Thursday, August 31, 2017

Inspiration from elementary school

The other day after school my son told me about one of his writing assignments in class. "Actually," he told me, "I was supposed to do it the other day, but I didn't get it done because I couldn't think of a sentence good enough to start. But today it was easy and I wrote lots."

Apparently beginnings are always hard, no matter your age or what you're writing.

The thing that impressed me was that he was able to put it aside when he was blocked and come back at another time and figure out what to say. It was great inspiration to me. If something isn't working put it aside. Come back another time. Maybe the time apart will jiggle free some ideas. Maybe I couldn't think of anything because of stress or preoccupation. Whatever the reason, I can just go about living and try again later, rather than beating myself up. 

For a third grader, he's pretty smart.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Books, books, and more books.

Four months in our new house and we finally got the last of the bookshelves in and ready. I got to spend a glorious afternoon sorting through boxes and boxes of books, putting them on shelves, organizing, touching.

Only it wasn't so glorious.

Torturous might be a better description.

See, we don't have enough bookshelves for all our books. In fact, we could only get out about half of what was still in boxes (some books were already in the home)

There are these, 

and these.

How do you choose what stays out and what gets shut away? There were books I love that I had to groan and put back in the box. Part of it was easy. My first priority was the kids. I want to raise them to read. So anything that might interest them anytime in the next ten years, it got an automatic get out of the box pass. After that, it was a guessing game. 

Half of them went back in boxes in the garage. But at least I still have them, and they're not too hard to access. It's not goodby forever.

Until we meet again. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Great Expectations.

While watching a movie the other night, a characters said of a novel “I hope it didn’t end happily” someone responded “The good ended happily, the bad unhappily. That’s why it’s called fiction.”

The character that had been looking for an unhappy ending, was one who had led a relatively happy and sheltered life. The one who believed that good and bad would get their just rewards only in fiction had led a difficult life.   

Many people read to escape life, and they look for those happy endings, something to give them the faith and hope that they don’t find in their own lives. Others may read to experience life, the depths, the tragedies, and the travel that they won’t encounter in their own.  

There are things that happen in real life that if they happened in a story the reader would throw down the novel in disgust saying it was too contrived, too convenient.  There are impossible things that happen in a story that seem plausible and right, given the context.   We each bring our own background into our reading, our own experiences and expectations.  People who read the same book may be overcome with opposite emotions or reactions to the events of a book.

I think this is important for authors to remember. We work hard to make sure our book says what we want, but we don't know and can't predict what readers will bring to the experience. There is no book the absolutely everyone will like.  All we can hope is that people will be able to find something to connect with.