Thursday, January 28, 2016

Updates: January 2016


I just finished Because of Mr. Terupt and it might be one of the most adorable middle-grade books ever.

We’ve been snowed in for most of the week and I’m dying to get to the library.

Finally found the perfect hot chocolate recipe!

Daredevil’s second season come out in March and I can’t wait.

I bought a new journal. This is the painting that’s on the cover:

The Reader by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Edited a short story and did some journaling; besides that I haven’t managed to get much writing done (yet).

As much as I love snow (looking at it, not shoveling it) I’m starting to miss spring.

After I post this I’m planning on reading, then (hopefully) writing.

Plans for February:

Stay on top of studying.

Finish Gwinna by Barbara Helen Berger (it’s an old favorite) and Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy (it’s adorable).

Knit more of my never-ending scarf.

Write more.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Tag of Happiness

Beautiful Portals:
Most of my Friday college classes got cancelled thanks to snow, so I’ve been holed up in my bedroom doing homework, drinking hot cocoa, and pretending I’m in Narnia.

Mega thanks to Adelyn for the tag!

Books: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman, The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Li’l Gotham by Dustin Nguyen, Her Own Song by Ellen Howard

Words: Sea, cream, fathoms, ephemera, green, shore, voyager

Movies: The Lord of the Rings, Treasure Planet, The Emperor’s New Groove, Rain Man, The Force Awakens

Scents: snow, marker ink, old books, fresh sheets, french fries (plus anything that’s frying), salt air

Songs: "New Life" (Thomas Bergersen), "Thunderstruck" (AC/DC), the main theme from Call the Midwife, the main themes from all my favorite TV shows, "Beyond the Sea" (Bobby Darin), "Joy to the World" (Three Dog Night), "I Melt With You" (Nouvelle Vague cover)

Miscellany: Journaling, tea cups, pink nail polish, seashells, Harley Quinn (her incarnation in Batman: The Animated Series, specifically), talking with friends, snow days

Tagging: Olivia, Kelsey, Joni, &  whoever wants to join in!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Inspirations: The Secret Of Roan Inish

A little bit of background: The Secret of Roan Inish is a 1994 film set in Ireland and based on a long out-of-print book called The Secret of Ron Mor Skerry by Rosalie K. Frye. Both the book and the movie revolve around Celtic folklore, specifically the story of the selkie.
I think I was around five years old when I first watched The Secret of Roan Inish, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Maybe it’s the story, maybe it’s the gorgeous scenery (the movie was filmed on location in County Donegal), maybe it’s the eerie folklore, but this is a film that’s influenced me before and probably will again.

The Story
The story centers around Fiona, a 10-year-old girl sent to live with her grandparents in rural Ireland. Fiona badly wants to find her younger brother, Jamie, who was lost at sea when their family evacuated the island of Roan Inish. Jamie is a “dark one”, supposedly taking after their selkie ancestors, and has been raised by seals.
One thing that struck me on rewatching was how mystical and eerie it all is, while still being absolutely grounded in real life. Fiona believes in selkies, but also worries about her grandparents, who are about to lose their house. She wants to reunite with her brother and barely remembers life on Roan Inish. Wistfulness and homesickness permeate the first half of the movie, which makes the ending all the more satisfying.

The Selkies
The selkie in this story has a name (Nuala), but otherwise follows the original mythology to the letter: she marries a fisherman after he steals her skin, only to return to the sea years later, leaving him and their children behind. But she also has her husband build a floating cradle for their first child (floating cradles actually play a big part in The Secret of Roan Inish) and speaks incredibly antiquated Irish (since she’s MUCH older than she appears). Rewatching the movie, I can appreciate how small details like that make her story unique. Plus there’s the ways she influences her family over the generations…
Oh, and the selkie transformation scene is beyond beautiful. I wish I could write a transformation scene half as good.

How It Inspires Me
I love selkies, mythology, and the ocean. There’s a special kind of sea-swept atmosphere that I’d love to see in my own writing, mostly thanks to this movie. But more than that, I think it’s inspired my love for a certain kind of character: the outsider who’s mysterious and not quite human, and who has some sort of deep connection to nature. Characters like this have cropped up in a few of my stories--I even wrote a story specifically about selkies once. It was awful. Mostly because I was recycling the same old story without adding anything original, but also because I was scared of getting it wrong.

I haven’t found my own unique spin on the selkie story yet, but I hope that one day I will--and I really, really hope it’ll be even a quarter as good as The Secret of Roan Inish.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016 Writing Goals
This year already promises to be really hectic, so I’m keeping things simple:

Write more short stories
Pretty self-explanatory. For now my ideas are mostly fantasy, but I’d love to branch out and try some other genres--sci-fi, contemporary, or maybe even historical fiction. I also want to quit stressing over publication and enjoy the actual writing process more.

Start a longer project
At first my goal was to finish a longer project this year, but then I realized I’d have a hard enough time starting one. So my resolution is to begin working on an idea that I actually like (no matter how much it scares me) and stick with it.

I’ve never officially made New Year’s resolutions before, especially writing-related ones. I’m a huge procrastinator, even when it comes to goals I want to meet. But I’m excited to begin working on new stories, and I hope that 2016 will be as good (if not better) than 2015!

What are your goals for the new year?