So here it is, my very first post on my new blog. Please excuse the dust and packing-crates and general untidiness; I'm still figuring out how to work things here and haven't gotten it all spiffed up yet. That will come in time.
For those who don't know me, my name is Rebekah G, but online I generally go by Tom or Wild Rose. The reason (other than being anonymous) is rather complicated, but I'll do my best to explain. In a nutshell, I chose Tom Blonde-Adill as my Internet screen name several years ago, during a game of BZ Flag with my brother, and the name stuck. It's a pun on J.R.R. Tolkien's Tom Bombadil (a character from Lord of the Rings) and my blonde hair. And yes, it can be a girl's name—when it's short for Thomasina. “Tom” is just easier to say in a pinch. :-P It's become the name of my alter ego (with the surname changed to Blondel), who is now a character in a pirate novel I intend to write *someday*. The “Wild Rose” part comes partly from this character's alias—Wild Rose LeBlonde, pirate-hunter—and my love of wild roses. All roses, really, but especially wild ones.
My goal and my prayer for this blog is that, through it, I will be able to share a bit of my life—namely, the projects I'm currently working on—with my friends and what relatives have Internet access and wonder to themselves, “Now what's that crazed wench up to now?” I may include other things, such as movie reviews and pictures from special outings (once the weather gets warm enough!). What this blog will NOT include—as, I'm sorry to say, my previous blog did—is “venting,” airing the family laundry or otherwise whining about how miserable life is. It wasn't fair of me to subject my readers to such garbage, nor is it edifying to them or to the author. So, God helping me, I am determined to post only that which will be uplifting and God-honoring—no whining. And if I'm in a bad mood, I simply won't post at all until I'm feeling more cheerful. That's my promise. With God's help I pray I will keep it.
And now, a little something to entertain you while you wait for me to get this place organized....
Kellie of A Maiden's Musings hosted an online Literary Heroine Blog Party last week, but unfortunately I didn't have my blog set up in time to join in. However, she very kindly let me post my answers anyway (thanks, Kellie!), so here they are.
Plus I'm nuts about answering questionnaires anyway. :-P Enjoy!
~ The Questions ~
Compiled by Miss Kellie & Miss Natasha
- What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?
Firstly, someone who has given her life to God. That's the most important thing. A true heroine should be courageous, confident and stable in mind and able to stand up for her convictions—even when everyone around her has compromised and is urging her to do so—to speak out against injustice and do what she believes to be right, firmly, but in love, by God's aid. A true heroine should be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others and be able to meet those needs to the best of her God-given abilities...and to keep from freaking out or pouting when she can't do a blessed thing. :-P She should be mature mentally, spiritually and emotionally, able to handle whatever life throws at her—to roll with the punches instead of right smack into them—and trust God wholly for the strength she needs to overcome any difficulty. She should be unselfish, willing to share what she has with those she loves or who are in need, but also know when to put down good boundaries and take time to do things for herself.
Um...that's probably enough.
- Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.
~Jo March from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Apart from wishing she was a boy and trying to act like one, to my mind Jo was more unconventional than tomboyish (she did wear dresses, after all, unlike most modern tomboys). I can relate to Jo in her wish for things to stay the same—growing up, seeing others change and go their own ways was hard for Jo. She often felt restless, like she couldn't quite find her niche. I've often felt like this, seeing my old friends from childhood and girlhood grow up and change, go off to college or get a job, and in some cases get married, while I stayed pretty much the same, was very difficult for me. And it's always been hard for me to “fit in” because I do tend to be too old-fashioned in some ways, and too radical and unconventional in others! Like Jo, I have and active imagination and long to get all the thoughts and stories and characters swirling around in my head onto the page.
~ Éowyn from J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings. Like Jo, Éowyn longs to be allowed to do the things men do. She struggles with social expectations and gender stereotypes. I love this dialogue between her and Aragorn:
ARAGORN: What do you fear, my lady?
ÉOWYN: A cage. To be kept behind bars until use and old age accept them...and all chance for valor is gone beyond recall or desire.
She wants to do something useful with her life, something great and noble, beyond the mundane duties expected of her as a woman. Now, I'm not saying that a woman's role—homemaker, nurturer and caregiver in the home—is a bad thing. Done properly, with the support and aid of her husband and children (when they're old enough), it is a very good thing. It's Biblical! What I fight against is the typical “man-is-superior, woman-is-lowly” attitude I've witnessed in so many “Christian” homes. I'll stop there—otherwise I'll rant on for another page. And I can sympathize with Éowyn in the whole fell-for-an-older-man-but-he-married-someone-else thing...but I won't elaborate on that, either.
