Rén is a traditional Chinese character that can be roughly translated as "humanity" or "humaneness". The rén rén is a "benevolent" or "humane person".

Bǐ mò is a term for "pen and ink", "words" or bits of writing.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Move

Much like the recent move of The Red Dress Club to something bigger better and a little less inhibiting, I'm moving my site (all posts included) to a slightly different set up at makeofmyself.blogspot.com.

 This blog was wonderful as I spent last semester pushing myself to expand my creative pursuits. The only problem became that my creative pursuits expanded enough that working on just a writing blog didn't really fill the purpose I needed. I've started collecting a lot of crafting DIY sites and, while I'm a little restricted in Hong Kong, I'm interested in pursuing what I can in the way of crafting, design and art. I found it became more and more frustrating not being able to post on the blog, so I started to seek a new direction.

The seasons have turned once again and with that transition, I go too. Even though this site will still exist,  all of the posts and comments are coming with me to the new site.

So here's what I'm Making of Myself.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Challenge Update

So it's been a while since I've done this and while I have not been reading books, I have been listening to them. I think this is a completely valid way of consuming books for my book challenge this year. :)

Over the summer I listened to the entire Harry Potter Series on my ipod, so 7 books up!

16) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
17) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (yes, I even listened to my least favorite of them all)
18) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
19) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
20) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
21) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
22) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There's nothing like doing a series to help get you through your book challenge. I tend to listen to these while driving or cooking dinner. It's a nice way to take in a book while doing something else that I find relaxing.

On another note, I've updated San Serif with a rant on teaching and exploring as a learning technique (or how I'm not really getting to do that second bit, at any rate) here.

Also, I've been posting a bit on wordpress at Make of Myself. Today's post over there is about Pinterest and the little bit of creative work I tried to do this week.

Do you have any audiobooks you love to listen to?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Autumn Aura

I was recently reading a post by NatureGirl who describes her love and passion for the summer. It made me think of all that hot stickiness that she describes (and that I'm still feeling here in Hong Kong even though it's getting on mid-September) and I couldn't help but shake my head 'No.'

No. Summer is wonderful, but not my time. Autumn is my time. So much so that even through the continuous heat waves of Hong Kong, I have been getting flashes of that feeling you get as fall sets in - the cool breeze, the smell of the leaves as they prepared to come off the trees and, for myself, that feeling that all is right in the world.

As I start to wonder if I am hallucinating - for these little bits of imagery, olfactory and tactileness seem oh so very real - I find comfort in the fact that even halfway across the world from my home, I can still feel and experience some glimpses of that favorite season of mine.

I'm that kind of person, I guess. I have certain things which signal the change in year, which brings along with it the change in my mood and how I relate to the world. As a wonderful scholar recently pointed out in a lecture, we humans are beings of cycle. It is one of those things that we do in beautiful synchronization with the Earth around us. Let's not become so distracted by our constructed notions of progress to forget that. The Earth around us, too, progresses, just not at the speed we're used to.

Here's to the oncoming of my favorite season.

Do you have a favorite season or time of year that changes your whole outlook on the world?


A note to those (if anyone) reading these posts - I have been considering a move to Wordpress, but currently am maintaining both blogs now. I'm posting here what I've decided to post there. The  blog is called Make of Myself . It's a place for more than just my writing creativity. I tend to cycle from writing to design and back, so I might be hanging some artwork to hang there. If I do I'll try to link up here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another week gone by

I planned it out - it was perfect. I was going to write last week and get it done before I had to start worrying over this week's assignment and next week's test. But the life happened. I've gotten so out of the habit - of both writing and taking classes - that I'm a damn mess. The difficulty of the class isn't what's getting to me. Oh no - that's not the problem. Sure, it's a lot of reading and when I do the work, I like to make sure it's what I consider good work. This means my notes are too detailed and my answers are too researched for my TA to appropriately respond. I guess that's where I'm feeling the struggle. I feel that the response I'm being given is either highly authoritarian or too narrow.

