Saturday Edition – What We’re Writing and Reading

Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading.

We’re taking a little detour on the weekends now to share some of what we’re up to with our writing (when we’re not here) and what we’re into with our reading (around the web). We’ll also pull back the curtain a little to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what went into a piece. We hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own posts and picks in the comments.

Happy writing! Happy reading! 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: Summer is really and truly almost over. I’m torn between a desire for a few more chances at seaside afternoons with a book, a blanket, and a few hours of uninterrupted bibliophile indulgence and my geeky writer’s love of the back-to-school season with all its notebooks and pens and new books.

Surprisingly, my daughter also seems torn. Though she has had a wonderful summer – just the right balance of structured camp days and unstructured “hanging out” days plus a few dashes of special trips and adventures – she actually confessed the other day that she’s looking forward to school starting. Be still, my heart.

Anyway, in this second to last week of the season, I’m delighted to share my latest writings and reads.

What I’m Writing:

I published two posts on my marketing blog this week – one for work, and one for fun: about pages sm

How to write an About Page: 5 steps to get it right is a post that was born out of a personal frustration.

In case you haven’t noticed, I read a lot of blogs AND I tweet a lot of other peoples’ blog posts. I don’t automate any of this. If I retweet a blog post, that means I read it. I like to take a personal approach to my content curation. Part of this personal approach includes being a stickler for proper attribution. As a writer, I know how important it is that creators are properly credited for their creations. Each time I share someone’s blog post, I do everything I can to make sure that they are acknowledged, usually by including their Twitter handle in the retweet.On the flip side, when someone is kind enough to retweet something I’ve written, I like to thank them. By name.

Nothing makes me crazier than going to someone’s blog or website and being unable to find their name on their About Page.

So, I set out to write a post about that pet peeve, but then it blossomed into a larger piece about the overall anatomy of a good About Page – one that works for you instead of against you. spider sm

On the lighter side, I also republished my latest column, Spiders, just part of the historic charm. I live in a 300 year-old house. Though I love it, I’m often thankful it’s not mine. As a tenant, I don’t feel the weight of being responsible for three centuries of architectural history. I do, however, have to deal with the many eight-legged roommates that share this ancient space with me, my daughter, and our two cats. No matter how often I vacuum, they keep reappearing. They are a persistent bunch, and in this column I share my feelings about co-habitating with arachnids – the good, the bad, and the oh-so-creepy.

What I’m Reading:

Affiliate Link

This past week I read a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (affiliate link). Written by Mark Haddon, the book is another one that has been sitting on my shelf for a long (long…) time. I believe a friend gave it to me when I commented on the title and the unique cover, which features a die-cut silhouette of a poodle. I wish I could remember which friend it was, because I really enjoyed the book.

The narrator is a fifteen year-old boy named autistic boy Christopher who while extremely gifted in mathematics is completely hopeless socially. His literal approach to the world makes navigating the nuances of normal human behavior very challenging. While the book is in part a sort of murder mystery, it was – for me – more about the way people relate to themselves, the world, and each other. It was about the ideas of honesty and truthfulness. It was about how we make choices and make sense of the insanity that is the world we live in.

I do not know a great deal about autism, but I thought Haddon did an amazing job of showing the world through the eyes of someone who is both a natural genius and so deeply out of touch with how most people live their lives. The frequent tangents that are included as the story winds slowly – at Christopher’s pace – to its conclusion are fascinating. Like other books I’ve read recently (The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating and My Name is Mina), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a book that forced me to slow down. It pulled me out of my daily grind and into a place where I could see the world through someone else’s eyes and perceive it in a whole new light and at a much slower pace.

I recommend this book, but more than the book, I recommend giving yourself the chance to slow down. Look at the world for a moment – really look. Don’t be blind to the details that are right in front of you. Don’t take anything for granted. These are skills every great writer learns. Why not start today?

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

Finally, a quote for the week:

insomnia

That’s all from me. 

Thanks for sharing your week. Have a wonderful weekend & we’ll see you on the other side! 

16 thoughts on “Saturday Edition – What We’re Writing and Reading

  1. We are totally on the same wavelength this week, Jamie. I took a lot away from some of the same posts you mentioned here (esp. the “Stop Trying to go Viral” post by Dan Blank.) And I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a few years ago, and you’re right, it is similar to Mina and Wild Snail in that slowing-down sense.

    I need to check out your About page post – I was just writing about how much it drives me crazy when I can’t find a blogger’s name anywhere on her site. I can’t wait to read your tips. Thanks so much to linking up to my post!

    • Hi, Andrea!
      I loved Dan’s post. It seems so much more sensible, “real,” and do-able than the “going viral” thing (which is usually pie in the sky thinking anyway). Glad you liked it.

      And I should have guessed that you’d have read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. 🙂 (I’m a little behind.) I used to think I wanted to write exciting urban fantasy stories, but now I’m not so sure. I’m feeling a strong pull toward these slower, “smaller” stories. Despite their seeming simplicity, I think they leave deeper fingerprints on our minds and hearts. Interesting to explore.

      I had to laugh when I read your post because that whole about-page-with-no-name issue is a HUGE pet peeve for me, too. Maybe between the two of us we can rid the world of that problem. Are you in?
      😉

  2. Thanks for your comments on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It slowed me down, too, and helped me reconnect with my husband who is an autistic savant. It’s easy to forget that these high-functioning persons process information so differently. Taking the time to get meaning absolutely accurate is essential, but that’s what being a poet is all about, too, so work and life do intersect.

    • I am glad to hear from someone who shares their life with a person who sees the world this way that Haddon’s portrayal is accurate. I have always been fascinated with the differences in perception from person to person … not just at the extremes such as with autistic savants, but just from one individual to another. How we see the world and process it must be different on so many levels that it’s never the same experience twice. I liked how Haddon’s book stretched my mind to think about a very different experience, but also made me consider how life looks different, say, to my daughter than it does to me. I think, as you say, this is a critical thing for a writer (or a poet!) to learn.

      Thank you for coming by and sharing.

  3. Your quote is priceless, words that I suddenly discovered had been missing from my life. And, my wife has been known to stay up late, although what does late mean to a retired couple?

    • I’m not retired, but the summer season has left me asking that same question, “What is late?” It’s all relative, I guess. 😉

      Though I have to pay the price the next day, I’m always thrilled when I find a book that I like well enough to blow past bedtime and read on into the night. THAT is a treasure worth losing sleep over!

  4. As someone who does not put my name on my blog, I really don’t understand why this is such a problem. OK for someone in business who you might be working with, or even for an author, though it could be a pen name. But a blog can be anonymous for many reasons, not all dodgy. Mine isn’t really anon as such, it just isn’t nonymous! I do need to update my about page though, it is well out of date 🙂

    • In rare cases, I can see why an about page without a name would make sense, but 99% of the time being able to identify the author is important. Interesting (and valid!) question, though. Thanks for asking it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s