September 25, 2014

i am not dead, and am in fact alive.

It's been a blur of people and colours and places and long nights and bright stars, and maybe angst.

I. New novel. Boxing and boys and blood and bloody boys and New York.

II. This ^ has killed my attempts at being Chesterton and Steinbeck, so I've been kind of leaning on pillars of solid and concrete voice; pillars of reality.

III. Mylon made me a cajon, which I guess makes me a drummer now. I love it. Percussion flows through my veins. I constantly feel the need to percuss.

IV. I'm going to take this opportunity to say Bucky Barnes. Bucky Barnes. Bucky Barnes. Bucky Barnes. 

V. I landed employment in mercenary childcare.

VI. I volunteered for employment in unpaid camp counseling. Got in trouble for napping during a swim time. I think the camp directors hated my guts but my cabin loved me.

VII. I read a book called Blue Like Jazz, and a book called Night, and they were both very important.

VIII. Mylon, who happens to be my brother, has a new blog and a new baby. The blog is currently accessible, but the baby will be arriving in January. 

IX. This thing called youth camp happened at another thing called Northland Bible Camp and I miss so many humans and wow.

X. There's going to be a new Pink Floyd album.

XI. Summer is sad and strange.

XII. Goodbye.

June 5, 2014

a summer reading list

for Evelyn with love

This is most likely a list suggesting some summer reading. All of the books I am recommending are reasonably clean, although some of them are lighter than others. Or darker. 

The volumes before you have been chosen in the spirit of summer; rich with emotion and humanity, painted by character and vibrancy.

I. Percy Jackson & the Olympians // Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan
“Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood.
If you're reading this because you think you might be one, my advice is: close this book right now. Believe whatever lie your mom and dad told you about your birth, and try to lead a normal life."
They are definitely not stories made out of raw prose and literary magic, but they still resonate with vigor; with memories and adventure and vibrant action. These stories are about the characters. All of the characters are so vividly dynamic and developed over both series. I love the way Rick Riordan translated Greek Mythology into his own stories, and to me, the Percy Jackson books will always be the height of what the world can produce for light summer reading.

II. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
"Ten minutes can be a long time when you're waiting with a beating heart for something you don't understand, something you don't really want to know."
Cornelia Funke: the literary queen of my preteen years. I read The Thief Lord in two wet summer evenings, and it will still always be one of the stories I most remember. It's woven with Venice. It's woven with magic, with silver pavement and with dreams. I would also recommend Dragon Rider and the Inkworld Trilogy, also by Cornelia Funke. All of her stories have faerie dust threaded between the print.

III. The Man Who Was Thursday (A Nightmare) by G. K. Chesterton
“What are we going to do?" asked the Professor.
"At this moment," said Syme, with a scientific detachment, "I think we are going to smash into a lamppost.” 
This is quite heavier than the previous two recommendations. And considerably more insane. It's less of a story and more like the progression of a strange and philosophical nightmare; hence the subtitle. It's definitely worth the read. You'll be a bit bewildered when you close the book; a little unnerved with the absurdity. But it is still a wonderful rearrangement of letters, to me. Slightly allegorical, although I have a very vague idea to what the symbolism is referring. Feel free to plough through it as an intellectual stimulant, but don't swallow too much at one time. It could be slightly disastrous to your mental health. A good book, though.
A great book.

IV. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
“We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.” 
 the plot (a very small list.):
1. an island
2. some boys
3. some smoke
4. some blood

It was terrifying. It was a very good book; vibrant and terrifying. It was terrifying because it seemed completely possible. This book is about humans, and humans are not very pretty if you take away law and order. William Golding wrote the sky and the earth and human children how they are, and it is a brilliant book.

V. Emily's Quest by Lucy Montgomery
“The ghosts of things that never happened are worse than the ghosts of things that did.” 
This book is full of my memories. There are emotions sliding out of the pages when I open them again and again. I've read many of Lucy M. Montgomery's novels, but the Emily books are the ones that resonated with me the most. The words are beautiful and rich with starlight. Ideal for late summer nights. The plot wasn't particularly captivating, but the body of the novel is made of of beautiful characters and description. This particular volume is the third in a trilogy, but could still possibly function without the first two. (A small confession: I did not read the middle book.)

VI. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
“The idea of going to the movies made Hugo remember something Father had once told him about going to the movies when he was just a boy, when the movies were new. Hugo's father had stepped into a dark room, and on a white screen he had seen a rocket fly right into the eye of the man in the moon. Father said he had never experienced anything like it. It had been like seeing his dreams in the middle of the day.” 
A beautiful book. It's built with film and clockwork steam, and it's about the movies. It's built with words and it's built with pictures. It's built with magic most of all.

VII. The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
“But Loki's relations with Svadilfari were such that a while later he gave birth to a colt.” 
Enough said.

VIII. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams -- not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way. No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” 
Ah. This one.
This may be my favourite book. Not just in this list, but in the mortal world.
I've been putting off this one review for quite a few days now, because there's so much to say and I can't say everything. But for now, this book is both beautiful and ugly. Both passionate and sad. It's the warmth of summer and the harrowing chill of the flawed human race. It's not a happy book, because the people in it are not happy people. They are real people. And real people have sad stories.

May 8, 2014

glory, ghosts and bones.


a list containing three forgotten pieces from an earlier layer of my mind, recently unearthed from my stack of journals and moleksines.

i. glory - the stuff of.
once upon a december - 2013

i am spending the night with thoughts and words and it has been a night of glory and paper. 
it is glorious; to hear the throbbing of your own mind upon the cathedral of your soul. 
it is glorious to tear the fragrance of your memories out of the sky; to find their taste in your thoughts.
and it is glorious to write this glory for God, who has given it to you to absorb into your bones.
i can see the light at the end of this tunnel, because i'm breaking the strings that tie my feathers to the ground.

ii. ghosts - paper & memory.
october fourteenth - 2013 // 10:05 p.m.

i have so many unwritten thoughts on empty pages. they're all in little cages of my head, waiting to be released. 
they're locked away because they only consist of colours and emotions and fragments of words, and i cannot translate them into sanity. 
they do not hold hope, unless i am given a small miracle to unlock their prisons and let them out onto paper. 
but some thoughts are better in captivity.

so i am afraid of ripped pages. they're ghosts.
they are the ghosts of things i fell over and inked and destroyed.
pages of words should live, however juvenile or terrifying the letters are. paper should be black with thought.
words are important to the vividry of life. to write is a last desperate cry for recognition, something to remember when your life has been forgotten. 
and so the unwritten thoughts and ripped pages are the ghosts i carry with me.

iii. bones - the importance of the first draft.
april 21st - 2013

the most important thing i have ever learned about writing is that it doesn't matter if your first draft is crap.
the only purpose of a first draft is to have a thing in existence. something you can build upon; so it doesn't matter if it's too skinny, too juvenile, too dry, or too long. 
because the first draft is only the bones on which you weave the flesh and blood of your stories.
the first draft is a skeleton; let it out of the closet.

April 2, 2014

a list of questions about books


{I found this tag on Arda Nessimava and decided it was magnificently appropriate for the atmosphere of my blog; as it is a list, and I particularly enjoy lists, if you haven't already noticed.}

1.  Your favourite book as a child? There were so many, but probably either The Hobbit by John Tolkien or Mossflower by Brian Jacques.

2.  What are you reading right now? Far too many titles. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Hobbit (again), The Return of the King & The Silmarillion by Tolkien, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and White Fang by Jack London to name a few.

3.  What books do you have on request at the library? None. My library generally has everything I need.

4.  Bad book habit. Reading so many books at the same time that it takes me quite a while to finish them all.

5.  What do you currently have checked out from your library? Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, The Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques, and a particularly lovely gilt volume of assorted short stories and novellas by Jack London.

6.  Do you have an e-reader? Yes, and it's quite convenient although I still prefer a book made with ink and paper and history.

7.  Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or do you tend to read several at once? See #2 and #4.

8.  Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? If by blog I can insinuate Tumblr, then yes. It has sporadically both stifled and encouraged my reading habits.

9.  What was your least favourite book this year? That would have to be Uglies by Scott Westerfield. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I read so many books this year that I enjoyed more.

