Friday, August 28, 2015

What do you know, I've been tagged again!



     Hello friends! Well, it appears I've been tagged again with the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by this nice girl named Naomi (anybody know her?) Now, I don't like to do tags too often because they distract me from all the other awesome and fabulous posts I want to write for y'all, but I've got to do this one because the questions look like such fun. :-) Plus, this Naomi girl is very nice and always comments on my posts. Hmm. I'd like to get to know her better.

     (HAHAHAHAHA.)

     So. There are rules for these things, so here they are:



  • thank the blogger who nominated you (I think I did that -- yes, I did.)
  • put the award logo on your blog (check!)
  • answer the ten questions set to you (in due time)
  • make up ten questions for your nominees to answer
  • nominate ten other bloggers 

1. Describe your eyes, please.

     Well, since you said please. Right now, with seasonal allergies running rampant, my eyes are very pink and runny....y'all ever seen that Christy episode where Becky O'Teale has trachoma? Yeah, that's what my eyes look like right now.

     BUT usually they're very pretty. :-) I think my eyes are my best feature, actually. They're dark brown and shiny with little stars in them. (No, really.) They look a lot like Robert Lindsay's eyes:


     We also have the same nose. My sister says I just plain look like Robert Lindsay, period. Except I don't have that cool scar on my forehead.


2. What's the last thing you bought? (And food doesn't count.)

      *thinking*....Probably the stack of books I bought at a library sale a couple weeks ago. Among them were Rebecca, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, and Betsy-Tacy (which I already read and it was abso-tootly ADORABLE.) I love booksales. :-)


3. Do you keep a diary? (And do you let people read it, or is it filled with dark secrets?)

     I do keep a diary...sort of. That is, I keep a notebook in which I write down any and every little thing that comes to my mind that requires writing down (which is basically a diary, haha.) I don't call it a diary, I just call it a notebook.

     Do I let people read it? Um, NO. I doubt anyone would want to! It's not filled with dark secrets. It has some secrets, yes. But mostly it just has pages and pages of ramblings about my novels, my feelings, my life. I also write down things that I've heard people say that I thought were funny or interesting. 


4. If you could choose, have pink hair for a week, or have one encounter with Blandois from 'Little Dorrit' in the night on a lonely road? (For those of you who haven't read or seen Little Dorrit, Blandois is this horrible murderer who turns blood into ice. (not literally.))

     AHHHH!!! Well, I should absolutely hate to have pink hair...but that would be better than getting murdered, which is what could happen if I ran into Blandois! So, I'll take the pink hair, thanks. Just promise me it washes out after a week, okay?!


5. What do you imagine I look like? (I'm curious.)

     Well, I KNOW what you look like! *tee-hee* "But if you'll let me tell you what I IMAGINE you look like, I think you'll find it a lot more interesting." :-D

You have brown hair, of course. It's long and very frizzy and curls around your face like you've been running a long time in the wind, even when you haven't. You're not very tall, but not very short. You have two eyes (most people do, after all :-)) the color of faded moss. Your skin is light and peachy, rosy and happy, and you're almost allllways smiling because you have so much to be glad about. You talk very fast, and sometimes you trip over words (which is adorable in person, but sometimes hard to understand over a long-distance telephone call) because you have lots to say and you're enthusiastic about what you're saying. You look like the kind of girl who loves to love things, and you "look like a girl who feels beautiful."

     Folks, that's what Naomi looks like.

  
6. Did you ever believe in Santa Claus?

     Flat-out NO. Never did. I was a very clever child, I was. In preschool I got in trouble for telling another little girl that Santa Claus didn't exist. 

7. When do you allow yourself to start listening to Christmas songs?

     Usually the VERY TAIL END of November. I am not one of those nuts who likes to start listening to Christmas music in September. Nope. I LOVE Christmas, but I'm in no hurry for it to get here! I want my fall first.


8. Do you have a pair of pink shoes? (Because I think I want them.)

     I don't! All my shoes are either brown or black, come to think of it. I'm a very dull dresser, I guess. I don't have many things that are pink.


9. When you say the word 'brother' in a British accent, do you end up saying 'brotha' or 'brother'? (Because often when people try out British accents, they make the mistake of doing the latter.)

     *tries it out first*

     Okay, it sounds more like 'brotha'. Unless I'm doing a working-class, cockney English accent, in which case it comes out more like 'bro-ther.' I don't know. I try.


10. Which literary character can you mimic the best?

     Well, I do a pretty good interpretation of the monstrous Elkanah Bent from the North and South trilogy. ("I have extraordinary leadership abilities!") *ahem* I can also do Mr. Smallweed from Bleak House pretty well. ("Put me down and shake me up!") I try to do Woodrow Call from Lonesome Dove in Tommy Lee Jones' voice, but I just can't. "It ain't against the law for you to work, Augustus." See, it doesn't work.



  Now's the part where I nominate ten bloggers....which I thought about doing, but then I decided that since I already did this award once and nominated ten girls, I don't really have to this time. Plus, it might be time for this particular tag to stop circling around my same group of friends. ;-P 

    

      ...On another note, today is Tasha Tudor's 100th birthday!!! Tasha Tudor has been one of my very favorite people since I was just a wee thing. I love her stories, and her lifestyle has always been such an inspiration to me. I want to be like her. :-) I was desperately wishing I could go to the Tasha Tudor museum in Vermont for the centenary celebration this year, but alas, it wasn't to be. :-( So I will be celebrating at home with a cup of tea and a cat and a storybook.


     And since this post is already a conglomeration of a bunch of random things that don't necessarily have anything to do with each other, I will leave you with this fun video that's been making me laugh for days. :-)




Monday, August 24, 2015

To any fellow redneck farmers out there...

   Just a little silly something to brighten your day. :-D


  If this doesn't make you smile, then I'm afraid there's not much I can do for you.

Friday, August 21, 2015

"I have about seventy-five other things to do and the Missouri Compromise to straighten out."


     {If you know what book that quote is from, you officially have my stamp of awesomeness. If you don't you can ask me and I'll tell you it's from The Devil and Daniel Webster, which you must read if you want to call yourself an American.}

     I like doing things. I like being productive, keeping myself busy, and feeling like I've accomplished a lot. It makes me happy, and I feel like I've done something useful I can be proud of.

     But in the last year, I've noticed something; more and more, I seem to be developing a sort of obsession with getting as much done in one day as possible. Now, that can be a good thing -- I think it's good to have ambition and energy and be driven to accomplish things. I would hate to sit around and be lazy all day (well, unless I was reading a super good book...but then, I don't consider that doing nothing). When people aren't occupied with good things to do, they often get in trouble. Boredom is not healthy. I think you should have goals, and ambitions, and you should work towards them. Because, really, work makes a person feel good more than doing nothing.

    The bad thing is, I often fall into the trap of measuring myself and my worth by how much I can do.


     Every day, there are so many things I want to accomplish. I want to get up early and hit the floor running. I want to read that book, I want to write that blog post, clean that room, go to that place, make that, do this....Sometimes I drive myself crazy by trying to cram all this stuff into a single day, keeping track of how much time I spend doing one thing, planning what I'm going to do next. And when I don't get it all done, I'm disappointed with myself. Truthfully, sometimes I feel like a failure.

     I've had that feeling more and more lately. The reason being, it's late August, and (among other things) that means it's Allergy Season. I've had horrid seasonal for about as far back as my memory reaches, and every year it's the same; I pretty much feel awful for about three weeks straight. It saps the energy right out of me and makes every little task that much harder to do, which makes me feel like even more of a dismal failure for not being as productive as I should.

     I think most of us have struggled, at least sometimes, with that feeling. Our human nature makes us want to work to feel 'good enough'. We want to feel good about ourselves and what we've done or can do. We measure our worth in so many different ways, and we expect way too much of ourselves.

     I do this a lot, actually. I have expectations way too big for my own capabilities. I try and I try and I try some more, but it's no use. I don't make the cut, and I continually disappoint myself.

     Here's the thing: I will never do everything I want to do on my own. If I keep on trying with this attitude, I will always disappoint myself! It's like trying to sweep a floor when people keep tracking dirt across it. Not gonna happen. That's because I'm measuring my worth in my own silly human way. God has a very different way of looking at it. He doesn't measure me by how fast I can tear through I to-do list. He knows my true worth, what I can't even see, and He loves me regardless of whether or not I did this or that. Yes, He loves me even when my nose is running like a drainage pipe and my eyes are all puffy and red. He loves me when I sleep in until nine o'clock. He loves me when I get so discouraged I start crying. He loves me when I look terrible, sound terrible, and feel terrible.


     Like I said, I think it's good to have goals. I am all for being productive. BUT I'm learning that this is not all that matters. I'm learning to not have unrealistically high expectations of myself. I'm learning that my true worth is found in my Lord, not in how many words I wrote today or how many beans I picked. Will I still try to do a good day's work? Of course! But if I can't do everything, I won't beat myself up over it. I'll simply do the best I know how. I'll pray for strength and guidance, and I'll try to find the beauty and joy in each day. I'll make a conscious and honest effort to take what comes to me with as much grace and pluck as I can.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Goodbye, S'more



     You were a fine rabbit, a good friend and companion. We had you for ten years! That's longer than any other bunny. You were always so attentive to all the other bunnies, caring for them, being a shoulder to lean on. Your ears never could decide if they wanted to stick up straight or flop around. You waited patiently while we clipped your toenails, you took everything in stride, you never tried to escape from the pen (well, maybe a few times,) you made friends with every bunny you met. You did tip your food dish over once in a while, but I never met a bunny who didn't do that. :-)

     I was with you when you took your last breath. I buried you out in the cornfield, under the dry dirt. Next spring we'll plant corn over you. I think you'd have wanted to be there, close to your home.

     There was never a bunny sweeter than you, and you were loved. You will be missed.

     "We are all travelers in this world. From the sweet grass to the packing house. Birth til death. We travel between the eternities."     ~ Print Ritter

     Goodbye, S'more baby.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The agony & the ecstasy that is Musical Theatre


     Because I really don't talk about musicals enough. Do I?

     I love musicals. Most days, I sing them all day long. (When I'm not singing folk songs or murder ballads, that is. There's rarely a time when I'm not singing anything.) Musical theatre is one of my chief delights. I sing duets from Chess with my sister (and sometimes with myself, if she's not on hand), I re-enact scenes from Little Women while hanging clothes out on the line, I raid the music section at the library for musical songbooks, and I blare the Les Miserables soundtrack while I'm washing dishes. I'm what you might call a fanatic.

     And if you didn't already know this, here's a news flash for you: really emotional musicals are my favorites. I like the fun, lighthearted, dance-y ones, but they're not what really get me. The ones that make you sigh and cry and hurt and laugh through your tears, and go, WOW -- those are the best.

And sometimes they make you jump up and down with glee, like Richard Henry Lee is doing.

     Now, normally I'm a pretty practical person. As in, I try to avoid drama when I can. I don't give in to feelings much. I try to keep a level head. But when it comes to musicals (and movies and books in general, it seems), I'm gone. I want drama. Give me everything you've got. The pain, the sorrow, the high, the low. I want FEELS.

     My top five favorite musicals give tribute to this affinity. Here they are...


#5 Little Women


     Admittedly, I have never been the biggest fan of this story in general. I'm not sure why, it just never really grabbed me in any powerful way. BUT for some reason, the musical really does. I saw this put on by a local high school last spring, and thought it was so-so. Excepting the girl who played Jo (who was Ah-MAZING), I didn't think it was exceptionally great. Then I began to listen to the original recording, and it really grew on me. I love the songs, and I really like the way they've captured the spirit of the story. The musical version focuses a lot on Jo's 'coming-of-age', if you will, and her journey of going from girl to adult, which really resonates with me. Especially as I hope to become a writer as well. "I thought that somehow we would always have forever...." It's the bittersweetness of growing up, of change. It's happy and it's sad.
   

