Monday, July 26, 2010

Some Things You May Not Know About Me...

*I usually make fun of health foods--unless it tastes good

*I dislike touching/being touched by anything sticky--counters, food, kids--anything, especially if it has that nasty sweet stickiness.

*My mom wonders how I will ever make it through motherhood (see above statement)

*Don't ask me what I'm thinking when I'm mad at you, because I'm most likely figuring out how to fit you into my book as a highly expendable character

*My pet cleaning peeve is my bed--it has to be made

*Until I met Justin, I didn't think about the fact that not all meteorologists are on TV

*I only knew that DNA stood for deoxyribonucleic acid because of Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes

*I am not a solitary TV watcher

*I love canoing, swimming, and almost everything else to do with water, but am convinced that drowning would be the worst way to die

*I love the fact that I am a fantasy nerd and my husband laughs at me for it

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deep Within, There's Something

Every bit of George MacDonald's works that I've ever read always have some deep truth in them somewhere. But I can't ever seem to ferret it out into words.

MacDonald's fantasies (Phantastes, Lilith, At the Back of the North Wind, The Princess and the Goblin, and The Princess and Curdie, along with his fantasy short stories The Grey Wolf, The Golden Key and The Wise Woman) are the hardest to dig into. Every time I read his books, I'm left with an indescribable longing for something better than our world. It's not a specific place, like Lewis' Narnia Chronicles make me wish to go to Narnia. It's just--somewhere.

Phantastes is without a doubt the hardest one to delve into. It's almost purely narrative, accounting a man's (Anodos) adventures in Fairyland. It moves at a leisurely pace most of the time. And though I once read that it portrays a "profound sadness and a poignant longing for death" I really don't think it's quite that morbid.

Several things suggest themselves to me. Based on encounter with the White Woman Anodos' voice sets free from a marble casket (singing counts for a lot in Fairyland, apparently), his subsequent deceiving by the Alder-woman, and his search for the White Woman who he imagines is his love, only to find that her love is held by another's, I'd say that it is in one way a quest for true love. Certainly Anodos wants and pursues love, and makes several blunders along the way just like a typical person.

Also, in one point he looks into a dark closet owned by an ogre. When he leaves the ogre's house, he has a dark shadow trailing him that. Afterwards, his ability to see and hear the higher orders of fairies and elves disappears. When the shadow touches plants, the grass and flowers wither. One fairy-boy Anodos sees, the shadow turns into a plain, ordinary little boy.

His shadow constantly dogs him throughout the book, until he arrives at the fairy palace--and even then, after trying to win the White Woman's love, the shadow returns. I think the shadow probably represents sin, which can dull our own world.

And at the end, Anodos meets with two brothers, princes, who are determined to fight against three giants. Anodos becomes their "brother" and assists them against the giants. They kill the giants, but the two princes die while doing so. Their father grants Anodos knighthood, then while leaving Anodos is set upon by a rogue knight and made prisoner. Anodos realizes that he is unfit to be a knight, and after being rescued (by a girl, no less), he offers to be the squire of a man I've dubbed the Red Knight (when we first meet the knight, his armor is rusty from misuse and only "by the blows of knightly encounter" can the armor again be shiny). While traveling with the Red Knight, they come to city where Anodos recognizes evil, and defeats it in the form of a wolf, dying in the process. This might be an example of heroic self-sacrifice.

Then he awakes to find it only a dream.

That's all I can pull out of it. George MacDonald's writings definitely take a deeper thinker than me to understand them. 

Has anyone else read Phantastes? What did you think of it? 

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye

Storyline: A seventh princess has been born into the royal family of Phantasmorania, and her name is Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne. She promises to be the most beautiful and good-natured of all of her family, as is tradition—but a kindly old fairy godmother, Crustecea, changes all that. With a wave of her wand, Crustacea proclaims, "You shall be Ordinary." And the princess was.

She grows up known to her family as Amy and everyone else the Ordinary Princess. When no one will marry her because she looks so ordinary, the king thinks about drastic measures such as princess-kidnapping dragons. Amy discovers the plot and runs away to stay in the forest. She really does have a very extraordinary adventure for such an Ordinary Princess!

My Take:

This is a cute, fairy tale that defies the mold. Instead of long, luxurious curls and blue eyes, Amy has mousey brown hair and brown eyes. She's a tomboy and is absolutely determined to enjoy herself, whether she's ordinary or not.

It's not a very long book, only 112 pages, and neither is it an amazingly written one. But it's always refreshing to read this book because it's such a light-hearted little fantasy. And it's very heartening to know that Amy, even though she's ordinary just like most of us, does finds true love.

Rating: five of five stars

Monday, July 5, 2010

Connections

I've been thinking about connections. My conclusion is that they're weird, strange, unmanageable, and God-given. :0)

Comments on Apricotpie made me start thinking about the connections. How much Apricotpie has played in my life, for example. I found it while googling Christian resources for homeschool writers. I told my friend Mary about it, who told LoriAnn, who told Kestrel, who are all my friends on Apricotpie. Mom told Justin to ask me about it, and Justin reading my stuff lead to a deeper friendship, which lead to our marriage.

Connections are everywhere in our lives. Everywhere I look I see tons of them, and it fascinates me. Even my own stories are often born out of connections my out-of-control imagination makes. I love tracing back through my thought pattern and seeing each step, each obvious connection, that my brain made while sorting out a story idea or a title.

How many stories out there were born of connections? George MacDonald is connected to C.S. Lewis because he influenced everything Lewis wrote. Lewis once said, "Indeed, I fancy that I have never written anything in which I did not quote from him (MacDonald)."

Tolkien and Lewis were connected in that they were great friends and challenged each other to write stories about time travel (Tolkien) and space travel (Lewis). That connection resulted, for Tolkien, in The Lost Road, where a father and son hear stories taken from Tolkien's own Middle Earth legends. For Lewis, it became his Space Trilogy.

Anyone else care to chime into my ramblings? :0)

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