If you've ever been curious about what a writer's notebook REALLY looks like (or at least mine), check out my guest blog post at Sharing Our Notebooks this week. This is a fun new blog posted by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater that peeks into people's notebooks. Oooh... can't wait!! I'm going to be checking it out regularly. Are other writers as messy as I am? Do they make ever stranger notes than I do?
P.S. Yes, this is a bank deposit slip. I write on the front of them, too, sometimes!
What do I like to do in my spare time, when I'm not writing? Read, of course. Here is a review of a book that I loved and that I think will be of interest to many writers. There are, of course, many more books that I've read and loved this summer, but I'll save them for another blog post. This book is for grown-ups, while many of the other books that I read were YA or MG.
And I need to add my usual abject apologies for being such an infrequent blogger here... I'm spending a lot of time over at the Spilling Ink blog with my writing buddy and dear pal Ellen Potter, if you want to see more of what I'm doing online these days.
I took Writing Yoga by Bruce Black on a road trip to my stepson's college graduation halfway across the country a few months ago, and read a little of it every night in various hotel rooms. While reading it, the highway and chain motels vanished, and I felt like I was on a retreat, in silence and quiet, exploring my internal world. There were brilliant parts about starting a practice journal, moving past fear, and listening to inner voices that particularly resonated with me. I've never really wanted to write a journal, but after reading Writing Yoga, I wanted to start. This is a gentle, thoughtful guide to exploring your internal world through writing and yoga postures. If you are a writer and/or yoga student, this is a must read. It's also a beautifully written account of Bruce's own writing/yoga/personal journey. There are treasures here for anyone who opens this book. As Bruce says, "You never know where life will lead you or who you'll find to help you on your way." I consider Writing Yoga as one of those teachers.
To find out more about Bruce, check out his two wonderful blogs: Wordswimmer "Come dive into a sea of words and swim toward a new understanding of the writing process," and Writing Yoga, which is a companion blog to the book.
The lantern boat is floating on the water; behind it, outlined in lights, is the Friendship Hall.
One of the evening's participants strolls through the garden under her parasol.
The night's festivities!
Lanterns hanging from The Tower of Condensing Clouds.
In honor of Random Acts of Publicity this week (which I missed due to a very bad mood), I’m doing Random Acts of Book Adoration here on my blog today. I’m going to feature a few books that I love. Some are new books; some are old. These aren’t reviews; they’re just opinions.
First, The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter. Okay, anyone who knows me for longer than thirty seconds knows that Ellen is one of my all-time favorite people/writers/writing partners. But does that mean I have to automatically love everything she writes? I might have read The Kneebone Boy with a gnawing feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, nervously worrying about how to break the bad news to Ellen that I didn’t, in fact, like her book. But happily it wasn’t like that… The pit of my stomach didn’t feel very pit-like when I was reading The Kneebone Boy. No, there was a party in full swing, with whooping and cheering, fizzy pink drinks with cherries on top, and spontaneous whirls of delight. The book was dark, mysterious, dramatic, funny, warm, and delightful. Okay, I LOVED it. Way to go, Ellen! And the cover totally rocks. (Even though I never say things like “the cover totally rocks.”) It just does. So read it! The release date is next Tuesday, September 14th. You won’t be sorry.
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. I wasn’t expecting anything in particular when I read this book. It had great reviews, which were promising, although not a guarantee that I’d even like it. If anything, I was hoping not to hurl this book across the room in disgust, or to return it to the library before I got to page twenty-five. (It happens.) Or to make my neighbors cover their ears when I started to shriek in anger at the bad writing. (Okay, this has never happened, but maybe someday?) Let me say that I was very pleasantly surprised by Elsewhere. I loved it. Maybe even adored it. It’s a brilliant book, brilliantly done. It makes you think, but yet is deeply comforting. It might even be close to a perfect book. (If it is, it’s a fluke of nature. But a really amazing one.)
I resisted reading The Book Thief for a very long time. A story narrated by Death set in World War II? Sounded like too much for me. I didn't care that a million people had read it or that it had won dozens of awards. The first page turned me off and that was that. Okay, it really wasn't fair to give up after only a page. But that's what I do sometimes. The next time I picked it up, I forced myself to read further into the book, where i was richly rewarded for my persistence. I totally fell in love with this one. Amazing characters and brilliant plot. But, above all, this is a book with an enormous heart. And that's all I can say. Except: read it and see for yourself.
And here are some oldies but goodies (the books, not the people; there were pictures of books here that kept disappearing. I haven't yet reinstated them.):
Ellen Raskin. Pure genius. Total delight. Crazy inspiration. Read the Westing Game to start. Or Figgs and Phantoms.
Sid Fleischman: I’ve adored every book of his I’ve ever read. And I hope I’m not misspelling his name.