Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Tale as old as time . . . " | | Beauty and the Beast {2017}

Before I begin this review, I would like to draw all of your attentions to the fact that today is the birthday of a very special person: Miss Jessica Prescott.  I've had the privilege of counting Jessica as a friend for a while now, and it is such a blessing to know her!!  (To which I'm sure everybody else who knows her will attest! ;D)  Jessica's a very active, encouraging part of the blogosphere (happy face), even though she doesn't have a blog (sad face), and she's always available for encouragement and fun and general friendliness.   Happy birthday, Jessica!!!

And now, the review :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Okay.  Okay.


Y'all, I don't even know how to handle life begin this review.  I guess I'll just go for it.

First things first, however.  If y'all would not read this until after you have seen the movie (if you're planning to see the movie), I'd really appreciate it.  Not because I'm concerned about spoilers (much) -- after all, I'm assuming we all kind of know the storyline of BatB -- but because I know from personal experience that there is nothing like hype and gushing for ruining a movie-watching experience.  And I may or may not engage in quite a bit of hype and gushing in this review.  So.  If you are looking for any content warnings or wondering what my opinion is on The Certain Controversial Issue (ahem), I guess you can just skip to wherever I announce that I am about to talk about The Certain Controversial Issue?   But otherwise, if you know that you're going to watch this, puh-lease don't read this review just yet.  Of course, I can't stop you, but it'd mean a lot to me if you didn't.  Okay?  'Kay, thanks.  

Moving on!  (Also:  this is long.)

I went to see Disney's live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast in theaters on March 19th, 2017, with my parents and a friend.  (I don't know why I felt the need to let you in on those specifics, but there you are.)

I went into it with fluctuating expectations -- for one thing, I love the 2015 remake of Cinderella so much, and how would BatB be able to compete?  For another, the BatB people had a more substantial starting point in the animated film than the Cinderella people, and didn't that kind of make it both easier and harder to follow it up with a "real people" version?  Also, I had been uncertain from the beginning as to what I thought of the casting of Emma Watson as Belle -- mainly just because I hadn't seen her in anything (but always kind of connected her to Harry Potter), and because she didn't really "look like Belle" to me in general.

So, all that to say, I went in trying to prepare myself to be let down by the movie, to be honest.  After all, though I did -- of course -- like and enjoy and appreciate the animated version, it had never really been a favorite Disney movie, for me personally.  

But, um . . . 

I kind of loved it.  A lot.  

I don't actually know how to express it.  You know how I/we flippantly say that this or that movie "brought joy" to our souls?  Well, this movie actually brought me joy.  Not exuberant happiness (though it did that, too), but the same deeper, quieter, throbbing joy that I experience when I watch the end of The Lord of the Rings -- wistful and longing and thought-provoking.  I'm being totally serious.  This may sound improbable, but I don't know if I can place a movie that has affected me in that particular way, given me that particular, clearly distinguishable feeling, since Lord of the Rings.

(Of course, I realize that this movie may not -- probably will not -- affect everyone the same way it affected me.  And that's fine.  But I wanted to share with you the way that it did affect me.)

I should get on to the "actual" reviewing part of the review, shouldn't I?

Emma Watson very soon won me over.  Even now, looking at her just in the stills, she doesn't really look like Belle, to me -- but it's when you see her in the movie itself, acting . . . that's when you get it.  She does Belle VERY well.  She captures her courage and her intelligence and her sense of humor and her sweetness and her non-pretension and all that.  (Side note:  It was about to drive me crazy that her skirt was hiked up for so long, but then my mother pointed out that the makers were probably trying to reinforce the whole idea of her being absent-minded and what-not.  So that's actually kind of cool.  But still.  I'm glad her skirts were worn normally after awhile. :-P)

Dan Stevens' Beast was also quite good.  More on that later.  

The household staff!  Hearts forever.  I particularly enjoyed Ewan McGregor's Lumiere and Ian McKellen's Cogsworth, and the camaraderie between the two of them. :)  Also, the little boy who played Chip?!  When he was human?!  Major cuteness alert.  

I also really like Kevin Kline's Maurice.  Having him as more "level-headed" and more of a painter than an inventor turned out better than I thought it might.  

