2.) The Brotherhood’s Teachings in Four Parts

Good art must aim:

1.) to have genuine ideas to express

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Edward Burne-Jones‘ The Mirror of Venus

From Bond to Creswick,
Stroud to the Royal Academy of  Arts.
We were perhaps the most artistic town in England once.
This province is most sympathetic to innovation.

Or so I’ve heard.

2.) to study nature attentively

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Thomas Creswick‘s A Distant View of Birmingham

I trace the line of our state—
not the veins but its shape.
I’m on the quest for the essential, see:
the “quiddity of what is observed”.

I’ll sit near Cox and stare from the central throne
at the emerald expanse in our crane-hugged city;
unbroken boughs that sift through a cottony sky
and stand pretty and giggling in the breeze.

3.) to engage with art that is heartfelt

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David Cox‘s Moonlight Landscape

Light everlasting:
a ceiling of blue
curtained with black and brown
dusting the twilight.
Two pearl necklaces, hard at work,
more precious than blood diamonds.

Silence speaks loud, hard, and fast
to linger.
Awkwardness is a scream.
I come undone.

4.) (most indispensable of all) to be the best of one’s ability at a given time, or, Make Good Art

Kate Elizabeth Bunce‘s The Keepsake

My pen won’t cease:
The ink flows like Rea,

spreading across the page,

ideas spilling from a hidden crease
in my brain.

Will this streak last an age? (I hope so.)

Ah.

Now I am alone.

How long to wait to trouble this

erratic genius

whose independent thoughts                                                                                     elude me

and my intentions?
They slipped away unnoticed, undertow.
Into that locked palace, with no path or
point of entry.

What means can I use to tempt them?
Snacks or sweets? A kiss on a Sunday?
Perfection cannot be achieved out of nothing!

 

 

 

Hollow city,
remember when you sang to me?
Your voice rippled the still canal,
refracting the joy of gods
and I felt sick
as we wandered around the Venice of the North.

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#AcresofInk Writing Challenge: Week 41

Full list of questions here; last question here.

Week 41 | Your favourite sub-plot

Okay, so I mentioned in a previous post that my favourite place was Hallius, the capital of a country called Alvefia. Hallius has a literal divide—called imaginatively the Great Divide—that has cut the city in two. A bridge of dragon glass spans the mile-wide divide but the difference is cultural, too. For various reasons, the main characters, who originate from the west in Onzaria end up in Hallius. But it’s having its own problems.

The north of Hallius has the Ivy Throne and the northern duchies host some of the wealthiest people in the region. Compared to the north, the south has considerably less wealth. But they also have more swords. Purely because of how the region historically was built before the Great Divide, the army masses in the south. The North had always meant to move the army to the north. The Ivy Throne does have the Sun Guard, but they number in the few hundreds only. Moving the bulk of the Army after the Divide would be seen to exacerbate the tensions that existed before it appeared, so they left it.

You are, in turn, looking at two different cities: a very wealthy and pretty north, the place that tourists, students, and workers flock to, and the south which has a thriving culture and decent economy but is beholden to the Ivy Throne, which is felt does not represent its interests.

Anyway, long story long, the south begins to mount a coup against the north. This is during the invasion of the Anzori Empire. I kind of love it as a subplot (not to even get into the various factions and characters involved) because it shows that even in a war that threatens the entire Three Kingdoms, there are these locations with their own deep-seated issues and prejudices. Also, I hope it also demonstrates that places feel like places with their own interests, not just waiting for the rest of the cast to interact with them.

 

 

1.) Forward! To The City of a Thousand Trades, and, A City of Colour

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Today I shrug off my concrete collar,
no longer choking on my own stone.
I’ll wade through and sweep away the dust and squalor
to rebuild this central throne.

I’m gonna go see my friends today!
I’m gonna get up and get paid;
I’ll head up on the train and play
in the city of a thousand trades.

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Non-specialised, self-owned novelty,
the workshop of the world is open for business!
ecstatic, ambitious, marvel at its bigness,
but I’m gonna keep moving even if it kills me!

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3,500 hectares of green open space
in this green European!
But still not a centimetre of my place
that does not make me feel blue for an eon.

We’re locked on the black columns and blast furnaces that shaped this land
for the place we’ll build will in history forever stand.

Our fiery passion will never fade
in the city of a thousand trades.

I’m gonna see my friends someday
I’m gonna find a way to get paid!
For here good deeds and ideas stay
in the wondrous city of a thousand trades.

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I come from the heart
of industry, given a chance to innovate.
this is where good ideas start
and my transformation awaits.

I will engage, stop being so lax!

But our kingdom’s under siege.
Didn’t you hear?
Our kingdom’s under siege!
Free-thinking, astronomical change, nonconformist,
those of the Church can bellow and preach,
of love that never in their eyes was burnished.

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The crash and bang of enlightenment
snuffed out by southerly weakness
and I learned destruction was your ideal environment.
I felt my price then, my cheapness.

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I pictured a man falling
and impaled by St Martin.
From that Gothic spire, blood and viscera sprayed the market goods,
but people still traded,
facing away from the big death,
the blitz that hurt us all and left us
hollowed out and haunted.

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And me?
I became lost in a city of colour
earmarked by the sun:
Boulton and Watt
did nothing to dull my ache,
nor did dreaming of clutching 568 ml of sedative
to soak the stone walls, awash with memories
still wet to the touch and shy.

A space in the world that’s become overgrown with
towheaded reeds
that remember all that I made:
a grey concrete bridge built from my collar and a train that isn’t coming.

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You smiled in the cold
And I feared my shaking would never stop.
I imagined the palm of your steady hand locking with another’s
and dream of the day when I look in your eyes
and don’t know who the fuck you are.
I couldn’t say this yet:
Some days I can’t get anything out,
the words half-swallowed, clogging my throat.

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But I’m stronger today.

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Hollow city,
You build me up all nice and bright
for all to see.

September Reviews

September was a busy month! A decent blend of fiction and poetry as I tried to clear my currently reading shelf for Black History Month!

Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb [4/5 stars]

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Fool’s Errand is a pleasant return to form after the bloated final book in the Farseer Trilogy, Assassin’s Quest. I appreciate the leaner, more focused narrative, although it is not without its flaws. It’s been 15 years since the last book and Fitz and Nighteyes are older now, living a peripheral life away from other people a life of his choosing—or so he thinks. It seems destiny has not left this ageing assassin yet and he is pulled into on a new quest.

That’s all I’ll say plotwise. Nothing related to plot really happens for about 200 pages. Not all of it’s bad, though because we’re re-entering the world after what would some years for people—The Liveship Traders were published between the two Fitz series—so reminders of the nature of the world is welcome. Unfortunately it has the usual pacing problems as the previous books with a repetitive recapping of previous events (as in recapping events already recapped 50 pages ago kind of repetitive). But again, as usual, once it gets moving, it rarely stops. It’s great to see characters and familiar locales we’ve spent time away from change alongside the new. The narrative is suitably epic, dangerous, and heartbreaking: all we come to expect from a Robin Hobb book.

The new world order that Hobb has carefully laid out is inviting and not more than once have I thought about it. I look forward to sinking my teeth into the rest.

Another Country by James Baldwin [4/5 stars]

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This book seethes with anger and hatred. Violence lines every scene and they manifest between men and women, black and white people, with homosexuality … It actually made it hard to get through. But if there is one thing about Baldwin I know is that violence, hatred, and anger are part of life.

Few would know that better than a queer black man growing up in early 20th Century America. There is no American ideals to believe for his life and it is reflected on the page. I imagine he is presenting a world that he was very familiar with, a violent, racist, misogynistic, deeply cynical world. This a nakedly unforgiving atmosphere that tinges every scene and it’s interesting to invert the common idea of the brilliance of love with the destructive elements of love and how people misunderstand—even weaponise it.

While the prose is gorgeous, the characters well-drawn, this darkness is wearying. So much hatred and self-loathing are in these pages but there are some really serious meditations of race relations that are still poignant today. I’m consistently blown away by how ahead of his time Baldwin was. Or perhaps we’re just behind?

Poems: 1955 – 1987 by Roy Fisher [4/5 stars]

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Roy Fisher is all at once a wry, humorous observer, intimate yet detached, and a little strange. But in the best way. The poems here range from short pieces to prose poetry which has very surrealist imagery.

Perhaps a lesser known poet there is something quite unique and enjoyable about his style. At least to my untrained poetical eyes. My favourite set of poems was his first collected pamphlet City which has lots of observational elements and meditations of what ostensibly was Birmingham, where he spent a lot of his early life. Incidentally, he did not like this pamphlet and wanted to move away from it. The seeds of his later work are clearly planted there and while stylistically Fisher improved, his later stuff is a bit more obtuse, which is part of why I feel conceptually as a whole City is my favourite in this collection (although he was dealing with a topic that is specific to my current interests). Other favourites were his poems about poems and poetry, and the fan letter poems.

I almost stumbled on Fisher by chance and I’m glad I did. Not recommended for someone looking into get into poetry, I don’t think. There’s much I didn’t “get” which invites revisiting but I want to broaden my poetic palette more first.

The Colossus by Sylvia Plath [4/5 stars]

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The Colossus would seem ready-made to be a poet’s easy pick for something that inspired them. Unfortunately living in the shadow of the much-loved Ariel, it’s not too difficult to see why Plath was well-regarded. While sometimes inscrutable, bundling meaning into dense and unfamiliar synonyms, her imagery has a heft to it that leaves a mark long after reading. She guides you along the page and gives vivid, three-dimensional description. Probably my favourite was the elegant finale, “Poem for a Birthday”, which inspired some of my own poetry.

This demands revisiting and I hope to own a copy in the future.

 

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne [3.75/5 stars]

 

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Thank you Tor for giving me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

There’s a lot of good going for this book that is unfortunately hampered by some uneven writing, which is surprising given this is Gwynne’s fifth overall novel. At points it reads like a debut. But! The good stuff: it has a good cast, a quite nice world, and focused narrative.

The backdrop of A Time of Dread is an ongoing conflict between an angelic race, the Ben-Elim, who are allied with humans and their demonic counterparts, the Kadoshim, who are beginning to spread their influence anew after being underground for the better part of one hundred years.

Told through four perspectives, the story moves across various parts of a landmass called the Banished Lands. The voices were varied enough but I was most engaged with Drem’s and Sig’s stories, in that order. Bleda’s was okay but he was under-served in the wider narrative and sort of disappeared mid-book, which is a shame since he’s got a good story. Riv’s voice was quite inconsistent and her decisions sometimes were infuriating. I think part of that was intentional, though.

The worldbuilding was quite spare as well. Not a lot of ground was covered but in terms of history and setting, it was mostly related to the previous series and recapping the events of that more than anything. I can tell there’s a lot more interesting world but Gwynne hasn’t built it out yet. Again, I do appreciate keeping the POV count down. It helped the narrative stay focused and definitely helped the speedier pace in the latter half, especially as the disparate POVs start to intersect.

The plot is quite compelling and has some pretty decent twists but it’s a slow-burn for such a small book (by fantasy standards) so that’s part of the reason why it can’t achieve greater marks. What is there had me slapping my mouth a few times, with a few raised eyebrows. The cast is solid and enjoyable, not overly complex but interesting enough.

Also, the writing! It was strangely uneven. In parts, it was quite nicely descriptive and economical, immersing you in the scenes and the characters, and in other places it was like Writing 101 (“Riv felt angry”, “Drem felt cold”). It was often enough to draw me out of the experience sometimes and soured some of the better scenes of the book.

The latter half is the best part, especially Sig and Drem’s parts, with Riv’s having a good number of twists but it was uneven because it happened in quick succession with not enough early set-up. I’m left with a lot of questions but I suppose it is a series so I’ll likely be returning. I think Gwynne can and will do better. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

A mixed, but ultimately very enjoyable, bag.

