This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
May 5 question – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?
Have my readers’ responses surprised me? Definitely!
I have over a hundred written reviews on Amazon, and over two hundred reviews on Goodreads, which may not seem like a lot, but it never ceases to amaze me. The fact that so many readers, people I don’t know and who may never have heard of me, a relatively little known author, in a vast ocean of millions of books and writers, have been motivated to read my books and taken the trouble to write a review, amazes me.
I feel encouraged by the good reviews, which fortunately account for the majority, and that used to surprise me when I started publishing, seven years ago, in 2014, because I was very insecure!
I used to feel upset when I got a negative review, again, because I was very insecure, but now I’m less insecure and I appreciate them too, because some are useful, and at least they all count as reviews!
At first, I was surprised that so many readers disliked my novel because they thought I had treated Mr Rochester too harshly. In my defense, I’d say I didn’t lock him in a windowless attic, or make him suffer any physical torture! He lived a good life, with his wife and son, even though he went back to some of his old ways.
I mean, locking your wife in an attic in dire conditions, hidden from everyone (in spite of being a moneyed heiress), and pretending you’re single to the point of intending bigamy (until your wedding was interrupted at the altar) with an innocent nineteen-year-old, is pretty objectionable behaviour, even for 19th century standards.
On the other hand, I can appreciate the fact that Mr Rochester has been an icon of passionate love, aka the brooding Byronic hero/lover, who is brought to his feet due to the love of a ‘good’ woman, for almost 200 years, but that’s due to an erroneous interpretation of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
Jane Eyre is the protagonist the reader should root for, not Rochester. Jane is the independent, resourceful and single-minded nineteen-year-old woman who stood up to a manipulative rake and won him over on her terms, with her money (Spoiler alert: at the end of the novel she becomes an heiress herself), once he was a widower, and once she had made her way in the world working and living on her own, a feat not all women achieve, even nowadays.
I’d love to continue to be surprised by my readers, and I hope to surprise them too with more novels. I started by writing The Eyre Hall which will become The Eyre Hall Series shortly, as two new novels, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall and Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall are coming soon!
Take a look at my provisional banner, I’m still making changes and adapting the covers. Do you like them?
If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:
I arrived at the George Inn at Millcote at eight o’clock in the evening, after a sixteen hour coach ride from Lowton, where a man with a one-horse conveyance took me the final six more miles to Thornfield Hall.
I alighted and a maid-servant showed me in to a cosy room with a cheerful fire. An elderly lady, I fancied was Mrs Fairfax, sat a in widow’s cap and black silk gown sat in a high-backed, old-fashioned armchair, with a large cat sat at her feet.
As I entered, the old lady got up and promptly and kindly came forward to meet me. She conducted me to her own chair, removed my shawl and bonnet-strings, and told Leah, the maid, to bring me some hot negus and a sandwich. I was surprised to receive more attention than I ever had before. My heart warmed to the worthy lady who was so pleased to see me.
I learned that Leah, John and his wife were the rest of the staff, and that my pupil was Miss Varens, who had a nurse, Sophie.
She showed me upstairs to my small apartment, next to hers. A very chill and vault-like air pervaded the stairs and gallery, suggesting cheerless ideas of space and solitude, but I was glad to find a small, modern bedroom, with gay blue chintz window curtains, showing papered walls and a carpeted floor, so unlike the bare planks and stained plaster of Lowood, that my spirits.
I was now at last in safe haven, and the impulse of gratitude swelled my heart. I knelt down at the bedside and offered up thanks. My couch had no thorns in it that night; my solitary room, no fears. At once weary and content, I slept soon and soundly.
The following day I wore a Quaker like plain, black frock and clean white tucker. I sometimes regretted that I was not handsomer. I felt it a misfortune that I was so little, so pale, and had features so irregular and so marked.
Everything appeared very stately and imposing to me, as I was so little accustomed to grandeur. I stepped over the threshold and onto the lawn and surveyed the front of the three-storey mansion, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman’s manor-house, not a nobleman’s seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look. Its grey front stood out well from the background of a rookery.
