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.

Books Self Is Interested After Perusing The Guardian’s Summer “Text on the Beach” Issue, 23 July 2015

Self used to do this. A LOT. Post about books she was interested in reading after picking up a copy of The New York Times Book Review (which she used to subscribe to. Until last year), The New York Review of Books (which she also used to subscribe to), The New Yorker (which she still subscribes to, but hasn’t read in six months) and The Economist (which she no longer subscribes to)

Anyhoo, after that very lengthy introduction, here is self with The Guardian’s Summer Reading issue, and after going through the whole thing, self has culled just three books. She must be in some kind of slump?

Here are her three:

  • Grey, by E. L. James — What what what? Self actually read the first two pages in Hodges Figgis in Dublin. And what do you know, she liked it! But The Guardian review is so silly. “Come again, if you insist . . . ” Self still wants to read it.
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante — “The first part of the Neapolitan trilogy in which almost nothing happens.” (OK, these reviews are one-note and boring. Sorry, Jim Crace, Reviewer. Self will read in spite of)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins — Let self dispense with the utterly dispensable: i.e., the review. And let’s just say, if this novel is indeed a riff on Gone, Girl, she likes. So “Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl On the Train” is a barrel of laughs.

Just for that, self is popping over to the London Review of Bookstore (Hey, last AWP Book Fair, in Minneapolis, she actually saw a table for the London Review of Books! She’s not sure if they’ve been coming every year, but this year was the first time she noticed them)

Side Note:  Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is in every bookstore window, all over Dublin and London. So happy for her. Promise to read the book, at least five years from now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Half and Half: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The last two WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges have been really interesting. Last week’s was SYMBOL. This week’s is HALF AND HALF:  “. . .  try to focus solely on the visual plane of the photo.”

The prompt is from Ben Huberman, who included a shot of the imposing Devils Tower in Wyoming:

“There was rock, there was sky, and both were stunning.”

Here’s her first post on this week’s theme: three separate shots of special Irish places.

Inchicore, from the Blackhorse stop on the Luas

Inchicore, from the Blackhorse stop on the Luas Red Line

The Irish Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Square, After a reading for the anthology LOST BETWEEN: WRITINGS ON DISPLACEMENT

The Irish Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Square, After a reading for the anthology LOST BETWEEN: WRITINGS ON DISPLACEMENT

Saint Stephen's Green on Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Saint Stephen’s Green on Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Self loves the wide-angle of her Nikon Coolpix. That’s because, in fiction as well as in her photo-taking, she loves playing with perspective. Most of her favorite shots involve splitting a landscape in two.

And that, come to think of it, is also what happens in her writing: she likes working off contrasts, splitting a landscape into two.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. 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.

SYMBOL: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is SYMBOL.

As The Daily Post states: “Symbolism is uniquely human. We use symbols to represent intangible things like our beliefs and emotions, and to convert the abstract into something understandable.”

Here are a couple of symbols:

June 17, 2015, Action for Addressing Climate Change, South Bank, London: Groups from all over England came to speak to their MPs. Self was with Joan McGavin, from Southampton. Was lovely to see this red heart instead of the usual placards:

London, South Bank, Wednesday June 17, 2015

London, South Bank, Wednesday June 17, 2015

Next: On a pilgrimage to find Shadowhaunter haunts around London (You haven’t been following this blog very long if you don’t understand “Shadowhunters” LOL), self lands on Fleet Street, the street where all the English papers used to have their main offices:

Fleet Street, the Street of Journalists (Just steps away is St. Bride's, where there's a moving tribute to Foreign Correspondent Marie Colvin, killed in Hom, Syria, 2012)

Fleet Street, the Street of Journalists (Just steps away is St. Bride’s, where there’s a moving tribute to Foreign Correspondent Marie Colvin, killed in Hom, Syria, 2012)

Inside the Church of St. Bride’s, the walls are lined with photographs representing the Stations of the Cross:

Station of the Cross, St. Bride's Church, off Fleet Street, London

Station of the Cross, St. Bride’s Church, off Fleet Street, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Everlark Fanfiction Multi-Chapter Story Stalls

Apologies, dear blog readers, this is something she hasn’t posted about in a long time: her avocation for writing Hunger Games Everlark fan fiction (Multi-chapter, loaded with angst. Please do not judge).

She started writing fan fiction late last year, and found it to be an extremely relaxing activity.

First, she made Peeta the hero, and Katniss the supporting player.

Then, she married Katniss off to Gale, and gave them a son.

Then, she had Peeta’s father murdered (by who else but Snow?) and had Gale arrested by Cray (framed for the murder of Peeta’s father). Self suspects she did this solely to have an excuse for Katniss to spend much time in the Justice Building, being interrogated by the depraved Cray. (Readers said self’s Cray was THE most disgusting iteration of that character in anything Everlark. You’d better believe it! She’s had so much practice writing depraved characters in her regular fiction! And BTW, another depraved character is to enter her universe of published work very very very soon, when Juked publishes her story “First Life,” they said mid-July.)

Then she had Haymitch wandering dolorously about District 12.

Then she forced Peeta to marry a career victor from One named Darna.

Then she got responses from readers that they liked Darna; she was like Katniss 2.0

Then, she realized she was not writing Everlark any longer, but Peeta + OOC.

So then, she had absolutely no idea how to proceed. But one of her last scenes was Peeta running flat-out down an avenue of the Capitol, escaping from a pair of suits who behave like Tweedledum and Tweedledee and talk like escapees from a Samuel Beckett play (God, can you believe that self actually mentions Samuel Beckett in connection with Hunger Games Everlark fan fiction???) Peeta gets caught and taken to a train platform. Then he winds up with —  Finnick’s father in the woods of Four ???? And Katniss shows up there, too, and self has no idea how?

Can she just make Peeta a Shadowhunter? That way he has at his disposal all kinds of glamours? So he can run flat-out down a Capitol Avenue and escape from Tweedledum and Tweedledee? (In her fiction, Peeta’s wearing nothing. Because — never mind, long long long backstory. Self’s inspiration was watching Magic Mike.)

This is the kind of thing self is afraid might happen to this novel she is writing now, about a Spanish priest in the 18th century who is assigned a mission to the Philippines. He arrives on an island, witnesses all kinds of un-Christian activity. The wilderness is terrible, loathsome. He can spout the Bible but can he actually save a pirate from being hanged right before his very eyes?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Door: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is DOOR.

The Daily Post prompt: “publish a new post with a photo of a door.”

To which self says, QED!

Because doors fascinate her almost as much as windows do.

The First Door:  Mendocino Village, California

Sweetwater Gardens is a Bed & Breakfast with a fancy restaurant and spa. One of the rooms (someone told her) is in a water tower.

DSCN8341

The Second Door: Entrance to the Ceramics Studio at the Mendocino Art Center. Self took the picture during Second Saturday (January 2015): Every second Saturday of the month, Mendocino’s galleries hold little wine-and-cheese receptions and people can stroll in and out of various art galleries.

DSCN8229

The Third Door: AMC Ontario Mills Shopping Center, Southern California

Well, technically that’s not a door. Just a representation of one. Apologies!

Actually, that’s not even a representation of a door. Whatever. It’s a portal.

DSCN6826

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.

Victor Klemperer, Dresden, 1942

On 14 February 1942, Klemperer, aged 60 and in less than perfect health, was ordered to report for work clearing snow off the streets. He was married to a non-Jew; his wife was called a “Jew’s whore.”

They ransacked his house, taking away everything of value. Except for — the diaries.

“Desperately worried that the Gestapo would find his diaries (one is murdered for lessser misdemeanors), Klemperer started to get his wife to take them” to a “non-Jewish friend” for safekeeping.

“But,” he wrote, “I shall go on writing . . . This is my heroism. I intend to bear witness, precise witness!”

— from The Third Reich at War, Part 3 (“The Final Solution”), p. 252

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Randomness: Saturday, 20 June 2015

Today the weather is all mixed up. Self felt cool-ish this morning so she put on a turtleneck sweater.

Sometime in the afternoon, it began to shower. Only briefly. Only the merest whisper of moisture.

Now, it is hot. So hot it is really punishing to keep the sweater on. But since she’s been traveling so diligently, most of her clothes are in need of washing. And she brought very little with her (because she knew she’d be hitting buses and trains and hauling her own luggage all over the UK). And she is also feeling somewhat lethargic. And it is too much bother to change into something else.

It occurs to self that a number of distinct words describing negative emotional states begin with the letter “D.” Such as:

distracted * distraught * distressed

It occurs also to self that it is hard to write without using the letter “E.”

She just tried doing a challenge on Jennifer’s Journal. Here it is, for those who care to try.

And it occurs to self that Word Riot, several years ago, published a piece by her that was a Dictionary of sorts:

It began thus:

A

Ask. Ask and thou shalt receive.

Assumpta est Maria, you sang every week in the auditorium.

Angels. Angelus. Angelic.

Admit, admit this was all your fault.

Against. Must you always — ?

And on it went, all the way through the alphabet, self pulling random objects from thin air.

And she did it. She got all the way to the letter “Z.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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