Reading, Writing, Pondering: Big Life Themes, Literature, Contemporary/Historical Issues
Welcome to the 14th century, in a farflung outpost of the Holy Roman Empire, and a new Convent outpost of the terrrifically powerful Roman Catholic Church. Sound historically dull? Hopefully not so--for this is NOT an ordinary 14th Century Convent.
Back after a six-year hiatus....
From NaNoWriMo historical Supernatural novels in Scotland, Michigan, South Alabama and historical horror in Standwood Station, GA-to the Phantom Northern Woods-to singlehandedly refighting the American Civil War-to exploring Social Justice and standing for First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution-we deal out horror, Supernatural, Historical, fantasy, mystery, and more. We do not fear outspokeness.
And always, always, always, We Do History.
Find it here.
We write it. We read it. We hold strong opinions. We orate.
Meanwhile, whether we're writing or just reading, we love to rave about books and authors right here!
|Bill Bryson says,"Dictionaries are sometimes remarkably out of step with the rest of the world on certain matters of usage and orthography." Do you agree or disagree with his assessment . What's your favorite go to Webster or Oxford ?
Fascinating! (Vocabulary always is.) I grew up in a land long ago and far away (or so it seems) and Webster's was the available tool. But I just read that Oxford includes OBSOLETE words! Isn't that wonderful? I love words, almost all words (excluding profanity and obscenity, both of which are in common usage contemporarily), and although I don't do my pleasure reading in the Dictionary (either or other), it is pleasant to know that if I wish, I can stroll through Obsoletisms to my heart's content.
[Note to Self: Check OED and see if that's a word.]
I also learned that the Oxford English Dictionary has the EARLIEST use of any English word. (shocked) Far out! I'm really involved with language and vocabulary this past month and this month because of NaNoWriMo. Set in late 13th-early 14th century, in France, I need to attend to (and grapple with) vocabulary and language. Language was so different in the Middle Ages, plus these characters are speaking French, and I use French titles and even some French exclamations (Oui, mon pere!) frequently, which would probably thoroughly confuse some readers, yet it “puts me into the minds” of my characters and installs me in the Medieval French setting. (Maybe I'll tackle Medieval Germany next.)
|Did you know? The veins of a blue whale are so wide, a 3 year old child could swim through them? Spend your blogging time today thinking about size. Scale is important in writing - how do you use it? If you're up for it, try examining something extremely small and describing it as if it were the size of a car. Can you get your readers to guess what you're describing?_30D Blogging Challenge Prompt
Hey, folks, I have a three-and-a-half-year old and a one-and-a-half year right here in the house with me. I don't want either of those grandsons swimming in the veins of a blue whale.(snark)
I'm looking at five extensions, curling on the ends, and thinking Pentagram (or Pentacle, or Pentagon—but no, this is 2-dimensional, not 3). Primarily Yellow, but sufficiently Orange on the center core and a little bit on the left extension and on the lower left extension (remember, there are 5). Rough to the touch, which I didn't expect. Would not want to drag it along my skin. Oh, at the end of each of the extensions are red spots! Like blood splatter, but too even, not messy.
I have another example of this, which is medium brown with black spots, but it has 8 legs. Dear God, not an arachnid. I don't do those and certainly would refuse to give house room on my desk.
Now here is my literary “fun fact” by which I demonstrate my erudition:
“"A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind."
Now: I wonder who will recognise the first two objects I described, or will know who/what is described in the quote, and the author of the quote.
Addendum Nov. 10: Identification
|You've made it a full week! Congratulations! Today I want to know, what do YOU think makes a good blogger? What are characteristics that make you want to read someone else's blog? If you were judging your own blogging ability, how would you rate yourself? What aspects of blogging are most important to you?
I have to separate the blogging I do at WDC from the blogging I do at blogspot.com. Beginning October, I returned to blogging at WDC for the 30Day Blogging Challenge (unofficial month in October, Official Month in November). Then on November 7 I began blogging in response also to Blog City Prompts. For these, I respond “about myself” or about issues in the wider world at large, and occasionally I get to write a short fiction piece or a short story (or yesterday evening, inspired by SM's Media Prompt, I got to quote poetry.)
What I do in my 5 blogs hosted on Blogspot is solely Books: commencing March 2012, I began to post book reviews. I eventually expanded to five blogs:
1. Original site. Reviews in general, plus reviews of literary fiction and what doesn't classify as Haunted, Supernatural, Paranormal, Cozy, Children's, Speculative, or Extreme Horror.
2. Haunted, Supernatural, Paranormal. Also Thrillers and Mysteries.
3. Cozy Mysteries, also Children's books. Book Blog Tours: almost EVERY SINGLE DAY.
4. Speculative fiction: Science Fiction and Fantasy.
5. Extreme Horror (rarely posted).
What I want to read in a blog:
Learning About the Blogger
What I hope to provide in a blog:
Sharing Books and the Love of Reading
|Blog City Prompt, November 8 2018:
Prompt: "Books are the movies of the mind." Sue Grafton Do you agree with this quote?
Give Me A Book Any Day
Although I watched movies (on TV and in the local tiny theater) and some TV series as a child, and though there were many I loved and some I'd like to forget but can't, my first choice is always to read. Give me a book any day, and I'll be: [complete this sentence]
and I will do all of the above because I visualize the story for myself, in my imagination. Okay, maybe that is “watching a mental movie,” but for me books are so much more than that. With a film, all we get is one person's view (the director), based on one person's screenplay, interpreted by several persons (actors), photographed or rather videotaped by one or more persons. So we see what they see, although we are free to interpret our way. But I want to “see for myself,” and I do just that when I read: I bring my own past history, contemporary issues, thoughts, self-analysis and yes, triggers, to the page and through all of this I “understand” the story for myself, in my own special individualized way. Don't we all?
Just Give Me A Book—Any Time.
|A Riff on Imagine Dragons' “Believer”
“I'm the one at the sail, I'm the master of my sea,
...The master of my sea...”
I'M the ONE at the SAIL, I'M THE MASTER of MY SEA.
William Ernest Henley said it earlier, in 1875
(published in 1888)
in his lovely and stirring poem “Invictus”:
“I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
Gosh, that makes me want to stand up and cheer! Carry on! Keep a stiff upper lip!
(Henley: “My head is bloody but unbowed.”)
I am inspired now. I think I can keep on going for another day.
|Today’s prompt is: The color green. What do you associate with the color green and how does it make you feel?
Green represents Life and the Life-Giving Force. This may sound strange from an individual whose favourite seasons are Winter and Autumn, in which there's not a lot of Green visible. But I find Green soothing. It is the color of Pines, you know, “Evergreens”? (smile) I'm particularly fond of the darker shades, often termed “Forest Green” or “Hunter Green.” I dislike chartreuse and lime green intensely; I think Green should be more solid and dignified (although life-giving).
I guess if given a choice, I'd choose Forest over Garden. Green leaves or green pine needles in preference to all the colors of a garden. Who knew?
|Blog Prompt November 2, 2018
“Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? Do you think taste is an under-utilized sense in writing? Reflect on how taste can be better utilized in your writing to enhance a scene.”
Definitely I should learn to utilize the sense of taste more effectively. Five senses, after all, means five, not two (visual and auditory), not three (plus tactility), not four (add olfactory, another sense that troubles me in reality as well as does taste).
touch (or skin-perception)
As I worked through the October NaNo Prep, I had occasion to write a Contest Round including all five senses in the setting piece. I did fine with the visual and auditory. I managed, with some effort, the tactility and the olfactory. Then I counted back, and whoa, no taste. Taste?!! Who uses that? Well, writers do, apparently. Decent writers, anyway. (smile) When I had finished, I had the character scenting one type of flower, seeing a different type of flower, and tasting something entirely different. (what was it?)
So as I return to my NaNo writing this early AM, I am going to ponder how to write in a sense of gustatory accomplishment. Wait-- the accomplishment will be mine, if I successfully achieve teaching my characters to TASTE.
““We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”--Anais Nin
The WDC 101 Labyrinth to be exact! I think there’s a Minotaur in here, so you’d better hurry and find a way to escape! Luckily, before entering the labyrinth, I gave each of you a cookie (your choice of flavor), a paperclip, and a toy truck for your amusement. There are two ways to free yourself from the labyrinth: 1.) Learn something new and teach us what you learned, or 2.) Dig your way free with the tools provided. Good luck.
I am carrying my Giant Sugar Cookie for luck, scurrying and stumbling through caves. It's 25 inches in diamater, so it will provide good eating for 3 days (or 10 minutes) if like Floyd Collins I should find myself lost never to return (ditto Stephen King's September 2018 novel The Outsider). I am so glad, even though I fear caves, that this is November, not October, and so I am not stuck in a Corn Maze (Maize Maze). At least in these caves there should be no Scarecrow (animate or inanimate) and especially no He Who Walks Behind the Rows (shudders).
Well, needs must when the Devil drives, so press on I do. This passageway in which I find myself does have a high ceiling and the walls are widely separated, so I don't feel too claustrophobic yet (even though I can't see where I entered, and all beyond the archway at my back is pitch black).
To the left, I hear a crumble sound, and I see an archway, dimly lit. I hurry in that direction. Inside is an Elf, typing on a laptop, exposing his Portfolio to potential new WDC members, and with each click, a chocolate chip cookie drops from the ceiling of the cavern room and falls into a dragon shaped cookie jar! How appealing! Or, appealing until the dragon jar turns its electric green head and bares its teeth at me.
So I cuddle my sugar cookie tighter and move on. Forward, but wait, a wider archway up ahead on my right. So dark, but—off against the far wall, in the distance, another strangely glowing light. As it brightens, I spot an Ogre, playing with an rfrid. With surprisingly keen hearing, he notices me too, raises his head, and bares some really ugly Gargoyle-like teeth. I scatter.
Straight ahead, the passageway yawns to the east, and several feet farther on, it ends in an alcove. A tiny Sidhe sits cross-legged before another glowing laptop, reading Portfolios marked with white feathers. I have seen enough. I really need to find my way out and back home. But suddenly, a blinding roar, and from seemingly out of nowhere rushes a huge horned beast dressed only in striped knee breeches, with long talons on each hand. His left hand slaps the laptop and knocks the Sidhe from her perch, his right hand strikes at me.
Now I am a ghost, a wandering ghost, and like Floyd Collins in his caves in Kentucky, I am condemned to wander in these caverns forever. Maybe if I do well, I'll get a laptop to read Writing 101 too.
|If you could create your very own monster, what would it look like?
What would it be called? What types of things would it do to scare people?
Where does the monster live?
Tell me everything there is to know about your
My immediate thought was of Dr. Victor Frankenstein's creation, but no. That's not going to fly. Too apparent. Of course, people are going to be frightened of something put together from spare parts. Also, humans are frightened and repulsed, unfortunately, by disfigurement (the Phantom of the Opera; Beauty and the Beast).
So I'm taking my page from beloved author H. G. Wells (yes, I'm a fan). I'm going to choose a “power” or “gift” that I've always longed (since childhood) to possess, and a quality of Horror that is always my chief criterion when “judging” a Horror story or novel.
Yes, you read that correctly. In an era and a culture in which Celebrity, Youth, “Beauty” (as judged by who knows what?), and “ME ME ME LOOK AT ME ME ME” is the rule, this individual desires, praises, and sometimes accomplishes, INVISIBILITY.
You can overhear others.
You're not a target.
You can sneak up on people.
If you don't want a particular someone to see you, they won't.
Now for Invisibility in Horror: those who are Antiques, like me, or those who are film buffs of 50's B-movies, like me, will remember the original “BLOB.” (1958) Remember that viewers (and characters-in-danger) never actually SAW The Blob, we only heard it (I'll never forget that sound); and what you can't see (humans are visual creatures, after all) is far more terrifying than watching, say, a skyscraper-size arachnid terrorizing a city. Okay, maybe not that example.
Gotta Love It.
Gotta Own It.
|Hillary Clinton turns 70 today! Wish her a happy birthday (if you're so inclined) and write up a candidacy speech for your own head of government campaign.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Hillary. I am amazed to discover that you failed the D.C. Bar Exam way back when (I really had thought you too had been a Rhodes scholar. In another probability.) I express gratitude that you and others targeted by pipe bombs this week are still alive and flourishing. Politics is rough, and getting rougher.
William Blake for Emperor of the Universe
Stephen Hawking for Vice President of Research and Development
I posted on October 21 that William Blake ought to be Emperor of the Universe. Still going with that one. Stephen Hawking I choose because he is the single highest I.Q. I can think of (in this era of increasing loss of intelligence and downplaying of intellect, I.Q., use of intelligence, education, and learning are really important to me—and always have been.)
Now as for Candidacy Speeches:
Please. Did Emperor Ming campaign? I think not.
Since I have self-appointed Mr. Blake as Emperor of the Universe, no campaign speech is necessary. He just is.
October 26 is National Pumpkin Day!!!
I do love Pumpkins, Jack o' Lanterns. For decades I refused Pumpkin Pie, but I love the scent of Pumpkin. I get really excited along about September about the Concept of Pumpkin (think Plato) and one of my favourite scents purchased through my daughter the Scentsy Consultant is “Farmstand Pumpkin.”
In honor of National Pumpkin Day
[sound of resounding cheers and the clatter of Pumpkins knocking together to clap]
I bring you some lovely Pumpkin tweets:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">🎃Today is <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NationalPumpkinDay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NationalPumpkinDay</a> 🎃 <a href="https://t.co/oGLhDltwu8">pic.twitter.com/oGLhDltwu8</a></p>— Never Forget 🙌 (@brideshead_girl) <a href="https://twitter.com/brideshead_girl/status/1055766708550594560?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Apparently it is <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NationalPumpkinDay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NationalPumpkinDay</a>, so we submit for your pleasure these amazing literary-themed pumpkin carvings, each one discovered becoming the new favourite... 🎃 <a href="https://t.co/czji5JpOuR">pic.twitter.com/czji5JpOuR</a></p>— Broadhursts Bookshop (@BroadhurstBooks) <a href="https://twitter.com/BroadhurstBooks/status/1055784721932795904?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
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