Writing Toward Home

Writing , Ideas, and Encouragement

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The Desert Island Book List

The Desert Island Book List

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If you could only take 10 books with you to a desert island, which ones would you choose? I always have a Top 10 list going. It is comprised of books I would ( and do) read over and over again. It has remained unchanged for about four years because in spite of reading a lot of books, I have not found one that deserved to displace something else. Until now. I will post the entire list at the end.

 

I just finished reading A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. I am still processing the story, but I can tell you that I wept when I closed the book. It is the best book of any kind that I have read this year and the best novel I have read in several years. It was stunning, haunting, beautiful, funny, harsh, sad, and thought provoking in a way few books are. So often I finish a book and simply reach for the next thing to read. Not so with this one. I walked around the house afterwards feeling bereft and unsure what to do with myself. I keep thinking about the characters, the story line and all of the Big Ideas in the novel. I also handed the book to my husband and said, “You’ve got to read this.”

It is a tale of a transcendent friendship in the midst of tragedy and a coming-of-age story that takes on faith, love, miracles, the Vietnam War, and so much more.

I picked it up two weeks ago after reading an interview with Leslie Stahl in The New York Times Book Review in which she praised it as a desert island book. She was right. While it is long at over 600 pages, nothing in the book is extraneous. Irving weaves all of the small details together at the end, which is sad, but also quite fitting.

 

In addition, A Prayer For Owen Meany has one of the best opening sentences I have ever read. I dare anyone to read it and then put the book down.

 

Here is my ( revised) Top 10   Please note, these are all novels. If I could only take one book to a desert island it would be my Bible. Of course it has everything you could want in one book: history, adventure, poetry, prophecy, heroes and villains, and more.

My Desert Island Book List

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird. by Harper Lee. This has been my number one book for over 30 years. I re-read it every couple of years. To me, it is literary perfection.
  2. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger. This novel, like TKAM, has a young narrator witnessing harsh life events. A beautiful story of the power of a father’s love.
  3. Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos, who is probably the best writer that most people have never heard of. This novel is about how art can save us, the Holocaust, and creating family in the midst of life’s tragedies.
  4. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. This is the last book that I added to my list 4 years ago. I stayed up way past midnight several days in a row to finish this 1000 page book. It was so brilliantly conceived and well-written I could not put it down. A man travels back in time in an attempt to thwart the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  5. Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos. She is the only person to have two books in my Top 10. This magical and redemptive book tells the story of three grown siblings still trying to cope with the death of their mother years before as they now prepare to bury their father.
  6. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Nifenegger. A transcendent love story in which the main characters, Henry and Clare, must cope with his tendency to be suddenly and involuntarily whisked to a different point in time.
  7. Beloved By Toni Morrsion A harrowing story of slavery, infanticide and ghosts. This powerful story left me unable to read anything for days when I first encountered it more than 20 years ago.
  8. The Forgotten Garden By Kate Morton Two women try to uncover their family’s secret past using a mysterious book of fairy tales.
  9. A Prayer For Owen Meany.
  10. The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet By Reif Larsen. A totally original coming-of-age story with a quirky twelve year old narrator who hops a train and heads to Washington, DC to receive a prestigious award. The book is a rambling diary/journal complete with all kinds of fascinating marginalia that helps tell the story.

 

 

That’s my desert island list.

What’s on yours?

 

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Make Time For An Artist Date

  Wordplay Wednesday: Make Time for An Artist Date

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            If you are familiar with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, you know that two practices she recommends are Morning Pages and the Artist Date. While I find both to be beneficial to my work as a writer, Artist Dates are my favorite.

            Basically an Artist’s Date is a date with yourself. The idea is to go somewhere that will help you recharge your creative juices. Cameron calls it “filling the well.”  Writers, artists, and other folks who produce creative work can become easily depleted by their endeavors.  The Artist Date is a way to self-nurture and restore a sense of playfulness to your creative self. The idea is to go alone on a field trip of sorts. It does not matter where you go as long as it is just for fun. No errands or to-do lists allowed.

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             Here are some of my favorite places to go: bookstores, art supply stores, craft stores, flea markets, antique shops, fabric stores, libraries, museums, thrift shops, toy stores, art galleries, or botanical gardens. I set aside a couple of hours and I just wander, browse, and let my imagination roam while I become re-inspired.  It is a highly effective practice and always restores my creative equilibrium.

