Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Development on Lady Lecta

I had hoped to put some brilliant post up soon. Some marvelous thoughts that would astound all in the room, to paraphrase Jane Austen. However... I'm rambling again. Between my super-distraction of late, daydreaming, and being super stressed (because aaaaaaaah! save me - I have a vocal recital tomorrow and have never sung alone for an audience before for more than one verse!!!), I fail to even coherently speak, I'm afraid (I almost typed 'coherentlyy speek' - see my point?!).
Maybe I'm going crazy. Maybe it is just any of those above symptoms. It's also entirely possible that it is excitement. Why? Because my most boring, shortbread cookie, whole wheat toast without butter character - that I've been complaining about basically since her existence - has finally gotten some development. And it took long enough! *glares at muse*
Ahem. Anyways, though, the character in question is Lady Lecta, Leta's mentor in In Greater Hands. She is a mother-figure of a sort, but rather unmotherly. She is rather business-like, and - while seeming to wish to care for Leta - is a mentor and nothing more, it seems. And I always thought she was so boring. And she was! But... now? I has backstory. And what is a better place to start on developing a bland character than backstory? In fact, I am now quite convinced that it can fix any character if it can fix Lady Lecta. So... I suppose I'll stop rambling and actually delve into said backstory... :P
Lady Lecta was raised as an only child in Britain by the name of Julie Bearing. Both parents probably worked, so she was never really taught anything else. She grew up a business woman, and shot only to be such in her education and career.
When, becoming a British diplomat in the global secret service, AOP (it stands for a Latin phrase meaning 'For all peace'), she met Lord Lecta, the vice-president of the service at the time, her wish for a career alone was shaken slightly, but she didn't do much to stop her quickly vaulting diplomatic success. So when Lord Lecta, a more traditional, family-centered man by nature, married her, she was still working, though she reflected upon it and resolved to give everything up and just be a wife if possible. She wasn't good at it even trying, though, and since Lord Lecta himself did not press the matter past his own wishes, Lady Lecta decided to remain a working woman.
But then she found out she was expecting. And this time, once and for all, she decided she would give up working and try to become the motherly woman that was such a distant idea to her, at least for Lord Lecta and the child's sake. She could never imagine herself a mother, really, and had a hard time coping with the thought. She happy, nonetheless, but concerned that she couldn't be a real mother.
Her concerns were the least of her problems. About three or four months in, Lady Lecta miscarried. Lord Lecta, of course, was miserable for it, but it was nothing to what Lady Lecta felt. Though she had never been able to see herself as a mother, she was destroyed by the loss. Her work was, perhaps, successful, as she was now one of the civilian head at the service's main military base, but work didn't seem to matter. And what was worse was that, apparently, she was now infertile for the loss. She could never see herself as a mother, and she would never have to. She could just continue being a working woman, without ever having to worry about the home life. She was numb to almost everything for who knows how long.
But then, something happened. Lady Lecta was visiting, on business, a general at one of the New Russian Empire's recruiting stations, in the midst of the city, Ytsva, which had been centered on and so devastated in the war. A young girl, of about eleven or twelve, was trying desperately to get enrolled. Lady Lecta had other business, but was curious and so watched the happening. The girl had apparently lost her father, and wanted to help fight for Russia and its Counterrevolution, the cause her father had died for. Of course, begin only a young girl, she was turned down and told to go and find her mother.
The girl was upset, but turned to leave, only replying that her mother was dead. And Lady Lecta heard those words. And it seemed to all come back to her - her own frail attempts at preparing for motherhood, her hopes, her wishes, and all her fears. And her child. Lady Lecta hardly knew what she was doing, but she went and spoke to the child. Seeing the girl's face, it was too much to bear. Lady Lecta blindly spoke as was her instinct - she asked the girl to enroll with her, as a training ward. The girl, Leta, agreed, though surprised. Lady Lecta regretted it so many times afterwards. She had wanted to be Leta's mother, she had wanted to be Leta's friend... not Leta's trainer. But she was a business woman, and of course, all she could do was think that way... and she despised it. How she longed for years to be able to turn back, but with Leta's success as a military aid, and Leta's own business-like relationship with Lady Lecta, she didn't ever have the courage to fix the problem that she had made. And it was bitter. Because Leta started to grow up like her - a fighting woman, without home or husband or any such things in her mind, and without friends aside from those she knew a little through her work.
So, up to the beginning of the story, Lady Lecta is very much uneasy, for the choices she'd made up to there...
And that about covers it. It was the only thing yet that could possibly make me like Lady Lecta, and now I shall hand out these propaganda promotion fliers to encourage making backstories for characters rather than trashing them - because it really does work!
And finally, I must needs share something that I have been going a little nuts over since a couple days ago, when I thought of a scenario in relation to this. It's true, if Lady Lecta's child hadn't died, Leta probably would have never become her ward or even met her, but I imagined a situation - what if Lady Lecta's child had survived, and Leta had had an older sibling? The thought was so adorable, I immediately went to Pinterest and found a ton of pictures that I needed to share. And, needless to say, I got ever so slightly carried away...
Okay, so this is actually one of the only ones that has completely accurate ages and age gap between them... but they were all so cute, I couldn't resist!

Okay, so I guess this one is plausible as well. :)

Sua jornada moldou você para seu bem maior, e foi exatamente o que precisava ser. Não pense que você perdeu tempo. Não existem atalhos para a vida. Foi necessária cada e toda situação que você encontrou para trazê-lo para o agora. E agora é o momento certo.
What did you think? Are you bored by now... or also absolutely enamored of adorable sibling pictures??? <3 :O What do you think of the development? Have you worked on any of your characters backstories lately? What story character do you think has best backstory?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Praise For Fictional Mothers

Happy Mother's Day (and Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, coincidentally) to all! :D I thought it might be fun for Mother's Day to explore some of my favorite moms fiction has to offer - care to join me? :)Because mother character so rarely get applauded, I would love for anyone and everyone to add any they can think of in the comments, even their own story's mother characters! Because we need mom characters - they are the ignored heroes of the stories. Without them, would we even have the heroes?
Queen Frigga from Thor
M'dear friend Megan has already pointed out each and every one of this amazing mom's qualities, both as a character, and as a mother here, and I couldn't agree more! Frigga is strong in the midst of weakness, and is the glue to a broken vase, so to speak. No family in fiction that I can think of is quite so broken up as Frigga's at that start, and yet no mother in fiction that I can think strikes me a stronger in the situation.
Mrs. March from Little Women
Ya know, I'd always felt, even as a little girl reading the story, that there was something special about Marmee. She was every bit as caring as a real life mother, and had a character all her own, which is an attribute sadly lacking in many fictional mothers. She seemed almost the definition of a mother - caring, but fierce in her own way as well. And I must say that a good few words of Marmee's advice have stuck with me quite determinedly through all these years. After all, Mother knows best - and Mrs. March is no exception!
Galadriel from Lord of the Rings
Perhaps for most people, mother is not the first thing that comes to mind when they think Galadriel. They might think 'Ring-bearer,' 'Forest-queen,' or even, perhaps, if their mind is inclined to agree with the stupid movie Gimli's ramblings, 'Elf-witch.' Putting aside that last one, she is all of these things. But also a mother. And a mother primarily. You know, without her, there would be none of Arwen and Aragorn. Because there wouldn't be Arwen. While the movies ignore it quite blatantly, Arwen is the granddaughter of Galadriel, child to Galadriel's daughter, Celebrian. And, you know, once I found out, I was never really able to think of Galadriel in any other way. She just seems like a mother, though her role as one is quite hidden in LotR. But the truth is, motherhood isn't glory. But it's goodness. And that I am sure even those who at the start of this thought like Gimli would agree Galadriel has. Because, believe it or not, she was a mother before she was ever an 'Elf-witch.' ;)
 Resa Folchart from Inkheart
Okay. I'll admit it. I was never a big fan of Resa, even having watched the movie basically since it came out. But, honestly, she deserved my fandom. She was a mother whose motherhood was torn from her, and what did she do? She didn't just move on. She didn't make a new life. She didn't try to get glory for herself. She spent her every last ounce of effort - even unto slavery, imprisonment, and almost death - to be a mother again. She used every power within her just to get back to her child. Now that's a determined mother. I think she deserved my fandom.
Eudora from The Princess and the Frog
There's unfortunately not a whole lot about Eudora in the movie. She's Tiana's down to earth, hard-working, wise-woman Mama, and that's most of what you get. But that's enough. Even just the little bit you get of her, you can tell a lot. She worked herself to pieces just to raise Tiana. She's been poor, widowed, and been through quite some trouble. And, even though Tiana was a good worker like her mother, Eudora always had to try and convince Tiana of what she really needed. And though it seemed never to work, she kept on trying. And finally, it worked. Finally, throughout a chaotic sequence of events, Tiana remembered her mother's words and finally found what she needed.
We Need More
Sure, there are good mother characters out there. But they're few and far between. Most of them are from old or obscure books, and are not commonly known. I've tried my hand at making some - and sometimes met with some measure of success. Queen Gianna from The Clarion Call (previously, Alagna) is a mother who actually has a good relationship with her children, Anwynne's mother in The Pain of a Memory, though little-mentioned, actually cares about her daughter, despite Anwynne's own rather uncaring character, and Felicia from Clarion Call actually has a relevant role in the story. But these are not enough. So I'm calling all of you *cue Uncle Sam picture* to write mother characters. Good ones. Intimate ones. Real mothers. Will you answer?
What do you think? Can you add any other good mothers in fiction who need praise? Have you written any mother characters? Are you willing to answer the need for more?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Let This Ink a Memory Be - A Poem

Let this ink a memory be,
To lie here for eternity -
That here, preserved,
It mayn't unnerve
My heart, as thoughts of what might be.
Let this page a guardian stand,
Unmoved except at my command.
Let no one see
This memory
That I recall now with my hand.

For if this ink does serve me not,
Then where have I to run, distraught?
Can I withstand
If what I've banned
Will not be kept in book and blot?

My greatest friend, my aid so vast -
Let ink not fail me here at last.
Let peace be bought,
And for me wrought,
And hold a piece of me here fast.

My own mem'ries, My Book, then, take,
That in my mind these things shan't quake;
Let these be cast
To mists of past,
That sleep come without rueful wake.

So let this ink a mem'ry be,
Severed from my heart so carefully -
To, for past's sake,
This one record take;
Free my heart from thoughts of what might be.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Books of 2018: January to April

Now that April's Camp NaNo is over, so is my hiatus! Yay! And, now that I'm a bit tired of writing (for the moment only), what better way to start up the literary blog again than to think about reading instead. :) So I'm posting a list of the non-school books I've covered this year so far, all the way up to the end of April.
Crusader King
by Susan Peek
I was reading this one with mia famiglia, but if I had known how good it was, I would've taken it up on my own ages ago. An historical fiction detailing the crusades under the young King Baldwin IV, it was golden to someone like me, who's fascinated by the crusades. Though it is a children's book, its insight was quite occupying enough for the adult reader as well. The main character, Baldwin, was absolutely lovable, and his best friend, Theo, inspired laughter from the whole audience more than once, I can tell you.
My favorite character - Baldwin
The ending - 3/5 stars for a novel period, but considering the historical element, 4/5.
Overall rating - 4/5 stars
Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church
by Anthony Esolen
Prof. Esolen's books are always a thrill to me, and this one was no exception! Detailing some of the richest, oldest, and most beautiful music known to mankind, it was quite a journey to delve into the beautiful tunes I knew so well from Masses over the years, and even the ones I didn't know. Though nonfiction, I found it every bit as exhilarating as Crusader King.
The ending - 4/5 stars
Overall rating - 4/5 stars
Princess Academy
by Shannon Hale
This was a fair book. Compared to its sister, The Goose Girl, it was below expectations, but in general, it was quite an enjoyable read. A fantasy about mountain girls being suddenly rushed into the life of nobility, it was refreshing in the world of fantasy (I don't think it copied LotR or CoN at all... which is very impressive for a fantasy book). I could definitely tell it was a children's book, but it was nonetheless entertaining for its own self. I would read it again if given the chance.
My favorite character - Prince Steffan (although Peder and Britta were also high contenders)
The ending - 3/5 stars
Overall rating - 3.5/5 stars
A Midsummer Night's Dream
by William Shakespeare
Despite the fact that I may be reading it again for school soon, I cannot even imagine getting tired of this book. It was love at first sight. One read was all it took, and this book immediately shot up to my top ten, I think. For those who haven't read it yet, it is a romantic comedy play (one of the first defined ones) in a fantasy setting, telling of the misadventures of a couple of ill-matched pairs of lovers. I can't even say how much I loved it. Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, I'll go and see it when my friends' theater group puts it on this summer.
My favorite character - Demetrius (no, I'm not kidding)
The ending - 5/5 stars
Overall rating 4.5/5 stars

Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power
by Josef Pieper
This was a gem. Granted a rather short and compact gem, but a gem nonetheless. It brought to my attention something that I'd been pretty much ignorant of - the abuse of language in our present day, and the practice of ulterior motive speech and calling things what they aren't, as well as hazy ambiguity. And thinking about it, it really is a root of some big problems in North America especially, so it really hit home when I delved into it. Pieper's insight  and foresight are crystal clear, and I look forward to reading his next book.
The ending - 5/5 stars
Overall rating - 4/5 stars
L'Incorazione di Poppea (the Coronation of Poppea)
by Giovanni Francesco Busanello and Claudio Monteverdi
This was another historical fiction, but one of a different type. You see, this was an opera libretto. But - as it told a story, and just more or less in play form - I count it among my readings for the year. Naturally, as it tells a romanticized but basically adequate version of something stupid that really happened, the ending was pretty stupid, but at least it was poetic. It tells the story of Poppea - an ambitious and somewhat cruel woman - making her way up to the top, eventually becoming empress of Rome (as well as dispensing with all her enemies along the way). It was definitely interesting, and the music was quite fascinating, but still. That ending.
My favorite character - The page and his girl (no, they don't really have names... they're just side characters that appear in one act and are pretty much irrelevant in the acts after)
The ending - 0.5/5 stars
Overall rating - 3/5 stars
Light, Love, Life
A Photographical Biography of Elizabeth of the Trinity
This wasn't really much of an ordinary book, per se, so much as a picture book, honestly, but I'll still count it for its worthiness of mention. It was definitely inspiring to read about such a young and hard-headed saint, but I've got a friend from schola to thank for that. She remembered that I play piano, and so lent me a book about a saint who was a pianist. And I am determined that somehow, Elizabeth of the Trinity must become us pianists' patron saint someday, because it was pretty cool to hear about (and see!) a saint sitting at an old baby grand.
The ending - 5/5 stars (it ended with her sainthood - what better ending is there than that???)
Overall rating - 3/5 stars
Beorn the Proud
by Madeleine Polland
This is another read with my family, but it's pretty good so far. Perhaps a bit disappointing after Crusader King and preceding Rolf and the Viking Bow (which is one of my favorite children's books ever, btw), but still good. The setting is absolutely stunning, though, (the setting and story being Ireland during the days of the Viking raids) and it plays with an idea I've wanted to use in a story for a long time, so it has been quite entertaining.
My favorite character - not quite sure yet... possibly Beorn himself or Nis
The ending - this, we have not yet reached, so I shall leave this unrated for the moment
Overall rating (so far) - 3.5/5 stars

Philosophy of Mind
by Edward Feser
Feser is a genius. That is all you need to know. This is one of the fastest-paced books I've read, on one of the toughest subjects I know. Feser is just a genius to be able to create a book on possibly the biggest philosophical obstacle ever that is readable to the average Joe. Anyone in the house over the age of twelve probably could've picked up this book and understood it. Feser answers all the questions concerning what the mind/soul is, how we can know it, what does it mean, and how did it begin. How do you know you're really reading this post? Read the book. It'll tell you.
The ending - I actually have not quite finished it yet, so again I will reserve my rating on the end for now.
Overall rating (so far) - 5/5 stars
That's all at present. Once I finish Philosophy of Mind, I am finally going to acquiesce my sister's long-awaiting request that I actually read Inkheart, I think, but after that - who knows? :D
What did you think? have you read any of these books? Would you like to read any of them? What are you reading right now? Have any suggestions for me after Philosophy of Mind and Inkheart? What have you got lined up to read? Don't you just love A Midsummer Night's Dream?! :D 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Little Announcement

Hello! I apologize again for having yet another unannounced hiatus, but this time I'll do better. I went out of town, and was unable to blog, but I am now going on an official hiatus for most of April (due to my consuming Camp NaNo project). I may blab a little about said project during the month, but for the most part, I shall be absent, I think.
As for tags and things, they too shall wait, difortunamente. Not only because of Camp NaNo, but because I also have a performance for voice coming up that will take up much time practicing-wise and will take up much brains stress-wise. This recital unfortunately happens to be in May, so, while I may be blogging again come May's beginning, I shall not be resuming tags and link-ups and such, most likely, until near the end of May. I hope your projects and such are going quite so well, and I shall see you all again once Camp has closed. Arriva Derci! :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Handful of Lenten Traditions From Belle's Corner of the Season

Haha, I know this post is incredibly last-minute, but I did want to post a little more on Lent - just wasn't brilliant enough to find much to say. :P But! - I at least have some things to share, if no wonderful meditation to speak or profound speech to give. So I decided I'd share a few of my own Lenten traditions with you folks for the last few days of Lent there are. :)
The Movies of Lent
One of my family's traditions every Lent is to watch certain movies during the season at some point, the most unbroken one being watching The Passion on Good Friday with whoever is old enough to watch. Another movie, though a more recently-added one, is watching Risen on Holy Saturday or Easter. I also tend to watch The Robe during the Easter season, but I guess that doesn't really count for this post. ;P The main one, however, is watching The Passion, and it gets more fulfilling each time because each year or two at least one more person is old enough to see it for the first time, so the audience gets larger with time. :) This time, it'll be me, my parents, and three(?!) of my siblings.
The Friday Meal
I'm sure all of you probably have your own preferences and traditions as to what meal to do on those Lenten Fridays wherein carnivorousness becomes heinous, but we have one of our own that goes back a couple generations. Mia famiglia (and me, of course) have a tradition of doing grilled cheese and tomato soup... for whatever reason. Maybe 'cuz it's a filling, non-meat meal. Maybe it's 'cuz most of us despise fish and any other seafood. Maybe it's just 'cuz we know how to make it. But, for whatever reason, that's what we do.
Holy Week and Mass
Perhaps we could be a bit more creative with our traditions, but we always like to go to daily Mass during Holy Week as a family at least once. However, as this is probably a fairly common one with all you Lent-lovers out there, I will skip over it. ;)
The Watch of the Hour
Even from my youngest days, I remember my dad always watching the hours on Good Friday for the most Holy of Hours. Every year, whatever us kids were doing, he would come and tell us when it was the time, and we would usually do a Rosary or other prayer of some kind. I used to hate it, because my dad would always interrupt whatever we were doing, but now I look forward to it as a helpful reminder.
Getting in the Mood
My mom, my sisters, and I all are advocates of the veil/mantilla/hat/other awesome head covering at Mass, and Lent is no exception! However, when the priest gets his seasonal Mass vestments, doesn't it make you want to get in the mood too? Well, it did me, so now I (and sometimes the women of mia famiglia join me on this) wear a black mantilla all during Lent instead of my favorite white one - just to get into the look of things during the season of penance. I mean, really, we used to do this back in the old days, why not now? :D
The Torture Device
Ya know, I used to think giving up sweets for Lent was such a wimpy thing to do. And perhaps for me it is. But my dad does it - along with other things - every single year. And this perhaps wouldn't be such a big deal... except for my sister. She has a fascination with baking, and is extraordinarily skilled at it, and she always picks Lenten time to try out those delicious new sweet recipes... just when most people have exempted themselves from sweets. I almost think she does it religiously now, as an unbroken tradition to tease all those poor, pious souls who have given it up. However. I actually love it that she does do it, because now, giving up sweets is a much more grace-garnering penance than it used to be. ;)

What did you think? What are your Lenten traditions? Your family's? Have you done any of these? Would you consider them? Have you ever seen The Robe??? :D

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Small Reminder - A Poem

A poem written for my friends in the North upon my departure, in the hopes that none of us ever forget.
Though now our youth is good and gold,

when it is drawn and gray,
would you forget
that we ever met?
And would I in your memory stay?

Even when many, many years

  have one by one each passed?

Please don't look through

my plea to you,

as though it were only glass.


When all the good days are gone,

and even echoes have flown,

will you still hear

my words in your ear?

Or will lonely silence have grown?


When I am forlorn,

and sky has sunken low,

please forget none

of our faded fun

That we had once, so long ago.


When all my writing has faded away,

and all my words are far too worn,

when the rims of this page

are yellowing with age,

let me not forever from mem'ry be torn.


I implore you: hear my plea!

Although the days are not yet done,

 forget me never,

or what we did together,

When the writing here is gone.


And though there will be greater,

and I know that this is true,

let not mem'ries fade

for the part I have played,

And remember me, as I remember you.


And so now, I ask you,

and let it no longer mystery be,

if it's near to the end,

And I call you, my friend,

 will you yet remember me?

What did you think? Have you written any poems recently? Am I the only one goggling contentedly at (and vowing to forthwith forever use) this gorgeous font?! ;D