Friday, November 29, 2013

Quotes from recently read books

The following are quotes from books I've recently read.  All but the first seem to state a sentiment similar to Sam Gamgee's in Tolkien's Return of the King when he sat in Mordor, the darkest place in Middle Earth, looked up at the sky and for just a moment saw that the stars were still there hidden behind the clouds and smog as they always would be.

She was wearing a cheery sun-yellow cardigan over over a brown dress and clutching an umbrella with both hands in an attitude of polite anxiety.  Sometimes, thought the actress inside Laurel ("ears, eyes, and heart, all at once"), you could tell everything there was to know about a person by a single gesture.  The woman with the umbrella was nervous, dependable and grateful.

from The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

[Remarkable...] that the whole world can be involved in this madness we call war, and all the while the flowers and the bees and the seasons keep on doing what they must, wise but never weary in their wait for humanity to come to its senses and remember the beauty of life? [...] it's wonderous, don't you think, that a person can swing from despair to gleeful hunger, and that even during the dark days there is happiness to be found in the smallest things?

-- Vivien, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

And the stars: the sky gets crowded at night, and it is a bit like watching a clock seeing the constellations slide across the sky.  It's comforting to know that they'll show up, however crook things get.  That used to help in France [participating in WWI].  It put things into perspective -- the stars had been around since before there were people.  They just kept shining no matter what was going on.

-- Tom, The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

He traced the constellations as they slid their way across the roof of the world from dusk till dawn.  The precision of it, the quiet orderliness of the stars, gave him a sense of freedom.  There was nothing he was going through that the stars had not seen before, somewhere, some time on this earth.  Given enough time, their memory would close over his life like healing a wound.  All would be forgotten, all suffering erased.

from The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

From "Tell the Wolves I'm Home"

What follows are a few of my favourite quotes from Carol Rifka Brunt's Tell the Wolves I'm Home, a story narrated by fourteen-year-old June.

Probably the longest day of my life.  I felt like I had proof that not all days are the same length, not all time has the same weight.  Proof that there are worlds and worlds and worlds on top of worlds, if you want them to be there.

I mean, why did sex have to be so important?  Why couldn't people live together, spend their whole lives together, just because they liked each other's company?  Just because they liked each other more than anyone else in the whole world?
     If you found a person like that you wouldn't have to have sex.  You could just hold them, couldn't you?  You could sit close to them, nestle in to them so you could hear the machine of them churning away.  You could press your ear against that person's back, listening to the rythm of them, knowing that you were both made of the exact same stuff.  You could do things like that.

I knew the way lost hopes could be dangerous, how they could turn a person into someone they thought they'd never be.

