Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We're Whimsy Magpies (Jillian)

Ravens afoot in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell; Portia Rosenberg, artist.

Writers are never bored - at least they have no excuse to be. We're whimsy magpies, after all, collecting all the shiny objects we can find. I am living proof. Things are the things I've sought out a'wiki-ing and a'lexicon-ing, this summer:
  • The constellation Virgo and other stars.
  • Life cycles (and colors) of stars.
  • Supernovae and black holes.
  • Theories behind faster-than-light travel.
  • Theory of Relativity (for dummies).
  • What happens when a person falls into a coma.
  • Parts of the brain.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Saint Radegund.
  • Making up hybrid names like Tristopher and Cambrose.
  • Eye-shine (cats have it, people don't).
  • Formula to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius (because evidently, the space age is too cool for Fahrenheit).
  • Demon possession and exorcism.
  • Greek legend of Ariadne and Theseus.
  • Ominous bird imagery and mythology: crows, ravens, magpies, etc.
  • Difference between clairvoyance and telepathy under the psychic umbrella.
  • Beatles songs and the inspirations behind them.
I find these little intellectual treasure hunts keep my brain awake, and inevitably feed into my creative projects. Try it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Reading Deprivation (Jillian)

Last week, I embarked on the chapter in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way that emphasized... reading deprivation. It is exactly what it sounds like, plain and simple: don't read for pleasure, don't read to kill time. Don't read.

Bibliophile that I am, my first reaction was that this exercise was unnecessary self-torture, especially coming so soon after Lent. Here's what Julia has to say about it:

For most artists, words are like tiny tranquilizers. We have a daily quota of media chat that we swallow up. Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we feel, yes, fried... It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions, we are actually filling the well. Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world... Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some one us begin to immediately fill with new words - long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion. We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist's inspiration, above the static. In practicing reading deprivation, we need to cast a watchful eye on these other pollutants. They poison the well. (p. 87)

Hard as it is to believe, I found this to be completely spot-on. You can imagine with a job as a receptionist, I find many windows of ennui in which I am tempted to while away the hours with a deep perusal of internet newspapers and/or with a good novel. But when I relinquished said distractions it was a very clear indication of how addicted to this unhealthy media chat and extraneous stuff I'd been.

Those days as far away from a novel or the internet as I could get, I did actually find myself focusing on my art and filling the time (not killing time) with those introspective, creative thoughts. It was helpful. And it is still very eye-opening to know how much of the outside world is let in, and how much I don't actually need.

Very good lesson, indeed!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Future of Reading (Jillian)

I have to say, I just read a Newsweek article by Anna Quindlen - "Reading Has a Strong Future". I found it wonderfully hopeful about the future of writing and literacy in our increasingly technological age. As iPads and Kindles have made their debut into the world, there has been a pressing question... whether or not they will eventually replace books... and whether or not that is a terrible thing. I encourage you to read it for yourself!!

Some of my favorite snippets:

"The invention of television led to predictions about the demise of radio. The making of movies was to be the death knell of live theater; recorded music, the end of concerts. All these forms still exist—sometimes overshadowed by their siblings, but not smothered by them."

"There is and has always been more than a whiff of snobbery about lamentations that reading is doomed to extinction. That's because they're really judgments on human nature."

"Reading is not simply an intellectual pursuit but an emotional and spiritual one. It lights the candle in the hurricane lamp of self; that's why it survives. There are book clubs and book Web sites and books on tape and books online. There are still millions of people who like the paper version, at least for now. And if that changes—well, what is a book, really? Is it its body, or its soul?"

(Soul! SOUL!!!!)


Innovations like this have happened before. Television and radio. Movies and theatre. Typewriters and legal pads. And now books and kindle. Notice that books are still holding their own in our culture. No one has abandoned them yet. These innovations are simply creating new options for enjoying literature, not erasing it or taking it for granted. Kindles and iPads and whatever new inkling of genius that follows will still convey that flame... readers will read, writers will write.

And honestly, I don't think books will disappear as fast as some people fear. ;)


to a blog by three people who write, for anyone else who wants to write. It's a cruel world for creators, and here we promise support, whimsy, and curiosity that will hopefully keep your pen moving and keyboard tapping!

To read more about why Daedalus Notes exists, click