Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Actually, I'm Already Writing a Novel..."

From time to time, someone will tell me I should write a book. Sometimes, it's in jest. Most often, they're quite serious. How, you might ask, does such a statement come up in conversation? Well, I talk a lot (just in case you haven't picked up on that yet), and I do have a tendency to talk in story format. You know, using the basic plot diagram for fiction - even when the story I'm telling is true.

People say it for other reasons, as well. Some people like the way I talk, the way I...quip. I can be pretty quick-witted on a good day. I also love to people watch and imitate others in speech and body language. It's just something I've always done. I pay attention to the details of what makes people who they are. I also love to read, and I love words. I think it's important how you say things. I believe words have power, and the power of your words should be used wisely. I talk about books and words and tell stories, in general, quite a bit.

I guess when you mix all that stuff together and add in the rest of my personality, maybe I give off an air of...authoress? That's a nice thought (or a wishful one), don't you think? You see, when I get into one of my 'speeches' about words or a good book or how a good book could have been great book with a better editor, someone usually says I should just write my own book. I always smile when they say that. Sometimes, it's a weary smile. Sometimes, it's a knowing one. My verbal response to that statement, when I feel up to it, is usually, "Actually, I'm already writing a novel..."

Truth is, I've been writing a book for the past few years, and I wrote it in my head long before I ever clicked the first letter on my keyboard. I love my book. It is fiction, but the characters are very close and personal to my heart. I know every movement of their faces, every expression. I know how every word sounds when they speak to one another. I know their disappointments and their joys. I know their hopes and dreams...

And I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever actually finish the novel.

I wonder, how will I ever be able to write an ending I'm happy with? I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to look at a final draft and say, "Yes, this is it. I'm done. It's exactly what I want to say. It is the story I've always wanted to tell the rest of the world."

It is a story I want to tell. Actually, it's a story my heart needs to tell. You see, my brain gives words to the story my soul already knows,...and my brain is my harshest critic. And, so, I keep writing and hope that one day my heart and mind agree they're both happy with the end result.

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~ Maya Angelou


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This and That and Nothing Much

I had no idea it's been so long since I blogged! Good grief! Life has been quite busy. 'Tis the season, you know! No, not the holiday season. I mean the school season. When school is in full swing, I barely find time to breathe, much less blog. To be honest, I haven't even had as much time to read as I'd like (gasp!).
I've actually been opting to read middle school books lately, as I'm always on the hunt for good book club books for my middle school students. I'll review some of them on here over Christmas break, once I have a few more under my brain. It's not always easy for me to review middle school books. I don't always agree with the messages.
(Now, here's where I start sounding old...)
You know, it used to be that most books had a good message. And, the way I figure it, life sucks enough without reading a book that just agrees with that theory. Life doesn't really suck, it's all in the way you look at things. Believe it or not, kids aren't as optimistic as they used to be. In fact, I venture to say there is much more depression among pre-teens and teenagers now than there was when I was growing up. It concerns me...a lot.
I don't think it helps that a certain series of books made vampires popular literature for teenagers. As if anyone would actually want to follow some undead guy around, fall in love with him, and have his baby. Really?? I mean, guys have their issues (don't we all?), but I'll take a warm-blooded man over a dead guy any day! Did I mention she wants to be dead, too, just to be with him? Now, I ask you, WHAT kind of messed-up message is that to send to young teenage girls? Especially girls who are already depressed? Let's think this through, folks. Seriously.

And another thing...

Just because paranormal books have become so popular doesn't mean they are well-written. I'm really getting tired of seeing all the vampire books floating around my school's library. I try not to be critical without sampling a few, so...I sampled...and spit them back out. Yuck. Shouldn't there be some standard for what publishers dish-out to pre-teens and younger teenagers? Are good editors in short supply these days?No wonder kids aren't reading if they think this junk is what passes for good books!


I seem to be sighing a good bit these days. It's mostly because I see that people don't know what they're missing. Sometimes by 'people,' I mean my students. Other times, I mean adults. There is such a vast, wonderful world of great books out there that I get a bit discouraged when the only books anyone claims to read are the ones that are movies. Really?

I'm beginning to feel like I belong to the lost generation of people who actually read books to learn more about myself and others and the world around me...


No, we wouldn't be classified as 'the lost generation' - it's the generation that doesn't read that is lost.

Do me a favor, would you? Please read to a child today. Do voices for the characters, and show them the pictures in the book. Talk about the story. Help them understand it. Grow a good reader. You'll make the world a better place. :)

Happy reading!