Tidbits: October Edition

Picture / Photo Find

Something I Did

Haha, that's a good one. For the past few days, I've been either chained to a couch or desk, slowly engulfed by papers of dubious origins. I know that, these days, paper anything is considered to be delicate and pretty. Paper planes, paper hearts, paper toilet bowls. You name it. And I'm usually of that mindset. Bring on the paper! But when it comes in the form of stories to revise and / or papers to grade, suddenly I find myself checking my fingers for paper cuts (which are, by anyone's standards, not cute).

My prediction is that by the end of the week, I'll create a patch of time where the paper doesn't haunt me with its pointy corners and angry ink. I suppose this will be Sunday night, in particular, since TCM is playing Buster Keaton movies all month and I'm determined to watch him without multitasking. I'll let you know how it goes.

Aww, he's blushing! So am I.

Quote from a Book I Love

I just finished this book called The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu and it really has stuck with me. I breezed through it, eating up the slim volume as quickly as possible to discover what the ending held in store. And even after finishing it, I still pondered over what I read; the story and its characters continued to echo long after I shelved it. Since the novel is directly translated from French, some of the phrasing tends to come off as strange or childish. However, the story is worth any sentence-bumps along the way.

The novel is told from the perspective of a boy named Jack who was born on the coldest day on Earth and could have died because of it - but Dr. Madeleine saves him by placing a cuckoo-clock in his chest. The clock keeps him alive, but it's a delicate thing; if Jack were to ever fall in love, his clock - and heart - would surely break. Of course, Jack does fall in love - but will he survive it?

"Each beat of your heart is a small miracle, you know, so don't get carried away. It's a fragile, makeshift repair. Things should get better as you grow up, but you'll have to be patient."

"How many times will the big hand have to go round?"

"A few... a few. I want your heart to become a bit more robust before I let you out into nature."

There's no denying that my clock causes me a worry or two. It's the most sensitive part of my body. I can't bear to let anyone touch it, apart from Madeleine. She winds me up every morning using a small key. When I catch a cold, the coughing hurts my gears. It feels as if they're about to poke out through my skin. And I hate the sound of broken crockery they make.

A Writer Thing

Okay. It's official: as if September 30th, 2011, I finished writing my first draft of my novel Birdcage Girl. Woah. It's a strange kind of feeling that comes with finishing something that has been a part of my life for almost a year now. I'll no longer wake up in the middle of the night to jot down a better scene. I won't sneak away to my laptop between classes to write a chapter or two. I suspect my peaked interest in all things birds and cages will greatly decrease... at least until I start writing the next book, haha. My good writing friend Anande Sjoden interviewed me on her blog where I talk a little bit more about how it felt to finally write the last word... and about cardigans, sprained knees, and Apollo busts.

But finishing a novel manuscript isn't the end - at least, when you're me and can hardly wait to start revision. Every writer is different, but I'm not of the school of writers who like to put their MS's away for months or even years before revising; I'm impatient, for one, and I don't feel like being that distanced from my writing will help improve it. I like to put on the surgical gloves right away and make repairs to flabby sentences! So these past few days have been filled with scrolling through the endless pages of my MS, trolling for obvious errors (both grammatical and syntax). After tonight, though, I'll have to sit on my hands for a few weeks while I wait for some trusted friends to read it. Of course, Birdcage Girl still on Figment as it is; I'll be applying revisions to it as soon as I get my final wave of feedback.

This stage of the writing process is, well, less glamorous. There's sweat - all the time - and make up is running and light bulbs are breaking and the coffee in the break room is cold. But it's still an adventure. That's probably the best part.

Video I Watched Too Many Times / Song I Can't Stop Repeating

Mathias Malzieu is not only the author of The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, but also the lead singer of a French band called Dionysos. The book itself is based off of an album he composed titled La Mécanique du Cœur (The Mechanics of the Heart). I listened to the album after reading the book, and I must say that it is an excellent collection of songs. Each song seems to reflect a certain mood or even plot point in the mood and, overall, complements the novel well.

The song I chose to feature (and perhaps the one I've listened to the most) is called "Tais-toi mon coeur." Malzieu's voice is engaging and the range of musical instruments used in the song creates such an interesting melody. A music video had been made to go with it, so here it is! I'm so happy to share it with you - I must have unhealthily refreshed the video page too many times, haha.

Photos from tumblr / TCM