I wasn't quiiiiiiite as sure about The Wardrobe (ain't no way I'm going to try to spell her real name out) and Maestro -- they were cute and fun additions, but perhaps got a leetle too much screen time?  I'm not sure.  Lemme think about it. ;)

Okay, so, Luke Evans' Gaston.  ALL THE YES.  Bombastic, ridiculous, and arrogant -- Gaston to a T.  

Some of his lines, though (I'm probably paraphrasing):  "No offense, Agathe." ~ "She hasn't made a fool out of herself just to gain my favor.  What would you call that?"  "Dignity?"  "Well, it's enormously attractive!" ~ "You've read it?"  "Well, not that particular one, but -- books, yes." ~ "Think about the war, think about explosions and widows . . . "  "Ah, widows!"

Luke Evans does a good job of making Gaston almost likable . . . until he punches Maurice and *semi-spoilers* ties him up to be eaten by wolves *end of semi-spoilers* and then you remember that he's a legitimately Bad Guy.

I suppose now would be as good a time as any to get the Talk about the Controversy out of the way (I only have that phrase in a bigger size in case anybody is coming here from my pre-review warning). *sigh*  (Spoilers for a minor plot element follow.)

So.  Some of you may know, some of you may not know (I myself did not know until the night before I went to see it) that BatB has incited controversy and, I am told, boycotting, because of the fact that LeFou is gay in this version.  

Yes, I find this unnecessary and unfortunate, given the fact that I believe homosexuality is contrary to God's Word.  However, I do not think that this negates the substantial value in the rest of the movie.  For starters, it's "a minor thing."  LeFou's homosexuality is by no means the focal point of the story.  Also, since LeFou is historically a rather ridiculous character, I don't honestly feel that making him gay is that much of a "triumph for the gay community," or anything like that.  Now, granted, they do give LeFou more depth in this version, as well (which I like).  I don't want to try to persuade you to go and see it if you've decided, for conscientious reasons, to pass on it, but I do want to say, for the record, that it did not lessen my love for the film.  It is restricted mainly to some insinuations and, to be honest, some making fun.  And *semi-spoilers* during the final number of the movie, LeFou ends up dancing with another guy (who was "presented" as a gay character during the storming of the castle -- another rather irksome two seconds). *end of semi-spoilers*  That's it.  

Right, that's taken care of, thank goodness, and we can move on to cheerier subjects!

There are so many little details that I love in this movie -- one of the things that delighted me was when the staff shows Belle to her room, and an instrumental snippet of "Home" (from the Broadway musical) plays for a few moments.  I was geeking out for a second there, hoping/thinking she was going to actually sing it.  I suppose I'm okay with the fact that she didn't, though it would have been fun to hear/see. ;D

The Beast's new number, "Evermore," was nice.  I will admit, my first impression was that "If I Can't Love Her" (also from the B. musical) would have been better, but then I realized that it wouldn't really have worked, chronologically speaking, since he already did love her at that point.  (Plus, they were remaking the Disney movie, not the Broadway musical.)  As I've thought about the song since (and seen various Pinterest edits *ahem*), it has certainly grown on me. ;-P  And Dan Stevens' voice was unexpectedly powerful!  As were all the cast's voices, for that matter -- I was pleasantly surprised when Emma Watson started to sing the first time.  I had, I confess, in my condescending, musically-"educated" way, expected a nice-but-not-really-that-great voice.  But I thought she sang really, really well, and serves my arrogance right!

Adding the scene where they go to Paris and Belle finds out what happened to her mother was a great touch.  I liked how the Beast (calling him Adam doesn't seem natural) didn't try to hide the doctor's mask from her, and how he didn't try to make her feel better with "extraneous talking."  It gave a good glimpse into how they would work together as a couple. :)

The makers hit the nail on the head with re-envisioning the Disney movie, I think.  They added enough new bits to keep the watcher from thinking they were watching the exact same movie all over again, yet they didn't try to change it too much, either.  They all seem to know how important the animated version is to so many people, and they respected that.  (For instance, having Belle see the Beast talking with the horse when she sings the line "New and a bit . . . alarming . . . "?  Gold.)

