86-Ezra

Absent-Minded, Much?

As I typed away at a story idea, I scrolled down the page and suddenly came across a paragraph from an hour or so ago–

–or rather, the beginning of a paragraph, because all I’d written was “Also suppose that”

And I can’t remember for the life of me what I was supposing.  Let’s hope that this poor, dangling idea wasn’t anything too important!

86-Ezra

She of the Many Writerly Quirks

Writers are weird.  All writers accept this fact, and so do their families and friends (poor souls).  But beyond the general oddness of scribbling on hands and arms when no paper is in reach or else dropping everything to go record a fantastic new idea–each writer has his own personal quirks.  That are usually hilarious.  Here are mine!

1. When I get a really good idea, I get hyper.  Too hyper to finish writing down said idea.  I walk around, grab my phone, change songs on my ipod , do anything but take the pen and finish writing that idea.  I’m not sure why this happens.  Maybe I get energized by ideas?–and therefore can’t sit still in the face of an energy surge?  Whatever the reason, the more rational side of my brain looks on in exasperation as I dance around rather than record that perfect new idea which fills in a massive plot holes and ties together 7 other plot threads.

2. My story notes ramble all over the place and often contradict each other!  I pursue tangents in parenthesis, break off in mid-sentence to write something else, forget what I was going to originally write, get sidetracked with research, dump all my notes in one place, forget when and where I filed that one stray note…..  Then I get confused trying to sort through them all!

3. In most of my character casts, gentlemen outnumber the ladies.  I’m honestly not sure why I do this.  It’s never intentional; the ratio just ends up that way.  Maybe since I know how women think, I’m more interested in exploring a new mindset?  It may also be a subtle response to a pet peeve: I really, really hate it when females are tossed into a story just for the sake of having females in that story.  (And these characters are rarely influential anyway.)  However, there’s no favoritism when it comes to the needs of the story; if any character, male or female, isn’t needed, I remove the character.

4. I re-use ideas.  If a character doesn’t fit in one story, there’s a good chance I’ll find a place for him or her in another.  If an idea doesn’t fit the current plot, there’s a good chance I’ll simply stick it in another story.  As such, I don’t get too upset anymore when I have to cut things from my manuscript.

5. I cannot easily write in a messy space.  If there’s clutter in my peripheral vision, or I noticed piles of junk on my dresser before I sat at my desk, the messiness hangs over my mind like those cartoon cloudbursts that sit over your head and follow you around, and I just can’t concentrate easily.

6. I refer to my characters as if they were real people, e.g. “If Charles were here, he would do so-and-so…”

7. I refer to my stories by the setting or the era until I create a working title, e.g. “theatre story,” “lighthouse story,” “20s story”.  But one poor story doesn’t even have that much description; it’s still listed in my digital folders as “Story2”.

8.  In the same way, I give my characters nicknames before they get proper names.  The nicknames, however, are often names of TV show characters, other novel characters, and movie characters.  For example, I dubbed an incompetent leader character “Buckland,” borrowing the name of the very incompetent first mate from the Horatio Hornblower episodes “Mutiny” and “Retribution.”

9. However, it drives me absolutely NUTS to have an unnamed character…I can’t picture my characters well unless they have proper names.  Sometimes I’ll give “placeholder” names to a character–that is, temporary proper names until I find more fitting ones later–but then those names often end up sticking and I never find replacements.

10. I used to want as few secret story boards and character boards on Pinterest as possible.  This approach seemed tidier and more organized.  Now I make a new secret board for every good story/character idea I get–I created two story boards last night right after getting ideas for new stories.

11. I love finding the Meyers-Briggs types of each of my characters…but I usually do this after they’re developed nicely.  (Otherwise, I might accidentally write the character to fit the type, rather than finding out what type fits the character!)  So far, I’ve written characters of all 16 types, though I admit that ISTJs and INTJs dominate.  🙂

12. Semi-colons are apparently my favorite punctuation mark, often combined with run-on sentences to create a paragraph that sounds like something out a Dickens novel; not a bad thing in and of itself, of course, unless the paragraph becomes confusing with all the ideas contained therein; usually, the sentences all have a single train of thought running through them, or some overarching category or principle, but some sentences could nonetheless be put in their own paragraphs.

13. Irony of ironies…I have terrible spelling skills.  Maybe I’ve come to rely too much on the red underlining in Microsoft Word, but my spelling is atrocious on paper and on any program without a red underline to denote misspelled words.

