December Recap (Yes, I’m still alive.)

Hello, peoples!!  So sorry I’ve been gone for so long.  The lack of posts points to my obvious lack of getting ahead on posts like I meant to do for NaNo, but too late now.  Just gotta haul myself back onto the bandwagon.  And since I’m writing this at pretty much the last minute I can possibly get it done, there probably aren’t going to be any extra drafts, so I do apologize if this is absolute rubbish. xP

Anyway, the disappearance was mostly because of just having finished my first semester of college instead of NaNo.  NaNo ended one week before my end of semester, and the end of semester with all the stuff I had to do left me wanting to crawl in my introverted hole and not show my face to the rest of the internet world for a solid month, and I did that quite successfully.  I got back to some writing, did more reading than I’ve done in a long time, and did a lot of binge watching of Gilmore Girls.

And, aaaand!!!  One of the books I read was A Time to Rise, so the conversion of this blog to an Out of Time shrine is coming soon, properly soon!  There will probably be several weeks of solid book reviews, and somewhere in there I’ll have to throw in Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold.  Sometime after that, I’ll do my review of the Picture of Dorian Gray, because I’m in the middle of reading that one right now, and I’m reeaally enjoying that one.  So yes.  Brace yourselves for book reviews.

Also, for those of you that remember the thing I mentioned that would basically be a flash fiction about Proteus sitting down to tea with the Fates, it’s been put on hold.  I have the basic idea, but have no plot, so whenever I do have a plot, I’ll try something with them.

As for life other than reading/writing endeavors, I had a very nice Christmas with just my parents and me (apart from church, of course.  With my dad being the pastor, we really can’t not show up. xP), a few gifts swapped, and then, AND THEN!!!  We went to see Fantastic Beasts!!!  Ah, I adored it!  Newt and the beasts and… all of it!!  It’s definitely on my list of favorite movies.

That’s about all I really had to say, just a quick status update.  If I disappear again after this, classes start for me on the second, soo that’s why.

Anyway, merry belated Christmas to you all, and happy New Year!  What has your December looked like?  Any plans?  New Years resolutions (I have none. :p)?  See you in the comments!

Tally ho! ~Natasha.


“Annabel Lee” and Its Influence Upon Guardian

“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
   In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
   By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
   Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
   I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
   Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
   In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
   My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
   And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
   In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
   Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
   In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
   Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
   Of those who were older than we—
   Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in Heaven above
   Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
   Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
   Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
   In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.

There it is, my friends.  As promised, here is the lovely “Annabel Lee,” which has so influential in my recent work with Guardian.  And Guardian really has been in need of some influencing from someone whose work is way better than mine.  In this case, that individual happens to be Edgar Allan Poe, who is one of my favorite people to get inspiration from.  His work is always so dark and creepy, but still so beautiful.  This was one of his brighter pieces, but it still had darker, more painful undertones.

The poem itself might not appear very sorrowful, but when you look at it just a little more deeply, you can see it.  Even though the last stanza would seem to cast the narrator’s loss in a positive light, saying that he would never be apart from her, it’s full pain.  The narrator said that he and she would never be separated because their love was too strong to be broken, but why do we assume that’s a good thing?  The speaker would never be apart from his love because he loved her too much to let her go.  He would remain in mourning for the rest of his life, growing bitter because the happiness that would never be his again.  The one solace the narrator had was that his life would come to an end someday, and he would be truly reunited with his love.

So imagine if that solace was stripped away.

What if the speaker was immortal?

Just about anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time around me and my stories knows I love playing with immortality, and it’s featured strongly in Guardian.  Multiple characters end up immortal, including my protagonist, Eniryt, his wife (tentatively named Erynnah), and their son (whose name is definitely gonna change, but for now, he’s Yavlek).  Of course, in a normal world where most other people are mortals, immortality means a whole lot of loss.

Just because someone can’t die of natural causes, though, doesn’t mean they can’t be killed.  So, because artistic licence and not wanting to give spoilers, it’s safe to that either Eniryt or Erynnah is going to die.  One of them is going to experience not only the heartrending agony of losing a spouse, but they’re also stuck with that pain for eternity, and there is no escape for them, no matter how badly they want it.

The characters and plot weren’t the only thing influenced.  It made me want to give Guardian a fairy-tale-like tone, because “Annabel Lee” had such a gorgeous fairy-tale-ish-ness to it!  Obviously, Guardian couldn’t be quite as completely fairy-tale-ish as “Annabel Lee” — it wouldn’t fit the story.  Still, I want to try to incorporate it as much as I can.  Guardian will be such a dark story in places that it might need that fairy tale lightness to contrast against the rest of it.

That need for some light is probably the reason stars are going to feature so strongly in Guardian.  I’ve loved them for a long time, and they were part of Guardian before I read “Annabel Lee,” so their being part of the poem just reinforced that “Annabel Lee” needed to be one of Guardian’s main wells of inspiration.

Something else that “Annabel Lee” influenced was the setting.  Before reading the ballad, I’d been having such a hard time pinning a setting down, but the “kingdom by the sea” made it click into place.  Eniryt’s home city-state is by the sea.  Its architecture bright and beautiful and strongly resembles Ancient Greek architecture.  The sea glistens beside it and the mountains rise behind.  Aesthetically, it is the perfect ancient-times fairy tale setting.  Beyond that, though, very little of it is quite so idyllic as the typical fairy tale.  Ancient cities are not so beautiful as they appear from afar.  There’s always a slew of problems within, and this city is no different.


Another piece of setting that was influenced by “Annabel Lee” was the tombs of royalty.  Erynnah is, after all, a princess, so both she and Eniryt would be buried in those tombs.  The lines,

In her sepulchre there by the sea—
   In her tomb by the sounding sea.
painted a hauntingly dark, misty image of a cliff face carved with ornate tombs far above a crashing sea.  A long, narrow mountain pass provides just enough room for pallbearers and mourners to make the arduous march from the city to the tombs.  There are so many stories that surround that place, so many tales of death and heartbreak.  Alas, the only one I know as of yet is Eniryt and Erynnah’s!
And there you have it.  Some of the major things “Annabel Lee” has inspired in Guardian.  What do you think?  How do you feel about borrowing inspiration from other works?  Have you done it before?  Talk to me in the comments!
Tally ho! ~Natasha.
P.S. Here’s a lovely musical rendition of “Annabel Lee.”  It’s performed by Monica Gil, who did an absolutely amazing job on it.  It’s by far my favorite version I’ve come across so far.  Please listen and enjoy!