The Silmarillion Recaps: The Collection Is Complete

It took two years, but I’ve worked my entire way through The Silmarillion, giving short recaps of the major events in different books/chapters. My original goal was to make it more approachable, since it’s literally like reading the Bible without knowing who anyone is. (It gets confusing pretty fast with so many unfamiliar names!) What I discovered, though, is that it’s far more complex than I originally anticipated, so I’m not sure how approachable it ended up.

What I do know, though, is that now that the story is summarized, there are other places I can go with that information. Right now, I’m pondering which direction to take, and it likely won’t be every week, like it was with the recaps, but having the recaps opens up plenty of possibilities.

I suppose that’s one of the things about being an English major. Even though my main focus was on creative writing, I did so much literary analysis that it’s hard not to analyze what I read. That might not be an altogether bad thing, though.

In any case, if you do plan on checking out the recaps of the delightful Silmarillion, may I recommend using the page and starting at the beginning? The characters start piling up fast, and it makes it much easier to keep everything straight.

Until the next adventure…


Life Through the Eyes of a Cat

The cat has lived with us for a year and a half now. Over that time, I went from a dog lover who got a cat out of convenience (and because my maternal instincts drove me to adopt something so adorable) to actually understanding a bit more how cats think.

The longer he’s lived with us, the more I’ve realized something: the cat and I have more in common than I ever thought.

The world is filled with wonder.

Everything is the most amazing thing to him. The movement of the string as it loops around a crochet hook. Fingers drumming on the floor. The fringe on a shawl. It’s amazing how easily mesmerized he is and how everything is a bit magical. If he were a person, we’d probably be some of the last people you’d want to take anywhere. Like to Disney.

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He loves listening to the world outside (even if it’s too cold to open the windows).

There are tiny details to observe everywhere.

He notices the slightest movements, and he loves to stare out windows. There are so many things to see. Unless he’s napping, his eyes are always wide, watching everything.

Alone time is required.

He’s a fellow introvert. Even though I know he likes me, he prefers to sit at a distance or sometimes even in the other room. He’ll play for a while, but it’s easy to get on his nerves. Fortunately, I’m learning how to back off when he’s ready to be left alone before he gets angry. After all, when he does get mad, he somehow seems to double in size and he gets the most terrifying expression in his eyes. I don’t even know how to describe it, but even before I understood, I feared that look!

The love language of choice is quality time.

I’ve spent most of my life well-acquainted with the of the Five Languages of Love (outlined in a book by Gary Chapman). The basic idea is that there are five main ways to express and experience love, and one (or maybe two) of the ways typically stand above the rest for each person. For me, it’s quality time. I would rather spend the day with someone than be given a gift, complimented, get help with something practical, or be touched (though touch does rank a close second). I’m happy just sitting in the same room as my husband, family, and friends. The cat’s the same way. He doesn’t come snuggle up to me very often, but he usually sits in the same room, follows me around the house, or watches me from his Tirith. He likes to be close, even when he wants some space.

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So there it is. After years of only knowing the rambunctiousness of dogs, I find that I’m actually more like my unusually playful, part-Bengal cat. Who knew?


Reacquainting with Old Friends (or Novels)

Now that classes have come to a close and I have time to breathe again, it’s high time to spend some time with my current WIP: the steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi novel (that currently still needs a title).

When I opened it earlier to start rereading the 20,983 words that have already been written, I realized something terribly sad. It’s the first time I’ve opened the document since January 2nd. Not just edited. Flat out opened it. I knew the second semester was hard, but I didn’t realize that it had been neglected for so long.

One of the hardest things about spending five months away from a partly complete novel is reacclimating to the world, the characters, and the outline of a plot. The only completed draft is a rushed NaNoWriMo version that needs serious work. It’s hardly a first draft. Just a smattering of words thrown on the page to see what can happen.

After some consideration, I suppose there are only a few ways to reacquaint myself with this project: reread everything that I’ve written so far. Not only does that include the 51 page draft (which I remember being fairly happy with back in January) but also reviewing all of the notes in the novel’s notebook.

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Every novel has its own notebook. This one just seemed to fit somehow.

 

I know some of them have been scrapped, but one of the most important reasons to keep the notebook is to remember ideas, and it seems remember where I was planning to go after an all-too-long absence.

What do you do when you’re returning to an unfinished product after a long hiatus? How do you reacclimate to stories that you haven’t touched in a while?


Zero Suit Samus Shirt (A Little How-to, a Little Rambling)

All my friends are nerds. This means that sometimes we do some crazy things just for the sake of it. This month’s adventure: an event at church during which we will all dress as Smash Bros. characters.

It started off as one of those, “I wonder what would happen if…?” moments and turned into a plan.

One of the hardest parts was choosing who to be. The obvious choice is my favorite: Sheik. Ever since she was first introduced in the game, I’ve loved the way that she can hop in, pop a few people, then hop back out of the middle of the fray. Considering that I’m less practiced than the guys I normally play with (including my husband), she was my go-to for the longest time. As the years have gone on, though, I’ve branched out, so I wanted to do so in this case too.

So I ended up choosing Samus Aran. As much as I’d like to make her signature suit, it was a little much for my purposes, so I made a Zero Suit Samus shirt. If you ever want to make one too, I have some tips on the process. (After all, I think it turned out pretty well, considering it was an afternoon project and that it was made from pre-made clothing with no pattern.)

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Farewell to English

As this school year comes to a close, I find myself in a place I haven’t been for five years. Instead of stowing all of the middle school English books away in a filing cabinet in my closet, they’re neatly organized in bags. It’s the end of an era.

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Mr. Fredrickson (A Character Sketch)

Every Friday on the drive in to school, I see the same man standing alone at a bus stop. I can’t remember the first time I saw him, but I do remember my first thought: “Mr. Fredrickson!”

From the white hair atop the squarish face to the squarish dark glasses to the slightly too high belt over brown pants, he looks like a real life version of the Mr. Fredrickson from the Pixar movie Up. Unlike the Mr. Fredrickson in the movie, this one always has a full-sized, black umbrella and black brief case tucked under his arm. He always seems to wear the same neutral colors: a white button up shirt and dark pants. I tried to draw him, but I can’t do him justice.

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On Using Friends as Character Inspiration

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been basing characters that I create off of friends, family, and basically anyone else I’ve ever met. Rarely are the characters meant to be exact replicas of the people they were inspired by, but it does happen sometimes. (Namely in that early teens series I wrote about my friends and me… They were bad, and every so often, my husband — who was one of the friends involved — enjoys holding it over my head.)

What’s more fun, though, is reading about how different authors did this with each other, as is the case for two of my all-time favorites: JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

While they had their differences, the duo were friends for quite a while and spent plenty of time discussing their ideas with each other and the rest of the Inklings. Inevitably, this means that they ended up incorporating each other into their own works.

Lewis wrote Tolkien as the protagonist of his Space Trilogy, Dr. Ransom. While all three books in the trilogy are great, Out of the Silent Planet is a definite must. And while it might not be a well-known book now (though it did make it into a science fiction class at the university I attended… it was always full, so I never did get to do it), Tolkien added Lewis to one that everyone knows: The Lord of the Rings. Some of his mannerisms and his style of speaking were embodied in Treebeard.

If you want to read more about Tolkien and Lewis, check out the original article I found here.

Do you know of any authors who wrote about each other? What’s your favorite character based on someone you really know?


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