Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mismatched Mishmash

When you enter my room, I want your eyes to be drawn to my bookshelves.

I have three of them. One usually hides its contents from view, a tall, yellow-white-and-green bookcase with five shelves. Two of them flank my window.

And they're full. More than full, actually, as their inhabitants spill out onto the floor, are doubled up in places. My books lie haphazardly on top of each other. They're stacked here and there in sets of four or five, so that they don't fall over.

My books are a hodge-podge mix of blues and reds and blacks, orange and green sometimes peeking out from between their multicolored friends, and even pink making an appearance. They're a mismatched mixture of mass-market paperbacks and hardcovers, a collection of used and new books picked up at the local library book sale and at book shops all across the world.

If you notice nothing else in my room, not the photos on my walls, not the knick-knacks picked up from my time spent travelling and creations I've made myself, not the dried-up starfish and iridescent shells from a family friend, I want you to notice my books.

They occupy my bookshelves, impossibly disorganized, with no two books the same size next to each other. New books and old share the same shelf, from classics to children's books. Young adult and adult books sit squashed next to each other on a shelf that's a little bit too full, their pages being compressed by books on either side of them. Finding places for my books is no easy task, yet it's one I quite enjoy.

This mishmash of mismatched books is what I want you to notice when you walk into my room.

The Dandy Lioness

Friday, June 14, 2013


Well, it's over now.

By "it", I mean school. I am officially 1/4 of the way done with high school. It's weird to think that it's summer now-- it hasn't quite set in. I've only been out of school for seven hours now, and the knowledge that I won't have to go back until September, that come Monday morning I won't have an alarm set and that a week from now I'll be at the ocean, is foreign feeling.

It always feels this way at the end of the year, and I always forget.

It still feels like I'll be seeing my friends on Monday, that I'll tackle them in the halls and tell them about my weekend. It still feels like I have fifteen different things looming over my head at once, even though my finished assignments and full workbooks are strewn all across my room. It still feels like I shouldn't watch TV or spend hours reading, because I have to do homework instead.

Yet I won't have to do any of that until September. I know the time will come when I'll return to tan tiled floors and royal blue lockers, the airy math building where my friends and I ate lunch every day this year, and  classrooms I have yet to be acquainted with. But for now, I'm free. I'm free to read books for hours, spend my time sprawled on the upstairs deck in the sunshine, reading or daydreaming. I can knit and sew and go to the pool, and wander the city on weekdays.

But for now, when just seven hours ago I was still on school grounds, lounging in a nook by my math classroom surrounded by about eight of my friends, while the kids in my math class watched episodes of The Twilight Zone, it feels like I'll be returning come Monday. It's a strange feeling, this. Knowing that I won't be back until September, and being glad of it, yet also feeling like well, of course I'll be going back on Monday. Of course I'll see my friends again on Monday.

Yet I know that my best guy friend, who I'll probably only see once or twice this whole summer, who picked me up and swung me around in a hug today-- just as he did to all his friends standing in a circle exchanging hugs-- won't be seeing me on Monday. I know that my friends and I won't be able to listen to his tales of his many siblings, or steal his food or read his books over his shoulder. I know that I won't see many of my friends again for some time. Between scheduling differences, and the sheer laziness of summer, it's unlikely that, unless we gather for a party or something, I'll see any of the multitude of friends I've gathered this year, over the summer.

It's a strange feeling, knowing that I won't have them around, once Monday comes. I know I'm glad to have a break. That after seeing them almost every day for nine months, I need one. Yet it still feels strange. I'm not quite used to summer yet, I suppose.

And this concludes my one week of blogging every day. Starting last Friday, I decided to write a blog post every day, ending on the last day of school. I didn't say anything about it, mostly because I forgot, but I wanted to get myself back into the swing of writing blog posts. I'll be making an effort to be back a lot more this summer than I have been for the last year or so-- if I can write a post a day during finals week, then surely I can write a post every once in awhile over the summer? Also, you should go and check out Mirriam's giveaway, and make sure to check out Monster on Amazon tomorrow, for the Amazon Blitz!

The Dandy Lioness

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Four Hours

Today was one of those days where I came home from school, claimed a patch of sunlight, grabbed a book, and set myself down on the floor to read.

Four hours later, after having chased my patch of sunlight from one room into another, I had read 302 pages, and finished my book.

These are my favorite kinds of days.

The Dandy Lioness

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


When I walk upstairs

the tangy scent of summer hits me,

blanketing me like a wave.

It's a smell full of fresh air mixed with

green apple shampoo

and the flowers in the garden below.

I can hear the drone of cars

from the busy street nearby.

The light slanting through the white curtains

is the blue-gray of not-quite-night,

when the sun has set,

yet the world is still lit up by its rays.


tendrils of wind snake through

the city streets

like molten lava down a volcano's side.

It's the cool feel of almost summer,

where backpacks are still leaning against chairs,

and papers are strewn around bedrooms,

but the world is reaching for that

summer feel

and almost

but not-quite

reaching it.

The Dandy Lioness 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Almost There

It's just three more days until school lets out.

Three days.

One in-class essay.

One project due Wednesday.

One brochure due Friday.

One test.

Movies in the French classroom.

Yearbooks and Apples-to-Apples in the literature classroom.

Movies in the math classroom.

Three more days.

And then it's summertime.

The Dandy Lioness

Monday, June 10, 2013

Loxodonta Africana, Elephas Maximus

I visit the elephants in the zoo and wonder what it would be like to see them in the wild. From the years where I spent all my TV time watching Animal Planet, I've seen dozens of elephant documentaries. From my sixth grade teacher who had us watch all of Planet Earth, and my eighth grade teacher who did the same, I've seen the same elephant documentary three times over.

They've always been my favorite. They chase big blue balls around the enclosure, or stand lazily at the fence, watching the people go by. They travel across the plains in herds, stopping here or there for water, their trunks sucking up great amounts of water.

I've always loved the elephants. Big, gray, wrinkled, they've always been my favorite animal to see at the zoo. "We have to see the elephants," I'll insist. My friends always agree, laughing as I drag them toward Tropical Asia and the Elephant Forest. We stop and watch the tapirs on the way, let our gazes slide over the orangutans and siamangs and the visayan warty pig. But we always reach the elephants eventually, peeking into the Elephant Barn to see if they're getting baths, or wandering over to the enclosure looking down on them as they play in the dust.

If you asked me my favorite animal, I'd probably say polar bears or cats or maybe even manatees. But there's something about elephants that I love. Something I can't quite explain, something that's always been there. If you asked me what animal I had to see at the zoo, I'd say elephants in a heartbeat. We can skip the leopards and the bears and the otters. It's the elephants I want to see.

{A small elephant statue I picked up at a thrift shop for a writing exercise last summer.}

The Dandy Lioness

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Photos // My Bookshelves

{The only editing applied to any of these photos was the application of watermarks.}

{Also, you can now follow my blog on Bloglovin' straight from the sidebar. I may end up editing that into an image later, but for now it's on my sidebar. I hope this helps, now that Google Friend Connect doesn't work!)
The Dandy Lioness

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Summer Projects

It is a well known fact among my friends and family, that my closets are messy. I have two in my room, one which is delegated to Stuff and the other is actually full of clothes. So starting at the beginning of summer (one more week of school, and then I'm officially on summer vacation!), I'm beginning the Great Closet Reorganization(s).

The plan for the Great Closet Reorganization(s) is to dig out the dresser from the closet full of Stuff, and put it in my clothes closet. Once in place there, my clothes will be relocated into the dresser (which hopefully will fit into my closet. It's never actually been in there, as far as I know...) and I'll move all of my knitting things into the drawers which currently house my clothes.

And when I say dig out the dresser, I mean dig it out. That closet is... embarrassingly full of Stuff. Honestly, it's more stuff than should possibly fit in that space. Once the dresser has been dug out, we're hoping to get rid of all the stuff we no longer need or want. (Spoiler alert: it's a lot of stuff).

