Getting your book fix

I read like I breathe. I keep a book in my bag at all times. More often than not, I’m at the library two or three times a week. I’ve even relented and started keeping a few ebooks on my phone in case I’m caught without a book somewhere.

So you would think, right, that on long car trips or while I’m watching Scout at the park, audiobooks would be the thing to do. My husband loves audiobooks. My friends love audiobooks. Convenient book fix.

I can’t stand audiobooks.

It takes about twenty to forty seconds, depending on the narrator, for me to start twitching uncontrollably. They never read it the way I read it in my head. And they read so slow!! How do you ever get anywhere? And don’t even get me started on the voices. Oooohhhh, the voices. I have never met an audiobook voice that I could listen to for five minutes, let alone five hours. Not to mention that if there’s a crazy name introduced and I don’t know how it’s spelled, I spend five minutes trying to picture the spelling in my mind and miss everything that happens next. And you know, things just don’t stick in my mind when they come through my ears. I miss/forget all the important plot points and get completely befuddled when they turn up later in the audiobook. For me, audiobooks are just not the answer.

I’m curious, though–how many of you listen to audiobooks? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Tolerate ’em?

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A tremulous fusion

So once upon a time, I picked up this book called The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer. Because seriously–that title. How could I resist?

There was a point where I almost put it down, because I have a low threshold of tolerance for swearing, and it was riding a little too close to the threshold. But the thing is, Hattemer has a gift for imparting beautiful, hard-hitting truths in the frank and unpolished but still somehow eloquent tone of a teenager who is trying desperately to figure out this insane world we live it. There are a several lines from this novel that jumped straight up near the top of my all-time favorite quotes list. Among them, this one stands out to me today:

“If you have ever wondered what it’s like to be me, or a teenager, or a human, that does a pretty nice job of explaining it. The tremulous fusion between self-trust and self-doubt.” (Hattemer, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, 141)

Something new

I’ve been contemplating doing something new on Mondays for a while. Writing prompts are fun, but I’m getting less response on them, and I like changing things up now and again.

Since I’m on a quote high after my three-day challenge, Mondays are now Quote Day! After all, you can never have too many good quotes.

I may have mentioned before that I teach piano, when I’m not scribbling stories or chasing down my little monkey. Since I was young, I’ve had a great respect and appreciation for the power of music, and it’s something that I’m working hard to pass on to as many young people as possible.

And thus today’s quote:

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.” (Victor Hugo)

As much as I love words, music is a different plane of communication that tells stories words can never express.

What are some of the songs that have spoken to you?

Day 3, Quote 3

My final quote is sort of a nested quote. I first discovered it in Wonder by RJ Palacio, but the quote comes originally from JM Barrie:

“Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?” (JM Barrie, The Little White Bird)

Friends, let’s all make this a new rule of our own lives. As dear Helen Burns says (yes, I’m cheating and including two quotes), “Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity.” (Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre)

There’s far too much spite and hatred in the world, and it makes me cringe when I scan past pockets of vile antagonism in every corner of the Internet. Let’s do our part to make it stop by always trying to be a little kinder than is necessary.

For my final day, I’m tagging (another) Emily at A Cup of English Tea. (There are an awful lot of us Emilys around, aren’t there?) I love her blog name, and I love her blog posts even more! The challenge is to post one quote a day for three days, and to tag one blogger each day to participate.

Guys, I really really really love quotes, and this has been such a treat! Thanks again to my fabulous Phantom friend at Inkcouragement for tagging me!

Day 2, Quote 2

Next quote! This one comes from one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES. Yes, that just got all-capped and bolded. I am shouting it from the rooftops. I can’t count how many times I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time, and I’m captivated every time. I have four pages of quotes from this book, but there is one that I have used over and over and over in my life.

It comes as Meg, Calvin, and Mr. Murry are fighting the power of IT, and Meg begins to recite the Declaration of Independence . . .

“We hold these truths to be self-evident!” she shouted, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” . . .

“But that’s exactly what we have on Camazotz. Complete equality. Everybody exactly alike.”

For a moment her brain reeled with confusion. Then came a moment of blazing truth. “No!” she cried triumphantly. “Like and equal are not the same thing at all!” (Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time, 146; emphasis added)

Love love love. I love Meg Murry in all her snaggle-toothed, impatient, good-hearted imperfection.

Today, I’m tagging Emily at For the Bookish. I love Emily’s posts–so fun and genuine! The challenge is to post one quote a day for three days, tagging another blogger each day to participate as well. Have fun!

