Project Canvas

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Not my graphic – belongs to the Project Canvas people

Blogs are great and all, but wouldn’t it be cool if all your favorite, most helpful blog posts, with all their unique perspectives and voices and tips were gathered together and published in one book? I would buy it. Would you? Would you want to contribute to it, if you could? You can. I am. It’s called Project Canvas.

What is it?
Project Canvas is a book, a book that’s made up of many articles from teen (or beyond, there’s no age limit) writers for teen writers. It’s like guest posting, only it’s all bound into one book. Publication’s slated for January 2018, according to their site.

Why is it?
Now that’s the really cool thing about it. Their idea behind it is this. Everybody’s different. Nobody looks at things in exactly the same way, every perspective is unique. Sure, there’s quite a bit of things that are common across all areas, but no two people do things the same way. I know I’m bits and pieces of all the people I admire, especially when it comes to writing. Project Canvas is about bringing all these perspectives together, like a published creative forum.

Why I’m doing it.
I guess a lot of the things I get into by way of blogging I can blame on Jonny. This is no exception. I first saw a post about it on Ink Blots and Coffee Stains and thought it looked cool, but there’d be no way I’d participate. What could I even say? Then Jonny mentioned it to me, trying to convince me to do it. I threw a whole slew of excuses at him. I honestly know nothing about writing. I’m still learning everything. I don’t think I could say anything of value about writing at this stage in my life.  But he convinced to at least take a look at the list of topics. I did, and before I knew it I was scrambling to write down ideas. They came so quickly. I do know some stuff. I couldn’t write a thing about plot structure, but I do know fantastic naming resources and tips. I’m intimately familiar with historical research and how to do it right. This was honestly a huge self-confidence booster for me (and a lovely source for blog inspiration when I have blogger’s block). Currently my only problem is I can’t post my article on my blog, and these are some of the best ideas I’ve had yet.

You can do it, too.
This is open to everyone. You can do it, too. They have a huge list of topics up on their site – literally everything under the sun, and you can write about anything you want, so long as it pertains to writing. There a submission form for reserving topics and everything. So shoo, go. I assure you, you will find something to write about in that list.

Here is the link to the site. I encourage you to go check it out! #projectcanvas 

Have you heard of Project Canvas before? Do you plan on doing it?

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The English Language

Image result for lindisfarne gospelsEnglish is such a great language, isn’t it? I mean, where else can you get a sentence like “All the faith he had had had had not effect on his life” and it makes perfect sense?

I’m afraid I don’t know much grammatically about the English language. I can use proper grammar, but it’s instinctual for me. I probably couldn’t define what an adjective is. I couldn’t diagram a sentence. I probably know more about Latin and Greek grammar than I do English. But I do know a bit about the history and etymology of it, and it’s fascinating to look at.

Just starting with the sound of the language. Chances are that the majority of people reading this post speak English fluently. Or your reading with google translate, but that seems less likely. Anyway, you probably can’t really hear how you or other people sound. Obviously, if someone has an accent that’s different than that used on a regular basis around you, it’ll sound different, but sound of the words, regardless of who’s speaking, is going to sound different than listening in to someone speaking German fluently. I remember when I was little and listening to a German mother scold her toddler on the playground across the street from my house. It was the first time I wondered what English sounded like to someone who didn’t speak it.

That was something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to figure out, since I can’t just forget how to speak English. I’m old enough now that even if I never heard or spoke it for 15 years I’d still remember how. But yesterday I was watching an American TV show for the first time in a long time. Normally I prefer the BBC to anything American. The majority of the cast is American, but there’s a few English actors (with wildly differing accents) and one Scot, so I had a chance to listen closely to the various accents all speaking to each other, and I noticed something. English sounds a bit like small stones tumbling over and over each other, pebbles falling. Listen to people speaking English, either around you or on Youtube. Can you hear it?

