Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Musings: Heart and Soul

Have you ever noticed this when you are reading? You can always seem to tell when the work came from the heart versus when it came from the head? I notice it too. That is not to say one is more valuable than the other, it just to say the difference is noticeable. I am not just a reader of fiction. I have to admit over the last few years I have read more nonfiction than not. Perhaps it is a sign of aging, or some need for the brain to be in a learning cycle rather than entertainment. In any instance, fiction or nonfiction, the difference is still noticeable.

When I was in high school, I turned to books for escapism. I suspect many high school age young people of today read for the same reason. The books I enjoyed the most were the ones that oozed of the passion of the author. It was all in the way the story was worded. The content and how the events were conveyed. E. L. Doctorow is quoted as saying, “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” This can only happen if the author has put the passion of the rain in the scene. How does it smell, how does it come about, from where does the rain fall and why? What does it feel like when it hits the reader?

As I am writing The Chrysalis Series, I am attempting to keep this in mind. It is my hope to bring the reader into the story with the characters. It is my hope the reader will experience the events in the story alongside of the characters. However, not every reader will enjoy the way the story is constructed. I can accept that, and I don’t mind. Those who dislike the story are of just as much value as those who like it. Constructing a story is hard work that must come from the heart and soul. Ask any painter and they will tell you the same of their vocation.

Many times I have said that Charles Dickens and Emily Dickinson are two of my classic favorites. The reason is their writing, be it fiction or poetry, is inspired. It comes from a living, breathing part of their soul that just could not be contained. Another of my favorites is Danielle Steele. Wow, haven’t heard that name in a while, but you know what? Danielle Steele stands out because of the passion she poured into her stories. My favorite Danielle Steele book is Zoya. The story of Anastasia is a timeless classic in all its forms. I enjoy reading Debbie Macomber because of the simplicity of the stories. Sometimes the greatest passions come in the simplest forms. I have yet to read another author who can bring everyday living to life as she does in the written word.

I am constructing my Amazon Wish List and at the top of that list is author, Teodor Flonta. Of all the up and coming authors I have read, simply put, this guy can write. I am paled by his fluency in story building. A Luminous Future is at the very top of the list. I have not read the entire story yet, but I want to. Somehow, Teodor has evoked emotion in this heart of mine. I found myself hanging on every word of the sample, feeling compassion and horror all at the same time. The whole scene just screamed of passionate storytelling. It was as though it is a story that must be told. Not everyone can write like this. Not everyone can evoke this type of sensation from the first pages. Kudos to Mr. Flonta for his triumph in telling his story.

Not long ago, I was set to press the delete button and walk away from The Butterfly Fields, never to think on it again. I was frustrated that the words I chose were not conveying the feelings I wanted to evoke. I hated my story. I wanted to rip up the pages, and then found I would have to print all of them first just to rip them up. Then I wanted to delete the whole file and be done with it. Then, I closed the manuscript, shutdown the laptop and walked away. I am certain that all writers go through this, no matter what they are writing. I think I remember this same situation while writing my high school theme paper on Marie Antoinette.

Charles Dickens did not start out as a world renowned author. Emily Dickinson never saw her works in print, they were published posthumously. And, I  have read the countless numbers of stories of today’s authors who were rejected and or ridiculed for their work before becoming famous. I like Debbie Macomber’s story with Harlequin the best. In a nutshell she was told she should go home, trash her manuscript and never write again. Six million books later she’s a fantastic author.
I am still in the seedling state of writing. I suspect I won’t be a full grown author for some time. However, I am doing the best I can with the talent I have, and I won’t give it up for anything; and neither should you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Simply Saturday: Seanmhathair

Seanmháthair has always frightened me. She is the fiercest woman I have ever come to know. She rules the clan in such a way there is none to neither deny her decisions nor question her authority. I have never understood how it is that a woman so stern and deeply steeped in her convictions could ever know what it is to love another.  Annalicia and I are no exceptions to the rule. Our lives have come to naught but groveling for a crumb of affection, and resignation to the constant reminders of our lowly state in the manor.
Seanmháthair’s power and authority comes not from sorcery or magic, it comes at the end of her tongue. Oh that sharp instrument of precision that cuts so deeply into the soul. I know not which frightens me more the weapon Seanmháthair wields, or the instruments of the men of science. It matters no more. One way or another, I shall take my leave of this place, this hideous place of discord and deceit. I shall return for Annalicia and we shall live happily ever after…far away from the instruments of destruction.
If Mhathair would only plead for me to be released from the family obligations, I know I shall be granted my only wish and desire in this world. I shall find my name on the enrollment rosters of the great College of Alnae and begin my quest there. It is surely by the will of He Who Created All Things that this desire burns within my soul. It could be naught else. If Seanmháthair is to deny me, then she shall deny him as well and the risk be the same. Mhathair must make her understand. She must let me go.
The stars shine in the heavens as if to say, “come hither and see”, yet they are so far away; so very far away. I long for the lands of which Annalicia tells her tales in the Butterfly Fields. These are the lands where the sun and moon do not take turns ruling the day and the night. The moon does not exist; there is only day; no sorrow or tears; the whole of the universe sings in adoration of all that is, and ever will be. Ah, but they are just another manifestation of the world in which Annalicia lives; a world in which only she knows the true limitations.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak preview into The Butterfly Fields which is due to be released this month! Have a wonderful and simple Saturday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday Musings: At the Library

