Thursday, November 26, 2015

A cyclopedic of fairies: Pillywiggins, Pixies, and Sprites.

So first of all, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who commented on my last post allowing me to write this one! You guys are awesome! This post is going to be packed with information on fairies, so I hope you're ready! ;)

First of all, I want to talk about the term fairy. What is a fairy? Something I recently learned is that it is much like saying animal. It's a very basic general term that leads to hundreds, even thousands of different species. Typically when I heard the term fairy I pictured a female humanlike figure with wings. The term "fairy" also spelled "faerie" is used to depict the denizens of the "otherworld" or other "realm". What I now know is that a leprechaun, a goblin, a troll, a satyr, an elf, a mermaid, a pillywiggin, a pixie, and a sprite are all fairies, to name only a few.

In my book Beyond The Veil, I mention several different kinds of fairies, including dryads, hobgoblins, and of course pillywiggins, pixies, and sprites. Below I have recorded a brief cyclopedia of the fairies to the best of my knowledge.

Type: Pillywiggin
Name: Shaylee
Habitat: the fields
Pillywiggins live in the fields of wildflowers, for they are flower fairies. They tend to the flowers in people's gardens and in the fields.

KNOWLEDGE: Pillywiggins originated in England and Wales. These flower fairies are seen in spring and summer months and hibernate during the colder months. Pillywiggins typically live in fields of wildflowers, but tend to live in gardens as well. They are tiny, playful, loving, and excellent gardeners. They do not plant gardens, but rather, they tend to those gardens belonging to people. Though they are generally uninterested in humans, they sometimes show themselves to those who have a good heart and have asked to see them. After a human has asked to see a fairy, a pillywiggin will sometimes watch that person for several days to make sure that that person has a good heart. One thing to note is that pillywiggins are known to visit more often if there are lemon treats left out for them. Often pillywiggins are seen riding dragonflies or bees, as they have no wings of their own. Some believe that they have mated with insects which would explain their long antennas and green skin. Their clothes are made of flowers, and often they are seen wearing hats made of leaves or flower petals. Their weddings and dances and other parties (which they picked up from humans) are the most spectacular events to behold, as noted from Beyond The Veil: 

"I know how taken you are with the village and the humans. A pillywiggin long before our time, a queen whose name is long forgotten, was not so different than yourself. She became so infatuated with their world and wished to see them up close. And so she left the fairy realm behind her. She saw a great many things. But more than anything, more than the people she had encountered or the vastness of the earth she saw or the sense of freedom she felt, she was stricken with awe by their celebrations and dances. It was like nothing our world had ever known. But she made it known. She returned home, took a husband for herself, and held a grand celebration for all sorts of fairy folk. It was the first wedding our world had known, with food and music and dancing."

Type: Pixie
Name: JuJuBee
Habitat: the Forest
Pixies are tiny human-like figures with large pointed ears, wild eyes filled with childish glee, and feet that carry them as fast as that of a hunted fox. Pixies are mischievous beings who delight in deliberately tormenting and misleading people, sometimes with the use of magic, sometimes not.

KNOWLEDGE: Pixies are thought to be of Celtic origin. They are very small and extremely fast. Contrary to common belief, pixies do not have wings, but they do have very pointed ears. They are very mischievous and delight in misleading and/or tormenting people; causing one to lose their way or walk in circles without realizing it, or even throwing one's clothes off the line. To avoid pixie magic, one must wear his or her clothes inside-out. Pixies typically wear clothes made of grass. It is believed that pixies are so playful because they are the souls of humans who died as infants. Fairy rings are the result of pixies dancing so it is said, and those who enter a fairy ring are transported into the fairy realm, instantly becoming invisible to the human world.

Type: Sprite
Name: Hollyhocks
Habitat: the Forest
Sprites are perhaps the most beautiful of all the fairies for reasons not only in appearance, but also in manner. They are very kind-hearted, caring, and innocent by nature. They resemble humans, except for their pale and almost translucent soft skin, and their elegant gossamer wings protruding from their backs. The fairies all lived at peace with one another for the most part, but unlike the hobgoblins and the pixies, the sprites avoided all human contact. The magic they worked was very important and like nothing else to behold. Nothing short than the work of a skillful artist, they painted the leaves in the autumn, carefully but swiftly, though not too swift; they enjoyed to make the autumn last before the winter came upon them and carried the leaves away in the wind.

KNOWLEDGE: Sprite comes from the Latin word "spiritus", meaning spirit or ghost. Originating from Celtic folklore, sprites were generally thought of as tiny ghost-like beings because of the faint glowing light coming from their bodies. Though they usually avoid human contact, they are very peaceful. Sprites are some of the most creative fairies and are well practiced in the arts of music, poetry, and painting. They were given one very important task, which is to change the color of the leaves in the fall. Sprites are known to vary in size, some say they are even capable of shape-shifting. These winged fairies are very kind-hearted and caring. Because of their innocent nature, they see it fit to wear no clothing as noted in Beyond The Veil:

You see Dear Reader, the sprites live in a different world than the humans entirely. They live in peace with one another always. They know no hate, only love. They are innocent in the ways of man and they are not ashamed to be naked.

I hope you enjoy the fairies as much as I do! Thanks again for allowing me to write this post! ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No sugarcoating.

A few weeks ago (or maybe it was months ago??), I was talking to my mom about my book. I love sharing my ideas with her and talking about my inspirations and such, but I never really tell her the full idea or plot of my book and I don't usually let her read any chapters until I've completed the entire book. Sometimes though, I get so excited about what I'm doing and writing about, that I like to sit and talk about them with her, and I thought it would be kind of neat to share that with you.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, and had just finished my lunch. Somehow the topic of fairies came up (for which I was proudly rambling on about) and I began telling her about the fairies from my book. As some of you are probably aware, the book is set in 1483 around the historical tragedy of the supposed murder of Edward V and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury by their Uncle, Richard III. I told my mom that what I really wanted for this story was for it to read like an old fairy tale and have some of that same mysterious and almost darker qualities that the best of stories have. My favorite times in history are the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, not only for the history but also because the stories I love usually take place sometime during the the Middle Ages. If I could, I'd walk inside a Blue Box and visit every decade during these periods! Point is, this particular event that I chose just about marks the spot for the end of the Middle Ages, so it's a perfect time, not to mention that I've always been intrigued with the story of the Princes in the Tower. A tower, a possible murder, a dark mystery. What really happened? It had the making of a great story. I can't even imagine the terrors and horror of the actual event if the rumors weren't just rumors. Those rumors that Richard III has his nephews murdered. There's no solid evidence that he did this, but nearly 200 years later bones were found under a staircase in the Tower - bones thought to be that of the princes.

My mom knows that I've never read a book in the "horror genre" and never will. I do however, enjoy reading something that makes me go, "dude, that's creepy!" as I'm smiling at down at the pages in my hand. When I began writing Beyond The Veil, I had a sort of ghost story in mind. Nothing too drastic, but maybe a couple scenes that made your skin tingle. And then I thought about the Tower of London. I mean, there's something already pretty cool about the title, and then I thought about some of the old stories that revolve around it. I thought that a Haunted Tower would be pretty cool. And then as Hollyhocks was still developing in my mind, I had decided on the perfect historical mystery to tie in with my book; the Princes in the Tower. It's something I was always going back to and reading over and over again in our old set of encyclopedias. England is so filled with history and mystery, I find it's past to be a perfect setting for a fantasy novel.

I've often said that it felt like I was writing an Encyclopedia of Fairies for the longest time instead of a fantasy novel. I know the authors and movie writers can do what they want and write about what they want and make mermaids and other fairies seem very cute friendly creatures. And that's ok...personally, I don't care for that all the time. I told my mom, when I have kids, I'm not sugarcoating anything. I'm going to read the Grimm's Fairy Tales amongst other great stories and guess what? Humpty Dumpty was NOT put back together with "tape and glue" as a certain cartoon would have my niece believing. When Little Red Riding Hood observed what a large mouth "Grandmother" had, the Wolf didn't start laughing like a child at play...he ate her! My mom may have a point when she said that they make the cartoons age appropriate. I think I make a better point though when I said, "don't tell a classic story if you have to change it so much it's no longer that classic story." 

So anyway, I've been trying my best to use some of the original myths surrounding the fairy folk, and I know that means that if Hollyhocks is a Sprite, she would really have no reason to be a part of the human world. Originally I wanted to write about her and only her; no friends or companions. And then I realized something's wrong with that: Hollyhocks is innocent by nature. A quote from my book says, 

"She had never thought about right and wrong before. Everything she had ever known, everything she had ever done was good and right." 

How was a creature as pure as Hollyhocks ever going to find herself in a place as dark as the Tower? How was I going to get her beyond the veil, how was I going to get her to Edward? Here's where I get excited and probably started smiling like a little kid; I told my mom that that's when I decided to add a Pillywiggin and a Pixie which was actually way more fun than I thought it would have been! More fairy research, more characters, more going on all around. According to old stories, both of these fairies had some sort of human interaction. I find it very interesting that dancing and singing and weddings, these are not things the fairies invented, but rather they're things that the fairies observed the humans doing and then only perfected them and made them more elaborate and so beautiful like something from another world. Anyhow,  I needed these other fairies to somehow show Hollyhocks the human world and eventually that would lead her to Edward.

By the way, one very interesting book on fairies I've enjoyed reading as part of my research is Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You by Tony DiTerlizzie and Holly Black.  If you're into that sort of thing, you should check it out! ;)
What do you guys think if in the near future I posted a little bit about the fairies from my book and what I've learned about fairies in general? I'm not going to have a "voting poll" or anything that says "vote yes or no", but if you'd like to see something like that, please let me know in the comments and thanks so much for reading! ;)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

What I've been up to.

Hey everyone! I know it's been a long time since I've posted anything. Sorry! I'd like to tell you all of this crazy cool fun stuff that I've been doing and the new things I've tried. I'd really like to tell you this! Unfortunately I can't use such an excuse because I've done no such things. Let me tell you what I HAVE been up to!

I'd rather not talk about all of the stress that college brings on me; it'll only make me more stressed. Aside from that, I have done absolutely nothing school takes up all of my time I have no time for anything else I have no social life help me I think I'm going crazy! Ok, not all of that was true. My birthday was actually a few weeks ago and I got a lot of books. You could say I sort of "binged" my way through Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I couldn't help it. That book is soooooo stinking good!! It was so good I had to take a few days to get over it before beginning The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan.

Actually, the only downside about my birthday was that I had to then take all those books and put them on the bookshelf. That's not the downfall though. The thing is, I may be a little teeny weeny bit OCD. And so, I had to take every single book OFF the bookshelf, dust it (the shelf, not the book), and then rearrange them all again in alphabetical order by the author's last name. I know, I'm weird. Speaking of weird, here:
Random fact: I love mint ice cream and (please don't hate me for saying this) I prefer white cake over chocolate cake any day.

One last thing I want to say is that I'm sooo happy fall is here! Is anyone else excited about that?! Cool weather, drizzly rainy afternoons. Perfect. Only thing missing are the vibrant fall colors. God only knows why there are no beautiful colors in this part of the world, only evergreen trees and the grass goes from green to brown. That's the only color there is: brown. Speaking of dead grass, "...if death could be beautiful, surly this was." Quote from Beyond The Veil by yours truly ;). To get back on track however, I wanted to say that I really miss the fall colors. I try to envision them in my mind. I think of the fairies painting them. So in a sad kind of way, it gets me in the mood to write. I think most people think of little fairies in the Spring weather, but the fall should do the trick, as it does for me, if your favorite fairy is the Sprite. ;)

Actually, last Saturday I went on a hike with a few girls form the church. It was truly beautiful the scenery; the trees and the moss covered rocks and the sound of the flowing creek and the leaves crunching under our feet. At one point I stopped and looked up. I was in a canyon; rocks and trees on either side left a small opening for me to see the sky. The wind was blowing and the clouds were rolling by, one after the other as if they had some destination to be. Everything was so breathtaking. The sky seemed so far away and I felt so small. It's a pretty great feeling to know my God is a Mighty God who created such amazing landscapes like a painting and then filled them with simple people like me.
The point of this though is the moss. I like moss. It's, I don't know, I find it enchanting. Part of the canyon wall was completely covered in moss. It was long and hanging down like a vine, dripping with cold water down into the creek. I wish I had had a camera with me so I could have taken a picture of it. Sometimes though, a photo cannot capture beauty. I mean, sure, take a photo of a sunset and it's still a beautiful sunset. But years later, you're not going to just think about how beautiful it was. You're going to remember the people you were with when you saw it and the feeling inside of you when you saw it. Seeing that moss dripping with water off the sides of the rocks, it inspired me for a scene in my book. And in this scene, I want to create a feeling inside the reader; a feeling that makes them wish they were there. 
As always, I'd love to hear from you guys in the comments! ;)