Monday, December 27, 2010

Goodnight, Nashville

Tonight I am posting from just outside of Nashville, Tenessee. We started driving this morning at eight and didn't make it here until around nine pm. I am so tired. Isn't it funny how just sitting in the car all day can make you feel tired?

We didn't do much sightseeing yet. Our plan is to get to Florida as soon as possible so we can have more time to sightsee while we're down there. We are staying until January 7th or 8th.

I've been enjoying the scenery from the car and watching how the terrain changes in different areas. So far it's not too different, though Illinois was much flatter than Missouri and Kentucky seemed to have a lot of lakes and rivers. I've noticed some different kinds of trees as well that we don't have many of in Missouri. I'm looking forward to driving through some small mountains tomorrow. I love the mountains.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Time

I had a good birthday, and I am now twenty years old. I don't feel twenty. Growing up is different from how I imagined it.

When I was a kid I imagined growing older as some kind of magical transformation. I knew sixteen-year-old me would be grown up and mature and different. When I got there, I was still me and I didn't feel any different. Even then I thought that surely when I got into my twenties I would feel different somehow. In reality, I am still just me, the same as I've always been.

Of course, I know I've changed a lot since I was a little kid. I just didn't notice the process of changing like I thought I would.

Anyway, since I finished the school semester, I have been doing a lot of reading and crocheting.

My friend gave me a new book for my birthday on Saturday, and I was done with it by Monday. It was really good. It's by Megan Whalen Turner, and it's called The Thief. I'm almost scared to read the sequels because I was told that they're not as good and I don't want them to ruin it, so I'm waiting a few days before I read them. That way I'm less emotionally attached to the characters.

I stopped at the library last night at around five, and since then I have finished two books. Since almost all I read over the school semester was Hamlet, I've been starving to read some good books. In fact, we made our Christmas wish lists the other day (Mom told us to write them to make it easier for her to know what to get us) and almost every item on my wish list was a book.

I've been crocheting a blanket for my baby nephew Blake and it's almost done. I'm getting excited. I won't post a picture until after Christmas because I don't want my sister to see it yet.

Unfortunately, other than that blanket, I haven't aquired any other Christmas gifts yet, and Christmas is a short four days away. I need to go shopping as soon as possible.

~Jane~

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy birthday!

Today is Jane Austen's birthday.

Happy birthday, Miss Austen. You are my hero.

In honor of her birthday, (which, if she were still alive, would have been her 235th) I will say a kind word or two about each of her novels and what I love about them.

I have also put them in order of my least favorite to most favorite.

Mansfield Park

Mansfield park is probably my least favorite Jane Austen novel, but I still have a great appreciation for it.

Many people criticize Fanny Price as being "self-righteous," but they are wrong. She is not self-righteous, she is simply right.

The difference between this and almost every other Jane Austen novel is that, in this case, the heroine does not have to mature and change her mind about something. Fanny is the constant throughout this novel; she is observant and wise, humble enough to take others' advice but strong enough to stand against something she believes is wrong.

I like this novel because, like Fanny, I am extremely shy and awkward in social situations. It was nice to identify in that way with the heroine when I read it the first time.

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility is a great book. It is about a relationship between sisters, which I enjoyed as I have three of them. I really admire Elinor as a character. She is so patient and practical, the opposite of her dramatic and self-centered sister Marianne.

All of the characters in this book seem stereotypical at first glance, but in everyday life I encounter more characters from this book than any other. I think everyone has had a Mrs. Jennings, an Elinor, a Marianne, or a Lucy Steele in their life. Robert Ferrars and John Dashwood are also two people who I have seen in the modern world. When I think about it, I could probably cast the entire book with people I know.

Pride and Prejudice


Pride and Prejudice. This is the book that started my Jane Austen obsession. My first exposure to Jane Austen was the BBC mini-series of this book, and I read the book itself soon afterwards. I was pretty young, maybe 10-12 years old.

This book is "rather too light, and bright, and sparkling," according to Jane Austen herself. However, I have a feeling that she was still speaking satirically when she wrote that, because she goes on to describe an exaggerated version of serious topics she should have thrown into the middle of the book for no other reason than to darken it.

I think this book is a work of genius. It is a romance, and yet that's not really the focus of the plot. It follows Elizabeth Bennet as she matures and figures out who she wants to be.

Pride and Prejudice is not my favorite of Jane Austen's novels, but I still appreciate it.

Emma


Emma. This book is one of my favorite books in the world. It is a romance, a mystery, and a commentary on the social structure of the early 1800's. It's filled with wonderfully faulty characters who interact in a realistic way and make stupid mistakes. It's about the nature of love and friendship, redemption, forgiveness, misunderstandings, patience and self-awareness.

For more of my feelings about this book, see this post.

Persuasion

Persuasion was the last novel written by Jane Austen, and it has a bitter-sweet feeling to it that I love. It's about second chances and the constancy of true love.

Anne Elliot is a person I really admire and respect. (Yes, I'm aware that she's fictional... I'm just in denial.) She is so incredibly lonely, but she is determined to be happy and content despite everything in her life going against her.

Persuasion is one of my favorite novels, along with Northanger Abbey. They trade places as my favorite and second favorite depending on what mood I'm in.

Northanger Abbey

There are some books that are impossible to be made into movies, and Northanger Abbey is one of them. The plot can be captured, but the novel is a satire of gothic romance novels, a fact which is conveyed through the sarcastic voice of the narrator.

This book is probably the funniest of all of her novels, with the witty sarcasm of the narrator and the teasing banter between Henry Tilney and Catherine.

Henry is the youngest and most charming hero in any of the novels. He is so sweet to Catherine, but he has such a distinct personality that he is not the stereotypical romantic hero. He ties with Mr. Knightly as my favorite.
This book also has the greatest "defense of the novel" ever written. : )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, there are my thoughts on the six major Jane Austen novels. I feel like my comments were largely redundant and could be summed up by "I like Jane Austen and her novels," but I was afraid to talk too much about them for fear of making this post extremely long. : )

Happy birthday, Jane Austen.

~Jane~

Monday, December 13, 2010

81 places mapped


I was looking at my blog and I just noticed this map at the bottom of the page. I had forgotten about it. Look at all the different places that have visited my blog! That is so cool. I wonder how many of them read my blog and how many were just random, accidental page views. That one dot way up there in Russia somewhere was probably just a random page view. I wonder if the one in Australia is a real blog reader?

I have always wanted to travel. When I was younger I thought it was my destiny to be a photographer for National Geographic and travel the world and have all kinds of adventures. In reality I get motion sick in any kind of vehicle, I am picky about food preparation and I do not know how to pack light. Also, I am not a photographer.

So I guess travelling for a living isn't my destiny, but I still would like to see other places in this world before I die. It's strange to me that I have never been overseas at all when it is not too difficult to get a plane ticket.

Someday I will travel. I want to experience different cultures, not just be a tourist. I would love to rent a flat in London or Paris and just immerse myself in a different world for awhile.

In the meantime, I am content with my hometown, and I will share my plain midwestern life with whoever in the world wants to read about it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shakespeare (Long post!)

Miss Georgianna Penn left me this note on my last post:

Dear Miss Jane.
I have tried several times to get into Shakespeare and have failed miserably. You seem to (aside from when you have to write and essay on it) enjoy his works. How in heavens name do you suggest one to get into Shakespeare, and do you think that for some people it's just best not to?

Thank you,
The Want to be Shakespeare Lover ;)

Well Georgie, to tell you the truth, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet are the only works of Shakespeare that I have read so far.

It is very difficult to get used to the language of Shakespeare, but once you get a grasp of how people talk and what some of the words mean it gets so much easier. I suggest first of all that you find a version of the play that has footnotes. The copy of Hamlet that I'm reading has notes at the bottom of the page when there is a word that is archaic, or when there is a reference to events that the audience in the 1600's would have known about. It is extremely helpful in understanding what they are saying.

You can also find the text online with a modern interpretation of each line next to it. Here is one called No Fear Shakespeare.

As an example of what this looks like, here is the beginning of the king's speech in Act 1, scene 2 of Hamlet. This was taken from the original text.

Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him
Together with remembrance of ourselves.

To anyone unfamiliar with Shakespearean language, this sentence is convoluted and confusing.

Here is the side-by-side modern text of this section from No Fear Shakespeare:

Although I still have fresh memories of my brother the elder Hamlet’s death, and though it was proper to mourn him throughout our kingdom, life still goes on—I think it’s wise to mourn him while also thinking about my own well being.

If you look at the original text after reading this, it makes it a lot more clear what the king is saying.

As to the last part of your question, I do think that if you are just not interested in Shakespeare, it is not going to hurt you to skip it. Shakespeare was an amazing playwright, and he contributed a lot to the English language, but reading his plays is (in my opinion) not as valuable as reading other classic works.
 
If someone had to choose, I would direct them to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Silas Marner by George Eliot, Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter and An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott over anything by Shakespeare. These are some of the books that have really had an influence over me.
 
On the other hand, a familiarity with the works of Shakespeare can add richness to the reading of other books. There are allusions to Shakespeare in many classic works.
 
For example, in Emma by Jane Austen, Emma remarks, "The course of true love never did run smooth." This is a direct quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
 
When you have read the play (or are at least familiar with the plot) you start to understand the irony of Emma quoting this passage in reference to a match between Harriet and Mr. Elton. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, this line is in a conversation between Lysander and Hermia, who are deeply in love. Lysander has been deemed unworthy by Hermia's father, and he is trying to split them up by engaging Hermia to another man. Isn't that an ironic parallel to what Emma is doing to Harriet and Mr. Martin? She is trying to split Harriet up from a man she has deemed unworthy by pairing her up with Mr. Elton.
 
This not only adds a richness to the reading of Emma, it shows us an example of something we already know about Emma's character. She always tries to read the classics and never gets very far. The line quoted is from Act 1, scene 1 of the play, and she doesn't even understand the situation of the characters enough to see that it was a bad comparison to use.
 
So if you can, I would recommend having at least a basic familiarity with Shakespeare's plays, but not if it's going to make you so tired of classic language that you won't read other classic books. I hope that answers your question Georgie!
 
Sorry for such a long post!
 
~Jane~

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ask me questions!

Today I woke up early to work on my Hamlet essay. Nope, it's still not done. I am getting weary of reading Hamlet now. I love it, but it's beginning to not be fun anymore.

I then went to my second-to-last history class. We are still talking about Vietnam. I hope the teacher will be able to get through the rest of the material in the next lecture. There's not too much left, but she tends to go into detail instead of getting through. We've been behind schedule for most of the semester.

After that I ran to the store, started making cinnamon pie, ran back to the store because I forgot the butter, finished making cinnamon pie, watched Psych on tv and ate a piece of cinnamon pie.

These particular cinnamon pies are for a class tomorrow. In creative writing we are having a pizza party instead of a final exam. Isn't that cool?

I keep realizing that my posts on here are increasingly dull and journal-like. I haven't been reading much because of school. Well, I've been reading Hamlet. Would you guys like a Hamlet post? What would you want to know about Hamlet? A Hamlet post is actually not a bad idea. It would give me the oppourtunity to talk about Hamlet in a less formal way. I'll think about it.

You know what it's time for? I need topics, and you have questions.

Ask me questions!

Preferably questions that won't require research or much deep thinking to answer, please, it is finals week.

Now it's up to you to make sure this blog stays interesting! Ask me anything, and I will try to give you creative and hopefully entertaining answers.

~Jane~

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Today...

...I read a book called The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet. It was really good. It's not going on my list of all-time favorites, but I would read it again. I liked all the Shakespeare references.

...I discovered the wonderful yumminess called cinnamon pie. It was mentioned on a tv show we watch, and we didn't know if it was a real thing or not. I looked it up, found a recipe (here's a link) and made it this evening. It was absolutely delicious. I'm making a few next week for our church potluck. It was really easy, too. It's just basic ingredients you would already have (except for maybe the pie crust.)

Cinnamon pie (not my picture, but ours looked just like it only without whipped cream)

...I procrastinated on finishing one of the last pieces of homework I have to do. It's a reading log which I was supposed to be keeping up with this whole time but had forgotten about. There's about ten of them now that I must finish by Tuesday. I guess I had better stop blogging and go work on those now. : )

~Jane~

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jane Eyre

I've been looking back through my blog and it seems that I haven't done a real post in quite a while- a "real" post being anything other than me talking about my day and what I like and don't like. I've done several rather boring posts in a row and mentioned my "writer's block" enough times that I think you get the picture.

So I think today I will talk about one of my favorite books, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, in honor of the new Jane Eyre movie which is coming out in the spring. I think the movie looks amazing, I think it's going to capture the spirit of the book really well. Most of the adaptions of this story play up the romance side of it and make it just another period romance in the English countryside.

The story is romantic, but it has many elements that mirror the gothic novels of the era and the focus should never be on the relationship between Jane and Rochester.

Jane Eyre is a story about one woman's life. It shows us her personality, what she dreams of, the influences on her life and how they affect her. It shows her growth from a young girl who is oppressed and doesn't know how to deal with her loneliness into a strong young woman who knows her own mind and acts on it.

I'm currently reading it again and I was struck by how the language of that era made the story so deep and powerful. You can't get away with such heavy prose in the modern world of publishing, but I love it anyway. I wish that I had the ability to use languge with such skill. Bronte's sentences are woven so intricately and her characters are rich because of it.

Ok, this post has turned into me ranting about how much I love this book. Maybe I will post more when I've finished re-reading it and have something a little more clever or at least more substantial to say.

~Jane~

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! I slept in, ate a huge meal and just lounged around with my family watching "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends" all day. That show is hilarious.

I still have writer's block. I know I'm going to have to just keep writing and know that I can fix it later if I make a mistake. I just don't know what needs to happen next. Argh.

I also need to rewrite my essay on Hamlet, and finish writing a research paper entitled "Communication Across the Generation Gap." Yay.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New goal

As I am in school and am consequently very busy this  month writing papers and studying, I have decided to change my novel writing goal to something a little more attainable.

I am not exactly quitting Nanowrimo (although I really am) I'm just changing my goal to having a first draft completed by the end of December. Two months to finish a novel is a good amount of time I think.

I have 19,000 words now, so I will just need to have at least 25,000 by the end of this month, and at least 50,000 by the end of the year.

Speaking of my novel, does anyone have an idea of what Professor Moriarty's plan might be? He has escaped into our world but I'm not sure why. Any ideas? Even silly speculations will help me in thinking over the problem.

How are your Nano novels coming along? Anyone as far behind as me who is still going to finish?

~Jane~

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm an aunt

For anyone interested, here is my new baby nephew, Blake!


Isn't he perfect? He was born Tuesday morning just before 1am. I had been up until midnight waiting and had just gone to sleep when my mom called to let me know.


I am now an aunt for the first time, and I'm so excited. I can't wait to watch this little boy grow up and become a young man, though I hope he doesn't grow up too fast!

Why isn't there a word for "neice or nephew?" The word "cousin" means male or female, and for "brothers and sisters" you can say "siblings." There is a need for a word to cover neices and nephews so you can say "This is my first _______"
Seeing this need, my siblings and I created one.
The new word is "Sibkid" as in "My sibling's kid."

Blake, you are my first sibkid.

Tag

Shaynie of The Book Blog tagged anyone who is interested in the conflicts of the 20th century. As I am very interested in the conflicts of the 20th century, including the Russian Civil War, the Great Depression and World War 2, I have taken this tag.

The rules are simple: Answer the questions, come up with eight questions of your own, and tag eight people.
(Note: If this sounds familiar, it's because I think I have done his tag before... just with different questions.)

Are you afraid of the dark?
A little bit. I used to be terrified of the dark, but I've mostly gotten over it now. I have to have the lights out to go to sleep, but if I'm still up I need lights on or I start feeling creeped out.

Do spiders freak you out?
Yes. Very yes. I think I have a mild phobia of spiders. Even though I know they can't hurt me, I tense up and feel sick whenever I see one. Especially the big, fast, hairy kind. Yuck.

Do you like any kids' shows still?
Yes, absolutely! I still watch Arthur when I can. Wordgirl is a newer show that's also a favorite. It's very witty and funny. Sometimes I watch it with my 17 year old brother and my 13 year old sister and we are all laughing so hard.

I also unashamedly watch Jonas when we can find it on Netflix. It is also funny, one of the top three Disney Channel shows I've ever seen.

(Why do I like the Jonas Brothers? See this post.)

If you had been in WWII Europe, would have helped hide the Jews, or not have become involved at all?
This is one of those questions I can never really answer. I would hope that I would help the Jews as much as I could, and I'm sure if the opportunity came up I would hide them. I just don't know if I would actively try to help them if the opportunity didn't readily present itself. I'm not very politically active because I just don't know what to do to help, so I probably would have just tried to stay out of it as much as possible.

You have one wish. It will be granted. What is it?
This question is too hard. I thought about it for a solid two minutes before I realized I was taking it way too seriously.
It is a serious question though. One wish, guaranteed to be granted, is an opportunity to do some good in the world.
I don't know.

How is NaNo going for you, if you're doing it? If you aren't doing it, WHY NOT?!?!
Yay for Nano! Of course I'm doing it. This is my third year, I'm not going to let a silly thing like not having any time stop me.
It's going well... sort of. I love what I have so far, and my plot is progressing well, but I only have 15,000ish words right now and I'm supposed to have somewhere around 28,000. Every morning I decide that I can still catch up and every night a say it's hopeless and decide to quit. I am not giving up yet however. I've had kind of a crazy week (my sister had her baby, [yep, I'm now an aunt!] tons of homework, not feeling well) but now that week is over and I think I can do this.

Summer or winter?
In the past I would have said winter, but now that I'm in school and I have to go to class in the snow, I understand why people don't like winter. I loved winter because I was homeschooled, and I got to stay indoors and do schoolwork in my pajamas when it was cold.
Now I'm more of a summer person. I'm still not a fan of some of the things that come along with summer (bugs, spiders, excessive heat, spiders, poison ivy) but I do enjoy the warmth and the flowers and all that good summery stuff.
My favorite season is fall, seconded by spring.
 
What sort of food product are you addicted to?
Does coffee count as a food product? I love coffee.
Recently my throat has been hurting so I've been drinking ginger ale mixed with 100% apple-cranberry-blueberry juice. It makes it fizzy and the juice is good for you. I wish I could get the real ginger ale that has actual pieces of ginger floating in it, but this is the cheap kind that probably isn't real ginger at all.
I can't think of any food product that I'm currently addicted to.
 
My questions:
 
1. What is your first name and why was it chosen by your parents? Is there any story behind it? (If you use an online alias as I do, you can look up the meaning of your online name or just tell me why you chose it.)
 
2. Who was your favorite teacher and why? For the students currently being homeschooled: What is the best unit or study you have ever done in your homeschool? Tell me about it.
 
3. What was the best family vacation you have ever been on?
 
4. People who do and write amazing things often never see the results of their efforts. If you could bring back one person to see the effect of their life on the world, who would it be and why?
 
5. Is there something you wish you could do? A talent or dream you don't expect to accomplish but you wish for it all the same?
 
6. What book that you have read made you laugh or cry the hardest?
 
7. What is the background picture on your computer? Mine is a bunch of colorful diagonal lines I drew on 'paint'. I didn't realize until later that it matches my laptop case.
 
8. Without looking, how many comments do you think you have gotten total, over the whole life of your blog? Once you've guessed, go count them and post that number too. It may be more than you think.
 
Tag:
I don't have time to tag anyone right now specifically right now.
 
If you are currently reading, or have ever read something by Shakespeare, consider yourself tagged. Or if you just want to do it but have never read any Shakespeare, you may find a Shakespeare quote and comment on this post with it, telling me what play it came from, and you can then consider yourself tagged.
 
~Jane~

Monday, November 15, 2010

Excerpt: In which Julie and Ned travel into a story

The machine whirred to life, humming like an engine. Ned picked up two tiny devices and handed one to me. It looked like a garage door opener, but with only one button, and it was smaller, about the size of a matchbox. Ned strapped his around his wrist and spoke to me over the noise.

“This is how we’ll get back,” he said. “You just push the button when you’re ready.”

I strapped it tightly around my wrist. A sick feeling of anticipation was beginning to settle in my stomach and I took a deep breath.

Ned gestured for me to come and we went through the side door into the room with the machine. It was even louder in here, yet somehow it was not unpleasant. The noise screamed at my ears but it was a soothing sound. I had never heard anything like it. Ned pushed a button on the side of the machine and something changed.

The air began to shimmer and tongues of golden light flicked across my eyes. The light grew stronger and brighter and danced in the room like fire. It seemed to overtake the room and my eyes couldn’t take it anymore. I shut them tight but I could feel the shifting air move around me like water. The light grew bright behind my eyelids and the noise escalated as I felt time melt away from me. At the last second I felt Ned take my hand and give it a reassuring squeeze.

I gasped, breathing in cool misty air. A clatter of wheels on cobblestone streets met my ears. I opened my eyes.

Ned and I were standing on a sidewalk surrounded by people in Victorian clothes. Some of them looked at us strangely as they passed but we were ignored for the most part. Carriages rattle by in the street and people went in and out of shops. Three children ran by, filthy and wearing rags. A stench reached my nose. We were near the fish market. A ragged and tired looking woman on the street corner held a crying baby in one arm and limp flowers in the other. She called out her ware over the noise on the street.

I took all this in for a moment. It was unnerving to be suddenly dropped into another world and I was trembling.

“Are you ok?” Ned asked, and with a start I realized that I was still holding his hand. I dropped it hastily, nodding. He took his jacket off and draped it around my shoulders. His eyes were scanning the area with a critical eye and I realized that I was not looking for clues. I looked around, not sure of what kind of clue could be hidden on such a busy street.

“We appeared here facing a book store,” Ned said. “I wonder if that means anything. Do you want to go in?”

I nodded. I think I was still in shock a little bit. We waited for the traffic to slow and crossed the street as soon as there was a moment where it was clear.

When we entered the store the shopkeeper stared at us in amazement, and then glared at me. We quickly walked by towards the back of the store before he kicked us out.

“We are going to have to find some decent clothes,” Ned said. “In this time period you are extremely immodest.”

“Not just me,” I said, gesturing at his modern clothes. “I don’t think they wore ripped jeans and t-shirts in the Victorian era. Even the lower class would have better clothes than that.”

We browsed the books for a few minutes, trying to stay out of sight of the shopkeeper. I loved the cloth bound books with the titles written upright on the spine. I wanted to flip through some of them but the spines hadn’t been cracked yet so I couldn’t. There were a few books by Dickens and I found a few by Jane Austen as well, attributed to “a lady” or “the author of Pride and Prejudice” rather than her real name.

Ned went to the window and peeked out to see if the clue was outside somewhere from this angle.

“Julie,” He called me over in a hushed whisper. “Come here, look at this.”

I came to the window and stood so he was shielding me from the stares of the shopkeeper.

“What?” I said.

“Do you recognize where we are?”

I looked out the window. At first I didn’t see it. There was the street, the flower girl on the corner, the carriages and street urchins. There were a few more shops across the street, but directly across from us there was a row of flats. On the wall next to the flat door directly across from us was a number: 221.

I gasped. “Are we on Baker Street?” I asked.

Ned nodded grinning. “We appeared right in front of the home of Sherlock Holmes and we didn’t even know it.”

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Excerpt: In which Julie meets Mr. Sherrinford Sigerson

Suddenly the door opened and a man strode out, scowling. He was thin and tall and he glanced down at me over his hooked nose as he passed. His steely grey eyes swept over me, seeming to see every detail. I felt as though he could see through me, if that were possible. A small spark of amusement leapt into his eye and he stopped walking and turned back to me, offering a hand.

“Miss Julie Reid, I presume?” He spoke in a clipped British accent. “I believe you are in one or two of my classes.”

I shook his hand and said I was glad to meet him.

His eyes crinkled up as though he were about to make a joke. “I have to run to my next class. I’m sure we will have time to get acquainted later. Let me just say that I’m glad you have been placed in an attic room. The windows open onto the roof and from there you can continue your habit of stargazing every night. Good day.” He turned and strode away down the hall, leaving me bewildered. I turned to Idina who laughed at the sight of my expression.

“How did he-?” I hadn’t told anyone about stargazing, not even my mother.

“He does that to everyone,” She said. “I’m not sure how he figures it out, but he’s hardly ever wrong. Maybe he’s psychic.”

I didn’t think he was a psychic. There was too much of an air of scientific reason about him. Somehow he had seen something about me that no one else had seen before. I was shaken by this, but I didn’t have time to think it over because the door was standing open and Mrs. Wright was waiting for me behind her desk.

I'm still here

Hello again, fellow bloggers. (And anyone else who reads this blog but doesn't have one of their own.)

I am falling behind on my Nanowrimo word count. I have about 14,300 words so far, and the midway point is Monday. That means I am almost 10,000 words behind. I've decided not to worry about it too much. I will try to finish, but I can't make it a priority because I have so much going on.

I have an essay on Hamlet due Tuesday. Today I finally figured out which aspect I am going to write about, and I still can't figure out what exactly my thesis is. I'm going to write it tomorrow.

Also due on Tuesday is an argument essay. I am writing a response to the opposers of Nanowrimo, and an argument for why it is a valuable thing to try. Is it ironic that I am failing Nanowrimo because I'm busy writing a defense of it?

Going back to the progress of my novel, something unexpected has happened. My two main characters, Julie and Ned, have just travelled into a Sherlock Holmes story. Now I'm stuck. Moriarty has to escape, he gets out when they leave, I just don't know why they encounter him in the first place.

The problem is that it would make sense for them to talk to Sherlock. They are right outside his house, and Ned is searching for his missing father. It makes perfect sense that they would ask him for help, but it's not possible for my novel because if they see Sherlock, part of the mystery is revealed that isn't supposed to be revealed yet, and the rest of the story doesn't work.

Any ideas on how they could not see Sherlock and how they could get involved with Moriarty?

Another question: Would any of you be interested in reading an excerpt from this book? Let me know in the comments. I won't post one if nobody is interested.

~Jane~

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday

My Monday so far:

Chiropracter

School (I got an A on my midterm!)

Lunch

Dishes

Writing (I'm almost to 10,000 words. Still behind but getting closer.)

Grocery shopping

Blogging.

Next up:

Dinner

Reading Hamlet (Act 5)

More writing

Sherlock (I love that show.)

Sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mondays are boring. I will try to write a real post this week, as soon as I'm caught up on my word count. I like how my story is going so far!

~Jane~

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Novel writing time

How is your Nanowrimo novel going? Mine is going about as well as I had hoped. I've got about 1,800 words so far, and I'm hoping to get to 4,000 by the end of the day.

My characters are already surprising me. For example, I had planned on Julie seeing Ned in this scene but not really meeting him yet. I wasn't sure how to do that though. As soon as Julie had arrived at the school and was walking up the steps, Ned came bursting out of the doors and ran into her, knocking all of her things down the stairs. I hadn't planned on that until the moment I was writing it, and it was a little surprising but I said, "Ok, Ned... not what I had planned for you, but it does make you more interesting." It was a natural way for them to meet without me forcing it. I had planned on him being a little more shy than that, but this works even better.

I went to the doctor yesterday about my back, which is still hurting. She gave me some medicine to try that might help clear up the muscle tension. I took it last night, but it was really late, and she said it takes 6-8 hours for the drowsiness to wear off. So when I woke up this morning to go to class I still felt all weird from that and didn't go. Then when I went to my second class it was cancelled. I came to a coffee shop instead to work on my novel and that is where I am now.

If you are doing Nanowrimo, let me know in the comments! I want to hear how your novels are coming along.

~Jane~

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Day in the Life

7:03
Good morning everyone! This morning my alarm was set for 6:30. I woke up then and decided I needed a bit more sleep, so I got up at 7:00 instead. I don't need to leave here until around 9:00. I may actually sleep a little more in a minute.

I am drinking a cup of coffee, of course, but for some reason it tastes a little weak today. I don't know what I did differently.

In case you are wondering where I am, I am at my Grandma's empty house. Since she goes to her house in Florida for the winter, she is letting me stay here while she's gone. I go home on the weekends, and stay here during the school week. Today is Friday which means that tonight I am going home!

I am now going to take a "nap" before I have to get ready to go. Today I have a chiropractor appointment, history class, and then work.

I will be jumping on here throughout the day, whenever I get a chance, to add to this little post. : )

12:04
Hi again! I meant to post again sooner than this, but I left my laptop at home so I couldn't.

Last night, me staring blankly at my computer bag on the couch. Purse in hand, shoes on feet, ready to walk out the door...
Me: Do I need my computer?
My brain: Well here is a list of everything you're doing tomorrow... *except for the Blogger thing*cough* why would you need your computer?
Me: Well, I usually regret not bringing it with me... but you're right, brain, I guess I won't need it. I'll just leave it here on the couch where I can't get it even if I do end up needing it.

Evil brain. Thanks a lot.

I had my chiropractor appointment, then went to school. Then I grabbed some lunch and came back here to eat it, and here I am. So, my morning was not very exciting. Are you regretting coming along on a day in my life? You should convince someone really interesting to do one of these posts.

Hey guess what? Every time I get on http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and see the counter on the home page I have a tiny little panic attack. I had a big panic attack a few minutes ago when I realized that my novel is set entirely at an exclusive university and I have never even been to a school other than community college so I have no idea what it's like! Does anyone have information about how school works- orientation, roommates, cafeteria, etc.?

Right now I'm going to get ready and go to work. I should be able to post something from work (on my break of course) so I'll see you later!

3:15
Hello there, this is me at work.

Earlier I saw the coolest person ever. I am serious, I think he may have been the coolest person ever. It was an older man, maybe in his sixties, thin, with glasses and a trim white beard. He was wearing a spiffy suit and a fedora and was riding a tiny red motorcycle. Not the big fat kind, but one of the ones that look like bicycles. He was cool.

One of my friends' family has been trying to adopt the little boy they've been caring for. They have had him since he was less than a year old but due to extenuating circumstances they were not allowed to adopt him until now. She just texted me and said that the adoption went through today, so I am so excited and happy for them.

Ok, my break's almost over, I will be back after work.

5:42
Home! I love home! There was a pan of corn muffins on the stove when I came in so I ate two of them and they were delicious. I love my family. They are the coolest people ever. Maybe even cooler than that guy I saw on his motorcycle.

8:36
We had frozen pizza for dinner and we put extra vegetables on top, and it was really yummy. Now I am sitting here writing this and my brother Kevin is reading it over my shoulder. Would you like to say anything Kevin?

Kevin: Hi.

There you have it.

Kevin and I are going to make a short film tomorrow. We are actually hoping to make a series and base it on all of the hilarious things that happen to us on a daily basis, because I think we are pretty funny people.

Ok, now I must do dinner dishes. Yay. I'll be back later. : )

9:02
Well, here it is. This thing that you just spent your time reading is pretty much an average day in my life right now. However, sometimes there are variables that make the day more interesting.

Yesterday we were at the grocery store and there was a big bin of funny looking gourds and tiny pumpkins. Kevin called me over to it and said "Look at the sign!" I looked at the sign and can you guess what it said? It said "FREE." My favorite word. I was so excited and I took a whole bag of free pumpkins. Some of them are for my older sister who has actually just been looking for small white pumpkins.

The other day I got to the library for work and I grabbed a cart to load books on to, and I saw something interesting on the bottom shelf. It was a tiny blue Lego! I don't know how it got there, but now it is my lucky blue Lego. Well, it was until I lost it.

One of the characters in my Nanowrimo novel is going to be a little bit of a nerd. He is a quantum physicist, very involved in his studies, so he must be somewhat geeky, but I also want him to be kind of cute in a nerdy way. So I told my siblings that if they see me staring at nerdy guys, it's because I'm trying to decide what my character is going to look like. When we were in the grocery store yesterday, I saw a guy who was just about perfect- not exactly handsome, but he looked really nice and serious and nerdy. So I turned to Darby (my little sister) and I said "I found him! Look behind me at the guy by the pumpkin bin." So she looked, but right at that precise moment he made a really funny face. I told her, "Never mind, don't look at him yet; wait until he stops making that face." And she laughed at me.

P.S. When I use the word "nerd," I mean it in a complementary way. I'm not walking around judging people to be nerds and making fun of them. There's just no other word I can think of to describe the type of guy I mean. : )

That's about all I have for now. I won't post this quite yet though, in case I think of something else I want to say.

9:43
We are getting ready to watch The Dick Van Dyke Show. I have to say, this show is one of my favorites. It is clean and funny and the clothes are amazing. I love Mary Tyler Moore's 60's outfits.

Hmm... I am tired. It was a long day, even though I didn't do much. Tomorrow I am going to sleep late. : )

I probably won't have anything else to say tonight, so I guess I will end this post now.

Thanks for coming along for a day in my life, hope you enjoyed it!

~Jane~

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do you?

Do you ever read a blog post, think "Hmm, I wonder what comments she got on this," and click on it only to find that you, yourself had commented on that very post and forgotten about it?  Do you ever do this the day after said comment was posted by you?

Do you ever accidently shut your long hair in the car door? Do you do this multiple times a day, even though you know that your hair is lengthy and has a tendency to blow around and get in the way?

Do you ever talk to yourself? Do you ever answer yourself? Do you ever tell yourself to stop talking to yourself only to realize that you said it out loud and were therefore talking to yourself to try to get yourself to stop talking to yourself?

Do you ever find yourself staring at the computer screen waiting for something interesting to happen, like an email? Do you ever do this when you are supposed to be doing homework?

Do you ever wonder what your life is going to be like in five years? One year? Six months? One week? Do you ever feel like life is moving too quickly for you to keep up?

Do you ever get on Blogger when you mean to start working on your homework, and then proceed to write a random, question-filled blog post?

I certainly don't. ; )

Good morning

I have discovered that the post last night was very fun to write. So I have decided that on Friday, I will do a day-in-the-life type of post. I will start writing it in the morning but wait on publishing it, and just add to it all day in between other things. That should be fun.

I am almost done with this paper! I just have to make a "work cited" page, if I can figure out how to cite an anthology properly.

For someone who stayed up half the night, I feel surprisingly untired. I bet it will catch up with me this afternoon. Tonight I am going to sleep early.

I promise that I will come up with some interesting posts soon. Maybe a movie review?

~Jane~

Another late night

1:10
Another night facing down the dreaded history paper. My laptop is sitting on the bed across the room with the document staring me down. Luckily I have finished the summary of the article and my opinion of it. Now I have to analyze it. I have written a page and a half and I need to write at least two and a half more pages.

It is now 1:11 in the morning. This paper is due at 11:00 tomorrow... well technically today. Yes, I am the winner at procrastination.

Ok, so... I am going to go work on it now, but I will leave this post open and keep you updated on how I'm doing. You know how in the old days when people wrote letters to each other, they would write the letter over several days before sending it? Well this is kind of like that, except on the internet, and with minutes instead of days, and I really don't have anything important to say. Luckily I don't have to pay for postage either.

1:29
I now have almost another page completed. It is very poorly written. I will look it over in the morning after I have consumed coffee and I may be able to make it better.

Just to keep things interesting, every time I jump back on here to continue my lengthy and rambling post I will say something new and rather random. Let me think of something.

It is very late.

No wait, I already said that.

Today at work (the library) I saw a lady standing at the catalogue computer on one leg. She had her other foot up on her knee and she was balanced like that while she used the computer. In Tae Kwon Do that is called the "crane stance" and it is actually surprisingly fun to do (Although I probably wouldn't stand like that just for fun while I was using a computer in the library.) Kevin (my brother) and I used to stand in a crane stance and see who could stay there the longest. It took awhile for either of us to fall.

Looking at my last paragraph, I seem to be fond of parenthesis. (I do like parenthetical remarks.)

1:48
I almost just fell asleep. Fortunately I am almost done. I have begun on the third page. The paper must be 3-5 pages long. I'm close. If I can just write a little bit more, I will be able to finish the rest in the morning.

It's time for another interesting fact.

I am considering a haircut. My hair has gotten really long, and I like it a lot, but it's inconvinient. It blows around and gets in my face and gets caught in the car door... I shut it in the car door twice today. I don't recommend it. Make sure your hair is out of the way when you shut the door.
So I was thinking about cutting it to shoulder length with maybe a few layers and some sweeping bangs. I also want to dye my hair (with henna dye, which is non-toxic) but I am not sure when/if that will happen. If I ever do dye it, I will go with sort of a dusty red/auburn color.

2:18
I am fully aware of the fact that that number right up there above this section means that I have been awake for two hours and eighteen minutes past midnight.

Midnight + two more hours + eighteen minutes = tired.

There is only about half a page left that I must write to make it three pages long.

I'm not sure if I can think of anything interesting at the moment.

Well, here's something interesting. Today I found out in Creative Writing class that instead of a final, we are going to have a party. It will be a potluck type of deal, and our teacher is going to try to reserve a private dining room for us. At this party we are welcome to read any of our work that we didn't get a chance to share in class. I think that is a brilliant idea and will be very fun.

2:32
It is time for bed.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Midnight ramblings

It's late. I am trying to read an article. I'm supposed to write a 3-5 page analysis of this article by Wednesday morning. I am running out of time, but I am so sleepy. My eyes keep blurring the page and I forget what I'm reading. I keep getting on the computer for a "break" to keep myself awake, but in reality I haven't gotten much done because I'm spending all of my time procrastinating. If I can't get something done I need to go to sleep.

Have you ever read an entire paragraph and then realize you have no idea what it said?

I'm listening to Pandora Radio to keep myself awake, but a nice quiet song just came on... "Beauty From Pain" by Superchick.

Oh good, now a DC Talk song is on. I love them! They were my favorite band for a long time, before I discovered Jars of Clay and Switchfoot.

Little known fact about me: I can sing the rap parts of some of their songs. : )
I know rap isn't a hugely popular genre among my fellow bloggers, and I am not a huge fan myself of just straight rapping. I do like these little short bits that they do in the DC Talk songs though.

Ok, I am tired and I just keep rambling on about nothing. It's just about time for bed.

Yay! "Two Hands" by Jars of Clay is on. This is a good song.

I have a broken disposition;
I'm a liar who thirsts for the truth.
And while I ache for faith to hold me,
I need to feel the scars and see the proof...

Isn't that so true? We're so contradictory.

Romans 7:15
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

I shouldn't be this tired. I drank coffee at around 8:00. I know that was a silly thing to do, but I anticipated staying up late and writing this analysis. Instead I am still up late but I am too tired to write an analysis. Maybe I should go to bed now and get up early in the morning to write it.

Nanowrimo is in less than a week! I am so excited but nervous at the same time. I am afraid of failure, but not enough to stop me from attempting it, which is a good thing I guess. I finished on time twice before, but I wasn't in school then.

I like my idea but so far all I have is an idea and I haven't really made an outline or anything.

Ok, yes, I know I keep saying it's time for bed. Now I mean it.

If we were at a slumber party right now, (Let's pretend we are at a slumber party! We just got finished watching Rigoletto and we all cried at the ending. There is popcorn spilled on the floor and you forgot your toothbrush but you don't care because you're still snacking on oreos. Doublestuff mint oreos of course.) I would be that girl who is normally quiet but gets really wierd and talkative when she's sleepy. You know, the girl who won't stop talking to you when you're trying to go to sleep. I will stop now. : )

Goodnight.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tagged again!

I was tagged again by my friend Michelle!

Michelle is new to the blogging world and could use some followers. We met at camp in June, so I can vouch for her being one of the most awesome people you could meet. Please, take a look at her blog and consider following her!

1. What would your perfect proposal consist of?

Well, hopefully he would have already asked my dad's permission. He would have known to talk it over with my sister, so he will already have the perfect ring. No diamonds for me, I want tiny rubies and pearls set in silver. We would be out somewhere, not at a restaurant but somewhere pretty. Maybe a walk in the park?

I don't care if he is not eloquent, I just want to hear how he honestly feels about me.

2. If you could be the richest, smartest, or prettiest person in the world, which would you choose?

If I were the richest person in the world, everyone would just be after my money.

If I were the prettiest person in the world, all the girls would hate me and I wouldn't have any true friends.

If I were the smartest person in the world I would have enough sense not to flaunt my intelligence, so hopefully people wouldn't be jealous. So that's what I would choose.

3. What song describes your life? and why?

Right now it's "The Beautiful Let Down" by Switchfoot.

Here is the first verse and chorus:

"It was a beautiful let down
When I crashed and burned
When I found myself alone unknown and hurt
It was a beautiful let down
The day I knew
That all the riches this world had to offer me
Would never do

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt
I was trying so hard to fit in, fit in,
Until I found out
I don't belong here
I don't belong here
I will carry a cross and a song where I don't belong
But I don't belong."

4. What is your favorite movie?

My current favorite movie is probably the new BBC Emma, but it changes often. I just can't pick favorites.

5. Would you rather be loved or respected?

Well, if it's really love, I will be respected as well. You can't truly love someone without at least respecting their rights and boundaries.

But if I had to give up some respectability to be loved, I would choose respect. It's not worth being loved if they don't respect you.

