On Chocolate-Covered Cherries

They look like cunning little mice, like runaways from their pecan-eared cousins at the Night Circus, their heads ducks to hide their cheeky, little, whiskered grins. Meanwhile, this leaves their cherry-stem tails to flirt in the air as they curl themselves down into round little chocolate balls, tucked and huddled together. I can just imagine them fast asleep, snoring away, having gotten bored with the human who have yet to decipher their delicious little secret. Aren’t they just adorable? Delicious? Adorably delicious? Yes, and.

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NaBloPoMo, Day 3: Threads Spun and Woven, Though Some Are Cut

Honestly, I tend not to buy books that I’m not sure I will be interested in at least, love obsessively at most.

One such member of the latter is indeed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I was just rereading the reviews/reading updates that I wrote on this novel in my book blog the first time I read it and I couldn’t help but smile. I have passed this book recommendation on to no fewer than four or five people and have referenced it COUNTLESS times in writing for my roleplaying games, weaving into a particular character’s storyscape and drawing other characters into it like the winding circular pathways of the Cirque itself.

When I began The Night Circus, I noted:

9/22/2011 –  I bought and started this book while on a weekend vacation in New Orleans a few days ago. It has been quite a long time since I have been instantly captivated and charmed by a book and The Night Circus does that beautifully. The characters are intriguing, the world colorful and lovely and intriguing. It is a world that you want to sit and watch unfold and that is a very encouraging start to a book.

As I read  through and marveled at the story that Morgenstern had woven, I was captured and enraptured entirely. I reread and gushed and thrilled and wept and rejoiced. When I finished it a little over two weeks later, this was my final entry:

10/8/2011 – FINISHED: I finished this book in the quiet of a sleepy Saturday morning and in the company of friends. No better way to do so, I think. I have to say that I was quite pleased with the ending, with the way that the important parts of the stories were laced together and bowed, like the laces at the entrance to Widget’s dream and memory tent [my personal favorite].

This has been the first book in a long while to capture me as it has and I must tip my hat to Miss Morgenstern. She has perhaps only one grammatical quirk that could tend to annoy me, if I decided to let it. But I won’t.

Thank you, Erin, for an amazing debut. May all your future efforts be as fruitful and, if I and other reveurs may dare to hope, perhaps someday we may all return to the Circus together.

= = = =

Sometimes, books just do not turn out the way that you hope they will. When I read Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange, it was at the height of the Austen supernaturals. Books such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters, and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter were huge then and so I picked up this particular volume to see if it would be any good and appropriate for my 8th-grade classroom. Throughout most of my review/reading updates, I was very pleased with Grange’s writing, her description and the lyricism of her dialogue as well as her command of the Regency and the world abroad at the time. She is a true Austenian and it composes the majority of her writing career, which I find absolutely amazing and stunning! Darcy’s story was interesting and she built up a villain in the background that left me waiting with bated breath to see what would come of this building conflict. Therein lay the rub, though. This was my final entry on this novel:

FINAL UPDATE, 10/17/09: She dropped it, right at the end! Awwwww, it had such potential but the climax came so late that Grange seemed to cop out at the end of it. It had so much meat for a wonderfully dramatic falling action and resolution. Instead, she chose the safe way, gave Darcy a way out and made it, in my opinion, far too easy. The potential that was built up disappeared into the night to lick his wounds for another hundred years (which it was just a scratch really), and I am left unsatisfied and disappointed.

Grange’s writing is lyrical and lovely but…the full meal just wasn’t there. Sorry, darling, but you missed it. By about a mile. In the end, you could have strayed from Austen’s style and done us all a great service.

I generally despise being hard on authors because I understand how difficult it is to create and be successful in this particular art medium. But, at the same time, a writer as well as a reader, I have a critical eye. And the ending of this book has colored my feeling towards it in its entirety, unfortunately. When I left my teaching job, I left the book behind in my classroom and, even before then, never bothered to pick it up again once I had finished it, sadly enough.

Novels and stories are like threads. Some threads are grasped and grasp in return, woven into a tether that never fully lets me go. And some threads are cut loose so that they may soar off like spider silk and, hopefully, find someone whose heart is right for them to tether themselves to.

Lost in the Spiral

Author’s Note: Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and based on the Writers Write writing prompt: “Need advice Which fictional character would you turn to?”

I wander through the black and white spiraled paths that wind through Le Cirque du Reves, finding myself lost in thought and melancholy.

I wander through the black and white spiraled paths that wind through Le Cirque du Reves, finding myself lost in thought and melancholy.

“You look as though you could use this,” comes a voice and a small bag of chocolate drilled kettle corn is held under my nose. The warm, sweet smell seems to fill my head and clear it for a moment, replacing my anxiety with a momentary comfort.

I turn to meet a lovely face, framed by brilliant red hair. Penelope Aislin Murray, known lovingly to all in the Cirque family as “Poppet”. She smiles in that knowing way she has and bids me eat.

“And tell me what has you so twisted up?” she requests as well, beginning to lead the way along the windy circular paths between the black and white tents.

It is late, nearing dawn. One can see the telltale line of light beginning to illumine the horizon. Soon, the cirque will close for the night, the lights will dim and silence will fall.

“I…am stuck, Poppet,” I finally tell her after we have passed a tent or two, “I do not know whether to come or go, stay or venture. I know what will happen if I leave but what might not happen if I stay?” I know that I am being vague but vagueries have never stumped Poppet before and I know they will not now.

The young woman walks silently alongside me, our path curling and circling in on itself. “You are not stuck,” she tells me, “You are afraid.” She regards me with those poignant eyes and gentle mouth. “You don’t have to be afraid.”

She’s right. I am afraid. Deathly afraid. “What if–” I stammer, “What if this is all the magic there is in the world? What if there is no more?”

Poppet gives me that enigmatic, ethereal smile. “How can you think that, dear heart? When it was magic that brought you here?” she asks, her voice like the most soothing music. I noticed that when she was giving advice: her voice took on a musical quality to it. It calmed me. My heart beat more slowly and I felt less like I was going to collapse.

I noticed that when she was giving advice: her voice took on a musical quality to it. It calmed me. My heart beat more slowly and I felt less like I was going to collapse.

“Don’t be afraid,” she says, turning and taking my hand to lead me into a certain tent. Within it are jars of all shapes and sizes, filled with a myriad of different things and the labels all different. It is my favorite tent. Dreams and memories. My favorite place in the entire circus.

“There will always be magic, dear. It is around you, within you, a part of you. And you will always be a part of us and we of you, no matter where you go.” Poppet then picks up a bottle that I had never seen before. It is warm, the glass almost feels silky. The label has my name on it.