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let no bird mark your brow

Internet? We Need To Talk About Books.
It's weird this, at once like and unlike Mole coming back to his dusty old house in The Wind In The Willows. Because, *swipes at cobwebs*, I think I'd quite like to live here again. I'm not really a water rat, after all. And so

Today, I finally got my copy of The Demon's Surrender by sarahtales .¹ It would probably be an understatement to say I was a little excited, all but skipping home through the rain, creating a reading nest and burrowing straight in, but, to coin a phrase, I was Never, Ever Prepared.

About halfway in, events lead to me putting the book down and running around the house until I calmed down enough to read on... only to find out that the next chapter was worse. And that there was no way I could leave the book again until I'd finished reading it.

At one point, near the end, I started sobbing my eyes out.

I finished the book. I spent a little while staring into space before I got up, threw on a coat and some slip-on shoes, and went out into the rain. I left my keys under the mat because my coat has holes in both pockets, because I needed space to think away from the weight of any responsibility, because I wanted to be free. And I walked through Cardiff.

I headed for Roath Park first because I wanted the roses. I wanted to lose my shoes and dance among the flowerbeds, but the gates were shut. I thought about climbing the fence and having the place to myself, but somehow the image of explaining myself at the police-station was less than appealing. Instead I turned and retraced my footsteps and somewhere along the way I realised why I was Marianne Dashwooding all over my city. Water is, as Heather Hogan will tell you, a form of baptism. Willingly submerging yourself is throwing yourself in, taking it all upon yourself and being made new. The book broke me a little and remade me a lot, and afterwards I felt a whole lot more like myself and knew myself several worlds better. There's all this fuss about careers in my head at the moment, the daily grind of café life's worn me down, but nothing seems to be sticking. And I know it's early days – I'm young, I haven't tried or thought of everything – but I can't help thinking that the reason nothing is becoming apparent is that I always knew what I was going to do. From 15 upwards, I was going to write books and everything else faded into irrelevance...

{I took off my shoes and walked through the rain, watching the pavements carefully. I have a friend who is always barefoot and, while I love the protection of my docs, I understand her feet completely. Being free feels beautiful. It's easier when the streets are wet; you can see more and catch the smashings of glass before you make a misstep, but it still feels fragile. In light of Surrender, of course, this takes on a different edge, but by then I was mostly drunk on being alive and drenched with only a vague wariness for my footfalls. When I made it to Bute Park, the Taff was swollen. I clenched my toes on the slick wooden bridge, feeling it rock gently in the wind, then stepped towards the playing fields. I left my shoes to one side... and danced.}

...Earlier today I asked the world to tell me something new. Sarah Rees Brennan told me a lot of things that were new, and somewhere in the middle of it she showed me myself. because that's what the best stories are for, and how they become so brilliant. As a teenager I hoarded my favourite line from The Handmaid's Tale, and it's perhaps even truer now than it was then, because I have grown out of it and into it again; 'we lived in the gaps between the stories'.²

This is not a review of The Demon's Surrender. I will come to that in time (in fact, I really want to do a joint review of it and Beth Webb's Wave Hunter), I promise, but meanwhile this is a reaction post, a way of using a story that I love to talk about myself. I have always known myself best through stories.




(Films would like us to believe that people go out into the rain and then return to find themselves with their lovers. I came back in to my keyboard. I think all internet aptitude tests have become irrelevant)


¹ If you don't know what I'm babbling about, you should probably stop reading my witterings and go and find book one of the trilogy, The Demon's Lexicon, right now. YA literature done viciously, vividly well.


²Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 18th, 2011 08:14 am (UTC)
I still remember a few of my favourite quotes from studying that book :)

Your one is definitely up there. xx
Jun. 19th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
It's a glorious one, my favourite. Though whenever we do ending workshops I always throw Offred's last line into the mix too...

How are you doing, darling?
Jun. 18th, 2011 12:26 pm (UTC)
My love, was it fate that made us choose to return to this place within half an hour of each other?!

This was such a nice entry to read, the mental images are filling my heart right up.

I read this fanfic recently that was inspired by DWJ and so I am going to have a DWJ rerun. Recommend me some of your favourites? xxx
Jun. 19th, 2011 05:32 pm (UTC)
With us? I think it's always fate!

For the lovely DWJ, I'm never quite sure where the best place to start is. Howl is a must of course, as is Fire and Hemlock, after which I might go the route of Deep Secret->Merlin Conspiracy... then anything & everything else you've time for!

you wouldn't happen to know anything of a Peyton discussion on f!s, would you?
Jun. 20th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
thank you! and.. I don't know what f!s is sorry
Jun. 21st, 2011 08:56 am (UTC)
dinnae fret mah love. Jus' checking xxxx
Jul. 16th, 2011 09:27 am (UTC)
very informative
why not:)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


waiting in a photobooth, libs

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