Cultivating Femininity Series

Jo_March

So what I’ve been dreaming up the in past while has been writing about femininity. It’s a topic that I think intrigues every girl, because, well – femininity is part of every girl’s identity. Even the tomboy desires and possesses certain feminine characteristics- such as the compassionate, impulsive heart of Jo March and the courageous, unselfish heart of Ocie Nash. It’s part of what makes them so beautiful and attractive to us.

Little girls play with dolls and have a general passion for pink, for ballet, and for tea parties and playing house. Many teen girls care about school, dances, make-up, clothes, how they will appear to boys their age, their conversations, their friendships. Older ladies talk about their children, their marriages, their jobs, how they can contribute to the lives of others and how others are affecting their own lives. I think the interests of girls at every age point to something deep inside them, at the centre of their hearts. It is a “richness of sensitivity, intuitiveness, generosity and fidelity.” (Pope JPII, Letter to Women, 1995)

Girls in the past used to be instructed by their mothers or governesses on how to be ladies. We see in stories such as Cinderella and the Twelve Dancing Princesses (at least, the Barbie version…) that fathers would even re-marry after their wives died simply to be able to provide a good model and instructor for their daughters, someone who would teach them how to act with grace and elegance.

flowersOver the past years, I’ve been trying to find ways to become more feminine. Sometimes I’ve been inspired by characters in book, movies, or history; other times, by girls’ blogs and yes, Pinterest boards too. But what I’ve looked for, and haven’t been able to find (yet!) is a blog dedicated to ideas all about simultaneously growing in holiness and in femininity. So I hope that through writing this Cultivating Femininity Series, I shall be able to meet readers and bloggers who are also interested in these topics and we shall have grand conversations via posts and the comment thread!:)

There’s so many ways to grow as a person and as a daughter of God, while learning about life, having fun, and pursuing holiness and ultimate sanctity. Now, with a little motivation and a good time, we can blog away, make friends, and work on our pathway to becoming saints!

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Why Blithe?

This blog has undergone several title changes. Starting out as Birdsongs and Fairytales, then re-named Soaring High, and most currently called Blithe, each title has captured what this blog is going to be about.

So, why Blithe?

Because blithe means happy, or joyous. It brings to mind an innocence, a spirit full of genuine simplicity and pure happiness. When I hear the word blithe, I think of looking out at God’s creation and being filled with awe at the wonderfulness of it all. So I thought blithe would be a fitting name for this blog, because I hope it will be a place that will inspire both my readers and myself to become increasingly happier individuals everyday.

main_joy_0Joy is a virtue. Every Christian should be filled with joy and an appreciation of the people and creation around them in order to be a true Christian. We all have a special calling to bring happiness to others. And I think girls especially are endowed with the task of sowing joy into people’s lives.

I hope you will join me in this journey towards becoming blithe and joyful daughters of the King!

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A Fresh Start

Hello there!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. With the onset of college life, schoolwork, a myriad of essays and assignments, summers applying for jobs, family, and other things begging to be done, the years have slipped by and my posts have dwindled in frequency.

However, ideas for this blog have kept recurring, and I still have so much I wish to share. After all, when there is so much beauty, goodness, and truth bursting forth in this world, how can I help but try to capture it in words?

Most prominent on my mind has been the journey towards femininity. It takes true effort and dedication to become a lady, and to develop the grace and poise that is so captivating in a lady. So I would like to begin my journey in understanding who we are as girls and daughters of the King and how we may become more feminine and filled with grace.

I am excited to hear from all you lovely bloggers or readers who aspire to develop a true sense of femininity and elegance!

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Actually Finishing Something in July

Yesterday I came across this lovely challenge from Whisperings of the Pen blog, and even though it is already a week into July, I thought I would love to participate. Even though I am doing Camp NaNo, my enthusiasm for it is waning, so I believe this is just the ticket… a little extra motivation is in order! {especially taking into consideration my latest blog post…} So, thank you, Katie, for this marvelous idea!

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I’ll answer the questions from week one, since I am joining a bit late!

1. What is your writing goal?

50,000 words. No sweat. Jks.

2. Give us a short synopsis of your project.

Twelve kids find themselves magically transported to an island where they are chased by horrifying creatures, given a mission they know nothing about, and caught up in the preparations for a great battle. Their lives are in danger every moment of the day… But there is one way they can ensure safety from themselves: give in to the evil villains who are taking over the island and join their side. Or else, return home. Only they realize before long that getting home is impossible. They must choose…  stay safe and fight on the side of Evil… or stand for what is Good… and risk death?

