Tuesday, 30 July 2013
I suppose even if any of you do follow me on Goodreads (i know some of you do), my reading updates have a strain of infrequency, contradiction and a plethora of titles in the 'currently-reading' section it would be quite hard to figure out what I am actually reading. So, following the band-wagon of Abigail's post as well as Bree's, I present you with the books I am really currently reading.
Reading comes slow these days, as I assign my time for school and writing, leaving me only with long-car-rides and foolish late night readings under torchlight to satisfy my thirst for the written word. That's why what normally would have taken me a week or two to read now takes me months on end. Spoons and fiddlesticks! I must be wise and content.
Conquering Dainty Tomes
With Christ in the School of Prayer -Andrew Murray
I am reading this slowly mostly because I just want to glean the most I can from it, spiritually. It is a wonderful book, though, and enriching/challenging to the heart, mind and soul.)
Kidnapped -R. L. Stevenson
I am fond of David Balfour a great deal - I am taking it at a leisurely pace though thanks to lack of time. Adventure-riding stories like Stevenson's deserve not to be hurried up I find
The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien - J.R.R. Tolkien
Re-browsing through the letters I have not read yet. I feel immensely for him, because, poor fellow, he had such doubts to anyone really liking his sagas before the publishing of The Lord of the Rings ^_^
Heartless - Anne Elisabeth Stengl
In the process of trying to decide whether the Tales of Goldstone Wood is something I would feel comfortable reading, I was fortunate to download a free ebook of Heartless on my iPod - only for skimming through it, mind you. But yesterday I started to read in it some and got 'trapped'. Oh dear! This is a bit unexpected and worrying, but so far of what I read I really liked it! Now to consider whether I should buy the first book.... :P
North and South -Elizabeth Gaskell
Actually I only own a free kindle version on my iPod so it is what I call a 'skim-reading'. I want to own a real copy for proper reading soon because the story has captivated me. Like, a lot!
Blood, Sweat and Tears: Australia's WWII remembered by the men and women who lived it
- Margaret Geddes
This book, which Sarah borrowed from the library for me, is for research to help with writing A Love that Never Fails and, oh! it is such a trip of fun and inspiration. Soooo helpful and interesting!!!!!
The Swiss Family Robinson - Johann Wyss
(re-reading/studying for my English course at school)
Recent completed books for school
Michael Faraday: Father of Electronics
- Charles Ludwig
Up from Slavery
- Booker T. Washington
(which were a real pleasure to read, despite being school-readings.)
So that is what I have been up to, bookwise.
What have you been reading is the question on my mind. Leave a comment and talk away!
Lovingly penned by Joy at 12:13 pm
Friday, 12 July 2013
|#A Love that Never Fails|
But if you will allow me to ado a bit more about some really important stuff, I have a happy little announcement to make. My sweetie sister, Sarah, who I am sure you've heard a thing or two about on this wee blog of mine, recently started a new personal blog of her own called, Of Simple Things. She used to blog a while back on her history blog but what with lots of uni-work and the stress of exams, etc, she found it hard to keep up with it, being more formal and serious in topic nature. So now that she's on holidays (hurrah!), she's started a personal blog in which she can share all the fun, happy, simple things of her life and faith... and I am sooooooooooo excited to have her back blogging - it is such fun. I don't believe I am biased in saying that I think you will love her blog, her and her posts as she pens them (especially, if like me, you are partial to hobbits). So why don't send her a bit of love that will put a smile on her face, and go over and check it out, and if you really liked it - follow and leave her a sweet note or two too? I'd be glad, glad, glad! You will be too. And so will she ^_^
When the light of morning met their faces, they saw a pearly mist of cloud drift sadly against the fume-ridden crumbling buildings that lay twisted in a hazy spiral of charred flame and smoke before them. The London Jane had known and loved the fourteen years of her life now lay in ruins. Worst of all the destruction, her city faced the loss of life and the sufferings of the injured. Despite the pale light of the sky, the day hung with darkness and gloom. In her soul Jane wondered if ever a bright morning would dawn in the hearts of those around her, or in her own.