            I try to do an Artist Date once a week, but admittedly, sometimes my schedule becomes overcrowded. Recently I could feel the restless tension building as I was working on several very different writing projects. I knew I needed an Artist Date to help me get centered again.

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            On Monday I drove to a nearby shopping center, bought myself a large tea at the local bagel shop, and wandered in the craft store for a while. Then I headed to my local indie bookstore, which was my target destination.  I spent a long time meandering through the aisles, dipping into books whose covers called to me.

            It was a slow day in the shop; the quiet murmurs of the employees and the few customers produced a soothing sort of background “music.”  I had several  books in mind that I wanted to purchase. One was out of stock, one prominently displayed, and the other required a bit of a search by one of the diligent booksellers.  I purchased the two I had come in search of plus three more treasures I had found among the shelves.  Yes, I was a bit more self-indulgent to my muse this time than usual, although my lack of self-control in a bookstore is legendary. I excuse this behavior by my assertion that I am supporting the last independent bookstore in the city.  My muse also pointed out I had neglected her for a couple of weeks. I discarded my guilt and carried out a bulging bag of books and renewed energy for my work. Plus, the glorious anticipation of many hours of pleasurable reading ahead.

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            Take yourself on an Artist Date and become reacquainted with your playful inner artist.  Share your Artist Date destinations and adventures. I would love to hear about them!

Everyone Needs a Little Poetry

Everyone Needs a Little Poetry

 

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When I tell people that April is National Poetry Month, I often get frowns, eye rolls, or shrugs accompanied by the phrase, “ I don’t like poetry.” My response to this is, “Really? Then you just haven’t found the right poems.”

 

I believe that saying you don’t like poetry is like saying you don’t like music. Everyone has at least one type of music that they enjoy, whether it’s reggae, to rock to chamber music. I have many that I listen to depending on my mood: classic rock, jazz, classical, show tunes, Big Band, New Age and Christian music. Sometimes I like instrumental songs and at other times I want something I can sing along to.

 

Poetry is the same. There are many kinds of poetry as well, from Haiku, to Sonnets to Free-Verse, just to name a few. If you think you don’t like poetry, then you just haven’t found the right form or poet yet. Poetry is word-music. When you discover poems you like, they sing into your soul just like great songs.

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People have an idea that poetry is high-brow and filled with all kinds of mysterious meaning. This comes from well intentioned English teachers dragging us painfully through poems line-by-line looking for the metaphors or symbolism. Poems were and are not written to be dissected; they are meant to be read in entirety for pure enjoyment and for the shared human experience that is conveyed in the poet’s words. Poets, after all, are using their work to  try and make sense of the world, just like the rest of us.

 

The other misconception about poetry is that its scope is limited to certain topics or themes that are not of modern interest. Not true! Poetry can be about anything. My new favorite poetry collection is Dog Songs, by Mary Oliver. Yes, the entire collection is all about dogs. How cool is that?

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How do you find poetry you like? Go on a search, with an open mind. Look on the internet, browse in a library or bookstore. Read lots of poems. If you don’t like or connect with one poet, try another, and another, until you find someone whose way of looking at the world resonates with you.

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Everyone needs a little poetry.

 

 

 

Homage to April: Weather, Poetry, and Baseball

Homage to April: Weather, Poetry, and Baseball

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 Early April  in the South is the most inconstant of months. The weather is a continual surprise with its variety. Impetuous  folks  set out their bedding plants on the summer-like days only to rush out with blankets and  tarps  a day later when the thermometer takes a nose-dive. One day it rains as if a new Noah is rushing to fulfill a building order followed by a brilliantly sunny day  with enough breeze to carry away small dogs and children.

Nope, April is not known for its predictable weather. The only thing you can count on is change.  Don’t make concrete plans if the activity depends  on environmental conditions. However mutable  the elements,  April possesses two reliable constants: National Poetry Month and the beginning of baseball season.  

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As a word nerd, I am of course, a lover of poetry. It was my introduction into the intoxicating world of writing at age eight. A poem I created ended up posted on the bulletin board  in the front hall of my elementary school and I was hooked. I wrote a lot of poems during childhood and adolescence , but I eventually realized that my skills were more suited to fiction.  I do not write much poetry any longer, but after grappling with it for so long, I can appreciate the work, imagination, and talent that goes into making a good poem.

