Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Girl, A Day, A Story--The Literary Heroine Blog Party

My mom says I taught myself to read when I was 4. She says she walked into the living room one day, and found me smack in the middle of the couch reading the Reader's Digest. (High aspirations, huh?) Another day, another time when I was about 5...she realized that I was awfully quiet and that didn't bode well for this child, so she went to my room. Mom found me in the middle of my floor, all my books spread out and--she says it's the truth--I was alphabetizing them. (And that's when she realized she had an abnormal child...)

Have I mentioned that I love books? I eat, sleep and breathe words. I love to get lost in a good story, especially if the story revolves around a female. Kellie, from the immensely charming Accordion to Kellie, also loves a good bookish gal. She hosts an annual linkup/giveaway known as "The Literary Heroine Blog Party" where various Internet peoples share their mutual love of stories with "chicks who do kicks" (to borrow a favorite line from White Christmas).

I've been reading her blog for about a year, but I couldn't contribute to this last February because I was bogged down in ghastly Toxicology assignments. Blegh. But, this year, since I'm finished with school, I thought, "I want to do this." So here are my answers:

1.    Introduce yourself!  Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random!

I could just copy and paste my introductory page in here. :) I'm blonde: follicular-ly and mentally. I love Jesus with all my heart. I'm desperate to find a good way to convince others to love Jesus. I have a love-hate relationship with my brothers. According to my coworker, I am mean because I have 3 brothers and 0 sisters. I love to knit and crochet. A good yarn clearance will give me premature ventricular contractions. I will eat anything but mushrooms, olives, any kind of peppers and couscous. I've even tried baby octopus. I've never had a boyfriend, which is puzzling due the next fact: I make the best Southern, non-sweet, buttermilk cornbread you'll ever eat. I sing all the time. I've always wanted 5 kids because of the Morrison family on "Down Gilead Lane." I love signing songs in ASL. I'm slowly discovering the world of comics: my favorite Marvel hero is Thor, and I haven't read enough DC to have a favorite there.

2.    What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? 

 I think a literary heroine should be perfectly imperfect. I don't like females who are weak emotionally and mentally: they sit down and pout when they make a mistake, and the results are disastrous. But neither do I like gals who make a mistake and then can magically fix everything. If you compare the leading ladies in my favorite books, they all have a similar characteristic: they each are super good at something (or several things), but in their tale, they discover that they are wrong about something (or several things!). I think what attracts me to these heroines is that when I "meet" a fictional character, I want her to be a role model. Somebody that I can aspire to become. So when I see her mess up, then I want to say, "See? She is human!" So then my new "role model" is now relatable.

3.    Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.

Polly Milton Shaw. There's so much I could say about her. I just...well, I just love her. (I'm sure that's weird.)
Elizabeth Bennet Darcy. We're both quick to judge and we won't settle for idiots just to get married.
Emma Woodhouse Knightley. We have the same flaws, and it encourages me to see someone (even a fictional "someone") who conquers her weaknesses.
Marty Claridge Davis. She is such a strong woman. I have grown up reading about her devotion to her family, and watched her grow into a wise woman.

4.    Five of your favorite historical novels?

North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen)
the Love Comes Softly series (Janette Oke-counts as one!)
An Old-Fashioned Girl (Louisa May Alcott)
The Shepherd of the Hills (Harold Bell Wright)

(This is my pride and joy: all of my vintage hardbacks on one shelf. 
If you're interested, there's a good story behind the 1930 Anna Karenina on the right.)

5.    Out of those five books who is your favorite major character and why?

I don't even have to think twice about this one. Polly Milton Shaw. Hands down. This is so ironic because I hated her at first. I was, like, 8 the first time I tried to read An Old-Fashioned Girl, and she seemed like the perfect lady that I could never be. Then I actually read her story when I was about 16, and *gasp* she was suddenly the ideal woman I wanted to become. She is my favorite main character because she is smart, she is good-hearted and she loves simply. She works hard and she's a good housewife (a skill I hope to someday master: at the moment, I can't even make potato soup without burning it).

6.    Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why?

I think I'll go with Sammie Lane (The Shepherd of the Hills). I loved watching her transformation from a backwoods girl to an educated, clear-thinking woman. To me, she was the epitome of tough femininity, physically and mentally.

7.    If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there?

At the risk of sounding like a clichéd Austenite, I want to go to London, have tea with sophisticated Brits, wear a fascinator, go to St. James, Buckingham, go to a Regency-themed ball, go shopping at Debenhams and House of Fraser to buy court shoes. And I secretly (or not-so-secretly) would like to maintain a British accent while I am there, and see if anyone can tell I'm American.

