27 May 2012

Sunday Blessings

{via pinterest}

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

— Excerpt from "Day by Day" by Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell Berg

It is easy to be good in those wonderful, awe-inspiring moments of either great beauty or great sadness. One cannot help but feel obedient, helpful, and dutiful . . . it is in the days afterwards where we lag, the days that seem dull or too placid for our tastes, the days when we argue that being a little lax will not affect anything greatly. But that is where we are wrong. For it is in the formation of little, day-by-day habits that our lives are either turned gradually towards Christ or away from Him.
"For a week the amount of virtue in the old house would have supplied the neighborhood. It was really amazing, for everyone seemed in a heavenly frame of mind, and self-denial was all the fashion. Relieved of their first anxiety about their father, the girls insensibly relazed their praisworthy efforts a little, and began to fall back into old ways. They did not forget their motto, but hoping and keeping busy seemed to grow easier, and after such tremendous exertions, they felt that Endeavor deserved a holiday, and gave it a good many." — Little Women, Chapter 17: "Little Faithful"
I speak these words not because I myself am above them, but because I experience it every day. Far more often than I should like, I encourage little habits of not speaking respectfully to my parents, procrastinating, spending more time on the computer than I ought, ignoring my tasks, and just being stubborn. But the Father is ever loving and ever merciful, and I can see His hand in my life, slowly welcoming me, the wayward sheep, back into the fold. I know I will never achieve perfection — I will always be growing and have room for improvement — but it is my hope that I will learn to trust more in the Lord and ultimately choose His path over my own.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." — Phillipians 3:14
Have a lovely afternoon, ladies! 

25 May 2012

Poem of the Week: Life Sculpture by George Washington Doane

Carrie was frightened, too. Her eyes were very large in her thin face, and she whispered to herself, "Chisel in hand stood the sculptor boy," while Laura tied on her hair ribbon. — Little Town on the Prairie, Chapter 24: "The School Exhibition"

It's always fun to pull out old books that you haven't read for years and pour once more over their well-worn pages. In this case, "well worn" is a bit of an understatement, since we're speaking of the Little House books I have cherished since age five, and they threaten to fall apart when you breathe on them. Just last week I was reading Little Town on the Prairie — I've pretty much finished school for the summer and felt like some light, happy reading after studying for exams — and I came upon this dear little poem that Carrie Ingalls recited in the De Smet School Exhibition. Taken from the Independent Fifth Reader, it was penned by George Washington Doane, an American writer and Episcopal bishop. The poem is short, simple, and sweet, and altogether too good to pass up.

{via Google Images}

Life Sculpture
By George Washington Doane (1799 — 1859)

Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
With his marble block before him,
And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
As an angel-dream passed o’er him.

He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
With many a sharp incision;
With heaven’s own flight the sculpture shone,
He’d caught that angel-vision.

Children of life are we, as we stand
With our lives uncarved before us,
Waiting the hour when, at God’s command,
Our life-dream shall pass o’er us.

If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
With many a sharp incision,
Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,
Our lives, that angel-vision.
"But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." — Isaiah 64:8

19 May 2012

Ponderings of a Dancer.

{all photos via pinterest}

Royal Winnipeg Ballet rehearsal

Nervous excitement fills my stomach. I glance at my reflection in the mirror, not suprised at the purple bruise-like shadows that have appeared undearneath my eyes. I haven't gotten much sleep this week, and last night was no exception. My gaze turns from my reflection and flickers over to the clock. It reads 11:26 A.M. — only an hour and a half more to go. I tap my fingers anxiously, willing the hours to trip by on faerie wings. Just ninety minutes, and then I'll be liberally brushing my visage with alien powder and shadow. My hair will be slicked back, nearly a gallon of hairspray apparently not enough to keep the thick tresses under control. I glance back at the clock: 11:29. Three minutes have passed.

In no time at all, I'll be yanking on layers of clothing that hug my body and make it easier for me to dance. Tights and leotard, leggings, shorts, and the spangled top that is my first costume. The fabric feels homey and familiar — this will be the third time I've worn it this week. I can almost catch a whiff of the hairspray that will soon choke this room, and towels litter the normally-neat floor. I will be nervously going through the show in my head, making sure I have everything in my bag; my brush, jazz shoes, ballet shoes . . . the list is enough to exaust anyone.

"Have you seen my eyelashes?" Bree will ask nervously from the bathroom, and I will dart up from my position by the bed and hand the plastic package to her. The faux lashes stare back at me, too full and unnatural for normal wear, but the necessary evil when on stage and the audience's perception of you is that you are no taller than a Polly Pocket and have a face as pale and washed out as an ancient white-washed wall, the paint peeling off in uneven chips.

<3

The clock will go faster than I want now that I am busy, and I will rush around frantically, hoping against hope that I am not forgetting anything. I can hear Momma calling from the kitchen as the clock viciously creeps toward 2:30. Only five more minutes, and then we'll have to be out of the house. I snatch up my dress bag that contains one of my ballet costumes, yanking the handle of the suitcase that holds all the other clothes I will don during the all too short performance, and trot as fast as I can to the door. Bree and I are the only ones following Momma down the steps, since our call time is much earlier than that of our siblings. The door slams behind us, a queer hollowness to its tone.

I am rarely able to enjoy the drive to the auditorium where we hold our recitals. The minutes drag by, and I stare out the window, attempting in vain to calm the nervous fluttering of my stomach. I bite my lips, knowing full well the evil practice will require another layer of lipstick once I am in the dressing room for girls in Levels 3 & 4. Momma taps her fingers on the steering wheel, humming along to the music that plays low on the radio. I will barely recognize the words, my mind preoccupied with other things.

Once we reach our destination, I'll spring from the car, a quick goodbye directed towards Momma as I get my things in order. Although she will not leave between now and the recital's end, I will not see her until it is all over. Instead, I will be backstage, feverishly pinning up the wispies, adding another layer of mascara to my unnaturally dark eyelashes, rubbing my clammy hands and waiting.

the outsider.

