Beautiful People: H’s Cathy

*gasp* What is this, an actual Beautiful People post on my blog in 2016? I know, I’ve been as lax in keeping up with the writing tag as a printer sans ink, partly because I’ve not tackled any new big novels for a while and instead have been trying to focus on the importance of editing. But since I’m working on it at the moment, about two years from its conclusion, I thought we’d revisit my Steampunk novel H, a tale of ghosts, Italian tribes, and dirigibles.

what is beautiful peple about

Beautiful People is a monthly segment focusing on the fictional people of our novels with the intent of uncovering their little tidbits that although may not come into fruition or play in the novel, round the character into more than a paper cutout. It is hosted by Cait at Paper Fury and Sky from Further Up and Further In.

So, let me once again, introduce you to the lovely, yet audacious, Miss Cathleen Cattoway, betrothed to Squire Alexander Sterling. Or so she hopes…

PAPERFURY

  1. How did you come up with this character?

Horology - CathleenLike most of my character creation, I don’t recall coming up with Cathleen Cattoway specifically. I know I wanted a female main character to look through, someone with brown hair and eyes as a template for her appearance. Confident and not docile to the sexism of the day, but not someone who liked mechanics. Her name was something of a pick-out-the-hat, as I tend to do. It stuck, thank goodness.

  1. Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?

Totally boring here, but no. She’s had to be self-sufficient, and she has been hungry, sure, but never starving.

  1. Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of?

Linguistics. That is, the study of language structure. Cathy’s particular speciality comes from translating Latin and Greek, and so she is fascinated by how different languages use different syntax to create different meaning. This also helps her pick out when people are not being so truthful—as she is more likely to hear the false way they are using language.

4. List 3 things that would make them lose their temper.

People thinking she has to need help.

People stopping her from reaching her potential or helping others.

Liars, because she can read them more easily than most.

5. What is their favourite type of weather? Least favourite?

Does nighttime count as a weather? I guess that’s cheating. 😛 Cathy’s favourite time of weather would be blue skies, though not too hot. Her least favourite? Thunderstorm rain.

  1. What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?

I went with Hogwarts house because, although I’ve done numerous Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator tests and read loads on my own type (INFJ here 😀 ), I’ve not had the time to read that much into other types. Since INFJ’s are the rarest, even if my characters do share my attributes and interests, I don’t think if they were to do the test, they would come out so.

I’d say Cathy’s a Ravenclaw. She’s not brave enough for a Gryffindor, is too frank to be a Hufflepuff, and honestly, I see very few traits of hers as Slytherin-y. She aspires to not aspire.

  1. Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?

Well, Cathy would consider the two irreparably linked – her present problems are the small cogs in the machine of the unknown future; if there are present issues, that means that the future is not going to be set out the way she would like it to be.

  1. What is their favourite drink?

Your average Google stock photo

Tea. Definitely. Just your average India Leaf tea, though she was recently introduced to lemon Green tea, and she rather liked it.

  1. What is their favourite colour? Least favourite?

Her favourite colour is a rich maroon or burgundy. She likes the rich reds that can be transformed to taffeta fabrics. Her least favourite colour…I’d say that would be black, simply because it lacks texture and the potential to see other colours through it.

  1. What is a book that changed their life?

Wow. Now that’s a loaded question. I mean, I don’t have a favourite book, and – as Cait herself would say – I am a feelingless Vulcan, whose life has very rarely been changed by a single book, so I don’t know where to start with Cathy. What springs to mind would be the first book she translated: a series of poems in elegiac couplets by Catullus, one of a group of Roman writers known as the ‘new poets’. She would’ve been inspired by the way the poetry is clever and full of imagery – yet, also is poetic in the sense that it does not stick to the poetic boundaries English is forced to.

What about you? Are you in the deep depths of editing at the moment, or have you just started making a new book baby? Let’s chat 😀

The Lady in Grey

I recently came across an old poem of mine (circa 2011) and, this being a writing blog in heart, thought it worth posting here. Enjoy!

Ice-lady of the wood,

Smoke for hair and space for eyes,

Grown out of contradiction,

Taught not to love, only disguise.

She whispers words

Only witches can see,

Burning babies’ tears one by one,

In the hope of being set free.

For what blackness is compared

To that upon her heart?

In the darkness there passes

Wisdom enough to impart;

There are no princes on

White steeds. None wait

Under the towers of the mind.

Roses, only destiny creates,

Lest be left behind,

Like the woman in the wood.

 

Stock image found via Google

 

Photo of the Week: Panels

Unfortunately, not much on the photo stakes this week, as I haven’t had much of a chance around my work to find subjects for photography.

