Patina can be beautiful. I love copper roofs that have turned turquoise, and weathered wooden beach chairs (though I’m wary of splinters). But I hate, hate, hate wear and tear in my books.
In my collegiate youth, I didn’t mind highlighting or notes in books, especially in textbooks. (Thanks, previous owner, for doing some of my work for me!) Even in non-textbooks, I found handwritten notes fascinating. It was as if the book had come with an additional story–a story about the previous owner and his or her perspective.
Today, however, I’ve completely reversed my opinion. read more
In school, I was one of those annoying overachievers who excelled at almost everything she tried (except sports, but that’s a blog post for a different day). I did well in all my non-P.E. classes. I was a pretty good cellist. And everyone knew I loved to write.
But I was terrible at art. Whenever I’d try to draw something, I’d quickly give up, overwhelmed and frustrated that I couldn’t make the images on the paper look like the images in my head.
A few years ago, my friend Pat told me she was teaching a class at the Austin Museum of Art called Draw Your Dog. She assured me that it was for all skill levels, and that I’d have fun. So, even though I could barely sketch a stick figure, I signed up for the class. read more
The start of November brings several things to Austin: cooler temperatures (finally), discounted Halloween candy, and National Novel Writing Month. While I love the first two, my personal feelings on NaNoWriMo are mixed. On one hand, I think that us writer-ly types should strive to write as much as possible every month, not just during November. Plus, revising a book takes a lot more time than writing one, at least for me. (Maybe December, January, and February should be the Quarter of National Novel Revising Months, or QuatroNaNoReMo.)
But I also know first-hand that NaNoWriMo can be fun and productive, whether you approach it as a one-time experience or the launching pad for a longer-term project. However, with that fun comes a lot of work. It’s a marathon. And you don’t want to lose steam (i.e., lose confidence in your story, your writing abilities, or even yourself) before the finish line.
Below are a few of my favorite writing tips. When I follow them, I feel like I’ve written the best material I can today, which makes me hopeful about the writing I can do tomorrow. read more
When I was 17, I made a horrifying discovery. I learned something that went against everything I believed as a lifelong reader and bookworm. I discovered that, sometimes, the book isn’t better than the movie.
I know, I know. I was shocked, too.
The first instance of this uncomfortable truth came when I read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. My high school self thought it alternated between being tedious and frustratingly complex. Plus, the print versions of Drs. Grant and Sattler were dull and cold compared to Sam Neill and Laura Dern.
Well, that’s got to be an anomaly, I told myself. Maybe Crichton’s style of writing just isn’t for me.