Inspirations 2: Yorkshire Landscapes

More for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION

From The Daily Post:

What is your inspiration? What moves you? What is it that never fails to motivate you, to get you going, or make you happy?

Self will focus on inspirational landscapes. Such as these from Yorkshire:

Yorkshire, July 2015

Yorkshire, July 2015

And more of the same:

DSCN0899

And still more of the same:

DSCN0891

Honestly, the landscape of Yorkshire is so amazing. Green and hilly and full of eccentric rock placements. Sort of like the towns of Yorkshire themselves, with abbeys and cathedrals and Haworth coffee shops and Shipley punks and Bronte parsonages and cemeteries and Salts Mills and David Hockneys and Yorkshire teas and Victorian Steampunk and 1940s Festivals.

Self hates that they won’t let you take any pictures in the Bronte Museum in Haworth. Inside as well as outside, according to the young woman who was the first tour guide she encountered, standing by the front entrance. The guide had watched self taking a picture of a yellow flower by the front steps.

But self felt she really had to get to Yorkshire, not really because of the Brontes, but because of Will Herondale and the events in Clockwork Prince, book 2 of The Infernal Devices.

There is a very crucial plot twist that takes place in Yorkshire but, in the meantime, we have:  Balcony scene, Demons Ball, Chiswick. Herondale, what else can self say. Tessa being all encouraging (p. 292): “Will, you need not be so careful. I will not break.” And then, you know, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, Tessa saying Will is like her Heathcliff, the moors, whatever.

(Self ships WESSA)

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is!

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is! July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Marius: p. 195, Howard Jacobson’s THE ACT OF LOVE

What is happening to self? For almost 200 pages of Howard Jacobson’s novel, she has been feeling revulsion for a character called Marius, who is introduced by the narrator as a lech, a womanizer, a shallow, vapid stealer of women.

SPOILERS OF THE MOST DAMNABLE SORT

In fact, this is the person who the narrator deems most likely for his wife to fall in love with. This is an Othello fable where Othello hopes his Desdemona is unfaithful, because he pines to be a voyeur. (This is a very British tale. Can’t imagine such a plot device going down well in her home country. But maybe a blog reader can enlighten self about this?)

On p. 194 of THE ACT OF LOVE, the narrator gets fed up with Marius’s dilly-dallying. He decides to provoke him. He’s been following Marius around for days, and Marius doesn’t seem to have a clue how to seduce the narrator’s wife. So he follows Marius to a coffee shop on High Street.

Marius: Why are you stalking me?

Narrator: Who said I was stalking you? I mentioned I’d seen you with a beautiful woman, that’s all.

Marius: And what’s that to you? Are you a private investigator?

Narrator: No. I’m more what you’d call a pervert if you really want to know what I do.

Marius: And you think telling me this will make me feel better about talking to you? What would you do if I told you to get lost?

Narrator: If I thought you meant it, I’d get lost.

Marius: If you thought I meant it! Is this what a pervert does? Hangs around people who tell him to get lost while he decides whether or not they mean it? Why don’t you just call yourself a glutton for punishment and have done.

You know, self is developing quite a fondness for Marius and his telling-the-narrator-to-get-lost ways.

And she’s developing quite a revulsion for the narrator and his manipulative ways.

Who would have thought? Jacobson, you’re such a sly one!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE: Demon’s Ball, Chiswick, Part 2

Ah, supernatural fiction. Ah, changelings and demons and faerie glens.

Self is still reading about the Demons Ball at the Lightwoods (interspersed with her other reading: Howard Jacobson’s The Act of Love, set on Great Russell Street of all places; The Guardian; and Lucifer Princeps, the book about angels and nephilim and the netherworld, which has NOT, despite all self’s anxieties, been keeping self up at night, thank goodness!)

