Dramatic Monologue is Dramatic Indeed

For English every year, a dramatic monologue or seminar is part of the curriculum, and this was mine! It’s lush with exclamations, borrowed quotes and inversed sentences; I hope you enjoy a look into Paulina’s mind (she’s a character from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale).

Paulina after the announcement of Mamillius’ death in Act 3, scene 2. A freeze-frame monologue that fits in between the aforementioned moment, and her announcement of the Queen’s death, which concludes the speech and links back to The Winter’s Tale.

 

What befalls us now? A fallen heir, my lady swooned; nothing left but a court confused and a wrathful king to rule them.

Leontes’ mind is riddled with disease; a jealousy so strong that it has eaten through reason. To sink so quick into the quagmire of twisted logic; incarnadine Hermione’s rosy lips with the colour of deceit, and so too the actions of Polixenes … had it not been an hour, merely threescore minutes since the three were merrily exchanging affable witticisms in the court? Dissension snuck too bold, for it reared up in Leontes’ mind as guise to friendship, as duty to lust, and ‘ere the king has thrown the queen into an iron trap.

“Speak you”, he charged her, but whilst she may speak her innocence, he doth accept them lies. Thus she speaks not at all, further putting proof into his troubled mind, further giving corroboration of her tongue-tied guilt. Certain of the cuckold’s horns exhibited from whence his hair doth stop, Leontes will not be prevailed upon to halt in his bitter polemics against the chastity of his queen. For in his mind, if women say so, that will say anything but were they false, why then naught Hermione says will cast aside his jealous fervour. Falsely determined betrayal enshrouds his thoughts with violent anger, and vile allegations has he made against the best. He will not be swayed; his reason sundered from his mind.

Claiming nothing to be something! Nothing is what swayed my lord from his preconceived conclusion – not the earnest protestations of Camillo, who wished Leontes be cur’d of his diseas’d opinion, nor those of my dearest husband, he who would hold every dram of women’s flesh as false if ‘tis true Hermione be. Not the eloquent defence of the Lords at my behest! Even the babe, that wholesome evidence for the good queen’s fruitful and unswerving loyalty, did not convince. The print was little, but held truth within it; eye, nose, lip; the whole matter and copy of the father! Nature, which hast made it so like him that got it … well! Even nature was ignored for sightless tyranny. My lord, from ‘pon his throne, casts accusations of paddling palms and pinching fingers, and making practised smiles, though none are seen by us. He believes his perception true, yet if it be so, were it not also true to say that ours would all be clouded? And that be false – ‘tis clear as day!

Yet, knowing this, did I not send forth Antigonus to do Leontes’ crazed bidding? Did I not!?! For though I raged against the deed, I did nothing to derail it. I stood, accepting, by his side as he took the infant from Hermione’s arms and set her on his shoulder; I helped pack food and drink for the long journey to abandonment; and I kissed him goodbye on the day he left. In such a way have I betrayed my queen and my reason, and thus I am struck by wretched evils that rightfully befall me for my sin. For my complicity as bystander I am punished, and ye gods punish well, for am I not now standing by my daughters’ grief and joyless tears? Am I not standing by to see their futures perish? For dear Antigonus is dead. Their future shall be as the good queen’s daughter, and only when she is regained shall our fortunes change.

An ill wind blows through this kingdom’s fields, turning fresh wheat into rotted hay and murmurings into much-bent gossip. Mamillius is listless; cumbered with the tribulations of the imprisoned queen – no smiles light his face whilst his mother languishes in grace. Ne’er the less, he is innocent! He ought not have been so struck, so quick to fasten and fix the shame on’t upon his blameless self. I weep for that dear child’s fate, for too soon did the heavens claim him; too soon did Mamillius fall for sorrow of his mother’s conjured ills. That he should die and leave the throne without successor unseats us all! ‘Tis for sure an omen of disastrous strife, as the Oracle proclaimed: “Leontes is a jealous tyrant”, and the king shall live without an heir till that which is lost be not found. This kingdom needs no more calamity – Leontes, he in madness, he has wrought enough. He must needs a catalyst, for if his path is not revised, nary a thing we’ll do may stop him.  Hasten I, and make such one that will remould his course.

My lord Leontes – the news is mortal to the queen: look down, and see what death is doing!

!!!!!

The past two days have been unspeakably exciting. Literally.

 

First, there is a thing which I may not speak of yet, but which I assure you caused me to toss and turn, sleepless, for HOURS. Although that may have partially been caused by my lingering feeling of being at Rainbows End all day as part of a physics trip (I successfully coerced myself to go on the FearFall in the name of science, as well as trying out the new ride, StratosFear, which was lovely and gentle – on a similar fright level as the Pirate Ship in the “less extreme” version, and utterly TERRIFYING in the “more extreme” version.

That’s the FearFall on the left, and the new ride, the StratosFear, in the forefront. You are left dangling upside down for innumerable seconds *shudders from left-over fear*.

Secondly, and here is something I can talk about: this year I entered the 2014 Cap-Ironman RBB, because I thought it would be a nice challenge, especially as I no longer take art at school, and I thought it could be a great opportunity. (I’d like to note: I have mostly refrained from talking about fanfiction, shipping, etcetera – I think I have one post that’s still saved as a draft because I decided I didn’t want to go there – but I don’t ship. At all. I appreciate everything that is articulated well and has a plot, regardless of whether it is a published author’s work, or that of a hobbyist who is taking familiar characters and recasting them into a new scenario.) So, I sketched a picture. And an author chose me. We published our respective collaborative works on the 5th May, and ever since, I’ve been getting lovely comments about her story (and one about my art) in my inbox. It’s great 😀

Thirdly! As I wrote a while back, I publish some of the work in here on a website called TeenInk, because it tends to have a bit more of an orientation towards commenting and constructive criticism than wordpress does. Well, they publish a print magazine every once in a while, choosing between whatever has been written online. And today I received an email saying that my poem will be published in their print magazine!!! Which has approximately half a MILLION readers!!!!! This, this excites me 😀 The poem in question is called Open Window, Closed Door, if you’d like to read it 🙂 You can also search for it on the left, or click here for it on this site.

 

So, here’s to a happy Mother’s Day for everyone tomorrow, and let’s hope that some of my prodigious luck is distributed to you as you read this!

– Let’s call me Lily

 

P.S. Yes, reviews, I know. I am sorry. I am rather busy at the moment. They are (slowly being written). They will arrive.

The Story of the Nougat Cookies That Weren’t

Today I was going to post a review of His Last Vow to complete my reviews of Sherlock Season 3….except it turns out it didn’t magically write itself (are you surprised? I was so surprised! Authors always tell you to let the idea brew….well, mine must’ve been simmering for so long it evaporated). Instead, here is a stream-of-consciousness-style recollection of Thursday night and Friday morning. Enjoy!

The nougat cookies that weren’t.

You see, I had this recipe I picked up from a book by our dear friend Nigella Lawson, except I didn’t have nougat. And I wanted to try the recipe then and there, even without the nougat, because Dad was making borekas, and the oven was hot, and that’s always a good time to bake something (have you ever tried doing it when the oven is cold? I wouldn’t recommend it).
So I decided to substitute the nougat with chopped up almonds and dried apricots and halva…and then I looked at the recipe and thought – oh, this would taste so good if I replaced the white flour (which I’d already halved in amount so that I could use wholemeal flour and be more healthy) with almond meal! Except there wasn’t any almond meal, so then I reconsidered, and thought – hey – I love coconut! Thus, I had another rummage around and came up with coconut shreds and coconut flakes, and also rolled oats. So I added those instead of the almond meal which was instead of the white flour.
Then I added chocolate chips, because CHOCOLATE CHIPS. Also, I may have (definitely did) replaced the espresso powder with more cocoa, because there wasn’t any of that either. And,err, I didn’t like the amount of sugar, so I put in less and added some treacle that I found instead – it turns out we’ve had treacle and never used it for anything for a couple of years now, but as it’s in a tin can thing – you know, like the golden syrup ones (I thought it WAS golden syrup at first) – and as I found it, I felt pressured to include it in my recipe. So I did. Then I added the ingredients that were actually a part of the original recipe (an egg, baking soda, butter…) and mixed.
After considering the time (11pm) I realised I couldn’t be bothered making the dough-mix-thing (it certainly didn’t look like dough) into cookies. Rather, I improvised and scooped the mixture into a square tin, coming to the conclusion I could make a slice instead. Shoved it in the oven and waited for 15 minutes…then another 15 for it to cool down…ate a slice; addicted! I swear I finished half of it myself. In one day. Except when I took it to school the next morning I couldn’t very well brag about how amazing my nougat cookies came out.

