Generation Gap, by Joan McGavin, Hampshire Poet for 2014

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With the Armistice declared,
school was closed
and the children all
ran hilty-skilty
down the brae.
Mum burst into the house —

her brother’s photo
already three years
on the mantelpiece.

Newly
promoted corporal,
he holds
the swagger stick
self-consciously,
glances to the side.

And now she’s gone,
and those questions
one could ask about him
— dead on the Somme —
will need books,
the internet, research,
for any hope of answers —

and between me and my uncle
only the red hair
and my mother
forever saying
how much I reminded her of him.

— by Joan McGavin, Hampshire Poet for 2014

Inspiration 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:

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And still more of the same:

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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 just 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.

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is!

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is! July 2015

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.

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.

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.

The Emigrant Woman’s Tale, Performed at the Fiddlers Green Festival, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Self met poet Csilla Toldy at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig, last year.

Csilla has a fascinating backstory: born and raised in Hungary, she managed to make it through the Iron Curtain when she was just 18 years old.

Sunday, July 19, self got the opportunity to hear Csilla and singer/songwriter Fil Campell interweave their stories of crossing borders (Fil was born and raised in County Donegal) in the Fiddlers Green Festival in Rostrevor, and it was a very moving experience.

The performance grew out of a book, The Emigrant Woman’s Tale, which was published this year by Lapwing Publications in Belfast.

The book is fascinating, but if you have the chance to catch the performances live, self would urge you to do it. Csilla and Fil are performing in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m., at Annesley Hall. And on Oct. 22 they are performing at 6 p.m. in Linenhall Library in Belfast.

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, July 2015

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland, July 2015

An Excerpt from Csilla Toldy’s piece “Growing Up Under the Red Star”:

At age three I graduated into the kindergarten in Gorky Avenue. It was a cold place with high ceilings that got lost in grey mist, teeming with hostile children and hostile wardens. I was wild, and often violent with the children, and resentful towards the adults. I used to bite children, and quite understandably, they did not like me. Nowadays, any child behaving like this could be labelled with some fancy syndrome, but in the Hungary of the 1960s, they had a different practice. Children had to be installed into society, no matter what. It was only a question of time and patience.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Will Herondale

  • “Well, I suppose it’s hard to meddle in someone’s brains if they’ve got no brains to start with.”

—  spoken by Will Herondale to Tessa Gray, the two riding alone in a carriage, on their way to a Demons Ball in Chiswick (from p. 261 of Clockwork Prince, the most angst-y of all Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices books, which means it is one of self’s absolute faves. If your tear ducts ever feel in need of a major workout, dear blog reader, then this is the book for you!)

Why Self Loves Warlocks and Werewolves and What Not: CLOCKWORK PRINCE, Chapter 11 (“Wild Unrest”)

First of all, self didn’t get a wink of sleep last night.

Second, writing is hard work. VERY VERY hard work.

Third, just see how you’d like reading 600 pages of The Third Reich of War (The chapter self is on describes how rich Hermann Goring was: he owned 10 villas, all of which were crammed with expensive artwork, and all of which were subsidized at German taxpayers’ expense. Just a few pages before, self read how a Jewish nurse at Auschwitz accompanied her son voluntarily to the gas chamber, during one of the last waves of gassings at the camp: October 1944)

So self hardly needs to explain why she goes for a little fantasy now and then. (How very forward-thinking of her to bring along her copies of Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess to the UK! She usually isn’t that pro-active!)

Anyhoo, Clockwork Prince, which most readers seem to think is “Jem’s book.” NOT!

While our boy Will Herondale is dreadfully discomposed, or disoriented, or whatevers, by the events therein, he is most decidedly NOT out of the picture entirely!

From the Oxford Dictionary of English in Cottage # 2 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

From the Oxford Dictionary of English in Cottage # 2 at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre

In a side-story, a Downworlder named Ragnor Fell is sniffing around Yorkshire to dig up information for the Clave on what exactly the Herondale family is doing in Ravenscar Manor, which is owned by the Magister (aka Mortmain aka Evil Person Who Has Been Trying to Abduct Tessa Gray Since FOREVER). Ragnor reports his findings to Charlotte in a very circumlocutious (but charming) letter which reads, in part, thus:

Ravenscar itself is near a small village. I set myself up at the local inn, the Black Swan, and posed as a gentleman interested in buying property in the area. The locals have been most forthcoming with information, and when they were not, a persuasion spell or two helped them to see the matter from my point of view.

It seems the Herondales mix very little with local society.

It’s now raining! OMG, it was hot as all get-out all day. Thank you for the rain!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Courts of the Third Reich: September 1943

German prisons were getting extremely overcrowded, by 1943. To alleviate the situation, “the time that was now allowed to elapse between sentencing and execution was often no more than a few hours, certainly not long enough for appeals for clemency to be prepared and considered.”

Part 5, Chapter II of The Third Reich at War (“The Beginning of the End”) p. 515:

On the night of 7 – 8 September 1943, the Ministry of Justice ordered the immediate hanging of 194 prisoners in the Plotzensee Jail in Berlin to reduce the overcrowding, which had become worse since an air raid had damaged a number of cells in the prison. After 78 had been killed, in batches of eight, it was discovered that the wrong files had been taken out of the prison office, and six of the prisoners executed had not been sentenced to death at all. Characteristically, the Ministry officials focused not on dealing, even if retrospectively, with this injustice but on finding the six other prisoners who should have been executed.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Jessamine, CLOCKWORK PRINCE

Self has been absolutely crushing the writing. Crushing it.

She added pirate raids, defensive maneuvers, gun battles, bonfires and other exceedingly dramatic mayhem to her WIP.

Finally, at 5 p.m., she settles in for a refreshing dip into The Infernal Devices. Which happens to be p. 261 of Clockwork Prince. Which happens to feature dialogue with Jessamine at the dinner table of the London Institute (Jessamine is one of self’s all-time favorite TID characters!)

Will regarded Henry from beneath half-lidded eyes. “Nothing ever disturbs your circles, does it, Henry?”

Henry blinked. “What do you mean?”

“Archimedes,” Jem said, as usual knowing what Will meant, though not looking at him. “He was drawing a mathematical diagram in the sand when his city was attacked by Romans. He was so intent on what he was doing that he didn’t see the soldier coming up behind him. His last words were, ‘Do not disturb my circles.’ Of course, he was an old man by then.”

“And he was probably never married,” said Will, and he grinned at Jem across the table.

Jem didn’t return his grin. Without looking at Will, or Tessa — without looking at any of them — he got to his feet and went out of the room after Charlotte.

“Oh, bother,” said Jessamine “Is this one of those days where we all stalk out in a fury? Because I simply haven’t got the energy for it.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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