Saturday, 30 April 2016

Lynn Austin and her novels.

All the Lynn Austin books in our house. (Minus a Dutch version of Hidden Places and another copy of Candlelight in the Darkness, which I've currently lent to twin friends at Church. Woe if they don't love it.)

I... I... I just* finished reading Hidden Places. (For the fifth time or something.) It was even more amazing than I had recalled. I cried and cried over Betty and Lydia, and my heart broke for Luke and Gabriel-when-he-was-a-boy. I turned over the pages just like it was the first time I was reading it; I was riveted and just in awe. I spent the whole morning curled in my bed trying to hide my face in the folds of the cushions and my pullover, so no one entering in my room would see all the melodrama I was experiencing, and when I finished it, I felt like a terrible writer, (which admittedly is the only downside about this book.)

*I wrote the first sentence of this post in the morning, but the rest in the evening. I felt a tad overwhelmed after finishing Hidden Places, to be honest, and wasn't capable of much good-post-writing. :-) It took me ages to write my Goodreads review, but I just about managed that.

Basically, Hidden Places is an amazing book, and Lynn Austin is an AMAZING writer. Message of April 30th, 2016. Lynn Austin's writing never ceases to surprise and amaze me. Almost every one of her books make me read and read for hours in one go, and almost all her books have a big personal value to me.

I suppose we could go way back to when I was about nine or ten or eleven, when my mum read them. She got most of them from her sister, my aunt, who gave them to her for her birthdays or she borrowed them from friends. Now and then a thick, beautiful-covered book would sit on her bedside table, next to her blue pot of Nivea cream and her lamp, and she would tell me it was 'really good' and that 'one day I could read them.' Well, really, I loved them already before I read them. It's like me with Pride and Prejudice 1995 - I loved that before I watched it; I loved it just by looking at the covers and rereading the blurb at the back. Especially the cover of Until we Reach Home, with the three girls looking at the Statue of Liberty in New York really captured my imagination. I looked at the pretty dresses of the four ladies on the cover of A Woman's Place and chose which one was the prettiest. I remember my mum 'fangirling' over them with some of her friends who read them as well, and how the Lynn Austin books kind of travelled around the circle of friends. Oh, and I remember asking several times if I could read them, and Mum said, 'Not quite yet.' (Which, now, I do understand, because it's not really a book for kids of pre-teens, but I did have to wait for these.)

And then I read my first Lynn Austin book, when I was twelve. It was While We're Far Apart, and I loved it. I remember telling Mama, "Lynn Austin's my favourite author too." And she was like, "You've only read one!" Turns out that I didn't really change my mind, ever, because she still is one of my favourite authors ever. I have only ever read one book of hers that I wasn't wildly enthusiastic about.

You know, a lot of contemporary books nowadays are kind of fluffy and... shallow. This includes about 90% of Christian Fiction, sadly enough. But Lynn Austin doesn't do fluffy - she goes to the deep, important, sometimes-gritty, sad, interestingly passionate stuff. Her characters are alive with colours, and her books all create this inner world in my brain which I always want to return to. Her books really are WORLDS. That's how I think about them, and I don't think that about a lot of books, really. There are many books I love as books, but I don't love Lynn Austin's books as books - I love them as... I don't know... whole scopes, whole scents, whole worlds.


Hidden Places and Eve's Daughters are my two favourite of her novels. Both of them kind of tear my heart to pieces - it's ridiculous and terribly wicked of Lynn Austin to do this to me, but oh well, I shouldn't have reread them in the first place, should I? The story of Aunt Batty, with her beautiful and flighty sister Lydia, and her lover, the darling Walter who is dying but who she loves so much she doesn't care. And then the story of Emma and Grace, and the kind-hearted pastor, Patrick O'Duggan. And then we have the stories of Alice Grace Ripley and Violet Rose Hayes, mysterious and romantic mixed with excellent pinches humour. I won't even START talking about The Refiner's Fire Series, because it'll take hours - I love that trilogy a ridiculous amount.

