Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links May 22

Books – Old Friends


I miss this book.

I have lost one of my favorite books. It was a paperback copy of Brenda Ueland’s classic, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit. It has long been one of my most reliably comforting and inspiring books on writing, on living a creative life. As I wrote in a previous post: There is hardly a page of this book that isn’t criss-crossed with pencil underlinings from previous readings. In some places, I’ve actually drawn hearts and stars in the margins.

For some reason, this book has been on my mind a lot lately, perhaps because of the decision I made last weekend to suspend my long-running Saturday post series.  I feel I’m at a bit of a crossroads, and I had hoped that a return to the pages of this old friend would help ground me. But – alas! – the book has been missing since our move last September. I have looked through all my bookcases (twice) and opened the few remaining yet-to-be-unpacked boxes (three times), but this dear treasure seems to have vanished.

I ordered a replacement copy from Amazon, but when it arrived I was disappointed. The printing is on stark white stock, not the soft and comfortable yellow paper of a traditional paperback. The binding is cheap and the format is bigger than my original which I could easily slip into my purse or a roomy coat pocket. Where the other book felt like it had character, a personality even, the new copy lacks animation entirely. I can hardly bear to look at it.

I know the words are the same, and I hate to judge a book by its cover, but the arrival of this poor facsimile has only made me miss my battered, old original more. I still hold out hope that it might turn up one day. I’ll certainly never stop looking.

_jamie sig

 Books I’m Reading:

book gathering shadowsA Gathering of Shadows is the second installment in author V.E. Schwab’s “ADSOM” series, which began with A Darker Shade of Magic.  Set in an alternate reality in which there are four, parallel Londons: Red, White, Gray, and Black – each unique, but all four bound together by magic, A Gathering of Shadows continues the story of the characters from the first book including a prince, the prince’s half-brother/the royal magician, and pirate/thief/magician Lila Bard.

It was a pleasure to return to Schwab’s finely wrought world, and I was glad back in the company of familiar characters like Kell, Rhy, and Lila and also to meet new characters like Captain Alucard and the exotic magicians from other parts of Red London’s world. I also enjoyed the layer of intrigue that grew out of the way two of her characters played with their identities, and the veneer of spectacle that is part of the Element Games.

I felt that the pace of this second book was a bit slower than the first. While A Darker Shade of Magic had me anxiously turning pages, I was able to set this book aside for days at a time without undue distress. The action didn’t really pick up until the last quarter or so of the book. Overall, this installment in the series felt like an entertaining set up for whatever is coming in the third book.

I’m already looking forward to the third book in this series (coming in 2017), as well as the follow-up to the other Schwab novel I read last year, Vicious (coming in 2018).

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My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:





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Sundry Links and Articles:

Su Blackwell’s gorgeous and whimsical book sculptures have me torn in two. On the one hand, I cringe at the thought destroying books; but on the other hand these are too beautiful and magical to pass up:

su blackwell house

su blackwell castle

su blackwell bird

Aren’t they lovely? Her collection includes many, many more pieces, each one a world unto itself – a world made of stories.

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WD annual competitionThe deadline for The Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition is coming up – June 1st, as a matter of fact. This doesn’t leave you much time if you’ve got any ideas about submitting in any one of their categories:

  • Inspirational Writing (Spiritual/Religious)
  • Memoirs/Personal Essay
  • Magazine Feature Article
  • Genre Short Story (Mystery, Romance, etc.)
  • Mainstream/Literary Short Story
  • Rhyming Poetry
  • Non-rhyming Poetry
  • Stage Play
  • Television/Movie Script
  • Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

What do you say? Have anything in the works that you might like to submit?


Finally, a quote for the week:

pin book friend

Here’s  to the books that feel like old friends – always there for you, never needing you to explain anything, forever a source of comfort and joy. 
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

18 thoughts on “Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links May 22

  1. Jamieeeeeeeeeee

    It’s wonderful to find a fellow Brenda Ueland-fan! I first learned about “IF You Want to Write” on THIS website. I bought it last December, and have already read it twice. In fact, I have made a pact with myself to read it once EVERY YEAR! 😀 I hope you find the original copy – nothing like holding much loved, much worn, much appreciated books in your hand! #HUGSSSS

    The other book that has currently captivated me is BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert – her ego vs. soul explanation, in particular, is helping me manage my expectations and work without becoming attached to the outcome. After two months of ZERO creative desire, I have resumed freelancing. I cannot take on more than one client because of familial obligations, BUT it’s still better than being unable to write NOTHING! (I had come to despise my laptop 😦 Now, I am slowly trying to get re-acclimatized to its fingerprinted edges and soft buttons…)


    • Hello, Kitto! 🙂

      Always so nice to hear from you, and I’m thrilled – both that you discovered Brenda Ueland’s wonderful book here, and that you have resumed freelancing. Good for you! And I love that you’re setting smart boundaries with your work. That sounds like a very balanced approach.

      I completely agree that Ueland’s book is worth an annual re-read. She has such a warm, no-nonsense voice. She makes it all sound so simple and attainable. I really admire her outlook and appreciate her gentle encouragement.

      Very glad to hear you’re doing well. Thanks for coming by … as always! 🙂

    • Isn’t that a wonderful post? Surrendering to the fallow field is something many of us struggle with in our fast-paced world, but it’s such a necessary part of the creative journey. Writing is not like manual labor. We are not machines. There is always an ebb and flow, even when we don’t want to admit it.

      Glad this one hit the spot. 😉
      #HUGS back atcha!

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. That is so thoughtful of you. I just might do some sleuthing to see if I can track down a copy that’s the same copyright as my original. Great idea!

    • You’re so welcome & I’ll always keep sharing the good stuff I find around the web. Can’t help myself! 😉 Thanks for being here to enjoy it!

    • Aren’t they amazing, Tina? I would love to have one, but I’d have to keep it in a glass case for fear my cats would decide to use it as a scratching post or chew it to bits!

  2. Hi Jamie,

    I haven’t read my copy in a while. On reading your post, I went to check. It’s still on my shelf – phew! Maybe it’s time for me to re-read it. Maybe I’ll find the motivation therefrom to continue with my blog, Living The Writing. Like you, I have suspended writing it, while I re-assess how I’m spending my writing time, and consider whether I should get back to writing my short stories instead. Hope you’ll come to a good point in your writing life. And that you’ll be able to hun tdown a satisfactory replacement copy of your lost Brenda Ueland. Russ

    • Hello, Russ. 🙂
      I’m relieved that your copy, at least, is where it ought to be.

      So, you’re at a crossroads, too? Sometimes, I think it’d be easier if I didn’t stop and look up from what I’m writing to ask the hard questions about whether I’m writing the “right” things. But, in the long run, I do want to make sure I’m using my time wisely. Which isn’t to say that I think blogging is an unwise use of my time (I don’t think that at all, actually), but only to say that I think it’s smart to – as you say – “re-assess” once in a while … “check in” and make sure that you’re being intentional about your work.

      Love to hear how your journey progresses. Hope the deliberations on where to go next are pleasant.

  3. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:
    Here’s to the books that feel like old friends – always there for you, never needing you to explain anything, forever a source of comfort and joy.
    Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, 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.

  4. Jamie, I think I identified the edition of If You Want to Write: a Book About Art,Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland. The picture of the cover you noted was published by Greywolf Press of St. Paul, Minnesota, dated 2007. The ISBN (International Stand Book Number) is 1555972608 (ISBN-13: 978-1555972608) which will help you search for the right version. You can find used book sellers at Alibris and Abe Books (you can Google them), as well as through the Amazon Marketplace.

    Hope this helps,

    • You’re awesome, Kim. Thank you SO much! I will definitely be trying to track that down. And then, of course, you know what will happen – my old copy will turn up! 😉 But that would be fine with me – then I could gift the replacement(s) to someone else. It’d be a win-win.

      Thanks for the detective work – that’ll give me a great head start!

  5. Pingback: Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links May 29 | Live to Write – Write to Live

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