Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Happy Birthday Blog Post

I wasn't intending to post today--but a surprising little event turned up, and I am most delighted to contribute a post to celebrate the 2nd blogoversary of Fullness of Joy. Joy is a delightful blogger and aspiring author, a blog I have followed almost since the beginning of the Lady Bibliophile's existence on the web. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Part of Joy's celebration are some delightful blog tags. Blog tags are so fun, and I can never get enough of them; besides the fact that the questions below look quite interesting. You might see another tag or two pop up before the party is over. ;) I dearly hope so.

So let's have it:

1. Pretending if need be that you never read any of those titles, (unless you actually haven’t), which book-title intrigues you the most that it would make you abandon all the others and read THAT one book...? Roverandom, The Keys of the Kingdom, That Hideous Strength, The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire, With Christ in the School of Prayer, Kidnapped, The Ballad of the White Horse, The Robe, The Man Who Was Thursday, or Surprised by Joy...?

That Hideous Strength. I think it's a Lewis. I'm pretty sure it's a Lewis, but please don't laugh at me if it isn't; I've only read Chronicles and Screwtape out of his works. I don't think I would actually drop the books I'm reading simply to pick it up, but it looks the most interesting. The only other one would be Kidnapped. If I get a craving for Davie and Alan's adventures, then I let myself start it no matter how big my stack is. Junior B is reading that right now, and it just warms the cockles of my heart...

2. How do you reconcile yourself with an offended cat? (Tell a clueless girl, here!)
Our family did have a cat for sixteen years, I think it was, and she was a dear calico thing with a mind of her own, but a decided tendency to cuddle as she grew older. We miss her very much, even though it was a good few years ago that she died.

There were a good few times that she got quite offended. For instance, when I would be doing my morning Bible reading, she would sit entirely unblinking through all five chapters. And I, being rather perverse, would not give her a single look.

When she was offended, I tended to be harder rather than softer. I would run a playful hand down her tail and say "Hey kitty. What's the matter?"

Cats who actually get offended generally prefer intellectual appeals...

3. Can you describe to us in a seven-word sentence your current surroundings using the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch? Otherwise you can name in order the thirteen dwarf characters in The Hobbit without looking the info up online. ‘Tis your choice, you know!
I accept the challenge of the dwarfs, and give you my word that I did not look them up:
Dori, Nori, Ori, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bomber, Balin, Dwalin, Fili, Kili, and Thorin Oakenshield.

*takes a bow*

4. Tea or Coffee? Or lemonade?
Neither tea nor coffee. Hot drinks and I are not the best of friends, actually, and I always decline them as a general rule, unless I'm in a very, very relaxed mood.  But I won't turn down hot apple cider, if you offer it to me. ;) So I'll take lemonade, generally. But I don't drink much of anything. It's a very bad habit, I know.
5. Do you think your writing voice and style on your blog (or novel) is so very different from your normal, day-to-day voice and personality? Or is almost identical?

If you talked to people who knew me, I think they would tell you that my writing style is much different than my day-to-day personality. You see, I have two sides, and this blog very much captures one of them--reserved, with all the loose ends tied up, and not leaving a single corner of myself out for vulnerability. Oh yes, I'll crack a joke or two, but on the whole I find that my formal speaking and writing style is reserved with very little imagery.

But in person--oh yes, in person I can chat quite a lot. And crack a lot of jokes. And even talk about things like makeup. It is quite my horror to talk about makeup for fear of coming across as shallow, and it is also my fear after visiting someone that I have talked too much, lest I come across as an extrovert. In public, I prefer to be well-scripted and intellectual.

But a few people--I could probably count them on the fingers of both hands--have the power to crack me out of my shell, and make me forget about well-scripted intellectualism until afterwards. You lovely peoples know who you are...

6. Puddleglum or Mr. Tumnus?

Oh dear. That's such a hard choice, and  I love both of them. Mr. Tumnus is such a cheerful little fellow. But Puddleglum is too (in a doleful sort of way), and in the end he's the one we quote the most. So I'll have to choose Puddleglum.

“Very likely, what with enemies, and mountains, and rivers to cross, and losing our way, and next to nothing to eat, and sore feet, we’ll hardly notice the weather.”