And do you know what else is good about her novels? They are always better when rereading them. I remember loving them on my first re-reads, like a world was opening, and like I just met a good friend. But now when I reread them it's like reuniting with a good friend - and reuniting is better than meeting.

This following month, I'm going to reread a lot of Lynn Austin books. Go through the old favourites, and all that jazz. Feel free to join me on my Lynn Austin marathon, and converse about her books in the comment section anytime! Because they're fun to talk about ammirite?

If Lynn Austin ever ends up reading this (firstly, I'm HONOURED, thank you for reading!) - I would like to thank her for her marvellous stories. I'm not like Matthew Wyatt, who had a terribly depressive life and needed an 'escape' through books - I have a happy family, and good siblings and parents who strongly approve of fictional books (ha!) - but your books have simply given me such inspiration for my own writing, such joy, and such a good view of things. Also, they have given me a nickname - Alice Grace Ripley - and the title for my blog! So thank you. :-)

PS. I hope you don't mind that I stole the name Wonderland Creek for my blog name, by the way. If you do I will change it, as a token of gratitude.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Why I often like flirty(ish) characters in movies.


This is going to be a hard post to write, because no, I don't approve of flirting. Well, if there's a mutual serious love, then flirting is fine. And one can show signs of affection by mildly-flirting-define-flirting, I think, to a certain extent. But to bat your eyelids at strangers and all that jazz - I see it as shallow and unladylike behaviour. So bear that in mind - I'm not telling you that I approve 150% of what Lydia Bennet and those girls do. No sir.

However, there is a quality in those girls that I very much admire.

Their smiles. Their cheerfulness. The way they make other people smile. The way they make fun of themselves.

That I admire a lot. They're so happy - and genuinely so. Of course, between you and me, they are often happy for a ridiculous reason (Lydia: "Oh look, there's Denny. HAHAHA.") but they smile a lot, they make the best of situations, and they find hilarity in ridiculous things, which I just plain LOVE. Of course, there are times in which one ought to be serious, but there are sooo many time when one should just laugh and dust things over with a cheery spirit - and those 'flirty' girls in movies often possess that quality. And I like that. I love watching it. (Which is why I enjoy watching Lydia Bennet a lot + Julia Sawalha is amazing.)


Also, they easily make fun of themSELVES. Which boyyy, more people should do. Sometimes one should just laugh at themselves; because we're all such hilarious things, if you think about it. We're bits of skeleton and bits of skin and we all stand and talk and sleep and put things in our mouth??? I mean, that's hilarious. Laugh at that.

Of course, as I said before, there are times to be serious, and to take each other seriously. Like, if your friend comes to you with tears in her eyes and a heavy heart, you shouldn't go, 'HA HA, funny, water droplets coming out of eyes.' I mean, that's plain mean. But there are so many times in our lives when we could make situations so less awkward, or so less boringly serious if we just didn't take ourselves so terribly serious the whole time. (I suddenly realise I'm basically quoting this Mind the Gap episode.)

I like that. Lydia Bennet doesn't take herself seriously ENOUGH (duh, at all) but I do admire her personality to a certain extent. Cynthia Kirkpatrick is a spoilt girl with ridiculous hairstyles, but she doesn't take herself too seriously the whole time ("You know enough of me to know me capable of that!") and I like it. Rose from Downton Abbey is pretty boy-crazy (which is annoying) but she's so happy and cheerful that the whole room laughs with her (well, not always, but you know what I'm trying to say here.) And that, dear people, is an admirable quality to possess.


And Trixie from Call the Midwife - she's flirty ("... how do you know I'm not dazzled by your gaze?") and she's always talking about boys (just... stop) - but I really really love her. She's so happy and colourful, and she has such a warm, warm heart. I love Trixie. (Also, her FASHION sense is just ridiculously gorgeous.)

