would Christ have been crucified if enough people in the crowd had cared? Were it not for blasted delicacy, would fifty million American babies now be dead to abortion?

Tolerance, tolerance, tolerance. Such a little word, and yet...this seemingly benign jumble of letters has sheltered great evils in the past and never achieved any real good.

Was it tolerance which motivated Martin Luther King Jr. to stand up for what was right? Was it tolerance which inspired Wilberforce to work against the slave trade? Was it tolerance which gave Harriet Beecher Stowe the passion to write Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Was it tolerance which stood up for the Jews during the holocaust? Was it tolerance which gave St. Maximillian Kolbe the strength to die for another prisoner? Was it tolerance which led Mother Teresa to the streets of Calcutta to care for the poorest of the poor? 

It isn't tolerance which acts as a force for good in this world; it is Love, Love with her eternal partner Truth. Until we turn to these virtues of fire, we will be caught in Tolerance's purposeless eddy of clammy docility, and swirl ever downward until we are swallowed up by a drab sea of lukewarm listlessness...

Let us not tolerate each other; that means nothing. Instead, let us "love one another, deeply from the heart."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Ellen Interview

Time for Ellen's interview! Thanks to everyone who provided these wonderful questions!

10+ Places In Ireland That Will Gonna Blow Your Mind | Pinspopulars:
Pinterest again.
Why won't my computer let me upload the pictures I drew? *sigh*
Hullo, Ellen! Thanks for letting me interview you.
Oh, it's nothing.
Alright, let's get started. The first few questions are from Rosie.  She asks, "Do you have a tutor or anything of that nature? If so, is he pleasant or unbearable? What sort of 'accomplishments' do you have?"
A tutor. Hmm. Well, I don't really have a tutor, exactly. Able gets formal lessons, and he teaches me some of what he learns - that's why I can read a little. My education is mostly in the hands of an old serving woman named Martha. She's been my nurse ever since Stonedon adopted me, and I love her dearly. She teaches me womanly arts, like embroidery. *laughs a little* I suppose fine needlework is the only accomplishment I really have.
Please describe your favorite gown/article of clothing.
It's a really simple brown dress, with a skirt down to my feet and long sleeves. It's getting a little thin from so many years of use, but it's grown so soft and comfortable I'd hate to part with it. *grins* Besides, since it's so old I don't have to worry about tearing it.
What color are your eyes?
They're a gray, blue-green color.
*giggles* Gray blue-green?
*smiles* Able just says they're the color of the sea.
Where do you go to be alone and what do you do there?
Anywhere I can. Usually the castle's too full of prying eyes, even my own room since Martha's always around, so I slip out and go for a long walk through the surrounding fields. I just walk and think and let the beautiful wild world blow all my grumpiness and gloominess away. There's an especially special little place that me and Able always went to play when we were little - this rocky ledge that looks over a low dip in the ground, a sort of shallow valley with brush and trees around it. That's my favorite place to just sit and think.
Small footbridge that leads into The Poisoned Glen near Dunlewy in Co Donegal, Ireland • photo: Gary McParland on 500px (mountains of Torres del Paine, Chile photoshopped in by unknown artist):
Not Ellen's favorite place -
but it gives an idea of the landscape around the castle.
Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
I think I'm optimistic - but not in a naïve, happy-go-lucky way. I've seen too much vice and sorrow in the world to think everything's going to turn out right no matter what happens. I do think everything can turn out right, but not unless we do something about it. Which is why I get so frustrated at Able when he says we have a duty to Stonedon and have to stay in the castle and be grateful.
Do you have any close friends besides your brother?
Thane. And Pierce. Besides that... *frowns* I suppose Martha's a friend. I do love her. It's just - sometimes I get the feeling she's hiding something. She always treats me like a little girl, and sometimes this look flits across her face... Anyway, she's not a close friend.
Then sometimes I talk to the serving-girls, or the serfs, or the guards. But they're all so busy I can't really get close to any of them. So it's just me and Able.
Three words to describe your personality.

*cocks head* Hmm. Well....I'm serious...and cynical...and - *hesitates* - tender. I mean, I care deeply about some things.

Like Able and Thane. *smiles* Alright, the rest of the questions are from Andrea. How is Thane tame?

*a brilliant smile* I raised him from a puppy. Able found him one day, in that shallow rocky dip in the ground I mentioned. The poor little thing, how he got there is anyone's guess - there are never wolves near the castle. And he was so small he couldn't possibly take care of himself. Able took him and snuggled him into his tunic and brought him to me.