I do enjoy reading poetry and  hearing it shared aloud by an accomplished and experienced reader.  In the right hands a poem can sound like music.  Garrison Keillor, on his site, The Writer’s Almanac, shares a poem each day. I love listening to the poems in his mellifluous voice. I recommend you check it out. I will  have more to say about National Poetry Month and poetry in general in a future post.

Now to baseball.

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To find out if someone you know is a baseball fan, mention the phrase “It’s almost Opening Day”. You will get either a blank look or a grin of epic proportions. For baseball fans, anticipating Opening Day is like waiting for Christmas. We count the days, know exactly  when catchers and pitchers report, check the scores daily from the Spring Training leagues, and wait. Finally, on the first Monday of April, the day arrives and for 6 months there is bliss.  You have  teams to cheer for and against, players to follow, and stats to monitor.

I like baseball for its pace, the firm parameters of  9 innings, 3 outs, 3 strikes,  and the fact that each player has an opportunity to contribute to the offense. While the players win or lose as part of a team, each man has to stand alone at the plate and in his position and is therefore accountable for his efforts.

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While there’s nothing like watching baseball on the patio on a cool evening,  going in person is even better. My husband and I have traveled to many cities around the country to catch games and have a goal of making it to every stadium. For now, since our city does not have a Major League team, we have season tickets to the Charlotte Knights AAA games.  Tonight is their home opener and I will be there, keeping a scorebook and enjoying the murmur of the crowd, the crack of the bats, and the calls of the vendors, all of which will lull me into a feeling of  Zen-like contentment.

Play ball! But, remember it’s April and take a sweatshirt and poncho along just in case.

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Wordplay Wednesday: I’ve Got the Music in Me, And So Do You!

Wordplay Wednesday: I’ve Got the Music in Me and So Do You!

 

 

“ All God’s critters got a place in the choir,

Some sing low and some sing higher,

Some sing out loud on the telephone wire

And some just clap their hands or paws or anything they’ve got.”

 

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I have always loved the words to that folk song. (For a great rendition go to Youtube

and find the version from Celtic Thunder.) This morning it popped into my head as I

walked on the greenway near my home. I was saying my prayers and just

sending up gratitude to God for His wonderful creation in all its glory: the sunshine,

the breeze, the flowering trees, the new green buds, and the magnificent music the

birds were making.

 

Listen to the top and the little birds singing

The melody with the high notes ringin’

The good owl sighs over everything

The blackbird disagrees.

 

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It was the loudest and most diverse bunch of melodies I have heard this season.

Perhaps our feathered friends were declaring that spring is finally here after

several false starts and a bit of back- tracking into winter. There were caws,

tweets, screeches, warbles, trills, twitters, chirps, chatters, shrieks, and coos filling

the air. It reminded me of the musicians in an orchestra tuning up before the

symphony. It is not a coordinated effort with one score, but the sounds are still

pleasing to the ear.

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Singing in the nighttime, singing in the day

Little duck quacks and he’s on his way

The otter hasn’t got that much to say;

The porcupine talks to himself.

 

The birds sing because that is what they were created to do. There are, of course,

different reasons they sing: to attract a mate, warn away competitors, announce

danger and so on. I like to think, too, that they sing just for the joy of creating

the song they were born to share with the world. They have music within that

needs to be unleashed to bring enjoyment to others.

 

So do I.

 

So do you.

 

“ All God’s critters got a place in the choir,

Some sing low and some sing higher,

Some sing out loud on the telephone wire

And some just clap their hands or paws or anything they’ve got.”

 

Admittedly, not all of us were born to sing, although scientists claim that each of us is wired to

enjoy music of one kind or another. I love many varieties of music: folk, classic rock, jazz,

classical, oldies, sacred. I enjoy singing even though it is not, by any stretch of the imagination,

a talent I was gifted with. I usually sing when I am alone: in my car, working in the yard, or

puttering around the house. While my only public singing happens in church as part of the

congregation, I still have music to share.

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The dogs and cats they take up the middle

As the honey bee hums, the cricket fiddles

The donkey brays and the pony neighs

The old grey badger just sighs.

 

I’ve got the music in me. My music is a unique song that only I can sing. It consists of my

thoughts, ideas, brainstorms, stories, triumphs , sorrows, light-bulb moments, and ponderings.

Instead of liner notes and melodies, I use words to share my inner symphony. My pens,

notebooks, piles of paper scraps, and computer are my instruments. Each writing session I

tune up with a free-write and then I begin. I write because I have a song to share that only I

can sing.

 

You do as well.

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Listen to the bass it’s the one on the bottom

Where the bullfrog croaks, the hippopotamus

Moans and groans with a big to-do

The old cow just goes moo.

 

Perhaps like me, you use words to write stories. Maybe you wield paint and a brush to create

artwork. Or fabric and a sewing machine to craft quilts or clothing. Or ingredients and a stove

to make delicious cakes, pies or meals. Or spoken words to offer knowledge, healing, or

comfort. Or your singing voice  and/or an instrument.

 

Whatever it is that you hear inside, bring it out in your own unique style.

 

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It’s a simple song, a living song everywhere

By the ox, the fox and the grizzly bear

The grumpy alligator and the hawk above,

The sly old weasel and the turtledove.

 

Perhaps you haven’t yet discovered your medium, but you still have a song to sing. It was not

meant to remain inside you. Find it. Share it. We all benefit when everyone takes their part in

the choir. The word needs your song.

 

“ All God’s critters got a place in the choir,

Some sing low and some sing higher,

Some sing out loud on the telephone wire

And some just clap their hands or paws or anything they’ve got.”

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The Power of Words

Wordplay Wednesday : The Power of Words

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We have all heard the childhood singsong adage “ Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Perhaps we have even said it aloud when we were confronted with hurtful words. BUT…we all know that this quote is not true at all.

Words have power. They matter. As a writer and word nerd I have always embraced  words as my medium of choice. It is thrilling to play around with words:  tinkering with, rearranging, and auditioning them until I find just the right one to express an idea or thought.  It is fun to see how they can be woven together to produce laughter, delight, surprise, or tears.

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Words can heal and words can hurt. They can change us in perceptible or subtle ways.  Sometimes, we are aware of the effect words have on us. Someone may say something that arouses an immediate visceral response. We know that those particular words have affected us for good or ill.

Often though, the effect is more subliminal. We read or hear words, phrases, or ideas over and over and soon they have taken up residence in our hearts and minds without us being aware. This is the pervasive danger that words can bring. If we hear or read something often enough, whether it is true or not; whether it is beneficial or not, it begins to become a part of us, without our permission. George Orwell , in his novel 1984 , said “ If thoughts corrupt language, language can also corrupt thought.”

I have recently had this experience of words and ideas that I do not usually entertain taking up residence in my mind and soul. It was disconcerting to find myself spending a great amount of mental energy trying to deal with these unwelcome, but obtrusive words.  As Jody Picoult says  “ Words are like eggs dropped from great height; you can no more call them back than ignore the mess they leave when they fall.”  I  was not the one who had  dropped the words but the exposure had left debris that muddled my thinking.

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Then I recalled a powerful and encouraging quote I have highlighted in my Bible. In Philippians 4:8, it says “ …whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (NASB)

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Ah, yes. That was the answer. Replace the muck-making words with those that bring to mind joy, beauty, and loveliness. I needed to harness the power of words for bringing order back to my thinking. Engaging in supportive, wise conversations and reading uplifting stories and well-chosen works on creativity and  art have restored the equilibrium to my brain.

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This is a great lesson to me as a writer. I need to be aware and vigilant that the words I wield can be a positive force for good or a destructive one. I want my words to create delight, thoughtfulness, and hope. Therefore I need to choose them with great care and deliberation.  Words have power.  Words matter.

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Sneaky Spring

Wordplay Wednesday     Sneaky Spring

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I have always loved watching the change of seasons, especially from winter to spring. When I still worked full-time I was often too busy to observe the alterations in my surroundings until they were completed. I’d look around and the trees were full of large green leaves seemingly overnight.

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Now that I am retired, I spend a lot more time outdoors and I am quite intentional about noticing the transformations taking place. Every morning I walk my dog along a greenway near my house. It accompanies a creek that flows through a park, a residential area, and behind a neighborhood shopping center. There are numerous varieties of shrubs, flowers, trees, and plants along the greenway, which make for an interesting and ever-changing landscape.

