Tag Theft

I feel the need to be posting things, but lack of creativity/a brain forces me to "borrow" things from other people. I found this on the Lady Awdur's blog, and she took it from Over the Hills. You may notice from the predominant colours in the above image, that I am in denial concerning the arrival of spring. I resent the heat. I will not let go of winter and fall. Never!

Without further chit-chat:

Do you have any family heirlooms?

I don't have anything TERRIBLY old, but I have a doll belonging to my mother; a hope chest; teacups and a dress that were once my grandmother's. The only thing that I see becoming an heirloom in the future is a garnet necklace that my grandfather had made for my grandmother, as garnet was her birth stone. It also happens to be my birthstone, so she thought it fitting that I have the necklace. 

Opinion on letter writing?

I'm quite fond of it, and there is a part of me that wishes there was no other way to communicate (other than in person, naturally). There is something about a letter that is so much better than an email or an instant message or a phone call. It is very personal, and somehow manages to contain information that you would never hear of any other way.

Do you prefer tea, coffee, or cocoa?

Tea. Very bitter, black tea. Preferably from Africa or India. No cream or sugar or any other contamination. I also like hot chocolate (very bitter) during the colder months, and while a little coffee IN hot chocolate is acceptable, I do not really like it. The smell is nice though, and it looks like it would be good, but then when I try it, it never is. 

What's your favorite children's story?

Hmm, that depends on what you would call a children's story. I never liked books for very young children, because before I could read I found them boring, and after I could read I only wanted words and no pictures. The Chronicles of Narnia were read aloud to me when I was young (after I could read, but before I could actually read real books) and I have always loved them. 

What movie or period drama ending really frustrated you? And how would you change it?

The Return of the King. I am resigned to it now, and love it. But I would still change it if I could. When I first watched LOTR I was horrified to discover that the Scouring of the Shire had been cut. I still wish that there was a movie version of it, and if I could, I would cut out the death of Saruman and add in the Scouring of the Shire. I don't know if that counts as changing though, since all the endings from the movie would still be there, just with the S of the Shire in between the coronation and everything being peachy. I have been told "but then the movie would have way too many endings and go on FOREVER". Don't you understand? I WANT it to go on forever. 

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Realistically or in my dreams? Because for me they are almost the same thing. I believe that I shall probably be married with at least two children. I hope that I shall be married with more than two children (God willing), and it would be very nice if I had done plenty of travelling by that point. 

What makes you nostalgic?

Nostalgia. Whenever I am with people I have known forever, and we are talking about childhood memories that we share. When I finish The Lord of the Rings (movie or book) and I am already missing it. When I wander in the forests that held so many of my games as a youngling. I miss being completely naive and innocent. I miss believing that everything was perfect and all people were good and adults knew everything and nothing bad could ever happen. (I felt VERY betrayed when I started coming up with questions that my mother couldn't answer). 

If you had to describe yourself as an animal, what would it be?

Though I dislike cats, I am very like one. But I consider myself to be more horsey. Not a beautiful and elegant and perfect horse, but a small, sturdy, stubborn one that loves to run free and refuses saddle, harness, and bridle. Loyal and anti-social. 

If a loved one was to serenade you, what song would you most like them to sing?

I wouldn't. I would want him to get a violin and start playing music from The Lord of the Rings. But if he HAD to sing, I would be quite taken with some funky oldie that had nothing romantic about it. I should find it incredibly funny and the fact that the guy KNEW I would be so pleased with something like that, would make me love him all the more. 

What's your favorite biscuit to dunk? 

Why would I take a perfectly good biscuit and make it all soppy and wet? I would drink tea while eating shortbread (does that count as a biscuit) but I would never dunk it. 

If you could change your name to anything, what would your new name be?

I quite like my name. But if I had to change it, I would go with Elanor. I don't think of myself as an Elanor, the name is altogether to lovely for me, but I shouldn't mind having it.

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Come chat about The Silmarillion with me: 

ABC Book Tag

I have stolen this tag from Lover of Lembas, who stole it from You Me and a Cup of Tea. I am also going to tag myself in the bloodstained searchbar tag, so expect that in the not SO distant future. In the interest of having answers that aren't about the same two authors, I shall include a more..contemporary answer to each question. 