Mrs Fairfax greeted me with an affable kiss and shake of the hand. ‘How do you like Thornfield?’ she asked. I told her I liked it very much.
‘Yes,’ she said, ‘it is a pretty place; but I fear it will be getting out of order, unless Mr. Rochester should take it into his head to come and reside here permanently; or, at least, visit it rather oftener: great houses and fine grounds require the presence of the proprietor.’
‘Mr. Rochester!’ I exclaimed. ‘Who is he?’
‘The owner of Thornfield,’ she responded quietly. ‘Did you not know he was called Rochester?’
‘I thought,’ I continued, ‘Thornfield belonged to you.’ ‘I am only the housekeeper—the manager. My husband, who was a clergyman at Hay church, was a second cousin to Mr Rochester on his mother’s side.’
‘And the little girl—my pupil!’
‘She is Mr. Rochester’s ward; he commissioned me to find a governess for her.’
My pupil was perhaps seven or eight years old, slightly built, with a pale, small-featured face, and a redundancy of hair falling in curls to her waist.
‘Good morning, Miss Adela,’ said Mrs. Fairfax. ‘Come and speak to the lady who is to teach you, and to make you a clever woman some day.’ She approached, speaking French to her nurse.
‘Are they foreigners?’ I inquired, amazed at hearing the French language.
‘The nurse is a foreigner, and Adela was born on the Continent. She arrived here six months ago. She spoke no English. Now she talks it a little: I don’t understand her, she mixes it so with French; but you will make out her meaning very well, I dare say.’
I had had the advantage of being taught French by a French lady, and I had acquired a certain degree of readiness and correctness in the language.
‘Ah!’ cried she, in French, ‘you speak my language as well as Mr. Rochester does: I can talk to you as I can to him, and so can Sophie. She will be glad nobody here understands her.
Mrs Fairfax asked me to inquire about her parents.
“I lived long ago with mama; but she is gone to the Holy Virgin. Mama used to teach me to dance and sing, and to say verses. A great many gentlemen and ladies came to see mama, and I used to dance before them, or to sit on their knees and sing to them: I liked it. Shall I let you hear me sing now?’
She sang a song from some opera and recited ‘La Ligue des Rats: fable de La Fontaine.’
‘After your mama went to the Holy Virgin, as you say, with whom did you live?’
‘With Madame Frederic and her husband: she took care of me, but she is nothing related to me. I was not long there. Mr. Rochester asked me if I would like to go and live with him in England, and I said yes because he was always kind to me and gave me pretty dresses and toys.’
After breakfast, Adele and I withdrew to the library, which room, it appears, Mr. Rochester had directed should be used as the schoolroom. I found my pupil sufficiently docile, though disinclined to apply: she had not been used to regular occupation of any kind. I felt it would be injudicious to confine her too much at first; so, when I had got her to learn a little, and when the morning had advanced to noon, I allowed her to return to her nurse.
Mrs Fairfax showed me the imposing dining-room and a pretty drawing room and within it a boudoir, both spread with white carpets, crimson couches and ottomans. All of which she kept in readiness for Mr. Rochester’s rare and unexpected visits.
When I asked her about the owner she replied, ‘The family have always been respected here. Almost all the land in this neighbourhood, as far as you can see, has belonged to the Rochesters time out of mind. I believe he is considered a just and liberal landlord by his tenants. His character is unimpeachable, although he is rather peculiar, perhaps. He has travelled a great deal, and I dare say he is clever, but I never had much conversation with him. He is a very good master.’
Then she showed me the rest of the grand house and some of the third-storey rooms, with its eerie relics gave to the third storey of Thornfield Hall the aspect of a home of the past: a shrine of memory.
‘Do the servants sleep in these rooms?’ I asked.
‘No; they occupy a range of smaller apartments to the back; no one ever sleeps here: one would almost say that, if there were a ghost at Thornfield Hall, this would be its haunt.’
‘Are there any legends or ghost stories?’
‘None that I ever heard of,’ returned Mrs. Fairfax.
I followed up a very narrow staircase to the attics, and thence by a ladder and through a trap-door to the roof of the hall. I was now on a level with the crow colony, and could see into their nests. Leaning over the battlements, I surveyed the grounds. On my way down, I lingered in the long passage and the two rows of small black doors and a laugh struck my ear. I stopped: the sound ceased, only for an instant; it began again, louder.
‘Mrs. Fairfax!’ I called out. ‘Did you hear that loud laugh? Who is it?’
‘Some of the servants, very likely,’ she answered: ‘perhaps Grace Poole, a person we have to sew and assist Leah in her housemaid’s work. Sometimes Leah is with her; they are frequently noisy together.’
The door nearest me opened, and a middle-aged servant with a set square figure and red hair came out.
‘Too much noise, Grace,’ said Mrs. Fairfax. ‘Remember directions!’ Grace curtseyed silently and went in.
Jane arrives at Thornfield Hall and is well received by Mrs Fairfield and her pupil. Adele Varens. She feels safe and valued in a comfortable room and a grand house.
It’s a long chapter with a great deal of information about Mr Rochester, the absent owner, Adele’s background and the all about the house and the servants.
The contemporary reader and everyone at Thornfield Hall knows who was really laughing in the spooky third storey.
The chapter ends on a warning omen; all is not as pleasant as it would seem.
The background chapters are over and we now come to the suspenseful part of the novel, and reader is eager to find out about the mysterious owner and the origin of the strange laughter. How exciting!
I haven’t taken part in book promotions for some time, but when I saw ‘The 48 Laws of Happiness’ and read the blurb, it was exactly the type of book I’ve been reading and reviewing on my #MondayBlogs posts, on personal growth and motivation, so I applied for an ARC, via RRBookTours and offered to take part in the Book Release.
It’s a brilliant book on happiness and how to understand and embrace it in your life. I’ll be reviewing it on Monday, but meanwhile, here is the launch day information, so you can find out more and check it out on amazon.
During times like these finding ways to be happy seems like a no brainer! Check out The 48 Laws of Happiness by Dr. Rob Carpenter! Psst… There’s also a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card (International)
The 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed for Becoming the Happiest You
UNLOCK THE SECRETS TO HAPPINESS
Do you want to discover the untold secrets of happiness in a fun and uplifting read that could change your life?
Have you ever been told you should choose to be happy but then not taught how to be happy?
Is becoming the happiest possible version of yourself something you would like to achieve right now?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have looked in the right place! In The 48 Laws of Happiness, Dr. Rob Carpenter will teach you how to be happier in every area of your life. Using practical, “how-to” approaches, easily digestible mini-chapters, cutting edge research, and inspirational stories of people from around the world, Dr. Rob will show you the secrets to happiness and what you can do to overcome the common traps preventing you from being the happiest and most confident, version of yourself.
Dr. Rob Carpenter—known simply as Dr. Rob— miraculously survived a tragic accident and vowed to not only rebuild his life, but to help other people rebuild their lives too. He has become a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO who now advises professional athletes, celebrities, business titans, and everyday people so they can become the best version of themselves.
Dr. Rob has been featured in the New York Times, Business Insider, and People Magazine, has been a former professor and filmmaker at the 2x Emmy Award Winning USC Media Institute for Social Change, and is host of The Dr. Rob show. He founded The School of Happiness and has countless resources available on his website DrRob.TV to help uplift humanity.
Dr. Rob is the first in his family to graduate from college.
How I Advertised and was offered a post at Thornfield near Millcote
The number of victims during the typhus outbreak had drawn public attention on the school and by degrees various facts were made known which excited public indignation, such as the unhealthy nature of the site; the quantity and quality of the food; the wretched clothing and accommodations.
As a result, several wealthy and benevolent residents in the county financed a more convenient building in a better situation, and improvements were made in diet and clothing.
Mr. Brocklehurst, who, from his wealth and family connections, could not be overlooked, still retained the post of treasurer; but he was aided in the discharge of his duties by gentlemen who knew how to combine reason with strictness, comfort with economy, compassion with uprightness.
I remained at Lowood for eight years after its regeneration, six as a student. I had an excellent education and excelled in all my studies; I rose to be the first girl of the first class. And two as a teacher.
Miss Temple stood by me in the stead of mother, governess, and, latterly, companion. But destiny, in the shape of the Rev. Mr. Nasmyth, came between us. She married, removed with her husband, to a distant county, and consequently was lost to me.
After she left, I longed to enter the real world, where a varied field of hopes, fears and liberty, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek knowledge of life amidst its perils.
A kind fairy dropped the suggestion on my pillow. ‘You must enclose an advertisement and the money to pay for it under a cover directed to the editor of the Herald. You must post it at the post office at Lowton where I can inquire in about a week after you send your letter, if any reply comes, and act accordingly.’
So, I followed my fairy’s suggestion and posted the following advertisement: ‘A young lady accustomed to tuition is desirous of meeting with a situation in a private family where the children are under fourteen. She is qualified to teach the usual branches of a good English education, together with French, Drawing, and Music.’
When I returned a week later, a letter had arrived. I read it in my room with an inch of candle, which remained.
‘If J.E., is in a position to give satisfactory references as to character and competency, a situation can be offered her where there is but one pupil, a little girl, under ten years of age; and where the salary is thirty pounds per annum. J.E. is requested to send references, name, address, and all particulars to the direction:-‘Mrs. Fairfax, Thornfield, near Millcote.’
I knew it was a large manufacturing town seventy miles nearer London than the remote county where I now resided. Before accepting the offer I had to secure references, so I told the superintendent I had a prospect of getting a new situation where the salary would be double what I now received and asked if they would permit me to mention them as references. Mr. Brocklehurst informed Mrs. Reed as my natural guardian. She replied that ‘I might do as I pleased: she had long relinquished all interference in my affairs.’ The committee agreed to furnish me with a testimonial of character and capacity, signed by the inspectors of that institution, which I forwarded to Mrs. Fairfax, who then offered me the post of governess in her house.
I met Bessie who told me Miss Georgiana eloped and had to return home with her mother and her sister, John Reed had been thrown out of college for misconduct. She also told me an uncle of mine a wine merchant from Madeira had visited Mrs Reed.
I packed the same trunk I had brought with me eight years ago from Gateshead and took the coach from Lowton to Millcote.
This chapter jumps ahead eight years, informing us that over this time Jane has become an excellent student and respected teacher. Jane has grown up and is now emotionally and intellectually ready to leave behind Gateshead and Lowood, and start the third stage of her journey, at Thornfield Hall.
So far, the novel has given us all of Jane’s childhood as backstory and even the first time reader, who is not aware of the plot, is aware that her preparation is complete and her real journey is about to begin.
The frosts of winter ceased, and the hardships of Lowood lessened. Serene May brought days of blue sky, placid sunshine, and soft gales. Lowood shook loose its tresses; it became all green and flowery and its great elm, ash, and oak skeletons were restored to majestic life.
The forest-dell, where Lowood lay, was the cradle of pestilence, breathed typhus through its crowded walls, and the seminary was transformed into a hospital. Disease became an inhabitant of Lowood, and death its frequent visitor.
Semi-starvation and neglected colds had predisposed most of the pupils to receive infection: forty-five out of the eighty girls lay ill at one time. Classes were broken up, rules relaxed.
Miss Temple’s whole attention was absorbed by the patients. She lived in the sick room. The girls who were fortunate enough to have friends and relations able and willing to remove them left, some went home only to die, others died at the school, and were buried quietly and quickly.
But I, and the rest who continued well, rambled in the wood, like gipsies, from morning till night doing what we liked. We lived better too. Mr. Brocklehurst never came near Lowood and the cross housekeeper was gone, driven away by the fear of infection; her successor provided with comparative liberality, and besides, there were fewer to feed.
My favourite place was a smooth and broad stone, rising white and dry from the middle of the beck, which was broad enough to accommodate, comfortably, another girl and me. My chosen comrade, Mary Ann Wilson, was witty and original. She was older than I and knew more of the world, so she told me many things I liked to hear.
Helen had been removed to the hospital portion of the house with the fever patients; for her complaint was consumption. On sunny afternoons, I watched Miss Temple take her into the garden wrapped in a blanket from the schoolroom window, as I was not allowed to speak to her.
One evening on returning from my walk I saw Mr. Bates, the surgeon, with a nurse and I asked her, ‘How is Helen Burns?’
‘Very poorly. Mr. Bates has been to see her.’
‘And what does he say about her?’
‘He says she’ll not be here long.’
“Where is she?”
‘She is in Miss Temple’s room.’
That night when my companions in the dormitory were all wrapt in profound repose, I crept out and set off in quest of Helen. I had to give her one last kiss and exchange with her one last word before she died.
I found the door slightly ajar and saw the outline of Helen’s body in a little crib.
‘Helen!’ I whispered softly, ‘are you awake?’
She was pale, wasted, but quite composed. ‘Can it be you, Jane? Why are you here?’
‘I heard you were very ill, and I could not sleep till I had spoken to you.’
‘You are just in time probably.’
‘Are you going home, Helen?’
‘Yes; to my last home. I am very happy, Jane; and when you hear that I am dead, you must be sure and not grieve: there is nothing to grieve about. We all must die one day, and the illness which is removing me is not painful; it is gentle and gradual: my mind is at rest. I leave no one to regret me much. By dying young, I shall escape great sufferings. I had not qualities or talents to make my way very well in the world: I should have been continually at fault.’
‘But where are you going, Helen?’
‘I am going to God.’
‘Where is God? What is God?’
‘My Maker and yours, who will never destroy what He created. I rely implicitly on His power, and confide wholly in His goodness.’
‘You are sure that there is such a place as heaven, and that our souls can get to it when we die?’
‘I am sure there is a future state; I believe God is good; I can resign my immortal part to Him without any misgiving. God is my father; God is my friend: I love Him; I believe He loves me.’
‘And shall I see you again, Helen, when I die?’
‘You will come to the same region of happiness: be received by the same mighty, universal Parent, no doubt, dear Jane.’
I lay with my face hidden on her neck and she said, ‘I feel as if I could sleep: but don’t leave me, Jane; I like to have you near me.’
‘I’ll stay with you, Helen; no one shall take me way.’
She kissed me, and I her, and we both soon slumbered.
The next morning, I was carried back to the dormitory and learnt that Miss Temple had found me laid in the little crib with my arms round Helen’s dead body.
Her grave is in Brocklehurst churchyard: for fifteen years after her death it was only covered by a grassy mound; but now a grey marble tablet marks the spot, inscribed with her name, and the word ‘Resurgam.’
This chapter is a disturbing combination of carefree time away from school, frolicking in the woods in the budding spring, during the month of May, and the dreadful typhus outbreak, which affected half of the girls at Lowood.
Jane made a new friend and was allowed to run wild in the woods, while the teachers looked after the sick girls. Unfortunately, her best friend, Helen Burns, was taken ill and later died in her arms. The way ten-year-old Jane recounts these dreadful events in such a matter-of-fact way, as if they are not such dreadful hardships, is disquieting.
I still remember the first time I read the paragraph in which she describes how Helen died in her arms while she slept, and it still sends shivers up my spine. I suppose hardship, death and disease were a normal part of Victorian life, but the degree of acceptance, bordering on lack of feeling, is heart wrenching.
I found her narration of the typhus epidemic detached, as if the suffering of so many girls didn’t affect her and she was happy to spend her days having fun in the woods.
The way she narrates Helen’s death is also strangely disconnected. She must have been cold and breathing with difficulty when she died, but Jane says nothing of that, or how she feels about her friend’s death. Her reaction, the next day, when she found out her friend had died in her arms is oddly cool. The little girl has learned to control her deepest thoughts and emotions from everyone, including the reader.
The event definitely affected her as she tells the reader she returned in 15 years’ time, at 25, after she had married Mr Rochester, to lay a headstone on her friend’s grave. The word ‘resurgam’ is Latin for “I shall rise again.” And it’s found in the Bible referred to the resurrection of Christ on the third day. Helen was fervently religious, as we can see from the extract. Helen was a fundamental influence in Jane’s religious beliefs and faith in God, especially regarding life after death.
After everything she has already gone through, the reader is now more aware than ever that Jane will survive any crisis life throws in her way.
The Moon's hiding
In night's black cave,
The darkest hour,
Seconds before You surrender,
The moment when
Hope has devoured
Your weary dreams,
Open your eyes,
Look up to sky,
The cloud has passed,
The moon is always there,
However dark the night.
Being almost 62, I’ve had a few dark days and the advantages of having so much experience is that I have some strategies to overcome some of those bleak moments we all have, now and again, sometimes for a reason, but often for none at all.
Here’s what I do. I have my WAM, or water and music therapy, described in this post, where I remind myself that I’m invincible. Other times I give in to my melancholy and write a poem. I love writing poems, and it comes fairly easily, but a proper poem to show the world takes at least two hours, plus sometimes I just leave it to rest in my mind and come back later or another day to revise or finish.
5 Steps to writing a poem when you’re feeling blue.
This is what works for me. You need pen and paper or your journal, that’s it. Optional: music, favourite poems, films etc.
First I just freewrite, stream-of-consciousness style. I get it all off my chest, but I put a time and length limit (I don’t want to (over)wallow in my misery), of about ten minutes or one page in my notebook or sheet of paper. This is really helpful, because it helps me understand how I’m feeling. That in itself will make you feel much better, but let’s continue.
Secondly, I look at the words and expressions I’ve used. In this case I had darkest hour, dark night, no hope, pitch black, dark cave, loss, sentences such as ‘the darkest moment is just before dawn’ came to mind, etc. . On another, clean page, write the main words or short phrases, taken from what you’ve written, each on a separate line. At this point You can think of song lyrics and poems or even film or book titles that align with your feelings and add the lines or words, or any other words and short phrases which come to mind.
Thirdly. Congratulations, your poem is there, but now you have to give your words a rhythm. I like to work with syllables, which is why I love haikus 5-7-5 or tankas 5-7-5-7-7. It’s simple, and it works. Order your words into the syllables and lines. You should be able to come up with a few short poems. You don’t need to use all the words, you wrote, just a few to highlight your feelings, and you can add synonyms for rhyming purposes.
Fourthly, Great! We’re nearly there. I play around with syllables and sounds, this time I’m paying closer attention to the meaning or feelings I wish to transmit. Here I often change the syllables and rhythm to suit my words and feelings. Today’s poem above is not a haiku or tanka, it’s mostly four syllable lines, except the last two which have six syllables.
Finally, because fifthly sounds funny, you need a new sheet of paper and write out your rough version or versions, you may have more than one. You add the final touches and if you’re happy, type it out and show it to the world, and if it doesn’t sound quite right and your inspiration is in tatters, put it in a drawer and come back later to finish.
Whatever you’ve written, I bet you feel better already. I always do! And, of course, I don’t publish them all. Some never get properly polished, they’re just for me and my journal.
Do you write poems when you’re feeling blue?
All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.
Six little flowers and six little big things which happened this month, because each day is made up of wonderful little occasions which make life’s happy moments. These photos were taken over the last few days during my walks.
This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda has asked us to begin a post starting with the word ‘who’. Join in and have fun!
This morning, as I do most mornings, as part of my morning routine, I wrote my morning pages. There are many ways to write your morning pages, more in tomorrow’s post, but for me it’s just one page of free writing which takes about ten minutes to write in my journal. This morning I responded to Linda’s prompt and started with the word ‘who’. Here’s what I wrote.
Who said life would be easy, or fun, or even interesting?
Who told you all your dreams would come true?
Who predicted true love and happiness were in your path?
Perhaps it was your parents, or a TV ad or programme, or a grandparent, friend, teacher, or even a therapist?
Or maybe You decided that You were worth it, that You were enough, that it was You who foretold and visualised your future and then made it come true by turning wishes into goals with careful planning, perseverance, hard work, motivation and determination? And why not? A little help along the way.
It was You who made the promises, and it is You who can make them come true.
Who said it was possible, valuable and deserved? You
Who said it was impossible, worthless or undeserved? You
Who is right either way? You
It is always You. So, believe in yourself, work on yourself, plan to make your dreams become goals and make them come true, because your life is a gift, and You have the power; it’s in your hands.