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:

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 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, 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.

And Now, Another From CLOCKWORK PRINCE

If self had been able to get to blogging a little earlier, she would have written a fine analysis of the chapter in The Third Reich at War which focuses on Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, the man who the SS called the “Blonde Beast.” Less affectionately known by the Czechs as the “Butcher of Prague.”

Not a gullible believer in Nazi ideology, Heydrich nevertheless crushed the heart of the Czech resistance movement. Also, was passionate about music and played the violin.

Stop right there, self. You intimated this post was going to be about CLOCKWORK PRINCE. Luckily for dear blog readers, she’s going to make good on her introduction and turn to the CLOCKWORK PRINCE. Because just imagine how quickly your fine Sundays would be ruined if you read about Reich Protector Heydrich’s many successes in eliminating the Jewish population of Prague!

Okey-dokey, self will backtrack.

Cassandra Clare has a great sense of humor and Will Herondale is soooo entertaining a character.

FOR THE 5% OF THE POPULATION WHO HAVE NOT READ THE INFERNAL DEVICES: SPOILER ALERT!

His death anniversary passed a week or so ago (Stop! Can it really be? Forsooth, Cassie Clare called attention to it on her author website: Will Herondale died on June 19, 1937. Self was so addled that she actually heaved a sigh of relief that he was not around to witness World War II. Until she remembered that of course he wouldn’t be around to witness World War II:  because Will Herondale is a fictional character!!! DUH!!!)

Here’s the scene where Jem and Tessa find Will in an opium den. All these years of procuring the drug for beloved Jem (Sissy!) and Will never tried it once. Not once. Until, distraught over the discovery that his family in Wales has been moved by Mortmain to a house in of all places Yorkshire, and unable to tell Tessa Gray that he loves her while watching Jem’s flirtations intensify right before his very eyes (i.e. the train back to London. See also: the carriage ride to London’s East End, where Jem’s hot breath stays in Tessa’s ear. That is, until she lays sight of Will Herondale’s “six feet of bone and muscle” lying supine in a yin fen den run by warlocks — DUN DUN DUN!), he succumbs.

No one at the London Institute, not even Jem (What’s that parabatai rune over your heart doing, Jem? Hasn’t it been bothering you greatly during Will’s disappearance?), bother to go looking for him. Until Tessa Gray receives a confidential note from Warlock Magnus Bane (Methinks the warlock doth care for that whelp Herondale, despite his protestations!) that Will is in trouble, and she waits six hours to tell Jem, and then Jem finally decides that why, yes, as the parabatai he must go and search for Will, and they ride in a carriage and hot breath on Tessa’s ear and all that, and arrive at scummy London’s East End, which is absolutely crawling with Shivering Jemmies and infants whose skin is the color of curdled milk, and they find Will in a den of iniquity, and Tessa knows they have to get him out of there, but Jem is frozen, unable to move (As if thinking: Oh no! Why did we have to find him? I was looking forward to having Tessa Gray all to myself!). And then Tessa Gray says:

If you do not help me, I swear, I will Change into you, and I will lift him myself. And then everyone here will see what you look like in a dress. Do you understand?

God, JEM CARSTAIRS WILL YOU JUST GET A MOVE ON???

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

London From Tessa Gray’s Point of View

Jem, Tessa, and Will, the intrepid three of Clockwork Prince, have just boarded a train for York (Trains, in self’s humble opinion, are fabulous. Because they take one from somewhere to somewhere else. They represent movement and also stability because you can read a book and anchor yourself that way while zipping along. British trains are also excellent for eavesdropping. Now, where was self?)

“There is always something so exciting about the start of a journey, don’t you think?” Tessa went on, nose to the window, though she could see little but smoke and soot and hurtling, gray rain; London was a dim shadow in the mist.

“No,” said Will as he sat back and pulled his hat down over his eyes.

Tessa kept her face against the glass as the gray of London began to fall away behind them, and with it the rain. Soon they were rolling through green fields dotted with white sheep with here and there the point of a village steeple in the distance. The sky had turned from steel to a damp, misty blue, and small black clouds scudded overhead. Tessa watched it all with fascination.

Clockwork Prince, pp. 83-84

Street Light, Somewhere Near St. Bride's Church

Street Light, Somewhere Near St. Bride’s Church

As they get further from London, the countryside grows “less green, more stark,” with “long swathes of gray-green grass and outcroppings of black rock.” Self can hardly wait to get to York.

There are a number of Shadowhunter Institutes scattered around the United Kingdom: one in London, of course. One in York. One in Cornwall (“near Tintagel”), one in Cardiff, and one in Edinburgh. Great. Self plans to visit all these places. After she gets back from Ireland. For some reason, today, self was feeling very lethargic and slept in. She continued reading the miserable Third Reich at War.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Monday: Dionne Brand

One of the dearest people self met at the Banff Writing Studio was Canadian poet Dionne Brand. For not only was she brilliant, she would go out of her way to talk to self about her WIP, the one that got her accepted to the program. Dionne is one classy, classy lady.

Dionne is up for a Trillium Award this week. Naturally, self hopes she wins.

Here’s an excerpt from her poetry collection, Thirsty:

XI

i

you can’t satisfy people; we long for everything,
but sleep, sleep is the gift of the city
the breath of others, their mewling, their disorder,
I could hear languages in the lush smog,
runes to mercy and failure and something tender
a fragile light, no, not light, yes light,
something you can put your hand in, relinquishing

Today, self is off to Saint Bride’s, which Cassandra Clare used as the setting for the London Institute of the Shadowhunters in her trilogy The Infernal Devices. A copy of Clockwork Prince has been in self’s tote since she arrived in London. She researched how to get to St. Bride’s on the Underground, and found that the closest stop would be Blackfriars.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER FOR THE INFERNAL DEVICES

Be still, self’s beating heart! Blackfriars Bridge was where Jem Carstairs and Tessa Gray met each year for one hour, a ritual they fainthfully maintained for the next (500+?) years.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

London Is So Vivid: First Stop on the Shadowhunters Tour of London

Yup, self is once again in a foreign clime.

It was not so bad, the change this time. London is only eight hours ahead of California.

And it is warm in the city.

Warm = good.

Self’s first stop (after arriving from the airport ) was Westminster Abbey. Because, The Infernal Devices. This is, after all, her Shadowhunters London tour.

Here’s a passage from p. 9 of Clockwork Prince:

She had known that famous kings, queens, soldiers, and poets were buried in Westminster Abbey, but she hadn’t quite expected she’d be standing on top of them.

She and Jem slowed finally at the southeastern corner of the church. Watery daylight poured through the rose window overhead. “I know we are in a hurry to get to the Council meeting,” said Jem, “but I wanted you to see this.” He gestured around them. “Poet’s corner.”

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And it is true, dear blog readers, that one is really standing on top of stone slabs that say:  Charles Darwin. Charles Dickens. Samuel Johnson. William Wilberforce. It feels a little disrespectful, but even though a man decked in out the bright green robe of a docent insisted that the actual bones of the famous gents were underneath the stones, she didn’t quite believe him. It is also quite strange that there are some children buried there, along with Isaac Newton and Edward the Confessor, and also some anonymous knights. Mary Queen of Scots gets her very own chapel. And why do Jane Austen and the three Bronte sisters have to be beneath a whole wall of names of MEN: Keats and Shelley topping the whole.

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Photographs are not allowed, so these were a few random shots self took from outside the Abbey.

She had lunch at the on-site restaurant, the Cellarium Café. Try the duck with bok choy. The waiter recommended it, and it was so much better than the roast duck she had at Fung Lum in the San Francisco Airport.

The grass is so vividly green in England. Afterwards, she made an entire circuit of St. James Park, and wished she could linger, but she was also in a hurry to take a nice, warm shower. Because it felt like she hadn’t showered in 48 hours. A terrible feeling.

DSCN9992

Another place prominently featured in The Infernal Devices is the Thames, because of course Jem and Will spend a lot of time conversing on the riverbank, the Victoria Embankment, where they can look at Cleopatra’s Needle and, to their right, Hungerford Bridge. Self might make that the next stop on her Shadowhunters tour.

Self was telling a cab driver about Cassandra Clare’s mention of Poet’s Corner and the Pyx Chamber in Westminster, and suddenly the taxi driver said, “That sounds a lot like Harry Potter.” Which surprised self exceedingly but really shouldn’t have, because she knows that Clare got her start writing Harry Potter fan fiction. So of course, that overlay of the magical with the mundane — Clare was definitely influenced by J. K. Rowling.

But self likes Victorian Steampunk so much better than plain old Harry Potter magic. Because she adores the scenes of violent demon-slaying and all that mayhem occurring on Blackfriars Bridge. She really is such a bloodthirsty soul.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Beg Pardon, Yet Another CLOCKWORK PRINCESS Quote

SPOILERS, NATURALLY

Dearest blog readers, self finished reading Clockwork Princess days ago, but now it is time for the RE-READING of her favorite scenes. One of which happens to be the cave-in-Wales scene because that’s where Will goes to rescue Tessa from the evil clutches of Mortmain (Self definitely needs to do some exploring of Wales!).

Incidentally, self discovered that although there really is very slim pickings in Wessa fan fiction, there is ONE very good one she found just a few minutes ago, on fanfiction.net

Since the writer summarizes the kinks in the plot, self feels it is okay to share:

In Chapter 1, Shadowhunters at the London Institute are still trying to find a way to stop Mortmain and protect Tessa. But that conniving Mortmain gets a demon to help him make a clockwork Tessa. So they grab the real Tessa, and leave behind the clockwork Tessa, and it fools Will Herondale for, like, one day? But that’s enough time to abduct Tessa and elude the Shadowhunters.

Oh heavens to mergatroid, can there be anything more exciting than the moment when Will discovers his Tessa is actually an automaton???

Anyhoo, in yet another aside (Self is well aware that she has yet to post the quote mentioned in her title), self read a post on Goodreads that complained about how long each of the novels in The Infernal Devices series was — each about 600 pages. Admittedly, they’re each fat novels, but self refuses to complain. After all, longer novels just mean MORE WILL HERONDALE.