So lets be cheerful and interesting and lets not take ourselves too seriously the whole time. But lets also keep that sensible-ness and take ourselves serious enough to make good decisions. :-P Basically what I'm trying to say with this post: I often like the flirty-ish characters in movies, and here's why. Explained. The end.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Three tiny little things to say.


First of all, lets all appreciate the picture above and pray that one day we will be in a situation as cute as that. 

Secondly, I would like to broadcast my warm congratulations to my fellow blogger and Period Drama-lover, Heidi, who is engaged to be married! I'm really so happy for her, and I hope she'll be a very happy wife. (I'm sure she will. :-D)

Thirdly, zee new blog look. I know, it's a bit different. The first time I opted for a one-picture header. I hope it looks nice. I also added several 'pages' - a 'Why the name' page, explaining how and why I chose the name 'Wonderland Creek' for this blog, and a FAQ page, answering questions that no-one's ever asked me, hahahaha. :-P

Friday, 22 April 2016

Some blog posts to read if you're lacking writer's inspiration.


I'm often in a writer's dump. It's never excruciatingly bad, but it's often on my doorstep. What helps me get out of it, and what helps me want to write rather than spoiling time on the elusive interwebs, are 1) a very good book 2) a very good movie and, finally, 3) a very good blog post.

Today I'm linking to some blog posts that inspire me to write. If you're suffering from inspiration, or suffering from motivation, I'm here. (And no, I'm not linking to a single blog post which says that you have to follow this and that rule. Writing = creating your own style and story. Writing is not following a rule book.) (Although getting ones grammar right is disastrously important and a vital key, but we're not talking about grammar on a nice birds-singing April day like this, for Pete's sake hello.)


Amy is 'famous' for her blog 'Yet another Period Drama Blog.' I love it a lot, but I also really love her old writing blog, 'The Quest for Stories.' She hasn't (sadly) posted on it for year(s), but whenever I visit it and read through the posts, the sidebar with all the quotes and pennish pictures... I always get a rush of inspiration.

~ Beautiful People: Frances Katharine Rochester // As I said, the entire blog in general has this inspiration-giving-scent to me, but particularly this post about one of her characters, makes me give a new wind of inspiration. And I LOOOVE the quote, "The words beard and goodlooking should never appear in the same sentence unless the word 'not' is between them." I kind of want to steal this character, but I won't. 


Emma, aka-the-girl-I'm-meeting-in-a-bit-more-than-only-a-month, has recently finished a novel. Aside from being stinkin' proud of her accomplishment and telling her to pleeease send it to me, and yes, it's allowed to be unedited, I have been very inspired by her two recent blog posts:

~ Meet my girl, this is June. // Emma wrote this post to celebrate the finish of her book, 'June Darling' (give me thy book title finding skills) but her diary entries and excitement made my blood scream, 'NAOMI WRITE NOW.'

Happy Writer. // This blog post gave me such a RUSH and a YEARNING to spend a whole day writing. (No time for that, I'm afraid.) Emma's way with words; the way she describes a writer's thoughts, and the way she describes a writer's yearning to write down stranger's stories and to follow the gust of one's imagination - gah, it really caught me. Read it.


Finally, my favourite one - a post I often return to, in fact - is zee following, written by Alexandra, who used to have the most charming blog, 'Of Trims and Frims and Furbelows' (I think that's the title). To my utter dismay, the blog has now be privated for several years, but I still miss it. Alexandra's way of writing and enthusiasm always gave me inspiration. But, thank goodness, her guest posts are still lying around! Here's one she wrote on 'Yet another Period Drama Blog.'

~ Random Writing Tips and Tidbits: Guest Post by Alexandra. // This post is filled with excellent tips (not rules; tips) and just blahh, it really inspires me. (And she tells me not to be afraid of the writer's block, which is awfully comforting.)

Now, shoo. Go and write. (Unless you have unlimited amounts of schoolwork to do, as is my sorry case.) (I hope you enjoyed these little links, anyhow!)

