Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading in which we 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!
Jamie Wallace: So, last weekend I went in to see the traveling exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The curation and presentation were very well done, and the crowd was well managed so my mom and I had plenty of time to explore the artifacts and the remnants of these ancient writings.
I am neither a particular history buff or interested in the religious importance of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it was fascinating to me to think about the enormous impact these stories – simple words recorded on pieces of animal hide and parchment – have had on so much of the world’s population. From over two thousand years ago, these writings still reach out and make a difference in the world today.
The story about their discovery also reads like something a writer would have concocted for the mystery and adventure of it all. In 1947, a young goatherd was throwing stones into a cave along the banks of the Dead Sea when he heard the sound of pottery shattering. A young man’s idle game, most likely prompted by youthful boredom, wound up uncovering one of the most significant archaeological finds of the last century. Doesn’t that sound like a great opening for a book?
What I’m Writing:
All work this week. All work. I did, however, get to work on a fun project for one of my business-to-business clients. They needed help branding an upcoming event – coming up with a name and theme that would help tell a story. Story? Right up my alley. I love when I have the opportunity to put story crafting skills to work for my copywriting projects. I can’t reveal anything more about this one yet, but I had a great time getting really creative with the ideas for this one. I’ll share later.
I also re-published my most recent column: The World is Made of Stories. I wrote this piece in the context of place – specifically, the small town where I grew up and still live. But, I believe that the idea of the world being built on stories applies to everyone everywhere. We are the stories we tell. They are not only the frame through which we view the world, they become our world. You tell a story long enough, and it becomes a reality. That is the power of words and of stories. We think we are crafting the stories, but the stories are crafting us – changing our perspective and opinion, changing our beliefs and memories.
Is there a story in your life that you tell with creative flair? You know – the kind of story that gets slightly embellished over time. You know it didn’t happen exactly as you tell it, but the things you’ve changed make for a much better story. Only, after a while, you begin to remember the event based on the story. The reality of what actually happened and the “reality” of the story you’ve created begin to blur. You’ve created a new reality.
What I’m Reading:
As usual, I have a few books underway, but the only one I finished was a short children’s book by the inimitable James Thurber called The 13 Clocks (affiliate link). Thurber’s The White Deer (also an affiliate link) is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s funny, but thoughtful; entertaining and an example of fine writing at it’s best.
The edition of The 13 Clocks that I read was published as part of the New York Review’s Children’s Collection and includes an introduction by Neil Gaiman who says, “This book, the one you are holding, The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, is probably the best book in the world. And if it’s not the best book, then it’s still very much like nothing anyone has ever seen before, and, to the best of my knowledge, no one’s ever really seen anything like it since.”
Not exactly a fairy tale, but something like one, this is one of those books that you will probably enjoy immensely on the first read, but even more so on the second and third and every reading after that. Thurber’s delightful sense of the absurd will make you laugh and then make you think new and interesting thoughts – two of the best thing any piece of writing can do.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- 99 Ways to Market Your Art by @LeRegalla via @copyblogger – Some I’ve heard, some I’ve haven’t, all worthy of a good brainstorming session.
- DISCUSS: Does Your Blog Focus More Heavily Upon Information, Inspiration or Interaction? by @problogger This is an interesting question and one worth asking whether you’re just starting out or are evolving your blog.
- Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming an impassioned plea, argument, and demand from Neil Gaiman
- Shhh! World’s most stunning libraries captured in new book that will leave you lost for words Because … libraries! Books!
- Is It Ok to Pitch a Piece to Several Publications at Once via @thewritelife A frequently asked question is answered with common sense and courtesy.
- 21 Ways a Reader Might Find Your Author Website by @chrisrobley via @bookbaby – Good list. Pick the ones that work for you.
Finally, a quote for the week:
And that’s all I’ve got for this week. Have a wonderful weekend. Read, write, be merry. We’ll see you on the other side!
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.