~Anne Shirley from L.M. Montgomery's Anne series. Anne (“spelled with an e!”) has a wonderfully vivid imagination, which helps her see the world very differently than those around her. And with some wise council from Miss Stacy and Mrs. Allen, she eventually learns to govern this God-given trait, rather than letting it run away with her. I'm not quite as apt to talk about what I imagine—I'm too terrified of ridicule, and for someone (especially someone I care about) to criticize my precious fancies is very painful. Oh, yeah, and it really bugs me when someone (especially relatives!) misspells my name! :-P
~Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth (I refuse to call her Lizzy!) is spunky, witty and loyal to those she loves, as well as having an impish sense of humor (relating Mr. Darcy's unkind words and mimicking him in a comical way). She is also determined and a bit independent (walking to Netherfield to see Jane, despite the mud, and who can forget her conversation with Lady Catherine de Bourge?!). On the downside, she tends to be quick to judge and a bit cynical (“There are very few people whom I really love, and even fewer of whom I think well....” “The more I see of the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it....”). I see myself in these last two traits, as well as Elizabeth's wittiness and being a bit of the class clown. While not nearly as confident and able to stand up for myself as she was, I do care deeply for people I love and greatly desire their happiness.
- Five of your favorite historical novels?
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility (both Jane Austen), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), the Anne of Green Gables books (L.M. Montgomery) and The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire (Howard Pyle).
- Out of those five books who is your favorite character and why?
Either Elizabeth Bennett because of her self-confidence and love for her sister Jane, or Elinor Dashwood for her ability to govern her feelings. Put in the same situation, I doubt I could honestly say I wished the man I loved and the woman he was marrying well, when I didn't really feel it!
- If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to—and what would you plan to do there?
Hmmm....Probably England, Scotland and Ireland. To see the Yorkshire countryside where my great-grandparents (on Dad's side) lived, and ditto for Lancaster, where Mom's dad's people came from (I assume, as their family crest was a red rose). And of course do the usual touristy things like “bashing around London”...and picking up one of those cute “Beefeater” teddy bears! :-D To visit the land of my maternal great-grandmother's maternal grandmother's people (the McSpaddens) and perhaps finally find out what their clan tartan actually looks like (“deep red with plaids of green and violet”). Unless the McSpaddens were Irish. But I'd like to see the Emerald Isle, about which I've heard so much and seen so many pictures, anyway.
- What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?
Favorite era: Regency. It's all about Jane Austen, doncha know. Favorite culture: Hobbits!..of which there is very little beyond The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, save Professor Tolkien's rather dry Appendixes. :-P
- You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?
Ideally, our program would consist of a few hymn arrangements (compliments of my composer mother) played by Mom, Bro and myself on our cellos and recorders, and perhaps handbells, sprinkled between vocal specials, interpretive choreography...and comedy! The vocals would be a mix of co-ed group singing and small groups (such as quartets), singing a variety of sacred and folk songs. The choreography would basically be movement set to music—most likely hymns and/or Celtic jigs and reels. In other words, dancing. The comedy routines would involve imitating famous numbers done by comedians of the past (such as Abbott and Costello or Burns and Allen), and some ventriloquism.
Hey, I can dream, can't I? ;-)
- If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?
Since I can't afford a wig and have vowed never to dye my hair, my choices would be limited to blonde heroines. :-P Probably either Éowyn or Rapunzel if I wanted to be totally obvious, or Jane Bennett (since I look more like Susannah Harker than Jenifer Ehle :-P). Or I could just show up as my alter ego, Thomasina “Tom” Blondel (alias Wild Rose LeBlonde, pirate-hunter), whose novel I intend to write *someday*....
- What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?
Chocolate is a legume! :-D You know, cocoa beans? :-P
Dark chocolate is actually good for the thyroid...providing it's made with natural sweeteners and WITHOUT alkali (who wants to eat battery acid?), that is. While my sweet-tooth seems to be getting smaller every year (I actually can't stomach a lot of sweets all at once), I can't live without chocolate, even if it does make me break out (does that EVER go away?!). As I always say, chocolate is therapeutic. There's just something soothing about it that makes things look a bit less black.
...unless I eat too much. Then it's off to the pickle-jar for this little wench.
- Favorite author(s)?
Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lloyd Alexander, L.M. Montgomery, A.A. Milne.
- As a small, imaginative, red-haired damsel might query; would you rather be divinely beautiful, dazzlingly clever, or angelically good? Why?
In some ways, I'd say “divinely beautiful,” simply because I've never felt like I was beautiful at all. Decent-looking, yes. Pretty, sure—when I put my mind to it and make a little effort. But beautiful? Are you kidding? With my schnoz? :-P But to be “divinely beautiful” without cleverness or goodness is empty. Meaningless. I'd rather be good-looking with a good measure of God-given intelligence, and by His grace become more Christlike in my walk with Him.
- In which century were most of the books you read written?
Most of them in the 19th and 20th centuries, and a few in this one, and in the case of Robinson Crusoe, the 17th or 18th.
- In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is…
I'd say the choice is split between Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. They were just simple, peace-loving Hobbits, living their carefree and happy life in the Shire, then BANG! Suddenly Frodo finds out dear old Cousin Bilbo's magic ring is the most evil object in all Middle-earth, and if its true master ever finds it...*ominous music* So he goes outside his own comfort zone and takes the Ring to the place it was forged—the most horrible, miserable, wretched and downright scary and dangerous land in all Middle-earth. And Sam loved his master so much that he determined not to leave his side—even when Frodo tried to leave him behind. No matter what he went through, Sam's first thought was for Frodo's safety. He tried to cheer him up when the weight of his mission depressed him. He secretly cut back his own rations so Frodo would have more. He defended the wounded Frodo against the giant spider Shelob, and when Frodo was too worn out to take the last steps up Mount Doom, Sam carried him on his back. It's such a beautiful picture of deep love, friendship and loyalty. And of course, heroism.
- Describe your ideal dwelling place.
A two- or three-story Victorian farmhouse, preferably white with dark green roof and trim, with a covered porch all the way around it, with a deck build on top of the porch/veranda. It would have big bay windows for hanging ferns in, or with window-seats, and a balcony or two. But most importantly (architecture-wise), lots of big, spacious rooms! I MUST have SPACE! Enough space between the furniture and what-not to keep the place from feeling claustrophobic, but not so much that it feels practically bare. All the rooms would be elegant yet not extravagant, warm and inviting (or cool, depending on the season). There would be one room where I'd work on my crafts—jewelry and sewing, and also miniatures—and display my miniature room-boxes. The kitchen would be spacious and efficient (and perhaps have a quaint little reading-nook in one window like in that picture Kellie shared a while back), with a weather tight cat-flap in the back door so's my forty-leven precious kitties and the lap-dog (probably either a Yorkie-shihtzu mix or a chihuahua-Spaniel mix like my aunt's Bella...providing she didn't have the chihuahua yappiness) could come and go as they pleased. The Big Dog would have to wait until someone could open the door and let him in. (I'm not sure what breed I'd like best—either something cuddly and shaggy, like a Newfoundland hound or an English sheepdog; something pretty, such as a golden retriever or Irish setter; or something more as a guard dog, like an Irish wolfhound.) And this blissful dwelling should be set in the middle of a ten- or twenty-acre meadow bordered by deep woods, dotted with rolling hillocks, more trees and wildflowers, and a creek running through it into a duck pond with a pretty stone bridge with lanterns at the corners. And a walled English garden for flowers, and a kitchen garden in the backyard.
- Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name?
I wish Jane Austen had chosen a different name for Catherine Moreland's flirtatious friend in Bath. Isabella is too a pretty name to spoil it with that kind of association!
- In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is...
Judge Claude Frollo from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This guy was what Jane Austen would have called a clergyman, yet he was selfish, lustful, ruthless...and a very bad father-figure to his younger brother. If you've seen the somewhat sanitized Disney movie, that's pretty much how he was (except he didn't kill Quasimodo's mother; he found the child abandoned and decided to adopt him). When La Esmarelda is being tortured for saying she didn't kill Captain Phoebus, Frollo is in secret agony as he watches, yet he does nothing to save her because that would mean confessing that he is the real murderer (although it really wasn't a murder because Phoebus was only wounded and eventually recovered, but nobody paid much mind to that). Nor does he even try to prevent her being led to the gallows, because she has rejected his advances. He actually laughs as she is being hanged. (Yeah. Disney changed a lot to make the story “happier”). Can you get any more despicable? (Don't answer that.)
- Three favorite Non-fiction books?
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, actually, but these are books I have read and enjoyed:
~Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I'm actually still reading this one, but so far it has been wonderful. Mr. Alcorn tends to repeat himself A LOT, but if you can get past that and think about what he's saying, it's amazing. Before I read this book I thought Heaven was some strange, unreal place in the clouds, where we'd do nothing but sit around God's throne and sing praises. And I'm sure we will sing praise to God, but one must admit, the thought of doing that and nothing else for all Eternity is boring. This book has forever changed my view of Heaven—and confirmed some ideas I had formed but rejected as childish or improbable—so now I'm actually looking forward to being there! And while he does admit he's only speculating and not trying to build a doctrine around his theories, he does base his suppositions on Scripture. I encourage you to read it for yourself!
~Color Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson. While not a Christian book, it's an interesting read. God gave each one of us our own unique skintone, hair- and eye-color, and there are specific colors that harmonize with and bring out the natural beauty of our coloring. Ms. Jackson divides people into four groups or “Seasons”—Summer, Winter Spring and Autumn—and says the colors in each Season's “palette” look good on anyone of that Season. In my experience, most people do fall into one Season or another, but there are often colors from other “palettes” that look just as good. Just as no one is 100% of one personality, I don't believe anyone is 100% Summer or Autumn, either. We're all a unique mixture. Ms. Jackson's views on fashion and beauty do tend towards a more worldy view (she has a whole chapter on make-up and coloring your hair, and she does use the word “sexy” now and then), but the basic information can still be useful.
And I can't think of a third book right now....
- Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?
Realistically, either swimming in the river or one of the lakes in the area, doing some knitting, reading or embroidery on the front porch, or writing down a new inspiration for the plot of one of my many books.
Ideally, either arranging furniture and things in my miniature roomboxes, making dolls to go in the roomboxes, or—best of all—doing any or all of the above with friends (including sewing, which would be promoted from a duty to a delight if done with kindred spirits, :-D and attending a Renaissance Faire/Celtic Festival, because that's only fun when you're with other costumes geeks, LOL).
- Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.
I normally don't care for hats—I don't like stuff on my head—but there are times when they are necessary to keep my scalp from turning red or my ears from getting infected from the cold wind. So, since I must wear a hat, it might as well be fun, wot? ;-) So, then....
For Winter, I'm envisioning a dark purple velvet tam o'shanter/beret/thing, made of several sections—like slices in a pie—each section being embroidered in lighter purple designs of a graceful, looped nature, like you see on Victorian garments. With a matching embroidered band and embroidered earflaps with braided ties under the chin. Perhaps with a purple tassel on the top. Something a little more formal than my “snow-bonnet.”
For Summer, a wide-brimmed number made of sturdy-yet-washable fabric—canvass or denim—with a short crown (so it'll fit on my head without squashing my bangs) and some sort of holes in the sides of the crown so's I could stick a hatpin through it and my hair to keep the thing from blowing off in the wind. :-P I'd make several detachable decorations for it, so's I could change them to go with my clothes. One hat—multiple looks! And consequently saving space in my rather limited closet.
- Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.
The self-inflicted death of a girl I grew up with in California...but I don't want to talk about that....
- Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.
“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are My servant.' I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10 (See below for the reason why.)
- And lastly, as I am a rather businesslike hostess, may I ask you your views regarding those adorable little items - namely pin back and mirror back buttons?
Very cute! I especially like the mirrors. Miss Kellie finds the cutest vintage pictures for those.
- 1). Where would you choose to display a button badge to best showcase your unique style?
To be honest, I don't wear this sort of thing, but hers are so cute, if I had one, I'd probably hang it on my purse (or the strap of my duffel bag if I was traveling).
- 2). What image and/or sentiment would most make you smile were it inscribed on your very own compact mirror?
One of three things:
~The verse above, because the first time I read it, it was like the Lord was saying, “That's how I feel about you!” It was one of the first proofs, if you will, to my self-abasing psyche that yes, God DOES SO love me!
~Hephzibah: “My delight is in her”
I first came across this Scripture during the Breaking Free Bible study last Fall. Beth Moore explained that the name Hephzibah means, “my delight is in her,” and emphasized that God delights in His children. This little message on my mirror would remind me that God takes delight in me, His daughter—a new and hard-to-grasp concept for me.
~A collage of my favorite literary characters: Elizabeth Bennett (as portrayed by Jenifer Ehle), Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin), Anne Shirley (Megan Follows) and Elinor and Marianne Dashwood (Irene Richards and Tracy Childs).
That was fun! I love these things. My apologies to my readers for my wordiness—now you know why I call my blog “The Rambling Rose”!
Now go rest your eyes. ;-)
Until next time, Gentle Readers,