24 January 2015

The Ordinary World

You might be thinking, "Oh no, another one of those weird writing posts." If you are, I don't advise reading any further.

In class this week we are learning about the Ordinary World, which is just what it sounds like. The Ordinary World is the place the Hero lives before his Journey begins--the place in which he is restless, complacent, unhappy, or the like. In the Ordinary World he is just getting by. He has no zest for life, no adventure, and a lot of need for change. His everyday life is flipped upside down when he enters the Special World (which may or may not be a different physical place).
It is important to show the Hero in his Ordinary World before the inciting incident, because it provides contrast. The scenes or chapters that take place in the Ordinary World also leave room for establishing the tone and theme of the story, as well as providing backstory, introducing important characters, and foreshadowing. The less the Ordinary World is like the Special World, the more uncomfortable the Hero will feel when crossing the threshold. And we want our Heros to feel uncomfortable. It makes them real. No one says, "An adventure that hurls me out of everything I ever knew, plunges me into an unknown abyss, presents choices to me of huge importance, and may risk my life? Count me in!" But more on that another time, as we talk about the Call to Adventure and the  Refusal of the Call.
Think about the Ordinary and Special Worlds in stories you know. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the Ordinary World is war-torn England, while the Special World is war-torn Narnia. (Notice the foreshadowing there?) In Lord of the Rings, Frodo leaves the Shire and journeys far across Middle Earth. In Anne of Green Gables, Matthew and Marilla's lives are incomplete (though they don't know it) until Ann arrives and turns things upside-down. See a pattern here?
The writer must establish the Ordinary World in which the Hero lives in order to show the true specialness of the Special World.

23 January 2015

Some other photos I forgot to post

First of all, Thomas turned 21 on the 16th, which I feel horrible for not having posted about before! We were really busy that day so I guess that's my excuse.

On Sunday some friends were up here so we went out for breakfast with them after Mass. It was fun (and yummy)!

And, of course, the March for Life was yesterday. I wish I could have gone! A lot of people I knew were going. I just prayed for the marchers and for life during Adoration instead. 

As Chesterton put it,

All the Holy Innocents, pray for us from your spot in Heaven, closer than you ever could have been to God here on Earth!

17 January 2015


Writing class started up again! Rejoice, o ye mountains! Rise up, ye seas, to the heavens! (Okay that was a bit much, but writing is very exciting.)
This semester we are delving deeper into the Hero's Journey--and what each stage means for our stories. There are five whole people in it this semester, but I'm not complaining! Fewer students translates into more teacher time so we are all quite content with the set-up. 
I've been supplementing the writing I do for class with 30 minutes of free writing daily--which lately has ended up being more editing my early chapters than actually writing. But hey, it has to be done eventually. Also my writing buddies and I have renewed our weekly Skype dates, which really helps in expanding ideas, getting feedback, and encouraging each other. No one said being an author was easy!
So all in all, good start to the semester. I have high hopes for 2015, namely, to finish my book about Helena! Also to come up with a title for it...and then start giving Sebastian, Antonio and friends some adventures of their own.

15 January 2015


It's been a while since I posted, mainly because I've been doing lots of school! Not much has happened of late, but I do have some pictures from recently.

At the bistro Tessie took this picture of Mom and me.

On Sunday we had some sugary coffee before grocery shopping.

Nina dressing up for the Epiphany celebration at her Abbey.

10 January 2015

Wintery-ness and school-ish stuff

Snowstorms, extremely low temperatures, whiteout conditions...looks like South Dakotan winter is back. That lull of warmth and very little snow over Christmas was strange indeed.
We've been slowly getting re-accustomed to the school year, which has been more difficult than usual with almost a week of schools letting out early and starting late. Tessie has had comparatively little school homework to do, but for homeschoolers snow days don't exist! We save our days off for when we actually want to be outside.
All of my classes have restarted except writing and French, which begin next week. Soon I'll have to pick another novel to read in French. Also Latin was cancelled on Thursday due to the weather, surprise surprise. But I'm trudging along through book II of the Aeneid all the same.
During the slight gap of school-not-being-on-full-force-but-break-is-over, what else would there be to do but read? I am rereading The Rosary by Florence Louisa Barclay, and also listening to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey again for some new insights. I always like books better the second time around. (Or the third, or fourth...)
Apart from reading, I've been doing a lot of writing as well. One of my New Year's resolutions is to write for at least 30 minutes daily (because, as my writing teacher puts it, writers sit in the chair and write!). My goal is to finish the first draft of the book within 2015. I'm also dabbling a bit in my other story (remember Sebastian and Antonio?), trying to come up with the perfect way for my two protagonists to meet. I still don't really have a plot yet for that story...but I have a while to decide, as I'm focusing on Helena right now.
Ah, what else is there to say? We've been mailing lots of packages to siblings who forgot half their possessions here (it seems like) and talking to others who accidentally took stuff that wasn't theirs (namely Claudia, who is inaccessible by post in Morocco)!
Also I've been having some reeeeeealllly strange dreams lately. One of them involved living in L.A. and traveling to London by train in 3 hours. Weird.
That's all for now. I think.

04 January 2015

The new year, etc.

We've been one busy family lately. Now that the house is once again empty, I can find the time to tell you about it. 
On New Year's Eve, Claudia decided she wanted to watch all the Lord of the Rings movies in one day. We have the extended versions, so each movie is on two discs. Which makes for a grand total of approximately 11 hours of Lord of the Rings. Hoofta. Well, we did it, though we didn't manage to get through all seven endings of Return of the King before it had been 2015 for about 20 minutes. 
On New Year's Day we went to the Gerdes' house for dinner, and a lot of other people were there too. It was lots of fun and LOTS of food. To end the night we had an in-car dance party to my iPod music while driving back up the Brookings.
On Saturday Claudia left so Patrick, Tessie and I accompanied her to Sioux Falls and had Vietnamese food for lunch. Then this morning Isabel left for her college J-term and Patrick flew back to Chicago  in the evening. It's very quiet now...not even Thomas is here. He's at the SEEK conference in Nashville. Tessie and I had a homework-ful evening while mom and dad took Patrick to the airport. 
The holidays were amazingly fun, as usual. Next year I hope we have a house to make it even better!