24 February 2015


Lately I've taken to compiling a list of words I should use more often or at all, in writing or speech. The list has seen steady growth, and I add whatever I think is a cool word. Some are there for the way they sound, some for their definitions, some for their tone, some for a combination of these. 
Here is my list as it stands today:

Awesome words I should totally use


Do you have any words you think I should add? Do tell!

21 February 2015

Meeting with the Mentor

The title of this stage in the Hero's Journey is pretty straightforward. During the Meeting with the Mentor, the Hero meets with the Mentor.
After refusing the Call to Adventure, the Hero needs encouragement, training or equipment to cross the threshold (ding ding ding, sneak peek for the next stage!) of the Adventure.
The Mentor has a variety of options for his/her dramatic function. There is a list of things the Mentor can do (but not usually all of them at once):
               Give magical gifts.
It all makes quite a bit of sense. Think of fairy tales--Cinderella's fairy godmother gave magical gifts. The three fairies in Sleeping Beauty protect her and give her gifts. Rumplestiltskin gives the girl (I don't remember her name) the magical "gift" of spinning the straw into gold for her, though he asks a high price for it. (The Mentor doesn't have to be good, necessarily.)
During the Meeting with the Mentor, the Mentor uses his experience, information, or resources to help prepare the Hero for the Journey ahead. The Mentor is enthusiastic (think about the character Mentor in the Odyssey, then think about how enthusiastic means in Greek, roughly, "spiritually inspired") about teaching the Hero and giving him the equipment necessary for completing the Adventure with success.
In Disney movies, any scene with someone training or teaching the protagonist is the Meeting with the Mentor stage. It's fairly easy to identify. Usually it's that scene with a lot of background music and not much dialogue in which you see the character get better and better at whatever he/she needs to do in a very short amount of time.
Once the Hero is armed with the knowledge, training, and equipment the Mentor gives him, he is ready to embark on his Journey. At this point the Mentor may die, or just leave the story, or go with the Hero on his Adventure. In most stories the Mentor ends up dying to symbolize the Hero's new-found independence.

I liked this picture too much to use it only once.

20 February 2015

Artsy and Wordy stuff

My favorite thing to do that counts as visual art is lettering. It combines my love of art (which is easily eclipsed by my sisters) and my love of words! (Click here to see some previous endeavors of mine.)
So, why not do some word art?
Here are a few I've done lately. Most of the quotes are either Jane Austen or Chesterton, with some exceptions of quotes about writing.
These two are my latest--I love both the quotes!

The view from my writing desk. 

This one also is a bit writing-related, so it's near my desk, too.

The one above this, this one, and the one below are backgrounds I commissioned Tessie to do for me with watercolor.

I love the background and the quote, but the lettering could have been better on this one.

True. Just true. Thank you, Henry Tilney.

I experimented with this one--mixed feelings about the results.

Of course I couldn't resist putting Jane's quote on my mirror!
Do you know of any quotes you think I should do? I'm eager for suggestions!

18 February 2015

Ash Wednesday!

Yay for Lent! I'm excited for this season. 
Mom and I started our Lent with 7am Mass. Then we came back, mom put the oven to self-clean (an Ash Wednesday tradition), and I did math. It was weird because I was up earlier than usual, so my math was done by 9:30. It usually isn't done until rather later than that. 
I have big plans this Lent. In addition to giving up sugar, I am doing some other stuff, including weekly confession and reading a chunk of Paradise Lost by John Milton every day. (Actually I have to read Paradise Lost for literature, but hey, why not make it a Lenten sacrifice?) [Ceal, if you're reading this, I totally called it!] Also we are going to abstain on Wednesdays as well as Fridays, and fast on Fridays.
No history class today, and no organ lesson, but we do have choir practice. So we'll have a fish dinner and go off to sing!
I like it when Lent begins early. Sometimes it's even so early that my birthday is after Easter or in Holy Week (which is pretty awesome). Who wouldn't love a Holy Thursday birthday? Holy Thursday is my favorite Mass of the year. Anyway, Easter won't be early enough for that this year. I think my birthday is the week before Holy Week. But last year I thought Easter was rather late...it's nice to get the spring going with a big holiday at the beginning.

Oh, and also, we had another quiz bowl yesterday in Tea. My team placed 3rd and one of our teams placed 1st and the other placed 4th. We would have been 1st-2nd-3rd, but O'Gorman got ONE MORE POINT than we did. So we ended up in 3rd. But that's better than our usual (always) 5th place. And it's the first time our best team gets 1st at a high school quiz bowl! So it was a good day for us. 
Also, shout out to Mrs. Powers, who helped me with several of the math questions indirectly! 

So now I have the rest of a very cold (the high is 4 whole degrees!) Ash Wednesday to enjoy. Is it weird that I'm so excited for Lent?

15 February 2015

Refusal of the Call

The next stage of the Hero's Journey is the Refusal of the Call.
This one is usually fairly obvious. The moment of "I'm not good enough" that every Hero experiences. He has received the Call to Adventure and now he must decide whether or not to accept it. There is an inevitable hesitation. The Hero reflects on the risks he runs by going on the Journey. He considers the securities at home he doesn't want to leave. He considers the stakes, the what-ifs, that are associated with the Adventure.
I think this stage is one we experience in real life fairly often. "Should I or shouldn't I?" "What are the pros and cons?" 
The important thing about the Hero is that, in order to be a Hero, he has to accept the Call. He weighs the pros and cons, thinks about the risks involved but also the good that may be achieved, and ultimately says yes. 
This "saying yes" may be spurred on by an external force--maybe the stakes are raised. Maybe his motivation for accepting the Call is increased by a tragic event. Maybe his hesitating has already had negative consequences. Maybe while he is considering whether or not to go his whole family is kidnapped or killed, giving him that extra push he needs to say yes. 
The doubts, fears, misgivings, and uncertainties that accompany the Refusal of the Call make it very relatable for the reader. In any story, the reader projects him- or herself onto the Hero. It is so easy to understand the Hero's hesitation. We all go through that. 
The relatable-ness of this stage in the Journey provides ample opportunity for the writer to expound on the Hero's flaws (which have been established in the Ordinary World), show his dependencies and securities at home, and introduce his Mentor. 
Because the Meeting with the Mentor is what comes next. 

