Papers, Papers, Papers

Papers, Papers, Papers, www.literatelives.wordpress.comIf you love the literate lifestyle, you probably end up dealing with lots of paper: notes about books you’d like to read, cool quotes, ideas for journaling, and if you’re a writer, ideas for articles and novels, and lists of names for places and characters, real or imagined.

This weekend, my basket of papers (more like snippets: pages ripped from notepads, index cards, business cards, pages torn from magazines, and even a restaurant place mat, … none of which really qualifies as a lovely, full sheet of paper), stored in a place best described as out of sight, out of mind, finally caught my attention and I actually organized it!

Amazing, Ha Ha!

Why?

Because I never intended to keep all those papers. What I really wanted was to capture and hold them until I could enter them into various data bases, etc. (which I never did).

Now, they are chopped to their smallest size and filed in mini files in a pretty basket beside my favorite chair. From here, I can easily grab one or two when I have a spare minute and enter it. Paperless future, or at least an increasingly paperless future, here I come!

A Sampling

So, what work lies ahead of me? Let’s take it in alphabetical order:

Notes to “Add” to existing files–ex. Scene Opening Requirements: opening hook, setting, viewpoint…and when done, a closing hook.

“Books” I would like to read–ex. The White Lion Chronicles by Christopher Hopper

“Journal” prompts and scribbles-ex. From “4 Steps to Turning a Writing Dream Into Reality,” which recommends writers refill their “well” by enriching other parts of their life. The note to self: “Journal a variety of ways you can refill your creative well.”

“Markets” (I do make an effort to sell my writing now and then–ex. Check out L2L2, Love 2 Read Love 2 Write Publishing

“Names” (I collect them so when I need a secondary character or place-name for a piece of fiction I can just pull an appropriate name from my collection)–ex. Danilo (male), Alyphalet (female), Christakis (setting)

“Novel” notes for my existing or future projects–ex. Possible title for Book III: Heaven and Hell… Multiple tie-ins: the idyll is heaven and the return is hell, the idyll is hell and the return is heaven, I chooses heaven and T chooses hell… (I really don’t think I like this as a title.)

“Poems,” or beginnings of poems–ex:

I come from
Beerocks and baklava
A red-headed, Greek speaking, Irish grandmother with a mysterious past,
And peasants,
Immigrants,
No royalty here…

“Quotes”–ex:

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content, according to the circumstance and time in which it is used”
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“Websites” to check out–ex. AuthorTechTips.com

Your Turn

Do you collect odds and ends of paper? Using the comments box below, tell us, what kinds of paper piles grow in your home? Better yet, share a snippet from one of your “someday I’ll want this” notes. Maybe another reader will find it just as valuable as you do!

 

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Best Books of August 2017

Best Books of August 2017

What did I do with my summer? Did I really only complete two books in August? Yikes!

Since the two books were really different and would appeal to different readers, I’m not going to force myself to choose one; I’ll discuss both!

Rooms by James Rubart

Rooms by James L. Rubart

The cover blurb reads: “What would you find if you wandered into the rooms of your own soul? One man is about to find out.”

This was a really unusual read for me because I rarely read contemporary novels, rarely read novels with male protagonists, and don’t often read paranormal novels, but I read this. Why? Rubart co-led the continuing class Heroes, Villains, & the Heart of Your Story: Building an Epic Book from Start to Finish at the Realm Makers Conference I attended at the end of July. I’d heard he was a fantastic writer, and I wanted to read something by him before the class started.

Rooms was an excellent choice. It was haunting, it was exciting, it had me constantly urging the protagonist to make the choices I wanted him to make. My treat for the day after the conference was to finish the book. I read all day, in my hotel room, in bed, by the window, by the pool, and back in bed again. I didn’t want to put it down, and was satisfied but sorry when I reached the end.

Newts Emerald by Garth NixNewt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

This YA novel is a fun mash-up of regency romance, fantasy, adventure, and mystery. Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt”, inherits her family’s treasure, the Newington Emerald, on her eighteenth birthday. No sooner does her father reveal the spectacular, and magical, gem, than the lights to out. When they come back on, the emerald is gone.

This novel is a fun and exciting romp as Newt, her cousins, an eccentric aunt, and a mysterious stranger join together to recover the valuable jewel.

Your Turn

Now, just because I made it easy and made the title “Best Books” plural all by myself, doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. What’s the best book you read in the last month? You can even cheat like I did and mention two! Just use the comment box below. I love hearing from you!

Wonderful Words for Going Back to School

Back to SchoolToday in Salem, Oregon, we are going back to school, so here’s some wonderful words on teaching and learning to treasure:

For the Teachers:

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite imagination, and instill a love of learning.
Brad Henry

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.
Khalil Gibran

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
W.B. Yeats

May you stand on thresholds and open doors; may you lead with hope and passion; may you set imaginations afire and kindle a lifelong love of learning.

For the Students: 

No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.
L.Frank Baum

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future.
Eric Hoffer

The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

May you open your eyes and open your mind; may you fill up your treasure houses with skills and knowledge; may you equip yourself with wisdom so that you may be the hope of tomorrow.

For All of Us

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
William Butler Yeats

It is the joy of my life to be a lifelong learner!

Your Turn

Can you share any great quotes on teaching and learning?

If you are a teacher or a student, what are your hopes for the new school year?

Did You Hear This? “We Must Love Each Other”

Literate Lives: Did You Hear ThisWho said this? Was it Gandhi? Martin Luther King? Mother Theresa? I could have sworn it was my pastor.

You probably will get the answer to this question wrong unless you watched the president’s speech in Phoenix last week. Since my husband went to bed early that night and I was doing some hand work, I asked him to leave the news on and so, just chanced my way into hearing the Tuesday night speech.

Donald Trump said, “We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.”

Wow! Bigot-in-Chief? Really?

He also said:

Our movement is a movement built on love. It’s love for fellow citizens. It’s love for struggling Americans who’ve been left behind, and love for every American child who deserves a chance to have all of their dreams come true. From the inner cities to the rural outposts, from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt, from east to west and north to south, our movement is built on the conviction that every American from every background is entitled to a government that puts their needs first.

We believe that every American has the right to live with dignity. Respect for America demands respect for all of its people. Loyalty to our nation requires loyalty to each other, We all share the same home, the same dreams, and the same hopes for a better future. A wound inflicted upon one member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all…. When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one American suffers an injustice, all of America suffers together.

We want every child to succeed, every community to prosper, and every struggling American to have a chance for a better life.

No citizen should ever fear for their safety, security in our society, and no child should ever be afraid to go outside and play or be with their parents and have a good time.

We have to heal our wounds and the wounds of our country. I love the people of our country, the people, all of the people….I didn’t say I love you because you’re black, or I love you because you’re white, or I love you because you’re from Japan, or you’re from China, or you’re from Kenya, or you’re from Scotland or Sweden. I love all the people of our country.

We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans

*Thank you Time Inc. for posting a transcript of this speech

Based on all the news coverage this week, I would never have dreamed he said these things. Yet he did. I heard each and every word.

Today’s post was inspired by a post on Writers Unboxed, “Friends, Countrymen, Take Up Your Words,” which says, “We must unite as writers to take back our noble, our good, our mighty ordinance. Love, truth, respect, understanding: these are the words that need declaration.”

I too have a call. Please, we need more journalists and less commentators. Our world is so crazy-busy, the average person does not have the time to dig up the facts on every local, national, and world event.

Please, journalists, remove any filters that keep you from hearing and seeing what you are reporting, whether you are a liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between. Give us the words and events, unvarnished and uninterpreted. Reject high drama and extremes, and provide us with the answers to those “news article questions” every kid learns in grammar school–Who? What? When? Where? Why?and  How? I can even grant that the “why” does call for some interpretation, but if your interpretation is to be useful, the who, what, when, where, and how must be covered accurately.

Let’s love one another. What a great idea! Whether we are brown, pink, beige, or black (I personally would describe myself as “chocolate chip cookie dough”) let’s choose to assume the best, rather than the worst about each other. Love speaks truth and listens. Love is what enables forgiveness and reconciliation to occur. Let us renew our love for one another as a nation.

 

Alack and Alas…A Change of Schedule

New Blog Schedule: Literate Lives

Alack and Alas…

It has been fun blogging twice per week through my recovery from mono and over the summer, however, like summer itself, this too must come to an end.

While I love blogging, sharing my life, my reading, my love of writing, and my encouragement for parents and educators, I will be returning to the class room as an educator and will therefore have less free time for blogging.

A Temporary New Schedule

Next week I will begin blogging once per week, and next week’s post will come out on Tuesday.

However…

I will only continue the Tuesday schedule if I do not hear from you.

Your Turn

On what day of the week would you prefer to see Literate Lives bounce into your inbox? Please voice your opinion using the comment box below. Based on your preferences, I will determine and begin blogging on your chosen day for posting.

Eclipse Day!

Eclipse Day: Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate LivesToday is Total Solar Eclipse Day in Salem, Oregon, and for the citizens of Salem and outlying towns, it is a BIG DEAL. Hotels and Motels have jacked up their rates, restaurants have created special “Eclipse” menus (One of which includes an Eclipse Burger, a hamburger “eclipsed” by a fried egg.)

People with acreage have divvied up their land and are renting space to campers for hundreds, yes, it’s true, hundreds of dollars per night, and some private schools are doing the same with their sports fields and dorm rooms.

As for me and my hubby? We are staying home. We bought a pair of “eclipse” glasses, then got two more for free with an eye exam (so we gave a pair to the grands). I’ll wake up with my alarm clock to make sure I do not sleep through this long-awaited phenomenon, and hubby and I will view it from the yard (or across the street if our trees appear to be obstructing the view).

If you are anywhere you can see it, enjoy this astronomical phenomenon. Savor the moment. Human beings for thousands of year have viewed eclipses a portents of things to come. What might this eclipse bring for you?

And writers, be inspired. The awe and wonder the Hale Bopp comet lit in me ended up adding a whole, additional dimension to the plot of my middle grade novel, Set in Stone.

Your Turn

If you believed in signs and portents, what do you think this eclipse could be signalling for you personally, for our society, or for the world?

Writers, how can you leverage your experience of the eclipse into your work in progress?

I’m Back

I sat out in the front yard in my comfy camping/recliner chair, with a cool glass of juice, my sun hat, my solar eclipse glasses, and a notebook for making observations. The full event took about two hours. The full eclipse lasted minutes. It was awesome. Not only did it get dark, like dusk, but it got cooler as well. You can bet, somewhere, someday, there is going to be an eclipse in one of my novels!

Addendum

When visiting with my grandkids, with whom I’d recently been talking about poetry, my eldest granddaughter contributed this:

Every hundred years we see
A big star in the sky,
but covered by the moon,
so birds don’t like to fly.

Along comes a guy
and he says
I want to fly
But that would be bad for my eye.

 

Favorite E-reads of the Month: July/August

Morning E-reads

I love Summer Vacation because it is a time when my life and body can move (or not) by its own rhythms. One of my favorite rhythms is waking up, making my “poor man’s mocha” and sitting down for an hour (okay, sometimes that’s “hours”) of e-reading. I learn a lot, and find a lot of inspiration in the practice.

So, why don’t I just do this all year round? Well, there is one thing I like even more than my morning routine, and that is sleeping as late as possible before getting up and going to work.

July/August E-reads

This month, as last month, I’ve got a great selection of online reading for you. So here they are, from the most to least recent:

A Little Weird? Prone to Depression? Blame Your Creative Brain” by Susan Biali, MD: This is from one of my favorite blogs–Psychology Today. I particularly liked it because it explains why creative people (like me…maybe like you?) might feel a little out of sync and experience the blues. The good news is…it’s because we’re creative. Or are we creative because we’re a little weird and sensitive?

Literate Lives E-Read: This Incandescent Llife6 Ways Reading Fiction Will Inspire You to Live Bigger” by Emily Morgan: This is from Emily’s blog This Incandescent Life. I love to read and encourage other’s to read, and so when I see someone pointing out reading’s awesome benefits, my brain does a little happy dance.

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted: Why Fiction Heals Like Nothing Else Can” by Kristen Lamb: The premise here it that fiction provides the kind of experience and perspective that can only be mirrored in real life, and brings emotional healing through the emotional experience of story rather than reason and logic. Again, yay reading!

Other Great Reads

More Awesome E-Reading to Come

Just two and a half more weeks and my long hours of summer e-reading will be at an end. But have not fear, my morning routine will remain the anchor of my weekends, and there will be many more awesome e-reads to come.

Your Turn

Have you read anything interesting online lately? Please share the title and link in the comment box below. Remember, the more we share with each other, the more great reading we can all enjoy!