Author you've read the most from
Probably CS Lewis. Mostly because the Chronicles of Narnia takes about a week to finish, and counts as 7 books. But I like him a great deal. If you count the chronicles as 1 read, then I have read the most from Tolkien. 

Best sequel ever
If we are considering The Lord of the Rings as a sequel to the Hobbit....

Um. Well Perelandra (as a sequel to Out of the Silent Planet) was amazing, or That Hideous Strength. As more contemporary sequels go, I really liked Black as Night by Regina Doman.

Currently reading
I am currently re-reading the Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. 
North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell 
Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (again)
And various other things. 

Drink of choice while reading
English Breakfast Tea of the bitterest sort.

E-reader or physical book
Oh physical book. The smell, the weight of it, the feeling of the pages my hand. The fact that it's better for your eyes. The part where it's a real book.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in highschool
This is the part where I cannot relate to humans (I'm a changeling from another planet). I was homeschooled, and regardless, I wouldn't have dated anyone in high school. I technically haven't graduated yet....Anyway, even if I really liked someone and they wanted to date me, I wouldn't have. Not my style. But hypothetically speaking...I would have dated this adorable nerdy kid named Mac from Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. 

Glad you gave this book a chance
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I was pretty skeptical (as I am about all modern YA fiction) but I ended up finding it pretty okay, and because of that, I had no aversion to reading her book Six of Crows, which I liked much more (it's sequel was stupid, though).

Hidden gem book
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale is actually really good, and underappreciated, in my opinion. However, the vote goes to Pharaoh by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. This book was AMAZING, and never made it past a first edition, despite plenty of notice being given to her other books. I am the proud owner of one such first-edition, which has doubled in value since I purchased it. 

Important moment in your reading life
Okay, excluding The Lord of the Rings I have to speak of two books, because they went together. 
The first, and most important, is Mara: Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. This book is so good, and I have read it SO many times. It got me started on my love for ancient egypt. The second book is "Death Comes as the End" by Agatha Christie. It isn't a particularly great book, nor that interesting as far as it's setting, but it was right after reading it that I suddenly decided I wanted to write a book. I don't know why, or what it had to do with 'Death Comes as the End" but it was the beginning of me as a writer. 

Just finished
I think the most recent book I finished was the Two Towers, but right before that I spent a day reading Winter Shadows by Margaret Buffie. I was at the library and was rather bored, and it looked less than horrid, so I started it and checked it out. It wasn't too bad, not great, but fairly interesting. A good thing for when you're sick and want a really easy read that isn't also pure garbage.

Kind of books you won't read

Longest book you've read
The Lord of the Rings

Major book hangover because of
Well, I emerge from LOTR having forgotten what the real world looks like. But probably the Silmarillion. The first time I read that, I was in a bit of a daze for a while. For one thing, there was so much information packed into the book. And for another, it was so beautiful and epic and it left my brain in a state of 'wow'. I then drove my mother insane talking about it for weeks before finally buying her a copy. 
Number of bookcases you own
I own three. 

One book you've read multiple times 
Oh. One? Not including Lewis and Tolkien.... Mara: Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. I also read Otto of the Silver Hand like ten times in a row and I don't know why, it wasn't THAT good (certainly worth reading though). 

Preferred place to read
I should save face and say my bed (it is the SECOND best place), but the truth is that I most enjoy reading while I am eating. I have a really hard time focusing my mind when my body is idle (lying in a bed, sitting in a chair) and enjoy reading much more if I am drinking tea or eating.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read
I'm not picking favourites. But a quote from LOTR (I'm so predictable) comes to mind 
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us"
there is something about that simple, yet powerful line that I love. Also Sam Gamgee inspires me, I want to be him when I grow up.

Reading regret
I don't know that I really regret reading anything. I mean. There are books I didn't like, and I could certainly have used that time for better things, but if I don't actually regret reading them. Hmm. OH! I know. I used to read the BoxCar Children when I quite young and I went through LOADS of them. I actually do regret that. 

Series you started and need to finish (all the books are out in series)
I don't generally leave series unfinished. I like things with good endings, and I do my research before reading to make sure I am not getting myself into the book equivalent of a TV show. I have a hard time NOT finishing the story, even if that means wasting my time on something that brings me no pleasure. There are a couple I abandoned, but do not need to finish. Ever. Hmm. Oh yes. Christopher Tolkien's history series. I am plodding along.