On top of all of that, I got my husband's hope up that I would work on the writing project that he and I are working on together now and so I've neglected another story for a community that I write in for another week. I'm hoping to get a chapter out (for the first time in much much longer than I'd like to admit) for that community after I get my assignment done today. I'll give myself a day's break from studying to get that done. Then it's back to the grindstone and studying for the first test (which I'm positive will be much easier than the one I'm preparing for in my head).

Oh the stress. I need to remember how to let it go.

What's keeping you from doing the writing you want to be doing?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Starting to Relax

I finally got my grad school application submitted. I'm still waiting on one recommender, but then it's all finished. I'm trying to get this medical junk taken care of and even though I've had no luck with jobs, it looks like things are FINALLY starting to settle out a bit. It took long enough. 

I'm really hoping that this settling out business will allow me to start writing again with some regularity. Really.

If nothing else, I'll have more book updates. I'm reading The Te of Piglette and The Secret Holocaust Diaries right now, so I should have plenty to be updating on soon. 

What keeps you ridiculously busy during your summers?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another day, another book

So, book 17 on my list is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. After hearing what a great book it was since I was in the fourth grade and since I very much enjoy a good YA novel, I decided it was finally time to read it. 

I was surprised. It kinda got Dark Knighted for me - by which I mean the build up for the book was so big that I didn't like it as much as everyone said I would.

Don't get me wrong, though. It was a good book. Tessering was an interesting time travel invention that took the shimmery, centaur-like guardian angel things to a whole new science fiction level with their interplanetary travel. Very interesting idea. I was surprised how obvious the religion was in it. The idea that love conquers evil conclusion made me feel even a little more ripped off by JK Rowling than I already did (for such a crappy epilogue).

For all of the build up, I felt the climax and conclusion were a little obvious and abrupt, but then I keep having to remind myself that this is a YA novel. Perhaps, I just give young adults more credit than I ought to. I was reading Tolkien to some effect by the fourth grade (which is why I skipped things like A Wrinkle in Time in the first place). I have a friend who's  getting into the business of writing YA and I'm fairly excited to see what she brings to the genre. :) 

Another book closer to my goal. 

Did you ever read A Wrinkle in Time? What did you think?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another book challenge update

And so quickly too!

16) Elisha's Bones (Don Hoesel) 

This book was a not-quite-Dan-Brown, conspiracy theory, archaeological, gun-fighting, kill-or-be-killed book. There were some definite slow points and it was written well after Dan Brown's huge hit (which I never read). I suppose I'm just being a bit snobby about Dan Brown really. I don't think his idea was that original. Well done, but not original. People started freaking out about how Jesus might have had children (which the French have been claiming since Charlemagne or earlier) and that there might be corruption and conspiracy in the Catholic Church (anyone read their history of the middle ages? no? okay, just me then...). This book was kinda fun though. A new twist in the Egyptian connection to South America saga. They also end up in Australia, which is a nice new location. It's mostly political by the time it gets there, but most of the archaeological evidence has been collected by then. The standard secret societies passing antiquities which is all tied up in other secret societies thing. Nice escapist literature - you know the kind. 

What do you think? Should I get off my high horse and read Dan Brown?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Challenge Update

After a weekend away (and much neglecting of recording the books I've read), there hasn't been as much writing as reading, so it's time to update the book challenge.

13) Little Men (Louisa May Alcott) - late May

I had never read this one before. I had managed to read Little Women and Jo's Boys, but never Little Men. It was interesting to see Alcott's take on the moral life manual for boys in the way that Little Women was a moral life manual for girls. Of course nothing can be simplified to one intention or purpose, but I can imagine this broadened Alcott's audience.

14) Jo's Boys (Louisa May Alcott) - early June

I love this book. I've read it once before, but I like that Alcott starts to steer away from the starkly episodic moral tales of the boys and starts to really get at their developing personalities as she did with the four sisters in Little Women. The balance of the older students with the younger children evens out the cast for a nice well rounded story. 

15) The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff) - June 12

As my husband is a scholar of Chinese Philosophy, this popular introduction to Taoism was great for those of us with a little less background. :) I think that Hoff was not as sympathetic nor as generous as he might have been with his descriptions of Confucianism and Buddhism, but I have been told that he mellows by the time he has written The Te of Piglet (which you should expect to see on this list soon). 