Today, self is off in search of a really neat supernatural bookstore, one she found on the web, which is a long way from her usual haunts. So she’d better off. She plans to walk there. London yesterday was wet, wet, wet. But today is as beautiful as summer. So, walk. When her feet give out, she’ll duck into the nearest tube station.

SPOILER ALERT AS USUAL

Tessa, still masquerading as Jessamine, has managed to distract Nate enough so that she didn’t actually have to kiss her own brother. Which would have been YUUUUCK!!!

She finds herself conversing with a faerie:

“Did you know your mother had eyes just like yours, gray sometimes and blue at others?”

Tessa found her voice. “Who are you?”

“Oh, my kind doesn’t like to give our names, but you can call me whatever you like. You can invent a lovely name for me. Your mother used to call me Hyacinth.”

“The blue flower,” Tessa said faintly. “How did you know my mother? You don’t look any older than me — ”

“After our youth, my kind does not age or die. Nor will you. Lucky girl! I hope you appreciate the service done you.”

Tessa shook her head in bewilderment. “Service? What service? Are you speaking of Mortmain? Do you know what I am?”

“Do you know what I am?”

Tessa thought of the Codex. “A faerie?” she guessed.

“And do you know what a changeling is?”

Tessa shook her head.

“Sometimes,” Hyacinth confided, dropping her voice to a whisper, “when our faerie blood has grown weak and thin, we will find our way into a human home, and take the best, the prettiest, and the plumpest child –and quick as a wink, replace the babe with a sickly one of our own. While the human child grows tall and strong in our lands, the human family will find itself burdened with a dying creature fearful of cold iron.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Gale or Peeta: Who Is a Better Dystopian Boyfriend?

This is a matter of grave import, dear blog readers, for the last Hunger Games movie (Mockingjay, Part 2) is coming out in November, and the fandom is just about to burst.

That now-familiar trope, the Dystopian Boyfriend, is going to have such a field day.

Dear blog readers already know where self lies on this gradient.

This discussion has to do with the movie version of The Hunger Games, not the books! For you lame ones who have never seen a Hunger Games movie, Gale Hawthorne is played by Liam Hemsworth, and Peeta Mellark is played by Josh Hutcherson.

Going in to movie # 1, self had no love for J-Hutch, as she’d only seen him in The Kids Are All Right and he struck her as — all right but he definitely was not her first choice for actor to play Peeta (Her all-time favorite HG character) Now, four years later, after reading the entire trilogy, watching 3 movies, and becoming a fan fiction writer of Everlark (??? Can you believe it ???), self is all like, WHO IS LIAM? WHO IS GALE? There can only be ONE Dystopian Boyfriend! Don’t even mention! Self can’t even!

Let the Decider.com analysis begin! (Ummm, the discussants are both men. Nevertheless. Posted March, 2015)

P.S. It is Friday. Please feel free to be super self-indulgent. No trigger warnings. Definitely the PG version.

Excerpts of choice:

  1. Pro-Liam: The chiseled Hemsworth jaw. The woodsy hunter look. The delicate, elderly aunt’s name. (Self didn’t know that Gale was an aunt’s name? Does Collins say this in the books?)
  2. Pro-Josh: I could probably carry him around on trips with a little Glad container of hummus.
  3. Pro-Liam: “Hey, babe, calm down. No one is thinking about this nearly as hard as you are. Let’s go hunting.”
  4. Pro-Josh: I’m very attracted to tiny boxes of feelings that are likely to explode like a pressure cooker.
  5. Pro-Liam: Peeta would come back after the seventh time I fake-break up with him, while Gale would call my bluff . . .
  6. Pro-Josh: I’m gonna snatch it/him right up! And then carry him around on my back, like a human Yoda.

Had enough, dear blog readers?

A long, loooong time ago, when self was still having meaningful discussions with Niece Georgina (who was at Stanford), she declared herself unable to see the attraction in J-Hutch and Georgina said “No. It’s Josh. Definitely. Hotter.”

And the rest is history.

