Seven is an important number. There are seven sacraments, seven deadly sins, seven virtues, seven gifts of the holy spirit, seven days of the week… and as of this month, it’s been seven years since I wrote my first fantasy story. Covering six sheets of lined paper in a big, messy handwriting, and dated 4/17/12, this fairytale never properly had a name. (I find “Prince Gabriel” the handiest thing to call it.) I could say that this is the foundational work of all my later writing, the first full story that I wrote, and that it was a remarkable achievement for a ten-year-old—but I’d rather say that I now find it very amusing.Continue reading
Today, I’m excited to be sharing a very special post with you—an interview with Emma Vanderpol, author of Genevieve of Alea, a fun new novel with a joke-cracking princess heroine, a noble hero, a brave dog, a huge black dragon, a realio-trulio villain, and the villain’s griffin sidekick. I was very glad to learn that Emma could do this interview with me! I’ll use italics in our conversation, and Emma will use plain face.
Thanks for joining me for this! Let’s just start with: What was your favorite part of the book to write?
The thanks are to you—I’m really glad to be on here!
I had a lot of fun writing the scene in Chapter Seven where Jenny’s trying to figure out how to get out of the wood and lists a bunch of possibilities. (“Modification to possibility C: use a smoke signal so that people would know where I was, and then wait until I got rescued. Refutation to the modification to possibility C: a fire? That would be really nice! Maybe, while I was waiting, I could even make strawberry pudding in a bark pot and serve it to my rescuers when they arrived.”)
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?Continue reading
Grandpa Gary recently found a newspaper article which he thought might interest me, an article about an essay contest sponsored by the Nevada County Bar Association. The annual contest is open to all Nevada County high school students. This year’s topic is the separation of powers as framework for freedom, with an emphasis on party affairs. They gave some questions to consider, and on Monday (that being the due date), I set to work on some brainstorming. The prompt page gave some questions to guide essay development, and I tried writing down a short answer to each. When I came back after doing math, there seemed to be most promise in the question about whether our political muddle would be assuaged by reallocating senators based on population.
Eliminating the electoral college or reallocating senators by population would decidedly not help. If we did this, the states wouldn’t all be as represented. The large states would be in control of all the government, leaving the small states with little say. Whatever parties were dominant in them would have the power—it wouldn’t really matter what parties were dominant in small states like Rhode Island.
The Dragons of Building
This land of dragons lies asleep, and we
Who walk it do not see on what we tread
Until we meet a hillside glade and see
The ridge’s other, serpent, shape lie spread.
They sleep. To see this land, you would not guess
The battles they have fought, the mountains made
And kingdoms crushed. Their mortal combat is
More great, strong, slow, than man can comprehend.
To us, they sleep. Or sleep uneasily;
We feel the shield-wall’s jar sometimes, catch how
Beneath our feet they war on steadily
With wing and claw of stone that ages grow.
The dragons of this land are huge and strong,
Seen but when science matches eye with song.
Roman Roads Media offers several history/literature courses, and right now I’m enrolled in one focusing on Shakespeare, the metaphysical poets, and Milton. A recent assignment was to read Shakespeare’s Henry V and write a response to it. Here—somewhat edited—is what I came out with.
Henry V opens with English characters discussing whether or not to launch a campaign against France. The bishops at court have financial reasons for wanting the campaign pursued, while King Henry is more interested in whether he may “with right and conscience” (Act I, Scene II, line 96) claim the crown of France. I am not, however, going to only cover what they did discuss, but what, to my surprise, they did not discuss—whether it was morally acceptable for them to invade France!Continue reading