Lots of reading - I'm halfway to my goal! I'm currently reading a book I got for free for the Kindle titled Elisha's Bones. It's not quite Dan Brown (whose works I have thus far neglected to read), but it's kinda fun. 

What book are you reading?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

In the Garden

These days my poems come strangely and awkwardly, like a teenager into their lengthened limbs. 

In the Garden

My hands covered in dirt till the soil, reaching
growing downward like roots. You question the foundations
of my faith – that which I have built myself upon
as I plant carrots and beets. I smile upward as the sun
strokes my hair and back. Its warmth comforts and envelops
my little leaves spiraling out from my stem. Your raincloud,
refreshing, quenches my thirst and feeds my willowy limbs.
Only as the sun reappears do you find me in bloom.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Literary People

Do you ever get in that situation in which you have been working at something diligently, but then you have one long conversation and suddenly there's this great big new thing out there too? 

Yeah... that's what happens when I get with my literary people. I have a few of them. If you go back through the poems on the site you'll see some commentary from one of them. I had dinner and drinks with the other a few days ago and let's just say after listening to way to much about Dr. Who (series 5 and 6) and her latest literary triumphs and opportunities, I'm getting the feeling like I've got something new brewing. I've been working on world building for a particular world for a few years. I've got characters and even some plot line. I know everything except what happens in the middle (which is the worst place to be stuck). 

But since this set of conversations I had recently, I've been having weirder dreams than usual (which is quite difficult for me - I always have strange, outlandish dreams) and I can feel the cogs turning up in my brain. There's something on the move. I don't know if it'll be something new or an adjustment to something old, but there's something moving around and ticking up there. I guess there's nothing to do but wait until it's a bit more formed.

What do you do when you have an idea forming?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

River Sketches

Today was the first day that we got out to the trail. Our trail. I got to sit out at the river a bit and get a few words onto paper. It's nothing much - just the things that float through one's head while listening to the water flow:

Softly the waterfall of thoughts turns

to white noise, gurgling and flowing past me.
Slowly beneath the surface fish spot their prey
settling on the surface tension
                                    nothing left but waves


Leaves drop one by one into the current
drifting lazily, then picking up speed,
never knowing when the tipping edge will come
to toss them, turn them asunder.


From among the greens a peacock flutter,
dragonflies cloud my vision

Monday, May 30, 2011

With New Vigor

As we get close to June and close to two full weeks without any real regular posting, I feel that it's time to get back going. I've started sleeping on a more regular schedule and my husband is even getting me to start exercising regularly again, so no more slacking. The goal is going to be posting 3-4 (maybe even 5!) times a week, getting some literary stuff as well as some ranting in. 

I'll also try to do a few free writes a week on Sans Serif. That space is still free for anyone who wants to guest post there. :)

I had been working on the 30 Days of World Building while I was in Hong Kong, but that also dropped off a bit as packing, traveling, and recovering took over. I may or may not start a site/link/set of posts for all that information.

It's good to be back. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Still adjusting

I have not meant to neglect the blog this long, but I've been ill since mid weekend and am still adjusting to time and schedule changes. Hopefully, I will have something of substance up by the end of the week and will resume regular posting as of next week. 

For now, be amused. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I am back on US soil - yay! It is so good to be home!

It will probably take me a good week to adjust back to regular sleeping schedules, household patterns and habits as well as writing habits. I plan to come back with some revised and new writing, as well as continue to update my book challenge and hopefully get a few Red Dress Club prompts in here and there. 

Speaking of book challenge, I just finished Little Men yesterday. I had never read it before and I ended up really enjoying it - not the same way as I enjoyed Little Women, but a different kind of enjoyment. I really felt empathy and connection to the stories told in Little Women - the shared and similar experiences touched me. With Little Men it was different. I sometimes empathized with the boys, but found myself living a little vicariously other times and enjoying the romps of boys. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I managed to scrounge up a bit of poetry from my writings and notes for all of you lovely people before I have the longest Thursday ever (10 1/2 hours in Hong Kong, 15 hour plane ride, 5 hour layover, 2 hour flight and still 2 1/2 hours left in Thursday - that's what happens when you fly from the future into the past). 


