Monday, December 27, 2010

-a kingly gift-

[Gandalf said,] "Mithril! All folk desired it. It could be beaten like copper, and polished like glass; and the Dwarves could make of it a metal, light and yet harder than tempered steel. Its beauty was like to that of common silver, but the beauty of mithril did not tarnish or grow dim. The Elves dearly loved it, and among many uses they made of it ithildin, starmoon, which you saw upon the doors. Bilbo had a corslet of mithril-rings that Thorin gave him. I wonder what has become of it? Gathering dust still in Michel Delving Museum, I suppose."

"What?" cried Gimil, startled out of his silence. "A corslet of Moria-silver? That was a kingly gift!"

"Yes," said Gandalf. "I never told him, but its worth was greater than the value of the whole Shire and everything in it."

Frodo said nothing, but he put his hand under his tunic and touched the rings of his mail-shirt. He felt staggered to think that he had been walking about with the price of the Shire under his jacket. Had Bilbo known? He felt no doubt that Bilbo knew quite well. It was indeed a kingly gift. But now his thoughts had been carried away from the dark Mines, to Rivendell, to Bilbo, and to Bag End in the days while Bilbo was still there. He wished with all his heart that he was back there, and in those days, mowing the lawn, or pottering among the flowers, and that he had never heard of Moria, or mithril--or the Ring.

The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The House of Tom Bombadil

"Who are you, Master?" he [Frodo] asked.

"Eh, what?" said Tom, sitting up, and his eyes glinting in the gloom. "Don't you know my name yet? That's the only answer. Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless? But you are young and I am old. Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the Little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless -- before the Dark Lord came from Outside."

The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien. <3

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It is an April-November.

Yesterday there was fog over the lake, and I couldn't tell where the water ended and the sky began.
Today all is clear, and the air carries the scent of spring.
I cannot understand this, when winter is so very near.
Where is the bitter wind?
Where is the biting cold?
It is November, not April.
These months mirror each other in some ways.
April anticipates hot sunshine summer.
November anticipates cold snowy winter.
Yet they both seem unable to decide on their weather!

I think I am ready for Old Man Winter to come and blanket the earth in white.
But I can be thankful for the strange breath of spring that comes late in this April-November.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Far over the misty mountains cold..."

There are some stories that stick with you forever. Lord of the Rings is one of those for me. I can never divorce myself from anything that Tolkien has written, nor could I want to. His tales of Bilbo and the Ring, of Frodo and the Ring, of all the peoples of Middle-Earth, of each Age, of the Elves, dwarves, Hobbits...all these are as much a part of me now as breathing. Lately, I have been coming back to Lord of the Rings as a place I can take refuge from this world. I do not have my books with me here at school, but I can think about them, I can read the poems and songs online, I can listen to the movie soundtracks.

It is a world I can identify with, where the struggle between good and evil is clearly defined. I cannot understand the vulgarity of this world, especially at a Christian college. Conversations become utterly vulgar and and I sometimes wonder where people actually see the line between amusement and sin. We're all sinful human beings, of course, and I will not place myself above fault. However, it sickens me.

This is one of the reasons I reach for a story like Lord of the Rings. I can read these books and they are clean, they are wholesome. I am satisfied when I read them, because I have improved my mind and my spirit, rather than blotted them with darkness.

So I ask these questions: Whatever happened to wholesome entertainment? Wholesome conversations? Do people even make an effort to be wholesome anymore?

Does all this make any sense? It has been weighing on my heart for a long time now, but I am not good at articulating my personal feelings.

I suppose this post is about two different things, but this Bible verse will tie them both together:

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." ~Philippians 4:8 NIV.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Current Obsession

My current obsession is tea. I just bought a lot of it. Adding to the collection that I already had, I think I now have ten different kinds of tea to choose from. More will be added, of course. Tea is my drink of choice in the colder months.