11 February 2015

Nine Years!

Today is the 9th anniversary of my First Holy Communion. That's 468 Sundays of receiving God into my body. Pretty cool.

10 February 2015

Happy birthday, Mom!

Happy birthday to my dearest mother!
Thanks for being my 
-fellow Jane Austen lover
-cooking instructor
-source of motivation
-spiritual role model
-personal clothes-mender
-knitting and crocheting teacher
-person (besides Tessie) who pushes me into things
-model of a wonderful mother!
Thanks for putting up with me on my bad days and my good days (yikes). Thanks for humoring me when I'm weird and telling me to stop when I'm being awful. Thanks for praying for me and with me. Thanks for watching movies, reading/listening to books, and missing the summer sunshine with me!
I love you mom, and as Bertie Wooster would say, "You're in a class of your own." Happy birthday!

09 February 2015


I signed up for the ACT today!
They asked me a zillion questions about college that I skipped. I don't want four thousand emails a day from random colleges! Who would actually answer all those questions?
The test is on 18 April. I'm sort of excited and rather apprehensive. At least you can take it more than once.

05 February 2015

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

On Tuesday in poetry class we read a bunch of poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (Read all about him here.) We discussed his style, themes, and life.
To me Tennyson is a very sensory poet. His writing conjures up images, makes you really see, feel, hear, smell, taste what's going on. As Dad said, he's really good at giving you a mood in his words. The meter, assonance and consonance, and onomatopoeia (among other things) help to set a tone and mood in his poems.
My personal favorite of the evening was part of a large collection of poems Tennyson dedicated to his very close friend, Arthur Hallam, who died of a brain hemorrhage at a young age. The death of this friend (who had also been engaged to Tennyson's sister) affected him greatly and inspired some of his best-known poems. The collection is called In Memoriam A.H.H. In our book Immortal Poems of the English Language there were nine selections from In Memoriam, and my favorite is called O Yet We Trust.

Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroyed,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivelled in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another's gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last—far off—at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.

04 February 2015

The Call to Adventure

The Call to Adventure is just what it sounds like. The Hero has been established in his Ordinary World, and now comes the beginning of his Journey. The Call to Adventure is often issued by a Herald of some sort, bringing a new energy into the world.
I've already talked about the Herald, so I won't go into much detail regarding that.

The Call to Adventure is also called the inciting incident (you've probably heard that one from me before), the initiating incident, the catalyst, or the trigger. All these words signify the same concept of CHANGE. Yes, in all caps. CHANGE is the most important thing to get the story rolling. It's change that compels (propels? impels?) the Hero to begin his Journey. He cannot go on the way he's been getting by. He has crutches, addictions, defense mechanisms. Something happens (something a.k.a. the Call to Adventure) to make it impossible for the Hero to use these coping methods anymore. He must CHANGE or FAIL. That's the idea behind story. The Hero changes. He is "called to adventure." What is adventure? A change in the norm, a shift of lifestyle, a quest to make things better.
Before all this happens, the writer shows the Hero's tragic flaws. (Think tragic hero from ancient Greek plays.) What about my Hero is less than desirable? Personality traits--pride, vanity, recklessness, low self-esteem, hostility, sloth, quick temper, etc. Addictions--power, food or drink, bullying, shouting, passivity, aggression, etc. Wounds--a grudge, a death, a traumatic event, psychological scars, etc. There are always ways in which the Hero needs to change internally to succeed.
Besides all this, there's the obvious external Need For Change. Maybe there's a war on. Maybe someone is in grave danger. Maybe someone lost his job. For some reason, things can't go on the way they have been.
The Hero's realization of this, with or without help from a Herald or synchronicity (a series of accidents or coincidences) or a temptation, is the Call to Adventure.

02 February 2015

Some things over the weekend

After a while of not posting (instead lying sick on the couch) I decided to grace you all with my life-altering words.
This weekend was the annual Tantara one-acts festival, in which the homeschooled highschoolers compete with one-act plays. There were five this year, and all quite good. Better than usual. 
My personal favorite was called Stoplight, performed by lovely friends Ann, Bob and Maren. It was really funny.

I don't have a photo of the winning play, which was set during the time of Louis XIV, in which a troupe of actors put on Moliere's Miser before the king--before the playwright has finished the script. 
Other than Tantara, the obvious thing that happened this weekend was the Super Bowl. We went to the Gerdeses' house, and I had a good time eating, hanging out with friends, watching the commercials, and quickly growing bored when the game turned back on. I nearly fell asleep toward the end--that's what two sleepovers in a row does to you. 
And yes, I was sick all week. Still am. Not exactly a pleasurable pastime. Foggy brains and math quizzes don't really mix well. And with the necessity of staying over at the Kanes' on Saturday night because of the snow, I didn't get a whole lot of school done this weekend. As in, none. 
(I'm ready for the school year to be over. Please.) 
Hopefully this week promises to be healthier, sunnier, and more productive. It would be completely okay with me if summer came a few months early...

I need another cup of tea.