Monday, December 14, 2015

The Logic of Defenestration

     No, it's not Thursday. Do you know what it is instead?

(GIF found on Tumblr)

     Well, not quite Christmas, I suppose. (Actually,  for me it’s felt like Christmas since October, but that’s beside the point. Perks of being in a Christmas play.) But it’s Christmas in that last week I finished a literature class (for this semester, at least). Which means, mostly, I don’t have to write any more speeches until January. *mass celebration*

     So, while I have this massive amount of time on my hands (forgive the blatant lie; it’s December and I’m a musician and an actor. We don't get Christmas breaks), I thought, why not write about it instead of, you know, studying other things? Hey, before you yell at me, realize I don’t have finals to worry about. Which… well, I almost wish I did have them. I’d have something to blame my weird state of mind on, then. Just theater life. Theater life isn’t all glitter, you know (though there’s quite a lot of the said substance scattered about the stage). It involves a lot of exhaustion and vacuuming up fake snow and accidentally dropping the snow machine on the Peanuts gang. Whoops.

     Defenestration. What a lovely word. Vaguely ominous, and it sounds important. Sort of like the picture, I believe.

     I’ve heard (and thought of) quite a few dramatic ways to die, but getting thrown out a window rather takes the cake. That's one reason I killed a character that way, for a class assignment. I disposed of a character based on a mythical student, and in his method of death I included the punishment threatened by our teacher if we forgot our homework. When I preformed it, the class laughed, I didn’t mess up terribly badly, and I got a good grade on the tragedy. All was well and I was happy.

     Until I found out the mythical student wasn’t mythical at all.

     You see, last year someone had signed up for the class at the beginning of the semester but never showed up. As he had a name which made for a rather interesting pun, we all assumed it wasn’t a joke.

     But it wasn’t.

     The non-mythical student is indeed real and alive and attends other classes. Why he didn’t attend this class in particular remains a mystery. But now, if I ever meet him, I’ll have to explain how I killed him in my tragedy by tossing him out a window.

(GIF found on Tumblr)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Communist Bacon

     Did the title catch your attention? I'm rather proud of it. I spent long hours thinking it over, mulling it over in my mind, honing it, polishing it, until it reached perfection...

     Actually, I thought it up during a late night writing session. By late night I mean anywhere between midnight and two in the morning, and by writing I mean spewing whatever comes to mind onto a blank page, hoping for the sake of retaining my image of sanity that what I'm writing is funny. In other words, NaNoWriMo.

     I didn't write much on the Wandering Typewriter about NaNo this time around; last time I tried to do that, I failed the contest miserably. Best not to brag about something until you've actually completed it, no? And so, I kept quiet. I think it helped; I completed the contest, mostly by losing a lot of sleep on the last night. Actually, I failed and won at the same time; I didn't do the "official" version (50k words); instead, I did the Young Writer's Program version (c. 30k words). Sylvester already came to call, I think; half of the story is from his POV. The other half is from Anastasia's. It was extraordinarily helpful to have them both as narrators, as far as my wordcount was concerned; my wordcount skyrocketed every time they had a snark-off. Which was quite often, I'm afraid.

     Explanation over, we return to the title. Odd things tend to happen whilst writing during the month of November. Most of the time, they're merely hilarious typos. Other times, one gets very strange portion of writing, especially if you have an odd (and snarky) narrator. In my case, Sylvester rambled for about a page and a half about a communist bacon utopia. Actually, I'm not even sure if he got the definition of communism right, but for a 1 a.m. piece of writing, I think it's close enough.

     Behold. The beauty of bacon.

     "Bacon is overrated. Yes, the Americans violently disagree; I wouldn’t be surprised if some future conflict would go down in history as the First Great Bacon War. (The word “first” most certainly implies that there would be a second. Most likely a third, too.) But bacon is far from as wonderful as everyone seems to think it is. One has a few moments where it’s piping hot and delightfully crisp; a few precious moments where one has to ignore whatever other food may be tempting your palate and give your whole, undivided attention to the grease-slathered delicacy before one. Once that golden window of time passes, one is left with a sad, limp, greasy shadow of what once was. It’s only good for dog treats or feeding to those you dislike. Not your enemies, mind, unless you poison the bacon first.

     Guild bacon, though, somehow managed to stay hot and crisp long enough for one to properly enjoy it. And they didn’t try to squeeze a few extra slices out of the meat when they cut it up; if they were slow in the paperwork respect, at least they weren’t skimpy in the bacon one. They weren’t skimpy on the price they charged us for it, either.

     You see, marketing people are brilliant. In writing this tale, I’ve come to realize that they’re probably more like villains than I ever was. They sit in their offices, twirling their mustaches and snickering, as they plot how to exploit the poor bacon-hungry workers of what they haven’t rightfully earned. The smells taunted us; we wondered yet again why money wasn’t free and why we had forgotten about Bacon Wednesdays again. Even the free (but tiny) slice they’d give us only whetted our appetite for that which we could not afford. We’d stare at those ones in the possession of that mystical thing called Cold Hard Cash, who had traded it for the delicacy of fried swine’s flesh. We stared at them with the cold fire of the revolution in our eyes as they chattered about such trivial things as Life and Goals and Going to Work, letting the precious bacon cool on their plates. Every Wednesday the sight was the same. But repetition only ground the firebrand deeper into our souls.

