Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Letter-Writing

The other night, I sat down and penned a letter to a dear friend of mine in Toowoomba. I love to write in longhand and she enjoys hearing from me. I also include a piles of photos when I post off my 4-7 page letters to her.

Now, you're going to ask me: why don't you email her? It's cheaper and she can download the photos in a sinch. 

Well, my friend is Joan Lane and she's 80. I've known her since I around 6 years old and holidaying at Brunswick Heads.  She's kind of like my second Grandmother and her and her now-late husband, Ted became close family friends of ours over the years.

Joan doesn't have the internet and wouldn't know how to turn on a computer; actually, these modern-new-fangled things scare her. So, when I learned of this, I decided to write her letters and post them to her. She loves receiving mail and I don't mind if she never writes back; as she's not all that great at writing letters.
So, about 3 times a year, I write Joan a lovely long letter, with photos included inside, telling her about what I've been up to in my life. She loves reading about it; and she shares the news and photos with her family. 

Do you still retain the skill of letter-writing? Do you have a collection of stationery at your disposal? Or do you sit and email all your friends; and if you have somebody who doesn't have a computer, you don't go near pen and paper for them? I love writing to Joan. It's reminds me of how tactile the act of letter-writing actually is and that we really shouldn't lose the skill of writing a really good letter to somebody we're friends with... it may be something we'll really treasure from somebody else someday. Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Poetry

Once in a while, I can't sleep. So, I'm up really late at night reading or writing to get myself tired enough to get to sleep. A lot of the time, whatever I write normally is just detail stuff on a book or a poem and it's something that's been bothering me since last week - silly really.

However, there are times I get in and write a poem. I think it's the silence of the unit complex, or the way my brain works when I haven't slept for a few nights. But I kick out a very cool poem or two before I turn out the light.

The problem is that I sometimes I misplace the books I have written the poems in for a few months; and then suddenly find them! And that's always like finding a piece of treasure when that happens, because I sit down and read what I've written from that sleepless night to find I've written either a lovely piece of writing, or something I wouldn't bother showing anyone!

Last night, I was working on my book about books and came up to the part where I wanted to talk about poetry. However, I didn't know how long I've been writing poetry for and had to dig around the office to find it all. Strangely, I've lost a few books. I know they're somewhere around the office; so seeing I don't throw out any of my work (which makes me a paper collector too), I'm sure to find all of my poetry at some point soon. 

So, do you write poetry? If so, what kind of work do you write? I'm a concise poet - a writer of word pictures, small poems which aren't too long, but strongly-worded. These are difficult to achieve, but I do enjoy getting in and doing them when I have the time because they're a challenge. I love to read sonnets, ballads and funny poetry (Pam Ayres is one who makes me laugh). Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Winter/Summer Reads

The cold snap has finally hit Australia and we've got snowfalls in the Australian Alps. Yep, everyone is feeling the chilliness all around. Last night, it was 3 degrees Celsius here in Brisbane and it's still cold here - and it's almost midday - why, right now, it's 15 degrees Celsius... and I don't think it's gonna get much warmer.

So, this calls for the Winter reads I'm going to get my nose into this year. I've already started 'The Stand' by Stephen King (an all-time favourite of mine). And I'm writing a book about books - which is going well. Then, I'm reading 'The Turning' by Tim Winton - short stories he's written; some of which were turned into three-minute films on the ABC. I didn't know until one day I saw them there by channel-surfing one day... very interesting.

I'm also looking through my art books and reading up on how to do some different types of art - as I'm working on another book-related painting. I'm actually hoping to get together an exhibition - but I'm not sure when I'll get into the gallery. 

I'm still reading copies of 'Good Reading' Magazine and enjoying looking up knitting patterns as well at this time of year - as it keeps my hands moving. Otherwise, I'm hoping to get in and read some of the books by my bed that have been there for a while. There's one by Dean Koontz about a family dog and another 'Dandelion Wine' by Ray Bradbury. Yep, it's good weather to catch up with all the reading I've been putting off as the mercury plummets. 

So, how about all of you out there? I know that as it's getting colder here in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, it's becoming hotter elsewhere. What are you Summer Reads as you cool off in the shade of a sprawling Oak tree in the park? Or are you by the pool under the shade of a huge umbrella? Or are you fortunate enough to be by the beach and digging your toes into the sand while you've got your nose in a good book or two? Let us all know what you're reading and your opinions of your favourite authors at this time of year. Until my next post, happy reading.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Writing A New Book

I've come down with Laryngitis. Yep, I can't leave the house and I'm not allowed to talk... not fun.

So, I've been getting in and cleaning the house, throwing out rubbish and doing laundry; all in complete silence - well okay, the radio's going, but really it does get very boring with just that going.

But I have been writing again. I've written a flash fiction where my character had laryngitis; and the story was creepy too. It turned out to be a good story; I thought.
I'm also working on a new book at the moment I'm calling 'The Red Ledger'. It's a book about books I've read in my life, which are all in my collection and are from my reading list from over the last 13 years of reading. This book is mainly about how the books I've read have changed my life, how good or bad they are and how writing has become a way of life for me. 

It's going along well so far. 

Since the beginning of the week, I've written up around 10 pages in longhand - and that's good. Most of the time I've written that in bed before I turned out the light. This is where I get a lot of my thinking done about what I read. I've yet to go through my collection and find the books that I truly use from day to day and write about them in a big way. I'm only 15 pages into it - but I'm enjoying how it's being written; in longhand. It makes me think about how to write what I want to put out there instead of just typing it out.

Have you ever written something like this? If you have, what was it like? Did you enjoy talking about your books and your passion for reading and writing? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Ultimate Reads

In my last post, I wrote about the great re-reads of my life... and why. This time, I want to ask you, my readers, what your most favourite books of all time are and how many times you've read them. Is there a reason why you go back to it - the characters, the storyline, the way it's written?

And I have another question as well: if there was an ultimate read you've been wanting and pining after what would it be? Have you been looking at that book in the bookstore, at the library, on Amazon and wished you could get your head around or you have it in your Mt To Be Read and just haven't gotten around to it - and don't know why. Tell us about it.

I have a few books that I have stored here in my collection which I'd love to just sit down and lose myself in; but it's finding the time to do just that I find is the problem. In between writing books, editing my current work and doing my craft, cleaning out my house and working on my garden, I think I have spread myself a little too thin. But I do love to just look at my books and recall where they come from (this is what I'm doing with one of my books I'm calling The Red Ledger; ie: the book ledger). It's a book about my writing and books I've read and have in my collection and how this collection came to be so big and why.

The ultimate reads in my collection are varied:

'A Suitable Boy' Vikram Seth
'The Dark Tower Series' by Stephen King
'The Portable Dorothy Parker' by Brendan Gill
'The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter'
'Wrestling With The Angel' by Michael King
'The Call of Cthulhu and other weird stories' by H.P Lovecraft

There's others, but these are my top six of my list... and yes, I know that the second one is a series of books (of which I'm up to book 4). This list doesn't vary much but I do enjoy getting in and working on it when I can.

So, do tell... what books are you ultimate reads, your whale, your mountain to climb? Until my next post, happy reading.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Great Re-Read List

Whenever I want to jump back into reading big books again, I'll reread something I have cracked the cover of for years. 

Dontcha just love doing that? I sure do!

Right now, I'm reading my all-time favourite book: 'The Stand' by Stephen King. This book normally gets me back into my reading mojo again - I don't know how it does, but I once I read it, it just gets me into another book and then another; and not necessarily by him.

There's always those books that do that to us, right? Well, I do have a few books I reread along with 'The Stand' to kick myself into reading again... and I usually get into doing this in Winter (yes! The best time to wallow well into a book is at the coldest time of the year) in my Reading Chair.

So, when do you get in and do the great reread of your favourite authors? Or are you one of those rare readers who, once you've read a book, you never reread it again? Until my next post, happy reading! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

In the Movies

During the huge deluge of rain over the last few days, I watched 'The Stand' miniseries - made from the book of the same name by Stephen King. And speaking of Sai King himself, I noticed that this brilliant author shows up in this miniseries as Teddy Weizak; an everyday guy who survived Captain Trips and was on his way to Colorado with a convoy of other folks who had been having the same dream as he was - of Mother Abigail. 

But this isn't the first time we've seen this author in a movie which was made from his books. Stephen King has made a cameo in so many of the movies that sometimes you really have to look for him to realise it's him. It's easy to pick him in the early movies like 'The Langoliers', 'Pet Semetary' and he got to play a creepy part in 'Sons of Anarchy' where he was a dude who a 'Caregiver' or a cleaner... creepy - I think that was in season 3 or 4. But he played that part well.

Another famous person we all know showed up in his own movies was Alfred Hitchcock. He was a brilliant director who had a thing for blonds and enjoyed making cameo appearances in his own movies. You have to really watch for him in a lot of the movies as he isn't in the credits. In 'Rear Window', he was in the musician's apartment winding the clock. In 'The Birds', he was seen in the beginning of the film leaving a petshop with two of his own pets as the main character enters. I found a Wikipedia site which lists a lot of them (I don't often go through Wiki, but this is a big list) and so here it is for you to look at.

Have you seen writer or directors show up in films you've been watching and looked for them in the credits? If so, which ones? Until my next post, happy reading. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May Book Buys???

Yeah, I didn't buy any books this month. 

Well, that's not exactly true. I received books, but I haven't bought any - does that make sense? I hope so. 

I've also begun to read some short stories before I turn out the light at night - so I'm getting back into reading again; after such a long stint of not reading and just writing (as you can read from a few posts below). 

But I'm still collecting and my office is starting to become cluttered with books again. Yes, this does mean I have to start on another lot of looking through the collection and figuring out which ones belong and which ones don't. Sad but true. But if I don't, I'll be the crazy book lady of my unit complex... and well, I don't want that.

Anyway, the author I'm reading is Kurt Vonnegut. He put out a few short story books and I found one at the Logan Art Gallery which they were keeping it for art projects and I rescued it! Yay! Now, I'm reading it. Okay, some idiot ripped out the first page of the first story, so I can't read that, but who cares? I'm reading the rest of them.
And besides, I have other books around the place which have poetry and novellas as well - just to get me back into the reading mode again. And I'm hoping to start saving up for another tattoo... this one is going to be book-related and I'm going to get it done next year sometime. 

Well, it's been a good month for me... I've been good in some aspects, bad in others, I'm reading again and I'm also writing some nice, short'n'sweet flash fictions (my last one was around 500 words long; and we had a word limit of 1,000 words). So, until my next post, happy reading! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Art Words

I've been working with art and words in my life over the last few years - and have found that there's not that many artists who do this.

A lot of them make sculptures out of the books they use. I do as well; and use very old books that are falling apart to do this (so don't worry, I'm not using anything from my collection or anything new).

However, I do book art where I write on the canvas book titles, author names, or song-writers names and they are turned into the shape of waves, leaves or trees. It's difficult to do and I find that I have to have a certain number of names, books or songwriters. It's a difficult thing to do and yet it's something I have the patience for because I have to write out the words in pencil first then paint over them the best way I can... in a contrasting colour. 
Yes, I've almost sent myself blind doing this, so my optometrist has been a great help to me by making me glasses to work up-close and personal with my art.

I not only work with paintbrush and paint, but I also work with putting bookmarks into collages. I have a massive one about Bookcrossing called 'Spread the Word' which I still have sitting behind my front door because there's nowhere to hang it. And there's other works hanging around my library which is all book-related. I've even made a plaster cast torso which is all about books, has quotes on it and I built a book from plaster on it - with the pages all curled up as though they were caught on a breeze - then painted them gold. 

Do you know anyone who's done book art which doesn't involve the sculpture of books themselves? I find that my work takes a lot of time to do; so I don't have that much work to do a proper exhibition as yet, but it does show my passion for the written word in so many ways. Until my next post, happy reading.

UPDATE:

I've been asked in the comments about photos of my work. This is something I forgot to upload - sorry about that guys, I was very tired and it was late. So here's the few I've done so far.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Writing More Than Reading

I've been writing more than reading lately.

This is a good thing; and a bad thing.

Bad in the way that there's no book reviews to read at the moment, but good that I'm getting stories and some books written.

One book I'm working on currently is my 'One Page' project. This is where I write one page about the day I'm having - or have had - in a journal-style notebook. I started it last December and I'm going well with it. I don't write every day, and it's been a great challenge to me, as I don't always fill up every page. Sometimes, it's difficult to fill up the page I've allocated myself, while on other days, it's filled before I know it.

Then, there' my garden journal. This is an on-going project that's being worked on since I moved into my townhouse. I'm onto my second garden journal and it shows a chronological change and life of my garden... I love reading over the old journal of how it's all gone from a desert of weeds, prickles and yellow paper daisies to the pretty little garden it is today - and it's still somewhat a project that's ongoing; and will be ongoing throughout my life.

There's another book I pick at. This one's for my niece. I don't know when this one will be finished as it's something of a book filled with advice I've gleaned from all sources throughout my life... be it my Mum, Grandmother, friends, authors, artists, famous people... just about anyone I've spoken to has given me wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) advice. I'm hoping to put a lot of it into this book over the next few years and fill it up to give to my niece by her 21st Birthday; so she has something to read when I'm no longer around to be there for her. I know that sounds really horrible, but the day will come when I'll be gone; and this book will have everything I want her to know.

Memory Book... now this is a new one. I've been recalling old memories from when I was a child and writing them in long-hand in a notebook. It's a way of getting my autobiography working from a different angle. I hope it works out. So far, I've got some stories from when I was around 7 - 12 years old. High school isn't too hard as I've been going to class reunions and talking to people I went to school with lately (so they're all bringing back good memories of being at school as well as bad - but we need them both). Then, I'm working on funny memories too... so I'm going to look through some photos Mum's got of when I was young. This will be something I'll work on over the next few years. 

Yep, writing is something of a lonely thing I don't mind doing and love to really get into; even if I am working on three things at once. Well, are you a writer? If so, are you working on anything new? Until my next post, happy reading - or writing. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Books of the Dead

When I'm walking around bookstores - particularly second-hand bookstores - I wonder how many of these books came from deceased estates. How many families had the painful task of going through somebody's library of books, looked at which ones they wanted, put them up for sale at the garage sale (or two) and then... when they wouldn't sell there... brought them into the second-hand bookstore to trade them in.

The books that are preloved often make me wonder how long they've been sitting on another person's shelf waiting to be read, or were read many times over by that person - lovingly handled and enjoyed by that person because they enjoyed that particular author - and were now haunting the shelves of a cluttered old bookstore with many other copies of the same title from who-knows-where.

When I pick up a book from a shelf in one of these bookstores, I'm don't feel disgusted - like I do in a public library. I'm often not thinking about how many horrible germs may be on the book (millions - after all, so many others have handled the book before me, just looking at it and putting it back), I'm wondering this book's history. I'm wondering how long it'll be in my possession and where it'll end up after I'm gone (that latter thought is something I don't think about much, but I do have that thought when I'm not feeling all that great that day, or I'm battling a cold or flu, or worse still, I'm just feeling older than I really am because of my medical condition). 

Do you ever wonder about the books you received from these bookstores, wonder where they've been, how they've come to be in your hands... how long they'll be with you and where they will end up after you've let them go? It's not a horrible thought, but one I've had over the last few years - and one I had to think about today as a dear friend of mine lost one of his cousins last week suddenly. This makes me think that life is far too short to not read all the books you want, learn everything you want to, watch the sunsets from all around the world and be everything you ever wish to be squeezed into this lifetime... however short or long it may be... possessions mean nothing in the end. They get shuffled around the family, sent away after nobody wants them and sold. But books? They're the gems, the goldmines people tend to get rid of and not realise they can be worth a small fortune if they're not well-informed. What do you think? Is this something I'm thinking into too much, or am I right? Until my next post, happy reading.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Series and Trilogies

As you all know, I love collecting books - yes, I have a huge collection which is growing by the day - but I also love collecting books in their complete series before I start reading them. 

Weird I know, but I want to know the book I need next is right there in on the shelf for me to pick up and read when I finish the first one. 

So far, I have the complete 'Dark Tower Series' by Stephen King, 'Lord of the Rings' is six books kept in three volumes. I have that in one big thick volume, and in three volumes as well as in the six separate books. Then, there's 'The Talisman' and 'Black House' which are a part one and two by Stephen King and Peter Straub. Garth Nix put out a brilliant trilogy I own and have read - must re-read it again. Then, I have my vampire books one of my friends - Debbie Behan - gave me when she and her husband moved up to the Sunshine Coast and they wanted downsize. The P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast books; there's gotta be around ten of these - all in order. I also have quite a few of the Janet Evanovich books - all the numbered sleuth ones - which go from 1 - 18. I don't have all of them, but I have a few of them; would love to have the rest so I can read them all at some point. I have the first one, then ten, twelve, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen and eighteen. Then, there's two other books of hers I have that aren't part of that series. I also have Tad Williams' two books - which I haven't read yet - and other books around the place which are the second books in chronicles of something by other authors; and I've yet to find the first of those, as well as the rest of those books.

Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it. Like 'The Wheel of Time' books. Yes, the series which outlived the author who wrote them... is all worth the time and effort for the reader and fans to go out searching for these books? I know it takes time to write these books; but if it's going to take so long to do all of this, and once you're finished, you get kinda stuck with the books. However, I'm the type who goes back and rereads a book over and over for the sheer joy of it... of being in familiar territory. So, what about you? Do you enjoy collecting books and the series for the joy of them being around you? Or is it just the hunt you love so much? I love both of these ... the hunt and the joy of having them around me. Reading them is the luxury of all time; especially when it's something I've been wanting to get my hands on for years. Until my next post, happy reading!