Inspiration from everywhere

A friend sent me a link to this story – trying to keep me inspired and motivated I think, since I tend to doubt my ability – about a woman who became a writer after an already amazing life.

The story was surprising – to me – in a number of ways.

  1. After the Air Force and NASA, I would think she had had her fill of excitement. Not so…
  2. With such a history, is her writing a biography of an amazing life? No, not really…
  3. Is her book a work of fiction about NASA or space or the Air Force? No, not really…
  4. Was her inspiration from her experiences in the Air Force or NASA? No, not wholly…
  5. The greatest surprise? The book is a romance!
  6. The second greatest surprise? Instead of what I expected, she was inspired – to a great extent – by the Twilight series!

The lessons?

  1. Anyone can be a writer – regardless of your experiences, regardless of whether you think of them exciting or not, regardless of your preconceived notions.
  2. Don’t doubt yourself – or, if you do, just go for it anyway and see what happens!
  3. Anything that inspires you, whether life experience or another author or the soup you had for lunch – take it and run!

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A striking letter

I stumble upon the most amazing pieces of writing thanks to the Internet. I remember the days before all this was at our fingertips, and shudder to think of all that I’d miss. And yes, even with all the drivel on the web, there is enough good to be found to make it worth sifting through all the crap.

I mean, really, unless you were writing a thesis on slavery, would you ever find this amazing letter? (From one of my favorite blogs, Letters of Note.)

PLEASE click and read it. It’s a fantastic – and captivating – example of someone successfully using writing to (not so) subtly make a point. Or several points. And drive them home.

The moral: writing doesn’t have to end up in a novel to be successful. I think that’s a pretty damn successful piece or work, don’t you?

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Romance novels?

On this Valentine’s day, here’s a tribute to the ever controversial genre: romance.  Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the….well, some think it’s not even a genre worth including in a literary discussion.

This article in USA Today gives romance a boost: Readers’ Hearts Remain True to Romance Novels.

Personally, I think romance novels are neither good nor bad; instead, they are either appropriate for the needs/wants of the reader or not. Like any other entertainment, it’s situational. More often than not I prefer books like Moonwalking with Einstein  or practically anything with “Stephen King” on the cover, but on the occasion when I need a gooey or soft or feel-good happy-ending story, I don’t mind picking up a romance.

(No, I don’t feel like it’s a waste of time afterward either. Instead I just enjoy the warm fuzzies in my chest for a bit, and then move on to the next item in the TBR pile.)

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Reading vs. Writing

Oh man, I spend so much time reading the writings of others that my own sometimes gets neglected. Sometimes.

Well, not really…it’s research. The more you read the better you write.

Or so I’ve heard.

Right?

Um…

Whatever. Doing my morning Twitter / Facebook / News reading, and found this gem.  The Bloggess – she’s hilarious, and I’ve (of course) pre-ordered her book. Even better, check out some of her other entries. World famous!*

*A word of caution – you might get addicted. That last link is pretty much permanently open in my browser for whenever I need a pick-me-up.

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Latest reading: Life of Pi

I just finished reading Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. (Copyright 2001, ISBN 978-0-15-100811-7)  It was one of those Amazon daily deals so I grabbed it for my Kindle…and though it took me a month or two to get around to it (my TBR pile is daunting, to say the least), once started I absolutely devoured it.

In short, it’s one of the most fantastic books I’ve ever read, providing an intriguing dialogue on the concept of a singular religion, insights into psychology, and surprising details about zoology and animal behavior. I couldn’t put it down! My Kindle version is full of highlighted sections, and I’ll be going back to it time and time again to reread those fascinating thoughts. Particularly those on religion and spirituality and the astonishing view that Pi takes. As an atheist (nearly), with a devout past I found it fascinating.

I recommend it for any high school teacher looking for a good fiction read. For that matter, I recommend it for any adult interested in a different viewpoint and perspective, whether he/she be religious or not.

Apparently a film based on the book is coming out this December.  As usual, I’ll have an internal discussion as to whether or not to go – it always distresses me to find a movie that reflects little to none of the vividness and / or depth inspired by the original story.  An unknown actor is playing Pi, for which I’m grateful, but my attendance is still TBD…

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Gender Bias in Literary Fiction

I came across an interesting article today, thanks to a couple of authors that I follow on Twitter. It discusses the bias towards men found in the world of literary fiction, from NPR to the New York Times.  I found it surprising and yet not; at first, I expected the bias to be towards women, but as it goes on, it starts to make sense how and why it’s happening.

Not that it’s fair, not that I agree, and not that it shouldn’t be changed…but interesting nonetheless. See for yourself.

Gender Bias

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Goodbye 2011

Thank you 2011. Thank you for many opportunities – those writing related and those not, those expected and those not, those challenging and provocative and even those not. With you I’ve learned heaps, continued writing and started writing more, took a (baby? medium? big?) step by starting this blog, and am excited to see what the new year brings!

So with that…

Hello 2012, here’s to a wonderful year full of new opportunities!

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