Along with the Great Closet Reorganization(s), I'm planning on also having the Huge Clothes Purge of 2013 (getting rid of everything I never wear/never want to wear/is way too small for me), and the Long-Overdue Desk Organization.

As much as I don't like cleaning, I know I'm going to be so happy to have these things done. And while yes, knowing me, they'll soon relapse into messes and chaos, I'm hoping to be able to keep things neat for at least a little while.

So those are my summer plans so far. What do you guys have planned for summer?


The Dandy Lioness

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mirriam Neal: "Monster", an Author Interview, and an Amazon Blitz

About Monster, by Mirriam Neal
The year is 2053, and the world is recovering from a Morbus, a plague that swept across the globe, destroying millions of lives. Eva Stewart is a promising young WorldCure scientist assigned to a facility in Alaska where she is made a Handler and given her own human Subject for research and experimentation. What she believes to be a step up in her career becomes a nightmare when she discovers writing on her Subject’s cell wall. I still have a soul. Soon Eva is drawn into a horrific plot kept quiet by WorldCure, and as everything she knew collapses around her, she must discover the truth behind her Subject, her beliefs, and herself.

Mirriam Neal, a good friend of mine, is publishing her first book, and is doing a series of author interviews across several blogs. Mirriam's book Monster is set to be coming out on the 15th of June on Amazon, and Mirriam is planning on throwing an "Amazon Blitz" that day, where as many people buy the book as possible. I hope you all look into Monster and buy a copy-- I can verify that it's fantastic! Be sure to visit Mirriam's blog on the 14th of June to check out the giveaway and Amazon Blitz details.

I got the chance to read Monster as Mirriam was writing it, and be a part of her beta team. I fell in love with the story, and I hope that all of you guys get a chance to get a copy and love it just as much as I do.  So, without further adieu, I'll give this post over to Mirriam and let her do the talking.

What kind of things did you draw inspiration from, while writing and editing Monster? (Books, movies, pictures, music, etc.) 

I drew inspiration from a lot of things, but the biggest was Big Bang's song and music video, "Monster." I read a lot of medical articles - but I didn't have to look for inspiration, oddly enough. It was just sort of 'there' for this novel.

How did you write Monster? Was it on a computer, or by hand? 
I wrote SO much of it by hand, and then I typed it up onto the computer. Almost the first third was handwritten; the rest was typed up - I can type at the same speed as my brain, so I prefer writing on the computer. The last fourth of the book was finished in a hotel room using my mom's laptop!

Do you consider yourself to have a specific writing style, something that shines through in most everything that you've written, or do you think that your writing has its own personality for each story? 
Ah, not really. My style differs from book to book; something mom pointed out while reading various chapters. My style sounds totally different to fit each different book idea.

Did you have any one person who really supported you through the writing of this story? Who? 
I've been blessed with more people who encourage me than I can count. My family, my friends - everyone. And, of course, there was one person I didn't actually KNOW who inspired Mir. Lee Joon, a singer, actor, and the person who was (and is) Mir personified.

Did writing Monster teach you anything? 
This book taught me to value every soul on an even deeper level. It changed how I see people. It helped me look past appearances, to see the beating heart beneath.

Some writers have their characters living in their heads-- do Eva and Mir "live in your head" the way some characters do? 
All of my characters reside inside my head. They're as colorful and close to me as people in the real world, which is both a blessing and a danger to my real life! 

What do you consider the best part of writing-- the actual writing and beta-ing, or the editing? 
I much prefer the actual writing and beta-ing. Editing and rewriting, while not horrible, is my least favorite part. There isn't as much creativity in editing as there is in the actual writing.

About the Author

"Mirriam Neal is a nineteen-year-old homeschooled young woman who believes in embracing the weirdness in life. She writes at strange hours, reads strange books, listens to stranger music, and loves discovering the uniqueness in people."