The book in the pictures is awesome, by the way. You should read it. The tea I'm drinking is called Winter Spice, and it is sold by Twinings of London. It is an extremely soothing chamomile blend. Good on a cold night after a difficult day (like I had today...good gracious!), or even after a day that went well. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My favorite Bible verse

"For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will
        be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living
and God will wipe away every tear from their

Revelation 7:17

Thursday, October 28, 2010

musings no. 3

If you spend your "free" time memorizing Latin declensions, you're either a student or crazy. Or both.
I am most certainly both.
The end.

It is getting to that time of year when I have an extremely difficult time playing the organ -- or doing anything that involves moving my finger, for that matter. Darn cold hands! I can't type, write, play music...oh, and texting is almost out of the question!

The wind we had over the last few days was insane.
I was kind of scared when I realized I could feel the building I live in moving.

Here I am complaining about the cold, yet I have my window open because there is no other way to get my room to not smell stuffy and blehh. Yep. Blehh, that's it.

I am indeed already listening to Christmas music.
Yes, yes I am quite aware that Halloween hasn't happened yet, thank you very much.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The pipe organ is a bit of heaven on earth.

Last night at Concordia, there was a hymn festival. The theme was "Gifts of the Reformation" and we had a wonderful man by the name of David Cherwien playing the Steiner-Reck. I'm pretty sure he was not using music. The man was AMAZING. His talent is off the charts. He made that organ do things I didn't even know it could do! It was pure heaven, if only for the short space of time of an hour and a half. The chapel was filled with voices raised in praise to our Lord and I could feel the very air vibrating with the power. It was probably the greatest musical experience of my life.

Now, as most of you know, I am taking pipe organ lessons. After last night's festival, I was intimidated and hardly wanted to take my place on the bench at the Steiner-Reck for my afternoon lesson today. Yet I did. Why? Because I love playing, and nothing is going to stop me. I want to glorify the Lord with my song. And I won't let anything stop me from tackling pieces by the greatest composers in the history of music, either. I've been working on a piece by J.S. Bach. Admittedly, this one is taking a LONG time. Today, though, I chose a new piece that is by Dietrich Buxtehude. He was a contemporary of Bach, and his compositions are no less powerful. Here is a recording of the piece that I have just begun learning. High expectations? Of course not. this one will take a long time to perfect. But God gave me the talent of music, and by golly I'm going to use it!

If the video does not work here, this is the link:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is it possible? I daresay it is!

I apologize for the long stretch between updates! There has been a lot going on. Mostly homework, but I have also been enjoying the last days of warm weather for the year. The autumn colors in Wisconsin are too gorgeous to not be outside.

Currently, I am sitting at my desk attempting to find some motivation for homework. Not working so well. The good news is that I don't have much that needs to get done tonight; the bad news is that there is definitely plenty I could be doing. Blahhhh.


So I was on Facebook (that's nothing new!) and I glimpsed an ad on the sidebar that was actually relevant to me. Shocking? I think so. It was an ad for aspiring writers. Naturally, I clicked on it.

I will give my raving review in one word: EPIC!

Seriously, this website is perfect for people who want to be writing but need help remembering to actually do some writing. You sign up with your Google or Twitter account and then begin writing. As it says, you only have to write ONE PAGE. And it does truly mean one page. The page length is about what you would have on Microsoft Word, or a physical sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper. And then it will tell you that a page is completed and inquire if you wish to continue. I was quite enthralled immediately.


What to write???????

I stared at the blank page in front of me, considering all the story ideas I've had crammed in my head for years now. (No joke, I think some of the characters are getting dusty....) None of them jumped out at me. Okay, so was there a new idea? Something I hadn't considered in the past?

Turns out there was. I love those novels that are written entirely in poetry, usually free verse form (or the lack thereof!). I began writing in this format, and suddenly realized it had turned into something that was befitting the genre of science fiction. Hmm. This is a new development. Are there any sci-fi free verse novels? Probably, but I haven't ever run across them. So I'm going to continue writing this story and see where it takes me. After all, I am a writer. And writing of any sort is my stress reliever.

Perhaps I will post an excerpt from the story on here once I have ten pages or so.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shameless promotion!!

As you may have noticed, I reconfigured things on this blog o' mine. There are links and more links...yes, I like links. However, there are two links I would appreciate my dear followers to take close notice of. Under the heading My Other Blogs are two links. They are, as should be deduced from the heading, my other blogs!

Enthralled by the Written Word is my blog for the books I am reading and my thoughts on those. This one is quite new, as of I think last Friday. Updates will probably be few and far between simply because I'm a busy college student. The moral of this tale is that I should have started this blog in the summer when I was reading three books a week. Oh well.

Jaded Poetry is my blog for, you guessed it, my poetry! I have some poetry on my LiveJournal from awhile ago, and I should probably link to that on here, but my LJ became sadly neglected, so I moved everything to Blogger. This blog, also, will have rare updates. I will do my best.

Monday, September 20, 2010

musings no. 2

The fourth week of school has begun. This isn't the halfway point, but it is the halfway point to the halfway point! This is a good thing. However, somewhere in the middle of last week, I began to lose most of my original motivation. This is not a good thing. I'm struggling to recover this motivation, but it has disappeared without a trace. Now, I certainly do not mean that I'm not doing my homework, completing it on time, and turning it in! Goodness, that would be so uncharacteristic of me. No, I just mean that it has become rather difficult to sit down and begin the homework. Once I've started, it isn't so bad. Especially when I have good music to listen to. (Movie soundtracks work well for this sort of thing.)

Part of the issue is that the weather is changing. Autumn is my second favorite time of year, following winter. Yes, winter is my favorite season. Don't judge me! You see, I am not a fan of summer, because I don't have much use for hot weather. I hate summer clothing, I really do. Shorts are not for me, nor are tank tops or sandals. That's just the truth. And I can't stand getting a lot of sun, because I burn easily and also I don't like having a tan. So when the weather changes and the coolness of fall sweeps in, I bask in it. I love my hoodies and jeans. Bonfires are, of course, a must. And then there is the hallmark of fall -- the leaves losing their uniform green look and becoming a blaze of reds, oranges, and yellows. Who doesn't love that?? God's creation truly is amazing.

So yeah, the weather's changing, and I'd prefer to be outside enjoying it, rather than inside studying. As much as I love Latin and my other classes....right now, it's extremely hard to pay attention to what I need to be doing. I suppose I could take advantage of the cooler weather to curl up under a blanket with a cup of apple cider or tea and read my homework. That's not such a bad alternative.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"He studied Latin like the violin, because he liked it." ~Robert Frost.

Languages intrigue me.

I sometimes wonder why I never began studying another language seriously before this semester. Currently, I'm enjoying Latin. Actually, I'm probably enjoying it more than is strictly necessary. And I am determined to turn my mind to learning Old English, as well. I have no idea when, of course. But there are books available for self-teaching. I think once I've had a semester of Latin, many more doors will be open to me.

The study of linguistics is often called philology, I think. Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien was a philologist? He knew so many languages, not to mention the many he created! That man is one of my heroes. I'm going to study Quenya, the language of the Elves of Middle-Earth. I know, I know, it's not a "real" language -- but does the fact that it is not spoken naturally here on earth that it isn't a real language?

There are so many languages I want to learn. German is one of them, for sure. Old English. Latin (which I'm so glad to finally be able to say I've started!). Old Norse would be really cool. And I love Gaelic. Italian is another I'd love to learn, if only for the sake of reading Dante's Divine Comedy in the original poetry. (No, my love affair with that classic work has not dissipated any.) I would also love to master Japanese, but I think I'll stick with knowing a few words and characters here and there. I pick stuff up from manga and anime anyway. The only language I do not care to learn is Spanish. This is probably because it's becoming so ridiculously prominent here in America that I just don't like it. And besides, once I know some Latin, making the transition to Spanish might not be too hard.

What is it about the formation of languages that fascinates me so? Letters which form words which form sentences which form ideas. Expression. Just so much to think about! I guess I just want to expand my knowledge of the world, and knowing foreign languages is such a stepping stone to what is beyond the borders of my tiny corner of it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

musings no.1

After three more classes today, I will have two weeks of this semester behind me. I have two quizzes today...that should be interesting. They are just quizzes, however. And I have studied religiously! I've been keeping up with my homework already better than I did in the past three years of college. This surprises me, but I guess it shouldn't. My goal (graduation with an English degree) is nearer to me now than it was even a year ago; thus, I work all the harder because I see that finish line. True, it won't be over yet! I have another degree to work towards once I complete Concordia. But this is what I've been working towards, the MLS, Masters in Library Science. It's rather funny, but for all that I could have done anything with my life that I wanted, God pushed me in the direction of librarian. And he brought me to Concordia University Wisconsin for more reasons than I knew could be when I first visited the campus. It's like the puzzle pieces are finally fitting together.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

nostalgia~ (a prose poem)

I want the days of hopscotch and blowing bubbles that went shining into the sun. I want to go back
to when going down the playground slide was like
an exhilarating fall to earth. Do you remember when the weather turning cool and the leaves
falling in cascades of color was as magical as a hot summer evening
 with fireflies lighting up the darkness? Why is it that we look back and childhood seems to be so rosy and
 beautiful? It's not like there weren't bad times along with the good.
Maybe we just remember the good more strongly because our brains
 are wired that way. Maybe we just remember the good more strongly because that's the way our society is.
Or maybe it's just that sense of protection, of love and joy that only a child
 untouched by the larger worries of the world can know.
Jesus said to have faith like a little child.
I think I know what He meant; we need to trust in those above us and allow them to shut out the world sometimes. Is this what heaven will be like? Maybe, but we won't know until we're there. Some days I'll think about my childhood, about the awe
and wonder that I knew as I discovered the world. And that it's beautiful, all around.
A touch of nostalgia comes to me when I see a chalk drawing on the sidewalk
and I smile as I remember the days of hopscotch and blowing bubbles that went shining into the sun.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'd like an order of pure academia, with a cup of Earl Grey on the side.

So. I have completed the first day of classes in this, my senior year of college. Do I feel accomplished? Maybe. I suppose more so than I did a few years ago. In all honesty, the answer really has to be yes, because I have accomplished much between my senior year of high school and now. I definitely have learned much, broadened my horizons, and stretched my brain to the breaking point (nearly).
I had three classes today. My Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule is annoying only because all the classes are right in a row and I don't have time for lunch! The bright side to this is that I'm done with classes by 2 pm. Much better than last year when I wasn't done until 4 pm. That was awful on Fridays.
Pretty sure I'm going to love Music Theory, though it will be kind of difficult. This is good, though. I need a different type of a challenge, and a musical one is certainly welcome. Latin will be a challenge, as well, since I've never learned another language. I really, really love Latin, though, and it is taught by my advisor and favorite professor here at Concordia. Definitely a plus! My last class of the day is English: Its Cultural Development. Call me a nerd, but I love the idea of taking an entire semester to trace the development of the English language from it's very beginnings in Old English (which is more of a Germanic language than anything) to our Modern English. Middle English is interesting, anyway, because that's very French-influenced. See, there I go already acting like an expert on the subject! I'm not, I promise. I just happened to read a book about the language's history a few years ago. It was excellent.
I've had my nightly cup of tea, and I suppose it would be best to say goodnight. Bach's Cantata #43 is heavenly, by the way. Then again, anything by Johann Sebastian Bach is epic.

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, and speculation at a standstill. ~Barbara W. Tuchman

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

thoughts I cannot keep inside me

I'm a senior. In college. That's...a very heavy thought to wrap my brain around. It seems like only yesterday that I was starting my first semester (two classes, while still in high school) at the community college. And that was in January of 2007. Anyway, what with all the changes that happened in my life in just the past year, I barely know what to expect this year and beyond.
God has guided me thus far, though. I trust in Him to keep me on the path He has chosen for my life. He has led me to Concordia, that I know. The people I've met, the places I've been -- everything is because He knows exactly where He wants me to be.
It's pretty awesome to know that there is a God who cares about me. No matter what obstacles are thrown in my way this senior year, He's got my back. I like that. :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Breaking of the Fellowship

As we go through our lives, there are few things that remain constant and steadfast.
Our Father in heaven certainly does.
Family does, in most cases.
And even some friends.