14. I love color-coding my handwritten story notes.  Cobalt is the ink color I use for Gentle Fire; dark green is for Empty Clockwork; dark red is for my English political novel; pink or purple is for my theatre story, plain old blue is for that “Story2” I mentioned above, and the list goes on.

So, there are some of my writerly quirks!  Feel free to mention yours in the comments!

86-Ezra

Further Narnia Thoughts – A Confession, A Rant, and Personal Therapy

The Confession

You may have figured this out already, but I don’t like the Walden Media adaptations.  I enjoyed Peter, His Siblings, and Family Is Important The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when it first came out, but–ahem–I was 13.  We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of.

By age 16 and when Jerk Peter Prince Caspian came out, I was a bit more mature–mature enough to nearly succumb to traumatic shock at how much the story had been changed.  (Am I being sarcastic?  I don’t even know.)

And by age 18 when The Voyage of Self Discovery & Multiple Aesops The Voyage of the Dawn Treader came out, I was mature enough to succumb to neither extreme and to simply laugh at it. (*whole crew sailing into mysterious green mist of ambiguous kidnapping power* Caspian: “Now is the time to be strong!”  Me: “Oh, really, sir?  No kidding–I never would have guessed.”)

So, that’s the confession.  It leads straight into…

The Rant

Those paragraphs were not the rant, believe it or not.  But because I dislike the  movies, I get really annoyed by movie-based depictions.  I looked up Narnia fan art yesterday, and most of it was movie fan art.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’d love to see more depictions of how the artists picture the characters.  And on that note, I’d love to see more depictions of blond Caspian.  Lewis in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader describes him as a “golden-headed boy” (though such a description is never given in Prince Caspian, so I understand how readers would get a different image fixed in their minds).

Anyway, it didn’t take long for me to get tired of seeing Movie-fan art.  So then I looked up head canons.  About 45% were movie-based, 45% were odd or just didn’t sound like the characters Lewis described, and the remaining 10% were mostly okay.  It’s not a huge deal, but I want more of the book characters!  In particular, I’m tired of seeing fan fics and head canons with:

  • Modern-sounding dialogue
  • Hidden angst in the characters
  • Susan/Caspian ships
  • PHOTOSETS OR GIFS OF SUSAN/CASPIAN THAT ARE NOT NECESSARILY PG RATED I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP AND I AM COMPLETELY DISGUSTED (okay, I saw this only twice, but that was one time too many)
  • Unholy romantic pairings (you think Narnia escapes this?  Guess again)
  • Peter as the more level-headed, grounded one
  • Peter’s protective nature being magnified above his other qualities
  • Blond Peter
  • Completely logical Susan
  • Fashion/make-up loving Susan prior to The Last Battle
  • Feminist Susan/defense of Susan’s behavior in The Last Battle
  • Sassy prankster Edmund
  • Ignorance of Edmund’s thinker, justice-focused nature
  • Caspian as anything other than an earnest, cheerful, sometimes hesitant young man

The Personal Therapy

Yesterday, I began drawing my own fan art, and one piece depicts the reactions of the Pevensies and Caspian discovering fan fictions written about them.  I also began writing an essay discussing Book-Peter’s personality and character arc and relationships with others.  It quickly turned into a dissertation, and I shall put it in my “A Few Notes About…” series, although I’m going to try to finish Part 2 of my post about Christine Daae first.

It’s amazing how I’ve read and loved the books for 17 years and still notice new things about the story and characters.  For instance, while reading through The Horse and His Boy, I noticed this about Susan: she did not rush into a marriage with Prince Rabadash.  She judged him by his actions rather this appearance, race, or culture, and when she realized he was in truth spoiled, arrogant, cruel, etc., she made up her mind not to marry him.  And she did so of her own initiative; her answer to Edmund’s inquiry about her decision is an unequivocal no.  She’s not flighty or clueless when it comes to romantic relationships.

After Rabadash has been captured and imprisoned for unprovoked attack upon Archenland, the lords of the court mention that they are justified in executing Rabadash for his treachery.  But Edmund the Just argues against this–he points out that “even a traitor may mend.”  Barely two minutes later, Edmund tells Lucy that he doesn’t believe Rabadash would repent and mend–but was willing to show him mercy anyway.  A second treachery, however, would not be met with such mercy.

Hopping ahead to Prince Caspian, it melts my heart that the Pevensies were the closest thing to a loving family as young Caspian had.  His aunt disliked him, and Miraz, though initially willing to have Caspian inherit the throne, clearly never loved him.  I wish Lewis had shown a little more of the interactions between Caspian and the four Pevensies (I posted about that here).