An hour of writing 11.29.13

Heads or Tails
     “Heads we get married, tails we break up.”  The goofy grin slid back on his face, and he raised in eyebrows.
     “Oh not again, Matt.  Honestly.  We’re not even ‘together,’ so how can we break up, you goofball?”  Annabelle Smith finally managed to stuff her arms into the cream-colored pea coat.  She grabbed the strap of her purse and stomped past Matt Jones, her friend of two years.  He’d been the one to get her her job – her fabulous job – her dream job of writing for the show.
     Well, he didn’t get her the job.  The Heads (as Matt and Annabelle called the producers) wouldn’t have even considered her had she not some small ounce of talent or gumption; Matt simply brought their attention to her work via her blog.  Annabelle often mused, Who knew that that one small (embarrassing) piece of fan fiction would land me here?  But here she was writing for one of her favourite shows on television alongside Matt Jones.
     “You’re just teasing me again, aren’t you?”
     “Oh, Matt, when have I ever teased you about this before?  Do you really think you and I would last as a married couple?  We work well as a writing pair, but our values are so different; we’d be divorced before we were even married.”
     “Annie-bellie-wellie, I love it when you call us a ‘couple.’”  Matt threw his arm around her shoulder and squeezed Annabelle to his side.
     “First, you goof, I called us a ‘writing pair’ – not the same.”
     “Ah, but we are a pair, my Annie-bellie-wellie.”
     “A pair of cuckoo birds.  Don’t interrupt.  Second:  for the love of cheesecake, don’t say my name like that.”
     “Like what?  Oh.  Would you rather me sing it?  My dear Annie-bellie-wellie!” Matt warbled.
     Annabelle punched him in the arm laughing.  “Shut up.”
     Matt’s own laughter died down.  He clasped his hands behind his back as the writing pair walked down the corridor.  His eyebrows gathered together – a sign, Annabelle knew, her friend was muddling over an idea.  “Seriously though – Annabelle – you don’t think I’m a great catch?”
     “Of course I think you’re a great catch, Matt.  You’re a marvelous man, Matt Jones.”  Matt smiled slightly.  “But you and I married?  We’d kill each other.”
     “Oh, I wouldn’t say, ‘We’d kill each other.’  Maybe sleep in different rooms and never speak to one another again, but, honestly, I could never take an ax to you.”  He grinned the Matt Jones grin.
     In spite of herself, Annabelle giggled.  “Us never speaking to one another again amounts to the same thing as hacking at each other with axes, and you know it.
     No.  You really are a great catch, Matt.  Truly.  Just for someone else is all.  Maybe you can find a girl who worships cheesecake like you.”
     “Ah, I do love cheesecake.”
     “You are what you eat.”
     “Easy, Smith,” Matt said as he held open the door to the parking garage.
     Annabelle stepped over the threshold and stopped.  She vaguely heard the heavy door shut.
     “What is it?’ Matt said.  She then felt him pause beside her.  “Ummm.”
     “This isn’t the parking garage.”
     “A very astute observation.  No it is not.”
     “Where the hell are we?”  Annabelle turned.  The door they had come through was still there.
     “Suppose we’ve somehow managed to find ourselves on the set of a TV show?”
     “Right.  So, they’ve moved Parking A and built a set here?”
     “Precisely.”  Matt turned and yanked on the door.  “Okay.  Don’t panic.  The door is stuck.  And by stuck I mean disappearing before our eyes!”  The door literally was vanishing into thin air before the pair’s eyes.  “Um, Annabelle?”
     “Yes, Matt?”
     He took her hand as she looked in astonishment at the space where the door to Parking A once was.  “I think we’re in trouble.”
     “Oh cheesecake.”
     “Don’t take the name of cheesecake in vain.”
     “Sorry,” she choked.  Annabelle turned the other way to face what was supposed to be Parking A but was now a forest of evergreens.  “So.  Shall we carry on?”  She looked up at Matt.
     “What?  You mean go through the forest of possible no return?”  Annabelle nodded.  Matt put on his too big smile – the one that meant, We’re going to fail miserably, but at least we’ll have fun doing it.  He said, “I think that’s a brilliant plan.  Let’s do it.”  He offered Annabelle his arm, and together they crept forward.
     Annabelle said, “Do you hear anything?”
     “Not really.”
     “We’re in a forest,” Annabelle continued quietly.  “Shouldn’t there be birds chirping or animals chattering?  I can’t even hear our feet shuffle along the forest floor.”
     Matt paused and looked at Annabelle, his eyebrows gathered.
     “You won’t hear anything.”
     “D’ah,” Annabelle and Matt both exclaimed as they jumped.  Annabelle clung comically to Matt’s arm.  To their right stood a girl – maybe – with close-cropped hair wearing strappy green scraps of clothing and looking about twelve-years-old.
     Matt sputtered, “Who are you?  Where did you come from?  Where are we?  What do you mean we ‘won’t hear anything?’”  The girl stood looking at the pair.
     Still clinging to Matt’s arm, Annabelle said, “Maybe you should try one question.”
     “Okay.  What do you mean we ‘won’t hear anything’?  We heard you.  I think.”  Matt looked to Annabelle who nodded.  “We hear each other.”  Matt gestured between himself and Annabelle.
     “Of course we can hear each other,” the girl said.  “But you won’t hear the forest.  The forest has been silenced.”
     “Silenced?” said Annabelle.  “What does that mean?”
     “Follow me,” the girl said and turned.
     Annabelle looked at Matt who shrugged.  The pair treaded carefully behind the girl.
     They travelled on following a path that must have been visible to the girl; all Annabelle saw was miles of evergreens.
     Matt leaned over.  “Where are we?”
     “How should I know?” Annabelle said.  “And I don’t think we need bother whispering.  I’m sure she can hear us.”
     “You’re in the Duplicitous Forest,” said the girl.  “The forest has been silenced by the king.”
     “The king?” spoke Annabelle.  “So we’re in the Duplicitous Forest in the kingdom of --?”
     “King Havashar.  He lives over that way.”  The girl pointed to the right as she kept walking.  Annabelle looked but still saw nothing but trees.  “King Havashar’s wife was stolen and killed.  Until her murder is avenged, the king ordered the forest silenced.”
     “I’m sorry,” said Annabelle, “I don’t understand.  Why silence the forest?”  Never mind how you silence a forest, Annabelle added in her head.
     The girl stopped short and turned to the pair staring Annabelle squarely in the face causing her to gasp.  “When someone dies you show respect for their life with silence.  But this was murder, and the king was greatly grieved.  His wife was born and raised in the Duplicitous Forest, so until her murder is avenged, the Duplicitous Forest will be silenced.”  The girl resumed her walk along the invisible path.
     Annabelle looked up at Matt.  He put a hand over hers and the pair continued following their mysterious guide.  After a moment, Annabelle nudged Matt and nodded to the girl encouraging him to ask a question.  She didn’t care to be reprimanded by a twelve-year-old pixie again.
     “Uh right.  So why are we here?  My friend and I?”
     “You are the Messengers,” said the girl.
     “The messengers?” said Matt.  “What does that mean?”
 *** My hour of writing is well up.  Until next time ***

An hour of writing 11.24.13

(Author's note: I've decided to take an hour each week and dedicate it to writing -- poorly.  All the articles and books and classes say to give yourself permission to write poorly -- no judgment, no edits.  So that's what I'm endeavoring to do.  I will try to post the hour-long efforts that aren't too horrible.  Happy giggling.)

     I sit upon the stool leaning my back against the wall with my feet propped on the supporting bar of the stool’s legs.  The players spar – thrust and defend.  Other observers stand in clusters cheering and jeering the players and acting buffoons some of them.
     ‘Do you mind if I sit here?’ a deep, north English accent purrs.  I look up into his blue eyes and inwardly shiver.
     ‘Not at all,’ I reply with what’s hopefully a gracious smile.  He grins and relaxes his 6’3 frame onto the stool next to mine.  We sit in companionable silence taking in the frivolity.
     ‘I admire what you had to say about the Hunger Games –.‘  Oh, he’s talking to me; my inner-self giggles.  ‘It’s not easy to hold to an opinion that goes against the grain.  But you haven’t read any of the books?’
     I gently smile at his compliment and say, ‘No, I’m leery of getting too caught up in a series.  It’s all because of the T.V. show Lost – the ending.  I felt so betrayed.  All we got for answer was “one question will lead to another…” – such a slap in the face.  Also keeping up with a series is hard work – all the characters and place names to keep track of.  Of course, The Hunger Games is only a trilogy, but I’m glad I didn’t read it first.’
     ‘You don’t like to read a book before you see the movie?’
     ‘Oh no.  I very much prefer to read the book first in most cases, but if I’m not sure about a story – especially one that spans across more than one book – it’s nice to spend two or three hours watching a movie as opposed to investing months with three large books.’
     ‘So you don’t like to read series stories or sagas either?’
     I snort.  ‘I make that comment about being leery of stories that last three or more books, but in reality right now I’m in the middle of….three of them?  It was four, but I finished one.’
     ‘Which was that?’
     ‘The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley.  They’re kids’ books, so I could easily finish one in a day given the time.  There are nine books in that series.  I enjoyed it.’
     ‘I’ve heard of those.  My niece is into them.  Big fan.’ I bow my head sheepishly.  I have the same tastes as a nine-year-old. ‘But if they’re that good, maybe I should give them a try.  My niece really likes – is it the younger sister?’
     ‘Ah yes.  That sounds familiar.  But her favourite is Mirror, she says.’
     ‘Mmm.  How far is your niece into the books?  Do you know?’
     ‘Uh, the fifth book, I think?  She mentioned something about time travel.’
     ‘Yeah, that sounds about right.’  I bite my tongue to avoid spoiling the story’s big reveal.
     He chuckles.  ‘She says if they make the series into a movie, “which they should of course,”’ he says with mock seriousness –
     ‘Oh, of course.  Every great book series deserves a movie,’ I play along.
     ‘Right?  Yes.  She says if they make Sisters Grimm into a movie, I should play Prince Charming.  I don’t know about me as Prince Charming.’
     I snicker.  ‘Actually, when I read the books, you were playing Charming in my head.’
     He laughs.  ‘Oh really?  Charming, huh?’
     ‘Yeah.  He’s an arrogant sot, but he’s all right deep down.’  Pause for dramatic effect.  ‘Or is he?’
     ‘Yes, ooo….’  I laugh, and he flashes that warm, gorgeous smile.  Oh yes, more please!
     'So, if they ever make them into a movie, which they should of course –‘
     ‘Of course.’
     ‘I should send in an audition tape straight away.’
     ‘Most definitely.’  We laugh.
     ‘What other series are you reading?’
     ‘Well, there are two I pick up every now and then.  Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind --.’
     ‘Ah, excellent.  Which book are you on?’
     ‘Not very far I’m afraid.  Just finished the fifth book.’
     ‘Okay.  What else?’
     ‘Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.’
     ‘Is that one they’ve made into a T.V. series?’
     ‘Yes,’ I say disappointedly.
     ‘Not going to watch then?’
     ‘Eh.  I may watch an episode just to see.  Out of curiosity.  But I don’t think there’s any hope to a T.V. show or movie matching the world in my head.’
     ‘Yeah.  What’s the name of the bloke in it?’
     ‘The actor in the show?  Or the character?’
     ‘The character.’
     ‘Jamie “I will never be satisfied by another man” Fraser.’  This elicits a hearty laugh.  Score.
     ‘That’s quite a moniker.’
     I smile sheepishly.  ‘Um, and right now I’m making my way through the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.’
     ‘Oh, I haven’t heard of that one.  What’s it about?’
      ‘Well, it’s a bit like Sword of Truth, actually.  Similar character types and of course the epic hero’s journey.  Only Wheel of Time follows more than one hero, so it’s more the heroes' journeys.’
     ‘Really?  And it’s called Wheel of Time?’
     ‘Yeah.  The first book is called Eye of the World.’
     ‘I’ll have to check that out.  I liked the Sword of Truth series.’
     ‘Wheel of Time isn’t quite as dark as Sword of Truth.  It’s like a PG-13 ensemble version of Sword of Truth.’
     He laughs again.  ‘Okay.’

*** Thus ended my allotted hour to write.  Until next time. ***