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Here, beads of light explode on a panelling decoration on the wall, shattering the illusion of stillness and quiet, by responding to the music around them with ever-changing colours. I tried to get a photo of the colours as the cascaded through, but managed with this as the best, yellow with hints of green. Pretty. 🙂

7 Quick Takes about Poeming, Photoshooting, and Bipartite Discussions

Ah, Friday. I remember you from last week. That had been so long and so paltry a time ago. Now, of course, it’s time for this week’s 7 Quick Takes, hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.

seven quick takes friday 2

#1. It’s funny how time changes, isn’t it? This time last year, I was practically petrified of everything and would never have asked a lecturer for source materials or tips. Today, I struck up a conversation with my Philosophy of Mind lecturer about the psychological problem of hemispatial neglect, which I am currently looking at in my Neuroscience module. Whilst I expected the bipartite degree to overlap, I never expected it to so directly.

#2. Speaking of which, you might have heard that the new term started. Eep. Expect my creativity productivity to decrease. I’ve already gained an essay, and next week is the start of Mini Project number two. It’s only a matter of months now before I start my final year project. Alas, the problems of university!

#3. Sometimes life gets the better of people, though, and one of my friends had to cancel her 21st party planned for tomorrow because she can’t make it up to Reading. Sadly, I’ve not seen her since she deferred her academic year for medical reasons, and, whilst I know she’s been recovering well, it’s still disheartening that I’m not going to be able to celebrate her birthday with her. Pray for her.

#4. In Chamber Choir, we’ve started the ambitious project of the Frank Martin Mass for double choir. I’m in the second choir (as a Soprano, of course), which gives me some of my lowest notes. Bizarrely, I can actually reach that low in my chest voice, but, boy, it’s not comfortable. Nevertheless, the sung Mass work is beautiful and ghostly. A piece of Heaven, one might say. If you want a nosy at the sound, YouTube has some good recordings (though, the whole piece is 27 minutes):

#5. I’ve been doing another over-elaborate photoshoot today with Lady Chronaire, as she gained a proper corset (yes, there are such things as fake corsets) with shiny shiny buttons today, and I spent a good time editing the rubbish auto quality of my laptop camera into photos that bore a little steampunk mystery to them.

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#6. Editing again this week. I’m making great progress with my January batch of writerly things, whilst also trying to hang out more with other writers on Twitter, Absolute Write, and their own blogs. I did, however, write a spontaneous poem in my own little way to combat the hail I encountered on my way home.

#7.

The day was crisp and low and kind of nice –
I took the scenic road,
Along the lake and
Where the mallards squawk.
Cold breeze engulfed my hands,
And only just numbed fingertips.
I wondered, purposed, beside the trees,
Whilst an ash-grey sky from invisible volcano smoked;
Before long, the plink and plonk
Of slow raindrops
Coated phone and face—
No, it was far too cold for rain.
Hailstones rebelled until
Safety I sought.
Yet, in that unsteady pace,
In that tumultuous sky,
I made my way home.

It’s kind of a love poem in its own little way: an apology for lamenting at the weather, but also one that cares for the nature around me. I had one of those wonderment moments where I just wanted to spend more time with God’s Creation. Not having the time, however, I simply took a different route back.

Don’t forget to catch up with everyone else! I’ll see you next week.

My life revolves around backseat driving and half-hearted love letters

And that would be the start of a poem a lot better than the one you’re about to read, but the summer saps my creativity and soul, and I end up writing vapid nonsense to prompts for which I ought to be wittier. It’s kind of creepy.

Last month, The Scribblers creative writing society launched their first book of creative writing, produced in printed, ring-bound form (like any university collection) by the president and English Lit student, based on the prompt The Lake. I thought I’d shared my poem in the collection here.

Into the Lake

Churlish white-grey, wave upon wave

Above her crest and contorted shape

Laps away the life she knew,

Replaced with a deathly show.

Organs melt and boil and bubble, though

Pressure first swells her ears,

Then the petty nonsense gurgles;

Oxygen is a forgotten resource.

The mind leaves little but an inventory

Of life as she drops from sanity.

A single moss-plant by her right,

That arm in green might catch her side,

Yet, they meet and dance and part as if

The weed never existed. Refraction.

Ever-intrepid hands climb the non-existent rope,

Where safety slips, threatens, teases,

And as she downward dips, questions

Of morality flit and forget to float –

Once, perhaps, it bailed her out;

Broken, now it only descends with her,

Descends, transcends and bends the ether

‘Tween consciousness and nullity;

Turn the inner voice away, and

The outer streams far more sense to the deep.

Sight has nothing more than glass

To offer the erstwhile traveller. Glass,

The ever-distorting foe –

Who turns the knife into a rose,

The fist into a palm.