The dressing room is alight with friends near and dear, and I take my things and place them on a bench near the long mirror that takes up one whole wall. Above us, we can hear jumping and leaping, since Level 4 will be running some of their dances through again. Around me, girls ask for extra bobby pins, hairnets, and other such seemingly insignificant products that spell the difference between a perfect bun and a disaster in the history of hair. The room is a positive cloud of hairspray, and although the scent is choking, it brings back sweet memories of past recitals.

Moving up to the stage, some of the older girls will practice their dances once more, while others choose to stretch and warm up their muscles. They will slide easily into splits, then port de bra back in order to stretch further. Some dancers find that doing sets of simple sautés are more helpful, and their extended feet beat back and forth with surprising accuracy. Finally, our dance instructor will close the curtains and lead us in simple combinations across the stage. Tombe pas de bourree glissade grande jette! Then come pirrouttes, our eyes furiously spotting. The murmer of chatter on the other side of the curtain will rise in volume, only adding to the anxious mood of my stomach. My eyes blink much rapidly than usual, and I focus acutely on my steps.

Before the show begins, our dance instructor gathers all of us together in a big group, where she prays that the Lord will bless our show, that we won't forget any steps, and that most importantly, we will all dance to honor God and for His glory. The prayer sooths our frenzied moods somewhat, and we all exchange warm hugs, the excitement so tangible its almost visible. Finally, we are forced to go off into the wings and wait. The audience is welcomed, a prayer is said, and all the while, I stand in the wings on stage right, not knowing whether to laugh, jump up and down, or cry. Before we know it, the curtain will slowly glide open.

ballet

Softly, then growing in volume, the first strains of music will begin.

18 May 2012

Poem of the Week: Here Runneth the Path of Fairy Feet by Rachel H.

A beautiful piece of faerie charm written by my dear friend, Rachel. I can't get enough of her poetry — imagery bends at her command, and the pictures can be so clearly seen in your head. A pen is her brush, a sheet of paper her canvas, and today you get to enjoy the masterpiece that results.

.
{picture via pinterest}

Here Runneth the Path of Fairy Feet
By Rachel Heffington

Where childhood fancy and twilight meet
Here runneth the path of fairy-feet;
On shadowed road and misty bend
Here coldsome facts of "real life" end,
And the simplest thing on earth would be
To find a dryad 'neath her tree.
She'd comb her locks like shimm'ring ferns
In that hour where the daylight turns.
And you'd never stop to blink your eyes
and say, (Because you're oh, so wise)
"Dryads aren't real--they're quite a myth"
If once you'd been in comp'ny with
A creature like her--lissom fair
With willowy limbs and leafy hair.

Where childhood fancy and twilight meet
Here runneth the path of fairy-feet.
In dusking woods at evenlong
You'll chance to hear an Elven song.
Like beads of dew on honeyed string
The notes, elusive, dip and sing.
And lamps we now call fire-flies
Can one more dazzle in our eyes.
Then we shall learn, as children do,
the things we thought we surely knew.
Fair beings that we'd long forgot
May weave with us a dreamy knot
Content, within this half-light time
To feed us with their storied rhyme.

Where childhood fancy and twilight meet
Here runneth the path of fairy feet
And those who spent the day in bed
Now tip-toe with their soft wings spread
And dance within the brilliant sheen
of moonlight and the summer's green.
The grown-up cares of life must fade
When pondered in that purple glade
Once more we change to half a child
Perfumed with scent of roses wild
And honeysuckle like a crown
That we'd been used to crushing down
Until twilight and fancy met
To tread with us this minuet. 

Have a lovely afternoon, dear ladies!

17 May 2012

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Ahh . . . The Hunger Games. The source of much division among even the best circles. Some despise this genre completely, solely because of the stain they believe THG has placed upon it, and some would think seriously of drawing their sabers if I so much as give a half-hearted opinion on the subject. Having read the entire series and allowed myself some time to formulate an adequate perspective, I am now prepared to face this most fiery of topics once more. I'm afraid I might be opening the floodgates, but as I am a relatively decent swimmer, I maintain some shred of hope. ;)

Mockingjay
By Suzanne Collins
*Summary from Goodreads.com

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains — except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay — no matter what the personal cost.

My Thoughts: I still like the first book the best. *ducks and runs for cover* That has always been the case with me. Something about that first burst of creativity in the author pours itself entirely into the first book and cannot be replaced, no matter how many dozens of books s/he may write afterwards. But I think Suzanne Collins did a very good job of writing books #2 and #3. She kept my interest and remained true to her characters and their respective personalities, which is a more difficult task to undertake than most would assume. Mockingjay, although not what I would call light reading, was the necessary ending to this series, and I think the author drew the conclusion together nicely. Oh, and to those of you who are sitting at the edge of your seats in fear, the denouement was sweet and hopeful.

My general thoughts involving The Hunger Games remain the same. They are hard books to read, they contain a good bit of violence, and they are not exactly what I would call hopeful. However, there is a very blatant warning in them, and Suzanne Collins paints a realistic picture of what our future could hold if we continue to allow our government to gain total control. As Lord Acton so famously put it, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." However, these books are not for everyone. I do not recommend that any child under the age of 14 reads these books. I also think that a Christian who is firm in his or her faith will be able to get a lot more out of them than your average teen who is not a believer. I don't believe Suzanne Collins intends to encourage violence — that is the opposite of her stance in writing these books — but a young person who does not have a firm view of who he is in Christ Jesus could possibly misinterpret her words.

Pros: One benefit to this book was the lesser amount of romance between Katniss and Peeta. I know, I know. I just pierced the hearts of all the devoted girl on fire + boy with the bread fan clubs out there. My most humble apologies, but all the fake romance performed for the cameras got to be a bit much, leaving the sincere moments few and far between. Now, don't get me wrong, I sigh and smile just as much as any hopeless romantic during those heartfelt scenes . . . but the way Katniss felt it was her duty, almost like a chore, to play that she was in love with Peeta could be very disheartening at times.