I liked how they gave the Beast a backstory so that we have an idea of how and why he became the way he is.  I liked this Beast better than the animated one overall -- I think maybe they gave him more depth in general.  Also, the very beginning of the movie was cool.  I felt that the narrator (was that Hattie Morahan?) spoke the intro a little too rapidly, and it was a little different having a woman's voice rather than a man's voice do it, but I appreciated how they made the opening period-correct.  It was a little disturbing seeing Dan Stevens in all that French makeup, but it was cool to have that nod to accuracy even in a fantasy movie. :)  

And speaking of Hattie Morahan, the sub-plot of Agathe/the Enchantress was great!  I had forgotten that H. M. was going to be in it, so that was a fun surprise. :)  And, of course, it was cool seeing her opposite Dan Stevens again, because Sense and Sensibility '08. ;D


They included the Belle-looking-into-the-Beast's-eyes shot after he became human again, and it was fabulous.  Such a neat parallel to the animated movie, and such a powerful part in general!!

And then they were reunited with the household and we got to see everybody's human faces and there's just a lot of happiness. :D :D

lurved the wedding dance.  Can we talk about the growl?!  "How would you feel about growing a beard?"  *growl and subsequent giggling*  IT MADE ME SO UNREASONABLY HAPPY. :D  

Aha!  I have cast support on this! ;D  

Like I said, this movie captivated me and gave me joy -- like, actually.  And since that Sunday afternoon, I have been a little afraid that the next time I see it, it won't mean as much; that it'll have lost its luster.  I'm afraid it won't uplift me in the same way again.  

But I think -- given the feelings I got just from writing this review and finding pictures for it and recalling favorite parts -- that it will. :)

Friday, April 7, 2017

15 Reasons to Believe in God's Awesomeness towards Us Humans

* stars and moon through cherry blossoms

* stretching when you wake up in the morning

* county fairs

* thrift store book hauls

* hopes fulfilled

* chilled apple juice when you're sick

* spring & summer

* looking forward to things

* music on portable devices

* realizing that He's actually helping you to love Him & to want to be with Him

* authors

* nostalgia

* puppies

* babies

* thoughts

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Musical theatre lines that Do Things to my emotions

You know when you hear a line from a musical and it hits you that it's one of the best and deepest musical theatre lyrics you've ever come across?

It might be because of the simple power of the lyrics, or the raw emotion of the music itself, or a combination of both.  (In my experience, such lines are usually rather sad *ahem*, so, y'know, prepare yourself.) Anywho, I've decided to compile a list of some of the aforementioned song lines that have really Touched Me.  (I like lists, in case you haven't noticed.  But mainly just in blogging and/or fandom things.  I don't do many other kinds of lists.  Moving on.)  This is by no means a comprehensive list, of course.

"I'se tired o' livin' and scared o' dyin', but Old Man River, he jest keeps rollin' along." ~ from Show Boat

"Oh, my Creator, what is the good of the strongest heart in a body that's falling apart?  A serious flaw -- I hope You know that." ~ from Evita 

"I loved you, Julie.  Know that I loved you." ~ from Carousel 

"Let future historians wonder how Eliza reacted when you broke her heart . . . you have torn it all apart; I'm watching it burn." ~ from Hamilton 

"Don't cry for me, Argentina:  the truth is, I shall not leave you.  Though it may get harder for you to see me, I'm Argentina and always will be." ~ from Evita 

"Christine, I love you." ~ from The Phantom of the Opera

"Here they talked of revolution; here it was they lit the flame. Here they sang about tomorrow, and tomorrow never came." ~ from Les Misérables

"Yet in his eyes, all the sadness of the world -- those pleading eyes, that both threaten and adore." ~ from The Phantom of the Opera

"To be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause . . . " ~ from Man of La Mancha 

"Let others rise to take our place until the earth is free!" ~ from Les Misérables 

And -- let's just be real -- the entirety of the last few minutes of Les Mis and "Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer" from Phantom.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sheesh, this was depressing.  Sorry 'bout that.  In other news, I have again changed my look.  Behold.  I don't think the last one was quite doing it for most of us -- myself included -- and I realized that I will probably want to use that background for a different look later in the year, so here we are :)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Bookish Post

It has been too long, my dear friends, since I've had a post specifically devoted to bibliophilic things, so here we are.

I thought I'd let you know what I've been reading lately, what I'd like to read soon, etc., as well as filling out my answers to a tag I received from the awesome Lia over at Catholic Girl Stuff!  Go check out her blog!

So, first things first.

Recent Bookworm Stats

~ The last book I read all the way through was Crime and Punishment.  (And yes, this was a school read.  As a general rule, I do not dive towards the Russian authors when I'm reading for fun.  Sorry.)

~ The book I am currently reading (for fun) is Little Women.  A re-read, this, and GUUUYYYYYSSS.  I love Alcott's writing.  She's just awesome.  (Plus, um, the '94 movie.  Can I get an amen.)

~ The book I'm really looking forward to reading next is either The Wizard of Oz, The Seakeeper's Daughters, or Charlotte's Web.  That last one would be another re-read, but I've had sort of a hankering for it recently . . .

~ I have recently acquired lots of books.  I worry sometimes that I'm a compulsive thrift-store book-buyer.

~ Two of the last books I have to read for literature class are both by Lewis, and one of them happens to be my favorite. #win

~ You guys, I finally took the plunge and arranged my bookcase according to color.  AND I LOVED IT SO MUCH.  It doesn't look absolutely stellar (yet ;)), but it was and is immensely satisfying.  Wanna see?

The Bibliophile Tag (originally by Catherine of The Rebelling Muse)

As I understand it from Lia's post, the rules are simply to answer the questions, link back to Catherine, and let her know that you've answered the questions.  (And to share with other bloggers, but being the lazy person I am, I'm not going to follow that last one.)  Thanks for creating the tag, Catherine!  And thanks again to you, Lia, for tagging me! :)

1. What is your favorite fantasy novel/series?  Ach, I don't know!  It all depends on how strict your categories are -- if Peter Pan by Barrie counts, then Peter Pan.  But, since that could also be classified as a children's book, Inkheart is another favorite.  Mainly the first book and the movie -- I want to give the other books another try, but they weren't doing it for me last time.  And, of course, The Lord of the Rings.  But.  Well.  That kind of goes without saying. ;)  Actually, I don't read/watch LotR all that often *ducks* (though I do want to re-read the trilogy soon), and you can read what I say about my relationship with it in this post -- it's the very last story mentioned -- if you want.

2. What is your favorite historical novel?  *clutches at heart*  Why?!  I . . . how can I possibly . . . most of what I read is historical!  So . . . it's a little hard to say.  Two OF my favorite historical novels are Christy by Catherine Marshall and Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson.

3. What is your favorite contemporary novel?  One that I read recently (ish) that I really liked was Dandelion Summer by Lisa Wingate.  I now have two other Wingates on my shelf waiting to be read, and I'm looking forward to them. ;)

4. Which character/book best reflects your personality?  LANDS, these questions shouldn't be so difficult for me, but they are.  I think one that does capture my personality pretty well is Little Women, in fact.  (People who know me well -- do you agree or disagree?)

5. What is your favorite book character of all time?  "You're killing me, Smalls."  I don't know!  Um . . . Faramir is the character that initially jumps to mind, but I'm not sure if that's accurate or not.  Maybe Beth March??

6. What is your favorite author?  Whew, an easier one.  C.S. Lewis. :)

7. Do you judge a book by it's cover?  Yeah.  Hehe.  That is, if it's a book I've never heard of.  If it's one I know more about, I'm less likely to be influenced by the cover. 

8. Paper books, ebooks or both?  Typically, paper books, but I have to say that my Kindle has been SUUUUUPER helpful for school the past two years, because I've found several of the assigned books for free on there.  And it's really easy to annotate with a Kindle, so that's fun. :D  

9. Have you read a book you didn't like?  Yes.  Probably several, in fact.  (Unlike movies -- there have been very few movies I have disliked.)  *stops to try and come up with some*  Oh, Frankenstein. I DISLIKED THAT BOOK.  Now, granted, the character of The Monster is p.h.e.n.o.m.e.n.a.l., and the writing is pretty good (for a Gothic Romance, which genre of writing I dislike in general), but still.  Victor Frankenstein himself ruined the entire book.  I hated him.  Passionately.  In fact, I could go off on a rant but "I shall restrain myself."  Also most of my American literature course, although I do feel I should re-read most if not all of them now that I've had a few years to "mature." (Ha.)  And Robinson Crusoe.  Do not get me started on Robinson himself.  

10. What is your favorite book villain?  CAPTAIN HOOK.  I wuvs him.  Honorable mentions go to Dom Claude Frollo (at first -- after awhile he just went all crazy-pedophile and became gross) and Javert. (Shout-out to Lia for reminding me.)  I will defend Javert if need be.

What have you been reading recently?
What is your opinion of Javert?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

wordless wednesday / / things of period drama pretty

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Christy ~ 1994-95 TV show {review}

Well, folks, how are you?

{You may have noticed a change in the look around here.  As you may also have noticed, it is March, which means that SPRING IS HERE *throws confetti*.  (Hush.  "But me no buts" about specifics; in my estimation, spring begins PROMPTLY on March 1.)  Thus, the change.  I know it's a rather big one, and honestly quite different from what I had in mind when I set out to "refresh the look."  What think you all?  We'll have to see if I stay sold on it -- I may miss having a header and an (always) visible sidebar too much after a time. :-P}

I first watched the TV show adaptation of Christy (1994-1995) while hunched over a small iPod screen a few years ago, and recently I borrowed the series on DVD from a friend, and I've loved the book for several years, so I thought, what the heck, better crank out a review.

I don't recollect whether I watched the show prior to reading the book . . . I don't think I did . . . maybe I started the book, didn't finish it, watched the show, and then read the whole book?  Anyway, these details are inconsequential.  Let us to business.

*Warning:  This post will probably include spoilers for both the book and the show.*

I suppose I'll start with my feelings on the cast?

With Kellie Martin as Christy, I'm not sure exactly what I think.  She's cute, and she's spirited but sweet and all that jazz, yet . . . I don't know.  Something seems just a leetle off?  Perhaps it's just the fact that the whole series itself (and I do really like the series, let me be clear) has a tendency to wax cheesy now and then, reminiscent of a Hallmark production.  (In fact, I thought it was Hallmark up until recently.)  But other than some slight notion of her not completely capturing the Christy of the book, I think Ms. Martin did an excellent job.

Tyne Daly nails Alice's personality, though she doesn't look much like Alice is described in the book.  Of course, *spoilers* the TV show changes -- among other things -- the whole Margaret issue, and since Margaret is alive in the series, that adds a different facet to Alice's personality.  I'll admit, in the show Alice seems more . . . fallible, I guess?  Which is really a good thing, if I think about it, because she IS, after all, most certainly human.  Some of her responses to the dilemmas in the show just seemed somewhat un-Alice-like.  Again, however, that's probably a) a good thing, since neither they nor Catherine Marshall (I assume) were trying to portray Alice as an angel, and b) largely due to the huge impact of her daughter's still being alive and alienated from her.  On the whole, bravo, Tyne Daly! 

Neil MacNeill is -- pretty good, actually.  Stewart Finlay-McLennan looks and acts the part well.  Due to the series' rather abrupt ending -- ahem -- we don't get to see Neil's denial of God get resolved, but it is covered in the TV movies that they made after the show ended.  (Also, okay, help:  I can't decide whether his hair is cool or not.  Sometimes it looks good and then sometimes it don't.  Thoughts?)

Some of the cast is Spot. On., though -- particularly Randall Batinkoff's David, Tess Harper's Fairlight, and Mike Hickman's Birds-Eye.  Most of them are, actually -- the children, including Lundy (though he's hardly in there enough to be able to develop his character), Ida, Rob Allen (such a dear lad), Opal McHone, little Sam Houston (THE CUTENESS THOUGH), the rest of the Cove people . . . by and large, the casting is well-done.  



The story-lines of the show differ from the book, this is true.  Several of the incidents recorded in the book aren't included in the show, and several that aren't in the book are invented in the show.  So that's a little strange.  But I have to say, all in all, that I really like this series.  Not to be totally cliché, but it captures a lot of the "spirit" of the story and the characters.  One element I really appreciate is the show's handling of just the community in Cutter Gap.  Its depiction of the poverty is excellent, and the way it highlights the bond between families and between the children and Christy is most satisfactory.  And then, of course, there are the -- ahem -- love stories interspersed, so that's a thing that is cool (most of the time). ;)  

The children, especially, are a major draw of the show.  Their innocence and sweetness and quirks and strengths and weaknesses and misfortunes and jubilees are all touchingly portrayed.  

