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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What I Would Try If I Knew I Couldn't Fail.

This is an interesting question that I've seen often but that I've given little attention. I'll try to focus on it now.
  • I would sit in front of a black computer screen and let poems and stories flow out of me.
  • I would put together a poetry volume and a book of short stories--and then try to publish them both.
  • I would write a novel. 
  • I would audition for regional theatre. 
  • I'd set my annual reading goals to 100+ books.
  • I'd fix my phone.
  • I'd pare down my wardrobe perfectly for this season (as Mom calls it) in my life--not spring or summer but the present circumstances.
  • I'd get Oliver into the pre-K or preschool program here.
  • I'd fill my journals in two weeks like I used to (it takes a month or more now).
  • I'd pare down my library perfectly. 
  • I'd work on my quotation notebook--I'm so behind!
  • I'd fly a little.
  • I'd attempt any book that has intimidated me.
  • I'd get a library to care for my journals after I die.

Monday, May 30, 2016

How to Sparkle More.

  • Read more children's books.
  • Read the color-coded fairy tale books (Andrew Lang).
  • Read more science fiction and fantasy.
  • Play with color in coloring books.
  • Listen to soothing, inspiring music like Enya.
  • Continue listening to showtunes and working it into the family's morning routine.
  • Learn about shows after Bruce and I see them.
  • Take medication--every time and at the right time.
  • Hang up some snowflakes and make a glittery mess.
  • Collect gifts for people throughout the year, so no special day catches me by surprise.
  • Use my favorite peppermint marshmallow candle.
  • Rather than saving something special, think of what a pity it would be if I never used the object. And use it!
  • Look at old photos of Oliver. Watch for photos in which I look truly happy--even if I were sick or hurt at the time.
  • Don't be lazy about eye makeup. Layer the sparkle.
  • Pay attention to those who love me most and see it in their eyes. Carry that feeling.
  • Always wear something that glimmers--it will remind me of who I want to be.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sending Books.

Two years ago, I started sending my brother, James, a book on his January 1 birthday. I think the books will be important to him even if he doesn't read them. And in one case, Mom read the book first! I love that she couldn't resist it. I can think of it as the one book I want to contribute to his year. Ordering from Amazon Smile is so easy. I don't want to plan the books ahead--just go year to year.

I once sent a Francesca Lia Block book to my aunt. I wanted her to have the chance to like something that I loved so much.

When Josh was waiting for his medical discharge from the army, I was at a family reunion in Oregon. I went to a little bookstore and bought Billy Collins's Picnic, Lightning and sent it to him, hoping the words of his favorite poet would ease all he was facing.

I can't think of a package much more exciting than a book!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Tiny Interesting Choices.

--Randall Munrow

How much do these matter?
  • Choosing a movie on Amazon to watch alone. It makes me feel independent, and it satisfies some of my curiosity about movies, especially scary ones.
  • Choosing a new journal to begin. I have many to choose from. Spiral? Colorful or patterned pages? Colors and themes in the cover art? Weight and texture of pages? Size? It all reflects my mood and plans.
  • Choosing a pen for the day. I at least keep the same color if the first pen doesn't work well. I choose based on my mood--color and effects like glitter or metallic--and on the journal (How sturdy are the pages?) I chose.
  • Choosing a necklace to wear. I have a few beautiful, complex necklaces that Josh gave me for anniversaries, Mother's Day, birthdays, and such. I've bought several for myself, always like a gift. The one I choose is more about mood than about matching an outfit. Actually, I often choose the necklace and build an outfit around it. 
  • Choosing the amount and tone of makeup. Lately, I'm likely to leave the house with only powder, mascara, and lip stain. In the past, I would almost never go out without full sparkling and colorful eyeshadow. Now, that's only on especially happy (or determined to be happy) days. Days of no makeup signal that I'm not feeling well at all. 
These all matter to me, and I think they reveal a lot about me. Other small, daily choices do this too. I should pay more attention not only to what the choices reveal but to how the choices can alter and uplift my days.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What I Can Do for Myself in 15 Minutes.

Free time sometimes comes in tiny pockets, and we have to use them for something more meaningful than staring into space or dozing off. As usual, I thought a list would help me.
  • Read a chapter
  • Paint my nails
  • Put on creative eye makeup
  • Color a picture in an adult coloring book
  • Ask for a 15-minute massage
  • Write a few pages in my journal
  • Listen to 4 or 5 Broadway songs
  • Look at the Tasha Tudor illustrations in A Little Princess
  • Turn all my attention to ice water in a big bottle
  • Select a specific color to search on Target's website. The cascades of purple or green are so soothing.
  • Start looking at a magazine
  • Clean up my nightstand and the books beside the bed
  • Walk to get the mail
  • Take a short bath, even in the middle of the day
Give me more ideas!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

How to Catch up with Your GoodReads Goal.

As I'm writing this, I ought to be catching up with my own GoodReads goal. I'm 1 or 2 books behind now. If you don't have a goal or a GoodReads account, go there quickly! You can log in with your Facebook account.
  • Add a variety of book lengths to your list. Don't read thick classics only.
  • Read some children's books you missed. I bought a few Roald Dahl books. I don't expect them to take long, but I think they'll be fulfilling and help me catch up.
  • Read of volumes of short stories (go for the thinner collections first!). The pre-packaged stories are perfect to digest over breakfast, during a break, and before bed.
  • Read more poetry. Poetry books are usually quite slim, but they are more difficult to process than a lot of other books. Read it aloud. Read it to someone. Let your feelings understand if your thoughts do not. Gather up all your library has (ask for the poetry section), and dive in.
  • Limit your book buying. This is no fun, but tell yourself that after you read two books you already have, you can buy one new (or new-to-you) book. Rewards may help you push toward your goal.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Seeking Enchantment.

--Tracy Knight MacDonald

This should be like a field trip. A hidden meadow, a picnic, butterfly nets.

I don't think enchantment is difficult to find; it's difficult to recognize, to accept, and to incorporate into one's life.

Of course, it's difference for everyone. But I can find enchantment in so many small ways.
  • Tiny, sparkly earrings
  • The Neverland T-shirt Josh gave me for Christmas
  • Uncontrollable smiles from one of the people I adore most
  • Wisteria dripping from trees
  • The traincase (from Mom) that could hold anything...a mystery for now
  • An unopened package of Mrs. Grossman stickers
  • My dressed up reflection, which usually means I'm going to a show
  • Any makeup that shimmers
  • Oliver's two beloved stuffed dogs. The bond is just so precious.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


When I was younger, maybe around 10, I was wild about antiques. They were beautiful and scarce, and they were often hidden among dusty junk.

Going to antiques stores was a treasure hunt. Mom and I sometimes raced for the tiny, colored glass bottles. I still have a dark purple bottle barely the size of my palm.

Antiques fed my daydream worlds in which I mostly explored periods that I'd learned through American Girl. My favorite antiques were school books. I was thrilled to find names written inside.

I also liked antique suitcases--I could take strange, dress-up journeys. This past Christmas, my mother gave me a beautiful blue train case. Just looking at it makes me feel imaginative.

I once haggled with a store owner for a pair of soft white gloves with buttons. I'm sure a couple of weeks of allowance was no where near the price label, but I left with the gloves.

When we met, Josh told me that he collected antique school books. I thought he must be lying. But it was true, and it was perfect.

For 20 years or so, I loved the thought of mother-of-pearl opera glasses.

Monday, May 23, 2016


I remember reading this word in Alexandra Stoddard's wonderful book Living a Beautiful Life. I had no positive associations with the word until I continued reading the book. Ritual is close to practice, but it's more about when, where, and how one practices.

Almost every morning, I get up, go to the comfortable gray suede armchair in the living room and write blog posts. That seemed to pull me into the day and remind me who I am.

I follow this, usually spread through out the day according to Oliver's needs, with what I've been calling my other "literary tasks": journaling at least two pages, reading a chapter or more of each book I'm reading (two at a time lately), and responding to writing prompts.

I could build more ritual around these and other parts of my day. Spending time on my denim chaise lounge was a ritual last summer. Sometimes, taking a bath every night has been a ritual for me. Rituals can help me join in with life.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What Makes Me Feel Beautiful.

I don't have an attachment to real jewelry (thank goodness), but I love costume jewelry. I feel beautiful in a sparkling necklace that complements what I'm wearing.

Painted nails make me feel beautiful. I always forget and then notice that pop of color again.

I feel beautiful when my long hair is behaving and when my makeup makes me look (and then feel) more awake and expressive.

I feel beautiful holding hands and walking about. I guess it's the sense of someone choosing me for that...and it also keeps me from the people and cars that could easily run me over.

The contrast between recently-dyed black hair and pale skin make me feel Snow-White lovely.

Also, a couple of people tell me daily that I'm pretty. I'm so lucky in that!

Saturday, May 21, 2016


I'm not sure how my snowflake obsession began. I think I was 12 or 13 because I remember that we were living in our first Charlotte house after our move from the Nashville area. I had a huge, wonderful bedroom with one huge window. I remember taping paper snowflakes to the window. They looked pretty from the street. Mom had a few white snowflakes on the Christmas tree, and I asked to put them in my room after the holiday.

I guess I loved the glitter and later, the shimmering beads and rhinestones. I started quite a collection, and many people gave me to beautiful snowflake ornaments. Josh bought me a silver snowflake necklace on our wedding day. My mom gave me tiny purple snowflake earrings for Christmas last year. I've had snowflake pajamas (still do) and snowflake sheets.

I remember shopping for snowflakes at the Biltmore house gift shops. I used to hang snowflakes every where. Just recently, Mom was helping me clean out the guest room, and I sort through a mass of snowflakes I hadn't unpacked for several years and several rental homes. I loved seeing them again, and I loved getting glitter all over the guest bed--purely by accident of course.

Friday, May 20, 2016

My Key Comforts.

  • My blanket. It's worn, soft pink. I sleep with it under my head. 
  • Wearing something, like jewelry, that someone gave to me. I feel close to the person through the object.
  • Knowing that I got a great education, and I don't have to go to school any more.
  • Having answers (a diagnosis) for Oliver. At least we know.
  • Dr. Pepper, of course.
  • Reading an absorbing book.
  • Re-reading an old favorite book. Life may be crazy, but some stories stay the same.
  • Looking at floorplans. It's soothing. I imagine living in that space.
  • A hug from Oliver.
  • Soft tickles--probably the quickest way to calm me down.
  • Icy water at hand.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Indulging a Whim.

--Paula McLain

I like this phrase I read in a book. The word indulging makes me think of someone taking a big bite of something oozing caramel. Whim makes me think of butterflies and white lace dresses.

Going to the Disney Store felt like indulging a whim even when I didn't find anything I had to have. Unusual nail polish seems whimsical. Sometimes, my journal is whimsical with colors and stickers and wishes. Looking at Madame Alexander dolls is an indulgence that stretches my imagination and adds detail to my sense of beauty.

I could indulge a whim by stopping to read more magazines, especially the ones that encourage creative work. I could read more YA novels. I could re-read Block books. I could wear earrings more. I could pretend play with Oliver more. I could wear interesting eye makeup instead of wearing the bare minimum (powder, mascara, lip stain). I could swim! It makes me feel like a water sprite.

"Indulging a Whim" might be a good title for my next journal. I named my journals for a while, and I'd like to start doing that again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

300 Books a Year.

I read about someone being a judge or reader for...maybe the National Book Award, and she read this much for it. I hope it paid a salary! How could anyone read that much and still take care of basic needs like eating and sleeping, let alone have a job or human interaction? Am I really so slow?

I read 100 books one year, but I was mostly isolated. And I read almost everything--novels, memoirs, young reader books (such as the Little House series), poetry...

I will say, though, that swimming through an ocean of books seems pretty thrilling--especially if it were a paying job. Imagine how much that many books would alter, sculpt, or shine a person!

It's more that half the number of books I've read in my life. This makes me want to push more. If I lose focus on my reading, getting back is so difficult. My goal to read 50 books this year seems both overwhelming and unimpressive.

I'll keep trying to be a stronger reader, which I can only do through practice.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Top Ten Books.

  1. Jane Eyre
  2. Dangerous Angels
  3. The 13th Tale
  4. Writing Down the Bones
  5. A Little Princess
  6. Sugar Queen
  7. Love Walked In
  8. Necklace of Kisses
  9. Eight Cousins
  10. Her Fearful Symmetry

This is so difficult! Titles escape me. I need to look in my special book cabinet. But I would love to have these books with me if I couldn't read anything else. They mark points in my life.

For example, Necklace of Kisses was the first Christmas gift Josh gave to me. I remember reading it during my nights in the dorms at ASU and reading it in the bathtub. It was a difficult time in my life, and Block's word-spinning left a shimmer on me that probably helped me survive internally. So it's appropriate that Josh gave me the book (even though I asked him for it!); he's often left that shimmer or led me to it, knowing me as he does now.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Mind I Love.

--Katherine Mansfield

Josh and I have been together for over 10 years now, and we still have so much to discover about each other. Often, some of our old beliefs about each other will change. We can't keep up, and in many ways, that's wonderful.

Josh's mind works in odd ways. Sometimes, it drives me crazy; sometimes, it amuses me, or it's endearing. I'm probably strange in ways both charming and maddening too.

While my mind snaps like an animal trap on specific obsessions, Josh is jumping around from subject to subject, over my head and beyond my strength. But to him, it's easy as reading comics. No book or topic seems to overwhelm him. He's read some of the most difficult books I know of (Ulysses, War and Peace).

I'm impressed. I'm in love.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Packing a Ridiculous Amount of LIfe.

I took this from M. Moezzi.

My life feels full when I'm reading a lot, even more than one book at a time. So many thoughts, unique characters or great advice, new situations. If I want that, I have to push myself, even if I feel too tired or too sad to read.

But being with the people I love is even better, of course. Laughing, catching up on stories, working funny allusions into the conversation, going to a favorite place together. All the laughter makes me tired and delighted.

Traveling, theatre, and live music can fill life to the brim. Museums and such can do this too--anything that expands one's sense of the possible.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Integrating Gifts into Life.

According to Gary Chapman's book, gifts are my love language, so I love to talk about them.

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a hard day. The boys (my husband, Josh, and my son, Oliver) were out running errands. When they came back, Josh had me close my eyes as he gave me a pack of Disney Princess stickers I'd never seen, a 10-pack of slender Le Pens, and a fist of Gelly Rolls in ocean tones--greens, blues, purple. This changed my day. I enjoyed writing with the new pens and also putting them away in my color-coded pen mugs.

Especially at Christmas, we come home with a vibrant collection of presents...objects, mostly. I love this part. We put it all away some place. That process can assure that the objects will add beauty rather than clutter.

If I can, I like to bring gifts into my life one at a time. I'll simply wear and then wash or hang up a pretty T-shirt. If I receive a gift journal or notebook, I make it the journal I use next, pulling it into my life as quickly as I can. I do the same with books, but that's a little more difficult--it's so much to read, and I usually receive more than one book (I'd have it no other way). I even love incorporating the smallest objects, such as a lip balm or a tiny pair of earrings. I also love bath items--bath bombs, bubble bath, and such.

Of course, sometimes, gifts may be experiences, such as a trip or tickets. These usually integrate automatically. I love taking something new (and love-filled, as most presents are) and making it a glimmer in the creatively-abundant life I'm trying to build and live.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

How to Add Sparkle to Each Day.

  • Spill a little glitter on the bed, the floor, bags, and even clothes. Some will be visible now; some will be a surprise later. It seems crazy, but I love finding unexpected glitter in my books and journals.
  • Be kind and give sincere compliments. The recipient's face will probably glow.
  • Wear shirts or cardigans with glitter, beading, or rhinestones.
  • Grab ahold of sparks of ideas. Let them grow into something...a letter, a poem, a collage, a song.
  • Wear sparkly jewelry. I often skip this as the last step of getting ready. But I've been wearing costume jewelry more. A rhinestone necklace can completely change an outfit or even a day.
  • Use sparkly pens. My AP English teacher always used glitter pens to grade. That was probably how she put sparkle in her day.
  • Wear glitter nail polish. I'm always happily surprised when I look at my hands and see the nail polish.
  • Wear glittery makeup! I have glittery face powder, body powder, eye shadow, eye liner, and lip gloss. I need to use them. I always feel Sephora or Ulta with hands and arms coated with sparkling samples. 
  • Really pay attention to recent compliments others have given. I've started adding amazingly special words from people who love me to my quotation composition books. I can easily flip to the back of the notebook and see those words.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Watching for Wonder.

"Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." --E.B. White

Wonder is a reaction to something wonderful, but it can also be a practice. I have to take note (figuratively and literally) of the wonderful and look for it--it's almost always present and accessible, but it's not always a thrilling sunset or magnificent sculpture. Museums can help when one is too tired to search for and discover the wonderful alone.

Sometimes, someone near us experiences wonder we can't see. Perhaps it just doesn't match our tastes. But one can experience wonder vicariously by watching the other person's amazement and delight. Later, we can also ask the person to describe the experience.

Wonder can come in a book, in a children's book (if you want to wonder to be more obvious on an exhausting day), gardens, plays, a ballet, or even a pretty leaf.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What People Need to Hear.

  • I respect you
  • I love you
  • I understand you
  • I like you
  • I appreciate you
  • It's okay
We need to hear "It's okay" often. I walk around tense with worry about tasks, situations, or mistakes. I need someone to reassure me. The situation doesn't have to be great or perfect, but it has to be okay.

Many people maybe not love us but may still be able to say truthfully, "I respect you" or "I appreciate you." This is important at work, where a favor or kind gesture may be more effective or appropriate than words.

"I like you" is important even from people who say, "I love you." "I like you" makes the listener feel interesting or fun.

"I understand you" is important when someone feels alone in his or her emotional or mental experience. But it's not "I understand your experience" or "Something similar happened to me." It means, "I get that thought or feeling you expressed" or "I get the way you think."

Monday, May 9, 2016

Crash Course.

I like the idea of having crash courses--one day or a few hours, hopefully with a friend.
  • Geology. I'd like to have names for the rocks I find.
  • Horticulture: Again, I want names for flowers and trees. I think they deserve to have name space in my mind. 
  • Theatre appreciation. Why didn't I take this in college? I might talk too much.
  • Creative writing. I'd walk in as a beginner. That would be strange but fun.
  • Calligraphy or lettering. Why not?
  • Marine biology. I hope this would include aquariums.
  • Handwriting interpretation. So cool!
  • Costume design...if I only had to watch and study.
  • Voice lessons. Maybe even a little would help. 
  • The history of rock music. The school where I taught four actually offered this!
  • Autism. Maybe I'd be better able to care for Oliver.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Creative Nourish or Nurture.

Nourish is more basic--filling a basic need. Nurture comes after that: building up, warming, and polishing.

To nourish the creative spirit, one must commit to hunting and gathering what the creative spirit needs. It may begin with some of the basic books, such as Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. It's about essentials--overall impressions of various art forms. Museums and play can help, but even books of paintings and film versions of shows can be enough too.The need for nourishment never ends, but when the spirit is hovering near full, nurturing is more likely to be effective.

Nurturing may involve diving into one art form. Nurturing takes the dreams of the creative spirit seriously. Friends and family may do this with just a little praise. Once it feels safe enough, the creative spirit may handle criticism well enough. But the encouragement has to come from somewhere--family, friends, teachers, fellow artists, even books on creativity.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Wild and Strange.

This is Lauren Groff's phrase.

I have a board on Pinterest called All That's Best of Dark and Bright (Byron). Wild, strange things can be beautiful. Consider Maleficent, both animated and and live action. She's scary and beautiful.

Sometimes, I don't think I'm wild enough...though my heart does beat like a terrified wild thing when someone comes near. Most of my wildness goes into my writing or becomes part of my reading experience. I don't know if others think of me as wild, but some measure of that seems necessary for a rich life.

Strange...maybe. People have perceived me as cold, tense. I think my relationship with music and theatre are strange in their intensity. Some of my object attachments may be strange.

I like the idea of being a little wild, a little strange. If I were more openly myself, maybe people would see me differently.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Who Gave Me the Tools I Need?

Here are just a few concerning literacy and writing:

Mom gave me reading. I had a lot of her old books in my room. I don't remember her ever talking me out of a book. I often saw her reading. She let me read during meals--an amazing legacy from her mom.

Grandpa because he'd always buy me books, especially for the plane ride home.

Nick always encouraged my writing like something important and new. He also know practice was vital, so he pushed me. He also took me to Barnes and Noble often.

Alan showed me how to be more critical of my work. He made me feel that I had talent, but I had to dig past childish expression. He pushed me, and I improved.

Queens overall just kicked me around in general. But now, I have so many writers and books that I would not have discovered otherwise. My time there is one of the most important experiences I've had.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Imagine a Whole Day Just For...

  • Playing in the contents of my desk--writing letters, looking back through journals and pens.
  • Looking at magazines--a big varied stack.
  • Talking to Mom--getting room service.
  • Reading. I'd alternate a difficult book with an easier one.
  • Exploring the library and picking up far more books than I'll be able to read in time. Spreading everything out on a big table with my journal and quotation notebook.
  • Cleaning and organizing our room.
  • Shopping with Mom--South Park, Paper Source...
  • An off and on sunshine nap.
  • Reading unfinished books that have been on my "currently reading" shelf for ages.
  • Seeing back-to-back shows or dress rehearsals.
  • Catching up on all the prompts in my journal.
  • Catching up with my quotation notebook.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Staying Faithful to Myself.

