Filtering by Tag: Catherynne M. Valente

Tidbits: June Edition

Picture / Photo Find

Something I Did

May 30th was my twenty-third birthday. Hooray! Considering this post is supposed to represent June, this statement may be a little off. But I couldn't bring myself to post about my birthday on its own. It didn't seem right. So I waited for June. It's strange to be twenty-three. I don't feel much different, but I know that I've crossed a line of some sort. Twenty-three. How grown up am I supposed to be now?

Not much, by the looks of things. I celebrated by seeking out macrons. As I've said in previous posts, bakeries don't exist where I live. If they do, they close within months because of lack of patrons and high rent. And even if they do stay, they never carry macarons. They were mythical desserts. So the family and I took an hour's ride to track down some of those unicorn-rare treats, in a bakery far, far away. And I felt like a pirate when I opened the box and found them all smiling up at me like gold doubloons:

From left to right: chocolate, pistachio, raspberry, banana, and orange. Surprisingly, pistachio tasted the best. I'm happy to report that they were delicious.

A Quote from a Book I Love

Thanks to MJ over at The Woodland Library, I found out about a wonderful book called The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. For anyone who loves a good fairy tale - complete with strange, heart-warming characters, exciting adventure, and a lot of mystery, this is the book for you. The voice of the book is witty and old-world sounding; this is the type of book you might discover hidden away in the back rooms of a secret bookstore. It actually started out online, so you can read the first few chapters and see if you like it (and don't forget to listen to the song).

I had the hardest time choosing just one excerpt, but here it is:

"The Leopard of Little Breezes yawned up and further off from the rooftops of Omaha, Nebraska, to which September did not even wave good-bye. One ought not to judge her: all children are Heartless. They have not grown a heart yet, which is why they can climb high trees and say shocking things and leap so very high grown-up hearts flutter in terror. Hearts weigh quite a lot. That is why it takes so long to grow one. But, as in their reading and arithmetic and drawing, different children proceed at different speeds. (It is well known that reading quickens the growth of a heart like nothing else.) Some small ones are terrible and fey, Utterly Heartless. Some are dear and sweet and Hardly Heartless At All. September stood very generally in the middle on the day the Green Wind took her, Somewhat Heartless, and Somewhat Grown."

Song I Can't Stop Repeating

"The Engine Driver" by The Decemberists

This song puts me in a quiet, pensive mood. With foot-tapping. And the lyrics are wonderful:

And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I've written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
My bones
My bones

A Writer Thing

Lately I've been writing like something is chasing me. I can't say that what's coming out onto my Word documents are lousy because of this speed, but I'm astonished at how fast the words flow. I made a promise to myself that I would finish my manuscript (for that is what it is) for Birdcage Girl by the end of the summer. So perhaps my fingers have caught up with my head. Chapters are pouring out of me like a flood.

Many writers feel sad to see a novel end, to reach that very last page and know - besides revisions - that they are done. You have to say goodbye to your characters and tip your hat to the world that you've been exploring through every late night, every snatched moment. I'm not near the end of Birdcage Girl - I think I'm almost at the middle of the book (experimentally short chapters means a novel will take a lot longer to finish than one would think, haha). It's strange, even in the middle, to think that it will end.

I attended another summer workshop yesterday, and this is what we talked about after finishing for the day. My two fellow writer-friends have already finished manuscripts; one has an agent and the other must begin revising his first draft. They know what it's like to finish. It was fun picking their brains and enjoying a nice mango smoothie while I was at it.

So I'm trying to ride the wave of writing while I can. I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with my characters strapped in next to me. They're ready to go. I just, somehow, need to send us all flying down the first drop.

Video I Watched Too Many Times

Because I love stop motion.

Food I'm Craving

I want marmalade! You know, I've never had it before.

What sparked this desire is that I'm working with a terribly annoying character who is still, to this day, withholding his true name. I think I've found-and-replaced his name numerous times already, and I'm still not happy with what's there. He started out as Ruari, and now he's Buell. But I don't really like either. And I don't have much trouble with character names in general. There's always a rebel.

So when I was reworking this character's description, I described his hair was being the color of bottled marmalade. And so I feel like, if I eat some marmalade, perhaps his real name will pop into my head. What do you think? And what's good to put marmalade on?

Marmalade photo found here
Photo finds from We Heart It