Listen. Think. Speak. Write.

Friday, September 30, 2011

What's in your trunk?

I am close to putting my first novel away in that proverbial trunk.  It's had a good run.  The concept has been met with enthusiasm, including plenty of requests to read more material, but despite many edits, I'm not sure it's there. Since I can't wrap my head around what "there" would be at this point, it just might be time to tuck it away.  I'm not alone.  Plenty of writers have done the same and have lived to blog about it.

I enjoyed reading these two perspectives on lessons learned from their trunked novels.

Friday, September 23, 2011


An measure of interpersonal communication satisfaction I use in class asks people to rate how comfortable they are in various communication situations. One such situation is giving feedback to a friend who has asked you to read his or her writing.  Do you see where this is going?

But we'll get to that in a second.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


"It's just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . ."

Last week, I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.. I know. I know. I should have read it years ago.  For some reason it never rose to the top of my to be read pile, but I was determined. Something told me I had to read this book.

This was my very short review on Goodreads

I am sure I should attempt to give some kind of detail here, but I've spent the last few days immersed in the most masterful use of words I think I've ever read. I have no idea how a review could possibly convey what I feel right now.

Unquestionably, this book now ranks in my top five reads of all time.  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Choose active over passive

The other day my four year old asked my husband, “What do you live for?” I heard him answer, “I never expected that question from you so soon.” Then he called out for me, “How would you answer?” I’m not sure it was truly a deep existential question from her perspective, but of course, we answered as if it were.  I provided a laundry list of beautiful things I’d experienced that morning. He talked about joy and family.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been questioning whether my time spent writing/querying/etc. is worth it. It’s a hobby, right? I even wondered about reading. Why do I love getting caught up in other people’s stories? Why spend hours living through someone else? 

The short answer is I learn from reading. Writing teaches me, too.

This morning I wrote a letter to Grace—I keep a file for each kid on my hard drive filled with life lessons and observations.  I closed the letter with this:

Try new things. Love some; hate some. Laugh a lot. Cry when you need to, and even if you just want to. Run, walk, dance, sing, read, write, watch, listen, smile, yell. Fill your life with verbs. Make them active verbs.

Ah yes, writing teaches me how to live. And living teaches me how to write.  If you need a little inspiration, here's a list of active verbs. They might come in handy for writing ... or living.

For fun, what's your favorite verb?