“Now a job like this-a journey up north just as winter’s beginning, looking for a Prince that probably isn’t there, by way of a ruined city that no one has ever seen-will be just the thing."
7. Which of the seasons, spring, summer, autumn, or winter, appeals to you most in a literary sense and inspires you to write?

I get the most done in fall and winter. It's a sleepy, snowy, frosty time of year when we don't have as many outside engagements, and when nature is asleep, I think I am able to imagine better in the worlds I have created.

8. Cast your mind back to childhood, what was your favourite Old Testament Bible character as a child? What was your most dearly loved Bible Account? Why?

David. He's an old friend of mine, in spite of his mistakes. I find his life incredible--how a man even as messed up as he was could be a man after God's own heart. I'm not sure however, which was my favorite Bible account.

9. What are some of the films/books or songs that make you tear-up or cry the most (be it because it is so beautiful, or really sad or tragic, etc), tell us why they do that; do you actually like to cry in a movie/book?
Amazing Grace made me cry. I do not know the extent of Wilberforce's struggle as far as personal experience goes, but I too know the heart-weariness of dreams long delayed. I marvel at how his human frailty didn't crack in the face of doubt and opposition. Only by the grace of God--and at the end of every viewing of that movie, it makes me wonder: could I rely on God for twenty years, unwavering, unquestioning, tireless. Every year I learn that my grace and strength are smaller, and I must cling to the Lord a little more firmly. I hope that I will run my race as well as Wilberforce ran his.

October Baby made me cry. I have never suffered the horror that Hannah suffered, but I too have had to forgive, and this movie brought healing of it's own.

So did the Lord of the Rings, both books and movie. Everybody cries over Lord of the Rings. 'Nough said. ;)

 The Silmarillion--I think I cried over this one. I can't remember whether it was the legend of Berin, or the legend of Turin. Probably Turin.

There are others, I'm sure as well, though none come to mind at the moment.

Yes, I like to cry. There was a time when I did not cry, and I know why I didn't--my heart was rather hard around the edges, but I asked the Lord to soften it, and one of the side results of that is that I cry much more over books and movies. This isn't a requirement for everyone, but for me it was a matter of valuing the grace of God. I am much more touched by it than I used to be, and I am glad of it.

As for music--

Well, one or two...

10. Do you have any special literary goals or dreams that you wish you could accomplish as a writer during your lifetime (besides publishing, that is!)?
I have a few goals up my sleeve, but must beg your indulgence to conceal them for the time being. ;) I do crave your pardon and understanding.

11. If you are a writer, which one of your characters’ internal makeup most echoes a likeness or similitude to you? If you have none of your own – what other fictional character (book/film) does? Explain your answer.

Ah, now you've pinned me down. :) And I can see certain of my readers sitting up and taking extra-special notice...

I am like three of my characters, as far as personality goes. The first is an American fellow, who really holds himself pretty tightly and makes sure he doesn't make any mistakes. He manages to make them anyway, and I feel for him. But he's not unkind in spite of his reserve, though he's fearfully stubborn, and would rather find solutions on his own simply because admitting his mistakes would reveal a part of him that he doesn't want to show. When he is really relaxed, and with one or two people that he doesn't feel threatened by, he likes to talk, and I enjoy him when he does that. It's positively a pleasure to listen to him. He's keen on justice, keen on law, and keen on respecting boundaries. If you make jest of him or betray something that he would much prefer you hadn't, then he will let you know of his displeasure, though only after holding it in and rationalizing it for a long time. I'm much like him in that, though he tends to show his anger a little more openly than I do. But he and I aren't identical, and I certainly don't intentionally draw him from myself. Oh, and he's also good at puzzling over conundrums, which I enjoy. I tend to crack the complicated much easier than I discover the obvious. And he's an awful self-critic. Simply tears himself up inside, and I don't recall that he's once been satisfied with his efforts. I am very much like that too. Some days it's a running rebuke from sun-up to sun-down. He and I get along rather well. I've only shaken him once.

