A Little Princess, Storytelling Inspiration

782926A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This was another one of those old childhood favorites.  Like The Secret Garden it’s a story I read a few times when I was little.  I started out (as with The Secret Garden) with a Scholastic Picture Book version of the story.  The illustrations drew me in, but the story is what held me.

The version I first read.

There were certain scenes during this reread that I remembered but details that I had forgotten.  It was like visiting a beloved location from my childhood, it didn’t take long to be reminded why I had fallen in love in the first place.

Sara is not a spectacular beauty, which is something I love.  The author stresses her unique looks many times, the thing that glows for her is her kindness, caring and pride.  She is a little soldier and a little princess — and those two things compliment each other to create a strong, caring, and determined.

She is such a great character.  She holds true to herself no matter what obstacle she encounters, even when it is a struggle, with a wisdom beyond her years. I didn’t always understand her wisdom when I was first reading it — like her reaction to being told that she will have to work for her living.

“Can I work?… If I can work it will not matter so much.”

Before I had the experience of grief I had no idea the power of this sentence, but now I understood that drive, that need to do something that can take your mind off of what happened.  This little girl who is so observant, so giving, so loving, just knows that working will be a welcome thing.

“She is always sitting with her little nose burrowing into books. She doesn’t read them, Miss Minchin; she gobbles them up as if she were a little wolf instead of a little girl. She is always startving for new books to gobble, and she wants grown-up books — great, bit, fat ones– French and German as well as English– history and biography and poets, and all sorts of things.”

-A Little Princess

Her storytelling, though, that is what sticks with me the most.  It draws me in as it draws in everyone around her.  Reading it as an adult I realize that it may be where I got some of the very basic seeds of my belief that everyone is an artist. She see’s the world as being full of stories; everyone has a story they are telling.

She reads stories in books, she pulled stories from the world around her, she found stories in the way people went through their lives.  Even when everything was taken from her and her world came crashing down she still found stories all around her.

Really, in many ways it was her stories that helped to pull through the challenges.  Her stories and her pride.   I enjoy the plot, but what I really got from the story (at least this time around) was the theme of the storytelling.  This is a story about the stories we tell, the stories we project to the world.  Everyone has a story they are telling, if they know it or not.



Top Ten Tuesday: Nerds!

Every week The Broke and the Bookish  hosts the “Top Ten Tuesdays” a great blog-hop for readers to reflect on their “Top Ten”

toptentuesdayTop Ten Characters who are fellow nerds… following my definition of nerd!  I do love my nerds and geeks… The original is “book nerds” and for the most part these guys would fit under that as well :)

Hermione Granger

Annabeth Chase

Jo March

Sara Crewe


Anne Shirley

Princess Cimorene

Agatha Heterodyne

Turtle Wexler

If We Were Having Coffee… Am I rambling?

Today’s post is a part of the Weekend Coffee Share, graciously hosted by Part Time Monster every weekend. A time for us to come together, share a cup of coffee (or our beverage of choice) to share some of what is going on in our lives.  It’s a lovely check-in!

If we were having coffee I’d offer up some homemade chocolate lattes — I made a few when my cousin was in town last weekend and, since I’ve got the materials, it’s cheaper than meeting up at a coffee shop.  I’ve been trying to save money for a while now (not very successfully) but now I’m buckling down and really trying to make it happen.  There’s just too much that needs to be saved for, you know?

I’d sip my espresso (I’ve learned to like it just a little watered down, and am also trying to cut the calories) and make some comment about how this whole adult-thing is hard sometimes.  See, it would be easier to save if what I was saving for were just things I want, like season tickets to the touring Broadway season (excited about a number of the touring shows and really excited about some of the season options.  My birthday plans include going to see Book of Mormon… if I can get tickets), or getting a new laptop.

But highest on my list of things I need to save for is a PAP machine. I did a sleep study a while ago and the results came back that I have mild sleep apnea. I do not look forward to adjusting to using one of those things but try to remind myself that it could make a huge difference for me.  It’s just hard to say no to the yummy seasonal coffee, or to pack my lunch again so that I can save up for something like that, you know?

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that this is my “relax and catch-up” weekend.  Well, it’s my relax and catch-up Saturday, I ended up scheduling myself pretty thoroughly on Sunday.  Last weekend’s visit with my cousin and her kids was great fun — and they made it safely home on Tuesday.  Now I’m gearing up for a visit from a friend of mine from Maine.  She arrives on Thursday and I’m taking a few days off of work so that we can hang out and take a few day trips.  It’ll be fun, and I promise to tell you all about it next week!