Louis L’Amour was at one time one of the most popular writers in the world. His works consisted mostly of western fiction. In his lifetime, L’Amour wrote 105 published works. That’s a lot of writing. One of his most famous quotes is: “I am a product of libraries.”  The above picture is taken in the Louis L’Amour Writer’s Shack in the Pioneer Village at Jamestown, North Dakota, the place of his birth.
Louis L’Amour’s success as an author is largely attributable to his love of reading. I can relate to that. Reading has always been a love of mine, as I have said many times before. I remember being elated whenever I had the chance to go to the city library on a Saturday, or when the Book Mobile would come to our school. We had libraries in both the elementary and high schools, but they just weren’t the same. Somehow they seemed more of a required reading place than one of pure reading enjoyment.

The city library had rows and rows of books, some of which were as old, if not older than my grandmother. I loved the smell of those old books, and how their pages felt between my fingers – soft and smooth, yet like holding a linen cloth. The library had two full aisles of children’s books. I knew exactly where the Beatrix Potter books were, how many there were supposed to be and which ones were missing. I was always disappointed when it was time to leave. The library was a place where a little girl could escape into fantastic new worlds of adventure, far away from the reality of life such as it was. A lot of people feel that way about books, for as many reasons as there are readers.
Like Louis L’Amour, I developed my imagination through reading the stories of others. I still read as much as I can to expand my horizons, entertain a tired mind, or just for the pure escapism of it. I don’t think I could write about the things that I do, if I hadn’t spent some time in the library.

Reading is so important in the world. It doesn’t matter what language you are reading. If you are illiterate in your mother-tongue, you will be illiterate in most others as well. In the book, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, Katie’s mother says this, “The secret is in the reading and the writing.” She was speaking to the secret of success. Ask yourself; is she wrong? If you have small children, read to them and read to them often. If you can’t afford to buy books, take them to the library and read to them there. That’s the glory of the library, it’s free. You don’t have to have a child to go to the library and read, there is a whole universe of worlds waiting to be discovered.
There’s another saying that goes something like this: Great people talk about ideas; average people talk about things; and small people talk about other people. You know how to be one of the Great People? Read to develop ideas. Read to develop critical or authentic thinking. Where do you get these reading materials? At the Library.

Monday Musings: Even writers get lazy sometimes, especially when they are tired. I hereto promise whereby and therefore the Simply Saturday Blog will be much better. :-)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Musings: The Imaginers

Writing is a magical and extraordinary process. It allows a person the opportunity to open a door to places of infinite wonder, the door to the imagination. In the world of today, we have countless individuals who are doing our imagining for us. However, what if…just what if there were no more imaginers in the world? Would we be stuck watching the same old TV shows, videos, or movies for the rest of our lives?

There is many a young person who will say things like, “literature is boring.” BORING? Never! Literature is a gateway to so many other things: Scientific discoveries unimagined. I wonder if Ray Bradbury found literature to be boring; Romantic interludes of untold proportions. I wonder if Margaret Mitchell found literature to be boring; Social dramas that boggle the average man’s mind. I wonder if Charles Dickens found literature to be boring.
I remember in fourth grade music class we listened to Jules Verne’s epic story, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. In the class we were to appreciate the symphonic background music in the telling of the story. However, I was listening to the story and I could imagine just how mysterious Captain Nemo really was. I could imagine everything about him, the way he looked, how he smelled, how his voice resonated, there was nothing and everything that was left to the imagination. He was a 19th century Robin Hood, a super hero of the time fighting against imperialism and oppression everywhere. He was a villain and a hero. He was whichever you decided him to be. I suspect there were twenty-eight versions of Captain Nemo in that fourth grade music room. Years later I saw the movie. I was decidedly disappointed that the Captain looked nothing like I had imagined, the Nautilus wasn’t at all the way I pictured it in my mind. And the whole story just wasn’t the same.

That’s the problem with many books that are turned into movies; it’s just not the same. I heard the unrelenting lamentations from my daughters regarding how different the Harry Potter movies were from the books, or how the Twilight books were so much better, and most recently how The Hunger Games left out too many important details in the movie. I dare say, when Shades of Gray comes out in the movie format there will be many a disappointed woman in the world. I never read the books and can safely say that I won’t. I have my limits on what I find acceptable and what I don’t. ‘Shades’ just doesn’t fall within those parameters.
In recent years we have had some pretty stellar stories (in the eye of the beholder of course), yet the movie adaptations just seem to fall short. What does that say about the human imagination? Once it’s fed, it has an insatiable need to be fed forever. We like things to be the way we envision them, and oftentimes find ourselves in discontent over the other guy’s version.

Once the door to imagination is open, I dare say it can never be closed. The future of the world depends on imagination, and that my friends, is where literature plays a significant role. After the games of pretend from childhood end, where does one find the fantasy of life? It’s found in literature.

Go ahead! Take a chance. Open a book and see where the story leads you. You have nothing to lose. Get your imagination on!

Monday Musings: Are you an imaginer too?