Friday, July 29, 2016

And so we say good-bye...

No, no.  Don't worry.  It's not a permanent farewell.  I am merely taking a short break from blogging (or a long break, depending on how you look at it).

"Didn't you just do that?  I feel like you just did that..."

"Yeeees, of course I did.  But one week wasn't long enough..."

"So.  I'm taking another break.  And that's that."

"Well, hurrah for you!"

Actually, I don't know if it's "hurrah" or not, but I'm pretty sure it's necessary.  You see, I'm feeling rather burned out.  There are so many projects piling up on me, and I'm starting to  sense that cloud of stress descending upon me.  I know I need to cut back on something,  and since blogging is my number one distraction--and the thing that takes up the largest amount of my time--I figured that's what needs to go.   And yes, I know.  This is horrible timing, considering that August is going to be the Month of the Blog Parties, but I really don't know what else to do. 


I won't be posting at all during the month of August (unless, of course, some unforeseen circumstance arises to change that), and I'm also going to be a lousy friend and not do any commenting because, to be honest, commenting takes up SO much of my time.  (Because I'm a perfectionist, and I like to comment on as many of my friends posts as I can--as soon as I can--and if there are a lot of posts coming in, well...let's just say I have a tendency to neglect other projects in attempting to stay on top of that one.) 

Anyway.  All that to say...

Naomi, Olivia, and Emma.  I'm really sorry I won't be able to participate in your blog parties, but I want you to know that I will  still be reading and enjoying your posts.  (In fact, I'll probably be enjoying them more simply because I'll be able to read them at my leisure without worrying about finding that large, elusive chunk of time in which to read and comment.  :)) 

I guess that's all I wanted to say.  I hope you all have a lovely August, and I'll see you in September! :D

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Inkling Explorations//The Return of the King

The subject for this month's Inkling Explorations is: A scene with a traveler arriving home in book or film.

I've chosen the ending paragraphs of The Return of the King where Merry, Pippin, and Sam return home after saying good-bye to Frodo.  I know it's really short but well, short can be good sometimes, right?

Check out Heidi's blog for more posts!


"At last the three companions turned away, and never again looking back they rode slowly homewards; and they spoke no word to one another until they came back to the Shire, but each had great comfort in his friends on the long grey road.
At last they rode over the downs and took the East Road, and then Merry and Pippin rode on toe Buckland; and already they were singing again as they went.  But Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill, as day was ending once more.  And he went on, and there was a yellow light, and fire within; and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected.  And Rose drew him in, and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor upon his lap.
He drew a deep breath.  'Well, I'm back,' he said."
~The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
Isn't that a beautiful piece of writing? 
Have you read The Return of the King?
Which is your favorite book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy? 
(If you have a favorite, that is.  Personally I'm horrible at picking favorites.)
Oh!  And isn't the ending just soooo sad?
(Why does Frodo have to leave? Why, oh why, oh why?  *sob*)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Blog Parties!

I'm here to announce that there are two...yes, parties coming up this next month!  And of course this is a huge surprise to all of my readers because none of you happen to read the same blogs I do!  (Right.  There's no need to tell you that comment was laced with sarcasm.)  Anyhow, I just wanted to announce these upcoming events officially, and tell you all something you already knew!! 
So, first we have...
Legends of Western Cinema Week!
This is being hosted for the second year in a row by Emma and Olivia, and is bound to be a lot of fun, even if you aren't a huge fan of the West.  (And who knows?  You may be a fan by the time the week is fact, I'm sure you will if Emma and Olivia have anything to say about it.  ;))  The party starts on August 1st and will be going through the 5th.  Check out Emma's blog (A Lantern In Her Hand) and Olivia's (Meanwhile, in Rivendell... ), and join the fun!!
Downton Abbey Week!
Hosted by Naomi Sarah at Wonderland Creek.  Naomi hosted a highly enjoyable Jane Austen week last year, with loads of interesting posts, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing what she has to say about Downton!  It starts the 21st and goes through the 27th.
Good luck with your preparations, girls!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

In which I go out on a limb and share part of one of my stories with you

Yes, dear people.  Let's get our solemn faces on, for this could very well prove disastrous.