Of course, we couldn’t finish our coffee visit without giving an update on my writing/editing progress.  Today I’m dedicating a lot of time to writing (well, and cleaning.  Some of this cleaning really just needs to happen.  That darned adulting thing again…).  I have some blog-work that needs to be done, as well as a few guest-post that really should have been written already! There are Passionate Geek posts to get ready for posting, and other possible contributors to check in with.  At the moment I’m in pretty good shape for posts, and have a number more that have expressed interest. I’d tell you it feels pretty awesome to have so many people floating around who are interested in this and I am seriously debating upping it to a twice-a-month feature.  I want to move cautiously there — too much, too fast, can be problematic.

Part of the reason some of the blogging work has fallen behind is because I have been in full-fledged editing mode.  The past two weeks (since I finished that first revision) have seen every spare moment dedicated to reading through the manuscript and making hefty notes.  I’m trying to look at larger, structural, issues in this round — making sure the story flows, that there is consistency, and that everything makes sense — but I’ve also been doing a lot of circling of words, sentences and paragraphs that will need work, with margin comments like “meh,” “ugh,” and “gah.”  Some of those changes may be made when I sit down with the computer file again, some may just be noted and wait to see if the scene they’re in even remains in the story.  It’s been nice to sit down with an actual paper-copy of the manuscript for this, easier to flip back and forth between scenes and make reference notes to other things.  It’s the first time I’ve done this kind of editing (on fiction… I’m definitely using editing tactics I learned through all my academic work) and it is awesome to be enjoying it!  I actually like the story more with some of the changes I’m noting and figure that’s a very good thing!  I’ve got about one quarter of the manuscript left to go through before I can start looking at what comes next.  First up probably will be creating a few more timelines (to iron out when certain things happen), deciding on a few names, nailing down geography and certain governmental structures, and doing a tad bit of research into a few things.  Then I can start actually writing some of these revisions!

I discovered I could edit all sorts of places.  On my lunch breaks (of course) but also during the commute, when there was standing room only, when I managed to snag a seat, when I was waiting for the connection....
I discovered I could edit all sorts of places. On my lunch breaks (of course) but also during the commute, when there was standing room only, when I managed to snag a seat, when I was waiting for the connection….

And…. I’m probably just rambling at you now… it happens when I’m excited about something, sorry about that!  Tell me, what have you been up to this week?  Are there any projects you’re working on?  Any vacations planned or guests coming to visit?


Celebrate July 24

Today is Celebrate the Small Things Friday.  Hosted by Lexa Cain, L.G. Keltner of Writing Off the Edge, and Tonja Drecker of Kidbits, Celebrate the Small Things is a time when we all take a moment to celebrate something good from our week.  It can be small, it can be big, just something to look back on the week and celebrate.

*Good family visits done, friend visits upcoming.
*Excellent progress on editing. There is research to be done, decisions to be made, changes to implement, but it’s exciting to see the path forming. I know what I need to be doing and it all feels manageable.
*Keeping myself together and on-top of things during an unexpected busy influx at work.
*My sister completing 100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (a birthday present to herself). The pictures are beautiful, and I can’t wait to talk to her about the trip. I’m so proud of her for making that happen!

What are you celebrating today?

The Man Crate: Old School

Okay, I have to admit that when I first was asked if I wanted to write a post for this company I was hesitant.  After all, THE MAN CRATE doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of product I would normally be interested in or promoting at all…. after all, what makes these crates more geared towards men than women?

Nothing, really.

The crates do play off of somewhat stereotypical ideas of “manliness” but… in a variety of forms.  I mean they have a Zombie Preparedness section, and packages for Retro Gamers!  It’s a crate that you open with a crowbar… after unwrapping all the duct tape.  I know a great many women who would love to get these as gifts, so see the name as a fun marketing gimmick.*

They asked if I would be interested in writing about what I might put into a crate if I were to create one, with the theme “Old-School.”  Particularly that nostalgic memorabilia from childhood.  Once my brain got past the idea of putting together a “Man Crate” (really, it ran all over the place with that) I started to have a slew of ideas of what I’d want included.

Without further ado, my gender-inclusive Man Crate :)

1) Garbage Pail Kid Cards.  My brothers and I would ride our bikes to the local Plaid Pantry to buy these with our allowance.  The gross stickers, the even grosser stick of stale-chewing gum that left a putrid taste in your mouth before you were halfway home.  I loved those things and between us we amassed quite the collection.