When they at last rose, cold, uneaten bacon lying wasted on their plates like fallen warriors, we’d look at each and strengthen the mute pact. Someday we would rise. Someday the revolution would come. Someday we wouldn’t have to be lucky enough to possess Cold Hard Cash in order to purchase a delicacy. Someday we would force the greedy, lucky ones to give us the bacon we hadn’t earned and never intend on earning. Someday we would take and eat and take and eat and take and… And then we’d all realize we were late for First Tasks and rush out of the cafeteria, knocking over chairs, tables, and innocent bystanders, and forgot all about our dream of a socialist bacon utopia. I think I suggested once that we call it the Bacontopia, but instead of being lauded for my brilliance I got a lukewarm pot of coffee launched at my head. I suppose that’s why revolutions nearly always fail; the true geniuses get their ideas crushed (physically and metaphorically) and assorted items tossed at them. Maybe that’s why they say it’s difficult to be a genius.

Of course, when we stopped daydreaming about getting all the bacon we wanted and actually starting working hard enough to afford all the bacon we wanted, the dreams of revolution faded bacon back into the darkest part of our minds; the part we kept drowned in caffeine at all possible hours. These sorts of things tend to balance themselves out; the lazy ones would devour their utopia almost as soon as they got it, but the hard workers subconsciously realize that it’s a really stupid idea to start a revolution over bacon. That’s probably why the ones who fire the first shots in the First Great Bacon War will be Americans."

     Anyway. There you go. I hoped you enjoyed my character's rant critique of communist vs capitalistic bacon. And do forgive his snide remark about Americans; he's British, after all. Well...sort of British. The novel kept switching genres (steampunk to comedy to fantasy to fantasy steampunk comedy), so I'm not entirely sure where the setting is anymore. Oh well; that's what second drafts are for, are they not? 

     (Fine print: novel excerpt copyright Elizabeth Dykes. Please don't repost it anywhere without my permission. Though I'm sure the quality of it makes it an unlikely candidate for plagiarism.)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

On Turkey (Or The Lack Thereof)

      Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans. 'Tis the day where food in is abundance: especially turkey. Except....I am an odd exception. My family celebrated the majority of our Thanksgiving yesterday, in turkey was consumed. And I have doubts about whether or not we will have any today.

     Yes, I know. Bring forth the pitchforks, the tar and feathers.

     Now that we have dealt with my un-American-ness, now comes the question of deciding what on earth I should write about. I should probably share some Thanksgiving trivia. For instance, did you know that the women most responsible for getting Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday also wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb? Perhaps instead it should be Mary Had a Little Turkey. Now that would be amusing. And nearly everyone knows that Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national animal instead of the bald eagle. That would have made the national seal a bit ridiculous, would it not? And the turkey hardly has the hair-raising, epic screech the eagle has. 

     Wikipedia likely has quite a few interesting facts about the odd holiday. However, it is most unreliable and I shan't copy and paste. 

      I suppose I ought to give a cliche speech about what I'm thankful for. But instead I find myself asking, why is it cliche? Have we slipped so far into taking things for granted that these things have become trivial and annoying? Take the line, "thankful that we're all here together"; probably the most cliche of all the lines associated with the holidays. I know I've heard it many times without giving it so much as a first thought, much less a second. But think about it for a moment. We are blessed to live in a time and country of relative peace and safety. There are always tragedies, but for the most part we aren't in immediate danger most of the time. I don't think many of us realize what a supreme blessing that is. There have been so many times in history where an empty place at the table was a hollow reality. Where being together was just a fantastical wish. Where there wasn't enough food to stave off starvation, much less put together a feast. These aren't only in the distant past. In some places these are still 

      Amid all the Black Friday hype, Christmas preparation, and good food, it's hard to remember how many blessings we really have. They're not things to feel guilty over, but take a moment today--before the Black Friday adrenaline rush or the inevitable turkey-induced sleepiness kicks in--and just take a moment to remember all the things we take for granted. A home. A family. Friends. Warmth.

       Well, that waxed sappier than I intended it to. Have a Doctor Who GIF. 

(GIFs found on

     ....perhaps it's for the best, then, that we didn't eat any turkey yesterday

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Character Takeover: Sylvester Glass

      Yes, I'm aware it's not Thursday. Funny how things work out; I really should have a good excuse for not posting. Perhaps it was due to a play rehearsal. Perhaps I died from excitement over the fact that Kingdom Pen published my article on NaNoWriMo. (Never mind the fact that I wrote an article on how to get unstuck during NaNo whilst being stuck during NaNo. Sssh.)

      Now. What to post. Hmm... I could go on a NaNoWriMo rant... or a rant about chemistry and "climate change". Or perhaps...


     Why is there a picture in the middle of this post.

