Friday, September 30

A Human Stew

Reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, I'm so enjoying his little frequent comic reliefs.  They're so tasteful, and so unusual and fresh that they unfailingly surprise me when they pop up.  Here are two of my favourites, (both from Part Two: A Golden Thread, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, published 1859.)  The first is referring to the dingy, traditional old bank of Tellson's, and the second, the crowds in the court after a disappointing treason trial. 

Cramped in all kinds of dim cupboards and hutches at Tellson's, the oldest of men carried on the business gravely.  When they took a young man into Tellson's London house, they hid him somewhere till he was old.  They kept him in a dark place, like a cheese, until he had the full Tellson flavour and blue-mould upon him.  Then only was he permitted to be seen , spectacularly poring over large books, and casting his breeches and gaiters into the general weight of the establishment. 

From the dimly-lighted passages of the court, the last sediment of the human stew that had been boiling there all day was straining off...
Where does he come up with such ideas?  I love these metaphors!  My almost complete inability to come up with a clever one makes these analogies such much more incredible.   

Tuesday, September 27

Wandering in a Woody Allen World

I was just thinking before about my affectionate romance with Woody Allen movies, and I feel I might have finally pinpointed the exact reason why I love them so.


This is the first minute and forty-one seconds of Woody Allen's arguable best loved movie, Annie HallAnnie Hall is also the one movie that I wish I could watch again for the first time, and enjoy every line and drop of wit completely new and fresh. 

But I think that it's obvious that Woody Allen movies are full to bursting with dry humour, wit in the best sense of the word, and perfectly worded lines.  I watch them in a state of enchantment.  I aspire to be witty, and capable of expressing myself just as strongly as I need to with just the right words.  And Woody Allen films present this fantasy to me - I am lost in dialogue; lines scripted and acted to such perfection that it becomes nature.  It flows and ceases to be fiction to me, but rather a world in which words pour out in perfect sequence, perfect timing, with just the right sparkling of wit, and aimed at people who can retaliate with an equal passion of language. 

There is no need to burst my bubble with a line like "it's completely scripted - hours worth of writing and editing was put in to word it so perfectly", because I know!  Are you kidding?  Of course.  But I'm past that.  I've fallen into the Woody Allen world where words work properly. 

Monday, September 26

The Most Dangerous Leap-Frogger

His message perplexed his mind to that degree that he was fain, several times, to take off his hat to scratch his head.  Except on the crown, which was raggedly bald, he had stiff, black hair, standing jaggedly all over it, and growing down hill almost to his broad, blunt nose.  It was so like smith's work, so much more like the top of a strongly spiked wall than a head of hair, that the best players of leap-frog might have declined him, as the most dangerous man in the world to go over.

Book One, Chapter 3: The Night Shadows, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, published 1859.

I've always loved Charles Dickens' knack of giving comic relief, but this was a just wonderful.  It was a much needed chuckle.  I have a great respect for any writers who can write anything and still keep a spark of humour on the side.  It must take a lot of effort. 

Sunday, September 25

The Strange Case of Dorian Gray

I sat up last night to read the final chapter of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  I feel that sensation of accomplishment for having read something so famous and so commonly referenced, like I was more 'up-to-date' with what everyone was going on about.  But apart from that, I felt nothing more. 

In a  way, I was disappointed.  I read Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island in 2009, and I really enjoyed that.  That book, by the way, I would recommend all older children to read, because it's a wonderful adventure story full of beautifully invented characters, and acts as a bridge to more mature classic novels.  But I didn't feel interested in or excited about these characters, and never really connected to it.  Perhaps it was my mindset.  My mindset emerges the villain behind many of my earlier opinions on books and authors, but I think that there's a good chance that this just isn't quite the book that it's made out to be. 

I feel as though I should be careful with my choice of words so as not to offend anyone who thinks this book is brilliant, but my feelings were that it is drawn-out without stepping into the territory of being 'deep'.  I couldn't make affinities with the characters, or even decide to particularly like certain ones.  Is it just me?

