BLOG SWAP! Feat. my sister Erin!

Hello and welcome to the first edition of BLOG SWAP!

I’m about to get married this Saturday (!!!!!) so I don’t have much time to post, BUT I had this idea forever ago and finally Erin and I have executed it so I didn’t want to have to wait a moment longer!

My younger sister enjoys writing and making beautiful (and sometimes quite intense…) illustrations.  I highly encourage you to check out her stuff at her blog, Darkness That Shines.

I wrote a post for her blog (this is a SWAP, after all!) and you can read it there.  Without further ado, here is my little sister’s little treat for you!

My sister thought maybe she’d post something on my blog to show the things that she likes to post, and I’d post something on her blog in exchange, so maybe a few followers would cross over.

Even if I only have like, 3 followers.

Eh.

So I drew this picture, it took me 3+ hours, and it’s of a character of mine named Smiley.

Smiley.

Smiley.

She’s not completely human, she’s more like some sort of demon or spirit, and her real name isn’t actually Smiley, it’s just a nickname. Her brother’s nickname is Frowny, who obviously wears a frowny mask, and he can’t speak, but he can make noises such as laughing and screaming and such.

They’re twins, go everywhere together, are inseparable, and if they could choose from saving the world or saving their sibling, they will choose to save the sibling, every time. They cannot live without each other.

They are only about 5′ tall, and always wear black. You cannot take their masks off, only they can take off each others or their own. They’re sort of urban legends, and no one is positive they’re real or not. They love to steal things, especially shiny things, and are extremely stubborn. They rarely kill, but if you bother them enough they will, and they definitely can; they can “summon” pinkish-red ribbons of any thickness, and they can make them float around and stuff like tentacles and strangle people and tie them up and such. Their ribbons don’t stay, though, they sort of have a time limit, so after a day the ribbons will be gone, so theres no trace they were ever there at all.

Smiley is usually the one that kills people, and she of course does all the talking. She somehow always knows what her brother wants to say, so she’ll always speak for him. She’s extremely sassy and has a fiery temper, so you don’t want to get on her bad side. Her mask distorts her real voice, so she doesn’t sound like a female or a male, and people tend to think of her as a guy. She likes it that way, though, because she feels like no one will take her seriously if they know she’s a girl.

I might write a story about them, and I might post it on here, but I’m not sure how it’s going to go plot wise and stuff.

Let me know if you like it! I drew it with my new drawing tablet which I’m still getting used to, so constructive critisism and advice is highly welcome and recommended!

~<3

If you would like to give Erin any feedback feel free to comment below!  Also feel free to comment on her blog and follow her as well!  She is just bursting with talent and always amazes me with her boundless creativity, and I’m glad I got to share one of her creations with you.

Love,

Torrence

PS:  Let’s do this again!  If you have a blog and would like to trade posts with me sometime, send me an e-mail at toreocookie@gmail.com!  Or comment below.  Later!  🙂

The Book Thief

I know, I know. It’s been entirely too long.

School overcame my life. As well as some other things. I didn’t even post a song for November, or a new quote! Don’t worry, I’ll try to make up for it next week when December rolls around. Until then, however, here’s a post about something I’ve been meaning to cover for a long time:

The Book Thief

“It’s a small story really, about, among other things:
* A girl
* Some words
* An accordionist
* Some fanatical Germans
* A Jewish fist fighter
* And quite a lot of thievery

I saw the book thief three times.”

And so begins one of my favorite novels.  Markus Zusak’s historical fiction novel The Book Thief is, as described above, a story about a lot of different things that you would not at first think are related.  But probably the most unexpected thing about this book is who Zusak chose as his narrator– Death.

The Book Thief cover

Morbid, I know.  I can see why people might think it strange that I love this book so much, since I myself am not the most morbid of people.  But the thing is, while The Book Thief is told by a morbid narrator, and takes place in a rather morbid setting (World War II Germany is not a cheery place, no matter what side you were on), the novel itself, the actual atmosphere of the entire book, is not inherently morbid.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are some heartbreaking chapters in that novel; a lot of them, in fact.  But to me, this novel carries a powerful message about selflessness and love.  The characters discover that throughout their many horrid, unbearable trials, they can find peace and joy when they focus on helping others.  In spite of all the terrifying things that they have to experience, they still find a way to keep their character, to remember their humanity and reach out to each other to help each other through.

the_book_thief_by_jaystab-d3bema5The story of the protagonist, Liesel Meminger, is particularly inspiring.  A young German girl who is left with foster parents when her mother (a communist) is taken away, Liesel has to struggle with the challenges of hunger, fear, and (due to her lack of schooling before coming to her new family), illiteracy.  The latter torments her for the first few years in her new home as she tries to understand the world around her, which, especially with Hitler’s rise to power and the growing prominence of Nazi propaganda, seems to revolve around words.  Liesel works hard, studying by painting words on the wall in the basement and reading books– not all of which were obtained legally.

Another very important story in this book is that of Liesel’s unassuming adoptive Papa, Hans Hubermann.  Hans, who fought alongside and befriended a Jewish man during World War I, finds the Nazism in his country difficult to deal with.  The Book Thief follows his struggle between trying to keep his family on the good side of The Party while still being able to live with his conscience… and then Max shows up.

Max Vandenburg, the son of Hans Hubermann’s World War I comrade, seeks shelter from the growing anti-semantic violence at the Hubermann house. He is a fist-fighter, a defier of Death, and, as Liesel soon discovers, a writer of stories. His friendship with the Hubermann family and the lenghths they go to in order to protect him are inspiring.

The fact that these character’s lives are narrated by Death adds a certain rawness to the story. Death tells it like it is, no cutting corners or sugar-coating things. This is one major issue that I have with the movie that recently came out based on this book– it wasn’t real enough. It was a good movie with a great cast, but the story was… lacking. All of the raw emotion had been drained from it. This book makes you hurt for these people, and the movie just didn’t do that.

Anyway, back to the book– Death is the perfect narrator. Throughout the novel, he uses Liesel, Hans, and Max’s lives to demonstrate the best and the worst that he has seen in humanity. The entire time, Death is just trying to understand us– why we treat each other so horribly, and how we can be so loving and forgiving. It’s a beautiful perspective, and I’m infinitely grateful to my 9th grade English teacher who, when I told her I didn’t want to read the book she had assigned me because it was narrated by death, told me that I really needed to give something different a try. 🙂

tumblr_mrfjemx85v1qzfyg1o1_500

So, to prevent myself from spoiling anything in this wonderful novel, I’m going to end this post here. The Book Thief explores the emotions and actions of the German people during World War II, in a way that humanizes and makes relatable horrors and emotions most of us will never experience. If you have any interest in World War II, reading and writing, or just in people in general, I highly recommend this book. If it doesn’t change how you feel about the war, it will change how you understand the actions of people around you.

Sincerely, your book-loving author,
Torrence Nightingale

Describe in a Paragraph #5: Two Vulturine Guinea Fowl

Is an introduction necessary at this point?  You guys know what’s going on.  I trust you.

Out of the brush stepped two birds, although they only qualified as birds because they could not fit in any other category.  Their heads were leathery and almost reptilian, with small, almond-shaped eyes the color of garnets.  Each of the strange fowls had a beak of a dark sea-green color on the front of their heads, and a patch of short, fuzzy black feathers on the back, like a bad toupee.  Their necks were thin at the top, perfectly fitting for their tiny skulls, but as they traveled down they suddenly bulged out into a large, melon-shaped body.  The feathers on the rotund mid-section were bright blue and white vertical stripes, until you came towards the tail feathers, which were black with white speckles.  Where the wings began was impossible to tell, as they lay perfectly flush with the rest of the body and blended in with the dizzying colors.  They were Vulturine Guinea Fowls, and to this day I can’t decide if I think they’re ugly or not.

"What are you looking at?"

 

My apologies for being MIA recently.  I’m going to get back on the ball here pretty soon; I have a couple more drafts I plan to publish in a week or so.  ¡Hasta luego!

~Torrence~

Aside

Wouldja look at that?

Just look at it!

DSCN0001

Kind of a strange cover, ya? Not sure who did it. There was no credit given inside the magazine.

What is it, you ask?  It’s The Lyricist, the literary magazine of my school!

Why am I posting a picture of the cover?  Because!  Look what’s inside!

"Lyricist" Table of Contents

7th line down 😀

Yup!  My name!  In a table of contents!  Mission accomplished.

If you want to read “Kristy” or “The Music“, never fear, just click on those names.  I have skillfully linked them to previous posts where I posted the poems.  So ya.  Happy Friday!  Maybe I’ll make a real post sometime soon, or something.

~Tori