8.    What is your favorite time period and culture to read about?

I like stories from the Regency, but I'm not as familiar with its nonfiction side. I like to study the 40s and 50s America. One of my brothers is a WWII buff, so I'm familiar with the war aspect, and I love the fashion of those decades.

9.    You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of?

Singing. Hands down. I would sing my latest specialties: "The Prayer," "I Have Confidence" (Sound of Music), "Let it Go" (that's from "Frozen", if you've been in a hobbit-hole the last 5 months), "On My Own" (Les Miserables) and "Popular" (Wicked). If I had to do something else, I would probably dust off my rendition of "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll.

10.    If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent?

Probably Emma Woodhouse Knightley. I'm most like her in that I think I know everything, I like gossip and I have a knack for sticking my nose in other people's business. Unlike her, though, it only takes one time of me making a fool out of myself to learn my lesson.

11.   What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate?
Hershey's is to Ferrero Rocher as manure is to Boston Creme Pie. 'Nuff said.

12.   Favorite author(s)?

Goodness, there's a range. Frank Peretti, Janette Oke, Ted Dekker, Jane Austen, Sir Shakespeare himself, C.S. Lewis, a few by Beverly Lewis, Harold Bell Wright, Shannon Hale, Louisa May Alcott, etc. (Leo Tolstoy novels are like a dare I can't resist, but I'm barely a third through War & Peace.)

13.   Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land?

A notebook. A camera. My straightener. My best friend/brain sister. 

14.   In which century were most of the books you read written?


15.   In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… 

I could say Jesus Christ, but somehow He's in His own league. The ultimate fictional hero......I'm gonna go with Frodo Baggins (The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings). He was such an unlikely hero, and yet, I really think he was the only person in Middle-Earth who could've successfully taken the Ring to Mt. Doom. He overcame a myriad of physical and mental obstacles and ended up saving his world.

16.   Describe your ideal dwelling place.

Hah. I wrote a whole essay on this in 9th grade. I want: two stories, a full basement (half-finished, half-unfinished), screen porch that wraps two sides, blue shutters with white roses, flower beds, a pool, a garden and two trees in the front yard (one with a tire swing and one with a board swing). My kitchen would be Americana: navy walls, white trim, white cabinets, red appliances and red décor. My living room would have neutral colored furniture and walls with curtains and movable décor colored to be changed each season.

17.   Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence.

Classy, practical, sometimes sporadic, a touch of vintage and a touch of flashy. (My Polyvore is a good example of my ideal fashion.)

18.   Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? 

Uhm......I have wanted to change my last name to a fictional character's last name....does that count? ;)

19.   In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... 

Can I say Sauron? He's just all around EVIL, and I have been legitimately scared of him since first discovering him. (If we weren't limited to literature, I would say Bane, from the newest Batman/Dark Knight film trilogy. He. Freaks. Me. Out.)

20.   Three favorite Non-fiction books?

Again, the Bible's in its own league, so...
Angels Ride Shotgun: collection of stories by (local missionary to India) Ruth MacKinney
Yesterday, Today, and Forever: the account of the Von Trapp family's study of Jesus' life by Maria Von Trapp
A Young Woman After God's Own Heart: a devotional by Elizabeth George (good stuff that helped me through my tween years)

21.   Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon?

Knitting, crocheting, reading, making outfits on Polyvore, piddling with my Ancestry family tree, Pinterest-ing

22.   Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character.

THIS IS HARD. I'll just describe the hat that I gravitate to most often. I think it's probably a good representation of my character. It's a tan Angora cloche (?). I've crocheted several colored flowers that I can pin to it to match any outfit/coat. When I feel proper and ladylike, I pull it down evenly on my head. When I feel jaunty and smart, I pull it over one eyebrow, and saunter down the.... um, hallway, most likely.

23.   Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. 

2013 was a good year for me and my family. My mom graduated her Master's in May, my youngest brother graduated high school/homeschool in June, my middle brother graduated his Associates in December and yours truly graduated her Bachelor's in December. As you can see, our lives revolve around education.

24.   Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently.

I don't know if it counts, but a verse in Isaiah spoke to me the other day. I've been struggling to be faithful to my daily quiet time. One day, I was in the middle of some very depressing prophecy chapters, and this verse popped out at me:

"With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."
Isaiah 26:9

The chapter was from Israel's song of praise after being freed from their (latest) captor. For me, though, it was like a little nudge from God: "Don't give up on your devotions. If you miss it in the morning, just read it before bed." I think it's a good reminder for all of us. Nobody's perfect; but I believe God blesses sincere effort.

Well. That was longer than I intended. Hope you enjoyed the read, and hop over to Kellie's blog. It's great; her emails are like a giant ray of sunshine that perks me up before work every morning. :)