I am proud to announce the launch of my new independent couture business, Endless Horizons Designs. The WordPress profile is still under construction, and the Etsy shop is yet to be launched, but everything is moving forward.
(Sarah, you mentioned you were interested in buying one of the Clockwork Charm Bracelets. I’ll make sure you know immediately when the listing goes up on Etsy, because I’m going to have to mail them on a first-come first-served basis, and I only have two finished bracelets at the moment. If someone else wants the second one, please let me know so I can notify you as well. The speculative price for each bracelet is $17, before shipping and handling.)
I was surprised, this morning, to see a mountain of pillows go walking past my study door. I ran to the door and peered out after the strange apparition.
It was not, in fact, a walking pillow mountain, but the Eighth Doctor, his arms full of pillows. The pile was higher than his head. “Doctor! What are you doing?” He turned around, losing control of the pillow pile, and stared at me, startled, knee deep in pillows.
Call this a tribute to all my favorite characters–I was thinking back on all my favorites and I noticed that my very favorite characters all tried and failed at some point, but kept on trying. Their victories were by no means constant, and their successes were not always total.
So here is my tribute to Horatio Hornblower, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Martin the Warrior, the Doctor (though this sounds much more like Eight than like Eleven), Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Charles Wallace Murray, Meg Murray, Sydney Cotton, and all my other favorite characters.
They all pity me. I can tell.
I’ve got all the scars and bruises and broken bones I earned by my trouble, I skirt the edge of madness, and sometimes I seem to be invisible.
Sometimes, they ask me why I’m like this.
“It couldn’t be helped,” I say.
After all, if I told them the full truth, they wouldn’t stop to listen.
Sometimes, when you reach out to touch the stars, you fall and fall hard. Not all your leaps of faith will be successes.
Of course, since they pity me, they’d never see the truth. The truth is this: I tried. I did my best and sometimes it just wasn’t enough. Reduced to this shell of a man as I am in their eyes, they would only see the futility of the struggle. Never its nobility.
The very core of the truth, condensed and concentrated, is that I do not regret one moment.
I do not grudge one bruise, one scar; not the shattered bones or the bleeding knuckles or broken skin. If I had my live to live all over, I’d do it all again. I’d risk it all. I’d step out without knowing if I had a safety net. I’d run farther and fight harder without knowing if I’d win or not. I would seize every chance, take every risk in hope.
I have lived more fully than any of them. The path of least resistance is not one that is by any means enviable. It’s safe, certainly—but it is not satisfying. Not to me, in any case.
I would not give up one second of this. I do not regret one moment of this.
Hey, everyone! It’s been a while since I posted, so I thought I’d give you all a sneak peak of what I’ve been working on! 😉
The hatch that sealed off the bridge was locked. Meghan was a little bit shocked to see Pennon take out a series of lock picks and try them on the lock, then select one and proceed to work on the lock more intently. He nodded to Meghan, who readied her strikers. Pennon threw open the door and rushed into the room.
It was a fairly typical bridge with a cluster of instruments and controls. However, at the far end of the room, grouped around the wheel, stood a group of strange figures with their backs to them. They somehow struck Meghan as strange and unnatural, their bearing awkward and stiff. Pennon somehow didn’t seem fazed. He walked forward and whirled one of the strange figures around. “Excuse me…”
Meghan cried out in fear and surprise. The face was distorted, immobile. A moment later, she realized it was a mask. She swallowed hard. Clockwork automatons. Pennon frowned.
The automatons turned around slowly, gears clicking. One of them stepped forward, the movement bizarre and unnatural. Pennon unsheathed his rigging knife and held it in one hand, his strikers in the other. Long, jagged blades, whirling gears rolling their centers, jutted away from the automatons’ hands. Pennon dropped into a crouch, beckoning with the blade. Meghan swallowed. The automatons stepped forward, hesitantly, their cogs grinding. “Use your knife to keep them away from you, and your strikers to disable them,” Pennon instructed. “Aim for the head, neck, joints. If you can hit them square in the center of the chest, that disables the spring mechanism, but you have to be quick and hit hard.”
“Right,” Meghan said, her voice high, frightened. Pennon glanced halfway round and gave her a quick smile.
“I didn’t intend to drop you into the deep quite so soon. I’m sorry.” Meghan swallowed.
“I’ll do my best to keep them away from you.” With that, Pennon leaped forward, dealing the first automaton a rapid uppercut that sent it staggering back without coordination.
In other news, classes start on Monday and I feel not at all ready. *sigh* It’s hard to believe that summer is over already.
In honor of Father’s day: The Doctor goes to keep an old tryst. (Note: Cross-posted to Fanfiction and my Tumblr blog.) The author is not responsible for any excess of feels.
The Doctor appeared on Susan’s doorstep five hours and forty years late, though when she invited him inside she expected it had been longer for him. He took off his hat, awkwardly, looking as if he wanted to roll the brim between his long, slender fingers. “You look lovely, Susan,” he said, stumbling awkwardly over the words. Susan half-smiled.
“Good to see you too, Grandfather.”
His tie was askew and his hair was wild, as if he’d taken a dive through the vortex before getting dressed and hadn’t found the time to tame it again. Carefully, Susan replaced the long, soft curls into something resembling order and took his hand. “Shall we?”
The TARDIS was different from how it had been; instead of gleaming white, the walls honeycombed with roundels, there was an ancient cathedral-like room, lined with books and candles and clocks. “You’ve redecorated,” Susan murmured, brushing her hand along the edge of the wood and brass console. The TARDIS chimed a faint greeting. The Doctor ducked his head, shyly.
“Yes,” he said quietly. “It seemed like time for a change.” He stood there, leaning against the door frame, a slight figure all but lost in the gloom, the shadows at the edges of the enormous space. Susan felt an ache in her chest that could not be explained by her recent cold. The Doctor walked briskly across the open space and leaned the elegant cane against the console, throwing levers and pressing knobs.
They materialized in a broom closet and joined the party as inconspicuously as they could. “We’re overdressed,” Susan said in an undertone. A half-smile pulled at the corners of the Doctor’s mouth.
“Just a little.” He held out a hand. “Would you care to dance, Mrs. Campbell?” She didn’t say anything–she just gave him a little, sad half-smile.
They had one misstep–the Doctor tripped over a floorboard during a complicated step and almost dropped her, but caught her at the last moment. “Sorry,” he whispered. “Out of practice.”
At one point, when the Doctor momentarily left her to get some punch for both of them, one of the older gentlemen attending came across to speak to Susan. “Pleasant-spoken young man,” he said. “Is he your father?”
“My grandfather, actually,” Susan corrected him. The older man paled.
When it was time to go home, the Doctor landed at the end of the street and walked Susan to her front door. She paused in the doorway.
“Thank you for tonight,” she said, quietly. The Doctor ducked his head abashedly.
“I tend to forget a lot of things in this life,” he said, softly. “I thought it was time to… give you some closure. I’m not getting any younger.” Susan smiled sadly.
“Come here.” His coat smelled faintly of old books, lavender and honey. She pressed her face gratefully against it.
Okay, so not as obscure as some I could’ve picked, but it counts as obscure, since everyone seems to have forgotten that Lewis didn’t just write for children. *glares at stereotypes in general*
Disclaimer: I don’t think that all atheists write depressing things. As a Christian, however, I tend to find atheistic beliefs very depressing. I don’t intend to offend; this is simply how I read it.
Okay, so first for some background.
Dr. Elwin Ransom is the central or viewpoint character in C.S. Lewis’ novels Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra, and an important character (though no longer a viewpoint character) in That Hideous Strength. He was also featured in the unfinished story The Dark Tower. These novels were written as part of a dare between Lewis and fellow Inkling J.R.R. Tolkien. Lewis was supposed to write a science-fiction story, while Tolkien was going to try a time-travel novel. (Tolkien’s side of the dare is sadly incomplete.) From the three completed books and parts of The Dark Tower, you can gather some important information about the hero’s personal history.