The second is a 28-year-old Irishman, who is quite comfortable and extroverted in small groups of people, sometimes annoyingly so, but who doesn't like large parties. He's good-natured most of the time, and has a pretty long fuse. But when he's upset with you, he shows quick flashes of annoyance, and has a decided tendency to take jabs that isn't nice at all. He's also not very charitably inclined towards immature people, but does have a healthy compassionate streak towards those who really need him. At the current moment he and I both have a lot on our minds, and we take a heavy responsibility for the results of other people's actions, whether we should be responsible or no.

These seem to be a bunch of faults. In spite of Sherlock Holmes' assertion that modesty is not a virtue, I don't normally pick out my own virtues. Okay, so the compassionate streak was one virtue. I told you I was a fearful self-critic.

The third is a teenage girl who has never seen the light of day in any of my emails or articles. Therefore I'm going to exert the power of the keypad and say that she has to stay under wraps for a little while longer.

 And to those of you who know who these characters are: I must ask you not to give any more information than I have already given, and please I beg of you, do not mention their names, but I would be interested to know if you agree with my assessment. ;)

12. Excuse me for another Tolkien reference, but I couldn't help it, alas! Which of the five Middle-earth hobbits do you identify with the most: Bilbo, Frodo, Sam, Merry, or Pippen?

Never too many Tolkien questions!

Dare I be cliché and say Sam? You see, I do have some rather Samwise characteristics. I'm a bit of a plodder like him--until I'm so hungry I can't do any more--and have very strong senses of duty and loyalty. Mind, I'm not trying to compliment myself--such characteristics do have their drawbacks you know.

A prosaic fellow, with occasional little flights of fancy. That's Samwise, and that would most certainly be me, according to my last answer.
13. What special topic do you relish talking/writing about the most? Like – like a tap that can instantly be turned on... please, do tell!

Books, of course! I will talk to you about books for ages. But the subject that really turns me on is writing. The theory of it, the rules of it, how to break the rules of it, and all the myriads of delightful plots and characters I have swirling around in my brain: I love to talk about them, and become positively extroverted when they come up. Which...tends to scare me when I think about it.

14. Make your choice, adventurous Stranger; Strike the bell and bide the danger, Or wonder, till it drives you mad, What would have followed if you had.  The Bell and the Hammer, C.S. Lewis ...thus said the inscription next to the bell in that mysterious place in which Polly and Digory came upon, in The Magician’s Nephew. If you had been in their place, would you have taken the adventure of ringing the golden bell as Digory did (not knowing that the White Witch would be awakened) or would you have acted sensibly like Polly but risked being driven mad by the thought of ‘what if’ when you were back home in England?

This question drives me crazy pondering it. I think I would have rung the bell.

15. What is that which makes you keep blogging and writing in general in the times when your blog/and or you yourself are at a low ebb? Do you like taking breaks from blogging or miss your followers too much? 

The grace of God and sheer stubbornness. Whenever I'm going on a trip, I write my blog post ahead of time. I was sick during the Magic and Fantasy series, but I had promised it, and up it must go. Twice in the history of My Lady Bibliophile I sat down to write a post to tell everyone I just had to take a break, and twice I wasn't able to do it. I couldn't get the words out.

So, when I'm at a low ebb, I first of all pray for ideas. The Lord is a fountainhead of creativity, inspiration, and endurance. Then I go down to my shelves and pick a book, and write as long and as well as I can on it. Blogging for me is not merely a recreational activity; it's a writing discipline, and it is my desire that it is an inspiring and enjoyable resource for fellow bibliophiles. Pastors have to get up and preach to their flock when inspiration runs low. Mothers have to teach their children even when they're tired. It is my desire to use the activities I have now to develop stamina and commitment.

And don't worry: blogging is great fun practically all the time. So please, I beg of you, don't think that every post is a great struggle. Generally all of them are great fun, and sometimes I have to hold myself back to keep from rambling on--like in the Sil. :)

And speaking of Sil, I am most looking forward to Part Two with all of you on Friday!

Thanks so much for the tag Joy; it was great fun, and a very happy 2nd blogoversary to you! Here's to many more!

