I’m Back… And I’m Sunshiny, Apparently

Let’s cut to the chase, Matilda. I’ve been tagged.And because I particularly enjoy driving you all quite mad by repeating myself exactly eighteen times a month, I must declare loudly that I  love being tagged. Partly because they are fun but mostly because I am desperately lazy and tags require no brainwork. You just gotta answer them questions, Matilda. Nothing to it.Except for the part at the end where you have to think up some questions of your own, but let’s forget about that for the moment…

 

You may recall that I have been tagged for the Sunshine Blogger Award once before and if you do, I must say you have an excellent memory, Imaginary Sir. I admire you.

This time I have been tagged by the witty genius that is Evangeline from An Odd Blog. Have I mentioned she makes the most gorgeous headers?

I find it enormously amusing that two individuals actually thought me sunshiny enough to deserve this award. Magnanimously I allow them to continue living in this delusion…

And now! Brace yourself for rambling and more personal information about me than you asked for!

“what is your favorite fast food place?”

Thanks for asking, Matilda! In point of fact, I do not like fast food. To be specific, I don’t appreciate the great quantity of grease slathered all over the meat of fast food. Therefore I look upon all fast food and the buildings in which it is found and the beings who serve it with thinly-veiled suspicion. I like to be healthy, Larry. Didn’t you know? Sure, I devour deserts with a perfectly alarming appetite but when I’m not eating desert, I like to eat something healthy to make up for all the desert, follow?In the name of compromise, I will declare that I am rather fond of Chik-fil-a for they have mastered the art of making fast food-like food that actually appears to have some time and thought put into it. In other words, I am fairly certain the meat came from an animal and I can find it with relative ease… as opposed to McDonald’s where I could search for days and not find any traces of my long-lost patty.

“if you could learn any foreign language, which would it be?”

English seems like a decent place to start… also it would be rather useful as I am currently attempting to write a book in that language. Intrepid is my middle name, clearly.

But let us be serious for a moment, Matilda, for this is a rather serious question. I love languages, dude. I’ve taken three years of Spanish and would love to learn the basics in some of the other Romantic languages – French, Italian, and Latin, especially. Difficult languages like Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese look enormously fun. German sounds vaguely threatening, which makes it great for yelling at unsuspecting strangers. Greek is probably useful. I’m not picky.

If I have never said this before, I am saying it now: I adore books with multiple ethnicities – when well-researched, that is – because it affords me a chance to pick up a bit of a foreign language. Obviously we must emulate what we admire. For this reason, The Songless made me learn quite a few Swahili words and phrases and will hopefully force me to pick up a bit of Russian – a daunting task because Google Translate translates English into Russian letters and I cannot read it, Matilda! What am I to do? Metal Hands, Metal Soul should teach me some Japanese and French. And on a completely different – or is it? – note, Divided They Fall is apparently quite mathy and so I will probably emerge a mathematical genius when I have finished writing it.

“what is your personal favorite animated film of all time?”

Ouch, Matilda. Why such difficult questions?

I shall list all of them, even though you did not request this, because the list is brief. I don’t like animated films, generally.

And… I’m going to pretend you stipulated Disney animated films because that’s what we’re all thinking anyway, right? Go classic or go home, I always say.

Tangled, Mulan, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid. Ta-daa!

“would you rather be stranded on a deserted island, Antarctica (with supplies to stay warm), or a rugged mountain?”

Alaska is my dream, but Antarctica is taking things too far. No, thank you, sir. But I am vaguely interested in these supplies? Is a pet seal included? A fluffy parka? An inflatable raft? I’ll take those, please.

Now I face a conundrum.

Deserted islands are always beachy. We all know this. But mountains… mountains, Gandalf!

Which to pick…

Let’s just go with the island. Lost instilled in me a fervent desire to crashland on a deserted island so that I can prove to the world that it is, indeed, possible not to be an absolute idiot in that situation…

“what is your favorite episode of Star Wars?”

Everyone take a deep, calming breath.

I. Have. Never. Seen. Star Wars.

Ever.

Please put down that knife, sir.

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“what is your favorite school subject?”

Like Evangeline, I have a difficult time answering this question…

I like Literature, most of the time. I despise math. Anatomy is fun but rather difficult. Writing has never qualified as “school” in my household for some reason. Probably because I enjoy it.

“what is your favorite book that no one has ever heard of?”

All of them, Matilda, all of them.

Okay, okay. To name just a few… The Song of Seare trilogy by C. E. Laureano, The Witch of Blackbird Pond and Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare, and North To Freedom by Ann Holm.

 “which do you prefer: spaghetti or Chinese food?”

I love Chinese food! It’s so warm and comforting and steamy and crisp… perfection, I tell you. White rice is the best thing since whatever came before white rice, I say.

Not to slander you, Spaghetti. You are quite nice yourself. Pasta is also a marvelous invention.

And now comes the fun part…

I have had more than enough of this sunshiny frivolity. What if… what if I made my own tag… the Evil Writer Award? Hmmm? Would you play?

Well, you’re playing whether you like it or not, Matilda, because I’m doing it!

Here are your questions… Please answer these from a writerly perspective! I do not want to know how many people you have killed in real life, okay? Do. Not. Want. To know. Keep it to yourself, dear.

How many characters do you typically kill per book? And how many people have you killed in real life, dear? Do you… feel any remorse about this? I’m concerned about you.
Do you prefer to use weapons of mass destruction like explosions and famine and world war or more personal torture like killing family and friends and pets?
Are you more like Loki, who perpetrates great evil with a creepy grin, or… give me a minute… Darth Vader, who secretly weeps inside his… fake head, whilst destroying the world? 
What is the most dastardly crime you have ever committed as a writer? 
What kind of chocolate do you most like to devour as you burn things? White, milk, semisweet, or dark? Bonus points if you are so evil you find unsweetened cacao palatable!
What is your villainous title? You may not have “Evil Overlord” because that one’s mine.
Which of your characters would actually be a match for you if you were to duke it out one on one?
Which character, in all the many books you have undoubtedly written, is most likely to be your Archnemesis?
Do you wear a cape? Face paint? A mask? Special underpants? Or do you hide in plain sight… like Moriarty? Give me details!
I think it is evident to everyone that I have exhausted every possible line of questioning here. I was planning on doing eleven questions because who like even numbers? Not me, Matilda! But you’ll have to settle for nine. Apologies!
I guess I should invent some rules or something? Um. Give all the credit to me, for I am an evil genius, tag at least two other people and please do invent some more questions if you can think of any!
Now! I tag…
Kenzie, Anna, Jethan, and monkeyeverything because we were cabinmates for Camp NaNo and they are so much fun, and Christine because she sometimes does tags if they are writerly, and Cait because she doesn’t tell us nearly enough about her writings! Oh, and Ruby because she wears my Favorite Person badge!

Whew! Long post! Are you guys still awake? What is one book you love that no one knows exists? Who is your favorite Disney princess? Would you rather be stranded on a desert island or a rugged mountain? Do you own a parka? Do you know English and can you teach me?

Unedited: Pink

I am going to share some of my writing with you.

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A short story, to be exact. In case you missed the title of this post… you moron.

This isn’t going to become a routine thing! I promise. I promise that this will not become a “please-critique-my-writing-for-me” blog. I don’t want to constantly demanding your validation and never give anything back.

Okay? Okay.

I’ve learned that I blog for you. You don’t have to follow me, but you do. And to show my appreciation, I should write and post things that engage my lovely readers.

Therefore, this sort of thing is to be a rare occurrence that may never, uh, occur again. Like an eclipse. Or a full moon. Or the moon landing.

So without further ado…

~Pink~

Agnes liked pink, she thought as she stroked the crocheted blanket spread across her knees. The color pink reminded Agnes of That Nice Girl who came to see her. She had pink hair, you see. Of course Agnes knew this was terribly wild, but secretly she thought it looked rather nice. Agnes reached across the table and and rested her hand lightly overtop Beatrice’s.

“That Nice Girl is going to visit me today,” she confided proudly. “She always visits on Wednesdays.”

Beatrice rolled her eyes. “She visits every day, Agnes. She’s your granddaughter.”

Agnes became troubled, and her hands fluttered in agitation. Nurse Linda approached with a smile. “Is everything okay, Agnes?”

“Is That Nice Girl going to visit me today?” she asked timidly.

“Of course she is! You know Am – I mean That Nice Girl – never forgets.”

Agnes nodded, reassured. “Well, That Woman – what is her name? – said that…”

“My name’s Beatrice!”

“Of course. Beatrice was saying…”

Nurse Linda waited patiently for Agnes to finish, but Agnes had quite forgotten what Beatrice had said. It wasn’t important anyway.

“When is That Nice Girl going to visit?” Agnes asked politely.

Nurse Linda checked her watch. “Should be any minute now. Why don’t I wheel you on down to the visiting area?”

“Thank you, I would like that.”

“Good morning, Grammy!” That Nice Girl bounced to her feet as Nurse Linda pushed Agnes’ wheelchair through the room.

That Nice Girl bent down to hug Agnes and Agnes patted her back gently. “Hello, dear.”

That Nice Girl smelled like lilacs. Or was it bubblegum? She was chewing a great wad of it with determination.

“I can take it from here, Linda. Thank you.”

“Have a nice visit, you two,” Linda smiled as she patted Agnes briefly on the shoulder and then left the room.

That Nice Girl pushed Agnes’ wheelchair to the window. “Here! You can get some sunshine!”

“The view is lovely,” Agnes said dreamily. The rosebushes were in full bloom and Agnes fancied she could almost smell the heavy perfume. Pink roses were her favorite.

Agnes turned to That Nice Girl. “How are you doing, dear? I love what you’ve done with your hair.”

That Nice Girl laughed and fingered her lopsided pink-streaked blond braids. “Marguerite taught me how to braid. I’m… not very good yet…” She examined her handiwork closer.

“Nonsense!” Agnes declared. “You look lovely. But who is Marguerite?”

“Oh. You know, just a friend from college.”

“I am so glad you were able to go to college, dear. I wanted to, but then I got pregnant with my daughter…”

“Yes, I know.” That Nice Girl nodded with understanding.

Agnes frowned. “Have I told you that before? I know I repeat myself sometimes…”

“You have,” That Nice Girl admitted, “but I don’t mind. I love hearing about… your daughter.”

“Well, her name was Elaine. And she was just the sweetest girl. But now she is all grown up!” Agnes beamed. “All grown up, with a little girl of her own. I used to go with them to the park each week…” Agnes closed her eyes, remembering, “and I bought Amber an ice cream cone. Strawberry, because pink was her favorite color…”

Agnes opened her eyes and saw that tears were streaming down Amber’s face.

“It still is, Grammy. It still is.”

Um. What did you think? If you would like, you could request what color you would like me to write about next… or even a name or an object you would like to appear? I can personalize these…

I know that makes it sound like I will be doing more and I said this was a one-time thing. But I might make an exception if I get requests… Maybe.

The Plan Moving Forward: Imma Be A Vlogger

I am so excited, guys.

I am going to be a vlogger! Someday. Hopefully a soon someday.

But perhaps you are wondering where this came from. I haven’t ever mentioned it before, after all.

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You are quite right, Johnny. Quite right.

This came out of nowhere for me, too. So you aren’t the only one who is surprised.

Several random things collided at the exact same moment – and this idea was crystallized in my mind.

Obviously it was meant to be! My destiny, as it were.

First, there was this post by Naomi. Which you should read, because Naomi is hilarious and this post was scarily true of me, if not every blogger.

But reading it made me think for the first time about where exactly I am going with this blog. Blogging isn’t exactly a lifetime gig, after all. The blog wasn’t my idea and becoming a world-famous blogger isn’t part of My Plan. And while some of things that have been Not Part Of The Plan have been the best things to happen to me, that doesn’t mean I discard it and go through life letting things happen to me. I want to do life intentionally. Which means having a plan.

In case you haven’t noticed, I like plans.

But as she pointed out, one doesn’t set out to keep blogging forever. Or, I didn’t, anyway.

For example, I don’t see myself doing this once I’m out of college. Maybe not even during college. I anticipate being rather busy, you see.

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I definitely don’t see myself doing this as a career or for the rest of my life.

For me, blogging is going to be one season of my life… and one, I must admit, that is rapidly coming to an end. The blogging chapter of my life is almost over.

I think I was always aware in the back of my mind that this was the way it was going to be. I’ve just been thinking about it the front of my mind recently.

Not to say that it hasn’t been good for me to build this platform – it has. But a platform is built to help you climb higher, is it not? Not so that you can admire the view from where you are.

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Look at me getting all metaphorical.

That post was only half of the impetus for my new and improved Plan, though. The other half was that I watched several vlogs. It wasn’t something I did on purpose. I didn’t think to myself, “I shall now proceed to watch videos of a random person’s face.” That strikes me as a wee bit strange.

But some of my writerly friends make vlogs on occasion and I like to watch them. I find it interesting to put a voice and a face with a blog. Because blogs don’t have heads, as you may have noticed.

I realized as I watched that that’s what I want to do.

Switching over to vlogging seems like a natural transition. And so, I have decided that this will be my next step, my next… chapter.

Step One: Amass An Army Of Followers

I have fifty followers. And I couldn’t be more proud.

I am grateful to each and every one of you.

But I can’t help but notice that only about ten of you are actively involved – reading and commenting.

Now, fifty is a big number and one I’m happy with. If all fifty of my followers read and commented on every post, I would dive immediately into the dangers waters of vlogging.

As it is, I eagerly await the day when I have fifty active followers. Or maybe one hundred followers total?

Either way, this means that my following needs to keep growing.

Step Two: My Adoring Fans Will Beg Me To Reveal My Lovely Face

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This is an important step in the process, obviously.

I will not proceed until this occurs, okay? I. Will. Not.

You must beg and offer me gifts of chocolate and your firstborn children. Actually, no. Just chocolate, please. I hate babies.They scare me.

Anyway. Until this momentous occasion takes place, I will shroud myself in a deep fog of secrecy and your curiosity and anticipation will build until you are ready to explode.

Hopefully this provides the incentive you need to help me get those followers!

Step Three: Become A World-Famous Vlogger

This may surprise you, given my introverted ways, but I am actually perfectly comfortable in front of a camera.

I don’t talk about it much because this is, in fact, a writing blog, but acting is my passion. Writing is more of a hobby in comparison.

Therefore, this will be the easiest step because I am extremely self-absorbed and love talking about myself and being dramatic and performing for people.

The only obstacle I foresee is that I don’t have the proper equipment – a nice camera, a pretty room with good lighting, or even basic knowledge of editing and then uploading my soon-to-be-world-renowned videos.

Just  a slight problem.

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Step Four: Catch The Eye Of A Prestigious Filmmaker

I hear that prestigious filmmakers casually browse YouTube for videos of aspiring actors, so clearly this is a foolproof plan.

I would also like to point out that single and gorgeous aren’t requirements, but I wouldn’t complain if they came with the package. Just sayin.’

Step Five: Launch My Acting Career

Here’s the cool part.

Once I get world-famous… I will start posting on this blog again.

What? You thought that I was going to delete my darling blog? You’re cute.

Yes, this blog may lie dormant for a while, but I do plan on keeping it up and maybe even posting occasionally. We shall see, yes?

Before we all depart to cry stormily…

This is not goodbye – not yet. I have to have fifty committed fans before moving on from this blog, remember?

So I’m going to be around for a while yet.

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Pride And Prejudice 2005 Is Historically Inaccurate… And I Think It’s On Purpose

Naomi wrote this hilarious post on Pride and Prejudice 2005 and aside from making me laugh until I cried, it made me realize something.

Pride and Prejudice 2005 is undeniably inaccurate.

Naomi pointed out things like the dresses, hairstyles, and settings. And she was right. She was right about all of it. I couldn’t help but nod and agree inwardly with every point she brought up – despite the fact that I am a fan of this movie.

I enjoyed the post so much that after finishing, I read the ensuing debate that was held in the comments. This was… illuminating.

This part of Hamlette‘s comment particularly struck a chord with me.

“I think a great deal of this movie’s staging and costuming was done purposely to provoke people, to get them to think about passion and how hard it is to contain it. How close anger and arousal are to each other. How similar people then are to us now. And how unusual Elizabeth and Darcy are, that they were willing to flout convention to be together.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

As I read Naomi’s post, I became persuaded that these inaccuracies couldn’t possibly have been accidental. It is preposterous to think that the director simply didn’t have the resources or money to portray the time period correctly. And you can’t say that he was stupid enough to not research the story thoroughly before setting out to make a movie about it.

It was deliberate.

Clothing

This required a bit of research as I am not exactly an expert on Regency clothing.

I found that Pride and Prejudice 2005 stayed mostly true to the styles of that time period, though Mrs. Bennet’s costumes look more like something from the Georgian era. I can only assume that the intention was to portray Mrs. Bennet as hopelessly old-fashioned, perhaps unaware that her clothing has gone out of style.

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But you will notice that – most of the time – there isn’t much difference in the dresses from the 1995 and 2005 versions.

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Personally, I don’t care for the Regency style. Gathering a dress at the ribs that way always gives the impression of being pregnant and therefore needing the extra looseness in the stomach. But I suppose I would need to take up that argument with Jane Austen, not Joe Wright, wouldn’t I?

Settings

The general consensus here seems to be that the settings are all quite grimy.

I don’t know, I kind of like it? It adds detail and texture and realism.

That said, it is true. The Bennets house is cluttered and gross, their yard is muddy and riddled with puddles, and the town looks dusty and its inhabitants rather poor.

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Pemberley and Netherfield I must exclude from this…

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Hair

Oh, dear.

I did a bit of research – I’m not any more of an expert on Regency hair than I am on Regency dresses – and, wow, the 2005 version failed.

Rather fantastically.

The Ugly Sidecurls were, alas, the correct hairstyle.

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And bangs wouldn’t become popular for many more years. Oops.

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I can only say that Ugly Sidecurls are, well, ugly, and Pride and Prejudice 2005 wanted to make an aesthetically pleasing movie – the Sidecurls would have ruined it!

 

Customs

Lizzy’s habit of traveling alone – to Netherfield, or home from church, or to the inn that she is staying at.

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Her habit of walking instead of traveling by carriage.

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Everyone’s terrible table manners.

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Lizzy and Jane’s messy hair.

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The number of times we see Lizzy in her nightgown.

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Lizzy’s… coattails.

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Darcy’s lack of cravat and unbuttoned shirt early in the morning.

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Bingley entering a woman’s bedroom. And walking into the Bennets’ house like he owns it.

Darcy bursting in on Lizzy unannounced at Charlotte’s house.

Darcy’s lack of surprise at seeing Lizzy in her nightgown. Twice.

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Pigs walking through the house.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh bursting in on the Bennets in the middle of the night.

Even I know that these things were not done in Jane Austen’s day. The only explanation is that they knew that if everything was culturally and historically accurate, that no one would be able to relate to it.

Almost like a modern adaptation…thinly masked as a period drama. Emphasis on the thinly.

The Bennets were poor – but poor back then didn’t look like poor does now. The only way to convey the idea that they were poor was to try and translate it in a way that modern audiences could appreciate… pigs in the house, muddy yards, few servants, poor manners, untidy clothing and hair.

Today it is culturally acceptable to be seen in your pajamas in public. Guys are allowed to enter girls’ bedrooms – though knocking would be nice! People dress sloppily when they didn’t sleep well the night before. Housekeepers don’t receive visitors; people walk right into houses they feel comfortable in. Women are allowed to travel alone. Walking isn’t usually considered unsafe. We don’t have great table manners. Late-night visits are okay. Girls don’t fix up their hair if they plan on hanging around the house all day.

It seems obvious to me that the intention was to capture the feeling behind Austen’s novel – the urgency with which Darcy enters a room or the drabness of the Lizzy’s home – not the culture that surrounded it.

Keira Knightley

I have heard some complaints about Keira Knightltey. Not her acting or her performance as Lizzy, exactly…

They dislike how modern Knightley is.

But this is perfectly in keeping with the idea that the makers of this movie were trying to appeal to a more modern audience. Knightley looks young – almost teenager-young – in this movie and conveys vivacity and charm.

Can you say the same of Jennifer Ehle?

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The fact of the matter is that Ehle is plump and matronly and looks like the middleaged mother of four – not a witty and captivating young girl.

Please don’t mistake me. Ehle is pretty in her own way – she looks sweet and kind and wise and gentle and good. The problem is that I wouldn’t use any of these words to describe Lizzy!

Personally, I think Knightley captures the heart of Lizzy Bennet far better.

The Angry Rain Proposal

As I like to call it.

The big contention here seems to be the near-miss kiss. Because Lizzy has just turned this man down and attacked him with biting words, so why would she then look more than ready to accept a kiss from him?

It don’t make a whole lotta sense, Bob.

Now when I first watched this movie, this was my favorite scene… and it still is. There was something so fascinating about their anger and attraction and the rain dripping off Darcy’s bangs and the way Lizzy has to crane her neck to look up at him.

At the time, I wouldn’t have been able to pinpoint exactly why this scene drew me.

Hamlette put it into words for me.

Anger and arousal are just a breath away from each other. It is because they are both so angry that they nearly lose control. Their attraction was, from the beginning, physical. Even though neither one of them wanted to admit it, there was a spark of something between them from the moment Darcy glanced at Elizabeth in the dancing hall that first night. And after that it grows – he instinctively reaches out to grab her hand, even though he doesn’t understand why, their eyes keep meeting across the room, she laughs to hide her embarrassment at feeling attracted to a man she has only just seen for the first time.

So maybe the Angry Rain Proposal makes perfect sense? I think it does.

In conclusion! Pride and Prejudice 2005 was artistic and beautiful… it was not accurate.

There! I have declared my opinion. It’s your turn now. Rage away, my lovelies!

 

9 Shocking Facts About The Characters In Pride And Prejudice 2005

As you know, I love Pride and Prejudice 2005. I’m a hopeless romantic, but I don’t watch many chick-flicks… this is one of the only ones.

Pride and Prejudice is the movie equivalent of Chinese, my favorite comfort food. I love curling up with a fleecy blanket and a bowl of something warm and watching this movie.

So, yes, I know this movie like the back of my hand. Or better than the back of my hand? I don’t know the back of my hand that well, to be honest.

And the more times you watch this movie, the more you see. It’s quite thrilling.

Now brace yourself… for 9 shocking facts that were hitherto unknown to you about the characters in Pride and Prejudice.

Shocking Fact Number One – I Foresee A Career In Rapping For Lizzy Bennet!

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Are you shocked?

I have watched this movie an insane amount of times and sometimes I still don’t quite catch what Lizzy is saying.

Let us consider this mouthful from the Angry Rain Proposal. “From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.”

Try saying that ten times fast! The crazy thing is that Lizzy does – say it fast, I mean. Like I said, it’s a mouthful, studded with plenty of ten-dollar words. But then again, most of the dialogue in a period drama is.The difference is that Lizzy says all of her lines at this same breakneck pace.

I want to see blooper reels. Or at least know how many tries it took to get it right.

I admire the rare talent of speedtalking, but it doesn’t take me long to get all tripped up.

If I were Lizzy Bennet, that line would look somewhat different. Something like this, perhaps… “From the first moment I met you I realized that your self disdain made you the last man on earth.” I am quite talented, thank you.

Here is yet another example of Lizzy’s rapping potential. “Do you deny that you separated a young couple who loved each other, exposing your friend to the censure of the world for caprice and my sister to derision for disappointed hopes, involving them both in misery of the acutest kind?”

Potential, I say!

Shocking Fact Number Two – Lizzy Is Nice To Mrs. Bennet!

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If my own mother blatantly showed that she preferred all of my other siblings to me, wanted me to marry a creepy cousin in the name of saving my family from destitution, routinely embarrassed me in public, wasn’t bothered by the fact that her daughter ran off with a manipulative gambler just so long as she got married, and drove everyone insane with her ignorance and crudeness, I doubt I would be able to find it in my heart to treat her as kindly as Lizzy does her mother.

Sure, Lizzy says to her face that people die from the shame of having “such a mother,” and rebels outright when Mrs. Bennet tries to force her to marry Mr. Collins. But in spite of it all, Lizzy actually has pity for her mother. It blows my mind.

Perhaps Lizzy is a better person than we give her credit for.

Shocking Fact Number Three – Lizzy Cares About Lydia!

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Lydia is a brat who got what was coming to her. Particularly since she doesn’t seem all that upset about being taken advantage of. In fact, she seems oddly proud of herself for disgracing her family and marrying a complete jerk.

Lizzy isn’t close to Lydia – at all. She tries to keep Kitty and Lydia in check and remind them to mind their manners, but she realizes that there is only so much she can do – especially since Lydia and Kitty are supported and encouraged by their mother.

But do remember the scene where Lizzy receives the letter from Jane about how Lydia has run away with Mr. Wickham?

Lizzy is devastated. She can’t even tell her aunt and uncle what has happened without breaking down. She immediately blames herself for it and rebukes herself sharply for not having told her family what she knew about Mr. Wickham so that the tragedy could have been averted. Tears stream down her face as they rush home in the carriage.

She cares about her little sister deeply. She is concerned about her safety and is willing to go to any length to ensure it.

Whatever Lizzy’s flaws, disloyalty to her family is not one of them.

Shocking Fact Number Four – Lizzy Enjoys Seeing Kitty And Lydia Happy

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Let’s be honest.

No one likes Kitty or Lydia in this version. You’re not supposed to! Lydia is shallow and glib and immature and bratty and Kitty is a slightly more boring version of Lydia.

We see these lovely ladies giggling drunkenly and flirting brazenly and smacking each other and hyperventilating over… “officers.”

They don’t have a lot going for them.

But remember that scene in the beginning of the movie where Kitty and Lydia are dancing with Jane and trying to persuade her to let them borrow clothing items?

I love how Lizzy just sits there, watching and smiling in happiness. She’s happy… because her sisters are happy. Isn’t that sweet?

Lizzy has a heart of gold, guys.

Shocking Fact Number Five – Darcy Talks Funny… And Rocks It

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Anybody else would sound like a bumbling idiot if they repeated, “I love, I love, I love” three times before finally spitting out the last bit of their declaration.

Darcy doesn’t.

Because Darcy is adorable. And he makes this utterly stupid line sound sweet and emotional and choked-up and… no, I’m not choked up! Why would you say a silly thing like that?

Shocking Fact Number Six – Darcy Isn’t Into Caroline

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Sure, her personality is a turn-off, but Caroline is alluring and sophisticated. I can’t help but wonder why Darcy is so cold to her, right from the start. I mean, isn’t he good friends with her brother? So he’s probably known her for a while, right?

And yet he coldly rejects all her advances and shuts her down whenever she tries to compliment his fast writing or his sister or his sister’s design for a table or the odiousness of business letters…

Okay, so I am beginning to see why he didn’t like her.

But! He tells Lizzy that he doesn’t have the talent of conversing easily with people that he has just met. Based upon personal experience, I know that when I find myself at an awkward dance in an unfamiliar… barn, I stay especially close to those I do know – even if I don’t like them that much under normal circumstances. You would think he would at least talk to her, you know?

Shocking Fact Number Seven – Darcy Is Friends With Bingley

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How shall I put this… delicately?

Bingley does not exactly strike me as the most intelligent young man on the globe. In fact, you could say that he is incredibly stupid. And you wouldn’t be lying.

Don’t get me wrong – Bingley is adorable. In the same way that an overgrown Golden Retriever puppy is adorable.

I would like to pat Bingley on the head.

And it is kinda sweet when he is on the balcony waving goodbye the Bennets and just can’t seem to stop.  Or when he is so distraught over leaving Jane that he apparently forgets to shave and so looks even more like a scruffy little puppy.

But overall, this guy doesn’t have a lot of substance. By his own admission, he doesn’t read, we can see that he is easily persuaded and cowed, he’s absurdly awkward and can’t carry on a normal conversation to save his life, and he has a terrible habit of laughing stupidly at anything and everything!

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

How is Darcy friends with this imbecile? Darcy is rich and obviously values education and quick wit and extensive reading.

None of which Bingley possesses.

They say opposites attract and that is certainly true. But in my experience, intelligent people only get frustrated with ignorant people who don’t even attempt to better themselves.

Shocking Fact Number Eight – Jane Is In Love With Bingley

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Jane may not be rich, but she is intelligent. Sure, she deliberately chooses to see the best in people but this is not blind stupidity – it is a choice. Jane wants to be happy and she realizes that she will not be happy if she focuses on what’s wrong with her situation and what’s bad in other people. So she chooses to find the good.

She knows that her sisters are impolite and unruly. She knows that her mother’s behavior is embarrassing and crude. But she has taken the pains to make herself into a lady, even if her family and social standing do not exactly lend themselves to this goal. 

Jane is not dumb.

And so, every time Jane comes home from that ball and says, “Mr. Bingley is just what a young man ought to be,” I regard her with extreme suspicion. 

Mr. Bingley is not “just what a young man ought to be.” A young man ought to be able to talk to people without making a fool out of himself more than a dozen times. A young man ought to be a man and stand up to other people bullying him. A young man ought to make up his own mind, not have it made up for him.

Bingley has many flaws that could use amending. He’s not… ideal.

Like Jane, he tends to see the best in everything. Unlike Jane, I get the impression that this is more because he stupidly believes everything to be good even when it is not and less because he chooses to find something good even in a bad situation.

