Friday, April 30, 2010

Poem of the Month: April: To Althea, from Prison ~ Richard Lovelace

As far as 17th century poets go, Lovelace is often neglected. I studied Donne, Jonson, Carew etc but it was Lovelace that really grabbed my heart. Yet, when I set out to write essays on how wonderful his poetry is I struggled to find much secondary reading. It got to the point that I just wanted to go out and do a PhD on the man just to declare his immense charm and talent to the world. It doesn't make sense to me that he's so forgotten.

The following poem contains some of the most beautiful lines in the English language (and I love them to the point that I've considered getting them as a tattoo - though it's not particularly productive). Which lines grab you most?

P.S Be sure to read it out loud.

To Althea, from Prison

WHEN Love with unconfinèd wings 
  Hovers within my gates, 
And my divine Althea brings 
  To whisper at the grates; 
When I lie tangled in her hair         5
  And fetter'd to her eye, 
The birds that wanton in the air 
  Know no such liberty. 
When flowing cups run swiftly round 
  With no allaying Thames,  10
Our careless heads with roses bound, 
  Our hearts with loyal flames; 
When thirsty grief in wine we steep, 
  When healths and draughts go free— 
Fishes that tipple in the deep  15
  Know no such liberty. 
When, like committed linnets, I 
  With shriller throat shall sing 
The sweetness, mercy, majesty, 
  And glories of my King;  20
When I shall voice aloud how good 
  He is, how great should be, 
Enlargèd winds, that curl the flood, 
  Know no such liberty. 
Stone walls do not a prison make,  25
  Nor iron bars a cage; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
  That for an hermitage; 
If I have freedom in my love 
  And in my soul am free,  30
Angels alone, that soar above, 
  Enjoy such liberty.       

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: G

The Woodlanders is one of Thomas Hardy's lesser known/read novels. Choosing to include it in my dissertation was a risk, but it was one that I was more than willing to take. The Woodlanders was perhaps the start of the Hardy controversy with it's bold discussion of sexuality and gender roles, and at the heart of much of that debate is Grace Melbury.

Grace first appears as she arrives at Little Hintock after her schooling. Her father has put a huge amount of effort into bettering Grace's social class, and it shows in preoccupations with fashion and her little white hands. Grace gets caught, as many women did, between the man she was betrothed to, the man she is infatuated with, her family's wishes, and the rich woman she befriends. Essentially, and necessarily in Hardy's domain, Grace finds herself in a tangled mess and has to struggle with her moral and social integrity. Giles or Fitzpiers? The woodcutter or the doctor?

I'm in danger of spewing out my disseratation here, but often I don't blame Grace in her indecision. She's been raised by her father as some kind of money making project, a 'mere chattel' and isn't afraid to let her know how much she's worth. So Fitzpiers, with all his charm and intellect, seems like a very attractive prospect. Of course, then he proves himself to be a cheating scumbag and ta da the ruggedly handsome Giles in his little woodland forest is definitely the better option. Tess was between Alec and Angel, but the opposition there is far more angel/demon than Giles and Fitzpiers initially seem.

Let's be honest: I'd far rather be Bathsheba with her lack of patriarchal constraints and just hold hands with whoever I want.

Daytime Television and some Awards

This was awarded to me from Diarios de Filosofia - a very exciting bilingual blog.

"The Prêmio Dardos is a way to acknowledge the importance of bloggers committed with spreading cultural, ethical, literary and personal values, showing their thoughts are alive through their letters and words."

I'm honoured to have been awarded this blog, and next my job is to pass it on to fifteen blogs that I feel fit the above. So check out these reads:

1. Literary Lolita
2. Not So Gentle Reader
3. The Fairy Tale Cupboard
4. Experiments in Memoir
5. The New Dork Review of Books
6. Word Play
7.Vanilla Vain
8. Sweetpea Blogs
9. Swiedebie
10. Soon Remembered Tales
11. Eclectic/Eccentric
12. A Thousand Books with Quotes
13. The Reading Life
14. Confessions of a Bibliophile
15. I Was Dark and It Was Drunk

A prolific blogger is one who is intellectually productive, keeping up an active blog with enjoyable content. After accepting this award, recipients are asked to pass it forward to seven other deserving blogs.

This award was gifted to me from A Thousand Books with Quotes  and I'm very flattered to receive this! It's great to know that my churning out of posts is getting recognition somewhere.

I'm passing this award on to:

1. Well-Mannered Frivolity
2. Unofficial Etsy Featured Sellers
3. Imeon Design
4. Crazy For Books
5. Poesia Torta
6. Leftz
7. Scientific Culture

Wow. That took forever. Time to go shopping! Got to return some books; let's see if I can leave the shop without buying anything..

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For Review: The Yellow Wallpaper ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I had to do a bit of searching for a title beginning with Y for the Read Your Name challenge.  After flitting around Google and several blogs I noticed The Yellow Wallpaper on several TBR lists. Seemed like something that would be very interesting. Which it is. In theory the story should be a great read - the whole idea and scope of imagining the wallpaper is fantastic; what interior decoration does and can do. I had a very vivid image of the wallpaper throughout this short story.

Just a shame it was so horrendously boring. A few sentences in and I very nearly gave it up, but at 6000 words I figure I might as well see it through to the end. Maybe something exciting would happen. Maybe the voice was supposed to be ironic. No. Just a really snobbish narrator who wants her own way. Confinement in a creepy room sounds like my cup of tea, but I really couldn't care less for this woman, whatever her illness may or may not be.

The Yellow Wallpaper is often listed as feminist literature, and there may be some feminist metaphor hiding beneath all that bore. Feminism really isn't my thing, and even if it was I don't care enough to think about it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For Review: The Cement Garden ~ Ian McEwan.

I'd never read any Ian McEwan novels before. The mass hysteria of Atonement really put me off, especially with Keira Knightley's face stamped on it. That, and the general readership seemed to be comprised of Twilight fans. Another turn-off. So yes, I did pick up this book entirely on the basis of the incest story.

If incest or masturbation makes you sqeamish, do not read this book. It's fraught with hormones, death, neglect and filth (of the mouldy, dirty kind). Personally, I found American Psycho and incredibly charming read, but this little novel really creeped me out. In less than 150 pages, four children are orphaned and are left to figure out how to fend for themselves, while also dealing with the teenage traumas of puberty and gender roles. The story is narrated by Jack who puts things so succinctly and matter-of-fact. I'm not a fan of bare language, hence why I didn't particularly enjoy Kafka of Hemingway, but with the issues of The Cement Garden it can be so easy to get carried away with being verbose. Jack avoids this, relating the events very simply and it works. I mean, really works. It's exactly that childlike simplicity that makes the story so disturbing.

I had a great time with this book, and I'm fair impressed with McEwan - it's not at all the kind of read I'd expected. Not sure if I'd read any more of his books if his writing style is similar with all his novels (like I said, I need my adverbs and adjectives) but the telling and the subject matter of The Cement Garden really excited me. So if your imagination can stomach it, do read it - it'll only take a few hours of your time so there's really no excuse.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


 Just a fun little meme stolen from Erica over at Soon Remembered Tales.

If I was...
a month I'd be November
a day of the week I'd be Wednesday
a time of the day I'd be dusk

If I was...
a sea animal I'd be a starfish
a direction I'd be North
a piece of furniture I'd be a desk
a liquid I'd be tea

If I was...
a gemstone I'd be sapphire
a tree I'd be a cherry blossom
a tool I'd be a screw (loose)
a kind of weather I'd be a warm breeze

If I was...
a musical instrument I'd be a penny whistle
a colour I'd be red
an emotion I'd be bliss
a fruit I'd be a strawberry

If I was...
a food I'd be spinach-and-ricotta-filo-pie
a material I'd be paper
a scent I'd be vanilla
a flavour I'd be bittersweet

If I was...
a sound I'd be CRASH
an element I'd be heart! (Captain Planet anyone?)
a mammal I'd be a wolf
a phase of the moon I'd be full
If I was...
a berry I'd be a strawberry (again!)
a bird I'd be a magpie
a book I'd be Tess
a place I'd be the Scottish hinterland

Feel like you know me better, yet?