But it's the friends thing that gets me. I look back over the years and realize there are few friends in my life that have been there forever. In fact, I'm not really sure there are any. People grow; people change; people move on. And in our hearts, a piece of that person who you knew yesterday will always be there. In the last seven years or so, I was blessed to be part of a wonderful and tight knit group of friends. We did most things together, and it felt like we would be together forever.

Life isn't like that, though. I changed, and so did they. It was no one's fault; it just happened. Some of us had grand plans of traveling the world together, of writing books of our adventures. We even called ourselves the Fellowship, after the group in Lord of the Rings. And like the Fellowship, we never made it all the way as one. Like the Fellowship, we went our separate ways in the journey. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I am very happy with the direction my life is going, I cherish each and every one of the memories of our Fellowship. The adventures we went on and the craziness we took part in could truly fill volumes of thick books. Maybe some of those adventures will find their way into the stories I write someday. I've moved on to a new chapter in my own life; perhaps calling it the next book in a series would be more appropriate. Each and every one of the people I used to call my closest friends still hold a special place in my heart, right next to the special place my new friends have filled.

The Lord above has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams, I know this to be true. I've been so incredibly privileged in this life to know some very interesting and truly unique people. All of them have changed my life, one way or another. I can only hope that I have played a similar part in their lives.

If you've read Lord of the Rings, or at least watched the movies, you know that though the Fellowship breaks, that is not the end for them. They see each other again. And if not in this world, then in the next. As a Christian, that is a hope I can hold onto. All my brothers and sisters in Christ I shall see again in heaven, even if our lives have drifted apart in this broken and unpredictable world. What an awesome thing to know!!!

So I miss the friendships I used to have. Yet I'm so incredibly thankful for the friendships that have been forged now, in my Concordia days. I think...well, what it really comes down to is that there have been harsh words spoken and misconceptions have run wild. And on top of that all, we've simply grown apart. Life's crazy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I swear, I DO NOT have a shoe fetish...

However, thanks to, I would spend the money on these shoes. All four colors.

Belle fuchsia (nappa)
Belle red (lizard embossed leather)
Belle black (lizard embossed leather)
Belle pink (lizard embossed leather)

Aren't they beautiful?!?!?! Sooo Alice in Wonderland-y, too. But, I'll never be able to afford them.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Forget love....I'd rather fall in chocolate!"

So that's not actually true; I'm in love and quite happy to be there. :-)

However, I have chocolate on the brain today because of a book I began reading this morning and have nearly finished. Okay, I'm halfway through it. Chocolat, by Joanne Harris, is a delectable book! It is lovely because it is set in a sleepy French village called Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, and partly because the protagonist, Vianne Rocher, opens up a chocolate shop and the descriptions given of the treats she sells are mouth-watering. I can almost taste them as I read.

Joanne Harris had written other novels, apparently. Her writing style has intrigued me all day, and I will have to look into these others that she has published. I suppose I must allow for the fact that she is British (and part French, imagine that), since I have a tendency to enjoy writers from the UK more than from my home country of America. Not really sure why that is....

I spent a good part of the afternoon at the Borders Cafe in town, drinking a lovely coffee concoction that was called Cinnamon Swirl. No, it had no chocolate. I originally wanted something with chocolate in it, like a mocha, but for some reason the Cinnamon Swirl Brewed Coffee on the menu caught my eye. It certainly caught my taste buds!

My lovely drink and my book. Yes, I took a library book into Borders. But, it was only the cafe part AND I had it in my bag!

And now my coffee is gone and I decided to leave my book open for this picture. Note the epic Dragonology bookmark; I probably bought that at this Borders like, two years ago.

And then I came home, washed my car (it REALLY needed it), went swimming, ate dinner, and wrote this blog. Loveeeee life. :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Working at a public library has its perks. Really.

Mainly the perks are that I'm surrounded by books, and get to check out said books all the time. And being in the Children's Department is nice because it's always fun to talk to the kids. Today, I'm at the desk. Right now there aren't a lot of people, and not too many questions, either. There were a LOT of people here yesterday morning, because of the weather. It was pouring rain! And this morning it was nice and still is, as far as I can tell.

The reason I wanted to write this time, though, was not really to talk about my job. I know that probably gets boring after awhile anyway. What I wanted to say was that I discovered a new book series. Actually, a friend of mine mentioned that it was recommended to her, so I decided to look for it (while at work, of course, which is why I was talking about my job). The series is The Hungry City Chronicles, by Philip Reeve. He's a British author, which essentially meant I would like the books on some level. At any rate, I found the first book in the quartet, Mortal Engines, right away in the Teen Zone at our library. I then read that book in about a day! IT WAS SO GOOD. And actually, I felt like it should be turned into an anime series. Everything about the book was very anime-ish. I suppose that's probably because Reeve is writing about a rather post-apocalyptic and steampunk world.

I checked out the second book the other day, so I'll begin reading it soon. Also there is a short story by Philip Reeve that was written before this quartet and pretty much is where the Chronicles began.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (1903)

There are so many film adaptations of Lewis Carroll's book out there that my head spins when I try to remember them all! I recently found, on, a restored version of the first Alice film, made in 1903. It is just over eight minutes long, and for being made only eight years after the birth of cinema, it is remarkable! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How to Write Good


There are two sets of these hilarious lists for writing "good."

  1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.
  2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
  4. Employ the vernacular.
  5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  8. Contractions aren’t necessary.
  9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  10. One should never generalize.
  11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  1. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  2. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  3. Profanity sucks.
  4. Be more or less specific.
  5. Understatement is always best.
  6. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  7. One word sentences? Eliminate.
  8. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  9. The passive voice is to be avoided.
  10. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  11. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  12. Who needs rhetorical questions?

  1. Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
  2. It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.
  3. Avoid archaeic spellings too.
  4. Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
  5. Don't use commas, that, are not, necessary.
  6. Do not use hyperbole; not one in a million can do it effectively.
  7. Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
  8. Subject and verb always has to agree.
  9. Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
  10. Use youre spell chekker to avoid mispeling and to catch typograhpical errers.
  11. Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.
  12. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  13. Don't never use no double negatives.
  14. Poofread carefully to see if you any words out.
  15. Hopefully, you will use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  1. Eschew obfuscation.
  2. No sentence fragments.
  3. Don't indulge in sesquipedalian lexicological constructions.
  4. A writer must not shift your point of view.
  5. Don't overuse exclamation marks!!
  6. Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  7. Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
  8. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  9. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  10. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.
  11. Always pick on the correct idiom.
  12. The adverb always follows the verb.
  13. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  14. If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be by rereading and editing.
  15. And always be sure to finish what

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dante can go to Hell...oh wait, he already did!

Time for a personal post!

That's right, dear followers (of whom there aren't many...), I am updating. Mainly to avoid some of the mountain of homework that I really must complete sometime in the near future. The weather is absolutely beautiful outside, but I'm inside sitting at my desk. At least my window is open.

As for the title of this post, I want to explain that I have nothing against Dante Alighieri, nor against his Divine Comedy. It just seemed an appropriate title because I'm taking a class on the book; thus, a research paper is in the making (writing?), per the professor's requirements. Also, remembering the circles of Hell that Dante the Pilgrim sees in the Inferno is....hell.

Sorry, that's a rather hellish pun.

So was that.

And for proof that I truly am a literature nerd, this is what I'm currently reading as my not-schoolwork-book: The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl. Literary murder mystery, starring Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and other major figures of literary fame. Did you know Longfellow was the first American to translate The Divine Comedy? I want a copy of his translation now. It's probably epic.

Before picking up this glorious novel by Matthew Pearl, I did not know much of the poetry of James Russell Lowell. Actually, I only really knew the poetry and writings of Longfellow. So, I decided to look up some writings by the other guys. I shall leave you with this poem, even though it is not yet April:


by: James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

      AY is a pious fraud of the almanac.
      A ghastly parody of real Spring
      Shaped out of snow and breathed with eastern wind;
      Or if, o'er-confident, she trust the date,
      And, with her handful of anemones,
      Herself as shivery, steal into the sun,
      The season need but turn his hour-glass round,
      And Winter suddenly, like crazy Lear,
      Reels back, and brings the dead May in his arms,
      Her budding breasts and wan dislustred front
      With frosty streaks and drifts of his white beard
      All overblown. Then, warmly walled with books,
      While my wood-fire supplies the sun's defect,
      Whispering old forest-sagas in its dreams,
      I take my May down from the happy shelf
      Where perch the world's rare song-birds in a row,
      Waiting my choice to upen with full breast,
      And beg an alms of springtime, ne'er denied
      Indoors by vernal Chaucer, whose fresh woods
      Throb thick with merle and mavis all the years.

"May is a Pious Fraud" is reprinted from Under the Willows and Other Poems. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Fields Osgood & Co., 1869.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

If you love classic literature and aren't afraid to make fun of it, and love traditional zombie mayhem, then Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen of course!) is for you! There's also Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters (and Ms. Austen), which I own but haven't had time to read yet.

Now, there's a sequel (more like a prequel) to P&P&Z. The title is Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith (and Jane Austen). Here's the book trailer for it. Would make an epic movie, too.

Speaking of movies, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies is being made into one, starring Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Bennet.

All books mentioned in this post are published by Quirk Books.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea." ~Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady.

Hot beverages have always been my favorite. Could be why I enjoy wintertime so much; it is supremely satisfying to sip a steaming mug of coffee, cider, chocolate, or tea. There are other hot beverages, of course. But tea...oh the beauty of tea. The silkiness of taste, the calm which pervades my cold body when I take a sip. And nothing goes better together than tea and books! There never was a more happy couple. Except, perhaps, coffee and books. I'm not sure which is better.

As for tea, I don't think there has been a tea I've tried that I haven't liked. Peppermint is usually my favorite, especially around Christmastime. I also love lemon flavored tea. Earl Grey is a must. Even Chai tea is amazing when combined with the right amount of milk.

...and many more. Hop on over to Google and type in tea and see what you can find!

Actually, George Orwell, author of the dystopian novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, wrote what I might call a short treatise on tea. You can find it here.

I'd go to New York City simply to go to Alice's Tea Cup. What an exquisite little shop! I want this, by the way. Donations, anyone??? :-P

A plethora of books have been written on the subject of tea, which seems appropriate, since I've already stated that books and tea are rather inseparable. Try

One of these days I shall make this Teapot Cake:

"Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And whoever this "Earl Grey" fellow is, I'd like to have a word with him... "
~Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek, The Next Generation.

"The mug from the washstand was used as Becky's tea cup, and the tea was so delicious that it was not necessary to pretend that it was anything but tea." ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, "A Little Princess".

One last website, if you haven't seen enough of tea already! Tea Land

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Where hath old man winter gone?

The winter days are cold and often grey, but I must confess that I much prefer them to the incessant muddiness which characterizes the Wisconsin springtime. I'm told I must be crazy, to enjoy the snow as much as I do. They may be correct; the snow and I, it is a long-standing affair. I realize that the warmer temperatures are coveted after months of frozen days and nights, but if we could do without the mud and the ugly brown, I probably would not mind the arrival of spring so much.

Old man winter has disappeared for the year, I will assume. There will possibly be a few last snow showers before spring claims its final foothold, and I guess I can enjoy those for what they're worth. And when the grass turns green and the flowers "spring" forth in their joyous colors, I will welcome it with open arms.

Old man winter merely sleeps. I await his return while the world turns to warmer days.