3. How long have you been working on this project?

Since last year… it’s been somewhat of an on-and-off project. I’ve been brainstorming about it, but as for the actual writing, I did very little of it until this past week.

4. How often do you intend to write in order to reach your goal by August 1st?

Every single day and every spare moment I have!

5. Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this post.

Gregory is the oldest of the group. He is 19 or 20, tall, dark-haired and handsome, responsible, and caring. He is a little bit like a teen version of Aragorn. He loves little kids and has a funny side to him, and is really good at keeping people calm in extremely stressful situations. He thinks well under pressure.

Lilian is a dreamer and though she is feminine and enchanting in some ways, she is also a little bit of a nerd. She will write anywhere and everywhere, usually without heeding what other people think. She is caring and quickly notices how other people are feeling and can adjust her mood to theirs and tries to make them feel better. Though she is incredible with words on paper, when it comes to saying what she means instead of writing, she is awkward. Especially around boys.

Lettie is 7 or 8 years old, as girly as they come. But she also has a nose for adventure and a love for animals. Two of her favourite people are Gregory and her oldest sister Hazel. Her best friend is her pet wolf, which gets her into more than a handful of trouble.

6. Go to page 16 of your writing project. (or 6, 26, or 66) Share your favorite snippet of the page.

There was a creature unlike any she had ever seen before. A greenish brownish scaly shape larger than a full-grown man flew by in a moment, but in that brief amount of time, Lillian had noticed that it was wrinkled and terribly ugly. Its large feathery wings spanned at least her own height if not more.

She turned to the others in shock. Their wide eyes betrayed the horror and bewilderment they were feeling at the sight of the frightening creature.

It disappeared over the treetops in the woods. The kids turned to each other, still gaping. “What was that?” Lettie whimpered, clutching her older sister’s arm.

Gregory shook his head in disbelief. “I have no idea.”

 

7. Tea or Coffee?

Tea is unparalleled, in my mind!

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Camp NaNo: the Novel-Saver for Procrastinators

When it comes to procrastination, I’ll be the first to admit that I am hopeless. Since I was 11, I have wanted to write, finish, and publish a novel and dreamed that by the time I was 20 or so, I would be a best-selling novelist, (don’t we all) renowned throughout the continent, and would have toured North America with reading tours and book signings, attended the movie premier of one of my books, and set up a career for myself as a full-time novelist. 

Well, it hasn’t happened yet… perhaps because it’s not quite so easy as I imagined it to be when I was 11. But perhaps also because I am an atrocious procrastinator.

And that is why Camp NaNo is my lifesaver. This is my third Camp, (and fourth or fifth time NaNo-ing overall) and I have been working on the same novel for all three of the Camps. This time, however, it is day 7 and I am still up to date with my word count. (My previous record has been 3,900 words- out of 40,000. Ouch.) I am striving to reach my word count of 50,000, which is ambitious; but I realized that if I don’t get it done this summer, I likely never will. 

Even if I fall behind, I am determined not to get discouraged. Even if it is a frugal count of two or three hundred, it is still worth writing something. 

This summer, I’m keeping myself optimistic and dedicated to writing- and finishing- this book.

Are you participating in Camp NaNo? How’s your experience so far? If you’re a procrastinator, is it making the writing process more motivating for you?

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Interview (Mis)adventures

It’s funny how easy it is to find character inspiration… especially when you aren’t looking for it.

Just this morning, I had a job interview downtown. I realized I had forgotten to bring a watch or a phone with me and looked around on the walls, hoping to see a clock. There was none.I was getting panicky… should I continue to wait in the foyer or should I enter and look around for my interviewer? There was no receptionist and it looked like the hallway to the interview room was locked. There was a doorbell. Should I ring the doorbell? Would that be stupid? Maybe it was only meant for particular people. Should I wait? If I did, would I be late? Would the interviewer come out looking for me? Would the receptionist call me? My head was a NASCAR racetrack as a million questions raced through my head. (It’s safe to say, I haven’t had many interviewing experiences)…

old_clock-wallpaper-1920x1200 An older couple entered the room, and I greeted them with a friendly hello. Then I went back to nervously waiting and rebuking myself for forgetting to bring some method of telling time. It occurred to me I could ask the couple for the time… but should I? I had walked in 15 minutes early… Sure, I could ask them once. But in a couple minutes I would need to ask them again (when I’m nervous, my time-telling skills get all jumbled up) How awkward would it get asking them three or four times in a quarter of an hour?

