30.4.12 | By: Megan Langham

Beautiful People - Clarissa Malvern

It's been a long time since either Beautiful People or Vale of Darkness... but here they are, both of them, back again! This time instead of focusing on Merry Malvern or Kathy Lewis, I chose to nudge Clarissa Malvern into the spotlight.

Clarissa is Merry's sister, younger than him by five years, and his only real family. The two of them share a flat in Newbury, Berkshire; they also share a bond of loyalty that most brothers and sisters would envy.

Never mind the constant teasing.

fearsome flower fairy

1. What is her favourite type of shoe? It all depends on the outfit she's wearing: most of the time she wears outfits that mesh well with tall boots or wedge sandals. Being just under five feet high and quite small-boned, she needs every additional inch she can muster.
2. Does she journal? When she was younger she started a journal, but after three (painfully vapid) entries, she abandoned it. Now she is inclined to think that for the best, rationalising that daily detailing her emotions is a waste of timeand besides, her brother is the writer in the family.
3. What’s her favourite animal? Clarissa is a cat lover, through and through. She even finds the hairless ones adorable.
4. What does her average day look like? A typical weekday for Clarissa involves an early waking at the hands of the Beatles (thank mercy for radio clocks), a nice breakfast of coffee and fruit, a quick shower and dash of makeup, and then a ride on the bus to her job at an antiques shop. After dinner and washing-up, she might relax by watching telly, chattering with Merry, or (if it's a Monday) choosing her wardrobe for the rest of the week.
5. Night owl or morning person? (Optional: What time does she usually wake up? Go to bed?) Like her brother, Clarissa is an early-to-bed early-to-rise sort of person. She generally falls asleep at around 10 PM and wakes promptly at 7:15 in the morning. Unlike her brother, she never remembers her dreams.
6. Does she have a sweet tooth? Indeed forsooth and verily. Anything sugary is a sure and certain trap for her, as long as it is also of reasonably high quality in other respects. For example, fatty and generic donuts generally fail to move her, but if you present her with a home-made fruit tart fresh from the oven, you will have earned her lifelong friendship.
7. What colours are her bedroom? Her bedroom walls are a light lavender grey with white trim; the curtains are a darker lilac with white polka dots.
8. Can she cook? She is quite skilled at both cooking and baking; moreover, she enjoys both. Merry likes to jokingly lament that she's spoiled him completely for the cooking of any other woman, even his future wife, whoever she may be.
9. What is her favourite household chore? See above. Apart from cooking, she doesn't mind washing up afterwards. The warm soapy water is sweet to her soul.
10. Favourite kind of tea? When she does drink tea (which is only about once a week) she likes a cup of Earl Grey with sugar and lemon. Coffee is her morning beverageshe can't have caffeine any time after noon, or she'll stay awake too late at night.

I have not been Clarissa’s brother for nineteen years without learning that she is most stubborn and implacable when she looks like a fawn-child lost in the wild wood. She is five years younger than I and thin like a water reed, delicately attractive like a flower fairy, but when once she decides on a matter then that is the end of it.
19.4.12 | By: Megan Langham

April's Snippets of Story

I'm afraid this has been rather a sparse writing month for me—at least of the share-able sort, anyway. Mostly I've been doing a good deal of journaling and premature planning. (If there's a cure for planning sequels before the first book is finished, please tell me! I am in dire need of such help.)

However, I do have some bits and snippets of writing to share. They may not make much sense to you, being completely out of context, but at least they will give you a glimpse into what my mind has been brewing over these past few weeks.


A step sounded; he looked up and there she stood, pale and poised, like a statue sculpted from ice. Her thin lips curved in a gracious smile, but her amber-brown eyes glinted cold.
—Volunteer Mission

"Ah," said Selwin. "Then you have noticed it. I was beginning to think I'd gone mad."
—Volunteer Mission

His love for Huw was like a maid’s fond feeling for a little petted animalnatural, easy, taken for granted; undergoing in cycles a long period of forgetfulness before a sudden surge of fierce, protective obsession, gone as soon as it had come and leaving no troubling traces behind. It was not altogether fair to say that Lord Iorweth used Huw as a servant, but it was certainly too kind to say that he loved him as a friend.
—Volunteer Mission

To Evan in that moment he looked like an imp out of Faerie, like a mocking young angel bathed in coloured light. The pictures startled him; he was not given to fanciful imaginings.
—Volunteer Mission

For a time I will give her that. For a short burst of blessing I will let her be happy. And then, when everything shatters around her, she will have the sweet taste of those times to remember, to roll tenderly about on her tongue, to visit again in her dreams at night.
—Moonlight Hill

His black hair fell untidily to his stooped shoulders, giving him the irresolute air of a Romantic poet. He was neither handsome nor young: his forehead lined with perpetual worry, his complexion so pale as to seem almost unhealthy, his speech halting and low. Only his eyes, a startling blue, were young in his face.
—Vale of Darkness

"I don't wear cardigans."
—Vale of Darkness
12.4.12 | By: Megan Langham

Jacinth Song

Do you know how it is when in the course of an ordinary day you stumble across a passage of a book or a lyric of a song or even a previously unheard platitude that seems to have been written for you? It is a strange sensation, as troubling as it is gratifying, to feel that someone has reached into your soul and pulled out a secret thing. But then you remember that it was a thought in their soul before it was in yours, and the quiet horror is replaced with a feeling of trembling kinship.

All of that is how I felt about this little poem by e.e. cummings -- not generally one of my favourite poets, but certainly a genius. And sometimes, as now, a genius who understands. It's only a bit of a thing, this poem, but perhaps you will feel about as I did. At any rate, I wanted to share it with everyone I know, because the possibility of understanding is always there.

you are tired

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing,
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart.
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song,
Or the probable stars,
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

e.e. cummings