Category: Reading/Writing (Page 1 of 80)

Good news

ICYMI, that “new thing I can’t talk about yet” was announced yesterday. Writer Unboxed, the wonderful online community that I’ve been part of as both a reader and contributor for years, is partnering with Writers Digest to create an anthology of advice for writers. You can read more about it here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 7.46.35 PM

I’m honored and excited to be a part of this project. I was invited to contribute an essay, was offered a few topics, and ultimately chose to talk about envy.

Envy is sort of an ugly, uncomfortable subject — and it’s something that I used to feel a lot. Other people’s good news would make me feel bad about my lack of. I fell into the trap of believing I was doing something wrong, or was less deserving somehow.

These days, I rarely if ever feel envy. I’m only human, so it does still happen on occasion, but even then, I’m able to dispose of those feelings pretty quickly. Therefore I thought I might have something helpful to say on the subject, and I hope readers of the anthology will feel the same.

I’m also looking forward to reading the anthology myself. Based on the wisdom and wit that my fellow contributors already share daily at Writer Unboxed, I know that their essays will be useful, entertaining, and encouraging company for my journey.

I had this thought a few months ago, and I’ve been storing it, waiting for the right moment and the right way to share it.

I think there’s a phase in every writer’s life where each new book deal just makes you jealous. Then there’s the next phase — the happier, truer phase — where you think, “That could be me someday.”

Another bit of good news was made public recently.

My friend Kayla had to sit on this tremendously exciting development for weeks. I’m so happy for her, and so inspired by the path she has walked to get here. As I said on Twitter, Kayla is proof that hard work, perseverance, positivity, and kindness can pay off.

Years ago, my joy for Kayla probably would have been lined with a bittersweet aftertaste. Just as sincere, but partnered with a longing and frustration that had nothing to do with her. Now I have nothing but love, as they say. It’s a healthier, more productive place to be — and that is always going to be better for the work. And in the end, isn’t the work what this is all about?

Like this:

3+

Stuff worth reading

“Letter to My Younger Self” by James Brown

I don’t care what the circumstances might be — you always stand on truth. No matter what the tide might be, no matter the trend or how the winds are blowing, you always stand on truth.

A mistake is an opportunity for those open to self-reflection, and you will make plenty. And they will make you better.

“On Growing Up” by Meg Fee (who feels like a kindred spirit to me and has quickly become one of my favorite personal bloggers)

You will arrive at an age when you develop this insatiable need for the conversations that come at the end of the day.

Oh, you’ll want the other stuff too—this kisses and the sex and the Sunday morning coffee runs. But there is a thing so particular about needing a person in which to empty secrets big and small.

You do not have to be liked by everyone. Let me say that again: YOU. DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. BE. LIKED. BY. EVERYONE. And you must be courageous enough to accept that.

The great challenge of adulthood (other than figuring out just what the hell it is you are actually doing with your life) is learning to speak honestly and kindly. Finding where those two things live—which, I’m pretty sure, is in that sacred space where courage and self-worth meet.

“Falling short: seven writers reflect on failure” via the Guardian

It took me a long time to understand the nuances of success and failure, to see how they are often intertwined, how success to one person is failure to another.

The zen of it is that success and failure are both an illusion, that these illusions will keep you from the desk, they will spoil your talent; they will eat away at your life and your sleep and the way you speak to the people you love.

The writer’s life is one of great privilege, so “Suck it up”, you might say – there are more fans than trolls. But there are two, sometimes separate, ambitions here. One is to get known, make money perhaps and take a bow – to be acknowledged by that dangerous beast, the crowd. The other is to write a really good book.

Like this:

0

My favorite books of 2015

The past few months have been a blur — mostly due to the new house — so going over everything I’ve read this year proved to be a nice surprise. I had forgotten how many great books there were!

In order of when I read them:

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1) My Heart and Other Black Holes The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, #1) Black Dove, White Raven Lexicon: A Novel An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1) Bone Gap Me Before You (Me Before You, #1) The Walls Around Us Chasing the Sun Conviction Yes Please

Notes:

  • A particularly lovely treat is that several of of my favorite reads this year were written by friends of mine, including Jasmine Warga, Becky Wallace, Natalia Sylvester and Kelly Loy Gilbert. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to read the work of people you know in real life, because what if you don’t like it? (Awkward…) Fortunately, with each of these books, I could tell I was in good hands from page 1.
  • LEXICON was a book that Andy discovered on a whim, devoured, then urged me to read so that we could discuss it. That doesn’t happen often.
  • The author of BONE GAP is an “agent sister” of mine, and I’m honored to think that Tina has as much faith in me as she does in Laura Ruby, whose writing is so lyrical and fierce.
  • Once again, I’m trying more audiobooks. (Including SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT and YES PLEASE from above.) In our old neighborhood, I could hold a book or my phone and read while I walked Riley, because there were only a couple streets and virtually no traffic. But our new neighborhood is much busier and more urban, so listening to books is a safer way to go. Unfortunately I don’t have the best attention span when it comes to audio, and I’m picky about narrators/voices. For that reason, nonfiction seems to work best for me.

What were your favorite books of 2015?

If you’re interested, here are the roundups from previous years.

Like this:

0

Tweet treats

Like this:

0

Stuff worth reading

“No Indian Friends” by Priya-Alika Elias

I’m thinking of answers to questions that we’re embarrassed to ask, like why we’re so quick to describe ourselves as “white on the inside.” I’m thinking of answers we don’t have yet, ways we can tear the roots of internalized racism out of little brown kids. I’m thinking of Toni Morrison explaining how she embraces the title “black woman writer,” because she didn’t consider it reductive to be writing as a black woman. It isn’t a place of weakness, she said. It’s a place of strength.

“The Fire and the Snow” by Jennifer Tseng

Writing a convincing story is like setting fire to your own hands using only the match of your imagination. Success seems unlikely but it is possible. In both scenarios, no one really goes anywhere and yet in both scenarios, with practice and concentration, hearts beat faster and bodies grow warmer.

“What Makes a Woman Is Less Important Than What Makes a Feminist” by Jill Filipovic

Part of the work is to push ideological boundaries, to listen to each other with respect even if that doesn’t translate into agreement, and to face injustice head-on while building the foundations of a kinder, more flexible, more expansive society.

“Hi. I used to be transphobic. Here’s a story about that.” by Sara Benincasa

I’ve come a very long way in this regard, and I feel good about that. Not proud, exactly – I don’t think one deserves a pat on the back for realizing, “Hey, I’m a hateful fucking asshole. I should stop being one of those.” But I’ve shown myself that people can change, if they want to. Person to person contact is the most important aspect of change. It is hard to look into another person’s eyes and hear their honest story and still fear them, or hate them, or see them as less than you.

Like this:

1+

Page 1 of 80



Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén