Blog Updates

giphy (1)

The bloggie is getting an update.

First of all, this site will stay a personal, rambling blog that no one has to follow if they’d prefer not to endure said personal rambling. I will be slightly less concerned with a rigid writing theme and an even rigid-er (yet never quite attainable) schedule.

The domain ‘mckellegeorge.com’ will be used for an officially official site devoid of my ramblings, still in the works, but I predict might be up by the end of the week.

Lastly, my “Morpheus Series” will get its own separate site, so any fans have somewhere to look if they so desire, but since it’s sort of a separate endeavor from all my other work, I figure the website should be separate as well.

Stay tuned for imminent changes.

Welcome Pit-Madders!

Hey there!

I’m an editor with Jolly Fish Press, and if you’re here because I favorited one of your tweets, please use the following instructions:

Before you submit your manuscript, please make sure it is finished and completely proofread and edited. It should be the most perfect version, and publish-ready. Your submission should include:

  1. A one-page query.
  2. A synopsis not more than five pages.
  3. Your first three chapters.

We only accept email submissions. Include your submission in the body of the email.PLEASE DO NOT SEND YOUR SUBMISSION AS AN ATTACHMENT. WE WILL NOT OPEN IT.

You may send your submissions to: submit@jollyfishpress.com

Thanks so much–feel free to address the e-mail to me, and to include #PitMad either in your subject line or somewhere in your query letter. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

We hit the coast . . . and the sun came out

So after leaving the beautiful national forests of Wales, we stayed in a castle–the most haunted castle in all of England.

We played dress-up while we were there.

We played dress-up while we were there. (I’m in the monk suit)943476_10200829736379919_472843767_nAfter which we made a quick stop in Bath to check out some Roman pools

And then we were headed to the southern coast of England–namely, Lulworth, Weymouth, Tintagel (where I waded in Merlin’s Cave!) and Boscastle.

For the first time in weeks, the sun came out in all its blazing glory. Unused to such conditions, we all got a little sunburned. But basically most of the week was spent hiking along the cliff-y coastline, daring ourselves to dip in the freezing cold ocean water, watching sunsets, and eating a lot of ice cream.

Uneventful, but beautiful, and here are some awesome pictures to make you even more jealous of me (although I’m not actually IN any of them, since still no camera chord).

678_10200829996746428_1888860854_n 7873_10151395154826533_917568289_n 431868_10200829995226390_30703554_n 943422_10152928105245604_1984659631_n

 

Stratford-upon-Avon

So, six days and finally some internet later . . . I have lots of things I could write about, and maybe will in the future, but for now I’m just going to talk about Stratford and Shakespeare, where I’ve been the past three days.

Shakespeare in high school was not particularly understandable nor enjoyable for me. When I started college as an art major, I figured I’d given up Shakespeare, along with any sort of Algebra, for the rest of my natural life. But then I decided to devote everything I had to becoming a writer and for me that meant English, not Illustration, and so I switched my major and was suddenly required to take a Shakespeare credit. I put this off until I was accepted to my current study abroad program and then it was not only required, but required that semester, as preparation (the plays I read last semester are primarily the ones we’re seeing both now in Stratford and later in the Globe).

I went into it both blind and slightly terrified. Just let me get through it, I thought, without sounding like a total idiot or like a mimicking-parrot that says Shakespeare’s the greatest just because everyone else does. Firstly, I had a really great professor who was brilliant, self-deprecating and passionate about Shakespeare all at the same time. His lecture on Shakespearean jesters caused me to turn one of my main protagonists into a licensed fool (I’ll be sure to credit him in the acknowledgements when the book is a NYC bestseller, clearly…).

But secondly.

I’ve been seeing plays by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Statford-upon-Avon where William Shakespeare was born and died. The whole little town is basically dedicated to him. Yesterday, when we toured his house, I was touring the tourism of Shakespeare. There were small artifacts of tourists like Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Henry Irving had signed their names as fellow pilgrims. There have been theatrical performances in Stratford-upon-Avon since at least Shakespeare’s day and that history is evident.

479728_10152889174100604_1735594919_n

b4ea1432a8f09fcf2e0399aaf2d18d7d

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

When we left his birthplace, there were street actors waiting who said they would perform “sonnets and scenes” upon request. They asked if anyone had a favorite and I said, “Much Ado About Nothing!” before someone could sneak in with some lame Macbeth monologue (just kidding). And there on the spot they performed one of my very favorite scenes, the first verbal sparring match between Beatrice and Benedick (who, despite hating each other, will fall in love Pride-and-Prejudice style). It was so great.

249019_10151696241488885_995673518_n

They’re so talented. We’ve seen Hamlet, Titus Andronicus, and As You Like It. 

To give you a little preview, here’s the trailers for all of them (be warned, the Titus one is pretty gruesome, don’t watch if you have a queasy stomach).


Anyway–to be brief, I’ve turned into the Shakespeare fan I never thought I would be. I bought a shirt that says Will Power. There’s no hope for me anymore.

The Pennine Way

I’m not even sure what to say in this post. A similar feeling happened hiking the Pennine Way. I don’t know, I keep thinking, if this is entirely real.

So. To be simple, the The Pennine Way is a National Trail in England that runs 268 miles (we only did 30 miles of it) along the Pennine hills, sometimes described as the “backbone of England.” Most of the Pennine Way is routed via public footpaths, rather than bridleways, and so isn’t accessible to travelers on horseback or bicycle.

We were continually hopping fences and walking through fields of livestock–and they weren’t shortcuts, this was the actual path. It baffled me, at first, to just meander through sheep and cows, but then I really started to enjoy it. There is no other way to describe it except to say we were wandering the English country side.

These pictures look like fake paintings, or at least over compensating postcards, but they’re not.

283719_10200729280788592_461871528_n

428107_10200729239627563_785440346_n

532230_10200729277028498_844074477_n

941220_10200729248107775_2142140159_n

And this fantastic, sunny, idyllic weather lasted only for this bit of trail and then promptly stopped as we finished our portion of the Pennine Way at Malham Cove–where apparently they filmed a scene from the last Harry Potter movie, but I’ve never really watched those movies, so didn’t care much about its cinematic debut.

Ahem. Note the figure at the gate trying to navigate the flood and not soak her boots. The picture of grace.

Ahem. Note the figure at the gate trying to navigate the flood and not soak her boots. The picture of grace.

Limestone cliff at Malham Cove.

Limestone cliff at Malham Cove.

Jaaaaane!

Ah, yisssss–finally!

Haworth.

I love Jane Eyre. It’s the first romance I ever truly fell in love with, and because of that, it will always be very near and dear to my heart, in a way I’ll never fully grow out of.

So, Haworth is where the Bronte sisters lived. Charlotte Bronte wrote Jane Eyre, among other novels, and her sister Emily Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights. Anne Bronte (the “other” sister) is probably most famous for Agnes Grey, but she’s not as romantic, gothic or sensational as her sisters, and thus, not as popular.

Here’s the wicked Haworth hostel we stayed at:

945472_10151682099838885_1062334138_n

 

68685_10151682099983885_2048156947_n

 

Then we went to the Bronte’s parsonage where I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures, but I saw little tiny books written by Charlotte Bronte as a girl and her dress that she wore and that they mimicked almost perfectly in the 2006 BBC version of Jane Eyre.

I was geeking out the whole time. I bought another copy of Jane Eyre (my third) just so I could have one that I bought from the home where Charlotte used to live.

And then we hiked the mooooooors (read: The Moors) . . . for eighteen miles.

The moors are basically uncultivated hill land. To the English Romantic imagination, moorlands enhanced the emotional impact of their stories by placing them within a heightened and evocative landscape. Moors form the setting of various works of late Romantic English literature, ranging from the Yorkshire moorland in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (where we were) and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to Dartmoor in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmesian mystery The Hound of the Baskervilles.

The moors drive characters mad. Jane Eyre nearly dies on them after running away from Rochester. And we hiked it; it hailed on us, seriously, and we were navigating mud–and then other times it was perfectly sunny. Always windy. And I hurt so much at the end of it I had no idea how people run for 26 miles when they do a marathon.

But I was like, “I may die out here! . . . like Jane Eyre. Tee-hee!” I was in bliss, in other words.

936177_10151682100763885_1878785010_n

943195_10151682100468885_1805701198_n

163499_10151682101218885_775559219_n

This was posted on the abandoned ruins of Top Withens, where we all yelled, “Heathcliffffff!” into the wind.

I wandered lonely as a cloud . . .

Curse this blasted rain.

Understand, I love this kind of weather. I’d take it twenty times over the heat and the wetness actually doesn’t bother me at all. But this is the second time a big hike has been cancelled (Helvellyn) due to bad weather conditions. Striding Edge–a part of Helvellyn–looks like this:

Striding-Edge--049

. . . and is ill-advised if it’s wet or raining–or for anyone who is scared of heights. It was a nice icy-rainy-windy combo, so needless to say, we didn’t go. But we did go on this . . . poor man’s substitute hike? It was a three hour roundabout hike through the hills, which is fine, except is was bloody freezing. We’ve suffered rain before, but only because we had to get somewhere–if we didn’t hike then we wouldn’t arrive.

But this was just hiking in a general circle of cold misery. Nobody exactly wants to complain when you’re in the beautiful landscape of England (it’s beautiful, at least, so so b-b-beautiful!) but we were all kind of eyeing each other beneath our sopping hoods, like, “What is going on? Why are we doing this?!?!”

Anyway. Whatever–that was our last hurrah in Keswick and now we’re in Grasmere!

If you think you don’t know who Williams Wordsworth is, or S.T. Coleridge, you probably do but don’t know. As a Mormon, the president of our church is always quoting Wordworth’s line about “trailing clouds of glory” behind us when we come to earth. I wandered lonely as a cloud? Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart? The flower of sweetest smell is shy and lowly? The best portion of a good man’s life / His little, nameless, unremembered acts /
Of kindness and of love? That’s Wordsworth.

We visited Rydal Mount, where he lived the last thirty years of his life and died, and also Dove’s Cottage, where he only lived nine years, but where he wrote his best work (his golden decade).

When Ralph Waldo Emerson came to England, in part to visit these great Romantic poets, he went to Rydal Mount and was introduced to a white-haired, plain old man, who took him into the gardens which Wordsworth himself had landscaped (and they are so, so beautiful), upon which Wordsworth recited a few of his poems. Wordsworth was a little full of himself–obviously, he sort of assumed Emerson would want to hear, and at first Emerson nearly laughed at the situation of Wordsworth reciting like a dutiful schoolboy, but then realized he’d come to pay his respects to this great poet and “gladly gave himself up to listening.”

This was my feeling visiting these places. To Wordsworth, I am not a specific fan (though I like his work as well as anyone), but his poetry has influenced writers and literature in general, who have influenced more writers and further literature, which has in turn influenced me. For his role in the literary world, and for whatever modicum he had in inadvertently affecting my own style, I was there to pay my respects. So, with bowed head I thought, thanks for being a writer, Will. Like the cute tour guide at Rydal Mount. She was this short, older woman who referred to him lovingly as William, like she’d just finished tea with him that morning and positively adored him. The professor who teaches the poetry part of our trip is really amazing and he describes the poets in a way that makes them seem human, real, and journeying right beside us.

Dove's Cottage

Dove’s Cottage

486754_10152853096120604_676259184_n

The steps leading into his personally landscaped garden at Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount

His grave -- not creepy!

His grave — not creepy!