Never mind the hue of blood under her nails –

The water dyes every inch

Blue, like the plant-unlife is blue, unwanted.

One bubble, maybe two, as passing payment,

Then – nothing, and silence, sweet head, weeps.

Maudlin and black now the waves lap;

Her soul rises higher – her body fades back

To depths and the gloom beyond eyelids closed,

In the pit, that lake, morose.

Lake2

Quick Takes Friday About Gaining Dual POV, Generating Poetry and Glueing Rhinestones

Join me and the other Catholic bloggers over at ConversionDiary for our weekly Quick Takes summaries.

~1~

Firstly, in case you missed it, yesterday was my 500th post here, so I did some summing up of the past 2.5 years I’ve been working. I can’t really add anything more to that other than the hope that I can up the output and reachability of the blog over the next three years, and that people will continue to join me (and hopefully find me useful/interesting/worthy).

~2~

Lincoln tomorrow!!! That is all.

Okay, it’s also kind of funny trying to make my 21st Century gadgets into retrofuturistic objects I can use without heading too far out of character. Also, I currently have a centre parting. The right side of my forehead feels icky. It’s not used to hair.

Photoview

~3~

On Monday, we went to see the animals in the local garden centre, and the weather decided to cheer a bit more than the typical British weather we had creeping in the end of the summer. Yes! *air punch* I can’t say I’ve gone out of my way to leave the house this week – and who can blame me? The outside world is scary – but I have been trying to vary my routine. This week, I’ve mostly been about writing.

~4~

Writing: I managed to do some serious paragraph threading-together for chapter one, and the first fifty pages have been my priority for this week’s editing. I haven’t really dealt with OJAP this week – though, after the weekend, I hope to actually work out what I’m doing with chapters 8, 9 and 10 now that Carrie’s not in the Josh’s-bedroom scene, and whether I can manipulate her meeting with Agnetha later in the novel to include certain lines.

I mean, some things are telling about her character, not in terms of the plot, but in terms of what I figure is important for Carrie as a wounded soul, such as, “Yeah, my parents didn’t get along, either.”

~5~

I wrote my first poem for months and months. Although I’m not going to share it yet, it’s my typical metaphorical and metaphysical, metadescriptive stuff. Yeah, I made that last word up.

~6~

Reading – this sounds like it’s randomly-placed, but it’s connected to the below – Nicole Helm’s TOO CLOSE TO RESIST. I’m about a quarter of the way through, and am really absorbed into the characters. The writing’s not as elaborate as I’m used to – but that comes from moving from fantasy to contemporary, and it’s good practise for me for my contemporary romances.

~7~

Annoyingly, I did manage to distract myself and write some new stuff – for UTC, and suddenly I have dual POV when I’d not consciously made the decision to look from Laurie’s POV to begin with. I think this is chapter two or whatever.

After waving Ceriwyn into her own room through a hollow doorway that pointlessly split A block in half, Laurie trudged to his room. September’s full moon was already reflected high in the window he passed, and it was no doubt gone 2am. Laurie always kept Ceri company as the freshers seeped out of the bar – a habit that had started the day she’d got the job in the final term last year. The same time he’d got his job organising formals, posting on the Wellington Facebook page and welcoming foreign students into their rooms at any time in the term.

Thank goodness for his childhood habit of not getting to sleep until the downstairs noises had stopped.

Laurie spun his key in the door, and shouldered his way in. A block was on the older side of Wellington, in its main quad, and thus everything had been made sound-proof and out of pre-WW1 stone.

I like Laurie. He’s a History second-year and friendly despite being sensible/not-crazy. Although he grew up in a moneyed house, he’s learnt to take events beyond their face value, which makes him a useful ally because you know what you’re getting when Laurie turns up.

‘The Relationship’

I wrote this poem on Wednesday when this photo I took the same day inspired me.

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Your sweat and the last refrain of melody and the closing thorn,
It pierced my heart before I’d even known
How to spell out your amour.
In these moments where I curse and scrawl your words over and again,
True realisation is my enemy and enmity
Swells within me, a bitter
Leftover of our poison,
A poison for shelling our mind, enriching our souls.
We know better –
Well, you have your moments of standing by the window – and
Trilling the forlorn tune
(I remember you passed it to me,
Via piano keys
The day you realised
I only play strings)
I’ve kept my mind from the countermelody:
I hum that tune to myself sometimes.
We plucked youth from out of each others hands;
Quite why I didn’t expect the thorns
Ploughed from regret
Nobody factored but you, with your silent
Hands. Bled, I did, and cried as we signed ourselves
Away. Into a word neither
Admitted was our harmony bed.
Your sweat and the last refrain,
And I cut my thorn-decked flesh,
Eyeing your hesitance, knife-point.
No wonder salt lies on the scared.