     Jo really owns this musical. She has sooooooo many good songs, and such a strong character. I never thought I identified with Jo March very much, but the musical gives a fresh take on her that I like much better than any of the movies I've seen. In fact, to play Jo would be my absolute dream role. I would looooove to play Jo. :-)

     And Marmee! Marmee has some really beautiful songs as well. Like this one. Sink me if you don't tear up.


     I just really like the musical's rendition on the story. Which is unusual, because sometimes musicals get the original stories really screwed up. And I appreciate that most all of the songs help in advancing the plot and aren't just fluffy filler.


#4 Shenandoah


     A musical about the Civil War from the 70's? Yes, ma'am!!! :-D I came across this one in a round-about way....I won't bore you with the backstory. (Although if you're really interested, you can read my initial frenzied excitement here.) One of the things I especially love about this story is the down-to-earth wholesomeness. It's about a family, a man who's caught in the middle of a conflict he would rather not be a part of, but who is driven to act on what he believes is right. It also has some really fun songs, and some sad ones. The ending is where the feels really hit. When the church congregation sings the last song, "Pass the Cross to Me", and the music swells in the final chorus....ohhhh!

   
     And John Cullum is The Man. Just so you all know. Before there was Ramin Karimloo, there was John Cullum.



#3 1776

     

     Ha. Somehow this one doesn't quite fit with the rest of these super emotional stories. ;-P Well, I admit, it's a little mediocre. It's a bit crude, in parts. But it's also historical! (I think -- I mean, I'm not sure how accurate it is.) It's fun, it's witty, it's rollicking. And it's so stinkin' hilarious.



     It's very emotional, too, at times...


    Gotta love the seventies. :-) And there's a healthy dose of The Feels...



     1776 has it all. The silly ("The Egg") and the serious ("Molasses to Rum"), the lighthearted ("He Plays the Violin") and the weighty ("Is Anybody There?") All in all, it's super fun.


#2 Titanic


     NOW we can start talking about some real feels!!!!

     *catches breath*

     Oh my goodness. Where to start?

     First of all, has anyone ever even heard of this musical? It's not very popular, I know. I'd only vaguely heard of it until this spring, when I went and saw a high school production. And OH MY HEAVENS. Wow. It was love at first sight. Um, sound. Well, both. The show is both beautiful to listen to AND to look at. It's got just the right mix of lighthearted and fun with tragic and emotional. (The musical has absolutely nothing to do with the 1997 movie, by the way.) I love musicals that have a wide variety of characters, all with different and unique stories, and I LOVE these characters. (My favorite is Harold Bride. :-)) And the story is chock-full of feels: you're either laughing or crying the whole time. (At least, emotional sixteen-year-old girls like me would be.)


     Here's the worst one (which means the best one):


     AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

     I am officially dead for the present. Oh, and speaking of dead....


#1 Les Miserables


     You all knew it was coming.

     THIS IS MY FAVORITE MUSICAL EVER EVER EVER EVEEEERRRRRR!!!!!!

     Now that we have that important announcement out of the way, I will explain why I love it so much.

     *chews nails*
     *looks around nervously*
     *chatters teeth*

     Well....that could get deep. Maybe I should save that for another post. ;-D BUT let's just say, I believe this is the most beautiful musical phenomenon ever created. It's the most epic, the most tragic (hey, you can't argue with me there!), the most inspiring....it's just the best, people. 

    Also one the reasons it's so special to me is because I was in a production of the show last fall, which was pretty much the most exciting thing that ever happened. 

     

     That was me. :-)

     *wipes tears*

    Alright, I'd better wrap this up before I start getting too sentimental and ramble too much.

    SO. Do you like emotional musicals too? What are some of your favorites? Would you like me to write a post about why I love Les Miz so much, or would you rather have a tooth pulled? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Best Thing Ever

     Do you want to know what the best thing ever is? I'll tell you.


     It's running outside in your bare feet to take clothes down off the line before a rainstorm starts.


     The sky is pale and murky and it hasn't rained in weeks. You have that thrilling feeling of trying to get something done before something else happens. You want to get the clothes inside before they get wet, but at the same time you get all tingly with the dramatic thought of being caught in the middle of a downpour. The air smells sharp and heavy with moisture, and the wind blows stiffly at your hair and your clothes.

     You see raindrops appear on the floorboards of the deck as your bare feet run across to get inside. You hear thunder in the distance, deep and mellow and comforting. You see the treetops dancing, and you know they're as excited as you are. Then the rain starts, all at once.

     In a word, it's wonderful.

      It makes you grateful for clean laundry, grateful for clotheslines, grateful for rain, and grateful to be a live. That, friends, is the best thing ever.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

"This is her first novel."


     The other night I was reading one of my favorite books, A Room of My Own, by one of my verrry favorite writers, Ann Tatlock. When I'm feeling especially tired of uncreative, I usually remedy the condition by revisiting some of my old favorite books. It almost alllllways helps. :-D Anyway, I was reading the author bio in the front, and I read this line:

     This is her first novel.

     That really hit me.

     Ann Tatlock was already an adult when she wrote that book. She had gone to college, she was married, she had done all these things, probably a lot of which had lead up to this huge event in her life. She'd probably been writing since she was a kid, but she didn't get her first book published until she was halfway through life.

     So....what's the big deal, you say? Well, let me tell you something.

     I'm a writer. You all know this. I write a lot, though not as much as I'd like to. I've been writing stories since I was knee-high to a grasshopper -- some good ones, some not-so-good ones, some that make me groan to even recall them. I've started many, many manuscripts that I hope will grow into novels one day. I've been working on one in particular for over a year now. But, besides the little stories I wrote when I was younger, I have never finished any sizable manuscript that I can actually call a book. Not one. My desk is full of loose papers, story beginnings, even some well-planned-out ones, but nothing has ever reached a point where I can say, this is finished. I'm happy with this. This is good.

     Nothing.

     It's been my dream to write books since forever. And I dream big; I want to be published by a real publishing company, and I want to see my books on the shelf of libraries all across the country someday. No, the world. I want to be a real, honest-to-goodness, published author. But sometimes, it's hard to believe that it will ever come true.

     You see, folks, as of now I'm a terrible writer. It's true. My plots are scattered, my characters sometimes say stupid things, and I use waaaaayyyy more adjectives than anyone wants to plow through. What's even worse, I don't always make the time to write as much as I want to -- as much as I feel like I need to. And that stresses me. It makes me feel less than adequate. It makes me feel like a dismal failure. Frankly, it makes me feel like a terrible writer. I've said it to myself many times: "I'm a terrible writer."

     But you know what? OF COURSE I'm a terrible writer. I'm learning. I'm sixteen. So many times I have to slow down and remind myself: there's no hurry! Why are you rushing, Emma? Why are you getting so tense about this? Why are ya bein' so stupid?

     Being in a community of writer-bloggers, I hear all the time about young writers who are self-publishing their books, and it's such a big deal. Whenever I read about some girl publishing a book I think, "oh my goodness, look at that girl. She's like freakin' seventeen, and here she is publishing a novel. All her dreams have come true. I wish that was me." And then I sink into a little rabbit-hole of longing and self-pity while I turn bright green and slowly morph into a cookie monster.

     This is not the right attitude, folks. I admire anyone who writes a novel, and getting it published is something huge indeed. But the plain truth is, I'm not that girl who signed a publishing contract when she was fourteen and is cranking out books by the dozen. I'm just...not. Some people are slower at realizing their dreams, and I'm definitely one of those. I work at it, but not constantly. I'm still a kid. I honestly don't want to write ALL the time. I want to pick blueberries with my cousins and go to rodeos and watch movies and play with baby bunnies. I want to live this part of my life fully, while it's here. So if that means I'm not going to finish my novel as soon as I might if I slaved over it all hours of the day...well, okay, fine, so be it. I'm in no huge rush. If it's meant to happen, it'll darn well happen. If God wants me to write a book, then you can bet your bottom dollar I'll write that book.