For example, he glibly states that he has “never seen so many pretty girls in his entire life,” when we are all rather acutely aware that this cannot be true. Jane, on the other hand, discreetly says, “they’re not all bad.” A much more accurate assessment.

So how can Jane want to marry him? Doesn’t she see that they are not on the same plane? She is a mature adult and Bingley… well, Bingley is still working his way through adolescence, I think.

Shocking Fact Number Nine – Mary Is A Sweet Girl

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She is!

Tell me, what is wrong with loving music, practicing diligently, and hating parties? Nothing!

In fact, I’m inclined to think all of them good character qualities!

The only strike against Mary that I can think of is that she is not the best singer. Not everyone can be, or so I’m told. By my family members. Who complain of bleeding ears and other such ailments. Occasionally.

And yes, her statement about balls being much more sensible if “conversation, not dancing, were the order of the day” is a bit pretentious and stuffy. And she apparently reads boring books aloud to Kitty – but Kitty could use a good stiff dose of boredom every now and then!

Honestly, I refuse to hold a grudge against a girl who plays “Dawn” so beautifully in that opening scene, okay? Okay.

So… were you shocked?

Tell me! Have you seen Pride and Prejudice 2005? Do you love it? Hate it? Something in between? Who is your favorite character? Which of these facts shocks you the most?

 

 

 

Unedited: Burning Edition

I feel like you guys are ultimately going to read my entire book just through these snippets posts… What can I say, there are lots of tiny bits and  pieces of my story that I love!

You’re probably getting tired of it, but to be honest with you, I’m having the time of my life. I’m proud of this story and my precious characters. Introducing you to my characters and having you, my writerly pals, get to know and love them the way I do… well, that’s why writers write, isn’t it? To share what they love with other people?

But I’m rambling nonsensically.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

The first meteor caught the pack by off-guard, it was traveling so fast. There was searing heat and an explosion. Endelyn pivoted, eyes wide, as she tried to take in what had just happened. Wimbo Nzuri knelt on the sand, holding the charred remains of her father in her lap and sobbing brokenly.

 

“Move out!” Hatari yelled. “We can’t stay here!”
One of the women tending Mako spoke up. “He really shouldn’t be moved, Hatari. He’s lost too much blood.”
“Then we leave him,” she said grimly.

 

She was dead. Hatari made a horrible noise – half-sob, half-gasp. It ended on a screaming wail that died on her lips but her mouth stayed open, stretched wide in a silent screech.

 

They took the burned baby and buried her in a grave that the man dug. It was too big, but they put her in it anyway.

 

As always, the song was its own when it began. It was up to Endelyn to fashion it into what she needed it to be. And for the first time, she needed it to be a song of healing. She mixed Aleks’ lullaby with her Awakening, the green grass that grew beneath her in the arid desert and she sang love and pain and grief for all the things that had been lost. Endelyn lost herself in the song, closing her eyes and watching it come to life in the darkness of her mind. She saw Makovu whole, she saw him strong, she saw him standing alone to ward off the darkness that approached, she saw his rare smile, the intense heat of his eyes, and, for the first time, allowed herself to relive their kiss. She opened her eyes and saw him watching her as she sang. Tears leaked out of his eyes. Endelyn faltered and then stopped altogether. She wiped away thee tears that were coursing down her own cheeks.
“It worked,” she whispered.
Endelyn stood and looked around. Everyone had gathered in a circle about them. Hatari was the only one who wasn’t staring at Endelyn. She was fingering her burned arm. Except it wasn’t burned anymore. The skin was perfect, unmarred and smooth.

 

“I can’t just let you die!”
“You promised,” he reminded her.
“There is a time to break promises!”
“Have you no honor?” he shouted.
The tears spilled over. “Apparently not.”
Makovu shook his head. “I won’t let you.”
“You can’t stop me,” she said flatly.

 

Haraka only shrugged. “It was not given to us to know how it would all turn out.”
“Don’t you wish it had?” she persisted.
“No,” he responded flatly.
“Why not?”
“Because I might see something I couldn’t do anything to stop.”
Mkali looked at him strangely. “What do you know, Haraka?”
“Enough.”
“There’s something you’re not telling me.”
“There are many things I’m not telling you. Because you do not need to know.”
Mkali sighed. “Fine. Have it your way. I still wish I knew how it was all going to end.”
“No, you don’t, Mkali. No, you don’t.”

 

“You couldn’t save the life of one little girl, so you did penance by saving another. But you destroyed Endelyn at the same time. It would have been better if she died.”
Anger rose up and clouded my vision. “I save her life!”
“Did you, Landric? Did you really?”

 

“Yes, I am Makovu.” His words hung in the air with a sort of finality. “Maybe I’ll never belong. Maybe some people never do.”

 

“You are a strange woman,” Endelyn said at last.
The woman did not laugh this time, but smiled, sadly. “Yes, I am a strange woman. A strange woman in a strange world.”

Okay, tell me all the things! Do you feel like you are getting more of a feel for this story? Do you actually enjoy the nefarious Snippets Posts or are you just tolerating them? Does reading other people’s snippets ever make you depressed – because it totally depresses me! I honestly don’t even know why I post snippets…

Bullet Journaling: My Way Or The Highway, Pal

Okay, so bullet journaling has become kind of a big thing.

And, yes, I know I’m a bit late to the party. Aren’t I always? It’s my unique trademark.

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The truth is that I meant to post this ages ago, but time-sensitive or seasonal blog posts kept popping up and demanding to be written and this one got pushed to the wayside. Poor baby.

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Bullet journaling!

Essentially, bullet journaling is speed journaling. It is designed so that you can catalog your entire day in a tidy and objective and succinct way.

Actually that makes it sounds way more revolutionary than it is. 

It is not revolutionary.

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Bullet journaling is for people who are too lazy to invest in a real journal. To put it rather harshly.

I did my research. So I do, in fact, know what I am talking about. And there are some aspects of bullet journaling I like and decided to implement. I’m good at that, you see. Evaluating something, stealing the good, and leaving the rest.

I guess you should know that I am what you might call an intense journaller.

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An expert, as it were.

I have been journaling since I was a little girl and it has helped me maintain my grip on reality through some dark times. Writing has never been optional for me. I am absolutely serious when I say that if I did not write, I would go insane. I need to write. Writing is my therapy.

Let us return, therefore, to the topic at hand. Bullet journaling.

I have adopted the Index, the page numbering, and the title for each entry. Honestly, I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t think of these myself? Ouch. 

An index, now that is what I call brilliant. Like the index in the back of a textbook, this is simply a series of pages in the back of the journal where you list what is written about on which page. Which is why you need to title each entry and number every page… It wouldn’t work too well otherwise…

Another thing I’m doing differently is not dating entries. See, normally I work through a journal, er, chronologically? This time I decided to open to a blank page and just… write.

This is oddly freeing, I must say. And it makes the journal less gushing about my personal life and more focused on honing my writing skills. Not that gushing is wrong – for many years, that was what I needed. That’s alright. But I’ve been wanting to move in a new direction and this is a good step.

Titling each entry also helps force me to stay on topic – instead of rambling about anything and everything.

So. There are some things I decided to use in my journal. But most of it was perfectly useless.

The “future log,” for example. Like most people, I have a bucket list… but why use up journal space that I could be using to write about right now to write about what I am going to do in ten years? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, if you ask me.

Plotting out the next year seems silly. Things change. Plans aren’t permanent. So… I would fill in birthdays I already have memorized. Yeah.

The monthly log is similar. My schedule is pitifully devoid of commitments. I have no life. We know this. So it isn’t as if I need a place to keep track of all those hot dates and wild parties and special plans. The most exciting part of my life right now is this blog and it has a built-in schedule. Nifty, right?

And now I shall proceed to rant about why bullet journaling is stupid. Brace yourselves!

Bullet journaling is supposedly for people who struggle to keep a regular journal. This way, entries are brief – because actually writing words that form sentences and paragraphs is too hard on the ol’ wrists.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if you struggle to journal consistently, you probably don’t need one. Not only are you far too busy, but you are obviously not suffering emotional for your lack of journaling.

As I said, I would go insane if I didn’t journal. So “finding the time” has never been a problem for me. That’s like someone who takes pills to keep him from imploding saying, “Oh, yes! I’ve always wanted to take them regularly because I know it would be good for me.. but I just can’t seem to be consistent.”

When you truly need something, you don’t just forget. It doesn’t slip you mind. You don’t have “find the time.”

It is a priority.

In the end, then, I’d say the logic behind bullet journaling is flawed. What those people need is a planner and lots of reminders, not a journal.

Now you might be saying, “Okay, so I clearly don’t need journaling like some people do, but I want to journal because I am a writerly bean and journaling seems like a good habit to form.”

I like you, for starters.

I love journaling. I think everyone should do it.

But if you don’t need to journal, I doubt it’s going to stick. No matter how hard you try.

I don’t think of journaling as a habit, a part of my daily routine, like working out or going for a run.

It’s… well, it’s therapy.

People don’t go to therapy unless they need it. They don’t say, “Boy oh boy, does that therapy thing look like fun! I think I shall make it my New Year’s resolution to go every day!”

So. As some smart guy once said, “the first step is recognizing that you have a problem.”

In other words, get to a place where you do need it.

I was driven to journal by my emotions. If you don’t need journaling for emotional reasons, I suggest that you learn how to need it as a writer. Or… an artist. Of whatever kind you happen to be.

Be an artist whose mind is so alive with idea that you will implode if you don’t get them down on paper.

That’s all, folks.

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Okay, talk to me, guys! Do you bullet journal? Do you regular journal? Are you a writerly bean? Do you aspire to be an artist? Will you implode if you don’t regular pour forth your guts onto paper?

4 Extremely Convenient Moments In “The Jungle Book”

Don’t get me wrong, this is an undeniably adorable movie.

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And an oddly nostalgic one for me personally since I vividly remember watching it the night that my parents brought Timothy home for the first time. He actually interrupted my viewing of it and I do not believe that I have ever finished watching the animated version. Ever.

But that is a post for another time.

We are gathered here today because I hate convenience. That’s right, folks. I hate it. Convenience is not okay. Things must happen for a reason – in stories, at least. Sure, random coincidences are a thing, but the plot absolutely may not hinge on them.

And while that little boy with the bizarre red underpants is cuteness overload and Baloo is my spirit animal – literally – the new live-action Jungle Book had a few moments that were just over the top.

Number One – Buffalo

Once upon a time, there was a little boy chatting with a panther in the tall grass. All is well. Alas, but the little boy is being chased by a tiger – which, according to my calculations, is actually a recipe for Death. Because, prepare yourself for a little-known fact here, tigers are, indeed, faster than human boys.

But the panther has instructed Red Underpants what to do – run as fast as you can. Never fear, Underpants. This is sure to end well for you!

Enter buffalo. A whole stampede of them, in fact. They happened to be, uh, stampeding nearby and ran by just in time for Little Underpants to grab onto a passing pair of horns and hitch a ride.

And I am left wondering how Wise Panther knew. Are buffalo kind of like trains, always passing a certain point at the same time every day? Has this happened before? How often do he and Red Undies practice this feat?

Number Two – Bear

Once upon a time, Red Undies was having a polite conversation with Scarlett Johanssonn. Things were going just swimmingly. Except for the oft-forgotten detail that Scarlett Johansson is a boa constrictor and she is squeezing the life out of poor, small Undies.

Enter a bear.

That’s right, a bear. A brown bear, to be precise. Strolling in the jungle. Because brown bears are typically found in tropical jungles, you know.

Bow to my superior knowledge of brown bears.

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Number Three – Tree

Little Red Underwear is in trouble. An unusually large orangutan is trying to kill him. Poor Red.

Desperate to escape from the collapsing ancient temple that is Massive Orangutan’s dwelling, Undies actually throws himself out of a thirteen-or-so story window. Normally a drop from such a height would prove mortal but luckily for this underwear-clad young gentleman, someone has planted a large and seemingly soft tree just under that particular window.

Red Underpants emerges unscathed. Adorable as ever.

Number Four – Language Learning

Once upon a time, Little Undies was educated. We never see this onscreen, of course, but I would say he attended a rather prestigious university based on all the languages he knows. It is truly remarkable.

He can speak Boa Constrictor, Brown Bear, Panther, Tiger, Orangutan, and Wolf fluently. Unfortunately, it is not enough. Gibbon and small-pear-stealing-cat still evade his grasp.

Looks like our friend Underpants needs to head back to school…

But seriously. This movie is precious.

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Have you seen the new live-action Jungle Book? Isn’t it precious? Doesn’t convenience drive you insane? What is the most infuriatingly convenient moment in fiction you know of? Share in the comments!

My True Love… Hamilton

For those of you who don’t know, the musical genius Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and then starred in a musical about the founding father Alexander Hamilton. Not surprisingly, it was titled Hamilton.

Your mind is blown, I know.

This musical has become important to me for a number of reasons and I’ve wanted to write a post about it for a while, so when my good friend Grace tagged me for the Hamilton-themed tag she created, I saw my opportunity to ramble about my true love.

Aside from the obvious fact that the songs are catchy and lyrically brilliant, Hamilton brings people long dead back to life again. This isn’t easy, but they did it.

And the story… where do I start? Hamilton’s story is one of ambition and friendship and hope, jealousy and rivalry and terrible mistakes. Perhaps more than anything, though, Hamilton is a story of forgiveness and redemption.

I don’t know about you, but history isn’t my strong point. It was never my favorite subject in school and even though I took American History, I clearly didn’t retain much as the name “Alexander Hamilton” meant nothing to me when I first heard it.

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I am proud to say that I could now easily reel off his story to you from start to finish, but that isn’t my point. My point is that even a non-history buff like myself can fall in love with Hamilton, and, to some degree, fall in love with history.

I mean, if Hamilton’s is such a powerful, moving story… what other stories in history did I overlook? It makes me want to start voraciously devouring history books, to be honest.

But before I am, ahem, run away with my emotions, perhaps I should answer some of Grace’s lovely questions, yes?

How did you discover Hamilton?

Through Sarah and Grace, actually! Sarah wrote a post on her old blog listing some of the writerly references that pepper this musical. I had never heard of this “Hamilton” thing before, so I was curious. Shortly thereafter, I watched this video of Stacey and Natalie from Studio C lip-syncing the song Nonstop. I fell in love. I wanted to be able to do that – to lip-sync that song as flawlessly as they did. So I proceeded to interrogate Grace about the details – a process she tolerated with admirable patience, I must say.

Who is your favorite character?

Alexander? Burr? Eliza?

I relate to all of them, for drastically different reasons.

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Like Alexander, I am ambitious in a way that most people aren’t. Perhaps ambition isn’t even the right word. More like… restlessness, dissatisfaction, hunger. Like Alexander, I find myself consumed with longing for something more, something better. This can be a good thing. As Eliza so often points out, Alexander made it incredibly far when you look at where he came from. Similarly, this restlessness makes me hardworking and determined to accomplish my dreams.

But as Hamilton so poignantly illustrates, ambition can also destroy relationships and people.

Burr, on the other hand, is an enigma to me. He is the opposite of Hamilton.

Hamilton is your stereotypical protagonist. The orphan who is alone in the world but knows what they want and are determined to do whatever it takes to get it.

I can relate to this.

Burr is… anything but stereotypical. He is also a highly motivated man, but in a different way than Hamilton – and this fascinates me. Burr coolly waits for the right moment… and then steps in and takes what he wants. And if Burr’s character was handled with anything less than superb skill, I wouldn’t have been able to relate to him at all. He’s nothing like me, after all. Fortunately, his character was handled with amazing skill.

Burr isn’t timid, he isn’t afraid – he simply realizes how much he stands to lose. So Burr made me realize something about the “hero.” Alexander has nothing to lose. So he can take risks that Burr can’t take. Burr wants to be Hamilton. He wants to be that reckless kid with nothing. But he isn’t. He was born into a prestigious family, and when his parents died “they left no instructions, just a legacy to protect.”

This made me realize something important: some of us are born into circumstances that allow for Alexander’s recklessness… and some of us aren’t. And that isn’t your fault. You have no control over the family that you are born into.

You gotta work with what you got.

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Perhaps Burr’s best quality is his patience. A lesson that hits home for me especially, as I am not patient. At all. I don’t sit around waiting for things to happen. To me. I get out there and chase them. There’s something so passive, so lazy about waiting that drives me crazy.

But Burr’s waiting isn’t passive. It’s active. He is lying in wait.

I can’t help but admire this.

And you know what blows my mind? This story is not the work of a talented author who thought, “Burr will balance Hamilton, Hamilton will balance Burr…” This actually happened. These people were real.

Eliza…

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Eliza is a beautiful character. She is gentle and trusting. She is good.

She loves Alexander wholeheartedly. And she possesses a certain innocence and sweetness that makes you want to protect her. Unfortunately, one cannot protect characters in musicals…

She is one of the first ones to recognize Alexander’s genius and she always tries to point him to the truth, she always pushes him to see the good – all that he does have instead of all that he wants.

Her ache to “be apart of the narrative, the story they will write one day” resonates so deeply with me. How many “side characters” are left out of the story? How many wives and mothers are standing just outside the spotlight, the silent, but true, heroes of these stories?

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Of all the characters in this story, Eliza may be the one to suffer the most. Her husband seems almost incapable of loving her as completely as she loves him. He leaves her behind. And then he breaks her heart.

But Eliza… she forgives him.

The song It’s Quiet Uptown is all about forgiveness. And it breaks my heart into about a million pieces.

It is important to me on so many levels. This song is incredibly sad but if this song was not in the play, Hamilton would be so dark and depressing that I wouldn’t be able to stand it.

Alexander admits that he what he did was wrong. He acknowledges that Eliza is the better person. He finally sees the strength and beauty that was in his wife all along.

This is important. It sends the message that Alexander’s behavior was not… acceptable. There are no excuses for what he did.

And Miranda doesn’t try to excuse him, or brush it off by saying, “Ah, what can you expect from a man like that?” as if great men cannot be expected to be held to the same standards of morality as “normal” people.

And it’s sad… because Alexander is so broken – “I spend hours in the garden… I walk alone to the store… I never liked the quiet before… the sign of the cross at the door… and I pray… that never used to happen before.” I am devastated for Alexander.

Eliza’s part of the song is equally sad. And I love that there is this closure, that Eliza does choose forgiveness. “Walking by her side, talking by her side… they’re standing in the garden, standing there side by side… he takes her hand… it’s quiet uptown… forgiveness… can you imagine? Forgiveness… can you imagine?”

Eliza is the most powerful character in this story and the reason it has the potential to be life-changing.

What’s your absolute favorite song?

If you think there is any way I’m going to answer this question with only one song, you are sadly mistaken, my friend.

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Dear Theodosia, That Would Be Enough, Wait For It, and It’s Quiet Uptown are the most emotional songs, for me.

But Nonstop, Room Where It Happens, and Guns And Ships are the most fun to sing.

What’s your dream role?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. When I watch a movie – or, in this case, listen to a musical – I immediately pick out which character I would most like to play.

Lafayette would be enormously fun and I have the hair for it. And it means being Jefferson as well who is incredibly witty.

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Alexander, obviously, has the largest role.

I love Eliza’s role and the broad emotional emotional range.

And Angelica, while I do not admire her character, has some fast rap sequences that would be fun to do.

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But, like Grace said, the ensemble gets to sing and dance in every song, not to mention cool costumes and incredibly difficult dance sequences.

What’s your favorite quote?

“I am the one thing in life I can control,” said by Aaron Burr.

So often I am tempted to justify my own laziness or bad attitude on my circumstances, but Burr is willing to accept responsibility for his own actions. Because even if we can control nothing else, we can control our own actions.

Who do you consider your “Hamilton Buddy” (someone who you can ramble, fangirl, or sing Hamilton with)?

Alas, no one appreciates Hamilton as I do. I am utterly alone in the world.

Weep with me.

Actually, I do wish I knew someone in person who would sing Hamilton with me. My little brother only barely tolerates my random explosions into song and has long since stopped encouraging them by participating.

Sarah and Grace do indulge me by flailing in comments, though. Thank you, ladies!

In the end, Hamilton is the story of a “great man.”

And while no one can deny that such great man are the ones who change the world, Hamilton shows that this “greatness” comes at a terrible price.

It is often those who are closest – spouse, children, and friends – to such revolutionaries who suffer the most.

Personally, it has always been my belief that you should… “start at home.” After all, what good is it to change the world – only to lose your own kids and destroy your own family or push away your closest friends?

So. Maybe we should rethink our dreams of greatness. Maybe the “greatest” men are the ones who are there for their children, who work hard, who love their wives, who never achieve status, who never get rich, who let go of their ambitions and dreams for those they care about, who we will never read about in history books.

Maybe.

I don’t know a great many fans of Hamilton, but I would love to see Kit, Evangline, and Julia‘s answers to these questions!

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1. How did you discover Hamilton?

2. Who is your favorite character?

3. What’s your absolute favorite song?

4. Music wise, which is better, Act I or Act II?

5. What’s your dream role?

6. What’s your favorite quote?

7. Describe what Hamilton means to you using only 3 words.

8. Who do you consider your “Hamilton Buddy” (someone who you can ramble, fangirl, or sing Hamilton with)?

9. How has Hamilton impacted your life?

10. What is the best thing about Hamilton?

So, tell me! Have you heard Hamilton? Have you heard of Hamilton? What is your favorite song? Who is your favorite character? Do you love history? What’s your favorite musical? 

The Big Reveal: Metal Hands, Metal Soul

I suppose I should start off by apologizing for the unintentional hiatus I took this month?

Ahem, well, yes. About that.

Firstly, I have Excuses. Obviously this thrills your little soul to the snapping point. Alas, I have been fighting a losing war with my health and my role in a musical production of Beauty and the Beast is eating up my weekends – time formerly spent nurturing my firstborn child, Story And Dark Chocolate.

Secondly, I must admit that I don’t know when my posting schedule will get back to normal – normal being something like two posts every week? Play practices will continue to take up my free time until June… and I had been planning to tell you guys that as a General Rule I hiatus during the summer when I have no schedule and can’t be expected to use precious brain capacity trying to stick to one.

So. This is awkward.

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We’ll just… see what happens, okay? I maketh no promises.

And now that I have gotten the preliminary excuse-making and apologizing out of the way…

I’m writing a new story, guys.

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Are you excited? I’m excited.

In the beginning, it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling… which is ironic, because I had no idea that I would be participating in a musical of that story and was also relatively unaware of the existence of the live-action film coming out in March. And, not that this has anything to do with anything, but now that I am in the musical, I am going insane with excitement for the movie! I will probably die from the strain before the 17th rolls around, but whatever. Unimportant details.

Where was I?

Ah, yes.

It was a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Sort of. Now, to give you a bit of background, I don’t love this story.

Not that there is anything wrong with it… it was simply never a favorite. In fact – and prepare yourself for something dreadful – I have never, to this day, seen the Disney’s iconic animated version. Stop glaring. I had a weird childhood, okay?

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As far as fairytales go, I was always more attracted to the ones with a bit more potential. Rapunzel and the Little Mermaid and Jasmine and Mulan. Shut up, I know she’s not a Disney Princess.

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Sleeping Beauty and Belle and Cinderella… well, they were boring to me. Sweet and good and utterly unrelatable. Obviously you are welcome to disagree, as I know some of you adored these classic characters. I just… didn’t.

So you’re probably scratching your head – and I must recommend quitting, because it’s a gross habit – at this point, wondering why I would choose a fairytale I don’t even like to write a retelling of. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me either, to be honest.

My only real reason is that I feel the story needs “fixing.”

The Beast, for example. What is he, exactly? It is never made clear, but Disney’s version painted him as a kind of lion-bear-sabre-toothed-tiger hybrid with ram’s horns. Disturbing, honestly. And, forgive me for being dark, but I always wondered just what we were encouraging? Belle doesn’t fall in love with the Beast knowing that he will turn into a man. She falls in love with a beast… with an animal.

And this is, apparently, considered okay, normal behavior?

Yeah. Actually no. Not where I come from, sister.

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Another thing that bothered me hugely was that he transforms into a human as soon as Belle falls in love with him. This isn’t fair. This isn’t how things work. 

Ugly people don’t get magically hot, okay? They have to come to terms with the face they see in the mirror every day and learn – slowly, painfully – that the right people love them not because of how they look but because of who they are.

Wow, that just got intense.

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It’s just not right, okay? It’s not.

Besides, how would you like it if you fell in love with one dude and then got cheated out of him because he turned into somebody else? You wouldn’t like it. Belle fell in love with an ugly guy, ugliness and all. Change the ugliness, change the whole person and end up with one sad Belle.

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Therefore. I set out to fix these glaring mistakes. Enter a disfigured man with claws instead of fingers and a French teenager with attitude, a cursing problem, sociopathy, and short blond curls.

Because we are crushing stereotypes over here, alright?

And then… the story took on a personality of it’s own – I’m still not sure whether or not to be happy about this – and things evolved from there. It’s looking a lot less like Beauty and the Beast now…

Instead of being set in 19th Century London as originally planned, my story decided it was a fantasy of the same breed as The Songless. Rest assured, the world will be 19th Century Londonesque in the extreme. It’s just set a couple thousand years in the future instead of being historical fiction. No big deal or anything.

Tessa Emily Hall wrote an awesome post on Go Teen Writers about “the story of your heart.” This post inspired me to write what I love instead of vainly struggling to force this story to be something it clearly did not want to be.

As in The Songless, my story’s primary focus is the angelic beings who populate future-Earth.

Langdon is my “beast.” His parents altered him so that he could protect himself in a world that was becoming increasingly hostile to his race – they replaced his fingers with seven-inch steel claws.

Isabella was also altered, but in a far more invasive way. Her soul was removed, leaving behind a robotic, hollow shell of a teenage girl who only knows how to follow orders. And cannot read the books she used to love. However. Perhaps her surgeons did not do as perfect of a job as they first presumed. Isabella likes food, Isabella is lefthanded, Isabella has a sense of curiosity – all things that should not be true.

I’m calling it Metal Hands, Metal Soul. Because Anna said that sounded better than Hollow Steel, the alternate option. I was planning on calling it Mechanical Heart because of it’s anthem, Shatter Me by Lindsey Stirling, but then I realized that monkeyeverything was using the same title for her serial story and I didn’t want to steal because stealing isn’t nice, kids. Learn from me.

So. In an effort to help you get to know my precious children, I am going to answer a series of questions Cait and Sky posted on their blogs for that purpose.

Shall we?

How and why did they meet?

Well, this one’s easy. Isabella is being used as a weapon against her own race. Since she has no emotions, she is uniquely suited to her job – annihilating all the others like her.

Langdon is simply one on a rather long list.

What were their first impressions of each other?

Langdon immediately noticed that something was off about Isabella.

Isabella, on the other hand, cannot form impressions of people.

So.

How would they prove their love for each other?

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That escalated quickly.

Ahem.

Who said anything about love? I mean, in just the last question I explained how the whole relationship is founded on Isabella’s mission to eliminate Langdon. As in, kill him?

Okay, fine. Isabella stays with Langdon when he has a seizure and subsequently, uh, does not murder him. Langdon breaks his promise never to hurt anyone again and kills an operative sent to kill Isabella.

What would be an ideal date?

Something involving food, undoubtedly. That was one of the ways in which this story surprised me. There is a truly shocking amount of food in it.

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This has nothing to do with the fact that I was unable to eat solid foods when I was brainstorming it.

Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

Perhaps the fact that Isabella wants to kill Langdon? Maybe?

List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

My characters are, alas, not this well-developed as yet. The only food quirk I’m aware of is, well, that they love food. Especially cake…

What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

The questions are getting deeper…

Isabella knows everything there is to know about Langdon because she read his file. But I suppose those are only the things that can be evaluated or measured…

Well, he tells her about his promise not to hurt anyone ever again. And Langdon is the one who discovers that Isabella’s surgery wasn’t entirely successful.

What’s one thing that they keep a secret from each other?

Langdon won’t tell Isabella what happened that made him so terrified of hurting people. Isabella’s altered mind doesn’t understand the concept of secrets, so she is completely open about her past.

How would their lives be different without each other?

Well, Langdon would be dead, so his life would, quite literally, not be. Isabella would have been killed as soon as she outlived her usefulness and she may never have discovered the remnants of her personality.

How touching.

Where do they each see this relationship going?

They want to survive. There is no relationship, to be honest. Langdon is in his thirties and Isabella is a young teenager. And I doubt either of them will make it out of the book alive, so it doesn’t especially matter.

I find myself in a quandary, though, and thought perhaps you could help me. Now that I am more familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, I have thought of several retellings that I think would be fantastic.

Like… what if the story was told from the perspective of one of the girls in Gaston’s entourage?

Or what if Gaston really did love Belle, but she just hated him for some reason?

Or what if Belle rejected Gaston because she was in love with LeFou?

And, lastly, am I the only who has thought of the fact that the Beast has clearly gone through this whole abduct-a-random-village-girl routine before? What are the implications of this? A story about one of the “failed Belle’s”…

Let us commence to shriek together!

What are your thoughts on my new novel? Do you like it? Hate it? How do you feel about retellings? Yes or no? On a scale of one to ten, how excited are you for the live-action version coming out? Have you seen the Disney animated version? Do you love it? Did you grow up watching the Disney Princess movies? Which Disney Princess is your favorite? Which of my newest ideas piques your interest the most – Failed Belle, Belle And LeFou, Gaston’s Girl, or Nice Gaston?