the cutest blog on the block

Friday, September 30, 2011

We Got Married in a Fever, Hotter Than A Pepper Sprout

 This is the first video I've ever put up the blog, so call it a kind of milestone, I guess. The reason for this particular song is because it's been playing in my head in a kind of loop for about two weeks now and I keep having this image in my head of Sydney and Ayden singing it together. I have absolutely no idea where it would go in the story, but there you are. Half of my inspiration comes whatever music I listen to on a daily basis and when it hits me hard, I don't question it. I don't know, this whole song speaks of Ayden and Sydney to me. The playful antagonism, the banter you can hear even while they're singing. It strikes a very strong chord (no pun intended). What can I say? 

How can you not love Johnny and June dancing around and singing together, and Johnny's guitar playing and pseudo-clogging/tap-dancing thing that he's doing? And June's cute little sixties dress? They're adorable. 

Simply because I feel like going kind of crazy putting up videos here about the songs I listen to while writing, I'm going to put up two more (and only two! For now) songs that I love and seem to have playing constantly in the iPod of my mind. And have impacted the story in some kind of way. Here is Florence + the Machine (live on Letterman) and Taylor Swift, singing the two songs that make dance around like a crazy person every time I hear them.  And provided a lot of inspiration for the plot. 

So there you are. 
Over & Out,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I Do For Fun

Besides write. And clean. And read. And breathe. Breathing's all kinds of fun--don't underestimate it. I can spend whole hours breathing.

So anyway, my beloved bromide, the Most Honorable and Upright Aaron and I came up with a writing exercise for us both sometime ago, looking for something hip and relevant--theme-writing. 

Why, Rachel, what's theme-writing? What brilliant idea did you and your genius brother come up with? I can hear you ask. Well, I'll tell you.

Theme-writing is our way of focusing one aspect of a character by giving them a word or a phrase: "Light" or "Defiance." The themes can be as concrete or as abstract as you like. They can be as long or as short as you want them to be; the only restraint is that they can't be more than a page. Two to four paragraphs is kind of the limit; if you want a real challenge, you would keep them to only one to two sentences. They can be told first, second or third person. I personally prefer the omniscient third person narration, because it gives the supporting cast a chance to talk for a bit on a certain subject. I started to better understand and expand upon the first draft of Katriona's character due to some of the earlier themes that I wrote for the Seventh-Born Chronicles.

Sometimes we'll do twenty themes, sometimes fifty. The ultimate goal is a hundred themes, one after the other. I've given Aaron a Hundred Themes for his own epic fantasy sequence, Stranger at the Door and other works-in-progress of his. He's given me a hundred for the fantasy series I'm doing, the one this blog is named after.  I've been after him to give me some for Halcyon House, but I haven't gotten them yet. I'll start pestering him once I get a chance.

The first series of Themes I wrote was for the fantasy sequence: some were short, some were long, some were funny, some were me indulging my inner-romance and fluff loving girl. Some were downright angsty. Most of them were me giving myself the chance to let some romantic and tender moments take place among the cast, things that aren't (or can't) happen onscreen due to the current plot line. Once I start doing some for Halcyon House, I look forward to peeking into Katriona's, Sydney's, Silas's, even Neil and Violet's head. It promises to be revealing, at the very least.

Over & Out,

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Begins

I change the blog's background like some girls change their clothes. But I found it fitting, for the beginning of my school year. It was better than the high school one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I Do Love Me Some Girl Talk

Now that I'm done talking like a pseudo-hillbilly, let me 'splain.

As some of you know (or most of you, I should say), I was bullied in middle school and junior high. By girls, mainly. The boys didn't take much note of me, a fact for which I am now profoundly grateful. It was girls, and it was your usual girl-world politics, not dressing in the latest style, being tall and gawky and skinny and wearing glasses. And wandering around talking to myself in the school yard, not joining in with the crowd. And having my nose stuck in a book all the time. Just me being me, but awkward and angry. I had this attitude of, "You don't like me? Well, that's just fine, I don't want to like you either." I was (and still am) very proud and would have rather died than let any of them know how badly I wanted to be friends with somebody, anybody.

It took a very long time for me to unbend and finally let go of the death grip I had on my pride and survival instincts. Mostly due in part to the girls who are now my best friends, the ones I met at my current church's high school youth group. They were patient with my strangeness, and nice to me from the beginning, even when they didn't have any motivation or any prior knowledge about me. I grew to love them like they were my own sisters, and still do. I'm not lying when I say some of them saved my life when I was in high school and from a future of social awkwardness and stubborn pride. And also the close group of grown-up teacher friends I had back at my old middle/junior high school, who I'm pretty sure considered me their surrogate niece in a lot of ways.

So I'm not one of those girls who've had friends since kindergarten or first grade and life onward. Looking back on it now with the eyes of an adult (well, more or less) I think God guided me to friends when I needed them most, when I was angry and hurt and distrustful of the world. When I needed the company and example of other godly, honest, true-to-the-bone friendly girls who were willing to take a chance on lonely, prideful, introverted bookworm.

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, I'll tell you.

I've hit a certain part in Halcyon House where Ayden has to be in the company of Izzy and Katriona for more than a few hours. The whole day, really, spent with discussing and scrutinizing Ayden's wardrobe, because they're having a not-really-but-they're-going-to-call-it-that-anyway housewarming party. For the greater part of the story, Ayden's been in the company of men, half of whom are related to her directly by blood. A girl needs a little reinforcement now and then. So Izzy and Katriona seem to have taken a shine to each other straight off, much to Ayden's confusion and alarm. Currently, they're both ganging up on her on account of her wardrobe choices (Ayden and I share a conviction that comfort should take precedence over style any day) and prettying Ayden up for the big night. Ayden, being a librarian and a practical one at that, doesn't really understand their reasoning, but she's willing to do it anyway, for the sake her friends.

One of the nice things about having an author avatar is that I can project my own uncertainties and doubts about myself (not being pretty, capable, taken seriously, etc.) and to a certain extent, give them to Ayden and help her work through them, as a way of helping myself. Ayden's luckier than I am in the sense that she has good friends that's she had a long, drawn-out relationship with (Izzy) and those she can trust to be honest with her (Katriona). I didn't have that for a good long time growing up, and Ayden has been fortunate enough to have a best friend for life and one now when she really needs it (trust me, she's gonna be glad in a very short time that she's got Katriona in her corner).

This brief plunge into girliness in this chapter is my way of honoring and acknowledging that no man is an island and girls even less so.

Over & Out,