Because they SO weren’t nougat cookies any more!

And that, in case you were curious, is what I do at 11pm at night when I’m craving something sweet and trying to follow a recipe…

Now, I have two questions, dear readers!

  1. What should I call this slice that I made?
  2. Any tips on how to write a villanelle poem? It’s homework for English, and I feel as though my attempts are being especially pathetic.

Thanks,

– Let’s call me Lily

The Misadventures of a Preoccupied Mind

“Let me explain. No, that will take too long. Instead, let me sum up: I forget things. Important things. This extends to baking.”

“So? Is that any reason to treat those poor Anzacs like that? You’ve just thrown them all in the bin, and they’re not even burnt! Wasting food is wasteful.”

“Yes, Captain Obvious, I knew that. And they’re in the bin because I accidentally used salt inside of sugar -”

“What?Why??

“In my defence, they weren’t labelled!”

“Yes. That’s why you taste-check if you aren’t sure what something is. Common sense; have you heard of it?”

“Well….”

“Mm hmm. A whole batch of cookies, rendered inedible due to your ‘skills’. This is worse than the pancake debacle of Year 7. Sheesh.”

“Oi!! Those pancakes tasted fine, thanks!”

“You were meant to make a healthy breakfast. Chocolate chip pancakes don’t count. Especially if you forget to let the mixture cool and end up melting the chocolate and adding – what was it, half a bag? – enough to turn the pancakes brown.”

“They were authentic chocolate pancakes, it was on purpose!”

“No, it wasn’t.”

“All right, no, it wasn’t but still…”

“No excuses. Anyway, that’s not even mentioning your vendetta against eggs.”

“I do not have a vendetta against eggs.”

“Well then, explain why you regularly leave them out of recipes, huh? They never did anything to you, and you abandon them to the fate of omlettehood inside of putting them in pancakes and muffins.”

“They taste fine without eggs, stop being melodramatic.”

“Listen, you once made scones with no baking soda, I think I’m required to -”

“Shut up.”

“Really, I don’t see why you don’t let me -”

“Seriously, shut up. These chocolate chip cookies will turn out divine.

“What are they made of?” (hesitantly)

“Butter: unsalted, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, flour, baking powder, chocolate chips, an egg…oh, dammit to hell!”

“What? What did you forget now?”

“I added an egg! Why did I add an egg? How can I be so stupid!!!

“erm?”

“There shouldn’t BE an egg in chocolate chip cookies. I give up, you’re right. You bake. I’ll just eat your stuff passive-aggressively.”

“All right.”

These aren't mine. They look nice, though, don't they? (wistful)

These aren’t mine. They look nice, though, don’t they? (wistful)

This was just because it’s really early in the morning and I decided to bake some stuff, and the chocolate melted in my chocolate chip cookie mixture…also, yep, I have done ALL those things, I am incorrigible, I don’t even know why because I will have the recipe book RIGHT THERE in front of me, but oh well. Yes, I’ve known that pancakes and muffins taste fine without eggs 😛

I’ve never had an actual conversation like this, though. I tried to make it realistic (ish?), which is why there are repetitions and minor sentences and such. If you listen to someone talking, it actually sounds very boring and, yes, repetitive, as people rephrase questions and integrate them into their answers, and start with ‘umm’s and ‘er’s. Dialogue sucks – I don’t know how authors do it (or any other part of writing, actually.)

