7 Quick Takes: A Recap of the Vanished

I know I’ve been absent from 7 Quick Takes Friday for a while now. Some of it has been out of my control – moving and all that jazz – but some of it, I must admit, has been laziness on my part. So, of all the things, this is a Friday catch-up, I suppose.

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

Oh, September, how you are a tricksy month, particularly for someone like me who took a rather distended break from blogging and writing et al, and whose mind now is struggling to settle back into routine.

~2~

I think I will relish returning to the normal routine of student work getting in the way of writing work, though. Giving myself a reason to get out of bed will surely aid my brain into inspiration during the day.

~3~

Speaking of which, that’s coming up soon. I get enrolled soon, and then lectures after that, though it still feels like a lifetime away. I know it will pass so quickly; and part of me wishes so, whilst the other is perfectly happy to freeze time in the here and now.

~4~

alexb_bookskindle1

What am I reading? Oh, wow, what a question, since, if one goes by my Kindle app, I am reading quite a number of things at once. For my own amusement, I recently stumbled back into reading THE SECRETS OF GHOSTS by Sarah Painter and published by Carina, a small press that has impressed (!) me with its selections of titles and way with voices.

~5~

Image result for heart of brassThere are a few books I’m reading for writing style inspiration:

THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman; HEART OF BRASS by Kate Cross; A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by VE Schwab.

A theme, right? Well, I have to read up in my fields.🙂

~6~

On the writing front, I’m slowly rewriting my novel H, a historical fantasy that floats about from New York to Italy. Here, our plucky young heroine, Cathleen ‘Cathy’ Cattoway, returns to New York in the dead of night to question the man who last saw her betrothed.

~7~

When they docked unceremoniously in New York—Cathy’s boots slid her across the moisture-sleeked deck like untethered weights—the morning hung dark and heavy over Ellis Island, mist-less yet crammed with whispers of forbidden conversations out of their reach. Even the residue of last night’s Passing made Cathy’s hair stand on end. Out here the air was a mixture of gaslight fumes, the smell of bitterly cold air, and fouler scents, too…

Photo of the Week: Copycat

Because cat photos. Life with three cats is interesting, but ultimately one of the best experiences I have had. With all their three personalities, every day is something different.

But it is indeed Marmite who is the most…intriguing. She is the most territorial, yet she is in herself shy. She is one to dine-and-dash, so to speak, yet she has been known to hang around, to stay a day in my bedroom with no food or water. She’s an odd fluff.

This is from that day when she sat on my jumper and, as cats are want to do, took umbridge with my trying to reclaim it. I liked that she seemed to be imitating my Chat Noir poster in the background.

alexb_marmite3

 

The Dress Is Just One Yes

Image result for say yes to the dress

Anyone who knows their salt about weddings or wedding planning has probably heard of the show Say Yes to the Dress, where brides try and choose their bridal gown(s) in a rather staged elaboration of the shopping experience with a host of naysayers to, let’s be real, up the drama. It wouldn’t be a tv show without it. This show has recently spawned its UK version.

Yet another show in a line of wedding shows where people stress over the most unrealistic of things. But that’s only my opinion.

Just sometimes, despite the ‘fun’ of drama (I’ll admit that it’s nice to have a low-attention programme to watch after a hard day’s work), it would be nice to see a wedding tv programme that follows the real life ups and downs of trying to get married. Like finding out a cutesy venue is booked all Saturdays of the following year, and even into the next and next. Where you might have to change plans to a Friday or start the whole process over. Or that the bright white of tablecloths that everybody includes in their packages are just not the right ‘feel’ you’re going for, but you don’t know how to remedy.

It’s the starting with a blank slate and commercialism’s grubby hands that are what getting married entails.

I think most brides or pre-brides aren’t aware that finding the dress is almost the simplest part of planning a wedding. Sure, each of us is in our own way fussy, but even the fussiest of brides can find her perfect dress. It’s between her and her tailor(s) and very few people else.

Everything else, on the other hand… That’s the thing with weddings: they happen almost every day of the year, and venues cannot be everywhere at once, particularly those who have to be on site on the day of the wedding, like dressers or photographers. With more and more couples choosing to prolong their engagement, they’re looking at – and, more importantly, booking – their venue on dates memorable to them or seasons suitable for jobs and family more than 18 months in advance. And this leaves those who choose to keep their engagement to a more traditional length of a year or so out high and dry, so to speak.

That is, of course, only one element of the process. When one factors in the mere nature of a wedding – family-oriented, social, an ‘event’ – a whole host of other issues arise that involve other people: food, transport, entertainment, not to even mention the jewellery, outfits, paperwork. All the paperwork. In comparison, saying yes to the dress is but a miniscule element of a wedding.

Sure, the stereotypical images of young girls is that they fantasise about their wedding day (not me – I fantasised about filming music videos and photoshoots) and it’s the type of fantasy that involves a white dress (despite most gowns sold actually being ivory in hue) and a veil. But, as we ‘grow up’, we understand, or should do, that this is not the case. I’m sure that most engaged couples wedding fantasies are not of their lawful union but of getting the venue contract signed ASAP so that they can speak to vendors without being patronised that they’ve not booked anything yet.

Like the wedding itself, the dress is just the beginning.

Call me a cynic, but there’s so much more to a wedding than a dress – and it’s the things that really tie the day together and bring families into each other’s lives that we should be concentrating on when we think wedding. And when we film wedding.

Photo of the Week: Mirrored

We went for a canal walk this weekend, whilst the last of the British summer favours us (though, not according to predicted weather for this week…). I don’t normally opt for surface-sky reflections, but unfortunately I didn’t take many photos – and I forgot until our walk back, so the day was beginning to fade at the time of this photo.

I do like the clarity of this, even if it is a little dark in colour. No filters. Straight from my camera phone.

AlexB_reflection3_canal.jpg

Along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Photo of the Week: Curious Is the Cat

It’s another cat photo, yay! Haha, I met this fluffy long-haired fellow at the weekend in Reading for the Swing Dance exchange. They needed some persuasion, but eventually I coaxed one cat over, where they suddenly showered with me attention. I took a number of this beauty as they walked the garden fence following me, and I decided to share this one because of the character in the cat’s eyes. What a poser!

alexb_curiouscat1

Everybody needs a photo of a cat on their blog, right?😀