Sometimes, I have a brilliant thought at 3am and just have to write it down for later, so I reach for my phone and hastily type it into the notes. More often than not, these ideas turn out to be awful in the daylight, but sometimes they’re not half-bad. Below are a few of the ones that make a bit more sense, for whenever you’re stuck and just need to write.
The children are always the heroes of the story, never the villains. Your hero is an appropriately-aged fighter with years of experience. Your villain? He’s twelve.
“My life is like a rom-com. Except I’m not the main girl, I’m the competition. You know, the girl that always gets the guy just for a second before he realizes how abso-freaking-lutely perfect that other girl is for him.”
A screenplay full of very Ominous Moments but nothing bad actually happens
“I have known what it is to have you love me, and it terrifies me.”
‘”Her name is Vita,” he breathed. “Life. The girl’s parents knew what they were doing.”‘
The apocalypse happened, and the only ones left? You and your ex.
The story opens with a majestic chase, the hero running through the streets from the villain. But he’s not the focus of the story–your protagonist is the fruit seller whose cart was knocked over, who immediately embarks on a quest to get the hero to pay for all their lost produce.
Your hero is a shapeshifter who can transform into any animal they wish, but they only ever let themself be seen as one creature. This gives them an advantage: the bad guys weren’t expecting Monkey Man to suddenly transform into a tiger.
“She lit the fuse and let the ash fall on her face.”
“She didn’t throw her pennies in a wishing well. She saved those pennies until she could afford what she needed.”
Bonus quote from my mother that also happened to be in my notes: “Let’s go to bed and we can all sleep and be happy–or at least unconscious.”
I have a confession to make: I have a mild obsession with the six wives of King Henry VIII.
Notice that I said mild. It’s not actually an addiction, really, but I do have a higher-than-average interest in the three Catherines, two Annes, and single Jane that Henry chose to marry. Although this may be changing–the musical SIX has been bringing attention back to these fascinating women and their unique stories.
It started in middle school with the book Mary, Bloody Mary, by Carolyn Meyer, which was about the daughter of King Henry VIII’s first wife. Since then, I’ve been reading books, looking up facts, and most recently, listening to musicals about the six: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. On the off-chance that you’re even slightly interested, here are their stories:
Catherine of Aragon (m. 1509-1533, divorced)
We start right off with some weird politics as toddler Catherine, the daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon (remember Columbus? These guys funded him), gets betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales. They eventually met and got hitched in 1801 when Catherine was a teenager. However, he died less than a year later. After some long and convoluted political stuff happened, Catherine ended up married to Arthur’s little brother, our main man Henry. She gave him a daughter, Mary. They had been married–and ruling England together–for more than twenty years when suddenly Henry went, “you know what, I’m tired of you and I want a son and you’re not giving me one” and dumped her for the next girl: Anne Boleyn.
Anne Boleyn (m. 1533-1536, beheaded)
Anne was born in England but was sent away and became a maid of honor to Queen Claude of France. She returned in 1522 to marry her cousin, but ended up as a maid of honor to Queen Catherine instead. Then, in 1526, Henry started chasing her. Her sister had been his mistress, however, and Anne didn’t want to be used and thrown aside as she had been–she wanted to be his wife or nothing at all. This caused a lot of drama, as the Catholic Church refused to grant a divorce between Henry and Catherine, so King Henry VIII literally changed the entire country’s religion so he could divorce Catherine and marry Anne in 1533. However, after one daughter (Elizabeth) and many miscarriages he became tired of her too, divorcing her and having her investigated and beheaded for high treason so he could move on to the next wife, Jane Seymour.
Jane Seymour (m. 1536-1537, died)
This girl was also a maid of honor to Queen Catherine and then to Queen Anne, and was noted for her gentle disposition. Playboy Henry married her the same MONTH as his second wife’s death. Jane was strict but kind, reconciling the king to his eldest daughter Mary (although it would be years before she and her sister were reinstated in the line of succession, having been removed when Henry divorced their mothers). She gave Henry his long-awaited son, Edward, and then promptly died from complications following the birth. She was the only one to receive a queen’s burial.
Anne of Cleves (m. 1540, divorced)
King Henry VII, in an effort to form allies, became engaged to marry Anne, the daughter of a duke from Germany. He had not seen her before this engagement–only paintings. Upon actually meeting her, he claimed that the portraits had flattered her too much, that she was plain and could not inspire him to make her pregnant. The marriage was annulled soon after it began, but he gave her a nice settlement and the two became friends. She was the last of any of his wives to die, and honestly? She had the best of it.
Catherine Howard (m. 1540-1541, beheaded)
Catherine, the first cousin of Anne Boleyn, has the one of the saddest stories of any of the wives. She, like many of the wives, was a part of the household of the wife before her, being the lady-in-waiting of Anne of Cleves. She had been sexually abused at a young age, and this led to a variety of unhealthy relations with men. She was a young teen when she married the nearly 50-year-old King Henry VII–young enough to be his granddaughter. Only year into the marriage, she was found to have committed adultery, and was executed before she reached age twenty.
Catherine Parr(m. 1543-1547, survived)
Catherine Parr, King Henry VII’s distant cousin, was the final wife, mostly because she simply outlived the king. She had been married twice before Henry married her and married again after his death–Jane’s brother, Thomas Seymour. As queen, she helped ensure that Mary and Elizabeth were put back into the line of succession, was appointed regent while the king was away, and wrote a book. She was also first to be queen of England and Ireland. After the king’s death, her fourth marriage led to a child, and she died about a week after giving birth.
And then everyone else lived happily ever after! Just kidding!! There was STILL MORE DRAMA!!
After Henry’s death his son (remember him? Kid from the third marriage?) became the new king, but then he died as a teenager. He left the throne to his cousin Jane, because he didn’t want the country to go Catholic again. She was deposed after only nine days so that Mary (daughter from Henry’s first marriage) could be queen and then…
But this could go on forever. We got through the wives and that’s what matters (although that was six paragraphs. There have been whole books written about each one). The next project: drawing a family tree for all of this, because honestly, there are so many cousins.
“Raising up the roof ’til we hit the ceiling
Get ready for the truth that we’ll be revealing
Everybody knows that we used to be six wives
But now we’re ex-wives.” –SIX
*Feel free to fact-check me. I am by no means a historian.
If you ever met me in person, the first thing you would notice about me is probably that I have three feet of hair.
Now, I’m not sure why I have three feet of hair. There wasn’t really a reason for me to grow it out, but I did, and then it just sort of became part of my identity. I’ve always been the girl with the long hair.
Someday I might donate it, but until then, I need something to do with it. Recently, I’ve been looking to a lot of hairstyles from fantasy/sci-fi movies and TV shows for inspiration. These women are strong, confident, and beautiful, and somehow their hair always looks perfect.
So here are ten hairstyles, for a variety of hair types and textures, that even us mere mortals should be able to at least attempt, in a general order of those on the easier side to those that may be a bit harder.
1) Galadriel from Lord of the Rings– long and simple
2) Rue from The Hunger Games– practical pigtails
3) Katniss from The Hunger Games– classic side braid
4) The Baker’s Wife from Into the Woods– messy bun
5) Guinevere from Merlin– royal style
6) Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones– braids upon braids
7) Cinderella from Cinderella— the transformation look
8) Hermione from Harry Potter– Yule Ball updo
9) Shuri from Black Panther– wrapped braids
10) Satsuki from My Neighbor Totoro– for when your hair is a tangled mess after trying all these complicated hairstyles
Time to get out your cold-weather clothes? Time to find and consume every pumpkin spice-flavored food imaginable? Time to snuggle up next to a fire to read a good book or watch some Netflix?
Well, yes, all of those things. But it’s also that time of year where seniors across America struggle to come up with a fun and relatable but unique yearbook quote in time to submit it with their senior pictures.
So! In honor of all the seniors out there, I have compiled a list of some of the best quotes from books and movies that would work fabulously next to any senior picture. They’re all from works that almost anyone would recognize, but most of them are overlooked enough that you wouldn’t have to worry about other people using them. I have also included my own analysis of each quote so you know exactly how you’ll come across to everybody else. So without further ado: senior quotes.
1) “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.” -Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre
What it says about you: You are somebody who is well-read and classy, but you are also super excited to be free from school.
2) “I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” -Jane Austen, her own letters
What it says about you: You’re antisocial, but like in a cool way.
3) “What, like it’s hard?” -Elle, Legally Blonde
What it says about you: You are someone who has it together. You also have great taste in classic 00’s movies.
4) “Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” -Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter
What it says about you: You are brave and daring (a true Gryffindor).
5) “Who says life is fair, where is that written?” -The Princess Bride
What it says about you: You’re a pessimist (again, with great taste).
6) “We’ll never survive!” / “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.” – Buttercup and Westley, The Princess Bride
What it says about you: You’re an optimist (in a slightly morbid way).
7) “When in doubt, go to the library.” -Ron describing Hermione, Harry Potter
What it says about you: You like books. Like, really like books.
8) “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” -Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
What it says about you: Maybe you liked the people you went to school with, maybe you didn’t. Who really knows?
9) “Dobby is a free elf!” -Dobby, Harry Potter
What it says about you: You don’t fix what isn’t broken- this is a classic yearbook quote. You are finally your own person (or should I say elf).
(Note: If you still can’t pick a quote, just use literally anything from Mean Girls. That movie is iconic.)
*Title comes from the quote by Dorothy L. Sayers, “I always have a quotation for everything – it saves original thinking.”
Growing up, I was never a very athletic child. I wasn’t terribly weak or unbearably slow, I just preferred to read instead of playing sports. Because of this, I only really knew about sports what I had read, and I read mostly fiction. So here we go: everything I know about sports from reading fantasy books.
1) A Hobbit invented golf
“…Old Took’s great-grand-uncle Bullroarer, [was] so huge (for a hobbit) that he could ride a horse. He charged the ranks of the goblins of Mount Gram in the Battle of the Green Fields, and knocked their king Golfimbul’s head clean off with a wooden club. It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit-hole, and in this way the battle was won and the game of Golf invented at the same moment.”
–The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
2) The Chasers, Keepers, and Beaters of a Quidditch team are basically irrelevant
“‘Now, the last member of the team is the Seeker. This is the Golden Snitch, and it’s the most important ball of the lot. It’s very hard to catch because it’s so fast and difficult to see. It’s the Seeker’s job to catch it. You’ve got to weave in and out of the Chasers, Beaters, Bludgers, and Quaffle to get it before the other team’s Seeker, because whichever Seeker catches the Snitch wins his team an extra hundred and fifty points, so they nearly always win.’”
–Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
3) The bears have the right to provide one Marshal of the Lists in any single combat (even should the bear not be a particularly dignified one)
‘“Yes,” said the Bear. “But it was always a right of the bears to supply one marshal of the lists.”
“Don’t let him,” whispered Trumpkin to Peter. “He’s a good creature, but he’ll shame us all. He’ll go to sleep and he will suck his paws. In front of the enemy too.”
“I can’t help that,” said Peter. “Because he’s quite right. The Bears had that privilege. I can’t imagine how it has been remembered all these years, when so many other things have been forgotten.”
“Please, your Majesty,” said the Bear.
“It is your right,” said Peter. “And you shall be one of the marshals. But you must remember not to suck your paws.”
“Of course not,” said the Bear in a very shocked voice.
“Why, you’re doing it this minute!” bellowed Trumpkin.
The Bear whipped his paw out of his mouth and pretended he hadn’t heard.”
–Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
4) Croquet is one of the most difficult and frustrating games to play (even worse than football)
“Alice thought she had never seen such a curious croquet-ground in her life; it was all ridges and furrows; the balls were live hedgehogs, the mallets live flamingoes, and the soldiers had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and feet, to make the arches.
The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it WOULD twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing: and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she wanted to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed.”
–Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
5) Killing and/or maiming is NOT ALLOWED in Capture the Flag (or no dessert!)
“One of [Clarisse’s] cabinmates slashed his sword across my arm, leaving a good-size cut.
Seeing my own blood made me dizzy- warm and cold at the same time.
“No maiming,” I managed to say.
“Oops,” the guy said. “Guess I lost my dessert privilege.”’
–The Lighting Thief by Rick Riordan
So there you have it: an entirely serious list detailing the ins and outs of various sports through fantasy books. I’ve become a bit of an expert over the past years, really, so if you ever have any sports-related questions, don’t hesitate to ask. (Just kidding. Definitely hesitate.)
My friend gave me a book for my birthday called His Majesty’s Dragon, by Naomi Novik. It has an interesting premise- what if dragons fought in the Napoleonic Wars?- but it was the quote on the back from Time that really caught my eye.
“Enthralling reading- like Jane Austen playing Dungeons & Dragons with Eragon’s Christopher Paolini.”
A picture formed in my head almost instantly of what that crossover might look like: a group of dragons and warriors, huddled around a table with tiny cups having an afternoon tea before rising, brushing the dust off their tailcoats, and going to battle. The idea made me laugh, but after starting to actually read the book, I soon forgot about it.
However, there was now that seed of an idea in my head. Then a few days later, I was at work and doing a somewhat mindless task when an even better mental image came to mind- a tiny dragon in a teacup. I wish I was artistic, because I have never wanted to draw something more.
I wanted to do something with those words, even if I couldn’t do anything with the picture. I liked the way they sounded together and the instant contrast they created in one’s mind. I decided to do something I’d been considering since seventh grade and start a blog.
I don’t know if anything will come of this blog; I don’t know if anyone will even read it. But I’ll never know if I don’t just start writing.
I played D&D for the first time last week. Contrary to what people used to believe, it didn’t involve any demonic rituals or even a bit of chanting. We were just five nerds in a basement, eating popcorn and arguing about goblins. At least, that was the reality. In our heads, we were brave adventurers- an elf, a thief, a barbarian dwarf, and a ranger (and one powerful and all-knowing DM)- in a tavern meeting with a mysterious man the dwarf would later describe as “a solid eight.”
Given our quest, we four brave adventurers left to deliver a wagon- an exciting task, I know. Unfortunately, shortly after finally resolving who got to ride in the wagon and actually departing the tavern, we came across the dead horses of the mysterious man (“that tall drink of water,” according to our thief) and his companion. The two appeared to have escaped, but still: dead horses.
We soon discovered the reason as four goblins descended on us from the forest (“Wait! I brought visuals!” screamed our DM, interrupting herself to pull out a picture of a goblin she had printed from the web). We had to fight back, and as the most magically powerful of us, I was chosen to go first.
That was a mistake. I hadn’t chosen my spells yet, so I ended up attacking with a scimitar and missing. As the other players joked that I was still drunk from the tavern, they attacked with varying degrees of success. As we continued to take turns, I landed a few hits and managed to only slice my own leg open once. Finally, we were victorious- we killed all four goblins, managing to get information out of the last before he choked on his own blood and died. Then our dwarf decided he wanted to make extra-sure the final goblin was dead. He swung at it with his axe, missed, and killed the ranger.
Let me repeat that: he tried to kill an ALREADY DEAD goblin, but missed and killed his own teammate.
Or almost killed. Our ranger, his Hit Points below zero, rolled the dice desperately to save himself. Finally, I stepped in and managed to stabilize him with my superior elvish knowledge of medicine. We decided to stop for the night- both in real life and in the game- before anyone else did anything stupid, harassing our dwarf the whole time.
So that was it- my first adventure. It was fun, and I’m excited to continue the quest. Am I going to go buy all the D&D merch there is and dress up as my character for Halloween? Probably not. Still, who knows- I’ve done weirder things.