Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Down time

Work is stressful. Any thoughts I may have to blog about, are probably not safe subjects. So for now, I am having some down time - not because I'm lazy, but because I need to.
I can't tell yet how long this hiatus will be, but in the interim I'll be trying to channel my writing into my current project, "Turned."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Random Memes - thanks Courtney!

I’m supposed to take the fourth picture from the fourth album in my pictures folder and post it - random, just the way I like it!

Ooooh, it's a good one, too. I don't have four albums up on Flickr yet (just got it recently) so I went to Facebook.

Mmmm cake! This photo was taken by my husband of only a few hours. We were waiting in the airport for our flight to San Francisco to begin our honeymoon! I barely got to eat at our reception so I had the catering staff pack me a little box of sandwiches and a little box of cake. And I was still wearing the dress I'd changed into mid-reception, with my tiara but no veil, which caused people to ask what I was all dressed up for. Ohhh my goodness, the cake was tasty. A friend made it for us; raspberry with vanilla cake was the layer you can see, and chocolate with hazelnut was the other. It was gorgeous, too.


Then, according to Courtney and Toni, I should grab the book nearest to me (which unfortunately I haven't started yet; I grabbed it from the lending library) and go to page 56. Then type the fifth line and the next two to five lines that follow.

OK, so this one is called A Perfect Match by Patricia Veryan - it's a Regency romance - because I need something light to take to the beach. Yes, beach. I know it's February  but I'm in Australia. Hmm. Well, this could present a problem. This particular copy seems to have its pages out of order. So I will choose a page at random, since I can't find 56 in its rightful place. Here we go, page 46.
"She kept her eyes downcast, her heart thumping so violently it was all she could do not to betray herself. How smug he sounded, doubtless gloating over how he had, as Lady Branden said, 'gulled' his trusting nephew!"


And in case you haven't seen it yet, here is a reposting of the 25 Random Things meme that's been flooding Facebook. Just to keep things interesting, I'll change a couple things...

1. I make really awesome banana walnut chocolate chip loaf.
2. Our grandparents let Pam and I drink coffee when we were young. I still don't know if it was decaf or not.
3. I am a game snob - but really good games like LocoRoco, Ico, and LittleBigPlanet have managed to hold my attention.
4. I always wanted to be a figure skater, so I started ballroom dance in university and hoped I would love it - I do, but I need more time and money to practice.
5. I've never tried Red Bull or any other energy drink.
6. I kept rose petals from my first boyfriend until I got married.
7. It's been my dream to be a writer since I was very small, but I'm not sure I have the drive to do it right now.
8. I was accused of plaigirism at age 10.
9. I have seven email accounts.
10. Except for one haircolour-in-a-box no one noticed, I didn't dye my hair until I was 26.
11. I read The Hobbit for the first time in grade 7 - it was supposed to be something I read aloud with my dad, but he couldn't keep up with the weird names and all the characters, so I finished it on my own.
12. My Gramma used to knit sweaters when I was small, often matching ones for me & Pam - my favourite was either a turquoise one with a fuzzy angora panda, or one with a dinosaur that had stegosaurus spikes that stuck out.
13. Sometimes I get the urge to straighten racks or t-shirt piles in a store - and I haven't worked in clothing retail since 2003.
14. I always thought I'd be better at being on time when I was older. Sigh...I've improved (!) but I'm forever keeping people waiting.
15. I used to hoard my Halloween candy for months.
16. My favourite thing to eat is breakfast, particularly Eggs Benedict - but I rarely get up early enough to eat breakfast, so I am constantly at odds with my favourite meal of the day.
17. You can barely tell I've read a new book because I don't crack the binding or fold the pages or leave it open upside-down.
18. Laughing at peoples' mullets is one of the great, small joys of my life.
19. The Crazy Kitchen at the museum in Ottawa is stuck in my childhood memories as one of the best things ever.
20. I've traveled by plane on three holidays in my life: New Years Eve, Canada Day, and Christmas Eve.
21. I love my MacBook, possibly even more now that it's been through a tea-spillage disaster and survived - I've had its thermal paste replaced so the fan would run properly.
22. I couldn't begin to guess how many times I've seen The Princess Bride.
23. I was on the JV soccer team for one year in high school.
24. It scares me a little that I usually know what Jody means, even when he says something that doesn't come out right.
25. Three months is the longest I've ever been apart from my sister, until now.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Persuasion, or, How to Converse with your Ex

I am slowly reading Jane Austen's Persuasion in the evenings that I have more than ten minutes of quiet time – so I am reading very slowly. But it is nice to reread something I once rushed; to be able to page through Austen's prose at leisure is marvellous.

Had I been reading hastily, I would have missed this part at the outset of chapter eight, and it's wonderfully sad and thought-provoking.

(Captain Wentworth, spurned suitor of Anne Elliot, has returned rich and successful after eight years at sea... and the two are bound to move in the same circles. The awkwardness of the initial meeting has passed, but how will they respond to one another now? They're both still single, but no one's willing to simply start over...)

They had no conversation together, no intercourse but what the commonest civility required. Once so much to each other! Now nothing! There had been a time, when of all the large party now filling the drawing room at Uppercross, they would have found it most difficult to cease to speak to one another. With the exception, perhaps, of Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy (Anne could allow no other exception even among the married couples) there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.

Austen was fond of leaning into the story from the female's point of view, and Persuasion is no exception. Anne, still at home and subject to the whims and whines of her family, is deeply embarrassed that no one can forget how she rejected the Captain...particularly as it was those she considered close to her that persuaded her to do so. We've heard very little of Wentworth's take this early in the novel. Anne has put off her first reunion with the Captain as long as she is able, but now that they've seen each other again – and she still “heard the same voice, and discerned the same mind.” He's grown more sophisticated, but this makes their acquaintance even harder to bear.

Now we see Anne obsessing over how they will be viewed by others in their close-knit society. She is already comparing what she remembers of her relationship with Captain Wentworth, to those of the couples around her. With the rarity of platonic relationships between men and women, it's no wonder she sees only two possibilities: that they will remain estranged but continue to attend the same social events, or that they will again find themselves questioning the possibility of marriage. As Anne cannot see the latter happening, she settles for the former. It would certainly be settling... except that Anne is unable to let go of what she saw in him all those years ago, because he is now everything he was and more—and it's already testing her grip on convention.

To be perpetually estranged! How hopeless. I can just imagine Anne on one side of the drawing room, seeing “her” Captain interact with others in his charming way, and being unable to contribute to the conversations as she used to. To feel bound to distance herself from him, because she was the one who did the rejecting... To be sure, perpetual estrangement would be far less bearable than open disdain. To others who witness their interactions, their conversation would seem quite acceptable – but to Anne, who remembers what they once were to each other and how their discourse was far more than the polite and measured discussions held by many of their acquaintances! It would be heartbreaking to acknowledge, even privately, that she was no longer someone whom he could share his thoughts with. To have their estrangement so publicly displayed, without comment, without any sympathy or even scorn, must be tearing Anne's confidence to pieces.

I wonder what might persuade her to forgive herself for rejecting the Captain? Moreover, to forgive herself for following the urgings of her friends and family regarding her dismissal of his suit, thus denying her own feelings?

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