Thursday, July 15, 2010

Just in Case Anyone is Alive....

I have a feeling everyone is dead, but if not I posted part of my story on The Erratic Muse. If you have a little time, it would make me so happy if you read it. :-)

Here are links to a movie and two book reviews I've been able to do-

The Red Baron (2008)

Stepping Heavenward - Elizabeth Prentice

Canon of Scripture - F. F. Bruce

Thanks for reading.
Miss Pickwickian

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer and Reviews

Hey all!

I know summer is horribly busy...but I know a lot of you are trying to get a lot of reading done. It would be awesome if you could put reviews up!
We all enjoy reading and it's always good to hear about new books. Movie reviews would be awesome too!

I just posted a review on Megan Whalen Turner's new book The Conspiracy of Kings on my Erratic Muse blog. If you haven't read the Attolia series you really should!

Contact me and you are free to borrow them.

I also just wanted to share my excitement about a writer's conference I'm going to be able to go to in August!!!!!!!!!!! I think it is going to be amazing and I hope I will learn a lot.
I'm sure you'll hear more about it.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful, productive summer!
Miss Pickwickian

Monday, May 3, 2010

Textus Receptus, Looking like a stuck-up Nerd, and Mark 16


Aha. Aha.

So, once again, this is a school assignment. This blog should really be very thankful for my Omnibus class. :-P This post is partly to revive my reputation that I'm sure took a nasty fall when I posted

The only drawback is that I stand a great chance of looking like a nerdy bloated stuck up know it all. Which I'm not. But this may make it look like I am.

Will you all forgive me for forcing my school paper upon you?

All for the sake of keeping the blog alive, you know :)

Ugh, I just realized, the paper is rather long....

If you decide to waste 7.3 minutes of your life reading this, I would appreciate comments/criticizms/controversy/compliments or anything you want to say.


Hadley Ayers
Omnibus IV section C, 4th quarter assignment

Not very long ago, I was reading the book of Mark. I was nearing the end of this captivating book, in chapter 16. I had just finished verse 8, and was starting on verse 9: [Now, after he had risen early on the first day of the week…I stopped reading. Wait a moment, I thought. Why was the beginning of verse nine in parentheses? I turned the page to the end of the book. The last word of verse 20 also had parentheses around it: …confirmed the word by the signs that followed]. I looked back down at the page. The wonders continued, for right after verse 20, both in parentheses and italics, were the words, [And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. By now, I was thoroughly confused. I had never encountered anything like this in the Bible before. Now, I had been reading the New American Standard version. Curious, I turned to my New King James version. When I read the same chapter, there were no parentheses around verses 9-20, and it did not include the italicized addition to verse 20. My curiosity now further awakened, I looked up the passages on The website had this footnote: Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter, etc. Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20. Aha, I thought. There must be some controversy over this chapter! I decided it needed some looking into. Mouse in hand, I set out to uncover this mystery.

There are two ‘families’ of Greek New Testament manuscripts that have been found. The first is called the Byzantine text-type. The Byzantine text-type is made up of a vast amount of manuscripts, and its manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark contain verses 9-20 of chapter 16. The Byzantine text also does not include the addition to verse 20. These Byzantine manuscripts became the commonly accepted New Testaments. In the 14th century, Erasmus compiled most of the Byzantine manuscripts and translated them into Latin, which was called the Textus Receptus. From the Textus Receptus, the King James and New King James versions were both translated. The second family of manuscripts is the Alexandrian text-type, which was not discovered till the 19th century. The Alexandrian text is made up of far fewer manuscripts than the Byzantine, but what manuscripts it consists of are older and closer to the time of Christ. The oldest of these Alexandrian manuscripts, the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus, do not include verses 9-20 of chapter 16, and some texts include the addition to verse 20. In 1850, Karl Lachmann published the first New Testament that relied only on the Alexandrian manuscripts. The Critical Text, which is compiled from the Alexandrian manuscripts, is the basis for all English translations (except the King James and New King James), and is now in modern times the accepted New Testament.

These two families of texts from whence the Bibles we read come from have different endings for Mark. Which text is more reliable? The Alexandrian Text is older than the Byzantine. If it is older, and thus closer to when the New Testament was actually being written, then the chances of it being the original are more likely. On the other hand, though the Byzantine text is not as old as the Alexandrian, it has the majority on its side; for its manuscripts are more numerous, and all these manuscripts agree. How shall we weigh these arguments?

This is a rather tricky matter, but not unsolvable. Not only does the Byzantine text have the Majority in its favor, it also has a longer history of acceptance. From about the 5th century till quite modern times, The Byzantine Text and the Textus Receptus became the accepted New Testament. The Reformers used it. The vote of confidence of all the great men of Church History has to amount for something. There is a reason the Alexandrian text type was not common in ancient times, and why we have not discovered it till late. There is a reason the early church fathers must have rejected it in favor of the Byzantine texts. Also, just because we can’t find any manuscripts that are dated closer to the writing of the original document doesn’t mean that the Byzantine manuscripts are not original. The quantity of agreeing manuscripts points to something. If you are hiking, and come to a point where you can see a great big river, but are unable to see its source, you never the less know that the source exists. Merely being older does not give the Alexandrian text automatic authenticity. Being a little younger does not mean the Byzantine Text is any less authentic than it is. Thus, the Byzantine text is more reliable, and as it includes verses 9-20, we know that these verses are legitimate; also, the addition to verse 20, which the Byzantine text does not include, must not be legitimate.

Even though we have established that the Byzantine text is probably the more reliable, and thus we can trust the addition of verses 9-20, we must still go over a few criticisms with Mark 16 itself. One objection to verses 9-20 is that it uses several words and phrases that Mark never uses before. It doesn’t seem to be written in Mark’s style, and thus it is assumed that these verses must have been added later by someone else. The main question here is the authority of writing style. Should an author’s writing style be the law that says a work belongs to a certain author? Would you take a book that had been written by J.R.R. Tolkien, discovered that it had a few words that he either didn’t use very often or never had before, and start up a ruckus claiming that J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t write the book? Is an author to be given no freedom to write differently from works previous? A biblical author’s writing style does not carry as much weight as some people make it out to carry. It should be an interesting, enjoyable study, and no more. Also, why would Mark end his book at verse 8 with these words: And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. This does not seem like a very complete or good news-like ending to the great story of Jesus Christ. Moreover, though this ending briefly mentions that Christ has risen, it does not include any actual appearance of Christ after his crucifixion, as all the other gospels do. Thus, these objections to Mark 16:9-20 are shown to be of no weight.

I leaned back in my chair. Through the course of my research, I came to the conclusion that verses 9-20 were indeed a part of Mark. The arguments in favor of the Byzantine text, which is the basis for the versions that include verses 9-20, outweighed the arguments in favor of the Alexandrian text. The objections to this passage in Mark did not carry enough weight to convince me of their validity. However, as I was researching this information, I found it necessary to remind myself of the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the debate over which version to use, which versions are superior, and what not. While we may hold that a certain translation is more correct than another, we shouldn’t get too wound up over it. We can still be good Christians if we read the NASV, or the ESV. This whole subject about the ending of Mark is important, but it should not estrange us from other Christians. To close with a quote:

“The New Testament was inspired by God, and came from the pens of its writers or their amanuenses in infallible form, free from any defect of any sort, including scribal mistakes. However, God in His providence did not choose to protect that infallible original text from alterations and corruptions in the copying and printing process.” –Douglas Kutilek

St. Clement

This actually isn't about St. Clement at just reminded me of that rhyme:
Oranges and Lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's....
Anyways. I wrote this when I was very bored the other day. I honestly don't know very much about it. It is very odd. So odd, you may give me funny looks next time I see you. But, after all, desperate times call for desperate measures. No one has posted anything for a very long time! Someone needs to save the blog from utter ruin! Esmeralda to the rescue! (:-P) I needed something to post, and something quick. Thus, I give you,

Lemons on Sunday

P.S. There are a few wonky allegories in this. So wonky, you may wonder if I actually understand the meaning of allegory. However, I'm curious to see if any of you can figure out what all it means. If you can't, that's ok. It prolly doesn't make much sense. It made sense in my head :-P

'I do like lemons,' he said.
He was gazing out to the street, not looking at her. She was staring at her feet.
'Yes,' she murmured, 'But limes are far more effective.'
'Oh, I don't think so.' He leaned back against the wall. His voice was drawling and bantering. 'Lemons can hide things, sour things that certain people shouldn't see.'
'Yes, but limes are stronger,' she replied. 'They can keep certain people from coming in. They are too slippery for attackers.'
She turned to him, her face earnest, almost pleading.
He glanced at her, one eyebrow raised, then turned his gaze back to the cold street.
'So you prefer limes to lemons?' he asked in a rather acidic voice.
She blushed. 'I'm not saying I like either of them, actually. As far as it goes, I'd rather have a strawberry, or a peach, or an apple-' She stopped, and quickly put her hand over her mouth. She had been disturbed by his coldness, wasn't thinking clearly in her effort to defend herself. She had let-that word- slip out. She had said it. What would he think of her now?
She was trembling now, shifting her feet.
He turned to her. His face was like stone.
'What did you say?'
His voice seemed to have grown deeper. Her mind went blank. Fear swept over her. She tried to speak, but her voice shook.
'No, no, I- I didn't mean- don't think- oh, please-don't be mad at me!'
She was near tears. She couldn't look at his face. A tear slid down her cheek and plopped onto her shoe as she waited fearfully for him to respond. She was both dreading and hoping his words. She finally summoned enough nerve to look up- and he was gone. She let out a wail, and fell down weeping on the steps.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Matrix

A while ago some of us were talking about The Matrix. Some of us had seen it, some of us hadn’t. I think it’d be cool to have another sleep over and watch it together…a Matrix Party! I’ve seen it, so I decided to do a post on it to get us all excited about it :-P
Now, the Matrix is rated R, I think for violence. I’d never seen an R rated movie before so I was pretty excited. I can’t say I saw the whole thing though…my younger siblings were watching so we skipped a scene or two. We don’t have Clearplay, but we have my dad, which is just as good :-P He remembers where every obscene swearword is and every inappropriate scene. And there was a lot of swearing. BUT despite the constant muting it was AMAZING. I mean, you know a movie’s epic when they all wear black leather clothes and sunglasses and carry so many guns they just throw them away when they’re done with them and pull out some new ones. You also know a movie’s epic when it’s about rebelling against world domination. I love those kinds of movies. The Lord of the Rings, the first Narnia, Star Wars, and (if you think about it) I am Legend. There’s a big bad guy (in this case, a computer program) who’s taking over the world, and a small group of good guys try to get rid of the big bad guy. It’s also very much science fiction (with the whole ‘what is reality’ thing going on and the Matrix itself and all the computer programs), which makes me love it even more. :)
I also loved the imagery going on with the names. The hero’s name is Neo, Latin for New. Very appropriate, since Neo is the One they’ve been looking for and the only One who can save them, etc etc.
The leader of the good guys is Morpheus. The name Morpheus is from the Greek (or Greekish word) morph, or change. After all, what bigger change could there be than bringing down the matrix? His name could also be Orpheus with an M stuck on the front. Orpheus sang so beautifully that the very rocks were moved…I guess you could say Morpheus was effective in moving Neo and the others…hahah but that’s going a little far maybe….
The heroine’s name is Trinity. Now, I wonder what they were trying to get across with her name?
The colony of people rebelling against the Matrix is called Zion. The city of God. Interesting, no?
I also liked the Oracle. It seemed like such a Greek, archaic thing to have in the midst of black sunglasses and guns. And the kids in the Oracle’s house were all in Greekish robes and doing Jedi-things with spoons…it all seems sort of unearthly and archaic…and then you meet the Oracle. Haha! That whole scene seemed so ironic.
Along with Zion and Trinity, I noticed a couple other…idk… similarities that reminded me of the story of Jesus…maybe I’m going a little far…if you’ve seen the movie you can tell me what you think. So, Neo is supposed to be the Savior (obvious parallel there). He is betrayed by that creepy wimpy dude (Judas-figure) in to the hands of the Agents. When they are trapped, he lets Trinity go through the telephone (giving up his life for hers). The agents then attack him. He has a few moments when he either dies or is so close to death they all believe he’s dead. But then he gets ‘resurrected’ and defeats the agents (which, btw, is THE most awesome scene in the whole movie). Obviously, Neo is of course sinful and not without fault, and the story doesn’t follow that of Christ’s passion perfectly, and I’m not trying to make it. I just noticed some interesting parallels :)
The thing that bugged me most about the Matrix: The fact that Neo is “guilty of every internet crime”. And when he has that underhanded dealing with those creeps in the first bit…It’s not a big part of the story, but it bugged me that the Hero used to be a criminal, even if it was in the Matrix.
The part I liked the most: Of course, the most redeeming part of the movie is when Neo decides to save Morpheus, even though he risks death and the ruin of their ship, instead of killing Morpheus to let themselves escape.
I also loved that a déjà vu is a glitch in the Matrix; when they change something…. RUN!
There is no spoon.
And they had a martial arts fight scene :-P
So, yeah, epic movie.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Music tag thingy

Ok, so this doesn't really have anything to do with literature, but it's music...which is still the Arts.... :-P Besides, I figured maybe there were people who needed cheering up and thought it would be a good idea to post something fun!

Put your iPod on shuffle and press FW for each question. Use each song title to answer each question!

1) How am I feeling today? Paper Heart – All American Rejects
2) Will I get far in life? Deathbed – Relient K. Ouch.
3) How do my friends see me? The Bird and the Worm- Owl City4) Where will I get Married? Swallowed in the sea- Coldplay; now that doesn’t bode well, does it?
5) What is my best friend's theme song? The Call-Regina Spektor. Yes, definitely.
6) What is the story of my life? Falling out – Relient K. Haha, isn’t it just.
7. What is/was highschool like? Hey Stephen- Taylor Swift. NOT. I don’t even know any Stephens.
8. How can I get ahead in life? Move Along- ARR. Sage advice, I suppose.
9. What is the best thing about me? Fearless-Taylor Swift. Indeed :-P
10. How is today going to be? Love Story-Taylor Swift. Hahah.
11. What is in store for this weekend? Lothlorien – LOTR sound track. Hey, wouldn’t that be cool!
12. What song describes my parents? Lion-o. Haha. I’m not sure my mom would appreciate that…
13. How is my life going? Tidal Wave – Owl City. You could say that I guess.
14. What song will they play at my funeral? California- Hawk Nelson
Let’s pack up and move to California, hop on board before we get older…hmmm
15. How does the world see me? Must have done something right- Relient K. HA
16. Will I have a happy life? Who I am hates who I’ve been- Relient K. Uh- oh
17. What do my friends really think of me? The Hardest Part- Coldplay. Really?
18. What should I do with my life? Rush of blood to the head- Coldplay
19. What is some good advice for me? Change your mind- The Killers. Hahaha!
20. How will I be remembered? Viva la Vida- Coldplay. Huh.
21. What is my signature dancing song? Strawberry Swing- Coldplay. There ya go!
22. What does everyone else think my current theme song is? Bring me to Life - Evanescence…Seriously?
23. What best describes my personality? A Beautiful let-down- Switchfoot. Oh dear.
24. What do I like in a guy? Halo –Beyonce. HAHAHAHAHA
25. What is my motto? Fidelity- Regina Spektor. Haha!
26. What do I think about often? Vanilla Twilight – Owl City
27. What do I want to be when I grow up? Stay Beautiful-Taylor Swift. Don’t I wish…
28. What do I think of my best friend? Never Alone – Barlow Girl
29. What do I think when I see the person I like? Breathe – Taylor Swift haha!
30. What song will I dance to at my wedding? Falling apart- AAR. Oh boy, wouldn’t that be sickeningly ironic….
31. What is my biggest secret? White Horse. Um.
Now it’s your turn…. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Alice in Wonderland!!!

So, technically, Saturday is my day to post, but I’m having a crazy weekend, so I thought I’d do it early to make sure it gets in. :-P

ALICE IN WONDERLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Technically speaking, this isn’t really a review; it’s more of a rave. I loved it. Everything appealed to me; it’s crazy weirdness (typical Tim Burton), the characters, everything! It really was clever to place the story a few years ahead as a sort of sequel instead of making ‘a movie out of the book’. They could make up their own plot without Lovers of the Book yelling at them and accusing them of murder.

It had all my favorite actors:

Johnny Depp! (I’ve only seen him as Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka; but that’s enough to make me like him.) As the Mad Hatter, he was crazy and brave and sweet and weird and hilarious and sincere without appearing forced and wacky all at once. I loved his dance at the end. :-P

Helena Bonham Carter! She was SO AWESOME as Belatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter. Her role there was similar to the Red Queen; a delusional Villainess. Although, I have to say, I loved how they made the Red Queen a more complex character than just an essence-of-evil villain; she is the way she is because of a background of estrangement and lack of love. You can almost see glimmers of hope for her when she says, “Is it not better to be feared than loved? I’m not sure any more.” (Though of course she denies it in the end). And you can’t help feeling sorry for her when that creepy creep with the eye patch tries to kill her. She thought he loved her! What a creep he was! JERK!

Excuse me.


Anne Hathaway!!!!!! Her makeup was pretty wacky. But I liked her as the white queen. She made me laugh. I want to walk the way she did in the movie in the store one day and see how people react.

Stephan Fry! (He was only the Cheshire cat’s voice, but he’s still awesome). The Cheshire cat gave me bad dreams, though. His grin. Freaks me out.

Alan Rickman! Again, he only did the voice of the Caterpillar, but doesn’t he have the coolest
voice ever?
And Alice. Actually, I found Alice a little annoying on occasion - her attitude just seemed so typical of the young movie heroine. But what I really liked was what they did with the whole Fabjous Day (Calloo! Callay!) Battle and Alice being the champion. Usually, when movies have a girl do the killing they’re trying to score a point for their Feminist views, sort of a So there! Girls can fight too! But in this movie they didn’t seem to emphasis the fact that Alice is a girl fighting and winning, but rather Alice as a person who has lost her muchness, and is finding it again. It’s not about Feminism, or telling us girls can do that as well as boys; it’s about gaining personal courage to do the right thing. Queen Susan fighting with the boys in Prince Caspian? A jab from the feminists. Alice fighting the Jabberwocky? Anything but.

I didn’t think they should have let the Jabberwocky talk. It’s less scary that way. But his purple blood was cool.

And I loved the dog :) He was so sweet!
The movie was also hilarious. In some parts I couldn’t breathe for laughter! I have GOT to own that movie when it comes out on DVD!
Another thing: Though it was weird, it wasn’t merely weirdness with no point. It had a structured plot. It was funny without being cheesy or forced. The characters had depth (though those depths may have been just more craziness) :-P And I liked the song during the credits.
I need a pig here!
So yeah :) I loved it. I told you this post wasn’t going to be much more than saying over and over how much I liked it. But there it is. Beware, I shall quote it often in the future.

Take 6

Something odd. I enjoy these guys in short doses. They actually have a very cool David and Goliath song, but there wasn't a good version on youtube.
Their singing is amazing and always without accompaniment. Just thought I'd post something (and something rather odd) since I missed my day.

Miss Pickwickian

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

84 Charing Cross Road.

84, Charing Cross Road 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a very short and sweet book. A compilation of the letters of Helene Hanff, and Frank Doel, the proprietor of an English book shop (I like how she used the term "book shop" instead of "book store"), and, eventually, the remainder of the book shop staff, and the wife of the proprietor. Very witty and charming.
The movie, I confess, was more appealing, as it showed the story of the writers of the letters. It starred Anthony Hopkins (one of my all-time favouritest actors), as the book shop proprietor, and Anne Bancroft, as the New York City playwright with peculiar taste in antiquarian books.
The movie makers faithfully used the majority of the letters found in the book.
I think I'd like to read some more of Hanff's works, since the way she wrote her letters was funny, witty, sometimes sharp, but very likeable. There was humor sprinkled liberally throughout the whole thing, along with the sweet, the touching, and, in one or two cases, the sad.

I wish English book shops of the sort existed today. I'd strike up a correspondence with the proprietor, or manager, or whoever would sell me the books, and become fast friends, and, eventually, go to England personally.

View all my reviews >>

Thus the review of Me. I'll try to have something more elaborate for next week. ;)
Thanks for reading!
Love you all!
- aisha

Friday, March 19, 2010


I have decided that this Saturday’s post (ooooh…doesn’t that sound official?) will be about the most wonderful book in the world. It never ceases to amaze me how few people have read it.
Well, at least I think it’s the most wonderful book in the world. It is a tough call, though. :)
The Title? Phantastes.
The Author? George Macdonald. For those of you who are familiar with George Macdonald, the mere fact that he is its author should automatically endear this book to you. Those of you have the great misfortune of never reading any of his works, you have only to talk to someone who has and watch them swoon at the mention of his name.
First, a quote. “It must have been more than thirty years ago that I bought – almost unwillingly, for I had looked at the volume on that bookstall and rejected it on a dozen previous occasions – the Everyman edition of Phantastes. A few hours later I knew that I had crossed a great frontier. I had already been waist deep in Romanticism; and likely enough, at any moment, to flounder into its darker and more evil forms. Now Phantastes was romantic enough in all conscience; but there was a difference. Nothing was at that time further form my mind than Christianity and I therefore I had no notion what this difference really was. I was only aware that if this new world was strange, it was also homely and humble; that if this was a dream, it was a dream in which one at least felt strangely vigilant; that the whole book had about it a sort of cool, morning innocence, and also, quite unmistakably, Death, good death. What it actually did was to convert, even baptize, my imagination.” -C.S. Lewis
When I first read Phanastes many years ago, I couldn’t have told you the main plot or what the point of the story was. At first glance, the story is about a young man named Anodos who gets lost in Fairyland, and wanders through many bizarre and random adventures trying to get un-lost. The nature of the story leaves one confused, befuddled, not knowing what the point to Anodos’ seemingly random wanderings is or where the author is going with this story. The whole tale has a quality of unearthly, bizarre beauty that initially can be mind-twisting if you’re not used to that sort of writing. But as I’ve read it over and over again, the point becomes increasingly clear. While Anodos has many seemingly unconnected adventures, two themes and two people run through the whole thing.
The first real mishap Anodos has in Fairyland is the acquiring of his Shadow. He finds his Shadow as a result of ignoring some wise advice, and the Shadow fallows his wherever he goes. The influence of the Shadow makes him moody, and makes him suspicious and distrustful. If his Shadow falls on flowers, they wither. If his Shadow happens to fall on a Fairy-child, the child becomes a plain and vulgar farm boy. In short, Anodos’ Shadow is a symbol of his Sin, and the process of disposing of his shadow a symbol of his search for redemption.
The other two people who run through the whole story are the White Lady, and the Knight. Anodos frees the White Lady from her marble tomb through his singing, though she runs away from him. Throughout the story, he is driven by his love for her and a desire to see her once more. Anodos also meets the Knight, who symbolizes the kind of man Anodos desperately, wishes to be. The Knight flits in and out of the story, and near the end Anodos comes to love the Knight as a master. Through the course of searching for the White Lady, however, Anodos learns that his White Lady loves the Knight, and that she is meant for him and cannot love Anodos in the way Anodos has been wanting her to. Anodos at first struggles with this, but later accepts it through realizing that the Knight, his master, is more worthy of the White Lady than he is. Anodos displays his unconditional love for both of them by sacrificing himself for their sakes. The ‘revelation’ is that Anodos has been searching for the wrong love and loving the wrong way; he eventually realizes “that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one comes closest to the soul of another”.
Related to both the love theme and the sin theme is the Alder Maid, who Anodos mistakes for the White Lady, but who is in truth wicked and a snare for men’s souls. Her part in the story reminds me very much the Proverb’s Strange Woman.
In short, Anodos’ journey through Fairyland is a quest (the knight theme is very prevalent in this story) for both Redemption and a search for the right kind of love. It all gets resolved at the end, which is quite moving, and I won’t give it away. :) Phantastes can strike one as being odd or bizarre, but it is also intensely beautiful. It’s an unearthly, unreal kind of beauty that will leave you in a daze when you get up from finishing it. I highly recommend it- I read it every year to get my priorities straight:-P. If its weirdness puts you off at first, give it a chance. Underneath its seeming random and odd narrative, it’s truly the most beautiful story I’ve ever read.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hannibal's Elephant

So, I noticed things are relatively I thought I'd post a school paper. I love it when Mr. Davis gives us creative writing assignments. ;) The idea was to write 1000 words about the night before the battle of Cannae (during Rome's war with the Carthaginian general Hannibal) from a Carthaginian soldier's perspective. So here ya go :)
Comments are welcome, be they compliments or criticisms.
P.S. I'm planning on posting someting more real on Saturday, and I'll try very very hard to post consitently every Saturday. :-P

