Monthly Archives: April 2009

Reading List: April

It is hard for me to believe that April is drawing to a close, but here we are. Between not working much and finishing up my final semester of school, I was only able to complete two books:

The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker

A friend recommended this one to me and I thought that since I enjoyed Abarat it would be worthwhile to explore some of Barker’s earlier works. Rumor had it that this was a great piece of horror fiction; the sort of fiction that makes my heart beat a little faster and the hair on my arms stand up. Unfortunately, The Hellbound Heart, though a clever little novella, did nothing of the sort. There were moments in The Vampire Lestat, which terrified me more than this little book ever will. However, that isn’t to say the book was entirely without merit.

The plot is centered on a curious device—Lemarchand’s Box—a puzzle box that serves as a gateway to a world of “great pleasures.” These great pleasures turn out to be a group of deformed creatures, Cenobites, who gain this pleasure through the most violent means imaginable. This, for me, was the highlight of the book. I thought the idea of a puzzle box that opens up gateways to different worlds was quite exhilarating, but as the characters were introduced to the story my pleasure decidedly stopped.

Like in Abarat, Barker utilizes plots that are very predictable and devoid of the little twists and subtle turns that make a truly great piece of literature. The moment Rory and Julia move into the dark little house where Rory’s brother, Frank, opened the box, I knew more or less what was going to happen next. The very flat, unchanging characters do little to relieve the banality of the overarching plot. The only character of interest is Kirsty and this might be due, in part, to the fact that she is ultimately the hero of this unfortunate tale.

All this said, there is only so much that an author can accomplish in a tale so short. The Hellbound Heart is the sort of work that can be enjoyed in one sitting on a dreary afternoon with a cup of tea. It may not be particularly thought provoking, but Barker’s novella still offers readers some dark, violent entertainment that had me smiling on several occasions.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

If more popular fiction was written like Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, I would not be as disgusted as I am every time I walk into Barnes & Noble to find stacks upon stacks of the latest bestseller. Golden’s fictional narrative of the life of geisha, Nitta Sayuri, is a beautifully painted, captivating work of modern literature. The novel, told in the first person, takes advantage of the popularity of memoirs and brings to life the enchanting, fairy-tale like story of Sayuri from her childhood as a fisherman’s daughter, to her transformation as a geisha in Kyoto, and finally ends with her retelling her story to a professor in New York.

There is little for me to say about this novel that has not been stated somewhere before, so my only advice is to read it and experience it first hand. Golden’s prose is breathtaking in its elegance. His descriptions of the daily life of Sayuri in Gion, right down to his discussions of a geisha’s makeup is truly magnificent. This novel is written in such a way that Golden breathes life into his characters and settings, so that even one unfamiliar with the foreign items, clothing, and images can still create a vivid picture in her mind.

Admittedly, I had been a fan of the movie years before I ever planned on picking up this book. The movie, however, loses so many of the subtle twists and turns and trials that Sayuri must suffer through in her life. The format of the book itself, with its conversational style, makes it seem all the more real to the reader.

My only complaint lies in the fact that the narrative moves very slowly and as a result I had a hard time “getting into it” so to speak. It took some getting used to before I could really appreciate the story for what it was, instead of sitting around wondering when something interesting was going to happen. Truly, some of the most enchanting moments of Golden’s novel are not the turns of the gears of plot but instead lie within his fluid descriptions of minute details – the kimono Sayuri wears, the scenery that surrounds her, the people that she meets. 

Mermaid

I think I’m finished with this, I still am a little undecided. My art photographing skills are not so good. Click for bigger! 

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Meet April!

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A little spunk...

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...goes a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing the newest member of my dolly family, April! She is a Pullip Rei who has been re-wigged. April is very shy, so try not to scare her!

Crafts: Tea Time! and Rock n’ Roll.

Two more pendants made using resin samplers I purchased from the ZLY shop on Etsy! The heart one belongs to my sister.

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I also tried my hand at making another magnet, but this one wasn’t entirely successful. I still think it is cute, though! 