Another pro? Every hint of conservatism that could be found in books one and two was made much more prominent in Mockingjay. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Plutarch says that after the war with the Capitol is over, he plans on helping to make Panem a republic with representative government. He also made mention of the Latin term "panem et circenses" ("bread and circuses"), which was the basic Roman formula for appeasement and control. In essence, the term applies to how the Roman government offered their civilians food and cheap entertainment, in order to keep them quiet and not involved in the intricate workings of their government.

Cons: By far, Mockingjay was definitely the saddest book in Ms. Collins' trilogy. That's more of a fact than an opinion. It was a bit painful to read at times because of the level of emotion it contained, and it could grow very discouraging, leaving me wondering, "Is it ever going to get better?" I'm pretty sure it contains the most violence of all three books. Katniss also goes a little over the edge, mentally-speaking, towards the end. This is understandable when you take into account all she has expierenced, but still hard about which to read. Not a book for the faint of heart.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 14+

A Bit O' Reading for the Day:
“There's something else there as well, something entirely [Prim's] own. An ability to look into the confusing mess of life and see things for what they are.” — Mockingjay

16 May 2012

Without Pain, Beauty's Just a Word.

smell the flowers
{photo via pinterest}

It's dark so you can see the light,
And it's hard so you can know what's right,
And rain, nothing ever grows without you.
And hurt is just a chance to heal,
And tears are just a call to feel,
And pain, beauty's just a word without you.

— "Beauty's Just a Word," Rachael Lampa

As human beings, pain is not something we enjoy. In fact, we seem to do everything in our earthly power to avoid it. Men who seem so bold and fierce at home can turn into cowards when exposed to the true horrors of the battlefield. We rush for the ibuprofen at the slightest hint of a headache coming to call; a cough grants you a visit to the doctor's office. Emotional heartbreak can rip even the strongest apart.

I am often told that we should appreciate pain more as we should appreciate the little things in life, that beauty can be found in the suffering, that it brings you closer to the Lord — all of which are very true. But the song lyrics I included above bring a new thought into this spectrum:

Without pain, beauty is just a word.

Imagine you live in a world that is completely and utterly pain-free. There is no sadness, no misery, no hurt, no tears — it is essentially heaven on earth. Do you think beauty would be full appreciated in this utopia? Or would the inhabitants of this make-believe world take it for granted, or even worse, barely even realize it?

Unfortunately, the latter is more likely to be the case.

It's not about appreciating the beauty in pain. Without pain, there would be no beauty. It would exist, but no one would pay it any heed. It would seem as common as the dust on your shoes after a summer walk in the country. Because of darkness, we can better see the light. Because of hardship, we know the difference between right and wrong. And without rain, nothing would ever grow.

It is undoubtedly simple for me to write this now, reclined luxuriously on the couch, in no danger of imminent pain. But this is often the case. We write our boldest and most valiant words when we ourselves are at no risk of facing the dangers we name. The true test comes when we do stand in open combat, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. It is in those circumstances that our true colors are shown.

Because of the pain of this world, His beauty and love can shine in contrast.

And holding on is gonna see you through,
So don't let go, no matter what you do,
And love through the anger, love through the pain,
Love through the storm and love through the rain.

15 May 2012

Elizabeth Rose: Published Author.


"My book! It's the book I published."
"Well, don't sit there shaking like a leaf — open it."

— Anne and Marilla in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel

Shaking like a leaf is probably the closest description for how I feel at this moment. Although, unlike Anne, I am not physically holding a hard copy of my book. No, I am sitting at the computer with this image before my eyes:


Rather surreal, is it not? All this time, I thought I would be jumping up and down when this moment arrived, but now that it is here, I am in shock. I think this emotion that everything is going to fade at a moment's notice, like a puff of blue-tinged smoke, will take some time to wear away. It has been an amazing journey, and as the cliche (but true) phrase goes, I couldn't have done it with each of you. If the excerpts I have posted here and on Unsinkable have peaked your interest or inspired you in some way, then you now have the opportunity to read my book in its entirety.

Click here to purchase a copy of Violets Are Blue.
"I never liked the water very much, at least not the water I knew. It was dark, dense, and deep. I much preferred dry land. There was something firm about dry land—I could trust it. Water changed all the time, lapping against the shore, pulling back again, rising and falling with the tide. Water was fickle and uncertain." — First paragraph of Violets Are Blue

14 May 2012

Book Review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Okay, time for a confession: this post has been sitting, blank and waiting, in my Drafts section for over a year. O_o Book review posts have a habit of doing that to me; I finish a book and plan to review it, but something else comes up, and I forget about it. I don't stop reading the books, though, so they continue to build up, until my Drafts section numbers past thirty, and I am left wringing my hands and weeping, all the while wondering what I did wrong.

Maybe that last part is a bit of an exaggeration. ;)

The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien
*Summary from Goodreads.com

Image Detail"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

My Thoughts: It took me some time to really get into this book, but once I did, I fell in love with Middle-earth and all its inhabitants. Tolkien has a very different style of writing when compared to his fellow Inkling, C.S. Lewis. Lewis' allegorical themes are more obvious, and his stories are simpler, making his books easier for the young to understand. Tolkien literally invented languages and traditions in his world of Middle-earth to an extent that far surpasses that of Lewis, but naturally, that means his books are much wordier. I enjoy both styles and could not be called upon to pick a favorite; however, it was very interesting to be exposed to Tolkien's style after years of admiring and enjoying Lewis'.

On the surface, The Hobbit is a delightful adventure story that will amuse and entertain people of all ages. The tapestry of the tale is woven so expertly that it leaves Tolkien's gift for words in no doubt. A skeptic who claims its greatness has been blown out of proportion will read two pages and realize he was wrong. But at the core, The Hobbit is even more than a simple adventure story. It teaches deep truths in a very subtle manner. One example of this is when Gandalf is pondering the many meanings of the term "Good morning", which Bilbo lightly offers in the first scene. This gently illustrates how we often use phrases loosely, giving little or no thought to their true meaning. 

I admire Bilbo's humble nature and kind heart. He is generous, simple, and satisfied with the little things in life. He has no desire for gold or jewels like the dwarves. And as Thorin himself tells the little hobbit, "There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." As a reader, sometimes it is more interesting to read about the bold, vanquishing type — but is it not better that we embody the traits that make Bilbo who he is?

Pros: Engaging plot, creative and endearing characters, and a world called Middle-earth that you will not soon want to leave. Tolkien's tale is one fabricated by the hand of a master, and every individual who opens this book will find themselves entwined at once.

Cons: Can be considered a bit slow at some parts.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 11+

A Bit O' Reading for the Day:
"[Bilbo] guessed as well as he could, and crawled along for a good way, till suddenly his hand met what felt like a tiny ring of cold metal lying on the floor of the tunnel. It was a turning point in his career, but he did not know it. He put the ring in his pocket almost without thinking; certainly it did not seem of any particular use at the moment." — The Hobbit, chapter 5

13 May 2012

Sunday Blessings

{photo via pinterest}

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

— Titus 2:3-5

Momma, thank you for being such a wonderful example of a godly wife and mother.
Thank you for always leading me in the ways of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Thank you for all the beautiful memories we share.
Thank you for making me laugh through my tears.
Thank you for holding me close when I need a hug.
Thank you for trusting me and being the sort of person I can trust with my deepest secrets.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for loving me again, even in my worst moments.
Thank you for taking me out shopping and to Starbucks.
Thank you for your beautiful example of what it means to be a loving wife. 
Thank you for talking with me about book characters as if they were living and breathing. Thank you for not thinking I am insane in those moments. ;)
Thank you for driving me to dance so many hours a week and never complaining.
Thank you for always encouraging me in my writing.
Thank you for being understanding when I have a hard day and things don't seem to be going "right."
Thank you for taking me to dress rehearsals for dance recitals, even when they run until 10:30 P.M.
Thank you for withstanding my sometimes overwrought nerves during that busy and emotional week known as "dance recital week."
Thank you for teaching me.
Thank you for staying up late and watching movies like Young Victoria and North & South with me.
Thank you for teaching me to love Jesus with my whole heart and soul.
Thank you for being an example of undying faith.
Thank you for being you: a beautiful, godly Christian woman.

I love you, Momma. Happy Mother's Day!

And Lord, thank you for all the wonderful older women who are like the women of Titus 2. Thank you for their godly examples to those of us who are not yet fully grown. Thank you for blessing us by putting them in our lives. May we never take them for granted.

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." 

— Proverbs 31:28-31

12 May 2012

Poem of the Week: The Eagle by Lord Tennyson

{snapshot of the Blue Angels, from a recent family trip to an airshow nearby. since this poem deals with flight, I thought the photo fit nicely. :)}

A gorgeous snippet of imagery that we read in my literature class during our poetry study. Everything is so clear in this short poem, every breath of wind, every glimmering beam of sunlight is captured on paper. Tennyson has taken a moment that would last a second, maybe two, if viewed in real life, and yet managed to draw out the hidden emotion of the scene with only six lines. 

The Eagle
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Have a blessed evening!

08 May 2012

Movie Review: Emma (2009)

I've been wanting to review this delightful film for some time now, but simply haven't gotten around to it. We watched it again just last week, which renewed my original desire to do a review on Literary Lane for it. It has been some time since I last posted a movie review — nearly three or four months, I think — and I am quite excited at the prospect of it. Shall we proceed, then?

Emma (2009)
Starring Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, Michael Gambon, and Tamsin Greig
*Summary taken from the back of the DVD

Image DetailTwenty-one-year-old Emma Woodhouse has very little to worry about. She is beautiful, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and some of the best blessings of existence. More than anything, she loves playing matchmaker to her friends and family. When you, pretty, naive, and socially inferior Harriet arrives, Emma decides to indulge her passion. Against the advice of family friend and surrogate older brother Mr. Knightley, she persuades Harriet to reject an advantageous marriage proposal from a local farmer in order to hold out for an offer from the dashing Mr. Elton. But Emma soon discovers that Mr. Elton is far more socially ambitious and mercenary than she had ever realized, and her advice to Harriet goes terribly awry.

My Thoughts: First of all, this is the one and only Emma adaption that I have seen. I know it's practically a crime in the homeschooling world not to have seen (and loved to the moon and back) the 1996 version with Gwyneth Paltrow, but for some reason, I've never seen it. So, my pros and cons for this version of Emma are solely that: pros and cons for the 2009 BBC edition. If I had seen the older version, my opinions might be different . . . but I haven't seen the older version, so I can only base my judgements upon what I know. I thought I ought to clarify that before we begin. ;)

This particular version of Emma is fresh and funny, and I like it more every time I see it. I confess that I have not found it to be absolutely amazing in every imaginable respect (like, say, The Patriot or The Young Victoria), but is is a very enjoyable film nonetheless.


In creating the character of Emma, Jane Austen is reported to have said, "I’m going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like.” What turns out is a character unlike all her others, and yet very likable in her own way. Romola Garai does a wonderful job as the title character, and her Emma is lighthearted, flighty, and lovable, and quick to admit her failings. Yes, Romola did seem more modern than your typical Jane Austen character at times, but not to a blatant extent. I found her Emma very entertaining and endearing, and she brings the screen the life.

In regards to Mr. Knightley, as Rachel so eloquently put it, "We all know who he is . . . We all know that words would not begin to describe the depth of his character. Thus I shall borrow his own words and appropriate them to myself: Perhaps if I felt less I could talk about it more." And that pretty much sums up my emotions in relation to this fine and upstanding character.