     I didn't plan this. I didn't plan anything. I'm making this up as I go along. In fact, I--

     You're rambling again, my dear author.

     I'm what? What is this mysterious font change?

     Please stop being surprised in a futile attempt to be witty. I'm the wittiest one here, remember?

     If I'm your author, then I created you. If I created you, then I'm wittier than you. I'm guessing you're Sylve--

     Ssh. Let me introduce myself, please. I'm old enough to take care of things.

     Pssh. Define old enough, and taking care of thi--

     Let's stop arguing with each other and get on with things. You're starting to sound like Anastasia.

     Well, she did visit once...

     ... I pity your readers. 

     Ah. Welcome to...wherever we are. Cyberspace, I'm assuming. Hmm, wonder who rules cyberspace...I might need to go and give them some competition.

     First things first. I'm Bob. Or the Dark Lord, or odoriferous weather-bitten knave (or whatever other Shakespearean insult suits your fancy), or a witty alibi...but my name, in fact, is Sylvester Glass. Has a villainous ring to it, doesn't it? I do like it. It fits my job perfectly.

     Have a frightened you yet? I seem to do sidekick says I need to stop wearing the cloak and top hat, but I refuse. They're too much a part of me to disuse them so easily.

     I am supposed to stick to my job of "villainy" (long story...I'm not supposed to give away spoilers, I think), but my author is neglecting my story and I'm bored. It was either take over her blog or blow something up. Maybe I should have blown up her I'm not that evil. Yet.  

     Do I really have to explain who I am and what I do? Suspense fuels me. It would be so much more fun to shrink back into the shadows and leave you all wondering what on earth happened this week. You know what? I think I'll do that.

     See you around. If you're lucky, you'll see me too.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

On Procrastination

     Ah yes. Another Thursday is (mostly) over, free from any Vogon invasions or woebegone gods of thunder.

      Also, this Thursday the Wandering Typewriter is supposed to have a brand new article hot off the presses (or in this case, the keyboard) for the eager readers. (I can say eager readers now because this blog has had over thirteen hundred pageviews as of today; thank you all for reading my odd and slightly sarcastic musings on life.) I had a philosophical post all planned out in my head about solitude and loneliness. Guess what happened? I procrastinated. Guess what I'm doing now? I'm procrastinating. Procrastinating writing my novel for NaNoWriMo, procrastinating practicing my violin, procrastinating studying for a test, procrastinating on getting my life together...

     In short, I'm really rather stressed at the moment.

     The internet glorifies procrastination, in a way. There are countless memes poking fun at the gnawing sense of impending panic that accompanies the last stages of the habit. In fact, we even use these memes as an excuse to procrastinate.

     Why do we procrastinate? Why don't we take advantage of our time, instead of frittering it away on useless things to avoid other things that aren't really all that bad? Why don't we do the things we love?

     There are answers to these questions. Answers quite deep and philosophical that could potentially change lives. I should probably attempt to figure out the answers and share them. And you know when the perfect time is to do all that? Right now. I'll do it later.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Concerning Thursdays

     “It must be Thursday,” said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. “I could never get the hang
of Thursdays.”

     Sometimes I feel like Arthur Dent. Other times I completely disagree. For, you see, Thursdays are the one day of the week I don’t usually have to leave the house. Monday is class day, Tuesday is violin group, Wednesday is class again, Friday is violin again. Thursday, though, I get to enjoy solitude for a while. Perhaps I am being prepared for an odd adventure, perhaps not.

     Thursday is a degraded pronunciation of “Thor’s Day”. Why we still have a day of the week named after a bumbling god of thunder who rode a chariot pulled by goats, I have absolutely no idea. Traditions die hard, I suppose. We humans hold on to our traditions and habits, I’ve observed. And something is more likely to become well-known or even popular if it is updated regularly. I can name a webcomic that follows this quasi-rule, but shan’t. Suspense fuels me.

     All that to say, is that the Wandering Typewriter will type something up on Thursdays. Hopefully it will alleviate the oddness of Thursdays. While I don’t think this blog will cause an earth-shattering explosion or something like that, I’d keep a towel handy, just in case.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Trials of Not-so-amateur Photography

     One of the first posts on this blog--goodness, that was a long time ago--was primarily concerned with the trials of amateur photography. Take a look if you missed it. Ah, those were the days…the days when I managed to take halfway decent pictures with a point and shoot and could conveniently blame the bad pictures on the camera itself. Then the glorious Canon happened, and I graduated into a new realm…of frustration.

     You see, while point and shoots are frustrating in that one has little control over the settings, DSLRs are almost as maddening. You have perfect control (well, I say perfect…depends on how patient you are, really) over the settings; sometimes a photography session ends with quite nice pictures, like this one:

     Other times, the setting are horribly off as you try to snapshot something. Sometimes editing can fix it, other times it's so horribly off that fixing it is hopeless. The exposure's too bright or dim, the shutter speed was too slow, making the picture blurry. Sometimes they're otherwise nice enough to keep, but other times it's not even worth the effort to fix them. 