I am so deadly cold. The wind is unbearably bitter here, and the sky is grey and sunless. Elephants are not meant for the frigid North. Many of us died crossing the Infernal Alps; my friends, some of whom I had known in Carthage when I was young. They fell down in the snow, and never got up. I fear the country itself almost more than I fear its people. We will die of this dreadful cold yet. The men suffer too, for they were born in Africa and worship the sun like cats. And we are too poorly provisioned to have much of a barrier against the cold. The men’s armor, once a symbol of Carthage’s glory, is now so worn from our fighting that it amounts for little protection from Roman spears, let alone from the elements. The men’s tents are ragged and patched from a thousand set-ups and take-downs. Their shoes have holes from a thousand miles of ceaseless trudging, through ice and snow, over rock and rubble. Their minds are becoming numbed and exhausted from fighting a thousand battles, from killing thousands of other men, from enduring a thousand days away from their homeland.
The irony of our situation strikes despair into the hearts of our men. Thus far, we have been victorious in the field. When sword met sword, we have not failed to conquer. But that was then. That was when we were fresh, with plenteous provisions. Hannibal apparently has been so obsessed with hurting Rome he has been neglecting the very tool he is using- his own army. I have heard it said, back in the stables at Carthage- oh Carthage! - that an army moves on its belly. Apparently, Hannibal has not. Our provisions are evaporating like the dew off the grass (oh, how I would like some grass just now; even the dry summer straw of the savannas where I grew up). The rations that the men exist on are barely enough to feed a hedgehog. As for us, we are a little better off since we can eat the foliage of whatever plants happen to be around our camps- but we are hard pressed to find food in the amounts necessary to really sustain us. Have you ever seen an Elephant that is skin and bones? I bet you just can’t picture it. We’re starving. Though thus far undefeated by any man, we are defeated by starvation and the elements. And we all know that in this next battle, Rome cannot fail to defeat us when we fight them starving.
We elephants have no choice but to go on, to submit to Hannibal’s orders, for we are but beasts. And we are by nature patient beasts. But you can see the resentment and fear in the eyes of the men. We are on the verge of another battle, and they know they are weak from lack of food. They know now that Hannibal is a crazed (though albeit genius) lunatic whose sole purpose in life is to make Rome pay. When he was originally recruiting troops, they saw visions of glory and honor on the battlefield of Rome. But now, watching themselves die of starvation, they wonder why Hannibal had to drag all Carthage into his personal grudge. I’ve heard tell that some of the men- our Spanish troops- are planning to desert. I wish for Carthage’s honor, but not at the price Hannibal is willing to pay. I know it is honorable to fight to the end, but in my heart I wish we could surrender, quit, be done with this war. End the fighting and go home to Carthage. Feel the sun again. I envy the Spanish- they at least will see their homes one day. I will not.
It was my stable boy, Abdul, who told me of the Spanish defectors. It is from his conversations with the soldiers and the other stable boys that I get knowledge about what the army is doing. He was my stable boy back in Carthage; I know him, and he knows me. We met on the first day of my army training. I was nervous, fearful, untamed. The saddles, the ropes, and the earring that told my regiment all hurt; the noises of other elephants, shouting men, and trumpets were strange and frightening. But Abdul came up to me and gave me an apple; he spoke soothing words to me, and introduced me to the other elephants. He made me trust him. I love him, and I see the fear and pain in his eyes as he waits for death; death by starvation, or death by the hand of a Roman. I saw him say goodbye to his father and mother. I saw the pretty girl who used to come around the stable to talk to him give him her bracelet when he went off to fight Hannibal’s war. He’s wearing it now. He knows she’ll be waiting for him; but I fear he will never come back to Carthage. He fears it too. His fear is the fear of all the men. There is so much fear in the air tonight, I can almost reach out and grab a trunkful of it.
It is the night before the battle. The elephants whisper to each other as they huddle together against the cold air. Do you remember how we used to parade through the streets of Carthage on feast days? The children would ride on our backs and give us fruit from the palace gardens. And how we would lay in the sunny fields all day? Yes, I remember. I remember Carthage. But I will never see her again. I’ll never eat an apple or let a child ride me again. There is a battle tomorrow. I am fighting in it. Do not put despair in my heart by talking of my home. I will fall down in Rome, and never get up again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shakespeare's Sonnets

Recently I've been dealing more with poetry and lyrics then I've ever done in my life.
I've never really read very much poetry because a lot of it has always seemed so over the top. I tend to dislike overly romantic or meandering drama over leaves and scenery etc.... And it seems like what there is to say has already been said and so much of it is similar. (Very narrow view I know.)

Lately, however, I have been trying to study some poetry and delve into lyric writing etc. I enjoy the actual writing part and I can think of plenty of things to write about. (And maybe since I don't like meandering drama I should do something about it. ;-)
I've been writing a lot of rough lyric sort of verses in short bits of time. It helps me feel like I've accomplished something well I still work on my long story. :-)
Anyways, I thought I should learn some stuff about how it actually should be done.

I've picked up two books on poetry (how to understand it, what it's uses/powers are, how to write it, etc...). I've also been working through a book on song writing, but it is a bit of a drag. (The first chapter is about diving into the depths of your soul to find your polished pearl of inspiration...exactly the sort of thing that put me off poetry to start with.)

Anyways, I thought a good place to start would be studying the best, so I picked up a lovely copy of Shakespeare's Sonnets at "Exodus". I can't say it's my favorite thing, but I am happy that they are enjoyable. :-)

What are your views on poetry? Do you have favorite works?

"Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all they might
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend bas subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey,
If Time have any wrinkle graven there;
IF any, be a satire to decay,
And make Time's spoils despised every where.
Give my love fame faster then Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife."

Miss Pickwickian

The Erratic Muse

Monday, March 8, 2010

Self Inflicted Goals

For about two weeks last month I met my goal of writing 500 or more words a day.

Then....kidding and lambing season started happening and it all went out the window. I'm trying to start back up again, but lets face it, life is BUSY!
I haven't got any routine down since the critters started having babies everywhere. I need one! I have a lot of after highschool studies and such that I want to be making speedy headway through and I am 100% determined to write.

I'm working on a number of projects.
A book for our business
My Ligonier study course
School writing....
History and a couple other independent (and very fun) stuff for school
Song lyrics
And dearest to my heart, my story!

In January I set the goal as having the final draft done by Feb 1st 2011. It seemed reasonable as I was plugging through past 25,000 words and all. But then....CRASH! Now I'm on my 100 billionth redo.
I'm still hoping to make Feb 2011. There is an amazing contest that you can get feed back on and that is the deadline. I can do it! (..........maybe)

So I'm back to 500 words six days a week. It really isn't very much and only takes 1/2-1 hour. If I cut down other optional activities I
I can make it most days. And I want to write! It makes my whole day better. And writing every day keeps you in shape, it's the constant theme in all writing advice. It must be sound.

This year my journal has almost been reduced to plan schedules and goals, but I think it is good. Goals are good. I think their even gooder when they are self-inflicted. :-)

I hope I make it.

I don't know what this post was all about really...but I guess now you can all hold me accountable for my 500 words. ;-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian

The Erratic Muse

BTW, if you all didn't see Plushenko's Gala skate, you should see it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Project Assignment

So, what if we all take a day of the week, and we post at least twice a month on that day of the week (or close to...doesn't really matter)?

It's just if we have a day then we'll be more apt to actually post and we won't get a bunch of posts on the same a day or something so people can see them all etc...

Please put out dibs on days. We have 8 people, so some of us will have to share. ;-) Those who don't wish to write much, can share if they like.

Please comment with the day you'd like or any other ideas you have on the subject.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Stardust Stardust by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read the graphic novel version. Which was neat. My first ever graphic novel, in four parts.
It didn't run all together like some stories I've read. I liked how it all came together very neatly at the end, though.
I especially liked how it has that taste of the old magic. Sort of reminded me of The Princess and Curdie, the way it was written, the way it wasn't just a bunch of magic spells and charms etc., it was a magic world.
It's a nice story. Kind of sad at the end. Graphic is right, though. Not child approved. It's alright for the discerning reader, but don't let your little brothers and sisters read this, kay? Thank you.
The movie, however, is very cool, though it doesn't follow the book exactly, and it *is* fairly child approved. Pretty funny too. Especially the dead brothers.
He's rather dashing, though you don't think so at first, and she's very beautiful. :)

Anyways. Thanks for reading!

View all my reviews >>

Monday, February 22, 2010


Hey everyone. :-)

It seems like The Ladies Pickwick Society is very slow, hopefully stuck in a hibernation and not death.

I was wondering if you all would like to do a project (sort of like the heroes thing) or something??

Please comment with any suggestions.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Music box Dancers = future gold medalists

Okay, so this doesn't have anything to do with literature, but it's still very much The Arts; and besides, it's absolutely INCREDIBLE, and anything this incredible should go on the blog :)

Aren't those little kids amazing? What I want to know is, how old are they, when did they start training, and what will they be in ten years? Proportionally, they're about ten times stronger than I am! How can kids that little be so strong? They're awefully cute at any rate :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

When God Weeps

I have been reading a beautiful book called "When God Weeps" for the past few months, and I am finally coming to the end of it. It's an amazing book, and if you haven't read it, you should. It gives us a grasp of what God is doing while we are suffering. It's written by Joni Eareckson Tada, (We all know her: the woman who was paralyzed from the waist down, and who paints with her mouth. If anyone knows about suffering, she does.) and Steven Estes.
I need to read it again, because it's just that good.
It hurts, though, too. And many times I just wanted to close it and not open it again. I did, several times. I put it down for weeks. But it is worth reading.
It's really not that long, somewhere around 250 pages.

I have included here a couple of excerpts from the book. The first is a poem Joni quoted, author anonymous. Maybe it'll give you an inkling, or some curiosity as to the rest of the book. The second is a paragraph from the second to last chapter, which was, by far, the most appealing of the chapters, recounting promises and the beauty we'll experience in Heaven. Both excerpts I copied out and have attached to the bulletin board that hangs above my desk so I may see them every day and have Hope.

Here is the first:

When God wants to drill a man, and thrill a man and skill a man,
When God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part.
When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man
That all the world should be amazed,
Watch His methods, watch His ways.
How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects;
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him into shapes and forms of clay
Which only God can understand.
While man't tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands;
Yet God bends but never breaks when man's good He undertakes;
How He uses whom He chooses,
And with mighty power infuses him,
With every act induces him to try His splendour out.
God knows what He's about.
 This is the second:

Ever good pleasure on earth is but a shadow if its fulfillment in Heaven. The best of friendships are embryonic on earth, snatching only a few short years to mature. There's never enough time. Words can never convey what overflows our hearts. I experience this bittersweet sadness with intimate friends. I love them so much that I want to pass through them, reach the other side, to know them fully, be one with them. Not to posses, but to meld with them. I can't on earth. I'm on the outside of their heart's door, always wanting to get in, get closer, even while relishing in their company. My longings are eased know that in Heaven I will "get in." Jesus has deigned it: "Holy Father, protect that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:11)

So I hope you find the time to read this book.
Thanks for reading this post. :)
Love you all!
- Aisha

Monday, February 1, 2010

Star Wars sort of remake using a little poetic liscence. Well it's actually not that different. I just use....idk...story lisence?

Ok, so I FINALLY got around to posting something. This was a project for school, and it was a really hard one because I could only write up to 1000 words, and I found it quite difficult to fit everything in. But there it is :) I apologise to those who havn't seen Star Wars (you really really should :-P), but I think the story kind of explains itself. May the force be with you!