Image Detail

This would not be a complete review if I did not mention how very much I love Michael Gambon as the finicky and health-conscious Mr. Woodhouse. He is Emma's father — there are no two ways about it. I love all of his lines, especially, "Be sure to wrap up, Emma, in case one of the young people does some extremely apprehensible, like opening a window." ;)

Pros: Completely family-friendly, no bad language of which to speak, a gorgeous soundtrack, beautiful scenery, lovely costumes, memorable character . . . the list goes on and on.

Image Detail

Cons: Certain actors and actresses are a bit more modern in their acting, which sometimes doesn't seem to fit in a movie set during the regency period. The dancing was another one of my complaints — somehow it seemed to lack the elegance and grandeur that I have come to love in Jane Austen adaptions. But other than those two comments, nothing.

Memorable Quotes:

Mr. Knightley: "That man is so full of himself it's a wonder he can stay on that horse."

Mr. Knightley: "Lucky guess."
Emma Woodhouse: "Nothing lucky about it. Just talent . . . and intuition."

Image Detail

Emma Woodhouse: "What did he say to you before he left?"
Harriet Smith: "Oh, that my painting was coming along splendidly."
Emma Woodhouse: "Oh . . . he really must be in love!"

Isabella Knightley: "I believe George is not well. He is listless, snappish."
Mr. Knightley: "What?"
Isabella Knightley: "You are behaving strangely, not yourself. You did not wish to go to dinner with the Cavandishes. You did not want to take the boys to find frogs in the park."
John Knightley: "Some might say that hesitation was a perfectly normal responce to both those invitations."


Emma Woodhouse: [of Mr. Elton] "He always was a small man. Made smaller by his wife."

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What are some of your favorite films?

P.S. Is your name Lauren Hope (#4), because you won the giveaway for Jenny's book, The Shadow Things! Email me (literarylaneblog[at]gmail[dot]com), and I'll give you all the details on how to claim your prize. :) Congratulations!

06 May 2012

Sunday Blessings


woods
{photo via pinterest}

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

— The Love of God by Frederick Martin Lehmen

Have a blessed and restful Lord's Day, ladies!
"The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, 'Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.' " — Jeremiah 31:3

05 May 2012

Beautiful People: Anna Bradshaw

{After much delay, I am linking up for the first time with Beautiful People. I do not know if this will prove a monthly occurrence — only time will tell.}

In the world of Violets Are Blue, we have a very classic turn of events. Elder sister Emma is praised for her steady head and helpful nature, fiesty Helen is uplifted as only a high-spirited lass with a model child for a twin can, and Vi, as heroine of the story, has been discussed and dissected to an extent that is almost painful to her author. But soft, who is that in the shadows? Quiet Anna stands in the corner, a dusty rag in her hand and a smear of dirt on her left cheek. Her innocent eyes, alight with suspicion, flicker to my face, dropping after two seconds to the far more familiar countenance of her boots. Anna is not nearly as helpful and dependable as Emma, nor is she as quick-witted as Helen. She is a sort of in-between character, the docile twin, the middle child. Nothing about her commands any special sort of attention.

Why, that makes her the perfect subject, does it not?

1. What is their favourite type of shoes?

Heavens, Anna doesn't have time to think about shoes. Such a question smacks of Helen, and though the two share a birthday, Anna is nothing like her twin. But if she did have to choose, I suppose she would go with her soft brown boots. They are familiar and comfortable, and she trusts them.

2. Do they journal? 

Anna does not journal at present, but as a more quiet girl by nature, she is always storing up little snippets of writing in her head. She would write them down if she had a book in which to put them.

3. What’s their favorite animal? 

Cats. Anna is very loyal to dear Milky, and would hate to be thought otherwise.

4. What does their average day look like?

Oh, the usual, of course. Rise at seven, dress, make the bed, eat breakfast. Next come lessons at the kitchen table (Anna would much rather knit), the midday meal, chores, time playing outside and on the fire escape, dinner, a bit of reading, and then bed. Helen would comment that nothing very interesting ever happens, but Anna doesn't mind the normalcy. She enjoys the familiar and commonplace things in life.

5. Night owl or morning person? (Optional: What time do they usually wake up? Go to bed?) 

Not much of a morning person, as was shown when Helen tried to wake her up at five o' clock on Christmas morning. She normally rises at seven because Mum expects it, but if it was up to her, she would stay in bed until half past eight. Bedtime is nine o' clock precisely — always has been, always will be, at least to Anna's way of thinking.

6. Do they have a sweet tooth? 

Yes, but not to a point of extremity. Anna does favor a gingerbread biscuit (they call them cookies here in America) every once in a while, but she does not come by them often in New York.

7. What colors are their bedroom? 

She and her sisters are all fit into one room — city apartments of this particular variety are not known for their space — and the beds are so crowded together, one barely notices the walls. If you peek close and wipe away the bits of dust and soot that have collected over the years, you would notice a dull and entirely respectable beige color to the walls. There is a tiny mirror that Violet employs often hanging on one of the walls, as well as the aforementioned beds, but other than that, the room is relatively plain and nondescript.

8. Can they cook? 

Of course. Anna would think it shameful to answer that question otherwise, especially at her advanced age of eleven years. Although she is far more proficient in the world of yarn and needles, Anna is able to make a decent loaf of bread, soup, and the like. Simple fare for simple people.

9. What is their favorite household chore? 

As knitting cannot really be considered a chore, Anna would say folding laundry. She likes making things neat and orderly.

10. Favorite kind of tea?

Anything hot with a dash of sugar. She is not picky.

"You'd best stop daydreaming and get back to work," Anna complained. "How am I to get this floor clean without your help?"
Violets Are Blue

04 May 2012

Poem of the Week: May-Day by Ralph W. Emerson


I have chosen to share but a snippet of this lengthy poem with you all this evening, only because I fear I would lose your interest after the first ten stanzas. It is lovely, though, so if you are willing to brave the vast unknown, click here for the full edition. For now, this wee stanza will have to suffice.