     The most maddening of all, though, is not when something goes horribly wrong; it’s when the shot you captured is absolutely beautiful, but one thing is ever so slightly off. It’s usually not enough to be obvious, at least when you’re taking the photo, but upon reviewing your shots later it’s maddening.The focus may be just slightly to the side of where it is supposed to be, or when a picture that looked perfectly clear on the tiny camera display is slightly but hopelessly blurry on a computer screen, or when a finger gets into the picture where you didn't intend it to be. 

     Some of these frustrating errors can probably be fixed with Lightroom or Photoshop, but those programs are for more serious camera people, not a high school/college student with no money. Perhaps someday…

Sometimes the messed up shots are frustrating. Sometimes they teach you a lesson. And sometimes, they’re amusing enough to make up for everything you’ve experienced. 

     As a parting note, if you wish to see more attempts at photography, I have succommed to the social media craze and now have an Instagram. You can follow me @smaugerellathenotsoterrible if you so wish.

     Signing off,
     The Wandering Typewriter

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On Rebellion

     Teenagers are (often rightly so) stereotyped as rebellious beings. I am not usually rebellious, but tonight I had to make an exception. You see, today was National Coffee Day, which made it extremely necessary for me to do the following:

     And there you go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

In Which I...Forget Things

      I seem to have a  habit of forgetting things. Meals, chemical formulas, a radically new method of space travel--well, perhaps not the space travel. But I had a thoughtful, pseudo-philosophical blog post all planned out in my head, and I cannot remember a word of it. Hmm. It will come to me later. Likely late at night when I'm too sleepy to write it down and will proceed to forget it all again. 

      Forgetting a blog post isn't the worst thing I've forgotten. Forgetting breakfast and then trying to concentrate on chemistry is a hopefully something I won't do often. It may be that I am too full of other thoughts to remember such trivial things as "meals".

     There was a point to this...hmm. Well, while I think about it, have a cat picture. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

In which I realize that blogs do not update themselves

     Can blogs update themselves? Simple answer to a rhetorical question (without going on a philosophical tangent): no they cannot. This fact was proven by the Wandering Typewriter's semi-accidental hiatus.

     Well....what to type. Hmm. Studying is a boring subject, I would imagine; as is "writing" (a.k.a. fangirling over one's characters without doing any actual writing). So is photography...


     No it isn't.

(All pictures on this blog are copyrighted by me,
unless otherwise noted.)
     Woo hoo for another selfie on this blog. I should be ashamed. Maybe later. Although that theoretically doesn't count as a selfie, as it's taken by a DSLR instead of a phone. But I digress.

      One of the reasons for this blog's failure to update itself is the fact that I was away at a digital media camp. I have a scene in mind that summarized the week, but unfortunately I don't have a picture, and I don't feel like typing a thousand words at the moment. So I shall attempt to summarize: fourteen teenagers sit in a Mac lab, staring at the huge screens as they try desperately to finish editing their video on time. Then the sleep deprivation hits, the teens lose what portions of their intellect that are still intact, the counselors go insane, and madness intensifies. Another, more accurate summary would be to say we spent the majority of the week shooting at each other, but don't want to seem like more of a psychopath than I can help. 

      Despite the rather terrible photos that grace this blog, I think I can take decent pictures when I have a mind to. Especially if I have a good of the saddest things of the week was having to leave a borrowed Canon Rebel behind. *looks off into the distance as a single tear trails down my cheek* So sad, in fact, that one of the first things I said to my dad when I saw him again at the end of the week was that I needed a new camera.

     Behold the Canon. *strokes it* My precioussss.... *ahem* Sorry about that. But I do love the camera. 

     It would hardly be fair to write such a long post about photography without actually showing any pictures. So, without further ado...

     Well, I hope you enjoyed the post. I considered posting another awkward selfie with the glorious Canon, but one per blog post is quite enough for me. Farewell for now, and let's hope the hiatus won't be nearly as long this time around. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Concerning Assassins and Justin Bieber Duct Tape

     Oh dear; I neglected my blog again. *dust off the poor Wandering Typewriter and begins pounding out on the keys once more*

     Many things have happened since last I wrote: I turned sixteen, lost much sleep at a worldview conference, and discovered that dressing as an assassin is very, very interesting.

     I could just publish this post without going into any more detail. However, since I don't want to be taken as a psychopath or almost-sociopath, I shan't.

     Sixteen is supposed to be an important age in American culture. However, my birthday hardly felt special; my brothers were more excited about it than I was. I did get some awesome presents, though: a stuffed Grumpy Cat and Justin Bieber duct tape. (Yes, it exists. Also, I wish there was a sarcasm font; I am most definitely not a Belieber.) The Grumpy Cat shall probably become my mascot as a begin college this month; she will sit there and motivate me by her ever-present frown.

     Next we come to the worldview conference. Every year, many high school and college age students attend the BWSC, which stands for the Biblical Worldview Student Conference. Take a look at their website; they're epic. Last year, I spent much of the free time observing or playing games, and participating in English country dancing. This year, I made a discovery...

