I think I might have been born in a library or a bookstore! From the first moment I can remember, I was surrounded by books. Dead tree, hardcover decorated books. My security blanket was a book. Decades before Sesame Street, my”Swiss-Army-knife” of a teacher was my grandmother. I was her project for six years. Grandmother read to me, as many times as I wished (shamelessly I was indulged!). At about four years, she would have me point to the words and say them out loud. She had me “reading” the books. (It was not reading for real – I knew the stories by heart, and there were as many pictures as text ) She would show me a page, and I would speak the story from memory. It was my fun, and a positive experience to say the least. Seven decades later and in spite of the electronic age, I love to hold a substantial book. I have this irrational conviction, if I own a book, I am accomplished with the information printed in the book. The more books I have, the more qualified I feel. I spend about three times, reading as writing. Mine other’s monographs and books for ideas and quotes.
Writers, metaphorically, need “to fly”. We want the panoramic view of Life. We demand to see everything. We want to see behind every facade; to tear back the curtain of “The Wizard of Oz”. In a recent post:
I proposed six stages in a writer’s evolution:
To fly, we must first learn to stand, Then walk. Then run and climb, and Then dance, only then,
My qualifications: My principle English teacher, EHJ, said that I was an incompetent speaker and a hopeless writer. Later in life, having had enough of other distractions and no longer able to suppress my need to leave some “breadcrumbs” , I just put my hand on a rock, looked up in the sky, and said: “I am a writer!” This is for you, Miss Jackson, XOXO. ccr
I would like to share with you some books that I have found most useful as I continue to try to progress toward my remote goal: the “flying stage”. .
(1) Annie Dillard, Dillard’s essays: The Writing Life, was my favorite of this collection. Her story about the giant cardboard butterfly was the source for my post:
Dillard’s: what to write about, pulled me over a big mountain. Dillard quotes: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” “There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.”
(2) Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, This is a very intimate memoir of an author who’s father, was an author. In this two-for-one road map, you are enriched by both the father and the daughter. Anne’s father helped me with this: “Write everyday, like a music student doing scales everyday.” Anne’s – “how to write the first sentence” – pushed me through to the second. “Some Instructions on Writing and Life:”
(3) Abigail Thomas, Three Dog Life, is another exceptionally intimate author’s tale of another author’s daughter. [Lewis Thomas; Life of a Cell] Abigail delivers’s both “the Show” and “the Tell’ of writing and a template of a complex response to life’s capricious nature. For an extra treat, in the Audiobooks edition, Thomas reads the book herself. I seldom like the stage voices of most authors, but with Thomas, with this material, it is a bonus! Abigail Thomas, A Three Dog Life, paper, 2006, also: Audiobooks and Kindle
(4) Steven Pressfield, The War of Art, is a 2002 non-fiction book written by the American author Steven Pressfield. Within it, Pressfield highlights the different forms of Resistance faced by artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others, who are trying to break through its barriers. The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul. Pressfield built a fire under me! The book has a follow-up titled Do The Work.
(5) Brian Hutchinson, The Audacity to be a Writer, “50 Inspiring Articles on Writing that Could Change Your Life. Sixteen authors (6) Joe Bunting, (7) C.S. Lakin, (8) Ali Luke, (9) Marcy McKay, (10) Shanan Haislip, (11) Andy Mort, (12) Christine Frazier, (13) Lien Ho, (14) Chelsea Nenno, (15) Claire DeBoer, (16) Kate I. Foley, (17) Josh Irby, (18) Stacy Claflin, (19) Nicole Gulotta, (20)Dana Sitar and (21) Bryan Collins, The Audacity to be a Writer: 50 Inspiring Articles on Writing that Could Change Your Life. Positive Writer. Kindle Edition.
(6) Winston Churchill, Churchill, Winston S., Painting as a Pastime, Rosetta Books, 1932 Everyone knows of the massive volumes from Churchill’s pen. This little monograph has been on my desk for half a Century. He wrote it about painting, but it applies to writing.
Some hard-earned lessons:
(1) Shamelessly plagiarize – with credits of course (if you credit the authorship with a footnote, it’s no sin). Did you believe that Shakespeare thought up those characters and plots by himself? Stravinsky said that mediocre composers imitate, great ones, steal! Go to an art museum and watch art students painting imitations of the masters.
(2) Get an editor, A human would be nice but I like apt. Grammarly’s; entrance level is free. I like it.
(3) If you wish to blog, Janice Wald covers virtually everything blogging at Mostly Blogging: Blog URL: http://mostlyblogging.com/ Check in with Janice “Hi, I’m Janice! Welcome! I became an advice blogger to help content creators increase traffic and improve their blogs. For signing up, you will get free access to a private infographic, not published on my site, or anywhere, “Best Tools For Blogging and Other Forms of Content Creation” and an invitation to pin to our exclusive Community Pinterest board.Imagine having my blogging and promotion tips all in one compact infographic. Referencing it will save you hours of time that it would take to read my posts on those topics.
(4) Carefully select a banner image. Again, see Janice’s discussion. I borrow my best ones from expert imagers. Always ask for permission and always credit the artist.
(5) Reblogging: See Janice. Most authors are delighted for you to post their work on your blog. [cedit them, of course] Although not essential, I usually write the original author and ask permission; you will get a new friend.
(6) WordPress was very useful. Many Millions of bloggers rely on this service I started with WordPress tutorial and created a home page using WordPress templates. The tutorials will guide you and live chat attendant will take you step-by-step and then e-mail you a transcript of the conversation.
(7) Just as there are several things, you must not leave home without, I would not write a paragraph without a Thesaurus. Only punctuation is more important to your reader!
I wrote only in the medical and science literature for thirty years I aspire, in jest, to be the “Grandma Moses” of the blogosphere.
I think this is most of what I have learned about writing. Giving (and seeing others succeed) feels better the alternative.
Charles Clanton Rogers September 6, 2015
Thank you for “Flying Zebra” If you Like this, consider hitting my reblog button or Share o FB
Only a few followers appreciate my narrative on the history of The World’s most required language, English:
but I think it is my best post.