Door 2: Annaghmakerrig, Ireland & Cambridge, England

Here are a couple more significant doors! (She’d better stop doing these Photo Challenges, at least while she’s in Ireland. Took much time to find that last one. She had to scour her archives for about an hour!)

The first two are from today, in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan, Ireland. The last is from May 2014, when she visited her friend Dodo in Cambridge, England.

Farmyard Cottage, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

Farmyard Cottage, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

Entrance to One of the Artist Studios, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

Entrance to One of the Artist Studios, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

Last, a picture self took in Cambridge in May 2014, when she was visiting her friend Dodo:

Cambridge, England (During a Visit Last Year, May 2014)

Cambridge, England (During a Visit Last Year, May 2014)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Miss Warby’s Ghost Lives!

The Lake at Annaghmakerrig, 10:30 p.m.

On the Way to the Lake, 10:30 p.m.

Today, self got to chatting with a few of the other artists at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

She told them she’d gone down to the lake, one night after dinner, and heard a kind of humming.

The lake was soooo still.

In the distance, on the far side of the lake, were a flock of swans.

Above her, swallows circled.

She tweeted about it a few days ago, and someone named Miss Warby’s Ghost tweeted back: That humming you heard was me!

HA HA HA HA.

Today, though, self was telling the other artists about the lake humming and Miss Warby’s ghost, and one of the artists said, “There really IS a Miss Warby’s Ghost.”

Whaaaat?

There’s a room called Miss Warby’s in the main house, and yeah, there really is a ghost there.

Again:  Whaaaat?

Then another artist said that once, at night, she saw a cloaked figure by the lake, of all things playing a flute. The music was really beautiful.

Later, the artist asked around if there were any flute players at the Centre.

The answer: Nada y nada y nada.

DUN DUN DUN!

Humming in the sky, ghosts, mysterious flute players. Self can’t even.

Stay tuned.

Muse 6: The Lake at Annaghmakerrig (Late Last Night)

A walk always refreshes self. Especially after a day of hard writing.

When self first came to Ireland, last year, her friends in Dublin teased her that she’d likely encounter a banshee.

But self is convinced there are no banshees in Annaghmakerrig. Maybe they’re in some other part of Ireland. But not here in County Monaghan.

Anyhoo, let’s see, where was she? The lake.

How it appeared last night:

Alone on the Lake, 10:30 p.m.

Alone on the Lake, 10:30 p.m.

The moon was gorgeous, full and round, its outlines perfectly crisp:

Full Moon Over the Lake

Full Moon Over the Lake

Whenever self walks to the lake in the evening, she thinks she hears a kind of humming emanating from way up above. In fact, she tweeted about it, and Miss Warby’s Ghost replied: THAT WAS ME! (Love it!)

So, here’s her last shot of the moon last night. This was pretty blurry, but she’ll throw it in, anyway.

DSCN0442

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 4: Swans! At the Lake in Annaghmakerrig!

Today, after a hard day of writing, self walked down to the lake:

Swan Sighting at the Lake!

Swan Sighting at the Lake!

And saw her first swans! (Actually, that’s not quite right. She was down at the lake yesterday evening, and saw swans then, too)

Self will share with dear blog readers that it was because of the swans she saw in Ireland that she wrote a story called “The Ark.” And, earlier this year, it was published by Local Nomad. Which, self just wants to say, is a really beautiful on-line journal. And it is all done by one woman: Jean Vengua.

Her story begins thus:

There were great stores of food laid up, for Noah knew that the flood would last a long time. The hull began to groan with the weight, intensifying his anxiety.

Two Swans!

Two Swans!

And here are swans, diving for food:

DSCN0430

And now, back to the writing desk!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 3: More From Annaghmakerrig

Another from last night’s walk around the grounds of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (This place is absolute balm for self’s spirit):

DSCN0356

What is it, exactly, about this place? The light? The surroundings? Knowing other artists are just a shout away? Ireland? She is exceedingly grateful for every day that she wakes up here.

It’s a gorgeous time of year. Flowers are blooming:

Flowers growing from atop a low stone wall . . .

Flowers growing from atop a low stone wall . . .

More of the Same (Just From Another Angle)

More of the Same (Just From Another Angle)

Today is #AgentsDay on Twitter. So many authors are grateful to their agents, which is nice.

This is not a pursuit self feels she can successfully engage in. (Optimism does not come naturally to self!)

It is also, interestingly enough, #askELJames Day on Twitter. And the questions! The questions!

When self was in London, a few weeks ago, she saw a huge Fifty Shades of Grey poster (a still from the movie) that covered an entire building. How’s that for making a statement? Jaw-drop time.

Jamie Dornan has quite a good back. Self’s just saying.

(Now, how did self get from Annaghmakerrig to Fifty Shades? No idea)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 2: Tryone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is MUSE.

This is self’s second time at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. She came back because she did so much good work when she was here last year, in May.

This year, she has a novel to finish. It’s very slow going, but she’s lucky she can get to work on it here.

Last night, self decided to take a walk. The sun doesn’t set until 10 p.m. or thereabouts, which is quite a thrill: more daylight hours, yes!!!

Last year, she remembers there was a little flock of swans that used to hang out by the lake. But she hasn’t seen one, not one, since she got here. Perhaps it’s the season.

No More Swans

No More Swans

Anyhoo, self loves being underneath the giant trees. You don’t understand green — all the varying shades of it — until you’ve been to Ireland.

Trees, Summer Evening

Trees, Summer Evening

And there are woods out here, so many woods. So far, she’s had very little time to explore. Hopefully, later, she will.

The woods last night. Such spindly tree trunks! Nothing at all like the woods up by Mendocino.

The woods last night. Such spindly tree trunks! Nothing at all like the woods up by Mendocino.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is MUSE.

What is a MUSE? A source of inspiration.

In Greek and Roman mythology, the muses were nine goddesses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts and sciences.

Books are self’s inspiration (muse):

My Writing Studio in the Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghamakerrig

Self’s Writing Studio in her Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghamakerrig

The Virginia Woolf book is from the bookshelves in her cottage. The other book is self’s personal copy, which she’s been bringing along with her everywhere because her novel-in-progress is set in 18th century Spain:

Reading for Self's Novel-In-Progress

Reading for Self’s Novel-In-Progress

And traveling, of course, is a constant source of inspiration.

Self took the picture below when she was with poet Joan McGavin, who took her to a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge (on June 17), calling for more action on climate change:

Houses of Parliament, Viewed from the South Bank, London, June 17

Houses of Parliament, Viewed from the South Bank, London, June 17

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How DARE You, Mr. Ragnor Fell!

Self may be getting ahead of herself, but life is short.

There are two choices open to her when she leaves Ireland:  Yorkshire or Wales.

Yorkshire because a crucial scene in Clockwork Prince takes place there. P. 169:

Ragnor Fell, High Warlock of London: “What’s on the carpet, then, Charlotte? Did you really call me out here to discuss dark doings on the Yorkshire moors? I was under the impression that nothing of great interest happened in Yorkshire. In fact, I was under the impression that there was nothing in Yorkshire except sheep and mining.”

Oh la-di-dah, Mr. Fell. Yorkshire isn’t that boring. She was there when she was 11. She was sent to summer camp, somewhere in Yorkshire Dales. She saw the magnificent cathedral.

And Wales?

Something so alluring and romantic about Wales. Aside from the fact that Wales is where Will Herondale was born and lived until he was 12.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ROY G. BIV 2: London & Annaghmakerrig & Banff (And The Year Is Only Half Over!)

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is really interesting.

Self had no idea what ROY G. BIV stood for, but now she does. Each letter stands for a color: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.

The Daily Post prompt says:

You can attack this challenge in one of two ways: share an image that contains all the colors of the rainbow (or an actual rainbow . . . or share a multi-photo gallery, one image for each color.

Today, self is going for the multi-photo gallery. First, the color BLUE (She should have begun with RED, her apologies!)

This is Blackfriars Bridge in London. The sky was amazingly blue that day.

Blackfriars Bridge, London. Self particularly wanted to see Blackfriars because it plays such a prominent role in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices. The sky was amazingly blue that day.

Next, the color ORANGE:

It was Wednesday. Self's friend Joan McGavin invited self to come along and participate in a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge, asking the government for greater measures to address climate change.

It was Wednesday. Self’s friend Joan McGavin invited self to come along and participate in a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge, asking the government for greater measures to address climate change.

Next, the color YELLOW:

This teapot is yellow (duh). It's in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

This teapot is yellow (duh). It’s in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

The next color is GREEN:

This beautiful etched glass panel is in the Church of St. Bride's, near Fleet Street (Also known as the Church of Journalists).

This beautiful etched glass panel is in the Church of St. Bride’s, near Fleet Street (Also known as the Church of Journalists).

Next, the color RED:

An Armchair in Self's Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig

An Armchair in Self’s Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig

Next, the color INDIGO:

Twilight, London: Somewhere Off Great Russell Street, Near the British Museum

Twilight, London: Somewhere Off Great Russell Street, Near the British Museum

Finally, VIOLET:

The Books Self Checked Out of the Library in Banff

The Books Self Checked Out of the Library in Banff

It took self FOREVER to decide on the last photo. She had no idea how little violet there was in the world. Honestly. This entire post probably took her an hour, and finding the last picture probably took her 15 minutes. And now, the book spines don’t really look violet!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Women in Heels

Self is short.

Short. Short. Short. Short.

Granted, short is not a disease.

Nevertheless.

On the question of heels. Last week, went to the Victoria & Albert Museum, lined up to pay 12 GBP to see exhibit on footwear called, if self remembers correctly: Shoes:  Pleasure & Pain.

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Fabulous Chihuly: In the Lobby of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The torture aspect was, in self’s humble opinion, very de-emphasized. Self has seen more torturous shoes (including one fabulous pair with moss growing on the heels) in Greenwich Village in New York City.

And now to “Jurassic World,” which self has not seen, but which seems to have triggered some very strong audience reaction to Bryce Dallas Howard’s choice of footwear. It seems she keeps the heels on, throughout the movie.

Now, let self ponder this a moment.

Self has seen, in Italy, women running flat out for a bus in the highest, stiletto-heeled shoes imaginable. They look great. Also, super-powerful.

She has watched episodes of “Sex and the City” in which Sarah Jessica Parker, post-baby, runs flat out down a New York avenue in Jimmy Choos.

Let’s not forget Jodie Foster in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, the one where she plays an oh-so-smooth New York lawyer representing the Rich Bad Guy who profited from the theft of Jewish assets during World War II. Self thinks that if she had a lawyer who wore four-inch heels as confidently as Jodie Foster’s character does (and Jodie’s legs are the best legs self has seen on film since — since — the woman in Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill), she would rest easy in the conviction that she would win all her cases.

On the other hand, there is always an exception to the rule. Exhibit A: Paula Patton, who in the most memorable scene in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (one of the sequels, the one shot in Dubai), kicks off her heels, leaves on the powder-blue shift dress, and FIGHTS. Really FIGHTS. Afterwards, she sits chatting with her group, all men. She remains barefoot, but still wearing that fabulous dress. The only indication that she’s been IN a fight (because, ya know, she’s as cool as a cucumber. Or at least her character is. She has antagonists like Lea Seydoux for breakfast. Honestly) are her bare feet.

And now we arrive at Bryce Dallas Howard, who in side-note self must say is one of the most unusually interesting-looking actresses working today.  Because her character, Clare, never takes off her shoes, we are left to debate the fine points of female fashion choices. Self means: Is it rational to keep on the heels when one is being chased by a velociraptor?

Self can think of many reasons why Clare would choose to keep wearing her shoes: (1) Jungle floors are slimy; (2) She does not have hiking boots in her closet, or even in her desk drawer at work, or even under her desk in her office at work.

A guest post by Lesley Holmes on clothesonfilm makes the point: “I think the makers of Jurassic world believed that showing a woman capable of running in heels was the same as showing us a capable woman . . . ” Of course! This is a very old Hollywood trope, just about as old as the idea of the director auteur (born with Citizen Kane, which means — a long long time ago). If you want to know how powerful a woman character is, just look at what she’s wearing on her feet, for God’s sake!

Self would just like to say that while she was in line in the women’s restroom at the Gielgud Theatre, during the intermission for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, self engaged a young woman in conversation, and then expressed admiration for her shoes. They looked just like the Sam Edelmans self bought last year in California, but this woman’s shoes were flats. The young woman looked at self regretfully and said, “They’re super-painful. See?” She slipped her right foot out of her shoe and there, plain as day, was the beginning of a blister. Aaargh! The things self sees in women’s restrooms! Which is neither here nor there. But it brought home the lesson that flats are just as capable of giving a woman blisters as are Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.

Self realizes that she herself has very little to say about the wearing of high heels, but in Hollywood, the woman who wears the highest heels is usually the most powerful woman on the block. She’s just saying.

Stay tuned.

« Older entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,761 other followers