Here's another thought that I haven't thought to mention, though I probably should have said that long ago.  It's about The Picture of Dorian Gray

Within the first few chapters I experienced a very strong revelation about my growing up - the sudden and frightening realisation that I really am going to get old.  I'd never had that before.  For several days, I carried that realisation around like an injured bird, but eventually it began to heal, and before I was half through the book, I had almost forgotten about it.  I don't really have that full on, heart-gripping revelation anymore, but I am so delighted that Oscar Wilde was able to make me have it in the first place.  It's been a long time since anyone has influenced my private throughts so strongly.  It really is a remarkable book. 

Friday, September 23

Milkshake of Memories

I've been working on my Christmas-present project again today.  I've made a bookmark, drawn a Celtic amulet, found the value of pi to 10,000 places and a put together a long list of oxymorons, which are, by the way, figures of speach which combine contradictory terms, for example deafening silence, half full, and work party.  (There's an exhausting variety of oxymorons.)  It seems that chasing the little things is turning out to be a big job, but I'm enjoying it.  It's nice putting a spoonful of effort into every cupful of quaint and whimsical to mix up a perfect milkshake of memories for my closest friends.  Oh wait!  That just reminded me of my favourite part from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

"A regular course of the Birtwick horse balls would cure almost any viscous horse; these balls," he said, "were made up of patience and gentleness, firmness and petting, one pound of each to be mixed up with half-a-pint of common sense and given to each horse every day."

Isn't it so sweet?  It's something I've never forgotten, because of how much sense it made to me at the time.  Anyhow, this project is most definitely something I'll do again.

Thursday, September 22

My Christmas Present Project

This week I have been organising my holidays away into segments of reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with waxing and waning interest, movie-watching, working, drawing and watercolouring, studying for my driving exam, meeting friends and spending time with my brother, and, most interesting of all, gathering material for an exciting Christmas-present project that I decided to start early so next term's assessment wouldn't get in the way of me finishing it on time. 

I would really like to tell you a little about my Christmas-present project, but obviously, if you expect to be on the receiving end of this project, proceed no further!

For all of my closest friends I have a little oragami box which I am slowly and surely accumulating a collection of items - poems, pictures, song lyrics, chocolates etcetera etcetera - which made me think of them.  It is a very personal and very sweet way of showing them how much I think about them, and it is great fun to put together.  It is probably better to accumulate these things over a year, but as I started only a few months ago, I'm hoping I'll have enough things in each person's box.  In some people's I don't have anything yet, which is beyond concerning!  Anyway, I've written down heaps of the things I've thought of so far, and I'm now gathering them up.  It's a great project. 

Monday, September 19

Oscar's Exuding Ideas

Suddenly the man drew up with a jerk at the top of a dark lane.  Over the low roofs and jagged chimney-stacks of the houses rose the black masts of ships.  Wreaths of white mist clung like ghostly sails to the yards. 

'Somewhere about here, sir, ain't it?' he asked huskily through the trap.

Dorian started and peered round.  'This will do,' he answered, and, having got out hastily, and given the driver the extra fare he had promised him, he walked quickly in the direction of the quay.  Here and there a lantern gleamed at the stern of some huge merchantman.  The light shook and splintered in the puddles.  A red glare came from an outward-bound steamer that was coaling.  The slimy pavement looked like a wet mackintosh. 

Chapter XVI, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published in 1891. 

I really love this passage, not only because of how dangerously atmospheric it is, but because of how full of ideas it is: 
  • The idea of the masts and the white mists like sails in the yards. 
  • The idea of the lantern light splintered in the puddles. 
  • And finally the idea of the pavement looking like a wet mackintosh. 
It's so rich!  It exudes (and 'exude' is really a word to exude from yourself with plenty of theatrical emphasis) atmosphere.  Aren't you there?  I completely am.  Maybe just read these ideas again and this time really pay attention to the images that unconsciously form in your mind with them... 

Sunday, September 18

Twelfth Night

Ah!  It was so fantastic!  Today, as you probably know, I went to the Shakespeare festival in the park, which consisted of the Elizabethan music, and Romeo and Juliet comedy spoof and the full performance of Twelfth Night as portrayed by the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble and directed by Michael Forde.

I was a bit put off at first by the glaring heat and bad vision during Romeo and Juliet, but before Twelfth Night began, we moved up into the very front so we were less than five metres from the stage.  We had our ice tea and M&Ms all ready, and we stretched out our legs, took off our shoes and reapplyed our sunscreen. 

It was absolutely enchanting!  Fully proffessional and brilliantly acted, a story I was previously so unfamiliar with was brought out in all its glory.  The actors were absolutely superb, Feste and Malvolio especially so.  At times I nearly cried with laughter because of how fantastically they portrayed these characters. 

Feste, (played by Sandro Colarelli), was hilarious with his amazingly Looney-Tunes-like Spanish impersonation and his gorgeous performance of the several original songs that dotted the play.

Feste's Song

Feste posing as the priest, Topaz

Then, my other favourite, Malvolio, played by Eugene Gilfedder.  If you haven't read or seen the play, do!  His character is at once so hilarious and pompous, gullible and silly, but endearing for all his act of being the only serious and mature steward in Olivia's service.

Malvolio scolding the drunken Sir Toby, Aguecheek and Fabian

Malvolio reading Maria's letter, written in Olivia's hand as a prank

Malvolio wearing cross-gartered yellow stockings and smiling to please Olivia
Then there was Sir Andrew Aguecheek, (played by Kynan Francis), who I couldn't help thinking looked scarily like Lucas Grabeel as Ryan in High School Musical.  He was hilarious, idiotic and really good at being drunk.

The drunk Aguecheek with Feste
Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch
I also thought I'd add a handful of the better photos to give you a general idea.

The duel between Sir Toby and Antonio
Aguecheek, Sir Toby, Feste and Maria contriving their prank against Malvolio
Feste's closing song with the whole cast
The Bow
We also managed to sneak some photos with the Eugene Gilfedder after the show. 

In case it's of interest, here is the cast list. 

MALVOLIO - Eugene Gilfedder
MARIA - Barbara Lowing
FESTE - Sandro Colarelli
VIOLA - Kathryn Fray
OLIVIA - Anna Mowry
TOBY BELCH - Toss Levi
ORSINO - Michael Sams
SEBASTIAN - Daniel Grey
FABIAN - Tony Brockman
ANTONIO - Vanja Matula
CURIO - Aleathea Monsour

Well, that was an absolutely wonderful performance, and unexpectedly hilarious!  It was well worth every second! 

Saturday, September 17

A Perfect Spring Saturday

Saturday morning is the most beautiful time where I live.  The last couple of Saturdays, I've walked the five minutes into town and soaked up every ray of summery goodness it has to offer - the aromas of sushi stalls, coffee shops and charity sausage sizzles, all buzzing with people.  There are people jogging with their dogs or riding on bikes with their babies behind them, people fluttering in and out of hair-dressers, banks, thrift stores and Woolworth's with their sunglasses balancing on their heads, more like fish ducking in and out of coral than anything else I can think of .  Then the golden-crested cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets are racing past, absolute hooligans, shrieking and carrying on delightedly in the trees, on the road signs. 

This morning I walked down to town, humming 'Land Down Under' to myself.  The ducks and turtles were all out on the lagoon and troups of men were setting up the stage and set for tomorrow's Shakespeare festival.  My first stop was Crazy Clarks for some craft items for the birthday boxes I'm making. 

Then I was on to Woolies, where I was after Ferrero Rocher chocolates to fill the boxes with.  I spent a bit longer than I normally would in there because I ran into someone I  knew and danced for a while to 'I Go to Rio':  when my baby smiles at me I go to Rio... de Janeiro...  I bought myself a chocolate Breaka and went on to the video library.  I grabbed a couple of DVDs for the week and walked down 3rd Avenue to the foreshore. 

The tide was up, and the sea was gorgeously flat and speckled with paddle-boarders.  I met a unicyclist, drank my Breaka and finally got home. 

For lunch, we cooked McCain's oven chips and toasted some fresh bread over the heat before taking it all down to the water.  We climbed trees and ate rainbow Billabong ice blocks before walking home. 

I have since spent my afternoon listening to music while painting the boxes.  I'm nearly finished and pretty chuffed with how lovely they've turned out. 

Really, a spring Saturday where I live is a very beautiful time, and for the first Saturday of my holidays, I think it's been incredibly successful.  I'm hoping that with the festival tomorrow, this  perfect Saturday will grow into a perfect weekend.

I was wondering, what to you would make a day perfect? 

Friday, September 16

Creaky Crickets

I still really don't have anything to say!  It's such a strange sort of sensation for me.  I mean, I do have lots rushing round in my head, but nothing blog-friendly.  Ah.  So instead, I thought I would just mention a little something I thought of while I was laying on my back on the grass in the gathering dusk. 

It was warm although I was wearing my jumper with the hood up over my ears, and the late afternoon cold grass was refreshingly chilled.  I was just staring out into the cloudless, blue sky, thinking to myself, when I noticed the insect noises.  It wasn't a cricket, despite the title I decided to give this post.  I'm not quite sure what it was, but there were two, one on either side of my head, having a casual conversation. 

The little noise they made is best described as being like the soft, high creak of a door or a step at midnight, and it was just so sweet and unassuming that it made me smile.

That's really all I can think of to say, but it was a nice little smile for my day. 

Thursday, September 15

Much Ado About Nothing

I feel kind of bad for not blogging the last two days, but I really haven't been able to think of anything worth blogging about.  If I'd talked, it would have been much ado about nothing.  I still feel a bit the same, today, but I thought it would be better to tell you about my plans for the weekend. 

Every so often, 4mbs, the classical FM station, holds a Shakespeare in the park day.  The last one was in 2009, and a theatre troupe performed Romeo and Juliet beautifully in a completely outdoor stage and set setup in the middle of the park.  This Sunday, they are performing Twelfth Night, preceded by an hour long comedy spoof of Romeo and Juliet and an hour of Elizabethan music and entertainment. 

I'm making an outing of it, inviting some of my friends from nearby to come and enjoy the day and a picnic lunch.  We'll bring an umbrella and a picnic rug and walk across to road to buy some cold drinks, sandwich ingredients, and lollies for the performances.  I'm so looking forward to it! 

Picture of performance from 4mbs website:

Monday, September 12

Victoria the Vague

She laughed nervously as she spoke, and watched him with her vague forget-me-not eyes.  She was a curious woman, whose dresses always looked as if they had been designed in a rage and put on in a tempest.  She was usually in love with somebody, and, as her passion was never returned, she had kept all her illusions.  She tried to look picturesque, but only succeeded in being untidy.  Her name was Victoria, and she had a perfect mania for going to church. 
Chapter IV, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde published in 1891. 

Everything about this paragraph is wonderful.  It is such a beautifully written description of Victoria, making her seem all at once flurried and hurried and exciting, at the same time as very simple and absurd.  I love this paragraph so much because it just seems to me to be such a triumph of a character description.  It makes me happy to have met her acquaintance. 

Sunday, September 11

Sibyl's Prince

Sibyl Vane tossed her head and laughed.  "We don't want him any more, mother.  Prince Charming rules life for us now."  Then she paused.  A rose shook in her blood, and shadowed her cheeks.  Quick breath parted the petals of her lips.  They trembled.  Some southern wind of passion swept over er, and stirred the dainty folds of her dress.  "I love him," she said simply.

"Foolish child! foolish child!" was the parrot-phrase flung in answer.  The waving of crooked, false-jewelled fingers gave grotesqueness to the words. 

The girl laughed again.  The joy of a caged bird was in her voice.  Her eyes caught the melody, and echoed it in radiance: then closed for a moment, as though to hide their secret.  When they opened, the mist of a dream had passed across them. 
Chapter V, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published 1891. 

There are so many lovely little delights in this passage.  There's something very wild and innocent and fresh and free (just to throw a ton of adjectives into the wind for you to pick and choose from), about Sibyl and I'm beginning to love that.  (Even though I can't get past the connotation of Sibyl and Basil from Fawlty Towers, which annoys me a little.)