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This year I have been super focused on paying attention to the changes as winter wound down in an untimely manner in late January. The warm temperatures had the trees budding early and the daffodils popping up way ahead of schedule. Since we take the same route each morning, it was easier to see the gradual changes from tiny buds, to blossoms, to full blooms on the flowering cherries, forsythia and Bradford pears. Meanwhile,  the browned grass gave way to green sprouts and dandelions.

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Still, nature uses her sleight-of-hand to continue to surprise me. While I was marveling over the profusion of yellow flowers on the jasmine and the emergence of the wild violets, the trees that held white and pink blossom just last week trotted out their bright green leaves while my attention was diverted.

“How did that happen?” I said aloud to the trees. “I  thought I was really observant this year.”

 

I sensed a voice whispering in the wind. “ That is my secret, my dear. No matter how close you watch, the miracles still happen as if by magic. Presto! But thank you for your kind attentions. Enjoy the show.”

 

I do and I will. Happy (Almost) Spring!

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Happy Blog-A-Versary!

Happy Blog-A-Versary!

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One year ago I launched my blog, Writing Toward Home. (Actually it was on February 29 and I called my first post “Launch Day Leap Day!” ) Leap Day was the perfect time to take the leap into the blogosphere after thinking about it for over a year.

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Initially I wanted my blog to be about encouraging everyone to write because I believe it is a fabulous practice for reflection, inspiration, healing and enjoyment. As I continued posting I realized that I had other topics and ideas I wanted to explore so the posts have strayed from their original purpose. I decided to begin writing about whatever topics or ideas I found interesting and I hoped they would resonate with others.

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My posts have been a combination of writing encouragement, wordplay exercises and explorations, writing prompts, imaginative writing and personal essays. I have written about palindromes, pangrams, poetry, word lists, keeping a Lexicon, along with stories about chickens, dragons and princesses as well as some of my favorite memories and family stories.

Initially I posted two or three times a week and soon realized that was too often for me and my readers. I needed more time for my other writing projects: a novel featuring magical realism, a Middle Grade fantasy as well as some short stories and essays I have been submitting to various publications.

I have settled on Wordplay Wednesday as my day to publish on the blog. (I have always loved alliteration. It must be the teacher in me!) Recently life, family obligations and illness have interfered with regular Wednesday posts, but going forward I hope to be more consistent.

In the next year I will explore whatever is of interest to me as well as some excerpts from my Works-in-Progress. I am planning to return to my Princess Crowley and Freeman the Dragon tale as well as writing about books, art and of course, the writing life.

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Many thanks for reading my musings. I appreciate your support and encouragement.

Onward!

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Wordplay Wednesday: The Joys of Reading

 Wordplay Wednesday : The Joys of Reading

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It is no secret that I am an unabashed, unapologetic bookworm.  I l love books and bookstores and my breath catches in anticipation when I enter , especially a newly discovered one. It is a treasure hunt for both mind and soul. I wonder, what prize will I unearth this time? 

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 I cannot go too long without going to a bookstore.  It makes a great artist’s date, therapy session or reward.  (Confession: Each Thursday before I tackle the dreaded weekly food shopping, I stop at the bookstore and wander around as my compensation for having to do the same at the grocery store).

  I do love books, but really I love to read  all kinds of formats-  newspapers,  magazines, blogs, e-zines, ebooks, cereal boxes…It is an obsession, a calling, part of my personality and DNA. I always have something to read with me. (  Another confession: My criteria for a purse is that it must  be large enough to hold my current read, plus pens and a notebook for writing or drawing).

What makes reading so wonderful? Let me count the ways.

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It allows me to get to know fascinating people I would otherwise never get a chance to even meet. It permits me to travel back and forth in time and place to locations that I may not reach.  It inspires dreams, encourages wonder, allows me to participate in a myriad of lives and experiences that one lifetime could never encompass. Through books I have survived alone on Mars,  been a private detective in post- WW I England, made friends with a creative and gentle spider,  been a human “computer” at Langley,  homesteaded in early 20th century Alaska,  attended a school for wizards and much more. I have been delighted, elated, enlightened, educated, infuriated, and moved to tears while reading. I believe it has made me a more well-rounded person and it inspired me to be a writer.

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 I keep track of the books I read  each year and I attempt to read widely across the genres. So far this year  my reading has included  mystery, art inspiration, fantasy, historical fiction, magical realism, biography, history and theology.

This past week I read two magnificent books, both quite different from one another. The first was The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  This magical realism tale is based on a Russian fairy tale called Snegerochka  or The Snow Maiden.  It is the story of a childless couple who move to Alaska to homestead. One day they make a snow girl in their yard who then appears to come to life. The descriptions of  both the beauty and harshness of Alaska are lush and lovely.  The writing, story pacing and mystery are all superbly rendered. It is a fabulous story that I wanted to both read quickly and savor. To me that is always the sign of a great book. 

On page 204 in the story, the woman, Mabel is pondering the wonders of nature, science and beauty. I loved this paragraph. “ You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them and in fact Mabel had come to suspect the opposite. To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers.”

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The other book I read was Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White, by Melissa Sweet.  Its intended audience is middle-grade readers, but I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the author of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. The book is generously  illustrated with photos, quotes,  manuscript pages and Melissa Sweet’s own whimsical collages and artwork which I pored over in delight and wonder.

  I was fascinated to read about White’s childhood, early writing career and inspiration for his famous stories. I savored White’s quotes. Here are several that charmed my writer’s heart.

“I discovered…that writing of the small things of the day, the trivial matters, of the heart…was the only kind of creative work which I could accomplish with any sincerity or grace.”

“In almost everyone’s life there is one event that changes the whole course of his existence.”

“It has been ambitious and plucky of me to attempt to describe what is indescribable….[But] a writer, like an acrobat, must occasionally try a stunt that is too much for him.”

I recommend Some Writer to anyone who has loved White’s stories as well as anyone who wishes to write. It is a short, but informative and encouraging  story for all ages.  That is another hallmark of a great book.

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Wordplay Wednesday: Two-Word Tenets

Wordplay Wednesday: Two-Word Tenets : Precepts Simplified

Two weeks ago, I wrote about my plan to abandon resolution-making and instead adopt precepts, which are “words to live by.” I have deliberately chosen  this more gentle and gradual approach to changing certain aspects of my life, because I realize, perhaps rather belatedly,  this is the only way true and lasting transformation takes place.

 I am using the precepts from 365 Days of Wonder by R.J. Palacio as my guide and muse for this endeavor.  Each morning I read the quote or saying for that date and then use it as the jumping off point in my Morning Pages journal.  My responses can be a bit of a stream of consciousness ramble, but eventually I find some direction in the tangle of thoughts and words. 

My next step is to clarify and distill the precept(s) down to a two-word tenet that I can use to direct my actions in many areas of my life.  I like the idea of making  my goals  short and memorable and therefore livable.  As I said in the previous post at the beginning of the year, I am trying to develop ways of being rather than doing. These precepts/tenets therefore become a way of living that does not need to be completely overhauled at the beginning of a calendar year. It takes away the stress and pressure of having to start so many new habits at once, which for me seems to never result in lasting change.

  I have been pleased to realize that the topics of the precepts and my journal responses have already circled back  to repeated themes in the first 17 days. The best way to learn and retain anything is through  many repetitions which leads to what scientists  call  “overlearning.”   Overlearning leads to a behavior being more likely to be maintained over a long period of time. This is what I need to pursue : meaningful, long-lasting change  rather than a temporary burst of frenzied activity.

Here are the tenets I have adopted so far:

Embrace Wonder

Choose Kindness

Love Fully

Live purposefully

Be Yourself

Continue Learning

Keep Trying

These  may appear to be too general, but within each tenet there exists a multitude of  behaviors that can be nurtured. For instance under “ Choose Kindness”, I can decide each day how I can show compassion toward others and toward myself. In kindness to others I need to be aware of those around me who may require encouragement or a smile or perhaps more tangible assistance. In kindness to myself I can choose to eat better/ move more or engage in an activity that feeds my soul or mind.

With “ Keep Trying” I can remind myself that this  path of change is a journey, not a  50-yard dash and that when I inevitably  encounter difficulties, I just need to keep going.

I am looking forward to seeing where the ideas of precepts and tenets lead the course of the year and beyond.

Do you have a tenet that you live by?

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