What’s also amazing is Caspian did not grow up bitter and angry despite his lonely childhood.  He was unsure of himself, hesitant to take the throne, but–even after learning that Miraz murdered his father, after having to flee for his life, and after having to grow up quickly while barely a teenager–he remains humble, dedicated, and able to love.

He is also realistically young and adorable.  For instance, though he is taught Rhetoric (mentioned in Prince Caspian) and uses it in official situations, notice how informally he speaks around the Pevensies and other comrades.  He greets Eustace cheerfully and is somewhat amused by him (though this sentiment quickly fades).  He is instantly smitten with Ramandu’s daughter.  And he jumps overboard himself to save the three children struggling in the sea, though he could easily have ordered someone else to do it.  In short–Caspian is precious and must be protected at all costs.  Do not malign his character.  Or I will find you.  And I will kill you.

And lastly, more head canons:

  • When Peter was about 15, he shot up several inches in a growth spurt, and ended up lanky for about two years.  However, this did not happen as he was growing up in Narnia, because of the physical exercise he kept up.
  • When a king of Narnia, Edmund usually listened to what everyone had to say and only then spoke up, usually with an armor-piercing question or very obvious solution that everyone else had missed.
  • Susan learned to play the harp in Narnia, and she became quite good at it.
  • Though Peter discourages any suitors unworthy of his sisters, he’s particularly protective of Lucy, since she’s the youngest, very innocent, and his favorite sister.
  • In fact, he knows that Susan can hold her own, but that Lucy would be entirely too kind and sensitive to anyone obnoxious, thereby accidentally giving the wrong suitors hope.
  • Lucy has no idea that she is Peter’s favorite sister.  It has never crossed her mind that you can even have favorites among family members.
  • Lucy likes to play outside, and she brings home anything of interest that she finds: a feather, a oddly shaped rock, and colorful pebble, an old snail’s shell, colorful leaves, bunches of flowers…
  • Caspian is terrible at arithmetic.  (Lewis never even lists math as one of the subjects he was taught, though he surely learned it at some point.)
  • While he goes about his daily duties, Caspian often wonders what the Pevensies are doing at that moment in their world.
  • Early in his reign, when he found himself confused/overwhelmed by some political matter, he found himself wishing he could consult the High King.
  • Which led to the hope that just perhaps, Aslan would let the four of them return one day.
  • He even began to look for them at unexpected times.
  • On the other hand, Caspian did not realize it was the Pevensies (and guest) who appeared in the Narnian seas…he just saw three people struggling in open water and promptly dived overboard (like the precious, caring person that he is).
  • Caspian revived the art of navigation in Narnia…by applying the astronomy principles he learned from Dr. Cornelius.
  • As much as he loved his astronomy lessons, he also loves just stargazing for fun.
  • During the water shortage on the Dawn Treader, Caspian actually shared some of his rations with Eustace, and Edmund shared his with Lucy (Lewis states that Edmund and Caspian had been sleeping badly since the shortage began; and given their natures, it’s conceivable they were looking out for the younger characters).
86-Ezra

The Action This Evening

*Gingersnap is calmly watching TV*

*a commercial for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk appears*

Gingersnap: *gasp* “DUNKIRK! DUNKIRK! BOYS! GET IN HERE IT’S A DUNKIRK COMMERCIAL!”

*thuds and door slams from the back of the house*

*boys burst into the living room like that scene from The Sound of Music when the Von Trapp children first appear*

86-Ezra

Artwork Wednesday – Of Bugs, Yarn Stashes, & Craft Sprees

(Posted on a Tuesday, but hey, I’m ahead of the game this time!)

Once again, this week I did more crafting than drawing.  I haven’t felt like drawing lately—or just don’t want to spend the 4+ hours required polishing and refining the sketch.  A patience problem or a perfectionist problem?  Not sure.

Actually, it’s a perfectionist problem, because I spent hours weaving and crocheting this week without remorse.  But you’re no doubt wondering about the “bugs” part in the title—though if you’re a seasoned crocheter/knitter/weaver, you can probably guess what that’s all about.  *cue spooky music*

While merrily working away at a yarn project last week, I glanced down at my work bag and saw a bug perched on the green ball of yarn.  After recovering from cardiac arrest, I disposed of the critter, and then googled images of bugs that infest yarn.  The real part of this horror story?  I couldn’t tell whether the insect suspect was a harmless black-and-orange ladybug—or a carpet beetle, notorious for eating yarn and infesting the house as well.

With the identity of the suspect in question, I stuffed all my balls of yarn into plastic bags and stuck the bags in the freezer to kill any remaining critters.  Then I gathered my recently completed yarn projects and my woven work bag and threw them in the washer.  There were no signs of infestation, but I wasn’t taking any chances.  And I seriously considered just throwing away the yarn in the freezer—a tragedy, to be sure, but it would take weeks to properly de-bug the stuff, and we have such a small freezer, the bags would take up a lot of space.

In the meantime, I embarked upon an Anti-Bug Protection Plan (code named: Die, Mangy Critters!!!!).  I made four sachets and filled them with whole cloves.

The blue one went into my work bag (once it was washed), the plaid and block ones went into my yarn box, and the fourth (not pictured) went into the box of ornaments my hobby tree, because a lot of fabric and crocheted decorations live there.

I finally decide to pitch my yarn stash and buy new yarn.  Almost at the last minute on Saturday, I went to Hobby Lobby and loaded up the shopping cart.

Here is (part of) my new stash.  The rest of the yarn is in my clove-smelling work bag, because I started several projects the minute I got home with my loot.

Last week, I learned a new stitch: the half-double crochet.  And I practiced it by making a tree skirt for my hobby tree.  I also learned how to…

…crochet scallops along the edge!

Then I made some Christmassy pot holders.

And a couple of place mats.

Somebody stop me!!!

Actually, don’t.  This is way too much fun.  🙂

And I’m in the middle of making another pot holder to practice this pattern:

If it turns out well, I may crochet an afghan in that pattern.  And maybe more place mats in different colors.  Also a tree skirt, perhaps.  And then another afghan, and maybe crocheted holly leaves, and another pot holder in summery colors, and oh, also that mat I want to weave… *loses self in the bliss of planning more projects*

 

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86-Ezra

Family Terms and Definitions

Over the years, our family has created euphemisms, phrases, and descriptions that are unique to us and our interests.  Such sayings appear in daily conversation (often gleefully repeated ad nauseam after something particularly funny is coined)–but unfortunately leaves the uninitiated with no idea of what we mean.  Hence, this dictionary.

Aged C  (n.“We’re taking the Aged to church.”  The erstwhile kids’ car.  One family quirk is naming our vehicular devices, and this car’s name was a variant of the Dickens character Aged Parent, or Aged P.  We decided that if we said to any young man: “Do you object to an Aged Car?  Because I have got one,” and he recognized the quote as one of Dickens’s–well, he might just be boyfriend material.  No young man ever recognized the line, but Uncle C. from church did.

Right before the car completely died, Enkie was afraid it would fall to pieces, Wilde E. Coyote style, the middle of an intersection, leaving her clutching the wheel amid a wreckage of auto parts.

Bangy-Bangy  (v.“Anybody mind if I bangy-bangy?”  Playing the piano, a term coined by Gingersnap.  Contrary to what the term implies, she plays very well.

Bookends, the  (n., pl.“The middle three kids are running errands, so it’s just the bookends here at home.”  Me and Emmet; I’m the eldest of the kids and he’s the youngest.  Dad coined this creative term during one of his homeschooling speeches.

Buckland  (n.“He’s the Buckland of the group.”  A really clueless and incompetent leader.  Named after first mate Buckland from the Horatio Hornblower episodes Mutiny and Retribution.  Buckland is a leader so clueless and incompetent you have to wonder how he rose to the rank of first mate at all.

Christine Stories  (n., pl.“Can you tell us a Christine story before bed?”  Stories from my childhood, imparted primarily to my brothers.  I am 10 years older than Chris and 14.5 years older than Emmet and have accumulated interesting anecdotes about family events, doings, mishaps that happened before they were born or while they were too young to remember.  Such anecdotes range in severity from tornado threats and terrible injuries to the amusing attempt at homemade candles or the escapade of jumping off the filing cabinet.  For fun.

Clueless Morgan  (n.“Sorry, I’m just a Clueless Morgan today.”  Borrowed from Muppet Treasure Island, this refers to someone who is, well, clueless.  Similar to the term “Buckland,” but with an undercurrent of dopiness.  Sometimes the terms are used together, e.g. “Clueless Buckland.”

Cup of Ambition  (n.“Let me get a cup of ambition, and then we’ll go.”  Coffee.  ‘Nuff said.

Don’t Be That Duck  (phrase)  From Sandra Boyton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck.  The book ends with “Except for the duck.  He’s always that way [angry].”  A between-siblings reminder to perk up and adjust a stinky attitude.

Dustfinger  (n.)  “Dustfinger is installing updates and taking his slow, sweet time about it.”  Gingersnap’s laptop.  We also name our technological devices: laptops, phones, the PC, sometimes even sewing machines.  Gingernsap’s previous laptop was Mo.

Early Bus, Late Bus  (n.)  “The Early Bus leaves at 8: 45, to whom it may concern.”  The vehicles that depart first and last for church.  The sisters have ministries that require us to leave before 9:00 a.m.; and trying to get all seven of us clothed and in our right minds at such an early hour would require a miracle from heaven.  Hence the departures in two cars and at different times.

Effie Mozart  (n.“Effie needs to be tuned; she sounds like a broken guitar.”  Our piano.  Named “Effie” because its color is mahogany, and “Mozart” because Emmet wanted specifically wanted that.

Falcon (Millennial, the)  (n.“Can’t take you to the library right now; Enkie has the Falcon.”  The current kid car, driven primarily by Enkie.  The Falcon is so named because “she doesn’t look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.”

Fluzzy (adj.)  “She’s such a sweet, fluzzy dog!!”  A mash-up of “fluffy” and “fuzzy,” used in adoration of our dog’s cuteness.

Fury, the  (n.“I’m leaving the keys to the Fury on the table.”  Dad’s car, which bears a suspicious resemblance to the black car Nick Fury drives in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  We have yet to discover, however, if its air conditioner can survive the apocalypse.

Fussy  (n.)  “Fussy locked up again!”  Enkie’s laptop.  So named because the thing malfunctions when most inconvenient.

Gloom, Doom, & Chitauri  (n.“They’re expecting strong storms, but not gloom, doom, and chitauri.”  Any approaching ominous event.  Used mostly of severe weather–and coined when the forecast held incredibly severe storms for our area–but this phrase also refers to political events, sickness, just anything severely disagreeable.

Liquid Motivation  (n.“Mom and I are going to get some liquid motivation before the meeting.”  Coffee.  See also Cup of Ambition

Locusts  (n., pl.“You’d better get some chips and ice cream before the locusts breeze through.”  Other family members, specifically in the context of said members consuming food.  Our family has been known to demolish a whole box of cereal, an entire bag of potato chips, a bag and a half of chocolate chips, and several pints of ice-cream — in one evening.

Martian Death Virus  (n.“We’re not available to babysit this week because half the family has the Martian Death Virus.”  Any nasty sickness, often one that flattens half the family simultaneously or else hits one person who then inadvertently passes the virus on so that each family member falls sick one by one like a row of dominoes.

Red Ink  (v.)  “Do you want me to red ink it?”  To edit a piece of writing.  Chris coined this term as I edited one of his response essays.

Sermonizing  (v.“Dad is out in the office sermonizing.”  Preparing a sermon.

Sibling Bonding Time  (n.)  “We’re going to watch Secret of Moonacre for sibling bonding time.”  Our excuse for watching lousy, cheesy — but fun — movies.

Sydney  (n.“Sydney is on, but asleep; don’t touch him.”  My laptop.  Named after (you guessed it) Sydney Carton.

Tolkien Chapters  (n., pl.)  “I won’t be going to bed for a while; this book has Tolkien chapters.”  Really, really long chapters.  Coined during a family read-aloud of Tolkien’s epic and after counting 22 pages in the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring.

Transformer, the  (n.)  “Everybody get in the Transformer; it’s time to go.”  Our SUV.  So named because its bulk is such that you expect it to unfold into something massively robotic when you least expect it.

We Three Kings (n., pl.“It’s just we three kings going to church this evening.”  The middle three kids: Enkie, Gingernsap, and Chris.  This term was coined when they were rehearsing the song “We Three Kings” as part of the Christmas special at church.

86-Ezra

One-Liners Around Our House

While watching Inception the other night:

Gingersnap: “I ship Arthur and Ariadne.”

Me: “Arthur shipped Arthur and Ariadne–Mr. ‘Kiss-me-well-it-was-worth-a-try!’ ”

 

Emmet jumped over the little table that had been pulled in front of his easy chair.  And then he remarked: “That was probably not the best way to exit that chair.”

 

Chris, relating an anecdote: “I unplugged my seat belt–”

Me: “Unplugged your seat belt?!?!? Millennial kid, good night!!”

Chris: “Hey, I’m entitled to talk like that.”

 

We were having baked potatoes for dinner one night.

Emmet: “Will someone help me squeeze the guts out of my potato?

Then, when I paused to write down that quote before helping him…

Emmet: “Um, Guts?  Potato?  Help?”