How self could ever have considered Liam Hemsworth anything more than a limp dishrag when contrasted with the all-over hotness of J-Hutch (His miniscule height strangely adds, rather than detracts, from the appeal — people, don’t ask self to explain, it just IS) is simply confounding.

Self is also still reading Howard Jacobson’s hilarious and heartbreaking novel, The Act of Love (Set in London, today. His main character spends a lot of time on Great Russell Street)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

CLOCKWORK PRINCE, p. 280: Demon’s Ball, Chiswick

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS DAMN YOU BLOG READERS WHO STILL HAVEN’T READ CLOCKWORK PRINCE!!!

Tessa Gray and Will Herondale do some detective work around the Lightwoods’ mansion during a Demons Ball.

Will is disguised with a half-face mask (Later, he has occasion to remove it, and Tessa Gray notes that the mask has left delicate red marks on the tops of Will’s cheekbones. And very well-sculpted those cheekbones are, do dear blog readers even need self to remind them! Those are Herondale cheekbones, but of course!)

Tessa Gray has changed into Jessamine Lovelace, a blonde flibbertigibbet who has been conducting a secret romantic relationship with Nate Gray, Tessa’s brother.

So, during the ball, there are many whispered, affectionate caresses between the unsuspecting Nate and his sister (disguised as Jessamine). Here’s one. The whole way through the scene, let’s just say: Self. Can’t. Even.

Nate’s hand slipped around the back of her neck. He was wearing gloves, but Tessa couldn’t rid herself of the feeling that something slimy was touching her skin. “My little Jessie,” he murmured. “You behave almost as if you’ve forgotten your own part in this. You did hide the Book of White in my sister’s room as we asked you to, did you not?”

“Of — of course I did.”

“That’s my good girl.” He was leaning closer. He was definitely going to kiss her. It was most improper . . .

At which point, self was all BLEAAAAAH!!!!  PHOOOEEEEY!!!!  BAAAARRRRRFFFFF!!!

If dear blog readers want to know if Cassie Clare (Esteemed Author) actually does go there, read the book for crying out loud!

(Incidentally, she was on Fleet Street again today. She didn’t get a chance to pop into St. Bride’s, but she’ll have to do that one of these days)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Villanueva + Waccamaw + 1-800-U-R-Saved =

from “Bridging”, in Waccamaw No. 12:

Introduction: A Filipino widow decides to combat loneliness by volunteering on a Mental Health Hotline called 1-800-U-R-Saved.

“I’ve bought myself a plane ticket,” the man said.

“Where are you going?” Leticia asked.

“San Francisco,” the man said. “To throw myself off the Golden Gate Bridge.”

“Don’t do that,” Leticia said, then stopped. San Francisco! Leticia had never been to San Francisco, though she longed to.

She then broke Rule # 3:  She gave the caller her real name.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Demon’s Ball, Chiswick: CLOCKWORK PRINCE Quote of the Day

Today, self thinks: Must. Get. To. Chiswick.

SPOILER ALERT FOR YOU, OH LAME ONES, WHO HAVE NOT YET READ CLOCKWORK PRINCE!

Here are Tessa and will at a Demons Ball at the Lightwood residence in Chiswick.

They are in disguise, of course: Tessa has changed into Jessamine, and Will is — wearing a face mask.

Tessa’s brother, Nate, has just asked Jessamine aka Tessa for a dance. Nate peers intensely into Jessamine’s aka Tessa’s wide eyes. Tessa thinks she’s going to be sick because she doesn’t want to kiss her brother.

The whole way through this scene, self was on tenterhooks. Are you really going to go there, Cassandra Clare? Are you? Are you? Self can’t even.

“God, I’m jealous of every other man who looks at you,” Nate said. “You should be looked at only by me.”

Good Lord, Tessa thought. Did this line of talk really work on most women? If her brother had come to her with the aim of asking her advice on these pearls, she would have told him straight off that he sounded like an idiot because he was her brother. And despicable.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Live on Juked.com: Self’s “First Life”

The classroom of the future, according to self:

The first corollary: what is average is perfect.

