Monday, February 28, 2011

Multiple Prize Shakespeare Giveaway

A huge thank you to the sponsoring Esty shops on this giveaway! You are all wonderful and unique.

There is a rather wide variety of styles in this giveaway, so feel free to comment on what you like best. Eight random winners will be selected, but if you let me know what you're hoping for I might be able to match you up with your favorite item. ;-)
Romeo and Juliet
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
Scrabble Tile Pendent
Donated by Paisley Monday

If you are a Bronte, Austen, or cupcake fan, you will love this shop!

The Tempest
"Miranda" by Waterhouse
Silver necklace.

Beautiful artwork on boxes and necklaces. Love the shop name. :-)

As You Like It
"All the World's a Stage"
Bottle Cap
Donated by Ellacuz

If you are very creative and love to recycle you will love this shop. :-)

Leather Ophelia Bookmark

Donated by Immortal Longings
Fine Shakespeare Gifts and Illustrations

Shakespeare Himself

Comedy and Tragedy Mask Necklace

Donated by Kooky Kangaroo

Ophelia by Waterhouse
Glass Pendent

Donated by BELLSPEAL
BELLSPEAL uses gorgeous art and has some amazing stuff. This necklace came all the way from Spain. :-)

Leather Tempest Bookmark

Donated by Immortal Longings
Fine Shakespeare Gifts and Illustrations


1. Visit up to two of the sponsoring Etsy shops and post what you like best here at the Erratic Muse. (Each shop counts as one entry if posted separately.)

2. Post about this giveaway on your blog.

3. Post my giveaway button on your sidebar.

4. Comment and tell me one of your favorite lines or characters from Shakespeare and why.

5. Write a Shakespeare themed post and link back to me. (Linked to here.)

This button ended up a bit small, but that means it should fit comfortably on all your sidebars! :-)

Thanks so much,
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shakespeare Week!

I have been very silent this week because my life has been full of...lambs, illness, snow, music, art, cleaning, and things of this nature.

Next week, however, is the afore mentioned Shakespeare week! This includes a huge, amazing giveaway and posts on Shakespearish things.

If you would like to participate please link to me and enter your info into this Linky thing so people can find your blog through mine.

Linked posts should be on something Shakespeare related (his plays, sonnets, movies and performances based of his work, etc...)

Thank you for participating. I hope this generates some interesting discussion.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Being Filled

"Where God tears great gaps we should not try to fill them with human words."
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, February 21, 2011

O Lord, My God, Most Earnestly - Psalm 63

I couldn't find a good Youtube video of this, but the Cantus Christi Thomas Tallis version of Psalm 63 is one of my favorites. The tune is beautiful, but the words are truly amazing. Reminders I need everyday.

O Lord, My God, Most Earnestly
Psalm 63

Thomas Tallis, 1567; alt.

Psalter, 1912
rev. Psalter Hymnal, 1987

O Lord, my God, most earnestly I seek Your holy face,
Within Your house again to see the glories of Your grace.
Apart from You I long and thirst and naught can satisfy;
I wander in a desert land where all the streams are dry.

The loving kindness of my God is more than life to me,
So I will praise You all my days and pray continually.
In You my soul is satisfied, my darkness turns to light,
and joyful meditations fill the watches of the night.

Beneath the shadow of Your wings I sing my joy and praise.
Your right hand is my strong support through troubled nights and days.
All those who seek my life will fall; my life is in Your hand.
God's king and people will rejoice; in victory they will stand.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Various Shakespeareish Things

#1. I have this matchbook from Hesed Books and Gifts that I love.

I keep it in my purse and scribble the inspiration of the moment in it. Every wannabe writer should have something in their purse they can do this on. This is so compact it would even fit in a wallet.
(Writing on the back of receipts is not a good long term plan. You'll loose it. Trust me. I know.)

Product Description:

• Cover made from 100% recycled content matte cardstock • Measures approximately 2″ wide by 3″ high • Includes 10 pages • Inside pages measure approximately 1.75″ wide by 2.75″ high • Eyelet can be used to attach gift tags, ribbon, or lanyard to outside

And their less than a dollar. :-)
I'll be doing two journal giveaways from Hesed Books and Gifts later on that are paired with gift-certificates. Meanwhile, you should go look at their amazing store!

#2. I've been reading and watching a lot of Shakespeare recently.
This morning I told Mama, "Your Hamlet was really good...uh...I mean omelet." :-P

#3. I've grown up around Shakespeare, but I'm no expert and I want to be better acquainted.