Okay, I guess I really shouldn't say "part of one of my stories", as this is in reality the "whole" of it.  You see, I don't actually write stories, I write scenes.  Scenes which I later read over and over again hoping that by some miracle they will turn themselves into a story before my eyes (a method of writing which has not proved altogether successful, I must say). 
Anyhow, the other  day I got this idea for a scene, and after enjoying it very much in the writing, I began to wonder, "Would anyone else find this sort of thing interesting?  Am I in any way capable of creating characters that people want to know more about?"  Having a good many doubts on that score, I thought perhaps I would share it with all of you and see what you make of it.   And this is where I go out on a limb...because, frankly, it's a very difficult thing for me to share my stories with other people.  Why? Well, because.  "Sink me, m'dear, I'm far too embarrassed." 

But today I have decided to be brave.  So here it is, and if you think it's perfectly awful that's okay.  It's not as if it's some major work which I've been pouring myself into for the past decade.  If it's a dud...well, it's dud.  Please excuse any mistakes, inaccuracies, misspellings, misuse of words, and the like.  I've read over this so many times now, I'm almost certain there's a mistake in it somewhere.  But I haven't time to belabor the point, so -gulp- here we go.

(Oh! And for a little background.  The two girls in this passage have been friends since childhood, and are now college roommates.  It takes place back in the early 60's or somewhere there about.) 

"I could set you up a blind date for Saturday," Rosa said nonchalantly, peering at herself in the mirror, and picking microscopic lint balls off her starched collar.
     "Why?" Nancy asked innocently, looking up from her desk by the window, where she sat working on a paper for her English class.
     "Why not?  It would be fun!"  Rosa smiled cheerily at Nancy's reflection in the mirror.
     "Awkward more like," came the stolid reply.  "I already have a boyfriend."
     "Oh, that's right.  Billy.  What a bore," Rosa cast a disgruntled look at her own reflection as if it were Billy standing there and not her.   "I forgot about him."
     "No you didn't!" Laughed Nancy.  "You can't forget a guy like Billy that easily." 
     "Mores the pity.  It's not as if I haven't tried," Rosa said, drearily. 
     "And he's not a bore, either," Nancy continued, turning back to her paper with a funny little grin on her face.
     "Isn't he?  Honestly, Nan, you've been dating him since high school.  What does he ever do but get up every morning at 7:00, go to work--at a drugstore, no less--come home and play basketball with your brother--which consists of them barking at each other the whole time because they can never agree who's playing fair and who isn't--and then going home and eating his dinner--with a relish--and hopping over to your house in the evening to watch Father Knows Best or The Andy Griffith Show...and eat more food.  Or, if his favorite shows aren't on television that evening, talking endlessly about his car and all that junk till you're blue in the face.  If that's not a bore, what is?"
     Nancy must have found this description of her "beloved" quite amusing, for she smiled broadly throughout the whole of Rosa's tirade, and then chuckled something about Billy certainly liking his food...but didn't all boys?
     "Nan, I'm serious.  Don't you ever wonder what it would be like to date someone else?"
     "No.  Why should I?"  And she truly looked as if it were a completely foreign idea to her.
     "Why, because.  Billy's the only one you've ever gone out with (if you can call watching television at your house going out, that is).  How do you know what kind of guy you'd really like unless you spend time with different ones?  I don't mean you have to go from boy to boy, but honestly it's a shame you've never actually been asked out on a date by anyone.  Billy's been your friend and neighbor since you were ten, and your boyfriend since you were fifteen.   I don't think he's ever actually asked you out on a date at all.  You just sort of fell into the relationship.  Totally unromantic, in my opinion."
     Nancy shrugged, as if to say, "Who cares about romance?" and still smiling sweetly replied, "What does that matter?  I don't care what I do with Billy.  I just like being with him.  Because he's the dearest, sweetest, most adorable person ever."
     "Well, he certainly fooled me," Rosa huffed, turning back to the mirror, and beginning a survey of her hair, trying to decide how best to fix it for the evening. 
     She was a curious sort of girl, Rosa.  Such a confused mixture of teasing and utter seriousness, that it was often hard to know where the one left off and the other began.  But it was obvious enough from her words that she really did have a very low opinion of Billy Myer and in fact considered him altogether unworthy to be the steady boyfriend for her "darling Nan." 
     "Nancy, really.  How do you know there isn't someone better for you out there?  Someone more exciting?  More gentlemanly?  More romantic?" 
     "Well, if you're going to take that view of things, you'll never be satisfied with anyone.  I can't date every single man in the whole wide world, you know.  Why would I waste my time looking for some unknown man, who might be better, when I like Billy well enough and he's right here?"  Oh the simplicity of the question.  Why indeed?  And yet, Rosa--that unfailing romantic idealist--couldn't see the sense in it at all.
     "Exactly," she cried, spinning around and pointing her hair brush in Nancy's direction, as if she were a teacher directing orders to her class.  "That's the whole problem.  It's the convenience of it.  You won't even take the risk of finding someone better.  Yours and Billy's relationship is just too comfortable." 
     "Can you be too comfortable with the man you intend to spend the rest of your life with?"  Nancy asked, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, knowing full well what Rosa's reaction to this remark would be.  And oh! she was by no means disappointed.
     "What? No!" Rosa, gasped, clutching her hairbrush to her heart as if it were her only protection against the shock of this mind-boggling news.  "It hasn't come to that, has it?  Oh!  Spare me!!  You aren't seriously talking about getting married, are you?"
     Nancy fell back in her chair, laughing.  She did so like to shock Rosa every now and then.  It was a most amusing pastime. 
     "Please tell me it isn't so," wailed Rosa, dramatically.
     "Oh, I think we've always known we would get married eventually," Nancy replied, in a most provokingly calm voice.  "Billy wants to save up a good amount of money first, though..."
     "On his paycheck?  That could take centuries."
     "...and of course I need to finish school," she concluded, ignoring the interruption.
     "Ohhh!"  Rosa groaned, putting her hand to her forehead as if she were about to faint.  "The utter insipidity of it all.  How can this be happening?  I mean, of course you want to be comfortable with the man you marry, but you and Billy? You're just too...I don't know.  You and Billy.  You've known each other forever, and you're so used to each other.  How do you know you're not just dating him because it's the expected thing?" Rosa paused, and the drama seeped out of her voice, as her brow contracted into a highly concerned and serious frown.  "How can you be sure he's the best man for you unless you date some other guys first?"
     "What?" Nancy choked down another laugh at the absurdity of such a question.  "You mean I have to spend time with another guy in order to know whether I like Billy?  Think about it, Rosa.  That doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
     "Oh, but it does," Rosa persisted. "Until you see what other guys are like, you don't know what you're missing.  Maybe there's a man out there who will actually make your heart flip, and your stomach fill with butterflies, and...Billy doesn't do that to you, does he?"
     "I knew it!!"
     "Well, actually, it's never been my opinion that love consists of flipping hearts and fluttering stomachs, so I can't say that sort of thing really matters to me that much.  I've always considered that love comes from having a deep and personal knowledge of the other person's character and personality.  Until you really understand and know a person, you can't truly love them, now can you?"
     "Right.  So tell me why you like Billy again?  Because honestly, I'd think a closer knowledge of Billy's character would turn you off to him completely."
     "Maybe a closer knowledge than what you've got, but go a step further than that and he's alright again," Nancy said with a wink.  "With some people you have to go about three or four levels of deepness before you really know what they're like."
     "I don't think Billy has any deepness."
     Nancy giggled.  "I'll tell him you said that.  He'll find that quite humorous."
     "I bet he will.  Is there anything Billy doesn't find humorous?"
     "Missing a meal, for one.  Or having his food get cold because some neighbor lady had a question for his mom (they're not allowed to eat in their house until everyone is seated around the table, you know).  Oh!  That and having Lily's cat jump on his lap.  He abhors cats."
     "Oh, I give up," Rosa sighed, defeated, throwing herself onto the bed, and forgetting all about her recent primping in front of the mirror, as she rumpled her dress and hair most dreadfully; making the hard labor of the past hour all but wasted.  "You don't know what you're missing, but go ahead and have your old humdrum life, if you want it.  As for me, I'm not settling for some namby-pamby old bore.  If I can't love my man passionately--flipping hearts and fluttering stomachs and everything--it's a no go.  I'd far rather remain single than go into marriage with a man who thinks of nothing but cars and food and whatnot.  That's not my idea of a soul mate."
     "Of course it isn't," Nancy said, sympathetically.  "And I'd never want you to settle for someone you didn't love.  But, maybe we just have different ideas of what being passionately in love looks like.  I love Billy, and I always will.  And for your information, though I hate to admit this to you, he does give me butterflies in my stomach sometimes."
     Rosa rolled her eyes.  "Oh, groan.  I don't believe it.  Billy couldn't give any girl butterflies, even if he tried to be charming." 

Okay, so reading over this again, it's striking me as rather lame, but perhaps that's only because I've been reading it too much.  Anyway, I still very much want to know what you think of it, so tell me...
Did this random scene spark your interest or imagination in any way?
Do you think this is leading to Nancy finding a more romantic hero, or remaining with Billy?  (Just curious.) 
Do you have any curiosity to know what happens next?
Or did you find this completely boring and not worth worrying about at all? (If so, I don't blame you. ;))
Well, that's all.  I realize now this was really quite long.  Sorry about that.  But thanks for taking the time to read it.

(And now I shall go and pretend I do not exist, because I know the embarrassment is just about to set in.  ;))

Monday, July 11, 2016

Random Observations on Sense and Sensibility '95

(I love the word random.  It's such a perfect excuse for writing anything that borders on jumbled and disorganized.  Just tack random on the title of your post and you're free to make it a completely muddled conglomeration of thoughts which fit together--or don't fit together--as the fancy strikes you.  Yes, it really is a very convenient word.)
Anyhow, that's what I'm here for today, to throw some very random thoughts in your direction; and as I have no clear idea where I'm going with this, be prepared for a barrage of confused babbling.  Just so you know, this is not the first time I've seen this version of Sense and Sensibility.  However, it had been quite a few years since the last time I watched it, so there actually were a few new things which stood out to me this time around.  This post therefore will be a collection of old and new thoughts inspired from our recent viewing of this film. 
Shall we begin?
~ [Opening scene: John Dashwood talking to his father.]  Hold it a second!  Isn't that Uncle Frederick from Little Dorrit??  It IS!  It really IS!  John Dashwood is Uncle Frederick!  Goodness.  And he's so much younger!  And oh my!  That means Uncle Frederick's married to Mrs. Gowan.  Dear, dear.  Poor Uncle Frederick.  I do pity him.  To be married to such a lady as Mrs. Gowan!  :(
~ *sigh*  Edward is so stiff.  As always.  Do you think perhaps his collar is too tight?  And he does have such trouble saying what he wants to say.  I do wish he could talk without a mile long pause between each and every word.
~ There goes Colonel Brandon, talking in a monotone again.  Couldn't he, please, just put a little bit of feeling into his words?  His blankness is driving me nuts.   And he talks too slow, too.  It's giving me anxiety attacks.  (Haha.  Just kidding.  But I do wish they could get their words out a little more quickly.  If you're going to talk, talk!)
~ Mwhahaha! Willoughby is so ridiculously charming when he comes in with that bouquet!  Typical rat-like behavior.  You'd think someone would catch on to the fact that he's too good to be true. 
~ Oh look!  It's Beeeertie!!  Talk Bertie, talk!  We want to hear you taaalk!  Haha!  Thank you.  You're so funny when you talk so seriously!!  Okay, you don't even have to talk.  We're cracking up just looking at you.  Bertie with that solemn, grumpy face...oh! it's too much.   It's just too much!!  
(By the way, have any of you ever imagined what would happen if Mr. Palmer and Bertie Wooster were to meet?  Because, honestly, I think it would be a riot.  Mr. Palmer fixing Bertie with one of his  death-threatening stares, and Bertie returning the look with one of his innocent, goofy little smiles.  I just know Bertie would drive Mr. Palmer berserk.  And that's why it's so totally hilarious to think that they really are very closely connected.  ;))

*Ahem* Getting back to Sense and Sensibility...
~ Wow.  Willoughby really is a RAT!  I'd forgotten how very bad he is, and now I find that I don't pity him nearly much as I thought I did!  Not even in that last scene when he looks so pitifully down over the hill.  (Actually, I've never pitied him in that scene.  That was pathetic.  You brought it on yourself, buster!  Now get over it.) (Ahem.  I admit, though, I do still pity Willoughby somewhat in the book.  However, my reasons for doing so are too complicated to go into at the present moment, so that's all I'm going to say on the subject just now.) 
~ Oh my goodness!  That scene where Edward walks into the room and addresses himself to Elinor, failing to notice that Lucy is standing right behind him!  And then Elinor kindly makes him aware of his situation and...oh!   AWKWARDNESS!  Poor Edward. 
Wake me up, someone, please.  This has got to be a nightmare!
~ Okay, Fanny.  You're reaction to Lucy Steele's confidence was just a bit over the top.  Seriously?  Dragging her out through the window?  I find that hard to believe.  (Yes, that was a very uncomfortable, groan-worthy scene, in my opinion.)
~ Well, Marianne certainly knows the secret to finding herself a man.  Just walk outside in the rain and whichever man carries you home, he's the one!  Wala!
~ Look at that!  It's Mr. Wickfield!  (From David Copperfield 1999)  I'd forgotten he'd gone into the medical profession.  Nice to see you, Mr. Wickfield.
~ Someone please tell me.  Why does Marianne fall in love with Colonel Brandon?  I don't get it.  I mean, he's awfully nice, and a real gentleman and all that...but he has NO expression when he talks.  If she couldn't bear listening to Edward read without expression, how is she going to bear living with a  husband who can't even talk with the teeniest bit of feeling in his voice?

~ Lucy, I dislike you very much.  You're an obnoxious, creepy person.  But I do love how you make things so nice and convenient at the end.  First we hear that you and Edward are married.  And oh! poor Elinor!  But then we hear, what?  You and Edward are not married?  You went and married his brother instead?  Oh, nice.  That was an easy fix.
~ One final thing.  Colonel Brandon, why are throwing money into the air? I mean, I know you're super happy since you just got married, and I can't deny it is a cool camera shot, but honestly  isn't that an awful waste of one's resources?  And if you meant for it to be a gift of charity to the poor, then why didn't you just hand it to them straight?  That way they wouldn't have to go breaking their backs looking for it all over the ground?  Just a thought.
See?  I told you this was going to be a random post.  You were fairly warned.  And now I just hope you made it safely through this whole confused mess.   Sorry.  I'm afraid I just wasted several minutes of your life.

(Just so you know, I don't dislike this movie.  It's not a perfect adaption of Sense and Sensibility, but it's still highly entertaining.  And in case you were wondering, I've seen the '08 version, too; and while I liked some things about it, I still maintain there's a lot of room for improvement.  They haven't hit on a perfect Sense and Sensibility yet, in my opinion.)
Have you ever seen this movie? 
What are some of your random thoughts about it?
Do you agree with me that we could still use a better version of S&S?