The same reader also said that if Cassandra Clare had cut down on those long passages of description about Victorian London, the books would have been much improved.

##@@!!!

Self strenuously disagrees. She thinks that it is the meticulous detail in Clare’s scene setting that elevates her writing far far above the field of fantasy writers.

For example, in the cave scene:

Tessa and Will are resting together on the bed (Wonder why Mortmain left Tessa alone for so long — don’t get self wrong, she is glad that Tessa and Will got to have their moment, but Mortmain seems so paranoid and grasping, it’s sort of hard to believe that he wouldn’t be checking up on Tessa very frequently. Anyhoo, they’ve had at least six hours alone. Plenty of time! Thank you, Mortmain). The fire has burnt down (This cave/prison came equipped with a fireplace)

p. 419:

Late in the night or early in the morning, Tessa woke. The fire had burned down entirely, but the room was lit by the peculiar torchlight that seemed to go on and off without rhyme or reason.

And the only thing self can think of after reading that passage is:

HOLY AMBIENT LIGHTING!

IN A CAVE!

IN WALES!

In the nineteenth century!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Fairy Tale Cottage in Chapter 14 of CLOCKWORK PRINCESS: PARABATAI

Self loves fairy tales. Regular readers of this blog know that very well. She has hardcover copies of both The Annotated Brothers Grimm and The Annotated Alice, both published by W. W. Norton. Her favorite Hunger Games fan fiction writer is Mejhiren, whose bleakly beautiful fairy tales blend Hunger Games and fairy tale elements like the Wild Swans or the Snow Queen so seamlessly. Which brings us to Clockwork Princess.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

In Chapter 14 of Clockwork Princess (Self hates the thought of finishing this book. She tried to keep from reading more than a chapter today, but that was an epic fail), Tessa Gray has been kidnapped by the evil Mortmain, and is being taken to Wales in a carriage driven by hideous Mrs. Black. She manages to throw herself out of the carriage, and tumbles down a ravine, and then follows a stream to a little cottage:

She had seen no sign of human habitation for miles, and was beginning to despair of her plan, when a clearing came into view . . .  It had begun to rain lightly, but even through the drizzle she could see the outline of a low stone building. As she drew closer, she saw that it seemed to be a small house, with a thatched roof and overgrown path leading to the front door . . .  The house was deserted.

The door was already part open, the wood swelled with rain.

DUN DUN DUN!

There are many more descriptive details in the passage, but this chapter is so packed that self will have to turn dear blog readers’ attention to another subject.

Chapter 14 is also the chapter when the terrible thing happens. The cord linking Will Herondale to his parabatai snaps, and the rune just above his heart which represents the bond he shares with Jem starts to disappear. Of course, it couldn’t have occurred at a worse time (unrequited love for Tessa etc etc have taken its toll) and Will himself begins to wish his life could end, too. That is, until he’s attacked by a pack of werewolves. And then, Will being Will, instinct kicks in and he fights:

The lycanthrope screamed, and a dark bolt of glee shot through Will.

That Cassandra Clare. When she writes about Will, her writing is as sure and finely honed as a rapier. He’s her best character, the one she seems to know intuitively. And her writing is at its best when she writes about him.

Self read somewhere that Clare is starting a new series, and it’s going to be about the children of Will and Tessa. Wait — WHAT??? Tessa and Will have children ???

Indeed they do! James and Lucie Herondale. And that’s who Clare’s new series will be about.

But self doesn’t want to read about any of Will’s descendants, no matter how many of his fine qualities they inherit. She wants to read about Will. And she doesn’t want him showing up as some kind of oracular ghost, either. Can you do that, Cassandra Clare?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Lugubrious Bridget: CLOCKWORK PRINCE, pp. 494 – 495

There is a new servant girl at the London Institute of the Shadowhunters, one Bridget.

She is a most interesting person.

AGAIN: SPOILERS. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

Since her arrival, she has been singing the most lugubrious songs. For instance, here’s the song Bridget sings when Tessa is about to change into Jessamine and meet her dastardly half-brother Nate to find out what he can reveal about nasty Mortmain aka the Magister.

So John took out of his pocket
A knife both long and sharp,
And stuck it through his brother’s heart,
And the blood came pouring down.
Says John to William, “Take off thy shirt,
And tear it from gore to gore,
And wrap it round your bleeding heart,
And the blood will pour no more.

And just before Jem announces his engagement to Tessa, Bridget can be heard in the kitchen, singing:

‘Twas an evening fair I went to take the air,
I heard a maid making her moan;
Said, ‘Saw ye my father? Or saw ye my mother?
Or saw ye my brother John?
Or saw ye the lad that I love best,
And his name it is Sweet William?

Anyhoo, that engagement announcement scene just about broke self’s heart. And Will Herondale is the first (naturally) to congratulate the happy pair. And self wished for nothing more than for Jem and Tessa to go off somewhere, crawl into a hole, and die.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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