Bonus points for having a cast of characters in the front of the book. Honestly it helped keep track of the cast even if it wasn’t A Song of Ice and Fire large. It’s not necessary but it’s a nice thing more fantasy books should adopt, especially with larger narrative. (Looking to you, Brandon Sanderson!)

 

Prologue: Home Is In A Hall of Memory

The sun streaked through our hair
as we raced on the fields—
spun round like the gull that marked its wheel above
as we traced the shadows below.

I couldn’t see clearly as we stood over the
covered mine.
(The deepest in the world, they say at one time.)
Your face was incomprehensible
but you laughed through a broken smile,
stretched your arms up high and called out to the future.

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And my words disappeared,
slipped down the sloped fields like dew drops
and were forgotten when I remembered
your humiliating murmurs about my cold, dark depths.

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I used to play here a lot growing up. It was built over a mine which was at one point the deepest in the world. That’s why it’s sloped like so!

And no, you’ve never done anything right in your life.
You’re young yet:
it doesn’t mean that
you can’t try.
Start by not tugging on your eyelids—
there’s mirth yet to be seen!
Time is a forge that will temper the steel of your soul.
But don’t chase it,
be for freedom.
You’re much too bitter for your age,
stooped like the clouds and digging out regret and pregnant pauses.

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You’ve outgrown this place, I know;
go, for you need to learn about all there is to see.
The future’s calling back:
“This is the train that will carry us all to paradise,
away from the black clouds
and the midden of our past.
Where we’ve come from means nothing,
it’s where we’re going that matters:
Forward!”

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#AcresofInk Writing Challenge: Week 40

Full list of questions here; last question here.

Week 40 | A day in the life of your villain

For simplicity’s sake, I will say that the “villain” is going to be Kolvious en dal Lukar, Empress of the Anzori Empire. In terms of narrative, she exists “off-screen” and so that’s why I’m fascinated by her. It’s her history that is both catalyst and connector for the opposing sides of the War of the Twins (also Umbra‘s subtitle). A day in her life will take place a li-ittle before the beginning of the book for spoiler reasons (no she’s not dead).


 

Pre-dawn is my favourite time of day. It’s long before most people are awake so a natural stillness cloaks the city. Silences stretch out for miles and the only company is nature sounds. Night birds and trees being tousled in the wind, and maybe the distant rattle of an engine. My favourite sound is silence. I get to imagine all of my subjects asleep and hopefully more contented than they were yesterday.

On some days I go up to Long Hill near the waterfall which is the best place to watch the sunrise or sunset: you can see the city extend for miles. Couples are getting wise to it as a romantic location so I have to be careful to disguise myself or not get spotted at all. My aides arrive at sunrise so I have to get my favourite view and make it back to my room in time. That, or be in my study as they panic and go looking for me. Watching them be flustered and confused is a perk, for definite.

With luck, there is little to sign in the morning or people’s egos to massage. How many lords with an agenda to swell their coffers while their subjects starve, I wonder? There’s a rot that still clings to great Anzor, I swear.

The throne room is my least favourite place in the palace. The gaudy grandeur it affords is uninspiring and no-one ever speaks their mind. I have to keep my wits about me. The citizens’ plight are of great concern to me. I try to listen to as many as I can. I’m most intrigued by those who would travel 1,000 miles just to have a few moments of my time. I must not be seen as weak but I cannot ignore suffering either. Being a ruler is sometimes like being pulled between by two opposite bits of rope. The good ruler—the just ruler—manages to hold both at bay while looking good doing so.

Rest is a memory. People to meet, more things to sign, new events and initiatives to either visit or consider. I only get peace in the privy. When I eat, it is not to sate hunger but to make sure some lord feels validated. I swear, all the kings and queens are the same person but colour-swapped.

Eventually it is night, people move off and out of my way and I take supper in my study. Reading is a comfort and I can see the city lights from the window behind me. When I crack open a window, I hear the cries of a joy as people wander out to celebrate something. A birthday, perhaps, or a marriage. The mood is steadier, calmer, and that calms me. If I get a chance I see the soldiers strange. They do good work for me.

The desire to sleep finds me early and I am escorted to my bed. The one thing no-one tells you about ruling is how little alone time one gets. A palace is glutted with people! Who knew? I long for the uncertain days of soldiering, sometimes. At least after a siege one can take some time for themselves. But no matter, I do what I must. Sleep is my true refuge.


 

I like the idea of villains thinking their way is just different to the protagonists’. She seems like a normal woman in office. To her enemies, she is a murderous and calculating evil, devoid of any real emotion or empathy.

An Introduction to the Poetry Project

I’m sure you’re very curious about what this poetry project that I’ve been banging on about for like a year actually is.

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The seeds of this project were sown when I decided to write the Edinburgh poem. I wanted to basically absorb the consciousness of Sufjan Stevens who did two location-based albums, Michigan and Illinois that chart the history and some of Stevens’ own personal stories relating to those two US states. See, I wanted to write music too. But since my skills will probably never get to that level, I thought about a different more readily realisable medium that could convey what I wanted.

There was a lot going on in my intentions. Long before Stevens’ music burrowed in my brain, I had ideas of I wanting to elevate the travelling catch-up genre a bit, at least for my travels. Rather than just dump some photos and some thoughts, I wanted to make an art piece that really gave you a flavour of my emotions and impressions while also doing the actual updating of an event. I don’t know a lot of you so I don’t think posting lots of photos would be hugely effective way to convey my feelings. Art helps me articulate my emotions better than non-fiction does so something creative was a must. At the very least, I wanted to do a creative experiment.

I got to thinking quite quickly about doing this again but in extended form. Since my efforts to do this musically were tanked, poetry became a more accessible contender. A single poem suited the small amount of time I spent in Edinburgh. Then I got to thinking about places I’ve lived in. I’ve lived in only three cities, serving three clearly delineated points in my life: where I was born and raised, where I was educated, and where I worked. A trilogy formed almost by accident. I have some ideas of what the next two are going to be like stylistically but for now let’s just focus on this project.

So the idea itself: I wanted to make an art piece as a sort of homage to Birmingham. I could do this in just text or as a collection of essays but I thought poems were the right form for this. But not just poems, with photos too, like what my earlier stuff has done. I used to do amateur photography sessions that were termed “roaming sessions” where I would record urban landscapes. My thinking is that by mixing two skills I am at best mediocre at, I could elevate both of them into something somewhat sui generis (even though I am fairly certain this has been done before to a much better standard).

I got serious initially around February. I set about taking about 1000+ photographs of pretty much every bit of the top floor of Birmingham’s museum. That’s as exhausting as it sounds and not all of it is even useful! But oh well. A learning curve. From there I went about reading about the city’s history through articles and collected data.

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Initially as something to keep me busy while I looked for work, it became a much more serious endeavour and I thought it would be a great catalyst to improve creatively. At the very least, I pushed myself. While I doubt an employer will care all that much about me doing something like this, it definitely made the time pass much more fluidly; it gave me some purpose, some focus. And trust me, nothing motivates the long-term unemployed like a sense of purpose. Even if it means embarking on a fool’s errand. I don’t think this is but I’m apprehensive because I have little poetry experience and have not read much poetry until recently. (Though I love music and honestly I think that counts.)

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They had a miniature of the city during medieval times!

The aims of the project is twofold: The first is to learn more about the cities I’ve lived in. You live in a place and you can know nothing of its history. Or nothing significant. Why does Birmingham have such a large population when its economy is not as varied as somewhere like Manchester, for example? From there, I learnt a lot about its rich and pretty fascinating history. I do not aim for this to be holistic, but more general and fun, drawing more on personal history and narrative devices than anything—like Stevens’ albums. The city is currently undergoing some rapid changes so that is part of the inspiration, too.

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The second was as I mentioned above: to try to push myself creatively. And boy did I. I think this was a big undertaking for an experienced poet, let alone someone like myself who’s only been doing it seriously for a year. While there are definite low points*, I have a few poems that I would call some of my personal favourites in my pretty limited canon. I think I grew as an artist as well and a bonus of this was to be more receptive to other poets and reading poetry to both understand the medium more and to get inspired.

Birmingham is explored through several eyes over the course of three parts: an historian talking about the city’s past, a person going through a serious breakup and reforging their identity after that, both of these adding a fictionalised element (see? Fun!), and finally myself and some of my own memories and feelings towards the city. The lines that delineate us three are not intended to be so clear, neither is it a case of them being part of a continuous narrative, but rather more like vignettes that have the city as the backdrop—or at the very least inspiration. That being said, there is a sonnet (yes, a damn sonnet) each that ends one of the three parts from one of the three perspectives. I think just getting a poem into that structure and saying something meaningful instead of just filling beat space to create the poem was one of the biggest challenges**. On an individual basis, the sonnets took the longest to produce.

The themes encompass change, growing up, loss, and all that fun stuff.

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Beyond Stevens’ duology, Michigan and Illinois, I was strongly influenced by the lyricism of Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis and was fascinated by the album The Execution of All Things on two fronts: the first, the melodic indie rock partnered with dark lyrics but delivered in a sweet voice. The melodies invite you in and the lyrics make you stay. The second is the structure. Vignettes of a song play after some other songs. The vignettes are played in full at the end of the album to form a sort of post-script/hidden track. I thought that was a great idea and straight-up lifted it from them stylistically; I just sucked that up like a vacuum with no shame. Okay, a little shamefully. But I only do it in the first part.

Musically, shout out to Laura Marling, John Darnielle, Aimee Mann, MF Doom, and Cyne. Poetically, Roy Fisher’s smell clings to my words. Plath is an influence as well.

I’m not sure what to think about the end result, but I think creatively it was worthwhile. At the end of it all, I’ll probably do a reflective piece on it and see if my feelings change. More than once I did think to myself that I should stick to the novels. But it is ready for the world now.

Tomorrow at 6:30pm GMT is when this all begins. I will post weekly every Wednesday henceforth, so the second one will begin starting the 10th October. I hope you enjoy. If not, that’s okay too. I’ll still keep up my regular posting schedule as best as I can. I’ll stop explaining it all and just show you what I’ve been up to. See you tomorrow.

*If you’re wondering why I’d keep them in the offing if I know select poems not so great, I would rebut with failure and mistakes facilitate growth.

**Sonnets are comprised of 14 lines, ten beats a line, with a specific rhyming structure. (There is high potential that I stray from trying to be helpful into being arrogant and patronising. If it reads as much I am very sorry.)

#AcresofInk Writing Challenge: Week 39

Full list of questions here; last question here.

Week 39 | Your book is now a film. Who is in your Dream Cast?

Considering my imagination has been largely shaped by video games, cartoons, and comic books, I don’t really conceive of characters with having a corresponding actor to perform their role. While they emulate realistic qualities and flaws, there’s a certain irrealism that helps me keep track of them all and imagine new ones.

That being said, sometimes I see an actor and say “Damn, that’s my character” but that’s really rare. Here are the only two so far.

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok is my character Dame Kaiyrah Halewood. Her image, as pictured below, in particular!

It was such an Aha! moment that I created an outfit for Kai based on it in Umbra‘s follow-up, Lux, right down to the blue-lined cloak. The strand of the army Kai belongs to ordinarily wear white anyway. Also, I like Valkyrie in this film has armour that is feminine but not sexualised, you know? That’s the whole aesthetic of that group.

Kai’s order has a warrior called the Valkyrie but in Kai’s immediate friendship group, she’s their Valkyrie, you dig?

Tessa Thompson could nail Kai because she’s in essence already done that role.

Lady Jane Syrill is a significant character in the history of the world. I would say in terms of raw looks Elena Satine (below) would probably fit the kind of image I had in my head for Jane. Warm smile, red hair, cheekbones. I think more than the look, Jane’s performance is key: to be able to balance that warmth with her hardness and mystery. Hell, Satine might like the challenge. I’ve only seen her in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and The Gifted.

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There might be an actress who fits my image of Jane a bit more closely but I found myself searching “Red-haired actresses” on Google while I was thinking about writing this question and felt weird so I stopped … Yeah.

That’s it. That goes to show how little I think about this, haha.

Next week, we are back to villains. ‘Til then!

 

#AcresofInk Writing Challenge: Week 38

Full list of questions here; last question here.

Week 38 | What is your villain’s biggest regret?

That is an interesting question. This depends on who my villain is. Suppose it is Kolvious, who we met during Week 21. Kolvious was from a different land before she settled in the southerly reaches of Anzor, soon to be her new empire. She had ambitions in her home to reform it. Long had it been plagued by slavery and she had ideas of the future of the land but she was shunned in favour of her more palpable sister.

After her sister’s death, Kolvious headed to a new land to form the Anzori Empire, bringing together the disparate races of Anzor against the remnants of slavery.

Her biggest regret is that she did not try harder to convince her peers about her ideas, founded on fairness.

It’s something that drove her to her perhaps wildly ambitious attempt to unite Anzor under one banner. It haunts her to this day.

The villain to Kolvious’ mind is King Nole Sovaleur. He was an ardent and vocal critic of Kolvious and she says he is one of the people who advocated for her exile. Nole’s biggest regret is not killing Kolvious instead of letting her “run amok” and do as she pleased. But he was trying to create a kingdom in the ashes of a formerly enslaved nation. He would preach tolerance in order to raise his appeal in the common eye.

As a sort of a post-script:

For the most part, Kolvious is a republican, which might peg you as strange as someone who crowned herself an empress but the unity of the Empire was the first step in ambitious 50-year plan to siphon control from the royalty across the region while also respecting the culture of the various states. We do not know if this would work as we’re in middle of it when Umbra begins.

#AcresofInk Writing Challenge: Week 37

Full list of questions here; last question here.

Week 37 | Which writer would you trust to finish your book if you weren’t able?

The aim of my life is to never die ever so hopefully I will not need to pass the reins on. I have many writer friends and any collection of them I would feel comfortable in them finishing my work.

I think the biggest barrier for completing Umbra would be trying to create a complete tale because I am not a heavy note-taker. Would I be in a state that would prevent me from taking notes? I don’t know the conditions of my inability to complete the book to a desirable standard but I would hope that there’s enough in my recent drafts for my friends to construct a finished project. This includes but is certainly not limited to K.F. Goodacre and S.E. Berrow but I’d be so concerned with leaving someone else my stuff considering they’d probably want to finish their own things!

This was supposed to be a fun event  but some serious questions arose from it. I do not take meticulous enough notes and should probably change that.

If we’re going down the fun route, because God knows this needs some levity, mayhaps Brandy the Mandy Sandy “Brandon Sanderson” seems pretty deft at finishing shit. Over his thirteen year career, he’s published over 20 novels in a variety of genres. He also finished Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, baby. Prose-wise, Sanderson is simpler than what I normally go for, but in terms of worldbuilding and character, he’s a pretty huge influence on me. Now, honourable mention for Robin Hobb and Bradley Beaulieu who I think would do great work and elevate my work to ascendant heights. Honestly though, I think I would nominate Jen Williams.

jenphotosite2

Why? Well, to start with I think she’s a wonderfully vivid and imaginative writer with that isn’t afraid to go a bit weird, something Umbra would need. Second, she has rounded characters and great dialogue. The lifeblood of keeping track of the expansive cast! Dialogue. Third, it’d just be cool, init?

Although, again, I would prefer to do it myself. Thinking about the logistics is stressing me out a bit, since the world of Delka is quite vivid in my head but not there yet on the page. Okay, we’re breezing through!