6. You're going on your first date, what are you wearing?

It depends on what we're doing. On a dinner date, I would probably wear dark jeans, a nice blouse and kitten heels. With earrings for sparkle. : )

7. If given the choice, would you rather fit in or stand up for what you know?

In theory I would stand up for the truth no matter the consequences. I hope that's what I would do when actually faced with the choice.

8. What is the scripture verse that has changed your life?

I don't think I can name any one verse. The entire Bible is life changing. John is a book that comes to mind though. It is so beautifully and powerfully written.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too hard?

Here is something that bothers me when I'm working in the library:

A little kid, maybe seven or eight, goes into the Juvenile section and starts to look at books. Her mom comes after her and says, "Not these books, they are too hard for you. You're in __ grade and so you must read books out of the ____ section."

What is it about this scenario that bothers me? Well, the little girl was only looking at Juvenile cooking books. She was reading them, and she was old enough to cook the recipes from them, so how were they too hard for her?

I think parents sometimes rely too much on groupings and grades that schools use to organize. I was homeschooled, and growing up I loved the library. I picked out my own books, huge stacks of them, and it didn't matter what grade level they were at. I just picked what interested me.

I think it's possible that this system of reading levels is taking the love of reading from children. To be repeatedly told that something is too hard for you when it really isn't has to have some kind of effect. Staying inside your age group of books means you will never be challenged by anything you read.

I have been reading from the adult and children's sections for a long time. My love of classic literature started when I was a kid, something that would have never developed if I had been limited in my reading choices.

Now, I'm not saying you should give kids just anything to read. It still has to be appropriate, and I think it is the parent's right to approve books their children are reading. However, I think the child should choose what he or she really wants to read.

And please, never tell a child that a book is too hard. You might regret it when he believes you and thinks reading in general is too hard to be bothered with.

~Jane~

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tag

I've been tagged! Thanks, Shaynie. : )

Rules:

You are given 8 questions from the person who tagged you before, your job is to answer them, write 8 questions of your own, then tag 8 people with your questions.

1. Do you like Sherlock Holmes?

I absolutely love Sherlock Holmes. I love everything about those stories... the writing style is really cozy and friendly, while still being tense and mysterious. I feel like I'm sitting by the fire with Dr. Watson and he is telling me all about their adventures. Sherlock Holmes himself is such a brilliant character. He is complex, but you feel like you know him. He is simple and unfathomable. And the relationship between Sherlock and Dr. Watson is possibly the best friendship in all of literature.

Ok, I guess you get the picture: I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes.

2. Would you ever like to go overseas and work with a relief agency in a war-torn country?

I'm not sure. I don't think I would like it, but it would probably be good for me in the long run.
However, I think everyone has their area of ministry and I've always felt that my ministry is here. I want to raise my future children the way God wants me to and hopefully write books that will bring Him glory.

3. Do you like foreign films?

The only foreign film I've seen is Shall We Dance. It's the same story as the one with Richard Gere, but it was made in Japan and the whole thing is in Japanese. We got it by mistake one time because we thought it was the Richard Gere version. Once you got used to reading the English subtitles, it was actually really entertaining and funny.

4. Do you like writing?

Yes, I love writing. : )

5. Will you be doing NaNoWriMo? What's your book about?

Yes! This will be my third year, and I'm writing about a girl who wins a scholarship to a mysterious school where books come alive... literally. See this post for a little more detail.

6. What's your favorite animal?

I don't know, I haven't really thought about it recently. My favorite animal used to be sea otters. I also like snakes.

7. Have you ever been to a foreign country?

I've been to Canada. I loved it. Everyone was really friendly and I love Canadian accents. I loved how everything was labelled in English and French. I actually learned a few French words while I was there, and we saw a family who only spoke French. We saw Niagra Falls, the CN Tower, and lots of black squirrels.

8. Are your ears pierced?

Yes, they are. I love wearing dangly earrings; that little bit of sparkle brightens up your whole outfit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok, now on to my eight questions.

1. If you had to choose, would you rather be blind or deaf?
(I ask because I have thought about this question for years and can never decide. I love the beauty of this world, but I also love music and the sound of people's voices...)

2. What is your favorite part about blogging?

3. What is your favorite book and why?
(You can do more than one if you can't choose.)

4. Why DID the chicken cross the road?

5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
(You can answer this even if you are "grown up." We're never done growing, and everyone has a dream.)

6. Think about your day. (Or yesterday if you're reading this early in the morning.) Think through everything that happened to you during the day... people you met, things you discovered, interesting events. Now pick one thing and describe it for me in as much detail as you can. Whether you were skydiving or picking out a muffin, I want to hear about it.

Ok, I'm a cheater, that wasn't really a question. It was more like a writing prompt. Can you do it anyway? : )

7. What do you think of Nancy Drew? Do you consider her a good role model? What do you think of the movies (Old movie with Bonita Granville and new with Emma Roberts) and the computer games?

8. If someone offered you a hundred dollar bill to do it, would you sing an entire song, without music, in a crowded restauraunt?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I tag:

1. Rebecca Jane ~ Sewing in the Past

2. Atlanta ~ The Story of a Seamstress

3. Celine ~ Iradessa

4. Michelle ~ Born to Stand Out

5. Grace ~ Grace's Garden Walk

6. Georgianna Penn ~ Before my Penn has Gleaned

7. Allison Elizabeth ~ Girl of the Prairie

8. Bess ~ Bess' Bag

And just because I can't decide,  I am going to bend the rules and add tags #9 and #10...

9. Darby May ~ Picklehopper Centre

10. Faith ~ Something Fun

Have fun!

~Jane~

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chickens, mangoes and forget-me-nots

The scene: My sister Darby, our friend Hannah and I are sitting in a small cafe. We are waiting for their dance class to start, and we are a little bit bored. We have already hacked into my brother's Facebook account (which was hilarious) and now we have nothing to do.

Me: I should post on my blog... wanna help me?

Them: YES!

Me: What should I post about?

Darby: Chickens and mangos and forget-me-nots.

Sooo...

Chickens are small birds who live on farms. They lay eggs and sometimes they hatch into chicks. Sometimes we eat eggs for breakfast, cooked with cheese and tomatoes and bacon and hashbrowns.
And that is delicious.

Mangoes are juicy fruit from somewhere hot where they grow on trees. They are kind of pink and green on the outside and a pretty orange on the inside. If you let them get too ripe before you eat them the juice runs down your arms and also gets all over your face until you look silly.
They are also delicious.

Forget-me-nots are a flower I think. They are very memorable.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Only Hope

This song is simply beautiful. I love Switchfoot. There is a Switchfoot concert tonight not too far away from us that I am hoping to go to.

You may remember this song as the one from "A Walk to Remember" with Mandy Moore. I think she actually sings it on that movie. I don't really remember, it's been years since I've seen it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nothing

I keep clicking on the "New Post" button, staring at the blank screen for a few seconds, then deciding that I don't have the time/energy to post. Today I finally decided that I was being ridiculous and I should post right now. So... here I am, posting.

Posting about nothing is at least posting about something, which is better than not posting at all, and much better than posting about something boring. Unless this is boring, which it probably is, because nothing usually is boring and something is interesting, except sometimes nothing can be interesting because even posting about nothing is at least something, right?

Quick, someone ask me an interesting question so I can answer it in an interesting post!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Imagine this...

Classic books are actually portals to alternate universes. Almost everything that happens in a classic is true, just not in our world, in theirs.

Now imagine that we have found a way to go between these worlds.

Due to a mistake, Proffessor Moriarty (from the Sherlock Holmes stories) escapes into our world and begins to wreak havok.

It is up to you to stop him, and you don't want to let too many people know... so, no police help.

Sherlock Holmes himself is already helping you... what other classic book characters would you want to come along? You can pick a few people for their skills, but also, the machine that lets you go between worlds is malfunctioning and a few random characters are going to come out.

So who would your team be? What skillful characters would you try to get and why? What silly characters do you think should be there? Let me know in the comments!

~Jane~

P.S. This is my plot for Nanowrimo! I'm so excited.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo is coming up in less than a month! It is hard to believe that it's been a year since the last time.
I'm starting to panic. Every time I remember that it's coming up, I have a tiny panic attack. I hope I don't fail this year. I hope I can keep up with my homework while also writing about 2,000 words of fiction per day.
I am going to try to keep writing on my blog during the month of November, but there may be some weird posts about my characters when I can't figure things out. Last year on Facebook, some of my statuses did not make any sense. They were things like, "Ok, good, my main characters are now in possesion of the ninja poison darts..."

I still don't know what I'm writing about. I probably won't know until the day before. I'm considering medieval alternate history. That's because of all the Robin Hood I watched this summer. : )

It's time to get ready for school now. I don't want to go. I'm so sleepy today because I stayed up late las night finishing this morning's homework. Well, I have an extra long gap between classes today. Maybe if I can get enough homework done I can also take a nap.

~Jane~

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jonah

Besides the fact that it is the word of God and full of life-changing truth, the Bible is a truly beautiful and well written book. The poetry is beautiful, the descriptions are snappy and clear, and the stories are amazing.
One thing I love about the stories in the Bible, something that gets lost sometimes when you try to make a movie or a novel out of it, is how clearly you can see the hand of God working through the character's lives. In Jonah, for example.
Jonah is told by God to take a message to Nineveh. He refuses, because he does not like Ninevites. He tries to run away on a ship, and God sends an awful storm. When the sailors on the ship find out that Jonah is trying to run from God, they throw him into the sea, where a big fish (sent by God) swallows him up. He is kept alive inside this big fish until he gets spit up onto shore and takes the message.
The thing that is really awesome about this story is that the Ninevites were a fish worshipping culture. Their god was in the shape of a big fish. So when Jonah came straggling into the city, his hair and skin bleached white by the stomach acid of the fish, and explained that his God was the creator of the fish and had kept him safe and told the fish to spit him out, the Ninevites were astonished. This God was obviously bigger than their puny fish god. They were afraid because they realizd they had been worshipping a creation rather than the Creator, so they repented and began to follow the one true God.
This story is amazing to me because God used Jonah's disobedience and turned it into a good thing. Being swallowed by a fish is normally bad, and Jonah probably thought it was his punishment for disobeying. Well, it was a consequence of disobeying, but it turned into a good witness to bring other people to the truth. Isn't that amazing? God is totally in control.

~Jane~

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Conversation with a character

Well, my dear readers, I have neglected you once again. I am really terribly sorry. I was stressed out all week about the history test, which is finally over now. I feel like I did pretty well. I knew all the fill in the blank question, and I barely even had to look at the word bank for those. Then there were short answers, which weren't too hard. My grade on those depends on what the teacher was looking for and how much detail she wanted. Then there was the essay.

She gave us three essay questions on our study guide, with one of them being on the test. I studied all three, but I really felt like I could answer the first one more throughly, so I was hoping that would be the one. And it was! I was so excited when I saw which question it was. I think I answered it well, I just can't wait to see what my grade is.

Ok, enough about school.

I am writing again! Well, sort of. I have had this character living in my head for quite awhile. She is a young person, living on her own, and she works at a bookstore. She practically runs the place and she's hoping to own it one day but she doesn't have enough money. She is lonely but won't admit it, and she has a great sense of humor. She is also trying to write a novel, but since she doesn't own a computer she is writing it out in notebooks.

Anyway, I discovered something interesting about her today that may be the opening of a plot.

Me: "You know, I've never asked you where your family is. Why do you live all alone?"

She, quietly: "I don't know where my family is."

Me: "What do you mean? Did you have an argument and break off ties with them? That doesn't seem like you..."

She: "No, I mean I really don't know where they are. They disappeared a few years ago."

Me: *Stunned silence*

She: "It was a few months after I moved out. I went home one day to stay over for the weekend and they weren't there. All of their things were still in the house, and the car was in the driveway, but they were gone."

Me: "What did you do?"

She: "Well, I tried calling their phones, but they wouldn't answer. So I went to the police and they said they would investigate, but they didn't seem terribly concerned. I didn't know what else to do. Ever since then I've been trying to save up to pay a private detective to find them but I'm barely making enough to live on, so I haven't gotten very far."

Me: "..........." *Speechless*

So, now I am excited that this character has potential for a plot. I want to help her find her family! This revelation gives her a lot more depth as a character, and now I really want to write this book.

~Jane~

P.S. This is post #150!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just a Trifle

I just wanted to hop on and point my readers in the direction of Just a Trifle, a wonderful blog about Sherlock Holmes. She has just posted a very interesting analysis of Holmes' first meeting with Dr. Watson. If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes in the slightest, you will like this blog. And if you love Sherlock Holmes as much as I do, you will love this blog. : )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life

It is storming outside. : )
Yeah, you know how I feel about storms. They are near the top of my list of favorites.

Today I handed in my poem "The Storm" to my creative writing class to be work shopped. Work shopping is where everyone else in the class discusses your piece and hands in a written response to it. So, on Thursday, I'm going to have 26 people tell me exactly what they think of my poem.

That's a little scary.

I have a huge History test on Friday morning I am a little bit nervous about. Well, I am very nervous. I haven't studied enough. That's what I am going to be doing for the next couple of days.

Next Tuesday I am handing in a first draft of an essay and doing a group presentation for literature class. Those assignments I am actually excited about. I can't wait for this weekend. I will be done with the monotony of this history book and I will be able to analyze literature to my heart's content.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good morning

The sun is shining through a gap in the curtains and gilding my hands with light as I type. I look up at the curtains. They are deep ruby red with small stripes. They glow and a faint patch of red light seeps onto the walls next to them. The house is hushed. It is not the hush of everyone trying to be quiet, but it is peaceful. The rest of the house is asleep, somewhere else. They are dreaming of delicious sights and situations and I wonder what they are.
My mug is cornflower blue with tiny white glimmers where the light hits its rounded edges. The coffee inside is rich brown. It reminds me of the woods on a November day. The mug is smooth and warm to the touch, and when I take a sip the warmth slides down my throat, soothing it.
The only sound is the muffled clicking of my keyboard. It is a comforting sound somehow. It sounds like the feeling I get when I have hit on a good idea for a story, and it comes pouring from my fingers. I hardly have to think about what I will say next. The story is there, ready to be written, I just have to keep typing.
I am wearing my favorite black pajamas and a large pink robe. This is the robe I wear when I am sick, because I can wrap it around myself like a blanket. It is worn and frayed around the sleeves.
I feel loved. I thank God for another lovely day, for another sunrise, for my familiy's sweet dreams, for the ability to write, for the stories He gives me, and for my fluffy pink robe.

~Jane~

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ramblings

So, what did you think of my poem? I got two very complementary comments on it, but I would love to know if you didn't like it as well. Are there any parts that need work or were unclear, and what parts were your favorites?

I tried a new chiropracter today. I think I like this one, he seemed very friendly and professional. I think he knows what he's doing and he says I will feel better within a month, which is good news. I'm getting tired of hobbling around.

So today I saw the chiropracter and then just rested. I did a tiny amount of homework, and I took a really wonderful nap on the couch. Tonight was my sister's birthday dinner, and I woke up from my nap just in time to get cleaned up and eat homemade lasagna.

Hmmm... That is all I can think of to post at this moment. I will try to be more interesting tomorrow. : )

~Jane~

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Storm

The wind that screeches takes its toll
On fence post flying, hits the wall
Waves of clouds like sea-foam roll
Blinding drops on pavement fall

Inside we shiver under cover
The lion in the chimney roars
Afraid of fear that we discover
Light a candle, lock the doors

Out the window is a darkness
Shot with sparks of blinding day
One brave one stands as a witness
Inside glass they watch and pray

The wind is falling, sweeping gently
Thunder, laughing, swiftly wanes
The rain falls on the window lightly
Teardrops whisper down the panes


~Jane~

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Writing

I said that I would post my first poem on here, but I've changed my mind. This one is a bit more personal than I intended. Maybe the next one.
I am pretty pleased with the way it turned out though. It has a decent structure and it sounds kind of good. I didn't know what to write about so I took a little thing that's been bugging me and purposefully blew it out of proportion, drama queen style. Now it sounds like I was really emotional when I wrote it. : )

I think I'm going to try to do Nanowrimo this year. I asked my creative writing teacher and he said I can turn in some of the chapters instead of short stories. That way I feel less guilty about writing, because it's going towards a class as well as just my personal goal.

Now I have to decide what to write about. I was thinking some kind of medieval adventure. I've been really into Robin Hood lately and I'm also reading a series of books set during King Arthur's time. Maybe I could put my own spin on it and do a alternate medieval world, sort of like medieval steampunk.

Or I have another idea for a science fiction story. I have a very elaborate idea of the setting and society and concept for the story. I even have a main character lurking in my brain, he just needs a name still. What I don't have is a plot, but sometimes I have to start writing before I know what that will be.

~Jane~

Monday, September 6, 2010

A party and a hoodie

I'm so sorry that I haven't been posting the last couple of days! I have had a very busy week or so.

First of all, Kevin's birthday went well. We met a few good friends at a fun outdoor mall type of place in town. We got coffee at the coffee shop in the big bookstore there, and played a new card game, which was one of Kevin's birthday presents. Then we started our scavenger hunt.
We did boys against girls, and went out and took pictures of eight cool and unique things. Then we got back together, switched cameras and tried to find the things that the others took pictures of. It was really fun. The only thing I didn't like was that we were so divided the whole time. That's the problem with all team games, you want to spend time with everyone.
One of the "rules" was that if we ran into the other team we had to scream and run away. We only ran into the boys once. They came around the corner suddenly and we followed the rule enthusiastically. I think we startled some girls who were walking near us. : )

Today was the Renaissance festival. I went as a "hoodie" after all, and I think I looked Robin Hood-ish. I had brown pants tucked into tall black boots, and a tan vest over a green shirt. I wore a low belt with a leather pouch dangling from it and a grey cloak. I even did a braid across my head like Marian wears in her hair sometimes. Mine was a little messier and looser, and the bobby pins showed, but it was pretty good considering how troublesome and slippery my hair tends to be when I put it up.
I forgot to take a picture, but maybe someday soon I will recreate it for you to see. The best thing about the outfit was that, besides the cloak, everything I had on was just normal clothes. The cloak was something I found in our dress up box, and it's made out of a single piece of fabric.

~Jane~

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wowzers

Go check out my sister's blog! She has officially started her paper doll blog event, and has pictures of one of her paper doll outfits. It is stunning!

Busy

I am having a very busy couple of days.

Today I have a lot of homework and laundry to do, then my brother's birthday dinner. Tomorrow I have classes from 8 until 1:45, then I take my brother to his Bible study, then we are going out with some friends for his birthday. We are supposed to be doing a scavenger hunt of some sort, but I don't know how I'm going to find time to make one up.

My back has been hurting all summer, and I think it's getting worse, so I could really use some prayer for that. Today was the second time in the last couple of weeks that I had to stay home from work because my back was aching so badly. I really need the money, especially now that I'm back in school, so I can't afford to miss any more days of work.

On Labor Day Monday, My brother and I are going to our local Renaissance festival. Visitors are encouraged to dress up for this, and I usually do. I went as a peasant girl one year, and a pirate the next. This year I really want to go as one of Robin Hood's gang, as shown in the BBC show. I'm not going to copy any specific costume, just dress in that style.

Well, I am having trouble finding a costume. Yesterday I made a pattern for a vest, but I can't make that until Saturday, because I'm so busy. Besides the vest, I'm not sure what to wear. Does anyone have suggestions for how to make that style of clothes, or at least adapt modern clothes?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

B.O.O.K.

Note: This is not mine, I merely found it to be hilarious.
http://jokelibrary.net/words/library.html
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device, trade-named -- BOOK.

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Here's how it works:

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it.

BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a hard surface. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pin-points the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK. You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Look for a flood of new titles soon.

Paper dolls

My sister is doing an event on her blog!

If you like paper dolls, or drawing, or historical costumes, you will want to participate in this event. Even if you don't participate, at least take a look at her posts. I know for a fact that she has already created some paper dolls that are simply stunning.
This event begins September 1st, and you can find the button on my sidebar.

~Jane~

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Emma

My favorite movie is the new BBC Emma. Ah, it's wonderful. Mr. Knightly is amazing, and Jonny Lee Miller is such a good actor. He's so subtle, but you can tell exactly what he is thinking. When I first heard he was playing the role, I wasn't sure about it, because he is a little too short. But he is so perfect. I can't imagine anyone being better as Mr. Knightly. : )

I also love it because Emma is one of my favorite of Jane Austen's novels. It has such mystery about it. I love that Emma is so flawed, the author didn't think anyone would like her, but she is still sympathetic. She really suffers from her mistakes and learns that she is not always right.

I need to read that book again.

I am going to have to write several poems for my creative writing class. I am not very good at poetry. When I write one, I'll post it on here and let you guys see if it's any good.

~Jane~

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Morning people

So this morning I am sitting in the classroom for Intro to Literature, waiting for class to begin. It's about 9:15 and I just came from English 101. It's a pretty full room. The situation is a little awkward. Everyone is sitting in their place and there is no sound except for some fidgeting and the clickity-clack of tiny cell phone keys as everyone texts someone else. Who would you text at 9:15 in the the morning? I wonder. I try to think of someone I can text, but the only person I ever text is my brother, and he is not a morning person.

Suddenly the silence is broken by one brave soul.

"Is everyone tired, or what?" He asks. Several people nod.
"I mean, nobody's talking or anything. It's kind of freaking me out." Several people giggle.
He is obviously a morning person, I think to myself.

There is a sound at the door, and another student enters.
"Hey, how are you doing?" The morning person asks cheerfully.

"Oh, good. Thanks." The poor student replies, a little bewildered at being greeted with such enthusiasim. He takes his seat.

There is silence again. The morning person makes another effort.
"So where is everyone going to college? I mean after here, of course." Since he was not speaking to anyone specific, nobody answers him.
"No takers, really?" He says.

Someone else comes through the door.
"Hi! How are you?" The morning person says, as if they were old friends. Luckily for him, this student is another morning person. She sits on the opposite side of the room from him, but they chat back and forth about various things. The first morning person mentions Florida.

"I just got married in Florida!" The girl tells him. She describes the weather and says how lovely everything was. The shy girl next to her says something.

"Well congragulations!" The first girl says. I guess the shy girl just got married too. They start chatting about their weddings.

The morning person has started talking to someone else on his side of the room. Suddenly he calls across to the second morning person with a question.
"Hey, is our teacher married or not?"
She doesn't know. He starts talking to the room in general about how some teachers get mad if you call them the wrong thing. Someone tells him to look for a wedding ring on her finger.

The whole room seems a little more awake now. There are only two people still using their cell phones. The rest of us are watching the morning person with amusement as he greets everyone who comes through the door. A few students are chatting with each other.

When the teacher enters, he calls out, "Good morning, Miss H!"
It doesn't matter that she is actually a "Mrs.", Or that her name is hyphenated so technically it begins with a "Z", she smiles at his happy greeting. She is a morning person too.

I like morning people.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First day of school

Today was long. Let me start from the very beginning.

Well, last night I went shopping for some new notebooks and a new bag big enough to carry my school stuff, then I went over to my Grandma's house to sleep over. Her house is just a few minutes from the school, and I have an eight o'clock class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Last night I had a really bad dream about home invaders or something and it was scary. So that alone made me tired today because I couldn't have slept very well. A bad dream leaves smudges on your day.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning. I really didn't need that much time to get ready but I was nervous. So I had some breakfast, showered and got ready to go.

I was very early. I sat in the hall on one of those benches with a bunch of other people who were waiting for the same class. It was awkward, and most people texted or something. (I have noticed at school that whenever anyone sits down to wait, they immedietely pull out their phone and look at it intently. I also must confess something very silly. Usually when this happens I am the only person not texting, so I get out my phone anyway and just watch the time on it.)

So we had that class finally, (English 102) and it was good. I liked the teacher. Then I went to Intro to Literature, which was also good, but a little more scary. I think I'm really going to like it, I'm just anticipating a lot of homework.

After a lunch break I came back and there was no place to park. I had to parallel park in a tiny little space behind a truck. I did better than I expected. It only took me two tries.

Next was Creative Writing. This class was not what I expected. The teacher is very relaxed, and he gives easy grades, and there will be a lot of class discussions. He gave us guidelines for the type of pieces he wants us to turn in, but no restrictions, and we can kind of decide what we write and when we turn it in. He wants 8 poems and two short stories by the end of the semester. Or you can substitute some of the poems for more short stories. Or instead of a short story you can write a screenplay. Or you can just write 10 poems and no stories.
See what I mean? It's very flexible. I guess that's a good thing, but I like structured classes better. I like to know exactly what I'm expected to do, and when I'm supposed to do them by. And I really like having my work graded. This teacher is going to give you a good grade as long as you try hard.
I suppose I will get used to it, and I'll probably love it, but it's not what I thought it was going to be.

So, after all this, I had to wait and go to the orthodontist.

I am so tired.

But I'm glad school has started. : )

~Jane~