May-Day
By Ralph W. Emerson


April cold with dropping rain 
Willows and lilacs brings again, 
The whistle of returning birds, 
And trumpet-lowing of the herds. 
The scarlet maple-keys betray 
What potent blood hath modest May, 
What fiery force the earth renews, 
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues; 
What joy in rosy waves outpoured 
Flows from the heart of Love, the Lord.

Have a good evening!

02 May 2012

Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

There are many intriguing books out there, where the writer obviously knows what she's doing. She pulls you in with every satin-smooth word, and before you know it, you're hooked. Hours, days, even years could pass, and you would not put this book down until you know what is going to happen in the end. Unfortunately, once you've ridden the wave and your feet are safely planted back on the shores of Reality, you reflect back on the story and realize that there was very little real value to it. Sure, it was interesting, but is our time merely to be spent in constant amusement? That seems to err a bit too closely to the concept of "bread and circuses" for my comfort, thank you very much.

You probably already knew that Rebecca was going to be one of these books.

Rebecca
By Daphne du Maurier
*Summary from Goodreads.com

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again".

With these words, the reader is ushered into an isolated gray stone mansion on the windswept Cornish coast, as the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter recalls the chilling events that transpired as she began her new life as the young bride of a husband she barely knew. For in every corner of every room were phantoms of a time dead but not forgotten a past devotedly preserved by the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers: a suite immaculate and untouched, clothing laid out and ready to be worn, but not by any of the great house's current occupants. With an eerie presentiment of evil tightening her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter walked in the shadow of her mysterious predecessor, determined to uncover the darkest secrets and shattering truths about Maxim's first wife the late and hauntingly beautiful Rebecca.

My Thoughts: A previously stated, this book drew me in. I couldn't put it down, and it hardly seemed like "required" reading. The characters are chilling and intriguing at the same time, the setting is romantic in a ghostly way, and it's set near the sea . . . what's not to love?

*cough* Right.

I had my suspicions when I first began Rebecca and the sandy beaches of Reality were still very much in sight (translation: my head was still attached properly). But once you are riding the wave called Reverie, it is increasingly difficult to be pulled back down to Reality. And I fell for Miss du Maurier's ploys hook, line, and sinker. 

She's a wonderful writer, I will give her that. In fact, her writing style was one of my favorite parts about the book. It was hardly like reading a book, and more like watching a film. I could see Manderly and the ghostly shores in my head perfectly. The main character got on my nerves a bit — she was a bit clueless at times — but I sympathized with her greatly. The second Mrs. de Winter (no other name than that is given in the entirety of the text) is thrown into a situation about which she knows little, married to a man old enough to be her father, and all the while the servants are wanting nothing more than to send her back to the Land of the Financially Lacking from whence she came. 

But all pity aside. I could not stand the ending. Mrs. de Winter's standards of morality are sadly lacking, and her response to one character admitting he commited murder (it's a gothic novel — you knew there was going to be murder involved somehow) was disappointing at best. I can't say any more than that, for the sake of those who have not read it, but I will say that I was vastly disappointed.

Pros: Daphne du Maurier is a good writer. An incredible writer. Period. The story is told almost poetically, and it captures your attention from the start. The characters are always interesting, and reading Rebecca can never be called a dull experience. This thrilling ride does not stop before the end and continues right down to the last page, which leaves you practically gasping for air, as if suddenly rescued from the depths.

Cons: Besides the aforementioned low morality standards, there are innumberable uses of the words "h--l", "d--n" (sometimes paired with the Lord's name), and other profanities. The characters seem to think nothing of spicing their dialogue with (often unnecessary) cursing. I do not normally mind one or two swear words if I think it would be extremely unrealistic for a specific antagonist's dialogue to be without it, but in this case, it was just over the top. There is also repeated mention of an adulterous woman who often has men stay the night just for the fun of it. And besides all that, it was just plain eerie.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
In all honesty, I cannot recommend this book, but if you must read it, I suggest ages 14+.

A Bit O' Reading for the Day:
“I am glad it cannot happen twice, the fever of first love. For it is a fever, and a burden, too, whatever the poets may say.” — Rebecca

01 May 2012

An Authoress Among Us: Miss Jennifer Freitag



It is my great pleasure to introduce another authoress among us, Miss Jennifer Freitag! Jenny is the authoress of The Shadow Things and writer extraordinaire at her blog, The Penslayer. She was kind enough to agree to a semi-formal interview for the readers of Living On Literary Lane, which you will find below.

Be sure to read all the way to the bottom — there's a special surprise!

Image of Jennifer Freitag

1. Welcome, dear friend and fellow authoress! Please be so kind as to share a little about yourself:

Truth to tell, I’m not sure what to share.  I don’t consider myself wildly fascinating and so I’m afraid of painfully boring the readers here on Living On Literary Lane.  I’ve been married for three years to my childhood sweetheart, I take walks in heels, I’m both fashionably girly and cheer during the arena scenes of “Gladiator,” I was a horse for the early part of my childhood and a Parliamentary soldier for the latter, I have a prodigiously splendid family, and my favourite dessert is my mother’s zucchini chocolate cake.  I still have imaginary friends, I write letters to my real ones, I’m a middling cook, I dislike washing bathtubs, and I can only paint my nails while watching a movie. 

2. At what age did you discover your love for writing?

I really can’t remember.  I never thought about writing, so far as I can recall.  All I do know is that, at an extremely young age (presumably after I had learned to read and write) I began typing the most horrendous horse stories on my father’s computer.  The horse stories gave way to fantasies of massive proportions, and gradually polished themselves into something decent.  I was a combination of a wildly active imagination and a familial love for books.  I never thought about writing; it just happened.

3. What is your favourite writing medium (journaling, novel-writing, short story, poetry, etc.)?

I confess to keeping up a journal of sorts in the form of letters.  I find it very helpful to have someone to communicate to (other than just the book of empty paper), even if that person cannot write back.  I have written poetry over the years, off and on, as the spirit moves me; but I never learned how to write poetry so if I tried to do it seriously I know I should do it very badly for quite some time before improving.  Having written novels (of impossible lengths) for most of my life, prose comes most naturally to me.