Sweat ran down the face of every Rebel pilot. Streaks of red and green flashed across their vision as enemy TIE fighters shot at them. The Rebels were trapped – Star Destroyers and TIE fighters on one side, and an operational Death Star on the other. In the mind of every Rebel as they strove to break through the enemy fighters was the thought, This shouldn’t be happening.
Their plan was exploding, like so many Rebel ships were at that moment. Somehow, the Enemy had learned of their arrival. The Death Star had sent Star Destroyers to cut off any retreat that lay open to the Rebels. Even though they had been discovered, the Rebellion’s plan to blow up the Death Star might still be carried out, if a few of the Rebel ships could manage to escape enemy fire and enter the Death Star. But the shield which surrounded the Death Star, the shield which the Rebels on the moon of Endor were supposed to have taken down, was still up. The Rebels could not touch the Death Star as long as the shield was activated. The Death Star itself was not supposed to be operational; of all things they had not expected that. The Rebels were now engaged in a hopeless battle, a desperate attempt to give the Rebels on Endor more time.
But Commander Lando Calrisian’s thoughts were not with the present situation, even as he told the pilots to not attempt retreat, as they would try to gain more time to get the shield down. Even as he waited desperately with the rest of his men for the shield to go down, he didn’t let his thoughts dwell on it. He had faith in Han Solo; that old buccaneer! He knew Han would get the shield down. He wasn’t even worried about the possibility of himself getting shot down by an enemy fighter. He was too skilled a pilot to let that happen. It was what would happen if the shield was removed that filled his thoughts with dread; if he actually was able to carry out the plan. He knew that when Han removed the shield, he, Lando, would enter the Death Star, destroy its power generator and then – he knew he would never be able to make it out in time to escape. He would blow up with the Death Star.
As he waited in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, Lando was afraid. He was afraid of death. He was afraid he would not have the courage to carry out the plan. But he knew that if he did not destroy the Death Star, there would be no one else to do it. The question he asked himself was, would he do it?
His thoughts went back to a few months back. Only a little while ago, he had been the leader of Cloud City. He had a past of gambling and piracy, but a lucky turn of events found him head of a prosperous new mining venture. He was now wealthy, lazy, and didn’t give a *curse word* for the Empire or the Rebellion. He was, as the saying goes, sitting pretty.
And then – shattering Lando’s carefree world came the last person he expected or wanted to see – Darth Vader; and a Darth Vader with a deal to make. Darth Vader informed Lando that his old friend Han Solo would be arriving to Cloud City shortly, requesting aid. Lando would pretend to be an accommodating host; while he would in actuality make arrangements to hand Han over to Darth Vader. If Lando failed to do this, Darth Vader and his Empire would think nothing of killing Lando. Faced with this, Lando Calrisian made the greatest mistake of his life – he made the deal. Even more than he feared his conscience he feared death. He was selfish, and he knew it. He convinced himself that there was no other possibility, that he had no other choice than to hand Han Solo over to Darth Vader. He chose not to watch as his guilt built up.
But events did not turn out. Darth Vader did not keep his word. His friends saw him not as the helpless victim that he saw himself as, but rather a traitor and one in league with the devilries of the Empire. And as he watched as the friends he had betrayed were tortured and taken captive, Lando knew they were right. His guilt burned him; it was as though his long history of selfish enterprises and law breaking had caught up with him in this final monstrosity. His conscience weighed him down like a millstone; even his administration in Cloud City was revealed to him as nothing more than one of his selfish schemes. His world was shattering; and it was of his own doing. The final blow came as the Storm Troopers dragged Leia away; her desperate voice echoed in his head. “We trusted you!”
And then, In the midst of his crashing world his mind had straitened. He was a traitor, and he knew it. But there was still a chance to save Han and Leia. He had spent his entire life making all the wrong choices, doing only the things which would profit himself, and avoiding anything that put him in danger. He had been a scoundrel. But Lando made a decision then and there that for once was not motivated by selfishness or fear. Lando decided to join the Rebellion.
He saved Leia and Chewbacca from the Storm Troopers. He saved Han from Jabba’s palace. And now, with the Death Star he was faced with another choice. The final test.
Lando’s mind snapped back to the present battle as the shout went through the rebel fleet, “The shield is down!”
Lando’s hands stiffened for a moment as he went for the controls.
Then he turned the ship towards the Death Star.
“I’m going in.” he said.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Wow guys. You are really posting a lot.

So I started a blog. Check it out.

And please follow!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Return to Cranford

Some of you may have heard that Masterpiece Theater has aired the first episode of "Return to Cranford". They are not airing the second until the 17th, I believe, but it is available on YouTube.

So we watched it last night! I loved it. Although some of the delightful characters from the first Cranford were missing (Jessie Brown and her husband are in India, the doctor and Sophie are marred and moved away, etc) there were many new characters that made up for it. It made me want to watch the first one again...

Mary (does she look like she lost weight?)

Miss Peggy Bell

Mr. William Buxton

Mr. Edward Bell

Anyhow, I'd be very interested to know what you all think of this second installment of Cranford. (And anyone who has not seen the first Cranford absolutely must , and I have it if you need to borrow it. :-))
You can watch it on YouTube HERE

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Night At the Museum 2

So since no one was posting, I thought I should post something lighthearted....

We finally got around to watching Night At the Museum: the Smithsonian and I was completely and very pleasantly surprised. (However, do not watch it twice in three days if your not supposed to be using your tummy muscles! :-)
Anyways, if you want something lighthearted and funny, it's perfect and very clean (I think it's even funnier and cleaner then the first one...something rare indeed).

So, that's all I'm going to say about it since you should all check it out.

And you all should be following my blog "The Erratic Muse"...pretty please.

And that the party was wonderful and thank all of you that could come for coming!!!! And boo-hoo we missed you Beka and Aisha!

Someone else take a turn...
Miss Pickwickian