But that’s not why I wanted to make a post about the English language. I wanted to talk about the history, the way it changed. (Full disclaimer here: I’m no expert, this is mainly stuff I’ve picked up from various books I’ve read)

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to separate English into four “periods”. First, there’s Old English, also called Anglo-Saxon. This is, unsurprisingly, the language of the Anglo-Saxons. It was used widespread from roughly the 5th century, when the Saxons invaded England; to the 11th century, when the Normans invaded. It’s rather closely related to German. Then there’s Middle English, where the Normans’ French and the Saxons’ Old English melded together. This is much more recognizable as our Modern English, and you could probably at least get the gist of what you read if you picked up Canterbury Tales. Then there’s Elizabethan English. I almost included this with modern English. This is the language spoken in England around the time of Shakespeare, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Think “thee” and “thou”. Finally there’s modern English, which is what we speak now.

Do you know that you could probably read some Old English, or at least recognize some words? J.R.R. Tolkien, professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, composed a poem/riddle in Old English and translated it into modern English. The first two lines go like this:

Hæfth Hild Hunecan hwite tunecan,
ond swa read rose hæfth rugide nose;

At first glance it looks like nonese, or perhaps German, but when you compare it with the translation, it’s really easy to see the similarities.

Hild Hunic has a white tunic
And like a red rose, a ruddy nose.

It’s a re-imagination of the nursery rhyme “Little Nancy Etticoat”.

Then there’s Middle English, the language of England during the High Middle Ages, the time you think of when you think knights and castles and princesses. This is the language that Canterbury Tales were originally written in. This is the first two lines of Canterbury Tales, pulled from a (hopefully reputable) site I found by googling.

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote

While Chaucer had, by today’s standards, atrocious spelling, it’s still readable. The translation to modern English that the copy on my bookshelf has is this:

When April with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root

Really all the translator did was change the spelling of a few words and translate one that we don’t use anymore. But it’s fascinating to watch the progression, even up to this point.

Then there’s Elizabethan English, the language of the King James Bible, of Shakespeare, of the Pilgrims. It’s now mainly used at Ren Faires and reenactments, or in some churches. Most people tend to think of it as the “fancy language”. The language people used talking to kings. I thought that, too, for the longest time, but I recently learned that that’s not the case. The thees and and thous are actually the intimate form, the words a father would use to speak to his child. Words like “you” were the formal words, as well as the plural. If you were addressing a large crowd, you wouldn’t say “I wish thee to remove thy chickens from my corn patch,” you’d say “I wish you to remove your chickens from my corn patch”. Or something to that effect. I don’t actually know the proper grammar of how the sentences went together.

When I first learned that I thought “oh, cool,” and proceeded to use it whenever I needed to for writing purposes and the like. But the more I thought about it, the more awe-inspiring it because. Because think about it. God, the Creator of the whole world, addresses us with “thees” and “thous”, and we’re instructed to do likewise. Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. So when we use “old fashioned” language in church, it’s not just “old fashioned,” it’s awe-inspiring and amazing and wonderful.

Now I must confess. This post was not just to geek out about the English language. There was quite a bit of that, yes, but I had a bit of an ulterior motive. Over the past two weeks I have come across quite a few instances of people talking about Shakespeare and saying things like “it was hard to read the Old English at first…”. The first time I ran across it I winced, but figured I was probably be a bit nit-picky and so ignored it. But after the fifth time in a week, I remembered I had a blog, and thus this post was born. But it’s still fun to geek out about language and everything that goes into it. I didn’t even mention the romance languages and how everything interconnected and all the cool stuff… Maybe some other time.

What did you think? Would you recommend any good remedial grammar program for high schoolers? 😛 

 

Screen Characters Tag

And finally I get to it. I was tagged with this over a year ago by Abby at A Glimpse of Starlight when I first got a blog. I was a super excited 14 year old, happily making my first post, full of plans on what to do next… and then it peetered. I like to think I’m doing a little better this second time round. I’m certainly trying. Anyway, way back then I was tagged with this, and now, finally, I’m doing it. Yay! *bounces*

The rules are thus: list your ten favorite screen characters, and tag ten bloggers.

The first was surprisingly difficult. I thought I would be overwhelmed with characters and have no end of people to pick from, but when I sat down to make the list I had a really hard time coming up with just ten. I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies. But I did it (and then remembered a ton of other characters that I love – go figure). 🙂

~The Doctor~

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Of course the Doctor tops my list (even though it’s not in any particular order). For those who are confused why there are thirteen people in the above picture… the Doctor regenerates. He’s an alien from a planet called Gallifrey, and when he is close to death he changes his body. Along with the body change comes a complete personality change, as well, so everyone who watches Doctor Who has a favorite Doctor (or, at least, I haven’t found someone who doesn’t). Mine is, without a doubt, the tenth Doctor, commonly referred to as Ten.

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No… he’s not insane… maybe just a little… *grins*

“You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world!”

~Rose Tyler~

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Just like everyone has a favorite Doctor, almost everybody has a favorite companion. Or they’re like me and can’t decide and are torn and there are so many good companions and I love them all… yeah.

Anyway. Rose Tyler was my first companion and I haven’t found one that I like more than her. Donna and Rory come close, but it’s definitely Rose.

“You don’t just give up. You don’t just let things happen. You make a stand! You say no! You have the guts to do what’s right even when everyone else just runs away.”

~Phil Coulson~

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I just started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Saturday. I got through 10 episodes (I was sick – this is not a normal occurrence), and easily one of favorite characters is Phil. I had liked him the Avengers (who didn’t?), but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really expands on his character. He’s basically the dad of the whole crew.

“I’ve seen giants. The good ones are not heroes because of what they have, it’s what they do with it.”

~Fitzsimmons~

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Well, I guess technically Fitz, if I don’t want to break the rules. But you really can’t have Fitz without Simmons. These two are also from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fitz is on the left, Simmons is on the right, and they’re practically inseparable. They’re not a couple (as far as I’ve watched, at least) and I hope they never become one. I love their relationship as friends, and it gets annoying when every close friendship gets shipped.

Fitz is a scientist in some technical technology area that I probably couldn’t pronounce even if I tried. His character development is easily my absolute favorite on the show so far. There’s tiny character quirks and bigger stuff and you can actually see him changing and this is what I want my character development to look like. I’m taking notes. Also he is just very, very lovable. And Scottish.

“If we had a monkey, we could get in.”

~Captain America/Steve Rogers~

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Might as well knock out the last MCU character while I’m at it. Captain America has always been my favorite Avenger, since even before I ever saw the movies. A friend of mine used to tell me about him and quote the funny bits of the Avengers to me. His looks have nothing to do with it (although they don’t hurt), it’s his unwillingness to budge from what he believes to be true. His loyalty to Bucky when almost everyone else was against them. But he’s not perfect. If he was perfect, he really would be a comic book character, but he’s not. Even if Civil War tore me into little bits. I’m definitely team can’t-everyone-just-make-up-and-be-friends-again.

“There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.”

~Gandalf~

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Gandalf. Everyone knows Gandalf. Even if you haven’t seen or read any of the movies or books, you know Gandalf, and you could probably quote the “You shall not pass”. Gandalf is amazing. I had a really hard time picking the quote to put below. Gandalf, in both the books and the movies (although I’m sticking to the movies for this, since it’s screen characters), has so many good ones. He gives the best advice.

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.”

~Sam Gamgee~

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Sam Gamgee could easily be called the real hero of Lord of the Rings. I can’t really say why, because it involves major spoilers for the whole series. Sam stuck with Frodo to the very end.

“How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”

 

~Hermione Granger~

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While Ron Weasley is my favorite character from the Harry Potter books, Hermione is my favorite character from the movies. I am Hermione, really. Or I want to be, at any rate. She loves books, and learning. Light reading to her is a huge, dusty old tome that probably hasn’t been checked out in over a hundred years. But she’s brave, as well, and a great friend. She is what I would call a “strong female character” (even if I heartily dislike that term).

“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!”

~Lucy Pevensie~

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I could not get through this list and not mention Lucy. The Chronicles of Narnia were pretty much the only movies I watched when I was little, and I watched them over and over again. I lived and breathed Narnia. I wanted to be Lucy. She is the one who believes, who keeps her child-like faith, even when growing up. Queen Lucy the valiant.

“Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”

~Eustace Scrubb~

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And now we come to the last on this list. Eustace Clarence Scrubb. Eustace is a fantastic character, and Will Porter did an amazing job of portraying him. He’s probably my favorite part about the Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie. In the beginning he’s really truly awful, extremely unpleasant, and all together horrible, and at the end he’s changed so much.

“We spoke often of Narnia in the days that followed. When my cousins left after the war ended, I missed them with all my heart, as I know all Narnians will miss them till the end of time.”

So there you have it. Tagging time! Let’s see…  I tag Mary, Julia, Savannah, Sarah, Meredith, Emily, and Jonny. Not quite ten, but I kinda ran out people… Feel free to steal if I didn’t tag you and you want to do it. Please do send me a link if you do!

What did you think of my list? Who are your own favorite screen characters?

 

Welcome, 2017!

Weeeeeeeeeeee… wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry… Oh, right. It’s not Christmas. Except… in the words of someone I can’t remember but I think it was an OYANer – CHRISTMAS ISN’T OVER UNTIL THE LAST LORD LEAPS.

I meant to do a Christmas post. I really did. But then Christmas actually happened, and I couldn’t figure out how to say what I wanted to say, and now it’s New Year’s. So I guess I’ll use that planned post next year. If I can remember.

So without further ado – HAPPY NEW YEAR!

While it’s an undeniable fact that 2016 was not a good year if you were a beloved and aging celebrity, I have to say it was one of the best years to happen to me in a long time.

A Few Reasons

  •  I became Orthodox. Easily the greatest and most awesome (in the truest sense of the word) thing to have happened to me this year.
  • I knit a TARDIS pillow. It is a TARDIS. It is squishy. It lives on my bed. I love it.
  • I went to the OYAN Summer Workshop. If it weren’t for the fact that I became Orthodox, this would take the place of greatest thing to happen this year, and in perhaps my life.
  • I visited family in Texas for the first time in 3 years, saw OYANers as well, and flew by myself on the way back. The first two were amazing, the last was… nerve wracking.
  • I started this blog! Hello! *waves*
  • I turned sixteen and came to the realization that I am the older teenager that I’ve looked up to all my life. Scary thought.
  • I started my first part-time job. I nanny, and the little one is adorable.
  • NaNoWriMo happened, and with it the whole craziness of our blogging-writing hangouts. You guys are the best.
  • I neared the end of my very first original novel. Still not done yet, but close!!
  • My first OYAN friend ever got married.
  • I got a flute for Christmas and I can make pretty noises come out of it! Well, if you call Mary Had a Little Lamb pretty. But still.
  • An OYANer came over and spent the morning with me, and then I got to sneak into the 18+ Winter Workshop and see some of my best friends for the first time since June. It’s one of the last things to happen this past year and I made so many good memories.
  • Finally, my Grandparents came up for the first time in a long time and visited over the weekend.

So, really, all in all, this has been one of the best years in a long time for me, and I find myself looking forward and ahead to 2017.

Speaking of 2017… over the past few months things have been popping up that are going to happen and I’m very, very excited for them.

  • 2 of my online, live-in-a-different-country friends are moving to the States within the first couple of months and I’ll probably get to see both of them! *bounces*
  • The OYAN Summer Workshop again. Because I am not missing that for the world.
  • Pascha is coming! It comes every year, of course, but that doesn’t mean I anticipate it any less.
  • The various NaNos and Camp NaNos that I hope to attend.
  • I shall probably (hopefully) finish my book this year.

Even if only one of these things actually ends up happening (and Pascha is certain to happen) 2017 is shaping up to be a pretty good year.

Happy New Year, everybody, and Merry Christmas!

What’s the best thing that happened to you last year? Is there anything you’re really looking forward to with this new year?