     I don't want to self-publish my books when I'm still in my teens. (I don't want to self-publish my books at all -- but I won't start on all the reasons why I think self-publishing is lame.) I've already decided I'm going to try and get my first novel published by a real publishing company, and if it takes a long time, why then I'll wait. Dreams don't come in a bushel basket. And if I don't publish my first novel until I'm old and married -- well then, I guess that's okay too. Maybe Ann Tatlock experienced some of the same restless anxiousness as I do. Maybe she had trouble sitting down and putting her mind to her story. Maybe she wanted to play with her baby bunnies instead. Maybe -- shock of all shocks -- maybe I'm not the first writer to feel like this! And maybe, just maybe, if I keep dreaming and praying and wishing and trusting and writing, it'll happen sooner than I think.

     What I keep telling myself is, it doesn't all have to happen NOW.

     And slowly, myself is starting to listen.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Cowboy Tournament : Winner!


     The poll is closed! The people have spoken. And the Cowboy with the most votes is...


Heath Barkley
from The Big Valley

     Now, I have not watched The Big Valley myself, but I've heard some pretty great things about this fella. Not to mention, he's pretty easy on the eyes...




     Thanks everyone for voting! :-D

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Legends of Western Cinema Week Finale!



     Well, it's here, folks. The conclusion of our second annual Legends of Western Cinema Week. This is the part where we say goodbye, and the cowboy rides off into the sunset towards a new adventure...


    *ahem* I'm getting a little too emotional about this. ;-D What I want to say is, this week has been SUCH a blast! Olivia and I have had so much fun hosting this event and sharing with y'all our deep and slightly obsessive (occasionally frightening, even) love of the western genre and the cowboy way. We loved every bit of it. And we're thrilled that so many of you decided to join us! 

     Here's a list of our participants and their posts:


~ Alicia at Sweet N' Salty:
My LOWCW contribution

~ Faith at Stories By Firefly:
Westerns week!

~ Rebecca Jane at The Silver Flute:
Western Week!!!

~ Annie at The Western Desk:
 The Virginian Episode Review ~ Throw a Long Rope

~ Heidi at Along the Brandywine:
Stagecoach (1939)

~ Lydia Dyslin at Through the Wardrobe:
The Wild Wild West

~ Elisabeth Grace Foley at The Second Sentence:
Five Westerns for Beginners
 My Darling Clementine (1946)

~ Eva at Coffee, Classics and Craziness:
Seven Awesome Things about Mag7

~ Eowyn at Captured by the Word:
My Three Favorite Westerns - In Bullet Point Form

~ Hanne-col at Ain't We Got Fun:
 Film Review: Rio Grande (1959)
 Roy Rogers: My Introduction to the Western Film

~ Meredith at On Stories and Words:
Why You Should Watch The Apple Dumpling Gang

~ Hamlette at Hamlette's Soliloquy:
3:10 to Yuma (1957)
Ten Favorite Western Soundtracks
~ at J and J Productions:
Movie Music and More #20: Tombstone (1993)
~ at The Edge of the Precipice:
Five Favorite Western Book to Movie Adaptations

(Award for Top Participation goes to Hamlette!)

~ Deborah at Sidewalk Crossings:
My most listened to Western Movie Soundtracks
Lonely are the Brave (1962)
 Run of the Arrow (1957)

~ James at J and J Productions:
Top Ten Westerns: Part 1
Top Ten Westerns: Part 2
6 Unconventional Westerns


  If I missed anybody, it's not too late to let me know and I'll add your posts here. :-)

    (And if you haven't been to Olivia's blog -- which is ridiculous, get over there right now -- you can find her Western Week posts Right Here.)

Because I'm feeling emotional. Tom understands.

    Look at how many people participated in this!!! THANK YOU ALL so much. You've made this week absolutely spectacular! I hope y'all enjoyed it as much as Olivia and I have!!!
     

"Let 'er buck."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Legends of Western Cinema Week: Reminders!!


     Okay, two things:


  • Several readers have nominated their favorite screen cowboys, and now the poll is up for our Cowboy Tournament! (see sidebar) So please vote! The poll will close tomorrow (Sunday August 2nd)

  • If you haven't done so yet, remember to submit the links to your own western posts on This Post so we can share them all in a Western Week conclusion later today! People, PLEASE DO THIS. Otherwise I might not know to mention your posts, and we'd all miss out on something really awesome! Your cooperation is appreciated.
Thank you! :-D
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