Sentences, language – they fill your mouth today
and every day, relentless. You pick them apart one
by one, taking their meaning new places, stretching
and pulling, then putting them back together
on your assembly line.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday Post

I suppose that I should do a birthday post. It's a bit hot and sticky here and I'm trying to pack up my life to take back to the states with me. It's one of those days in which I keep feeling like I've forgotten something.  Not very birthday-like. 

On the other hand, my husband is taking me to lunch at a Mexican restaurant (a rarity in Hong Kong, I assure you). Plus we've got ice cream and wine. It should be a good day.

The next time I post (in which I hope to have something literary to put here), I'll be back in the States.

And a special thanks to Gabriel over at Angelspeak for all of the lit crit and things you've been giving me to think about. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Challenge Update

Yesterday saw the end of Little Women and I have now moved on to Jo's Boys. I had read Little Women before. I love, love, love it. There is always a new lesson to take in and moral to learn and a reminder that some things about people are truly timeless. I think this time I learned more from each of the sisters than I have before. Instead of focusing on the story most like my own with small additions from the others, I found different and more well-rounded traits in each story that felt applicable to my life. It is always nice to have a reminder that we are all pilgrims who bear our burdens, but that there is some hope that those burdens will be lifted and it is within us to lift them. 

I have never read Jo's Boys, but I am enjoying it thus far. It's so different to read about boys in this similar setting, but interesting nonetheless. Little Women gives you boys and men that are exemplar - they are the kind you look to have in your life as a woman. Jo's Boys seems to be giving you all types of boys to see how they turn out. They won't all be Laurie's or Mr. March's or John's or even Mr. Bhaer's. Some might turn out to be more like Ned Moffat or Fred Vaughn. 

12/30 books for 2011. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Challenge Update

I did not get a chance to update my book challenge yet this week. I finished The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

I must say, I really love this story. It's, of course, a great growing story full of morals and directives about how to be a good person, how to help children be good people and the loveliness and lessons we can learn from gardening. LOVE IT! 

It makes me want even more to start my own greenhouse. It's a pet idea that I've had floating around the back of my mind for a few years. 

Anyways - back to the book. I finished it Tuesday and began reading Little Women for the third time. It's another book I love. Alcott has such interestingly eternal thoughts. Plus, it is hard to pull me away from the transcendentalists (but not as difficult as it is pulling them away from Unitarian thought... hahaha ha ha.... no one gets my literary joke or finds it funny.

Thus, I have completed the twelfth book on my journey to tri-deca-dom. Or something like that. 

12/30 books completed.


In trying to use this blog to improve my writing skills, I have finally come to the point where I might start redrafting and reposting a few old works as they get modified. I don't have anything ready quite yet, but it should be along soon.

I have a busy week ahead of me. I'll be traveling almost exactly halfway around the globe - back to the US for me - and so I will be a little out of touch (if you haven't already noticed). Packing and preparing leaves me little time to be able to concentrate on the writing, but hopefully the 17 hour plane ride will give me some time in which I can write and make up for the lack of literary-ness that has been plaguing me recently. 

On the up side and with the lack of writing going on, I have been reading extra and have had plenty of updates for my reading goal. I'm almost done with Little Women, so another book should be under my belt before I fly this week.

How do you find the will to keep going when you're lacking things to write?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pushing my limits

I just got Blogger to start working again. It's been having some loading issues that have been stopping me from posting. I don't even know what that's all about. 

The last few days have been pretty full. My husband's birthday was Monday and we decided to do a hike in Hong Kong. We underestimated the hike by quite a bit and found ourselves up a certain creek without a certain paddle to help us. It ended up being a 4 hour hike up and down set of mountain peaks. There were three main peaks, the highest of which was over 800 meters high (and we pretty much started at sea level). NUTS STUFF. I've never done anything that difficult in my life. Ever. 

We did make it to the world's largest sitting Buddha at the end of it all. It was a lovely afternoon. It's good that we could still enjoy it after four hours of hiking and what turned out to be some pretty bad sunburns. 

I did learn something about myself. There was no way of getting out of there once we'd gotten in, except to turn back or go forward. There were a few times where I felt like giving up, but since there's no other real option but moving on, there was no giving up to be had. It was a tough struggle for both of us. I can barely move today and we're both nursing the sunburn on our arms, but we did it. I wasn't sure I could do it. I really wasn't. There was a high ridge that we thought was the last, but when we arrived at the top we realized we were only just over halfway through. I had already had to stop and have two significant resting periods to deal with my breathing. I didn't think my body could handle it, but I pushed myself to a new psychological and physical limit. I was overly ambitious in picking a hike I knew my husband would enjoy and most of the planning sites did not indicate the length of this hike. Maps can be deceiving. 

Things I learned:
- Approximately 1280m of vertical climbing is A LOT.
- My husband and I make a good team. 
- I can push my body through a lot more than I realize if I can pace myself. 

That last one is huge. I've been an asthmatic since I was a child. I couldn't run the mile and I get winded climbing to the fifth floor of our building to get into the apartment. We climbed about 5km worth of distance (not including the vertical). It was a long, hard slog of a hike. But we did it. 

I gotta say - I impressed myself. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Challenge Update

Today I finished The Evil Guest by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. What a strange book. It was published in 1851, so it has all of the stilted language and sometimes overt authorship that writing of the 19th century normally brings. 

The problem I had most was the strange secretiveness of the author. He would sometimes endeavor to set up a confession of a character (this was a murder mystery - sorta, but I'll get to that soon), only to hide the revealed information repeatedly from the audience. 

So getting back to that murder mystery part. While there was indeed a murder and an ongoing mystery about that murder, I believe this book could be much more accurately described as a character study of highly depressed, agitated and otherwise guilty (and probably insane) people. Not that it's very psychological - for most writing of this period that I've encountered lacks the psychological attention that modern writers use to entice their audiences. No - there was description of the psychological devastation of a man, but it wasn't really explored in ways that satisfactorily explain his motivations. The reader has to make assumptions of his or her own on some accounts. 

An interesting read, but not one that I'll repeat ad infinitum (or possibly at all). 

 11/30 books completed for 2011. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Versatile Blogger

My friend Leighann over at The Endless Rant of a Multitasking Mumma has awarded me and a few others with the (dun, dun, dun)

Though she nominated Ren bi mo, apparently it is for both this blog and Sans Serif where the ends aren't capped. I try to keep the writing going, whether it's a free write or a slightly more polished piece. 

As part of the award, I get to pass it on to a few people who are making the blogosphere a better place:

free fringes - This woman cracks me up! She keeps it versatile with personal posts, writing prompt responses and love links (where she helps spread the blog love). 

Contemplating Happiness - Pat's got a big heart and a lot to share between her Life Lessons and Random Musings. Check out her post on Passion - it seems to explain it all.

Ready or Not - I've gotten some great giggles from this website, whether it's about raising kids, teaching or just random memories.

NatureGirl - I love the naturalness of this blog! It's comfortable, like your favorite pair of jeans. It doesn't matter what she's talking about (very versatile), it seems to all come together the right way.

And last but not least, 

Angelspeak - Gabriel defines versatile. Between interviews, writing prompts and posting poetry to help us keep expanding our literary worlds, she manages to keep it personal and meaningful for all of her readers. 

I also would have awarded this blog to Galit at These Little Waves, but our Multitasking Mumma already did so. :)

Check out the other winners from Leighann's page and winners, don't forget to pass this along to your favorite and most versatile blogs.  :)


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Getting My Write On and Proud of It

This week's RemembeRED was to write about something that you're proud of.

I've got to say, the things that I've done on this blog - my little bits of writing and art - are things I am proud of. 

In college, I had an abusive boyfriend that I stuck with for way too long. I developed severe depression and went almost two years before I sought any professional help (which didn't really help, but there you are). I had always been a writer, just as I had always been a reader. I really started coming into some better poetry just as I got into college, but then the depression and the suppressing of emotions and experiences. It was all I could do to hang on for the ride.

Needless to say, my writing dried up. Even when I tried to use it as a creative and therapeutic outlet, nothing came. I used to joke with my (genius, novel-writing) roommate that I had the longest bout of writer's block in the history of man: four years. 

It hasn't been until recently that I've found my way back to writing. Two years ago, I started kicking around an idea for a novel, but nothing much has come of it - a little world building and some random notes and doodles. It wasn't until March, after reading the writing/literary blog of a friend of mine that I started really pushing myself to write and express. I may have started the ball rolling a few months earlier, but pushing myself to write everyday and post to the blog a few times a week has really gotten me expressing in a way I haven't in years. Not only that, but it's taken me back to a way of seeing the world that I haven't in a long time. It's nice to start to see things with an artist's eye again. Pushing to express and finding new creativity where I suspected that it might have dried up forever is something I am proud of. I am proud to have pushed and found myself capable of getting there again. 

Fruits of my labors:
Found in the Sea off Cape Artemision, ca. 1920
Thai Fare
Vapid Aphrodite
Heaven Bent
Orphic Mission

Monday, May 2, 2011

Found in the Sea off Cape Artemision, ca. 1920

Another ekphrasis inspired by a statue I fell in love with on a trip to Greece. 

Found in the Sea off Cape Artemision, ca. 1920

Raising your arms high, you are mistaken for your brother.
They change the tales that made you king of all the children,
whose feet run in the dusty, dirt road clouds. The dust sticks
to our feet, turning our heels black – our bulwark against civilization.

Our sun-baked limbs carry us to the shore and the others squawk
their excitement like gulls, their eyes falling from the sky to the ocean
to watch you emerge. The sea has changed your form – to them you are
now the sea king in your brother’s place, swathed in seaweed finery.

They declare he has been found again, a god among them, while my eyes
fill for you. Your speechless mouth does not contradict, for your arms
spread too wide, your height too tall: they can no longer look in your eyes
and see who you are. They merely stand in awe of your striking figure.

Waves still crashing at your feet, you have not been found. You know
now that every story of his will be indistinct from your own, your legends
collapsed into one. They turn and leave you alone amid the sea shells,
their forms so small to you now. You always were a giant among them.

Grown too tall and too broad, you no longer belong to them. I take
your hand and our gaze meets on level ground. Head held forever high,
you step forward, unafraid.

For a photo of the statue: http://www.namuseum.gr/collections/sculpture/classical/classic02-en.html (ps - it's Zeus, not his brother Poseidon) I could also post my own photos of this piece, but it needs to be read first.

Need a place to be a free write? Guest write on Sans Serif!

We all have times when we need to get something out of our heads or off of our chests. Sometimes our personal blog isn't the place to do it. 
Free writing is about getting that stream of consciousness down - not editing and spell check and worrying how our regular readers are going to take such an unrefined post. It can be a pre-write to get the ideas going or just to help get past the writer's block. Whatever the purpose, it's cathartic and moving. 

Sans Serif is about having a place to do all of these things. It's where there's no end to cap those thoughts  - just let them run free. It's a place I go to get thoughts out or even get thoughts started. It can be that place for you too.

The best part about a free-write is it only takes 5 or 10 minutes. It doesn't cut into the time your write on your blog or do you work. Instead of surfing the internet for an hour before coming up with the inspiration to post or staring at the blank composition box, do a free write. 

But these thoughts don't need to be hidden or re-worked. Contact me on the Guest page of Sans Serif by leaving me a comment about your topic or interest.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Thai Fare

Today's poem comes from a memory of my recent honeymoon in Bangkok. A wonderful city to visit in the Land of Smiles. 