Monday, 18 April 2016

Here's a poem I wrote at the age of 12 on the story of Pride and Prejudice.

I am not a poem person. I think it's pretty and I love the flowery whimsical-ness now and then, but to sit down and read it and enjoy it? No. Unless it's Dr Suess-type-poetry, which isn't really poetry, it's just rhymes and rhythms, but I could read Dr Suess books all day. Anyway, in honour of Hamlette's poetry month celebration, here's a comical kind of ditty I wrote on the story of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, when I was about twelve and my infatuation for the story was blossoming in its early blossoms.

 
____________________________________________________________

There are many books,
About people who are rich and have nice looks,
Pride and Prejudice is one of them,
with only one or two crooks

Lizzie meets Mr Darcy in a ball,
Looking very sad but tall,
He says he never takes a dance,
He stands silent, never listening to a call

Mrs Bennet loves Mr Bingley, a man she meets,
She lets Mary quote him a story by Keats,
But Mr Bingley is not interested,
He only likes Jane's French pleats!

Then Mr Collins comes, a man, very rare,
He is the house's next heir,
Mrs Bennet wants her house forever and says,
"Lizzie, I insist you on marrying him, there!"

Lizzie says no, and Mrs Bennet is upset,
Collins goes away and marries another lady he met.
"Oh Mr Collins!" cries Mrs Bennet,
"Lizzie would be better, that's what I bet!"

Then the youngest, Lydia, very very wild,
She goes away with Wickham, but she's only a child!
Wickham is a bad thief,
Who's not at all mild.

In the meantime, Darcy loves Lizzie, and she back,
Together those two have nothing they lack,
Jane marries Bingley, and Darcy marries Lizzie,
Together they have a lot of love- a whole stack!

____________________________________________________________


"A whole stack. " HA. Ha.

(I know. Absolutely and absurdly ridiculous (and I remember laughing while writing it as a 12-or-something-year-old) but I thought it might provide some shallow entertainment for some of you. You're welcome, and have a good day even if 99% of it is schoolwork, as it is in my case.)

Saturday, 16 April 2016

My Top Forty Movies/Series


Nicking this idea from my dear friend Eva, who last month or so posted her top-something Movies on her wonderful blog. For me, Movies and Series are the same thing. They're both Things You Watch. The same. The end. So here, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER OKAY, are my top forty movies. Okay, my real biggie favourites will be near the top of the list, but I'm not ranking them specifically because that would be a weepingly big task and I have a long list of To-Do-things today. No time for that jazz.

But voila. Enjoy the eye-candy. My favourite movies; my darling stories; I love these ALL. (And surprise, surprise, all forty of them happen to be costume dramas. Wow.) (Just saying: Brooklyn, Daniel Deronda, The Paradise, A Royal Night out, Mercy Street (picture above) and many others would be on this list had I actually watched them. :-P)

1. Pride and Prejudice 1995

2. Emma 2009

3. Downton Abbey

4. Sense and Sensibility 2008

5. Call the Midwife

6. Lark Rise to Candleford

7. Wives and Daughters

8. Little Dorrit

9. Miss Potter

10. The Young Victoria

11. Belle

12. Testament of Youth

13. Cranford

14. Sense and Sensibility 1995

15. The Kings Speech

16. Saving Mr Banks

17. The Book Thief

18. Anne of Green Gables

19. Sound of Music

20. Pollyanna 2003

21. North and South

22. Cinderella

23. Amazing Grace

24. Northanger Abbey

25. Goodbye Mr Chips

26. Berkerly Square

27. The Scarlet Pimpernel

28. Jeeves and Wooster

29. Chariots of Fire

30. Roman Holiday

31. War Horse

32. Martin Chuzzlewit

33. State Fair

34. Our Zoo

35. Little House on the Prairie

36. Fiddler on the Roof

37. The Railway Children

38. To Kill a Mockingbird 

39. Gone with the Wind

40. Mary Poppins

Have you seen many of my favourites? (If you haven't... how you must be missing out!)