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The Artist’s Way

I’ve always known that I loved to write. From the moment, I could spell a few words, I wrote and drew stories. I loved it – and I still do. Writing makes my heart sing. I have recently worked with Julia Cameron and The Artist’s Way, which – if you don’t already know it – is a 12-week course in living with a greater sense of creativity. There is a short chapter to each week with a given focus and a number of exercises. Some of them, I have loved like delicate poetry and others, I slung cusswords at like a drunken sailor. However, I have learned a little something – or remembered a little something from each of them. The Artist’s Way is exhilarating in a way which defies description. It is like meeting the love of your life for the second time – you know, after you let him slip away the first time. The Artist’s Way is by no means an easy path. I have laughed, cried, and raged on my path so far, but the love of my life – creativity – is here in my life now.

Creativity for me is writing. Yes, I have been writing a little and I’m getting new sparkling ideas and thinking up new stories. Creativity is reading as well. I have spent a couple of years reading easy romances and mysteries, which are the literary equivalent of milk chocolate that evaporates from the bowl before you even notice it. I’ve read a lot of wonderful and quirky stories, but I am about ready to read stories that require more of me, that make me ponder the characters or themes or life in general.

Creativity is more than reading and writing; it is about seeing the opportunities around you and noticing what makes your heart flutter. I’ve ended up in some pretty ridiculous situations in the past weeks. I cried in front of my colleagues when the atmosphere at work made my bones shudder. I’ve jumped in puddles and had pancakes for dinner. I’ve planted spring blossoms and walked for miles, all the while I’ve felt closer to the Louise I want to be. The Louise I know is hiding within.

I think Louise’s Home Library may change a little – again, as I have changed. I hope you will join me on this path.

Contemplating NaNoWriMo 2016

Are you doing it this year? NaNoWriMo, I mean? If there is anyone among us who doesn’t know by now, I’m talking of National Novel Writing Month. It’s November by the way and almost at our doorstep.

First of all, let’s hear it for the People at NaNoWriMo.org. They deserve the capitalization. They are smart, witty, and inspiring while coordinating thousands and thousands of volunteers and participants around the world. You’ll love the NaNoWriMo community. I have participated in other writing fora, but none of them reach NaNoWriMo’s ankles. There are actually pep talks worth reading and they actually leave you feel pepped. The statistics and motivational badges are addicting as is the acceptance that as long as you are putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard), you are doing something right.

Then there’s the writing part. Yup, you still need to sit down and pound the keyboard, croaking out word after word. The result may or may not be a finished story – or the much coveted novel – but simply working with the program, writing every day, and seeing your words on the screen is a huge, exhilarating accomplishment.

I need NaNoWriMo. It is an inspiring sanctuary, and it’s only one month, where you shush everyone in the room with you by the mere utterance:  ”NaNoWriMo”. I mean even telemarketers understand what that means. So what more do you need? I hope to see you there.

Words, words, words

I often emphasize a book’s story as the primary feature of a given book. The story is the initial joy in a reading experience, especially when it draws the reader in and along for the ride. However, in deconstructing a book, it all comes down to words. A story is in essence one word after the other.
In some stories, the words are simply the medium of communication, but in other stories, the words themselves are an art form. These stories beg to be read slowly with minute concentration or even read aloud.
Many books that achieve that lyrical quality are written in bygone times, before the speedy writing on computer keyboards, before autocorrect, and without the competition of TV and the internet. The old-fashioned words and their voluptuousness are part of these books’ charm. The term ”slower times” is on my lips, and perhaps there is a modicum of truth to that term. There was no constant word count to strive for and perhaps more emphasis on finding that specific word with all the prerequisite nuances and meanings.
Yes, I think that is it. The English language includes multitudes of words with only slight differences, allowing for detailed narration. However, in our daily lives, we only use a small sample of the words. We forget that plethora of colors the different words hold.
In some books, the story and the words merge to become a greater whole – and in those instances, a book is truly a wonderful reading experience.
Do you have an example of a book, where story and words unite? Please share below in the comments section.

Closer look

Take a closer look.

Behind the dusty facades,

magical worlds unfold.

Flecks of dust dance in slanted rays.

Light illuminates slices of the interior,

moving from left to right.

This magical world exists

undisturbed and in silence.

Hold your breath.

Be truly present.

You will hear the faint whispers from faraway.

They bear witness of extraordinary happenings.

Pain. Sorrow. Death. Birth. Joy. Love.

Go ahead, step inside.

Feel the wooden floor creak beneath your soles.

Run your fingers over the spines, holding worlds together,

until you make your choice.

Take a closer look,

and delve into a magical world.

 

Revival

As with a good bottle of red wine, sometimes stories need time to mature. In fact, that is true for many things in life. Some things cannot be rushed without detriment to the finished result or the process.

As the writer or creator, it is alpha and omega to listen to the tiny gutsy squeak, telling you to take a break, before mulling things over again, and finally, doing what needs to be done.

And sometimes, life just gets in the way.

In my experience, life is synonymous with work, work, work, and it has been an exciting roller coaster ride, albeit far away from books, stories, and writing.

Louise’s Home Library and the many unread books therein, have rested for months now. At times, I’ve even wondered if the chapter, which featured Louise’s Home Library, was over, but at other times, I have tip-toed into my library and reminded myself of all the stories and reading experiences I have to look forward to.

And here I am now.

I’ve grown in the last couple of months. I dabbled in something new, but I know what I want to return to. Reviving Louise’s Home Library is coming home, lifting the white dust sheets and letting in the sunshine.

Welcome home!

Thank you Readers, who have had the patience to stick with me through this long absence, Louise’s Home Library may change a little bit, but my love for books, stories, and the wonderful reading experiences they hold, is still radiant.

Binge reading

Binge reading, yes, there is such a thing and I’ve landed – splat! –  right in the middle of the puddle.

Perhaps, I’ve exchanged one binge-worthy addiction with another as a consequence of my new year’s resolution. Reading is presumably healthier than copious amounts of chocolate, but as self-indulgent luxury binge-anything isn’t the brightest idea.

In the hypothesis, binge reading sounds like the ultimate goal for an avid reader. The mere thought of gulping down book after book after book makes me feel all tingly, but the reality of binge reading is quite another.

I’m not talking about that book which engrosses you to the degree where you mourn its loss as you turn the last page. I’m talking about reading books so hastily and without any true commitment that you can’t remember the plot, let alone the names of the main characters, once you’ve read the last page. And even then, you merely shrug it off, and grab the next book.

That is the puddle, I talking about.

There are situations where binge reading is a good idea, exactly like there are times when chocolate should be served by box and not piece by piece: binge reading during a snow storm or under the parasol, by the pool just to name a few.

But how do you stop? Binge readers, hear my call!! I’ve tried to read a weighty book with subplots and supporting characters, and when I’ve read a couple of pages, my eyes dart here and there, impatiently, and my concentration is definitely shot. I pick up my binge reading material of choice and forget that I even own an alarm clock, let alone that it is set to 05:30 AM.

What to do?