Thursday, 27 February 2014

Cure for writer's block

I recently decided to take up writing again, after a pause of several years due to school and work.
But almost immediately I was faced with every writer's biggest fear: the writer's block.

I tell you it's a terrible thing, just wanting to write so much it nearly hurts, but being unable to form any idea or even worse, having so many ideas but just being unable to get it down on paper.

Then I thought, maybe I should wait with the big novel potential ideas I always get, and just write something to get back into the routine, and that's where came in.

I discovered it by chance, but it is a brilliant website solely designed to help people with writer's block.

The concept is simple: it shows you a random word and then you have 1 minute to write about it.

So simple and yet so effective.
I found it was surprisingly easy to write when I didn't have to think about quality or anything - just writing something random, and when the minute is up you can submit your entry and see what others have written from the same word.

It actually often happens that when I've just finished writing the entry I suddenly get ideas to continue, and more often than not, I end up writing entire short stories just inspired by that simple word.

So I can warmly recommend that site to anyone else out there with writer's block. It has helped me exceedingly.

What do you do when you have writer's block?
I'm always interested in hearing other approaches to the subject, so if anyone has a great trick leave a comment and tell me about it.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Literary quote of the week

Three posts in one week..I am on FIRE!!! (insert awkward pause where no one gets my Sherlock reference)

Well, this week's quote is a bit deeper than they use to, but I think it contains an important piece of insight:
 "As she realized what might have been, she grew to be thankful for what was."
- Elizabeth Gaskell - North & South

Friday, 21 February 2014

Literary heroine blog party

Today I am participating in the Literary Heroine Blog Party hosted at Accordion to Kellie. A while ago I found some of the posts to last years party, and I was so sad it was closed for entries, so I am very excited to be able to participate in it this year.

~ The Questions ~

Introduce yourself!  Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

 Hello I'm Rose P, and I love anything classic, be it books, music, movies, houses, furniture or history in general. 
Though I haven't knowledge of all the classic accomplishments I would like to, I have been playing the piano since I was 13, and took up drawing a few years ago.
I love learning new things and have currently a list of at least 5 languages that I want to learn. I also like learning about nature and animal life, I think it is one of the biggest wonders in life.

Something random about me...I go around singing show tunes most of the time when I'm alone, and sometimes around other people too, which makes for some funny situations.

What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?

A true heroine is one who is not afraid to do what is right, even if everyone around her tries to tell her otherwise. She is kind, puts the needs of others before her own and is willing to make sacrifices.
But the most important is that she is a real human being with weaknesses, she has to fight, so they don't stand in her way.

Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.    

Well, the heroine I relate to the most is Ellinor Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility. Like her I feel deeply but let few know. And I admire the way she is strong for everyone, and does what needs to be done when no one else wants to do it.

I also greatly admire Fanny Price from Mansfield Park. She is timid and shy but has an iron will when it comes to her values, and no one can get her to do something that goes against her conscience.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables is another heroine I relate to. I love how she is able to always keep her imagination through life, and how she always tries to see the best in the people she meets.    

Five of your favorite historical novels?

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Little Women by Louisa Alcott
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Desiree by Annemarie Selinko
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why?

That must be Catherine Morland. I love her innocent view on the world, and how she is sometimes so oblivious to what is actually going on around her. In the book she is quite laughable at times, but I like to believe my view on the world is a lot like hers (except the Gothic fantasies of course).

Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?

I like Laurie Lawrence a lot. He has so many funny ideas and takes initiative to a lot of things. I think I would love to have him as a neighbour.

If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?

I have always wanted to go to the English countryside and drive around to all the big mansions and castles, and maybe even spend a night at one of them.

But I would also love to go to USA and take a tour in the north eastern states. I have heard the nature is very beautiful, and the cities there are full of history and old houses, which I have a weakness for.

What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

Definitely the Regency period in England.

You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?

I would probably play a classical piece on the piano, or maybe sing something.

If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

That's a tough choice. I would feel very tempted to come as an Austen heroine. But I would probably go as Anne Shirley - that way I get to wear a wig, or to dye my hair red and shock everybody.

What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? 

A life without chocolate would be very grim indeed.

Favorite author(s)?

Jane Austen, L.M. Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jules Verne, Joanna Campbell, Baroness
Emmuska Orczy.

Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?    

My camera, my sketchpad and at least two books.

In which century were most of the books you read written? 

 The 19. century

In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…

That must be Mr. Thornton from North & South. There can't be said enough of how perfect he is, and I went on quite a ramble on the subject here.

Describe your ideal dwelling place.

A little house with a big front porch, and filled it with a mix of old fashioned and modern furniture. It should be located in a quiet neigbourhood with easy access to nature but not to far from the city either.

Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence.   

Simple and casual yet timeless.

Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 

No. That is the privilege of the author.

In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...

Iago from Othello. I haven't even read the play, but just hearing the summary made me hate him intensely.

Three favorite Non-fiction books? 

Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
Geographica (an atlas)

Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? 

I would go for a long walk in the woods or by the water. Or even better - bring a book on said walk and find a sunny spot to read.

Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. 

It would be a classic simple ladies hat with a big shade. Add a ribbon and a few flowers in red or pink tones and it is perfect.

Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 

Well the event itself happened a bit over a year ago, when I moved out in my own apartment. It took quite a while to get used to living alone, but now I can't imagine it any other way.

Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

"Those hoping in Jehovah will regain power. They will soar on wings like eagles.  
They will run and not grow weary; They will walk and not tire out.” - Isaiah 40:31

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Back to the classics challenge 2014

I just stumbled upon this wonderful reading challenge.
You have to choose classic books to read in 5 different categories, and write reviews of them - and what do I mostly do at this blog anyway? You named it.

Also I have this long lists of big classics that I really want to read (or that my friends tell me I have to read if I call myself a lover of classics), so now instead of just saying I will read them someday I put up a deadline.

But no pressure - 2014 is still young.

If you want to participate in the challenge you can still sign up until February 28. at this blog.

My list:

  1.  A 20th Century Classic   - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  2. A 19th Century Classic   - Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens  
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  4. A Classic in Translation -Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  5. A Classic About War  - War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You - Vanity Fair by William Makepiece Thackeray
Optional Categories:
  1. An American Classic - Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
  2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller - The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. A Historical Fiction Classic
  4. A Classic That's Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series.  
  5. Extra Fun Category:  Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4.  

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Literary quote of the week

"She's got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need."
The adventures of Sally - P.G. Wodehouse

I've actually never read this particular story, but I feel this quote completely captures the Wodehouse spirit - and at the same time it pretty much sums up the intellectual powers of most of his heroes. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Best music in period dramas

It is no secret many period dramas contain a lot of very beautiful music. Thus when I started outlining this post, I realised, I couldn't possibly have it all in just one post. As a result this post in purely dedicated to adaptions of Jane Austen's works.

Sense & Sensibility (1995)
Well - where to start. All the music in this movie is so beautiful, but I have to say my definite favourite is this one:

 My fathers favourite

I don't know exactly why, but that piece just touches something in me. And it fits so beautifully into the scene, where it's played. And some of it is played by a single piano - so I can play it myself.

I also love the songs Marianne sings in the movie. The lyrics were actually real poems from the time period, that the composer made music for. You can hear them here and here.
Another favourite is the piece Combe Magna which is very dramatic - and I have a weakness for dramatic music.

Pride & Prejudice (1995)
This is a completely different style of music. Where the above mentioned are more grand orchestral pieces, the ones in this series are more simple - but still brilliant.

Of course there is always the intro theme, which is almost iconic for any lover of this series.
I don't think I have one single piece that I like above the others, for they are so varied so I often shift between which ones I like the best. Though a piece I really love at the time is the Pemberley theme - it is just so beautiful and builds up to such a beautiful climax.

Other than that is worth mentioning Double wedding (a nice reprise of the general theme), Canon Collins (the style just fits the character so well) and Lydia's Wedding (again - a dramatic piece)

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
When I first listened to the soundtrack of this movie, what struck me the most was that almost all the pieces were played at the piano, and i truly admired the incredibly talented pianist.
I always think it gives a certain beauty when music is very simple, it often underlines the mood of a scene much better.
In this one my absolute favourite is Liz on top of the world. It just has such a dreamy feeling to it.

But again the movie is filled with gorgeous music. Just take Dawn, Georgiana, Leaving Netherfield and Credits to mention a few.

Emma (2009)
The last period drama to feature in this post and also the newest one. I simply love all the music in this series. Though most of it serves best as background music to subconsciously better the mood, there are one or two pieces that stand out in particular.
The Last Dance is one of them:

It takes the theme used many times throughout the series and turns it into this sweet dance melody, which coincidentally is also used in one of the best scenes of the entire series.
The other dance The Ships Cook is also a favourite of mine.
But otherwise, pieces like Emma Woodhouse is borne and Mr Knightley's walk are great for when you wanna listen to something beautiful, but don't want the music to distract you too much.

So that was some of my favourite soundtrack music. I have a lot more, but I will save it for later posts. Do you have some favourites in the movies of this post, that i have forgotten to mention?

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Quote of the week

In lack of inspirational quotes from the book I am currently reading, I give you instead my favourite Shakespeare sonnet (anyone care to guess where I know it from?)

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
     If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved."
  Sonnet 116 - William Shakespeare

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Quote of the week

"He felt her there, he saw her without opening his eyes, her hair burnt by chemicals to a brittle straw, her eyes with a kind of cataract unseen but suspect far behind the pupils, the reddened pouting lips, the body as thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon."
                                  Fahrenheit 451  - Ray Bradbury

This week's quote definitely covers the category - weird.
I think it is a study in disturbing metaphors.
I mean which author would ever think:  
I need to convey to the reader that she is pale, but how? Oh, I know, I'll compare her to bacon. Everybody loves bacon.
If his intent was to have me rereading the paragraph several times just to be sure I had got it right - then I guess he succeeded.  

On a completely different subject:

Coming up on this blog:

Period dramas and music

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