- A Love that Never Fails (pg. 6)
Lovingly penned by Joy at 10:58 am
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
From all that I have heard, it seems that Google Reader will be shutting down, in which case I really don't know what will happen to my 'followers' and whether it means that you'll be able to view the posts I write on your blogger feed or not. But for all it seems, there is another way! And so, I am pretty excited about that; I would so appreciate it if you could follow my blog and keep up with it, if Google Reader fails us. Won't you? I will be grateful to you for six and twenty years!
Click the link above to follow Fullness of Joy with Bloglovin. As Katiebug said it, 'It's the way of the future!'
Lovingly penned by Joy at 2:46 pm
Do you pick music theme songs for your characters?
Oh generally, yes, I do, and I so love it when I find a song that 'clicks'. The thing is, because I tend not to listen to any secular songs besides the ones in my favourite movies, musicals or folk songs, so a lot of the time it can be a challenge to choose theme songs from beloved Christian songs and classical hymns that would match the characters and their story arc. However, that hasn't stopped me from 'finding' those songs in which I suddenly exclaim to myself, 'Stop! That's Flavius - all the way!' or get inspired so much by a song that it actually helps form the character of one of my heroes. And then, of course, I save that song onto my iPod, and hit repeat more times than I care to count. Also, especially with my novels, I tend to love having theme instrumental tracks (Howard Shore, Harry-Gregson Williams, John Williams, etc), sometimes even more than the ones with lyrics, because they just fit overall character and story-themes perfectly.
On this blog I might have scratched the surface of theme songs that I use for my novel, The Crown of Life, however, I have increased my theme songs to quite a list by now since my last Beautiful People posts regarding its cast, and of course I haven't shared anything regarding that with A Love that Never Fails yet; besides not even making a post introducing the principle cast... gracious, that must be remedied! So, ladies, may I please introduce you to the theme songs for my different characters...
from the Crown of Life
Boil it down, and Valerius has been a character that has lived with me, in my inner imagination and thought, with little major changes for over five to six years. I guess you could call him the firstborn child of my pen, and he will always hold that special place for me as a writer. As for theme songs, for a long while I have been inspired by Graham Kendrick's song, Knowing You, for the faith and longing of Valerius' heart, to 'know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings', and also presenting the theme of the cost and sacrifice of giving up everything to gain Christ and follow in His steps; so this is probably the main one. Kendrick's Consider it Joy is another appropriate one for Valerius; the Sons of Korah's album, The Light of Life, has been such an influential part in sparking the element of the sufferings Valerius goes through, with the beauty of the Psalms for inspiration, along with other songs from the Sons of Korah band, like 'Pilgrim' (Rain), 'It's Over Now' (Light of Life), 'Whom Shall I Fear' 'One Thing' and 'In the Day of Trouble' (Live Recordings Vol 1). 'Born Again', and 'In Love for Me' from the musical, The Witness by Jimmy and Carol Owens for more overall Crown of Life theme inspirations. I am also particularly fond of Into the West by Annie Lennox that both suits Valerius and his bride, Claudia, in that promise they have of one day reaching an eternal home and joy everlasting. As instrumentals, Howard Shore's The Lord of the Rings and Braveheart composed by James Horner have been the most inspirational instrumental soundtracks for his overall story I think.
from The Crown of Life
Flavius. There need not be much debate about his theme song! Cliche as it may sound, I would say his theme song, the song that most affected me in discovering his depth of guile and moral degradation forming the three-dimensional aspects of his character, would be Gollum's Song. It just fits so perfectly... ^_^. I know my family tend to wrinkle their nose at this song and mute it when we reach the end of the Two Towers film, (for it is a song full of self-pity and misery!), yet it immensely helped me see the wretched, twisted heart of Flavius, even as Gollum/Smeagol himself is depicted in The Lord of the Rings. The torment and grief in his character, his queer mixture of cruel treachery and weakness; the bitterness of what life and humanity had done to him, and his response to it. It is so heartbreaking. I know it doesn't really fit but just for inspiration (the music, lyrics, etc are beautiful) I love listening to Javert's song, Stars, in the Les Miserables musical when I work with Flavius' character; that and Javert's Suicide. Perhaps more than anything, the fact that Javert firmly believes what he does to be moral and right, it is much the same with Flavius. Did I ever tell you that Javert was another inspiration as I wrote Flavius' character? Well, now you know. Robin Hood 2010 soundtrack captures something of Flavus' theme for an instrumental.
'Where once was light
Now darkness falls
Where once was love
Love is no more
Don't say goodbye
Don't say I didn't try...'
from The Crown of Life
For Claudia, her theme songs make me so sad and tearful and yet happy inside as well. She's like that with a beautiful, happy, pained dignity about her whole character that makes the music reflect that as well. Annie Lennox's beautiful song, 'Into the West', definitely would be hers. Also, there is something of Claudia's theme in Show Me by Audrey Assad... 'Bind up these broken bones, mercy bend and breathe me back to life... but not before You show me how to die.' 'Come Away with Me' (Sing, O Zion) is another beautiful, appropriate song with that element of the tender yet powerful call she receives from hearing about Jesus. And another one that often makes me think of Claudia would be Arwen's Song, sung by Liv Tyler, if anything because I have found so much to draw from the character of Arwen in regards to inspiration and themes for this particular character of mine, but also the words themselves are quite telling of the relationship of Valerius and Claudia at one point. Braveheart would be her theme instrumental album.
from The Crown of Life
Julius, minor character though he is, has a particular song reserved for him that, to me, seems to perfectly fit his story, the bittersweet sadness of his life, the life of a soldier poignantly. Every time I listen to the full soundtrack of Gods and Generals, and stop by the song 'Going Home' Julius comes to mind... his longing to return home brings a little pang to me, and I wish like those mere boys, that they did go home.
from The Crown of Life
Jolly, but I 'get cobble-webs of joy' just thinking of my darling vivacious Anthea. But you know when a parent sort of takes a long time to realize that the child of their youth is growing up? It is the same with me and Anthea, coming as quite the shock, when I realized how much growing up she does over the course of The Crown of Life. I think you know enough about Anthea to know a taste of her childish, spunky side, however there is the 'growing' and more 'serious' part of her that such theme songs as, To Believe sung by Jackie Evanchio have helped establish and nurture. Another perfect song that establishes something of her later importance in the tale and the burden placed upon her would be Enya's May it Be. Another song that comes to mind would be In the Night (My Hope Lives On) by Andrew Peterson.
from A Love that Never Fails
The more I write in A Love that Never Fails, the more I grow fond of Jane's grandmother. She's such an amazing woman. And for all her love and comforting strength, she has her own struggles and fears; she too has had a lot to give up. She too learnt what it means to love. For Grandmamma, I think of such songs as 'Carry the Fire' by Andrew Peterson that match that steadfast spirit of hers, despite taking a while to warm to that particular song... yet, if it were not for the music, the words are truly fitting for this woman. I am not so sure how fitting the song is, but the song 'You'll Never Walk Alone (My Gift To You)' by Richard Rodgers makes me think of Grandmamma, and so does Never Say Goodbye as well.