10.  What was your FAVOURITE book this year? Either Lord of the Flies  or The Great Gatsby.

11.  How often do you read out of your comfort zone? My comfort zone is reasonably wide, although I sometimes consider reading teen romance novels a sort of rare adventure.

12.  What is your reading comfort zone? It encompasses quite a bit. I generally read all genres.

13.  Can you read in the car? If there is no music and multiple people in the car so that I don't feel obligated to continue conversation, then yes. 

14.  Where is your favourite place to read? I have a tree in the park where I go to read in the late summer and listen to the warm winds and watch the detached humans watching the strange girl reading under the tree.

15.  What is your policy on book-lending? You dent you die.

16.  Do you ever dog-ear in books? *researches definition of dog-ear* Not if I can help it.

17.  Do you ever write in the margins of your books? No. The words printed in the books are the only words that should be there.

18.  What about text books? A completely different story. A textbook is not merely a book of words that I will most likely forget soon after I read them; a textbook is a wonderful white canvas designed for the expulsion of my teen angst and wayward thoughts.

19.  What is your favourite language to read in? English, as it happens to be the only language in which I can read.

20.  What makes you love a book? There is so much to this answer as it's not really specific elements that make me love books, but rather, all the books that I love are made of little pieces of my soul.

21.  What would inspire you to recommend a book? I would generally recommend different books to different individuals; considering what I know of the individuals and what they might be able to find of themself inside the books in question.

22.  What is your favourite genre? ALLL THE GENRES. But if I had to choose just one, I would probably have to choose fantasy. After all, I couldn't exactly function without The Lord of the Rings.

23.  What is a genre you rarely read but wish that you did? Probably science fiction, although I'm currently reading The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis and it's brilliant.

24.  Favourite biography? It's not exactly a biography, but probably Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis.

25.  Have you ever read a self-help book? Other than The Bible, no.

26.  Favourite cookbook? Hahahahahahaha. I don't cook things.

27.  What is the most inspirational book you have read this year? It wouldn't be inspirational to most people, but most likely The Catcher in the Rye, although I would definitely not recommend it to anyone. (Don't read Catcher in the Rye, kids.)

28.  Favourite reading snack? All the food. 

29.  Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. I am generally unaffected by hype.

30.  How often do you agree with critics about a book? Very rarely, unless they are John Green.

31.  How do you feel about giving negative reviews? I don't review books very often, but I can't imagine myself having qualms over conveying my opinion.

32.  If you could read a foreign language, which would you choose? Greek or Hebrew, as I would be very interested in reading The Bible in the languages in which it was written.

33.  What was the most intimidating book you've ever read? Les Miserables, which I have been mildly attacking for about two months. It's beautiful.

34.  What is the most intimidating book you're too nervous to begin? I've been wanted to read The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer for quite a long time, but have never worked up the willpower to actually commit to the prospect. Whoops.

35.  Who is your favourite poet? There are so many, but most likely either Tennyson, Poe or G.K. Chesterton.

36.  On average, how many books do you have checked out of the library at any given time? Usually more than seven.

37.  How often do you return books to the library unread? Too often.

38.  Who are your favourite fictional characters?  This is an impossible question. I would sooner decide among my own children. (Not that I currently possess my own children, but it was a metaphor.) But to list a few: Éowyn, Gandalf & Faramir (TLOTR), Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye), Death (The Book Thief), Scipio (The Thief Lord), Dustfinger (The Inkworld Trilogy), Erik (The Phantom of the Opera), Gabriel Syme (The Man Who Was Thursday), Sherlock Holmes, Murtagh & Nasuada (The Inheritance Cycle), Percy Jackson & Nico Di Angelo (PJO/Heroes of Olympus), and Lucy (The Chronicles of Narnia) are some of the characters whom I felt the most when reading about them.

39.  Who is your favourite fictional villain? Again, an impossible question. But it would have to eventually come down to either Melkor (The Silmarillion), Ungatt Trunn (Lord Brocktree by Brian Jacques) or Taj from an unpublished work in progress by my friend Ashley Tahg.

40.  What are the books you are most likely to take on vacation? The Hobbit, as it always reminds me of home and familiar things, or Inkspell from The Inkworld Trilogy as it's thick and pretty and full of faeries.

41.  What is the longest you have gone without reading? About a week, I must admit. But it was a painful week without words. And I was in Disneyworld.

42.  Name a book that you could not or would not finish. I could never get very far in Watership Down by Richard Adams. Definitely not because it was poorly written or uninteresting, because it was really a brilliant story. But there was always so many other books to read. I must take a third attempt.

43.  What distracts you easily when you're reading? Is that a crack in the wall? I wonder if it leads to another dimension. Lee Pace has very nice cheekbones. Do you remember that terrible thing you did when you were eight that caused mass embarrassment and ruined lives and probably killed small children? Yeah. Well. Now you do. You haven't practiced guitar in almost three weeks; you should probably do that now. Maybe The Doctor's name really is John Smith. You're hungry now, aren't you.  Also, you have to go to the washroom. Five times. You could also very much use a seventh cup of tea.  Thank you for the commentary, Loki, it's not at all distracting. Remember when you tried to do that thing and failed miserably? Whoops, about thirteen eyelashes just fell into your eyes and are now currently causing you intense pain as they float under your contacts. This is the story of how I died.  I wonder if that cute guy liked you or was just cute without trying. What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

44.  What is your favourite film adaptation of a novel?  There are quite a few, although I particularly enjoyed The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter films. Both versions of Pride & Prejudice were also lovely, not to mention the adaptions of Jane Eyre. The first two Narnia films also have a very special place in my heart, and How To Train Your Dragon was very enjoyable, although completely different from the books.

45.  What is the most disappointing film adaptation? There have been so many. But the Percy Jackson & the Olympians movies have been pretty bad.

46.  What is the most money you have spent in a bookstore at one go? Around $40, but I was in possession of a $25 gift card.

47.  How often do you skim a book before reading it? Always.

48.  What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through? It's usually only been boredom or graphic sex/language.

49.  Do you like to keep your books organized? I do. But they're not. And it's slightly depressing.

50.  Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you're done with them? I keep them, but I also enjoy giving them away if I can bear to part with them and I am confident the recipient will enjoy them.

51.  Are there any books you've been avoiding? I'm not particularly interested in Cassandra Clare's novels as I have always been slightly repelled by generic teen romance novels.

52.  Name a book that made you angry. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini was kind of a disappointing finish to an otherwise amazing series. The end was passionately unsatisfying; not even because it was sad, but because it was weak and inconclusive. 

53.  A book you didn't expect to like, but did? Waterfall by Lisa Begren.

54.  How about a book you expected to like, but didn't? Nothing in particular comes to mind, although I didn't enjoy the newest Ranger's Apprentice volume as much as I thought I would.

55.  Favourite guilt-free pleasure reading? When I'm feeling nostalgic, I always return to the Redwall books by Brian Jacques as they defined most of my childhood.

February 19, 2014

the moleskine -- six extractions

I was given a hobbit themed moleskine by my brother (hello, Mylon) for Christmas.
I did some things, and this is an undefined list of some things that I did.
None of this is pretty, and I think that looking back of it will leave me confused or optionally
disgusted with the shuddering juvenility. But it's a sort of awkward time capsule, and time capsules
are always vaguely interesting, if not frightening. || ---> here's some pieces of my mind; have a nice february. 

January 27, 2014

ten ways to describe colour to the blind

different flavours of light | the visible warm and chill of the world | how the eye tastes | the depths and shallows of sight | inaudible sounds made of brightness | immaterial texture | the breaking and changing of objects | a thousand individual deepenings or lessenings of darkness | the moods of a temperamental earth

January 3, 2014

december // a memory list


i. the day i noticed the general splendour of our chandelier

ii. the cat

iii. the day my skin was grey

iv. the window
v. the pale stars
vi. the mirror 
vii. the christmas lights and the night that i saw the hobbit: the desolation of smaug

in retrospect, december was made of coffee and film tickets and cracking skin and raw lungs from laughing northern winter air, and brick alleyways with white floors and memories of november, and the symphony orchestra performance, and the absence of pavement and the brightening of skies and the long walks through snowmobile trails, and regret, and the acquiring of sweaters and the remembrance of Jesus and the gathering of souls, and windows stained with ice.