Dr. Elwin Ransom is a philologist. Basically, he studies languages, probably those of the British Isles especially, given that he understands that his name isn’t actually anything to do with the act of ransoming, but is a corruption of the Scandanavian “Ranulf’s Son” (Perelandra.)
He fought in the First World War. I don’t recall where he was in action or if it was even mentioned which unit he was in, but he did see action.
He teaches at a university (I don’t remember, but I think it was Cambridge.) I wish he was my teacher.
Ransom is a pretty likeable character to begin with. He feels frustration with himself and his somewhat-impulsive side, much like Horatio Hornblower (in the books, not so much the movies), but he is very generous all the same, even when it makes things awkward (ahh, awkwardness… Lewis took the chance to poke fun at it… I can’t even come close to telling you how hilarious it is. Seriously, read the book. X-D)
But the truly ironic thing about Ransom is that he’s one of the Lost Generation.
The Lost Generation is a term used to refer to the men who fought in the First World War and came home disillusioned, with war, with themselves, and with the values of the previous generation.
Lewis, along with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Earnest Hemingway (and Ransom!), was a member of the Lost Generation and fought in the First World War.
While some people lost their way, Lewis is a good example of how bad things can either press people to disillusionment or to hope.
Ransom’s character arc is very unique compared to many fantasy and science fiction heroes. Instead of being a high-fantasy hero or a wizard or an Asgardian or whatever, he’s a human with human doubts and human struggles. These books aren’t man against nature or man against his fellow man: they are man against himself, and have perhaps the most powerful conflict of any books I have ever read as a result (with the exception of The Lord of the Rings, which similarly deals with the protagonist fighting with himself.)
The only other characters I can think of at the moment who have the same struggle (in a visible and vital capacity; sorry, Obi-Wan, Lucas really shortchanged us all when he decided to give you less screen time!) are Horatio Hornblower (written by an atheist and therefore depressing) and the Doctor (who is a telepathic, possibly immortal, time-travelling alien, for goodness’ sake.)
The thing about Lewis, however, is that, while he powerfully conveys the agony that is doubt and interior struggle, he is also absolutely brilliant at writing that moment of clarity that ends all doubt and pours new life into the soul. When the reader reaches that moment of resolution, it is a cleansing and rejuvenating experience for him or her as well as for Ransom.
Reading C.S. Lewis is like doing spring-cleaning in your head. C.S. Lewis is a whole new level of metafiction.
Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra and That Hideous Strength are essentially metafiction on the Bible. Seriously, do you need any more reasons why you should go and read them?!
(Afterword: Stick with That Hideous Strength, no matter how hard it gets. There’s discourse on the Arthurian legends, so it is so worth the time.)
I’m in trouble right now. We were really busy at work yesterday night, I tried to prioritize, and long story short, the second customer to come up was a complainer and I could lose my job.
I try not to be rude and to help people. I try to smile. I feel like such a fake I’m worn paper thin. But I really need to not spend a month unemployed while I look for other employment opportunities. I really need to hold onto this job while I look for another one that’s a better fit.
As you can probably tell, I’m bouncing between stressed and depressed constantly. The last time I got a verbal reprimand, I spent two days trying to get out of the depression I found myself in. It was almost impossible to motivate myself to do anything and everything I worked on suffered as a result.
Please pray for me that I find the job that God wants for me at this point in my life, hopefully one where I will be happier and more capable of completing my duties with a smile.
Recently, WriteFury and I were talking about Type Four in the Character Profiles series which she is currently working on. Basically, Type Four is the fun guys who are always smiling, really fun to be around.
But, while we were talking, I identified a Type Five.
And since she wasn’t familiar with most of the characters I classed as part of the type, she asked me to write this post. So here goes!
These characters are defined mainly by their sheer complexity. They appear to share traits with both Type One and Type Two, and are almost always extremely intelligent.
They tend to also be perceived as quirky or eccentric, and can be much more emotional than Type Ones, or borderline-sociopathic. Their senses of humor vary between sarcastic, wry, witty, or they may not have an apparent sense of humor. Another trait that they share with Type Ones is situational humor–they may make a wry quip about the mess they’re in.
This may be due to the fact that they’ve had bad things happen to them in the past, and it’s their coping mechanism.
They may be quiet or talk a lot, but you will never get more information out of them than they intend to give you.
They’re very clever, and often pretend to be stupid or use their eccentricity to hide just how dangerous they truly are from their enemies, and sometimes their friends. They’re many-layered, using different “facets” of their personalities as a smoke screen, and often extremely private.
And last but not least, they tend to be extremely dedicated to one or more of the other characters, to the point that they would die for them–but not on the other character’s terms or on their enemies’ terms. Only on their own terms. They will risk everything they hold dear for that one special person. They are also the most likely to do things for the good of other characters without their consent or even knowledge, which makes them more than a little frightening.
This type, along with Type One, is the most likely to punish themselves over things that may or may not have been their fault, in ways that are subtle and not easy for others to notice, whereas Type Two may do dramatic or drastic things (such as attempting suicide, in extreme cases) and Type Four falls into a deep depression.
These are also the hardest characters (along with Type One) to kill. They simply can’t give up, and refuse to die. (Sometimes literally. *gives the Doctor a meaningful look*)
Type Five characters have a strong moral code, often in lieu of following their emotions, because they (sometimes) fear that emotions will lead them in the wrong direction. They tend to be logical, but will sometimes choose non-logical options, especially as they tend to be extremely loyal to their friends–and sometimes not merely their friends, but to their cause.
When a Type Five is a villain, they may still have this strong moral code, but in a corrupted form (I present Count Dooku for your inspection.)
Also, sometimes the line between a Type One and a Type Five may be so blurred that it’s difficult to tell where they should be classed–but if there’s any doubt, your character is probably complex enough to be a Type Five. (Case in point: Horatio Hornblower, who shares most of the traits on the list, only he doesn’t use different layers of his personality to maintain his privacy in quite the same way as most Type Fives.)
Here’s the list of common traits:
Strong-willed or stubborn
Does not trust him/herself to do the right thing much of the time
Planning ahead and/or last minute planning/split-second decisions
Dubious or dangerous history (VERY common!)
Extreme empathy bouncing to near-sociopathy (or one or the other)
Sarcasm/finds things that no one else gets ironic or funny
Self-hate (to an extent)/possible masochism (what? It’s true.)
Uses appearances to make others underestimate them
May make subtle into an art form (see above)
Can be unscrupulous or ruthless
Rigid moral code (especially the ones who don’t trust “feelings”)
Now for some examples!
Baker Street’s resident not-a-psychopath,-Anderson, Sherlock Holmes is most definitely a Type Five, wherever he is portrayed. Brilliant and often unfeeling, and holding a soft spot for Watson, Lestrade, Molly Hooper (in the BBC series) and Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock is among the most complex of literary characters. A rare hero, in that he doesn’t hesitate to pull a gun on the bad guys, Sherlock may be “on the side of the angels,” but if you mistake him for one of them, that will be the last mistake you ever make. Sherlock holds himself unflinchingly to his own code, knowing that if he ever steps over the line, that will make him no different from his worst enemies, and he is willing to sacrifice himself for both John (The Reichenbach Fall) and Mary (His Last Vow)–in one case, a physical death (though, again with the planning ahead, that didn’t actually happen) and in the other the death of his good name.
Rigid moral code? Absolutely. Obi-Wan’s code is probably the one thing that defines him most as a character. Take the loyalty and boost it by five hundred percent. Situational humor? Definitely.
While Obi-Wan is less extreme than most of the others on the list, he is absolutely entirely in the details. Subtlety is his other defining trait; sometimes he’s even so subtle that it meshes right into the other related item, using his appearance to fool others into underestimating him.
Obi-Wan is not above using Anakin’s attachment to him to manipulate Anakin for the sake of the greater good (Deception et al.) It would be safe to say that he’d do the same for and to Anakin for Anakin’s sake.