Three of your all-time favorite books
Other than things by Tolkien:
Out of the Silent Planet (CS Lewis)
Perelandra (CS Lewis)
That Hideous Strength (CS Lewis)
I'm putting in Mara: Daughter of the Nile for good measure. Pharaoh was technically better, but Mara has been dear to me from the moment I first read it and will always have a special place in my heart.

Unapologetic fangirl for

Very excited for this release more than all others
As I have no great love of any living writers, you would think that I would have no answer to this question. But I do! Beren and Luthien is being released this summer, and I'm quite excited about it. I have pre-ordered my copy.

Worst bookish habit
Does being a book snob count as a bad habit? I'm a bit of a book snob, I have a very difficult time giving the benefit of the doubt to anything written in the last 20 years. I'm working on that (hence picking up the random Buffie book at the library). So far, I have found less than five fiction writers that I like, who are not also dead. 

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your bookshelf and pick the 27th book
Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI

Your latest book purchase
Hmmm. I THINK that the last book I bought was A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce. Retold Rumplestiltskin fairytale, not too shabby.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY too late)
I'm pretty good about not staying up super late reading. I tend to enjoy books that are a little bit more...dense? wordy? difficult? I don't know what to call it, but I can't read them when I am tired or sick or my brain isn't working. I think the last time I stayed up incredibly late reading was when I read Bram Stoker's Dracula for the first time (two-three years ago). Certainly NOT the best book to stay up all night reading. 
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Come chat about The Silmarillion with me: 

Blogger Recognition Award

Thank you to Victoria Grace @ Wanderer's Pen for nominating me for the blogger recognition award.

The rules: 
Thank the blogger who nominated you.
Tell a little bit about how you started blogging.
Give two pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Nominate 15 other bloggers.

I started this blog in 2014, I believe, on a whim. My first post is a pathetic struggle to sound interesting, and then after a few like that, it starts going up hill. I started because my dear friend Awdur had a blog (which I discovered by stalking her, not by asking normal questions like a normal human) and it seemed like it would be fun. To Write Or Not To Write is more of a journal than anything else, an archive of thoughts. Thank you to those who found said thoughts interesting enough to read. I also used to post writing a lot more, but I think I have run into a problem that many writer-blogger people run into, where you suddenly realize that maybe you don't want you vulnerable unpublished darlings out there for the taking. These other people usually turn to giving amazing advice about writing and talk about the various struggles they face. As I have only struggles, I feel that my discussion of my writing would be very disheartening. And that, dear readers, is how I basically stopped talking about writing at all. I feel that I am sort of coming out of the dark realm of "what are words" and into the slightly less dark realm of "I know what I'm doing, I'm just really bad at it" and so I hope to have more to say in the future, other than "?????". 

Two pieces of advice for new bloggers. I don't think I'm qualified to give advice, but here I go. 

Balance between yourself and your readers. I have visited many blogs, and there is a perfect place between complete disregard for your readers, and so much focus on what other people want, that you forget what you want. That place is where you want to be. I have seen blogs where the author was so focused on readership, followers, and views, that I felt like the entire thing was a series of bribes, trying way too hard to get me to subscribe. I could find nothing that felt like a personality or a unique voice. But then there are some blogs that lose all my interest because they do NOTHING to try to interest people (like, for instance, myself most of the time. Apologies.) You should be yourself, but if you are going to make something public on the internet, you should try to be considerate and think a little bit about how people will react. Don't stifle your opinions, but state them politely and respectfully etc.

You don't have to be 100% original/unique. It's pretty much impossible, for one thing. You can learn a lot from other bloggers. It's okay to read a blog, really like something that they do, and try to do your own version. Key words being 'your own version' rather than just straight up idea theft or plagiarism. And you should still give credit when you can: "I was reading this blog and they did this cool thing and so now I want to try my hand at it". Back when I still made HTML/CSS tutorials, I spent several hours looking at similar tutorials, figuring out what formats appeared to work best and how detailed you should be, etc. Be respectful of other people's content, don't take credit for stuff you didn't come up with, but it's no crime to learn from other blogs. For example, I am about to go do a thing that I WASN'T tagged in, because it looks interesting. 

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Come chat about The Silmarillion with me: