Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Discovering Gormenghast: Titus Groan review

"Drear ritual turned its wheel. The ferment of the heart, within these walls, was mocked by every length of sleeping shadow. The passions, no greater than candle flames, flickered in Time's yawn, for Gormenghast, huge and adumbrate, out-crumbles all."

Ah, here we are with the Titus Groan review - it's been in the works for quite some time now! Then again, it took me several months to read the book, too - you may remember my asking about it after posting some of Mervyn Peake's Bleak House illustrations. After receiving some good advice in my comments, I decided to put the WRP on hold to tackle this 500+ page novel and its equally long sequel, Gormenghast. This series is often said to be one readers totally hate or absolutely love - now how did I take it?

Mervyn Peake wrote this novel in the mid-1940s, and its themes of a broken country and social system align nicely with British troubles of the time. This book is not at all political, though - in fact, it's rather a teen-friendly level, I would say, written in a style that has the verboseness and detail of Dickens, the image of Tim Burton (he could make a really good movie from this!), and a touch of Addams-Family-style dark humor. :) There are a few moments I feel I should warn you about, though - one person gets pregnant out of wedlock (the whole thing is pretty tastefully done, though), and their seems to be some predatory innuendo about Chef Swelter and the kitchen boys (though others have said he is just supposed to be cannibalistic...). It's still quite mild, but I just though I would warn you. ;)

This first novel is deceptively named Titus Groan, but this character - the much revered 77th Earl of Gormenghast - is just a baby and really doesn't deserve the book title or the pomp he receives. ;) The entire story hinges upon the ritualistic world Titus is born to - every living action is strictly done according to age-old, ridiculous protocol passed down through generations. Some of the Gormenghast residents - especially creaky old manservant Flay and ritual master Sourdust - welcome such continuity, but others - like Lord Sepulchrave, his daughter Fuchsia, and more - are growing weary of it. Change is afoot in the halls of the crumbling, decrepit castle, and when upstart kitchen boy Steerpike - a sociopathic, albinistic teen - arrives on the scene, it seems the entire structure of Gormenghast is destined to collapse at its foundation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Albums and a meme ♥

Okay folks, I have two things to post about today. :) First of all, I've been transferring a lot of my AG and drawing photos into my Flickr albums, so you can pop over to browse some of my best photos and illustrations. Leave me a comment if you visit!

Also, I've stolen my meme from Lydia today - it looked like a fun one and we haven't had a meme lately. ;)

1. Name: Nina
2. Date of birth: August 24, 1991
3. Where you live: Southeast USA
4. What makes you happy: Nice people, AG collecting, writing, getting good grades, laughing with my sister
5. Currently listening/the last thing you listened to: Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble
6. An interesting fact about you: When I was eight, Highlights for Children's Sept. 1999 magazine published my drawing of a stegosaurus in the "Dinosaur Don" section!
7. What do you love at the moment?: The fact that I'm going to be getting my first AG doll in 6 years for my birthday and that she'll be my first custom!
8. Favourite place to spend time: Uh...At the computer! XD
9. Favourite lyric: You can own the earth and still/ all you'll own is earth until/ you can paint with all the colors of the wind. ;P
10. The best time of the year: Autumn, right before winter ^_^

1. A film: Fantastic Mr. Fox. or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - both are a little odd but quite entertaining!
2. A book: Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake. A review is still coming on that!
3. A band, a song, or album: Coldplay (band)
4. A manga/anime: I don't watch anime. Ick.

1. Two things you like about yourself: I like that I am smart and that I'm extremely loyal
2. What you are looking forward to: My birthday, for reasons mentioned above ♥
3. What you are not looking forward to: November, because that's when I'm going to try to start my NaNoWriMo story and I'm a bit apprehensive
4. Favorite quote: I read, I study, I examine, I listen, I reflect, and out of all of this I try to form an idea into which I put as much common sense as I can. - Marquis de Lafayette

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's done!!

Oh my gosh, we finally finished the Charles Dickens group fanfiction - Brought to Life. I ended up taking over more chapters than I meant to (I wrote five of the parts, I think) but anyway, I wrote the grand finale yesterday so I hope you'll head over and read and review it! (I also added it to the Master Dickensian Fanfiction List.) In other news, Gina has put it in my head to do some illustrations. Not sure if/when I'll find the time but...if I do, I want to try some more silhouettes!

And one more thing - hopefully some time this week, I want to share with you a bit about the NaNoWriMo story - Paper House - I hope to write this fall (school willing, lol). I think if I tell others about it it will make me more obliged to actually write it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Winners of "Make Believe" - A Peter Pan Blog Event!

Well, we received a lovely collection of Neverland-inspired posts, the votes on your favorites are in, the judges and I have broken a tie, and I am pleased to announce the winners of Make Believe!

Image from Tumblr

The Neverland Guide to Being a Pirate
by Lydia at Gioiello
"...This is a post to tell you what you need if you decide to become a female pirate. It's sort of like a guide. Blue hair is optional, never required. Though it may set you apart from the boys. ;) ..." more

Tinker Bell's Wardrobe - A Fairy Fashion Shopping Guide
by Atlanta at The Story of a Seamstress
"Our story begins deep in the woods of Neverland - inside the hidden boudoir of a small fairy named Tinkerbell. She has a dilemma....Tink takes one peek into her closet, throws herself on the bed and moans out the inevitable despair of every girl since the beginning of time - that she has nothing to wear..." more

She knew at once that he was Peter Pan...
by Ez at Fairytales, French Fries, and Little Baby Kisses
"She knew at once that he was Peter Pan. If you or I or Wendy had been there we should have seen that he was very like Mrs. Darling's kiss. He was a lovely boy clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that ooze out of trees, but the most entrancing thing about him was that he had all his first teeth...." more

Slightly Different: A School Story by Jane at Novel Pretender
“'And what is your name?' The teacher asked in a stilted voice, as if she really had no desire to know the answer.
'Slightly.' He replied...." more

Thanks to everyone for participating (winners, you will be getting your banners in a week or so)! This was a great event and I look forward to the next one - Peter would be proud!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Disney Coloring Page Meme

Wow, it's only been four days since my last post, but it seems like a LOT longer, lol! Mental note: next time, don't take the World Literature class with a load of reading in the shorter summer semester (but at least I've already read Faust!).

Anyway, I thought I'd share a bit of artwork today - I did this picture for my dad for Father's Day, as a sort of remake of a drawing I gave him from my coloring book when I was younger. It's part of the Disney Coloring Page Meme that originated on DeviantArt - mine is not as good as the many you can find there, but I'm satisfied with it considering I did it with a mouse. ^_^

The idea is that you take a scan of a Disney coloring page, like this one of John Smith from Pocahontas:

using the style and color palette of a classic painting - mine was Ships in a Storm by Andreas Achenbach:

and you get this!

It's the best digital thing I've done in a while, though I never could color in those ropes, so I just axed them. -_v I want to do some more of these once I get my tablet, it's a really nice exercise in color and shading!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Just a tiny request....

I just realized - I am only FOUR followers away from my 50-follower goal! If you enjoy what you see here, please, add yourself to the followers widget in my lefthand sidebar. I don't suggest adding yourself for the sake of adding, but if you have been putting it off or hesitating about's the time to do it! ♥ Also, if you have any suggestions on how I might improve the blog or what types of posts you'd like me to feature, let me hear it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Problems with polls

You may have noticed that the polls in the sidebar are coming up "not found" and, obviously, preventing you from voting. Don't worry, it's not a problem with your computer or browser, it's a problem with Blogger's systems. It's a known issue and they're working on fixing it, so just hang tight and I'll certainly extend the polls so everyone can get the votes they deserve. Sorry for the issue!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Make Believe Finalists - VOTING IS OPEN!!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in "Make Believe" - for Wickfield's first blog event, it turned out wonderfully, with nearly 40 fabulous entries!

It took a lot of deliberating, but after consulting with my fellow judges Christy and Rebecca, and using a 2 out of 3 vote basis, we were able to narrow down the list of entries to get three finalists for each category. So without further ado, here they are:

Peter Pan-inspired blog post - FINALISTS:
1. The Neverland Guide to Being a Pirate by Lydia
2. Thoughts on Peter Pan by Jane
3. Peter Pan in Scarlet by Bets

Neverland Style - FINALISTS:

1. Neverland Fashion by Earwen
2. Tinker Bell-Inspired Fashion by Celine
3. Tinker Bell's Wardrobe - A Fairy Fashion Shopping Guide by Atlanta

My Own Neverland - FINALISTS:
1. The Lost Boy and I by Katie
2. She knew at once that he was Peter Pan... by Ez
3. Lost Girl in the Woods by Miss Raquel

Dreaming of Peter Pan - FINALISTS:

1. Peter Pan's Shadow -- Make Your Own Decal by Bets
2. Peter Pan Pants - Making Green Dye From Weeds by Ez
3. Slightly Different; A School Story by Jane

And I want to remind anyone who didn't make this finalists list that your post was still wonderful and so much appreciated - consider yourselves all runners-up with high honors!

But for the finalists - VOTE! You may vote only once in each category and please - read the posts before you vote! The polls will close next Monday night. Remember, the winner in each category will receive a banner and will have their links listed in the sidebar as the "Best of Peter Pan blog event". So don't waste any time, go choose your favorites!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Make Believe Giveaway Winner

Taking my cue from Amanda Beth and using to determine the winner, the lucky number chosen was 11 - and that means Lydia is the winner! Well, she's my sister, but you can't argue with true randomness. :P Thanks to everyone who entered, and stay tuned because in the next few days voting for the post entries will be opened!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Never Girl style

Ahhh!! We've come to the last day of Make Believe - can you believe it's gone by so fast? Time really does fly! Be sure to submit your entries for the event and giveaway by midnight tonight or else they won't qualify!!

Well, now that I've said that, I can focus on the post at hand, the third of my three Neverland inspired Polyvore sets. :) This final one is based upon the fashion stylings of Peter Pan himself. Now, I would imagine Peter is fairly careless in his own dressing and you don't have to be, but he has a boldness and confidence than any girl could use in her wardrobe. Choose natural tones in the greens and browns that best fit your coloration. Even though these colors are rather muted, you can spice up your look with fun and funky accessories, like leather belts and shoes and feathered jewelry! Even though Peter is a boy, his tunic tops and leggings would translate wonderfully to a girl's wardrobe (and remember, Peter was first played by a girl on stage....). Don't underestimate the importance of interesting headgear!

Never Girl

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A few fun sites

Hi everyone! I just now have had time to do a post for today (I don't usually post on Saturdays!) and I'd like to share a few interesting links with you. :) First of all, there is a wonderful site all about J.M. Barrie and also about his masterpiece...Peter Pan! What I really love about this site is the fact that it includes rare photos of the early theatrical performances, notes on the original Peter Pan story (like the way PEter was originally supposed to be a villain and the Lost Boys dwarves!), and the earliest draft of the play - some of the characters names are even different!

Then we have this terrific Peter Pan quiz - now that we've finished the group read, some of you might feel ready to tackle it. It quizzes you on the most obsolete areas of the book and challenges some of the stereotypes you may have. I took it several times and could never get a perfect score, and I've known this book for several years!!

And I also wanted to remind everyone that tomorrow's the last day of the event. V_V I'll be doing a few more posts, but remember, after midnight tomorrow the linking widgets close and you won't be able to submit any posts for voting. That's also when the giveaway ends. So be sure to finish up if you plan on participating! ♥

Friday, June 11, 2010

Darling Girl style

Here for your enjoyment is the second of three Neverland-inspired Polyvore sets, this one based upon the styles of that lovely heroine, Wendy Darling! Wendy definitely was a girly-girl - she loved sewing and so would likely love handmade pieces. Wendy style would also have lots of Edwardian influences, like sweet lace and ribbons, dainty jewelry, and pastel. Yet she also had a nice edge about her, so I think Wendy would mix up her look with organic influences, like flowered stockings and headbands. And don't forget that acorn necklace!

Darling Girl

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"First" or "Official"? Battle of the Peter Pan sequels!

Both of these reviews have plot spoilers, so read carefully!

J.M. Barrie never wrote a sequel to Peter Pan in his lifetime, and the idea of what may have happened to Peter at the close of the novel has been a favorite springboard for several authors. The first sequel, Peter Pan and the Only Children, came out in the mid-80s but was soon out of print; then, nearly 20 years later in 2006, the Great Ormand Street Hospital (which held the story's copyright per Barrie's request) released an "official" sequel by Geraldine McCaughrean - Peter Pan in Scarlet. As a huge fan, I knew I'd have to get my hands on both of these!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Final discussion of Peter Pan

Okay everyone - this week you can read the last chapter of Peter Pan! This was originally left out of the play versions and was later added as a short scene, though it's been in the book the entire time.

What did you think about the book? Did you like or dislike it or certain parts? Who turned out to be your favorite character? Whatever you have to say, we'll love to hear it!

Something funny

And we now have 12 entries in the event! I can't wait to see more! ^_^

Lost Girl style

The first of a series of three Neverland-inspired Polyvore sets! Today we have Lost Girl, with fashion looks inspired by those obviously avant-garde Lost Boys. LOL. To me, the lost boy style is very organic and shabby-chic, with lots of thrown-together layers. Natural materials like wood, shell, and horn would make great jewelry and accessories. Of course, the key is COMFORT, so big peasant-tops and easy-to-move-in-leggings would be perfect. And certainly, you have to have trademark fringed boots and a bit of fur in the outfit - don't forget to add a crazy colorful splash to your look! ^_^

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The many faces of Peter Pan

Well, we all think we know the character of Peter Pan, right? After all, there have been countless performances of the play, Broadway musicals, famous Disney and 2003 versions, even a version of a grown-up Peter! But I've seen several adaptations, and each of these performances put their own new spin on Barrie's character sometimes terrifically, sometimes terribly!

Make Believe Giveaway!

First of all, after my tech-problems yesterday I'm baack with some of the appropriate fare for the event! In the right navbar, I've added a Neverland-themed playlist for us to listen to during the event: I chose songs I would use in a Peter Pan soundtrack, so they are arranged the way they might be in order of the events in the book. The songs I picked either came from Peter Pan adaptations, refer to Peter Pan or similar themes, or are just songs I associate with the story. I hope you enjoy it! ♥

Wow, we're already getting some truly lovely entries in the event! Keep it coming, ladies, because it will help you enter in what I am now pleased to announce as the Make Believe giveaway! (Which should have started yesterday, lol!)

This sketch of Peter Pan is what inspired me to start the event, so it's only fitting it should play some role - and what better than sharing the magic with a lucky winner? My sketch of Peter was originally done in pencil but was colored digitally to have a sketchy, watercolor feel. It will look lovely perched upon the wall in a library, a bedroom, or - if you are a mother - even in a nursery or a kids' room. Its neutral colors will go with anything, but its sprightly feel will add a sense of magic anywhere. For the winner, I can either send the digital file as seen above so you can print it out yourself, or I can print it out on thick paper for you to cut to your desired framing size. ♥

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post, including your name and some way to contact you. (1 entry)
  2. Post about Make Believe: A Peter Pan Blog Event (and/or this giveaway) on your blog (make sure you include a link to Leave a comment with a link to your post. (1 entry)
  3. Become a follower of this blog (2 entries)
  4. Tell me ways to improve the blog, or what you like most about it in a comment (2 entries)
  5. Enter your Neverland/Pan-inspired blog post or photo link into the Linking Widgets (or Flickr pool) for the appropriate category. Each post you enter will count as 3 entries.

You can enter as many as the above categories as you like - as you can see, each category increases the number of times your name is entered in the drawing. :) IMPORTANT: In your comments, you must point out how you want to be entered; if you have followed my blog, posted for the event etc., but just leave a comment without mentioning this, you will only get the one entry for a comment. So be sure to elaborate!

The giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 13th; the next day I will randomly select and announce a winner. When you comment on this post make sure you tell me which ways you have entered!

Have a lovely day and keep imagining - the fun's just begun!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Make Believe is open - let the imagination begin!

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to announce the opening of Make Believe, the Peter Pan blog event! To submit your posts, click "Click here to enter" in the linking widget for the appropriate category. In the"title" field, please give your post title and your screenname. Then paste your link in the proper field so everyone can view your entry! :) And don't forget, stay tuned later today for updates on the group read and the giveaway!


Peter Pan-related blog post - have a few things to say about the original book, play, or just the idea of eternal youth? Have you written a review (or rant!) about Peter Pan, its adaptations, or any of the myriad spin-off works? Or have you been lucky enough to see or participate in a production of the play? Your post would go in this category!


Neverland style - Do you have a fashion sense to rival Tinker Bell's? Could you blend in with the Lost Boys, tromp around with pirates, or make a lovely outfit from an old nightgown? Or would you just like to talk about the costumes from the movies? This is the category for you!


My Own Neverland photoshoot - maybe you live in your own little corner of Neverland - grab a camera and take a photoshoot of you in your dream place, whether its a woodsy forest, a stretch of beach, or just a day having fun and being a kid again.


Dreaming of Peter Pan - Well you may not be J.M. Barrie, but that doesn't mean you can't continue the adventures of Peter and the rest! Now's your time to use that imagination to draw your vision of Neverland, its inhabitants, and the Darling children. This is also the category to enter if you have crafted Pan-inspired projects, or if you have penned your own tale.


And if you don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can enter photos for the three eligible categories into the Flickr Group Pool! You'll have to sign up to join Flickr (which is quite easy, especially if you have a Yahoo account) and then upload your photos to submit them to the group. Please, no more than 5 photos per entry, thank you!


In order to be eligible for voting and the giveaway, your posts must be submitted by 11:59, June 13th - this is when the linking widgets will close!

I won't be on much today because there's a problem with the hard drive on our main computer, and thus headquarters is operating from a 2000 laptop. Yeah. So I apologize if it takes a while for me to get in touch! I look forward to seeing all the fabulous entries!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Busy busy

Hi everyone! Sorry for the sparseness of posts this week! School's been really busy (16 weeks of assignments are crammed into 10 weeks in the summer semester, yikes!) and I've been spending most of my time preparing the posts and giveaway prize for next week's event. Don't worry though, I'll be doing plenty of posting next week - just right now I need to get into the swing of school life again!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Awarded by Alexandra!

Thanks to miss Alexandra at The Value of One, I am now the proud owner of the "Kreativ Blogger" award! I also have to list seven things about myself. Hmm, weeellll....

1. I'm currently reading the Gormenghast novels by Mervyn Peake - they are new favorites!
2. I rarely like the actual heroes or heroines of novels best (I prefer supporting characters), and I've never had a crush on a literary gent.
3. The Marquis de Lafayette, on the other hand... ♥
4. I've found out I could marry Rudyard Kipling and J.M. Barrie with extremely high success rate according to CeleStar (and it WORKS, I tell you!), though Dickens and I wouldn't get along very well. :(
5. I used to know a ton of junk about animals - particularly apes and deer! - because I used to PORE over The Usborne Book of Knowledge
6. I was afraid of Yoda from Star Wars until I was at least 11...and found out he's only two feet tall!
7. My new favorite TV show is Lark Rise to Candleford, and Thomas Brown is hilarious!

And anyone who wants to take this award is free to take it - everyone is a creative blogger!
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