New DIY MFA Article on Love as a Literary Theme


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). ūüėČ

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5 on the 5th: Five Things I’ve Learned in the Past Year

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On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it‚Äôs five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us¬†an opportunity to talk about¬†other subjects that¬†aren’t normally discussed here at the blog.¬†

This might sound like a more appropriate post for New Year’s. But when I launched 5 on the 5th¬†earlier this year, I¬†realized what I was setting myself up for in September. And… well, I’m not the kind of person who runs around announcing her birthday to the world. (FYI: I HATE being sung to by a wait staff at a restaurant. It makes me want to curl up and hide.)

Last year’s birthday, however, was a milestone as well as¬†a¬†day of reflection. I thought back on the things I was grateful for, the lessons I’d learned, the goals I’m working towards – and it evoked¬†a sense of wonder, excitement, and bravery for the future. I’d like to do that again¬†this year through this month’s 5 on the 5th. Here are¬†five things I’ve learned in the past year. Continue reading

#1000 Speak: On Self-Compassion


Today is February 20, 2015, the day when 1000 Voices For Compassion makes its mark. Bloggers all over the globe have committed to posting articles today to celebrate compassion in all its forms and recognize the importance of such acts in our lives and the lives of others. If you’re interested in reading more articles by our movement, I encourage you to visit 1000 Voices of Compassion’s Facebook group or search the hashtag #1000speak¬†on Twitter.

I prefaced my #1000speak lead-in article, “Acts of Compassion in Literature,” by saying I’d been debating two possible ideas before deciding to pursue both. Originally, “Acts of Compassion in Literature” was going to be today’s post. However, as I worked on this second piece, the topic struck a deeper, more resonant chord than I’d expected. Then again, the idea of self-compassion¬†had already been on my mind recently. So, I decided to switch the order of the two articles, and in hindsight I think I made the right decision. Continue reading

Acts of Compassion in Literature – A Special #1000Speak Edition of “Theme: A Story’s Soul”


On February 20, 2015, 1000 Voices For Compassion will take to the blogosphere and share their thoughts and stories¬†about compassion in all its forms¬†(love, kindness, understanding,¬†empathy, mercy, etc.). Many of these “Voices” are also posting articles on the subject in advance of the big day. Since I’d been debating between two ideas I like equally, I decided, “Why not pursue both, and make one the lead-in article?” ūüôā

As an avid reader and a novelist-in-progress, some of the¬†most powerful lessons I’ve learned have¬†come from literature. So,¬†for my lead-in to¬†#1000Speak, I’m doing a literary “exploration” of compassion that aligns with my DIY MFA column “Theme: A Story’s Soul.” Below are some acts of compassion from¬†books I’ve read over the years. As you read the¬†examples, think about what you can learn from each¬†character, as well as the¬†impact their¬†decisions or actions may have on other characters, their world, and the story’s¬†audience. Maybe you’ll want to add some of these books to your wishlist if you haven’t read them yet. Either way, I hope you’ll find this sampling of literary compassion as inspiring as I do.

NOTE: Some of the following examples contain spoilers (either major and minor) that are necessary for discussing the topic at hand. Continue reading

Joining 1000 Voices for Compassion


A couple weeks ago, I learned about 1000 Voices for Compassion from Sara Litchfield. The main goal of this blog movement was¬†impressive: inspiring 1000 bloggers (or more) to post articles about compassion on a set day in February. The key word for me, however, was “compassion.” It¬†stuck with me for days after I read Sara’s article. I kept thinking not only about¬†the word’s meaning, but also the goodness¬†I’ve witnessed, the kindness¬†I’ve given to others or received from others, the impact such acts have¬†on the world – and, in some ways, how much the world needs them¬†more than ever.

Late last week, I decided to¬†join 1000 Voices for Compassion.¬†I’m still not sure what I’ll focus on for the big day (February 20th). I keep seesawing between¬†ideas; I want to write something meaningful, yet nothing feels quite right yet… What I do know, though, is¬†why¬†I want to¬†participate.

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