Obi-Wan’s least-Type-Five/most-Type-One characteristic is his extreme selflessness, but again, he’s certainly complex enough to warrant a spot on this list. Extremely empathetic and deeply passionate, Obi-Wan still does not trust his own emotions to guide him, relying on logic and intuition instead. He holds himself to a much higher standard than he does others and is somewhat disillusioned, but his honesty and kindness are strongly endearing. (The reason there are Obi-Wan haters in the world, in my opinion, is because Obi-Wan is so subtle at times that he even fools his fans!)
Another BBC favorite!
Merlin, also known as Emrys (which is, in case you were wondering, the Welsh equivalent of “Ambrose” and means “immortal”), is the protagonist of the BBC show of the same name (rather than having Arthur take the reins, as usual.) Merlin is, like many BBC characters, a very complex character, and might almost have been classed as Type Two or Type Three, except for his darker side. He is friendly, charming, a bit of a dork, and just generally the type of guy you want to have backing you up, but on the flip side he has an inner darkness that, fed by his magic tutor, the dragon Kilgarrah, SPOILERS eventually indirectly leads to the fall of Camelot. END SPOILERS However, under the guidance of mentor Gaius, he builds strong, lasting friendships with Arthur, Gwen, the knights, and fellow servants.
Merlin is brilliant with magic, but he doesn’t act like it. He’s sometimes clumsy but at other times he can be graceful. It’s mainly his ability to fool everyone (including Arthur–again, for Arthur’s own good and at the cost of wanting to tell him desperately about his secret) around him into underestimating him that has him here on this list.
Shut up, you’re adorable.
That is the Tenth Doctor, just to avoid confusion among non-Whovians. 😛
Anyway, the Doctor is the very definition of complex. With thirteen different incarnations, all played by different actors and each with different personalities, he sort of has to be. While all the different personalities tend to revolve around a theme and all involve some version of a few basic traits, each version of the Doctor is still entirely unique. And he tends to use his apparent clumsiness (recurring theme here) into fooling people that he’s stupid or doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s got some pretty toxic guilt over something that I gather is still a spoiler (?!), and definitely does not trust himself.
While he is in an age group comparable to Yoda, it just feels as if he’s been much farther than Yoda has ever traveled and seen more messed-up stuff. While Yoda does the funny-old-guy routine, the Doctor takes a route that is a bit more logical, in my mind; that long lifespan has only gone to make him much more complex, and he’s probably the most experienced person in any field that you’re ever going to find.
He also tends to find jokes in things no one else gets, is brilliant to the extent that it’s possible that he’s the most intelligent of any person on this list, is on par with Steve Rogers at thinking on his feet, has phenomenal situational awareness (um, that has nothing to do with the list, more to do with him being good at split-second tactics), and is both extremely compassionate and utterly unfeeling at times.
And I can’t even begin to list how many times he’s done things for his companions that they would never have allowed him to do, if they knew what he was planning.
Gandalf the Gray, Frodo Baggins, Aragorn, Faramir
Boromir is a Type Two and Merry and Pippin are Type Four. What about the others?
Well, Sam Gamgee might be a type one, but Frodo is a Type Five. Almost everyone underestimates him, and rather than a hidden darkness, he has a hidden majesty–as does Aragorn. Faramir is conflicted (though not in quite the same way as he is in the movies). And Gandalf… well, when you’ve been around for about three thousand years, you’d expect a character to be a bit complex!
Now for my own characters!
Winter and Tairya
Winter has a personality somewhat similar to Merlin’s or the Doctor’s, except without the clumsiness, he is a bit more grim, and people underestimate him more because they don’t know him. However, he also has a sense of humor, is very loyal, especially to his mentor and friends among the Rangers, and has a kinder side that is rarely seen, except by his apprentice Elian. He is the bodyguard of the Princess and sworn to protect her.
Tairya, the woman Winter is sworn to guard, is probably the only villain on this list. Less blatant than most villains and completely without remorse, mercy, or compassion, Tairya is a Type Four gone horribly wrong. She is the archetype of everything any Type Four could slip into becoming. However, she does have a slightly lighter side; a soft spot for her husband and child–but this turns her even more sour when Winter, in an attempt to fulfill his oath in some way despite his failure to save her, kidnaps (or rescues) her son.
Winter and Tairya both appear in my unfinished novelLoyalties and are among my most complex characters ever.
More in the vein of Master Kenobi than any other character on this list, Connor’s personality is somewhat similar to that of a type two. He’s mild, clever, funny, and a good friend. However, under his mild, kind exterior, hidden so deep that even Connor himself is not aware of it, he has a secret:
Connor is a trained assassin, part of a failed conditioning experiment by a ruthless businessman, and his perceived colorblindness is psychosomatic–in rebelling against the conditioning, he effectively “made himself” colorblind. While he appears to fold to any situation, when he takes a stand it’s quite clear that he’s got some steel in his backbone, probably inherited from ancestors who fought in the American War for Independence. Connor stars in my unfinished novel Colorblind.
Wait… mild-mannered reporter living in a superhero world… Never mind. Connor’s only real “superpower” is the ability to see in the ultraviolet spectrum… which is pretty useless in a fight.
Nothing to see here, DC Comics.
If there’s another character who I missed who you think should be on this list, please tell me about them! I’d love to meet them. 🙂
This month’s prompt is to tell about my favorite place to write.
Well, now that I’ve got everything in order, probably my bedroom. 😉
I just moved from one of the intended bedrooms to an improvised room in the basement. One wall is made entirely out of carefully-arranged bookshelves, and the doorway is a tension rod with a curtain. My clothes hang on a series of kitchen storage racks (which, instead of the typical silver, are a dark brown bronzy color) and my desk is one of those really dark-wood affairs right up next to the window, which I can keep open whenever it’s warm as long as I like–it gets cold down here otherwise. 😉
All in all, it looks like something out of the Eighth Doctor’s TARDIS, which is absolutely fantastic, it’s probably my favorite of all the TARDIS interiors. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nine and Ten’s TARDIS, with its organic look and the feel that it’s a real living ship and entirely alien, and I like Eleven’s later TARDIS interior too; it looks really really Gallifreyan! but I really like Eight’s TARDIS the best. Books everywhere! The ordered chaos, clutter, armchairs, and candles that make it feel really lived-in. It just feels right for the Eighth Doctor, who is always wondering if he’s losing his mind or something else, misplacing things, and has nearly eight hundred years of clutter that seriously needs tidying up. He’s so scattered, it’s somewhat sad, but it’s also reassuring–that sense that the Doctor can be so human.
Sorry about the rant. I might be–just a teeny bit–obsessed.
Anyway, here, have some pictures:
Concept art. It looks like a gentleman scientist’s mausoleum, doesn’t it? Something out of the eighteenth century. 😉
This is the best view I could find of Eight’s TARDIS interior, showing the console very well, I think.
And here’s a little bit of a shot showing the bookshelves–not very well. Hey, he cleaned up! When did he clean up?!
Interestingly, I just discovered that Eight’s console looks a lot like Eleven’s, though the rest of the interior is totally different:
Here’s Eleven in his second TARDIS interior. Geronimo!
ANYWAYS. I also like to write and draw outdoors, but only when I’m not being bothered by big bad bugs. The patio is great for this–up until recently, there was moss all over the place. Then my little sister got into it. -_- Ruined the whole thing.
My mind palace is, inside, even more like Eight’s TARDIS, if that’s even possible, except that the decor is not just bronze but also owls and dragons as well. I tend to just write any old place there, so long as Anakin’s not around to bother me, but my favorites are the vault, the cathedral room, the gardens and the brook. Sometimes I even envision a replica of Eight’s TARDIS gardens because why not and also it annoys him. (One time I didn’t get anything done because Eight and I were chasing each other with dandelions and fake cabbages the whole time. For someone almost a thousand years old, he takes things way too seriously.)