22.7.11 | By: Megan Langham

Beautiful People - Kathy Lewis

It's time for Beautiful People once again, and here I am back with Kathleen Lewis.

Just in case you don't remember Kathy (or you've never met her, which I suppose is a possibility): she is the heroine of my in-progress novella Vale of Darkness, told from the viewpoint of Merry Malvern. I have already interviewed her once, here: Beautiful People - Second Installment.

I'm not sure which of us enjoyed herself more during this interview, as she loves to talk, and I love to listen. At any rate, I hope you enjoy this the most.


1. What is her biggest secret? She's not about to reveal it as easily as that -- but she's willing to admit that it has to do with where she fell before she met Merry, what the Boy showed her in his eyes, and why she is so afraid of being left alone.

2. Has she ever been in love? No: she is not the sort of person to give her love easily, and she is not at all sentimental.

3. What is her comfort food? Oddly enough, no pastries. Kathy is more likely to turn to gravy-laden mashed potatoes or noodles smothered in cheese when she is upset: anything stodgy and warm.

4. Does she play a musical instrument? If so, what? When Kathy was seven she took a year of piano lessons, but never cared to take it further. She has a high, sweet singing voice which really ought to be trained.

5. What color are her eyes? Hair? Kathy has blue eyes and rich red hair. She is perhaps a little too vain of her hair.

6. Does she have any pets? Her family keeps a dog (a chocolate lab) which mostly belongs to her younger twin brothers.

7. Where is her favourite place to be? Outdoors, particularly in dense and wooded areas. Her wild spirit loves a forest; she can't abide four walls for long.

8. What are some of her dreams or goals? To travel -- anywhere, really, but Spain, Italy, and Egypt head her list. To attend the 2012 Summer Olympics in person (England is also on her list). To learn six languages, among them Japanese. And -- both last and least -- to watch all six Star Wars films in one day, just so she can say she's done it.

9. Does she enjoy sports? During high school she played on her school's volleyball team; she still plays informally, and because she is good at it she enjoys it. She can also hold her own during a game of tennis, soccer, or baseball, but she has never been formally involved in any of these sports.

10. What is her favourite flower or plant? Kathy likes vibrant, vivid flowers such as sunflowers and poppies. Any plant with red in it is sure to catch her eye.

Now that I've interviewed both Merry and Kathy twice, I'd like to move on to other characters. I'm having a bit of difficulty making up my mind, though -- so I'll let you, my readers, decide. Who would you like to see next in the spotlight?
19.7.11 | By: Megan Langham

At Night The Ghosts Come

I apologize for my recent lack of posts. Lately I just haven't felt like posting at all, or indeed doing anything that requires concentration (which unfortunately rules out a lot of life). Last night I scribbled something that might go a little way towards explaining why. Or then again it might not. It might mean nothing (I was under the influence of green tea while I wrote it, after all). But I won't attempt to decide that—I’ll leave the interpretation to you.

Darkness engulfs me like a funeral shroud, like a blanket of starless midnight. Strong perfume smothers me, sensual, scarlet. I struggle against it: half-hearted at first and then more wildly as the horror presses in upon me.

“It’s only a dream,” comes the reassuring whisper, myself to myself, primal and certain. “Only a dream. Only a dream. A dream.”

And then as I pass from sleeping to waking I see the darkness begin to lift, and lighten, and condense into the form of an ink-wet pen.

--------

The sun is shining faintly through the oak leaves, casting dappled patterns on the trimmed soft lawn where my sister and I sit, discussing the folly of the world in love.

“I think it’s sweet,” my sister says, a faint line of uncertainty appearing between her brows in spite of her straightforward tone. “To have one friend you can go to for anything, someone who’s always kind to you—don’t you think that’s almost a necessity of life?”

“Life is self-defeating, then,” I answer with a short laugh, sharp in my throat. “Such a friendship may be sweet, but it’s also devastating. You can’t pin all your hopes on one person—it’s like—like putting all your eggs in one basket. The enterprise is doomed to fail. And when it does...such unimaginable pain!”

“There is that,” my sister agrees, still with the little careful frown. “Doesn’t it seem, though, that the people who love the most are the happiest? I mean—I know there’s pain. One can’t overlook the pain. But—well—” Her voice had grown almost inaudible. “Wouldn’t the pain be worth it, in the end, if you really did love the person and you had all that happy time with them to remember?”

“ ‘Memories cannot keep a man warm’,” I quote, staring deep into a daisy. “The memories are pain, don’t you know; and the more richly you have loved, the deeper your pain will be. Just think, think for a moment about strong, solid, soul-binding friendship. Can’t you see the foolishness inherent in it? To give up your heart like that, to lay yourself bare and quivering against grief’s cold blade, to welcome into your soul the daily ache of stifled longing...that’s not only foolish, it’s downright suicidal.”

My sister sits for a moment in silence, tearing bits from an oak leaf. Then she begins, choosing her words with careful hesitation: “I’m sure you must be right. You put it so cleverly, and I’m not very clever. All the same—well, what I mean to say is—we’ve all got to die sometime. And if it’s suicide, as you say, to love—then don’t you think one might as well die by loving as any other way? I mean—oh, never mind, I’ve put it all wrong—”

“No,” I whisper, as the sun touches my soul; and then, more clearly, “No, sister. You’ve got a much firmer grasp on the truth than I have, even if there’s more to what you say than you know. Perhaps one can be too careful of one’s heart. He who seeks to save his life will lose it, after all...”

A crow lands on the oak beside me, his beady eyes rudely inquisitive and his feathers so glossy black they could have been soaked in ink.

--------

My tears are dripping steadily into my cup.

Rain slides along the window, heavy and cold. I would say that my heart feels heavy and cold, but that’s unduly dramatic.

And that’s unconvincing. Outside the clouds are raining; why should my eyes follow suit?

Well, why shouldn’t they?

I hadn’t thought of that. There must be a perfectly legitimate reason for my emotions to mimic the weather. A thousand reasons, perhaps.

At any rate I’ve ruined my tea.

Speak, O voice of reason. Tell me what my heart has missed.

Light. I need some light in this room. No wonder I’m depressed. No wonder I can’t seem to get anything done. It’s so dark all the time.

Oh, it is so dark all the time.

I need more tea. Light, and more tea, and then I should be able to think. Or maybe I won’t think. Maybe I’ll read. Maybe I’ll sleep. Maybe I’ll dream of darkness that stifles, and black birds that terrify, and ink spilling all over my bedsheets.

And then, of course, I’ll wake.

That’s what I need. Why didn’t I see it before?

I need a new day.