from A Love that Never Fails
from A Love that Never Fails
I don't believe I have introduced you to him before. But he is a fine fellow! To be perfectly candid, I have not featured him into any of the actual scenes I've written so far. But his part (which is quite a vital one) has been growing in my mind for future scenes in the novel for quite a while now; he is in a way one of the main protagonists of the story. To give you a splattering of information on who the youngster is, well, he is a young army pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and is involved in the Allied air attacks on Germany. I can't tell you much else of him at this stage, but I can assure you that you'll probably hear lots more of him as I continue writing. For him, a song like Empty Chairs at Empty Tables fits perfectly. It depicts his life as a soldier so vividly, the loss of his friends, the grief of war, and his sorrow that 'I live and you are gone'. Though these two are for me relatively new songs, Rich Mullins' If I Stand is a beautiful one that suits well in its solidness and assurance in the grace and mercy of God; Psalm 91 by Sons of Korah is one of a promise of protection, which Ernest clings on to daily in the war-front. The other one which I was a little reluctant at first to add to the list is Andrew Peterson's You'll Find Your Way. I am not awful fond of Peterson's music generally, but in this case, I think the song has a theme that fits Ernest well, and echoes the gentle words of wisdom his mother, back in Australia, would have told him before he became a soldier and went off to war.
from A Love that Never Fails
George's theme songs are ones of fatherhood more than anything else, but also of faith and hope; Bring Him Home reminds me so much of George, for his love for his men, especially Ernest, is very strong and sacrificial. The Call by Regina Spektor is perhaps the closest to characterize the loneliness and sadness he feels for leaving his little girl, Jane, behind as he goes into a war for the second time in his life. But he has hope too and a deep trust in God's faithfulness, so He's Always Been Faithful by Sara Groves fits; the solidness and strength of his faith calls for a doxology though, so here it is.
from A Love that Never FailsIt is telling that Jane doesn't have many theme songs. There is a simplicity to her character, and yet a certain strength and greatness of heart that her life or person cannot be summoned up in a song or two (a bit like how it is for us in real life). Also, perhaps because she's the main character, I am more picky with the themes I pick; for a while in fact, I did not have much of a theme song for her, and all that I could come up with was her favourite song which is, Jesus, Lover of my soul by Charles Wesley. A fitting hymn, actually, and I have been tempted to leave it at that. However, I have found two songs that while not being theme songs, are ones that fit perfectly some of the times and struggles in the life of Jane: You Raise Me Up is beautiful and so uplifting, I can imagine how encouraging this theme would be to Jane in her darkest and most pain-filled moments. 'I am strong when I am on Your shoulders, You raise me up to more than I can be...' Harry-Gregson Williams' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie soundtrack album and The Hobbit by Howard Shore are her instrumental theme tracks, they just suit her so perfectly (the Blitz, 1940, Evacuating London and The Adventure Begins especially). Her other song is by Laura Story, Blessings.
Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
Do you find listening to music whilst writing helping or distracting?
Elizabeth from The Endless Road asked much the same question in her tag months ago, Annie. The answer is that it generally depends on the mood I am in as I am writing. Sometimes it can prove an inspiration (especially putting on the music I have on Spotify or on one of my YouTube playlists), and at other times, when I am struggling for words or am nose-high in the emotions of a scene I'd rather be in complete quiet. The genre of music I prefer to listen to while writing would be instrumental music mostly as songs with lyrics, while proving an inspiration at other times, is quite distracting as I write. My favourite kind of instrumental music would be movie soundtracks or at times classical music, quiet Christian songs, gentle pop-songs or church-music. I intend to share in another post sometime who/what some of my favourite music bands and composers are, but, for now I will say that my favourite movie soundtrack composers are Howard Shore, Harry-Gregson Williams, John Williams, David Arnold, James Horner and some other less known ones like the composers for movies such as, Luther, The Nativity, Gods and Generals, Becoming Jane... etc. So yes, I do listen to music as I write, and movie soundtracks undoubtedly rank among my top list of 'inspiration for imagination' when talking about literary inspiration.
So that, my dear friends, is a peep at the songs that have inspired me in my differing characters, and have helped me ground themes in the overall telling of their stories over the years. Do tell me what songs inspire you with your characters, for I would love to know!
Lovingly penned by Joy at 8:41 am