Thursday, May 16, 2013
Yep. I got off track, oh, say somewhere around the second month of reading it, and no matter how much I love Tolstoy, and how much I want to be a part of this read-a-long, I just don't have the desire to read this book at this point in my life. Since about page 100, I've felt panicked, then resentful, every time I picked it up, knowing there was no way I'd ever catch up to where Amy and the others are at, and so, I'm letting it go for now and sticking with the hope of: maybe someday . . .
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
It hangs right next to my writing desk and inspires me every day.
Friday, May 3, 2013
It's happening again. The more time that passes and I don't blog, the less inclined I am to share my thoughts here on Written Not With Ink. But I don't want to suffer through another long interval where I'm constantly blogging in my head, yet never actually writing anything down and posting it. Been there, done that—and this post is an attempt to escape the feeling that I could burst if I don't express myself, like, yesterday.
Every writer knows what I mean, right? Justine Musk used a pithy term I love in her recent blog entry about writing in point #9 (but I highly recommend her entire post):
"Reading is the inhale. Writing is the exhale."Last month I read a total of 17 books. Considering I average anywhere from 25-50 books in an entire year, it was a stellar month for me in the inhale department. I had a winter-shaped hole singin' the blues within me, and stories were my sustenance to fill the void. But the problem with my obsessive inhaling was that, once I transitioned into the season of spring, and the hole filled up . . . I kept going. Filling up and up and up. Inhaling 17 stories' worth of inspiration, as well as innumerable ideas from other authors and bloggers. I was just about ready to float away into the ether with everyone else's words locked up inside me.
One short pin-prick of a blogpost to release some of the pressure.
Ahh. I already feel much better. :)
Writers: are you able to balance your reading life with your writing life to your satisfaction? Does anyone else go through binge-reading phases like I do? Or perhaps for some of you, does the reverse happen? You write and write and write . . . and have no room left to read? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Friday, April 5, 2013
1942 - 2013
I was so sad to hear the news that Roger Ebert passed away yesterday. He was a magnificent writer, a Chicago treasure, and, of course, the first critic I would google for every movie review.
As a small tribute, I'm posting his TED Talk from last year. Since Roger had lost his voice from complications with cancer, he began his speech through a computerized voice, but then his friends and wife read the rest of it while sitting next to him up on stage. It's a thought-provoking account of what it means to have a literal voice—something I never really considered, other than to be judgmental of my own.
"But what value do we place on the sound of our own voice? How does that affect who you are as a person? When people hear Alex speaking my words, do they experience a disconnect? Does that create a separation or a distance from one person to the next? How did I feel not being able to speak? I felt, and I still feel, a lot of distance from the human mainstream. I've become uncomfortable when I'm separated from my laptop. Even then, I'm aware that most people have little patience for my speaking difficulties."
It's particularly touching near the end, when his wife Chaz reads for him. Have a Kleenex handy, as you will witness the strength and love of a woman who cherishes her husband and sees beyond appearances, and truly understands the voice of an inspiring man.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
I've been in a slump lately when it comes to reading, exercising . . . life. I think it's because, whereas most people get excited for spring and warmer weather, I fall into the very small category of People Who Mourn the Loss of Snow and Winter. Also, I (and my family) just got back from a spring break vacation in the mountains of Breckenridge, Colorado—where there was TONS of spring snow and blizzards, and so I suppose my post-winter wonderland letdown is doubly intensified. Sniff.
Today I received this shipment of books from Amazon, and I am so, so, so happy to have some good storytelling to fall into. I'm hoping it will be the perfect medicine for my, ahem, springtime blues.
What are you reading now? Anything you'd recommend?
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Ever since I've gone out exploring with my new camera, I've noticed I have a tendency to take lots of pictures of trees, with a special focus on the branches. At first, I didn't realize my inclination to do this, but when I stepped back and viewed my collection as a whole, it's quite obvious I have a fixation.
The other thing I noticed is how I often compose the photo with the branches off to the side or in one quadrant of the frame. Not sure what's up with that, either, but I've joked with my husband that if I had to give my photographer-self a name it could be summed up as "Snaps Fractions of Branches." (Okay, so I just got done watching Dances with Wolves and thus, fancied myself a Native American name, but I have to admit, it's the perfect description in this case.)
~ Trees intrigue me throughout all seasons, but it's their wooden skeletal state during wintertime when I most love to study them and learn what it means to be unique.
Spring is making its way into the Midwest, and soon my beloved bare branches will be sprouting with buds. By the time they mature into leaves, I'll be kissing my favorite writing seasons good bye—exchanging fall and winter, dying and death, for resurrection and life. You'd think the latter would be more inspiring for the muse, but somehow it isn't. Instead, this time of year I experience a creative restlessness. The warmer temperatures tease me into thinking I should be outdoors instead of inside at my writing desk.
Do you have a favorite (or most productive) creative season? Does anyone else lament the departure of winter like I do?
*Blog post title is a quote by the English poet, Herbert P. Horne
More tree love here.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
I just finished reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, and wow . . . what a story. I'm not exactly adept at writing book reviews, so finding the right words to explain the emotional impact this novel had on me is a bit of a struggle. Still, I figured I'd at least mention it here with a 5/5 star rating.
I also enjoyed a French (subtitled) film over the weekend called The Intouchables.
In a strange way, these two separate storylines are tied together in my mind with a common thread: An irreverent (yet spirited) ex-prisoner challenges the status quo by refusing to conform to someone else's expectations of him.
Of course, my take is grossly oversimplified and is in no way a proper analysis of either the book or the movie (duh). But as I recall the individual journeys of these two characters, I can't help but appreciate how their rebelliousness often brought about the healing power of laughter.
In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the confrontational trouble-maker, Randle McMurphy, tells his fellow patients in the asylum:
“You know, that's the first thing that got me about this place, that there wasn't anybody laughing. I haven't heard a real laugh since I came through that door, do you know that? Man, when you lose your laugh you lose your footing.”I love that last line, and I agree, to "lose my laugh" would really throw me off.
In The Intouchables, Driss, the new caregiver, is a breath of childlike air for Philippe (the paralyzed millionaire) with his curiosity and cheekiness—resulting in the two of them bonding through lots of laughter:
Both Driss and McMurphy are mostly two-dimensional in their defiance and immaturity, but I think they gain dimension as we see them through the lenses of the other important characters who admire them. They are catalysts for internal healing, simply by being true to who they are, and for that reason alone, I grew to love each of them.
Have you read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Did you know that the author, Ken Kesey was a guinea pig for the government's early research on LSD? Have you seen The Intouchables? I didn't realize until the end of the movie it was based on a true story.
I highly recommend both of these stories. :)