Today I’m thick or something because thoughts are dark as dark.

I can hear Big arguing. He sits on Her’s other side. He’s telling Drinker, the formlessness. That’s what I mean.

Story’s live now on Juked.com.

Self does love these formless, voice-driven, futuristic imaginings that come more and more often since Ireland.

Maybe not such a surprise, for someone who adores Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.

Stay tuned.

Power Outage, Dharamsala, January 2012

Never mind the reasons why.

A hired car and driver were available, right that very minute. Before self could over-think, she heard herself say, “Take me to Dharamsala.”

About halfway there, self looked around and saw that they seemed to be approaching a huge mountain. The mountain just kept getting bigger and bigger. In fact, by the time self had actually arrived IN Dharamsala, the mountain had lost its identity as mountain and was just this huge representation. An all-encompassing I-am-in-India-having-an-out-of-body experience type of representation. (Just think: two weeks earlier, self could never have imagined that she would be in Dharamsala. In fact, she almost never used to think about Dharamsala. In fact, she knew next to nothing about Dharamsala. Until she got stuck in Himachal Pradesh. In fact, she was having a super-sized ADVENTURE with a capital A!)

“Where is your hotel, madame?”

Funny, those are probably the only words of English self ever heard the driver utter. He was from Tibet. Which is how she knew she could trust him.

“Um . . . ummm”

Self casts her mind back to the previous night. She’d stayed up, scanning tripadvisor.

She managed to dredge up a name. The driver took self to the name. It was inside a military cantonment. Oh thank God, self thought, I AM SAFE! (How did she know it was a military cantonment? Because the hired car was stopped by soldiers, a security check before entering said military cantonment)

Self was so exhausted by this whole first-time-in-India thing that she stayed in Dharamsala almost a week.

At one point, there was a power outage.

No no no noooo!

Self had been crouched in front of a portable space heater, praying it didn’t short-circuit in the middle of the night and burn her to a crisp.

But — power outage! Why had she never considered the possibility?

Self’s first thought: I AM GOING TO DIE!!!!

Teeth making loud chattering (involuntary) noises.

At some point, a knock on the door.

Geez! What next? Go away, self yelled.

Then she recognized the voice of one of the inn-keepers. “Madame,” he kept repeating, almost frantic. “Madame, are you all right?”

At which point, self decided to speak:  “M-m-more c-c-comforters!”

Man returns with four.

Next morning, having survived the night, self makes chit-chat with front desk. “Does that happen often?” She means: Power Outage.

Man nods convincingly. “Oh yes, Madame. Last year, we had no power for two weeks.”

!!!###@@@

Holy Cow! self exclaimed. Two weeks! How did you get through it?

At which point, the man just shrugs.

What must be endured, must be endured.

Of course! Because, no one has any choice. Self asks the stupidest questions sometimes.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Announcing: The First Annual Margarita Donnelly Prize for Prose Writing (Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015)

Margarita Donnelly's Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

Margarita Donnelly’s Last AWP, Seattle 2014. Pictured: Margarita and Brenna Crotty, Calyx Senior Editor

She was indomitable, that is all.

Met her first at: Bookstore in the Mission

Self read her story “Ginseng.”

Margarita went up to self afterwards and asked, “You got more like those?”

(Yes, sitting in a file cabinet; Four years past the Stanford University Creative Writing Program, and self was such a coward that she never sent the manuscript out:  WHEEE!)

What better way to honor her legacy than a prose contest? Calyx, the press Margarita co-founded, launched the Prize on July 1. Here’s the link to their website. The contest is open to both fiction and nonfiction.

  • Deadline for Entries: Sept. 30, 2015
  • Reading Fee:  $20 (check payable to Calyx)
  • Maximum Length of piece:  10,000 words

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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