Saturday, 23 January 2016

Starting Sparks - January

Ashley at [insert title here] and Emily at Ink, Inc. have had the marvelous, MARVELOUS idea of hosting a monthly writing prompt!

I. Love. Prompts. 
*heart eyes* 
AND this month's prompt IS:


I kinda almost did this with the last Summer Writing Camp prompt, buuuut not quite. And even if I did, we're going to DO IT AGAIN, because it's fun! :D Okay? Okay.

I picked Monster by Imagine Dragons. I wouldn't call it my favorite song (I don't even know what my favorite song is...!), but I do like it, and out of the options I'd gathered, this one made for the most interesting story. So enjoy!



~*~*~*~*~*~

“You’re so quiet, Elise.” Shepard warmed his hands on his paper cup of hot chocolate. We were walking along the edge of the carnival, by the docks, everything cast in the glow of the colored lights. The cheerful music and chatter sounded very far away.

Quiet? Yes. Hazard of the profession. I shrug and try to smile, but the smile that comes out is the practiced, fake one. My I’m-a-normal-person smile. Whatever "normal” means. 

“Is that bad?”

“No. It just means I never know what you’re thinking.” He took a sip of hot chocolate, and I mimicked him, watching him. All soft features and brown eyes and gentleness. There were no hard lines in his body, no slim hips or lean muscle. So unlike the men I knew. 

So unlike me.

He took our empty cups and tossed them in a wastebasket as we passed it by. We continued walking in silence. Then:

“So, what are you thinking?” 

And I wanted to tell him. What I was, what I’d done. What I do. 
But if he believed me? 
He’d run straight to the police, or at least, as far away from me as he could get.

We’d come to the edge of the pier. We were exposed here, and there was only one way back. Two if you counted jumping in the frigid water, which I wanted to avoid if possible. But we were alone.

I stared at the moonlight, bright on the water. A stark contrast to my dark thoughts. 
So dangerous. 
It was so dangerous to tell him. For both of us. 
But I’d been living in secrets my whole life, and I was tired. 

Besides, I probably wouldn’t live out the week. Why not tell him?

“Elise?”

I turned to him, and I wondered what I looked like. Did the moonlight soften my sharp cheekbones? Lighten my dark eyes, make my dyed-black hair silver? 
Or did the shadows simply deepen the lines of weariness and premature aging around my eyes and mouth? Did my lean body make up for the harshness of my features? 

Did I look attractive to him?

. . . .What stupid thoughts.

I forced words out of my strained throat. “If I seemed dangerous, would you be scared?”

“What?” he tilted his head, a confused smile on his lips.

“You wanted to know what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that I want to tell someone what I am before I die. Someone who cares.”

“Die?” the smile fell away completely, and was replaced by a look of frightened concern. “What’re you talking about?”

My eyes remained fixed on the rippling moonlight as my mind filled itself with wretchedness. “I remember their faces. Every one. And I give some of my payment to their families. Does that make me different from the others?” I was barely speaking, my murmurs obscured by the waves.

I looked at Shepard. He still didn’t understand. How could he? I hadn’t told him anything yet, not really. My normally steel resolve, my cold detachment, was waning. 

One more. One final act of strength. One final act of violence. And . . . my gaze drifted down to Shepard’s lips, My one and only act of love.

Without giving either of us time to think, I stepped forward and kissed him. He was startled, and I was a little rough, I think, but I’d never had practice being gentle. I softened the kiss, and he accepted it for a long moment that still seemed too short when we finally pulled away. We stood there, staring at each other, breathing a little heavier than we had been, our breath hanging between us in the cool fall air.

“Elise, please talk to me.” Shepard pleaded, his voice a near-whisper, “I want to help you.”

“You can’t.” Tears tightened my voice, and I was shocked. I hadn’t cried since I was eight years old. The day this all started. “No one can. But it’s ok. I’m going to finish this. I’ll try and survive it, although I don’t think I can. But I have to do this.” I pulled away and started back down the pier, emotion quickening my silent steps. 

