It’s Happening

Well, it’s happening. I’m writing. I’m doing it. I’ve got a story idea that I’m excited about and an outline.

The outline is a new addition, for me, a suggestion from someone I love and respect. It’s brilliant. I have direction. I know what to do with the story. The major plot points are catalogued; I just have to fill in the blank spaces. It’s made everything so much easier, seem so much less daunting. If I get stuck, I know where to go. The only thing to do is to ask myself why on earth I have never done this – unless required in academia – before now.

The main character, Vivienne, might look a little familiar. But hey, they say to write what you know. She’s just different enough that I’m getting to know her. You may hear about her more in the future, especially if she gives me grief.

Just wanted to let you know, there should be less posts about writer’s block now. God willing.


Authors I Love Series, Part III

IMG_0077L.M. Montgomery

Why I Love Her: Why don’t I love Lucy Maud Montgomery? The Anne series is one of my forever favorites. Anne is my friend. Gilbert is my first love.

Montgomery was a true poet. Her prose is utterly poetic. It reminds me of late springtime and the overabundance of colors and scents and sounds in the flowers and animals and plants. Montgomery has a gentle sense of humor and a grand sense of everyday romance. She delves into the human experience and describes it so gorgeously that the most commonplace experience becomes a romantic, universal, and significant one.

If you are ever in need of rich descriptions of a certain season of the year, look no further than Montgomery’s stories on Prince Edward Island. She transports the reader, engaging all senses.

Favorite Book: Rilla of Ingleside

Personal Libraries

IMG_0088If you want a library in your home, the first thing you must do is determine what kind of library it will be. Will it be a traditional, physical library with its own dedicated space? Will it be digital? Will you simply keep it in your mind? Will you create a combination of the three?

To create a mind-library, I recommend reading as many books as possible. What is most important is that those books are read attentively and well, so that upon recall, your memory proves true. Of course doing this can provoke two reactions, depending on the possessor of the library. The first is that one is seen as intelligent and impresses others at cocktail parties with anecdotes and quotes. The second is that one can come off as pompous and insufferable. I highly recommend honestly assessing one’s personality before taking on the mind-library, as one can either charm or alienate others by using it.

A digital library usually involves some form of technology, whether it be an e-reader, phone, tablet, or computer. Other than the mind-library, this is the option that saves the most physical space. It certainly saves more brain space than the mind-library. Unlike the mind- or physical library, though, the digital library can disappear through carelessness in digital maintenance, or temporarily with a loss of wifi or electricity.

And then there is my favorite, the traditional physical library. The traditional physical library is typically made up of paper-and-ink books, magazines, journals, etc. To me, there is something so lovely about the traditional library. A book is a physical manifestation of a story or ideas. A book is a friend, and if it is made of paper and ink, has a physical body. That union of ink and paper and binding cannot be forgotten by the mind, because it exists independently of it, and cannot be lost with the loss of wifi or electricity, because it is not dependent on either. Of course, the physical library comes with its own frailties. It is, obviously, incredibly flammable, and susceptible to damage by careless hands.

I’d recommend the combination of the three, for these reasons. The mind-library is a handy tool, because it requires no physical body of any kind. It also is an indicator of an intelligent and educated person. The digital library is an excellent space-saver and is quite economical, as more books can be fit in one space and are typically cheaper than their paper-and-ink counterparts. The traditional physical library needs to be preserved as a link to history and the literary tradition of the Western world.

“Love” vs. “In Love”

img_0101I’m going to tell you a secret. Every romantic book, movie, song, poem, and show you’ve seen or read or listened to has lied to you, all your life.

Let me explain. In all those mediums, love is described as fleeting, passionate, volatile, painful, and sometimes described as limiting. In reality, true love is the opposite of all these things, at least some of the time.

Love is freedom. Love is freedom to be your flawed, bruised, broken self without fear of losing the love you’ve been given. Love is freedom to love others, because when one loves truly, it opens the heart to love more. Love is so much more complex than we all have been led to believe, and yet is so universal.

True love is constant. Being in love and all it entails, the palpitations, the butterflies, the infatuation, the attraction, is all well and good in its place. But, it comes and goes, as it ought to do. If we were in love and infatuated constantly, there wouldn’t be anything special about it.

Falling in love is a result of many things. These are usually pheromones, the subconscious, and physical and personality attributes. It is an unconscious process.  

But love? Love is a choice. Love is the choice to stay because of promises made and deep care for another person. This occurs despite the fluctuation of “feelings,” those transient little mischief-makers that we allow to have too much say over our thoughts and actions. Feelings are what drive being “in love.”

Being in love is, at its core, inherently selfish. It is not destructive or malicious towards others, but it is self-serving and self-involved. Being in love is about “me” and “the way you make me feel.” Love is putting the other person and their happiness before one’s own. (It’s important to distinguish that this putting of another first is not done at the total expense of one’s own happiness. Self-love is incredibly important, and can help us to love others more freely and generously.)

If you’re lucky, you’ll fall in love, be in love, and love many times in your life. If you’re truly lucky, all three will be brought on by the same person your whole life long.

Authors I Love Series, Part II

Ernest Hemingway

Why I Love Him: I love love love the concept of the Iceberg Theory, or theory of omission. The term “Iceberg Theory” was coined by Ernest Hemingway. It refers to the writing style that relies on subtext, rather than the words printed on the page.

Of course, Hemingway writes along the lines of this theory. He tells the reader what he needs to know and not much more. Descriptions are sparse. Hemingway was a man of action, and his novels are works of action. Action and dialogue, which I believe to be a form of action in and of itself, are what drive Hemingway’s stories. Every word is loaded with meaning. There is so much more to what is on the page than the print. To me, it’s a delicious undertaking in which I can interpret the story differently every time. What could be better than work one can read over and over and find new things in every time?

Favorite Book: A Moveable Feast

Authors I Love Series, Part I

Adriana Trigiani

Why I Love Her:

Adriana Trigiani is well-known for writing almost exclusively about Italian-Americans. As an Italian-American myself, I love to read about people with backgrounds and traditions similar to my family’s. I also especially love historical fiction, into which category her books frequently fall.

Trigiani has a gift for characterization. Her characters become friends of the reader. It’s easy to root for their ultimate success.

Trigiani’s work is sprinkled with wonderful insights, such as this one from my favorite of her novels, The Shoemaker’s Wife:

“He loved his family and he loved beauty. For a true Italian, those are the only two things that matter, because in the end that’s what sustains you. Your family gathers around you and shores you up while the beauty uplifts you.”

My favorite thing about Adriana Trigiani’s writing is her rich descriptions. Her descriptions and the words she chooses are like jewels set in the crown of the story. I always think of her novels as creamy pages with black type, with jewels of many rich colors interspersed in the pages.

Favorite Book: The Shoemaker’s Wife