Delight for the New Year

Today, I have received the blessing of a Versatile Blogger Award from The Resplendent Life.

It’s wonderful to know the blog is making someone happy, and I am glad to pass it along.

Does your blog have ADHD? Just call it "Versatile"! That's what I did.

Rules of the Award:

1. Thank the award-giver, and link back to them in your post.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to fifteen recently discovered blogs you enjoy reading.

4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

About Me:

I. I own three old typewriters, and use them when I can. There’s a certain old-fashioned comfort to the typewriter, so even in the digital age I am perfectly comfortable using these machines.

II. Whether for better or for worse, I prefer revising as I write. Most writers see it as a dirty habit, but I’m somewhat neurotic even at my best moments, so the “first draft” of a story must look right to me at the time. It also saves time for revisions later on.

III. I have recently become a rabid Doctor Who fan, thanks to Netflix, way too much spare time, and a boatload of friends demanding that I watch the show.

IV. On a slightly related note to III, I am a thorough, unapologetic Anglophile. If it has anything to do with England, I am interested. Everything about England fascinates me, and I hope to take a holiday there sometime in the next year or so.

V. I love to write by hand, but it’s most comfortable to use the Zebra F-301 pen, with a fine point and black ink. Anything else, and the writing feels diminished in some way. These simple little black-and-silver pens write clean and small, just the way I want a pen to work. When I use them, I focus on what I am writing, instead of what I am writing with.

VI. I have posted about this before, but I’ll say it again: I never grew out of loving dinosaurs. There is some transcendent quality to them that captivates me like no living creature can. For all the beauty and wonders I see in creatures that are still alive, I keep coming back to the dinosaurs over and over again.

VII. I am normally an optimist, who still sees a place for honor and chivalry and decency. So, even on the internet, I do not think there is any good reason to be a troll, or to assassinate anyone’s character. I want to see men remember that women should be respected and cherished, instead of seeing girls’ hearts broken when guys treat them like disposable playthings.

The 15 Blogs

Here are my contributions for the award. Because of my relative newness to WordPress and given my chosen profession, most of these will be writing-oriented, but one day I will post non-writing blogs that I grow to love. [Author Fred Warren’s official blog.] [Sadly she hasn’t posted in a while, but Cassandra Jade has great advice for fantasy artists.] [Awesome blog from writer and author consultant Bree Ervin.] [K. M. Weiland’s official blog for more writing advice; she’s quite professional and friendly.] [A sample of Emily Edwards’ impressive nature photography.] [Writer’s block standing in your way again? No worries. Writing assignments here for the science fiction or fantasy author in need of inspiration.] [Even more great advice on fantasy writing, especially worldbuilding.] [Kristen Lamb’s writing advice column. Layers and layers of stuff, so much to explore.] [Very nice fantasy book reviews, covering a wide range of genres and authors.] [Any fan of Game of Thrones would love this collection of recipes from the books and HBO series.] [Art instruction, tips for costumes and prosthetics, and some cool photography.] [Anglophiles unite! England is always a good thing to blog about.] [Variety of fiction, podcasts, and essays on fantasy. I’ll have to keep an eye on this one, for sure.] [Strong, solid advice on writing and grammar, with helpful thoughts on definitions.] [A blog for the dinosaur lover in all of us. Nice essays and photos of fossils (Also great for drawing references!).]


The Majesty of Dinosaurs

At the time of writing, I am watching Jurassic Park on AMC. Good thing, too, since it’s the first time in ten years when I have seen the movie in widescreen. John Williams’ beautiful score never gets old, the CGI is still photorealistic, and Sam Neill is as awesome as ever. And beside the pleasure of seeing one of my favorite films again, it serves as a powerful reminder of how majestic dinosaurs must have been.

Sure, some of the traits Hollywood gave to the animals are purely speculative, like the poison-spitting capabilities of the Dilophosaurus, or are outdated, like the Velociraptors we now know were mostly coated in feathers. But something I will always be thankful for is how Jurassic Park made it “cool” to love dinosaurs again. Beforehand, these dragons of prehistory, these works of biological art, were mostly relegated to museums and paleontology departments, or were innocuous fantasies children would love, then outgrow. Then, when Michael Crichton wrote his novel, and Steven Spielberg took on the massive challenge of bringing it to the screen, dinosaurs raced back to the public consciousness. Thanks to Crichton and Spielberg (and paleontologists like Jack Horner and Robert Bakker before them), we started to look at dinosaurs as something more than voracious monsters. We started to see them as the animals they were. Even more than that, we sensed there was something transcendent and mysterious about them. Of all prehistoric creatures, they are the ones that captivate us the most.

May we never lose that awareness. I pray that we will always see these creatures in a light of reverence, as beautiful and strange as they were frightening and powerful. No matter how extinct they are, dinosaurs will always be alive in our imagination. I never grew out of that love for these animals, because it wasn’t something to outgrow.