Favorite Episodes

~ "Pilot"
~ "Both Your Houses"
~ "Eye of the Storm"
~ "The Sweetest Gift"
~ "Green Apples"
~ "The Hostage"  (I was VERY much a fan of this one. It was all Good and Dramatic. ;D)

*Spoilers -- ish*  Leaving aside the question of whether the makers should have altered the situation surrounding Margaret, Miss Alice's daughter, I think it's done pretty well.  Of course, they also change the circumstances of Miss Alice conceiving her, which is ehh.  But other than that, the actress who plays Margaret does a really good job, in my opinion.  It's interesting to see how it influences the different characters and brings out different aspects of them that you wouldn't see had they not changed it.  

My favorite romance was -- well, Neil and Christy, obviously, because of reasons. :D  But I also really, really love Tom and Opal McHone.  Particularly at the end of "Babe in the Woods" when *still spoilers -- ish* Tom tells Opal that they're adopting the baby, and that he wants to name her Iris.  That moment really touched me, because you can really see in his face how much he loves Opal and wants to make her happy, to help her heal after the tragedy with their daughter.  THEY'RE JUST SWEET AND PRECIOUS AND THE MORE I THINK ABOUT THEM THE MORE I LIKE THEM.  Also, I thought it was sort of Really Adorable how the makers incorporated a few hints of the romance that might possibly happen between Ruby Mae and Rob Allen.  (That is who they were in the book, right?) In that scene during "Green Apples" when Ruby's confiding some of her fear to Rob, and she tells him that she's always looked forward to her first dance, and then he gets up and goes over to her and dances with her in the middle of the sickroom?!?!  I mean, yes, they're a wee bit young for "such foolishness," but still.  'Tis cute.  

Final verdict?  Though the TV series certainly has its flaws, and some of them are more glaring than others, it also has definite good points.  In general, I think it's awesome. :D

What about you?  Have you read Christy and/or watched the show?  What did you think of it/them?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In which I participate in the Pinterest Storyboard Party

Hello, dear people!

As some of you may know, I rarely write creatively.  At least, not fiction.  I LURVE writing analytically about fiction, and I like writing devotionally, but making up stories hasn't really been on my radar for a while.  When I was younger, I wrote short stories a LOT, and I enjoyed it.  But, due to various circumstances (and also just loss of interest/time, I suppose), my authorial inspiration sort of fizzled out as I got older.  


I think it may be coming back, which makes me excited.  :D  I've had a few vague ideas for potential stories to write "someday when I have time" (haha) for a while, but recently two have really been taking more shape and sticking in my mind more often.  

So, not wanting to be behind the times, I decided to go out on a limb and make some Pinterest storyboards for The Ideas.  And soon after, having actually loved that process, I saw a post of Hamlette's talking about the 2017 Pinterest Storyboard Party, initiated by Elisabeth Grace Foley.  And, dearies, as the title of this post may or may not have informed you, I have decided to participate.  Of course, by the time most of you read this, it will probably already be the last day of the party, but better late than never, right?

As I said, I'm quite new to this, so we'll see how this goes.

The first idea I'll share with you all is one I've mentioned previously:  a continuation of Susan Pevensie's story.  (If any of you don't know who Susan Pevensie is, I shall swallow my horror and tell you that she is a character from C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia.  Hopefully nobody needed that clarification :-P)  This will take place several years after The Last Battle, but will be full of flashbacks and memories, etc. 

// Once a King or Queen //

Now for some snippet ideas!  I haven't really begun writing anything, but these are just some ideas I have so far.

On a drizzly, rather miserable evening in London, Susan Pevensie walked slowly into her apartment. She looked profoundly dejected, but those who knew her often felt that it must have been many years now since Susan Pevensie had looked anything but profoundly dejected.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Of all the siblings, Edmund had always seemed to understand Susan the best.  In point of fact, though, Susan reflected, he had always seemed to understand each of the siblings better than the others did.  After their first foray into Narnia, Edmund had become quieter, but he had also become kinder and more sympathetic.  While Lucy and Peter both found it difficult to tolerate Susan's tendencies towards skepticism and pessimism, Edmund never upbraided her for it.  He said he had often felt the same way before -- and then he would get that reflective look in his eyes which meant that he was thinking of Aslan.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Look here, Su," Edmund had replied. "I know all this new rot about agnosticism and existentialism and all the other isms sound nice and convenient, and they seem to provide a tidy explanation of things. But the difficulty is that I know all too well what Aslan saved me from in Narnia, and how he taught me to look for another Savior in this world, to be able to doubt the truth of the old ways -- that is, the things Mum and Dad brought us up to believe -- anymore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 Memories began flooding Susan's consciousness -- memories of crystalline streams and vibrant woods, of magnificent parties held for days in rooms flickering with firelight and comradely laughter, of a wardrobe and a lamppost, of music that seemed to sound like silver itself, of her three siblings, of long talks with the naiads and dryads, of happiness, of a time when fear seemed very far away, and of a great and glorious Lion. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The other idea I'm chewing on is a novel about a woman who was requested to kill herself by every single person on the planet.  (I know, I know, but stay with me.)  It's difficult to summarize the idea, since most of the key elements are still coming together in my mind, but basically:  there's a boy who finds this woman one day, a generation or two later.  She lives as a hermit, since the antipathy against her is still very much alive.  And it'll be about how he gets to know her and what he learns from her about self-worth, God, forgiveness, etc.  It also may or may not be set in a dystopian time/place -- I don't quite know yet.  Like I said, I really can't provide a synopsis at present, but here's the board.  :-P

 // The Hated //

And zee snippets:

The world was slanted that day.  

Why that particular detail is the one that stands out so prominently in my mind among the multitude that made that day extraordinary, I couldn't say, but I do know that as I climbed Edda's Knoll that afternoon, I happened to glance up and subsequently noticed that the world was unprecedentedly askew.  

That is to say, the world itself was not actually slanted, of course, but the sky definitely was, and since I was climbing a hill, the sensation that immediately presented itself to me was that the ground and the trees and the birds were, as well.  The profusion of cumulonimbus clouds were tilted at a sharply diagonal angle, and their murky gray and blue tint seemed to threaten malevolence rather than intend to dole it out, given the fact that though it smelled like rain there was not the sign of a single drop forthcoming.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The hut left much to be desired in the way of appearance, I ruminated as I crouched behind my boulder.  It was neither neat enough to be picturesque nor squalid enough to be penurious; it was merely rather disheveled and weatherbeaten, with a clothesline strung in no very aesthetic manner about its face and assorted odds and ends stacked along its exterior walls.  It was, to be ruthlessly frank, slovenly.  I didn't like to be critical of an adventure so early on, but really, this middle ground was rather disappointing for a solitary cabin mysteriously hidden away in the mountains.  One expects a hermit's hideout to be either impossibly dainty or unspeakably ominous, not bourgeois.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

"Of course," she added calmly, "I haven't exactly been 'in the loop' for quite a while.  You see, many years ago I found out that the world, in perfect cordiality but total sincerity, had high hopes for my suicide.  Naturally, this led to some social difficulties."

I stared at her for a moment.  "The world?  As in, the whole world?"  Then, naturally, I began to laugh at such a preposterous notion.  "That's ridiculous and impossible -- how on earth could you know with certainty that the entire human population personally wanted you to kill yourself?  Every single human being on the planet?"

For the first time, I saw a brief glint of what could have been hardness or cynicism in her eyes, but it was gone as quickly as it came, and she gave a rueful chuckle.  "Never underestimate the capacity of the human race to find ways and means of facilitating its cruelty, dear boy.  I could know with certainty because they all signed a document making the request -- a petition, if you will.  It was rather a lengthy document.  You must keep in mind, though, that the planet's population was significantly smaller at that time than you might think, what with the unfortunate crater incident."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"I like the way good books echo," I remarked as she poured our hot chocolate.

She looked at me, clearly amused but interested.  "Explain."