Lady Bibliophile


  1. Happy 2nd Blogoversary, Joy! I hope you're enjoying it. :)
    Oooo...I loved the part about what to do about an offended cat! Our kitty was such a dear old kitty, and she put up with my antics for quite awhile, before getting tired and hiding under the bed! ;)
    I think those story characters fit you perfectly! ;)

    P.S. And it IS rather fun roaming the hills with Davie. I haven't gotten back to Alan yet. ;)

    1. She was a dear old thing, wasn't she? I wish I could cuddle her right now...

      Good! I wondered, you seemed rather dubious about the first one, but I see I have persuaded you. :P


      P.S. The Quarrel isn't until later, so enjoy the ride as you go along. Tis all too short, I only wish he had gone on for 200 pages more. ;)

  2. I loved reading this! It was so neat to read your response to #8. Though I have grown to love many of the godly characteristics in many Bible characters, David has always remained the closest favorite. Each time I learned something inspiring, encouraging, and "relatable" in another character, there was the struggle to "change favorites", but David always managed to come out on top still. I have always loved that he was a "man after God's own heart"--to me, he was a man that I could identify with--one who struggled deeply at different times, but always held on to the faithful forgiveness of his God.

    1. His psalm of forgiveness is one I turn to quite often. ;) And one of the CCM songs I like is "Voice of Truth", which is based on Peter and David, my two favorite people in the Bible.

  3. If you haven't already, you really MUST read Roverandom, The Ballad of the White Horse, and The Man Who Was Thursday. And That Hideous Strength! They are all wonderful, wonderful books!

    1. *adds to overflowing book list, shakes head, and takes a deep breath*

      I don't think I'll ever catch up. :) But one of these days I am actually going to finish a Chesterton. Maybe I'll re-order that one I got from the library four years ago. I could actually pick up where I left off, I fancy, without too much problem.

  4. The Ballad of the White Horse is my pick for most compelling title.
    We are working our way through 1 Samuel in church this year, and I am gaining a deeper love for David throughout. The depth of strength in his character juxtaposed with the greatness of his stumblings is a blessed reminder of God's grace toward all his people.
    I agree completely with your opinion on Puddleglum and Mr. Tumnus. : )
    And I am not surprised at all that you can rattle off the names of Thorin & Co. on demand. : )
    And I find your socially comfortable introversion most gracious and charming. : ) We have people at our house with the "dual personality" phenomenon as well. I know when I am driving somewhere with my dad, we can sit for ten or twenty minutes in perfect silence, perfectly comfortable, but when we get going on a subject that interests us, the conversation flies fast and thick.
    I also have a sister who matches your description of the 28-year-old Irishman astonishingly well. She even succumbs often to a headache soon after social evenings. : (
    Thank you for your lovely surprise post!

    ~The Philologist

    1. I see The Ballad is a Chesterton, and am intrigued. I have only read 2/3 of a Chesterton, and enjoyed his humor immensely. Maybe he'll be one of my 2014 goals, as 2013 is filling up fast.

      I must admit, I nearly couldn't do all the dwarfs. I rattled eleven of them off, and got stuck. But I didn't want to write a seven word sentence about my surroundings (the dwarfs were so much more fun)so said "it will come to me" and set my mind to searching through its myriad of files. Behold, perhaps an hour or two later Oin and Gloin popped up, and I hurried off to write my post. :)

      Thank-you muchly for your kind words. ;) Having a dual personality can sometimes be rather confusing--trying to figure out which one I am--and I do admit that sometimes after being particularly verbose I go to bed thinking "Oh my, I just talked a *lot*. That was rather--embarrassing." :) Silly me. It depends on who's there, and what the subject is--I think I learned to be a talker from self-defense. Being the eldest daughter, and often the eldest girl in the circles I'm in, I knew I had to dig up some leadership abilities. And somewhere along the way I learned to pick up small talk, which was a talent I never wanted, but it comes in handy in certain circles when I'm really on edge and want to be polite.

      Oh dear--I never have gotten a headache from people, that doesn't sound fun at all. But I do generally spend the next day recovering by finding sometime particularly solitary to do. ;) Like writing...

      Today it wasn't writing. It was reading. I do apologize, and promise to reform my ways.

  5. You'd better reform your ways.
    ; )


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