Books – Old Friends
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.
Books I’m Reading:
A 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:
- Adding a Theme by @JillWilliamson
- How Mapping Alice Munro’s Stories Helped Me As a Writer by Elizabeth Poliner
- 3 Reasons All Writers Should Write Flash Fiction by @Magic_Violinist
PUBLISHING & MARKETING
- A Question Of Attention by @bernadettejiwa
- Why Your Business Biography is Killing Sales by Miles Allen
- Starting an Email Newsletter: Why to Do It and Which Service to Use by @kikimojo
- 4 Lessons learned from super niche marketing by @MarsDorian
- Getting real (on social media) by @DanBlank
- Making Our Books Visible on Google by @elizabethscraig
- How Billy Joel Taught Me To Write by Benjamin Wood
- How to Use Distraction to Your Advantage via @99u
- Don’t Swing Big All the Time by @CallieOettinger
- How to Stop Procrastinating: 5 Foolproof Methods for Writers by @thevolcanodiary
- How To Keep Writing: 5 Tricks To Sneak Past Perfectionism by Michelle Russell
THE WRITING LIFE
- 6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept by @DanaElemndorf
- Are You Planning Your Writing Career … or Winging It? by @aliventures
- Creativity, Art And Business with @lisacongdon via @thecreativepenn
- Fallow Fields — An Argument for Letting Your Creativity Rest by @kristanhoffman
- Writers and Artists on Creative Habits, Accepting Self-Doubt, and the Rewards of Perseverance
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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:
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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The 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:
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.