Readwise #SOLC Day 17

Happy St Patrick’s Day! Usually, we make corned beef and cabbage and have soda bread but this year is a bit more regular and simple. I wore my green to a workshop on Friday.

An app called Readwise is linked to my Amazon account and therefore my kindle. I receive a once a week email including some of the highlights I have made in the books that I have read.

Here are some of the highlights I received this week. It is an interesting look into my reading history.

As a writing exercise, I will take a couple of these quotes and use them as freewriting prompts.

10% Happier by Dan Harris
Working for Peter was like sticking your head in a lion’s mouth:
thrilling, but not particularly safe. (Location 182)Y

This book was recommended to me by a coworker. It was interesting and I liked reading about meditation but it did not change my behavior around the practice. I did really like this line though.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
She wanted to bottle how safe she felt in this moment, so she could
drink of it later when loneliness and fear left her parched. (Location 284)

I read The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See right after each other. I wished I could bottle safety myself and wish I would have written this line!

Dear Life by Alice Munro
In fact they embraced it, diving into it and wrapping the familiar
words round their tongues as if they were a candy that could last forever. (Location 209)

Being a short story writer I love Alice Munro. I only recently learned of her so this is a more recent read. I love words and the idea of them being candy like resonated with me.

Inside the Box by Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg
Subtraction works by eliminating an essential component of a system (a product or process). (Location 706)

This book was recommended by a speaker at the International Reading Association conference. It was about problem solving and was fascinating. I have gone back to this book on many occasions.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman
Year’s resolution was to live his life like it’s an art project. (Location 2175)

Ah! Emily! If you are a reader of my blog you know I LOVE Emily P Freeman. I love projects and challenges and loved the equation of life to the project.

We Wanted to Be Writers by Eric Olsen, Glenn Schaeffer, and
Bill Manhire
Or try to walk, a walking meditation. Don’t talk. That scares away the light. (Location 3293)Y

I found out about the Iowa Writing Workshop from Oprah actually. Once I learned about this writing mecca I searched for everything I could read about the program and the writers. This book is only one of them.

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
The stories shatter. Or you wear them out or leave them behind.
Over time the story or the memory loses its power. Over time you
become someone else. (Location 1348)

Solnit is a beautiful writer. I adore her patterns and style. Her words speak to me in a very mindful way.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan
Tangier and Lucy were the same, I thought. Both unsolvable riddles
that refused to leave me in peace. (Location 1632)

This was a book about friendship – or the illusion of it at least. I loved this line.

Creative Schools by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica
Effective teaching is a constant process of adjustment… (Location 1724)

Ken Robinson! Oh yes! His books are fantastic and I love to hear his presentations on YouTube. He is brilliant.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
He’d do what he always did, find the sweet among the bitter. (Location 4260)Y

Such is life, yes? I read this book for a book club years ago. I would have never picked it up otherwise.

Thanks for reading and looking into a slice of my reading life! It is fun to revisit lines that struck me as I read. I am looking forward to the writing later too!

Happy Irish Sunday!

Note: I wrote my coffee share post yesterday – if you are looking for it it is day 16 this week.

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Bradbury Trio #SOLC Day 9

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There are lots of routines that I want to try out but if I tried every one I would never get anything done though. I do not have an MFA but there are various ways to recreate a DIY approach. There is even a book: DIYMFA. One of the leaders of this idea is one of my writing heroes, Ray Bradbury.

The ‘Bradbury Trio’ in Ray Bradbury’s own words:

“I’ll give you a programme to follow every night. Very simple programme. For the next thousand nights, before you go to bed every night, read one short story. That will take you ten minutes, fifteen minutes. Okay? Then read one poem a night from the vast history of poetry. Stay away from most modern poems. It’s crap. It’s not poetry. Now, if you want to kid yourself and write lines that look like poems, go ahead and do it, but you’ll go nowhere. But read the great poets. Go back and read Shakespeare, read Alexander Pope, read Robert Frost. But one poem a night, one short story a night, one essay a night, for the next 1,000 nights.”

There is a great explanation of this idea at Benjamin’s Blog.Benjamin has an inspiring video of Bradbury on this post as well you want to check out. I have watched it several times.

Yesterday, I decided to follow this program. Several writers I know participate in this process. I cannot time wise do it everyday but for the next month my goal is to accomplish the Trio 3 times a week. 1000 nights is over 2.7 years!

Essay: “The Joy of Writing” by Bradbury Zen in the Art of Writing

Essay: “The Rules of Writing Practice” Natalie Goldberg Wild Mind

Short Story: “I Found Your Voodoo Doll on the Dance Floor After Last Call” Nancy Stohlman

Flash Fiction: 1000 Cranes Melissa McCracken

Short Story: “Findings and Impressions” by Stellar Kim Best American Short Stories (BASS) 2007

Poem: “Knives” by Michael Stephens

Poem: “The Chairs That No One Sits In” Billy Collins


The idea of gathering with a group of people with these three readings as a topic excites me too! The Knives poem is what inspired my writing the most yesterday. I also am going to play with the format of the Kim story.

Clearly, I get caught up and cannot just read one of each! How does this practice resonate with you? What are your thoughts about it? Please share in the comments.

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The Next Right Thing Launch Team

I am super excited to announce I am on Emily P. Freeman’s book launch team. If you are not familiar with Emily check out her podcast here.

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The book is being released at the beginning of April. There will be exciting preorder bonuses you will want to get in on!

Within the next couple of weeks, you will be hearing more about the book and Emily’s words of wisdom.

STAY TUNED!

Weekend Coffee Share

Come and sit and let’s chat! I have lots to share with you from last week!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I am participating in the #write28days blogging challenge. Today’s word is GLOW. I want people to GLOW when they are inspired! I am working on some ideas on how to inspire people. I want to put some events together that have a purpose and for them to be fulfilling. I am taking the month to figure it out. What makes you GLOW with excitement – especially about learning?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I visited the American Writer Museum in Chicago. It is on the second floor of an old building on Michigan Ave. There was an amazing timeline with biographies of all types of writers, a Bob Dylan display, cool typewriters, and a whole section about the writer’s mind. The parking was really expensive being in the city but the actual admission was reasonable. The original plan was to take the train but they have been down for the past 3 days. I typed on the old typewriters and played with the displays. There was a wonderful display of first lines written by authors.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we then went to 57th Street bookstore which is at the bottom of another old building in Hyde Park. The little rooms keep adding on to each other snaking through the basement of this store. There are hot water pipes that made the air toasty on this February Sunday.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I broke down and purchased the Masterclass series because Neil Gaiman has a new class he is teaching about writing. I am giddy and super excited. I binge listened to several of the lessons on the way home from work on Friday. I will go back and listen several times to all the lessons. Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume are other authors who have masterclasses.

If we were having coffee I would tell you there are so many things Neil has said that I have written down. One big idea that resonated is you learn more by finishing a failing story than just writing many wonderful beginnings. You learn something from getting to the end.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I went to school for less than one day last week because of the weather and cold. We went to work Friday but it was a 2-hour delay. We have eLearning days and I worked from home. I also had several video calls with important people. It will be difficult I think to go back next week and actually drive to work!

If we were having coffee I would tell you I finished Slade House by David Mitchell and I really enjoyed it. It was weird and I love that. I started Letters from Skye which is immensely lovely and charming.

What exciting things happened to you this week?

#MentorTextMonday

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I recently read the essay, Laugh, Kookaburra by David Sedaris printed in The New Yorker. You can read the essay here.

I like the idea of favorite lines from a poem, essay, or short story to use as a writing springboard.

Here are the quotes from this essay I will be writing with as inspiration:

When Australians say “the bush,” they mean the woods. The forest.

…she invited us to picture a four-burner stove…

This was not a real stove but a symbolic one, used to prove a point at a management seminar she’s once attended. “One burner represents your family, one is your friends, the third is your health, and the fourth is your work.” The gist, she said, was that in order to be successful you have to cut off one of your burners. And in order to be really successful you have to cut off two.

#happyreading

What I Am Pondering…

Unfortunately, the picture above looks like my running trail now in December. We had some snowfall in November and now there is none. Yesterday it rained all day. Honestly, it is disappointing. I keep looking at the weather report in Minnesota with envy.

I am thinking about what is deeply nourishing to me and what has run its course and needs to be nixed. In simple terms what stays and what goes. I like to think of it sometimes in the realm of what do I say YES to and what do I say NO to.

Writing is deeply nourishing.

Talking with writers is deeply nourishing.

Coaching teachers and students is deeply nourishing.

Reading is nourishing in a diverse way. There is different reading for different purposes. Some types are more nourishing than others.

Thinking about what to get rid of completely in my life – physical and mental has been a process I have embarked on for the last couple of years.

I think the CONNECT word is good for me for 2019 especially in the realm of writing. It goes hand in hand with the readings and podcasts I have been inputting as well. I always love how these things I am thinking about converge together.

My thoughts are around how I can connect more with other writers, other teachers, and other coaches. I have some IRL opportunities were this is a real time of possibility and thriving.

What are you pondering?

BTW, I am reading an AMAZING BOOK! It is magical and wonderful.

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