I always seem to be reading lately. Thank God!… a blessed byproduct of taking on fewer deadlines and trying to quench my thirst after years of reading predominately for clients + research. Which was a pleasure, too, but so much more structured than just picking up a new book, or FIVE! in one day, and letting my brain flit and fly. Being so immersed taking notes and highlighting favorite passages of great books these days eats up what time I’ve got left to blog about what book my nose is in.
So here it is, the MOST highlighted book on my desk (the dang thing could have given me carpal tunnel syndrome), Dani Shapiro’s latest: Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life. The pages of this book–practically entirely covered in my fluorescent pink, yellow, and green washes of ink–have inspired me to post the above “Want to know what I’m reading?” graphic because, well, it’s that good. (The book, not the graphic, although Paul Jarvis did whip up a fun design here, did he not?)
Allow me to give you a few examples of why I love Still Writing so much. For starters, this book is about beginnings, middles, and ends, and the best way for writers–that’s you!–to navigate through them.
When discussing being pulled away from what we’re writing in any phase, though, Dani says: “The return won’t be easy. The page is indifferent to us–no, worse. The page turns from us like a wounded lover. We will have to win it over, coax it out of hiding. Promise to do better next time. Apologize for our disregard.” I love that. How true that often feels. Not all the time, thankfully, but enough.
How about this: “Writers require that ritualized dream time. We all have our tricks and tools. Some of us still smoke. I have friends who chew on pens. Or doodle. Friends who pop jelly beans from jars on their desks.” That made me laugh. I’ve had so many tricks, and I say with great joy that eating handfuls of RedVines licorice or Thin Mints are no longer among them.
And what about this life-saving travel tip: “One of the most difficult practical challenges facing writers in this age of connectivity is the fact that the very instrument on which most of us write is also a portal to the outside world.” Right? You get my point here. And she gives priceless examples of how to unplug and tap back in. You’ve gotta get this book!
A few other exciting things to report:
TODAY I’ve got Carmel gal, Janice MacLeod’s, PARIS LETTERS, on my desk!!! I saw my dear agent friend Laura Yorke the other night and she gave me an advance reader’s copy of this memoir (coming out in February). It’s so gorgeous I can’t stop fondling it. It wasn’t that long ago that Janice and I were shopping in Carmel on our last day of the retreat, and seeing her dream come to fruition is also my dream come true. This is why I do what I do. It’s a high like none other. That’s her buddy Jody Berger, to her right in this picture, who just got the cover design of her gorgeous memoir from her publisher as well.
Jody emailed it to me while I was in the car (ironically, on my way back to Carmel) and we were screaming/squealing when I got the file open. (Dangerous while driving, but FUN!) Holy mother of God her cover is phenomenal. As soon as her publisher gives us the go-ahead, you’ll be the first to see it. Beautiful covers are never a guarantee and we ALL celebrate when they occur!
As for my writing practice, I’m still dark this month (as in, “going dark to write”), and getting so much down (including working on a project the likes of which I’ve never done before and can’t wait to launch in Springtime… standby), but one more thing:
Today is my DEBUT on Oprah fave The Daily Love blog, where I’ve written a version of the Comparison Cure for those of us who worry about pesky little things like not being spiritual enough because of that chick who’s more bendy than us in yoga class. (How does she do that anyway? Of course, we’d be able to do that, too, if we weren’t sitting on our bum writing/working so diligently, right?) The article’s also about the age-old fear that other writers have done it all–and are doing it all–so well that perhaps we ought to stay on the sidelines. You can guess how I feel about that one. I’d be honored if you’d check the piece out here, and if you’re so inclined, please share the love on their comments section. Wouldn’t it be fun to show The Daily Love folks that the Book Mama folks are full of it… LOVE, that is:)
Until next time, have a love + yummy food-filled weekend and Thanksgiving.
I’m enormously grateful for YOU! Linda xoxo