#4. I'm going to have a whole week that is dedicated to Shakespearean things on The Erratic Muse.

This will include the following-

A multiple prize giveaway.

Posts on various Shakespeare plays.

Reviews on movie adaptations of Shakespeare's plays.

Reviews on books on Shakespeare.

Possible squibs on the theater, the time period, and various related issues.

Cooperation with other blogs to make this a bigger event.

Starting date is scheduled for February 28th. If you'd like to join in and link up email me or comment and let me email you. You don't need to post all week long about Shakespeare, just review a movie or talk about your favorite play for a day. This could be a wonderful group event.
I'll be posting more details.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Friday, February 18, 2011

We can Boast

Christ crucified between two thieves

God the Son is so utterly and completely Lord that He can enter a womb and be born as man, hunger and suffer weakness, die on a cross, and yet all the while remain wholly Himself, the living Creator of heaven and earth who needs nothing of what He has made.

To heretics who can't bring themselves to believe that God can so thoroughly identify Himself with His world and to the timid orthodox who want to maintain a buffer (however thin) between God and His creation, the orthodox answer is, Our God is great enough even for this; He is great enough even to become week, poor, empty, man. To those outside the church, who scoff at our crucified God, we can boast: "Our God can die. Can yours?"

Thus, and only thus, do we make our boast in the Lord, our Lord Jesus.

~From The Four: A Survey of the Gospels by Peter J. Leithart

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing Junk, a Poem, and other Rambles

If you are a writer you've probably been told to write junk. I write it continuously.;-) But what this is supposed to mean is "get started on something or anything."

If you don't feel like you're in the right mood yet, just scribble away with whatever comes to mind. This gets you doing something and pretty soon you can get down to the project you want. Writing junk has been the only way I have defeated writer's block besides running and brushing my teeth. This is how my sorry excuse for song lyrics started out.

Many experienced writers suggest starting with poetry or some sort of metered ramble. This helps you get into the flow and rhythm of words. While this can be a little degrading for the cause of poetry, I think it works really well.

The biggest problem I have when I touch the keyboard after a break is stiffness. When I start writing all the words are going to be one syllable in five word long sentences. I have to get myself to loosen up somehow. I haven't got all this figured out yet, and my writing of "junk" is much more extensive than warm ups, but I know it's helped me.

Now I actually want to learn how to write semi-respectable poetry. Why do I have so many interests? I can't possible learn enough about everything I want to! It's so easy to just end up knowing a little bit about everything...and it's not all that helpful.

So, I'm sharing a piece of "junk" with you.
I've have two song ideas that I've been hashing out for several months now. As soon as I get really attached to an idea it's so hard to make it work. If I just start writing to write and something comes out, everything is so much easier. I'm sure you've experienced this before. A very natural phenomenon.
So, these two ideas are still in a jumble, but I did write something rambling to get in the mood.

I didn't have much of an idea of where I was going, but when I could tell I was going somewhere, I started to think of where that might be... (I'm so organized. :-P)

I recently read I Capture the Castle which was certainly an interesting book. I really liked most of it, but a couple issues came up that have been (apparently) simmering away in my mind.

In the book, Cassandra, the heroine, dabbles in Christianity but basically decides it's a sort of opiate for not really living life. She thinks she'd rather have the pain and misery and really feel and experience everything. The "pious" people she knows seem kind of secluded in their corner and rather childish. The book doesn't really come to a conclusion and just abandons the thread.

You hear this idea other places too. I think the way a lot of artists think relates. They just want to live. Don't bother with the other stuff (a.k.a. not doing whatever you feel like).

I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well, but it seems like a pretty sad idea.

I don't think you can truly feel all the wonderful things God intended for us without Him.
Love, joy, suffering, hope, death...they're all meaningless without Christ. What is joy without God? Can we even call that sort of one-dimensional happiness joy? Where is hope? Love is only centered on ourselves. How is that love?

Christians fall flat on their face and feel it. They also feel the exhilaration and forgiveness as they are picked back up by something stronger than themselves., anyways. Here's the song/poem/junk thing-

I know no wisdom
I see no truth
I run without looking
I stop without stumbling

There is no beginning
There is no end
There are men circling
There are men spinning

I have no confidence
I have no hope
I live without meaning
I die without leaving

They sing their singing
They shout their praise
They cry while dancing
They sin while praying

I cannot discern
I know no joy
They run while looking
They laugh while stumbling

I feel no future
I have no tears
They praise while dying
They laugh when crying

I always enjoy thoughts and criticism.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

C.S. Lewis, Max McLean, and your affectionate Uncle Screwtape

As previously stated, I got to see The Screwtape Letters in Portland on Saturday. :-)
I am so blessed to have gone. I wish I could just round up people and drive them into the theater! It was absolutely amazing and really made you chew on some thought-provoking stuff.

Although I knew it was going to be good, I wasn't prepared for how entertaining it would be. It never let you get remotely bored. I just wish I could see it several more times because there is so much to take in and think about.

I've read The Screwtape Letters and listened to Focus on the Family's rendition (not as good as reading the book) but it was very different to see it acted/narrated. It was also interesting to see what they choose to keep in and what they had to cut out. I think they did a good job preserving it's C.S. Lewis-ness.

The music was amazing. The acting, lighting, props...all wonderful.

You can see an interesting interview with McLean here. You can also see his narration of Mark on Youtube.

A lot of portions really stuck out to me. Something about hearing things from the other direction really gives you a wakeup call.

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems too have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

In a week or two you will be making him doubt whether the first days of his Christianity were not, perhaps, a little excessive. Talk to him about 'moderation in all things'. If you can once get him to a point of thinking 'religion is all very well up to a point', you can feel quite happy about his soul. A moderate religion is as good for us as no religion at all--and more amusing.

What he says on friends and conforming or becoming a different person depending on who you are around....and therefore being disloyal to all sets of acquaintances and then only feeling vaguely self-satisfied, self-righteous, or just shameful was extremely interesting. The whole section is something I think a lot of us young people could do some studying on.

Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.

If this portion was in the play, I missed it. I need to include it though because it is something I need to hear.

The most alarming thing in your last account of the patient that he is making none of those confident resolutions which marked his original conversion. No more lavish promises of perpetual virtue, I gather; not even the expectation of an endowment of 'grace' for life, but only a hope for the daily and hourly pittance to meet the daily and hourly temptation! This is very bad.

Or do you not realize that the patient's death, at this moment, is precisely what you want to avoid? ...he will almost certainly be lost to us if he is killed tonight. This is so obvious that I am ashamed to write it...They, of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so. Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda.

The portion that is in Chapter 31 of the book was extremely powerful in the play. We, one day, will stand in the presence of our living God! There, devils can only cower.

C.S. Lewis is a genius. The end.

I'm so glad I got to see this. I want to read the whole book again. I hope we can have more amazing, well-done productions that turn our thoughts straight towards our Savior (however mixed up the direction might sound).

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The past two weeks...

I know I've been mildly distracted...but being distracted with life is hardly reprehensible. ;-)

The day after we returned from Mexico two friends from Pennsylvania came to stay with us for two weeks. We had an awesome time. I certainly have a lot to catch up on and plenty of new post ideas. Bear with me in the backlog.

This post is simply a two week review of some of the awesome things we got to do and a preview of more detailed posts to come.

-Reread As You Like It, Much Ado about Nothing, Macbeth, and half of Hamlet (we'll finish that on Skype.)
Reading Shakespeare aloud is considerably more fun than reading it to yourself. Aisha also contributes a great amount of flair and drama. ;-)

-Re-watched Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado and As You Like It. Laughed outrageously.

-Reread portions of Leithart's Brightest Heaven of Invention. Wished Leithart would write about Romeo and Juliet and As You Like It.

-Jumped on the trampoline numerous times with numerous experiences. Looked at stars. Sat on ice. Jumped in the rain. Read Shakespeare. Quoted Shakespeare. Sang Les Miz. Recited the Jabberwocky. Ate animal crackers. Laughed continuously...etc.

-Watched The 10th Anniversary Dream Cast Les Miserables for the fifth time. Loved it to death...again.

-Fell in love with Lamentations

-Visited Barnes and Nobles. Visited Eric Metaxas' biography on Bonhoeffer. Sniffed books. Received a perfect, beauteous new journal from Aisha. (Pictures to come. ;-)

-Visited Exodus Books twice. Sniffed books. Bought books. Loved books. Nearly died of happiness.

-Visited Powell's downtown. Sniffed books. Bought books. Experienced euphoria.

-Tried to find more room on bookshelves for books. Experienced failure.

-Ordered a new phone. Almost got a Droid for free, but didn't have enough money for the data plan. Prepared myself emotionally to put Julius in retirement. I wonder what the name of my new phone shall be.

-Had half of my sheep lamb. Experienced my first prolapsed ewe in twelve years. At this moment all of us are still alive. Never want to see that again.

-Spent two days in Portland. Walked along the waterfront in the wind. Spent time in the library. Confirmed that I still love downtown.

-Saw GFU rendition of Doubt.

-Sang David Erb's Psalm 134 without interruption. ;-)

-Sat in the fourth row in the Arlene Schnitzer Hall and watched Max McLean's rendition of Screwtape. Amazing.

-Ate tuna salad. The best imaginable tuna salad in the world. Aisha is amazing.

-Quoted Shakespeare continuously.

-Mixed Shakespeare quotes with Alice in Wonderland, Nacho Libre, and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Laughed until I could laugh no more.

-Fell in love with a new song version of Psalm 43 set to BLAENHAFHEN.
"God you are my overflowing joy!" I want this to be true...always..

-Walked to the top of Saddleback twice. Enjoyed the beautiful view, the mountains, and talking with Aisha.

-Accosted Suzy and jigged wildly to I Could Have Danced all Night in the kitchen.

-Drank voluminous amounts of tea in my awesome new black and white mug! Thanks Aisha. You're so sweet. :-)

-Walked to one of my favorite places in Oregon City--the old library. There is a playground. And swings! Happiness. :-)

-Visited the Cheesecake Factory.

-Went on a invigorating walk with numerous persons including my two oldest nieces. (Includes--running, spinning, neighing, galloping, laughing, and language interpretation.)

-Experienced Dyslexia. ;-)

-Had a fancy Israeli dinner with most of the family. Happiness. :-)

-Successfully scared Suzy to death with Aisha's added screams.

-Was reaffirmed in this conclusion:
God is truly our only hope. He is tireless and we are not. Moderation in all things does not mean moderation in our walk with Christ.

I am a hopeless sinner, but God is hope.

I will praise Him!

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Monday, February 14, 2011

Journal Giveaway Winner!

Sorry for the delay. Life has been crazy...and good. But you can hear more about that later.
For now, we have a giveaway winner! picked number 14 today. How appropriate. :-)

Miss Raquel

Thank you everyone who entered or helped spread the word. I have some more amazing giveaways lined up, but for now--visit my sister's giveaway at Life's too Short not to Wear Red Shoes

Thank you everyone. Special thanks to Design and Create for sponsoring this giveaway!
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Emblazon this in my memory

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

Lamentations 3:21-24

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Against Christianity - Peter J. Leithart

Against Christianity by Peter J. Leithart
Canon Press 2003

Rating: 9
Readability: 7. I read it quickly and it's extremely interesting, but sometimes I really had to pause and think. This is mostly due to me, not the book. It is a little harder to grasp quickly than some of his other books.
Impact: 9 :-)

Recommend it: Yes!
Read it Again: Yes.

What to Expect

Leithart rejects anything we name with the name of Christ that is not a complete remaking of the world. A spiritual feeling of Christianity that adopts the world's vocabulary, marketing, values, etc. is the enemy of Christians.

Christianity is gnostic.
The Church can not be gnostic.
The Church is the new city, not ideas that sit under or even alongside the existing culture.

Against Christianity is divided in five sections: Against Christianity, Against Theology, Against Sacraments, Against Ethics, and For Constantine. Each section is divided into bite-sized, numbered ideas (similar to Deep Comedy).

Like several of Leithart's other books, he manages to leave you with a clear mission and beautiful portrayal of our living hope. It get's me high every time.

The book is excellent and even better during the second read.

My Squib

I'm pretty sure I'm not qualified to review this intelligently, but I'd be quite happy to jump up and down and tell you to read it. :-)

Compared with other Leithart books I've read, I did have to slow down a bit with this one, but it was well worth it.

I've been very blessed to grow up in a church culture where the ideas behind the book have been taught, but I've never thought about them so directly before. Some passages were very convicting and helped me to see some errors in my own thinking. It also helped me solidify ideas that were drifting around without an anchor.

I feel like the book should be required reading. :-)
I also think it's well worth the time if you are exposed to other books or lectures by Peter Leithart. It helped me understand his terminology better and just where he's coming from in general. All good things.

I feel slightly self-conscious using the word "Christianity" now... Not sure what to do with that.

The whole book is certainly worth reading again...and again. ;-)

Somewhere in the middle of reading this book and whatever else was coming in at the time, I came to a realization. Something I guess I've heard but haven't really taken into action. There is nothing to apologies for striving enthusiastically to be a Christian in everything. My identity is "follower of Christ". I don't need to apologies or dance around. This is who I am and it affects every area of life.

From the Book

Transformation of life, including social and political life, is not an "implication" of the gospel. That would suggest that the gospel is over "here," and that it has implications for life which are over "there." It would mean that the gospel is on the left hand, and that we can draw out the moral implications of the gospel on our right hand. Such a procedure is compatible with heresy of Christianity with its separation of "theology" and "practice," but it is not a biblical picture.
Transformation of life is not an implication of the gospel but inherent in the gospel, because the good news is about transformation of life.

The modern Church is in exile; we have chosen exile, and the LORD has delivered us to our desires. But we do not worship the God of permanent exile. We worship the God of exodus.
He calls us to faith, and that means renouncing Christianity and all its works and all its pomp. It means clinging to the gospel, believing the gospel, preaching the gospel, living the gospel as the CHurch, even to the shedding of blood."

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Brian Jacques Signs Off

Brian Jaques

You filled hours of my life with stories.
Thanks for getting kids reading, for your great descriptions, your humor, your love for writing, and your awesome accent.
You will be missed. Goodbye, Brian Jaques.

I feel like my childhood is officially dead.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rest in Labor

I recently came across this quote by Calvin in the O. Palmer Robertson's book I'm reading. It's been mulling about in my head for a couple days...

Sometimes God wants his servants to rest in his authority so as to labor even with no hope of success...Although our labor may be useless, it is enough that it pleases God. When we are ordered to do something, let us learn to leave the outcome in God's hand.
~John Calvin

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Journal Giveaway

Design and Create donated this beautiful journal for a giveaway.

Journal Description:

Journal, Diary, or Notebook

Notebook has been painted, on both back and front cover. As well as the insides of each cover. Hand stamp embossed gold. Has a grunge, worn and weathered feel to it. Then sealed to provide durability.

It is 4 inches wide x 6 inches long x less than 1/2 inch thick. Inside sheets are 3.5 x 5.75. 16 lines per sheet. Approx. 100 sheets of paper.

For those of you who like to feel things, this journal is for you. :-)

How to Enter

Comment with at least one of the following. Each entry must be in a unique comment.

-Check out Design and Create shop and come back and comment on what you like best.
-Be a follower of The Erratic Muse
-Post about it on your blog and comment with the link.

This giveaway will end February 12th.

Thanks for entering,
Miss Pickwickian

Friday, February 4, 2011

More on Mexico - A Church in Puerto Vallarta

partly to please Hannah and Bobbi Jo...

I'll attempt a series of snapshots from our cruise to Mexico.
I don't think I can cover the experience in any sort of comprehensive detail and if I could the post would be random and grueling. Instead I'll just catch pieces when the time and urge comes upon me. ;-)

Puerto Vallarta is gorgeous.

One of my favorite pieces is the promenade along the waterfront and all the people thinking of creative things to do for money and tips--rock balancing, music, complicated sand sculptures, swinging about upside down from poles, lemonade, donuts, and painting oneself in sand to name a few.

The best part is the plaza and the artists. Besides a bracelet in Cabo this is where I spent all of my trip money. Most of the artists paint scenes you can see around Puerto Vallarta and this church is predominate in the town. One man paints only with his mouth! The art is good and cheap and the artists think of it as daily work in a way most "arty" Americans don't.

Last time we were in Puerto Vallarta we didn't get to walk up to the church although you can see it down most streets. This time we did. We marched in with a horde of other tourists clutching "Holland America" bags, snapping photos, and talking loudly.

There were a lot of locals sitting in the pews praying or just staring.

One very old, Mexican woman walked up limping and got down on her knees. She slowly crawled up the whole aisle, stopping every few shuffles to bow very low to the dusty floor and pray.

It is one of the pictures that sticks closest in my mind.

Nearly everyone wearing crosses. Images of saints everywhere. Numerous gold embellished churches. People laughing and friendly, ready to bargain down to the last peso. Street and drug fighting-- so bad that we can not dock at one of our ports. Messes and chaos everywhere...sometimes happy sometimes dangerous.

This is Mexico to me.

What drastic differences there are in a post Christian American culture and Mexico...just in the way we drive.

Thanks for reading.
Miss Pickwickian

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Good times...

Yesterday I laughed a lot.

Largely due to Shakespeare and Aisha.

The end.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Your Affectionate Uncle

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight.
(C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letter.1941, p. 3)

I am going to go see Max McLean's Screwtape Letters in Portland on the 12th. I am very excited. I've been wanting to see this for a very, very long time. And before the performance I get to introduce Aisha to Portland's Powell's. They should get along quite nicely. I haven't been there for 12 1/2 months!!! Gasp. :-)

I'm sure you'll hear more about the Screwtape after we see it.
Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Week in Mexico

We just spent an awesome week on a Mexican Riviera Cruise. :-)

This was a "work" cruise, meaning our business paid for it and Mama and I worked for at least 4 hours a day. I managed to get a lot accomplished on my non-fiction book, although it still has some deep issues to work out. And, of course, we had amazing time.

This was my third time aboard my M. S. Oosterdam. I love her... I wonder how much a cruise ship costs? ;-)

Mexico is not my thing--at least not as much as it is my sister's--but we did have a wonderful time. To go from an Oregon January to Mexico is quite the shock. It was hot.

I like Mexico--

-the crazy people.
-the life and noise.
-the margaritas.
-the warm ocean.
-the cute little kids running about.

but I love--

-to walk into a store and buy something for what the price tag says it is.
-to walk down a street and no one tries to sell you anything (including themselves as bodyguards).
-black and white. I love colors too, but Mexico doesn't give you a break.
-cold. Summer is awesome, but I'd rather it be cold and brisk than sweltering.
-waitresses that wash their hands.
-water that is drinkable...and cold.
-moments of solitude.

This was my second trip to Mexico and it confirmed that I was not cut out to live there, but that it is a pretty awesome place. I'd love to go back some day.

As for the cruise ship. I love everything about that. :-) Cruising is the way for me to travel. No stress. All relaxation. A wonderful writing atmosphere. Love it. Seriously.

Holland America is amazing, too. They have the best service imaginable and a wonderful, laid-back feel. I guess if you were going to party you might want to pick a different cruise line, but this is the one for me.

I know I can't do the trip justice and I have several book reviews to catch up on and such, so if you want to here more-- wait for some exuberant posts from my sister here. She took some amazing pictures and I'm sure you'll be amused by her posts.

I am now home and it is perfect outside. Sunny, cold, and windy. And an awesome friend is here from PA. I think we shall go take a walk. (Or a gallop or a session on the the case may be.:-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
St. Martin's Griffin 1998
(originally published 1948)

Rating: 7
Readability: 8
Impact: Loved the style and gave me a fresh look at journaling and first person. Awesome.

Read it Again: Parts of it at least.
Recommend it: I think so...but portions of it are just weird.

What to Expect

A funny, quirky style mixed with the interesting story of a strange family and two girls' odd romances.

Has all the makings of something Gothic and than turns it into something absolutely fresh and funny. Doesn't take itself too seriously even though it often slips into something profound. :-)

The story itself is a little strange. The first half is much better than the second, although I loved the last chapter. There's certainly some questionable things going on.

My Squib

The style totally resonated with me. Loved it.

I thought Dodie Smith did an amazing job of portraying the feelings of a teenage girl (sometimes a bit too much...). Cassandra is lovable and believable. She really did an awesome job here.

Some of her other characters were a bit strange or caricatured, but it didn't bother me. It seemed to fit in with the journal style and Topaz was simply hilarious.

There were certainly things she could have left out, but over all it's just a fun romance. It would get a PG13 rating before you put in the fact that their step-mom likes to commune with nature (leaving her clothes behind).

Her outlook on Christianity is a little hard to understand. She kind of builds on it and Cassandra getting together and than abandons it. She kind of leaves you with faith as simply something to ease pain and not fully live (in sorrow or joy). Pretty lame there...

Over all, if your interested in writing, it's certainly worth it for the style.

From the Book

It's hard to take a bit out without giving away anything, but here's a paragraph--

I finish this entry sitting on the stairs. I think it worthy of note that I never felt happier in my life--despite sorrow for father, pity for Rose, embarrassment about Stephen's poetry and no justification for hope as regards our family's general outlook. Perhaps it is because I have satisfied my creative urge; or it may be due to the thought of eggs for tea.

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian