After a vicious cold snap that had New Englanders living in mortal fear of burst pipes (my condolences to those who had to endure that particular experience), the weather around these parts has been unseasonably mild. Yesterday, my beau and I enjoyed a long walk through the dunes. We had hoped to see some snowy owls, but – alas! – if those feathered regents were visiting, they stayed out of sight.
Today looks like another beauty, so we’re heading out for another walk soon. But, before we do, here’s this week’s collection of books and links for your browsing pleasure. I hope you have a lovely and relaxing Sunday, wherever you are. And, I hope your day includes both reading and writing.
Books I’m Reading:
I feel like I ought to apologize to someone for not finishing Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road … maybe Emma Watson. You see, I borrowed the book from my local library only after Ms. Watson selected it as the first read for her Goodreads-based book club, Our Shared Shelf. Though I didn’t quite finish the memoir, it was less because I didn’t like the book (I did), and more because there were other reads that were calling me away.
It was enlightening and humbling to read Steinem’s first-hand accounts of the birth of the women’s movement. Though so many of us still struggle with issues of equality, including gender equality, there is much we take for granted. Though I knew who Steinem was, I knew little about the role she played in bringing women’s issues and feminism to the forefront of politics. Her anecdotes about key events are a fascinating study of how a movement is born and grows. If ever I am writing a story about a revolution, this is a book I would return to as a real-life reference.
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This week I also took a walk down memory lane with an old favorite, Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut. Though I still have my battered paperback copy, I chose this time to listen to the audio version via Audible.
Vonnegut has always held a special place in my heart. I first discovered him when I was quite young, a teen. My first exposure to Vonnegut’s work was probably Slaughterhouse Five, prerequisite reading for most high school English classes; but from there I flew through a half dozen others. I loved Vonnegut’s sharp wit and the taste of rebellion and revolution in his words.
What’s amazing to me is how relevant his work remains. I’m not sure this is something to be happy about, but it’s certain a reason to celebrate the man’s keen sense of observation and insight. Though it was originally published thirty-one years ago, Galápagos remains a current commentary on the state of human kind. It’s not a pretty picture.
From a craft perspective, I am very intrigued by the fact that almost this entire novel is told in straight-up narration. There is very little dialog – just a first-person, omniscient POV voiceover. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across another novel that employs this kind of story presentation. The book also does not seem to conform (at least at first glance) to your typical story structure; but that’s something I will investigate further. Either way, Galápagos is certainly unique in its format and style.
My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:
- Elizabeth Bishop on Why Everyone Should Experience at Least One Prolonged Period of Solitude in Life via @brainpicker
- Creative Confidence – What it is & how to get it by @joulee
- To Overcome the Fear of Failure, Fear This Instead by Adam Grant
- How to Grab Attention Online: 3 Instant Fixes via @writetodone
- The Language of Save the Cat!® – 10 Key Terms via @savethecat
- What Are You Waiting For? by @MaiaToll
- 5 Tips to Help You Collect Your First 10,000 Email Subscribers via @tewfik10
- Scrivener Superpowers: Interview with @thecreativepenn via @mgherron
- Neil Gaiman – Advice
- When There Is No Template – Writing on PIXAR’s Inside Out by Meg LeFauve
- Choosing Optimism by @cc_chapman
Sundry Links and Articles:
Yesterday’s weekend edition, 3 Steps to Your Perfect Writing Life, was partially inspired by a conversation I had earlier in the week with Jen Gresham. Jen coaches people through “career reinvention” over at her site, Everyday Bright. Her blog posts are encouraging, insightful, and full of ways to cut through the clutter of whatever career baggage you might be dragging around your life. While the work I do doesn’t necessarily fall into the category of a traditional “career,” I still find a great deal of value in Jen’s work.
The reason I mention all this is because she’s hosting a free webinar this coming Tuesday. I was going through my inbox this morning (something I should have done after I wrote this post, but I couldn’t resist the siren call of my email), and there was an invite to join her at 6PM EST on Tuesday the 23rd for a webinar/conversation about her 4 Secrets to Finding Money + Happiness at Work. I’m going to try and make it. Maybe I’ll see you there!
Finally, a quote for the week:
I hope the rest of your weekend is restful and inspired. Wishing you good reads and good writing and a fresh start to the new week. Enjoy!
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.