I haven't been able to stop thinking about what you said, Tangled-up-in-Blue, about wanting to experience it for the very first time all over again.  I think that when I've finished reading this, I will feel exactly the same, because all the little thrills are just so exciting as they pop up completely new.  I'm loving this book.

Friday, September 9

An Enchanting Elopement

I am beginning to fall in love.  Oscar Wilde is such a gorgeous writer!  It's exactly what you've all been saying all along!  He is constantly enchanting, with munificent scatterings of gold dust on every page.  I start to read and before I've been at it longer than a minute, I'm so absorbed that it's a pain to break away when I'm called down to earth.  He shocks me with one or two-liners like these (I underlined the phrase that made me laugh):
His own neighbour was Mrs Vandeleur, one of his aunt's oldest friends, a perfect saint amongst women, but so dreadfully dowdy that she reminded one of a badly bound hymn-book.
"They say that when good Americans die they go to Paris," chuckled Sir Thomas, who had a large wardrobe of Humour's cast-off clothes
He played with the idea, and grew wilful; tossed it into the air and transformed it; let it escape and recaptured it; make it iridescent with fancy, and winged with paradox.
All three excerpts are from Chapter III of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published in 1891. 
He is absolutely wonderful!  This is turning out to be a real adventure, an enchanting elopement.  In the words of Mrs Dalloway, "what a lark!"

Thursday, September 8

Bric-a-Brac Brain

"...As a rule, he is charming to me, and we sit in the studio and talk of a thousand things.  Now and then, however, he is horribly thoughtless, and seems to take a real delight in giving me pain.  Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to some one who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, and ornament for a summer's day."

"Days in summer, Basil, are apt to liner,' murmured Lord Henry.  "Perhaps you will tire sooner than he will.  It is a sad thing to think of, but there is not doubt that Genius lasts longer Beauty.  That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.  In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.  The thoroughly well-informed man - that is the modern ideal.  And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing.  It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.  I think you will tire first, all the same. 
Chapter One, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, published 1891. 

I have really only just started reading this, but I'm enjoying it immensely so far.  It almost has a Dickensian sort of zest, but then I haven't read from Oscar Wilde before, so maybe that's just how he always is.  It's very beautifully written and so simple and enchanting to read that it's hard to pull myself away once I begin. 

I wanted to pull this passage out because it contains two of my favourite little bits so far.  Firstly, I love how Harry responds to Basil's observation with the slightly cryptic but all wonderful and charming affirmation, "Days in summer, Basil, are apt to linger."  It's a sweet encouragement that continues with Basil's simile.  I really loved it. 

The second part was the lines, "And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing.  It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value."  It's such a lovely thought, regardless of meaning, thought provoking and very new. 

I can tell already that I'm really going to enjoy this book!

Wednesday, September 7

Running Out of Time

The final response to the Extraordinarily Ordinary challenge is from The Many Colours of Happiness.  It's very beautiful and when I read it out aloud to my mum both of us were rapt in smiles. 

If I were to describe her, I would say this: Time means everything to her. Were I to describe her in any other way, to include other aspects of her person that I may have noticed, such as the way she looks, the way that she dresses, or her likes and dislikes; would be to cheapen the description. To change her through words into someone that she is not.
Time is her core; everything else is filler, something for the world to see. A show, a charade. No, the only thing that really exists in her world is time.
I often wonder if her obsession with time or the clock came first. I wonder if she began lugging it around for a dare, then continued taking it around after the dare was over, half for comfort and half as a joke. Until the years had passed and it became as necessary to her as breathing.
But her love for time probably came first. She began with watches, then alarm clocks, until she found the perfect companion. Her clock is large, one that you would hang on your wall in the living room. She has a little space for it in the cardboard box she carries everywhere. A nice little nest made up of blankets and old sweaters. She lives and breathes according to that clock.
She is always early, sitting silently and waiting alone for the rest of the world to catch up. Once she walked out halfway through a meeting she was running because the clock hands had reached four, and that was when it was scheduled to finish.
People found it odd. I did at the time. But now I think it noble. We are always changing, evolving, liking things that we once hated and hating things that we once loved. Not her. She is inflexible. Life to her is set in stone. And by god she believes in that clock with a rock-solid passion that so few of us ever find.
Yes, if I were to describe her, I would say this: Time means everything to her.
(N.B. The Many Colours of Happiness reserves all rights to this work of fiction.)

