Monthly Archives: February 2011

An Every Day Reader on FridayReads

Every week on Friday, I sent at least one tweet with the #fridayreads hashtag. Why do I do this? To celebrate reading.

What is FridayReads?

On Fridays, people share what they are reading. And reading is broadly defined: a book, a blog, a map, a cereal box.

FridayReads is the brainchild of Bethanne Patrick. In the fall of 2009, she started asking her followers what they were reading every Friday and including the hashtag #fridayreads with the request.

FridayReads has grown. 5 people are now involved in managing a blog, counting participants, compiling lists of the most read books, and giving free books to randomly selected participants. It is now possible to participate on Twitter or Facebook. In the past few weeks, the number of weekly participants has grown to over 5,000. And, the sharing of book titles and conversation about books has spilled over to other days of the week.

What is FridayReads to me?

Simply put, FridayReads is an excuse to connect with other readers.

I enjoy reading what other people are reading. I am curious to see the most read lists compiled every week. I am fascinated looking back at my #fridayreads tweets to remind myself of what I have read.

FridayReads is a way to publicly proclaim my reading in the company of other readers without having to spend much time on it. I get to be part of a reading club without having to read anything that somebody else has chosen.

FridayReads Celebrates All Reading

I am an obssessive reader. I always have been. I resist taking time to record or discuss the books I have read. There are far too many books still waiting to be read. And, I am always reading many things.

Today, for example, I am in the middle of the following books:

  • Drood by Dan Simmons
  • Dance – The Sacred Art: The Joy of Movement as a Spiritual Practice by Cynthia Winton-Henry
  • The Magician′s Book by Laura Miller
  • Writing Life edited by Constance Rooke
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Danse Macabre by Stephen King
  • Lost at School by Dr. Ross Green

The first is my bedtime fiction reading. The second is relevant to the website I am building about play. The next four are about books and the craft of writing; I am working through them slowly as I need inspiration or challenge in my writing. And the last supports my parenting. This is a typical state of affairs for me. I sometimes have graphic novels, plays, or poetry on the list, and I usually have fewer books on writing in process. But, I never read just one book at a time.

My husband reads one book at a time.

FridayReads celebrates us both.

I like that.

Any reading counts. My eldest son jumps between classic literature, novels featuring crass humour and ridiculous aliens, and graphic novels. They all count.

The blogs I read, the books on my Kindle, the instruction manual for a new piece of technology, even the audiobooks my kids listen to at bedtime.  They all count.

I love the inclusivity.

FridayReads is a no-pressure celebration of one of my favourite pastimes. I don′t have to leave my house or interrupt my work. I just type a title, an author, and #fridayreads and send a tweet.

On Friday, why don′t you join me on Twitter or Facebook and share what you are reading.

Fear and Editing: My Magic Trick for Getting to the Page

Many writers talk about the need to silence our inner editors while writing. I also have critical inner voices I need to silence while editing: voices of doubt and fear telling me that even with my best efforts, the piece will still be awful. My self-doubt threatens my ability to just sit down and do the work. Making myself come to the page in the face of those inner voices can be challenging. I have some standard productivity tools that I use to get my butt in the chair, but I also have a magic trick.

The Magic Trick

I edit in purple pen.

I can edit with any pen, but when I am resisting, I turn to my trusted purple pen.

Purple is playful and creative in my mind. One of my favourite books as a child was Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. Harold draws himself into and out of adventures by using his purple crayon to create first a challenge and then a solution. Purple lines lead to interesting places in my imagination.

When I think of purple and creativity, I think of Jenny Joseph′s poem Warning. The opening line ″When I am an old woman I shall wear purple″ has always resonated with me. When I was 12 or 13, I realized I was in training to be an eccentric old woman. And, although I silenced many of my more creative impulses to fit in better at school, there was always a part of me that thought, in exactly the way Jenny Joseph described:

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised

When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Editing in purple taps into my sense of playfulness even in the face of hard work to be done. And, my sense of ″who cares what ′they′ think, this is what is right for me″ flourishes. Even when I kill my darling words, if I do it in purple, it feels creative not murderous.

I wouldn’t dare suggest that this would work for everyone, but I doubt I’m the only one who needs a nudge into the editor’s chair from time to time.  What tricks/tools do you use?

 

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