Two years ago (yikes) I read Daniel Deronda and was immediately caught by the character Gwendolen Harleth. She deeply intrigued me from the very first page – which was the whole point in the first place.
It was pretty easy to get a good grasp on her character in the beginning. She is beautiful (and knows it), arrogant, selfish, spoiled, vain…and for some reason, I understood her completely. I understood her frustration with Deronda and her wish to know him better, her resentment at being judged by him and longing for his approval at the same time, her desire for a better life and her uncertainty as to how to go about it. She is flawed and she’s realistic.
Maybe that’s what makes her so compelling.
I’m not sure what the fact that I identified with her says about me.
I read once that if you really want to get a grasp of someone’s personality, just ask about their mother.
In church today, we were told to discuss amongst ourselves what might be the more ‘feminine’ qualities of God, since the Bible compares him to a mother at times. I came up with the idea that Jesus is the Lion of Judah, but in the wild it’s the lioness who cares for the cubs. She’s fierce, nurturing, protective and tender – and in nature, she’s one of the best parents out there. Sounds like God, doesn’t it?
As for my own mother…I wouldn’t change her for anyone. I’m so glad God gave her to me.
It snowed badly where I am the week before last. My colleague and I were sent home on Wednesday morning because it would be dangerous for us if the snow continued (we get the ferry across a river to work).
There’s only so much work from home you can do.
When I walked into work on Monday, I saw the crocuses and daffodils had survived. A flower is amazingly resilient.
Now, suddenly, it’s starting to behave like spring. And it’s beautiful.
I’ve been writing since I was four or five. They were only small stories with pictures to accompany them, stories that wouldn’t have made sense to anyone else but me. As the years passed, the stories became more solid and they needed to make sense to other people. But to write, all I needed to do was imagine.
Writers can conjure amazing things with their imaginations. They create worlds for readers to wander around in and fall in love with, and even though you only spend a certain amount of time there they stay with you, and they’re always waiting for you.
All you have to do is open a book.
I recently discovered ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ on YouTube, and although it’s a comedy (and a very well-acted one), I don’t find it very funny.
Maybe it’s because I’m seeing it through the eyes of someone living in the 21st century, but I find Bertie Wooster a very sympathetic character for two reasons. The first is he is pushed around by a lot of people (his Aunt Agatha and Florence Craye to name just two) who take advantage of him and/or force him to do what they want. There’s a difference between being assertive and being a bully.
The second reason is Bertie can’t say no to anyone. Come to think of it, he isn’t exactly allowed to say no, is he?
Of course, it could easily be said that Jeeves is just as manipulative as Florence or Stephanie Byng. The difference is he’s doing it out of concern for Bertie’s welfare (I hope) and without him, Bertie wouldn’t be able to get out of the situations he finds himself in.
I know the books were written in a very different time. But someone being manipulated and bullied is always sympathetic.
“That was a good start,” Sorcha remarked.
“What do you mean, ‘good start’? We only caught two Runners.” Alasdair wished he’d taken something warm with him. The chase was over and he was beginning to feel the cold air again.
“Exactly! Barton said there were only about two or three out at any time. Two’s better than none, right?”
Suddenly, Conall’s ears twitched and he bounded away down the street, Lyall close behind him. Alasdair and Sorcha followed their wolves until they reached the main square of Redcross. Alasdair remembered going through there at least twice the previous night. He yawned, blinking sleep out of his eyes – and stopped, staring ahead of him.
There was a girl in the square. She wore a pale pink dress that reached just below her knees and left her arms bare. Her blonde hair was loose and brushed past her shoulders; it glimmered gold in the morning light. She had her back to the Wolf-Lords, but Conall and Lyall stood right in front of her.
Conall stepped up to her. She kept perfectly still as he sniffed her right hand. Lyall padded away, back to where Sorcha was waiting.
Alasdair walked towards her, his feet making no sound. “Hello.”
Conall spotted him and trotted past the girl. Just as he reached Alasdair’s side, the girl looked over her shoulder and Alasdair felt his world tremble.
Her eyes were the same shade as the sky above them: a clear, beautiful blue.
She looked as if she had been born of the morning itself.
It was a relief to admit it.
Isabel had put it off for so long. She hadn’t even been able to admit it the last time she’d spoken to him. The words wound around her throat, choking her.
They still choked her whenever anyone said his name or asked if she’d heard from him. They were like thorns, constantly digging into her.
Then the morning came. She saw him across the river and ran to meet him and then his arms were wrapped around her.
She finally admitted to herself that she was in love with him. And she could breathe.