• Books,  Books Reviews,  Writing

    Best Books of 2016 Compilation

    Maybe 2016 was an all-out Dumpster Fire for you. Maybe it wasn’t. Either way, you probably missed some great books as the months sped by. I have compiled a resource list to help you choose your next book (a best book) before 2017 takes over and you have to keep up with those. I have broken them into some categories to make it easier to peruse. Perhaps you like Award winners. Committees form, discuss, celebrate a winner. Man Booker Award winners are usually great books for me because they are often quirky. However, they do not allow Americans to enter, so if you want an American experience, go instead with…

  • Books,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Writing

    Preparation

    To make ready beforehand. Preparation. The word has a Latin etymology, and of course, an Old French ending. Perhaps the origin of a word doesn’t matter much, but we take in words with so much invisible baggage we aren’t aware of how we judge our hodge-podge language. Judging only by the word’s origin, we attribute the sound of it to be more florid, fancy, a bit more high-falutin’. But “preparation” isn’t a fancy thing, quite the opposite. Preparation is working in the dirt, long, late hours, years of toil. So perhaps we should shorten preparation to “prep work,” as this has Dutch and German origins, and sounds more populist because of it.…

  • Books,  Books Reviews,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  poetry,  Writing

    Problem

    I hear the first step is to admit you have a problem. Therefore: I have a problem. See, it wasn’t my fault. I had to go to Charleston yesterday–not my fault–and we had a bunch of time to kill, so I said, all casual-like, “How about we go to this Used Bookstore?” And my friends were all like, “Cool.” BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T KNOW. We went to a coffee shop first, which was good. Who wants to be without caffeine in a bookstore? No one worth knowing, that’s who. So we went to Blue Bicycle Books–new and used. I peruse the shelves, putting down copy after copy of books I had…

  • Alaska Bridge, a place to cure restlessness
    Books,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  poetry,  Writing

    A Writer’s Restlessness

    This morning I feel restless.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m tired still– I’ve been trying to up my climbing game and the skin on my fingers is peeling, I have blisters between my first and second knuckles, and my forefingers ache. But my brain is restless.  So I finished reading Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel–I know I talk about her and her work a great deal, but it’s because I’m in love with how she paints her main character. How Thomas Cromwell is both opaque to the other characters and transparent to the reader. The time she writes about is convoluted and complex, with so many players and wills, and the…

  • Books,  Inspiration,  Lifestyle,  Travel,  Writing

    Joy(us)Adventure: day 19

    We saw a for-real, honest-to-goodness, Gaucho today. This was the only comfort I had for the fact that we were leaving Torres del Paine.  I was not ready to go.  I could have done another five days and probably still not be ready to leave. But we were on the bus, heading to the border crossing, to leave Chile and enter Argentina, and we came to an abrupt stop.  Nicole hopped out and then ran back onto the bus and announced, “Okay Team!  We have a real gaucho, and he will talk to us!” So we filed out of the bus, and there he was, on his horse, rocking the…

  • Books,  Lifestyle,  Writing

    Exercise Creativity

    There is no dearth of how-to books for creativity. A subset of that is the how-to for writing, which I admit, I have read and continue to read. No one artist’s process is the same, and for that, we should all be grateful. No one can say that staring silently into thin air for a complete hour is the wrong way, nor is dancing around the block in your underwear (though the second might get you arrested). But there is one piece of advice I see consistently: exercise creativity. Creativity To parse: Creativity, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary: The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in…

  • Books,  Lifestyle,  Writing

    Things Are Out of Hand: To Goal or Not to Goal

    Most of what we read in the news and blogosphere in January is goal-related.  New Year’s Resolutions, the backlash of resolutions, reasons why we are stupid to either make them in the first place, or to deride the goal-setting experience. I am a chronic goal-setter.  I like goals, because I like that smug satisfaction I get when I cross the item off my list.  For instance, I submitted a short story today. I think it is a long-shot, but it pays, and I set a goal to submit this story three times by the end of March.  I make an untidy hashmark on my calendar, as if I were a…

  • Books,  Inspiration,  Writing

    Tentatively Titled

    I have not been particularly good at updating this website in the last two months.  There are many reasons why this occurred, why this must change, and while there may be excuses, it is because all my available words have been going towards a new novel, which is tentatively titled A Lady’s Glass.  I do recognize, now that I am less than 13,000 words from the end of it, that this is maybe not a very good title.  But that will change with the rewrites. For this last year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month–which is November), I chose to write a romance novel.  I had never written one, and to be…

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