It's very whimsical and thought-provoking isn't it?  Poignant is probably a good word for it.  Thankyou for sharing it! 

Well, that's the end of the Extraordinarily Ordinary challenge, but for now, you can still go and read the responses.  The list is down the right-hand side. 

Eh bien, on a completely different note altogether, today was very interesting.  It was the school captain interviews.  I think I either did amazingly or blew it big time.  It's actually very difficult to tell.  (One of my fellow-candidates and good friend became catatonic afterwards.)  On the good...ish side, everyone's singing my school captain speech song (the one I did on ukelele).  Someone told me that they have it on their USB.  That they showed their family.  That everyone in their family knows it off by heart.  Wow.  It's half horrifying and half awesome.  I honestly just can't wait for it to be over! 

On a completely different completely different note altogether, The Picture of Dorian Gray came today and I rushed down and swooped it up.  I haven't started yet because I've been shovelling modern history notes down my gullet in preparation for my essay-writing exam tomorrow, but maybe tonight before I go to bed.  I'm so excited!

Tuesday, September 6

A Fleeting Tender Moment

"You once like me, didn't you?" he asked.

"Liked you - I loved you.  You could've had anybody you wanted for the asking-"

"There has always been something between you and me." 

She bit eagerly.  "Has there, Dick?"

"Always - I knew you troubled and how brave you were about them."  But the old interior laughter had begun inside him and he knew he couldn't keep it up much longer.

"I always  though you knew a lot," Mary said enthusiastically.  "More about me than any one has ever known.  Perhaps that's why I was afraid of you when we didn't get along so well."

His glance fell soft and kind upon hers, suggesting and emotion underneath; their glances married suddenly, bedded, strained together.  Then, as the laughter inside of him became so loud that it seemed as if Mary must hear it, Dick switched off the light and they were back in the Riviera sun. 

Part III, Chapter XII, Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fizgerald published 1934. 

This little moment of awkward intimacy in a glance is so life like and beautifully put.  Do you think so?  It's on the second last page of the book - a last second of almost romance to thrive on.  But however tender the night was, morning has arrived and a fresh new day awaits.  That was so cheesy that I had to add it. 

Now I'm just waiting for The Picture of Dorian Gray.  I'm even more excited than I was before after everyone's been saying how much I'm going to enjoy it and what a great book it is.  Does that mean you'll have some of your own favourite bits to share from it? 

By the way, our Extraordinarily Ordinary challenge ends tomorrow afternoon.  We'll start a new challenge almost immediately if you like, and we'll try and get into the habit of having something interesting to read or write about as often as possible.  It's good fun for me too.  Oh, and just as I'm finishing, the interviews for the shortlisted school captain candidates are being held tomorrow! 

Monday, September 5

Making Friends

First of all, I would like to wish a very warm welcome to our newest friend, Amy!  Amy, I'm sincerely looking forward to having you along.  I hope that you'll have time to share your favourite things, books, authors, passages, movies etcetera etcetera, and that you'll enjoy listening to my sometimes pointless rambles.  

Now, we have our second response to the Extraordinarily Ordinary challenge.  Tangled-up-in-Blue has posted her response, with the aim in mind of making the extraordinary ordinary.  It's only short but I'm sure you'll find it packs it's punch of wit and cuteness.  Here it is:

'The world's last genie's lamp was discovered accidentally by a crocodile who brushed past it one summer's morning while prowling the depths of a watering-hole in Kenya.
This was why the world's last burst of magic raised no eyebrows; only a few biologists noticed when the local gazelles suddenly became plumper, slower, and much, much thirstier.'
(N.B. Tangled-up-in-Blue reserves all the rights to this work of fiction.) 
It forced a giggle from me this morning, so I'd like to thank you very much for sharing it.  Please, everyone else, don' be shy.  You have until Wednesday to respond to the challenge, write at least a paragraph that either makes something ordinary extraordinary or something extraordinary ordinary
On a completely different note, I'm pleased to announce I have only one one piece of assessment left for this term, and then I'm a free thing.  I know what I'm doing these holidays.  As you probably saw down the side, I've updated the list of books I want to read and I can't wait to get stuck into them.  Fifteen pages of Tender is the Night left to go, and I plan on nibbling them up tonight and digesting them slowly in my sleep.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'd like to go straight on from that to The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which I'm sure many of you will be pleased to hear since I've had some strong recommendations in the past.  I think it'll be a well deserved break from the usual and a really interesting experience.  Can't wait!

Sunday, September 4

My Response to the Challenge

Our challenge at the moment is to write at least one paragraph that either makes something ordinary extraordinary or something extraordinary ordinary.  I've given you until Wednesday to write something, but we might renegotiate time frames if people find it hard to meet them.  When you've written something, feel free to share it in a comment and I'll post it up for you.  I'll put people's responses in a list of links down the side for you to read.  Remember, this is just a starting place for future challenges and for now, there is no competition, though perhaps I'll think about having a prize to the best-loved response when we do challenges later on, but of course it will all depend on the level of participation.  For now, it's probably just a few of us having a go at some writing activities. 

This is my response to the challenge. 


When the ceiling began to leak, they used every cup, bowl, pot, pan, jug. and vase they could find to catch the drips in.  That is, every cup, bowl, pat, pan, jug, and vase they could find except for grandsma's white and blue bone china teacup. 

There was certainly something sacred about her teacup.  There was never any discussion.  Even when every thing else was used up, nobody considered for a moment using that particular teacup.  There was an unspoken agreement, heavy like an ancient and venerated charm in the air.  Grandma has always taken tea in that cup. 

To use Grandma's teacup would have been much the same as eating out of her majesty, the Queen's own crown.  It needed no discussion.  They knew without speaking, nearly without thinking, that it was wrong.  Just the same as respecting royalty, Grandma's white and blue bone china teacup was sacred.  So the drips continues to tinkle hour after hour like fairy chimes into every last cup, bowl, pot, pan, jug, and vase they could find. 

Perhaps I could have made that ordinary thing a little bit more extraordinary, but I'm still satisfied with this little short story.  Hope you enjoy it and that you get time to write a response to the challenge, too.

Saturday, September 3

Challenge -The Extraordinary Ordinary

Hello.  I've been trying to study for my maths and ancient history exams on Monday for the last four or so hours but it's been drainingly boring.  My ancient history excursion to the archealogical dig at the Abbey Museum at Caboolture yesterday was fantastic fun and much more hands on and physical than I expected.  Naturally yesterday afternoon I was too tired to do anything except curl up with Dad in front of The Fellowship of the Ring.  (I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed it the second time.  I never used to be a fan, but I thought it was absolutely brilliant watching it the second time with someone who it was also significant to.)

Anyway, I'm cheered by the response you've given me on my suggestion of a challenge.  Would you like a writing challenge then?  There was this one challenge that my mum gave me a while back that I really enjoyed, and it might be a good place for us to start:

Write at least a paragraph that makes something ordinary extraordinary or otherwise something extraordinary ordinary. 

There's a quote that's very relevant but I can't find it anywhere so we'll just do without.  But for starters, I think this gives you plenty of freedom.  How about you have until Wednesday to write it, and then if you like you could share it with us in a comment and I'll put it up, if you are OK with that.  I'll have mine up too.  Good luck!

Thursday, September 1

I Challenge You

Pinch and a punch for the first of the month. 

I was thinking just now that we haen't had a challenge in a while, which has been due to the fact that last time I tried to hold a challenge, nobody save Manycoloursofhappiness participated.  Poor effort.  But now that we have the wonderful Tangled-up-in-Blue as an ally, maybe a challenge wouldn't be wasted.  What would you like the challenge to be?  I have a couple of ideas but I'm sure you have better ones.  If participation was good enough, we could constantly have a challenge running.  I would be good fun and maybe encourage some of the quieter followers to get up and at 'em. 

So what sort of challenge would you like?

A reading challenge?

A writing challenge?

A _______  passage?  e.g. most romantic, most evocative, saddest...

Have a think.