“Wait!” though he remained rooted to the spot, desperation tinged Shepard's voice, “Finish what? Survive what? Just give me a straight answer! Whatever it is, you don't have to do it alone.”

Dear Shepard. That thought surprised me as well, but as soon as I'd had it, I knew that’s what he was. He was my dear Shepard. Guiding me to the light. And I knew I had to tell him. Especially since I would probably never see him again.

I turned back, half swallowed by the darkness, and smiled. A real smile, but a sad one. My next words were soft, like I didn't want them to hurt him, even though I knew they would:

“I’m an assassin. But I don't want to be that person anymore. So I’m going to kill the man who made me like this.”

Then I was gone.

~*~*~*~*~*~

It's short, and I'm still not totally satisfied with it, but there you have it! For some reason, I found this prompt really difficult. Evidenced by the four half-written false starts from other songs that are tucked away in my Stories folder, and the MILLION times I edited this post.XD

Oh well. I did it, in any case. Yay me! :D

If you wanted to know how I got this story from the lyrics (but it wasn't a huge leap, letzbehonest), here's my little plotty notes!

Assassin story (Monster, Imagine Dragons):
-Ever since I could remember, everything inside of me just wanted to fit in (with whatever. Couldn’t, which ultimately lead to this life)
-If I told you what I was, would you turn your back on me, and if I seemed dangerous, would you be scared (talking to the only person she’s loved)
-I get the feeling just because everything I touch isn’t dark enough that this problem lies in me (the darkness of his world/life is bc of her OR that’s what she’d led to believe)
-I’m only a man with a candle to guide me (there’s a weak ray of hope)
-I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me (tries to/will refuse “bosses”)
-I’ve turned into a monster … and it keeps getting stronger (cares less and less about killing OR “bosses” threaten/blackmail/incentive/etc into temporary submission)
-Can I clear my conscience if I’m different from the rest (tries to care, tries to make up for it [gifts to victim’s family, charity donations, something])
-Do I have to run and hide (sometimes wants to turn herself in OR kill herself [won’t do this one, but might make for interesting conflict])
-I never said that I want this, this burden came to me, and its made its home inside (recruited and trained from young age, became the norm for her)

~*~*~*~*~*~

And there you have it. A glimpse into my brain functions. Just a little one, though! It's scary if you go too deep in there. o.0 You can see that there's a bit more backstory/detail in the notes than what I included in the story, but that's good, right? Or at least normal. 

Aaaanyhow, I can't wait to see what the next prompt is! Y'all should sign up, because reading people's prompt stories is the BEST. <3

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Revisiting Children's Books

My good friend Sunny over at A Splash of Ink tagged me (months ago, whoops) in a tag that she made up! This tag is wonderful in it's simplicity and open-endedness, for it has only one question:

What books did you read as a child?


Well, to start off, we have:
~The Chronicles of Narnia. Which I didn't read so much as I had them read to me. Dad read them all to me and my brother at least once.
~Anne of Green Gables. Only the first one, though. It was the only one I had.
~Little House in the Big Woods. Again, this is the only book in the series that I owned, and thus, the only one I read.
~Door in the Dragon's Throat. The only Cooper Kids Adventures series book that I owned, BUT I also devoured many of the other books in the series, courtesy of my church library.
~No Coins, Please. I loved this book; I thought it was HILARIOUS.
~Eye of Fortune, and many many other books in the Knights of the Silver Dragon series.
~Shadow of His Hand, a story based on the life of Holocaust survivor Anita Dittman (but told in a child-appropriate way. Though idk how intense it would have been otherwise).
~Mystery of the Invisible Knight. Another hilarious one. I laugh to this day. XD
~The Wilderness Mystery. The only Too Smart Jones book I had, soooo . . . (anyone care to take a guess)? Yep! The only one I read.
~Heidi. Had to read it for school, and loved it ever since.
~The Swiss Family Robinson. Same story as above. X)
~Andrea Carter and the Dangerous Decision. Gotta love the wild wild west.
~The Last Dance. I may have read this when I was a little older, like 14, but that's still kid-like, right? Anyway, it was creepy.
~Choice Stories for Children. A variety of short stories. Another read-for-school-then-read-a-lot book.



We had many Nancy Drew books, as you can see, but I'm pretty sure I only read the ones that are standing up in front, there. I found the books really creepy for some reason, so I only read a few of them. I was easily scared back then, apparently. Wait, who am I kidding? I'm easily scared NOW.


We have several more Wayne Thomas Batson and Bryan Davis books now, but these are the ones I read as a kid. We actually have 8 of Davis's INSANE 12-book Dragons in Our Midst series. Well, technically, it's three separate quadrilogies, but they all connect! And they're all so deep and complex and just--!! I can't even deal. XD Also, if our Door Within trilogy is looking a little beaten, it's because we've all read them several times.


Dragons. Need I say more? These fantasy books were AWESOME; to me at least. I also have the trilogy that came out after, technically separate, but still in the same universe.


ONCE UPON A TIME there was a chain of Christian books stores called Mitchell Family Books, which has since folded. We don't remember how or why, but somehow we got the first book of the Abby series (Well technically I think it's called the South Seas Adventure series, or something) for free from this store, which we frequented. WAIT! It was a kids' reading contest. How many books can you read during the summer, top contenders get to pick from a selection of book prizes. Or something.
Well anyway, I got this book, and I adored it, and wanted all of them. It took a little while, but eventually, I got all 8, including one which was mysteriously out of print (Either number 6 or 7. Thanks to my dad for getting me all of them!). And . . . yeah! Loved these books.

Then of course, there was the library, where I would often get:

-The Amazing days of Abby Hayes
-Geronimo Stilton. Half the time you felt bad for him, the rest of the time you wanted him to just let loose and have fun.
-Junie B Jones
-The Magic Treehouse
-A-Z Mysteries
-The Bailey School Kids
-Robert Munsch books
-Doctor Seuss books
-Fairy books of any kind
-Horse books of any kind
-Princess books of any kind
-Books telling kids how to take care of different pets, because I wanted a pet SO BADLY.
-These weird, funny graphic novels called Asterix that started in the 60's and have pretty much been running ever since.
-The Midnight Library, horror stories for kids. To this DAY I am scarred by the story Man's Best Friend from the collection Blood and Sand.
-The Baker Street Irregulars. Sherlock Holmes stories from the viewpoint of the street urchins he hires? Yes please. I was never able to find all of the books at the library, though (#librarystruggles). I reallly want to read them over again, and also read the ones I never found. And, y'know . . . I am an adult with my own money . . . . .  *sneaks off to Amazon.com*

Speaking of Sherlock, this doesn't really fit in with the "read it as a kid" theme, but it IS a book, and I'm very excited that I got it for Christmas. And I ordered that necklace myself and it just came recently and I LOVE IT! It's a key that says 221B on it, in case you can't see from the picture. X)


Thanks again to Sunny for tagging me! This was a lot of fun! *Throws the tag at all y'all* Do it do it do it! :D

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Book List - That One About Fairies

Previous Book List Post


~*~*~*~*~*~

Ok, technically, this is not a book. Actually, it is LITERALLY not a book, much like everything else on my list. But this one is even LESS of a book than the others. Here's what it is:


That's it. It's one page. Half a page, actually, of loose plot. Plot that is perhaps the most boring plot to have ever been partly plotted. It's about a "house fairy," aka, a tiny fairy who LIVES IN PEOPLES HOUSES CAN WE SAY THE BORROWERS WITH WINGS, who wants to go to the fridge.

O-okay . . . .

. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .

BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE:


A page of rough ideas. And that's fine, in and of itself. But what it says, WHAT IT SAYS, OH MAH GAWSH, is possibly the most cringe-inducing, non-creative bit of creativity I've ever put to page. Or at least one specific part is; I'll let you judge the rest for yourself. I mean, I didn't even remember this ideas page, so . . . I claim plausible deniability. Or something.

So, in case you can't read the childish scribbles in those grainy pictures, I'll break it down for ya.

~Top  left, we have a section called "Live." This would be, presumably, places where these house fairies would reside. Let's see, we have: In the fridge. Ah. Not making sense, right off the bat. I can only imagine that I wanted them to be sort of Inuit fairies. I guess their tiny lungs could last on the oxygen in the fridge in between openings? Anyway. We also have: in the bedrooms (which could present a whole list of problems in it's own right), in the living room, in the cupboards, and in the bookcase. Thank goodness no one's living in the bathroom.

~To the right of "Live" we have "names." Straightforward. Let's see what we've got: Sunny (lol Sunny), Sugar, Honey, Jade, Chloe, Violet, Rose, Lily, Pearl, June, April, May, Blossom, Amy, Sweet Pea, Lollipop, Jay-Lee, Clover.

. . . .Uh-huh . . . .

Putting aside the fact that half of these sound like stripper names, I can only stare at "Jay-Lee" and wonder where in the actual WORLD I got that from. I mean, I don't doubt it's the name of someone, somewhere, but I have no idea where 12-year-old me would have gotten it from. I just . . . I just don't know. And freaking LOLLIPOP??

Moving on.

~"Wings." It appears I only had enough creativity for six wing styles. I think I wanted each fairy to have different wings, because HEAVEN FORBID fairies from the same family/clan/county/ROOM I DON'T EVEN KNOW--heaven forbid they have the same wing style. But alas, there was only six. Alas.

~In the top right, we have "eat." It says: Crumbs, little bits of food they find OR take off the food we eat (but not both!!), leftovers (little bits). *Sigh* okay, y'know, fine, I see where I was comin' from. Let's not dwell here, I'm feeling compelled to give food to creatures who don't exist.

~Immediately under "eat," like, so close as to be confusing, we have "drink." Here's where it gets weird, as if it wasn't already: Drops of water from sweating water bottles, and forgotten or "covered-up" spills. Forgotten or "covered-up" spills?!?!?! What does that even mean??? Why are there quotation marks around "covered up"??? I don't even have a snarky comeback for these questions; I am legitimately confused and horrified. And let's not pass by SWEATING WATER BOTTLES. What, these people can't push the tap handle enough to get it dripping, so they can gather water? They can't scoop some out of the pitcher in the fridge? Can't . . . freaking . . . hop out a window and gather some rainwater??? CAN'T CONJURE SOME WITH THEIR MAGIC? WHAT GOOD EVEN ARE THESE FAIRIES THEY'RE LIVING OFF CONDENSATION.

Ahem.

~Under, um, "drink," we have "Setting." There are the words "a house," scratched out for no particular reason. Then it reads, "Every house has fairies, but this story take place at 25 Willow Street, Midnight, bedroom hall, stairs, living room, kitchen." Oh, ok. Thanks for that enlightening information, I'll keep that in mind. And then there's a little drawing of a house.

~Bottom left, the last and most uncomfortable category, is "Traits." I say uncomfortable, because DEAR GOSH, look at these characteristics. ALL fairies are:
girls (new fairies must be hatched from magic eggs, or the LAUGH OF A BABY, or something), magic, young, delicate, small, beautiful, fast, smart, fun, happy, friendly, 
nice.

Ok, I guess it's not toooo bad, considering it IS teeny fairies that we're talking about. But still, you know, you KNOW, that "tall," "blonde," and "white" are all lurking somewhere under the generalization of "beautiful." Not because I was a racist child, but because somewhere along the way, the world had hammered into me that that's what beauty was. That's what heroines looked like. And so yes, I cringe when I look at this list, because it just feels so wrong and naive.

