It has been sooo busy on the home front. This is my last semester of high school (huzzah!), so I'm trying to wrap up all my classes and have a fun senior year. I was accepted to the college of my choice, UNC Chapel Hill, so that's a weight off my shoulders. I've also been taking community college classes, which will transfer to UNC, so I'm starting as a freshman with twenty-eight credit hours. I cannot tell you. How. Happy. This. Makes me.
In other news, I will be Confirmed in the Catholic Church this Easter. For those of you who don't know, Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament that is usually considered a coming-of-age. Because you are baptized into the church as an infant, it's your chance to confirm that, as an adult, you're still part of the church. You also choose a saint name, which for many Catholics serves as a second middle name and patron saint. I chose Miriam of Nazareth as my saint name, which is the original Hebrew name for the Virgin Mary.
I also cut off six inches of my hair, which is unbearably exciting. It's now barely shoulder length. I would post a picture, but I'm not feeling that ambitious today.
I have been enjoying the exquisitely lovely The Bells of Paradise, by Suzannah Rowntree. I owe her a review for this and The Prince of Fishes (recipient of the 2016 Best Author Blogger Award), but I've been so swamped I haven't gotten around to it yet. Sorry, Suzannah. It's coming. The Bells of Paradise is based on an English folk song, and I'm a folk song addict, so clearly this novella and I were meant to be together.
I am a perfectionist by nature. I hate to start a new project before I have a clear idea of how it will go, so as to minimize the amount of frustration and rewrites. Which is all very good-- except that if I wait to write something until I feel ready, I will never write it.
I realized that this month when I was hunting through my old notebooks to find the origin of a story I've been stewing on for a while now. To my shock, I realized it had been two years since I'd had the idea, and I didn't feel any more prepared to write it now than I did then. So on my 18th birthday, I tossed precaution to the winds and started the first draft of my new novella. It's titled Gloucester's Eyes, and it's a mash-up of Rapunzel and King Lear... in space! I love it an unbearable amount. Writing is so much more fun when I don't worry about the quality of the draft and simply enjoy myself. The final product is better, too. Here's a snippet from the very beginning:
When the crew of the HMS Buckingham discovered two thieves in the king’s private kitchenette, they did not arrest them. They did not attack or secure them. They did not, in fact, do anything that might legally be construed as a threat.
Instead, they made them a cup of tea.
“Tea’s gotten better,” the first thief said affably.
“Shut up,” said the second, a woman. She was sweating, hands clenched around the porcelain cup.
When they finished their tea, the sailors escorted them through the cramped hallways. The HMS Buckingham did not use solar sails, so most of the space went for fuel. Very little fuel was left, the first thief noted. They wouldn’t need it for much longer. One way or another.
“I feel sick.” The second thief pressed a hand to her stomach.
“You’re just nervous,” he said.
The average waiting time to see the king was two months. The thieves and their entourage breezed past the guards to stand before the king of England’s throne.
He sat impassively, crown glinting in his white hair, fingers steepled, while the guards read the list of offenses. Trespass. Theft. Treason.
“What,” the king said quietly, when he was through, “happened precisely?”
“They broke into the royal suite, Your Majesty,” the sailor said. He was an air chief marshal. This was far beneath him. Nervous sweat gleamed on his brow; he did not wipe it away.
“Did they kill the guard?” the king said dispassionately.
The air chief marshal winced. “Er—no, Your Majesty. They replaced her tea with German craft beer and waited for her to fall asleep. It was a quality beer,” he offered. “She won’t have a hangover when she wakes up.”
“How charming.” The king’s dry voice could have cut ice. “And she was unable to distinguish the beer from the tea?”
The air chief marshal winced, as though he had hoped the king would not think of that.
“Never mind,” the king sighed. “Did they raid the safe or leave a trap for our royal person?”
“Er—no,” the air chief marshal said uncomfortably. “They—they went to the royal kitchenette. And ate all the cupcakes thereof.” Note from the author: I seriously contemplated making this last line the title but eventually decided it didn't match the serious tone of much of the novella.
“Prima’s positively sick with guilt over it,” the first thief said cheerfully.
The king cut him with his eyes. “I suspect she had very little to do with this. I suspect, George Gloucester, that she is sick from cupcakes, not remorse. Those were meant to last another full year!”
“I always say, you never know what will happen tomorrow,” the first thief said.
“Oh, I know what will happen tomorrow,” the king muttered. “And tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.”
He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Leave them to me, air chief marshal,” he said, and the sailors left. When they were gone, Lear said, “Cupcakes, George?”
“Cupcakes, Dad,” George, Duke of Gloucester, said cheerfully.
I don't mention it much on this blog, but I play piano and violin. This month I've been playing the music of Beauty and the Beast, which I got myself for my birthday. The music is deliciously difficult, and I absolutely love it, despite the fact I've never seen this movie. I really want to, but Disney only sells the diamond-edition expensive version, and I can think of better ways to spend my money than that.
Here's a video my mom took of me playing. Can anyone guess the song? Oh, and you can see my new haircut here, too. Two birds, one stone.
The Goldstone Wood Fan Art Contest is coming up, and I've been preparing my entries. If you don't know the series (by Anne Elisabeth Stengl), you should read it, and if you do, you should enter! My main art skill is calligraphy, so pretty soon I'll break out my pens for this contest. The due date is March 28, so be sure to enter by then.
And that's what I'm doing this month! How about you, readers? What have you been doing?