Image credit to @shadow.cosplay (Instagram)

...dressing like an assassin and running around in the rain is exactly as fun as it sounds. 

Image credit to @shadow.cosplay (Instagram)
     Mind, I wasn't actually trying to kill my friend Michala in any of those pictures. We were acting as characters from one of her many stories: two (ex) assassins. It's quite complicated; perhaps I shall ask her to write a guest post and explain. Suffice it to say, the two characters never quite got along:

Image credit to @shadow.cosplay (Instagram)
     Many other interesting things happened at the conference, such as when a friend and I went traipsing around the college campus, taking pictures, instead of going to sleep like sane folks. But then, being sane is rather boring, don't you think?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

On Camp NaNo and Late-night Poetry

     Hello there, friends and followers. It's been a while...or has it? I lose track sometimes.

     For those of you who've read my previous posts, you know about Camp NaNo and my struggles with that writing challenge. Well, among many other things, I've learned this: don’t post on the Internet about something that one hasn't yet completed. To my shame, I didn't reach my goal. However, I do have the raw beginnings of an (hopefully) epic story, and evil plans for the ending. *masks snicker under an innocent smile*

     Another thing I learned is that an odd piece of writing advice actually works. I’m referring to Mr. S.’s way of creating conflict when one is stuck: doing something completely unexpected. It sends the writing part of one’s brain (and one’s characters) scrambling to figure out what on earth just happened. It’s also known as making the house explode or dropping a body from the ceiling. (I believe I covered that in a previous post.) I opted for the pyromaniacal version and figured out a way to theoretically knock someone unconscious with a sharp edge of furniture and a firecracker. Not quite as useful as knowing how to chloroform someone (though I do intend to learn how to do that—writing purposes only. Well…probably.)

     Now that I've gotten that piece of writing advice and my slightly sociopathic tendencies out of my head and into the world of the internet, let’s move on. The title of this post includes the words “Late-night Poetry”, so I suppose I should elaborate before I forget what I mean to say (which happens too often for comfort). Great ideas always seem to come at the wrong times (see The Marvels of the Human Brain). Sometimes they’re story ideas, sometimes artsy things, and sometimes…poetry.

     Lately I've had ideas for poems right before bed, which usually ends in me staying up far too late and risking becoming a sleep-deprived dragoness the next day. Some of them don’t rhyme at all, nor have much rhythm to the words. Others (some of my favorites) are poems that attempt to be tragic, but probably don’t make much sense outside the context of the story they accompany. (In other words, yes, I do indeed write fanfiction (or I suppose it would called fanpoetry) for my own stories.) Still others are poems about stories not of my own creation. For instance, behold this limerick based off of Sherlock:

There once was a soldier named John

Who was never found mowing his lawn.

He sat drinking his tea

Away from 221B

Until the game was back on.

     I may regret posting that, but probably not. The Sherlock fandom is exceptionally insane; the above poem wouldn't look at all odd among some of the more…interesting…works of the Sherlockians. Perhaps one day I’ll post a proper poem…or not. Showing someone one’s writing is showing them a piece of one’s self that nobody sees otherwise. We have to bare a piece of our souls to the often unsympathetic eyes of our viewers, and sometimes it hurts. Which is why I should be a bit more worried about what people think about my blog, but I’m not. I would blame it on the Perceiving part of my personality type, but that doesn't entirely fit, either. Hmm.

     I shall sign off before I go off onto another long tangent. Mind your head as you go out; there’s a sword hanging on the wall somewhere around here, unless Tin had to go on another dragon-slaying quest. I really should keep better track of what my characters are doing.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In Which Elizabeth Cannot Decide On A Title

     Well, this was supposed to be the Camp NaNo Chronicles: Day 23, but...


     Can you keep a secret? Just between me and the hundreds of you on the internet.


      *whispers* I haven't written in several days.

      I hope to rectify this, however, by taking the esteemed Mr. Schwabauer's excellent advice and doing something completely unexpected, otherwise known as dropping a body out of the ceiling or making the house explode. As this is a mystery/adventure novel, either of those options could work (in theory). Though the minor character doomed to a tragic fate can't die quite yet...

      One of the downsides (or benefits, perhaps) of being a writer is how we come across to other people. If you've been reading the chronicles of the Wandering Typewriter or know me in real life, then you probably know that I often talk about killing characters. This often causes problems. For instance, I think I legitimately scared one of my classmates yesterday when I said that I knew quite a few ways to kill people. (It didn't help that I was wearing my "I'M PLOTTING AGAINST YOU. (I'm a writer. It's what I do." shirt.) Google searches can get interesting, too. ("What does getting stabbed feel like?") Nearly every modern-day writer has had to explain (or yell) to a concerned friend or acquaintance,"I promise I'm a writer; please don't think I'm a psychopath."

     Well, that was rather morbid. To end on a more cheerful note, happy Impossible Astronaut Day to my fellow Whovians! Actually...Impossible Astronaut Day is almost as morbid as the previous two paragraphs. It's the day after...well, to avoid spoilers, it's the day after something very very bad happened to the Doctor. Or almost happened. Fixed points in time are tricky things.

