Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Ok. So, one of the best things I took away from the Writer's conference were contained in a book called: The Writer's Journey Mythic Structrue for Writers by Christopher Vogler.
Now, not many of us are writing mythic hero books or screenplays. Ancient Babylon is not ususally a dream scenario. However, what most of us don't realize is that we ARE writing a mythic hero or, even more shocking, that if we aren't writing it, we should be.
It's true. This is the mythic hero outline. Attention all writers! Apply this to your plot and see if this doesn't fit your character/plot arc one way or the other.
#1.) Hero introduced in the ordinary world
#2.) They receive the call to adventure
#3.) They initially Refuse the Call
#4.) They are encouraged by a Mentor to
#5.) Cross the first threshold and enter the special world
#6.) they encounter Tests, Allies and Enemies
#7.) They approach the inmost cave, crossing the second threshold
#8.) They endure the ordeal
#9.) They take possession of their Reward
#10.) They are pusued on the Road Back to the ordinary world
#11.) They cross the third threshold, experience resurrection and are transformed by the experience
#12.) They Return with the Elixir, a boon or treasure to benefit the ordinary world.
I couldn't believe how much URGENCY this model lent to the transitions in my story. I had a call to adventure but hadn't realized it was a call to adventure. Once I rewrote the scene, conscious of this purpose, BAM! Urgency.
We're all writing mythic heroes.
Or we should be.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
And in the spirit of Valentines and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's wildly romantic story must be shared because, like Juliet Ashton, Elizabeth Barrett's love story began with a letter from a stranger.
The Sickly Young Woman Not Allowed to Marry
She became sickly in her early years with nobody knows what. With 12 children in the family, Elizabeth was well taken care of by her brothers, sisters, mother and father. They encouraged her to stay inside, encouraged her to write and to take morphine for the pain. She did and became an addict. But she also wrote in a scholarly fashion that flabberghasted society. She was a young woman who could read the Old Testament in the original Hebrew and Dante's Inferno in archaic Italian/ Latin. Her father was very proud of his daughter and encouraged her to continue her talent, especially as it was a talent she could persue indoors and at home. You see, Mr. Barrett, a Jamaican plantation owner, vowed that his children would not leave home and would not marry. Rather unusual for the day where most fathers were obsessessed with marrying their children off to further their fortunes, Mr. Barrett promised that whoever married would be disinherited.
The First Letter (edited)
January 10th, 1845 New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey
I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,--and this is no off-hand complimentary letter that I shall write,-- since the day last week when I first read your poems, I quite laugh to remember how I have been turning again in my mind what I should be able to tell you of their effect upon me-- so into me has it gone, and part of me has it become, this great living poetry of yours, not a flower of which but took root and grew... I can give reason for my faith in one and another excellence, the fresh strange music, the affluent language, the exquisite pathos and true new brave thought--but in this addressing myself to you, your own self, and for the first time, my feeling rises altogher. I do, as I say, love these Books with all my heart-- and I love you too: do you know I was once seeing you? Mr. Kenyon said to me one morning "would you like to see Miss Barrett?"--then he went to announce me,--then he returned... you were too unwell -- and now it is years ago--and I feel as at some untorward passage in my travels--as if I had been close, so close, to some world's-wonder in chapel on crypt,... only a screen to push and I might have entered -- but there was some slight... so it now seems... slight and just-sufficient bar to admission, and the half-opened door shut, and I went home my thousands of miles, and the sight was never to be!