Thai Fare

The wind of the traffic blows my hair back
as the tuk-tuk driver nervously smiles and nods,
hoping we don’t notice a different face on the license.
A night, previously too hot to walk so far is now
cool with gusts of wind on our sweating brows.
A hand squeezes mine and I look left to see
my new husband smiling like a child at the fair,
whooping with laughter at the roller coaster of Thai traffic.
A skyward glance gifts me with the strangeness of spiderman
decorating ceiling, the red seating piped with blue
sticking to my legs in the heat. At a stop, I point up
and am rewarded with a broad grin, the child-like quality
renewed. All thoughts of “over-priced” transport
and smile-negotiated fares disappear as joy blossoms
on his face in the glow of the city lights. 

Book Challenge Update... Again

Another book down. Today I finished Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I had never read it. I think I've read Through the Looking Glass, but I'm not quite sure. 

I loved the sense of child-logic and frustrations of having to change one's outlook on the world as one changes. It's such a growing up story, but dressed in such fantastic nonsense that it's just as easily hidden as it is revealed to the reader. It's almost like a fast-forward dream of being a teenager. 

This is book 10/30 read this year. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Challenge Update

Today I finished Sense and Sensibility. I had never read any of Austen before, so it was an interesting experience. I have seen the film, so I had an idea of what to expect, but really enjoyed the read. I think that the motivations and fates make a little more sense when you know the full story. 

This is book 9/30 for the year. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Fight

This week Red Writing Hood calls for us to write a fight. I happen to have a fight written from a scene of a longer work that I've been fiddling with for quite some time now. 


All the world (aka the stage): 
What can I say? There's magic folks - I'm calling it erg for the sake of this post. If it's not your cup of tea, don't worry - it's the setting, not the point. The three characters are sitting around a campfire after a long day of travel.

Men and women (aka merely players): Three traveling companions
Alden - an older gentleman who looks to be about 60 and displays magical abilities
Niko - a seventeen year old boy who's just getting out into the world for the first time; has no magical abilities and is very scientifically minded
Taran - Niko's former teacher and also a magic user
Tully - another travel companion

The fight:

“The only way it really could have happened was for the powder to have been poisonous to that species…” Niko finished, impressed with his logical conclusion.

“And how do you explain Taran being able to draw with erg then?” Alden asked, getting to wits end. He had heard about every scientific explanation he cared to hear and then some.

“I’m still not sure that’s what it was exactly. See, Taran doesn’t seem to be entirely human and it could be that something secretes from her skin had a reaction with that kind of  mineral –“

“Are you serious?” Alden asked, standing in his anger. Taran, too, stood glaring at the boy and with a shake of her head, stalked off. Tully gave an assessing look to the old man and the boy before heading down the path Taran had taken.

“What?” Niko asked confusedly, “What did I say?”

Alden, whose face was cradled in his palms, looked up again with rage in his eyes. “You are a naïve child. Do you not understand why she might take offense? When you begin to doubt her humanity?”

“I didn’t mean -,” Niko started, but Alden broke in again.

“What? You didn’t mean to call her an animal?”

“I didn’t… I just… and don’t your people revere animals?” Niko defended, not wanting to let go of his idea.

“We revere and respect their place and our connection with them. But just as an insect should never be mistaken for a bird, a human being should never be mistaken for something he or she is not How dare you strip her of the last thing she feels in common with those around her. Just because you cannot explain it with your contraptions and theories, doesn’t make it not real. There are things beyond explanation.” He sat down again with a forceful exhalation.

Niko, who had started to cower under the weight of Alden’s words, snapped back to attention. “I don’t think that’s true. Everything has an explanation.”

Alden roared furiously into the night. “So what it it’s true? Does knowing the explanation change something for you? Does it make you its master?”

Niko couldn’t find anything to say.

“Just because you can’t explain it,” Alden said, “Doesn’t mean it’s not real or substantial. You can’t explain away how Taran saved your life today. That doesn’t make it unimportant that she did so.”

Niko shifted uncomfortably on his log, staring into the fire to avoid Alden’s eyes. The old man shook his head again and sighed as he went to his tent for the night.

Questions from the author: Does the dialogue seem realistic? Do you get the impression that Niko is a young man trying to prove himself? Do you feel the age difference and experience difference between the two (without any serious background info)? Do the characters reactions seem realistic?
**Please note that this is all first draft material**

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