I love to read "By The Book," in the Times every Sunday, where authors are interviewed to talk about their books and open ideas about literature in general. On October 16, 2016, the author, Marina Abramovic--the performance artist and author of "Walk Through Walls, got top billing. She raised a question that got me thinking about books, which is not unusual, but this time, I thought about the question she'd raised.
What moves you most in a work of literature?
Her answer reads below:
"I know I am reading a powerful book when everything around me disappears and I am unable to put it down until I finish it. A good book can bring you to another state of consciousness and transport you into different times and spaces. I am always searching for the experience of having the reality of the book overpower the reality of my own life."
I remember when I'd read "The Godfather" ages ago, I missed my bus stop. Of course I can name more books that triggered magic, that sent me into a different rime zone, but this is only one blog post.
Whether it's an ebook, an iBook, or a paper bound book, its content is what it's all about.
Isn't that so.
After having read, in the 7.10.16 issue of the Times Magazine, the feature article “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Brodesser-Almer, which is based on Marie Kondo’s best seller “Marie Kondo and the ruthless war on clutter,” on the New York Times best-seller list for 86 weeks and counting, I’d found a way to edit my novel, “with that spark of joy.”
I intend to buy Kondo’s book, but enough insight into her method of tidying up clutter in closets, clutter around the house, clutter in your life, is stated in the article. Wanting a “clutter free life,” got me to focus on a clutter free novel; my novel, with no filters that clog the sentence, clog the flow, clog the essence of the story. Kondo’s method is simple: “Hold each item of clothing or whatever, to see if it sparks joy in your body. The ones that spark joy get to stay. The ones that don’t, get a heartfelt and generous goodbye, via verbal communication.” I’ve tried this method with my clothing and possessions that no longer give my joy. It works. So I’d figured, why not apply that method to my novel.
I did apply her method to my novel. It works. It’s now easy to say goodbye to my little darlings. I no longer add words to what had already been edited, thinking I could make it better; no it doesn’t get better. If what I’ve written sparks joy, it stays. If not, it goes. I’m cleaning up my novel and feeling free.
Find your write muse and you've found the right tools to set your words on the right track. It's all in the tools you use to get your article, short story or novel on the road. There's no doubt what you place in your hand to write sets the stage for your story to grow into whatever it is you've got planned.
Pen and paper are the tools of a particular group of writers. I couldn't write my novel with pen and paper because there's no way I could read back what I've written. The movie in my head goes fast. But my hands go messy. But I do like the feel of that closeness to the page. After reading Mark London Williams's article in the SCBWI BULLETIN, "The Tools in Your Hand," I'll just quote her reference to Michael Ventura on creative writing:
Michael Ventura--"The Tools of an Animal"--"Writing by pen creates one sort of pace, a certain kinesthetic relationship to the work, whereas, he notes, using a typewriter causes a different relationship between teller and tale. And finally, composing on computer keys creates yet a different music to the words."
I'll go a step further here. I do believe that if you choose to write by way of computer, the program you use changes your voice. I've used a number of different packages. I'm still in a cloud. Microsoft Word drove me crazy. There was this little man who popped out whenever and changed a word. Plus too many PINGS AND PONGS. I tossed MSW IN THE TRASH.
Then there are packages that have so many correcting tools in the tool bar IT'S A DISTRACTION to your writing. So here I'm thinking how great it is to just write with pen and paper. But since I can't go that route I've decided to find the package that has nothing more than a blank screen. Let the Muse speak to you. And Me.
HARDCOVER OR DIGITAL...NOTEBOOKS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR THE FICTION WRITER.
I love notebooks. I’ve got the black and white schoolbook notebook; even the tiny sized to slip into my pocket. A NOVEL. A NOTEBOOK. I believe carrying my notebook with me everywhere I travel keeps me connected to my story. If you’re a writer you know how you suddenly get that AHHH moment when you’re in the midst of something totally unrelated to writing like walking. Then again, we walk and we write in our heads. I do. Not so practical all the time. Sometimes I jump off my chair while eating and write something down. My husband Bob knows the scene.
Back to Notebooks:
I’ve got Notebooks in my I-Pad. Maxjournal. I even have a cover photo on the Journal.
My Titles are:
AFRAID TO FINISH
NANETTE’S DAILY JOURNAL
STAR STRUCK GIRL
CRYSTAL YANKS (MY NANO NOVEL)
STARDUST—The Legend of Orpheus and Eurydice
NOVEL MOVES (Interesting thoughts I jot down when reading novels)
I’ve got more but you so have you....
I have the hard copy of Jack Kerouac's book, "On The Road" and his Journals. Inspired by Jack, I carry a Notebook with me when I write my novels.
The Gotham Writers' Workshop posted a new E-book of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" and the text that follows was on that post. I couldn't wait to blog about it.
“Jack Kerouac was one of those writers who reinvented literature. He climbed in James Joyce’s stream of consciousness car then careened down the streets of Beat poetry and the alleyways of Bebop jazz, creating such novels as The Dharma Bums, Big Sur, and the landmark On the Road. He influenced countless writers and, some say, helped usher in the 1960s counter-culture movement.”
Fellow writers were always asking Kerouac how he did what he did. So Kerouac set down 30 essentials in something he called “Belief and Technique for Modern Prose.” These tips may or may not make sense to you, but that’s Kerouac, man:
Friday, May 3, 2013NEIL GAIMAN'S GOOD WRITING PRACTICES
I was hooked on the first page of Neil Gaiman’s, The Graveyard Book, and followed Nobody Owens, to the END. I crave reading the writing practices of famous authors; not only famous but beloved...wow...okay...but it’s true. We do fall for author’s that have taken us on a ride to somewhere over the rainbow. With that, I will list Neil Gaiman’s Good Writing Practices. Number 1 says it all. But here is the rest. The article on Neil Gaiman’s Good Writing Practices was taken from, The Guardian. Bold print is my idea because that’s where I need to listen.
After many years I've decided to pick up my "Orpheus and Eurydice" and give it an up-beat. I couldn't believe how I took turns and twists to retell this classic tale. I actually have a modern version locked in my hard drive. Do hope I can get to that novel. But for now, my current revision of "Stardust" seems to be working. I'll plug along and get this into the i-book store. Somehow.
I chose Orpheus and Eurydice in the moonlit garden of the castle for my cover.
The New York City Marathon happens every November. This past November I heard the helicopters fly over First Avenue. I felt the excitement waving over New York City. I remembered waiting by the 59th street bridge, waiting to see my husband run to the finish line—26.2 miles. I can’t believe I made it to Central Park, all ten times, to see my husband Bob, win his goal. But I did.
The New York City Marathon hits in November. The NaNoWriMo hits in November. It is an annual (November) novel writing project that links together writers' who want to make it to the finish line—to write a novel with a word count of 50,000 words. When the clock struck midnight on the last day of November, the writers’ goal must be met. Like winning the GOLD. Writers from all over the world participated in this great undertaking. I was one.
To equate The New York City Marathon with NaNoWrMo is right on target. To run a Marathon the runner is obsessed with their Passion. Need. Discipline. Making a pledge to oneself to run the Marathon starts months before the scheduled date. The runner needs time to set goals, timing, running schedule. Writers' need discipline to finish a novel.
Back in 1996, I took the pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. How did I finish? Passion. Need. Discipline. I am taking the pledge to finish Star-Struck Girl, the novel that I can’t let go. But I must let it go out to the world by its Finish.
To all the runners' and writers' out there striving to make it to the finish line, I am right there in the pack.
So there I was in cyberspace and met with Raychelle Muhammad. I was delighted to be invited to The Writer's Block. It was an amazing experience. It offered me an opportunity to reflect up my journey of my writing and digital art life and where I am going and where I have been. The Writer's Block
After reading Paula Fox's novel, "The God of Nightmares, I was drawn to her protagonist and read with fast turns of the page to see how Fox created dire jeopardy and propelled her protagonist to go on a jolting ride. I went on that ride and rode the waves and jumped to shore with wanting more. So it goes when I read a compassionate writer.
"The God of Nightmares," takes you to New Orleans in 1941. You smell and taste the steamy streets of the French Quarter. The book caught my interest when I read about the author--Paula Fox. She addresses the issues: "How do we go armed into the world? And what does the world do to us if we are not sufficiently prepared to understand it?"
Bought "The God of Nightmares," from Amazon. On the very last page I felt a beat for more; I pressed the last page between my fingers. Fox left me imagining more... that's the way to write a novel.