Friday, October 23, 2009

Little Truths

I read a ton. I suspect that most writers do. And I read a good variety, in different genres to suit my mood. Right now I have 26 books out from the library--although some of those are titles for my kids to read. And some I know I won't get to. I just like to be prepared for whatever mood strikes me. The three on my nightstand right now are: DIARY OF A BLUES GODDESS by Erica Orloff; WILLIAM S. AND THE GREAT ESCAPE by Zilpha Keatley Snyder; and RIVER SECRETS by Shannon Hale.

One of the best general tips that I got from my writing partner (thanks, R!) is to keep a reading journal. I can flip through and remember specific quotes and plot lines from books that I read days, weeks, months ago. Things that touch me. Things I never want to forget. Like this:

Sometimes we have little truths in our hearts, in dark corners where we never shine a light. Then someone comes along with a candle and lights up that corner with something he says or something she does...and we know we can't ignore the truth that's hiding in the dark. Even if we blow the candle out, we know. The truth is there.
Excerpt from DIARY OF A BLUES GODDESS

Erica-- You Rock!

On the weeks that I don't have high word count, I find that I am shining lights through my story, looking for little truths and exposing weaknesses. That is what I am doing this week--ruminating with a candle.

What are you reading (or writing) that resonates with you?

10 comments:

  1. Having a reading log is something I've thought about doing. Thanks for bringing the idea back to the surface. I read so many books that I can't remember them all. I, too, bring stacks of books home from the library.

    I just finished reading Han Nolan's A summer of Kings, set in the sixties, a civil rights story rich with character and conflict, edgy and poetic.

    In my WIP I've got six eighth graders for characters. I'm trying to shine a light through each of them. The beams cross, come together, run parallel.

    "Looking for little truths and exposing weaknesses"--Thanks for that thought. It is mostly what I'm doing right now.

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  2. Paul--I love that imagery--"I'm trying to shine a light through each of them. The beams cross, come together, run parallel." Now I'm intrigued!

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  3. Beautiful!

    I've wanted to keep a log since one of my college English teachers shared some amazing quotes from hers. She had kept one for years and was able to read us quotes that had impacted her life or spoken to her at key times in her life. I really should start one!

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  4. Casey--I love the reading journal, and it is an indispensible tool. That said, many times I am flipping through my books in the library parking lot, mumbling to myself, trying to find my favorite quotes before I return the books. So, I haven't quite gotten into the habit. But I do love having the information at my fingertips.

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  5. I keep a list of all the books I read, but I love the idea of keeping a journal instead. I tend to be lazy about things like that but you've inspired me to give it a try! I just finished reading Fire by Kristin Cashore last weekend and it was such a satisfying book! I enjoyed it even more than Graceling.

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  6. I loved Graceling. I can't wait to pick up Fire! I'm glad to hear it doesn't disappoint.

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  7. An amazing and insightful quote.

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  8. I know, right? She certainly has a way with words.

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  9. Aww . .. gosh, thanks, Heather. Funny thing is . . . LOL! I don't remember the quote. Not specifically. But I use that sort of imagery a lot. Exposing the bugs under your rocks, shining a light. I'm always on a quest for self-understanding.

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  10. Erica-- What made it so poignant for me was the idea that once the truth is brought into the light, you can't very well put it back. It's great stuff.

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