But it was to be. Robert Browning returned to 50 Wimpole Street in London with a mutual poet acquaintence and would not move until he met Elizabeth. It began slowly, for Elizabeth was suspicious that such a striking, passionate young man (6 years her junior) could truly love her. Also, they had to remain in appearance tutor and pupil. If her father ever suspected, Mr. Browning would be packing immediately. Elizabeth took all of her rising passions, doubts, longings and turned them into her most famous prose: Sonnets from the Portugeuse. Browning called Elizabeth "The Portuguese" because of her Creole ancestory, her dark coloring. She wrote:
If thou must love me, let it be for noughtExcept for love's sake only. Do not say'I love her for her smile---her look---her way Of speaking gently,---for a trick of thought That falls in well with mine, and certes brought A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'---For these things in themselves, Belovèd, may Be changed, or change for thee,---and love, so wrought, May be unwrought so. Neither love me forThine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,---A creature might forget to weep, who boreThy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! But love me for love's sake, that evermore Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity
Belovèd, my Belovèd, when I think That thou wast in the world a year ago,What time I sat alone here in the snowAnd saw no footprint, heard the silence sink No moment at thy voice, but, link by link,Went counting all my chains as if that so They never could fall off at any blow Struck by thy possible hand,---why, thus I drink Of life's great cup of wonder! Wonderful, Never to feel thee thrill the day or nightWith personal act or speech,---
First time he kissed me, he but only kissedThe fingers of this hand wherewith I write;And ever since, it grew more clean and white,Slow to world-greetings, quick with its 'Oh, list,'When the angels speak. A ring of amethystI could not wear here, plainer to my sight,Than that first kiss. The second passed in heightThe first, and sought the forehead, and half missed,Half falling on the hair. O beyond meed!That was the chrism of love, which love's own crown,With sanctifying sweetness, did precede.The third upon my lips was folded downIn perfect, purple state; since when, indeed,I have been proud and said, 'My love, my own.'
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sightFor the ends of Being and ideal Grace.I love thee to the level of everyday'sMost quiet need, by sun and candle-light.I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.I love thee with a passion put to useIn my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.I love thee with a love I seemed to loseWith my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,I shall but love thee better after death.
And so it was. Elizabeth Barrett Browning never even left her house, frail and in her 30's she had given up all hope of deep, abiding love. And yet, deep and abiding love will find a way and it came in a letter, a man who would take her away in the night to Italy where they would live together, have their child (she was 43) and remain until her death in 1861.
How is it possible to find true love when there is no one and the world has passed you by? Elizabeth. Barrett. Browning.
Elizabeth and her son (yes, son) Robert Wideman Browning.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a collection of letters between a frustrated writer, her publisher and a cornucopia of wildly eccentric characters from the island of Guernsey who desperately want the world to know what happened to them during the German occupation in WW2. What a tale!
For those of you familiar with the book, it's worth it to check out "Island at War" a BBC miniseries dealing with the German occupation. Fabulously romantic with unbeatable scenery, it really makes the pages of this book come to life. In fact, it's astonishing that the creators of both were not in cahoots. I don't wish to give anything away for any stragglers who have not already partaken of this rare gift. But the heroism, the courage of quiet people in unnaturally horrific circumstances is something that I think we only begin to understand with these testimonies. Their sacrifices only grow as the years separate us.
The island of Guernsey
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
TEN REASONS WHY WE LOVE THE NEW EMMA:
1.) At last! Emma is YOUNG, fun, flirty and not a stuffy, Princess, all calculated grace and no whimsy (Gwenyth Paltrow)
2.) Knightley and Emma are actually friends! When he "scolds" her it is actually teasing and confidence between two very loving friends.
3.) KNIGHTLEY IS HILARIOUS! Not only that he's charming and endearing and too cute for words. No. He's not 6' and deliciously handsome. Thank goodness! Who could ever believe that Emma wouldn't recognize someone like Rock Hudson (or Jeremy Northam) from the get-go? He's definitely and adorable older brother type.
4.) For the first time we truly see just how diabolical Frank Churchill is. Honestly! He was worse to Emma than Willoughby was to Marianne -- and Willoughby did actually love Marianne! (but he was a cad -- no one is sorry for Willoughby)
5.) Harriet is Emma's NEAR equal in looks. We always see Emma as clearly the more attractive of the two but for the first time, she gets a sort of peer in Harriet, showing us exactly why position, education, grace, wealth and wit were sooooo necessary for a woman.
6.) Enter the Ms. Bates. Gasp! Watching Miss Bates wheel her mother home or try to solicit Emma for a bit of company if only not to have to talk to herself -- SHOCKING! It was absolutely terrifying and we all understand Mrs. Bennet a bit better
7.) Three cheers for Mrs. E!!
8.) Great kiss!
9.) No, it was not as "beautiful" as the earlier version. This version is not polished or dandified by any Hollywood machine. It's messy and aggrivating, hilarious, and REAL. Love, love, love EMMA!
10.) It comes out on February 9th to own forever and always!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
This has been a popular title among Jane Austen lovers. And although it was not my favorite, it was an entertaining, quick read.
RULES OF THE GIVEAWAY:
You are entering to receive a free copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler. The Giveaway will be between 2-5-10 and 2-20-10.
