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Scant Gleanings and Appreciation for Miss Read

I realized this morning that I had not noted anything of particular interest from my past week’s reading. I think it may be because my reading was scant. That awareness right there is cause for changes for this week. I started out this morning with some reading time and came up with this:

“The writer has the sense that she knows where she’s going when she starts out–that is, she has some intuitive sense of a destination and maybe even an intuitive sense of what the journey will look like. But she doesn’t have anything like a blueprint…she must accept that she is working in the dark; she must suspend her desire to force herself to move in a pre-set direction and must hold tight to a belief in the process.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

While Maisel directs this truth to writers, let me say this is true for living life in general. We’re all working in the dark. It’s helpful to have goals and plans toward those goals, but we have to open ourselves up to the unexpected, and when it happens, keep faith in the good and able within ourselves and our God.

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missread

Dora Jessie Saint, aka Miss Read

I finally finished Thrush Green by Miss Read. This book was the beginning of her series of novels set in the rural fictional community she named Thrush Green. I found there were places I had to skim, and I believe that caused as much by my often fatigue as Miss Read’s sometimes lengthy descriptions.

Yesterday a writing friend and I were discussing the mutual fact that we’re finding it harder and harder to read current fiction. We find so much of it poor writing and crafting in general. Because of that I hesitate to recommend the Miss Read books to anyone under 40; by today’s standards the books appear too simple and quiet. Although I can point out that they have remained in continual print since the beginning back in the 1950s, I believe. Times change, the nature of people does not, and Miss Read writes about people and the earth they inhabit, and flora and fauna does not change much either.

The Miss Read books are definitely worth a read for improving vocabulary and writing in general. Miss Read could evoke feeling from choosing the perfect wording.

Within the books, are addressed love, longing, and heartbreak, the joy of childhood, death, alcoholism and plain meanness, poverty and thievery, beauty and community, being odd and an object of scorn, foibles and hilarity, growing up and growing old and having to let go of lifetime dreams. After identifying these themes, I don’t know how anyone could call the books simple. It was Miss Read’s ability that made them look that way.

Please let me know if you’re reading something you especially like, and why you like it.

Gleanings from the past week

As a new week starts, I go over a few things that struck me in my reading in the past week. These help to carry me forward ~

“Always be reading; always be writing down new ideas. Ten ideas a day.” ~ James Altucher, The Power of No.

This practice helps me to be in the moment, which is always the point of power and thus creativity. It is an exercise for the creative muscle. It is the act of writing them down, purposefully, that helps me to see these ideas that I wasn’t at all aware of existing in my mind. The first couple of days I was dismayed that I could only come up with a list of three or four, but with persistence, I’m now listing eight to ten. It’s a lot of fun. Reminds me of the practice that I learned early on to make written lists of everything that could happen next in a scene. Working the creative muscle makes it stronger. Do it on purpose.

“When I want to read a good book, I write one.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli, as quoted in Eric Maisel’s book, Living the Writer’s Life.

“Truly profound power and peace lie in the ability to change my behavior to suit my needs.” ~ Anonymous.

Any of you have some interesting gleanings from the week?

 

Gleanings from the Week Past

“Because a song, a book, a play, a picture or anything created was gay it did not necessarily follow that it was trivial. It might well be, mused Mrs. Baily, gazing into the moving sunshine with unseeing eyes, a finer thing, because it had been fashioned with greater care and artifice; emotion remembered and translated to give pleasure, rather than emotion remembered and evincing only an involuntary and quite hideous howl.” ~ Miss Read, Thrush Green

I’m reading all the Miss Read books. I need comfort reading right now, and what her character says is exactly true.

“In every aspect of life, it’s easy to let fear influence our decisions.” ~ Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Pen On Fire

These days I examine my motives. Fear is there 99% of the time. Whenyou see it, you can make a conscious decision to set fear aside. One big fear for me is taking precious time for myself to write, when my mother or grandchildren, or anyone else, might need me. And someone always seems to need me. I’m practicing listening to what is right for me to do, and very often it is simply to write.

“Pain is a central part of a writer’s education. Pain is inevitable, as you discover that this piece must be rebuilt from the foundation up, that that piece is dead in the middle, that this third piece is a beautiful idea rottenly executed. Since pain is inevitable, fear it a little less.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

Pain is a part of all life. It seems the oddest thing to me now, but for much of my life I would go to great lengths to avoid pain, as if I believed, and yes, I did, that one could avoid pain, or at least minimize it. I did not realize that by attempting to live without pain, I was only half-alive. Now when I look back, I realize that my best writing occurred when I went headlong, my emotions carrying me beyond fear of looking foolish or being hurt.

Accept pain as part and parcel of living and writing, and suddenly it isn’t so fierce some. It is equally true that all things pass, and pain most of all when faced. Keep writing right through it.

It would be great for any of you to post what you are reading, and what gems you’ve found helpful.

 

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