Anyway, since ALL fairies are like that, but not ALL fairies can be exactly the same, SOME fairies are "stronger and tougher than others" (but still friendly and nice, we presume), SOME are loud, "rambuncious," messy, and unorganized. SOME are calm, quiet, neat, organized, and orderly. So, everyone's a stereotype, but some are teeny body builders, some are annoying slobs, and some are obnoxiously obsequious. Hm, fun. These are definitely characters I want to get to know . . . . yeah . . . .

Also, in the corner, there's a circle that says "fairy tale or fantasy" inside. Yes, a story with fairies would probably fall in one of those categories, thank you. I really needed to write that down so I wouldn't forget.

I realize I just talked for a ridiculously long time about ideas, and not about the story itself, but that's mostly because the story can be summed up like this:

Jade is bored and wants to travel to the fridge (or maybe she's scarred by the things she's seen, living in the bedroom). Amy is against it and wants her to stay (the little pervert). Jade will go tonight. She puts a hairbrush in a clamshell, then falls asleep behind a MAGICALLY APPEARING PICTURE FRAME. She wakes up at midnight and flies down to the ground. She proceeds to walk (YES WALK) down the hall and into the living room. She meets Blossom, a functionless character who's only purpose in the story or in life is to point Jade to the fridge. We see nothing further, but can only imagine that Jade reaches the fridge with no resistance and lives a happy life behind the forgotten leftovers from last Thanksgiving. THE END.

Isn't that just the most exciting thing you ever did read. Also, LOOK AT THIS PLOTTING GRAPH:


Wow. WAAOOOW. Such depth. Much ideas. It's based off of this other graph, from which spawned my Philip Story . . . I guess?


It's based around the common theme of . . . exiting?? Cloud city, haunted house, finding a magical land, kidnapped, lost, cave? EXITING?? And then there's THIS:


Freaking PLOTTING OF PAGES and a MAP which only contains a bathroom even though NO ONE LIVES THERE!!

*heavy breathing*

Ahem.

I'm okay.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

Mmm, nope, I'm not, goodbye.


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Jar of Good Things, and a Belated Happy New Year!

*Looks around*
*Pretends not to see you*
*"Notices" you*
*Pretends to be surprised*
Oh, heyyyy! Long time no see! Well, maybe not THAT long, but it's definitely been longer than normal. Or maybe you didn't notice my absence, in which case . . . uh, forget I said anything. I totally never stopped being scheduled and consistent . . . . Ha ha . . . ha . . . ha.



Ahem.

So, Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your 2015 was awesome, and your 2016 is awesomer. Have you made your resolutions?

. . . . Have you broken them already?

Me, I don't make resolutions, and for that very reason. They're too easy to break, and it's too easy to get discouraged and frustrated. So instead, I started doing the Jar of Good Things, an idea that I picked up from . . . someone else on the internet, I forget who. So, sorry to the originator of this idea. It's a good idea, very good. I wish I could give you credit. Alas.

But, to continue my story:

The Jar of Good things is something you can do in lieu of, or in addition to, a resolution. Basically, you get a jar, and anytime anything good or nice or fun happens, you write it on a slip of paper and throw it in the jar. Then, at the end of the year, you get to look back at all the awesome stuff that happened, instead of looking back at, "Oh yeah, I meant to do that thing and I didn't." Unless you forget to write stuff down and put it in the jar, in which case . . . you'll still be looking back saying "whoops."

Hmm.

Well anyway, I did the Jar this year, and I thought I'd share some highlights. Okay? Okay.



First off, I put a grand total of an even 100 slips of paper in my jar. That's like, one good thing every not-quite-four days, or something. Idk, math is not my strong suit. But regardless, that's lots of good stuff happening! Here's the breakdown, because I like lists.

January - 13
February - 7
March - 4
April - 9
May - 7
June - 7
July - 10
August - 15
September - 13
October - 4
November - 2
December - 9

each slip of paper from my jar

Things really picked up in August, wow. November was uneventful, as per usual. A good year, all around. I thought I'd share one moment from each month, just so you can get a sense of the whole thing:

Jan 8-9 thurs-fri 2015
~Had a sleepover with Lizzy! We ate chinese fried rice and pizza, I reminded her how to knit, and we downloaded Sims 3 on her laptop. We also read our favorite old Mad Libs. Hilarious!

Feb 26, thurs, 2015 
~Today was mom's 51st birthday! I made the card (as per usual) and dad made the cake. She got puzzles, two dvds she wanted, a hat, and some colorful socks. ^.^ <3

Mar 3-4 weds-thurs, 2015 
~Slept over at Lizzy's college! Awesome to see it during the week. Met Megan and some of Lizzy's other friends, saw some familiar faces, listened to Paul Henderson speak and got a picture with him, ate in the caf, hung out in the H and Tim Hortons. Had a grand old time. 5/5 stars, will go again. X)

Apr 29, wed, 2015 
~Went to a late showing of Age of Adeline with Jenna and Shaena. It was really good! Sad and sweet. I had a soft pretzel with caramel dip (so good) and m&ms!

May 2, sat, 2015 
~Went shopping with mom for baby shower gifts, and there was a carnival in the parking lot, so we rode the ferris wheel!! We also bought some flower seeds and planted them in pots, and dug 2 bushes out of the garden! And we got 3 hostas to plant later. :)

Jun 21, sun, 2015 
~Father's Day! We gave dad a card (mine), a Star Trek hat (Ian's), a photo mug, a frame with the word DAD containing Chris', Ian's, and my pictures, and Pathfinders: Rise of the Runelords adventure card game (mom's). He was quite happy. :)

Jul 5, sun, 2015 
~After a sombre (but good) service, the college&career met in the Well, to talk, pray, and eat. Then most of us met at Seth's parents cottege, so we wouldn't have to be alone. Went boating on the lake. Lizzy came back to my house and we watched Warehouse 13 season 1 episode 1.

Aug 28, fri, 2015 
~Jenna came over and we played CoD: Black Ops 2, and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawns, and went for a walk!

Sep 18, Fri, 2015 
~Mom, Ian and I went to see Jacob & Adam's band. It was very loud in the event hall, but they were SUPER good! Got hugs, bought a t-shirt each (well, not mom), got stickers and a music download card.

Oct 2-4, fri-sun, 2015 
~C&C retreat! Drove up with Eric, Lizzy, Caleb, and Mak. Me, Lizzy, and Mak actually got a room! We also consumed a giant bag of candy corn. Me and Lizzy teamed up against Mel, Katie, and Nathan in Dutch Blitz. We won. ^.^ Fun times were had by all.

Nov 15-16 Sun-mon, 2015 
~Slept over at Lizzy's college for her birthday! Hung out, had a skype party with James and his friend Brian, then went out to dinner at a chinese restaurant with Eric, Matt, Holly, and Lindsey. So much fun, and the waitress/hostess was awesome. Gave Lizzy a cat onesie, which she loves.

Dec 17, thurs, 2015 
~We had supper at Mohsen & Mina's tonight! Pans of chicken, vegetables, & potatoes, salad with almost-sweet salad dressing, Iranian-style rice, Turkish-style soup, and crispy rice with potatoes. So. Good. Then we talked, and looked at their wedding album, and pictures from their trip to Turkey. Also had homegrown pistachios and Romanian-style cookies made with honey. :)

Also, this is what our wild New Year's looked like:

Dec 31-Jan 1, Thurs-Fri, 2015-2016
~Had a sleepover with Lizzy to ring in the New Year. Watched the Mentalist, hung around in onesies, ate pizza and a large amount of snacks. Also went to see Mockingjay part 2 in theaters. It was packed in there. Packed. Good thing we got there early! It was a really good movie. Very traumatizing. :P Happy New Year!


My 2013, 2015, and 2016 Jars
Haha, so there you go! My year in brief. Perhaps you too shall attempt the Jar of Good Things! Either way, Happy belated New Year to you. <3