Thursday, April 17, 2014

The 1853 World Champion of "Conceal, don't feel"

After I watched "Frozen" (the Disney movie), a feeling of familiarity nagged at the back of my mind. Elsa in all her repression and loneliness reminded me of...

...who was it...?

...aha. Last night it came to me. Icy Lucy Snowe of Charlotte Bronte's "Villette"! Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha. So of course I had to go back and reread the book. I can't see that ever being made into a Disney musical cartoon. (Though one might have thought that about "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", so who knows!) Lucy had an even more miserable early life than Elsa (except for the almost killing her own sister thing), and is left penniless without being a damned Queen! She has a few "Let it go" moments (heading off on a ship all by herself to a strange country where she doesn't know anyone or speak the language), then goes back to "don't let them in, don't let them see." Very brave, but almost completely shut off.

...which apparently goes so far as to include the reader. LOL. I love that. (Sometimes I hate it, but in this case I was amused and merely exasperated rather than driven into frothing book-flinging rage).

...and a bit of lying to herself at the same time.

I was also amused by the time she played a Hans-like character in their school vaudeville and totally got into the part. I guess that makes Anna (from Frozen) Ginevra Fanshawe! It makes sense, in a way, as even through all of Lucy's prim and proper disapproval of Ginevra, you can tell the two girls actually love each other dearly. (No, I'm not going to write Lucy/Ginevra slashfic, but with all that Lucy leaves unsaid, the reader is free to imagine as much as they want happening between the lines!) You can sort of see it in the way Lucy is totally jealous of Ginevra/Dr. John (who exactly is she jealous of? Both, in my opinion), but resigns herself to Polly/Dr. John. De Hamal (the man Ginevra ends up marrying) isn't as much of a threat, but more like a surrogate for Lucy herself (she played his part in the play!) Ginevra and Lucy understand each other. She's probably the only person to see Lucy as her own person without wishing to change her. (And vice versa. Lucy scolds Ginevra, but not really expecting any change.) And they're always gravitating towards each other. They share their food and their water bottles. How intimate! How heavy Ginevra's weight leaning into Lucy! (She mentions it repeatedly...) Ginevra writes to Lucy, and keeps on writing to her for years after Ginevra's marriage.

Dang, that Polly is kinda creepy, isn't she? Look how quick Lucy is to say "Hell, no!" to the offer of a job as a lady's companion to Polly. (Even though Lucy had earlier put up with a companion position to an old woman in England.) It seems Lucy feels she should approve of Polly, but can't bring herself to warm to her.

In real life, I don't like secrets, and I don't like lies. Reading narratives like this (full of concealment, where the narrator is all "truth? you can't handle the truth!") makes me feel claustrophobic and paranoid. But I'm fascinated at the same time. I don't think I can get into the mindset to write anything so indirect, but it's enlightening to read something and gradually piece the puzzle together. (Yeah, I'm thick, so it usually takes more than one readthrough.)

I'm sad there doesn't seem to be a movie version of "Villette". I would have liked to see how other people saw this story, or if it was a bad adaptation, I would have enjoyed a bit of purist rage. But nothing. Awww. Maybe it's time for a monster mashup of Villete. Continuing the "Frozen" line of thought... how about the Cthulhu/steampunk mecha version of Villette? I can make it a prequel to my 2013 NaNo. It will be a total abomination! Mwah ha ha ha ha!

(yeah, right).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Do you wanna build a snowman? Or fly our kite around the hall?

Or both?

Olaf kite

So even though we were disappointed when the Blossom Kite Festival in DC got rained out ("rain"? There was snow!) last weekend, my family (and the neighbor's kid) still managed to have our own mini kite festival at a nearby field. There were even a few other people there flying kites today! But I think we were the only ones with homemade kites. :( When I was in elementary school, the school used to have a Kite Day where people were supposed to make and bring in their own kites, but I guess that's not a thing anymore.

My Frozen-mania continues unabated! Of course I made an Elsa kite! Elsa was tricky at first, kept trying to escape (it was pretty windy for us... an unsteady, gusty 10 mph). It was the first time I made a hexagonal kite (required for the snowflake! I HATE when people make non-hexagonal snowflakes). I found out that the ornamental cane/reeds I used for the spars were way too weak. Ideally, I'd use bamboo, but it takes tooooo looong for me to whittle them down into skinny, even sticks. Wooden dowels are too heavy and stiff in my opinion. So since I initially rigged it up with the string tied to the outside of the spars, I had the "inside-out umbrella" problem, even though I did have a string tied across the horizontal spar to make a bow. This was ok in still/slight breeze conditions, but fell apart as soon as there was wind. I ended up having to stab the kite through the center to re-rig it so the main stresses weren't coming from the edges.

Elsa was still flighty and prone to panic attacks, where she'd suddenly spin out of control if the wind was too strong, but as long as I let her go a bit, then used the power of love... err...

Elsa kite in the air

She's flying! Yes! That was a relief. I wasn't sure beforehand if she would.

I didn't know about the Olaf kite, either, as that was the first time I made a sled kite. I think the proportions were off a bit, but...

Olaf kite in the air

Olaf likes flying, too! But then the wind blew him to bits, just like in the movie, except in real life I don't have any sorcery to make him repair himself magically. I should have expected that, from our experience with the creeper (the Minecraft monster) kite we made last year. My daughter cut out and glued on a hundred "pixels" (10x10 creeper face)... it was depressing to watch them blowing away. Note to self: use stronger glue! Also, white plastic trash bags are insufficiently opaque. (But wooden dowels are fine for this type of kite, as long as you fasten them on securely.)

Looking back at my old posts, I see that we had bad weather the two previous years I posted about it. I guess the sunny years, I was having too much fun outside to sit at my computer and type in my blog. This time, I'm not even pretending to be working on a piece of writing. I'll just throw up one last picture as a distraction! Snooowflake... look at the shiny snoooowflaaaaaake...

Elsa kite