Why do you think Stonedon wants your brother to die?

*smile drops into a sullen and very serious frown* I don't think, I know. I heard him say so to the scout who came to give a report about the war, just after Able left. I wasn't supposed to be listening, but I crept up to the room and put my ear to the door, and I heard them. The scout said our army was bound to be crushed by the enemy troops gathering just beyond the border, and Stonedon said, "It seems I sent that boy off just in time." He's a murderer, and he's a traitor, and I'd like to tell him what I really think of him.

Why do you question Stonedon's intentions if Able doesn't?

Well after overhearing that -

Before that.

*shrugs* Even before that Stonedon was no good. I don't know why Able can't see that. We've always had really different ways of looking at things, Able and me. I guess part of it's just our upbringing. Able was always surrounded by people who are content to be under Stonedon's rule, and he has all these ideas of fealty and honor and duty. Sometimes I think he's so full of unrealistic visions he can't see what Stonedon's really like. I can, though. I've always been kept right under Stonedon's nose, and I've watched his greedy, selfish, uncaring ways ever since I can remember. I just can't imagine him doing anything out of the goodness of his heart; there's always an angle to everything.

Sounds quite a bit like Eowyn and Eomer in The Lord of the Rings.


A book I'm extremely fond of.

Oh. I've never read it. My favorite book is the volume of fairy tales Able brought me when I was little.

Well, thanks so much for answering these questions, Ellen. That'll be all.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Ellen! Now that her interview's finished, it's time to vote for a new character. You can choose from one of the following two and let me know which you prefer in the comments. :)

Candidate 1: Able

Candidate 2: Princess Rosalie

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review - Tom Playfair, by Fr. Francis J. Finn

After finishing The Chronicles of Prydain, I naturally had to find another book to read out loud to my siblings; so I decided we would try Tom Playfair, by Fr. Francis J. Finn, S.J. Now, I had read and loved the Tom Playfair series a few years ago, and I longed to share this beautiful and truly edifying story with my siblings - but I was a little doubtful whether my youngest listeners, a 10-year-old brother and an 8-year-old sister, would be able to appreciate a book told in such an old-fashioned style.
Much to my delight, my little brother was roaring with laughter by the end of the first chapter.
This book review isn't going to be a book review, really. It's gonna be more of a book recommendation. Because I feel incredibly sorry for anyone who has not read this book, and if you are among that unfortunate number, and you do not go and pick it up immediately after reading this post, then I - shall simply whither away and die.
Actually. I understand if you won't go pick it up immediately. Because this is one of those books, alas! which is extremely hard to get one's hands on. I do believe it's out of print except for in Catholic publishing companies. Oh well. C'est la vie. I'll at least make you want to read the book.

What was it about?
This is the story of an unruly little boy named (you guessed it) Tom Playfair. At ten years old, he should be about to make his First Communion; but Tom's father has his doubts about whether Tom is ready for this "day of days." Tom isn't a bad boy, but he's not exactly a role model, either. He picks locks and steals apples, engages in wild battles of wit with his young uncle, and runs off to watch fires - much to the dismay of his tenderhearted aunt, who, try as she might, cannot replace Tom's dead mother. Mr. Playfair is very concerned with the behavior of his young son. If he goes on as wildly as all this, how will he ever be ready to make his First Communion?
So, Tom's father takes action. He sends Tom off to a Catholic boarding school in
Kansas, in hopes that the good example of teachers and classmates there will iron out the many wrinkles in Tom's character.
At St. Maure's, Tom meets a mixed lot of companions - some cruel, some pious, and all of them as fun-loving as he is. His adventures at St. Maure's are by turns hilarious, exciting, and deeply moving.
What were the characters like?
Tom himself was a delightful little fellow. He had so many good qualities in the beginning, such spirit and kindness and wit, and he developed these qualities beautifully as the book went on. His sense of humor is droll, and his boyishness is totally believable.
Tom's friends, too, were a lovable set. Harry Quip (isn't that a great name? Quip?), Tom's closest friend, was perhaps not very deep a character but very good and jolly and fine company; I liked him immensely. And then...hmm, the other boys, let's see. There was sweet, hardworking little Arthur, the newspaper boy, for a few chapters - and saintly little Alex Jones, oh! who loved Jesus so much - and John Green, the bully, at whose expense much laughter was spent - and Jimmy Aldine, who  was so, so good and holy and sacrificial! This is another book (like Lay Siege to Heaven) that makes me yearn for holiness because the characters are just so delightfully good.
Was there anything not-so-great about it?
I'm convinced this book is as close to perfect as a book can get. There were a few times characters used the name of God in an exclamation; but I assume this was meant as a prayer, as both times it was a very good Tom who used it, and I highly doubt Fr. Finn would give a bad example in a book which had a major theme of good examples.
Although the ending was satisfying, the conclusion was not very final. That's because there are two more books in the series which anyone will naturally have to read after finishing this one.
If you just don't like this kind of book, where the plot revolves around the development of one character and the style is old-fashioned and omniscient, then you are permitted not to like it. I'll forgive you and even try to understand you. But still. Every Catholic - no, every Christian - no, every person alive should read this.
Oh, and a word about the cover. Do disregard the cover at the top of this book review, please. It's a very boring cover for such a splendid book. This old cover I found online gives a much better idea of how exciting it can get...

What gems of beauty/wisdom were hidden in its depths?
'Tis impossible to really go into that here. I'd be typing up quotes from the whole book. But I guess I can scratch the surface....
- Holiness is portrayed in a perfectly beautiful way. No stiff, boring cut-outs of saints in this book! The boys are all living and breathing and real, and it's clearly shown that someone who loves God with all his heart can be just as fun-loving and tough as anyone else. Indeed, the more pious someone is, the better playmate he is.
- It was so Catholic! (And by that I do NOT mean that non-Catholics can't enjoy it. I'm sure my Protestant brothers and sisters would enjoy it, too!) The love and respect shown for the Blessed Sacrament is so beautiful. I loved that back then Holy Communion was seen as something so sacred a boy had to prepare long and hard before he was ready.
- The theme of the importance of good companionship was spectacular.
- And the prose was lovely!
A few favorite quotes:
"Mr. Aldine, be it observed, never opened the letters from his boy but with his wife beside him. It was a delicate attention, and a very small thing, it may be, but take the small things out of life, and we have little left but murders and bank robberies."
"But Tom whipped off his garment before James had fairly entered his protest, and with his grandest air of authority made his friend put it on. Then, clad in his sailor jacket and knickerbockers, the sturdy young Samaritan trotted on as comfortable in his light attire as though he were in the heats of mid-summer. Genuine kindness is warmer than any coat."

In conclusion!
Have you not read this book? You poor, poor soul. Go order it or borrow it or read it online right now. Here is a link to an audiobook. Here's a link to where you can read it (or at least get a feel for it) online.
Have you read this book? Do share the loveliness of it in the comments and squeal about it with me.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Infinity Dreams Award

My dear friend Andrea Adams, at her beautiful and fantabulous blog Andrea's Scribbles, has been so kind as to nominate me for the Infinity Dreams award. Thanks, Andrea! Dear readers, do go check out her blog, it's stupendous.

So, this little tag has the following rules:

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
2. Tell us eleven facts about yourself.
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

 Eleven Facts:
1. I've never stepped foot inside a school bus.
2. Stars and constellations fascinate me.
3. When I lived in South Carolina with my family as a very little girl, I started to pick up a southern drawl, but I lost it when we moved back north.
4. I'm not a picky eater by any means, but please don't ask me to eat Brussels sprouts.
5. Poetry memorization is a hobby of mine; my greatest achievement so far is Horatius at the Bridge.
6. My pen name, Lucy Agnes, is taken from the names of two of my favorite martyrs.
7. Lake-water runs in my veins - I come from a family of fishermen on my dad's side of the family. (Fishing as a hobby, not as a means of livelihood.)
8. I'm more interested in politics than in sports.
9. I have a tendency to refuse to watch or read whatever my friends tell me I should watch or read...and then, when I do watch or read it, to fangirl over it more faithfully than any of them.
10. I held a grudge against Sir Lancelot du Lac for almost exactly one year before finally forgiving him and accepting him as a tragic character.
11. Algebra is the bane of my life.