4. Good books can be so inspiring when it comes to learning how to best write certain scenes. Is there any particular writer whom you most admire? What works of his/hers do you like the best?

The Achilles’ heel of questions!  Unfortunately, it is only natural that every book, even if written by the same author, should be a little different, a little better or a little worse.  Allow me to instead answer this question by mentioning the books I like most, and expounding on the authors who wrote them. 

First up is Rosemary Sutcliff’s Simon, which is really a relatively new book in my library.  I have long loved Sutcliff—in fact, she really taught me how to write by virtue of reading her books.  I have owned Simon for a year (or thereabouts) and have read it twice, and may read it again very soon.  Sutcliff’s elemental prose and clear description, her fascination with the small, significant things, the feeling she gives you of always looking at a bit of shadow and light-on-gold, has enthralled my heart since childhood. 

Another book I adore is Carol Kendall’s The Gammage Cup.  If you have not read it, do so at once.  At once.  I have read her simple, sweet, heart-wrenching tale so many times that I have lost count, and I will continue to read it time out of mind.  She never ceases to make me laugh or cry or hold my breath with fear.  I writhe in agony over her brilliance. 

I have given you a simple story and a middling story, and now I’m going to introduce an older, rather complex book that very few people have heard about.  Near the start of last year’s fall term I read E.R. Eddison’s The Worm Ouroboros.  For those of you who don’t know what the ouroboros is, it is an ancient depiction of a dragon eating its tail: a sign of endless continuity.  While this symbol seems to take a very background role in most of the novel, its significance blew me away at the end.  The book is pagan, but for all that it is a marvellous tale.  The prose is quite heavy in style, but not, I think, difficult to understand: I found it more like picking up a cloth heavy with embroidery than anything else.  Eddison’s novel has greatly improved my own style, I think; I’m deeply indebted to him not only for a splendid tale but for a great lesson in writing.

5. What do you do when that fearsome epidemic masquerading as writer's block threatens to call on you? 

I read.  I have difficulty seriously devoting my energy to both writing and reading at once, so when I am light on the writing I put more energy into my reading, and vice versa.  My brother was relating an author interview he had seen of the smash-hit wonder-writer Mo Willems who has a character which is a pigeon.  Willems said that, regardless of how anxious his publishers may be for him to write another story, if the pigeon is not talking to him, he can’t write.  Through my brother’s reaction I was able to see how odd this sounds to “non-writers,” but my father, who is a writer himself and helps both me and my sister, pointed out that what Willems said is true.  Pointing to myself and my sister, he said that he can see it when our characters aren’t talking to us.  We simply shut down.  I know I hear a lot of people say that, when you have writer’s block, to just keep pushing, but I wouldn’t advise that.  Sometimes the trouble is the characters.  They simply take a holiday and leave you in the lurch.

6. What do you consider the best time of day for writing? Please explain your answer.

Usually I find the best time for writing is when I have a ton of housework to do.  It is amazing how the founts of creativity will gush forth when you really ought to be expending yourself elsewhere.

7. Do you outline your books or do you prefer to begin writing and let the plot sort itself out?

The Shadow Things is the only novel I have ever outlined, and then only because it outlined itself and I happened to write it down.  Typically I have a vague idea of where I want the story to go; sometimes I will even have a definite end in mind.  I almost always have a purpose, but it usually works for me to start with the bare bones of an idea and write the meat on as I go.

8. Of all the characters you've invented, who is your favourite and why?

Oh boy.  I am only at the start of my career, but to date I have to say that my favourite character of all time thus far is Rhodri from my novel Adamantine.  It is very difficult to sum him up without doing him a disservice or giving too much away.  Rhodri is the character who would slyly slide a bit of prose into any conversation which I was not expecting, which would draw me up short and leave me wondering how to answer him.  He was a tough nut to crack.  He can be mulishly disagreeable and heart-throbbingly coy.  He is quietly and passionately vain, a brilliant intellectual, tough as whipcord and the very opposite of athletic.  He is a stewing pot of contradictions which somehow worked (goodness knows I don’t know how), and he, of all my characters, has been more of a friend and companion to me than just another person I have written.

9. What are your opinions on romance in books? Do you see these standards acted out in the literature sold today?

You would think that, being married, I would have a dogmatic view on this topic.  I find it talked about a great deal in our circles.  But the truth of the matter is that, one, my own romance was rather unique and, two, I don’t read many contemporary works of fiction.  I don’t actually recall (and I can remember back to when I was three) a time when I was not determined to marry the man I did.  It was not, of course, mere determination: I did and do ardently love him, and that unquestioned love spawned a most doggedly determined will in my passionate being.  It is rather an amusing story.  As for contemporary fiction, I don’t go out of my way to avoid it, I’m just more in the way of older literature and have a closer acquaintance with that.  It is my understanding that contemporary romantic fiction tends to be sensual, pushing the limits of “Christian” acceptance.  Naturally I disagree with that.  A child gets in trouble for “pushing” his limits of obedience; I don’t see why an author, myself included, should be any different. 

One caveat: in an above book I mentioned, The Worm Ouroboros, there is a fantastic scene between the Witch-king and the daughter of one of his lieutenants.  While the liaison was not legitimate, it was in character and expertly written.  I would not have Christian writers be unrealistic in their portrayal of romances, for rubbishy romances do happen; however, should such a liaison happen between the protagonists, it is incumbent upon the author to make very clear that it is not godly.  This can be done without being “preachy,” believe me.

As for having romance in books at all, I say hurray!  I tend to like a more intuitive attachment, simply because that was my own case, but it warms my heart without fail (and thwarting in love can get my blood up).  Love, loyalty, unquestioned attachments that are stronger than life can make a cast of characters more than mere pawns playing out a plot.  They make them human.

10. What are some of the writing projects on which you are currently working?

At present I am supposedly finishing up tweaking the complete manuscript of my novel Adamantine and continuing to write my latest story Plenilune.  Both of them are fantasies, the latter is a sort of “companion” novel for the former, though either can be read separately. 

11. As a Christian, is your faith a central theme in all of your books? Why or why not?

It absolutely is.  Christianity is not my religion, it is my life.  It is my paradigm.  It is my breath.  I may contract the hiccups with more frequency than I like to admit, nevertheless I cannot think or see or communicate without the life of Christ.  Christianity was a major theme in The Shadow Things, which deals with the difficulty of being a Christian in an otherwise powerfully pagan culture.  Christianity takes a serious role in Adamantine, which is a conflict between good and evil; Plenilune, too, is a power-struggle between good and evil on the political scale; but in my two companion novels, unlike The Shadow Things, Christianity is more a kingdom and a paradigm at war with another, so that in some senses these two are more apocalyptic, more like fairytales, than The Shadow Things.

12. Could you be persuaded to share an excerpt (or three) from some of your works?

I would be happy to give you one from each of my current fantasy novels.  I trust they are not too long.  I do believe in some sort of context.

A D A M A N T I N E :
The commander met them in the courtyard, a neat ring of soldiers around him.  His helmet was on, and Adamant could only see the way the light caught in his eyes: all else was in shadow.  His plume was black, and his tunic, worn underneath a wadmal cape like her own, had been black once, but had since faded to flat grey.  But his mail and buckles and weapons shone unbearably in the light, and that made up for the worn, shabby effect.
“Sir.”  Rhodri drew to a halt in front of him, his gaze flickering neither to the right nor left.  “I fear there is no time for introductions.  A hosting of Black Catti is sitting up the dale ready to besiege you.  They have taken the bridge-works and slaughtered the villagers.”
Adamant stifled a horrified gasp.  The silence, the piercing gazes!  They had been Catti, not fairies—malicious Catti!
The light came and went from the commander’s eyes as he looked long and hard at Rhodri.  Kielk shifted backward, trying to be comfortable, and Adamant could no longer see Rhodri’s face.  But whatever his life had been in the Ambrosian, before the quest and his imprisonment, he seemed to hold up under that light, frank stare without flinching.
“How do you know,” said the commander, his voice as light and frank as his gaze, “that they are Black?”  He looked up past Rhodri at Eikin, and his eyes rested a moment on Adamant.  “They could be Dunr.”
“They are not Dunr,” Eikin replied bluntly, “else I should be out there alongside my sword-brothers.”

P L E N I L U N E :
With a little sniff that she was coming to know of him, Skander unfurled his own napkin with a violent flick and said, “I was reading Dante’s first instalment of his Comedy.  I don’t advise doing so before a nap.  It gives one the most curious dreams.”
Margaret, who had never read but had heard of the Inferno, canted her head politely and opened her mouth to ask about the dreams, when Rupert interrupted.
“I don’t know why you read such rubbish.”  His voice, though low, was rather cutting.  With a little deft flick he had the ladle out and was curling a bit of soup round-wise into the curve of his own bowl.  “I don’t know why I still have it.  It’s so full of lies.”
The air crackled between the cousins.  The light, amiable nature that hung so well about Skander’s big shoulders seemed to slip away like a cloak, and the man sat heavily, broodingly in his chair, spooning out his own soup, but watching Rupert sidewise from under his brows.  Rupert was busy making his own cup of tea with a bit of brandy to stiffen it, but he took the time to raise a light, daring look at his cousin, a look that was to Margaret like a rapier, so light it was, so cold and bladed. 
Livy took the soup tureen from Skander and set it down the table, making the little fish-mottled patches of light dance.
“Why,” said Skander, picking up his teaspoon and putting it back down for his soup spoon, “do you say it is all lies?”
The rapier darted away, seemingly put back in its sheath for now.  Rupert closed up the brandy bottle and, by way of Livy, offered it to Margaret.  She declined.  The bottle was put back up on the sideboard where it cast its own little shards of light, gold and amber-coloured, jinking from the movement of Livy’s hand.  She watched it in that long silence that Rupert made, her head turned from the two of them, but she did not really see what lay under her eye.  She was waiting for his answer.
“Is it that you must get rid of everything?” Skander demanded in a low thrusting tone.
She looked back at them.  Rupert had begun to drink his soup in a thoughtful sort of way, but even she caught the smile that was playing at one corner of his mouth.  She hoped a bit of soup slid out of that smile, just for the indignity of it.  But no soup did. 
“When your father died, you made changes to Lookinglass.  It is not that I ‘get rid’ of things.  This is my house, and it is mine to do with as I please.  Also, it is my own opinion that Dante was a liar, and that, too, is an opinion which I am free to hold.”
“Then hold it!” Skander said, rocking back in his chair.  “And don’t pass it off on me.”

13. Have you published any of your writing before? If not, do you plan on doing so in the future?

The Shadow Things is officially published by the house Ambassador-Emerald International.  I fully intend to publish both Adamantine and Plenilune in the future, but that day has not yet arrived.

14. And finally, do you have any wisdom for young authors that you would care to share?

I am often asked this question, and I am often disappointed by my own replies.  Again, I never really thought about writing, I simply did it because I loved it.  As I grew and became more critical of both my reading and my writing, my literature, naturally, improved.  So the only advice I have to offer is that: continue to write, continue to read, and cultivate a healthy, critical, intelligent mind.  Don’t divorce your reading from your writing: I see so many writers who read excellent books but can’t quite carry the goodness over into their writing.  Oftentimes it is a mere matter of being made aware of the disconnect: the capacity for excellence is there. 

Thank you so much for doing the interview, Jenny! It was wonderful having you here at Literary Lane.

The Shadow ThingsJenny has also generously agreed to give away a copy of The Shadow Things to one lucky reader of Living on Literary Lane. Interested in winning your own copy? Leave a comment below with your email address. The winner will be chosen on May 8th, 2012.
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