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: There is a buzz in the air today. Not only is this one of the last two shopping weekends before Christmas, but there is also a snowstorm on the way. If the weathermen (and women) are to be believed, the event will begin late this morning with some picturesque snow flurries that will lend a Currier & Ives feel to holiday errands. Later on this evening, however, things will get more serious when the snow starts coming down at the more aggressive clip of an inch per hour.
Even though it’s messy and inconvenient (not to mention dangerous), I love snow. There is a quieting magic in the way it hushes all the hard edges, slowing us down whether we’re outdoors or in. I will be out and about scurrying along with other shoppers today, but tomorrow, as the storm winds itself down, I’ll be happily hunkered down in my living room with a huge mug of tea, a towering pile of catalogs, and the trusty internet. I’m hoping to wrap up what little shopping I have to do and then, perhaps, do a little writing or (gasp!) maybe even take a nap.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a lovely weekend and enjoy preparing for your holiday.
What I’m Writing:
So, this week on my marketing blog I posted a link to a podcast that was recorded in January and originally broadcast over the summer. Mind mapping aficionado Michael Tipper invited me to be a guest on The Mind Mapping Show after reading a post that I wrote here on Live to Write – Write to Live, Mind Mapping Your Way Out of Writer’s Block. This week, I shared Tipper’s podcast in my post, The Secret Planning and Brainstorming Weapon You Don’t Know You Need. I get to be a total geek on the show, and I kind of had fun with that.
I also shared a piece from my local column. A River Runs Through It is a sort of ode to the beautiful Ipswich River that is such an integral part of our town’s landscape, history, and charm. As I continue my search for a house to call our own, I find that I am drawn more and more towards the small neighborhoods that are clustered along the banks of this watery way. I don’t know if I’ll be lucky enough to find a home there, but I’ve got my fingers crossed.
What I’m Reading:
Though both of these YA novels center around the same character, Stargirl, they are like two the two sides of one coin. Stargirl is narrated by Leo Borlock and watches Stargirl from a distance which eventually closes and then widens again. Love Stargirl is told by Stargirl herself in the form of an unsent letter that is broken down into daily installments, like a diary. Both books are about the challenge of being yourself, being unique, swimming against the tide, and seeing the world with new eyes. There are many lyrical passages that make me want to stop what I”m doing and run outside to wiggle my toes in the dirt or hug a neighbor.
Though these are categorized as YA, I recommend them for any age. It doesn’t matter how “grown up” we are, we always struggle with how to be our most authentic selves. Artists and writers especially need to find the courage and enthusiasm to stand up and be different, let their voices freely into the world. These stories inspire me and, quite frankly, make me want to be a better person and a more passionate artist.
As a side note, Jerry Spinelli is married to Eileen Spinelli who is the illustrator of one of my favorite picture books ever, When You Are Happy (affiliate link). Written by Geraldo Valerio, this sweet and comforting book is a poem of love and reassurance that acknowledges sorrow and fear, but never lets them overcome happiness and love. Spinelli’s illustrations are vibrant, charming, and full of gorgeous details that create pictures within the pictures. I just can’t say enough good things about it. It says all the things that I want to say to my daughter, and accompanies the words with illustrations that make me want to jump right into the world of the book and stay there.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- What Successful People Don’t Do In The Morning… by @bernadettejiwa – Not just for writers, but definitely applies
- Writers, make a friend of failure by @chrisrobley via @bookbaby – It’s part of the gig, baby.
- Why I Write For Free by @sandwichgenmom – A counterpoint to those who say freebies just drag the whole market down
- Here’s How Elizabeth Gilbert (Bestselling Author of Eat, Pray, Love) Writes by @KeltonReid via @copyblogger – Jealous
- 9 Fairy Tales For Adults That Are WAY Better Than Disney … for my fellow fantasy lovers
- The Art and Business of Reader Engagement and Author Platform by @JaneFriedman – Don’t forget this side of writing!
- Secret of Adulthood: Enthusiasm Makes Difficult Tasks Easy by @gretchenrubin Have you got enthusiasm?
- How to write your book’s first draft like a professional – via @bookbaby Get ‘er done!
- Five More New Year’s Resolutions for Writers by @KeithCronin via @WriterUnboxed
Finally, a quote for the week:
… well, not exactly a quote, per se, but I just couldn’t resist sharing this.
Thanks for being here. Happy writing, reading, and holiday prepping. See you on the other side!