    Shall I attempt to explain Doctor Who?'s a British Sci-fi TV show, for starters, that's over fifty years old. But perhaps the best explanation comes from the Tenth Doctor himself:

"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective point of view, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...stuff."

      Impossible Astronaut Day is when Whovians draw tally marks to act like we're counting Si--wait...what where we talking about again?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beyond the Mask

     Finally. A independent film that has the qualities of being well-written, excellent acting, believable sets and costumes, and being a Christian film. Incidentally, it broke the record for the most tickets sold for a premiere of an on-demand movie. And also, it included Gimli in a powdered wig.

     I'm talking, of course, about Beyond the Mask.

     In my opinion, this independent film was better than many multi-million dollar ones *coughtheHobbitcough*. Independent and/or Christian films are often looked down upon for their poor storytelling, bad acting, and/or cheesy scripts. This film had neither. (Well, there were some cheesy moments (they're hard to avoid), but on the whole there weren't.)

     Warning: Spoilers to follow. (I would insert a gif of River Song saying "Spoilers", but don't want to break copyright laws. It's bad enough to make my characters mad at me without worrying about the law.) So if you haven't seen the movie yet, go see it and then come back and read this. Shoo.

     The main character (or hero, as I shall refer to him) is Will Reynolds, an mercenary for the East India Company. We aren't given much of his backstory, but we are given enough to pity the man, murderer though he is. The assassin character is often overdone, but in this case it was given an odd twist: an assassin who is giving it all up and beginning a new life.

     His previous boss isn't too happy about this, however. What happens, besides being spoilers, is an excellent sequence of events in story terms, if not for Will.
     After a tense and exciting series of events, Will finds himself the pastor of a small church and meets the charming Charlotte Holloway. I'm not here to summarize the movie (other internet sites have already done that), but to write a review, so let me talk about her for a moment.

     Charlotte is Will's love interest. I was pleasantly surprised by how strong of a character she is. Many female love interests are weak, flat characters that seem to have no other purpose than to look adoringly at the hero and scream at inconvenient moments, and are useless in general. Charlotte isn't a damsel in distress, but neither is she a very masculine, independent woman (like Tauriel). One of her defining traits is her faith, which isn't slapped on ostentatiously but is woven throughout the story. Also, her and Will are SO. ADORABLE. together. *cheesy smile*

     I am an exception to a general rule, I think, in the fact that I usually don't enjoy romance stories. There are a few exceptions to my dislike: John J. Horn's The Boy Colonel and the romantic subplot in Wayne Thomas Batson's The Sword in the Stars, for example. However, I find most of them cheesy or just plain unrealistic. It's rare that I find a believable, creative romance story or subplot. Beyond the Mask is yet another exception to my dislike. The romance story between Charlotte and Will is believable and very creative. An assassin and an English aristocrat; how complicated could that get? Then comes the scene where he proposes to her--in the rain. In the middle of the night. Right after burying someone. Way to go, Will.

     Another thing I really enjoyed was how intertwined the themes and the story were. Will seeks first revenge, then redemption. Charlotte's faith is so much a part of her that she would be a very flat character without it.

    And the villain...oh the villain. He had motivation. He had other goals besides destroying Will. He was kind at times, which contrasted with his cruelty. Will might have been the one wearing the physical mask, but it was the villain who truly wore one.

     Truth and lies. Redemption and revenge. The themes were there without being forced. In my opinion, Beyond the Mask is one of the best movies of the year. Take notes, other Christian filmmakers.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

In Which A Distracted Person Should Not Be Given Italian Food

     (Sequel to this post. )

     We all have different talents and abilities. Some people are skilled musicians, others are talented dancers, and some have personalities which facilitate those "necessary" communications in life. I have talents, too: I pop up in unexpected places, cry over my own stories, and have the makings of a creepy stalker. But today I realized that I had a previously undiscovered talent:

...I can microwave things beautifully. The microwave is above the stove, you see. I took out a plate of leftovers and spilled all but a few mouthfuls. *deep sigh*


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Camp NaNo Chronicles: Day 13

     Well. Almost halfway my shame, I reduced my goal from 30,000 to 22,000 words. Maybe if I get my act together I'll be able to increase it to my original goal., especially since I have some eager potential readers. But the good news is that I've found my plastic Narnia dagger as well as two training samurai swords (the former to throw at the computer and/or my stubborn characters, and the latter to discourage stubborn interruptions.)

     I really don't have much else to say, as I don't want to begin rambling about my characters. Though I do believe Warren shall visit tomorrow... Please feel free to ask him questions; it will do him good. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Character Takeover: Anastasia Forsyth

     I talked with my author, and I really don’t see how I can get out of this. I agreed to do it only because I thought it was to be a strictly factual exchange between me and one other person. She didn’t tell me that I’d be submitting to anarchy. Goodness, she has a lot of readers. Stop staring, would you?

     I suppose I should introduce myself. Warren calls me Holmes, and that’s what I prefer when meeting strictly for business purposes. Master Williams has already explained how this “takeover” thing works, I see; I pity you for having to listen to his post. He considers a “takeover” anarchy; I like to think of it as putting the power into more capable hands. (I would say my hands, but that’s a bit too egotistic for my tastes.)

     Oh dear…I slipped up a bit. Master Williams and I aren’t even in the same story, much less country. I would hate to be in a novel set in America; London can be bad enough, sometimes. My author is attempting (and failing rather miserably) to write my story for…what’s it called? Camp NaNoWriMo. She’s already dumped a ten year old on me and kidnapped my sister; I’m afraid to think about what might happen next.

     I shan’t end by begging for food like Master Williams, but I will ask for some tea. Oh wait…my author is an American, and so (I assume) are most of you. You drink your tea cold. Disgusting.

     If you have no tea forthcoming, I shall fetch my hat and go my way. Do tell me if the odd kidnapping or homicide turns up; I’m rather desperate for business. (Don’t create business for me by committing a crime, however.) With all the mystery novels set in London, one would think it would be easier to find work. Truth is often harsher than fiction. Emphasis on often.

     Well, I have a cat and a sidekick to attend to. I doubt we’ll meet again, but it was a pleasure. I apologize for my rather rude introduction, but I’m trying to solve a case. My…acquaintances…know not to bother me when that happens. Farewell.

Monday, April 6, 2015

On Siblings

I know for a fact that some of my followers know at least this one (rather odd) fact about me: I am the oldest of my siblings: three brothers. What does that entail, you might ask?

Well, this is how my youngest brother (Thomas) greeted our guitar teacher. I could go on, but as I think I shall keep the more amusing anecdotes for future blackmail. *innocent smile*

Needless to say, life would be incredibly boring, though perhaps a bit less chaotic, without younger brothers.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Camp NaNo Chronicles: Day 4

     Day four. 2,727 words. 27,273 words remaining until I reach my goal of 30,000. I did it once; surely I can do it again. Hopefully.

     Day one kicked off to a rocky start. I didn't begin writing until late in the evening, and didn't meet my daily goal. Day two was little better; the novel seemed to be fighting me every word of the way. (Or perhaps it was the characters trying to fight back before I did nasty things to them.) Day three, things finally began coming together like they ought to. Now, day four...I haven't written a word besides this blog post. If all goes as planned, I'll reach 4,000 words by tonight.
     I suppose some of you are curious. What goes into the making of a "great" novel? (I say great, but as we all know, first drafts are terrible. That's why they're called first drafts.) Again, a pictur  e says a thousand words:

     From left to right: A purple minion with a Sherlock hat (to remind myself of my genre, and also to represent the crazed state of the creative part of my brain), my notebook of character profiles, tea, and a warning not to annoy me. Not pictured: a pitchfork and a plastic dagger. 

     Well, I should probably get back to writing. Anastasia might turn up sometime today to say hello. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Camp NaNo Chronicles: Day 2

     (I would have written this yesterday if I had been a bit ahead of the game, but sadly I was not.)
     Ah yes. The beginning of NaNoWriMo usually fills us writers with hope and inspiration; bright dreams for the future, and few qualms about the quality of our writing. How did I spend the second day of this epic challenge?

     They say a picture says a thousand words, so I can safely say that my wordcount has been met today. 

...NaNo is hard on all of us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Novel That Isn’t a Joke

     Sometimes I just sit back and stare at my beautiful titles…I don’t even need to write a blog post about this; all I need to do is to put a title and a few sentences. But then again, I’d leave everyone in suspense…the suspense that scares readers away rather than drawing them into madness encouraging them to read my little blog. So I shall keep the suspense for my newest novel.

     I do realize that tomorrow is April 1st, known by most as April Fools’ Day. (I have a delightful story about pranks, but I shan’t go off topic yet again on this post. Ehehehe…I can’t keep the suspense away even if I try.) But to many writers like myself, it marks the beginning of madness of something called Camp NaNoWriMo.

     Wait…you have heard about regular NaNoWriMo, haven’t you?


     *puts on sunglasses* *epic music plays in the background* I’m here to talk to you about the NaNoWriMo initiative.

     *takes off sunglasses* *digs out coffee and a Keep Calm and Carry On poster*

     NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. I’m sure many of you have heard about it. In essence, an increasingly large group of writers take the challenge of writing 50,000 words—a full-length novel—in the month of November. I would question their sanity if I were not one of them. As if that wasn’t exhausting enough, there’s another NaNo in April: Camp NaNoWriMo.

     In other words, I doubt I’ll have any hair left by the end of the month.

     For those of you who read my previous blog post, no, this story I am now attempting is not Master Williams’ story. I expect Anastasia to show up any time now…expect Britishness and a startling amount of tea and cats. Also, an adorable kid sidekick.

     And for those of you doing Camp NaNo, I can only offer this sage advice:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Character Takeover: Jason Williams

Hi! I see you’ve stumbled across my author’s blog. Were you expecting another philosophical outlook on life and the universe? Pfft. There are far more interesting things to do. Eating pizza, for example. You don’t happen to have any, do you?

Well, anyway, I suppose I should properly introduce myself. I know for a fact that some of you have heard of my fabulousness, but since my story isn’t properly written yet, most of you haven’t.

I see a lot of head-scratching among the audience…you do realize who I am, don’t you?

…I assumed Elizabeth had explained. I’ll have to have a little talk with her later. Basically, she’s decided that every so often (probably once a week), one of her characters will hack into make a guest appearance on her blog. This first week is my turn.

So, introduction. Madame Liz hasn’t figured out a lot of what’s going to happen in my story yet. I’m pretty sure it’s sci-fi, and I think I get to read people’s minds. (I’m looking at you, Emily-the-sociopath.) I certainly hope I don’t get killed off, since she’s so fond of doing that to people. Did I ever give you my name? It’s Jason Williams. I would say don’t forget it, but since it’s virtually impossible to forget someone like me, I won’t. But don’t forget it.

Well, Madame L—Elizabeth says that I’ve used up my time. Hopefully I’ll see you all again soon! Bring me pizza next time, though.

Friday, March 20, 2015

On Spring

*dusts off my poor, neglected little blog* Funny how I wanted a blog for so long, but once I have one, I forget all about it...

*glances at calendar* Ah, yes. Spring is here at long last. Though, here in Tennessee, it is wet and cold. The environment is trying to kill us, though the blooming flowers are pretty. And with spring comes many concerts...

Monday, January 26, 2015

In Which a Distracted Person Should Not Be Given a Curling Iron

The title says it all, I believe, but I shall expound upon it.

Every female at some point or other makes the mistakes (if they can qualify as mistakes; mishaps would probably be a better word) of burning their hair with a curling iron or tangling it in a hairbrush. Compound these two problems and you have a weapon of mass destruction, capable of devouring hair alive and scorching its meal while laughing derisively.

Well, maybe the laughter was my characters making fun of their clumsy brilliant author. Me, burn my hair? Me, get distracted with no one to help? Distracted? I'm never...oh look...a butterfly.

Once I had hopelessly ensnarled my hair in the mutant curling iron hairbrush, I went downstairs for help...only to remember that my family had left only a few minutes earlier. If my characters had been laughing before...

To wrap up a longer than necessary story, I spent half an hour trying to untangle my hair and, when that failed, to do some basic tasks. I discovered that it is all but impossible to brush one's teeth one-handed. Now I am left with a slightly bald patch and perhaps a bit more wisdom than before; I shan't ever get distracted while holding a hot object.

Oh's snowing.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Marvels of the Human Brain

It always seems, that when one sits down to do homework...

or sleep...

or do an urgent task...

one is assaulted with ideas that demand to be written down or acted upon now.

But when one actually needs ideas...they're gone. Fled into the dark abyss where plot bunnies cower and cliches lurk, leaving nothing but the dangling end of one's train of thought. This is the bane of every author's existence.

However, every thousand years or so, we actually do hit upon an idea at the right time and place. And when we do...beware lest you disturb us, for we have the strength of a raging fire and the force of the great typhoon. And also, to quote Sherlock, we "can't turn it on and off like a tap!"

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Trials of Amateur Photography

Here in Tennessee, our winter weather ranges from the icy teeth of a blizzard to a very mild autumn day. This year we've had hardly any snow, which I'm sure the schools appreciate, but the children hardly do. 

This rainy, cold day, I decided to ignore the urgent call of Aeschylus and attempt to capture some winter foliage with my camera. I envisioned taking beautiful pictures like the ones in nature magazines or Pinterest; a suspended droplet reflecting the surrounding greenery, a naked branch bejeweled with rainwater, an interesting puddle. I fired my camera until the rain forced me indoors. Hopes aglow, I played back the images one by one.

Blurry pictures. 

Busy backgrounds.


I hadn't learned to use all the settings, and so the images were far from what I'd hoped for. Most of them would be trashed, if not all. But instead of putting my camera away as angrily as I could without damaging it, I fiddled with it some more. Learning the settings. Adjusting the focus. Experimenting.

Next time a rainy day comes around, I'll be ready. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Beginning of the Wandering

     The mouse hovered over the "create blog" button for almost an hour. Me, write a blog? My trade was creative writing, where I got to kill care for fictional characters rather than chronicle my daily life. But I clicked the button anyway.

     Before I begin my wandering, I suppose I should explain the name. After I found out that my choice of a name had been dramatically taken by someone else, I began hunting for a name that would suit my devious purposes. I wanted to include the word 'typewriter'; to capture the forgotten satisfaction of inky keys hitting paper. But it lacked something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Something that echoed of wind and water, peace and war. Of adventures of forgotten heroes. Of great songs lost to the sighing of the wind. The teller of stories and the singer of songs: the wandering minstrel.

     And so, by combining the machine and the musician, the Wandering Typewriter was born. Though my life is hardly as interesting as the tales sung by the minstrels of old, I hope it shall interest you as you follow my journeying.

     Thus the wandering begins.