– Let’s call me Lily

is calling it a day (the cookies turned out nice anyway, although I haven’t tasted the muffins [which have an egg in them this time – yay!] yet…)

The Long and Laborious Process of Stringing Some Words Together to Create a Compilation of Coherent Sentences

So, this is an slightly different version of School is Cool and So Exciting (that title was supposed to be witty and ironic, but really, it was because I’d seen Pippi Longstocking with my sister an hour beforehand. It isn’t smart or witty, it sounds stupid now. You were probably expecting a gushing exclamatory note on how amazing school was, and instead got something like this) which I wrote ages ago. I found it just now. I’m still not sure about it, but meh.

Eyes closed, she watched the world. The faint drumbeats from a song played softly in the corner vibrated in her ears, and all around her was the sound of tapping, clicks and exaggerated coughs. The loud whirr of the C.O.W.s provided a soothing background, and if she let herself relax, she knew she would sense her tiredness emerging, trying to claim back minutes lost from the night before. But she could not allow herself that luxury. Instead, moving her fingers slowly and distractedly across the keyboard, she typed, stopping often in order to blink and breathe in orange darkness. A yawn grew in her lungs as she shifted position to lean on a loosely curled fist.  She paused.

When her eyes flickered open once more, for a moment she saw everything in double – two screens which shone overwhelmingly, illuminating the blurred thoughts of her half-awake brain. Perhaps she shouldn’t have finished the assignment early. But she had, and now, for a glorious 50 minutes, she was free to do whatever she wanted, within reason. She ran her fingers over the smooth keyboard, feeling the small depressions as she considered the next sentence. The backspace button tapped, reshaping the words. She wished they would come more easily, rather than having to be dragged, tearing her concentration into strips as they resisted from their well cushioned corners in her cranium.  This wistful expression did not make them change their minds. By the time the lesson ended, the backspace had viciously eradicated all but two sentences. Oh well. There would always be tomorrow, and the day after that, and the late night before the deadline…

Look: There is Night

Look. There is night, coiled tightly around the Earth, a colossal snake, tail in mouth, scales reflecting sunlight back into the atmosphere as shimmering, shivering rainbow spectrums of particles that cover half the world in coloured white, shadow-white, bright white light that warms the countries where night has not yet reached, has not yet slithered to clamp its jaws onto and swallow.
Look. There is night, winnying the windows and darkening the lawns, the dog’s kennel and the cat’s basket, the knurls of tree roots which writhe under the soil and seek satisfaction not obtained through shadows.
Look. There is night. Night, which creeps sinuous slinkwise. Night, which induces inertia within the household, between the walls, nestling separate and still as stucco stiffens, crannying into the rugs and pillow-folds neatly creased, hovering over the empty kettle and single cup.
And now; look again, look as night rips barbed teeth through flesh, rending ouroboros and heading muzzlesome through the fog-heavy, rock-black, slate weight, splintering scales which spear select; places where night will remain, squeezing icy glaciers into tortuous spires in punishment, a serpentine sulk. As night sheds its bursting, burning, browning skin, sentence over, escape at tongued tip tingle-scenting blood and empty lackness that must be fulfilled. Look, as night pushes back into the vacuum of abysmal space.
Heading towards home.

Continue reading

School is Cool and so Exciting

Eyes closed, she felt at the world. The faint drumbeats from a song played softly in the corner vibrated in her ears, and all around her was the sound of tapping, clicks and exaggerated coughs. The loud whirr of the C.O.W.s provided a soothing background, and if she let herself relax, she would sense her tiredness emerging, trying to claim back minutes lost from the night before. But she could not allow herself that luxury. Instead, moving her fingers slowly and distractedly across the keyboard, she typed, stopping often in order to blink and breathe in orange darkness. A yawn grew in her lungs as she shifted position to lean on a loosely curled fist. Dull roaring filled her ears as the yawn came forth, and she paused. When her eyes flickered open once more, for a moment she saw everything in double – two screens which shone overwhelmingly, words which resembled the scrawling scribbles of a four year old.

On these types of days, she usually wishes she was a four year old (school would still be a year away).