Day 1, Quote 1

Guys, I love book quotes. I have a folder devoted to my favorite quotes from books I’ve read, and I reference it often. So I was practically giddy when PhantomWriter143 tagged me into the quote challenge I’ve seen floating around lately. The real challenge is that I want to just barf all of my quotes into a post, but I have to narrow it down to three–one a day for three days. And then I get to tag one other lucky blogger each day to participate as well. Thanks for the challenge, friend!

Today’s quote comes from a memoir of the fabulous Dick Van Dyke:

“I have also heard and read various accounts of why they liked me. My favorites? I wasn’t too good-looking, I walked a little funny, and I was basically kind of average and ordinary.

I guess my lack of perfection turned out to be a winning hand. Let that be a lesson for future generations.” (Dick Van Dyke, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business)

Don’t you just love that? There are so many days where I just feel like your everyday, run-of-the-mill odd duck. It’s nice to know that that very ordinariness played a key role in the success of Dick himself.

I’ll tag Julie Holmes over at Facets of a Muse for today. See you tomorrow for another quote!

The secret to getting past page 1

Well, after my griping yesterday about not getting past the first page in my latest edit, fortuitous circumstances gave me just the right push.

You see, I had printed off the manuscript in hopes that having it on paper, rather than on the computer, would help get the process going. And it did, but not exactly how I expected.

When I pulled it out to work on it, I realized that, for whatever reason, page 1 hadn’t printed.

Which meant that I couldn’t get stuck on the first page.

And just like that, I had twelve pages covered in red ink. Magic!

Isn’t it funny how the world sometimes aligns just right? I guess all I needed was to get that first sentence out of sight, and then I could get rolling on the rest of it.

Scout even helped me mark it up this morning, when I so wisely left the stack of papers and red pen within her reach. She’s a helpful child.

I’m off to do a little more editing now, but I’ll be back tomorrow with the three-quotes-three-days challenge! Happy Thursday!

Getting past the first page

The past couple of weeks have been utterly abysmal in the writing arena. I have two manuscripts waiting for me to go another round of editing. I even have critique buddy’s comments to get me started.

But every time I look at the first page, I think, “I am going to die if I have to read this one more time.”

So I’ve been running away from those two manuscripts and outlining another project. Unfortunately, this is about the tenth outline I’ve attempted for this story, because it never comes together quite right. Which means that every time I look at it, I think, “I am going to die if I have to reorganize this plot one more time.”

Which means there’s been a lot of griping and whining around here and blaming my utter lack of motivation on the fact that Scout keeps waking up at 5:20 (!!) and so we’re all tired and cranky.

But it’s thunderstorming outside. So I’m going to go sit out on our front porch and hope that lightning strikes. Metaphorically, of course. Nothing like the raging forces of nature to spark inspiration, right?

How’s your writing going these days?

Is it Fall already?

Yesterday was summer–sunny and warm and beautiful. Today is gray and cold, with rain forecasted for the whole weekend. Isn’t it August still?

I’m not complaining, though. I’ve never been a huge fan of hot weather, and I like getting these little breaks. It does make me feel like fall, though, so I’m taking advantage of a temporarily quiet house to listen to Harry Connick Jr.’s “When My Heart Finds Christmas” and get some serious plotting done.

What are you listening to and working on today?

New Old Reads

When I got my Kindle four years ago, I immediately downloaded about a billion free classics to read. I got around to a few of them, but e-reading doesn’t come easy to me, and the surge of classic literature faded.

Now that I’ve upgraded to a smart phone, however, I’ve realized that I can sneak three or four minutes at a time with those classics during all those pockets of time when I don’t have a book with me. Physical books are still my instrument of choice, of course, but it’s been really nice to have a bunch of books in my pocket at all times.

I started out with Alice in Wonderland and enjoyed it far more than I thought I would. I never cared much for the cartoon, and I thought the story would feel old and tired after all the retellings I’ve seen around; but Lewis Carroll has such an entertaining and inimitable style that I couldn’t help enjoying myself.

Next up was Pinocchio. Not sure why I read this one; I disliked the Disney movie as a child, and I’ve never had anyone recommend the original. And in the end, it was even worse than the Disney movie. It reminded me all too much of reading Max und Moritz–stupid boys being naughty and getting extravagantly fantastical punishments heaped upon their wicked heads. Not in my top ten of 2015.

I’m working on The Time Machine by HG Wells now. I read his Invisible Man in high school and loved it, and I’m thoroughly enjoying this one as well so far. He presents his stories so well that I believe his most unbelievable scenes are possible, and I have to keep reading to see what wild-yet-strangely-believable things are going to happen next.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading now?