Then… I spied it. A watch on the man’s wrist. And he held it… just so. I could read the time if I tilted my head and glanced at it for a moment.

I tried not to look too creepy.

Finally, after a few discreet glances, I smiled sweetly at the woman and asked if she knew whether the door was unlocked? “They told us it opens at 10,” she replied with an accent. “Are you going for an interview?”

When I replied in the affirmative, she continued “You be strong, don’t worry about what they say. Don’t let them worry you. Show you’re confident. You can do it… just walk in there, and God will be with you.”

A young woman walked into the room. I recognized her from some research I had done on my job. Lovely red, curly hair and an attractive, pretty face. Was she about to be interviewed? Or was she my interviewer?

“Go ask her,” the woman next to me prompted. A bit too loudly.

“Go on,” she encouraged.

“Yes, I will,” I replied, while making up my mind that I would wait a couple minutes. Just so as not to give the impression that I need instruction from strangers on how to ask other strangers about how to enter a hallway.interview

“Go ask her,” the woman repeated. She was a lovely lady and I was charmed by her considerateness for me, but I wanted to make a good impression… approach the girl as a result of my own initiative. Interviews are all about good impressions. I was going to showcase my initiative, my social skills, my communications talents, my leadership in getting up from my seat, walking over to her, and asking the astute question...should I go in now? I’m sure I would have awed her with my brilliance, but she accosted me first.  I walked in after her through the door… 3 minutes early, according  to the man’s watch.

She left for a moment to find my other interviewer, and in the meantime I seated myself and admired the large windows, spanning across the entire wall. My curiosity and writer’s instinct (ever on the hunt for story inspiration) were picqued by two men some distance away. They looked like they were having a heated discussion. At least, one was. The other was more subdued and, after a few moments, walked away.

The angry man lumbered closer to my window. His movements were uncontrolled and I wondered if he was drunk. There was nobody else outside and his back was turned to me but I could hear him still shouting, though I could not make out the words.

Then, raising his arms, he yelled: “she’s dead! she’s dead!” in a voice of remorse, anger, hurt, hopelessness? But none of those words can describe his voice. My heart all of a sudden reached out to him.

Just then, the interviewers re-entered. I tried to focus, and managed decently. Sometimes, in the middle of my sentence, I would hear yells and would inadvertently turn around to look, and one time I saw him, hands cupped at his brow, peering in at us throughwater_hand-500x336 the window.

I didn’t see him as I left the building. But I hope that he will be healed from whatever hurt or anger he is carrying in his heart. And perhaps his pain will be captured, some day, in the life of a character in one of my novels, and perhaps then it will be set free.

Because that is the job of a  writer. Find the pain in the world, capture it, and wash it clean. And behind the scenes, it is God who makes it pure and beautiful.

 

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A Cure for Writer’s Block

Over the past couple of months, I have have been doing some work on my novel-in-progress. I am determined to get a substantial amount of it written this summer, for I feel that if I don’t write it now, it shall never be done.

Image My sister is extremely excited for Camp NaNo, starting next month, so I hope that her motivation and influence will rub off on me. Which is not to say, of course, that I am not excited for NaNo, for I very much am, but rather, that I keep coming to a standstill with the actual writing and dialogue. It seems so dry and as soon as I write it, I despise it. The general ideas flow quite unrestrictedly, however. I think that is my favorite part of writing: reaching out for the ideas and images that float into my head, capturing them before they escape, and immortalizing them on paper. It is because my ideas are all the moments of action and excitement; but when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty details of writing the story down successively, all the in-between, boring, dry parts are unavoidable.

There is some hope of rescue, however. At the library, I discovered a gem of a book called “The Writer’s Idea Book” (what more tempting title could there be?) written by Jack Heffron. It is replete with over 800 prompts  to help the writer recall his own experiences and feelings, and then weave them into the lives of his characters to give them greater depth. Brilliant, in my mind.

Here are a couple sample prompts:

“Write about a public gathering you attended in a place you visited. A baseball game or street fair, an outdoor concert or historical reenactment. Put yourself there by freewriting or clustering, allowing your mind to wander back. Write about the people you saw, the smells in the air…”

“Use the description above as a backdrop for fiction, writing at least one scene in which characters deal with some sort of conflict while attending the event….”

“Begin a scene with a line you’ve overheard someone say recently. It needn’t be a catchy or powerful line. Something mundane will work: “How much are these pants?” “If you’re good, I’ll let you pick out some candy at the counter,” “Is he ever on time for a meeting?” Begin there, and move forward, providing a completely different setting and context for the line.”

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