How can I do this? Being faithful to myself does include being faithful to my closest relationships, keep them open and fresh.

Part of being faithful to myself means avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drugs. I have never tried these.
I have an obsessive personality and tend to be excessive, so I have to avoid these all together. Most people seem to understand this when I've explained.

I think being faithful to myself also means holding close to what delighted me when I was a child--those deep thrills. So it became important several years ago for me to work my way through children's books and series I miss--Little House, Narnia, The Borrowers, and such. I still have a lot to do. I was also a great daydreamer, and I'm trying to revive that. It put me in a pink Glinda bubble much of the time.

Theatre tickets certainly seem to show my childhood self that I care about and understand her. Sometimes, I feel like I'm 7 or 8 again, going to a first show.

To be faithful, I have to know myself now. Writing and blogging and later re-reading show me who I am or was right then. They can teach me the best ways to love and care for myself.

I also have to surround myself with people who love and appreciate me. And I can learn to love and encourage them too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

How to Get Encouragement for the Writing Life.

Getting major encouragement for writing can be difficult. Many people don't know the work one has to put into a piece. Most people don't know the hard work, rejection, and discouragement in trying to publish. But here are some ideas.
  • First, make sure those closest to you (spouse, older children) understand that you need time alone to write. They don't have to understand it, but they do need to respect it. If you take yourself seriously, others are more likely to take you seriously too.
  • Use social media. Give brief updates on projects, progress, rejections, and acceptances. People will at least acknowledge this, and that can be unexpectedly valuable.
  • Stay connected to other writers. They can encourage you, and they know what you are going through. They will also know exactly how rare and valuable an acceptance it.
  • Educate those closest to you about the pile of rejections, the revisions, the anticipation, the daily work. If you need a particular kind of encouragement or help, ask for it.
  • Join a class (try continuing education at a community college) or workshop group. These people will understand, at least eventually.
  • Get books. Sometimes, only a book knows what to say. Try SARK's Juicy Pens, Thirsy Paper or Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Equipped with the Habit of Art.

--Richard Ford

I like this. I think "habit" here is similar to what I call practice (thanks to Natalie Goldberg). does the habit or practice of art equip us...and for what? I think art can be a sanctuary. One can explore anything through art--crafts, music, theatre, writing, and so many forms of visual art. Edible art too! Art is a safe place to deal with difficult (or overwhelmingly wonderful) emotions. Much of it can be private.

So the practice of art lets me feel less afraid. I know where I can go even if no one is there for me.

Art also helps me understand, at least to some extent, what is happening around me and to me. If I don't understand why or how someone made certain choices, I can write a fictionalized story about it. It doesn't excuse, but it lets me catch a glimpse of why and how. I think because of that, writing makes me a less judgmental person. So art makes a safe spot for me and also makes me a safer person--people are emotionally and mentally safer with me.

Any practice grounds the day and offers comfort and stability even when resistance is strong. If I miss a day of reading or writing, I feel uncomfortable and unstable. Soon, this becomes apparent to others. Josh usually tells me to go rest or write.

I don't always remember how equipped I am. I'm trying to pay more attention.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Literary Stimulants.

I liked this phrase from Elizabeth Berg. I don't remember the context for this, but I like how it sounds. It makes me think of coffee beans in canvas bags and the deep, dark smell. Books are persuasive as ordinary objects--their own tickling, musty scent; the color of the pages as they; the color of the pages as they age; and the slick or pebbly quality of the cover.

At used bookstores, I like the hungry feeling I get, wanting to gather as many books as I can and tuck the top of the stack under my chin. It doesn't even matter if I never read some of them. Some books just belong in someone's home. Seeing all the books I have at home does make me want to read. Sometimes, I'll drill into one book. Other times, I'll read as many as four books in different genres at once.

Some bits of books push me to improve my life and self. These may be self-improvement books, but novels may do it just as well.

So literature can stimulate me to do or be something new, and that something can stimulate my desire to read--to be literate and literary.

Looking at GoodReads and seeing what and how much others are reading remind me that I need to be reading more. GoodReads' annual reading goal pushes me too. Right now, I'm on track. I like to be ahead, but that takes a major push.

Josh and I talk about our reading goals, and we try always to be aware of what the other is reading. If one of us is not reading, we give the other a push. Just talking about books as I might with Mom stimulates me to read and be more aware of the literary world.