"I mean, the the way that stories echo through the years -- not to be too cheesy," I replied.  "The cultures and people and even the civilizations vanish, but the thoughts of the authors are always there.  And more often than not, they're influencing the formation of new cultures and people and civilizations.  It's like they contribute to the music of history -- complex and varied, but always swelling into unity and beauty.  And don't laugh at me," I continued, as I saw her grinning.  "I know you've thought the same thing before.  Why, one of your own favorite authors likened God's creation to music, didn't he?"

"You're getting too cheesy," she laughed.  "But you're right."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I stopped to consider our acquaintance, I often realized that, in spite of every rational expectation, she was more full of  love and joy and peace than anybody I had ever met before.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"I find the fact of death to be the most thoroughly unacceptable institution there is," I muttered, fists clenched and tears, despite my best efforts, beginning to escape my eyelids.  

"So does He," she responded quietly. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ta-ta for now!  I hope you all enjoyed that, and do be sure to check out the fun over at Elisabeth Grace Foley's blog!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunshine Blogger Award

My dear friend Miss March recently nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  *huzzahs and confetti*  Do go and check out her blog, peeps -- she's awesome and she writes awesome posts.  Thank you for the award, Miss March!  

1. What was the last book you read? The last book I read was a short story called A Flame Shall Spring from the Embers, written by none other than our very own Heidi Pekarek!!! *confetti* It was awesome :)

2. On a typical evening at home, what are you most often found doing -- reading a book, watching a movie, playing games with your siblings, twiddling your thumbs...what? Watching something with my parents. Lately we've been watching a lot of Leverage or Andy Griffith or Inspiring Dramas.

3. You have the choice of being an only child or having twenty siblings. Which do you choose? *blinks*  Umm . . .

(I seriously don't know.)

4. Do you prefer bike riding or walking? Walking, I guess. I haven't done a whole lot of bike riding, which may be the thing . . . I do like it when I do it, though.

5. If you had to create your own family made up of characters from literature (or film) who would you choose to have as your father? As your mother? Choose a brother and a sister, too, just for the fun of it. :) Yikes, good question.  Atticus Finch as a father, perhaps . . . maybe Mrs. March as a mother . . . aaaaaannddd . . . let's say Wendy Darling as a sister :)  Oh, OH, and I saw Miss Meg's answer to this question, in which she said that she'd choose Edmund Pevensie as a brother, and I was like YAAAAAASSS.

6. Did you ever receive money under your pillow after losing a tooth?  Nope :'(  You may now all mourn for my cheerless childhood.

7. What's your favorite color?  I'm pretty sure my favorite colors are blue, pink, purple, and green.

8. Would you rather wash dishes or iron clothes?  Wash dishes :)

Because reasons.

9. What is your opinion on zoos? Interesting or boring?  Y'know, I've been to zoos before, but to be honest I don't really remember it so I don't know that I could say :-/  I really like aquariums, though.

10. Growing up, did you have a favorite doll? What was her name?  I'm not sure that I could say I had a favorite doll . . . but I spent a LOT of time with my American Girl squad.  Josefina, Julie, a Bitty Baby named Jasmine, and Bitty Twins named Johnny and Rebecca :)  (Full disclosure: I still sometimes want to get them out and play with them.)

And now for my questions!

1.)  Is there a particular fictional genre to which you keep returning? (i.e. period drama, action, fantasy, etc.)
2.)  What type of toothpaste do you use? ('Cause I'm weird like that.)
3.)  In general -- can be for yourself or for others or for both -- do you prefer straight, curly, or wavy hair?
4.)  Do you like musicals?
5.)  What is your third favorite season?
6.)  Jewelry -- yea or nay?
7.)  Have you seen any of the live-action remakes of the classic Disney movies (Maleficent, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Book, etc.)?  If so, what are your thoughts on them?
8.)  Are you adept at cookery?
9.)  Is there anybody you really wish would start a blog?  
10.)  Do you know what your Myers-Briggs personality is?  If so, do share.

I nominate . . .

Jessica Prescott (in the comments)
Rosie McCann (in the comments)
Rilla Blythe (in the comments)

Have fun, fam!  I shall close with a picture that has been cracking me up for  a few days now: