Sunday, January 17, 2021

That Curious Sense of Freedom: January 2021 Inklings!

You may remember that, a few years ago, Heidi Pekarek hosted a monthly link-up series called Inkling Explorations.  It was a low-key way to share book and movie scenes around a common theme, once a month, and it was really fun.  Heidi revived the series (now called Inklings!) recently, and I'm joining in this month!

The January prompt is a new beginning in book or film.  Since I recently reread The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery, which is all about new beginnings, I thought I would share this passage from the end of chapter eight, when Valancy Stirling makes a momentous decision that changes her life forever.

"I've had nothing but a second-hand existence," decided Valancy.  "All the great emotions of life have passed me by.  I've never even had a grief.  And have I ever really loved anybody?  Do I really love Mother?  No, I don't.  That's the truth, whether it is disgraceful or not.  I don't love her -- I've never loved her.  What's worse, I don't even like her.  So I don't know anything about any kind of love.  My life has been empty -- empty.  Nothing is worse than emptiness.  Nothing!"  Valancy ejaculated the last "nothing" aloud passionately.  Then she moaned and stopped thinking about anything for a while. One of her attacks of pain had come on.

When it was over, something had happened to Valancy -- perhaps the culmination of the process that had been going on in her mind ever since she had read Dr. Trent's letter.  It was three o'clock in the morning -- the wisest and most accursed hour of the clock.  But sometimes it sets us free.

"I've been trying to please other people all my life and failed," she said.  "After this I shall please myself.  I shall never pretend anything again.  I've breathed an atmosphere of fibs and pretenses and evasions all my life.  What a luxury it will be to tell the truth! I may not be able to do much that I want to do but I won't do another thing that I don't want to do.  Mother can pout for weeks -- I shan't worry over it. 'Despair is a free man -- hope is a slave.'"

Valancy got up and dressed, with a deepening of that curious sense of freedom.  When she had finished with her hair she opened the window and hurled the jar of potpourri over into the next lot.  It smashed gloriously against the schoolgirl complexion on the old carriage-shop.

"I am sick of fragrance of dead things," said Valancy.

If you haven't read The Blue Castle yet (or lately), it's a perfect book for January, when our thoughts turn to new beginnings, resolutions, and attempts to change ourselves or our lives.

(Mine from my Bookstagram account)

Check out this post on Heidi's blog about the Inklings! link-up and join in the fun yourself!  Or just see what other people have been contributing.


  1. I was seriously contemplating using something from this book but decided on something else. I'm so glad that you chose it! I've been thinking about this book lately (because if is very fitting for this month) and think that I might try to convince my little sister to read it.

    1. MC, I can well believe you were considering using it too, because it really does suit the prompt so well!

  2. Oh, this makes me want to reread it even more, I just loved that contrast of before and after her decision, it felt enlivening reading it.

    1. Livia, yes! "Enlivening" is such a good way to put it.

  3. I love the line at the end about "smashing gloriously" and then the last bit. I so want to write like that.... but anyway, I digress. Something I'm apt to do y'know when I love a story so much. Just going into meandering speechless rabbit trails. <3 xD

    Also, didn't realize you're currently reading N&S! I just went back and reread your first review for it and definitely need to put it on my reread pile for.... (glancing at my old prior comment) what would be the 5th-ish time I guess? It's been far too long.

    1. Heidi, yes, that last part is just... perfect. MMMMMMM.

      Yup, rereading N&S with a group on Instagram, and it's so delicious. Planning to rewatch the BBC version when I finish rereading. This is only my second time reading it!


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