Such a time it is for having new people on The Penslayer! I really almost - almost - feel quite the social butterfly. I'm not, of course. You know me better: I much prefer a good book to interfacing with strangers. But on blogs it isn't so scary and, speaking of butterflies, I had the honour of meeting a brand new blogger the other day through the button-swap hosted by Bree & Tea. I had the privilege of interviewing her; and she, in turn, interviewed me, so when you are done reading her interview here, hop on over to her blog and read her questions for me! And now I give you -

Melody of Vividry 

First of all, tell us about yourself!  Don’t tell us what you do, tell us what you would like to do.  Tell us about your nearest, dearest things that make up who you are: people, places, books, images, lines of poetry and song.  We want to know!
Music, writing, creativity, and beauty are all passions of mine, and I’m blessed to be able to do things that involve each of those! I am a pianist, currently at college preparing to be a piano teacher. I would also love to perform and compose music, as well as learn other instruments. (I’m currently learning the violin and guitar, and would love to learn the cello and flute someday.) I also love to write, and it’s a dream of mine to publish a novel or book of poetry someday. For now, my writing is simply a hobby, albeit a pretty necessary one. I absolutely love collecting beautiful, inspiring pictures (just look at my pinterest!), and also taking pictures of my own. Often reading poetry or listening to a particularly beautiful piece of music will inspire me to create more beauty in another medium.

I would go to your blog just to see how beautiful it is, and I confess to leaving it up on a tab just to listen to your selection of music while I go about my work.  But what can we expect to find you posting about?  Do you think you might expand or contract the topics you blog about in the future?
I post about a lot of things (thus the subtitle of my blog is “painting beauty across the palette of life”), but they do tend to fall in a few categories. Music is a huge part of my life (if that wasn’t obvious from my last answer ;) ), so many of my posts cover topics such as piano teaching, discoveries about my own music, and more. I also post about different topics that God lays on my heart, as well as devotional-type posts and analogies. Then there are the posts about my writing, as well as funny stories, photos, and even a few book reviews sprinkled in there. Basically, I want people to leave my blog appreciating more of the beauty that’s in the world – whether this has to do with God or music or anything else.

You have 144 followers (I was the forty-fourth) which is pretty impressive.  How long have you been blogging, and what do you find helps draw people in to engage in your blog?
I have been blogging since fall of 2009, so three years. I’ve found that writing about what’s convicting, deep, and encouraging gets the most response from readers. Even though I’m rather bad about responding to comments, I really do desire to connect with my readers (most of whom are young Christian women like myself), and encourage them in all aspects of their lives. I think the personal connection really helps to draw people in.

I have to ask.  I love the word “vividry,” but where did you get it?
I’d like to say that I came up with the word, but when I googled it I found it in the pseudodictionary as “Distinctly powerful and imaginative at the same time.” Which is exactly what I want my blog to be like.

"Vividry" may very well show up in a book of mine somewhere, thanks to you!...  Now, I know this is probably an impossible question to answer, but I’m asking it anyway.  What is your favourite instrumental song, what is your favourite lyrical song, what is your favourite fictional book, your favourite non-fictional book, and what do you most like to take photos of?
I only get one of each? This is tough! Currently, my favourite instrumental song is The Piano Guys’ version of A Thousand Years. Favourite lyrical song is Precious Again by Sara Groves. Favourite fiction: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. Favourite non-fiction: Crazy Love by Francis Chan. And as for photos – I especially like to take macro photography of flowers. There you go!

Personality question.  Are you introverted or extroverted?  Do you prefer rain or shine (or a moderate amount of both)?  Are you dog person or a cat person (here we all imagine you wearing varying types of tails and whiskers); do you prefer soft cover books or hardbacks? 
I am very much an introvert (from a whole family of introverts!) although being at college has helped me grow quite a bit in being extroverted. Funny you should ask about rain vs. sun – my friends all call me the “sun worshipper” because I always rejoice whenever I see and feel the sun’s warm rays. I used to be only a cat person, until we got the most adorable Australian shepherd puppy in the world. Now I couldn’t imagine my life complete without both. And as for books – I honestly have never considered which cover is superior. I like both. ^.^

If you could move your whole family and everyone you loved to any place in the world and live there, where would that be?
Hmm. There’s a lot of places I would love to visit, but not stay... so I’d probably say just about where I live now. Perhaps somewhere more in the country and away from the city noise.

Tell me now, since you are a writer and I am a writer, and writing is what we do, what are you working on?  Do you have multiple stories going on, or just one?  What genres do you like to work with?
Currently I am only working on one story, though I have many ideas that are percolating in the back of my mind (as well as a couple of stories I’m co-authoring that are in progress). My story is called Alphyri, and it’s a fantasy set in involving the intertwined fates of the crown prince Alphonzo and a poor peasant girl Phyri. Kind of like a take on a typical fairytale with a lot of twists.
I especially enjoy writing fantasy or contemporary fiction with a hint of the fantastical. I’ve wanted to try historical fiction, but all the research bogs me down and I never get very far. I also enjoy writing short stories and poetry – the word constraint seems to help me keep my thoughts cohesive from beginning to end.

Would you give us an excerpt (or several, if you like) of what you are working on?
Absolutely! Here’s an excerpt of Alphyri, written from Phyri’s perspective:

As she stepped along the bracken and weeds off the path, she wished she had brought some kind of light: a lantern, or a torch, or something. She could hardly see ahead – the only thing visible was the dark mass of trees looming like an outcropping of the city itself. The grasses brushed against her legs under her skirt, wetting and poking uncomfortably. But she pressed on. As long as she didn't think about what she was doing, she could still move forward. It was in thinking that fear lay.
The forest finally was close - the shadows of its trees stretching out to grasp at her and bring her in. She shuddered as she shivered, and bit her lip so hard she could taste the sticky sweet taste of blood. But she forced her feet onwards, forced her brain not to think, forced her eyes to look straight ahead and decipher what lay in her path.
Phyri held her basket in front of her, a strange and measly protection against anything that might lie in the shadows of the forest. At least it made her feel a little safer.
She could hardly see, as everything was pitch black in the forest. But after blinking a few times and staring ahead, her eyes eventually got used to the darkness. She had expected a tangled mass of bracken and undergrowth between the trees, and though it was a little hard to get through, for the most part it wasn't too bad. The forest more resembled a wild orchard than anything else.
Phyri ran her hands along the bark of the trees as she walked slowly, trying to decipher from the feel what kind of tree they were. A maple, an oak, some kind of smooth bark... ah, here was an fruit tree, perhaps a peach, or an apple.
Looking far up the dark expanse of it, Phyri bit her lip again, wondering how in the world she would be able to get fruit off this thing. She might be able to climb...
The determination that had spurred her on this far came alive again, and before Phyri could think twice, she had thrown off her cloak, hitched up her skirts and sleeves, and was setting her foot into a handy fork in the branches. After a little deliberation, she put the handle of her basket over her head so the basket hung behind, leaving her hands free to climb.
It was slow going, for Phyri had not climbed trees in a long time. She had a vague memory of climbing trees as a little girl - the rough bark against her hands and the feeling of hauling herself up by her arms was familiar to her. Somehow it made her sad, as if she wished she could get back that time of innocence and childish delight in all things new. She was too old, too burdened now. If only she could go back to that time.
As she grunted with exertion, she looked up, and the pale light of morning shone dimly through the leaves above her. She could feel its warmth too, and smiled in spite of herself. Who knew - this might actually be enjoyable!

(And here’s an excerpt of a story I’m writing with a friend:)
I was running, but this time through a beautiful meadow of green with splashes of blossoming color. The long grasses and flowering plants slapped against my legs as I embraced the breeze wrapping around me. This was the meadow I had often played in as a child. I was almost home.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark form approaching, and I halted and turned. It was Abel, walking toward me with a firm step and joyful countenance. “Alice!” he called in his special voice he used only for me.
My face filled with joy as I turned and began running towards my beloved. He held open his arms, ready to welcome me home, and I longed for the moment when I would be in his embrace.
I ran and ran, but I was getting nowhere. I couldn’t move – couldn’t get to him.
My whole body suddenly felt very cold. Pain raced along my back and down my arm, and my dream tore apart with the agony. I was not home. I could not get to Abel.
I took a deep breath to quiet my thoughts, but that only sent another spasm of pain down my back. Sudden hysteria welled up in me, and it was only with effort that I was able to pull my thoughts together and open my eyes.
My cheek was lying on loose dirt, and all around me I only saw walls. They circled me tightly, leaving barely enough room for my bruised body to crumple inside them. I turned my head upwards straining my eyes to see over my shoulder, and found myself looking at a vague circle of green light. It looked far off and unapproachable, lying as I was at the very bottom of what could only be a well.
I could feel my left arm under me, still painful and yet slightly absent at the same time. My right – I twitched my fingers and found to my relief that they did not add to the messages of pain in my brain. I took another breath, this time smaller, and put that hand to the ground. I had to get myself up and off of my left arm somehow.
Pushing until my arm shook from the exertion, I tried to lift my body off of the ground. But all I succeeded in doing was rolling onto my stomach. Dirt got into my mouth as I took another breath to calm myself. I dared not use my left arm because the immense pain made me sure it had been broken. And my legs were numb and useless. But I couldn’t just lie there on my stomach in the dirt!
Oh dear God, help me! I prayed, face scrunched up with pain and despair, anger and hurt. I bit my lip hard, willing myself to have courage. Be brave, Alice. Do what Amie would do.
I moved my left hand under me with my right, wincing as the pain shot up my arm just with that small movement. The pain increased steadily as I put that hand to the ground, and I could not help crying out. The whole arm flamed with deep, burning pain beyond any I had ever experienced before.
As quickly as I could I pushed myself up into a sitting position, back against the wall, legs haphazardly stretched in front of me. As I leaned my head back against the wall, I found that I was crying. The tears poured out of me freely as I cradled my broken arm. What do I do now?
It was wonderful having you on The Penslayer, Melody. I loved both your excerpts: very poignant, with very clear prose: you never lost me for an instant.  And everyone, I'm serious! Go check out her gorgeous blog! (And listen to the pretty music on her player!)

2 ripostes:

  1. Wonderful interview! I've had the pleasure of "knowing" Melody in the blogworld for about two years or so; she is a delight! Both the questions and answers were such fun to read, and I believe I learned a few new things about Melody. Great job, ladies!

    — Elizabeth Rose

  2. This was a wonderful interview to read! I've always loved meeting new bloggers, and yes--"Vividry" is a terrific word!