Archive | January, 2013

Character Interview: Lydia – Mandatory, Personal, Familial Questions

31 Jan

Note to Gwen: I promise I had this name the night before your recent flash fiction!

I used to like the idea of a “character interview” a lot, but never got very far with them. I think that’s because I knew the characters I was working with so intimately. For me, these work a lot better when you’re planning your characters rather than when you have them already. Lucky me, a little plot bunny bounced up to me out of the blue this morning with a little mini-character riding between its ears, so I thought I’d try to dig out some questions again. I used to have a formatted document with a bunch that looked nice printed out, but that went the way of the dodo a few computers ago, so I found these questions online instead. There you go–give or take 100 questions for your enjoyment. If you want to answer them for your own characters, I recommend going to the site. Aside from saving you the hassle of deleting all my answers to put your own in, I may have skipped a few questions that weren’t relevant to the character or story. (I believe these questions were developed for roleplay rather than novels).

I’m only going to do a few sections at a time. Otherwise, it would probably be more than anyone would want to read through all at once!

Lydia

Mandatory Questions

1. What about you is heroic?
My ability to change and go against my very (stubborn) nature in order to seek truth and justice–after some persuading.

2. What about you is social? What do you like about people?
I enjoy interacting with all of my peers, learning the latest gossip and determining what they can do for me. I like that people can be read so easily, and that they are predictable.

5. Invent an adventure/plot that your character would actively undertake (as opposed to just tagging along)?
If ever there was an attack on my immediate family or personal servants, I would actively seek revenge with or without the help of the authorities.

Personal Questions


1. What is your real, birth name? What name do you use?
My birth name is Lydia Marienne (LAST NAME TO BE DETERMINED). I am known by a variety of things–Lady (LAST NAME) to the court, of course, though I tell my friends that’s my mother. Miss (LAST NAME) among my acquaintances, as we are largely equals and find the niceties tedious at times. Lydia to my family and dearest friends, and milady to the servants, of course.

2. Do you have a nickname? What is it, and where did you get it? 
My parents will sometimes call me Lydi, and it is a right reserved only to them. When I was younger and less decorous, my younger sister called me Lydi and I pulled her hair.

3. What do you look like? (Include height, weight, hair, eyes, skin, apparent age, and distinguishing features)
I took after my mother in height–a middling five-foot-four. My sister must have taken after my father, as she’s just about as tall as me and not done growing yet. I was gangly in my youth, but time has seen me fill out: curvy in the hips if not, so much, in the bust (though I hardly look like a child). Cheeks and arms just plump enough to show my health but not, of course, overindulgence. My skin was once creamy-white, but the people in my new home respect the strength that comes with color in one’s cheeks, and I’ve enjoyed my time in the sun, if not the burns that sometimes come with it. The sun has also lightened my hair, bringing out golden streaks in the usually muddy blonde-brown. My sun-stroked features have brought out more blue in my eyes, which looked more like a storm-tossed sea against my pale complexion. A smattering of freckles has appeared across my daintily sloped nose. When I choose to smile–a real smile, that is–it is wide and shows nearly all of my top teeth. I am wearing my hair down at the moment, which I’ve told my mother makes me look like I’m no older than my sister. She says sixteen is no time to start acting like a grown woman, but that I may wear it up for the engagement announcement.

4. How do you dress most of the time?
In gowns, of course, of every color of the rainbow. It is the style these days for gowns to have short or even cap sleeves, often trimmed in lace like the neckline and hem, and embroidered with shiny threads in all those places too. The climate is too warm for the elaborate underskirts of the north, so the dresses largely hug the upper figure and drape over a lady’s hips, sweeping the floor. As such, we are spared the need for uncomfortable footwear and often walk about in simple slippers instead. The gowns are made from a lovely breathable material which has been a saving grace in these summer months. My very favorite gown at the moment is a green and cream affair beaded with pearls and silver. Mother said it wasn’t right for me to impose our beaded styles on the Southerners, but I overheard Lady Nickren say she was ordering one just like it for the next picnic. I am not allowed a hat yet, but I have plans for a large one topped with more flowers than you could find in the Queen’s garden.

5. How do you “dress up?”
That depends entirely on what for. There haven’t been many balls lately, as recent months have been hard, but for those we are given to fuller skirts that move with us as we twirl around the room. For riding, the southerners have done away with skirts altogether, for which I am most thankful. It’s breeches and a riding coat instead, which poofs out from the hips in a semblance of a skirt. It makes it possible to ride on hunts–and they expect that we accompany the men. It’s an entirely different affair for weddings, of course. I will be sweating in my long-sleeved, multi-layered gown, when the sleeves will come down to little points at my wrists and the train will be as long as Main Street, but I will look gorgeous every minute in purple and dove gray. I have already sent my plans to the dressmakers, they’re just waiting on father’s money.

6. How do you “dress down?”
I don’t understand this question.

7. What do you wear when you go to sleep?
A nightgown, of course. Usually white, to save on dyeing, with barely any lace or embroidery at all. There is no one to impress while you sleep.

8. Do you wear any jewelry?
Yes, of course. Necklaces simply aren’t done in the South, where the embroidery around the neckline is simply too much–anything else would look gaudy. Earrings and bracelets are more the thing, simple drops and bangles. And rings, of course–a family ring, a Sixteen ring (which everyone receives on their sixteenth birthday with their own personal seal), and, in my case, a lovely engagement ring with a sapphire in the centre.

9. In your opinion, what is your best feature?
My modesty.

10. What’s your real birth date?
(to be determined when I next get my hands on my birthday book!)

11. Where do you live? Describe it: Is it messy, neat, avant-garde, sparse, etc.?
In the palace, of course. I love it here–there are so many people. Back home we lived on a secluded estate on the woods, with only father’s boring state visitors and our servants for company. The palace here is far grander than any castle in the north, made for beauty rather than withstanding war. My family and I have an entire wing to ourselves. My suites themselves are generous, and I have been told that I may decorate them however I like. I’ve commissioned several paintings, but they haven’t arrived yet.

12. Do you own a car? Describe it.
I don’t know what a car is. A mode of transportation, you say? I see. Well, I have a horse–a lovely piebald mare gifted to me on my arrival. My family has a fleet of carriages, too, but those are hardly mine alone.

13. What is your most prized mundane possession? Why do you value it so much?
My Sixteen ring. A piece of jewelry it might be, but it has barely any value to anyone else. I’m able to use it to seal my own letters now, which means I am under my own authority, and nothing else could mean so much to me.

14. What one word best describes you?
Ambitious.

Familial Questions

1. What was your family like?
I grew up with my mother, father, and sister in a northern castle where my father worked as an advisor to the king. I never knew other family–I think father’s brother came to visit once when I was small, but I can barely remember him. My grandparents and a few aunts and uncles are certainly still alive, but they don’t visit us and there’s never been an opportunity to visit them. I don’t mind much–the castle had enough people in it to feel like family.

2. Who was your father, and what was he like?
My father is Sir Clement (LAST NAME). He grew up as the younger son of a wealthy merchant and went to war with the king when he was just a little older than me. He doesn’t talk much about the war, so we don’t know what happened, only the result: the king knighted my father and two other comrades and granted them titles and lands. I suppose it was for bravery or good deeds on the field. Whatever it was, it made our fortunes great, and he still acts as the king’s key advisor. He’s a very busy man, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have time for us. From dinner to breakfast, he sets all work aside and spends his time with his family. Once the king himself knocked on our door while we were playing an evening card game, and he sent him away saying he was far too busy to see him at the moment. He says there’s many a man who worries so much about providing for his family that he forgets to spend time with it, and he wasn’t going to be one of them.

3. Who was your mother, and what was she like?
My mother is Lady Angeline (LAST NAME). She was born into a prosperous noble family and was known in her youth for her style and ability to throw the best parties. She still has a party once a year in the winter months in order to raise everyone’s spirits, but has largely settled into a role of instructing young noble girls in etiquette, a job she foisted on herself in my youth after meeting one too many of my friends who she didn’t believe to be acting properly. I’ve never had a problem with her rules myself and don’t consider her to be particularly strict, particularly not when she allows me to purchase just about anything I like from shops so long as I tolerate her coming along and stuffing me into every kind of fabric in the store.

4. What was your parents marriage like? Were they married? Did they remain married?
My parents began courting some years after my father was made a “Sir.” My mother’s family believed she was marrying below herself, but my father had become quite popular and was a favorite of the king, so no one could make too much of a fuss, not that I’m entirely certain my parents would have paid heed to what anyone said, anyway. They were quite in love–still are. There are arguments sometimes, of course, but never big ones, except when my father announced we were moving to the South. For a while I thought my mother would insist he go by himself, but she was persuaded in the end. They never stay mad at each other long, and I can’t see that anything would tear them apart.

5. What were your siblings names? What were they like?
I have one younger sister named Colette. She’s ten. Mostly people have quite a few more siblings than just one, but mama struggled to have Colette, and when she was born the doctors told her any more babies might do more harm than good. Colette takes more after mama than I do–she’s very talkative, outgoing bordering on boisterous, able to make friends easily and take people as they are. She’ll get in trouble with that later in life–not everyone can be trusted like she thinks they can.

6. What’s the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you? What’s the worst thing you’ve done to one of your siblings?
I think I mentioned pulling her hair once. When she was quite small, Colette spit up all over my brand new dress–IN FRONT OF PEOPLE–which was extremely horrifying, but as she was only little I decided to forgive her. We are far enough apart in age that we don’t see each other much during the day, so we don’t have much chance to bicker. Colette adores me, and I think she can be cute (sometimes).

7. When’s the last time you saw any member of your family? Where are they now?
At breakfast. I suspect father’s taking luncheon with the king, while mama is entertaining some of the ambassadors’ wives, and Colette is eating with the other children in the school room. I’m hungry, too, come to think, so maybe we should break for now and come back to the rest of your questions later.

Names I Love!

30 Jan

Partially inspired by my friend’s post about names, and partially inspired by videos I watch on youtube, I thought today’s post could also be about names–in a slightly different way to my friend’s. Like her, I also have a fascination with names. I’ve been following the Social Security Administration’s name stats each year, and watch AnastasiaRuby’s name videos on youtube semi-religiously.

My problem with names is that I love so many. For me, names inspire characters and characters become their names. There are a number of characters in my thesis I’d like to rename, because I named most of them when I was twelve when creating a “Lance” in a fantasy world didn’t seem like so much of a cliche. But I’ve found I can’t separate the character from the name. Not until I’ve found a better one.

Here is a list of my favorite girl and boy names for each letter of the alphabet. This was somewhat challenging, but I’d like to challenge you to do the same. What are your favorite names?

A: Audrey, Andrew
B: Bria, Bennett
C: Clara, Caledon
D: Daphne, Dashiell
E: Elena, Elliott
F: Freya, Finnian
G: Genevieve, Gareth
H: Hannah, Henry
I: Ilaria, Indigo
J: Julianne, Jude
K: Keira, Kian
L: Lyra, Liam
M: Matilda, Matteo
N: Niamh, Nathaniel
O: Odette, Ossian
P: Phaedra, Peter
Q: Quinn, Quinn
R: Rosalie, Rowan
S: Seraphina, Silas
T: Thea, Theodore
U: Uriela, Upton
V: Vienna, Valerian
W: Willow, Wesley
X: Xaria, Xadrian
Y: Yukia, Yarran
Z: Zoe, Zephyr

Book Review: The Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman

29 Jan

When the husband of Silvano’s object of affection turns up dead in the streets of Perugia with Silvano’s dagger in his ribs and Silvano hovering over him, it doesn’t look good. But Silvano insists he didn’t kill Tommaso, despite the love he had for his wife, Angelica. He is forced to seek sanctuary in a friary. There he meets Chiara, forced into a convent because of her lack of dowry. Soon, more bodies start turning up–that of Ubaldo, a wealthy merchant who married Monna Isabella, who was in love with Domenico, who is now Brother Anselmo, who is accused of killing Ubaldo, whose brother Umberto wants revenge…

This book is a tangled web of love stories with a dash of mystery and a healthy amount of history and religion thrown in.

Had a rough time keeping up with all the characters in the synopsis? You get used to it, but I had serious misgivings about the book when I first started. Each character gets a few paragraphs, or if they’re lucky, a few pages per chapter. At the beginning, it makes it very hard to keep up with everyone, as you keep getting jolted out of one storyline and into the next. While I did get used to it, I still wish that it had been written with each character getting their own chapter. I find it much easier to keep track of them that way.

In my opinion, the main plotline was that of Silvano and Chiara, who were both in Giardinetto at the time of the various murders. Angelica and Gervasio (Silvano’s friend), and Monna Isabella and Brother Anselmo were side-plots. All the characters’ stories intertwined at the end which is why it became slightly less confusing. My advice: power through, and don’t give up at the beginning if the constant switches in character perspective start irking you.

This was, first and foremost, a love story–almost Shakespearean, in a way (I mean his comedies, not Romeo and Juliet!). It was the kind of love story that was fun to read and isn’t to be read for the seriousness of it all, or the mystery of who ends up with whom (it’s pretty obvious once all the characters are introduced). But it was fun and light and the perfect way to spend a day without any electricity (really sets up the atmosphere for a medieval friary!).

As a mystery, it wasn’t too tough to decipher either–I knew who the perpetrator in Perugia was as soon as they mentioned it was Silvano’s blade. I admit to having been stumped by the Giardinetto murders for some time, and had the wrong person in mind most of the time, though I did figure it out before Silvano did. So again, if you’re looking for a hardcore, impossible to solve, wowed by the author’s brilliance at the end mystery, this isn’t it–but if you want something fun and enjoyable, I recommend this.

I will say that the characters were fun to follow. Each one had his or her own personality, and while I hated Angelica, I adored Chiara and even grew to like Silvano, despite thinking him a bit dim at the start. The characters all managed to grow and change (well, maybe not Angelica…) and, of course, end up with the loves of their lives–which you can’t help but root for from the start.

I also enjoyed the history, which wasn’t heavy-handed but appeared to be well-researched, with a handy guide for the religious services in the back for those of us who are unfamiliar.

To anyone who likes historical romance and is between books, looking for something to read, I would recommend this one.

Travel Wishes: So many places to go, so many things to see.

29 Jan

With the impending arrival of two Hollins sisters in just over a week, my interest in traveling around Australia has been rekindled, and I’ve been researching various places to visit since internet was returned to me. Here is the list of places I’ve compiled that I desperately want to go:

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
  • Uluru (aka: Ayers Rock)
  • The Outback
  • Whitsunday Islands
  • Perth
  • Tasmania
I’m sure there are others, but that is the list as it stands. I found a few interesting tours–one, take a train from Brisbane to the southwest where we’d spend seven days visiting various places in the Queensland outback. And another is a cruise which leaves from Brisbane, heading north to the Whitsundays first and continuing on to Cairns. Another seven-dayer, but I think it would be cheaper than plane tickets to Cairns, plus hotel and meals. And it goes to a few other places besides.
Plus, I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise. People have told me I’d hate it for the tiny rooms and the crowds, but people have a habit of being wrong. (And don’t tell me what to do!)
Cruises are a great way to see a lot of places if you don’t mind not being able to see them too in-depth. When I was studying abroad in London, we were considering a cruise for Spring Break–a Mediterranean one I think, stopping in Italy and Spain. I’m going to look into such cruises again for our Europe trip.
Speaking of Europe, we purchased a copy of Lonely Planet’s “Europe on a Shoestring” at Bookfest and instead of aiding me in planning our trip, all it’s done is made me want to visit every place it lists. We need fewer places, not more! Will do an update on our Europe plans in a later post.

Travel Log: How to Survive an Ex-Cyclone

28 Jan

(aka: Why I Thought I was Going to Get Spatula-ed)
(aka: Why This Blog Post Almost Wasn’t Posted On Time)

**Note! All ventures detailed below were done in pairs at least, touching no water except what was in the gutters, never getting near enough to the actual flooded areas to be a threat to anyone’s life, etc.**

In January 2011, I was in Brisbane for my own personal travel-writing J-Term. Read: my university made it possible to hang out with my now-husband and get credit for it. One day, we were walking along the Brisbane River and I mentioned that it looked a bit higher than the last time I was there. He just shook his head and announced rather proudly, “The Brisbane River has never broken its banks in my lifetime.”

A few days later, we were stuck on the Gold Coast because Brisbane was under water.

Let me just say that this time around, it has been raining for five days straight. Not a misty, drizzly sort of rain, but the kind of rain that could be lightly described as “pouring.” “Lashing” might be a better term. It’s been steadily beating at our windows, pounding our yard into mud, turning sidewalks into puddles, and absolutely decimating the mango population (which I guess is pretty okay for us since we’re now six  seven mangoes richer and know where to go if we run out of food).

I guess what I’m trying to say is, the power is out and I can’t get to the library to access the internet. And that is my excuse for the Day 3 (almost) lateness. I blame Oswald. Cyclone Oswald, that is.

Cal and I went for a walk around 3pm on Sunday to play in the puddles (again. We like playing in puddles, we’re two-two years old!). What we found was a rather sizable puddle at the bottom of the hill. Which covered the road. Which cars were struggling to get through. The usual stagnant puddles that made up a creek nearby had turned into a raging river. There was a storm drain by the bikeway that had turned into a proper spewing fountain, water was rushing at it so fast.

When we got back, housemates offered to drive us to Woolies to get some food. We were running extremely low, so we decided to go alone. Could barely see out the car windows, it was raining so hard. I already have a definite fear of driving and a slight fear of being in cars, which being carted around by the relative safety of public transportation for the past seven months has only worsened, so needless to say, I was pretty tense the whole time.

We bought loads of canned soup and such, things that are cheap and easy to make, and even edible in the case of no power to heat them up. One of the housemates had the foresight to buy a gas cooker, which helped out a lot since about five seconds after we got home the power went out. What do five internetless twenty-somethings do without electricity? Play in puddles, of course.

Five of us trooped out into the rain. Wind had picked up by that point, bending trees and uprooting a couple of them. I’ve never seen so much water rushing in gutters. It was over ankle deep in some places, and flowing so fast I couldn’t have kept up with that frangipani I dropped in the whirling wet if I’d tried.

We went back to the “puddle” in the road first, only to find that it had turned into a proper, actual lake. We saw a bus turn around because it couldn’t get through. The reason for the lake was soon made clear — that creek that had turned into a river wasn’t flowing under the road like it was supposed to, but over it instead. On either side, the Nudgee Junior College grounds were completely submerged, with bold ducks splashing happily in their new swimming hole.

Then we walked back to the bikeway, which couldn’t described as a bikeway so much as an actual river, flowing halfway between my ankles and knees. That storm drain I talked about earlier was completely submerged. We walked through the tunnel beneath the motorway, which was dripping on the inside with a waterfall on either end (kind of cool, actually). On the other side half the road had been turned into a river too, flowing so fast it was going straight over the storm drains, which after some inspection didn’t look to be blocked or anything. Then there’s the lake that used to be a park, and another pond-creek-type thing that doesn’t usually have much more than a few inches of water in it, about ready to flow over onto the road, too.

As we walked back home, the rain was like bullets in our faces, and we decided to settle in for the long haul.

TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE AN EX-CYCLONE:

1. Remember where you put the headlamps from the last time the power went out, so that you aren’t searching for headlamps without a headlamp.
2. Make sure your scented candles complement each other.
3. Assign one person to “cat babysitting.” This involves someone sacrificing their fingers for the sanity of others, while the cat does parkour on the walls. Cats will sometimes develop this ability after five days stranded indoors. If the cat’s name is Thor, he will be especially confused about why it is raining without his permission.
4. Put plenty of towels around your fridge before it gets dark. You will slip.
5. Duct tape over all light switches and buttons. You will use them. You will flick them back and forth wondering why power isn’t coming on. And then you will remember, and you will be sad.
6. Invest in tension rods. Install tension rods all the way down the hallway. When you come back inside after a few hours bouncing in the puddles, you will remember that you do not have access to a dryer, which requires electricity. You can then hang your sopping wet clothes in the hallway.
7. Do not play in the puddles too much. You will run out of clothes.
8. Hope that it does not rain in the living room. A dog named Gills would probably annoy the cat.
9. Play Trivial Pursuit. It might be the most frustrating of the games, but it takes up more time than Monopoly if you have the 1987 Australian edition, and a camp light can sit very neatly in the center circle, giving a clear view of the rest of the board.

We all went to bed a bit early last night, exhausted from our puddle-pouncing. Of course, sleep was tentative–there were tornado warnings for Brisbane, and the wind was howling, and the rain was still falling in sheets. Our house is so poorly insulated that despite the windows being closed, the blinds were still clanking against the windowsill in the breeze. But we fell asleep eventually with the hope of power in the morning.

No such luck. I woke up around 6 because it as bright outside and I didn’t have a working clock handy. The cat, who we kept in the other room, seems to be in sync with people’s breathing patterns or something, because he started crying soon after I decided I probably wasn’t getting back to sleep. Fed him, checked time, groaned, flicked a few light switches, groaned again, started writing this in a notebook, became cat-babysitter and have the gouges in my hands to prove it.

Cal woke up soon after, probably wondering what the heck was happening as the cat tore off up and down the hall. Not knowing what else to do, we headed out to check on the various flooded areas. The rain still hadn’t let up. I had the sense to wear my jean shorts this time, which soaked through in seconds, but they weren’t nearly as heavy and clingy as the various pajama shorts I’d been wearing on my other ventures out. Everything had gone down, which was a good sign. We played poohsticks in the river at the bottom of the hill, which was now flowing under the hill. And by “stick” I mean “giant piece of bamboo that I couldn’t fit both my hands around and was almost as tall as I was”). Also, walked along the creek for a bit and found the sign from the front of our yard that said “For Rent.” A few days ago it had toppled over and Cal hauled it under a tree and put a brick on it. Alas, Oswald had other ideas.

I admit today has been a struggle. We were bored. After a few rounds of Uno, housemates all left to various other dwellings, and we were alone with a cat that was acting like he’d been into the nip again. The upside of this is that our house is very clean. Cal folded all the previously-done laundry, we went through some boxes in the garage and tossed a bunch of stuff, I organized the linen closet, we tided the kitchen, did some dishes, tidied our room, tidied the lounge room… the next project was going to be the bottom shelf in the pantry, but just as we were discussing plans for that, the power came back!

JOY OF ALL JOYS! Brb, must go check ALL THE THINGS!

(The rain is still coming down. The Brisbane River is set to peak around midnight. Flood warnings coming in for all over. Schools are closing. Apparently there were over 100,000 customers without power. But for now, power is back on. We are charging phones. And hopefully, my friends, this electricity crisis does not come back again…)

‘Til next time.

Writing Prompt: The Most Amazing Room Anyone Could Ever Give You

27 Jan

A library.

A library gated by arched double-doors encompassed by a carved wooden dragon, its wings spread wide over the entrance.

Windows three stories tall, topped with an elaborate vine design and stained glass panes.

Lush, creamy rugs covering dark hardwood floors, colored by the stained glass as light streams through the windows.

Giant, poufy armchairs with footrests. Warm woolen blankets slung over the backs for chilly nights. Lamps in iron sconces placed overhead.

A giant chandelier, tinkling crystal, hanging above a circular area in the center piled with multicolored beanbags.

A house elf to clean the chandelier (sorry Hermione).

A glasshouse attached to the end opposite the door, where hardwood fades to blue and white tiles arranged in the pattern of a Celtic knot. The ceiling is made of glass, with an array of pillowy window seats lining the walls. On a clear day, it overlooks a meadow of wildflowers spotted with trees. In the distance, mountains fade into the sky. On rainy days, you can listen to the pitter-patter as drops fall against the glass and race down the sides. Clouds swirl around the mountains, and everything looks so much greener against the gray sky.

Secret passageways. Everywhere. Known passageways through the floor, undiscovered passageways through the fireplace–which, by the way, is a large stone affair topped with a homemade family crest, the mantel peppered with travel memorabilia.  Passageways to rooms filled with special books, or chamber pots, or gowns from every era in which to dress up. Passageways to a room filled with crayons and playdough, or a quiet chamber with a notebook and pen that can be locked from the outside with a small hole in the center of the door just big enough for your best friend to sneak you Dove chocolates when you’ve proved to her you’ve made your word count goal.

A dumbwaiter big enough to sit in, for those times when you need to know exactly what it means to hide in a dumbwaiter. And perhaps more importantly, a number pad at the side to key in previously arranged codes for hot chocolate or tea or butterbeer or pumpkin juice or your very favorite food, which the house elves working in the kitchen will then prepare and send up to you, almost as quickly as food appears on the Hogwarts tables.

A grand staircase leading up to all three floors, the steps painted like my favorite books. They’re linked up to a sound system and play like the keys on a piano when someone steps on them. On either side of the staircase are giant, twisting slides (one used for water in summer, with a splash-shield up to protect the books).

And the shelves–the shelves of books as tall as the three-story-high windows, a rainbow of spines peering over the edge. Fantasy books, fairy tales, historical fiction, books on travel–big books, thin books, books that make a magnifying glass necessary, picture books, kids books, adult books. Paperback books, hardcover books, leather bound books. Books overflowing from the shelves, holding the promise of new worlds into which anyone could escape.

And the empty shelves, holding the promise of a visit to the bookstore tomorrow.

Blog or be spatula-ed!

26 Jan

I started this year with several goals in mind. First, my book reading goal, which you can see below. Second, each day during my period of unemployment (length unknown, but still continuing) I would either post something on the blog or on the vlog Cal and I created.

So far, there are two posts on the vlog channel and nowhere near enough posts here to account for the other 24 days. The goal is still there, but my carry-through hasn’t been very good. Yeah, I’ve been in Wellington for four of those days, and I’ve been working Thursdays, and I’ve been doing a frantic job-hunt. But then I think to myself: would I let any of those things get in the way of writing for NaNo?

Setting a goal that says “I’ll do this, so long as I don’t have this going on” is like saying “I’ll do NaNo today, so long as I don’t have to eat.” Granted, I might have withheld food from myself in order to encourage word count a few times each November, but that’s hardly the point. The point is, there’s no sense to a goal that has an “unless.” Be witness to my declaration: from this day forward, I don’t have excuses. I’ll post something on this blog every single day for the next week (and hopefully beyond), or else.

Luckily, I have some friends who will hold me accountable and carry through the “or else.” With spatulas. And one of them has found some quite frightening spatulas, too.

So starts my seven-day blogging challenge. (And I’m in with nine hours to spare!)

Nine Pages Every Day

Something beautiful every day

Writer vs. Self

The classic struggle between a writer and not writing.

Finding Happiness

Developing a positive vision of life and the people who live it, to gain a deeper understanding of kindness, compassion, generosity, and love; to be happy and to thrive.

Often Clueless, Always Shoeless

The Blog of Author Olivia Berrier

jglynnwrites

An Adventure in Publishing!

Words Read and Written

Ramblings of an aspiring author & book blogger

"Yeah. But So What? Everybody's Weird."

~Chris Chambers, Stand By Me

BEAUrocracy.

DIY. Photography. A husband. A cat. Tons of Sarcasm.

Paper, Pen, and No Plan

Website & Blog of S.E. Stone

MegaMad 4 books

Reading is Definitely a Thing

Waiting on a Word

Blogger Without a Cause

thelissachronicles

More than Just another WordPress.com site

The Writing Corp

Official Writing Tips, Inspiration and Hacks

More Than 1/2 Mad

"You would have to be 1/2 mad to dream me up." -Lewis Carroll

The Babbling Buzzard

An odd collection of penguins

Random Acts of Writing

and other tidbits of thought

Rachel Poli

I read. I write. I create.

Nine Pages

Reviews, fiction, and a grab bag of thoughts