Please, Talk to Me….{Raving After the Rant}

I recently shared how much unnecessary noise bugs me.  A lot.  This hasn’t always been so.  But now that it is…..

Please, shut up.  I’m polite. I just want you to stop talking.

Unless …. I want to hear from you.  Then….

Talk to me.

Books and Newspapers on TableLately, I’ve been reading ~ listening with my eyes ~ (more than usual) several books (grazing nonfiction reader, here!) about writing, creativity, and creative people ~ along with blogs, newspapers, tweets, posts, pins, you name it…..

At the risk of sounding illiterate, I have to ask:  Have you read the New York Times lately? On a recent Sunday morning while enjoying my new paper subscription (love the print smudges, much more satisfying than the digital ~ clean ~ version!), I discovered five words I’d never seen before.  Excitement mingled with inadequacy.  :/

Looong before sunrise, after an exhausting day with my HS students, before bed, before a nap, when I should be cleaning the house (let’s not talk about that) or making dinner (thank goodness for crockpots), I’m probably reading, which involves copious note-taking, which leads to more writing.

I made a commitment to my writing in early November, when I decided to write for 30 days for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month).  What a great experience that was!

Along with committing to a writing routine, I’m committed to improving my writing skills. Everybody’s writing is fair game.  Thanks for all the inspiration! I’m learning from everyone and smile when I read other writers’ words that fit with things I thought I knew, ‘kind of’ knew, or have been thinking about. Feels like I’m actually ‘getting it’ ~ thankfully.

Talk to me. 

A few things heard while I’ve been listening to all those voices on all those pages, papers, and screens…..

Dog listening to phonograph
photo credit: Wikipedia.org
 No-nonsense Writing

Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd’s Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction had me hooked from the get-go.

While sitting in the lobby of our local restaurant on a Friday afternoon, waiting for the deep dish pizza baking before its ride home, families bustling in, parents requesting tables, kiddos zig-zagging here and there, phones ringing, I was transfixed by the authors’ approachable writing style.

In the Introduction, they write, “During the past three decades American culture has become louder, faster, more disjointed…..” Oh! I’m pretty sure they peeked into my head before they penned those words! They go on to talk about how writers can’t compete with that noise, nor should they: “Writing remains the best route we know toward clarity of thought and feeling.”  Agreed.

Routine. Writers have routines. Mostly.

In Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, he tackles issues many of us face:

  • How do you do meaningful creative work while also earning a living?
  • Is it better to devote yourself wholly to a project or to set aside a small portion of each day?

With 100+ brief entries describing intimately the habits of creatives, mostly writers, but not exclusively, Currey’s book is a fascinating read when contemplating how to ‘fit it all in.’ From Tolstoy to Twain, Stephen King to Sylvia Plath, Anne Rice (lots of diet Coke!) to Agathie Christie, I felt encouraged reading how each incorporated routine into his/her days… even those whose routine was ‘no routine’ (very few).

Scratching

Wednesday night. A school night for this tired teacher.  4:30 AM looms. Students will be waiting at my classroom door in a few short hours. I turn on the mini reading lamp and peek inside my newest book anyway.  I love ‘hearing’ the voices that teach me new things!  This time it’s Twyla Tharp’s advice in The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it For Life

Opening randomly, as I often do with my nonfiction finds, I land on pg 95: “Scratching can look like borrowing or appropriating, but it’s an essential part of creativity. It’s primal, and very private.”  I’m hooked. An hour later, I wake. The reading light illuminates underlined sections I discovered before nodding off…. I smile at the new lessons learned and count the hours ’til I can get back to reading after school.

 Bloggers’ Words

While enjoying all these new lessons from the masters, I stumbled on to OM’s recent post about personal blogs. His thought made me laugh out loud. At 4:35 in the morning. Before Coffee. (Thanks, OM!) Always shy with his words, he says this time …

I keep seeing bloggers say “personal blogs can never be popular.” Personally… I think that is the stupidest shit I have ever heard.

At last count, 115 other bloggers (including this one) chimed in.  There’s a reason why his blog’s titled Harsh Reality.  Funny stuff. Thought-provoking. Controversial. LOVE it!  Check it out {here}.

In a completely different direction (think: calm, serene), but still humorous (if you like dogs and coffee), Marilyn, over at Serendipity, describes her fur-babies…. “the platoon of furry faces is waiting” as the coffee percolates and the snow falls. Reading (again, in the predawn hours) from noticeably snow-deprived Florida, Marilyn’s window views and sweet canine-baby faces make me smile…. Thank you, Marilyn. You had me at “….. Enough coffee to put into the cup. We use big cups.”  Kindred spirits.

Nosy Nellie??

Yep, I love to eavesdrop in (mostly) public spaces…. listening to snippets of  conversations ~ randomly, stealthily.  Actually, I’m not nosy. I could care less about your affair, addictions, shoplifting escapades, money issues, anxiety, family issues, ability to cheat anyone out of anything…… Nope. Nada. Not interested.  But…. I do want to ~ steal and exploit borrow and build upon ~ your words.

People say the darnedest things.

Recently, while attending a get-together, I walked into a group of married women talking, “Sometimes I just want to take a black lesbian home!”

A slow grin crept over my face… wide eyes to complete the look.  Couldn’t wait to hear what she’d say next….

Sheepishly, she begins, “I was talking about how people around here don’t get diversity….

Well, okay then. {I head to bathroom to scribble notes before forgetting.}

Baby Sister, explains, “She blogs.” 

Oh.”

Me {while jotting notes behind bathroom door}:  Laughing!!! And… listening to the gasps.

A diamond in the rough.

But don’t we all listen for good stuff as writers/bloggers? We’re mining. Digging through the unending daily noise to find the truly interesting stuff. Isn’t it cool when we find it?

Seems this is what Twyla Tharp means when she talks about ‘scratching’ – digging for small ideas to develop into bigger ideas. Call it what you will. I call it fascinating.  And often, funny!

Do you have any favorites you think are must-read resources for technical tips, inspiration, or a little of both??  Santa’s still asking for suggestions…..  😉

Santa talking on the phone
photo credit: Shutterstock

 

7 thoughts on “Please, Talk to Me….{Raving After the Rant}”

  1. I do a lot of reading, but I can’t say I’ve ever opened a book at 4:30 am before. Wow!

    I like to refer to Stephen King’s book “On Writing” from time to time. There are better books out there about the mechanics of the craft, but he touches more on the nuances, and he offers some great advice.

    Like

  2. Carrie, it’s become my norm in the past year or so. I’m at school by 6:50 and those predawn hours are deliciously quiet. I have that SK book! I share it with my HS writers, to show them what real editing looks like. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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