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Enjoy!

Graffiti, The New Romanticism

The final project for my British Romantic Literature class involved doing something that embodies the Romantic spirit — I chose graffiti. The paintings were done on a sheet of drywall (I didn’t particularly fancy getting arrested for doing this on a real wall). 
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Click below to see the entire process.

 

Continue reading

Small Pleasantries

Two recycled and semi-edited responses to some writing prompts:

Part One: The Good

Ezekiel’s eyes were closed as I watched him from the doorway. His white fingers curled around the cold rail of the crumbling stone balcony. The last, lingering orange rays of sunlight reflected upon his faded yellow hair and cause multi-colored fires to erupt within the few jewels decorating his hands. He seemed unbothered by the cold, unfazed by the fallen snow that had collected at his feet.
I watched his breath escape him in soft puffs of smoke. His mind had left this place long ago.

“Ezekiel,” I ventured, trying to stir him from his otherworldly slumber.

The necromancer’s eyes opened, two cold emeralds smoldering in the fading light.

“Does the sun rise or does it set, Nikki?”

I threw the heavy wool blanket around his shoulders. His sleeves peeked out of his overcoat, the white silk stained scarlet with the blood of his latest victim. Ezekiel’s head tilted subtly to the side and his hand, now trembling, clutched at the blanket round his form.

“Come inside,” I urged.

The necromancer, my master, shook his head. “The sun, Nikolai,” his chest rattled as he spoke. “Let me be.”

Our eyes met as I moved to stand next to him at the railing. I turned to face him as I leaned back against the cold stone. We remained like this; silently sharing our thoughts and emotions like others might share a kiss. The sun slowly disappeared within the sea’s white waves and I enjoyed a rare moment of peace.

Part Two: The Bad

“I gave you what you needed,” he muttered.

His eyes were fixated on the glass balanced on his fingertips. His body draped carelessly over the arms of his high-backed chair; wine glass and arm dangled in lazy disregard for decorum. The heat of the fire had driven him to remove his coat, and this he had dropped to the floor. The red-orange light of the fire flickered sickeningly against his too-white skin. He was little more than an animated corpse.

A long pause. I could not bring myself to answer.

“Isn’t it enough?” he tilted his head back now, to rest against the back of the chair. I listened to his labored breathing, the soft wheeze that accompanied each painful breath.

He yielded when I stepped forward and grabbed the glass from his hands. Still, he refused to meet my gaze.

“No,” my voice was harsher than I meant, “I want to know why you…”

“Self-preservation,” he interrupted. “You die, I die. I do not want to die, Nikolai.”

It was not the answer I needed. His soul was shut to me, even as mine cried out in the darkness. I set the glass down on the table and turned to leave him to his books and his brooding.

“Stay out of trouble next time,” I could feel him smile into his wine glass.

Crafts: Glass Tiles and Kuromi Pendants

While my computer was away being repaired, I had the opportunity to finally sit down and work on some crafts. I have always been fascinated by the glass tile pendants I see around and thought I would try to make a few myself:

Glass Pendants

These are two pendants I made. The blue one is of a super cute rocker girl and the yellow one reads “Do you like to study English?” I made them using cute little memo sheets I have been collecting in my craft box. 

Magnets

These two magnets did not turn out quite as well. As you can see, the blue paper got a little too wet and as a result the color of the magnet shows through. As for the dress magnet, I managed to get a little glue on the glass surface and haven’t bothered trying to clean it off yet.

I’m offering these two magnets up to any of my readers who might be interested. ( Vogue Dress / Blue Rock Girl ) I would keep them myself, but I don’t have any magnetic surfaces to stick them on. So, if you are interested in one comment here with your email so I can get your address.

 

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These two pendants I made from a Resin Sampler that I bought from the Zombukis Love You Shop over at Etsy. It was a lot of fun! :) I still have a few resin chunks left, so look for more in the near future.  

 

Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I enjoyed making them. Pretty soon I am not going to know what to do with all these little craft projects that keep piling up.