Um…. Hi everyone. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
The short story is, I had to take about 2 months off from blogging here. It was unexpected, to say the least, and I feel badly that I disappeared unexpectedly like that. But don’t we all go through periods when life offline goes a little… well, nuts, and we have to rearrange our priorities temporarily? And now that things appear to be smoothing out, I think I’m ready to make a comeback.
And what an appropriate post to return with, right? I really do love this What’s Making Me Happy series, and for so many reasons. So let me share some of the things that brought much-needed joy and lightness despite the stress of the past two months. Feel free to share what’s made you happy recently in your comments. 🙂
When I noticed my next DIY MFA post was scheduled for the week of Valentine’s Day, I decided it was time for a case study on an appropriate and timeless theme: Love. If you think about it, though, love is one of the most frequently discussed and deeply profound themes in literature. Plus, the most compelling thematic explorations of love touch on romantic love as well as love of other forms (kindness, compassion) and in other types of relationships (friendship, family). This is the case with the two example novels in today’s Theme: A Story’s Soul post, and I hope you *love* the end result (or, at least find it informative). 😉
Do you listen to music while you write? Has a specific song or music artist ever influenced one of your stories, poems, etc.? This has happened with a number of my published poems. Thus, Poetry & Song is a limited-run series where I share one of my published poems and the song that “helped me write” it. I also offer insights into why I chose that particular piece of music, as well as any other inspirations for the poem.
With the past two Poetry & Song posts, I’ve realized – or, rather, remembered – how personal some of my sources of inspiration have been. Today’s is no different. A few times while writing this post, I felt… well, uncomfortable, but not in a negative way. It wasn’t so much the idea of sharing the story behind this poem, since other people in real life already know it. Rather, it was the act of revisiting that inspiration, and reliving the warring emotions tied to it, that made a heart-wrenching situation from the past fresh again.
So, yes, “At A Loss” isn’t a happy poem. Neither is the song that helped me write it. But what makes this Poetry & Song combination unique is that, together, they provided some much-needed insight on an unraveling friendship. If it makes any sense, this post chronicles the first time I learned an important life lesson from my own poetry.
A few months ago, I was tagged by Nandini of Unputdownable Books (and formerly of Pages of Rustle) for the Handwriting Challenge. (Thanks for nominating me, Nandini!) This is a fun and unique blog hop where participants write their answers on pen and paper, then take a photo and share it in the blog post to show what your handwriting looks like.
Of course, before I show you my handwriting, let’s go over…
I owe it to myself to do a What’s Making Me Happy post. February was a tough month. Despite the joy of a new writing project and the hope-excitement for the upcoming Iceland trip, it was also a month of stress, fatigue, and a resulting illness. So lately it’s been a challenge to maintain any sense of contentment or confidence in… well, anything, including writing.
But February wasn’t all gray skies, cold temperatures, and pessimism. In fact, several things about the past month did lift my spirits. So today I’d like to celebrate the sounds, sights, flavors, and places that made me happy over the past month. Let’s start with…
(NOTE: Due to this week’s DIY MFA post, the weekly blog post will go live on Thursday, November 3rd.)
I’ve been meaning to write a case study on friendship for my DIY MFA column for a while. And why not? Friendship has the power to change people’s lives in amazing ways – in real life, and in the stories we read. In fact, literature has shown us not only the ups and downs of these relationships, but also how they often defy boundaries such as age, race, and gender. And I couldn’t think of two better books to use as examples than Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, because both explore this theme masterfully.
When you’re a writer or book-blogger, what’s one thing you’re guaranteed to talk about with your online friends? Books, of course! That’s how we bond over beloved reads we share as well as books we’ve been meaning to read for ages. So, when I bought Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear after Christmas, fellow writer Rebekah Hendrian said this in her comments:
“I almost feel like we need to do a buddy read for Wise Man’s Fear. I just keep looking at those thousand pages and then putting it aside in dismay.”
At first I was hesitant, since I’d never done a buddy-read before and wasn’t sure how it was done. But once Rebekah and I figured things out, we were able to work The Wise Man’s Fear into the same point in our reading schedules. Now I’m so glad we did it – and today, I’d like to share what made that experience so enjoyable, in hopes that you might try buddy-reading with a friend in the future. So, here are Five Benefits of Buddy-Reading!
Yup. I’m still catching up with blog tags and awards that I was linked on over the past few months. Today’s comes courtesy of Zezee @ Zezee with Books, and is one I hadn’t heard of before this nomination. The Starlight Blogger Award was created by Caroline @ Yesterday After to celebrate bloggers who inspire us with their creativity. So, thank you very much, Zezee, for your nomination. It means a lot to me. 🙂
Here are the rules for the Starlight Blogger Award: Continue reading
“What do your favorite stories have in common?”
This was the question that fellow writer Elizabeth Rawls posed at her blog last year. I loved the topic so much that I wanted to respond right away, but I couldn’t. Figuring out what your favorite stories have in common is like playing a writer’s or reader’s version of a strategy game. But once you put some conscious thought into it, the answers can be rather enlightening.
Today, I’d like to share Elizabeth’s activity along with my own thoughts on developing a stronger grasp on the shared elements in our favorite stories. As you’ll find out, those commonalities may have a greater influence on our work that we might think.
Beautiful People is a monthly blog meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Every month they pose 10 questions for writers to answer about their writing and give readers the opportunity to learn more about the writer’s characters.
Friendship is the theme for this month’s edition of Beautiful People. I didn’t even have to look at the questions to know which friends I’d focus on: Eva, a life-size Faerie and the protagonist of my YA fantasy WIP The Keeper’s Curse; and her cousin (also Fae), Gidion. So, apart from Saturday’s Chronicling The Craft, you’ll meet Gidion for the first time today!
Since you might already know a bit about Eva, here’s a quick bio for Gidion: He’s 21 years old, with green eyes and blonde-streaked ginger-red hair. And not only is he the Council of Selanaan’s chief negotiator, but he’s also the Council Captain. Which means that not only is he Eva’s cousin and best friend, but he’s also her boss. That has added an interesting dynamic to their relationship, as the questionnaire will reveal. 😉
(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)