* Leave your comment with your EMAIL ADDRESS
* If you are a follower (let me know), I'll enter you twice
* If you are a follower and post the giveaway on your blog, I'll enter you three times!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The Austens spent a very little time in happy circumstances. Her father died, leaving the Austen women bereft much like Ann Elliot prejudiced against the city after her mother's death in Persuasion. Bath is a shockingly small community and the relationship between rank and street address was keenly felt. The farther away from the Crescent a person lived, the farther they had fallen in life. During Regency England, the center of the town with the Pump Rooms, the Crescent, the Cathedral and theater was splendid. It was therefore, quite astonishing to most how degraded the living quarters became the closer one moved towards the river. Jane had to watch her family of nearly destitute women move closer and closer to the river and therefore, ruin. She was powerless to stop it.
She did not write for 10 years.
However, it is nearly impossible to believe these solemn facts when you visit. My mother (having hired a car and nearly losing our lives on several ocassions) literally gasped when we turned off the highway and started down the narrow road leading into the Greater Bath area. The city sprawls out over the most glorious hillsides and it is true, the stone is golden and catches the light whatever time of day it is. Bath is not a bustling city, all noise and movement (although Miss Austen typically spoke of it as such). You stroll in Bath, you take the double decker bus and they linger. The shops are glorious (special mention to Waterstones: the most FABULOUS book shop in the universe) and everything is an easy walk.
More importantly, everything is Jane Austen. It is ironic that her least favorite place is so indelibly stamped by her having lived there. I'm sure many things have happened in Bath (the Romans for Heaven's sake) but no one cares about that. In Bath there is the overwhelming certainty that the city is what it is today because Northanger Abbey and Persuasion were written by a young lady who hated the city but immortalized it through her heroines.
Collin is the owner and quite possibly the funniest human to have ever walked God's earth.
The Roman Baths are extensive and yes, the water is still bubbling. Sad to say, but it is no longer possible to dip into them for their healing purposes :)
A little further walk away from the Pump Rooms and the splendor of Roman ruins is the Jane Austen Center. They do a wonderful overview of Jane's life and especially how colorful her brothers were. There is very little authentic memorabilia and none of it directly related to Austen, however, upstairs is a DELIGHTFUL tea room where every menu choice is related to an Austen character. I had the Darcy tea and ate the entire piece of chocolate cake myself.
This is a picture of Gay Street where the Jane Austen Center is situated (look closely and see the man dressed in Regency just visible). One of Austen's houses is two doors up but is currently a dentist's office. You can't help but laugh at that -- A very appropriate progression considering how she felt about Bath in general.
Monday, February 1, 2010
There are few books as fabulous as "My Fair Godmother" by Janette Rallison. To be fair, my dear friend Natalie (under my followed blogs under: Stampin' Nat) was the one who alerted me to it and told me it was the "perfect" book. She was right.
Savannah is a Junior in high school and having the worst day of her life. When her godmother, a punk teen more interested in shopping than accurately granting wishes, gives Savannah a taste of what she believes to be her deepest desire, Savannah is thankful to get back to life as usual. That is, until she realizes her choices have affected someone else, a shy choir boy by the name of Tristan. She must do everything in her power to help Tristan before it is too late. Together, they make a formidable team and Savannah realizes that one should NEVER underestimate choir boys!
Granted, this is a lame review. I simply can't spell EVERYTHING out because it would positively ruin the whole story. One of the great charms of this book was the spectacularly surprising turns the story takes. I was floored after the first chapter. I laughed out loud in the second. I gasped (again, out loud) in the third and nearly fell over in the fourth. The only thing I can say about this quick read is READ IT! It's the kind you read in one night and spend the rest of the next day in the glow of possibility for a relationship you never actually had.
The author, talented Janette Rallison, was kind enough to talk to me and divulged that she is in the middle of book two! Same fairy -- different thwarted lovers and she promises she is working hard to insure that "new boy" is every bit as swoon worthy as our Tristan.
RULES FOR GIVEAWAY:
You may enter to receive a free copy of "My Fair Godmother" between February 1st and February 15th.
This contest is open to everyone
Enter by commenting on this post and LEAVING YOUR EMAIL.
Followers will be entered twice (please mention you are a follower)
Be entered three times by posting this giveaway to your blog!