Friday, April 23, 2010

For Review: Anna Karenina ~ Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy seems to have some crazy stigma attached. Mention War and Peace and people screw up their faces; 'you read what? You're lying!' So when I approached Anna Karenina and the formidable length I was sure I was letting myself in for a bumpy, and very lengthy, ride. With full time work and part time studies, Anna Karenina took me about four weeks to read. I've heard people say that it took them a year but I really can't understand why. The book fascinated me. I was instantly drawn into the glitz and glam of ye olde Moscow and Petersburg and I desperately wanted to become friends, or at least acquaintances, with the majority of the characters. Welcome to my random fangirl ramblings!

Why Anna? Tolstoy brings the reader in and out of several connecting families. Some chapters are devoted to the goings on of Anna and Vronsky, while others focus on Dolly and Stiva. Next we're in the living room of Kitty and Levin, and before we know it we're with the creme de la creme of Society at the opera house. It's interesting that Anna is the character that wins the title spot. Surely, she ties all the various families together being all at once mother, sister, wife, lover, friend. But still, it starts and ends without Anna. Few pages in and I'm thinking, 'Okay, great, so who the hell is Anna and where is she?' Tolstoy, what a tease!

Tolstoy presents his reader with a huge cast of equally wonderful characters. Each is powerful in his/her own way. Take Levin, for example. I was drawn by his intellect, his quiet charm and his perseverance. But at the same time, repulsed by his pride, his lack of common sense and that unrelenting perserverance that I loved. Some of my favourite chapters were those devoted to Levin; either by his own stream of consciousness or point of view, or just having him subject to the thoughts of others. If only we could see people like that in real life - get a view point for everyone, know them from the inside out and the outside in. I'm a huge fan of honesty, and in large part the appeal of Anna Karenina was the very raw and bold way that each personality was presnted.

If you're interested in any of the following, you will get something and love something of this book:
religion, philosophy, history, politics, hunting, music, literature, art, sport, socialising, men, women, love, hate, war, romance and everything-else-that-possibly-exists-in-life. Tolstoy creates a real tour de force with Anna Karenina. Most of what I know of Tolstoy regards his philosophy of art. Having studied aesthetics in my undergrad degree, there were points in the novel where I just wanted to laugh and say, 'Aha! You're going for that old argument, eh Leo?' In fact, there were several points in the book where I laughed at how comical it is. I probably laughed out loud at Anna Karenina more than I have laughed out loud at any other novel. Suppose society and people are always the same - and some of these guys are just so damned clever and witty that it's impossible not to laugh! I do love me a bit of intellectual humour.

Congratulations if you made your way through all this incoherent fangirl babbling. If you were too squeamish at the sight of all that text, please take away the following:

Read this book. It is the epitome of everything that is wonderful about literature and life.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: F

The third boy was the most exotic of the set. Angular and elegant, he was precariously thin, with nervous hands and a shrewd albino face and a short, fiery mop of the reddest hair I had ever seen. I thought (erroneously) that he dressed like Alfred Douglas, or the Comte de Montesquiou: beautifully starchy shirts with French cuffs; magnificent neckties; a black greatcoat that billowed behind him as he walked and made him look like a cross between a student prince and Jack the Ripper.

Francis Abernathy is a stunning character. A Classics student in Vermont, he is that wild kind of intellectual that you could only find among the middle class. Yes, he's a hypochondriac and yes, his social class and wealth are made painfully aware, but my goodness I'm in love with the boy.

Pretentious and over-dramatic, Francis is the character that stood out most for me. He's immensely lovable all the same. Rather than falling into a camp of ridiculously annoying posh idiots (because, believe you me, I've had my fair share of them), Francis is utterly charming with his debonair attitude and wit. Money is no object to Francis, and it broke my heart to see his generosity taken advantage of by others less loving; Francis struggles throughout the novel with his sexuality and gives and gives at the hopes of attaining mutual feeling.

Francis could be erratically hilarious one moment, and then painfully serious the next. A college student, but the boy has so much going on instead that brain of his that I could only pity his tangled confusions. And to think, he's only one of many characters that contribute to The Secret History. What a book! I don't get many book recommendations from friends, but I am eternally grateful for this one!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Surprise! It's Anna Karenina!

"As is frequently the case with irreproachably moral women who become tired of the monotony of a moral life, she from a distance not only excused a guilty love but even envied it." (618) Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

 Have I convinced you all to read this book yet?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two (or three or four, if you're me) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

and and and
Another Beautiful Blogger award from The Bookish Type! Whee~ Many thanks!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Oh, What's It Called, Again?

There are some books that your remember the titles before you even begin to recall what the actual story was about. Most of the time you remember what it was called, but completely forget the author's name. But that's okay, because you can Google it and all will be revealed.

Snuff. Choke. Rant. Many of Chuck P's novels are so catchy with their short sharp titles - you don't have to wonder round the book shop thinking, 'Oh it was The It At John On The In The By The River Tree...etc etc'.

Haruki Murkami entices with titles like Sputnik Sweetheart and After Dark. No idea what's going on but the words invite you into picking up the book and finding out.

As for myself, I'm around 20,000 words into my novel in progress and I still have no idea what it's going to be called. It's too easy to fall into horrible cliched titles, especially since it's a love story concerning mental illness. Let's not make it sound too sentimental, or desperate, or depressing. It may be harrowing at points but I don't want to put readers off by calling it Terrible Horrible Depression, Dysfunctional Families and Heartache. It's bothering me because when I write the title usually comes first, or very soon after I've painted the ideas of the story. Having the right title is very important to me, so it's frustrating that I've got nothing. I've thought along the lines of Smoke and Mirrors, because it would suit exactly. But Neil Gaiman and a whole bunch of others have got there before me. At the moment, Boats/Bridges is the title I have in mind. Sounds nice, perhaps misleading, and you'd have to read the blurb to find out what's going on. Hmm.

Maybe I'm trying too hard, but there are so many great and so many bad names of books out there that it's hard to think of something exciting and original. Let's hope that something 'jumps out' at me, as friends keep telling me it will. Otherwise, it will remain Untitled.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: E

"I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." How right Jane Austen was.

Emma Woodhouse is introduced as being, "handsome, clever, and rich." All that, she certainly is. But she's also a spoiled brat. Still unmarried at 21 year old, Emma takes it upon herself to meddle in others' lives and to see about their relationships. She makes horrendous mistakes in her matchmaking and is always sure that she's doing right by others, despite unfortunate outcomes.

Her poor friend Harriet is persuaded against marrying the man she loves and is enouraged into a ridiculous infatuation with the village vicar. And thus begins the saga of who loves who, who flirts with who, who dislikes who. It's like a hugely exciting soap, filled with an array of interesting and curious characters. And yet Emma, through it all, remains the vain and self-important wonder woman.

Mr George Knightley (be still my beating heart), however, has the wisdom and the excellent judge of character to be able to see how these relationships are really working, and has an eyes for understanding how they will pan out. Sure enough, our hero is always right, and he's the only one to bring about any remorse in Emma. Following a beautiful but upsetting picnic, Knightley reprimands Emma for being a meddling idiot and for once she shows that she might be sorry.

differs from Austen's other heroines, in that she has absolutely no finanical concern and no wish, therefore, to ever be married. She has no preoccupations with any romance or sexual interest for her own part. She's just a bored young woman who has nothing better to do with her time than mess up other people's lives. And still she's wonderful. At no point did I feel any real dislike for her, despite how much I didn't like her.

(and it has come to my attention since writing this that the only Austen novel I haven't read is Mansfield Park. Must get to it!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: April 13 and some Honest Scrap

Over the weekend, Caz gifted me with another Beautiful Blogger award and an Honest Scrap award - oooh!~

Part of the condition of this award is to list ten honest things about myself.

1. I love the feeling of brushing my teeth with a new toothbrush.
2. Travelling to Japan is one of my biggest dreams/goals in life.
3. I get ridiculously frustrated at people who use bad grammar and/or punctuation.
4. Tried picking up The Northern Lights again, but still think it's awful.
5. Tim Burton lover.
6. Vegetarian. But I won't argue with you about your ideas - what you eat is up to you, and what I eat is up to me!
7. Once wanted to be a vet, but realised at 14 that I was fail at science.
8. Can't swim, and don't ever care to learn.
9. Obsessed with owls, always have been, always will be.
10. Right now I'm really hungry for some chocolate.

I hereby award the followers blog with the Honest Scrap for being refreshing and honest reads.

1. 21 Pages
2. A Trillian Books
3. Good Books and a Cup of Tea
4. eclectic / eccentric
5. Experiments in Memoir
6. Literary Lolita
7. Not-So-Gentle Reader
8. Poesia Torta
9. The New Dork Review of Books
10. The Reading Life

"One may save a person who does not wish to perish; but if a nature is so spoilt and depraved that it regards ruin as salvation, what can one do?" - Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.
I actually gasped aloud on the bus when I read this line and marked it immediately. Love it! My good buddy Leo continues to astonish me.


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two (or three or four, if you're me) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

testing, testing: one two three

This blogging business is beyond me. Sure, I've figured out how to get a cute background but I've no idea how to jazz up my blog any other way. Just spent some time trying to make a really cute button for my blog. I love blogs with buttons on, and it'd be nice to have my own to share with others. But, in doing so I nearly destroyed my blog by messing around with HTML. Maybe it's safer to leave things as they are.

But, I have installed a new comment system on my blog (fingers crossed). I'll figure out after this is posted if it's actually working or not. So we'll see! It'll mean I get to reply to each comment individually, making my life so much easier!

Just a note to encourage everyone taking part in the readathon today! I would have loved to take part, but I've got a portfolio to edit and novels to read and write. Very busy! Next time I'll be able to join in - I've been following the progress of several bloggers taking part; looks like fun! Good luck x

ETA: So this new comment thing is messing up my blog, and all my comments have disappeared. Very confused and very sad. Boo!~ Hope it doesn't mess up again! Grr.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday I'm in Love

Editing is hard work. Seriously hard work. It's never something I've taken lightly, but my progress on my MLitt has taught me how to really scrutinise everything I write, and it's so difficult! Sometimes it's hard not to delete the whole document and start from scratch. But that would get me nowhere fast. Taking a quick blog break.



Friday is blog hop time. Get to it. Just head on over to Crazy for Books, read the very simple rules and sign up to the McLinky! Take a peek and see what you might find!


In a comment I was leaving on another blog I nearly wrote the following by mistake:
'Fairytales are supposed to be grimm.'

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Alphabet Thursday: D

During my Easter break away I travelled with my family to Skye. During our time there we visited Dunvegan Castle and its gardens.

While the mazes reminded me of an Alice and her Wonderland, the gardens themselves took me back to a Secret Garden.

“Do you understand everything birds say?” said Mary.
Dickon’s grin spread until he seemed all wide, red, curving mouth, and he rubbed his rough head.
“I think I do, and they think I do,” he said. “I’ve lived on th’ moor with ’em so long. I’ve watched ’em break shell an’ come out an’ fledge an’ learn to fly an’ begin to sing, till I think I’m one of ’em. Sometimes I think p’raps I’m a bird, or a fox, or a rabbit, or a squirrel, or even a beetle, an’ I don’t know it.”
- The Secret Garden: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Dickon Sowerby is the pantheistic character that is, in essence, the moorland. He knows all the names of the plants and knows the animals so well as to believe he can communicate with them, or that he is part of them.  It's the rustic, rawness of Dickon that attracts Mary to him. He is almost nature itself, with his easy relations to the earth. He understands the soil, and is closer in terms of his social class. For Mary, he represents what is real and good about the world, and he is key to revealing more of the natural beauty found in the secret garden. After all, how can one resist/ignore the sublime in such places?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Poem of the Month: March: Getting There - Edward Baugh

...ignorance becomes a poetic opportunity.
          -Edward Baugh

Edward Baugh spoke these words when I heard him speaking recently at Glasgow university. He called History with a capital H, and spoke of the power of words to counteract. Baugh's discussion focused on the history involving the Caribbean people and their dialect. Creole has been under threat throughout history and attempts have been made to eradicate it entirely. In short, the difficulties encountered by Creole speakers, and writers, are similar to that suffered by the Scots.

Centuries ago was an attempt to completely wipe out the Scottish dialects, and writers struggled to communicate what they could with 'standard English.' Of course, such attempts were thwarted by the likes of Robert Burns whose poetry is peppered with Scots words and phrases. Such has it been with Creole, and various Caribbean writings.

To pick up any literature from the Caribbean or from Scotland is to notice the use of dialect. The writer has either completely removed any hint of dialect, or has used it obsessively to the point where understanding is near impossible for any outsider. Or, alternatively (and most excitingly) the writer has used both and the poetry, or prose, reads fluently while the two infect each other.

Baugh's poetry is difficult to track down online; at least, it's more obscure than other poet search engine ventures. But a few examples of his work can be found here. Exotic, and beautiful

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 06 April

"Grisha cried and said he was being punished although it was Nikolenka that had whistled, and that he was not crying about the pudding (he didn't mind that!) but because of the injustice."
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
[This book has so many faces, and I hope that my teasers are showing that!]

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two (or three or four, if you're me) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
5. Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

And I'm back! Hope you all had a lovely Easter break!
P.S Comments are now open to everyone in the world ever ♥

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Winners and Eggs

Drum roll, please!


...the winner of my 50 followers giveaway is:

Noemi, over at imeon design! Congratulations! The super lovely bookmark will be heading your way soon.

Thanks to all my followers for following and for taking part!

This is also time to say that I will be away over the Easter weekend visiting my family in the Scottish Highlands - yay! So all will be quiet on the blogging front until Teaser Tuesday time. Have yourself a fantastic Easter weekend!

[Look at all these exclamation marks!! Yay!!]

Alphabet Thursday: C

Cassie Wright fascinated me. After all, where do you start with a porn star? Snuff is told through the experiences of Mr. 72, Mr. 137, and Mr. 600 (of six hundred men taking part in a world record attempt) and yet through each the pieces of Cassie are collected together to create an elusive, yet ever-present character.

Cassie is mother, lover, actress, friend; but she didn't correspond to any of the preconceived ideas I had of her. What consistutes the personality of a woman willing to undergo the world's biggest gang bang? Not a simple bimbo, and not a raging feminist either, Cassie Wright is a Hollywood buff. She admires all the noir greats and delivers a number of exciting facts and trivia; Marilyn Monroe allegedly wore one heel shorter than the other to create her famous bum wiggle.

In such a short space of only 208 pages, Palahniuk creates a woman that is known intimately through small details and, of course, via badly renamed adult movies. And yet, Cassie is the goal never quite attained by the three male protagonists. She symbolises something missing for each of the men, and yet in fruition of their yearnings she is only a glimpse of all expectations. Even reading, she appeared to be a character that never really fulfilled what I wanted or needed her to.