Eleven Questions from Andrea:
1. What's the saddest death you've ever read about/watched?
WARNING: This answer will be rife with spoilers.
After considering Arthur Dimmesdale's glorious end and Beth March's oh-so-heartbreaking-and-bittersweet demise, I've come to the conclusion that Prince Rhun's death, in The Chronicles of Prydain, is the saddest death in the history of bookdom. BECAUSE YOU DO NOT KILL OFF A CHARACTER LIKE RHUN, LLOYD ALEXANDER. IT SIMPLY ISN'T DONE. I so desperately wanted that dear boy to live! He was made for life, okay? He was not a tormented sinner like Dimmesdale! He was not a mortal angel like Beth! He was not a tragic hero like Hector! He was a sweet, simple, curious, bumbling, lovable bundle of big smiles and wide eyes! And if you ARE going to kill him, you do NOT kill him off so early in the book! You wait!! for the climax!!!
2. What's your favorite TV show?
Hogan's Heroes! Currently, that is. I actually don't think it's the best TV show I've ever watched - Andy Griffith has to be the best, right? - but my siblings and I are on a Hogan's Heroes kick right now. Now, that's not to say I approve of every episode, but the good ones are hilarious. Or exciting, as the case may be.
And Colonel Klink is practically a villainous version of Barney Fife. That should explain everything.
hogan 3x05 hogans heroes from the war klink
3. Do you play an instrument?
Clarinet. I haven't practiced in awhile, though, and I never really mastered the upper register....(that is what the higher notes are called, right? Or maybe I just mean I need to get the really high/low notes down pat? You see how pathetic I am when it comes to music?)
4. What's a popular book that you don't like?
Haha! My dear Andrea, I am a rebel when it comes to popular books. Or I try to be, at least. I am going to lead the revolt against Harry Potter, Divergent, The Hunger Games, and, most especially loathed of all, Twilight.
Not that I've read any of those.
(And Twilight's not really popular any more, is it?)
5. Favorite author?
Too many for just one answer.
G.K. Chesterton - not so much for his books as for his awesome quotes and philosophy in general; J.R.R. Tolkien - because The Lord of the Rings is epically awesome; C.S. Lewis - because Narnia, first and foremost, and also because The Screwtape Letters; Fr. Francis J. Finn - because his style is so refined-ly hilarious and his stories are so beautiful and his characters are so lovable; Louisa May Alcott - because I love her style and Little Women and Charlie Campbell (wait, that's a reason not to like L.M. Alcott...); ......okay I'll stop there.
Eee! An edition of Little Women illustrated by the real-life Amy?? I want it!!
6. When did you start writing?
Um. That's a very good question. When was I not writing? Well, I've got a poem composed by me but written in my mother's hand from when I was six years old. It went something like this:
There are trees in the world,
And there are flowers in the world,
And water and the wind, too.
And don't forget about the sky,
For it is very blue.
So I guess I've been writing since before I could actually write..?
I think I wrote my first novel (well, it was probably a novella, actually), about a boy named Danny and his horse named Velvet, when I was eight. (At least, I think I was eight, because I'm pretty sure Danny himself is eight. I might have been nine.)
It was pathetically plagiarized.
7. Scariest thing you've ever done?
I didn't do it on purpose. That was what made it so scary. We were on vacation in the Outer Banks, and I went out to the marshy area in the backyard to take a picture of the house. I didn't know it was a marshy area, just that it led down to a river. One step the ground was a wee bit mushy - the next, I was up to my knee in a black, sticky, horribly stinky quagmire. And there were mosquitoes everywhere. I was afraid to move lest I sink deeper into the mud - I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes - my brother turned tail and fled - and I was left sitting there in the marsh, screaming my head off for someone to save me. It seemed an eternity before Dad (my hero!!!) finally came and swooped me up out of that purgatory. Oh, it was awful. I lost my shoe, and I was covered in mosquito bites, and, and, and - I don't see why Dante didn't think of putting a marsh like that somewhere in the Inferno!
I had a pathological fear of mosquitoes for some time after that.
Eep! This poor, poor frog.... I feel for you, dear little toady.
8. Tell us about your favorite character that you've written.
Hmmmhhmmmmmhmmmmmeeaaihhmmmmmh. Mm. I guess I'll have to talk about Dar. Cuz Dar is so much fun to write about. That's not to say he's my absolute favorite, but he's up there.
Well, Dar is a very skilled and very famous thief, known all over the universe as "the Space Fox." Despite his criminal ways, he likes to think of himself as a gentleman (I'm stealing that from somewhere, I just know I am), and his charming smile and daring escapades have won him a devoted following of fangirls (whom he loves to ignore). But beneath his sparkling surface and nonchalant manner is a deeply troubled young man questioning the very meaning of life. After all, if all there is to it is money and pleasure and achievements....why isn't he the happiest man in the universe?
9. Favorite book/movie character?
Oh gosh, that's as hard as the last one. I'm just gonna list of a string of my bookland friends.... Anne Shirley, Jo March, Roland, Hector, Reepicheep, Sam Gamgee - SAM GAMGEE! - Faramir, Gurgi, Flewddur Flam, Taran, Eilonwy, (I know, that's like all of Prydain) Sir Percy Blakeney, Sydney Carton, Charlie Campbell....
Movie-wise, I really like Maria in The Sound of Music and Wilberforce in Amazing Grace.
And because I just watched Newsies - can I put that in caps? - because I just watched NEWSIES!, let me just add Jack Kelley. And David. And.....yeeah. All of 'em.
10. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you write? 
Um. Do I listen to music when I write? Yes, sometimes I do. But I don't know that it helps me, 'specially if it's something as awesome as Les Miserables which makes me want to stop everything I'm doing and just listen to it. I guess classical music of some kind is the best when I'm actually writing, as opposed to just typing up (in which case I like musical numbers - yes, Newsies). Also things like Ashokan Farewell and Gregorian chant. And ooh! I thought of one. There's this neat category of band music on Youtube - band, like, clarinets and trumpets and flutes and stuff. Those are really nice for story-writing since there's all different kinds of feelings to them, and they don't have distracting words like "The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of France!"
11. What book are you currently reading?
Two possible answers to this question:
1) I'm not giving my full attention to any book right now.
2) Make that "books." I'm currently working through
 Percy Wynn, by Fr. Finn (read-aloud to younger siblings)
Rainbow Valley, by Lucy Maude Montgomery (an Anne book, heartbreakingly beautiful)
Eye of the Oracle, by Bryan Davis (yes, from a year ago)
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens (I've practically given up, but not really)
Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens (I really have to get back to's been, like, months)
Mercy In the City, by Kerry Weber (nonfiction)
And probably a few others I've forgotten at the moment...

 Eleven Questions for Nominated Bloggers:

I am going to cheat here. I don't really know any other bloggers. So. I tag you, my dear reader, whether or no you have a blog. (If you don't have a blog, feel free to answer some or all of the questions in the comments!)

And the eleven questions from me....hmm.

1. What's a favorite hobby of yours?
2. Dream vacation?
3. If you could travel back to any era in history, what would it be?
4. Who are some of your favorite characters?
5. Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
6. Are you a dog person, a cat person, or a don't-put-an-animal-anywhere-near-me person?
7. Tea person, coffee person, or no-thanks-I-don't-drink person?
8. If you could meet any one person from anywhere and any time, who would you pick?
9. You have the power to jump into any fictional world. What's your first stop?
10. I'm very sorry to tell you this, but I actually have magical powers and have decided to transform you into an animal. Any preference, before I flick my wand?
11. As a major anticlimax - what's your favorite color?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lovely Books - Quotes

It's time for the last of Tracey Dyck's wonderful linkup, Lovely Books! This edition, glorious thing, is all about quotes.
It's an excruciatingly fun edition. Excruciatingly. Because how, how on earth, how in the universe, is one to include even a decent sprinkling of all the wonderful passages of so many hundreds of books into one measly blog post???
Oh well. Here goes.
The child hesitated for a moment.

"Will you please call me Cordelia?" she said eagerly.

"Call you Cordelia! Is that your name?"

"No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It's such a perfectly elegant name."

"I don't know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn't your name, what is?"

"Anne Shirley," reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, "but oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can't matter much to you what you call me if I'm only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name."
- Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Laurie went by in the afternoon, and, seeing Meg at the window, seemed suddenly possessed by a melodramatic fit, for he fell down upon one knee in the snow, beat his breast, tore his hair, and clasped his hands imploringly, as if begging some boon; and when Meg told him to behave himself, and go away, he wrung imaginary tears out of his handkerchief, and staggered round the corner as if in utter despair.

"What does the goose mean?" said Meg, laughing, and trying to look unconscious.

"He's showing you how your John will go on by and by. Touching, isn't it?" answered Jo, scornfully.

"Don't say my John, it isn't proper or true;" but Meg's voice lingered over the words as if they sounded pleasant to her.
- Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
“The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”  
- The Magician's Nephew, by C.S. Lewis
  “Why should your Majesty expect it? My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world in some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise and Peepiceek will be head of the talking mice in Narnia.”  
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis
 “One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say.”  
- The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis
"It is not the trappings that make the prince, nor, indeed, the sword that makes the warrior."
 - The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander

"My dear boy, this is a bit of metal hammered into a rather unattractive shape; it could better have been a pruning hook or a plow iron. Its powers? Like all weapons, only those held by him who wields it."
 - The Black Cauldron, by Lloyd Alexander

"If you want truth, you should begin by giving it."
 - Taran Wanderer, by Lloyd Alexander
You have let a soul slip through your fingers. The howl of sharpened famine for that loss reechoes at this moment through all the levels of the Kingdom of Noise down to the very Throne itself. It makes me mad to think of it. How well I know what happened at the instant when they snatched him from you! There was a sudden clearing of his eyes (was there not?) as he saw you for the first time, and recognized the part you had had in him and knew that you had it no longer. Just think (and let it be the beginning of your agony) what he felt at that moment; as if a scab had fallen from an old sore, as if he were emerging from a hideous, shell-like tetter, as if he shuffled off for good and all a defiled, wet, clinging garment. By Hell, it is misery enough to see them in their mortal days taking off dirtied and uncomfortable clothes and splashing in hot water and giving little grunts of pleasure - stretching their eased limbs! What, then, of this final stripping, this complete cleansing?
- The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
Fra Bartolomeo de'Domenici mopped his forehead. "I've never dared pray to be allowed a vision", he muttered. "Praying is such a dangerous thing. Before you know where you are, you're heard."
 - Lay Siege to Heaven, by Louis de Wohl
The Pope must know by now that she was a saint. And saints were uncomfortable people. They had a way of inspiring fear in those who had not yet reached perfection...
- Lay Siege to Heaven, by Louis de Wohl
"How in blazes do you know all these horrors?" cried Flambeau.

The shadow of a smile crossed the round, simple face of his clerical opponent.

"Oh, by being a celibate simpleton, I suppose," he said. "Has it never struck you that a man who does next to nothing but here men's real sins is not likely to be wholly unaware of human evil? But, as a matter of fact, another part of my trade, too, made me sure you weren't a priest."

"What?" asked the thief, almost gaping.

"You attacked reason," said Father Brown. "It's bad theology."
- The Innocence of Father Brown, by G.K. Chesterton
And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air.
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"I love to see you at my table, Nick. You remind me of a - of a rose, an absolute rose. Doesn't he?" She turned to Miss Baker for confirmation: "An absolute rose?"
This was untrue. I am not even faintly like a rose.
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole softly towards him, and taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender, and withal so unobtrusive, that her mother, who was looking on, asked herself - "Is that my Pearl?" Yet she knew that there was love in the child's heart, although it mostly revealed itself in passion, and hardly twice in her lifetime had been softened by such gentleness as now. The minister - for, save the long-sought regards of woman, nothing is sweeter than these marks of childish preference, accorded spontaneously by a spiritual instinct, and therefore seeming to imply in us something truly worthy to be loved - the minister looked round, laid his hand on the child's head, hesitated an instant, and then kissed her brow.
- The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
"You'll live to regret it, young fellow! Why didn't you go too? You don't belong here; you're no Baggins - you - you're a Brandybuck!"
"Did you hear that, Merry? That was an insult, if you like," said Frodo as he shut the door on her.
"It was a compliment," said Merry Brandybuck, "and so, of course, not true."
- The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Sam fell on his knees, trembling. "Get up, Sam!" said Gandalf. "I have thought of something better than that. Something to shut your mouth, and punish you properly for listening. You shall go away with Mr. Frodo!"

"Me, sir!" cried Sam, springing up like a dog invited for a walk. "Me go and see Elves and all! Hooray!" he shouted, and then burst into tears.
- The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien

They had been going for a long while - Pippin had tried to keep count of the 'ent-strides' but had failed, getting lost at about three thousand - when Treebeard began to slacken his pace.
- The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien

She should not die, so fair, so desperate! At least she should not die alone, unaided.
- The Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Ah! Monsieur," sighed the Comtesse, "it all sounds like a romance, and I cannot understand it all."
"Why should you try, Madame?"
- The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy
"I say, Aunt Jane," he said, speaking with as much distinctness as the crowded state of his mouth would allow, "you're a real genuine, old fairy-grandmother, you are."

He intended this for a magnificent compliment, but Aunt Jane did not look particularly gratified. To a Miss of thirty the epithets "old" and "grandmother" were rather suggestive.
- Tom Playfair, by Fr. Francis J. Finn