2) Nintendo with Mario Bros and Duck Hunt.  I loved Mario (other than the water level.  Water levels and I… we have issues). And the Duck-Hunt Gun… I had a lot of fun figuring out where I could point it to still manage to hit things.

3) Movies:  The Last Unicorn, Unico, The Black Cauldron, The Princess Bride, Goonies, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Willow, NeverEnding Story.  There were many movies that shaped my childhood in one way or another. Some I liked, some I remember well but didn’t really care for but all come up with conversations about childhood.

4) TV Shows: Fraggle RockCare Bears, Duck Tales,  The Gummi BearsTV shows also tend to come up, and a few of these would be an awesome edition to the box.

5) Pop Rocks, Zotz, Bubble Tape and Ring Pops. I always had a sweet tooth… and these were among my favorites.

6) My Little Ponies. The old ones… I had a few, my brothers had a few.  When we combined them with all the other action figures we had an unstoppable army.

7) Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, and Kings Quest IV. Some of my favorite old computer games, there’s something spectacular about the graphics in these and the challenge inherent in trying to not catch typhoid, or trying to maneuver up winding stairs using the arrow keys….

8) Metal Lunch Box.  Maybe with Muppets on it, or something Star Wars…

There could be so much more, but I think this is a fun little box starting up.

What would go into your “Old-School” crate?

*Yes, I am probably going to write a post about gender-based marketing at some point… it seems a natural build off of the gender-based Book Recommendation conversation and reflecting on this has stirred up some thoughts.
**I have had no actual experience with the Man Crate, and have received no compensation from the company for this post.

A Station 6 Garden Party – Taliana’s Garden Party -4


Welcome to Taliana’s Garden Party!  The fourth installment of Taliana’s Adventures.

Your invitation can be found here, and if you would like to participate in the party simply link your post to this page — or send me a message with your contribution!

Taliana’s Garden Party:  Part 1                      Part 2                Part 3

Taliana stumbled into a room that, finally, appeared to have people in it. Or… creatures at least. Was that a megaphone-wielding-hamster running at her?
The Thread of Evegran swerved around the garden and then twisted itself around her wrist, physically pulling her from the garden before the hamster could reach her.

Originally posted on Things Matter:

As usual, I’m squeaking in at the end of Taliana’s party. The theme this time is a Garden Party, so I figured it would be fun to revisit my space station characters from several parties ago. And apparently when I think “Garden Party,” I think “Alice in Wonderland.” Also, I had a bit of a fever yesterday. So… you know. Enjoy!

A Station 6 Garden Party

“I don’t know why we had to come down to this blasted surface at all!” Ham bellowed.

Cris winced. They stood at the edge of a sprawling garden party being set up in the largest “room” of a byzantine hedge labyrinth. Station 6 was passing the planet, and all the station’s major functionaries had been invited. Ham, the diminutive hamster-shaped security chief, had brought along a tiny megaphone to ensure he’d be heard in all the ambient noise of a planet’s outdoors.

“You don’t…

View original 719 more words

Taliana’s Garden Party – At Party’s end.

Welcome to Taliana’s Garden Party!  The fourth installment of Taliana’s Adventures.

Your invitation can be found here, and if you would like to participate in the party simply link your post to this page — or send me a message with your contribution!

Though this is the last entry in the story there is still room for participation. Comments on Post 3 will be continually added to the story page.
Taliana’s Garden Party:  Part 1                      Part 2                Part 3
Part 4

The thread pulled her urgently forward. She had often unknotted threads, but one had never pulled at her like this. She found herself practically flying through the twisting garden paths, flitting through what appeared to be a wide variety of different kinds of worlds. Finally the thread pulled her to familiar ground.
Taliana was able to detatch herself from the thread moments before it would have tried to take her through the (closed) library window.
The thread moved through the window and Taliana peered through after it. The Book of Evegran was safely stores on a shelf and the thread wrapped around it, lifting it from the shelf.
Quickly Taliana pushed the window open, thankful that it hadn’t been locked. The thread pulled the book from the room, pulling it quickly back into the maze. She was supposed to be helping this world come into being, at least, according to all she’d been able to figure out.
Shouldn’t helping a world be born should involve more than opening a window?
She raced after the thread, around a corner just in time to find herself faced with an explosion. A burst of light and sound flooded her, wrapping around her and pulling her into it.

A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,990 other followers

%d bloggers like this: