A writer reading aka their happy place.

IMG_0257I haven’t been reading much this year, just a novel here and there. I know, I know, a writer not reading is like an astronomer not looking at the stars. It’s like a five star chef living off of microwaved burritos. It’s like an artist throwing out their paint brushes. It’s like, well, it’s like a writer not reading.

I’ve just been so busy recently. I have so many side projects, besides work that actually pays the bills, that now I have to schedule everything in. At the end of the day, I just don’t have a schedule block left for reading. I need to get at least six hours of sleep in, or I don’t function well the next day and it ends up throwing off the rest of my schedule.

IMG_0302I miss the days when I was young and resilient. When four hours of sleep was more than enough. Ahh, I was so productive back then! FYI, you know you’re a life-long insomniac when you start remembering fondly about the times when you didn’t sleep.

Anyway, my reading dry spell finally came to an end when I found a copy of Howl’s Moving Castle at my local library. I’m a huge fan of Studio Ghibli and HMC is one of my favorite movies, so I thought it might be fun to read the novel that the movie was based on. I already know that whatever format you first see or hear a story, that’s the format you’re going to like the most. So people that saw the Harry Potter movies first before reading the books almost always liked the movies better, and it’s the other way around for people that read the books first. So I started this novel with the expectation that I just naturally wouldn’t like it as much as the movie.

After the first couple chapters, I was completely surprised. I really loved the story. But I still loved the movie too. Weird, right? The novel was like the Ghibli film, but expanded. It’s just as visual and quirky as the lush animation that Ghibli is known for, but you also get all sorts of extras, like the background story of Howl, and Letty plays a bigger role in the story, and you get a little bit of Markle/Michael’s background story. And so much more! Like have you ever wondered why Sophi was so defeatist in the movie? Well, the book explains that. I really loved this book and it just made me love the movie even more. This is the way book and movie duos should be.

IMG_0383It was really a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone that’s a fan of Ghibli films, fantasy stories, or funky quirky British lit.

 

P.S. I added in these photos because when ever I think of Ghibli’s animation I always think of lush beautiful scenery filled with flowers.

Writers of a different league

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I was recently reading an older issue of Writer’s Digest and I happened upon the article “Short Stories Big Rewards”. It was a pretty informative piece, so if you can find a copy of Writer’s Digest: Writer’s Yearbook 2017, I highly recommend it. But the part that I latched onto and couldn’t seem to let go, wasn’t really about the short writing format, or even how to use short stories to boost your writing career, it was the couple paragraphs mentioning Hugh Howey.

Of course, I’ve heard of him before and his famous “Wool” book, but what I hadn’t heard was the story behind the publishing of his book. According to the article Howey said, “That’s it . . . I made the work available and did zero promotion for it.”

Seriously?!

book shelf 2He just plopped his book onto Amazon Kindle and he’s insta-famous?! How on Earth is that fair? I slave over my books. I spend hours just plotting new ways to get the word out about my writing, and I get nowhere. Howey put his work out there and walks away and the reading world pounces on it like a half starved cougar.

And then a sneaking suspicion crept into my thoughts and I realized I’d had this same experience before. Back when I was studying for my Fine Arts degree, I remember meeting people like Howey.

In my studio art classes I did pretty well. Well enough to get good grades. I demonstrated the techniques taught and I used them as they were supposed to be used. My paintings and drawing were very correct. They were good, but not great. But every class had at least one student who’s work was truly great. It didn’t matter what they were painting, every brush stroke was mesmerizing. No matter how hard I studied or practiced, I could never match these students . Even with all my skills, there was always something my paintings lacked. The difference between them and me was a difference between skill and talent. Skill can make you correct, but it can never make you great. img_0235

I have a funny feeling that Howey has some serious talent, and unfortunately there isn’t any writing manual for that.

A writer’s lifeline part 2: The resurrection!

broken heartI’m alive! As you know from a earlier post I had a small house fire and I lost electricity to my bedroom and computer. It was horrible, I wouldn’t write, I couldn’t work on my novel, I couldn’t up-date my blog, I couldn’t write. I seriously started having writing with-drawls. I started staring off at nothing and spacing out for hours. I would just sit on my couch and rub my fingertips, cause I missed the feel of my computer keyboard. I even started losing my words. Just a few days ago I couldn’t think of the word for toast. I had to ask my brother for a slice of bread that’s been heated until it’s brown!

I’ve finally found a spot in the kitchen for my poor neglected computer, so now I can write again. And heave a big sigh of relief. My fingers are so happy, typing away. Words, it’s so wonderful to use words again.

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I would write a longer post, but I have email to read and Goodreads to comment and review on and so many other wonderful things to do on my lovely computer. Really, you don’t know how happy I am right now to be able to do all that stuff.