Monday, November 26, 2012

Savoring the Silence

"Stillness is the native language of creativity, yet it's astonishing how we try to avoid silence."
-Kevin Kaiser

Silence is hard to come by. With black Friday, begins the season of busyness; a time when most of us get caught up, at least to some degree, in a whole array of activities that can easily lose their meaning if we're not careful.  Yet for something so rare, I don't think we value silence like we should. We're quick to fill quiet moments with music, television, or even conversation. But that calm is like a little bit of treasure unearthed in the midst of a hectic day. Next time you find yourself in a quiet moment, think before you fill it up. It could be within that stillness you'll discover an idea or find a connection within yourself that's even more valuable than one of those black Friday deals.    

Do you have trouble savoring the silence?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pleasantly Surprised

I'll admit it: I am woefully guilty of being swayed by a book's cover. Not only will I buy a book I know nothing about if I love the cover, but I'm also a bit of a cover snob. A bad cover can really turn me off. (Admittedly, good and bad are in the eye of the beholder.)

A few weeks ago I read The Upside of Ordinary, an MG novel by Susan Lubner. Honestly, based on the cover alone, I wouldn't have picked it up. But I had read the first page over at First Page Panda and was impressed by the strong voice and humor. So when a friend offered to loan it to me, I snatched it (quite literally, I'm afraid) right out of her hand and read it in one sitting that evening.

It's the story of a girl who is obsessed with becoming famous and hatches a plan to film her own reality show staring her family and friends. But when she starts to fear that their lives are too ordinary to draw viewers, she intervenes in some hilarious and alarming ways to amp up the drama.

While I'm still a sucker for a breathtaking book cover, I'm an even bigger sucker for a really great read, and this book qualifies.

What book has pleasantly surprised you lately?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hurricane-force ideas

Some of you already know how I feel about trees. (See this post.) So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised at how mesmerized I was by watching them dip and sway under hurricane Sandy's influence.

After the electricity went out last Monday afternoon, I sat on the sofa with a notebook in my lap. Though I made minimal progress on my writing project, much of my time was spent simply watching the trees move. It made me think of how we move forward with a story when under the power of a new idea. Those hurricane-force winds rushing through the leaves made me long for the momentum of a new idea.

As I sat there in the dimming light, not yet needing to light candles, every so often my husband would glance over at me. "Why aren't you writing?" he finally asked. I decided not to try to explain how sometimes writers are most productive when we're working things out in our heads. Instead, I picked up my pen and made myself write. And once the ideas got going, they picked up momentum, until finally I found myself caught up in the power of a hurricane-force idea (okay, maybe more of a tropical storm idea) and let myself be swept away!

Have you been able to lose yourself in your writing lately?